Travelog

FROM The man in the front seat / April 11, 2016

Rias Baixas (Santiago de Compostela)

General The Rias Baixas (Lower Inlets) is a series of four estuaries located in the south-western corner of Galicia and are the grandest and most spectacular of all the inlets that indent the Galician coast. Well known for their spectacular views, beautiful beaches and some wonderful low-key resorts the Rias Baixas is slowly becoming one of the most visited regions in Galicia . The area is also known for providing some of Spain’s most fertile fishing grounds and as a result producing some of the finest seafood in the country. […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 8, 2016

Plaza de América (Seville)

General Plaza America is located in the Parque Maria Luisa (Maria Luis Park) and is flanked by three wonderful buildings; the Museum of Popular Arts, the Archaeological Museum and the Royal Pavillion, which together form Plaza America. History The three buildings, along with the square at the centre, were contructed by Anibel Gonzalez and all built between 1913-1916 for the Ibero-American Fair of 1929. Each building was constructed in a different architectural style that have appeared throughout Spanish history. Highlights Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares (Museum of Popular Arts) […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 8, 2016

The Royal Chapel (Granada)

General Granada’s most outstanding Christian building is not the cathedral, like in many other Spanish cities, it the Capilla Real (The Royal Chapel). Built in an elaborate Gothic style by the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel and Ferdinand, who wanted to buried on the sight of their greatest victory…The Battle of Granada. History The Nasid dynasty of Granada was the last Mulism domination of Spain to fall to the Reconquista (Reconquest) and it did so in 1492 at the Battle of Granada. In 1504, the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel & Ferdinand, decided that […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 6, 2016

The Albaicin (Granada)

General A must for any visit to Granada, the district is also known as the Albayzin and is the old Muslim district located facing in the Alhambra across the river Darro. Muslim fortifications, houses and fountain still remain as well as many of the Albayzin’s churches and cármenes (large walled villas with gardens) incorporate Islamic remains. The district still maintains its narrow streets and intricate network and as a consequence was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984 along with the Alhambra Palace. History The name is derived […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 6, 2016

Royal Alcázar (Seville)

General Officially known as the Reales Alcázar de Sevilla (Royal Alcazar of Seville) it was originally built by the Muslim kings but today is the royal palace in Seville and still used by the Royal Family when visiting the city as their official residence. The result has been that for more than 1000 years the ruling Kings of Spain have used the Alcázar as their home whilst in Seville. The building is known as being one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain and the oldest palace still in use […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / June 6, 2015

Montmartre & it’s artists (Paris)

General Located on a 130m (425ft) hill in the north of Paris, Montmartre is one of the true icons of Paris. The district is famed for Basilica of the Sacred Heart, which crowns the hill, the church of Sainte Pierre de Montmartre, which claims to be where the Jesuit order was founded and of course it’s Place du Tertre, home of the artists. The districts present name recalls the martyrdom of Saint Denis, Bishop of Paris and today Patron Saint of France, who was decapitated there around 250AD thus giving […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / June 6, 2015

Giverny & Monet’s Gardens (Paris)

General Located on the right bank of the river Seine about 80km (50mi) west of the city of Paris lies the village of Giverny. This picturesque village was chosen by Claude Monet to be the location of his home and wonderful gardens which he would eventually immortalise on his canvases. Monet’s Arrival In 1883, Monet was passing through Giverny on a train and was very impressed with what he saw. He decided to return where he rented a small cottage, and its gardens, before raising enough money to buy the […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / July 18, 2014

Guide to Belgian Beer

Belgium is home to some 125 breweries which between them produce approximately 500 standard beers but it is it’s the ‘Special Brews’, many of them one offs, which put the Belgian brew on the Beer map. When we include these Special brews the total number of Belgian beers is up around 8700. A few terms to help you to decide Types of Beer Trappist Beers Are beers brewed in a Trappist monastery For a beer to qualify for this category, the entire production process must be carried out by, or supervised […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / July 8, 2014

Lake Luzern (Luzern)

Although referred by many as the Lake of Luzern it is technically called the Vierwaldstattersee, the Lake of the Four Forested Cantons. The lake is the fourth largest in Switzerland and is also a complicated shape having seven bays or inlets. It is known for its incredible natural beauty as the shoreline regularly rises steeply into mountains standing more than 1,500m above the lake resulting in spectacular views of Mt. Pilatus, Mt. Rigi and Mt. Stanserhorn Facts It has a total area of 114km² (44mi²) and sits at an elevation […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / June 1, 2014

Heidelberg Castle (Heidelberg)

With its incredible location 80m (270ft) up on the northern part of Königstuhl, Heidelberg castle simply dominates the skyline of the old town. A castle, sometimes two, have been located overlooking Heidelberg since 1214, the present structure however was begun at the end of 14th century, probably in 1396. The man who constructed it was Rupert III of Germany and at that time the castle was small, so small in fact that when Rupert was elevated to Emperor of Germany the castle couldn’t accommodate his now large entourage and had […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / May 20, 2014

David by Michelangelo (Florence)

In the world of sculpture there are certain pieces that stand head and shoulders aboves most others, Michelangelo’s David is certainly one of those. Sculptured between 1501 – 1504 David stands 5.17m (17ft) and represents the biblical hero David, remembered for is fight with Goliath. Today the figure stands alone, in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence but was originally one of a series of figures designed to decorate the roofline of the Cathedral in Florence. Authorities decided however to place it in front of the Palazzo della Signoria where it […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / May 15, 2014

Trevi Fountain (Rome)

In 19BC Marcus Agrippa, as Consul of Rome, ordered the construction of an aqueduct, Acqua Vergine,  to supply water to the centre of Rome. Legend has it that Roman soldiers were guided by a young girl  to a source of pure water, Salone Springs, some twenty kilometres away from the city. The girl was believed to be a virgin, hence the name of the aqueduct. More than 2000 years later, and after few renovations, water still follows the same path ending in various destinations around Rome. One of these is […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / May 10, 2014

Cibeles Fountain (Madrid)

The Cibeles Fountain is one of the most photographed sights in Madrid, sitting on square named Plaza de Cibeles in of area of Madrid called Paseo de Recoletos. The fountain is named after  Cybele, a goddess who was greatly worshipped in Anatolia, present day Eastern Turkey and was also highly regarded in Rome where she was known as the “Great Mother”. The fountain in Madrid that is dedicated to her has Cibeles sitting in a carriage pulled by two lions. The lions represent the mythological characters Hippomenes and Atalanta, two […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / May 8, 2014

Colosseum

One of the most photographed sites, not only in Italy, but all of Europe is the Colosseum. Officially named the Antiteatro Flavio (Flavian Amphitheatre), it was begun in 70AD and needed only ten year to complete, being finished in 80AD during a period known as the Flavian Dynasty. Considered one of the greatest pieces of Roman architecture and engineering the building is, still today, the largest amphitheatre in the world. In is prime it could hold more than 50,000 spectators and was used for gladiator contests, animal hunts, battle re-enactments […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / May 8, 2014

The Louvre (Paris)

With more the 60,600m² (652,300ft²) of floor space make the Louvre the one of the largest Museums in the world. As a result almost 10 million people visit each year to admire some of the 380,000 objects the museum has in its collection. The Building When people think of museums they normally think of stale, sterile almost hospital like structures, no in Paris. The Louvre is housed in the Louvre Palace, a fortress begun in the 12th century by the then King Phillip II and once residence of the King […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / May 6, 2014

Lace and the Sea (Venice)

Venice as a city or more exactly Burano, one of its islands, is renowned for its association with “punto di aria” or needlepoint lace. Althought the arrival of the lace can be traced back to Cyprus that is still no reason to not let a bit of legend make it even clearer. The story goes that a sailor, leaving his fiancée on Burano set out on a voyage only to shipwrecked on an area that was inhabited by mermaids. Bewitched by the mermaids beautiful looks and voices, the rest of […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / May 6, 2014

Moulin Rouge

Paris at the end of the 19th century was a place full of progress and optimism, industry was booming to the point where World Fairs were held in 1889, with unveiling of the Eiffel Tower and again in 1900, which gave us the expresso machine. This period in France would be later referred to ask Belle Époque or in English the “Beautiful Era” Origins It was in this atmosphere that on 6th October 1889, the Moulin Rouge opened in the Jardin de Paris at the base of Montmartre on the […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / May 1, 2014

Plaza de España (Seville)

Many Spanish cities compete with each other in claiming the most beautiful plaza (square) in Spain. Most people however agree that the winner is Seville with its incredible Plaza de España. Translating literally to “Spanish Square” it forms part of the Parque de María Luisa, and was laid out in 1928 in preparation for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929. The exhibition was an attempt to improve relations between Spain, its former colonies and the United States of America. Preparations took 19 years with exhibition buildings being constructed in the Maria […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / May 1, 2014

The Royal Palace (Madrid)

This version of the Royal Palace was a result of a fire that engulfed its predecessor, the Hapsburg Alcazar, to the ground in 1744. Luckily the Royal family was staying in the Parque Buen Retiro, so Phillip V decided to replace it with a new palace to be designed by the Italian Felipe Juvarra. The construction lasted only 26 years and spanned two more architects as well as two more monarchs, Charles III and Charles IV. The palace was occupied by the Royal family until 1931 with the abdication of […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 7, 2014

St. Stephens Monastery (Salamanca)

St. Stephens is a Dominican monastery, they arrived around 1255,  located in the university city of Salamanca. It is believed that Columbus stayed in the original monastery when he came to Salamanca to defend his idea of reaching the Indies by going west, a direct conflict with the geographers of the university at the time. The original buildings were destroyed in 1524 to make way for a new parish church which began construction in the same year lasting up until 1610. The building is quite unique due to the several […]

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