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Showing posts with the label castle

Cabo Da Roca: The End of the World and Other Portuguese Towns

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Aside form being home to imperial monuments and maritime wonders, Lisbon is also the entry point to several charming towns and sights. And like the rest of Western Europe, roads are organized and well-maintained, transportation is easy to find, and the spirit of adventure is high.

* Cabo da Roca, apart from being one of the most dramatic looking coastlines I have ever seen, is more famously known as the westernmost point of Europe.

The Royal Castles and Palaces of Denmark

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Denmark, like many of the former great European powers, is a monarchy.  And as such, Denmark's main (and largest) island, Zealand, is dotted with gorgeous Royal Castles.

* Such as the incredible, Frederiksborg Castle, the largest Renaissance castle in all of Scandinavia.

Prague the Mighty - Castle Complex and St. Vitus Cathedral

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Apart from being the home to the Kings of Bohemia, several Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, and Presidents of Czechoslovakia, Prague Castle also has the distinction of being the largest ancient castle in the world.

* Nothing screams WELCOME than two giant sculptures of legendary characters beating their foes to a bloody pulp.

The Castles of Mad King Ludwig - Neuschwanstein

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The high point of a traveler's journey along the Romantic Road is seeing the majestic castles of King Ludwig II: the Linderhof and Neuschwanstein.  No wonder a lot of our beloved childhood fairy tales come from this part of the world as there is an ample supply of folklore, scenery, and structures to encourage these!
Unfortunately, no photos are allowed inside any of the castles, credit is given to images not taken personally. * The Linderhof Palace! While we were expecting a palace of such beauty..

Harburg - A Medieval Castle on Germany's Romantic Road

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The Romantic Road is a 350 km highway crossing numerous Bavarian cities and towns highlighting the quintessential Germanic cultural experience. Lined with castles, walls, dense forests, rolling hills, and charming villages straight out of a Brothers Grimm fairytale, the Road is one of Germany's most popular tourist attractions.

* A shot of the Walls of Harburg, one of the largest and best preserved castles in Germania.

Wawel Hill - Castle, Cathedral, and Crypt of the Polish Kings

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Following our morning in the Underground Salt Cathedral of Wieliczka, we decided to go the other direction in the afternoon by going uphill to learn more about the Kings and Queens of the Polish people.
Wawel Hill, situated on the banks of the fabled Vistula River, is a castle complex built in the 8th Century serving as the political center of the Polish people for over a millennium. The complex includes the Royal Castle and Wawel Cathedral, which contains the mausoleum of the Polish Monarchs.

* The astounding view of the Wawel Cathedral grounds! The castle complex has often been described by observers as one of the most fascinating of all European castles.

Warsaw Castle Square and Old Town

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One of the reasons why I wanted to explore Central and Eastern Europe was to increase my knowledge of European History, particularly with the time period of the Dark Ages. This is the period when various kingdoms, duchies, and principalities popped up, in, and around the continent; all interconnected by power plays, fixed marriages and politics. Before this trip, I had zero knowledge about the Polish Kings and Queens and I was very astonished to learn about how interwoven this line was with the monarchies of Russia (Novgorod), Austria, Prussia and Sweden.

* Definitely, the most lively and colorful area in Warsaw is its Castle Square. A popular meeting place for tourists and locals, the area is full of restaurants, cafes, public performers and souvenir stands. It is also very safe especially when compared to squares in other cities (Rome, Paris, Barcelona etc). Since Warsaw was totally destroyed by the Nazis, the Poles actually recreated everything you see here by using old paintings …

Windsor Castle - A Lovely, Livable, Fortress

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While Buckingham Palace is designated as the Monarch's official residence, the current Queen, Elizabeth II, usually spends her weekends in Windsor Castle. Built by William the Conqueror(the same guy who built the Tower of London) in 1080, the Castle is the longest-occupied palace in all of Europewhose purpose was to guard the Western approach to London with its strategically important location along the River Thames.


* To get to Windsor, one has to take a 30-minute train ride to the county of Berkshire via the London Paddington Station. Thanks to the London Pass, we didn't have to worry about any lines or payment! Paddington is also the line servicing the cities of Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Oxford and Worcester, thus making this a very busy place for travelers. 

Laying Siege to the Tower of London

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Of all the sights in London, only one place can claim to be as historically significant as it is significantly haunted. Built in 1078 by the Norman King, William the Conqueror, the Tower of London has served as a royal palace, armory, treasury, zoo and most famously, a prison where some of the most famous characters in English history have been imprisoned, tortured and executed. Today, the fortress is one of London's most famous tourists spots, as it also houses the Crown Jewels of the UK.


* After getting of the Tower Hill Tube Station, expect to take a 15 minute pleasant stroll towards the main entrance of the Tower.

Haggis, Scotch and Bagpipes at Ballindalloch Castle

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As an added bonus to what was already an awesome trip, we were able to visit an honest-to-goodness Scottish castle! Built in 1546, Ballindalloch, known affectionately as the Pearl of the North, is one of the more beautiful and romantic-looking castles in Scotland. Having been continuously occupied by the Macpherson-Grant family since its inception, the estate and its grounds are now open to the public as a museum, distillery, public garden, golf course, dog walking park and ranch serving its own renowned Angus beef.



* Driving by Lord of the Rings-esquelandscapes on the way to the castle. I'm pretty sure that there are orcs / barbarians / vikings hiding in that forest.


A Wedding in Tuscany - Castello di Vincigliata

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Being the fan of fairy tales and Disney movies that she is, my cousin, Rachel, decided to get married in an actual medieval castle. And since she is one of my closest female cousins (both in friendship and in age), I was stoked to be there!

Originally built in the 13th Century and located a few miles from Florence in the Fiesole Hill, the Castello di Vincigliata has been a family stronghold, a glass production center and a prisoner-of-war camp during World War II before finally settling down to it’s most fitting role, a wedding venue.



But it’s not just some medieval castle, it’s a haunted medieval castle!


Walls of Jerusalem Old City

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JERUSALEM.

"How can you be in hell, when you’re in my heart."- Balian of Ibelin

Picture of the outer wall of the old city of Jerusalem, taken during my solo pilgrim walk from the hotel last night (sorry Mom & Mon).  Blog entry to follow.