Category Archives: Travel Talk

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Give Kampala a chance on a trip to Uganda

As the capital of Uganda, Kampala is the city where visitors to this country will arrive. Mainly interested in attractions in the countryside, some discount the value of this place. This is a mistake, as this surprisingly nice city has attractions of its own.

Before we getting going, though, we just want to preface this whole post by mentioning that sightseeing becomes much easier when you decide to hire a vehicle in Kampala. If you have experience driving in unpredictable traffic, it is the preferable option, as public transport is crowded and some taxis are less than trustworthy. If you are uncomfortable driving around by yourself, you can also hire a driver with the car, and have them chauffeur you around.

Whatever way you choose, there are several places where you should visit during your time in Kampala.

1) Explore the Uganda Museum

Start your time in Kampala by checking out the exhibits you’ll find at the Uganda Museum. You’ll find artifacts like traditional clothing, weapons, musical instruments, and more. All of this will be explained in illuminating detail by the museum’s guides, so be sure to sign up for a tour with them.

Before leaving, head out the back and check out the mock-up of a traditional Ugandan village. Constructed of thatch and possessing all the implements needed to live life, you will be able to get a better understanding how rural folk in this country got by in years past.

2) Tour the Gaddafi National Mosque

While a significant majority of Ugandans are Christian, about 12% of the population identify as Muslims. In Kampala, you’ll find Gaddafi National Mosque, easily the most impressive masjid in the entire country.

Named after the former leader of Libya thanks to the sizable donation which made construction possible, this mosque can hold up to 15,000 worshippers at once. Outside of prayer times (particularly on Fridays), it is possible to go on a tour through this ornate place.

Just be sure to dress respectfully – no exposed knees and shoulders, and women are required to wear a headscarf, which is provided on site.

3) Go on a day safari

Most of the animals which make Africa famous can be witnessed with a day trip from Kampala. Follow this 4*4 car hire Uganda link and book your transportation, then head out to one of the game reserves just outside the city.

Home to giraffes, elephants, and many other animals endemic to Africa, it is the perfect way to make use of one of your last couple of days in Uganda.

4) Drop by the Kasubi Tombs

Centuries in the past, Uganda was ruled by a monarchy. Pay your respects to former royals by visiting the Kasubi Tombs. While it is still being refurbished after being badly damaged by fire several years ago, the prominence of these thatch-roofed mausoleums are still amazing enough to warrant a visit. Like the mosque, be sure to dress respectfully to honour the memory of the deceased kings buried here.

Best cafes to visit in Saskatoon

Saskatoon is known by many to be the Paris of the Prairies – while it is a far cry from being the French capital’s spitting image, the South Saskatchewan River and its many bridges help make this town a charming place.

Being a young place filled with college students and young families, this city has more than its share of great places to get coffee and cake. Below, we’ll help you find the best joints. Just a note before we begin: many travellers planning a trip to the Great White North in 2018 are doing so in anticipation of marijuana becoming legal in the country starting July 1st.

Cannabis growing Canada has kicked into overdrive to meet expected demand, but it is important to realize that smoking it in public places may not be allowed. As such, don’t consume any joints outside cafes you visit – go for a long walk well away from buildings and air intakes and enjoy the best grass Saskatoon has to offer.

After smoking, you’ll be jonesing for some pastries to quell your appetite, so be sure hit up the following cafes when in Saskatoon.

1) Little Bird Patisserie & Cafe

Decorated to resemble a French patisserie, Little Bird Patisserie & Cafe does its best to live up to this city’s nickname (mentioned in the intro). More than a place to grab an amazing french press, locals flock here to have brunch on weekends.

They also hold a high tea service in the afternoon – if you decide to participate, be sure to have more than a few of their excellent macaroons.

2) d’Lish by Tish Cafe

Located within walking distance from the University of Saskatchewan, d’Lish by Tish Cafe is a spot with great atmosphere. With homemade food offerings ranging from paninis to cheesecake, you’ll have awesome food accompaniment to go along with your coffee or London Fog tea.

This venue plays host to live music on occasion, so be sure to ask the staff if anyone is due to perform during your visit to Saskatoon.

3) Park Cafe

Prefer to have your coffee in a place that has a diner feel to it? The Park Cafe will fill your need for no-nonsense java and simple but well-prepared brunch fare. Their eggs benny and french toast are raved about by locals, while at lunch, their burgers and Reuben sandwiches get tons of orders.

Despite being constantly busy, this establishment gets food out of the kitchen and onto tables breathtakingly fast – so feel free to drop by for breakfast (served all day) or lunch.

Things to see and do while ashore on a Baltic cruise

Despite the never-ending cold gripping North America and Europe, summer is coming sooner than you think. If you like to travel in luxury and comfort, cruising is an excellent way to discover the world. During the summer months, Europe is a popular place to explore via this mode of exploration.

While you might be tempted to follow everybody to the Mediterranean, know that you can see spectacular scenery on a Baltic cruise as well. With plenty of ports of call at which to dock, you’ll get to see tons of amazing European architecture, eat incredible food, and meet fascinating people.

To save you the detail work of trying to figure out where to go every time you disembark from the boat, here’s what you should see in commonly visited port cities in the Baltic region.

Copenhagen, Denmark

A common first stop on many Baltic cruise itineraries, Copenhagen has no shortage of Scandinavian charm to offer visitors. Once you step off the ship, make a beeline for Nyhavn, a waterfront entertainment district with colourful buildings and plenty of restaurants and bars.

After a hearty lunch, check out either the Rosenborg Castle (dates from the 17th century), The David Collection (an impressive private collection of fine art), or the Christiansborg Palace (home to many royal and government functions).

Riga, Latvia

Of all the cities in the Baltic states, Riga gets some of the best reviews from cruise passengers. Its Old City is well preserved with plenty of charming cafes and restaurants, its central market is the largest in Europe, and its museums will sober those who view them.

When you aren’t busy admiring the numerous examples of Art Nouveau architecture through Latvia’s capital, make time to see the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia. An uncompromising view of the years when this tiny country was occupied by the Nazis and then the Soviets, it will make you appreciate the freedom we enjoy in western countries.

Helsinki, Finland

After Riga, many cruise boats will head across the Baltic Sea to the Finnish capital of Helsinki. After disembarking, hop on a ferry to the Fortress of Suomenlinna. A defensive stalwart which has guarded this city’s harbour for centuries, it is both a military museum and a meeting places for Finns on brilliantly sunny days during the summer months.

Also, make time to check out the Rock Church. Built within a rock outcrop in the 1960s, the solid stone walls give this Christian hall of worship a look that few other churches on Earth have. Combined with great acoustics, try to attend a service if you have the opportunity to do so.

St. Petersburg, Russia

Think you can’t visit Russia without a visa? If you follow along with approved shore excursions, you are allowed to explore St. Petersburg without having to go through the onerous paperwork needed to formally enter this country.

If you go this route, book an excursion which takes you to Catherine Palace, which was the former playground of numerous Russian Tsars. Also try to take in the Hermitage Museum, which is the second-largest museum dedicated to the arts and culture in Europe and the world.