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Prague, Czech Republic

by MDee

 

                                                   The Prague Castle-St Vitus

Prague

My visit to Prague, the Capital of Czech Republic. (Formerly known as Czechoslovakia.) A country in central  Europe. Czechoslovakia was formed in 1908 from several provinces of BOHEMIA, MORAVIA and SLOVAKIA, due to the collapse of  AUSTRIA- HUNGARY  Empire in World War 1.The collapse of the Empire brought Czech and Slovaks together for the first time as Czechoslovakian, up to- until the last modification of the modern Czech Republic in January 1,1993- that separated the country into 2. Which is now CZECH Republic and SLOVAKIA.

Prague is separated by Vitava River and is known for it’s old Town Square. The heart of the historic core with colorful Baroque Buildings, Gothic Churches and the Medieval Astronomical Clock, which gives an animated hourly show and attached to the Old Town Hall. This clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third oldest in the world and the oldest clock – still operating. Located at the southern side of the old town hall tower. When the clock strikes the hour from 09:00am to 11:00 pm the 12 Apostles sets in motion. The astronomical clock, Horologium or Orloj– is a clock of special mechanisms and dials to display Astronomical information such as the relative position of the SUN , MOON,  Zodiac Constellations and sometimes Major planets.

The Old Town Square is incredibly beautiful, it is like an open book on Architecture. Please your senses with the Gothic Town Hall, with the Baroque St Nicholas Church or with the Rococo Golz-Kinsky Palace, the Pedestrian Charles Bridge is lined with statues of Catholic Saints. As you walk around you will wonder how the old masters built this amazing iconic city and will make you proud that you have been there. Even early morning people are lining up to see the old town square show.

What excite me more about Prague is the St Vitus Cathedral,  I only read it in The Book of Life. It is not only the biggest Castle in Prague- dating back to the 14th century, also a great example of gothic architecture designed by Petr Parler ( who is the mastermind behind the iconic Pedestrian Charles Bridge.) St Vitus Cathedral is also the most important landmark in the Czech Republic, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Cathedral took almost 600 years to complete and is packed with Tourist attending the daily service and mostly are just to admire the amazing stained windows and architecture. Over the years the castle and grounds have undergone several changes and expansions.

As I was a student of private catholic school, Prague is a familiar word close to my heart. “The Infant Jesus of Prague” located in the Discalced Carmelite Church of our Lady of Victorious. This was another known place that interest me to have a chance to visit Prague. My whole heart wanted to see the Shrine. Had tried to find a way, but due to a limited time on a day trip- not enough to get there. It was heart breaking however if I ever get another chance to visit Europe, this will be one in my list. There are so much more to see and explore in this country…. Also I had never known that the Kings and Queens that lives in the worlds Palaces were mostly are related until joining this guided tour. – So fantastically amazing.!!!!!

I am proud of having been there. Make a Plan on your next Travel Destination.!

 

Photo: praquets.com                                            AIRBNB: cheaper accommodation

 

 

 

 


Luxembourg City

by MDee

                                                           City of Luxembourg

Luxembourg City

A visit to Luxembourg City- Capital of Luxembourg, Is a tiny nation -nestled in the border of France, Germany and Belgium. One of the riches in the world, second to Qatar. Mostly known for its tax breaks for big companies and recognized as the banking center of Europe. Luxembourg is 998 square miles and presently has 562,958 inhabitants. Half of the population are foreigners.

The city has 3 languages- German, French and Luxembourgish,(which has much same syntax as German) and cuisine is heavily influenced by both German and French. Nearly half of the country  workforce are cross-border workers from Belgium, France and Germany. Cost of living is so high in Luxembourg City.. Way higher than New York, USA and Toronto, Canada.

Award winning wine Crémant de Luxembourg – high quality sparkling wine, won 22 awards produced in Moselle in a traditional way similar to champagne.

The Bock Casemates– is the 18th century Tunnel and WW2 shelter, A stone bridge and ancient tunnel under the city, is a 17km-long underground tunnel network beneath the Capital City. At some point this tunnel penetrates up to 40 meters inside the rock face. The tunnel and fortresses were originally built in 1644 and earned Luxembourg the tittle of “GIBRALTAR of the North” The Bock Casemates are now called THE UNESCO World Heritage Sites and remain open to public for guided tours from March to September.

The city also offers 2 hours walking tours to Vianden Castle. Located in Vianden- Is one of the largest fortified Castle west of the Rhine. An outstanding historical monument, was built between 11th to 14th century. For long, this Castle belonged to the Grand Ducal Family before passing it to state ownership in 1977. There is so much history in this castle if you are willing to spend for the fee – for me it cost almost my return ticket. There are so much more to see and learned about Luxembourg if your time and wallet permits. Most residents go cross border shopping to the nearby country of Belgium, Germany and France on big ticket items.

There are affordable accommodations if you chose to stay at Luxembourg Old Town Area: Hostel for Backpackers, Budget Hotels, Midrange Hotels and affordable Luxury Hotels.

If you are traveling with a family and arriving via train? The Gare District is another option in finding accommodations in Luxembourg . There are hotels, as well as shopping in the historic Old Town District in just 20 minutes from Gare District. Has many residences and 19th century homes currently housing Embassies. They have grocery stores as well to chose from in meeting your accommodation. needs.

City Nightlife :: There are so many best places to explore depending on your taste and have a good time!!!!!!!.

Plan your Trip to Luxembourg !!!

 

AIRBNB – for cheaper accommodation                                           Photo by: Wikipedia

 

 

 


Bruges, Belgium

by MDee
    
                                                                        Lake of   Love

Bruges, Belgium

A day trip to Belgium from Amsterdam was so convenient. Just a border away!. While in the Bus, I sat back in comfort while admiring the beautiful scenery as we pass along the Dutch and the Belgian countryside, the fascinating views of landscapes, beautiful buildings and other tour buses traveling along the highway.

First stop – Bruges, one of the incredible beautiful area known as “ Minnewater.” Where, the Lake of Love and Lovers Bridge are tucked away at the southern end of the North sea. It is a great place to be with someone you love. They say, it is a place where- “If you walk over the bridge and kiss someone you love it will become eternal love” A tranquil location with in the confines of the city.

A legend- tells the story of a young and pretty girl named Minna who was in love with the Stromberg- a warrior of a neighboring tribe. Her father did not agree with her love and arranged her to marry a man of his choice. A fisherman named Horneck. Minna’s father was a Sailor and is getting old and choses Horneck for her as a husband.  Minna escaped and ran into the forest. When Stromberg finally found her, she died in his arms of exhaustion. The lake was named after Minna and the bridge by the lake was considered The Bridge of Love– in her honor.  The park is home of numerous festivals throughout the year and the SWAN is the Minnewater emblem.

Bruges – is  the capital of West Flanders in Northwest Belgium . Explore to discover the old city, including the tall watchtower known as “The Gun Powder Tower.” The church of our Lady of Madonna and Child with its 122-meter brick, dominates the skyline of the city. Although there are many adaptations of Madonna and Child wither it is a Painting or  a Sculpture, it represents the very core of Christianity.

There’s so much more to see in Bruges if time permits. Bruges are famous for its Lace making -also it  is distinguished by its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings. Port Zeebrugge  is an important center for fishing and European trade.

Brussels- Sightseeing around the Capitol, The Grand Palace, Famous Landmarks, Century Old Buildings, International Banks ,Town Hall (Hotel de Ville) and of course Belgian Chocolates Factory for some treats which are several. The Little Pissing Man (a landmark) Bronze Fountain Sculpture in Central Brussel. Depicting a naked boy urinating into the fountain basin. Then The Royal Palace of the King and Queen of the Belgians in the center of the Nation Capital. It was a Wonderful day !

 Plan your Travel Destination soon.!!!

photo: Wikipedia                               AIBNB- for cheaper accommodations


Cologne, Germany

by MDee

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Germany

We had traveled to Cologne from Amsterdam in the summer few years back via train and is the most convenient and economical way to access places from almost anywhere in Europe.  Cologne is the largest city in Germany and fourth of most populated in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Once your train arrived at Cologne Central Station you will be greeted by the city’s landmark of High Gothic twin-spired architecture set amid reconstructed old town. Cologne Cathedral is also known for its gilded medieval reliquary and sweeping river views and is the most visited landmark where International pilgrimage are seen and is now a UNESCO site. Just adjacent from the Cathedral is a Romano-Germanic Museum- House the  Collection  of Roman Artifacts from which modern Cologne is built.

City Bus Tour around Cologne is the best way to explore the city. Hop-on and Hop-off the double decker bus to visit the many Cologne attractions. Select the 1day pass then board at any of the 16 stops and get to know the city landmarks. You can create your own personalized itinerary and Hop-on back. Visit the Cologne City Hall, the old town district that is bustling like the Roncalliplatz is a model of spire, Easy to locate at top the Cologne Cathedral, a superb piece of stone art and is worth checking when you are in the area, the historic Alter Market Square, the Chocolate factory. Which exhibits the entire history of chocolates. I admire Cologne’s panoramic view by water along the Rhine River either by day or night cruises, the old town view and the Hohenzollern Bridge unfold as you cruise along. The city views from the world- famous Rhine River is so magical, you may choose from a range of departure times. Have a refreshing cold drink from the bar while you sail as tour guides announces the illustrious history of Cologne by water.

The city has a lot of history, like in year 1709 a perfume maker from Italy moved to Cologne, Germany named Giovanni Maria Farina launch a fragrance in honor of his new hometown Cologne (a spirit-citrus perfume that reminds him of an Italian spring morning with mountains of daffodils and orange blossoms after the rain). He named it Eau de Cologne.

I also have such a personal memory about River Rhine even when I was a young girl growing up. A song by BOBBY HELM- Fraulein- Lonely River Rhine. Which I never knew I will be able to visit and see in my lifetime.” Do you have a memory like this? “Please leave me comment.

AIRBNB– for cheaper accommodation              photo: Wikipedia


Budapest, Hungary

by MDee

 Buda Castle from Danube River

A Day in Budapest

Budapest is capital of Hungary and one place in Europe in my bucket list. Budapest is an old city was officially created on 17 November 1873 from a merger of the three neighboring cities of Pest, Buda and Obuda. Smaller towns on the outskirts of the original city were amalgamated into Greater
Budapest in 1950.The origins of Budapest can be traced to Celts who occupied the plains of Hungary in the 4th century BC. The area was conquered
by the Roman Empire. Which established the fortress and town of Aquincum on the site of today’s Budapest around AD 100. From around 1300 to the
incorporation of 1873, Budapest was the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary.

Visiting Budapest – I advise to take a guided tour to learn more about the country and its rich history. Bus Tours- offers a guided tour with walking tours
combined on historic areas through the old town district of Buda, to the most interesting and most beautiful tourist attractions of the city like the
impressive Parliament, the magnificent Opera House, the historic King’s Palace, the Matthias Church- which is a UNISCO World Heritage site. Buda  Castle is a historic Palace for the Hungarian King of Budapest on Buda side.
The original palace was ruined during world war11, Was rebuild during the Kadar era. During our walk about, have a chance to take photos at the the Matthias Church, A Roman Catholic church located in the Holy Trinity Square, in front of the Fisherman’s Bastion at the heart of Buda Castle district. Also the famous Heroes Square – a tribute to Hungarian National identity and favorite spot for tourist and locals, has celebrated a 1000 year Anniversary. We’ve also walk through Vaci Street the most famous area in central Budapest. It features many restaurants and shops. It is a tourist ground. Line of cafés and shops, catering mainly to tourist market. VACI Utra is the main shopping street in Pest. Housing high end products and accessories which are also found  in high end district in other cities of Europe. While waiting for our tour bus, We’ve watched river boats cruises by the Danube River.

Danube River Cruises from Budapest  to Amsterdam via Viking Cruise is a chance to visit 5 countries at the same time from Budapest to Austria, Czech
Republic, Germany and Netherland. A couple I know, dreamed for many years to join these river cruise. Finally went and had the best time of their life,
It was a dream fulfilled.  Plan yours now!

AIRBNB- for cheap accommodations   photo by Wikipedia


Barcelona, Spain

by MDee

La Barceloneta Beach

Have visited Barcelona many years ago, So excited to explore the city. Spain has a history ties to my country. Barcelona is known for its exceptional soccer and the brilliant architectures. It is also famous for its modern art museums, parks, golden shoreline, beautiful beaches and tasty foods. Barcelona is the capital of Catalunya- a historical region of Spain and densely populated second after Madrid.

We watched the live Flamenco Dance show.  They say, beginning of the 20th century during the arrival of many Andalusians, live flamenco shows blossomed all across Barcelona. Dancers clicking there castanets with different fingers produces the rhythmic sound. Barcelona is considered the third capital of flamenco show in Spain. While you are in Barcelona, have a dip at La Barceloneta the golden sand beach also the closes to the city.

We traveled to  Mount Montserrat .It is a multi-peaked mountain range near Barcelona in Catalonia. It is part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range.
A spectacularly beautiful Benedictine monk mountain retreat, about one hour North West from Barcelona by train. Not only is Montserrat Monastery
of significant religious importance but also the natural beauty surrounding the monastery is simply breathtaking. If you enjoy walking there are some interesting walks through the mountains where you will experience magnificent views of some of the most unusual rock formations in the whole of Catalonia. You can take a funicular or a cable railroad to the top of the mountain and from there, you can take in the amazing views of the Catalonian countryside. The history of Mount Montserrat is fascinating and started in 880 when a small group of shepherd children saw a bright light from the sky over Montserrat mountains. In the same moment the children heard angels singing and the music filled their hearts with a radiant joy.
Today,  You can walk to the Holy Grotto and see first hand where these events took place.

Have you watched a bull fight on television or live? These days, Bullfighting is illegal in most countries but remains legal in most areas of Spain and Portugal as well as in some Hispanic American countries and some parts of southern France.

Madrid the Capital of Spain is one of Europe’s most amazing cities, exciting and dynamic metropolis with plenty of things to do and lots of places to enjoy. Most of the time visitors usually have a limited amount of time when visiting a city. Sometimes it is difficult to choose from range of things  Madrid has to offer and Madrid is famous for. Also Madrid’s Puerta del Sol is probably the city’s most famous spot. It is known for being the place where people gather on December 31 to celebrate the New Year.. The square is also the point where all of Spain’s six major roads starts. While most tourists have no idea that the Puerta del Sol is Spain’s symbolic “Kilometer 0.” In the middle of the square, a small plaque shows the exact point where Spanish roads begins – don’t miss it!.
Night life- Spain is famous over the world for its nightlife and party culture. With trendy bars, nightclubs and so much more. Madrid is the place to be  for the ultimate night in the town. Nightlife in Madrid can be one of the most memorable parts of your trip.

Plan a Vacation!

AIRBNB- for cheaper accommodation     photo: alamy.com

 


Boracay Island , Philippines

by MDee

Boracay Island

I once visited Boracay Island few years ago, Famous for its white sands and crystal clear blue water
that also house ship wrecks and coral reefs.

We walk around the Island’s white sand beach, sometimes on barefoot, stopping for some treats along the way.
You will never runout of things to do in Boracay. From swimming to island hopping, diving and snorkeling, sailing and kayaking.     If you are a type of diver that simply can not choose between wrecks and reefs when it comes to planning your vacation ?
which there are many around the world where you can have both, But one of the most spectacular of these is Boracay Island,
Scuba diving in the colorful reef life. Divers will be treated to a stony and soft corals, swim-throughs, caves and plenty of marine life actions and many more.

Best season to visit the island is December to May(dry season/peak season). Regardless of the season, Both international tourist and
local visitors keeps coming back to Boracay for leisure, relaxation and water activities.
Accommodation are reasonable from luxury to mid-range budget. Back packers staying in the hotel is the best, They have dorm type rooms, single and more. Bring an umbrella with you to protect you from the sun and unexpected down pour of rain, also your favorite beach necessities, sun blocks, googles and eyewear.

Boracay Island is located at the central part of the Philippines, With many more Islands around it, like The Chocolate Hills in Bohol Island that turns brown in the dry season,  El Nido Beach in Palawan Island, It’s known for white-sand beaches, coral reefs and as the gateway to the Bacuit archpelago.  Miniloc Island is famed for the clear waters of its Small and Big lagoons.
Nearby Shimizu Island has fish-filled waters. The area has many dive sites, including Dilumacad Island’s long tunnel leading to an
underwater cavern.

Before you get to Boracay Island, for International travel must land to MIA International Airport, Take a domestic flight to Kalibo Airport  then a bus will take you to the boat waiting that will transfer you to the island. If you are in Kalibo around mid-January, they have a celebration called the Ati-atihan Festival, which for us here is called Caribbean Festival. While you are in the Philippines, explore Manila, You will not regret you came.  I had the best time during my visit at The Pearl of the Orient, The Philippines.

AIRBNB: for cheaper Accommodations


Undiscovered Travel Destinations

by Staff

Not all travel destinations are packed full of tourists. In fact, not all of them are even on the map. I have had an interest in these “secret” places since I first discovered two little lakes high in the hills and cliffs north of Ishpeming, Michigan. No trails even lead to these, and there was a trout on the line ten seconds after the cast.

Other travel destinations are not so isolated, but they are still generally overlooked by most tourists. This was true of Yelapa, Mexico when I went there in 1981. The beaches were uncrowded, you could buy fresh fish for dinner from the fishermen in the afternoon, and a palapa (thatched-roof house) rented for about $100 per month. The surrounding jungle had waterfalls you could swim under. No roads lead there, but there was a daily boat from nearby Puerto Vallarta. Yelapa, alas, has been discovered and overrun with tourists now. Often being one myself, I have nothing against tourists. But when the crowd gets too thick I prefer the more secret places. Here are some examples of a few of these travel destinations that are still undiscovered.

Storm Lake Anaconda, Montana is a fun destination by itself. You can rent a room above the Harp and Thistle Pub for $140 for the week (as of August 2007) and be within walking distance of at least ten casinos with nickel slot machines, as well as a new brew pub and restaurant (Rocky Mountain Brewing). Two blocks away, the Washoe Theater, considered one of the most beautiful in the country by the Smithsonian Institute, charges just $4 for a movie, and 90 cents for a small popcorn. A Jack Nicholas-designed golf course (The Old Works Golf Course) is just at the edge of this small town.

If you really want to escape, though, drive 14 miles west on Highway 1. When you see the sign that says “Storm Lake,” turn there. It’s nine miles to the lake (stay left when the road splits), but you may need high clearance for the last mile (although we used to make it there in our Ford Escort). There will usually be a few locals at the lake, but you’ll always find a place to park.

The lake sits at about 8,000 feet, and is known locally for its cutthroat trout. Hike the trail along the right side and on the other side you’ll find the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness Area. Less than hour up the trail you’ll reach Storm Lake Pass, at the tree line. From here you can continue into the tundra environment of Goat Meadows, or into a seemingly endless wilderness of mountains and lakes. You’ll rarely have any company other than bears, birds and mountain goats.

Alamogordo, New Mexico This is not at the top of most tourists lists, which is good for those of us that like our travel destinations to be uncrowded. It is a great little town, however, and a great base from which to explore the surrounding area. It is also a nice place to escape the winter, since it rarely snows or gets too cold here. You can check out the little zoo right in town for a relaxing afternoon. There is also an Imax Theater on the north side of town (watch for the signs), and you probably won’t have any long lines to wait in. On Saturdays from June to October you can visit the Farmers market at the county fairgrounds.

If you want to get up above the desert, drive the thirty minutes or so up to Cloudcroft in the nearby mountains, or go a little further the observatory at Sunspot, or to the Casino in Ruidoso. If you time it right, you can bask in the sun one day in Alamogordo and be skiing the next day at the Cloudcroft Ski Area.

For an unusual destination, you can visit the Trinity Test Site, where the first nuclear bomb was exploded. It is about an hour north of Alomogordo, down possible confusing dirt roads, and it is only open a day or two each year, so you’ll have to do your homework. To the west of town is the White Sands National Monument, with its truly amazing dunes of white sand.

Other Secret Travel DestinationsHere in our hometown of Canon City, Colorado there is an area (Red Canyon Park) just ten miles out of town that has fantastic red rock formations like those in the more famous Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs. The difference? You won’t ever feel crowded in this park, and you can climb on the rocks all you wantScience Articles, and explore slot canyons as well. How do you find out about travel destinations like this? Talk to the locals when you are traveling.


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