vodka joyride in iceland

A Joyride Through Iceland, Barcelona, Edinburgh & London

During the end of April and the beginning of May, I went on an epic journey around Europe with three friends. After cultivating the art of solo travelling over the past three years in London, Paris, and Italy, I was curious to experience the travel life with a group of other worldly-curious and like-minded ladies.

Our travel troupe, Vodka Joyride (don’t worry, no alcohol was consumed during the road trip portion of our adventure) departed from Vancouver to explore Iceland, Barcelona, Edinburgh, and London over the course of two action-packed weeks.

Here are some of the many highlights from our travels…

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Canadian Tulip Festival (Image Credit: Ottawa Tourism)

7 of the Most Beautiful Flower Festivals in North America

One of the surefire signs that spring has sprung is the new life that blossoms in the garden. As early as the month of April, flowers of all varieties start to bloom, providing a good excuse for spending your afternoons frolicking in floral fields of vibrant colors and sweet fragrances.

North America’s abundance of flower festivals ring in the spring season and allow locals and tourists alike to stop and smell the flowers. Furthermore, these celebrations do their part to showcase the unique culture and roots of their communities.

Here’s a selection of some of the very best and the most beautiful flower festivals that the United States and Canada have to offer.

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venice italy grand canal rialto bridge

Exploring the Idyllic Islands of Venice

The way to discover Venice is to go without any agenda and get completely lost. As you try to navigate your way to the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square, you will traverse across bridges and canals and spontaneously find quaint restaurants, quirky shops, holy churches, and hoards of visitors and Venetians alike. While walking is one half of the experience of exploring the floating city, the other half is to be seen on water through the only mode of transportation around the roadless island—boats, from vaporetto (ferry) to taxi acquei (water taxis), and yes, even a once-in-a-lifetime gondola ride.

Beyond Venice’s enclosed group of 118 islands are even more islands to uncover within the Venetian Lagoon, most notable among them are Murano, Burano, and Torcello.

Here are a selection of photographs from the four Venetian islands.

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uffizi botticelli birth venus

Florence’s Must-See Artistic Masterpieces

Under the Tuscan sun is where one can discover the birthplace of the Renaissance — Florence. The capital of the Italy’s region of Tuscany is rife with the legacies of renowned Renaissance figures such as Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael, Donatello, Botticelli, Titian, and Giambologna, all of whom projected the ideals of the flourishing period of cultural rebirth and revival into their artwork.

A treasure trove for art lovers, Florence is the keeper of many of the greatest artistic masterpieces of the Western world. Here are a selection of photographs of the marvelous sculptures and glorious paintings waiting to be seen in Florence, Italy.

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pantheon fontana fountain rome italy

A Tour of Rome’s Most Enchanting Fountains

Earlier this April, I wandered the cobblestone streets of Rome, Italy in search of ancient artifacts and baroque beauty. What I discovered was that Roman design is best embodied in a specific architectural piece — the water fountain.

From the oldest fountain in Rome in Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere (dating back to the 8th century) to the most famous fountain of all, Trevi Fountain, here are some snapshots of the towering creations and flowing water streams I found during my recent Roman holiday.

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