A Travellerspoint blog

August 2018

Great day trip from Bonafacio to unique Iles Lavezzi

The Iles Lavezzi excursion from Bonafacio was great; the islands are in a nature reserve with no fishing allowed so the snorkeling was the best I found on the island

The Iles Lavezzi excursion from Bonafacio was great; the islands are in a nature reserve with no fishing allowed so the snorkeling was the best I found on the island

I'm taking this photo while my nemesis is only inches away pulling on my camera wrist strap; maybe the seagull is a kleptomaniac

I'm taking this photo while my nemesis is only inches away pulling on my camera wrist strap; maybe the seagull is a kleptomaniac

I've snorkeled all over the world but seeing this come towards me was a first; I thought when I looked up that the sea gull would be scared away

I've snorkeled all over the world but seeing this come towards me was a first; I thought when I looked up that the sea gull would be scared away

This seagull was not intimidated by me in the least; he followed me around and harassed me for at least 30 minutes

This seagull was not intimidated by me in the least; he followed me around and harassed me for at least 30 minutes

This seagull kept pecking at my water shoes so I resorted to floating on my back to watch it; people in nearby boats watched and were getting a kick out of it

This seagull kept pecking at my water shoes so I resorted to floating on my back to watch it; people in nearby boats watched and were getting a kick out of it

I was ready to create a Wanted poster should the seagull get my camera or a water shoe; I wonder why he wasn't just stealing stuff on the beach

I was ready to create a Wanted poster should the seagull get my camera or a water shoe; I wonder why he wasn't just stealing stuff on the beach

I don't think this swimmer was feeding the fish but I suspect others have since the fish tended to approach anyone in the water

I don't think this swimmer was feeding the fish but I suspect others have since the fish tended to approach anyone in the water

The turquoise water was brilliant thanks to the absence of sea grass near the shore; there was hardly any litter in the water

The turquoise water was brilliant thanks to the absence of sea grass near the shore; there was hardly any litter in the water

The island was mainly composed of boulders which made me ponder how it evolved; it would be cool to see a time progression of the island's formation

The island was mainly composed of boulders which made me ponder how it evolved; it would be cool to see a time progression of the island's formation

This was the only school of small barracuda I've encountered in Corsica; there was nowhere to buy anything on the island

This was the only school of small barracuda I've encountered in Corsica; there was nowhere to buy anything on the island

The French frigate Semillante ran up on rocks here during a storm in 1855 and sank with 693 sailors and soldiers on board; there were no survivors so the Corsicans erected this monument in their memory

The French frigate Semillante ran up on rocks here during a storm in 1855 and sank with 693 sailors and soldiers on board; there were no survivors so the Corsicans erected this monument in their memory

The fascinating granite formations on the island created all sorts of mental images; it's amazing that erosion can create such amazing arrangements

The fascinating granite formations on the island created all sorts of mental images; it's amazing that erosion can create such amazing arrangements

The only negative about Iles Lavezzi was the presence of lots of jellyfish; fortunately the water was super clear and the jellies could be avoided

The only negative about Iles Lavezzi was the presence of lots of jellyfish; fortunately the water was super clear and the jellies could be avoided

The Corsican mainland is in the background; my first day in Bonafacio I watched boats pitch up and down in swells making their way to the island in super windy conditions

The Corsican mainland is in the background; my first day in Bonafacio I watched boats pitch up and down in swells making their way to the island in super windy conditions

There were several sandy beaches on Iles Lavezzi; like most Corsican beaches, they had no seashells

There were several sandy beaches on Iles Lavezzi; like most Corsican beaches, they had no seashells

The excursion to Iles Lavezzi was 30 euros and was a bargain since you also get a scenic tour of the coast around Bonafacio (although the commentary was in French)

The excursion to Iles Lavezzi was 30 euros and was a bargain since you also get a scenic tour of the coast around Bonafacio (although the commentary was in French)

There are no permanent inhabitants on the island put there are park wardens and marine biologists who spend time here

There are no permanent inhabitants on the island put there are park wardens and marine biologists who spend time here

The wide eyed flounder was an unusual sighting; there aren't many sandy bottoms in Corsica which is what the flounder prefers

The wide eyed flounder was an unusual sighting; there aren't many sandy bottoms in Corsica which is what the flounder prefers

I was surprised by the large crowds but then realized that excursions were arriving from Sardinia as well as Bonafacio

I was surprised by the large crowds but then realized that excursions were arriving from Sardinia as well as Bonafacio

It seems like part of the upper rock should have broken off long ago; how did these boulders accumulate on this barren island?

It seems like part of the upper rock should have broken off long ago; how did these boulders accumulate on this barren island?

The rocky island is only 163 acres and 2 miles from the Corsican mainland; having a catamaran would be the perfect way to see Corsica

The rocky island is only 163 acres and 2 miles from the Corsican mainland; having a catamaran would be the perfect way to see Corsica

Plage Petit Sperone was ranked #4 on TripAdvisor's list of things to do on Corsica; Google Maps did not provide correct directions to get there

Plage Petit Sperone was ranked #4 on TripAdvisor's list of things to do on Corsica; Google Maps did not provide correct directions to get there

These are some of the most exclusive houses I saw on Corsica; they are next to a golf course and on the southeast point of the island

These are some of the most exclusive houses I saw on Corsica; they are next to a golf course and on the southeast point of the island

The Iles Lavezzi were ranked #9 among things to do in Corsica on TripAdvisor; I definitely prefer the southern part of Corsica more than the north

The Iles Lavezzi were ranked #9 among things to do in Corsica on TripAdvisor; I definitely prefer the southern part of Corsica more than the north

This luxury villa in Gaudi-style was one of many on Ile Cavallo; the island is private and even has a small airport

This luxury villa in Gaudi-style was one of many on Ile Cavallo; the island is private and even has a small airport

The more remote Plage Grand Sperone offered more space than Petit Sperone; a long hike was required to get there

The more remote Plage Grand Sperone offered more space than Petit Sperone; a long hike was required to get there

Posted by VagabondCowboy 23:51 Comments (0)

Outstanding Roman monuments in Trier, Germany

Porta Nigra is the best preserved Roman city gate in the world, dating from the 2nd century; it was not designed to be black but has turned black over time

Porta Nigra is the best preserved Roman city gate in the world, dating from the 2nd century; it was not designed to be black but has turned black over time

The Constantine Basilica is either the largest or second largest (to the Pantheon in Rome) room building surviving from Roman times; the building is truly enormous at 67 m long, 27 m wide and 33 m high

The Constantine Basilica is either the largest or second largest (to the Pantheon in Rome) room building surviving from Roman times; the building is truly enormous at 67 m long, 27 m wide and 33 m high

The Baroque Electoral Palace was built from 1751-1761 and is attached to the Basilica; the timing of my visit could have been better as the city hit 99 degrees, an all-time record

The Baroque Electoral Palace was built from 1751-1761 and is attached to the Basilica; the timing of my visit could have been better as the city hit 99 degrees, an all-time record

The Amphitheater would seat 20000 and is part of Trier's UNESCO World Heritage Site; the 2nd century structure is still used for concerts (notice the hillside vineyards; the area is a popular wine region)

The Amphitheater would seat 20000 and is part of Trier's UNESCO World Heritage Site; the 2nd century structure is still used for concerts (notice the hillside vineyards; the area is a popular wine region)

This house was built in 1727 and Karl Marx was born here in 1818; the museum here paints a picture of Marx’s social relevance with a well-researched exhibition on his impact and influence on the world

This house was built in 1727 and Karl Marx was born here in 1818; the museum here paints a picture of Marx’s social relevance with a well-researched exhibition on his impact and influence on the world

St. Peter's Fountain (1595); Trier was founded in the 4th century BC and conquered by the Romans in the 1st century AD

St. Peter's Fountain (1595); Trier was founded in the 4th century BC and conquered by the Romans in the 1st century AD

St. Peter's Cathedral is the oldest bishop's church in Germany; the Roman central section dates from the 4th century

St. Peter's Cathedral is the oldest bishop's church in Germany; the Roman central section dates from the 4th century

The Market Cross in the foreground dates from 958 while the white city council's banqueting house is from the 15th century

The Market Cross in the foreground dates from 958 while the white city council's banqueting house is from the 15th century

The city is really associating itself with Karl Marx; I'm not sure a philosopher and anti-capitalist makes for a very appealing draw

The city is really associating itself with Karl Marx; I'm not sure a philosopher and anti-capitalist makes for a very appealing draw

Simeonstrasse, the main pedestrian shopping street, shown from the Porta Nigra to the Hauptmarket; many tourists visit Trier as an easy day trip from Luxembourg

Simeonstrasse, the main pedestrian shopping street, shown from the Porta Nigra to the Hauptmarket; many tourists visit Trier as an easy day trip from Luxembourg

Trier was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire with, perhaps, 100000 people; it was the capital of a region that includes modern day Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the UK

Trier was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire with, perhaps, 100000 people; it was the capital of a region that includes modern day Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the UK

There is a small chapel behind the large altarpiece in the Cathedral that protects its most precious relic - The Holy Robe (the tunic of Christ)

There is a small chapel behind the large altarpiece in the Cathedral that protects its most precious relic - The Holy Robe (the tunic of Christ)

Constantine converted to Christianity in 330AD and had the grandest ensemble of ecclesiastical structures outside Rome constructed here; on a plan four times the size of the present cathedral were no less than four basilicas, a baptistery and outbuildings

Constantine converted to Christianity in 330AD and had the grandest ensemble of ecclesiastical structures outside Rome constructed here; on a plan four times the size of the present cathedral were no less than four basilicas, a baptistery and outbuildings

The Gothic cloisters were built between 1245 and 1270 connecting the Cathedral to the Church of our Lady; tons of tourists here including groups from Viking river cruises

The Gothic cloisters were built between 1245 and 1270 connecting the Cathedral to the Church of our Lady; tons of tourists here including groups from Viking river cruises

Windows from Church of our Lady; the tourist information is very well done here with brochures at most of the 8 UNESCO sites in English

Windows from Church of our Lady; the tourist information is very well done here with brochures at most of the 8 UNESCO sites in English

The basilica was used as the throne room for Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (4th century); the basilica is part of the UNESCO World Heritage listing with the other Roman buildings

The basilica was used as the throne room for Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (4th century); the basilica is part of the UNESCO World Heritage listing with the other Roman buildings

The Imperial Baths date from the 4th century and were some of the largest built anywhere; Trier is a sister city with Fort Worth

The Imperial Baths date from the 4th century and were some of the largest built anywhere; Trier is a sister city with Fort Worth

The 2nd century Roman bridge across the Mosel is the oldest bridge north of the Alps still crossed by traffic; the pillars are original and date from 16 BC

The 2nd century Roman bridge across the Mosel is the oldest bridge north of the Alps still crossed by traffic; the pillars are original and date from 16 BC

An original copy of Karl Marx's famous work; there are numerous Marx exhibitions in Trier now as the city celebrates his 200th birthday

An original copy of Karl Marx's famous work; there are numerous Marx exhibitions in Trier now as the city celebrates his 200th birthday

The Old Crane was built in 1413 along the Mosel River; Trier only has 115,000 people with a compact, largely pedestrianized city center

The Old Crane was built in 1413 along the Mosel River; Trier only has 115,000 people with a compact, largely pedestrianized city center

St. George's Fountain (1750) on the Kornmarket Square in front of the post office; the border with Luxembourg is only 9 miles away

St. George's Fountain (1750) on the Kornmarket Square in front of the post office; the border with Luxembourg is only 9 miles away

Trier is also famous for having the largest witch trials in European history (from 1581-1593); as many as 1000 people were executed which would be the biggest mass execution in Europe during peace time

Trier is also famous for having the largest witch trials in European history (from 1581-1593); as many as 1000 people were executed which would be the biggest mass execution in Europe during peace time

The Fountain of Crafts (1984) features 36 figures representing a variety of professions which have played an important role in the history of Trier

The Fountain of Crafts (1984) features 36 figures representing a variety of professions which have played an important role in the history of Trier

The Forum Baths date from the 1st century and were originally 8000 sq meters (they are now covered for conservation); they were only discovered in 1987 when excavations for an underground parking garage revealed them

The Forum Baths date from the 1st century and were originally 8000 sq meters (they are now covered for conservation); they were only discovered in 1987 when excavations for an underground parking garage revealed them

This map shows the 4 provinces of the Roman Empire with Trier leading the area on the left; in 407 AD, the prefecture was moved from Trier to Arles, France

This map shows the 4 provinces of the Roman Empire with Trier leading the area on the left; in 407 AD, the prefecture was moved from Trier to Arles, France

Cathedral; Trier is known for a popular local dish called teerdisch which is a melange of potatoes and sauerkraut

Cathedral; Trier is known for a popular local dish called teerdisch which is a melange of potatoes and sauerkraut

Gothic Market church St. Gangolf (14th - 16th century); this is the second oldest church in Trier after the Cathedral

Gothic Market church St. Gangolf (14th - 16th century); this is the second oldest church in Trier after the Cathedral

Rear section of the Cathedral is unlike anything I've seen before in a church; Trier is the oldest seat of a bishop north of the Alps

Rear section of the Cathedral is unlike anything I've seen before in a church; Trier is the oldest seat of a bishop north of the Alps

The Cathedral and Church of our Lady complex as seen from the Porta Nigra; it's tough to imagine such huge buildings in the 11th and 13th centuries, respectively

The Cathedral and Church of our Lady complex as seen from the Porta Nigra; it's tough to imagine such huge buildings in the 11th and 13th centuries, respectively

The 13th century, late Romanesque house called the Epiphany House; originally the door on the right side of the second story was the front door and reached with a removable ladder

The 13th century, late Romanesque house called the Epiphany House; originally the door on the right side of the second story was the front door and reached with a removable ladder

Modern stained glass windows in the Church of our Lady; most attractions in Trier were free with others (amphitheatre, Karl Marx House and Imperial Baths) costing $5 each

Modern stained glass windows in the Church of our Lady; most attractions in Trier were free with others (amphitheatre, Karl Marx House and Imperial Baths) costing $5 each

The Roman Barbara Baths date from the 2nd century and were the largest Roman baths north of the Alps; they were second in size only to baths in Rome

The Roman Barbara Baths date from the 2nd century and were the largest Roman baths north of the Alps; they were second in size only to baths in Rome

An original copy of the Communist Manifesto at the Karl Marx Museum; Marx was exiled in 1845 and remained stateless until his death in 1883

An original copy of the Communist Manifesto at the Karl Marx Museum; Marx was exiled in 1845 and remained stateless until his death in 1883

Trier is known as the center of the Mosel Riesling wine area; between Luxembourg and Trier the hillsides were covered with vineyards

Trier is known as the center of the Mosel Riesling wine area; between Luxembourg and Trier the hillsides were covered with vineyards

The Church of our Lady, adjacent to the Cathedral, is the earliest Gothic church in Germany (13th century)

The Church of our Lady, adjacent to the Cathedral, is the earliest Gothic church in Germany (13th century)

The Church of our Lady was built in 1260; its atypical form includes cross-shaped vaulting with four corresponding portals in rounded niches completed by eight rounded altar niches resembling a twelve-petaled rose, a symbol of the Virgin Mary

The Church of our Lady was built in 1260; its atypical form includes cross-shaped vaulting with four corresponding portals in rounded niches completed by eight rounded altar niches resembling a twelve-petaled rose, a symbol of the Virgin Mary

The Imperial Baths was converted into a castle in the Middle Ages; in 316 AD, the baths were not yet finished when worked ended

The Imperial Baths was converted into a castle in the Middle Ages; in 316 AD, the baths were not yet finished when worked ended

Porta Nigra represents the last bastion of the Roman Empire's presence north of the Alps; a church was built adjoining the gate but was destroyed by Napoleon

Porta Nigra represents the last bastion of the Roman Empire's presence north of the Alps; a church was built adjoining the gate but was destroyed by Napoleon

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Trier was sought by France which invaded four separate times eventually conquering the city in 1794 during the French Revolutionary Wars

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Trier was sought by France which invaded four separate times eventually conquering the city in 1794 during the French Revolutionary Wars

St. Mary's Column is on the right hillside; she stands 130 feet high, was built in 1866 and reminds me of the Liberty Statue in Budapest

St. Mary's Column is on the right hillside; she stands 130 feet high, was built in 1866 and reminds me of the Liberty Statue in Budapest

Posted by VagabondCowboy 09:30 Comments (0)

Modern Rotterdam is a nice complement to Amsterdam

The modern skyline of Rotterdam is full of buildings with architectural flair; when it was built, the Euromast elevators were the fastest in Europe

The modern skyline of Rotterdam is full of buildings with architectural flair; when it was built, the Euromast elevators were the fastest in Europe

The Hotel New York (1901) is the building dwarfed by skyscrapers; it used to be the headquarters of Holland America cruises

The Hotel New York (1901) is the building dwarfed by skyscrapers; it used to be the headquarters of Holland America cruises

Designed and built in the 1920s, this factory was decades ahead of its time; in 2014, it achieved UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is currently used for business start-ups

Designed and built in the 1920s, this factory was decades ahead of its time; in 2014, it achieved UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is currently used for business start-ups

No, this isn't the Bosphorus in Istanbul; it's a canal in Rotterdam backed by a mosque serving the growing Muslim community

No, this isn't the Bosphorus in Istanbul; it's a canal in Rotterdam backed by a mosque serving the growing Muslim community

The Pilgrim Fathers Church is where the Pilgrims prayed the night before setting sail for the New World on August 1, 1620; their ship, the Speedwell, had to be swapped out in England for the Mayflower before continuing to Plymouth Rock

The Pilgrim Fathers Church is where the Pilgrims prayed the night before setting sail for the New World on August 1, 1620; their ship, the Speedwell, had to be swapped out in England for the Mayflower before continuing to Plymouth Rock

Johan's Ark is a Noah's Ark-themed barge just outside Rotterdam; it is a full-scale interpretation of the biblical Ark, featuring animal models, including cows, penguins, a crocodile, and a giraffe

Johan's Ark is a Noah's Ark-themed barge just outside Rotterdam; it is a full-scale interpretation of the biblical Ark, featuring animal models, including cows, penguins, a crocodile, and a giraffe

Rotterdam is worldwide headquarters for the consumer products giant, Unilever; their brands include Dove, Breyer's, Vaseline, Q-tips, Hellmann's and Noxzema

Rotterdam is worldwide headquarters for the consumer products giant, Unilever; their brands include Dove, Breyer's, Vaseline, Q-tips, Hellmann's and Noxzema

The gigantic Rotterdam train station is shaped like an arrow and opened in 2014; it handles 100,000  passengers daily through its cashless system

The gigantic Rotterdam train station is shaped like an arrow and opened in 2014; it handles 100,000+ passengers daily through its cashless system

Rotterdam's skyscraper zone is 100% sld with top architects lined up to add to the skyline; the three adjacent towers are De Rotterdam with buildings dedicated to apartments, local government and a hotel

Rotterdam's skyscraper zone is 100% sold with top architects lined up to add to the skyline; the three adjacent towers are De Rotterdam with buildings dedicated to apartments, local government and a hotel

The cube houses were built in the late 1970s; they are colorful and architecturally innovative but I went inside the museum model and it was uncomfortable and not very practical

The cube houses were built in the late 1970s; they are colorful and architecturally innovative but I went inside the museum model and it was uncomfortable and not very practical

When this building, called the White House, was built in 1898 it was the tallest in Europe; it was inspired by American skyscrapers

When this building, called the White House, was built in 1898 it was the tallest in Europe; it was inspired by American skyscrapers

The strikingly-modern Market Hall is full of both local and internationally-themed food stalls; there are even 230 apartments above making takeout a breeze

The strikingly-modern Market Hall is full of both local and internationally-themed food stalls; there are even 230 apartments above making takeout a breeze

This building is obviously nicknamed The Pencil; I can't imagine any other name even being suggested

This building is obviously nicknamed The Pencil; I can't imagine any other name even being suggested

Since 1972, Rotterdam has hosted the indoor hard court ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, part of the ATP Tour; former Wimbledon winner Richard Krajicek became the tournament director after his retirement in 2003

Since 1972, Rotterdam has hosted the indoor hard court ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, part of the ATP Tour; former Wimbledon winner Richard Krajicek became the tournament director after his retirement in 2003

The current mayor of Rotterdam is a Moroccan immigrant and Muslim; 44000 residents of the city are from Morocco which is surpassed only by Suriname and Turkey for country of origin

The current mayor of Rotterdam is a Moroccan immigrant and Muslim; 44000 residents of the city are from Morocco which is surpassed only by Suriname and Turkey for country of origin

The St. Lawrence Church is the oldest surviving structure in Rotterdam (1525); in 1650 the tower started to seriously tilt but engineering experts were able to repair the foundation and straighten it

The St. Lawrence Church is the oldest surviving structure in Rotterdam (1525); in 1650 the tower started to seriously tilt but engineering experts were able to repair the foundation and straighten it

With its exposed yellow tubes, the City Library has been compared to the Pompidou Center in Paris; the building functions as more of a community center than a traditional library

With its exposed yellow tubes, the City Library has been compared to the Pompidou Center in Paris; the building functions as more of a community center than a traditional library

Courtyard of City Hall where Churchill and George Marshall are honored; Marshall famously said The only way to win a war is to prevent it

Courtyard of City Hall where Churchill and George Marshall are honored; Marshall famously said The only way to win a war is to prevent it

The Dutch say that money is made in Rotterdam, divvied up in The Hague and spent in Amsterdam; Rotterdam has long been the country's economic engine with its strategic position on the delta of several major European rivers

The Dutch say that money is made in Rotterdam, divvied up in The Hague and spent in Amsterdam; Rotterdam has long been the country's economic engine with its strategic position on the delta of several major European rivers

Hitler invaded the Netherlands on May 10, 1940; on May 14 he systematically bombed Rotterdam flattening the central city

Hitler invaded the Netherlands on May 10, 1940; on May 14 he systematically bombed Rotterdam flattening the central city

Given the spongy soil, it's amazing these skyscrapers can be built; the buildings sit on giant pylons driven deep into the soil

Given the spongy soil, it's amazing these skyscrapers can be built; the buildings sit on giant pylons driven deep into the soil

I thought the cube houses were cheaply built and, perhaps, were driven more by the architect's desires than a homeowners needs

I thought the cube houses were cheaply built and, perhaps, were driven more by the architect's desires than a homeowners needs

These buildings evoke a series of waves coming in from the sea; like Venice, Rotterdam has an extensive system of water taxis that makes getting around quite easy

These buildings evoke a series of waves coming in from the sea; like Venice, Rotterdam has an extensive system of water taxis that makes getting around quite easy

The Erasmus Bridge provides a vital link between the central city and Manhattan on the Maas as the skyscraper zone has come to be called

The Erasmus Bridge provides a vital link between the central city and Manhattan on the Maas as the skyscraper zone has come to be called

Het Park is the largest green space in the city; I spent some time laying down on a park bench to finish a David Baldacci novel

Het Park is the largest green space in the city; I spent some time laying down on a park bench to finish a David Baldacci novel

Rotterdam had the busiest port in the world until 2004 when it was passed by Shanghai; there are 5 refineries contributing to this traffic

Rotterdam had the busiest port in the world until 2004 when it was passed by Shanghai; there are 5 refineries contributing to this traffic

The Euromast was built in 1960 with views that can reach 30 kms; it even has hotel suites

The Euromast was built in 1960 with views that can reach 30 kms; it even has hotel suites

The Rotterdam Marathon is one of the fastest courses in the world; from 1985 until 1998, the world record was set here with current course records of 2:04 (men) and 2:18 (women)

The Rotterdam Marathon is one of the fastest courses in the world; from 1985 until 1998, the world record was set here with current course records of 2:04 (men) and 2:18 (women)

The Erasmus Bridge was completed in 1996 and opened up a previously undeveloped part of the city; it is nicknamed The Swan

The Erasmus Bridge was completed in 1996 and opened up a previously undeveloped part of the city; it is nicknamed The Swan

Industrial architecture had never seen steel and glass used as it was at the Van Nelle Factory; I was disappointed that the once daily tour was only offered in Dutch

Industrial architecture had never seen steel and glass used as it was at the Van Nelle Factory; I was disappointed that the once daily tour was only offered in Dutch

The Amsterdam airport is only 26 minutes by train from Rotterdam; with fast and efficient train service Schiphol airport effectively serves the whole country

The Amsterdam airport is only 26 minutes by train from Rotterdam; with fast and efficient train service Schiphol airport effectively serves the whole country

The principal organ of St. Lawrence Church is the largest completely mechanical organ in Europe with 7600  organ pipes and 85 stops

The principal organ of St. Lawrence Church is the largest completely mechanical organ in Europe with 7600+ organ pipes and 85 stops

Rotterdam City Hall, built in 1917, was one of the few buildings to survive World War 2; the Germans intentionally spared it since they needed a headquarters in the city

Rotterdam City Hall, built in 1917, was one of the few buildings to survive World War 2; the Germans intentionally spared it since they needed a headquarters in the city

The roof of the St. Lawrence Church clearly reflects Rotterdam as a city of shipbuilders; the effects of the Reformation carry over to a rather austere interior

The roof of the St. Lawrence Church clearly reflects Rotterdam as a city of shipbuilders; the effects of the Reformation carry over to a rather austere interior

Posted by VagabondCowboy 06:15 Comments (1)

Corte and the mountainous interior of Corsica spectacular

Corte is the geographical center of Corsica; the fortress took it's current formation in 1419

Corte is the geographical center of Corsica; the fortress took it's current formation in 1419

The jagged pinnacles of the Col de Favella ranked number 5 on TripAdvisor's list of things to do in Corsica

The jagged pinnacles of the Col de Favella ranked number 5 on TripAdvisor's list of things to do in Corsica

In Carbini, St Jean Baptiste Church was built in the 14th century and the bell tower even predates the church

In Carbini, St Jean Baptiste Church was built in the 14th century and the bell tower even predates the church

17th century Chapel of Ste Croix;population of the town these days is about 6800, with 30% o those being students

17th century Chapel of Ste Croix;population of the town these days is about 6800, with 30% of those being students

The organ loft in the Chapel of Ste Croix had a totally different shape than others on the island; it was beautifully painted too

The organ loft in the Chapel of Ste Croix had a totally different shape than others on the island; it was beautifully painted too

The pillarless nave of Chapel of Ste Croix has a barrel vault and an aisle paved in grey marble; by the altar is a colorful Baroque retable

The pillarless nave of Chapel of Ste Croix has a barrel vault and an aisle paved in grey marble; by the altar is a colorful Baroque retable

Pascal Paoli is the renowned patriot and hero of Corsican independence; Paoli drafted the Corsican constitution and founded the island's university

Pascal Paoli is the renowned patriot and hero of Corsican independence; Paoli drafted the Corsican constitution and founded the island's university

La Canonica is a 12th century Roman Catholic church that is close to the end of the Bastia airport runway

La Canonica is a 12th century Roman Catholic church that is close to the end of the Bastia airport runway

Corte is home to Corsica's only university; in the summer the city is a hub for rock climbers, hikers, bikers and anyone who loves the mountains

Corte is home to Corsica's only university; in the summer the city is a hub for rock climbers, hikers, bikers and anyone who loves the mountains

Much of the town is dilapidated but this one building stands out with its colorful facade; this shop claims to be the oldest food store in Europe having been in business since 1800

Much of the town is dilapidated but this one building stands out with its colorful facade; this shop claims to be the oldest food store in Europe having been in business since 1800

This was the longest straight stretch of road I saw in 3 hours and it had bicyclists and cows to avoid

This was the longest straight stretch of road I saw in 3 hours and it had bicyclists and cows to avoid

The mountains are popular for lots of outdoor pursuits like rock climbing, canyoning and multi-day hiking trips; there's a small river at the base of the mountains offering swimming in clear rock pools

The mountains are popular for lots of outdoor pursuits like rock climbing, canyoning and multi-day hiking trips; there's a small river at the base of the mountains offering swimming in clear rock pools

Mid-15th century Church of the Annunciation is one of the oldest buildings in town; the facade dates from the 18th century

Mid-15th century Church of the Annunciation is one of the oldest buildings in town; the facade dates from the 18th century

In 1755, Corte became the capital of the short-lived Corsican republic; 14 years later French invaders devastated the Citadel where most everyone lived

In 1755, Corte became the capital of the short-lived Corsican republic; 14 years later French invaders devastated the Citadel where most everyone lived

The Fountain of 4 Cannons was commissioned by Louis XVI in 1778 to bring water to the city from the Orta River

The Fountain of 4 Cannons was commissioned by Louis XVI in 1778 to bring water to the city from the Orta River

The highest mountain on Corsica, Monte Cinto at 8900 feet, looms over Corte; as the crow flies, Corte is only about 20 miles from the sea

The highest mountain on Corsica, Monte Cinto at 8900 feet, looms over Corte; as the crow flies, Corte is only about 20 miles from the sea

The 7000 ft peaks here are the highest in southern Corsica; dozens of popular hikes thread through the area

The 7000 ft peaks here are the highest in southern Corsica; dozens of popular hikes thread through the area

The Col de Bavella area is covered with Laricio pines which are very tall and often live 3 or 4 centuries, with some even 800 years old

The Col de Bavella area is covered with Laricio pines which are very tall and often live 3 or 4 centuries, with some even 800 years old

Jean-Pierre Gaffori was the hero of the Corsican independence movement; he was born in a house on this square in 1704 and helped take Corte from the Genoese in 1746

Jean-Pierre Gaffori was the hero of the Corsican independence movement; he was born in a house on this square in 1704 and helped take Corte from the Genoese in 1746

The tall, slender, Baroque bell tower of the Church of the Annunciation dominates the lower town; the surrounding area has vineyards, hay fields and grazing lands

The tall, slender, Baroque bell tower of the Church of the Annunciation dominates the lower town; the surrounding area has vineyards, hay fields and grazing lands

Place Paoli lies at the foot of the upper city; the large square was laid out in the late 19th century

Place Paoli lies at the foot of the upper city; the large square was laid out in the late 19th century

One of the most popular hikes here is a 4 hour loop to an 8 meter hole in the rock which looks like someone shot a missile through the mountain

One of the most popular hikes here is a 4 hour loop to an 8 meter hole in the rock which looks like someone shot a missile through the mountain

The Church of the Annunciation has an altar made of local grey marble; in 1735, the constitution for an independent Corsica was drafted in Corte

The Church of the Annunciation has an altar made of local grey marble; in 1735, the constitution for an independent Corsica was drafted in Corte

The abruptness of the Col de Bavella reminded me of the Grand Tetons; the narrow road weaving past the mountains is very popular with serious cyclists

The abruptness of the Col de Bavella reminded me of the Grand Tetons; the narrow road weaving past the mountains is very popular with serious cyclists

Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, was born in this house in 1768; Joseph would later go on to be King of Spain

Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, was born in this house in 1768; Joseph would later go on to be King of Spain

Behind the little train is the Museum of Corsica; the museum occupies several of the Citadel buildings and is heavy on anthropology and history

Behind the little train is the Museum of Corsica; the museum occupies several of the Citadel buildings and is heavy on anthropology and history

Entrance portal to the Citadel is now also used by vehicles; the sights, except for the museum, in Corte could easily be seen in under an hour

Entrance portal to the Citadel is now also used by vehicles; the sights, except for the museum, in Corte could easily be seen in under an hour

Posted by VagabondCowboy 08:07 Comments (0)

Historic Luxembourg City packs a lot into a small town

Adolphe Bridge opened in 1904 with the largest stone arch in the world; the corniche here is often called the Balcony of Europe

Adolphe Bridge opened in 1904 with the largest stone arch in the world; the corniche here is often called the Balcony of Europe

The Grand Ducal Palace is the official residence of the country's monarch and where he performs most of his duties as head of state

The Grand Ducal Palace is the official residence of the country's monarch and where he performs most of his duties as head of state

Luxembourg City only has 115,000 residents; the city was the first to be named a European Capital of Culture twice

Luxembourg City only has 115,000 residents; the city was the first to be named a European Capital of Culture twice

The Monument of Remembrance, aka Golden Lady, is dedicated to the thousands of Luxembourgers who volunteered for service in World War I

The Monument of Remembrance, aka Golden Lady, is dedicated to the thousands of Luxembourgers who volunteered for service in World War I

The Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge connects the old town to the new EU complex; more than 15,000 people work in the EU offices

The Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge connects the old town to the new EU complex; more than 15,000 people work in the EU offices

The tour of the Grand Ducal Palace was heavy on the history of the monarchs; the Nazis trashed the palace during WW2 when they used it as a tavern and concert hall

The tour of the Grand Ducal Palace was heavy on the history of the monarchs; the Nazis trashed the palace during WW2 when they used it as a tavern and concert hall

Luxembourg is often called the Gibraltar of the North for its military fortifications and strategic location; the city is on a plateau flanked by high cliffs on three sides

Luxembourg is often called the Gibraltar of the North for its military fortifications and strategic location; the city is on a plateau flanked by high cliffs on three sides

The first president of the European Parliamentary Assembly, Robert Schuman, was from Luxembourg; now the city is one of the three EU headquarters

The first president of the European Parliamentary Assembly, Robert Schuman, was from Luxembourg; now the city is one of the three EU headquarters

Grand Duchess Charlotte stands in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral; the prime minister's house sits on this square

Grand Duchess Charlotte stands in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral; the prime minister's house sits on this square

Luxembourg City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its fortifications; Luxembourg has the second highest per capita GDP in the world

Luxembourg City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its fortifications; Luxembourg has the second highest per capita GDP in the world

The late-Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral was founded in 1613; locals speak Luxembourgish, usually in addition to French and German

The late-Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral was founded in 1613; locals speak Luxembourgish, usually in addition to French and German

Headquarters of the Luxembourg Central Bank; the city used to house offices of hundreds of banks but that number has dropped following the financial crisis

Headquarters of the Luxembourg Central Bank; the city used to house offices of hundreds of banks but that number has dropped following the financial crisis

I.M. Pei designed the Museum of Modern Art which is built into what was originally Fort Thunghen; the city was fortified differently by every conqueror so there seem to be endless military structures

I.M. Pei designed the Museum of Modern Art which is built into what was originally Fort Thunghen; the city was fortified differently by every conqueror so there seem to be endless military structures

The lavish Belgian tapestries were a gift from Napoleon; the Grand Ducal Palace is only open for tours in the summer when the monarchs are on holiday

The lavish Belgian tapestries were a gift from Napoleon; the Grand Ducal Palace is only open for tours in the summer when the monarchs are on holiday

This is part of the European Parliament; this city also hosts the European Investment Bank and the European Court of Justice

This is part of the European Parliament; this city also hosts the European Investment Bank and the European Court of Justice

The panoramic photos in this blog I took from the world's largest mobile observation deck; it was 70 meters high and rotated giving everyone a 360 degree view of the area

The panoramic photos in this blog I took from the world's largest mobile observation deck; it was 70 meters high and rotated giving everyone a 360 degree view of the area

These bridges connect the Bock Casemates to the old town; there is still a tunnel under the street which was the original connection between the two areas

These bridges connect the Bock Casemates to the old town; there is still a tunnel under the street which was the original connection between the two areas

Neumunster Abbey, on the left, was built in 1688; during WW2 the Nazis used the abbey to imprison political resisters

Neumunster Abbey, on the left, was built in 1688; during WW2 the Nazis used the abbey to imprison political resisters

St. Michael's Church was completed in 1688; Luxembourg is often rated as the safest city in the world

St. Michael's Church was completed in 1688; Luxembourg is often rated as the safest city in the world

This is called the Three Towers; the central tower was built around 1200 when the second fortification ring was completed while the two flanking towers were added in the 14th century

This is called the Three Towers; the central tower was built around 1200 when the second fortification ring was completed while the two flanking towers were added in the 14th century

The National Museum of History and Art does not fit architecturally with the rest of the old town; it was free though

The National Museum of History and Art does not fit architecturally with the rest of the old town; it was free though

Luxembourg City enjoys an advantageous position in the heart of western Europe - 130 miles from Cologne, 132 miles from Brussels, 240 miles from Amsterdam and 230 miles from Paris

Luxembourg City enjoys an advantageous position in the heart of western Europe - 130 miles from Cologne, 132 miles from Brussels, 240 miles from Amsterdam and 230 miles from Paris

When Grand Duchess Charlotte returned from exile in 1945 she found her palace trashed by the Nazis; now it is used strictly for ceremonial purposes while the family lives at one of their other palaces

When Grand Duchess Charlotte returned from exile in 1945 she found her palace trashed by the Nazis; now it is used strictly for ceremonial purposes while the family lives at one of their other palaces

City Hall; office of the mayor of Luxembourg City is here on the main square of town, Place Guillaume II

City Hall; office of the mayor of Luxembourg City is here on the main square of town, Place Guillaume II

The Luxembourg Philharmonic opened in 2005 and is one of the finest concert halls in Europe; it hosts more than 400 performances a year

The Luxembourg Philharmonic opened in 2005 and is one of the finest concert halls in Europe; it hosts more than 400 performances a year

A brand new light rail line opened during my visit; many workers park in garages around the perimeter of the city and then take buses or walk to work

A brand new light rail line opened during my visit; many workers park in garages around the perimeter of the city and then take buses or walk to work

I took the English tour, with one other person, of the Bock Casemates; the extraordinary network of underground galleries is the city's prime attraction

I took the English tour, with one other person, of the Bock Casemates; the extraordinary network of underground galleries is the city's prime attraction

The first casemates were built in 1644 and by 1684 more than 23 kilometers of underground galleries had been completed

The first casemates were built in 1644 and by 1684 more than 23 kilometers of underground galleries had been completed

This free elevator takes people from river level up to the old town; the city was experiencing unusually warm weather with temps in the 90s

This free elevator takes people from river level up to the old town; the city was experiencing unusually warm weather with temps in the 90s

Luxembourg's lower house of parliament was built as an annex to the Grand Ducal Palace in 1859; the train station is well south of town but an easy 2 euro ride away

Luxembourg's lower house of parliament was built as an annex to the Grand Ducal Palace in 1859; the train station is well south of town but an easy 2 euro ride away

Cranes were everywhere!; the city did a nice job of having tourist info at important sights but it was only in French and German

Cranes were everywhere!; the city did a nice job of having tourist info at important sights but it was only in French and German

Yellow Room, Grand Ducal Palace; I'm using google images for interior shots of the palace since no photos were allowed on my tour

Yellow Room, Grand Ducal Palace; I'm using google images for interior shots of the palace since no photos were allowed on my tour

The heart of the city is largely pedestrianized; the population of the city doubles every day with workers flooding in from Belgium, France and Germany

The heart of the city is largely pedestrianized; the population of the city doubles every day with workers flooding in from Belgium, France and Germany

Rafa telling everyone to check their tires; it seems an odd public service announcement from Rafa but nice that he did it

Rafa telling everyone to check their tires; it seems an odd public service announcement from Rafa but nice that he did it

Neumunster Abbey lies on the puny Alzette River which winds around the city; this tiny river carved the soft sandstone into its unique shape

Neumunster Abbey lies on the puny Alzette River which winds around the city; this tiny river carved the soft sandstone into its unique shape

Posted by VagabondCowboy 07:51 Comments (0)

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