Travelog / Optional Experiences

FROM The man in the front seat / July 6, 2017

Glendalough & the Wicklow Mountains

Glendalough is a glacial valley located in Co. Wicklow which is not only home to the 6th century monastic settlement founded by St. Kevin, but also home to some of the most impressive scenery on the east coast. The Wicklow Mountains The Wicklow Mountains are the largest area of continuous mountains in Ireland, covering an area of 500km2 (190mi2) above 300m (980ft) above sea level. Lugnaquilla, is the highest peak in the range at 925m (3035ft) and in total 39 peaks are over 600m (2000ft). Glendalough Three holy men, Eoghan, […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / March 28, 2017

Palace of Queluz

Located in the town of Queluz, this wonderful 18th century palace was the last of the great rococo places to be built in Europe. In 1794, the palace became the official residence of the Portuguese prince regent and his family, and remained so until the Royal Family fled to Brazil in 1807 following the French Invasion of Portugal. From 1826, the palace slowly fell out of favour with the Portuguese Royal Family an in 1908 it became the property of the state. A fire in 1934 saw the palace extensively […]

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

Saint-Jean-de-Luz

General Located at the mouth of the river Nivelle, Saint-Jean-de-Luz is one of the most visited place in the French Basque Country with it hugging one side of a sheltered bay. Throughout its history its beauty has attracted Kings and nobles with the highlight being the marriage of Louis XIV of France to Maria-Theresa in 1660. History Saint-Jean has been documented since the 11th century with its sailors hunting Whales off the coast of Labrador in Newfoundland. By the 15 century they had taken control of the cod fisheries which […]

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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 / April 5, 2016

Toledo

Pop.: 85,000 General Known as la Cuidad Imperial (The Imperial City), Toledo stands out dramatically against the blue Castillian sky: a golden city encircled by a steep ravine in which flows the Tajo (Tagus). Also referred to as la cuidad de las tres culturas (The City of the Three Cultures), Toldeo has survived as a unique centre where Romans and Visigoths once ruled, and for a time where Jews, Muslims and Christians lived in compartitive harmony. Within its walls the city shelters beautiful sights amid old winding alleys which come […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / September 21, 2015

Trier

Population 107,000 Without doubt one of the most picturesque towns in Germany with its wonderful location on the banks of the Moselle river. The town lies in a valley between vine-covered hills of red sandstone near the border with Luxembourg in the Moselle wine region and lays claim to being Germany’s oldest town. History The town was founded originally founded in the 4th century B.C. and was eventually overrun by the Romans in the 1st century A.D. The city received the relics of St. Matthias and as a result it […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / September 21, 2015

Ypres

Population 35,000 Ypres, this once a market town, is today known for the incredible events of WW1. Lying on a salient the area was fought over for 4 solid years between 1914 – 1918 by the Germans and the Allied forces. As a result the city is the scene of the moving Last Post ceremony which is performed each evening to remember those who gave their lives in the name of Freedom. History Ypres was originally founded as a market town in the Middle Ages. It prospered greatly, particularly in […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / September 21, 2015

Antwerp

Population 510,000 Located on the river Scheldt and linked to the North Sea by the Westerschelde Estuary, Antwerp is one of Belgium’s oldest city and dominated with incredible squares building’s and squares which give a constant reminder of its greatness. With its Roman foundations the city prospered from the silting up of the Zwin river in Bruges when many of the foreign trading houses moved there. By the 15th century the city was one of the largest in Europe and it port continued to grow to the point where today […]

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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 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 8, 2014

Colosseum (Rome)

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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