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Statue of Liberty in Paris | An Often Missed Attraction

Statue of Liberty in Paris | An Often Missed Attraction

There are replicas of the Statue of Liberty all over the world, including a 6-foot model on Alki Beach in West Seattle. But it was the French that gifted the actual Statue of Liberty to the United States in 1886, so it was only fitting the American community in Paris honor the French with a Statue of Liberty right back. That’s right — there’s a Statue of Liberty in Paris, too. The Statue of Liberty in Paris is located off the beaten path on the Ile aux Cygnes (about a 20 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower). It’s one-fourth the size of the real Statue of Liberty in New York, standing a little more than 72-feet tall (the actual Statue of Liberty stands 305-feet). The replica in Paris was inaugurated on July 4, 1889 (to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution). The statue has stood in Paris for a long time, but it’s not nearly as popular as the one you find in the United States — or...

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Banff | Canadian Rockies Getaway

Banff | Canadian Rockies Getaway

I’ve been drawn to Banff for years. After seeing pictures of snow-capped mountains, turquoise blue lakes, and incredible wildlife, I wanted to see it with my own eyes. That’s exactly why my dad and I recently booked a trip to the Canadian Rockies. I was surprised at how easy it was to get from Seattle to Banff. It takes about an hour and a half to fly to Calgary, and then it’s another hour and a half drive from Calgary to Banff. If you really feel like going for it, you can drive from Seattle to Banff, but it will take you about 11 hours. There are a million different things to see and do in Banff, including spectacular drives, incredible hikes, and other fun outdoor activities like rock climbing, kayaking, and white water rafting (to just name a few). My dad and I only had four days in Banff so we tried to squeeze in as much as we could. This is a day-by-day breakdown of what we did...

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Salzburg Castle | Festung Hohensalzburg Fortress

Salzburg Castle | Festung Hohensalzburg Fortress

The first thing you notice when you get to Salzburg, Austria is the large castle planted high above the city. Salzburg Castle (which is known locally as Festung Hohensalzburg) is the ultimate landmark. Anywhere you go in the city, you see the fortress looking over you. Not only is Salzburg Castle beautiful, it also acts as a museum and offers incredible views of the city. Salzburg Castle literally sits on top of a mountain. The Austrian name, Festung Hohensalzburg, actually means “high Salzburg fortress.” To get to the Salzburg Castle you can take a cable railway called a funicular or you can hike to the fortress. Admission tickets to the castle are a little cheaper if you walk to the top rather than taking the funicular (it was €8.50 compared to €11 for adults). My mom and I chose to take the funicular to the top (we only had one day, so it was our quickest option). It was a short ride with a great view. If you don’t catch the views on the ride up — don’t fret!...

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Salzburg, Austria | A Music Lover’s Paradise

Salzburg, Austria | A Music Lover’s Paradise

While music is always in the air in Salzburg, Austria, it wasn’t really meant to be that way. Once one of the world’s most famous composers was born there, and a popular musical was set and filmed there, it just sort of happened. There’s no doubt the city embraces its musical past, and that’s what makes it a music lover’s paradise. Music in Salzburg begins with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The influential composer was born in Salzburg on January 27, 1756. He started composing at the age of five in his home, which is right in the heart of Old Town Salzburg. Mozart’s birthplace (Mozart’s Geburtshaus) still exists, and is now a museum (located on Getreidegasse — a popular street/shopping area in Salzburg). More than 220 years after he died, Mozart’s presence is still everywhere in Salzburg. There’s Mozartplatz, the Mozarteum, and a Mozart statue. The home where Mozart lived as a teenager is another museum. The list truly goes on and on. A trip to Salzburg is obviously a must if you’re a fan of...

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Kilkenny | A Fun Day Trip In Ireland

Kilkenny | A Fun Day Trip In Ireland

If you’re planning a trip to Europe, I highly recommend a visit to Ireland. It’s a beautiful country with several amazing places to experience. Dublin is a great city (especially if you like to have a drink or two), but there are also plenty of adventures you can take outside of the city limits. One of my favorite day trips from Dublin was a small place called Kilkenny. My mom and I had spent three days in Ireland, and we weren’t really sure where we wanted to spend our fourth and final day. We grabbed a map, looked for something nearby, and spotted Kilkenny. We had already read some fun things about the city, so we decided to go for it. We walked from our hotel to Heuston Station in Dublin, paid about €24 for a round trip (we got a discount because of our Eurail pass), and then took the hour-and-a-half train ride to Kilkenny. I’m more of a Dublin (big city) kind of guy, but I really enjoyed Kilkenny...

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A Fun Bike Ride Outside of Amsterdam

A Fun Bike Ride Outside of Amsterdam

Amsterdam is famous for its canals, red lights, “coffee” shops and bikes — lots and lots of bikes. I honestly don’t think you can find a European city with more bikes than Amsterdam. One stat I found stated that 40% of all Amsterdammers ride their bike on a daily basis (yes, 40%). There are bike paths all over the city, stop lights for bike riders, and parking lots full of bikes at the train station. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Bikes are everywhere! Amsterdam is a busy city. On top of all the bikes, there’s a tram system and plenty of automobiles. That means there’s often a lot of activity around you. Once you’re off the main drag, Amsterdam slows down quite a bit. I loved everything about the city, but my mom (who I was traveling with at the time) didn’t appreciate Amsterdam nearly as much as I did (go figure). She wanted to get out of Amsterdam so bad that we decided to rent bikes and take a ride into the Dutch...

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