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A Day of Temples and Shrines in Kyoto

Kyoto, one of Japan’s most famous tourist destinations, was at the top of our list for places to visit in Japan.  Everyone who has visited Kyoto will tell you that the city deserves more than a single day. And while that is true, when we looked at booking accommodation in Kyoto, we were out of luck. We looked about a month in advance (thinking we were getting ahead of the game) and booking.com was almost 100% sold out! We managed to find a few hotels and upscale guesthouse but nothing for under $100 CAD a night, which was way over our budget. I guess we should have expected inflated prices and full occupancy given we were travelling in the busiest time of year – cherry blossom season. When we found a private room in Osaka, a 30 minute train away, for only $40 CAD a night we really couldn’t justify the stay in Kyoto. And that’s how we ended up with one day to see and explore as much of Kyoto as possible. Continue reading

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Rome: An Ancient City in Full Restoration Mode

The founding of Rome is dated back to around 753 BC – the Colosseum was completed in 80 AD, almost 2000 years ago – and thus, it’s not a secret that many of Rome’s ancient and aging monuments are in desperate need of restoration. It appears that many high-end Italian fashion brands have stepped up to make that restoration possible. All at once. To name a couple, Fendi, one of the biggest names in Italian fashion, has donated approximately 2.10 million Euros to restore the 18th century Trevi Fountain in order to preserve this precious heritage; the first of five fountains they have pledged to restore. And Tod’s shoes founder Diego della Valle donated approximately 25 million Euros to help restore the Colosseum from its aging and deteriorating state. In addition, Renzo Russo, founder of clothing company Diesel, is providing $6.7 million to restore and clean the oldest bridge spanning Venice’s Grand Canal, the Rialto.

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London: 4 Days in the City

Our first major European city on our around-the-world trip was London – a classic choice. We spent four nights at an airbnb in East London near Bethnal Green Station. Walking to our apartment we felt a bit like we were in the rougher part of town but inside the place was great, and the price difficult to beat in London ($85 CAD/night for two people). Continue reading