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Showing posts with the label palace

Gamla Stan: Stockholm's Medieval Quarter

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The Gamla Stan is Stockholm's old town, located on the island of Stadsholmen, full of medieval buildings, cobblestone streets, and picturesque alleyways. If you have but a few hours to spare in this majestic city, every minute of it spent here is a minute worth spent.

* When in Stockholm, to find one's bearings, one must look to the sky.

The Portuguese Palace of Sintra

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Sintra is one of Portugal's most visited (and Instagram featured) tourist destinations! 
A triumph of Romanticist architecture, the town is stocked-full of areas to explore: palaces, ruins, historic estates, villas, gardens, cafes, and Michelin star restaurants.

* And from this view, we can see why Sintra is one of the Iberian peninsula's most sought after real estate markets; home of some of the wealthiest people in the European continent!

The Kremlin: Home of Vladimir Putin

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At the very heart of the beast that was the Soviet Union stands the fortified complex known as the Kremlin. Separated from Moscow's iconic Red Square by thick impenetrable walls, the Kremlin was for Centuries the official residence of the Russian Tsars.

* And this fine tradition continues to this day, as the Kremlin is the home of Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation. He lives in the Kremlin Senate building, which is obviously the most secure part of the fortress.

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.

Copenhagen: From Viking Village to Royal Capital

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Copenhagen.
What started as a small Viking fishing village eventually grew to become the seat of the Dano-Norwegian Empire, and current capital of Denmark.
Now while Denmark is well-known for being one of the world leaders in design, clean energy, and sustainability, as well as liberalism, human rights, and modernism (free education, healthcare, and social security for all), its capital contains multiple treasures to its glorious royal past!

* Like most people from Scandinavia (the people formerly known as the Vikings), the Danes LOVE the water. One of Copenhagen's most picturesque spots is the waterfront area known as the Nyhavn.

When All The Tourists Have Gone Away

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...Venice becomes eerily beautiful!

* People like to joke that Venice is one giant tourist trap!

Palazzo Ducale - The Doge's Palace

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The Doge was the highest official in the once Most Serene Republic of Venice; having total control of the city-state and its global empire for over 1,100 years

* And like most European royal families, the Doge lived in style!

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..

Hitler's Munich and the Third Reich Tour

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Munich, apart from being historical capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria, is also infamous for being the birthplace of the Nazi Party. It was in these streets, after the humiliating defeat at the hands of the Allies during World War I, that disenfranchised and unemployed young men started meeting regularly to debate and argue about the problems of the German people. Munich at this time was very politically charged, with communists, anarchists, liberals, and fascists arguing incessantly. 
For most of the old photos found on this entry, a HUGE thanks to our friends over at http://www.thirdreichruins.com/munich.htm


* Munich's Town Hall, a beautiful landmark defaced by the disgraceful Nazi Swastika banner.

The Palaces of Vienna - Belvedere and Schonbrunn

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After experiencing the wonders and glory of Imperial Vienna, we proceeded to visit some of the other homes of the Habsburg monarchs. Seeing as how the Family at one point ruled ALL of continental Europe, save for France, their homes around Vienna are extravagantly and gloriously decorated.

* The Belvedere is this beautiful, historic building complex that once served as the summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy. A brilliant commander and statesman, Eugene fought wars against the French and Ottomans, and was referred to by Napoleon himself as one of the seven greatest commanders in history.

A Walk Around Imperial Vienna - Legacy of the Habsburgs

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Vienna was the crown jewel and capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Much more than that though, Vienna was the home of the House of Habsburg, one of Europe's most important royal houses.
How important were they? Well the Holy Roman Emperor (ruler of all the Germanic States) from 1438 to 1740 was a member of the Habsburg Dynasty, and the Family ruled pretty much the whole of Continental Europe at one point, save for the territory of the Kingdom of France.
Because of this, Vienna is a city of great cultural, architectural, and historical significance as evidenced by how beautifully well planned everything is.

* Most of Vienna's imperial sights can be found along the Ringstrasse, a circular road which was built to replace the city walls, using money paid by the English for the safe release of King Richard the Lionheart (from the Crusades), who was held hostage by the Austrians.

10 War Memorials and Monuments To See in Warsaw

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Well-rested after a long day of flying and the initial exploration of the city, the newlyweds woke up refreshed and proceeded to tour the highlights of Warsaw's imperial history of warfare where they learned about all the tragedies that befell the Polish people in the 20th Century.

* Easily one of the most beautiful things seen this whole trip was the monument of Frederic Chopin at Lazienki Park. Every Sunday, a pianist performs free recitals of his compositions.

Saying Hello To Will, Kate and George at Kensington Palace

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Continuing on my tour of British Royal Residences, I was able to spend a couple of hours in Kensington Palace. While the Queen certainly favors Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace as her official residences, Kensington Palace was the long-time home of Princess Diana and currently serves as home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) and their son, George.


* Some nice and quaint-looking buildings greeted us upon exiting the High Street Kensington tube station. It soon became apparent that we were walking along a more affluent side of town!

Big Boy at Big Ben, Parliament and Whitehall

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Across the river from the London Eye stands Westminster, England's political and religious center. Since the 11th Century, Westminster has proudly been the center of power for the English people from the moment King Canute built his palace here and his successor, Edward the Confessor, founded Westminster Abbey right beside it. On a regular day, expect to see crowds of civil servants and tourists coexisting in this tiny yet hallowed area.


* Taken from Parliament Square is this shot of Parliament on the right and the Norman Shaw Buildings, the original site of the famous Scotland Yard synonymous with Sherlock Holmes and detective work, on the left.

Saying Hello To the Queen at Buckingham Palace

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Being a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, the movie Eurotrip, British musicians such as the Beatles, Coldplay etc, and British imperial history, I knew that London would be the pinnacle of any European sojourn. There are just too many places here that I wanted to see! However to have the chance to visit the city twice in two years (one with family in 2012, the other for work in 2013), gave me a good appreciation of what this city has to offer.

And like any traveler in the good old days, I did what any newcomer in a strange locale was expected to first do upon arriving, and that is topay my respects to the Sovereign.


Buckingham Palace is known the world over as the official residence of the British Monarchy. As you can see in the succeeding photographs, there is a huge differencebetween the size of the crowd last year (2012) and this year (2013). When I visited last year, it was about the time that the London Olympics had just ended and for some reason, there was a shortage of tourists in…

Visiting King Louis at the Chateau de Versailles

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Being a fan of the 90’s Three Musketeer films (which starred Chris O’Donnel, a sober Charlie Sheen, and Jack Bauer himself, Kiefer Sutherland; and later on Leonardo DiCaprio), I always wanted to see where the Musketeers had faithfully served the King and fought against the forces of the evil Cardinal Richelieu, as masterfully played by Tim Curry.

That being said, I was thrilled at the chance to visit the Chateau de Versailles, one of the most beautiful and famous palaces in history.


* A statue of Louis XIV on horseback can be found on the very front of the castle grounds, looking all gangsta and victorious. Louis XIV, known as the Sun King and Louis the Great, was the King of France and Navarre for 72 years: the record for longest reign ever!

He was so old when he died, that his great-grandson inherited the throne as Louis’ son and two grandsons were already dead! Having won three major wars (against Germany, Spain and the Dutch), Louis was king during France’s highest point in histo…

Glitzy Monte-Carlo in Monaco

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The second stop on our cruise was the glamorous Monaco. Known as the playground of the rich and famous, Monaco is the smallest country in the world next to the Vatican.  But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in style with almost everyone wearing something branded, including the police!

Like sur Mer, this was a light, relaxed day, which really helped with my jetlag. Well that and all the cappuccinos and espresso shots that my cousins and I were taking!

The only downside to this stop was that it was raining non-stop the whole day. Ergo, I couldn’t take pictures of the beautiful parks, architecture and cars to protect my camera from the elements.  And when I say cars, I mean cars like the Bugatti Veyron which is apparently a common sight in this place and NOWHERE to be found back home in Manila.



* Casino de Monte Carlo which I mistakenly thought was the setting of my favorite James Bond movie, Casino Royale (sorry Skyfall fans!!)  Too bad it was raining pretty hard; would have been…