31 March 2016

A Unique Visit of The Agra Fort on The Taj Mahal Tour

Visiting The Agra Fort - Photo by Bianca Malata - www.itsallbee.com

One cannot visit the Taj Mahal without also visiting the place where Shah Jahan spent his last days; The Agra Fort. Shah Jahan is of course Mamtaz Mahal's husband who also comissioned the Taj Mahal a memorial to his beloved wife. Agra Fort is almost as beautiful as the Taj Mahal and is also made mostly of the same material as the Taj Mahal. Build with marble and detailed in semi precious stones.

In my previous post I shared 13 top tips on visiting the Taj Mahal, while you are in Agra this is another spot that you should not miss out on. Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage located not too far from the Taj Mahal. This is what can be discribed as a walled city. One of the Mugal Emperor's realised the importance of the Agra following a victory of the battle for the city, he made Agra the capital city. It  was this Emperor's grandson who then took over the site. This grandson was of course Shah Jahan. He tended to have buildings broken down and rebuilt in white marble. You will see this when you visit. Most parts are made from the red brick that Akbar, his grandfather, when he rebuilt the fort after the battles.

As Shah had over spent so much money building the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife, his son deposed and restrained him in the Fort. Its rumored that Shah Jahan died in the Musamman Burj, a tower with marble balcony with a view of the Taj Mahal.   Our tour Guide took as all around and let us roam around also telling us about how some of the the emperor has over a thousand concubines and just how many orgies took place there. As well as how his servants would be outside with big fans fanning the Emperor while his ladies attended to his every desires. Not exactly surprised by stories of these sex mad emperors compared to what you will find at Khajuraho Mounuments.

The Agra Fort is also an important site in that it was the site of a battle during the Indian rebellion of 1857, which caused the end of the British East India Company rule in India. This also led to a century of direct rule of India by Britain. 

Don't miss out on this site and highly recommend getting a tour guide as they offer such a wealth of information about this place, its history and just cool tidbits about the Emperors that ruled over the lands and their scandalous lives.

Entrance Fee: 300 Rupees(£3 +/-) for tourists and 20 rupees for Indians.

29 March 2016

13 Tips For Visiting & Seeing The Taj Mahal

In my recent post, I shared pictures from our time exploring Agra's monument of love; The Taj Mahal. This time I thought I would share tips for visiting and seeing the Taj Mahal with ease. There are millions of people that dream of visiting the Taj Mahal. This means that there is hardly a time when its not crowded. The tips below will help you the visit a little more bearable in what can be a crowded and chaotic place in some seasons.

1. Take A Guided  Tour 

Although I am usually a fan of DIY tours of places I visit, for this one I would highly recommend a guided tour. For one they will know all the cool places to show you as well as the insider history and stories about how the place came to be. Secondly, they will also fend off people hustling you to pay for them to take pictures for your or any other service they may be throwing at you. Also bear in mind that your tour guide will also try and take you around to so-called "Gallerues" or aka carpet showrooms and jewellery studios, places that they are more than likely to receive commission from, for each person they bring to the showrooms. Feel free to go and have a look but know that they most likely will make you feel as if you have to buy something before can leave. I am quite strong willed and buy only what I want and need. If you cannot afford it or don't need it do not feel like you are to buy it. Leave or haggle and see if you can get a price you are happy to pay.

Arranging tour guides: Depending on where you are staying in India, your hotel can help you find a knowledgeable guide to take you around for the day. We were staying at the Marriott in Gurgaon, a couple of minutes outside of Delhi. They arranged our driver from Delhi to Agra and a tour guide when we arrived in Agra. If you want to DIY(Do It Yourself) and arrange a guide yourself, then check out ToursByLocals and Vayable. You can also get a government-approved tour guide for about £20 a day from Uptourism. We were looking at where to stay in Agra when we were planning our trip but ended up doing the day trip due to other commitments we had. If you are looking for places to stay near Taj Mahal, there is a Marriott near by as well as the beautiful Oberoi which has amazing views of the Taj Mahal even if you are just there for afternoon tea. For a full list of hotels in Agra, check out his list of hotels covering all budgets.

24 March 2016

Couples Travel | 8 Tips For Travelling As A Couple

Victoria Falls, Zambia - Couples Travel | Tips For Travelling As A Couple - www.itsallbee.com
Victoria Falls - Zambia

Travelling with Family and friends can be an experience in itself. I shared some tips on travelling with family a while back. Travelling with your significant other has its fair share of crazy, but I think problems usually stem from lack or poor communications between people. Travelling is something my boyfriend and I are passionate about. We have been on hikes just the two of us, going on road trips for that cover hundreds of miles passing through many a boarder line. Adventures that build trust and get us working as a team and just enjoy each others company are always so memorable because we have both made the effort to learn more about each other. Not just on a personal level because you are dating, but our style of travel too. I think this is also key to having those amazing memories that you will hold on to until your head start sprout that grey coloured mane that you think will never happen to you. 

After years of globe trotting from African road trips to Asia's chaotic and bustling cities or taking to Europe hidden treasures, I thought I would share tips on how to ensure your trips are spent more on having fun that arguing about how you both  managed to think the other person was booking the hotel. I am glad I am not the only  one who thinks time should be spent more on having fun. Travel Supermarket also believe holidays should be packed full of fun, laughter and the best memories.

1. Share responsibilities - Research into booking flights, accommodation, activities, direction and transportation to and from the airport at your destination all take a long time to plan. It's great to share out responsibilities as well as discuss what each one wants out of the trip. This also allows you to look out for each other's interests when planning the trip.

15 March 2016

Taj Mahal | An Indian Love Story of The Mughals

Taj Mahal,  Agra - India. Photo by Bianca - www.itsallbee.com

Who hasn't dreamed of seeing the Taj Mahal. Having done a little bit of Indian history in my early years at school, from the moment I learned about the Taj Mahal, I knew I had to see this place with my own eyes. A building that that is said to be the world's greatest monument to love. Commissioned by Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal emperor to house the tomb of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died during childbirth.

This is of course the tomb that nearly bankrupted the emperor in his no expense bared mentally in throwing money at the construction of the tomb and many other projects. Shah Jahan is the same emperor that famously commissioned the Peacock Throne, crafted from over a tonne of gold and encrusted in diamonds, emeralds, pearls and rubies. When you visit the Taj Mahal you will notice how the intricate detail within the marble are all made of semi-precious stones. The design, exquiste and unique in its blend of Indian and Persian architectural style.

The level of detail and thought that went into the construction is simply remarkable. The construction began soon after the death of Mumtaz Mahal's death and too 22 years to complete, with over 20, 000, labourers, stone cutters and skilled artisans. Marble that travelled all the way from Rajasthan, decorated in Arabic calligraphy in this beautiful master piece. The entrance to the Taj Mahal also give clues to how it too to construct the tomb. It's really as beautiful as many have described it to be. Even in the blastering heat that visited on, didn't dampen our spirits.

13 March 2016

Humayuns Tomb | A Tomb That Gave Birth To Taj Mahal

Humayun's Tomb In New Delhi - India. Photo by Bianca -www.itsallbee.com

I am sure you have all heard of the Taj Mahal. If you haven't then I wonder if you might have been raised in a cave with no access to the internet, but I am pretty sure caves now also come fully fitted with fiber optic internet connections these days. Anyway, I strongly believe that if it wasn't for Humayun's Tomb we might not have had the Taj Mahal.

Before I tell you all about that I should mention my discovery of how little I knew of full potential of my little vocal cords had. Had I known, perhaps, I might have signed up for Britain's Got Talent. After  gracefully walking around the grounds of Humayun's Tomb and exploring the gardens I thought I would make my way to Humayun's Barber's quarters on my way to the exit. As I approached, I decided to change course slightly and  walk towards the trees to shield me from Delhi's unrelenting sun. With little warning I was suddenly stopped in my tracks as 3 dogs that I accidentally disturbed from slumber were under the shed I was approaching. They immediately surrounded me and start barkinig at me(barking mad!). I have never been so scared in my life! Except when I was chased by a horse, but that's another story. These dogs were about to have me in the center and in my quick thinking opened the umbrella I was using for shade and started waving it at them. It was as if I had a light bulb moment, I just screamed. It must have been loud because the dogs scapperd off in different directions and a few birds followed suit too. I had no idea my lungs had that much potential I tell you.  I am no good with anything with more than 2 legs and I was out numbered by at least 10 legs here. I couldn't help but feel a little proud of my vocal cords there.

Each time I look through my pictures from exploring Humayuns Tomb I can't help but giggle at the memory scaring off dogs by screaming alone - Hashtag #CollectMemoriesAndNotthings. As you can imagine, calm and collected after my little experience I walked back to the car and mentioned nothing to my driver. Only apologising for breaking his umbrella.

11 March 2016


Palais-Royal - Paris - Photo by Bianca - www.itsallbee.com

The beautiful Palais Royal, popular with many a fashionista. Many tourist don't actually make it to this side of the 1st Arrondissement, as they stick to only the Louvre which sits across the road from Palais Royal. Palais Royal and its beautiful gardens are worth a visit when you are exploring Paris as they are very quiet and offer the perfect spot to relax in such a busy and bustling metropolis. The gardens when in full bloom are just beautiful together with the fountains and manicured trees that create a scenic backdrop.

It's a shame this place doesn't get that much of a look in while everyone is taking selfies by the Louvre pyramids. Okay that may be a good thing in that it will remain ever more peaceful without the crowds and yet on the other hand I love showing people what they are missing out on if they choose not to visit. Designed by architect Jacques Lemercier in 1629, Palais-Royal was originally called Palais-Cardinal. It was actually constructed to serve as personal residence of Cardinal Richelieu,  a Roman Catholic cardinal who served as the chief minister to France's King Louis XIII. When the cardinal died, the property was transferred to the King and as a result of the new ownership it was renamed to Palais-Royal. It was soon to be residence to many a royal family that passed through the years.

So next time you are visiting the Louvre, be sure to add Palais Royal to your explorer's list, bonus is that its only a few meters away.

9 March 2016

Foundation Louis Vuitton

Foundation Louis Vuitton In Paris - Photo by Bianca - www.itsallbee.com

My blog is a mix of all things travel and with that I have a certain appreciation for architecture. If you are following me on Instagram, you will notice how architecture, whether its that of our skyline in London or whether it's that from my travels. I have been wanting to visit Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris for a while now, but each time I have been in Paris it was too far out from where I was staying or other places took priority on my visit. 

During my visit last month I was determined to visit and explore the building and its contents. It was a lot easier this time as I was staying on Champs Élysées. It was on the same metro line and only a few stops to get to Jardin d'Acclimatation for Foundation Louis Vuitton. The building itself is beautiful, albeit super cold with all the many openings. They are currently featuring a lot of Chinese artists. With a few from Guangzhou, one of the Chinese cities I visited a while back. It's great to see the freedom of expression some of them have displayed as there is a little bit of censorship in China and what some of the art is showcasing, most wouldn't necessarily be able to showcase in China without it being a bit of a scandal of sorts. I took a few pictures of some of my favourite below but you will just have to go and see the rest for yourself.

Getting There: Set within Jardin d'Acclimatation. Nearest metro stop is Les Sablons (about 10 minutes walk but very straight forward).

Entrance Fee:  14 Euros.

Tip: Book online if you can for immediate entry, otherwise the queue for tickets is about 10-15 minutes long most days. Make sure you take your time to walk around the whole building. There a plenty of beautiful parts not to miss out on; the cascading water fountain, the hall with mirrors, the strategic little gap with the Eiffel Tower view.

7 March 2016

20 Things You Must Do When You Visiting Paris

Paris From Monteparnes Tower - Eiffel Tower - Photo by Bianca - www.itsallbee.com

A city that draws in millions visitors from around the world in search of the picture perfect, romantic shot with your lover. Fashionistas exploring the most famous and fashionable quarter of the city, there is always something for everyone. Most people visit  the city over the weekend but there is all so much more to the city that a weekend is never enough that you have to return many times to the city of light. With so much to see and do in the city I thought I would compile a list of things to see and do in Paris to help you get started as well as not miss out on what the city has to offer.

6 March 2016

Happy Mother's Day | 5 Gift Ideas For The Ladies In Your Life

Mother's Day Gift Ideas - Photo Bianca at www.itsallbee.com
Necklace and Earrings -  HSN/ Prosecco  - Co-operatives

It's that time of year. Mother's day is upon us and time to honer all the beautiful and hard working ladies in our lives. With both parents deceased Mother's day and Father's day at times to really owner the men and women who really make a difference in my life. For mother's day this year The co-operatives food invited me to the Mother of All Tea Parties. If you haven't see pictures of these then check out twitter's hashtag #TwitterTeaParty.  

While sipping away countless ups of Earl Grey and sides of irresistible cake I thought it best to spread the love and send you over a few ideas to really pamper and appreciate the ladies in your life. That includes those sisters, friends, cousins and nieces that really bring joy to your life then below are 5 ways to show them a little love for Mothering Sunday. From flowers to a little bling. It's not always about going over the top with Mother's Day gifts. You can invite the ladies over for a little Prosecco and girly giggles.

1 March 2016

The Best Spot To Watch The Sunset In El Chorro

Back from a little weekend in Paris, just what the doctor ordered! A quick time out is always go for the soul. I shared a few pictures from the trip on my Instagram. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more on travel inspiration before they make it on the blog. I hope you have enjoyed the recent posts on Andalusia. I have shared 7 Reasons Why You Should Visit Andalusia, Why You Shouldnt Leave Andalusia Without Dinning at El Mirador, as well as my adventures Hiking Spain's Most Dangerous Trail In El Chorro

I also wanted to share pictures from a cool little spot to watch the sunset in El Chorro. This place is the very epitome of 'picture perfect'. Beautiful little view points with little seats to watch the sun go down. You can also walk down to the lake shore and watch the sunset while you dip your toes in the cool water. Better yet, you can also go for a little swim. This spot lies near Sillion del Rey, where you can also find the starting point to El Caminito del Rey. If you are looking for a relaxing getaway without spending a lot of money or travelling half way across the world, then you will not be disappointed with El Chorro. Another plus to this place is that it is mainly popular with other Spaniards that come to visit mainly for El Caminito so it's not crowded, allowing you to enjoy the tranquil surroundings in peace. Below are some of the many pictures I took(I was a little trigger happy)