Dublin Like A Local

I’ve been to Ireland 5 times (so far). I have the good fortune to have some great Irish friends so going to Dublin is not a typical tourist experience. I’m picked up at the airport and driven around town like visiting royalty. The trip is mostly planned out with pub nights (almost every night), dinners and visits to worthwhile venues. It’s great fun and gives a very local perspective.

As a local, you DON’T go to Temple Bar (“it’s too damn expensive”); you don’t go to the Guinness Storehouse Tour (“I already worship Guinness- every night”); you don’t limit your shopping to Grafton Street (“stay north of the Liffey with fewer tourists”).

As a local, you DO go to your “local” (the pub in your neighborhood where you know almost everyone who walks in the door); you do have your regular shops (like the Bretzel Bakery where they know you and your order as you walk in); you do order multiple drinks at last call (because the barman can’t leave or kick you out before you are done).

As a tourist, you should go and see the Book of Kells, Christchurch Cathedral (the basement is spooky), and the Kilmainham Gaol Tour (Old Dublin Jail from the 1800s). Entrance to all museums, including the National Gallery, the National Museum of Ireland and Trinity’s Douglas Hyde Gallery, is free. You might notice a lot of taxis – there are in fact more taxis in Dublin than in New York City! Dublin is a great town with lots to see and with lots of great people.

Whatever you do, don’t call an Irishman “British” (the Republic of Ireland is not part of the U.K.). And don’t stop for the weather, i.e. rain. It’s either about to rain or will rain later in the day. Bring rain gear and enjoy. It’s all part of Ireland.

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Best Museums in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Museums

Amsterdam is known for many things, but one thing you may not think of when dreaming of this Dutch city is Museums. Few people realize that Amsterdam is actually home to over 50 museums, many of which are very interesting and thought provoking. Some of them are strange. Here is a list of some of the interesting ones you might want to check out the next time (or first time) you travel to Amsterdam.


BEST MUSEUMS IN AMSTERDAM

Het Grachtenhuis Museum
This is a special museum located on one of the most beautiful and upmarket Herengracht canal. It explores the history of the canal district (a world heritage site) with 3D animation, models, projections and an interactive multimedia exhibition. A very modern look at Amsterdam’s history and a great way to start to your visit.

Tulip Museum
The tulip is often used as a symbol of the Netherlands, so this museum is quite popular with locals and tourists alike. If you love botany, history, or tulips in general, this is the museum for you.

Anne Frank House
The hiding place where Anne Frank wrote her famous diary during World War II is now a museum and is one of the biggest attractions in Amsterdam. See how hard it was and view the original diary on display while at this location. Book a rental car at Schiphol Airport and take the 20 minute drive to the historic museum. This is a must do but get there early because the lines can be long.

Amsterdam Museums - The Anne Frank House

NEMO Science Museum
A hands on museum, NEMO is very popular among children. Science and technology are the themes here, so it’s a must visit if you’re with kids on vacation. Get a Museumkaart or I Amsterdam City Card for free admission. Ask about discounted group rates!

Torture Museum
This place brings out the macabre in everyone. View a collection and learn about some of the oldest cruellest torture methods of the past. Thankfully most of these methods are no longer in use. The fact that most of what’s on display are actual artifacts is particularly disturbing.

Museum of Bags and Purses 
To me, being surrounded by this many handbags and purses seems like a scene from the previous museum!

National Maritime Museum
The museum is dedicated to maritime history and contains many artefacts associated with shipping and sailing. The collection contains, paintings, scale models, weapons and world maps. Moored directly outside the museum is a replica of the Amsterdam, an 18th-century ship which sailed between the Netherlands and the East Indies.

Van Gogh Museum
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam, explore the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh work. A must-see for any traveling virtuoso, see his work and learn about his life story. You won’t be disappointed!

The Rijksmuseum
This is the Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. It showcases national treasurers and artifacts from over 800 years of Dutch history. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum. Again, a must visit!

There are of course more museums, including the Museum of The Canals, the Costume Museum, the Heineken Experience, the Houseboat Museum and more. They make for an interesting day and a way to quickly immerse yourself in Dutch culture and history.

Can you think of any interesting or strange museums that are in Amsterdam?

Planning A Trip To Perth

Planning A Trip to Perth

Image Source. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Perth is one of the most unique Australian cities. It’s situated on the west coast miles away from everywhere else and it has developed its own customs and traditions over time. If you’ve got plans to travel to Perth, here are some tips that will help you get the best out of your trip.

Pack for the heat

The temperature in Perth is warm pretty much all year. In the summer (December through to February), it can often stay above 30 degrees with minimal rainfall. As a result, when travelling to Perth, you should pack for the heat – this means light clothing and sun lotion. You’ll also want to check out the beaches of Perth, so remember to bring some beachwear.

Rent a car

Perth is very spread out and you’ll find it difficult to get around by foot. Whilst you can use public transport, this can be pricey. As a result, it’s worth hiring a car for the trip. You can book this online so that there’s a rental car waiting for you at Perth airport. Renting a car could also allow you to journey out into the outback and beyond if you’re up for a wild road trip.

Take your hiking boots

On the outskirts of Perth, you’ll find a number of scenic hiking trails – the most iconic being the Bibbulmun track. For this reason, it’s worth taking your hiking boots so that you explore these routes. There are guided tours of the Bibbulmun track and guided day-trips that can take you along the most scenic stretches. Alternatively, you may prefer to tackle it on your own (there’s plenty of accommodation along the trail for stopping at when you need some rest).

Plan for a ‘Sunday Session’

When it comes to hitting the local bars, forget Friday night and Saturday night – in Perth Sunday is the time for drinking (known to the locals as ‘Sunday sessions’). Many bars across the city have their own deals and events on, so it’s worth keeping this day free so that you can experience the thrills. This is also a good time to find deals on meals out as many local restaurants also like to get involved.

Visit the galleries and museums

Perth also has its fair share of museums for those looking for an education activity. Perth Cultural Centre is an area of the city that contains the biggest museums and galleries including the Western Australian Museum and the Art Gallery of Western Australia. The Perth Royal Mint is also an attraction worth visiting – here you can explore the history of Perth’s gold rush days and learn the process behind turning gold into ingots. On top of this, there’s Fremantle Prison, that you can visit via boat. Many of these attractions are low cost and some are even free to enter such as the Art Gallery of Western Australia making them great for those travelling on a tight budget.