Monthly Archive: November 2015

Most Beautiful Fortified Cities of Europe


Ávila, Spain Known in pre-Roman times as Obila (“High Mountain”), this provincial capital in north-central Spain has been the site of numerous fortified settlements throughout history. Occupants have included the Vettones, Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, and ultimately the Spanish. The city is most famous for its imposing medieval city wall that is fully intact and includes 88 towers, and 9 gates spread around a parameter of 1 1/2 miles. While visitors can’t make a complete circuit of the wall, much of it is accessible. The interior of the walled city is occupied by numerous palaces, monasteries and mansions dating from primarily the 15th and 16th centuries. Some of the most notable landmarks include the Plaza Mercado Chico, the Cathedral of Avila, and the Royal Palace of St. Tomas Avila, is 1-2 hours from Madrid, depending on whether you are traveling by car or train. Google Maps: Find It Youtube: Walking Tour Avila Tourism: Official Website     Carcassonne,…
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10 Amazing “Cold” Winter Vacation Destinations

Tromso, Norway Aurora Borealis

Forget the swimsuit, and flip flops. To enjoy these winter destinations, you’ll need to grab a parka, and embrace your inner polar bear. While I think it’s a natural tendency to let the mind wander south when temperatures drop and the snow begins to fall, there is a lot of beauty that winter offers those who runs toward it, instead of away. The following are just a few of the possibilities out there waiting. Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival Every year, during the months of January and February, the Chinese put on the biggest ice and snow sculpture festival in the world. It’s a festival that’s taken place for more than 50 years, and features ice art multiple stories high, and covering acres in a virtual city of ice. The best time to view and photograph the ice sculptures is at night, when lights embedded in and around the ice illuminate the sculptures in every imaginable…
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Switzerland’s Most Scenic Castles

Castle Chillon - Montreux, Switzerland

Aigle Castle  Aigle Castle is located in western Switzerland, in the Canton of Vaud. Montreux, the largest city nearby, lies on the shores of Lake Geneva. The castle was originally built by the Barons of Aigle, who along with the succeeding Counts of Savoy and Lords of Compey, enlarged and improved the castle over the centuries. While the castle alone, in its pristine condition, deserves consideration on any history or architectural lovers itinerary, what sets this castle apart is the landscape around it. Vineyards surround the castle, and in the distance the snow capped Alps accent the scene beautifully. Aigle is approximately one hour by train or car from Bern and Geneva.   Bellinzona Castles  If castles are a top item on your European vacation list, but you only have one day to spend in Switzlerand, Bellinzona is the stop I would recommend. It boasts three castles in close proximity to each other.  The largest, known as Castelgrande, is…
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