Travelog / Optional Experiences

FROM The man in the front seat / April 20, 2018

Peter and Paul Fortress

The Peter & Paul Fortress, is the original citadel of St. Petersburg, Russia. It was founded in 1703, by Peter the Great and is the oldest building in the city. History The building was founded in 1703, on the small Hare Island by the north bank of the Neva River. The origins of the building, stems from a war Peter was fighting with Sweden. He wanted to protect his capital from a feared Swedish counter attack. The building however was never needed, Peter defeated the Swedes before the structure could […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 20, 2018

Hungarian State Opera House, Budapest

Opened: 1884 Capacity: 1261 Located in Budapest, the Hungarian State Opera house is one of the most renowned in Europe. Originally called the Hungarian Royal Opera House, it’s construction began in 1875 to the designs of Miklós Ybl and was financed by the Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary. Only 9 years were needed to complete the work when it was opened to the public on 27thSeptember 1884. Music in Budapest Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, brought a calmness to her empire that was reflected in a flourishing of the […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 20, 2018

Kotor

Population: 13,500 Located on the Gulf of Kotor, Kotor is, without doubt, one of the most impressive places in Montenegro. This fortified town, located at the foot of Mount Lovćen with its overhanging limestone cliffs, has become one of the most visited places on the Balkan coast. Location One of the most impressive things about Kotor, is its location. It is hidden in a secluded bay of the beautiful Gulf of Kotor. Not only Kotor, but the surrounding area also, has been fortified since the 6thcentury to prevent attacks from […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / March 31, 2018

Postiano

Population 3900 General Positano, is a small village located on the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy. Without doubt, it is the most impressive and photogenic of the coast’s villages. The houses, steeply stacked on its near vertical streets, are painted in wonderful colours such as peach and pink and covered with terracotta tiles. Its streets a lined with elegant hotels, fashionable cafes and a plethora of small shops and stalls selling Positano fashions, including their famed Positano Linen. History Positano, was once part of the great Amalfi republic and as […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / February 7, 2018

Wieliczka Salt Mines (Krakow)

General Located in the southern Polish town of Wieliczka, the Wieliczka Salt mine was opened in the 13th century and run continuously until 2007. Not only is it one of the world’s oldest salt mines, it is also one of the world’s largest. Today the mine is one of Poland’s Pomniki historii (Historic Monuments) and is noted for its 4 chapels, carved out by the miners over the centuries. The mine itself reaches a depth of 326m (1075ft) and is over 287km (180mi) in length. History Rock salt was discovered […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / February 5, 2018

Cascais – home of the rich & famous

Population 207,000 General The beautiful Portuguese seaside town of Cascais is located 30km north-west of Lisbon. This once small fishing village gained its fame in the late 19th century when the Portuguese royal family decided to frequent the town. Today Cascais, and the municipality it is in, is one of the richest municipalities in Portugal on of the principle towns on the Estoril Coast, or the Portuguese Riviera. History Cascais has been inhabited since Palaeolithic time when people used the natural caves along the coast to deposit their dead. Not […]

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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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