Travelog

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 / 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 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

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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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 30, 2014

City of Arts and Sciences (Valencia)

Situated in the old Turia riverbed, which was drained and re-routed when it flooded in 1957, is the massive 350,000m² City of Arts and Sciences. More than 4 million people pass through each, a figure that in Spain is only surpassed by the Prado Museum in Madrid. Designed by architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candala, the project was begun in July 1991 and the last component, The Queen Sofia Palace of the Arts (El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia), opened on October 8 2005. The Buildings L’Hemisferic Was the […]

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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 27, 2014

Liberty Square (Porto)

The square is a continuation of the Avenida Dos Aliados  and is the most important in the city. History The square was begun in 1718 to urbanise the city and was originally known as New Square (Praça Nova), originally confined by the old medieval walls and a series of palaces, all of which now have been destroyed. In 1788 the Order of Saint Eligius (Santo Lóios) built a convent on the southern side, where the old walls once stood. This building is today known as Cardosas Palace (Palácio das Cardosas)and […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / February 27, 2014

Church of Saint Ildelfonso (Porto)

Ildephonsus of Toledo was the Bishop of Toledo, Spain from 657 until his death in 667.  A cleric and a scholar he is known for his devotion to the Virgin Mary and reportedly experienced a vision of her on the 18th December 665. This church, located on Batalha Square,  is dedicated to him with this present construction being completed 1739. History The earliest known reference to a church on this spot dates from 1296 when it is mentioned in a document by Vincente Mendes, the Bishop of Porto, although it […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / February 24, 2014

Riesenrad (Vienna)

A visitor to Vienna is, sooner rather than later, going to hear about Emperor Franz Joseph whilst visiting the many sights Vienna has. Franz Joseph was Austrian Emperor from 1848 till his death in 1916. In preparing for his Golden Jubilee the state decided to build a Ferris Wheel to celebrate this milestone. It wasn’t uncommon, large Ferris Wheels existed at that time in the US, Britain and France. Erected in 1897 it measured 80.4m (264ft) and had 30 cars or gondolas. When it was constructed the US, British and French […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / July 28, 2013

Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens, Vienna

A highlight of a visit to Vienna is undoubtedly a visit the summer residence of the Hapsburg family – the Schönbrunn Palace. Beginning as a modest hunting lodge, known as Katterburg, in 1548, the Hapsburg monarchs over the course of several hundred years transformed this once simple mansion into a 1,441 room baroque palace. An incredible estate that attracts more than 2.6 million visitors a year. Maximillian II purchased the house and land in 1569 in order to enclose the grounds and fill it with pheasants, ducks, deer & boar […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / July 26, 2013

Piazza San Marco (Venice)

Italy is known for its beautiful piazzas (squares) but there are several that are more well known than the others. Piazza San Marco (St. Marks Square) in Venice certainly falls in that category. The square is surrounded on all four sides of which one of those is the western facade of the Basilica San Marco (St. Marks Basilica). The Offices of the Procurators extend for the entire length of the northside, the Procurators were officers of state during the time of the republic and responsible for protecting the body of […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / July 24, 2013

Gardens of Augustus – Isle of Capri

The Isle of Capri is the home of several beautiful sights, but without a doubt a must see on the island are the Gardens of Augustus. The gardens are laid out in a series of terraces, overlooking the sea, where the rich local fauna is added to with geraniums, dahlias and brooms. From the gardens you get spectacular views of the Faraglioni Rocks, Marina Piccola and Mount Solaro. German industrialist Friedrich Krupp came to the island in the late 19th century often staying for months at a time at the […]

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