TOLEDO, SPAIN – A City of Three Cultures

If you are travelling to Madrid, don’t miss out on this beautiful and ancient city nearby.

 

“Toledo is one of the Spanish cities with the greatest wealth of monuments.”

 

Known as the “city of the three cultures”, because Christians, Arabs and Jews lived together there for centuries,

behind its walls Toledo preserves an artistic and cultural legacy in the form of churches, palaces, fortresses, mosques and synagogues.

“This great diversity of artistic styles makes the old quarter of the capital of Castile – La Mancha a real open-air museum,

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which has led to it being declared a World Heritage Site.”  -http://www.spain.info/en

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“Toledo (Latin: Toletum) is mentioned by the Roman historian Livy (ca. 59 BCE – 17 CE) as urbs parva, sed loco munita (“a small city, but fortified by location”).” – Wikipedia

“Toledo stands virtually in the centre of Spain.  It is strategically situated on a rocky bluff dominating a gorge, and surrounded on all sides but the north by the fast-flowing Tagus.” – http://www.toledo-turismo.com/es

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“Toledo thrives on tourism. In 1986 it was named a World Heritage Site. Thanks ironically in part to its easy access from Madrid, sightseers flock by day through the twisting streets visiting its national monuments, purchasing imitation swords, damascene shields, El Greco reproductions and Talavera tiles;

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by night Toledo recovers its silent magic, and its brilliant past is easily evoked by shadows cast in those dimly lit laneways and by the echoing footsteps of some lonely night owl. – http://www.spainthenandnow.com/spanish-history/toledo-historical-overview

 

MADRID.PLAZA TORO LAS VENTAS. Part 1 – The Pageantry

The home of bullfighting in Spain, and arguably in the world as well, is at Plaza Toros Las Ventas in Madrid. The architect who designed it was José Espeliú. He employed a Neo-Mudéjar style, one that was popularised by the Arabic Moors of the 12th century. This gives the structure a more ancient look than it actually is. -www.gomadrid.com
Plaza Toros Las Ventas is the third largest bullring in the world. The largest is the Plaza de Toros México in Mexico City, and the second largest is Plaza de Toros Monumental de Valencia in Venezuela. Plaza Toros Las Ventas is of course the largest bullring in Spain. It can seat 25,000 people and it measures an impressive 60 metres in diameter. -www.gomadrid.com
Bullfighting traces its roots to prehistoric bull worship and sacrifice in Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean region. -Wikipedia
In medieval Spain bullfighting was considered a noble sport and reserved to the rich, who could afford to supply and train their animals. -Wikipedia
Empty seats before the start of the bullfight.

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Stucture: The modern corrida is highly ritualized, with three distinct stages or tercios (“thirds”); the start of each being announced by a bugle sound. – Wikipedia
The participants enter the arena in a parade, called the paseíllo, to salute the presiding dignitary, accompanied by band music. -www.gomadrid.com
The Dignitaries.

 

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A picador is a bullfighter who uses a special lance called pica while on horseback to test the bull’s strength and to provide clues to the matador on which side the bull is favouring. -Wikipedia

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Bullfighting on foot became a means for poor, able-bodied men to achieve fame and fortune, similar to the role of boxing in many countries. When asked why he risked his life, one famous torero reportedly answered, Más cornadas da el hambre (“[There is] more goring from hunger”). Today, it is common for a bullfighter to be born into a family of bullfighters. -Wikipedia
The first bull to rush out onto the new bullring floor was one called Hortelano. -www.gomadrid.com
A bullfighter nicknamed “Aguililla” was the first to face the bull. -www.gomadrid.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Majorca : Mallorca Photo Essay

The largest island in the Balearic Islands archipelago, which are part of Spain and located in the Mediterranean. -Wikipedia
Agatha Christie visited the island in the early 20th century and stayed in Palma and Port de Pollença. -Wikipedia
With thousands of rooms available Majorca’s economy is largely dependent on its tourism industry. Holiday makers are attracted by the large number of beaches, warm weather, and high-quality tourist amenities. -Wikipedia
Together with French writer George Sand, the Polish composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin resided in Valldemossa in the winter of 1838–39. -Wikipedia
Majorca has been jokingly referred to as the 17th Federal State of Germany, due to the high number of German tourists. – Wikipedia
BCM Planet Dance – Is The Biggest Nightclub in Mallorca and has been nominated the 5th best club in the World.

IBIZA, It’s the good vibe!

Super Clubs, strip of bars, beautiful beaches, sunsets, party people and the good vibe. It is my favourite summer destination in Europe.

Explore Dalt Vila (literally “Upper Town”), located on a little mountain by the sea, the view after an uphill walk is breath-taking.

It is famous as the party capital of Europe as summer would bring the most popular DJ’s to play in the several super clubs of the Island. I have been to some and have  seen a few famous dj’s like DJ Tiesto and Hardwell, and I had been to other themed parties like Matinee in Amnesia.

DJ Tiesto at Privilege

I remember the first time that I came here and the expectations was high. I even brought my coolest boots only to find out that you can get into the super clubs even when you are wearing flip flops. Buses to super clubs are available until it closes and the main acts starts at around 1-2am.

Promoters of an event in Pacha

So if you want to see David Guetta ….it would be a long night. The clubs close after the sunrise. Before you head to the super clubs, there are plenty of bars and chill out lounges that are already open by the time you wake up in the morning.

But if partying is not your turf, you can go to the beaches with different types of crowd be it quiet, party beach or if you dare … the nudist beaches. This small island is surrounded by long stretches of beaches and coves.IMG_3325

We spent one summer driving around the island looking for a new beach or cove everyday for two weeks. The island is small that you can drive around it in a day.

Es Vedrà (Legends and mythology) – The island is said to be home to sirens and sea-nymphs, who tried to lure Odysseus from his ship in Homer’s Odyssey. It is also thought of as the holy island of the Tanit the Phoenician lunar goddess, worshiped as the patron goddess and of fertility, who became Ibiza’s patroness. Legend has it that specific sacrifices were made to Tanit during full moons on the shore of the island. -Wikipedia
Some of the sights that you can see when driving around the Island.

Why not take the boat and explore the pristine beaches around Formentera.

Formentera – The smallest of Spain’s Balearic Islands.

Tip! Just a piece of advise though, there are no restaurant in the beach areas so you better bring food and drink with you. There are also no trees to shade so bring your own parasol.

This area looks busy but if you walk along past these crowd you can find a less crowded beach.
Formentera is a popular day trip destination from Ibiza.
Stack of pebbles in Formentera.
Try to spot the old inhabitants of the Island, the Ibiza wall lizard.

Tip! The sea could be choppy sometimes so better choose the big one’s and you can get them from Ibiza town, and make sure you don’t miss the last boat going back to Ibiza.

Don’t miss the majestic sunset at the famous Cafe Del Mar. Tip! A bottle of beer costs a fortune at Cafe del Mar so people buy beer at the shops and stay on the rocks.

This place became famous with its own brand of music in the 90’s. Experience how they play the music that seems to be synchronizing as the sun touches on the horizon, and the applause the you hear from the crowd after the sun has set is something magical.

Sunset view from the rocks near Cafe del Mar

If you want water sports there are plenty to chose from like this photos taken at Playa d’en Bossa

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Playa d’en Bossa has the longest beach in the island.

Playa d’en Bossa  is one of the busiest beaches in the island. Not unless you stay in one of the hotels in the area you might find it difficult to find a place to spread you beach towels.
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We have experienced fiestas, different types of market and historical walks. I was chatting with a stranger on the party bus going back to the apartment where I was staying and we both recognised that Ibiza is not as how it used to be, it seemed to have calmed down form how it was before, but he said he keeps on coming back, for no specific reason but we just agreed that it’s for the good vibe.

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San Antonio Fiesta
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Artists Performing at the Hippy Market
They have seasonal markets like this one at San Antonio Bay – Pirate Market

Here, you have seen some of the photos from the several trips that I have made in Ibiza, some of the places have closed down and reopened with a different name.

Sunset while walking at Marina Botafoch, you can also have a view of the floating Palaces (Yachts).
Photo of Es Vedra from the plane.

There is no place where almost everyone is having a good time. A place where the population more than doubles during summer. If you are going to Ibiza my tip would be stay longer than a weekend and go around the island. I hope to see you again Eivissa!!!

AMSTERDAM. Go cycling! See more, do more!

A weekend in Amsterdam is not enough to see a lot that this City has to offer. We decided to rent bikes for three days.  They said that there are more bikes in Amsterdam than the number of its population. As cycling is a way of life here, riding and going around  in one of them is like being a local. Here are some of the photos that I took while cycling around Amsterdam.

NEMO Science Museum

NEMO Science Museum
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De Gooyer Windmill: The tallest wooden windmill in the country is octagonal in shape & was once used as a flour mill.
The Amsterdam, was an 18th-century cargo ship of the Dutch East India Company.

Westerkerk – The World’s first biggest protestant church.
Amsterdam Centraal is the largest railway station of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Centraal was designed by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers and first opened in 1889. It features a Gothic/Renaissance Revival station building and a cast iron platform roof spanning approximately 40 metres.

The Magere Brug (“Skinny Bridge”) is a bridge over the river Amstel in the city centre of Amsterdam. It connects the banks of the river at Kerkstraat (Church Street), between Keizersgracht (Emperors’ Canal) and Prinsengracht (Princes’ Canal). -Wikipedia
Magere Brug

http://www.operaballet.nl

The Munttoren (“Mint Tower”) or Munt is a tower in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It stands on the busy Muntplein square, where the Amstel river and the Singel canal meet. -Wikipedia
On a sunny day, lounging on the beds of river Amstel seems to be popular among locals.
The Berlagebrug (bridge) was opened on 28 May 1932 amidst great interest. At the time it was not only the bridge that was furthest from the city centre, but it was also the biggest bridge in Amsterdam at 80 metres long and 24 metres wide. – Iamsterdam.com

Van Gogh Museum
Cooling down from the heat under the trees at the Museum quarter.
Edam Cheese originated in the Netherlands.
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In Amsterdam, the cyclists are the king of the road.
Amsterdam is a popular place for Stag Do.
Amsterdam Rai Train Station
http://www.theartofbanksy.amsterdam/en/the-art-banksy/

The gateway to the Museumplein
Cycle Parking area
Basilica of St. Nicholas
The Dome of St. Nicholas Basilica
People waiting for the ferry services at the back of Amsterdam Centraal Station
EYE Filmmuseum
River Amstel beside the Amsterdam Centraal Station

 

Nuremberg . Nürnberger

   I honestly had not heard of this City until I was looking for a place to go for the Easter Holiday Weekend. As the cost of stayling in a hotel in England soared to ridiculous levels, I found going to Munich – including plane fares and train ride from Nuremberg –  would be cheaper than staying in a decent hotel in Manchester.

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  P4160895        It is the second largest city in Bavaria or “Beyern” as it is known in German.  It was our gateway to Munich or “Munchen” in German. We went straight to the train station upon arrival but we have decided to spend a day here as we will be closer to the airport on our way back to England.  It turned out to be a beautiful city to explore.

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    To most people Nuremberg is associated with the Nuremberg trials or the Nuremberg Rallies, but today you can see that the city has moved on far from it’s past. The Nazi buildings are a reminder of the past, just like the other structures dating back from the Middle Ages that serve as an illustration of the city’s history.

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Tip! When travelling from Nuremberg to Munich, take the Ice train and enjoy the Bavarian countryside. You can book you train tickets online on Deutcshe Bahn and book it in advance to get cheaper rates.  Standard Class is very comfortable so you don’t necessarily need to go for First Class unless you wish to have added extras, however, the train journey is only approximately one hour so the benefits of going first class could be limited.

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