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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

DayTripQuip - Bugibba, Malta: Caress Giotto The Raven, Chat With Ricky The Cockatoo, Or Pet Elsa The Owl

Bird Park Malta
Triq l-Imdawra, Burmarrad, San Pawl il-Baħar
Bugibba, Malta
Phone: +356 9986 8608
Prices: €€€€

If visiting Malta, take the time to visit Bird Park of Malta in Bugibba where you can caress Giotto, the friendliest raven you have ever seen, chat with Ricky the gabby cockatoo (and Giotto's buddy), or pet Elsa the owl.


Before you even pay to enter the park proper, you are greeted by a menagerie of cats, chickens and peacocks strutting the grounds freely as well as an assortment of caged birds, including the friendly and entertaining Giotto and Ricky. Elsa will greet you as you pass through the gate (after paying) and she loves to be caressed, but be sure to approach her cautiously at first, after all she is a wild animal. You can also pet her darker friend just down the path as you start your journey.

Throughout your unguided tour you will meet birds of many species, some very rare from exotic locations and others more well known and common. Some are curious and friendly like the Ibis below with his spiky hairdoo and colorful plumage or not so friendly and potentially harmful as his grumpy companion with the massive beak below.

You will see everything from chickens to flamingos to several varieties of owls as well as many other species along the way. The tour can take as little as 30 minutes if in a rush or you can spend several hours if you wish, enjoying the beautiful creatures and peaceful environment. They even have a restaurant, snack bar and gift shop where you can pay for entry or relax before or after your tour.

My sole concern is the rather small cages some of the birds are kept in as the website does not explain why the birds are in captivity. If it is because they were injured in the wild and are recuperating during treatment or were pets no longer wanted and unable to be released back into the wild, the cages make sense. The cages are bigger than you would find in any home and similar to those you find in zoos, but caging wild animals for profit's sake is not something I condone and the park's motivations should be better described on their website.
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Tuesdays            10:00am – 3:00pm
Wednesdays        10:00am – 3:00pm
Thursdays           10:00am – 3:00pm
Fridays               10:00am – 3:00pm   
Saturdays            10:00am – 3:00pm   
Sundays              10:00am – 3.00pm


Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays  from 10:00am to 3:00pm

Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays from 10:00am to 5:00pm


Children under 3 - Free
Children under 12 - €5
13 and up - €8
(Senior Discount of €1 for 60+)

Title: Bugibba, Malta: Caress Giotto The Raven, Chat With Ricky The Cockatoo, Or Pet Elsa The Owl

Key Words: Bird Park Malta, bird, park, refuge, research, Bugibba, Malta, Giotto, raven, Ricky, cockatoo, Elsa, owl, parrots, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, review, Yelp

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

DayTripQuip: Pensione Bencista - Fiesole From Piazza San Marco By Bus (Florence, Italy)

We have spent quite a bit of time in Florence over the years, most recently staying the month of July in an apartment near Mercato San'Ambrogio (don't miss it) in addition to other trips ranging from a few days to over a month.

The ATAF Bus - Line 7 - travels between Piazza San Marco - Via La Pira and Fiesole - Vinandro Osteria about every 20-30 minutes between 5am and 1am. Bus stop: FM0373 (REDRESS) is on the main road to/from Fiesole and a short 10 minute stroll from Pensione Bencista. You can purchase tickets at any tabaccaio (tobacco shop - look for a dark blue sign with a big "T") and the hotel may have some for sale. The stop going to Florence is across the road close to the top of the big bend and the one going toward Fiesole is up the road (to your right) 100 or so feet.

Piazza San Marco is close to the historical center (centro storico) of Florence, very close to Galleria dell'Accademia where Michelangelo's "David" resides and short walk to the Duomo, central Florence, Palazzo Medici Riccardi and the train station (Santa Maria Novella).

From Santa Maria Novella, you can go pretty much anywhere in Italy or Europe for that matter. Nice, short day trips available via rail are to Prato, Lucca, Pisa, ArezzoSiena and Bologna, all of which leave you close to the city center.

You can read my numerous reviews of Florence restaurants, hotels, museums, and attractions here on TripAdvisor and on my popular blog where there is much more detailed information, including my patented and popular DayTripQuips.

Enjoy Firenze and buon viaggio!


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Title: DayTripQuip: Pensione Bencista - Fiesole From Piazza San Marco By Bus (Florence, Italy)

Key Words: Fiesole Pensione Bencista, Florence, Firenze, pensione, Bencista, Piazza San Marco, CombatCritic, TravelValue, DayTripQuip, day, trip, quip, travel, value, review, Yelp

Sunday, September 6, 2015

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Title: 100,000+ Visitors ... That's Our Goal!

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

DayTripQuip™: A Free Bus Tour Of "The Prato You Do Not Expect"

That's Prato
Phone: +39 328 00 21 009
Prices: € € € € 

Abbey (Badia) of Santa Maria of Montepiano
Across the piazza from Chiesa Santa Maria Novella, a free bus will take from Florence's Santa Maria Novella train station to various itineraries in and around Prato, a town between Florence and Pistoia heading toward Lucca and Pisa. You pay only for the entrance to museums (if applicable) and your lunch.
Monastery of St. Nicholas -Courtyard

The Province of Prato has organized these free weekly tours available on ten consecutive Sundays from May to July, taking four routes/itineraries with both Italian and English Guides:
I emailed That's Prato, asking for a reservation for the Path of the Pilgrims tour which was quickly accommodated with a reply the following day for the next Sunday. When we arrived at the train station on Sunday morning, the group was in front of McDonald's next to Track #1 as promised. We gave them our name, waited until everyone arrived, then made our way to the other end of the station where the bus was waiting.
Monastery of St. Nicholas - Fresco
In a modern tour bus with air conditioning and comfortable seats, we were quickly on our way to Prato, a historic city (comune) and one of Italy's newest provinces (Provincia di Prato), established in 1992 from the Province of Florence. There were about 30 tourists on the bus for The Pilgrim's Walk tour, mostly Italians and, oddly enough, from the Florence area no less.
The Prato area has a long history associated with monasteries and holy places as well as Marian devotion, Which dates to the Early Middle Ages. This tour retraces some of the stops made ​​by pilgrims as they journeyed through the Apennines."
Our first stop was the Dominican Monastery of St. Nicholas (admission € 5) in the city of Prato. Established in the 13th Century, the monastery has beautifully decorated chapels, a pharmacy, dining hall, and many other rooms with fabulous frescoes and antique furniture. One of the resident nuns accompanied us on the tour, providing details of the history and tales of the ancient building.
Small Lake - Montepiano
We then took a route through the city streets and squares of the old town, then up the winding mountain road to the top of the mountain for lunch in Montepiano, a small town in the Bisenzio Valley. After a reasonably priced (€10) two course lunch on the small lake, we hiked up the hill to Abbey (Badia) of Santa Maria of Montepiano, a small church also from the 13th Century with a fresco of Saint Christopher which sits on what used to be the main road from Florence to Bologna for hundreds of years.
Fresco of St. Christopher - Santa Maria of Montepiano
We then made our way down the mountain to Vaiano and the Abbey of San Salvatore with its small, but very interesting museum. This quaint complex dates back to the 11th Century and has a serene courtyard with fountain and bell tower, halls with ancient frescoes, and a museum with historic artifacts, the abbey's original kitchen, a small chapel, and trap door that leads to a 1,000 year-old lavatory. 
Abbey of San Salvatore - Paiano
Our bus driver then took us on the 40-minute ride back to Florence by the appointed hour of 6pm as promised, leaving us at the Santa Maria Novella train station where we had started our journey.
Kitchen (Fireplace) - Abbey of San Salvatore
That's Prato recently added free tours on eight consecutive Sundays in September and October with the following itineraries:
A trip by train to Arezzo or Siena, for example, will cost you €16 per person for train tickets alone, so for just €15 including lunch and museum entry (both optional), you will not find a better value when visiting Florence in terms of day trips.

You can email, visit their website:, or call them at +39 328 00 21 009 to request your spot on the tour.

CombatCritic Gives 9 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better! 

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Title: DayTripQuip™: A Free Bus Tour Of "The Prato You Do Not Expect"

Key Words: Prato, day, trip, quip, DayTripQuip, train, Santa Maria Novella, Montepiano, Vaiano, abbey, monastery, fresco, church, antique, travel, value, Firenze, Florence, Italy, free