Travelog / Optional Experiences

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 / 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 / March 31, 2014

Montserrat & the black madonna (Barcelona)

Located north-west of Barcelona is the incredible Montserrat (serrated mountain), a 1236m (4055ft) mountain, a truly unique rock formation that for centuries has shaped by wind, rain and frost. Situated at 725m (2390ft) is the spectacular Abadia de Monserrat (Abbey of Monserrat), the most important shrine in Catalunya with nearly all Catalans making the journey there at least once in their lives . The natural beauty of the area is breathtaking, accessed by an incredible journey up the mountain to where on a clear day you can see as far […]

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

Parc Güell (Barcelona)

Located about 4km from the city centre, Park Guell is one of a series of creations by the Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi. History The project started in 1900 when Count Eusebi Güell bought a tree covered hillside in the Gracia District and hired Gaudi to create a miniature garden city of houses for the wealthy. The site was called Muntanya Pelada (Bare Mountain) due to the fact that it had little vegetation with a few trees and was extremely rocky. The site however did already have a large country house […]

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

Córdoba

Set on the banks of the Río Guadilquivir, Córdoba for me is the city that epitomises Spain by fusing the Arabic world with the Christian. Being the centre of Arab Spain for more than 300 years saw the construction of some of the finest buildings dedicated to religion and education that Europe has ever known. The later re-conquest saw this Arab heritage incorporated into a new Christian world. History Around 152BC the Romans arrived in Córdoba giving it the name Corduba and because of its location became the capital of […]

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