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Mihaela Lica Butler

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Mihaela Lica-Butler is travel writer and travel public relations consultant by profession, lover of cultures and cuisine. She has built a fun career while chiming in on many topics, from relating the trials and tribulations of the people of Kosovo, to experiencing, first hand, the heroics of the Romanian soldiers serving for the UN. But she thrives in conveying her love for travel and places in written word, and she is happy to be a constant contributor for some of the world's best travel sites.

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warsaw

With two hotels in Poland’s capital of cool, Mamaison Hotel Le Regina and Mamaison Residence Diana, we are more than an ideal choice for travelers who visit Warsaw with children. We have excellent conditions for you to spend a family vacation with the comfort of a true home in our hotels. If you plan to visit Warsaw with children, here are some of the most fun activities to keep them entertained.

Take the Kids to the Warsaw ZOO

The Warsaw Zoological Garden (Miejski Ogród Zoologiczny w Warszawie), known simply as the Warsaw ZOO, was established in 1928. It is one of the most popular zoos in Europe, and it welcomes around 1,000,000 visitors annually. It is famous for its elephants, but it also has an impressive shark aquarium and an indoor pool for hippos. Children will also enjoy the ‘Fairytale Zoo’ (Baśniowe Zoo), where they can pet and feed the animals.

Copernicus Science Centre

The Copernicus Science Centre (Centrum Nauki Kopernik) on the bank of the Vistula River is one of the most interesting attractions for children in Warsaw. It organizes Family Workshops, where children (5–8 years old) together with their parents or carers can carry out experiments, and it also has sections designed with young minds in focus: for example, the Buzzz! gallery for preschool children and the RE: Generation gallery for young adults.

Take Them to the Planetarium

Heaven of Copernicus (Niebo Kopernika) is part of the Copernicus Science Center. It is a young institution, operating only since June 2011. It boasts a dome with a spherical screen having a diameter of 16 m, with 4 digital projectors, planetarium projector system and devices for laser shows. It can accommodate 139 viewers at a time for any show.

Relax in Nature at Jezioro Zegrzyńskie

Jezioro Zegrzyńskie, or the Zegrze Reservoir, is a popular summer destination for locals and tourists alike. It has excellent conditions for sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. There are regular sailing races on the lake, which attract both professionals and amateurs. In the winter, when the lake is frozen, it can be also used for ice skating.

Go for a Cruise

The Cruise ship to Serock (Rejs statkiem do Serocka) departs every weekend, May to September. It is offered by the Żegluga Stołeczna company. The “Zefir” ship departs from the landing at Podzamcze next to the River Cafe.

Besides these attractions, the city boasts numerous entertainment centers, playgrounds, parks, cafeterias serving delicious cakes, family-friendly restaurants, theaters, and cinemas. You will always find something interesting to do with the little ones.

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dolphins

Moscow is a fascinating city, with enough to see and do to keep you busy for years. Besides the attractions heavily advertised by travel guides, like the Kremlin, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, the Red Square, the fantastic Tretyakov Gallery, the Bolshoi Theatre, the Novodevichy Convent, and
Gorky Park to mention a few, there are newer attractions to enjoy this summer.

The Moskvarium is an oceanography and marine biology center, the largest of its kind in Europe. The massive landmark, which opened in 2015, is already among the top things to see with children. It has a 2300-seat auditorium, which offers water shows with three-dimensional projections of whales, dolphins, and other fascinating creatures. You can also visit the Moskvarium to swim with the dolphins.

Another fun attraction to see with children is the Roller Family, a roller skates school with indoor spaces at the Luzhniki Olympic Complex, perfect to practice year round. The school offers both group and private lessons for adults and children.

Europe’s largest indoor water park, Kva-Kva Park, offers a wonderful playground for children, large pools, jacuzzi, lagoon and a special “Children’s Town” area with pools heated at 34°C to offer a pleasant environment for little guests to play. The sauna complex of the park includes four saunas, spa pools, Turkish bath, and a cooling zone.

Equestrian center and sports complex KSK Bitsa is a wonderful choice for horseback riding tours. The complex also features a well-equipped fitness center, archery training facilities and classes for all skill levels, a swimming pool with six lanes, and a shooting range.

Spa by Algotherm at Mamaison Hotel Pokrovka is an urban oasis, with excellent natural algotherapy treatments for face and body, thalassotherapy, hammam, Russian sauna, and even a Moroccan Rhassoul steam room, alongside 8 treatment rooms and other facilities. Spa by Algotherm brings mind, body and spirit into balance with natural European and Asian spa treatments, luxurious pampering packages, and even natural beauty treatments for your hair. All spa treatments are designed by expert therapists, with a better you in mind.

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Budapest fountain

June is a busy month in Budapest, with plenty to do and see. You have a choice of two Mamaison hotels to book for your Hungarian adventure: Mamaison Hotel Andrassy Budapest and Mamaison Residence Izabella Budapest. Make sure you book directly on our official websites for the best online prices. You can also check out our HOT TOWN special offer for discounts of up to 20% in the warmest season of the year.

The first festival of the month is Belvárosi Fesztivál (or BelFeszt) also known as the Inner City Festival Budapest, a free event that offers entertainment in the streets from Erzsébet tér to Szabadság tér along Zrínyi utca for three days, from June 3rd to 5th. You can see the upcoming schedule of concerts and events on the official Facebook page of the festival.

The prestigious Danube Carnival will kick off on June 3rd this year, promising a rich program till the closing day, June 18, 2017. The festival features an international dance competition, a spectacular parade between the Danube Promenade and Vörösmarty tér, and the crown gala presented in the fabulous surroundings of the Margaret Island Open-Air Theater. Tickets are already available online on the official website of the festival. Book early, as they sell fast.

June also has a festival for bibliophiles: the Budapest Book Week on Vorosmarty Square. Although the event is mainly designed for Hungarian readers, you will also find books for English speakers. Plus, there will also be free concerts to add a plus of fun to the festival, which in 2017 takes place between 8 – 12 June.

Beer lovers can attend two different thematic festivals in June: the Craft-Beer Festival in the City Park (Városliget) from June 10 till June 12, 2017, and the Buda Castle Beer Festival at the Royal Palace’s Oroszlános and Hunyadi courtyards, and the Savoyai terrace on June 11 – 14, 2017.

Culture buffs will enjoy the prestigious Night of Museums in Budapest on June 24 this year. The theme of the event in 2017 is “Heroes, explorers, innovators/Hősök, felfedezők, újítók” and you can enjoy a variety of programs supporting the theme in museums and art galleries all around the city. The Hungarian National Museum will turn into a “Square of Superheroes.” Check out detailed information on participating venues and routes here.

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Kochova Záhrada

When you stay with us at Mamaison Residence Sulekova, a 10 minute walk from your hotel you will find a charming little garden the locals call Kochova Záhrada (Koch’s Garden). It is a protected area landscaped sometime around the early 1930s (1932 – 1935) as the park grounds of the Karol Koch sanatorium. The project was carried by architects Dušan Jurkovič, Jindřich Merganc, and Oto Klimeš. With benches, stairways, raised points, rest areas, sculptures, and a small pond, the garden was supposed to be a relaxing oasis for the patients of the sanatorium. All permanent features of the plot, like stairs, stone tiles, alleys, benches, fountain, and sculptures, are still the original from 1932.

After years of neglect, local authorities and volunteers are working diligently to make this place the beautiful retreat it once was. Although it is a private garden, generally not open to the public, the owners are occasionally opening its gates, especially for thematic events and workshops, as well as for volunteer care of the grounds.

Although it is a small space, covering about half a hectare on the slopes of a hill, this urban gem has an incredible variety of plants. Currently, under Municipal protection, Kochova Záhrada is a significant example dendrological garden, with about 30 conifers and 26 deciduous evergreen exotic species among several other tree varieties. Local authorities, owners, and volunteers are still working to revitalize the garden and to reopen it to the public.

Besides plants, the garden also features a fountain and two sculptures, one of a mother and child, and one called Lovers.

Until the garden reopens officially, you can always see their official website (linked in the first paragraph) to see their current public programs and volunteering opportunities.

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David Černý's Kafka

One of the most delightful ways of discovering Prague is walking in Kafka’s footsteps. More than a walking tour, this is a cultural experience. You can start at Náměstí Franze Kafky where his birth house stood once. Only a door is left from the building where Prague’s beloved novelist and short story writer saw the light of day. You can still see it integrated as the main door of the building standing at Náměstí Franze Kafky 3, next to the Church of St Nicholas.

Kafka spent his childhood (from 1889 till 1896) in the beautiful Dům U Minuty (Staroměstské nám. 3/2 – in the Old Town Square), in English, House at the Minute – a stunning Gothic-style building covered in ornate Sgraffito decorations depicting scenes from Greek mythology, Renaissance, and the Bible.

Dům U Minuty

Have a cup of coffee at Café Franz Kafka before you begin your walk to the Old-New Synagogue (Altneuschul), which is not only the place where Kafka attended religious services, but also Europe’s oldest active synagogue. An edifice dating from 1270, the synagogue was among the first Gothic buildings erected in Prague, and today it remains the oldest surviving medieval synagogue of twin-nave design in existence. The synagogue is open to the public, but they charge an admission fee, so have cash ready.

From here, walk to 16 Dlouhá, where you will find the house where Kafka wrote the bulk of his novel The Trial in 1915. From here, you can walk to Café Louvre (Národní 22), one of the few remaining of Kafka’s favorite haunts. Kafka was not the only famous patron of this monument: Karel Capek and Albert Einstein count among the cherished guests of the locale too. The venue also boasts a non-smoking saloon and restaurant, patisserie, billiards, and in the summer months terrace, plus a gallery with a nice café and a Functionalist style saloon, suitable for exhibitions and other events.

Another Kafka favorite, Palác Lucerna (at Štěpánská 61) still offers a rich cultural program, along with cafes, restaurants, and shops. From here, the Kafka Museum (at Cihelná 635/2b) is 25 minutes on foot.

Kafka is also celebrated in street art, as well as through an impressive monument by David Černý.

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You don’t always have to count on the mainstream media to learn that one of your favorite destinations is “cool,” but when they rank it as the “Coolest Capitals in Europe” things change. Because you know that, with superlatives, the crowds flood in. Prices rise. Quaint parks get busy. Your secret spots are not-so-secret anymore. And, Warsaw is now “Poland’s capital of cool.”

According to The Independent, one of the several publications that now describe Warsaw as a “cool” spot, the Polish capital is “abuzz with creativity,” boasting hummus bars, design shops, hipster squares, playful cafes, and the list goes on. Verve Magazine describes Warsaw as the rebuilt capital of Poland, famous for its pulsating nightlife – a city reborn, rebuilt with “eerie accuracy.” We live metaphors and superlatives. We love Warsaw.

The Courier describes this Mamaison address as an exciting city break destination, “packed with museums, bars, nightlife and a whole lot of history.” These are three of the main players praising Warsaw and setting it up as the coolest destinations in Europe in 2017. This means that tourist numbers will soar this year and that prices for accommodation are also going up. But Mamaison still keeps balance with Mamaison Hotel Le Regina and Mamaison Residence Diana – you can still book with us at exceptional prices – provided that you book directly on our sites.

Warsaw deserves the monicker of “capital of cool.” Where else would you find “Bach in the Subways” concerts, Chopin tours, and traces of John Paul II? The city offers something for all ages if entertainment is your concern, as well as lively activities in nature, and a wealth of things to see and do for art lovers. If culture is your thing, also check out our five must-see museums in Warsaw that are usually not recommended by mainstream publications and travel guides. Bookmark our official blog for more insiders’ tips worth knowing before mainstream media finds out about them!

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St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish national holiday with universal appeal. It is celebrated in countries and cities all over the world. If you happen to be in Moscow on March 17 and the weekend following the date, you will have plenty to do to mark the festival.