Sweden Travel

Brief History of Sweden

Sweden is a great place to travel to,  it’s  history is full of interesting facts; here are a few of them.

8,000 BC to 6,000 BC
Sweden became populated by people who lived by hunting, farming and fishing, and who used simple stone tools.

800–1050 AD
The Viking set off from Sweden the Baltic coast and the rivers into Russia. They developed trading links with the Byzantine Empire and the Arab kingdoms.

1389
The crowns of Denmark, Norway and Sweden were united under the rule of the Danish Queen Margareta.No automatic alt text available.

1397 – 1523
The Kalmar Union joined Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, Norway and the Faroes islands under a single monarch.

1611-1632

Gustav II Adolf came to assume great political importance. During his reign Sweden became a leading military power. Gustav II Adolf was killed in 1632 at the Battle of Lützen.

1632-1654
Just before her 6th birthday Kristina succeeded Gustav II Adolf in 1632. She ruled for 22 years.

1654
In 1654 Kristina abdicated converted to Catholicism and moved to Rome, She was succeeded by her cousin – Karl Gustav.

1660
Karl Gustav died in 1660. When Kristina heard about it she returned to Sweden to claim her throne. The Parliament did not accept her claim and she returned to Rome.

During the late 19th centuries 1.3 million Swedish immigrated to America.

1973

Carl Gustaf became King of Sweden on 15th of  September 1973, upon the death of his grandfather, Gustaf VI Adolf. Crown Princess Victoria, the eldest child of the King and his wife, Queen Silvia is heir to the throne.

All members of the Royal Family belongs to the Church of Sweden, which is an Evangelical Lutheran Church.

1977
There are over 20,000 Sámi people in Sweden.

The Sámi people were first documented almost 2,000 years ago.  The Sámi were recognized by the Riksdag as an indigenous people first in 1977.

1993

The Sámi Parliament was established as both a democratically elected body and a national administrative authority.

A vast majority of them earn their living from reindeer husbandry.

2006

The moderate party won; together with the Center Party, the Liberal party and the Christian Democrats – formed a government coalition  headed by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

Places to visit 

Stockholm

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden; an old town with modern architecture, includes 14 islands connected by tunnels and bridges. Home of the nation’s capital, this region is known for it’s seaside cities, delightful cobblestone streets, old shops, churches, hotels, restaurants and government buildings.

West Coast
The west coast is full of rocky islands, pines, forests, fishes, and cottages. The west coast is car free and a great place for boating, fishing, and seal safaris.

Skane County
beautifully region, with medieval churches, castles, and Renaissance-style villages.

Uppsala County
Home of universities, museums, medieval castles, and old streets surrounded by pine forests.

Vasterbotten County
Swedens natural wilderness full of mountains and forests, A great place to go hiking even in the winter.

Orebro County
Historical town great place to learn about Swedish culture and lifestyle.

Uppsala County
Hundreds of lakes ranging from the very small to very large.

Midnight Sun Coast
This area is known for the phenomenon that only occurs in Europe’s Arctic Circle between June and July–an uninterrupted 24-hour period of complete sunlight. Great to see from the see.

Gotland
Viking treasures were discovered there, historical churches and fortresses.

Gothenburg
Once serving as the center of Sweden’s shipbuilding industry, today this city’s musical festivals and cultural events draw visitors from all over the world with a youthful and energetic atmosphere.

 

Lund
Europe home of the oldest universities, small town youthful energy with old architecture.
Must see Attractions
You must see the Vasa Museum, Stockholm City Hall, the Royal Palace, The ABBA Museum:, and the amusement park it has over 50 – roller coasters, water rides, and Europe’s tallest freefall attraction, plus a gardens and a sculpture park.

Stockholm Canals
Explore the canals that wind through the capital by boat or on foot either way.

Cuisine of Sweden
Sweden is full of international choices of foods they always include bread, pasta, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, fish, or some other meat.

Public Transportation
The larger the city the better the transportation, lots of street taxis, water taxis, ferries, trains, and buses.

There are trains you can take to Germany, Finland, Norway, and Denmark from Stockholm.

Languages of Sweden
The official language of Sweden is Swedish, but many natives speak English as a second language.

Have a good time in Sweden, let me know about your trip…

 

Madrid Travel

Brief History of Madrid

Madrid is a great place to travel to,  it’s  history is full of interesting facts; here are a few of them.

Madrid is the capital of Spain since 1606. The development of Madrid as a city began when Philip II moved his court from Toledo to Madrid in 1560.

The origin of the name Madrid is believed to date back as far as 2nd century BC.

In 1329, Ferdinand IV of Castile assembled the Cortes Generales, a precursor to the modern Spanish parliament.

Between 1379 – 1406 Henry III of Castile rebuilt the city after it was destroyed by fire.

The marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella united the Crowns of Castile and Aragon, leading to the beginning of the Spain we all know and love today.

The two kingdoms maintained their national laws until 1714, when under the new Dynasty of the Bourboun a centralized State was built under the “Ways and Laws of Castile”.

The kingdoms of Castile and Aragón were fully united by Charles I of Spain.

During the 17th century, Madrid grew rapidly. The royal court attracted alot of artists and writers to Madrid among which are Cervantes and Lope de Vega.

Philip II transferred the capital from Toledo to Madrid in 1561.

In 1739 Philip V, began constructed new palaces, among which the Palacio Real de Madrid.

From 1716–1788 Charles III made Madrid a city full of buildings and monuments including the Prado and the Puerta de Alcalá.

In 1936–1939, Madrid was besieged by Spanish Nationalist and allied troops under Francisco Franco, during his dictatorship Madrid became very industrialized and experienced massive migrations from rural environments into the city.

Following the death of Franco, and in order to secure stability and democracy, the emerging democratic parties including those of left-wing and republican ideology accepted Franco’s wish to be succeeded by Juan Carlos I, leading to Spain’s current position as a constitutional monarchy.

Benefiting from prosperity in the 1980’s, Spain’s capital city has consolidated its position as the leading economic, cultural, industrial, educational and technological center of the Iberian peninsula.

The Monarchy of Spain referred to as the Crown or the Hispanic Monarchy comprises the reigning monarch, and of his or her family.

Spanish Constitution 

In 1978 the Spanish Constitution re-established the Spanish Monarchy as the form of government in Spain.

The present Spanish monarchy is represented by King Felipe VI, his wife Queen Letizia, and their daughters Leonor, Princess of Asturias, and Infanta Sofia.

It affirmed the role of the King of Spain as the personification and embodiment of the Spanish State and a symbol of Spain’s enduring unity and permanence.

In 2010, the budget for the Spanish monarchy was 7.4 million euros, one of the lowest public expenditures for the institution of monarchy in Europe.

Some of Madrid’s Most Popular Sites

Among Madrid’s most popular sites are the Museo Reina Sofia, Mercado de San Miguel, Temple de Debod, Plaza de Cibeles, Puerta del Sol, Gran Via, Retiro Park, Prado Museum, Plaza Mayor, and Palacio Real.

The Museo Reina Sofía was designed as a modern complement to the historical Prado Museum. The museum is home to a large collections of artwork by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.

The Mercado de San Miguel is a popular shopping destination for local foods and delicacies. On weekends it stays open as late as 2 a.m., as such it’s become a popular place to enjoy drinks and tapas.

The Temple of Debod is in Parque del Oeste, a park near the Royal Palace. The temple to the Egyptian goddess Isis; once stood on the banks of the Nile.

Plaza de Cibeles is closed to the Palace Cibeles, formerly known as the Palace of Communications. At the center of the plaza is a statue; the Fuente de la Cibeles. The fountain depicts the Roman goddess Cybele on a chariot drawn by lions.

Puerta del Sol, or the “Gate of the Sun,” is located in the center of Madrid. This is the place where thousands gather each New Year’s Eve to welcome in the new year. The statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree standing on one side of Puerta del Sol – is considered a symbol of Madrid.

The Gran Vía is known as the Broadway of Madrid because it’s “the street that never sleeps.” The Gran Vía has hundreds of shops, restaurants and businesses.

The Parque del Buen Retiro or El Retiro, is a 350-acre garden, with fountains located at the edge of the city center. Retiro Park was a monastery in the 1500s.

The Museo del Prado is an 18th century structure designed by Juan de Villanueva, which houses artworks from Goya, El Greco, da Ribera and Velázquez.

Madrid’s Plaza Mayor dates back to 1619, was used once to host bullfights.

The Palacio Real of Madrid is known for it’s huge structure, it has more than 2,500 fully decorated rooms. Built in 1764, the palace served as the royal residence of Carlos III.

The last royals to reside there were Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenie in the early 1900’s.

Fifty (50) of the rooms are open to the public, including the throne room (Salón del Trono),”.

The ceiling of the throne room was painted by the Baroque artist Tiepolo.

The palace is still used for official government ceremonies.

The palace also has a fresco in the grand dining hall that depicts Christopher Columbus presenting gifts from the New World to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

Travel Pass

When traveling to Madrid The Travel Pass is a wonderful way to save money when using Madrid’s public transport systems, the ticket is valid for all of Madrid’s Metro and Bus services within the city, together with the local suburban trains and the inner-city light railway.

The pass is available for 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 days, and can be purchased for Zones A or T. Most of our visitors will require a pass for Zone A only, which covers all locations within Madrid’s city center including the airport.

The ticket is delivered in a protective plastic holder and includes Metro, bus and train maps, together with landmarks and places of interest in Madrid. Instructions for use are also included.

The pass must be purchased for the number of days you will use it for. It will then be activated the first time it is used, and the expiry date printed on the back.

The pass is then valid until 5:00 am on the day after the expiry date, allowing you to use the late nocturnal transport services as well.

In Madrid you can also buy a Tourist Pass and save big on top tourist attractions, some include transport and tapas at some of the sites.

In Madrid, electric power comes through at 220 volts and at 50 Hertz. Check to see if you will need a adapter.

Have a good time in Madrid, let me know about your true travel experience …

London Travel

A Brief History of London

London is a great place to travel to,  it’s  history is full of interesting facts; here are a few of them:

According to the legendary Historia Regum Britanniae, by Geoffrey of Monmouth, London was founded by Brutus of Troy about 1000–1100 B.C. after he defeated the native giant Gogmagog; the settlement was known as Caer Troia, Troia Nova in Latin it means New Troy.

AD 200

Britain was divided in two. York became the capital of Britannia Inferior & London of Britannia Superior.

A century later, the Emperor Diocletian reorganized Britain to improve administrative efficiency.

London became the capital of Maxima Caesariensis, one of the four newly created provinces.

It remained the financial center of Britain, and home of the treasury.

Christianity appears to have reached the province at an early date and, only a year after the religion became official London had its own Bishop, Restitutus. Who is known to have attended the Imperial Council of Arles.
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In 1097 William Rufus, the son of William the Conqueror began the construction of ‘Westminster Hall’, which became the focus of the Palace of Westminster.

In 1176 construction began of the most famous incarnation of London Bridge (completed in 1209) which was built on the site of several earlier wooden bridges.

This bridge would last for 600 years, and remained the only bridge across the River Thames until 1739.

In 1216 during the First Barons’ War London was occupied by Prince Louis of France, who had been called in by the baronial rebels against King John and was acclaimed as King of England in St Paul’s Cathedral.

Over the following centuries, London would shake off the heavy French cultural and linguistic influence which had been there since the times of the Norman conquest.

The city would figure heavily in the development of Early Modern English.

During the Reformation, more than half of the area of London was the property of monasteries. London was the center of Protestantism in England.

Henry VIII’s “Dissolution of the Monasteries” had a profound effect on the city. Most of the property changed hands.

The process started in the mid 1530s and by 1538 most monastic houses had been abolished.

The late 16th and early 17th century saw the great flourishing of drama in London. A iconic and prominent figure of the time was William Shakespeare.

During Queen Elizabeth I reign, some of her courtiers and wealthier citizens of London built themselves country residences in Middlesex, Essex and Surrey and permanently left the city.

This was an early stirring of the villa movement, which was a taste for residences which were neither of the city or on an agricultural estate, but at the time of Elizabeth’s death in 1603, London was densely populated.

The general meeting-place of the time was the Old St. Paul’s Cathedral. Merchants used to conduct their business in the aisles.

Lawyers received their clients at their particular pillars; and the unemployed went to the church to look for work.

St Paul’s Churchyard became the center of the book trade, while Fleet Street became a center of public entertainment.

Charles I, acceded to the throne in 1625. During his reign, aristocrats began to inhabit the West End in large numbers. On September 2nd of 1666 the Great Fire of London broke out at one o’clock in the morning at a bakery in Pudding Lane.

It was a windy night and the fire spread, for four days all efforts to extinguish it failed. On Thursday it was finally extinguished, but on the evening of that day the flames returned at the Temple. The fire destroyed sixty percent of the City, the Old St Paul’s Cathedral, 87 parish churches, 44 livery company halls and the Royal Exchange.

The number of lives lost was amazingly small; sixteen lives are said to have been lost in the blaze.

The new City was different from the old one. All the houses and structures were made of bricks. Wood houses were no longer allowed.

During the reign of Queen Anne an act was passed authorizing the building of 50 new churches to serve the greatly increased population living outside the boundaries of the City of London.

The 18th century was a period of rapid growth for London, reflecting an increasing national population, the early stirrings of the Industrial Revolution, and London’s role at the centre of the evolving British Empire.

The first railway to be built in London was a line from London Bridge to Greenwich, which opened in 1836.

In the mid-1960s, music was on the rise and the UK was noticed for such musicians as the Beatles and The Rolling Stones,

In the mid 60’s London also became a fashion trend – a household name of youth and fashion around the world.

London’s fame quickly spread when they introduced to the market thin built models in mini skirts and short dresses.

London became the home of models with thin build, androgynous looks, big eyes, long eyelashes, and very short hair – who wore mini skirts. Some with boots. It became a trend.

By 1966, the mini skirt phase put London on top of the Fashion world.


On 6 July 2005, London won the right to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics making it the first city to host the modern games three times.

However, celebrations were cut short the following day when the city was rocked by a series of terrorist attacks.

More than 50 were killed and 750 injured in three bombings on London Underground trains and a fourth on a double decker bus near King’s Cross.

As you can see London’s history is not only ancient, but intriguing. A must see place.

London Pass

When in London purchase the London Pass it provides you with discounts and free entry to over 60 of the very best tourist attractions in London. Plus a free hop-on hop-off bus tour.

There is also the London Pass for public transportation.

Some of the top attractions in London are the London Tower, Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace, London Zoo and it’s always delightful take a boat cruise in the Thames River.

Make sure to check that your devices are compatible with the 220v voltage of London.

In order to use electronics from the United States in England, as well as most other countries outside of the American continent, you need a voltage converter and a plug adapter, unless you have dual-voltage electronics.

England is a country that uses 220v. If your visiting other countries in Europe as well they mostly uses 220v; as well.
NEW YORK – LONDON FLIGHT FROM $729 ROUND TRIP
Great Places to Visit in London 

Buckingham Palace  Tour – usually a 2.5-hour visit to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the Guard Ceremony. Then, enjoy the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – See the sets, costumes, and props used in all the Harry Potter films.

The Coca-Cola London Eye is a major feature of London’s skyline. It boasts some of London’s best views from its 32 capsules, each weighing 10 tonnes and holding up to 25 people. Climb aboard for a breathtaking experience, with an unforgettable perspective of more than 55 of London’s most famous landmarks – all in just 30 minutes!

Madame Tussaud Museum – See world’s most famous faces up-close from Shakespeare to recent artist.

London’s Hop on Hop Off  Bus – It’s best to buy a 24 hour ticket and enjoy the freedom to hop on and off the sightseeing buses and explore some of London’s most famous places, without having to rush to do it all in one day.

Visit the  Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, one day and St Paul’s Cathedral and Trafalgar Square the next day – plus all the stops you can make at restaurants, rivers, canals, parks and shopping streets.

The  Tower of London, is one of the world’s most famous buildings, its 900-year interesting history as a royal palace, prison and place of execution, arsenal, jewel house and zoo.

There is a 90 minute tour thru London’s dark past that is believed to knock your socks off.

The Sea Life London Aquarium houses over 400 species such as sharks, stingrays, moray eels, clown fish, and green turtles.

Getting around London on the River Boats  are popular with visitors and commuters alike, it’s a great way of beating the traffic and just sitting back to enjoy the view.

There is a large selection of these boat tours, some include, dinning, music, and dancing.

Among the canals a must see is the  Grand Union Canal The single longest canal in Britain, the Grand Union links London and Birmingham.

The River Thames London’s is a wonder ful place to see – runs almost 350km (220 miles) from source to sea. It has an amazing history and offers countless places to just sit and relax. It’s a leisure opportunity.

As you well know; there is so much more to see in London. I just hope you enjoyed the brief history offered here. I too like to know a litle bit about the places I visit.  Enjoy the videos and use the links to book your trip. Below is one for an electricity adaptar in case you need one.

London has great hotels, motels, car rentals and restaurants.

Don’t forget to try the local cuisine, and take lots of photos. Londos

Hope you share your experience with us!

Have a great time!

Paris Travel

Paris is and always have been a great place to travel to,  it’s  history is full of interesting facts; here are a few of them:

Paris, capital of France

It’s 105 square kilometres which is about 41 square miles, it was founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic people called the Parisii, who gave the city it’s name.

In the 12th century, it was the largest city in the western world, a prosperous trading centre. It’s also the home of one of the oldest Universities in history; The University of Paris.

In the 17th century Paris became one of Europe’s major finance, commerce, fashion, science, and arts center, a position that still keeps today.

Paris is the banking and financial centre of France, houses the headquarters of 29 of the 31 French companies ranked in the 2015 Fortune Global 500.

The city is also a major rail, highway, and air-transport hub, serves two international airports Paris-Charles de Gaulle which is the second busiest airport in Europe after London Heathrow Airport, and Paris-Orly.

The Paris Metro opened in 1900, serves 5.23 million passengers daily. It’s the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro.

The central area of the city along the Seine River is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site, and includes many notable monuments, including Notre Dame Cathedral (12th – 13th century); the Sainte-Chapelle (13th century); the Eiffel Tower (1889); the Grand Palais and Petit Palais (1900); and the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre (1914).

Paris is also known for its fashion, particularly the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week, which includes Haute Couture, Paris Fashion Week for Men, and Paris Sping and Summer Collections.

Paris has alot of restaurants that are three stars or better, known for it’s fine food.

 

Most of France’s major universities and grandes écoles are located in Paris.

Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Libération are France’s major newspapers.

 

The association football club Paris Saint-Germain and the rugby union club Stade Français are also based in Paris.

If you are a sports fan you will like to visit the 80,000 seat Stade de France, which was constructed for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. It is located just north of Paris in the commune of Saint Denis.

Paris was also the hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros.

Paris hosted the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics – and is bidding to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

The 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 2007 Rugby World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016 were all held in the city, and every July the cycling Tour de France finishes there.

The Louvre Museum has some 35,000 artworks. View the paintings, sculpture and architecture from 450 BC to the 19th century.

Among the most popular is Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa.

The museum has an English-speaking tour guide, with audio headsets, great for those who like to stand behind the crowd.

Enjoy a walking tour of the Palais Garnier, Paris’ premier opera house, it’s one of largest opera houses in Europe.

The Opera Garnier, as it is often called, inspired the setting for the famous musical, ‘Phantom of the Opera.’

There you will see the Grand Foyer, the main staircase (Grand Escalier in French).

The Neo-Baroque décor of this beautiful palace was designed by French architect Charles Garnier in the late 19th century. A guided tour usually takes an hour and a half to complete.

One of the unique things of France is that it offers you the opportunity to take to the skies in a hot air balloon ride, over Fontainebleau.

One of the highlights is watching the balloon inflation process, then taking a flight over the Fontainbleau countryside.

This was a former hunting ground of French royalty.

Once above you can view the whole town, the castle, and the wildlife of the forest.

When you land, you get to enjoy a glass of Champagne for the traditional toast des aéronautes, and then return by vehicle to the starting point.

 

Montmartre is the hilly part of Paris, decorated by a staircase that leads to the famous Sacré Coeur Cathedral.

There is another church on the hill, the older Saint Pierre de Montmartre, which is the founding place of the Jesuits.

The area is also famous for its nightlife and artists. The Moulin Rouge the cabaret that invented the can-can, a feisty French dance that put Montmartre on the map.

During sometime in their life artists such as Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Modigliani, Renoir and Dali all lived and or worked for some time in the area.


The Dali Espace museum is also worth a visit. Then make your way into a different kind of Paris as you stroll along quiet country streets that will make you forget you’re in a major European capital!

Air France

At the highest natural point you can appreciate two stunning views: the magnificent Sacré Coeur basilica on one side, and a panorama of Paris on the other.

If you are about to travel to Paris, do not forget to pack the right adapters for your small appliances. Otherwise, you will get yourself into trouble.

Electricity in France—and more generally in Europe—comes out of the electrical outlets at 230-240 volts. In the US, the voltage is 110 volts.

The Paris train, metro, RER, tram and bus system uses a smart card called Passe Navigo Découverte for week passes.

These passes are open to visitors as opposed to normal Navigo passes which are for residents of Ile-de-France only.
The services included are any metro, RER (suburban) train, buses (RATP/Noctilien/Optile), and trams up to the zone limits of your pass.

You can buy a Navigo Découverte pass at nearly any Metro, RER, Transilien train ticket window that normally sells tickets and passes.

Have a good time in Paris, take lots of pictures and share some with us, bon voyage!

Belgium Travel

Belgium is the heir of several former Medieval powers, previously named Belgae or Belgica. This is evident as you travel the country. After the collapse of the Carolingian Empire in the 9th century, the territory that is nowadays Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg, was part of Lotharingia.
The “Lower Lotharingia” remained intact in the feudal Empire: this is the origin of the Low Countries, a general term that encompasses present-day Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830. In 1948 Belgium became a co-signatory to the Benelux Customs Union along with the Netherlands and Luxembourg. This later became the Benelux Economic Union in 1958 and in 2008 the treaty between the three countries was renewed and revised under the title of the Benelux Union.

Belgium is also a member country of the Schengen Area in which border controls with other Schengen members have been eliminated; while at the same time border controls with non-Schengen countries have been strengthened.
Air France
The Belgium terrain is flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, wooded hills and valleys of Ardennes Forest in southeast. The temperature is mild in the winter, cool in the summer, with rainy humid seasons.

Electricity is supplied at 220-230V, 50Hz.

Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, Italy, and Switzerland and those many other countries using 230V, 50Hz but using different plugs, you will need a plug adapter to use the appliances in Belgium.

The United States, Canada, Japan and other countries using 110V, 60Hz will need a voltage converter.

Some laptops, Mobile Phone chargers and other devices can accept either 110V or 230V and only require a simple plug adapter. Check the voltage rating plates on your appliances before connecting them.

Belgium consists of three federal regions, listed from North to South:
Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels.

The northern part of Belgium is a Dutch-speaking region of the country. It includes well known cities like Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges. The Flemish provinces are (from west to east): West-Flanders, East-Flanders, Antwerp, Flemish-Brabant and Limburg.

Wallonia is the French-speaking region of the country (southern) with a few German speaking regions in the east next to the German border. The Walloon provinces are : Hainaut, Walloon Brabant, Namur, and Liège.

Belgium has a very high rate of urbanization and has an astonishing number of cities for such a small territory.

The bilingual capital region of the country is Brussels, countries headquarter.

When travelling by train you will notice that the destinations are listed at stations in the language of the locality.

For example, if travelling from a French-speaking area to Antwerp, it will be listed as ‘Anvers’, from a Flemish-speaking area ‘Antwerpen’.

The exception is Brussels, where destinations are listed in both languages. There is a limited number of international trains, which route Brussels National Airport. They announce the stations in English.

The historic center of Brussels is only about 300 by 400 m long. Antwerp is much bigger, but a ride on a horse-pulled coach gives a better view than the subway.

Some hire cars come equipped with satellite navigation but it’s a good idea to request this when you book your car. It’s probably the most reliable way to get from A to B in Belgium.

This way you will get to see some of the sites of Belgium, as flat as it may be, but architecture in the towns is something to be admired.

Once in Belgium you will be pleasantly surprised at just how clean the towns and villages are. In small towns you can feel that small town community feeling in the people. There are lots of castles in their surroundings, that give their villages that movie type of elegance, that you thought was only possible on the big screen.

If you like to hike, bike or go camping the hills of the Ardennes with their forests is the place for you. Caves, cliffs and green landscapes all around.

Bring your camera for these woods are the home to some deers, boars, and lynxs.

Some cities are beautifully located along the rivers, an wonder place to walk around.

Travel to Belgium and enjoy yourself.

Let me know about your trip……………


 

New York Travel

New York State and New York City are great places to travel to,  it’s  history is full of interesting facts; here are a few of them:

Schaghenbrief

The “Schaghenbrief” is a letter composed by Pieter Schager addressed to Leaders in Amsterdam in 1626. The letter states that an island was purchased for 60 gulders (aprox. $24.00) from from the natives.

The island was named New Amsterdam; known today as Manhattan.

In 1664, the English took the territory of New Amsterdam from the Dutch settlers living there. King Charles II named it New York after his brother the Duke of  York and gave it to him as a gift.

Travelling to New York 

On April 30, 1789 George Washington became it’s first president in the city’s Federal Hall on Wall Street.

New York was part of the original 13 colonies. The 11th state to form what is now the United States of America.

In 1848, the first women’s rights convention in the United States was held in Seneca Falls, New York – officially starting off the fight for women’s rights.

France gifted the Statue of Liberty to the United States in 1886 as a celebration of 100 years of U.S. independence and continued allegiance between the two countries.

The statue was shipped as 350 pieces in 214 crates and took 4 months to assemble at its current home on New York’s Ellis Island.

From 1886 to 1924, over 14 million immigrants entered through New York harbor into the United States.

In 1901, New York became the first state to require all automobiles to have license plates.

In 1917, women won the right to vote in – New York.

During WWII, President Franklin D. Roosevelt invited 982 refugees from concentration camps to stay in a holocaust refugee shelter called Safe Haven in Oswego, New York.

After the war a few returned to their home country, alot of them stood.

In 1952 the United Nations headquarters was established in New York City.

New York is the third most populated state in the United States of America, after California and Texas.

The population of New York State is approx. 19 million people, eight million of which live in New York City.

Albany is the capital of  New York.

On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York City. This was the worst single foreign assault on American soil.

In 2015, a study found that New York is the 13th best state to live in, the average income of $58,878.00 per year is among the favorable factors.

New York was the 6th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

New York City’s Federal Reserve Bank has the largest gold storage in the world. The vault is 80 feet below street level and contains $90 billion in gold.

New York is the home of many inventions, including, chewing gum, marshmallows, toilet paper and Jell-O.

Some of the most recognized New Yorkers world wide are: Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Denzel Washington, Adam Sandler, Eleanor , Theodore , and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lucille Ball, Tom Cruise, Michael Jordan, Barbara Streisand, Walt Whitman, and The Marx Brothers.

There is no doubt that New York certainly has a rich and exciting history,  a place to behold and see.

There is so much to see, so many places to explore, so many things to do.

Booking alot of tours can be expensive, and may throw you off the targeted budget. But if you purchase one of New York’s best travel deals – the New York Pass, you can visit all the attractions you want to see – and save money.

For more information on the New York pass:

The New York Pass is a ‘smart card’ – like a credit card with a computer chip inside.

The good thing about the New York Pass is that it allows you complete cash free entry to over 80 New York tourist attractions. That helps stay within budget.

It’s like a all tours inclusive vacation – once you’ve bought your New York Pass you don’t have to pay to get into any of the attractions covered by the pass.

It’s like having a reservation to see the most exciting sites, without having to run to the bank.

Travel to New York and enjoy all the sites, let me know about your trip.

Italy Travel

Italy is one of those countries everyone knows and talks about. One of the reason is it’s boot shape structure, the other is it’s history.Two good reasons to travel there and see all the wonderful sites.

Italian is the official language of Italy; spoken by the vast majority of people.While each region has its own dialect, Tuscan, the dialect of Tuscany, is the standard dialect for Italian.

French is also spoken in parts of Piedmonte and in Valle d’Aosta, where it has become the second official language of the region.

Slovene is spoken in the Trieste-Gorizia area, and German is widely used in Bolzano Province.

One can say that Italy then has a greater linguistic spectrum than given credit for.

The presence of the Vatican in it’s  region has given Italy (Italien) a strong religious identity world wide. 
Roman Catholicism, is affirmed as the state religion under the Lateran Treaty of 1929.

Italy’s highway system is considered, one of the world’s best, in 2002 totaled 479,688 km (298,366 mi). 

These expressways route Milan-Como-Varese, Venice-Padua, Naples-Salerno, and Milan-Bologna-Florence-Rome-Naples. All great places to visit.

A major highway runs through the Mont Blanc Tunnel, connecting France and Italy.

The Italian patrimony, based on Roman antecedents is the oldest in Europe over 2,500 years old.

The earliest known inhabitants of Italy were the Ligurians, Sabines, and Umbrians, in the 9th century bc they were largely displaced in central Italy by the Etruscans, a seafaring people, probably from Asia Minor.
LEANING TOWER PISA TUSCANY ITALY
Southern Italy and Sicily were conquered shortly after by the Phoenicians and the Greeks.

By 650 bc, Italy was divided  into ethnic areas: the Umbrians in the north, the Ligurians in the northwest.

The Latins and Etruscans in the central regions, and the Greeks and Phoenicians in the south and Sicily.

By 350 bc, after a series of wars with both Greeks and Etruscans, the Latins, with Rome as their capital, gained the ascendancy.

By 272 bc, they managed to unite the entire Italian peninsula.

From its inception, Rome was a republican city-state.

Four famous civil conflicts destroyed the republic:

Sulla against Marius and his son (88–82 bc).

Julius Caesar against Pompey (49–45 bc).

Brutus and Cassius against Mark Antony and Octavian (43 bc), and Mark Antony against Octavian.

Octavian, the final victor (31 bc), was accorded the title of Augustus (“exalted”) by the Senate and thereby became the first Roman emperor.

Under imperial rule, Rome undertook a series of conquests that brought Roman law, Roman administration, and Pax Romana (“Roman peace”) to an area extending from the Atlantic to the Rhine, to the British Isles, to the Iberian Peninsula and large parts of North Africa, and to the Middle East as far as the Euphrates.

The word Italia (Italy) appears on a coin dating back to the 1st century BC. Which was minted by the confederation of the Italic peoples who rose up against Rome.

The coin was found in the region of Abruzzo in Corfinio, the ancient Corfinium, capital of the confederation with the name of Italica.

The long Roman domination dating from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD has left a mark in Italy with its roads, aqueducts, temples, monuments, towns and cities, bridges, and theatres.

Travel to Italy,  and see a past that can still be seen in every part of the country.

The Netherlands Travel

The Neherlands is a wonderful place to travel to. It’s history is full of interesting facts – here a a few of them.

The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of food, flowers,  and agricultural products, after the United States.

Holland is a word that is used to describe The Netherlands.

It’s readily associated with windmills, wooden shoes, beer, tulips, and cheese.

Old Holland consisted of The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. The three were once one country – generally known as Holland.

Between 1588 and 1795, the area currently known as The Netherlands was the Republic of Seven United Netherlands.

The republic was conquered by French troops in 1795 and became the Bat-avian Republic. Napoleon appointed his brother Louis as king in 1806, turning the country into a kingdom.

The Netherlands remained a kingdom after Napoleon’s defeat. At that time, the area called “Holland” made the biggest contribution to the entire nation’s economy and wealth.

As such the name Holland became the commonly used term to indicate the entire country.

Pay Bas is another name associated with The Netherlands.

The Benelux Union refers to the political, cultural, and economic union of three Western Europe states.

Namely Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

Benelux is a cobination derived from the first two or three letters of the names of each of these countries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Benelux Union is one of the oldest economic unions in the world.

The union was established to promote cooperation and economic integration within the member states.

The Benelux was established in September of 1944 at the London Customs Convention, and took effect until 1948 – when the countries economies stabilized from the consequences of World War II.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The member states agreed on lowering custom duties and import duties, eliminating import quotas, and easing other trade restrictions among the union members.

West Germany, Italy, and France joined the Benelux Union in 1951.

Air France

 

 

The union grew to become the European Economic Community and later the European Union.

The European Union took prominence over the Benelux union.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nonetheless the Benelux Union continues to a strong pillar in the Dutch, Belgium, and Luxembourg culture, and a very important part of their history.

The three largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Amsterdam being the capital.

When the United States formed the government consisting of the first 13 states, English became the official language of the United States by one vote – Dutch in second place and French came close with fewer votes – took third place.

The port of Rotterdam is the world’s largest port outside East-Asia, and by far the largest port in Europe.

Most people to date call  The Netherlands; Holland.

The Netherlands means “lower countries”, influenced by its low land and flat geography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding one meter above sea level.

The Netherlands also counts with a active beach area.

Very close to the dunes (man helped mountains). The dutch built them to keep the sea from invading their land. A great place to ride bike. One of the nicest sites in the area is watching people of all ages ride bike.

It’s not rare to see someone in their eighties ride bike. A site that makes the human heart rejoice.

Have fun, take a lot of photos and let me know about your trip to The Netherlands.

Don’t forget to take a boat trip…. Let me know how it was……

 

 

The Azores Islands Travel


The Azores Islands are a great place to travel to, they have an interesting history – here are some of the facts.

The Azores islands are 9 islands that belong to Portugal.

The islands were formed by volcanic activity some three hundred thousands years ago, some areas are – as recent as 70 years ago.

The most popular way of getting from island to island is by boat or plane.

When inland you can drive a auto, ride bicycle or hike.

The Azores (Acores in Portuguese) are renowned for world-class whale watching, hot mineral springs, and quaint seaside towns.

Each of the nine islands that make up the Azores,  has its own fascinating identity and charm.

These islands can be divided into three recognizable groups located on the Azores Platform:

The Eastern Group (Grupo Oriental) of São Miguel, Santa Maria and Formigas Islets.

3 Azores Islands - Exclusive Price

The Central Group (Grupo Central) of Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial.

The Western Group (Grupo Ocidental) of Flores and Corvo.

Watch the Video below, it’s a Vacation Travel Guide – which highlights the natural beauty of the Azores Islands of Portugal:

As you just saw in the video, the beaches aren’t the only attraction in the Azores, the volcanic calderas, hot springs, valleys, waterfalls, lakes and mountains make these islands a remarkable must see nature evolution.

Which really highlights the natural beauty of the planet.

The Azores islands are the ideal setting for nature lovers –  it’s green  – full of  trees, plants, and flowers that came into existence under the most intriguing set of circumstances – ancient volcanic activities.

The islands are also great for sea lovers – some of the best views of the islands are best seen from the ocean.

Whale watching, swimming with friendly fishes and go scuba diving are some of the activities you can enjoy in the Azores. The average temperature in the sea is about 70 degrees farenheit.

You can also enjoy the islands beauty by renting a car. There’s  very little traffic in the islands, which allows you to be able to stop and take in the sites.

For those who like to walk or hike you’ll enjoy following the trails, one of the most exciting trails is the one that leads you to the highest mountain in Portugal – Pico.


Discover The Azores from $849

The trail to it has some breathtaking views which makes walking/hiking fun – for those who never hiked before. A great place to start.

The proximity of the sea from all sides turns walking long distances into a great adventure.

Watch the video below and click on the link that follows to get travel information to the Azores.

http://www.azoresgetaways.com

Once you are in the islands, enjoy the local dishes.

Some are prepared  – the good old fashion way.

Ask the natives what that is and be prepared to be amazed and delighted.


5 Stars Azores from $899

Enjoy your trip, send me some photos of your favorite activities in the Azores ……..

Travel to Grand Canyon National Park

Travel  to the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is a gift from the past, take the time to enjoy it. Walk along it’s trails, and feel the brilliance of the sun upon your skin; as the wind blows thru your hair.

Experience a sunrise or sunset in the Canyon, and feel the connection between the elements, as you gaze upon the shadows of time – as the sun sets or rises over different parts of the land.

The Grand Canyon is a great place to travel and it’s opened all year. The North End reaches a height-over 2,700 m (8,858 feet). It’s opened from May to October, if weather conditions allow it.

The South End, has an average altitude of 2,300 m (7,546 feet). Hiking from the South End to the river usually takes two days.

The Grand Canyon National Park encompasses more than 1.2 million acres, the vast majority of which are inaccessible due to the predominance of cliffs.

There are plants and animals in the area, mainly those who survive in the desert.

The Colorado River bisects the canyon; if you are a hiker and want to cross the river you can only do it at Phantom Ranch.

If you choose to hike from rim to river to rim, you will have to deal with an elevation differential of more than 10,000 feet from start to finish.

Recommendations

The Grand Canyon National Park is huge; plan the areas you want to visit – divide those by hours or days -then find out what tours are available.

I recommend the Grand Canyon Tour Company, they offer a large variety of tours, some of the more popular ones are:

Helicopter Tours, White Water Rafting Tours, Colorado River Float Trips, Jeep Tours, Bus Tours, Train Tours, Airplane Tours, and lots more.

Heights and Distances can be Deceiving –  play it safe. Take a tour. 

The Grand Canyon Tour Company has been serving Las Vegas visitors since 1982.

Driving

If driving keep your gas tank full the next gas station may be quite some distance down the road.

Carry water in your car, particularly during summer months.

Biking at Grand Canyon National Park

Bicycles are not available for rent at the park.  Bicycle riders in Arizona are subject to the same traffic rules as automobiles. Use extreme caution when riding on park roads; shoulders are narrow and vehicle traffic is heavy.

The West Rim Drive is open to bicycles throughout the year, but remember that during the summer months there is heavy bus traffic on the West Rim Drive. Use caution and do not obstruct the traffic.

Bicycles are not allowed on any park trails.
Mountain bikes are allowed only on those roads open to automobile traffic.

Photos

Don’t forget your camera – and take the best photos of your life. One idea is to take a picture of the same area at different times of the day.

The Grand Canyon is known for it’s pictures, by word of mouth – usually from friends and neighbors who been there.

Besides creating a beautiful site – the shadows create a world a within a world – like a natural clock. Can you tell what time it is by the shadows?

We must ensure that future generations have the opportunity to establish their own connections with nature and the Grand Canyon National Park is the place to do it.

Let me know how your trip went……………