A Travellerspoint blog

October 2018

Cool canals and tallest Dutch church tower - Utrecht

Utrecht was the largest city in the Netherlands from 1100 to 1550, and still has the country's largest surviving medieval old town

Utrecht was the largest city in the Netherlands from 1100 to 1550, and still has the country's largest surviving medieval old town

Utrecht's canals are unique in their design with pedestrians and cyclists on an upper walkway; ships could offload goods directly to the lower wharves where goods could be placed directly into cellars

Utrecht's canals are unique in their design with pedestrians and cyclists on an upper walkway; ships could offload goods directly to the lower wharves where goods could be placed directly into cellars

The Utrecht Dom Tower is the tallest in the Netherlands; climbing the narrow stairs to the top can only be done with a guided tour best booked in advance online

The Utrecht Dom Tower is the tallest in the Netherlands; climbing the narrow stairs to the top can only be done with a guided tour best booked in advance online

A modern skyline is developing around the train station; the white building is locally famous since it's in the shape of a U for Utrecht

A modern skyline is developing around the train station; the white building is locally famous since it's in the shape of a U for Utrecht

St. Martin's Cathedral is the country's only pre-Reformation cathedral, but has been a Protestant church since 1580; Utrecht has always been considered the religious center of the Netherlands

St. Martin's Cathedral is the country's only pre-Reformation cathedral, but has been a Protestant church since 1580; Utrecht has always been considered the religious center of the Netherlands

This hare has been dubbed The Thinker; situated in the middle of the country, Utrecht is the nation's transportation hub having the biggest and busiest train station as well as the headquarters of Dutch Railway

This hare has been dubbed The Thinker; situated in the middle of the country, Utrecht is the nation's transportation hub having the biggest and busiest train station as well as the headquarters of Dutch Railway

The first bicycle path in Utrecht was built in 1885; today there are more than 245 kilometers of dedicated bike lanes (most cyclists do not wear helmets)

The first bicycle path in Utrecht was built in 1885; today there are more than 245 kilometers of dedicated bike lanes (most cyclists do not wear helmets)

Dutch real estate is very expensive, especially in city centers, but maybe I could squeeze into this narrow townhouse; despite lots of new construction, home prices here have climbed quickly since the bottom of the financial crisis

Dutch real estate is very expensive, especially in city centers, but maybe I could squeeze into this narrow townhouse; despite lots of new construction, home prices here have climbed quickly since the bottom of the financial crisis

When the cathedral was completed in the early 1600s it was the largest church in the Netherlands; you can also go underneath the church to see remains of prior structures

When the cathedral was completed in the early 1600s it was the largest church in the Netherlands; you can also go underneath the church to see remains of prior structures

In 2004, 750 years after construction of St. Martin's Cathedral began, the collapsed parts were temporarily rebuilt in scaffolding material; the scaffolding was also blown down in a storm, like the original nave

In 2004, 750 years after construction of St. Martin's Cathedral began, the collapsed parts were temporarily rebuilt in scaffolding material; the scaffolding was also blown down in a storm, like the original nave

The cathedral used to extend all the way to the tower but in 1674 a tornado came through and destroyed part of the cathedral which was never rebuilt

The cathedral used to extend all the way to the tower but in 1674 a tornado came through and destroyed part of the cathedral which was never rebuilt

With 330,000 residents, Utrecht is the 4th largest city in the Netherlands; it is also home to the largest university in the country

With 330,000 residents, Utrecht is the 4th largest city in the Netherlands; it is also home to the largest university in the country

The only Dutch pope had this house built in 1517; Pope John Paul II paid a visit to the house when he came to Utrecht in 1985

The only Dutch pope had this house built in 1517; Pope John Paul II paid a visit to the house when he came to Utrecht in 1985

Originally the cathedral's chapterhouse, after the Reformation this gorgeous building became the main building for Utrecht University

Originally the cathedral's chapterhouse, after the Reformation this gorgeous building became the main building for Utrecht University

From the top of the cathedral tower we could barely see Amsterdam and Rotterdam; the Netherlands is supposed to be densely populated but the vast majority of buildings don't exceed 4 stories

From the top of the cathedral tower we could barely see Amsterdam and Rotterdam; the Netherlands is supposed to be densely populated but the vast majority of buildings don't exceed 4 stories

The average Dutch person has 2 bikes, one clunker for around town and then a racing bike for the countryside; I wondered how many of the bikes I saw had just been abandoned

The average Dutch person has 2 bikes, one clunker for around town and then a racing bike for the countryside; I wondered how many of the bikes I saw had just been abandoned

You see more innovative new buildings in the Netherlands than you do in the US; architecture seems less daring in the US and more practical, whereas the Dutch are creating landmark buildings

You see more innovative new buildings in the Netherlands than you do in the US; architecture seems less daring in the US and more practical, whereas the Dutch are creating landmark buildings

This huge bell dates from 1505 and is used every Friday by a carrillion player who has an afternoon performance; the rest of the time, the bells are automatically rung on the quarter hour

This huge bell dates from 1505 and is used every Friday by a carrillion player who has an afternoon performance; the rest of the time, the bells are automatically rung on the quarter hour

This is a typical, ritzy canal house from 1300 when Utrecht was practically minting money; these city castles were designed to show off the owners wealth

This is a typical, ritzy canal house from 1300 when Utrecht was practically minting money; these city castles were designed to show off the owners wealth

Equestrian statue of Saint Willibrord who was one of the first missionaries to live in the Low Countries and the first bishop of the diocese of Utrecht .

Equestrian statue of Saint Willibrord who was one of the first missionaries to live in the Low Countries and the first bishop of the diocese of Utrecht .

Posted by RNRiggins 15:03 Comments (0)

Nymphenburg Palace-massive summer home of Bavarian rulers

The Nymphenburg Palace is a great place to visit on a nice day with its one square mile of parks and walking trails; the palace is only 3 miles from central Munich

The Nymphenburg Palace is a great place to visit on a nice day with its one square mile of parks and walking trails; the palace is only 3 miles from central Munich

The Grand Hall, 1760, is one of the best preserved Rococo rooms in Bavaria and was the site of big Wittelsbach family festivals; admission for the palace and the four smaller, outer palaces was 10 euros

The Grand Hall, 1760, is one of the best preserved Rococo rooms in Bavaria and was the site of big Wittelsbach family festivals; admission for the palace and the four smaller, outer palaces was 10 euros

Queen Caroline's bedroom with its original 1815 furniture; the future King Ludwig II was born in this room on August 25, 1845 (he ascended to the throne at age 18)

Queen Caroline's bedroom with its original 1815 furniture; the future King Ludwig II was born in this room on August 25, 1845 (he ascended to the throne at age 18)

The Grand Cascade (1717) leads to the Grand Canal which runs about a mile to the main palace; Germans love to get out and walk so I was very envious of the many older people here that were in great shape

The Grand Cascade (1717) leads to the Grand Canal which runs about a mile to the main palace; Germans love to get out and walk so I was very envious of the many older people here that were in great shape

You can barely see the main palace at the far end of the Grand Canal!; the 490 acre park was a great getaway from the crowds in the city

You can barely see the main palace at the far end of the Grand Canal!; the 490 acre park was a great getaway from the crowds in the city

Nymphenburg Palace. Canaletto, 1761; displayed at Munich Residenz, the Nymphenburg still looks the way it did 250 years ago

Nymphenburg Palace. Canaletto, 1761; displayed at Munich Residenz, the Nymphenburg still looks the way it did 250 years ago

This was the bedroom of the electress (wife of the elector); there were 7 electors with one coming from the Wittelsbachs of Bavaria from 1623-1806

This was the bedroom of the electress (wife of the elector); there were 7 electors with one coming from the Wittelsbachs of Bavaria from 1623-1806

This is King Ludwig I's Gallery of Beauties with portraits of 36 women from all social ranks; the king was a consummate girl watcher who would ask ladies if they would like their portrait done

This is King Ludwig I's Gallery of Beauties with portraits of 36 women from all social ranks; the king was a consummate girl watcher who would ask ladies if they would like their portrait done

The Queens Study; the round table inlaid with exotic precious woods was made in Paris and was a gift to the Bavarian royal couple

The Queens Study; the round table inlaid with exotic precious woods was made in Paris and was a gift to the Bavarian royal couple

The Baroque grounds were modeled on the park at Versailles; the Residenz, in Munich proper, has more elegant rooms but tourists come here for the relaxing setting

The Baroque grounds were modeled on the park at Versailles; the Residenz, in Munich proper, has more elegant rooms but tourists come here for the relaxing setting

I wish there had been more info on some of the period furnishings; of the hundreds of rooms in the palace, only about 20 could be visited by tourists

I wish there had been more info on some of the period furnishings; of the hundreds of rooms in the palace, only about 20 could be visited by tourists

The central pavilion of the Nymphenburg Palace was built in 1675 and served as the summer vacation home of Bavaria's ruling Wittelsbach family

The central pavilion of the Nymphenburg Palace was built in 1675 and served as the summer vacation home of Bavaria's ruling Wittelsbach family

The northern apartments were where the ruler lived; imagine the logistics when the royal entourage of about 200 moved to the palace, their summer house

The northern apartments were where the ruler lived; imagine the logistics when the royal entourage of about 200 moved to the palace, their summer house

This was a bedroom back in the day; there is also a carriage museum, porcelain museum and royal stables available for touring at the palace

This was a bedroom back in the day; there is also a carriage museum, porcelain museum and royal stables available for touring at the palace

In 1792, Elector Charles Theodore opened the park to the public; today the main palace gets about 300,000 visitors a year, about the same as the Residenz

In 1792, Elector Charles Theodore opened the park to the public; today the main palace gets about 300,000 visitors a year, about the same as the Residenz

The Magdalenenklause, with its prayer room, is considered an early representative of the hermitage and the ruins of architecture in Germany

The Magdalenenklause, with its prayer room, is considered an early representative of the hermitage and the ruins of architecture in Germany

The Magdalenenklause was a faux ruin for retreat and meditation completed in 1728; on the outside the brick building resembled a teardown but that was apparently intentional

The Magdalenenklause was a faux ruin for retreat and meditation completed in 1728; on the outside the brick building resembled a teardown but that was apparently intentional

The 1721 Pagodenburg, built as a tea house, was the first of the outer palaces; if it were larger I could picture it in River Oaks today

The 1721 Pagodenburg, built as a tea house, was the first of the outer palaces; if it were larger I could picture it in River Oaks today

The blue and white theme of Pagodenburg is designed to imitate Chinese porcelain which was the rage at the time; the royals would play pall mall nearby which was similar to croquet

The blue and white theme of Pagodenburg is designed to imitate Chinese porcelain which was the rage at the time; the royals would play pall mall nearby which was similar to croquet

The 1721 Baroque Badenburg pavilion was the first major building in Europe for centuries that was exclusively for the purpose of enjoying a comfortable bathroom

The 1721 Baroque Badenburg pavilion was the first major building in Europe for centuries that was exclusively for the purpose of enjoying a comfortable bathroom

The banquet hall of the Badenburg pavilion; it was free to stroll the palace grounds but you had to have a ticket to visit the outer palaces like this one

The banquet hall of the Badenburg pavilion; it was free to stroll the palace grounds but you had to have a ticket to visit the outer palaces like this one

Like much of the palace complex, there was a fascination with Chinese culture among the Bavarian rulers as demonstrated here in the Badenburg

Like much of the palace complex, there was a fascination with Chinese culture among the Bavarian rulers as demonstrated here in the Badenburg

The Badenburg had an amazing indoor swimming pool which is a unique example of court bathing culture; they probably needed lots of bathing since none of the houses had air conditioning

The Badenburg had an amazing indoor swimming pool which is a unique example of court bathing culture; they probably needed lots of bathing since none of the houses had air conditioning

There were plenty of benches in the park so some people just came to enjoy the peace and quiet while others read books on the warm, sunny day

There were plenty of benches in the park so some people just came to enjoy the peace and quiet while others read books on the warm, sunny day

The Badenburg dressing room is decorated with various rare Chinese printed wallpapers from the mid-18th century; I was sweltering so it's hard to imagine the bulky outfits worn in this era

The Badenburg dressing room is decorated with various rare Chinese printed wallpapers from the mid-18th century; I was sweltering so it's hard to imagine the bulky outfits worn in this era

The neo-Classical Apollo temple was erected in 1865; the geese and ducks were thriving as were the huge catfish in the lake

The neo-Classical Apollo temple was erected in 1865; the geese and ducks were thriving as were the huge catfish in the lake

The Hall of Mirrors in the Amalienburg is a masterpiece of European rococo art; the 1739 building was built as a summer residence and hunting lodge

The Hall of Mirrors in the Amalienburg is a masterpiece of European rococo art; the 1739 building was built as a summer residence and hunting lodge

The magnificent Dutch kitchen in Amalienburg used Rotterdam tiles to imitate Chinese porcelain; it was the only outer palace to have a functioning kitchen built within the main house

The magnificent Dutch kitchen in Amalienburg used Rotterdam tiles to imitate Chinese porcelain; it was the only outer palace to have a functioning kitchen built within the main house

This is just half of the enormous Nymphenburg Palace!; it continues to be a home for the head of the House of Wittelsbach, currently Franz, Duke of Bavaria

This is just half of the enormous Nymphenburg Palace!; it continues to be a home for the head of the House of Wittelsbach, currently Franz, Duke of Bavaria

Posted by RNRiggins 04:52 Comments (0)

Diocletian's Palace and old town Split, Croatia fascinating

Built in 300, the Cathedral of Saint Doimus is one of the oldest and smallest in the world; Pope John Paul II visited in 1998 and said, Here you can feel the history!

Built in 300, the Cathedral of Saint Doimus is one of the oldest and smallest in the world; Pope John Paul II visited in 1998 and said, Here you can feel the history!

The monumental statue of Gregory, Bishop of Nin, lies just outside the Golden Gate; it was made in 1929 by Ivan Meštrović who now has a very well-respected museum at the base of Marjan Hill

The monumental statue of Gregory, Bishop of Nin, lies just outside the Golden Gate; it was made in 1929 by Ivan Meštrović who now has a very well-respected museum at the base of Marjan Hill

The vestibule of Diocletian's Palace,from the outside rectangular and from the inside circular and open to the sky, was where people waited prior to meeting with Diocletian

The vestibule of Diocletian's Palace,from the outside rectangular and from the inside circular and open to the sky, was where people waited prior to meeting with Diocletian

The Cathedral of Saint Doimus was built originally in 300 as the mausoleum for Diocletian; it was converted into a church in the 7th century

The Cathedral of Saint Doimus was built originally in 300 as the mausoleum for Diocletian; it was converted into a church in the 7th century

Incredible detail from the 13th century Baroque choir stalls (wooden bench rests) in the Cathedral of Saint Doimus;  we skipped climbing the belfry which had a very long line

Incredible detail from the 13th century Baroque choir stalls (wooden bench rests) in the Cathedral of Saint Doimus; we skipped climbing the belfry which had a very long line

Unlike northern Europe, I did not see any Muslims here (those wearing headscarves) although they represent 1.5% o the population (primarily closer to Bosnia)

Unlike northern Europe, I did not see any Muslims here (those wearing headscarves) although they represent 1.5% of the population (primarily closer to Bosnia)

You can now climb to the top of the belfry for great views but the line was so long that I skipped it; best to do it when no cruise ships are in port

You can now climb to the top of the belfry for great views but the line was so long that I skipped it; best to do it when no cruise ships are in port

Let Me Pass street is one of the narrowest in the world and gets laughs from Americans who can't even squeeze through it; wisely, groups from the cruise ships don't come this way

Let Me Pass street is one of the narrowest in the world and gets laughs from Americans who can't even squeeze through it; wisely, groups from the cruise ships don't come this way

The Golden Gate is the main land side entrance to Diocletian's Palace; the palace is a very crowded UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Golden Gate is the main land side entrance to Diocletian's Palace; the palace is a very crowded UNESCO World Heritage Site

This illustration shows how imposing Diocletian's Palace was; several thousand people still live inside what was once the palace (a rarity for a UNESCO site)

This illustration shows how imposing Diocletian's Palace was; several thousand people still live inside what was once the palace (a rarity for a UNESCO site)

The peristyle in Diocletian's Palace with purple granite columns was where the people could meet with their emperor; presumably back then there weren't thousands of tourists in the way

The peristyle in Diocletian's Palace with purple granite columns was where the people could meet with their emperor; presumably back then there weren't thousands of tourists in the way

Diocletian's Palace was built in the 3rd/4th centuries by the Roman Emperor Diocletian; he was the only Roman emperor who willingly abdicated so he could retire to his palace

Diocletian's Palace was built in the 3rd/4th centuries by the Roman Emperor Diocletian; he was the only Roman emperor who willingly abdicated so he could retire to his palace

The old town hall (1455) is the only remaining structure from a complex of buildings that was knocked down in 1825; you'll notice how the architecture has been influenced by the many conquerors of Split

The old town hall (1455) is the only remaining structure from a complex of buildings that was knocked down in 1825; you'll notice how the architecture has been influenced by the many conquerors of Split

I wonder if this kid realizes he's sitting on a black Sphinx that is thousands of years old brought back from Egypt by Diocletian; staff at the Temple of Jupiter didn't seem to care

I wonder if this kid realizes he's sitting on a black Sphinx that is thousands of years old brought back from Egypt by Diocletian; staff at the Temple of Jupiter didn't seem to care

Much of Split remains the same as when I first visited in 2003; there are a few high rises now and several large shopping malls but away from the touristy areas life hasn't changed much

Much of Split remains the same as when I first visited in 2003; there are a few high rises now and several large shopping malls but away from the touristy areas life hasn't changed much

Colorful Republic Square anchors one end of the Riva furthest from the ferry port; in its turbulent history Split has belonged to Austria-Hungary, the Ottomans, the Venetians, France, Italy and Yugoslavia

Colorful Republic Square anchors one end of the Riva furthest from the ferry port; in its turbulent history Split has belonged to Austria-Hungary, the Ottomans, the Venetians, France, Italy and Yugoslavia

The Riva is the most scenic area in Split with people dining by the sea watching the ferries and cruise ships; the largest shipyard in Croatia is located in Split

The Riva is the most scenic area in Split with people dining by the sea watching the ferries and cruise ships; the largest shipyard in Croatia is located in Split

The Ciprianis-Benedetti Palace, built in 1394, is renowned for the two six-light mullioned windows with double columns in late Romanesque style, a rarity in secular architecture

The Ciprianis-Benedetti Palace, built in 1394, is renowned for the two six-light mullioned windows with double columns in late Romanesque style, a rarity in secular architecture

The baptismal font at the Temple of Jupiter (11th c) is the first early Romanesque stone depiction of a ruler in Europe; the statue of Saint John the Baptist was a gift of Ivan Mestrovic

The baptismal font at the Temple of Jupiter (11th c) is the first early Romanesque stone depiction of a ruler in Europe; the statue of Saint John the Baptist was a gift of Ivan Mestrovic

The unique wooden doors of the Cathedral of Saint Doimus were sculpted in 1214; these superbly preserved Romanesque doors made of walnut wood have 28 coffers with scenes from the life of Jesus

The unique wooden doors of the Cathedral of Saint Doimus were sculpted in 1214; these superbly preserved Romanesque doors made of walnut wood have 28 coffers with scenes from the life of Jesus

The sea water temperature peaks in August (average 74 degrees) and it felt so good to escape the sweltering heat; the visibility was great but there wasn't much to see underwater

The sea water temperature peaks in August (average 74 degrees) and it felt so good to escape the sweltering heat; the visibility was great but there wasn't much to see underwater

You can pay to go underneath Diocletian's Palace which was the storage area and possibly dungeon; being structurally a faithful replica of the chambers above, they are largely responsible for the palace getting UNESCO status

You can pay to go underneath Diocletian's Palace which was the storage area and possibly dungeon; being structurally a faithful replica of the chambers above, they are largely responsible for the palace getting UNESCO status

I got the biggest kick out of watching this dachshund on his paddleboarding adventure; he seemed mesmerized by watching what was in the water and never moved from his perch at the front of the board

I got the biggest kick out of watching this dachshund on his paddleboarding adventure; he seemed mesmerized by watching what was in the water and never moved from his perch at the front of the board

This old church is near the top of Marjan Hill (183 m) which happened to be between the beach and my apartment; young people hiked up the hill for the views

This old church is near the top of Marjan Hill (183 m) which happened to be between the beach and my apartment; young people hiked up the hill for the views

Construction on Diocletian's Palace took 10 years; it is 215 meters long and 180 meters wide, originally had 16 towers and walls up to 26 meters high

Construction on Diocletian's Palace took 10 years; it is 215 meters long and 180 meters wide, originally had 16 towers and walls up to 26 meters high

The belfry of Saint Arnir was built in the 18th century next to the chapel that dates from 1069; Split is well-known as a mecca for water polo

The belfry of Saint Arnir was built in the 18th century next to the chapel that dates from 1069; Split is well-known as a mecca for water polo

View of the Riva with the belfry from Diocletian's Palace; the first time I visited in 2003 the Riva was under construction but the area is now the centerpiece of the old town

View of the Riva with the belfry from Diocletian's Palace; the first time I visited in 2003 the Riva was under construction but the area is now the centerpiece of the old town

After Ivanisevic won Wimbledon more than 100,000 people showed up here to celebrate; amazing considering the city only has 178,000 residents

After Ivanisevic won Wimbledon more than 100,000 people showed up here to celebrate; amazing considering the city only has 178,000 residents

The Riva promenade separates the sea from the old town and is now filled with open air cafes; in Napoleonic times the sea went right to the walls of the old town

The Riva promenade separates the sea from the old town and is now filled with open air cafes; in Napoleonic times the sea went right to the walls of the old town

On the left is the Church of Saint Francis; Split is the second largest city in Croatia and a major tourist hub with ferries going to the nearby islands

On the left is the Church of Saint Francis; Split is the second largest city in Croatia and a major tourist hub with ferries going to the nearby islands

The Baroque Milesi Palace anchors one end of Fruit's Square; the squares in Split used to be like the different sections of a grocery store now with each having a different specialty

The Baroque Milesi Palace anchors one end of Fruit's Square; the squares in Split used to be like the different sections of a grocery store now with each having a different specialty

The Church of Saint Roche with its Renaissance facade was created in 1516 through the conversion of a Romanesque 13th century house

The Church of Saint Roche with its Renaissance facade was created in 1516 through the conversion of a Romanesque 13th century house

Marjan Hill as seen from the Riva; there aren't any beaches along the Riva itself so the closest nice beach is on the other side of Marjan Hill

Marjan Hill as seen from the Riva; there aren't any beaches along the Riva itself so the closest nice beach is on the other side of Marjan Hill

With narrow streets no cars can get in the old town but there is still gridlock with tons of tourists; the narrow streets do offer one benefit which is shade much of the day

With narrow streets no cars can get in the old town but there is still gridlock with tons of tourists; the narrow streets do offer one benefit which is shade much of the day

Posted by RNRiggins 05:55 Comments (0)

The best in Dutch art well-presented in great Rijksmuseum

The world's leading museum for the Dutch Golden Age and a beautiful building; I had skipped the Rijksmuseum on prior visits to Amsterdam because of long lines

The world's leading museum for the Dutch Golden Age and a beautiful building; I had skipped the Rijksmuseum on prior visits to Amsterdam because of long lines

Rembrandt, The Night Watch aka The Militia Company of Frans Banninck Cocq, 1642; Rembrandt's most famous painting and the star attraction at the museum

Rembrandt, The Night Watch aka The Militia Company of Frans Banninck Cocq, 1642; Rembrandt's most famous painting and the star attraction at the museum

Vermeer, The Milkmaid, 1660; the Rijksmuseum has the world's best collection of Vermeer paintings

Vermeer, The Milkmaid, 1660; the Rijksmuseum has the world's best collection of Vermeer paintings

Heda, Still Life with a Gilt Cup, 1635; the unbelievable level of detail (note the engraving on the cup) makes this work incredible

Heda, Still Life with a Gilt Cup, 1635; the unbelievable level of detail (note the engraving on the cup) makes this work incredible

Hals, The Merry Drinker aka A Militiaman Holding a Berkemeyer, 1630; Hals was the premier portrait painter of the Dutch Golden Age

Hals, The Merry Drinker aka A Militiaman Holding a Berkemeyer, 1630; Hals was the premier portrait painter of the Dutch Golden Age

The Gallery of Honor conveniently has most of the museum's famous works all in one place; The Night Watch is at the far end of the gallery

The Gallery of Honor conveniently has most of the museum's famous works all in one place; The Night Watch is at the far end of the gallery

Screaming Child Stung by a Bee, 1615; this boxwood sculpture is probably Cupid after stealing honey by an unknown artist

Screaming Child Stung by a Bee, 1615; this boxwood sculpture is probably Cupid after stealing honey by an unknown artist

Jelgerhuis, The Shop of the Bookdealer Pieter Meijer Warnars on the Vijgendam in Amsterdam, 1820; the artwork of the time is sensational when you consider that this is before the photograph and modern creature comforts

Jelgerhuis, The Shop of the Bookdealer Pieter Meijer Warnars on the Vijgendam in Amsterdam, 1820; the artwork of the time is sensational when you consider that this is before the photograph and modern creature comforts

Van Gogh, Self-portrait, 1887; in 1886 Van Gogh moved to Paris and his paintings became brighter and less somber

Van Gogh, Self-portrait, 1887; in 1886 Van Gogh moved to Paris and his paintings became brighter and less somber

I had no idea that the museum also had a gorgeous library; I was able to skip the museum line by buying a Museumkart which is good for any five out of more than 400 museums in the Netherlands

I had no idea that the museum also had a gorgeous library; I was able to skip the museum line by buying a Museumkart which is good for any five out of more than 400 museums in the Netherlands

Van Huysum, Still Life with Flowers and Fruit, 1728; I loved this colorful arrangement with its lifelike accuracy

Van Huysum, Still Life with Flowers and Fruit, 1728; I loved this colorful arrangement with its lifelike accuracy

Collector's Cabinet with Miniature Apothecary 1730; housing dozens of small pots and bottles containing ingredients for medicines, this was like a mini-CVS contained in a single piece of furniture

Collector's Cabinet with Miniature Apothecary 1730; housing dozens of small pots and bottles containing ingredients for medicines, this was like a mini-CVS contained in a single piece of furniture

Steen, The Merry Family, 1668; this multi-generational drunken family reflects the notorious leniency of Dutch Golden Age parents

Steen, The Merry Family, 1668; this multi-generational drunken family reflects the notorious leniency of Dutch Golden Age parents

The Rijksmuseum is the most visited in the Netherlands with 2.5  million guests annually; the 1885 building is the largest art museum in the country and includes signature pieces like Delftware

The Rijksmuseum is the most visited in the Netherlands with 2.5+ million guests annually; the 1885 building is the largest art museum in the country and includes signature pieces like Delftware

Hals, Portrait of a Couple, Probably Isaac Abrahamsz Massa and Beatrix van der Laen, 1622; this likely wedding portrait shows a happy couple rather than the stoic images that had been the norm

Hals, Portrait of a Couple, Probably Isaac Abrahamsz Massa and Beatrix van der Laen, 1622; this likely wedding portrait shows a happy couple rather than the stoic images that had been the norm

Van Mekeren, cabinet, 1710; this spectacular example is from the most important Amsterdam cabinetmaker of the 17th century

Van Mekeren, cabinet, 1710; this spectacular example is from the most important Amsterdam cabinetmaker of the 17th century

Rembrandt, The Jewish Bride aka Isaac and Rebecca, 1665-1669; the artist was the greatest of the Dutch masters and his death marked the end of the Golden Age

Rembrandt, The Jewish Bride aka Isaac and Rebecca, 1665-1669; the artist was the greatest of the Dutch masters and his death marked the end of the Golden Age

Ruckers, Harpsichord, 1627; the Flemish Ruckers family are, perhaps, the most famous harpsichord makers of all time and this is the only one of its kind to have survived

Ruckers, Harpsichord, 1627; the Flemish Ruckers family are, perhaps, the most famous harpsichord makers of all time and this is the only one of its kind to have survived

Rembrandt, The Wardens of the Amsterdam Drapers Guild, 1662; older people will remember this painting from the Dutch Masters cigar advertisements

Rembrandt, The Wardens of the Amsterdam Drapers Guild, 1662; older people will remember this painting from the Dutch Masters cigar advertisements

Roentgen, Desk, 1760; this desk (made for the Archbishop of Trier) is the greatest showpiece ever made by Abraham Roentgen, the most famous German cabinetmaker of his time

Roentgen, Desk, 1760; this desk (made for the Archbishop of Trier) is the greatest showpiece ever made by Abraham Roentgen, the most famous German cabinetmaker of his time

Rembrandt, Self Portrait as the Apostle Paul, 1661; the artist was only 55 but looks much older in this painting

Rembrandt, Self Portrait as the Apostle Paul, 1661; the artist was only 55 but looks much older in this painting

Sevres Mantel Clock (owned by Tsar Paul I of Russia), 1782; with its combination of splendidly worked gilt-bronze and Sevres porcelain, this clock is a spectacular demonstration of the unrivaled quality of Parisian craftsmanship

Sevres Mantel Clock (owned by Tsar Paul I of Russia), 1782; with its combination of splendidly worked gilt-bronze and Sevres porcelain, this clock is a spectacular demonstration of the unrivaled quality of Parisian craftsmanship

Document Case, South India, 1720; gorgeous, intricate ivory inlay decoration adorns this briefcase of its time

Document Case, South India, 1720; gorgeous, intricate ivory inlay decoration adorns this briefcase of its time

Xavery, Mantelpiece with relief of Paris and Oenone, 1739; made from Carrara marble and red/grey Belgian marble for a baron in Leiden

Xavery, Mantelpiece with relief of Paris and Oenone, 1739; made from Carrara marble and red/grey Belgian marble for a baron in Leiden

Posted by RNRiggins 08:37 Comments (0)

Bourscheid Castle-the largest in Luxembourg +1000 years old

Bourscheid Castle was built around the year 1000; the castle stands 500 feet above the River Sure and is enclosed by a circular wall with 11 watchtowers

Bourscheid Castle was built around the year 1000; the castle stands 500 feet above the River Sure and is enclosed by a circular wall with 11 watchtowers

Victor Hugo immortalized the castle when he wrote 2 of his carnets here and drew numerous sketches

Victor Hugo immortalized the castle when he wrote 2 of his carnets here and drew numerous sketches

Bourscheid Castle was built in a tight bend on the River Sure; it was impregnable by cliffs on 3 sides and had a drawbridge on the 4th

Bourscheid Castle was built in a tight bend on the River Sure; it was impregnable by cliffs on 3 sides and had a drawbridge on the 4th

The Stolzembourg House was erected in 1384; it's just crazy to think how old all of this is!

The Stolzembourg House was erected in 1384; it's just crazy to think how old all of this is!

This Gothic vaulted cellar lies beneath the Stolzembourg house and was built in 1384; restoration works are ongoing with a museum under construction

This Gothic vaulted cellar lies beneath the Stolzembourg house and was built in 1384; restoration works are ongoing with a museum under construction

It's unusual to find a castle that doesn't occupy the highest piece of land around, but Bourscheid Castle actually lies beneath the town of Bourscheid

It's unusual to find a castle that doesn't occupy the highest piece of land around, but Bourscheid Castle actually lies beneath the town of Bourscheid

The River Sure had lots of families camping along it; I would have enjoyed the castle much more had there not been clear cutting of the forest behind it

The River Sure had lots of families camping along it; I would have enjoyed the castle much more had there not been clear cutting of the forest behind it

The House of Bourscheid was replaced by that of Metternich in 1626, before the French Revolution put an end to feudal power

The House of Bourscheid was replaced by that of Metternich in 1626, before the French Revolution put an end to feudal power

The last Lord of Bourscheid died without descendants in 1512; his heirs set up 3 different living quarters in the castle, one in the old palace and castle keep, another in the lower part of the upper castle and the last in Stolzembourg house

The last Lord of Bourscheid died without descendants in 1512; his heirs set up 3 different living quarters in the castle, one in the old palace and castle keep, another in the lower part of the upper castle and the last in Stolzembourg house

The lords of Bourscheid were loyal vassals of the Duke of Luxembourg; they were also his counselors and fought by his side during armed conflicts

The lords of Bourscheid were loyal vassals of the Duke of Luxembourg; they were also his counselors and fought by his side during armed conflicts

The Castle courtyard was finished around 1477; Victor Hugo visited the castle in September 1865

The Castle courtyard was finished around 1477; Victor Hugo visited the castle in September 1865

The juxtaposition between 1000 year old castles and new wind turbines was seen many times around the country

The juxtaposition between 1000 year old castles and new wind turbines was seen many times around the country

European attractions tend not to be as expensive as American sights; Bourscheid Castle was only 5 euros and that included the audioguide and free parking

European attractions tend not to be as expensive as American sights; Bourscheid Castle was only 5 euros and that included the audioguide and free parking

The outer circular walls of the castle were built between 1350 and 1384; the castle deteriorated over the centuries but the Luxembourg government bought it in 1972 and began excavations and rehabilitation

The outer circular walls of the castle were built between 1350 and 1384; the castle deteriorated over the centuries but the Luxembourg government bought it in 1972 and began excavations and rehabilitation

The castle was built for the lords of Bourscheid; they were among the most respected chivalric families in the region

The castle was built for the lords of Bourscheid; they were among the most respected chivalric families in the region

I visited the Museum of Miniature Castles in Clervaux which shows Bourscheid Castle; it happens to be the largest in Luxembourg

I visited the Museum of Miniature Castles in Clervaux which shows Bourscheid Castle; it happens to be the largest in Luxembourg

Castle admission included an extensive audioguide that described the development of the castle over the centuries

Castle admission included an extensive audioguide that described the development of the castle over the centuries

Posted by RNRiggins 04:15 Comments (0)

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