Category Archives: Europe

Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw, Poland = Fun for the whole family

Have you ever seen a fire tornado, experienced a simulated earthquake, or turned on a light bulb with a stair master?

You can do all that and more at the Copernicus Science Centre (Centrum Nauki Kopernika) in Warsaw, Poland, which opened in 2010, right on the bank of the Vistula river.

We’ve been there twice – once right after it opened, and the second time in January 2013. Both times not only the kids had a lot of fun, but the grown ups as well.

What can you see at the Copernicus Science Centre?

Well, looking at the Centre website I see that several of the exhibits that my kids loved, have been replaced by new, probably just as exciting exhibits, but a few of the old classics remained:

“Roots of Civilization”

The “Roots of Civilization” area, located on the ground floor, explains how some inventions, some quite ancient, changed the world and contributed to the development of the civilization.

At one of the exhibits, you can see what your name would look like when spelled in Egyptian hieroglyphics.

my name, Jolanta, in hieroglyphics
my name, Jolanta, in hieroglyphics

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Before Visiting Stonehenge, Learn a Bit of its History

The grey stones covered with greenish and orange lichen look like a giant child’s play area.

Some stones still stand upright, in a circle. Others are on the ground, as if knocked down in a moment of frustration. There are gaps in the circle as if some pieces were taken away, or have not been put in yet.

Bright green grass separates the stone circle from a rounded path along which people walk around the monument, their faces turned toward the stones.

Beyond the path a herd of sheep pays no attention to stones or humans, concentrating on finding the juiciest bits of grass.

sheep grazing in the field next to Stonehenge
sheep grazing in the field next to Stonehenge

This is Stonehenge.

An ancient place of … well, we don’t really know what.

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Apartamentos en Merida (Spain) – A Review

If our post “Roman Sights in Mérida, Spain” made you want to see this interesting city, you might be wondering where to stay while you’re there.

Even though we were stopping in Mérida for just one night, we still wanted to get a place bigger than just one hotel room, and luckily for us Apartamentos en Mérida, available through TripAdvisor, had a vacancy at that time and allowed us to stay just one night, even though in the summer they usually require a two-night stay.

The apartment is just a short walk from the Teatro and Anfiteatro Romano, and while it does not have a designated parking spot, we found parking on Calle Pizarro within the same block. Make sure you have a map or a GPS with you while you make your circles looking for a parking spot – most of the nearby streets are one way, and not all are in a square pattern.

Distance from Apartamentos Merida to Teatro and Anfiteatro Romano
Distance from Apartamentos Merida to Teatro and Anfiteatro Romano

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My Favorite Beaches: Photo Essay

I love beaches.

I love walking barefoot along the shore, water lapping at my feet, my toes squishing the wet sand, leaving footprints that will be gone with the next wave.

I love listening to the slow rhythm of the ocean or the sea, like breathing,receding its surf on the in breath, and swelling out onto the shore with an out breath.

All of it – the warmth of the sun, the gentle breeze of the wind tickling my face,  and the sound of the moving tide calms me, and while I love sightseeing, big cities, and beautiful museums, I feel most relaxed on a beach, the longer and the more empty the better.

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Visiting the Roman Sights in Merida, Spain

When we decided to do a road trip from Madrid, Spain to the coast of Portugal last year, we decided to find a city or a town to stay overnight on the way, rather than drive the 600 km (372 miles) or so in one day.

The names of towns and cities along the three different routes that GoogleMaps suggested for us didn’t tell me much, so I turned to guidebooks of Spain from Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, and to TripAdvisor reviews.

three different routes from Madrid, Spain to Obidos, Portugal that GoogleMaps suggested as a possibilty
three different routes from Madrid, Spain to Obidos, Portugal that GoogleMaps suggested as a possibilty

In the end, I’ve decided we should stop in Mérida, a place I’d never heard of before, because every guidebook I looked at suggested visiting the city’s Roman ruins, and we like ancient stuff like that.

We arrived in Mérida on a Friday afternoon and went sightseeing on Saturday. Given all the historical attractions in Mérida, I was really surprised by the low number of tourists we saw.

Clearly Mérida is not as popular as it was during the Roman times, which is really too bad.

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The Rocky Coast of Peniche, Portugal

There’s something powerful and captivating about waves crashing into a rocky cliff, sending up a fountain of sea foam, then retreating back into the ocean.

It’s calming. It’s humbling. And it’s beautiful.

kids watching out onto the Atlantic from the rocky shore along the most westernmost part of N114 in Peniche, Portugal
kids watching out onto the Atlantic from the rocky shore along the most westernmost part of N114 in Peniche, Portugal

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