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Month: November 2016

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Rome – the eternal city

Once upon a time, there was the Red Riding Hood dreaming about visiting the city of Rome. She dreamed and dreamed and kept dreaming but somehow this city kept avoiding her. Until March 2016!

So much history from different time periods, so much good coffee and vines and food and nice little charming restaurants and of course: the sunshine! ūüôā

When I arrived there I notices the chaotic city and how noone respects the traffic rules, but I was not discouraged. Like in Paris, I put my pink sunglasses on and started to explore.

The first thing that came on my way was Santa Maria Maggiore, a 19 century basilica, the largest church in Rome that is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Not famous at all, but standing glorious in front of me I thought: if this uknown building is so big and impressive, what are the mos famous one like? Inner part of the church is entirely shiny in gold and marble. Under the high altar of the basilica is the Crypt of the Nativity or Bethlehem Crypt, with a crystal reliquary said to contain wood from the Holy Crib of the nativity of Jesus Christ.

But I wanted to start from the beginning, as the history lover and discoverer. So I went down to Foro Romano where the history of the Western civilisation started.

Rome’s history spreads for more than two and a half thousand years. There are signs of Roman mythology and culture everywhere you look around…  So the Roman Forum  was a city square today surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of antique  Rome.

A bit outside of the Palatine Hill is the famous Colosseum –  the largest amphitheater ever built, around 1 century built by emperor Vespasian. It could hold around 80 000 spectators  coming to watc gladiatorial contests and public spectacles.

Opposite of the Colosseum is the Temple of Venus: the largest temple in Ancient Rome. Located on the Velian Hill, it was dedicated to the goddesses Venus Felix (lat Venus the Bringer of Good Fortune). The architect was the emperor Hadrian and construction began in 2 century.

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Temple of Venus

Left of the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine, a triumphal arch erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 4 century.

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Arch of Constantine and Colosseum

The last thing from the ancient Roman states I visited was the Pantheon whic literally translated from latin language is temple. A former Roman temple, now a church, commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus around 1 century and completed by the emperor Hadrian. It is famous by its central opening (oculus) to the sky and the grave of grande Rafaello – the famous painter and architect.

In Rome, classical ruins and early Christian places of worship stand next to each other. The examples are the Foro Romano where you can find the worship of the Venus and Virgin Mary, or the Pantheon that was built by the Romans as a sacred place  but later turned into a church as the christian religion was recognized as one of the officials religions in ancient Rome.

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I didn’t have much time to discover Rome in Middle Ages or Renaissance and Baroque Rome, and trust me, there is so much work to do, but I did photograph Ponte Sisto.  It is the bridge over the river Tiber from 15 century, made by reusig the foundations of a prior Roman bridge, the Pons Aurelius, which had been destroyed during the early Middle Ages.

Rome is much about fountains like the one in Piazza Navona originally the Stadium od Domitian built in 1 century. The ancient Romans went there to watch the agones (lat game), hence nowadays name ”navona.” It is where I decided to sit down and enjoy my caf√© and gelatto (ita ice cream)

piazza-navona

One of the most popular places in Rome is Fontana di Trevi – a standing fountain and the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The fountain has appeared in several notable films, including the movie of Federico Fellini: La Dolce Vita.  Legend says that in 19 BC, some thirsty Roman soldiers were guided by a young girl to a source of pure water outside of the city of Rome. The discovery of the source led emperor Augustus to start the construction of an aqueduct  that will go into the city, named Aqua Virgo, (lat Virgin Waters), in honour of the legendary young girl. The aqueduct served the hot Baths.

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Fontana di Trevi

From there I went directly to Piazza di Spagna to sit on famous spanish steps but they were under construction so I hide myself in nearby Cafe Greco Antico – historic landmark caf√© which opened in 1760 in Via dei Condotti.  It is the oldest bar in Rome and within Italy only Caff√® Florian in Venice (established in 1720) is older. Historic figures including Stendhal, Goethe, Byron, Franz Liszt,  Henrik Ibsen, Hans Christian Andersen, Wagner and even Casanova have had coffee there. Today Caffe Greco remains a heaven for writers, politicians, artists and notable people in Rome… me, I got even three roses from a cavalier. ūüôā

The Altar of the Patria also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II built in honor of the first king of a unified Italy is one of the grandiose places in the city.

In the end, together with some of the friends I have in Rome, I visited La Sapienza University – one of my favorites and one of the oldest in history, founded in 14 century.

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In front of the main entrance to the building, there is a faountain and great statue of the greek goddess Minerva  (gre knowledge).

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Newcastle upon Tyne, England

North from London on the northern bank of the river Tyne and only 13.7 km from the North Sea is located this vivid english city with the people of a bit hard to understand dialect Geordie.

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Royal Theatre – georgian style

The city developed around the Roman settlement Pons Aelius and was named after the castle built in 11 century by the son of  William the Conqueror. In the 14th century, the city became important centre for the wool trade and later a major coal mining area. The port developed in the 16th century and, along the river Tyne.

Amongst its icons the famous are Newcastle United football club and the Tyne Bridge.

What I will remember the most about this city was the night life. Apparently¬†Newcastle upon Tyne’s nightlife is¬†Great Britain’s no. 1 tourist attraction. And I am not saying it because of the¬†big¬†concentrations of pubs, bars and nightclubs around the Bigg Market and the Quayside area of the city centre¬†popularly referred to as the ‘Diamond Strip,’ but because of the youngsters and their way of understanding the nightlife fashion. Well… decide by yourself:

Anyways, the last day of my visit to Newcastle, my friend and I took the local train and made a day trip to Tynemouth –¬†a town, historic borough and nature site, dating¬†back to an Iron Age, middle ages and then being strategically very important during War War ll. It is the place where the river Tyne flows into North sea.

Tynemouth Castle is combined with the ruins of the Benedictine priory where early kings of Northumbria were buried. The ruins are dating from 8th century.

For the rest of the day, my friend and I simply enjoyed the pier, the view on the North sea and the wind in our hair.

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Rocky Cuenca of Spain

The most picturesque and photogenic city I have ever seen is Cuenca¬†¬†in¬†Castile‚ÄďLa Mancha in central Spain. Located on the rocky hill which intersect¬† J√ļcar and Hu√©car rivers, it is dating back from the Roman times as an important strategic location, although inhabited. Soon, in 8th century the¬†Muslim Arabs captured the area and¬†realized the value of this strategic place and built a fortress (called Kunka) after which the city was later named.

Around the 12th century the Christians, living in northern Spain during the Muslim presence, started to slowly recover the Iberian peninsula. The Muslim Kingdom, Al-Andalus (nowadays Andalusia Рthe name of famous spanish region) started slowly to be besieged by knights of Aragon, Toledo and finally Alfonso VI of León and Castille.

From that time it is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace and Saint Julian from 11 century. It is he first gothic style¬†cathedral in Spain thanks to the influence of Alfonso’s wife¬†Eleanor, daughter of King Henry II of England and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, who introduced the Anglo-Norman style.

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                   Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace and Saint Julian from 11 century

The entire city of Cuenca is a magical sight, dramatically standing on the cliff above the mentioned rivers, with the houses that are hanging, small strettes that are more like passages and steps.

The bridge of Saint Paul (esp¬†Puente de San Pablo) was built in 16 century, over the river Huecar’s Gorge, aiming at connecting the old town with St Paul convent.

My friends and I really enjoyed the city, although it was cold and windy up on the hill and the wind was somehow mystically passing through the small streets and got every corner of this magic place…

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Girls having fun in Cuenca

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The city of Latina, Italy

One of my working holidays happened recently in Italy in small city of Latina.

With less than 200 000 habitants, this city and the region around it of the province of Lazio was created by Mussolini 1932 under the fascist administration. The idea was to drain the swamp and use it for agricultural purposes.

Located in the center of Latina is the classic communal garden, a green area for recreation, tranquility and children’s recreation – the Mussolini park.

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The most famous city center building is probably Palazzo Communale (ita. Town Hall) in the style of rational architecture. The square where the building can be finded is a shining example of the work in style of early 20 century. It is a beautiful terrace with bars and shops and leads to the sea side.

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Strasbourg, Le petit France

Oh peeps, Strasbourg! ūüôā Really delightful place!! A principal town of the Alsace region in eastern France (great wines shouldn’t be mentioned at all).

Placed at the border with Germany, it developed the special dialect between german and french language.

I went there to attend the meeting at European Parliament, but of course I used the opportunity to get around. That travel soul in me would never forgive myself if it happened opposite.

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Allocated in the European Quarter with the meaning to never again divide Germany and France (the core countries of Europe divided by the river Rhine) like in World War ll, but to be united for the strong European Union.

 

So, already being impressed by being here, I ran to meet this beauty:¬†Strasbourg’s Cath√©drale Notre-Dame, completed in all its gothic grandeur in 1439. The interior is exquisitely lit by 12th- to 14th-century stained-glass windows.

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And then I crossed the river L’Ill¬†and entered the¬†La Petite France, which is one of the most picturesque areas of Strasbourg¬†at the western end of the Grande √éle, which contains the historical centre of the city. The mentione ¬†River Ill splits up into numerous¬†channels that cascade through an area that was in the Middle Ages home to the city’s tanners, millers and fishermen, and is now one of Strasbourg’s main tourist attractions and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Little decoratives left me stunning as well…¬†¬†hanging or written on¬†half-timbered buildings which, together with the narrow lanes and footbridges that connect them, mostly date from the 16th and 17th centuries…

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Helsinki & Raasepori, Finland

Founded by the Swedish king Gustav as a new trading post to compete for Baltic Sea trade with Tallinn, the capital and largest city of Finland built up throughout the 17th century, yet it remained a somewhat sleepy, wooden housing town…

Helsinki is one of the coldest cities in the world. It does not receive sunshine for about consecutive 51 days in winters. The city has around 101 average annual days of snow and an amazing 169 average annual number of days below 0 Celsius.

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First thing we visited was¬†Helsinki Cathedral –¬†the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral from 19 century and the National Library of Finland.

After enjoying the view on the city from the rooftop of the library, we decided to wander and shop around.

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Ofcourse, we freezed ourselves as it was November, so we sat for¬†gl√∂gi¬†–¬†a Christmas drink based on grape juice and flavoured with spices, served hot with raisins and almonds with a bit of the alcohols inside.

Late in the evening we went back to Raasepori – a 100 km away sport and spa resort where we had our accommodation. I have to admit, being surrounded with lakes, forests and deers made my soul fresh, even though it was – 15 degrees. ūüôā At least, we had a great saunas. Some of us dared to jump in cold lakes after chilling. Bzzzzzzz….

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Chateau de Bouillon – home of Godfrey of the Crusades

A medieval castle in the town of Bouillon in the south of Belgium… impressively standing on the hill and witnessing ¬†its glory.

 

Although it was mentioned first in 988, it has been there, on the same site for a much longer time. The castle is situated on a rocky cliff of the river Semois .

In 11 century it came to the possession of Godfrey of Bouillon who sold it to Bishop of Liège in order to finance the First Crusade. The castle was later used for heavy artillery in the late 17th century.

 

Inside the castle you can walk from from room to room, to what used to be a library, to underwater passages,warehouses with of course – the brewery ūüôā until the dungeon where some detainees were tortured or killed. It is a great insight to medieval times!

 

Godfrey of Bouillon, 11th century was a Frankish knight, and one of the leaders of the First Crusade from 1096 until his death. To the Buillon castle he brought the best in technology and production to recreate the first Crusade in the company of thousands of men making their way to Jerusalem. After the successful siege of Jerusalem in 1099, Godfrey became the first ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He refused the title of King, however, as he believed that the true King of Jerusalem was Christ.

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Episodes in the history of Belgium up until the 13th century with Godfrey Buillon

Of course, he made himself a final destination in the city of Bouillon. Although not buried in the castle, his grave is very close to the city walls with the museum opened a few years ago.

 

 

 

 

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London, London

London attracted over 16 million international visitors in 2014, myself included, making it the world’s most visited city.

Settling my company in this city makes me visiting it quiet often, so every time I try to visit something new and discover more! I usually take the Eurostar train from Brussels under the famous canal La Manche and Viola! Рin 2 hours I am in London, baby!

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I usually start with shopping in Oxford street and around –¬† Europe’s favourite shopping area, in the City of Westminster.¬†The road was originally a Roman road, ¬†but later in middle ages¬†known as Tyburn Road¬† where prisoners from Newgate Prison would be transported towards a public hanging. It became known as Oxford Street in the 18th century changing its character into commercial and retail purposes by the late 19th century, also attracting street traders, confidence tricksters and prostitution.

London was founded by the Romans, who named it Londinium after which  Anglo-Saxon settlement started to grow until the fall of Roman Empire and Vikings invasion. By the 11th century, London was beyond all comparison one of the largest towns in Europe and Westminster Abbey, rebuilt in the Romanesque style by King Edward the Confessor, was one of the grandest churches in Europe. Later, mainly the Gothic abbey church became cathedral as most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and, later, British monarchs. When I entered the abbey, I was absolutely astonished with the architecture, but also the tradition and longtime history of England. Whenever I stepped or looked, there was a grave of some english king or queen or memorial to the poet or discoverer.

In the cloisters of the church, I found the oldest door of Britain! Nearly a thousand years old the oak trees growing in the forest outside London a thousand years ago and the door itself was probably constructed and put in place about 1050 when Edward the Confessor built Westminster Abbey next to his palace at Westminster.

The Palace of Westminster is today the Parliament of the United Kingdom –¬†‘heart of British politics’. It¬†was built on the site of river Thames in the 11th¬†century as the primary residence of the Kings of England, strategically important during the Middle Ages. In 1855, it was added ”the prince of timekeepers”: the biggest, most accurate ¬†clock in the world – Big Ben.

On the river Thames is located the Tower of London as well,  a historic castle  founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The construction was started by  William the Conqueror and later expanded by  Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence and more as place of artillery and prison. In one of the towers, the ravens are having their nests. It is said if all the ravens ever leave the tower then the British crown and British kingdom will fall.

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Very next to the Tower is the Tower Bridge: a masterpiece of 19 century architecture with its  hydraulic system.

Now when I crossed the river, I could take some walk through¬†the Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank where is also a modern but already very popular tourist attraction: the London Eye, a giant observation wheel 135 meter tall structure, built as part of London’s millennium celebrations.

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Continuing to the north, on my way was The Globe theater, an Elizabethan playhouse built for the pays of famous write William Shakespeare, in 16 century. 

Close by is my favourite bar with traditional fish and chips dish. So I gave myself a break and ordered like a local. ūüôā

The next day was the day reserved for museums. As it was the first Sunday in month, most of the museums were free. So I went to Trafalgar Square – ¬†the square that¬†commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars. In the center is Admiral Nelson’s column. The British Museum, National¬†Gallery and National Portraits Gallery are just there. Btw, I almost died at Trafalgar square, crossing the street on a green light when the ambulance came out of nowhere, actually behind the doubledecker¬†that stopped on the pedestrian crossing (so I was not able to see it coming). The bus driver was honking, the people on the opposite side of the street were waving when I started to cross the street… and the ambulance suddenly passed by furiously in front of me. Ooops!

Although I have been twice to British Museum and saw its offers and pride, my favourites goes to National Gallery of Portraits with all the royal and aristocracy portraits of their times. Seems like they are real and all my characters from historical novels that I read about became vivid. My imagination gets crazy and I get goosebumps.

From Trafalgar square I continued through Pall Mall Avenue, decorated with British flags that leads to the Buckingham Palace where the Queen Elisabeth ll and the royal family live.

¬†My favourite site in London is this World War ll monument dedicated to the women that carried the burden of war by themselves working what is called ‘a men’s job’ and often not being appreciated for it.

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I finished the day at Wembley stadium and dinner there. The¬†daylight was slowly coming to its end and the building started to glow somehow, so I couldn’t resist to seize the moment and take the photo! My mother says it is a true postcard of London.

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Sibiu, Romania

A small city in Transylvania, also known as Hermannstadt in German, located in north-western Romania was a pure discovery for me! ūüôā It¬†was designated the European Capital of Culture for the year 2007 thanks to its medieval charm.

Sibiu got its importance in 14 century¬†when¬†¬†it became an important trade centre. In 1376, the craftsmen were divided in 19 guilds and¬†Sibiu became the most important ethnic German city among the seven cities that gave Transylvania its German name Siebenb√ľrgen (german:¬†seven citadels). A number of traders, practitioners and intellectuals¬†of the time mingled around the historic center of Sibiu enclosed by its medieval walls.

The center of happening was Piata Mare (big square) –¬†the largest public square in the old town that¬†witnessed the economic activities of traders in Sibiu. Numerous of¬†assemblies of citizens, fairs and even executions were organized there.

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In this market it was beheaded  in 1703 Johann von Sachs Harteneck, one of the most important personalities of the Transylvanian Saxons. During his tenure first topographical and city maps were being made. His political positions have attracted many enemies and led to the trial and sentencing to death by beheading.

After World War I, when Austria-Hungary was dissolved, Sibiu became part of Romania; the majority of its population was still ethnic German (until 1941) and counted a large Romanian community, as well as a smaller Hungarian one. Starting from the 1950s and until after 1990, most of the city’s ethnic Germans emigrated to Germany and Austria.

Pasajul scarilor (rom. Passage of the Stairs) leeads down into lower Sibiu. It descends along some fortifications under the support arches. It is the most picturesque of the several passages linking the two sides of the city.

Make sure to be on your best behavior as you cross the Bridge of Lies. It is said that young virgins in medieval times, came on this bridge to meet the boys and to plan the wedding and their future. However, girls were caught lying about their virginity, so they were thrown off this bridge. The legend says they can still be heard whispering in the quiet pubs of Sibiu.

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Walking the streets I really felt weird¬†like something’s been stalking me. And soon my friends and I realized what is all about:¬†Sibiu is known as the city with eyes. The old historic city is composed of an uptown and downtown connected by intertwining alleyways,¬†having tall attics with small windows known as the city’s eyes. Most of these houses are dated 15th to 19th centuries.

 

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Budapest – the Pearl of the Danube

When Nobel Prize winner Enrico Fermi was asked if he believed in extraterrestrials, he replied:¬†“They are among us, but they call themselves Hungarians”

This small country is one of the oldest European countries, situated in the middle of the continent in Central Europe.

Hungarians speak a language and form a culture unlike any other in the region: this distinctiveness has been both a source of pride and an obstacle for more than 1100 years.

The country’s capital and largest city is Budapest and sometimes is called the Paris of Middle Europe. Probably because of the beautiful Parliament building.¬†It lies in Lajos Kossuth Square (Governor-President of the Kingdom of Hungary during the revolution of 1848‚Äď49.), on the bank of the Danube.

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Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with the unification of Budim on the west bank, with Pest on the east bank on in 1873. The origins of the names Buda and Pest are obscure. According to chronicles from the Middle Ages, the name Buda comes from the name of its founder, Buda, brother of the Hunnic ruler Attila.

For long time under Ottoman rule, the city entered a new age of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Budapest became a global city after its unification. It also became the second capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a great power that dissolved in 1918, following World War I.

On the opposite side of the Parliament is Budim castle settled. The historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings dating from 13 century.

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The bridge that connects both sides of the city is called¬†Sz√©chenyi Chain Bridge¬†¬†and it was the first permanent bridge across the Danube in Hungary and an¬†icon of the city’s 19th century development. The bridge¬†leads to the building of Corvinus University.

I visited the city twice and each time I found another corner or the building of interest, as it is rich with the late baroque architecture.

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Krakow, Poland

Krakow is one of the most culturally and politically significant cities in Poland.¬†Although you could easily spend a few happy days in Krakow and fill your time with a variety of entertaining activities; one day is enough to take in the city’s top ‘must-see’ attractions.

Traditionally it has been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life and is one of Poland’s most important economic hubs.¬†It was the capital of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland from 11-16 century,¬†Polish‚ÄďLithuanian Commonwealth¬†in 16 – 18 century, then the¬†Free City of Krak√≥w¬†in 19 century; and¬†Grand Duchy of Cracow¬†until early 20 century.

My brother and I arrived early in the morning and wandered the Old town first and the main market square. It dates back to the 13th century and is one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe.

It was surrounded by historic townhouses¬†and churches. The center of the square is dominated by the Cloth Hall (polish¬†Sukiennice).¬†¬†On one side of the cloth hall is the Town Hall Tower (polish¬†WieŇľa ratuszowa), on the other the 10th century¬†Church of St. Adalbert and 1898 Adam Mickiewicz Monument –¬†the greatest polish romantic¬†poet.

After so many sites at the main square, we climbed to the hill where the Wawel castle is placed,¬†built at the behest of King Casimir III the Great in the 13 century.¬†In the 14th century it was rebuilt by¬†Jadwiga of Poland (also known as Hedwig) –¬†the first female monarch of the¬†Kingdom of Poland. Part of the castle is the very known Wawel cathedral as well.

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From the castle’s¬†courtyard entrance the view shoots on the river Vistula, the¬†largest river in Poland.

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Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

My travels through South America continue.

From Peru I continued to travel to Bolivia. A poor landscape but great people on my way! I stopped in peruvian city of Puno and continued my way.

My next stop was another wonder: Lake Titicaca – the highest volcano lake in the world. It ays on the border of Peru and Bolivia. The origin of the name Titicaca is a distortion of the term thakhsi cala, which is the 15th century name of the sacred rock on the Island of the Sun, which I visited!

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On the Island of the Sun and many others around it, the indigenous groups still live and they are called Uro. They live on the mentioned floating island. It is believed that they are the owners of the lake and water. Uros used to say that they have black blood because they did not feel the cold.

The islands are floating because they are made of totora – a giant plant dried and composted forcefully. From the same plant the houses and boats are constructed as well.

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Peru: Macchu Picchu

I was driving through the dessert of Atacama from the northern Chile to southern Peru. The landscape of South America changes quickly… When I arrived to old city of Cusco –¬†a¬†historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th until the 16th century ¬†when Spanish conquered. In 1983 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

From the Cusco I took the very fashion tourist train to Aguas Calientes where from l climbed to Macchu Picchu.

When I finally arrived to Aguas Calientes, my journey to climb to Macchu Picchu started. It was the time of monsoons in Peru and semi rain forests were foggy, rany and cold. So I got myself a ride! Some local workers put me in the backside of their camionette and we arrived up in 20 min. The only problem was that I needed to lay down in camionette for about next 10 more min because their boss was going around the workers didn’t want to get their penalty. Long live guys, wherever you are ūüôā I will never forget your help and care.

And I arrived!

A 15th-century Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge 2,430 metres above sea level. The lost city of Incas lays mystically on the edge of the hill. Amazingly how the city was built and erect in such a wild landscape.¬†Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built around 1540 when the Incas were running from the spanish colonisation and the STD’s they were bringing with themselves.

Incas were using the language of Quechua (Macchu Picchu loosely translated means Old Peak) and respected the social structure. In the city of Macchu Picchu it is very well seen how the agricultural people lived on the lower parts of the cliff, while the priests and the supreme chief had their houses on the peak.

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Incas were mostly growing corn and¬†taking care of llamas. Llamas are still wandering there around as a reminder on once vivid city. I got friends with this one but then she spit into my face! Whatever I did to her…

Little information describes human sacrifices at Machu Picchu. Animal, liquid and dirt sacrifices to the gods were much more common, made at the Altar of the Condor.

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Half a day I spent wandering around the city and finally decided to go down. As my ears changed the air pressure again, I decided to take the local’s advice and have a mate de coca¬†(esp¬†tea of coca leafs) to loose my ear plums. ūüôā

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Iguazu Falls: Argentinian and Brazilian side

South America is wild, diverse, strong, challenging, mesmerizing and musical. You can use all of these same attributes for the Falls of Iguazu. Why?

The Falls of Iguazu are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paran√°. They are the largest waterfalls system in the world producing huge amount of energy for the  Itaip√ļ hydroelectric plant.

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The power of the water…
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… and its sound!

My friends and I got there by local bus that drove us from Buenos Aires.

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We visited both the argentinian and brasilian side of the national park and the point where these two countries meet with Paraguay as well, the so-called Triple Frontier.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina

A cosmopolitan city that makes you dance and follow the rhythm of tango while walking the streets of it… literally! My friends and I found ourselves passing the center and jig while the local man plays his mini accordion and couples dance the most passionate dance of the lovers. They say Argentina is the Paris of South America. I don’t like these kind of associations but for sure, it is the most european south american city. Have a look!

Plaza del Mayo is the center where the popular Casa Rosada (esp The Pink House) is Рthe presidents palace. he characteristic color of the Casa Rosada is baby pink, and is considered one of the most emblematic buildings in Buenos Aires. I found it interesting because of much loved First Lady Eva Peron (mid 20th century). As the First Lady and the Chief of Cabinet of Social Care, Evita used to give her speeches from the balcony of the Casa Rosada on behalf of labor rights.

Caminito (spanish Little walkway)¬†is lively street museum in the neighborhood La Boca¬†where the football player Diego Maradona is coming from.¬†The place has a¬†cultural significance because it inspired the music for the famous tango “Caminito” (in 1926).

In the evening we walked down the port and enjoyed the lights and the wind coming from the Atlantic ocean. Of course, we tried delicious Argentinian plata: the Patagonian steak and ham, cheese and red wine. Oh, what a time of my life! ūüôā

The next we went a bit outside of Buenos Aires. We visited many of the deltas of the city that flows into Rio del Plata. We took a boat ride on Delta del Tigre and admired the private islands with fairytaled houses and gardens.

Castle 72

Verona, Italy

The city of love, where you can still find the places of the famous tragedy of Romeo and Juliette… My grandfather, brother and I visited it for one day and discovered all the romance of this city!

Frst we took a cup of nice italian coffee at the main Piazza Bra Рvery happening square, with the great view of the typical roman monument Arena. Soon we continued to visit other sites r like the Castel Vecchio Bridge over the Adige river . The bridge is from the 14 century and leads to the fortress of the medieval times.

 

Verona is an old city, and as the Romans conquered the Italian peninsula, thereby they started to build the city walls which were later in 15 century expanded and adjusted to its times. Later was the city walled in the 1800’s as a stronghold of the Austro-Hungarian empire’s Italian holdings.

 

The best we left for the end! The house of Juliette and her balcony where she was expressing her love to Romeo. In front of the house is her statue and Muro dell’ amore¬†(tal. Wall of love) where lovers leave their secret messages and love wishes.

giuliette-and-the-balcony-verona