A Travellerspoint blog

August 2018

Vianden is THE castle to visit in Luxembourg

The most spectacular and famous castle in Luxembourg is Vianden in a town of the same name; it ranks among the best in Europe with a cute town to boot

The most spectacular and famous castle in Luxembourg is Vianden in a town of the same name; it ranks among the best in Europe with a cute town to boot

Victor Hugo sent a letter from Vianden in 1871 talking about the United States of Europe, some 85 years before the EU became a reality

Victor Hugo sent a letter from Vianden in 1871 talking about the United States of Europe, some 85 years before the EU became a reality

The Trinitarian Church dates from 1248 and is one of the most important churches in the country; the church practically juts into the main road

The Trinitarian Church dates from 1248 and is one of the most important churches in the country; the church practically juts into the main road

The Knight's Hall had a ceiling originally made of slate which collapsed in 1847; the signage in the castle was only in German and French

The Knight's Hall had a ceiling originally made of slate which collapsed in 1847; the signage in the castle was only in German and French

Every inch of the castle and grounds was covered during the Medieval Festival; tons of stuff to buy as well as demonstrations of various craftsmen

Every inch of the castle and grounds was covered during the Medieval Festival; tons of stuff to buy as well as demonstrations of various craftsmen

I wonder if this great horned owl can smell the PowerBar in my backpack; you could pay to have the owl perch on your arm (I'd rather the owl be in the wild!)

I wonder if this great horned owl can smell the PowerBar in my backpack; you could pay to have the owl perch on your arm (I'd rather the owl be in the wild!)

The main bedroom was positioned on the sunny side of the castle; it had a fireplace and 6 small windows

The main bedroom was positioned on the sunny side of the castle; it had a fireplace and 6 small windows

Vianden is remembered as the site of multiple battles in World War II; in November 1944 it saw fierce combat between the Luxembourg Resistance and German forces; it was the last place in Luxembourg to be freed from the Germans in February 1945

Vianden is remembered as the site of multiple battles in World War II; in November 1944 it saw fierce combat between the Luxembourg Resistance and German forces; it was the last place in Luxembourg to be freed from the Germans in February 1945

The Byzantine Gallery is almost 30 meters long; there's even a chairlift that travels from across the river to just above the castle (the lines were super long)

The Byzantine Gallery is almost 30 meters long; there's even a chairlift that travels from across the river to just above the castle (the lines were super long)

Vianden is one of the many tourist centers in Luxembourg; the castle draws 200,000  visitors a year, mainly from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands

Vianden is one of the many tourist centers in Luxembourg; the castle draws 200,000+ visitors a year, mainly from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands

Luxembourg is the only Grand Duchy in the world which means they have a Grand Duke and Grand Duchess instead of a king and queen

Luxembourg is the only Grand Duchy in the world which means they have a Grand Duke and Grand Duchess instead of a king and queen

Vianden possesses one of the oldest charters in Europe, granted in 1308 by Philip II, count of Vianden, from whom the family of Nassau-Vianden sprang, and who was consequently the ancestor of William of Orange

Vianden possesses one of the oldest charters in Europe, granted in 1308 by Philip II, count of Vianden, from whom the family of Nassau-Vianden sprang, and who was consequently the ancestor of William of Orange

In addition to the Medieval Festival, there was another party next to city hall with a band and plenty of food to buy; within the valley, I could hear the band everywhere I went

In addition to the Medieval Festival, there was another party next to city hall with a band and plenty of food to buy; within the valley, I could hear the band everywhere I went

This 4 story belfry was built as a watchtower in 1603; unfortunately, you can't climb it but the views of the town from the base were awesome

This 4 story belfry was built as a watchtower in 1603; unfortunately, you can't climb it but the views of the town from the base were awesome

Victor Hugo lived in this house for 3 months in 1871 during his exile from France; it's on the river and has the best view of the castle in town

Victor Hugo lived in this house for 3 months in 1871 during his exile from France; it's on the river and has the best view of the castle in town

St. Nicholas Church, originally built in 1252, was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1724; it was the church for people on the far side of the river from the castle

St. Nicholas Church, originally built in 1252, was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1724; it was the church for people on the far side of the river from the castle

The castle was built in Romanesque style from the 11th to 14th centuries; Gothic transformations and trimmings were added at the end of this period; a Renaissance mansion was added in the 17th century

The castle was built in Romanesque style from the 11th to 14th centuries; Gothic transformations and trimmings were added at the end of this period; a Renaissance mansion was added in the 17th century

This 1813 pistol was among the many weapons displayed; the typical suits of armor, swords and guns kept the young boys attentive

This 1813 pistol was among the many weapons displayed; the typical suits of armor, swords and guns kept the young boys attentive

My timing coincided with the Medieval Festival which attracted huge crowds; when I left there was a long line of people waiting to buy tickets to enter the castle

My timing coincided with the Medieval Festival which attracted huge crowds; when I left there was a long line of people waiting to buy tickets to enter the castle

The castle had fallen into ruin when it was purchased in 1827 with the intent to rebuild it; multiple wars hindered efforts with the castle not being fully restored until 1990

The castle had fallen into ruin when it was purchased in 1827 with the intent to rebuild it; multiple wars hindered efforts with the castle not being fully restored until 1990

It was toasty when I visited but I guess it gets cold here; photos I've seen of the country in fall are magnificent when the leaves change color

It was toasty when I visited but I guess it gets cold here; photos I've seen of the country in fall are magnificent when the leaves change color

Vianden Castle had an application pending which would have made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site but it was frozen until some buildings in town were repaired and more community involvement obtained

Vianden Castle had an application pending which would have made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site but it was frozen until some buildings in town were repaired and more community involvement obtained

The banquet hall with a fireplace from 1450; you wonder how they've figured out what each room was used for centuries ago

The banquet hall with a fireplace from 1450; you wonder how they've figured out what each room was used for centuries ago

The white house at the end of the bridge is the Victor Hugo Museum; the house tells his life story and contains original manuscripts and documents

The white house at the end of the bridge is the Victor Hugo Museum; the house tells his life story and contains original manuscripts and documents

During the Second World War, in the Battle of Vianden which took place on November 19, 1944, the castle was ably defended against the Waffen-SS by members of the Luxembourgish anti-Nazi resistance

During the Second World War, in the Battle of Vianden which took place on November 19, 1944, the castle was ably defended against the Waffen-SS by members of the Luxembourgish anti-Nazi resistance

Vianden Castle is perched above the Our River which runs through the town of 1800; the river is dammed just outside of town

Vianden Castle is perched above the Our River which runs through the town of 1800; the river is dammed just outside of town

Vianden Castle is the most impressive castle in Luxembourg; it is also very popular with tourists so parking can be a challenge

Vianden Castle is the most impressive castle in Luxembourg; it is also very popular with tourists so parking can be a challenge

The residential part of Vianden primarily lines the riverfront streets on either side of the Our River; there were tiny fish in the shallow river

The residential part of Vianden primarily lines the riverfront streets on either side of the Our River; there were tiny fish in the shallow river

The dining hall; Luxembourg is slightly smaller than Rhode Island so it isn't as tiny as many people think

The dining hall; Luxembourg is slightly smaller than Rhode Island so it isn't as tiny as many people think

The Grand Kitchen measures 10 meters by 8 meters and is quartered by powerful stone arches; the castle was used in the movies George and the Dragon and Shadow of the Vampire

The Grand Kitchen measures 10 meters by 8 meters and is quartered by powerful stone arches; the castle was used in the movies George and the Dragon and Shadow of the Vampire

Vianden Castle is one of the largest fortified castles west of the Rhine River

Vianden Castle is one of the largest fortified castles west of the Rhine River

Posted by RNRiggins 07:01 Comments (0)

So much to see in impressive & under-rated Munich

Karlstor was built around 1300 and is one of the three remaining Gothic town gates (there were originally five); it now connects the central pedestrian area with the train station (where Bob and David met me)

Karlstor was built around 1300 and is one of the three remaining Gothic town gates (there were originally five); it now connects the central pedestrian area with the train station (where Bob and David met me)

The 820-foot Olympic tower; Frank Shorter, who was actually born in Munich, won the marathon at the 1972 Olympics which is credited with igniting the running boom in the United States in the 1970s

The 820-foot Olympic tower; Frank Shorter, who was actually born in Munich, won the marathon at the 1972 Olympics which is credited with igniting the running boom in the United States in the 1970s

You could walk up 300  steps to the top of St. Peter's Church or, do like we did and, ride the elevator to the top of New City Hall; the two viewpoints are close together on opposing sides of the Marienplatz

You could walk up 300+ steps to the top of St. Peter's Church or, do like we did and, ride the elevator to the top of New City Hall; the two viewpoints are close together on opposing sides of the Marienplatz

The New Town Hall is famous for its glockenspiel which, performed 3 times a day, has a carillon accompanying colorful figures that spin and dance to the story of a 1568 wedding here

The New Town Hall is famous for its glockenspiel which, performed 3 times a day, has a carillon accompanying colorful figures that spin and dance to the story of a 1568 wedding here

My favorite church is this over-the-top, Baroque masterpiece that is only 30 feet wide; Asam Church was completed in 1740 by 2 architect brothers who used it to promote their work

My favorite church is this over-the-top, Baroque masterpiece that is only 30 feet wide; Asam Church was completed in 1740 by 2 architect brothers who used it to promote their work

Completed in 1488, Frauenkirche is Munich's Cathedral and was home church to future Pope Benedict XVI; the twin onion domes are a symbol of the city and emulated at churches across Bavaria

Completed in 1488, Frauenkirche is Munich's Cathedral and was home church to future Pope Benedict XVI; the twin onion domes are a symbol of the city and emulated at churches across Bavaria

The hofgarten's 400 year old centerpiece is a Renaissane-style temple; the garden was built by the Wittelsbachs as their own private backyard for the Residenz

The hofgarten's 400 year old centerpiece is a Renaissane-style temple; the garden was built by the Wittelsbachs as their own private backyard for the Residenz

The Bavarian State Chancellery, home of the Bavaria Minister-President, was just one of many buildings that make Munich seem more like a national capital than just the capital of one German state

The Bavarian State Chancellery, home of the Bavaria Minister-President, was just one of many buildings that make Munich seem more like a national capital than just the capital of one German state

The Old Town Hall (1392) is the white building and bell tower that anchors one end of the Marienplatz; it served as home of the Munich City Council until 1874

The Old Town Hall (1392) is the white building and bell tower that anchors one end of the Marienplatz; it served as home of the Munich City Council until 1874

The world's best known river surfing spot, the Eisbach wave, let one surfer at a time try his or her skills for a few seconds; reminded me of bull riding except the bell never rings

The world's best known river surfing spot, the Eisbach wave, let one surfer at a time try his or her skills for a few seconds; reminded me of bull riding except the bell never rings

The Catholic Parish and University Church St. Louis, called Ludwigskirche, is a monumental church in neo-Romanesque style with the second-largest altar fresco in the world

The Catholic Parish and University Church St. Louis, called Ludwigskirche, is a monumental church in neo-Romanesque style with the second-largest altar fresco in the world

It was great spending a day and a half with Bob and David in Munich!; the Nazi Party was founded here in 1919 and the first concentration camp opened here (Dachau) in 1933

It was great spending a day and a half with Bob and David in Munich!; the Nazi Party was founded here in 1919 and the first concentration camp opened here (Dachau) in 1933

In the center of Marienplatz, one of the city's main squares, is a golden statue of the Virgin Mary from 1590; this area survived the bombs from World War II

In the center of Marienplatz, one of the city's main squares, is a golden statue of the Virgin Mary from 1590; this area survived the bombs from World War II

High-Baroque Theatine Church, completed in 1690, is the final resting place for 16 members of the Bavarian Royal Family including King Maximillian II who died in 1864

High-Baroque Theatine Church, completed in 1690, is the final resting place for 16 members of the Bavarian Royal Family including King Maximillian II who died in 1864

This monumental loggia, Feldherrnhalle, was commissioned by King Ludwig I in 1841; it was the site of the brief battle that ended Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch in 1923

This monumental loggia, Feldherrnhalle, was commissioned by King Ludwig I in 1841; it was the site of the brief battle that ended Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch in 1923

Bikes seemed to be the best way to get around Munich; there were plenty of beater bikes and racing bikes but this was the only wooden bike I saw

Bikes seemed to be the best way to get around Munich; there were plenty of beater bikes and racing bikes but this was the only wooden bike I saw

The National Theatre is a historic opera house, home of the Bavarian State Opera, Bavarian State Orchestra and the Bavarian State Ballet

The National Theatre is a historic opera house, home of the Bavarian State Opera, Bavarian State Orchestra and the Bavarian State Ballet

The 1337 Isartor is the best preserved remaining city gate that was part of the second city wall built around Munich from 1285-1337

The 1337 Isartor is the best preserved remaining city gate that was part of the second city wall built around Munich from 1285-1337

The Hofbrauhaus is the world's most famous beer hall; built in 1880, this restaurant seats 5000 and was very busy on the weekday I walked through

The Hofbrauhaus is the world's most famous beer hall; built in 1880, this restaurant seats 5000 and was very busy on the weekday I walked through

St, Michael's Church was one of the first great Renaissance buildings north of the Alps when it was built in the late 1500s; mad King Ludwig II is buried in the crypt

St, Michael's Church was one of the first great Renaissance buildings north of the Alps when it was built in the late 1500s; mad King Ludwig II is buried in the crypt

Munich has a wealth of public art but much of it is rather conventional; I found this piece eye-catching and much better than many of the museum pieces here

Munich has a wealth of public art but much of it is rather conventional; I found this piece eye-catching and much better than many of the museum pieces here

From the 13th to the 15th centuries, the Alte Hof was the residence of the Wittelsbachs; it became the first fixed imperial seat of government in Germany

From the 13th to the 15th centuries, the Alte Hof was the residence of the Wittelsbachs; it became the first fixed imperial seat of government in Germany

I think this building is just challenging Seth Curry; I'd like to see someone make this shot

I think this building is just challenging Seth Curry; I'd like to see someone make this shot

The Nazi Documentation Center details Munich's history as the birthplace of Nazism; at the height of Hitler's power more than 50 buildings in the area housed Nazi offices

The Nazi Documentation Center details Munich's history as the birthplace of Nazism; at the height of Hitler's power more than 50 buildings in the area housed Nazi offices

The Richard Strauss Fountain honors one of Munich's favorite sons and his most celebrated work, Salome; the falling water looks like a wet veil portraying the final dance in the opera called the Dance of the Seven Veils

The Richard Strauss Fountain honors one of Munich's favorite sons and his most celebrated work, Salome; the falling water looks like a wet veil portraying the final dance in the opera called the Dance of the Seven Veils

This is the building where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed at the 1972 Olympics by Black September Palestinian terrorists; the former Olympic village is now apartments

This is the building where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed at the 1972 Olympics by Black September Palestinian terrorists; the former Olympic village is now apartments

BMW World, adjacent to Olympic Park and BMW headquarters, showcases the automakers different brands and future designs; Bob and David visited before my arrival and said it was definitely worth seeing

BMW World, adjacent to Olympic Park and BMW headquarters, showcases the automakers different brands and future designs; Bob and David visited before my arrival and said it was definitely worth seeing

Olympic Park is a rarity in that it is a wildly successful destination; there is an amusement park, aquarium, lake, Olympic tower, swimming hall, soccer venues, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts and just tons of people

Olympic Park is a rarity in that it is a wildly successful destination; there is an amusement park, aquarium, lake, Olympic tower, swimming hall, soccer venues, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts and just tons of people

The Glyptothek is a museum which was commissioned by the Bavarian King Ludwig I to house his collection of Greek and Roman sculptures; you could spend weeks just visiting the many museums here

The Glyptothek is a museum which was commissioned by the Bavarian King Ludwig I to house his collection of Greek and Roman sculptures; you could spend weeks just visiting the many museums here

Konigsplatz was built in the style of European Neoclassicism in the 19th century; the area around Königsplatz is today the home to the Kunstareal, Munich's gallery and museum quarter

Konigsplatz was built in the style of European Neoclassicism in the 19th century; the area around Königsplatz is today the home to the Kunstareal, Munich's gallery and museum quarter

Waldi was the first ever officially named Olympic mascot; it seems only appropriate that a dachshund was chosen for the Munich Games

Waldi was the first ever officially named Olympic mascot; it seems only appropriate that a dachshund was chosen for the Munich Games

This neo-classical building, the State Collection of Antiquities, at Königsplatz with Corinthian columns was established in 1848 as a counterpart to the opposite Glyptothek

This neo-classical building, the State Collection of Antiquities, at Königsplatz with Corinthian columns was established in 1848 as a counterpart to the opposite Glyptothek

This 29 meter tall obelisk at Karolinenplatz is a memorial for the soldiers of the Bavarian army who fell in Napoleon's Russian campaign; of 30000 soldiers who left only 2000 returned

This 29 meter tall obelisk at Karolinenplatz is a memorial for the soldiers of the Bavarian army who fell in Napoleon's Russian campaign; of 30000 soldiers who left only 2000 returned

From the Olympic Tower a great view of all things BMW - their world headquarters in the upper right, BMW World for visitors at the bottom and a manufacturing plant

From the Olympic Tower a great view of all things BMW - their world headquarters in the upper right, BMW World for visitors at the bottom and a manufacturing plant

I've always liked the idea and beauty of allotment gardens where city folk have a patch of land to grow their own produce; they originated with the Industrial Revolution and rapid urbanization which led to food shortages

I've always liked the idea and beauty of allotment gardens where city folk have a patch of land to grow their own produce; they originated with the Industrial Revolution and rapid urbanization which led to food shortages

Sendlinger Tor was part of the fortified wall that encircled the city in the 14th century; most of the best sights are within the old walls which is an easily managed area on foot

Sendlinger Tor was part of the fortified wall that encircled the city in the 14th century; most of the best sights are within the old walls which is an easily managed area on foot

The Asam brothers squeezed their church into the narrow space between their home and another building; their style is uplifting compared to the staid interiors of the older churches in Munich

The Asam brothers squeezed their church into the narrow space between their home and another building; their style is uplifting compared to the staid interiors of the older churches in Munich

Before World War II, Munich had around 10000 Jews; Hitler tore down their synagogue and killed most of them but in 2006 a new synagogue was built and there are now about 10000 Jews in the city

Before World War II, Munich had around 10000 Jews; Hitler tore down their synagogue and killed most of them but in 2006 a new synagogue was built and there are now about 10000 Jews in the city

St. Peter's Church is the oldest in town with this building dating from 1368; the nave is lined with bronze statues of the apostles while Peter is being crucified in the ceiling painting

St. Peter's Church is the oldest in town with this building dating from 1368; the nave is lined with bronze statues of the apostles while Peter is being crucified in the ceiling painting

Munich has more relics of saints than any city outside Rome; in 1675, St. Munditia's remains (she was beheaded) were given to Munich by the Pope as thanks for the city's devoted service (I'd have preferred a simple thank you note!)

Munich has more relics of saints than any city outside Rome; in 1675, St. Munditia's remains (she was beheaded) were given to Munich by the Pope as thanks for the city's devoted service (I'd have preferred a simple thank you note!)

One of the biggest attractions of the English Garden is a spot created for surfers; Munich's Central Park is the largest urban park in Europe extends north more than 3 miles

One of the biggest attractions of the English Garden is a spot created for surfers; Munich's Central Park is the largest urban park in Europe extends north more than 3 miles

This monument, in the Frauenkirche, honors Ludwig IV the Bavarian (1282-1347) who was elected Holy Roman Emperor; since I've visited the city several times before I skipped some sights you should see like Dachau

This monument, in the Frauenkirche, honors Ludwig IV the Bavarian (1282-1347) who was elected Holy Roman Emperor; since I've visited the city several times before I skipped some sights you should see like Dachau

The New Town Hall looks medieval but was actually built in the late 1800s; the impressive facade lines one entire side of the Marienplatz

The New Town Hall looks medieval but was actually built in the late 1800s; the impressive facade lines one entire side of the Marienplatz

The traditional maypole that is the main landmark in the Viktualienmarkt which is an area of food stalls and budget eateries; Bob and David enjoyed a snack and beers here

The traditional maypole that is the main landmark in the Viktualienmarkt which is an area of food stalls and budget eateries; Bob and David enjoyed a snack and beers here

Munich is the largest city and capital of Bavaria; the city, which is surprisingly flat, has a metro population of 6 million which is third largest in Germany and 12th largest in the EU

Munich is the largest city and capital of Bavaria; the city, which is surprisingly flat, has a metro population of 6 million which is third largest in Germany and 12th largest in the EU

Posted by RNRiggins 23:33 Comments (0)

Southern Corsica beaches are the most scenic and popular

My second octopus sighting around Corsica; I enjoyed watching this guy change colors and shapes

My second octopus sighting around Corsica; I enjoyed watching this guy change colors and shapes

Rondinara Beach is one of the most famous in Corsica for its unique shape; it's quite shallow so popular with families and small kids

Rondinara Beach is one of the most famous in Corsica for its unique shape; it's quite shallow so popular with families and small kids

These bays were ideal for kids because the water tends to be very shallow and without waves; there were also no jellyfish!

These bays were ideal for kids because the water tends to be very shallow and without waves; there were also no jellyfish!

Ile de Farina; there were stark differences in water temperature as I swam around the island

Ile de Farina; there were stark differences in water temperature as I swam around the island

Southern Corsica has some gorgeous bays, like Santa Giulia; I visited the north side which is sandy but the southern side would probably have been better

Southern Corsica has some gorgeous bays, like Santa Giulia; I visited the north side which is sandy but the southern side would probably have been better

After driving by lots of nice beaches I finally stopped at Portigliolo Beach; the water was crystal clear and, since it was windy, there were windsurfers out

After driving by lots of nice beaches I finally stopped at Portigliolo Beach; the water was crystal clear and, since it was windy, there were windsurfers out

The windy conditions had kitesurfers out; I was mainly concerned with avoiding them and the jellyfish while I was out swimming

The windy conditions had kitesurfers out; I was mainly concerned with avoiding them and the jellyfish while I was out swimming

Tonnara Beach had plenty of jellyfish requiring me to slalom as I swam out to rocks at the entrance to the bay

Tonnara Beach had plenty of jellyfish requiring me to slalom as I swam out to rocks at the entrance to the bay

Like most Corsican beaches, Tonnara has no development and is a protected reserve; it was only 15 minutes from Bonifacio

Like most Corsican beaches, Tonnara has no development and is a protected reserve; it was only 15 minutes from Bonifacio

I thought this was so cool!; I'm thinking it shows volcanic activity that intruded into the granite but my geologist friends might correct me

I thought this was so cool!; I'm thinking it shows volcanic activity that intruded into the granite but my geologist friends might correct me

With so many gorgeous beaches, the tourists are dispersed to where none of the beaches so far has seemed very crowded

With so many gorgeous beaches, the tourists are dispersed to where none of the beaches so far has seemed very crowded

I snorkeled out to the entrance to Rondinara Bay but never saw much beyond clear water and sea grass

I snorkeled out to the entrance to Rondinara Bay but never saw much beyond clear water and sea grass

This book had great reviews on Amazon but was more of a Harlequin romance mixed with historical fiction; lots of beach reading here

This book had great reviews on Amazon but was more of a Harlequin romance mixed with historical fiction; lots of beach reading here

Plage de Palombaggia was quite crowded but I went to the far end and found a secluded place to read on the rocks

Plage de Palombaggia was quite crowded but I went to the far end and found a secluded place to read on the rocks

Rondinara Beach had nice palapas but they were expensive; the shade is a smart idea since the sun is unrelenting here

Rondinara Beach had nice palapas but they were expensive; the shade is a smart idea since the sun is unrelenting here

I had a little stove in my campground bungalow so I decided to amend my usual diet of cereal; the American version of beanie wienies is much better

I had a little stove in my campground bungalow so I decided to amend my usual diet of cereal; the American version of beanie wienies is much better

Rondinara Beach is more scenic from above; like the Gulf of Mexico, you could walk a long way out before it was even deep enough to swim

Rondinara Beach is more scenic from above; like the Gulf of Mexico, you could walk a long way out before it was even deep enough to swim

Tahiti Beach; this was a remote beach that was a 40 minute hike from my campground but was also much less crowded than other area beaches

Tahiti Beach; this was a remote beach that was a 40 minute hike from my campground but was also much less crowded than other area beaches

Often cited as the prettiest beach on Corsica, Plage de Palombaggia was backed by the pines and lacking any development

Often cited as the prettiest beach on Corsica, Plage de Palombaggia was backed by the pines and lacking any development

For Becky and others than enjoy Spinning classes, now you can take your Spinning bike out on the water for an even better workout

For Becky and others than enjoy Spinning classes, now you can take your Spinning bike out on the water for an even better workout

Tahiti Beach; I enjoyed watching this dog do his Titanic impersonation; I was nervous the dog was going to jump in the water but he never did

Tahiti Beach; I enjoyed watching this dog do his Titanic impersonation; I was nervous the dog was going to jump in the water but he never did

Plage de Palombaggia, like many of the other southern Corsica beaches, didn't have free parking but it was only 5 euros which was OK

Plage de Palombaggia, like many of the other southern Corsica beaches, didn't have free parking but it was only 5 euros which was OK

Like Sardinia, the best beaches on Corsica are on the southeast coast; the water is amazingly clear and the weather sunny and not too hot

Like Sardinia, the best beaches on Corsica are on the southeast coast; the water is amazingly clear and the weather sunny and not too hot

Tahiti itself doesn't have the beautiful water that Tahiti Beach on Corsica has so maybe this beach needs a new name

Tahiti itself doesn't have the beautiful water that Tahiti Beach on Corsica has so maybe this beach needs a new name

It's amazing how crowded these beaches are since it doesn't seem like there are enough accommodations in the area

It's amazing how crowded these beaches are since it doesn't seem like there are enough accommodations in the area

Ile de Farina; this small island was on my long walk to Tahiti Beach so I came back another day to swim around it

Ile de Farina; this small island was on my long walk to Tahiti Beach so I came back another day to swim around it

The Porto Vecchio area was plagued by malaria for centuries because of marshes; in the 1900s the cork industry and salt works led the economy

The Porto Vecchio area was plagued by malaria for centuries because of marshes; in the 1900s the cork industry and salt works led the economy

Incredible how well camouflaged this octopus is; I search for sea critters while snorkeling and know I must miss most of them since the animals blend in so well

Incredible how well camouflaged this octopus is; I search for sea critters while snorkeling and know I must miss most of them since the animals blend in so well

Santa Giulia; the southern part of Corsica has pretty, sandy beaches compared to the rocky beaches on the west coast

Santa Giulia; the southern part of Corsica has pretty, sandy beaches compared to the rocky beaches on the west coast

There were more fish around Ile de Farina than at other southern Corsica beaches; the fish were usually one here and one there but occasionally there were small schools

There were more fish around Ile de Farina than at other southern Corsica beaches; the fish were usually one here and one there but occasionally there were small schools

Most of the popular Southern Corsica beaches are also very popular boating destinations which makes swimming/snorkeling more stressful

Most of the popular Southern Corsica beaches are also very popular boating destinations which makes swimming/snorkeling more stressful

Posted by RNRiggins 09:14 Comments (0)

Return trip to all-time favorite-Plitvice Natl Park, Croatia

The new toll road cut travel time from Zadar to 2 hours so I was excited to show Marilyn and Dorothy Plitvice National Park, Croatia's oldest,  on their cruise stop

The new toll road cut travel time from Zadar to 2 hours so I was excited to show Marilyn and Dorothy Plitvice National Park, Croatia's oldest, on their cruise stop

Plitvice is the largest national park in Croatia at 300 square kilometers; it is centrally located 2 hrs from Zagreb, Split and Zadar with many tourists seeing it as a day trip

Plitvice is the largest national park in Croatia at 300 square kilometers; it is centrally located 2 hrs from Zagreb, Split and Zadar with many tourists seeing it as a day trip

Plitvice was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1979 and the crowds are insane; more than a million and a half people visit annually, most of them in the summer

Plitvice was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1979 and the crowds are insane; more than a million and a half people visit annually, most of them in the summer

Plitvice is home to 16 different lakes which change color by the second; within the blink of an eye, you can see blue, green, aquamarine and turquoise; this is due to the way the sun hits the water and the number of organisms and minerals

Plitvice is home to 16 different lakes which change color by the second; within the blink of an eye, you can see blue, green, aquamarine and turquoise; this is due to the way the sun hits the water and the number of organisms and minerals

There are more than 90 waterfalls within the park; we only had time for the shortest hiking route but it was still fantastic; I did lose the car in the parking area which was embarrassing

There are more than 90 waterfalls within the park; we only had time for the shortest hiking route but it was still fantastic; I did lose the car in the parking area which was embarrassing

The crowds have gotten so bad that the park now sometimes stops ticket sales from 10am-2pm; it's not possible to buy tickets online so it would be irritating to get to the park and find it closed

The crowds have gotten so bad that the park now sometimes stops ticket sales from 10am-2pm; it's not possible to buy tickets online so it would be irritating to get to the park and find it closed

I visited Plitvice with my parents many years ago and the lakes were experiencing bad flooding so I was relieved to have ideal weather today

I visited Plitvice with my parents many years ago and the lakes were experiencing bad flooding so I was relieved to have ideal weather today

Plitvice National Park is one of my all-time favorite places!; it is so pristine and unlike any other place in the world; no swimming is allowed in the lakes as they try to minimize pollution

Plitvice National Park is one of my all-time favorite places!; it is so pristine and unlike any other place in the world; no swimming is allowed in the lakes as they try to minimize pollution

In March 1991 the Plitvice Lakes incident, the first armed confrontation of the Croatian War of Independence that resulted in fatalities, happened here; the park was held by local Serb rebels backed by Milošević and suffered some damage in the process

In March 1991 the Plitvice Lakes incident, the first armed confrontation of the Croatian War of Independence that resulted in fatalities, happened here; the park was held by local Serb rebels backed by Milošević and suffered some damage in the process

The lakes are a result of the confluence of several small rivers and subterranean karst rivers; the lakes are all interconnected; they are separated by natural dams of travertine, which is deposited by the action of moss, algae, and bacteria

The lakes are a result of the confluence of several small rivers and subterranean karst rivers; the lakes are all interconnected; they are separated by natural dams of travertine, which is deposited by the action of moss, algae, and bacteria

I first visited Plitvice in 2003 with Ruben and Lee; it hasn't changed and is just as gorgeous today as it was then

I first visited Plitvice in 2003 with Ruben and Lee; it hasn't changed and is just as gorgeous today as it was then

Posted by RNRiggins 09:54 Comments (0)

Haarlem gets my vote as the most livable Dutch city

This 15th century Gothic church took more than 150 years to build; St Bavo Church, right in the center of the city, is visible for miles around

This 15th century Gothic church took more than 150 years to build; St Bavo Church, right in the center of the city, is visible for miles around

I had the hottest day all year here for my day of sightseeing; there were tons of boats on the water as locals tried to cool off

I had the hottest day all year here for my day of sightseeing; there were tons of boats on the water as locals tried to cool off

Of the original 12 city gates, this is the only one remaining; built in 1355, it stands where the road from Amsterdam enters the city

Of the original 12 city gates, this is the only one remaining; built in 1355, it stands where the road from Amsterdam enters the city

The Teylers Museum is the oldest in the Netherlands (1778) and has a hodgepodge of art, minerals, scientific instruments, coins and a beautiful oval room

The Teylers Museum is the oldest in the Netherlands (1778) and has a hodgepodge of art, minerals, scientific instruments, coins and a beautiful oval room

In 1632 a tow canal between Haarlem and Amsterdam, the Haarlemmertrekvaart was opened, the first tow canal in the country; the city is also on the first rail line built in the Netherlands

In 1632 a tow canal between Haarlem and Amsterdam, the Haarlemmertrekvaart was opened, the first tow canal in the country; the city is also on the first rail line built in the Netherlands

In the 14th century Haarlem was a major city; it was the second largest city in historical Holland after Dordrecht and before Delft, Leiden, Amsterdam and Rotterdam

In the 14th century Haarlem was a major city; it was the second largest city in historical Holland after Dordrecht and before Delft, Leiden, Amsterdam and Rotterdam

The Frans Hals Museum, founded in 1862, is located in an old almshouse; the collection includes great paintings from Hals as well as others from artists of the Dutch Golden Age

The Frans Hals Museum, founded in 1862, is located in an old almshouse; the collection includes great paintings from Hals as well as others from artists of the Dutch Golden Age

When Amsterdam became the major trading city in the country Haarlem became a quiet bedroom community, and for this reason Haarlem still has many of its medieval buildings intact

When Amsterdam became the major trading city in the country Haarlem became a quiet bedroom community, and for this reason Haarlem still has many of its medieval buildings intact

The Netherlands' greatest pipe organ in St. Bavo Church dates from 1738; it's 100 feet high with 5000 pipes and has been played by Handel and Mozart (at age 10)

The Netherlands' greatest pipe organ in St. Bavo Church dates from 1738; it's 100 feet high with 5000 pipes and has been played by Handel and Mozart (at age 10)

The Grote Markt (Market Square) is the town's delightful centerpiece where 10 streets come together; it has been here for 700 years and, since the 1990s, entirely car free

The Grote Markt (Market Square) is the town's delightful centerpiece where 10 streets come together; it has been here for 700 years and, since the 1990s, entirely car free

This is the oldest safe in Haarlem dating from the 15th century and now in St. Bavo Church; it contained, among other things, the city charter of Haarlem

This is the oldest safe in Haarlem dating from the 15th century and now in St. Bavo Church; it contained, among other things, the city charter of Haarlem

The Botermarkt is typical of spaces used for weekly neighborhood markets; it's also where locals can gather to socialize most evenings

The Botermarkt is typical of spaces used for weekly neighborhood markets; it's also where locals can gather to socialize most evenings

The Corrie ten Boom House was interesting but tours in English are few so I attended a Dutch tour; each tour is limited to 20 people and there aren't many tours each day

The Corrie ten Boom House was interesting but tours in English are few so I attended a Dutch tour; each tour is limited to 20 people and there aren't many tours each day

The Corrie ten Boom Museum is a smaller version of the Anne Frank House which focuses on Corrie's family that hid Jews in their house during World War II

The Corrie ten Boom Museum is a smaller version of the Anne Frank House which focuses on Corrie's family that hid Jews in their house during World War II

The Haarlem City Hall started as a royal hunting lodge in the mid-1200s; rebuilt after a fire in 1351, this building has served as city hall since about 1400

The Haarlem City Hall started as a royal hunting lodge in the mid-1200s; rebuilt after a fire in 1351, this building has served as city hall since about 1400

Haarlemmers credit this man with inventing modern printing; he got the idea of making movable type 40 years before Gutenberg

Haarlemmers credit this man with inventing modern printing; he got the idea of making movable type 40 years before Gutenberg

This Flemish Renaissance building is the old meat hall from 1603; today it houses the Archaeology Museum and temporary art exhibits

This Flemish Renaissance building is the old meat hall from 1603; today it houses the Archaeology Museum and temporary art exhibits

The city was destroyed by fire in 1351 and again in 1576; the plague killed 5,000 (about half the population) in 1381

The city was destroyed by fire in 1351 and again in 1576; the plague killed 5,000 (about half the population) in 1381

The New Church dates from 1613; this city of 160,000 is only 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam so many people commute there for work

The New Church dates from 1613; this city of 160,000 is only 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam so many people commute there for work

This ornate copper choir screen at St. Bavo Church is from 1517; just behind it is the grave of the Netherlands' greatest Golden Age portrait painter, Frans Hals

This ornate copper choir screen at St. Bavo Church is from 1517; just behind it is the grave of the Netherlands' greatest Golden Age portrait painter, Frans Hals

Unlike my first visit in 1990, I have not eaten at a McDonald's this trip; the city center locations are typically in attractive, historic buildings

Unlike my first visit in 1990, I have not eaten at a McDonald's this trip; the city center locations are typically in attractive, historic buildings

I had some raisin bread that I couldn't resist sharing with this goose; it got to where it would grab it from my fingers and let out a squawk that obviously told its mate that there was food

I had some raisin bread that I couldn't resist sharing with this goose; it got to where it would grab it from my fingers and let out a squawk that obviously told its mate that there was food

The only windmill in the central city is actually a 2002 reproduction but you can go inside and see the inner workings of a windmill; the original 1779 windmill burned down in 1932

The only windmill in the central city is actually a 2002 reproduction but you can go inside and see the inner workings of a windmill; the original 1779 windmill burned down in 1932

With weimaraners originating in Germany it should be no surprise that they are in the Netherlands; the dogs wanted to get the show on the road and seemed impatient waiting for the skipper to get off the phone

With weimaraners originating in Germany it should be no surprise that they are in the Netherlands; the dogs wanted to get the show on the road and seemed impatient waiting for the skipper to get off the phone

The Haarlem weigh house dates from 1597; Haarlem has been the historical center of the tulip bulb-growing district for centuries and bears its nickname 'Bloemenstad' (flower city) for this reason

The Haarlem weigh house dates from 1597; Haarlem has been the historical center of the tulip bulb-growing district for centuries and bears its nickname 'Bloemenstad' (flower city) for this reason

In the book The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas, there are several scenes in Haarlem, most notably the ending, and it is the Horticultural Society of Haarlem that offers a reward for a black tulip

In the book The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas, there are several scenes in Haarlem, most notably the ending, and it is the Horticultural Society of Haarlem that offers a reward for a black tulip

This dome is an unusual parking garage; in 1658, Peter Stuyvesant, the Director-General of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, founded the settlement of New Haarlem in the northern part of Manhattan Island as an outpost of New Amsterdam

This dome is an unusual parking garage; in 1658, Peter Stuyvesant, the Director-General of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, founded the settlement of New Haarlem in the northern part of Manhattan Island as an outpost of New Amsterdam

In 1572 there were about 50 brewing companies in the city; while in 1620 the city numbered about one hundred breweries; originally the water was taken from the canals but once it became too polluted fresh water was shipped in

In 1572 there were about 50 brewing companies in the city; while in 1620 the city numbered about one hundred breweries; originally the water was taken from the canals but once it became too polluted fresh water was shipped in

Yes, I've been given this look before; the train station of Haarlem was part of a set during the movie Ocean's Twelve portraying Amsterdam Central Station

Yes, I've been given this look before; the train station of Haarlem was part of a set during the movie Ocean's Twelve portraying Amsterdam Central Station

Posted by RNRiggins 09:08 Comments (0)

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