Travelog / Optional Experiences

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

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

Burano Island, Venice

With its population of 2,800, Isola di Burano, or Burano Island in English is actually four islands linked together by a series of bridges and is renowned for its brightly coloured houses, lace stores and wonderful seafood restaurants. Located 7km (4mi) away from St. Marks, the island requires a 40min private vaporetti ride (or 2 hours by public water bus) through the picturesque Venetian lagoon. History Like many other islands in the lagoon, Burano is believed to of been inhabited since Roman times, well before the present Venetians arrived at […]

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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 6, 2014

Hungarian Parliament Building (Budapest)

Országház in Hungarian, translates to be the “House of the Nation” or the “House of the Country” in English and is today the home of one of Europe’s oldest legislative buildings and a spectacular building on the banks of the Danube in Budapest. Today it continues to be largest and tallest building in Budapest. History In 896 the seven Magyars tribes settled in the Carpathian Basin under the leadership of Árpád. With their 1000th birthday approaching it was decided to build a new Parliament building in celebration of this momentous […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / May 5, 2014

Szentendre

Population: 25,000 Without a doubt is the most quaint and picturesque Hungarian villages that is easily accessible from Budapest. Because of war Hungary has lost many of its medieval and Baroque builings, but there’re exceptions, Szentendre is one of them. Idyllically located on a bend of the Danube river the village is one of the most sort after places for locals wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of Hungary’s capital, Budapest. History This wonderful village, although small has been populated for more than 1000 years with the Romans referring […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / May 3, 2014

Würzburg Residence (Würzburg)

Located in Würzburg in southern Germany, the Wúrzburg residence is considered one of the biggest palaces in Germany and decorated with incredible frescos by the Italian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. In 1981the building was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Prince-Bishop of Würzburg origianlly resideded in the Marenburg Fortress until Johann Phillip Franz von Schönborn moved the court to a simple palace that had been erected in between 1701-1704. In 1720 von Schönborn won a legal case that brought with it a generous settlement (600,000fl) and with it […]

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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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