Category: Europe

A Magical Christmas in Strasbourg

Strasbourg is home to one of the oldest and most famous Christmas Markets in the whole of Europe. From late November until the end of December, the city is transformed – and it now attracts around two million visitors each year!   This is a place where children’s eyes shine – a place where fairy tales could quite easily come to life…   In fact, lots of fairy tale characters grace the buildings here! Strasbourg considers itself ‘The Capital of Christmas’ – and on arrival at the futuristic train station, there are posters and billboards promoting ‘Strasbourg Capital de...

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Berlin Minimal – The Berlin Wall

Those of you born after 1989 may find the hard to believe but the in the post war era, during the so called Cold War, the ‘Two Tribes’ of Communism and Capitalism faced off against each other for decades.  Much of this time we lived under the fear of nuclear war between the super power blocks.    The greatest symbol of this Cold War was the Berlin Wall – a 140 kms long wall that was built in 1961 by the Soviet backed East German Government to stop the exodus of East Germans to the Western sector.  There is a long history to the wall – including the killing...

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Via Ferrata in the Dolomites

I’m walking along a small ledge, about a metre or so wide. To my right is a steep slope which levels off around 20 metres below me, and to left is a sheer drop which is probably a few hundred metres down but the cloud cover below me prevents me from seeing the full extent of the drop. In front of me is a bridge that looks like it has been put together during a period when sturdy Italian planks were in very short supply. I unclip one karabiner from the iron cable and re-clip it back on the...

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Hiking in the Dolomites

Italy is such a seductive place for the traveller. I don’t think that there is is another country that has so much beauty and difference in such a relatively small area. Be it the rolling hills of Tuscany, the dramatic Amalfi coast, the stunning great lakes of the North, the historic towns and cities, the food, the wine, or the beautiful people. La dolce vita. There is so much to enjoy in Italy and for walkers it even has the most beautiful mountains. The Dolomites are dramatic, spectacular, colourful, and should be on any hiker’s to do list, or...

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Get Active and Explore Catalunya – Go for it!

Déu n’hi do! Wow in Catalan. It’s a word I used a lot on a recent trip to Catalunya when experiencing what the great outdoors there has to offer, and if active holidays are your thing then then this is a place for you. I was based in and around the districts of Solsonès and Alt Urgell in Lleida. An area of rolling hills, castles, historic towns, and to the north the magnificent Catalan Pyrenees tempt you to explore them. This is a great area to visit if you love the countryside, nature, mountains, and activity holidays, and luckily...

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Experience Catalunya – Lleida and the Pyrenees

So what do you know about Catalunya? Many of you will have been to Barcelona and it’s a fabulous and vibrant city. Maybe you’ve taken a holiday in the Costa Brava and been fortunate enough to discover one of its beautiful and romantic coastal towns such as Calella de Palafrugell? Maybe south to the Costa Daurada? But what more? Well, there is plenty more to Catalunya if you are brave enough to hire a car and set off on a voyage of discovery. There are natural parks in every direction, fabulous wine regions to explore, and, of course, great...

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Cap Gris Nez and the Todt Battery, Northern France

My family and I were in France for a 4-day break, we drove along the beautiful coastal D940 route from the port of Calais after arriving early that morning on the Eurotunnel, our plan was to explore the coast, it’s villages and history. On route, we found many fascinating and scenic locations including Cap Gris Nez which literally translated is “Cape Grey Nose “and is the closest point across the channel from France to England, at a mere 34km (21 miles.) Having an early start to the day and plenty of time on our hands we decided to park up and go for a wander up to Cap Gris Nez which is in the Pas-de-Calais...

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Sicily: Street Food and Street Art

Sicily – the largest island in the Mediterranean – sits off the toe of Italy and is home to 5 million proud Sicilians.  It positively drips with history; with Greek temples, Roman aqueducts, Norman cathedrals and Arab Kasbahs dotted throughout the arid landscape. Palermo, Sicily’s capital city, is no exception – architecture buffs would be in their element, with countless churches, piazzas and TWO huge opera houses.   Alongside its buildings, Palermo is famous for its street food. Now I can appreciate a beautiful fountain but street food was what I was really looking forward to. With my Italian being as shaky as it is, I took some time before departure to learn the names...

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