Imagine a tiny island surrounded by warm, crystal clear blue water, where no cars travel.  The island of Comino is only 3.5 square km (1.4 sq mi) and has only 5 full-time residents.  The Island has a long history: inhabited by farmers during Roman times, it was turned into a prison for errant Knights in the 16th century.  Now, it’s a popular destination for snorkelers and divers.  There is only one resort on the island, but water taxis depart hourly from the Mainland of Malta and the Island of Gozo. We decided to spend our last day in Malta on Comino Island.  The owner of our villa told us that an area of the Island called the Blue Lagoon was a great spot for swimming, so we grabbed a water taxi and set off. The boys were excited to have the boat to ourselves and the driver added to the excitement by driving really fast and…Continue Reading
One of our favorite places in the world is Malta and we discovered it by accident.  We were in Austria in October, and it was freezing!  Our plan had been to go to Italy but all the flights were expensive and the train ride was really long.  To top it off, I was on the 10th day of a horrible cold that would not go away.  Rich was searching every flight he could to find 5 affordable tickets from Salzburg to Rome. He came across a really cheap flight to Rome through Malta.  We didn’t know anything about Malta but it was cheaper to fly to Malta, stay a a few days and then fly onto Rome, than to buy a one way ticket from Salzburg to Rome.  So we thought, why not?  It ended up being a great decision and we fell so in love with Malta that we ended up staying 3 weeks. Azure…Continue Reading
Just up the road from the beaches of Cannes and Antibes stands St Paul de Vence, a medieval walled city on a hill, with gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside. Founded in 1388, St Paul de Vence developed into a retreat for artists in the mid-20th century, with famous names like Chagall, Matisse and Picasso spending time painting there. St Paul de Vence is surrounded by a city wall, complete with battlements and a cannon facing the main entrance.  It was an important fortification for France in medieval times, and the excellent sight lines that led to its selection as a fort make for some beautiful views today.  The town’s layout of meandering cobblestone streets seems unchanged from that time, and one can happily wander around from art gallery to coffee shop, to gelato stand, to church, to another art gallery, and so on. At the back of the city stands…Continue Reading
We thought it would be fun to ask some of our fellow family travelers about amazing educational experiences they have had while traveling: we call it “Worldschooling Wednesday”. Today’s featured blogger for Worldschooling Wednesday is Christine Leger from Tapped Out Travellers.  We highly recommend you check out their blog about family travel.  Nestled deep within Brupark, at the edges of Brussels (Belgium), hubby and I took the little monsters to Mini Europe for a nice, quiet morning of exploring, learning and fresh air. The kids are 4.5 and 1.5 years old and enjoyed themselves right up until the end of our visit, which lasted roughly 2-3 hours. Through many of his TV shows and books, the toddler has been passively learning about world landmarks. We have also been traveling Europe for the past 2 years, averaging one ‘vacation’ every month. Clearly baby girl has no idea what is going on around her, just…Continue Reading
Ring of Beara Shipwreck
The Beara Peninsula is a beautiful stretch of the west coast of Ireland.  Just to the south of the more famous (and overrun) Ring of Kerry, it offers a less crowded, but no less scenic adventure.  We spent a week exploring Beara with our boys.  All of us fell for its charms, and we wanted to share some of our favorite parts. Drive the Ring of Beara To start your adventure on the Beara Peninsula, begin with a drive around the Ring of Beara and take in the beauty of cliffs meetings the sea.  Give the kids disposable cameras and roll down the windows.  Our boys loved the steep cliffs covered with sheep, calmly eating grass and watching us.  The full ring is about 195 km long, but we just drove from Kenmare to Castletownbere, and that alone was a great day.  Stop at the Copper Mine Museum and Garnish Beach.  Castletownbere has several restaurants and…Continue Reading
Europa Park, Rust, Germany
We decided to surprise the boys with a day at Europa Park in Rust, Germany.  We told them we were going to see a cultural site and that there would be long lines and lots of walking.  They were very surprised when we rolled up to the amusement park.  The park went overboard on Halloween so we got a little feeling of home.  Grandpa was a sport.  I know he didn’t expect to come all the way to Germany to watch the kids ride roller coasters! Europa Park is divided up into 14 countries, with all the rides and activities themed for that country.  One of the boys’ favorite rides was “Euro Mir”, where you head up a silver tower in a roller coaster car that changes direction at random times.  At the top, you go down a steep drop, and you never know who will be facing backward.  They…Continue Reading
I’m not too interested in cars but after reading so many great reviews of the BMW Welt we decided to take the kids. It was fantastic! We went on Family Sunday (which is the last Sunday of each month). The place was packed with kids (if you don’t have kids skip the last Sunday of the month!) but there was so much to do that we did not need to wait long. We took the English tour of the Welt, which was fascinating. The tour explains the amazing architecture, the many uses of the building and the concept cars. Our kids loved going behind the scenes, watching the film about the Welt and looking through the windows at the warehouse. After the tour, the kids spent hours playing the virtual driving games and sitting in the cars. The BMW Welt is  free of charge The BMW Welt tour Family ticket (parents…Continue Reading
Nice is known for being a romantic destination and a relaxing getaway by the Mediterranean.  But it also is a lot of fun with kids, as we found out. We started with a train ride through Nice on the Petit Train de Nice (Little Train), which is just a series of cars connected to a lead car shaped like a train that takes you around the city.  It took us through the streets of the old town and to the Chateau on the hill (or Castle Hill), which has gardens and amazing views of the city and sea.  The kids enjoyed the ride, and it gave Rich and me a chance to understand the layout of the old town of Nice. Train rides last about 45 minutes with a ten minute stop at the Chateau on the hill. A headphone commentary is available in French, English, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian and Japanese.  Get on…Continue Reading
Effile Tower
We only had a few days left before we met up with a family member in Germany, so we decided on a whirlwind tour of Paris.  We rode the bullet train from Nice and booked a cute loft in the Latin Quarter.  It’s a dangerous spot: there are multiple Boulangeries full of decadent treats within a minute’s walk! On our first day in Paris we heard something from the boys that we never thought we would hear.  “That was so much fun!” they said.  They were not talking about a visit up the Eiffel Tower or a Ferris wheel ride in the park.  They were talking about the our visit to the Louvre! We went on a private family tour with “Paris Muse,” which bypassed the awfully long line and took us on a top-secret mission through the museum.  Our guide, Anya, was a young New Yorker who was great with the kids.  She kept…Continue Reading
It was a little rainy so we decided to drive to Monaco for the day.  I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was really blown away by it.  It’s so clean, so picturesque and so friendly.  It’s surrounded by mountains (and France)  and built up around a harbor full of the largest yachts we have ever seen. The streets are so clean and every intersection has a smiling and helpful police officer.  Monaco has 1 officer for every 60 residents! We toured the Palace, where the Prince resides.  It was fun to tour a real palace after visiting so many ruins.  The kids enjoyed the throne room, which Prince Albert II still uses, and Rich and I loved all the amazing artwork.  Harrison was enthralled by the Arms Room, which showcases guns from the 1600s right up to the present, including actual machine guns from World War II. After the palace tour…Continue Reading