The Mysterious Cromlech of Almendres

Possibly a Primitive Astronomical Observatory: Known popularly as the "hill of the stone amphorae", the Cromlech of Almendres is one of the earliest and most ancient megalithic complexes known to mankind. Situated in a cork grove near Guadalupe, west of the historic city of Évora, it is the … [Read more...]

Portugal’s Age of Discovery

An Amazing Period of Conquests and Discoveries:   In front of the Monument to the Discoveries is another of Lisbon's sightseeing attractions, a huge mariner's compass, cut into the stone pavement. The compass was a gift from South Africa in 1960 and the central map shows the routes of … [Read more...]

Monument to the Overseas Combatants – Lisbon

A Striking Monument on the Lisbon Waterfront:   One of the more recent additions of significant monuments to Lisbon's waterfront is the Monument to the Overseas Combatants. This eye-catching Lisbon attraction commemorates all the people involved in the wars that Portugal was involved with … [Read more...]

Alesund – Norway’s Art Nouveau Town

A Fairytale Town of Towers, Turrets and Ornaments: If you didn't know better, you'd think that this is a beautiful picture of model buildings assembled from a modelling kit, but this is Ålesund , Norway's Art Nouveau town. In January 1904 a devastating fire raged through Ålesund , burning … [Read more...]

Trondheim – Norway’s Coronation City

Norway's First Capital and a Pilgrimage Destination: We have a couple of hours in Trondheim, Norway's third largest city. Our ship is moored about 20 minutes walk out of town and a quick stride in the cold takes us to the central district. Lucky for us, most of Trondheim's sights are within … [Read more...]

Norwegian Christmas Traditions

A Truly White Christmas in Norway: Christmas is a very special time for Norwegians and in many parts of the country and along the remote coastal towns it is still celebrated in a traditional way with families. All work cease on the afternoon of Christmas Eve and the family put on their finery … [Read more...]

Heidelberg’s Atmospheric Weihnachtsmarkt

Getting into the mood for the Yuletide Season at Heidelberg Weihnachtsmarkt: It's close to dinnertime when our coach pulls into Heidelberg. It's pitch dark and we're dropped off a little distance from the Christmas market as the coach can't get into the Old Town. It's brrrrh cold...and part of … [Read more...]

Christmas Markets in Innsbruck

Christmas Carols from the Golden Roof: Innsbruck is a really charming town at any time of the year, but at Christmas it's magic.  It has a full-scale Christmas market, the main one being in the historic Old Town (Altstadt), right in front of the landmark Golden Roof - Innsbruck's greatest … [Read more...]

Livadia (White) Palace, Yalta Conference, Yalta

Livadia Palace - Site of the 1945 Yalta Conference: Anyone interested in WWII history will have heard of the 1945 Yalta (or Crimean) Conference.  It was here at the Livadia Palace that the Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met to negotiate how post-war Europe  was to be carved up. Livadia is a … [Read more...]

Swallow’s Nest or Castle of Love in Yalta

Yalta's Maya Lastochka - A Famous Castle of Love: In Yalta, its famous Swallow’s Nest is not a bird's nest, but rather a Love Nest, built by Baron von Steingel for his ballerina mistress. It seems that it was a trend at that time for men of standing to have ballerinas as mistresses, so the good … [Read more...]