View the Amazing Sights of Romantic and Historical Paris

"Sous le ciel de Paris s'envole une chanson!"

This famous song, written by Maurice Chevalier and recently used in the movie "An Education", epitomizes the carefree yet classy feeling one gets from walking along the streets of Paris. The line, roughly translated, means "Under the skies of Paris, a song flies". Or something like that. My French is pretty rusty. But I understand the emotion Chevalier was trying to convey - Paris puts a song in your heart! The blue-roofed buildings, the gold-gilded railings and roofs, the flowered balconies - it all meshes together to create the classic vision of Paris.

Learn to Snorkel in Cancun's Isla Mujeres

Rarely do I have negative travel experiences. Usually I am a perky, positive, and optimistic tourist, willing to try new things and overlook negativity such as rude waiters, overpriced attractions, and days where I find myself hopelessly lost in strange quarters. 

But sadly, my first experience snorkeling was my second-most negative traveling adventure to date (the first being trapped overnight in the Philadelphia airport baggage claim area with no luggage, a laptop for a pillow, and a homeless man snoring in the row of seats next to me - more on that in a later post).

My Top 3 Packing "Must Haves"

Underwear and socks... check. Deodorant... check. Pair of versatile jeans... check. Purse with wallet... check. Now, why do I have the feeling I forgot something?

Everyone goes through this process while packing for a trip, whether near or far. The basic essentials typically include clothing, toiletries, money, and electronics (cell phone, laptops, iPads, etc.) Depending on your style, you could pack a lot or a little. I myself am an over-packer. I admit it.

Ride the London Eye

Photo: Nico Trinkhaus London Eye and Westminster, England -CC-BY-NC

I spy with my little eye... something ginormous! That would be the London Eye, a giant sightseeing Ferris wheel-type contraption on the south bank of the River Thames in London, England. This machine looms over the river and offers a wonderful view of London by lifting its passengers 135 meters into the sky, slo-o-o-wly, then lowers them back down again. Passengers sit or stand comfortably inside the Eye's giant pods, which can hold up to 28 people. Distant photographs show the London Eye as being deceptively small - the wheel itself is huge and the pods spacious and restful.

Spend a Day at a Spa (in New York City!)

This one is a rather funny story... and it all began while exploring the streets of New York with my friend Teresa. We were visiting New York for a quick three day getaway, and were trying to check items off our list of things to see and do. Sightseeing and shopping around Soho was one of those things, as well as exploring the cobble-stoned streets of Greenwich Village.

Throw a Coin Into the Trevi Fountain and Make a Wish

This item on the bucket list I have already done twice. I am one lucky lady! The first time I visited the Trevi Fountain was in January of 2010, when I won a free trip to Rome through a travel company called Explorica. I had booked a school trip through this company, and as I was a first-time group leader, was put into a draw to win a trip for myself and one other person. Hurrah! Me, who can’t even win a free coffee with Tim Horton’s “Roll Up the Rim to Win”, was selected as one of the lucky free travelers and given three options: Rome, Paris, or London.

Swim with a Dolphin in Cancun

There are probably a lot of people out there that may disagree with this entry on my travel bucket list: to swim with a dolphin. After the saddest documentary EVER came out on the dolphin hunt and dolphin capture, "The Cove", I now know that I probably wouldn't do this again.  But what's done is done, and despite some of the horror stories involving dolphin capture, I really did enjoy my time swimming with dolphins.

Go to Paris and ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is symbol of romance and beauty to most who picture it, perched proudly in the middle of Paris' urban sprawl. Sunset proposals, glorified by Hollywood pictures, are always made better by being presented at the tippy-top of the Eiffel Tower.

In reality, getting up to the top of the tower is a bit of a process, and once you are there, it isn't really all that romantic. Granted, I visited on a day when the wind threatened to push everyone right off the edge, so that kind of took away any romanticism that may have been present. Also, I was with approximately 20 junior high students, and that also tends to dampen any whimsical architectural romance for a person! Ha ha!

Visit Mexico and see Chichen Itza

A coveted time of the year for teachers: Spring Break! A chance to rest, rejuvenate, and hopefully have some well-deserved downtime. In my family, however, Spring Break usually means spending time on my own, as my husband is in the thick of tax season (he is an accountant) and rarely has time for R'n'R at the end of March. Rather than spend Spring Break alone in the spring of 2011, I decided to be brave and venture to sunny Cancun, Mexico on my own for a short but exciting holiday.

New Years Eve in Las Vegas

As a surprise for my husband, who works entirely too hard, I arranged for us to visit Las Vegas for New Years of 2008. I bought plane tickets last minute, which provided us with a really good deal, and booked us rooms off the strip, in a little condo unit just a block away from the Rio hotel. From the Rio, we were assured free shuttle rides down to the strip. (I am a really cheap traveler, and there are always ways to save money if you look hard enough!)

My husband actually had to work on December 31st until about noon, so the moment he got home, we jumped in the car, drove to the airport, caught our flight, and were in Vegas by 8 p.m. Just in the nick of time! We checked into our room, got dressed up, and grabbed a cab to get down to the strip quickly.