Tag Archives: Old Town
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Thun

Thun is a small city of about 45,000 residents.  The area of what is now Thun was inhabited since the Neolithic age mid 300 BC. Like most Europe and Switzerland it was conquered by Rome in 58BC.  In 1819 a Military School was founded in the city, which later developed into the main military school in […]

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Lausanne Cathedral

The construction of the  Cathedral of Notre Dame of Lausanne began as early as 1170 by an original unknown master mason. Twenty years later another master mason restarted construction until 1215. Finally a third engineer, Jean Cotereel, completed the majority of the existing cathedral including a porch, and two towers, one of which is the current […]

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Lausanne

The city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva, 62 kilometres northeast of Geneva. Lausanne has a population  of 146,372, making it the fourth largest city in Switzerland. Lausanne is a focus of international sport, hosting the International Olympic Committee, which recognizes the city as the “Olympic Capital”. Since 1994 the Court of Arbitration for Sport and some 55 international sport associations […]

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Fribourg Cathedral

The Gothic Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Fribourg  dominates the centre of the medieval town. The main church was started in 1283 and completed by 1430. The tower was completed in 1490. It is 76 metres tall and houses 11 bells.  Originally a parish church, in 1945 it became the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lausanne, Geneva […]

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Fribourg

Fribourg is located on both sides of the river Saane, and is an important economic, administrative and educational centre on the cultural border between German and French Switzerland. Fribourg also has one of the most prestigious universities in Switzerland.  Its Old City, is one of the best maintained in Switzerland. There is a very old funicular […]

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Milan

Milan dates back to 400BC.  Today Milan is the 2nd largest metropolitan city in Italy. The population of the city proper is 1.3 million, while its urban area with a population estimated to be about 5.5 million  is the 5th-largest in the EU. Milan is the main industrial and financial centre of Italy, it has the 3rd-largest […]

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Ciao Roma!

The only thing on the agenda for today was to take it easy and relax and eat less. Failed on all three accounts.  We stopped at Eataly, an old train station that has been converted to a 5 story Italian Shop with 18 or so restaurants.  The store has pretty much everything you can imagine […]

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Villa Borghese

Our schedule for today is very relaxed.  A nice stroll through the Borghese gardens towards the Spanish Steps and a bit of shopping.  The Borgheses were  a wool merchant family from  Sienna.  The head of the family, Marcantonio, moved to Rome in 1541 and this Sienese family rapidly gained access to the upper echelons of Roman […]

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Revisiting Rome

After the morning museum trip and an extensive siesta from the unyielding and relentless heat, we set out for a lap around Rome.  Last time we were here the Trevi Fountain was being renovated and cleaned, which apparently is done once every 50 years or so. There are over 2000 fountains in Rome but this one […]

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MAXXI

MAXXI – National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, is a national museum of contemporary art and architecture in Rome and is about 5 min walk from the gorgeous apartment we are staying in. The museum was built on the old and decommissioned military compound site.  This spectacular building was designed by Zaha Hadid who passed away this […]

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Villa Cimbrone

Imagine owning the entire mountain top of a peninsula on the Amalfi coast.  Small villa, pool and massive gardens.  Originally built in the 11th century the villa was rebuilt and reconstructed over the years passing from one family to the next.  The most extensive rebuilding and renovation was done at the start of the 20th […]

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Marseille

Marseille is the oldest continuously inhabited city in France, it is a second largest city in France after Paris and the centre of the third largest metropolitan area in France after Paris and Lyon.  Humans have inhabited Marseille and its region for almost 30,000 years, it was the first Greek settlement in France.  It is […]

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Roussillon, Vaucluse

Roussillon is a tiny but a picturesque village of about 1300 residents.  It is famous for the rich deposits of ochre pigments, mostly red, yellow and orange,  found in the clay near the village. The large quarries of Roussillon were mined from the end of the 18th century until 1930. Roussillon is located within the […]

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Simiane-la-Rotonde

Today, after lazing around after breakfast, and then lounging by the pool for a couple of hours,  we decided to take a little lavender drive through Provence.  As it turns out we are a bit late to the lavender party as the first harvest has already been taken and the new  flowers are not going to […]

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Aix Cathedral

The cathedral is located on the route of the Roman road, the Via Aurelia. A fragment of a Roman wall and the columns of the baptistery seem to be the origin of the legend that the church was built on top of a Roman temple dedicated to Apollo.  According to the Christian tradition, the first […]

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Gordes

Second stop on the way to the Abbey is the village of Gordes.  We really happened upon it simply because of its spectacular and dominating hill-top presence.  Like most villages in this region, it has strong ties to the Roman empire.  First castle here was built in 1031 and the first abbey in 1148.  The […]

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More Paris

So another busy day in Paris. A bit of shopping, a lot of walking, a lots of snacking but generally relaxing.  Today we climbed 24 floors, mostly getting up to the Pantheon and walking up the hill  by Sorbonne, and walked about 23,600 steps which is about 13.6km.  Good workout!  

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Eiffel Tower

I think everyone knows Eiffel Tower.  It is the tallest building in Paris, it is a global cultural icon of France, and it is the most paid visited monument in the world.  It symbolizes freedom and beauty and everything that is French and Parisian.  Today, surrounded by a fence, and an army of security guards […]

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Bagno Vignoni

Our last tourist stop on this trip is the ancient village of Bagno Vignoni located in the heart of Tuscany, in the Val d’Orcia Natural Park.   At the heart of the village instead of the usual piazza is the “Square of sources” – a huge hot springs pool dating back to the sixteenth-century.  This spot was […]

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Back to Siena

This is our third visit to Siena.  We always find something new to see and to do. After two hectic days of driving around and looking at towns and villages today we are taking it easy.  This time around in Siena, we decided to climb the Torre del Mangia which is 88m in height – same […]

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Foiano della Chiana

Relatively speaking this is a large town compared to some of the smaller villages we visited.  There are about 10K people living in Foiano della Chiana today.  This is also an agricultural town which used to be surrounded by marshes on three sides, and not a hill top town like all others.  If it was […]

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Lucignano

Liciagnano is a remarkable preserved medieval walled village of about 3500 people.  It’s strategic high altitude and its location on the road between Sienna and Arezzo meant that between 1200 and 1500AD it was it was continually the subject of battles between these cities, involving also Florence and Perugia.  It is as beautiful as it is picturesque  and it […]

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Monte San Savino

Monte San Savino is a small town of about 8000 people and it is famous for two things.  First, it was one of the first urban settlements in Tuscany, Italy, which  originated around 1100.  Second Giulio Salvadori a poet and a literary critic was born there.  An interesting thing about Salvadori is that he covered to Christianity  in 1885. […]

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Back to Arezzo

Really we are back in Arezzo for views, wine, food and of course gelato.  We found an amazing wine bar with an even more amazing food. Luckily we got the second last table and had a phenomenal lunch.  There must have been no less than 25 to 30 people that were simply turned away because the […]

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Radicofani

Last on the list today was a town of Radicofani. About 1100 people live in this village with has been restored in the 1990.  The village is dominated by a massive fortress on the top of the hill with a 37m tower.  There are two sets of defence walls at the fortress one pentagonal and […]

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San Quirico d’Orcia

Today we started a medieval tour of Tuscany.  First stop a small town of San Quirico d’Orcia located half way between Pienza and Montalcino.  The town gain it’s notoriety in medieval times as it was on a pilgrimage route connecting  northern Europe to Rome.  Today the town is a host to a 3 day wine tasting extravaganza where 17 local […]

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Radda In Chianti

Located about 11 km from Castellini in Chianti is an even smaller village of Radda with 1700 inhabitants.  It still takes about 20 min to drive here because the roads are narrow and twisty and suicidal when wet.  The town is nice, the views simply spectacular and my shoes are still soaking wet, and I swear to […]

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Castellina in Chianti

Castellini is a small village in Tuscany located between Florence and Sienna.  The first settlement in the area dates back to 800BC and the current village dates back to 1100s. Perched on the top of a hill and surrounded by olive trees and vineyards this is a quaint little town with great wine, cheese and olive oils which […]

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Around Florence

Since we visited Florence before we were able to skip a lot of the major landmarks and attractions and simply concentrate on things we have not seen yet.  Having said that, it is nearly impossible to be in Florence and walk by the main cathedral and ignore it – it is simply stunning and quite spectacular. […]

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Pienza

Penza is a birthplace of Aeneas Salvias Piccolomini who later became Pople Pius II. Once he became Pope, Piccolomini had the entire village of Corsignano rebuilt and renamed to become an ideal Renaissance town. The place was intended as a retreat from Rome, and it represents the first application of humanist urban planning concepts.  The humanist […]

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Back to Amsterdam

WOW, it’s been quite a while since we posed anything on here.  Having said that we are back on the road again travelling a bit.  Short break, nine days in total – destination Tuscany.  We did what all responsible parents would naturally do, leave the kids in school and in charge of the house and […]

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St. Bavo’s Cathedral

The building is based upon the Chapel of St. John the Baptist, a primarily wooden construction; it was consecrated in 942 by Transmarus, Bishop of Tournai and Noyon. Traces of this original structure are evident in the cathedral’s crypt. The chapel was subsequently expanded in the Romanesque style in 1038. Some traces of this phase […]

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Ghent

Ghent started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe with some 60,000 people in 1300 AD, 70,000 in 1400 growing to 175,000 Shortly after 1500 AD. Today it is a busy city with a port […]

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Main Square

The Markt (“Market Square”) of Bruges is located in the heart of the city and covers an area of about 1 hectare. Some historical highlights around the square include the 12th-century belfry and the Provincial Court (originally the Waterhall, which in 1787 was demolished and replaced by a classicist building that from 1850 served as […]

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