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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PORTO: Best European Destination 2017!

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Porto was elected Best European Destination for 2017. It is the third time for Porto. It has already won this title in 2012 and 2014.  Aside for having some of the most beautiful places in the world (in my previous post). Porto also boasts of 3 UNESCO world heritage sites and more.

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Dom Luis 1 Bridge – UNESCO World Heritage Site, An Ironwork Showpiece. This iconic bridge opened in 1886, when it held the record for the longest iron arch in the world, with a span of 172 metres (564 ft) and a height of 44.6 metres (146 ft) this was a great feat of engineering.

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Dom Luis 1 Bridge – The designer Téophile Seyrig, had been Gustavo Eiffel’s (of Eiffel tower in Paris) partner on the previous project,  and showed himself to be a more than able engineer with this bridge. It is worth making the crossing on the upper level, although being 60 metres (190 ft) above the waters of the Douro, it might not be for everyone! I did cross it, but I think it was the longest bridge crossing of my life!

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Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar – The convent built in the 16th century belonged to the Order of Saint Augustine. Part of the area classified by UNESCO as World Heritage in December 1996, the Monastery of Serra do Pilar is the architectural landmark of Gaia.

It’s historical centre or I should say OLD TOWN of Porto is a UNESCO world heritage site.

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I thought I was able to get away with the 7 hills of Lisbon when we went to Porto. Only to realize that the city of Porto is built along the “hillsides” overlooking the mouth of the Douro river.

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 The central area of the city is outlined with a traverse of slight ascent and descent paths. But I am not complaining. You can find several old Churches in the Historical Centre.

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The Igreja de Santo Ildefonso situated close to Batalha Square, dates back to the 18th century. The church was completed in 1739 and includes a framed altarpiece by the prolific Italian architect, Nicolau Nasoni. It has a striking façade of over 11,000 classic blue and white azulejos, added in 1932 by Jorge Colaço (he also did the azulejos at Sao Bento Train Station).

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The Twin Churches

The Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas are twin churches built between 1756 and 1768. Igreja do Carmo has an azulejo-covered exterior with the church done in the rococo style. The two churches are separated by a very narrow (1m wide) house that was inhabited until the 1980’s. The house was built so that the two churches would not share a common wall and to prevent any relations between the nuns of Igreja dos Carmelitas and the monks of Igreja do Carmo.

 

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The Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto) – It is one of the city’s oldest monuments and one of the most important local Romanesque monuments. The current Cathedral of Porto underwent construction around 1110 under the patronage of Bishop Hugo and was completed in the 13th century, but there is evidence that the city has been a bishopric seat since the Suevi domination in the 5th-6th centuries.

 

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The Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace)- inspired by the Neopalladian architecture. Building work began in 1842 and the general structure of the Palácio was completed by 1850.

 

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Cais da Ribeira – The alluring district of Ribeira is made up of medieval streets and seedy alleyways. It is a crumbling but fascinating place, ending at a riverfront square (“Praça da Ribeira”).

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With photogenic traditional boats floating at the quayside overlooked by colorful ancient houses, this is the most picturesque spot in the city and the place everyone loves — UNESCO did too, and declared it a World Heritage Site.

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Don’t  forget to cap your tour listening to Fado (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈfaðu]; “destiny, fate”) is a music genre which can be traced to the 1820s in Lisbon, Portugal, but probably with much earlier origins. On 27 November 2011, fado was inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

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You can have a free Fado show at Porto Cálem wine cellar. The only wine cellar that offers this treat. It is on every 6pm after the port wine tour. It is nice experience listening to fado while sipping your red and white port wine at the end of the day.

 

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I never expected Porto to be as beautiful as it is. I only knew a few things about Porto prior to my trip. One of them is  that it is constantly featured as one of the affordable places to go in Europe.  That is true, Porto is a beautiful city without the expensive price tag, well maybe that’s why it’s the winner for Best European Destination 2017!

Facts grabbed from Wikipedia, portugalvisitor.com, and other websites I can’t remember.

PORTO, a city of some of the World’s Most Beautiful Places.

     The highlight of my visit to Porto was seeing some of the world’s most beautiful places. It is a city with one of worlds most beautiful train station, one of the ten most beautiful bookstore in the world, one of the ten most beautiful cafe in the world and the most beautiful McDonald’s outlet in the world. Yes! McDonald’s!

     Here are some of the Photo’s that I have taken in my recent trip to Porto and some bits of story I grabbed from Wikipedia and Atlas Obscura.

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The Eagle on the facade as well as the original art deco interior design made it different from the rest of the McDonald’s outlet. It is regarded by many as the most beautiful Mcdonald’s outlet in the world.

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The Inside interior is a beautiful example of Art Nouveau. One of the world’s most beautiful cafe.  “The Majestic Café is a wonderful place, where muses, thinkers and artists can get together to live the best moments life has to offer: simply sharing communication through words and gestures,glances smiles and even a few tears sometimes.” – Gloria Montenegro (President of the Paris Academy of Coffeeology)

 

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Porto, Sao Bento Train Station – One of the world’s most beautiful train station. The most notable aspect of São Bento Station is the large, magnificent tile panels in the vestibule.

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The French Beaux-Arts structure holds within 20,000 magnificent azulejo tin-glazed ceramic tiles depicting Portugal’s past – its royalty, its wars, and its transportation history. The blue and white tiles were placed over a period of 11 years (1905–1916) by artist Jorge Colaço.

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Livraria Lello, also known as Livraria Lello & Irmão or Livraria Chardron, is a bookstore located in central Porto, Portugal. It is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal. It is frequently rated among the top bookstores in the world, placing third in lists by the Lonely Planet and The Guardian.

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The bookstore was frequented by JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, when she taught English in Porto and is reported to be an inspiration for her writing. Elements of the facade and much of the interior are decorated in Art Nouveau, with some features of the Gothic Revival.

Next time Porto the world heritage site!