Christmas Festival in Aix-en-Provence

Aix's Interesting Christmas Festival: The town of Aix-en-Provence has an interesting Christmas festival.  Each year in December, the Festival of New Oil takes place at the "Place de la Rotonde" to celebrate the season's new olive oil and fresh truffles. The first pressing of the year's olives … [Read more...]

Biblioteca Joanina – a Priceless Library

Coimbra University's Library is a National Monument: Once referred to as "The House of the Bookshop" Coimbra University's library is one of the top five libraries in the world. Now called Biblioteca Joanina, this Baroque library was built between 1717 and 1728, during the reign of King João V … [Read more...]

Coimbra University – Coimbra

Portugal's Oldest and Largest University: There's a buzz about Coimbra University today. We arrive on its orientation day and there's a sense of excitement as new students come to check out their new campus, attend inductions and to get some tips from senior students. Universidade de … [Read more...]

Church of the Most Holy Trinity – Fatima Shrine

Portugal's Largest Church: If you haven't been to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima in Fátima in recent years, you'll be surprised at the new Church of the Most Holy Trinity. Consecrated on October 12, 2007, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the apparitions of Fátima, this is now … [Read more...]

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...]