A Travellerspoint blog

November 2017

Annecy-one of France's most lovely Alpine villages

12th century Palais de l'Isle is one of the most photographed spots in France

12th century Palais de l'Isle is one of the most photographed spots in France

The Jardins del Europe are planted with 100s of huge trees from around the world; miles of footpaths with gorgeous views of the lake and mountains

The Jardins del Europe are planted with 100s of huge trees from around the world; miles of footpaths with gorgeous views of the lake and mountains

The Tour de France has held stages here; paragliding is popular as are trail running and the annual swim across the lake

The Tour de France has held stages here; paragliding is popular as are trail running and the annual swim across the lake

City Hall; Annecy was among the bidders for the 2018 Winter Olympics

City Hall; Annecy was among the bidders for the 2018 Winter Olympics

Sometimes called Venice of the Alps for its miles of beautiful canals; photographers love Annecy

Sometimes called Venice of the Alps for its miles of beautiful canals; photographers love Annecy

Lee hadn't visited Annecy before so I was happy to show him around this unique French city

Lee hadn't visited Annecy before so I was happy to show him around this unique French city

The Sainte-Claire gate protected the old town in medieval times

The Sainte-Claire gate protected the old town in medieval times

Annecy Castle was built between the 12th and 16th centuries; since the 1950s it has housed an art museum

Annecy Castle was built between the 12th and 16th centuries; since the 1950s it has housed an art museum

Less than an hour from Geneva, Annecy is known as the Pearl of the French Alps

Less than an hour from Geneva, Annecy is known as the Pearl of the French Alps

We visited on Sunday morning so many sights weren't open but plenty of people were out for a scenic walk

We visited on Sunday morning so many sights weren't open but plenty of people were out for a scenic walk

Lake Annecy feeds the Thiou River; the city has only 50,000 people but the metro area has 220,000

Lake Annecy feeds the Thiou River; the city has only 50,000 people but the metro area has 220,000

Annecy was a refreshing change after more than 2 weeks in Morocco

Annecy was a refreshing change after more than 2 weeks in Morocco

16th century St. Pierre Cathedral is built atop some of the canals; the tower was added in the 19th century

16th century St. Pierre Cathedral is built atop some of the canals; the tower was added in the 19th century

One of France's prettiest medieval cities lies on Europe's cleanest lake but I couldn't coax Lee into taking a dip

One of France's prettiest medieval cities lies on Europe's cleanest lake but I couldn't coax Lee into taking a dip

Lover's Bridge is in the distance right before the canal enters Lac Annecy

Lover's Bridge is in the distance right before the canal enters Lac Annecy

Posted by RNRiggins 15:39 Comments (0)

Impressive Monumental City of Caceres is a hidden gem

The walled city of Caceres is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the rest of the city is quite drab and unattractive

The walled city of Caceres is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the rest of the city is quite drab and unattractive

18th century Iglesia de San Francisco Javier; Caceres was declared a Monumental City by the Council of Europe; it was third city so designated after Tallinn and Prague

18th century Iglesia de San Francisco Javier; Caceres was declared a Monumental City by the Council of Europe; it was third city so designated after Tallinn and Prague

The cobblestone streets of the walled city are largely deserted even today; the great concentration of monuments in Caceres is unique among Spanish cities

The cobblestone streets of the walled city are largely deserted even today; the great concentration of monuments in Caceres is unique among Spanish cities

In the center is the Palacio de los Golfines de Abajo; the Golfines were one of the most prominent families in Caceres; Ferdinand and Isabella lived in the mansion for a time

In the center is the Palacio de los Golfines de Abajo; the Golfines were one of the most prominent families in Caceres; Ferdinand and Isabella lived in the mansion for a time

12th century Torre de Bujaco guards the main entrance to the Monumental City

12th century Torre de Bujaco guards the main entrance to the Monumental City

15th century Gothic Concatedral de Santa Maria; ham and red wine are leading local products

15th century Gothic Concatedral de Santa Maria; ham and red wine are leading local products

16th century cedar altarpiece in the Concatedral de Santa Maria; for unknown reasons it was never painted or gilded making it unusual among Spanish churches

16th century cedar altarpiece in the Concatedral de Santa Maria; for unknown reasons it was never painted or gilded making it unusual among Spanish churches

Not many tourists here because it's off the beaten track; too far from Madrid or Seville to be a day trip

Not many tourists here because it's off the beaten track; too far from Madrid or Seville to be a day trip

18th century Arco de la Estrella welcomes visitors to the narrow, cobbled streets of the old town

18th century Arco de la Estrella welcomes visitors to the narrow, cobbled streets of the old town

Great idea! Plaza Mayor is the largest square in town and the liveliest place too

Great idea! Plaza Mayor is the largest square in town and the liveliest place too

Caceres was founded by Romans in 25BC; today it has about 100,000 people

Caceres was founded by Romans in 25BC; today it has about 100,000 people

Most buildings have remained largely intact from their glory days; most buildings were built in the same period leading to a harmonious feel in the walled city

Most buildings have remained largely intact from their glory days; most buildings were built in the same period leading to a harmonious feel in the walled city

Caceres flourished during the Reconquista and the discovery of America; many explorers from here made their fortunes in America and built mansions with their new wealth

Caceres flourished during the Reconquista and the discovery of America; many explorers from here made their fortunes in America and built mansions with their new wealth

Slow 3 hour bus ride from Salamanca to get here and 1 hour train ride to Merida when leaving here

Slow 3 hour bus ride from Salamanca to get here and 1 hour train ride to Merida when leaving here

16th century of splendor on display within the ancient stone walls; many of the buildings seem to be empty today

16th century of splendor on display within the ancient stone walls; many of the buildings seem to be empty today

Large Plaza Mayor is alive at night; traditionally families gather in the plaza for dinner and to catch up on the latest happenings

Large Plaza Mayor is alive at night; traditionally families gather in the plaza for dinner and to catch up on the latest happenings

I could just picture Rapunzel or Romeo and Juliet on the balcony

I could just picture Rapunzel or Romeo and Juliet on the balcony

Posted by RNRiggins 04:09 Comments (0)

A few days based in convenient Madrid

Beautiful city hall in Plaza Mayor; Madrid is EU's 3rd largest city with roughly 5 million people

Beautiful city hall in Plaza Mayor; Madrid is EU's 3rd largest city with roughly 5 million people

The Prado.  One of the premier art museums in Europe with all of the Spanish masters.

The Prado. One of the premier art museums in Europe with all of the Spanish masters.

Huge crowd marching for Spanish unity; Spain would not seem the same (or be as strong, in my opinion) without Catalonia

Huge crowd marching for Spanish unity; Spain would not seem the same (or be as strong, in my opinion) without Catalonia

October is great weather month to visit; city requires lots of walking but not so hot now

October is great weather month to visit; city requires lots of walking but not so hot now

Plaza de la Puerto del Sol is the heart of Madrid; all points in Spain are measured from here

Plaza de la Puerto del Sol is the heart of Madrid; all points in Spain are measured from here

Surprising to find expansive Plaza Mayor among the tightly packed streets of central Madrid; great at night

Surprising to find expansive Plaza Mayor among the tightly packed streets of central Madrid; great at night

All of my favorite cereals!  Shop seemed to be doing a good business

All of my favorite cereals! Shop seemed to be doing a good business

Had seen everything I wanted to on prior visits to Madrid so mainly used my time to go outside the city on day trips

Had seen everything I wanted to on prior visits to Madrid so mainly used my time to go outside the city on day trips

Inside the Atocha train station is an indoor arboretum with lots of turtles

Inside the Atocha train station is an indoor arboretum with lots of turtles

City has 3 of the best art museums in Europe, all within a few blocks of each other

City has 3 of the best art museums in Europe, all within a few blocks of each other

Many peacefully protesting against Catalonia's exit from Spain in front of one of my favorite Art Deco buildings in Madrid

Many peacefully protesting against Catalonia's exit from Spain in front of one of my favorite Art Deco buildings in Madrid

Classic Ministry of Agriculture building sits next to the Atocha train station.

Classic Ministry of Agriculture building sits next to the Atocha train station.

Posted by RNRiggins 03:57 Comments (0)

If you like Roman ruins visit Merida, Spain

1st century BC Temple of Diana is the only religious building among the Roman sights in Merida

1st century BC Temple of Diana is the only religious building among the Roman sights in Merida

Merida is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has the most impressive and extensive Roman ruins in all of Spain

Merida is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has the most impressive and extensive Roman ruins in all of Spain

Casa del Metreo is a 2nd century Roman house with well-preserved frescoes; this one was especially colorful and complex describing the creation of the world

Casa del Metreo is a 2nd century Roman house with well-preserved frescoes; this one was especially colorful and complex describing the creation of the world

Roman Bridge was built in 25 BC when the city was founded; in the distance you see the modern Santiago Calatrava bridge spanning the Rio Guadiana

Roman Bridge was built in 25 BC when the city was founded; in the distance you see the modern Santiago Calatrava bridge spanning the Rio Guadiana

Aqueduct of Los Milagros; built between the 1st century BC and 3rd century AD; it's 830 meters long and 25 meters high

Aqueduct of Los Milagros; built between the 1st century BC and 3rd century AD; it's 830 meters long and 25 meters high

The only surviving hippodrome in Spain; the 1st century Circo Romano could seat 30,000 spectators

The only surviving hippodrome in Spain; the 1st century Circo Romano could seat 30,000 spectators

Easy to see why they needed aqueducts with this pitiful river, it looks more like a bayou; city is capital of Extremedura province

Easy to see why they needed aqueducts with this pitiful river, it looks more like a bayou; city is capital of Extremedura province

1914 Plaza de Toros; sights spread out across town; you have to wonder what Roman ruins still remain buried beneath modern buildings

1914 Plaza de Toros; sights spread out across town; you have to wonder what Roman ruins still remain buried beneath modern buildings

Anfiteatro; I bought the 15 euro ticket that included all of Merida's Roman sites; unfortunately they are spread out all over the city and I ended the day utterly exhausted

Anfiteatro; I bought the 15 euro ticket that included all of Merida's Roman sites; unfortunately they are spread out all over the city and I ended the day utterly exhausted

Anfiteatro entrance; still amazed at how many Spaniards smoke, young and old; tons of banks even after their financial crisis

Anfiteatro entrance; still amazed at how many Spaniards smoke, young and old; tons of banks even after their financial crisis

15 BC Teatro Romano is the city's highlight; it would seat 6000 with the more wealthy in the lower seats and the slaves in the upper seats

15 BC Teatro Romano is the city's highlight; it would seat 6000 with the more wealthy in the lower seats and the slaves in the upper seats

Casa del Metreo mosaics; city does not seem to be doing well; lots of for rent signs; stores had dated products; even lots of dog poo on the sidewalks

Casa del Metreo mosaics; city does not seem to be doing well; lots of for rent signs; stores had dated products; even lots of dog poo on the sidewalks

Roman Theater stage; city founded in 25 BC by Emperor Augustus; today the city has about 60,000 residents

Roman Theater stage; city founded in 25 BC by Emperor Augustus; today the city has about 60,000 residents

Portico del Foro is 1st century BC entrance to the municipal forum where the government was based

Portico del Foro is 1st century BC entrance to the municipal forum where the government was based

Impressive Temple of Diana; picked up a couple of informative maps from the tourist office but they weren't always accurate causing lots of extra walking

Impressive Temple of Diana; picked up a couple of informative maps from the tourist office but they weren't always accurate causing lots of extra walking

Anfiteatro opened in 8 BC to host gladiator competitions; it would seat 14,000 people

Anfiteatro opened in 8 BC to host gladiator competitions; it would seat 14,000 people

792 meters long with 60 granite arches, the bridge is one of the longest built by the Romans and is the longest one still surviving

792 meters long with 60 granite arches, the bridge is one of the longest built by the Romans and is the longest one still surviving

Alcazaba was built in 835 AD and was probably the first alcazaba built in Andalucia

Alcazaba was built in 835 AD and was probably the first alcazaba built in Andalucia

Monumental Roman fountain; often the ruins required some creativity to envision them in their original condition; the signs at the sites were in English which helped

Monumental Roman fountain; often the ruins required some creativity to envision them in their original condition; the signs at the sites were in English which helped

16th century aqueduct built over the ruins of a first century aqueduct; the city was supplied with water during Roman times from 3 different aqueducts

16th century aqueduct built over the ruins of a first century aqueduct; the city was supplied with water during Roman times from 3 different aqueducts

Basilica of St. Eulalia (Merida's patron saint); underneath are a 4th century Christian cemetery and a 5th century church

Basilica of St. Eulalia (Merida's patron saint); underneath are a 4th century Christian cemetery and a 5th century church

Amazing stage of the Teatro Romano; it still hosts performances during the summer

Amazing stage of the Teatro Romano; it still hosts performances during the summer

Posted by RNRiggins 14:44 Comments (0)

UNESCO tour continues in Salamanca-Spain's best college town

Plaza Mayor considered the best public plaza in all of Spain

Plaza Mayor considered the best public plaza in all of Spain

What an entrance! The University of Salamanca has sandstone, entrance facade with images of mythical heroes, religious scenes and coats of arms.  It's dominated by busts of Ferdinand and Isabella.

What an entrance! The University of Salamanca has sandstone, entrance facade with images of mythical heroes, religious scenes and coats of arms. It's dominated by busts of Ferdinand and Isabella.

Roman bridge built on order of Emperor Augustus is roughly 2000 years old; now only pedestrian traffic

Roman bridge built on order of Emperor Augustus is roughly 2000 years old; now only pedestrian traffic

Exquisite 15th century altarpiece in Old Cathedral is one of the finest outside of Italy; very impressive

Exquisite 15th century altarpiece in Old Cathedral is one of the finest outside of Italy; very impressive

My favorite part of the New Cathedral was the dome; ornate style of Baroque used for New Cathedral named after its designer - Churrigueresque

My favorite part of the New Cathedral was the dome; ornate style of Baroque used for New Cathedral named after its designer - Churrigueresque

Casa de las Conchas is 500 yr old building covered with 300  shells which are the symbol of pilgrims performing the Way of St. James (walk to Santiago de Compostela); building now public library

Casa de las Conchas is 500 yr old building covered with 300+ shells which are the symbol of pilgrims performing the Way of St. James (walk to Santiago de Compostela); building now public library

Exceptional Puerta del Nacimiento carved in sandstone on New Cathedral

Exceptional Puerta del Nacimiento carved in sandstone on New Cathedral

Unique and colorful 16th century organ in the Old Cathedral is one of Europe's oldest

Unique and colorful 16th century organ in the Old Cathedral is one of Europe's oldest

University (founded 1218) buildings, Salamanca has the oldest university library in Europe

University (founded 1218) buildings, Salamanca has the oldest university library in Europe

Plaza Mayor beautifully lit at night; Spanish cities come alive then but it's well past my bedtime

Plaza Mayor beautifully lit at night; Spanish cities come alive then but it's well past my bedtime

Enormous New Cathedral built between 1513 and 1733; informative audioguide explained virtually everything in both cathedrals

Enormous New Cathedral built between 1513 and 1733; informative audioguide explained virtually everything in both cathedrals

Extraordinary, altar-like facade of Convent of San Esteban

Extraordinary, altar-like facade of Convent of San Esteban

Unique that old cathedral wasn't torn down; rather old and new cathedrals share a wall; since old one stayed designers made sure new one would blend aesthetically with the old one

Unique that old cathedral wasn't torn down; rather old and new cathedrals share a wall; since old one stayed designers made sure new one would blend aesthetically with the old one

The Old Cathedral was completed in the 14th century; city had to keep up with other Spanish cities and build an even bigger cathedral but thankfully kept the old one which I liked better

The Old Cathedral was completed in the 14th century; city had to keep up with other Spanish cities and build an even bigger cathedral but thankfully kept the old one which I liked better

Stunning Museum of Art Nouveau and Art Deco with many great pieces but no photos allowed

Stunning Museum of Art Nouveau and Art Deco with many great pieces but no photos allowed

City of 220,000 has the oldest university in Spain which gives it a creative and energetic vibe

City of 220,000 has the oldest university in Spain which gives it a creative and energetic vibe

The cathedrals suffered cracks and broken windows in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake requiring building reinforcements

The cathedrals suffered cracks and broken windows in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake requiring building reinforcements

All around Plaza Mayor were capitals of famous Spaniards, like Cervantes

All around Plaza Mayor were capitals of famous Spaniards, like Cervantes

Niches in Old Cathedral contained many elaborate tombs with painting on walls still in-tact

Niches in Old Cathedral contained many elaborate tombs with painting on walls still in-tact

Chapel in New Cathedral famous for small icon which El Cid supposedly carried with him into battles

Chapel in New Cathedral famous for small icon which El Cid supposedly carried with him into battles

View of Roman Bridge from New Cathedral bell tower; city lies on arid plain with wheat and hay fields for miles, about 50 miles from Portuguese border

View of Roman Bridge from New Cathedral bell tower; city lies on arid plain with wheat and hay fields for miles, about 50 miles from Portuguese border

Dr. Theriault would have understood much more than I did about each and every chapel in both cathedrals

Dr. Theriault would have understood much more than I did about each and every chapel in both cathedrals

Elaborate choir stalls in New Cathedral; sheer number of artisans required in construction staggering

Elaborate choir stalls in New Cathedral; sheer number of artisans required in construction staggering

Lots of whimsical murals around town, especially on garage doors

Lots of whimsical murals around town, especially on garage doors

Posted by RNRiggins 12:56 Comments (0)

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