Archive For The “European Travel” Category

There’s no smoke without … a Saint-Claude pipe

There’s no smoke without … a Saint-Claude pipe

You, dear reader, will be unusual to say the least if you own one; your father probably didn’t have one, either; more likely your grandfather might have had one … or two or three. Take a look in your old family photo album and chances are there will be someone smoking a pipe and looking…

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Bonnet Jujurieux Silk Factory Museum

Bonnet Jujurieux Silk Factory Museum

This is a charming museum, and it seems to encompass most of the original Bonnet silk factory in Jujurieux, a small town in the department of Ain. The hub of the silk-production industry was Lyon. C J Bonnet founded a company in that city in 1810 and established this factory at Jujurieux in 1835. The…

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Absinthe – Green Hills & Green Fairies of Jura

Absinthe – Green Hills & Green Fairies of Jura

Originally produced in the Val-de-Travers region in Switzerland and in Pontarlier, France, Absinthe is a distilled anise-flavoured spirit made from herbs including the flowers and leaves of the plant Artemisia Absinthium, also called Wormwood. It’s the same botanical as used in Vermouth. Although it is sometimes termed a liqueur, absinthe has no added sugar and…

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The Bells, The Bells of Jura

The Bells, The Bells of Jura

When you wake in your hotel room in the beautiful green mountains of the Jura, in Eastern France, you may hear, for the first time, the iconic sound of bells – cow bells, tinkling across the valleys as the brown-and-white ladies stroll to the milking parlour (or return to the pasture, if you’re a late…

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Rubenshuis in Antwerp – travel review

Rubenshuis in Antwerp – travel review

Antwerp is often overlooked, visitors to north-west Europe gravitating to its more celebrated cousins of Paris and Amsterdam. It is, however, a treasure-trove of history, classic Flemish architecture and art, and all in a relatively small area; Antwerp is an ideal walking city. It was, for much of his life, the home of Peter Paul…

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Jan Steen Exhibition at Mauritshuis The Hague – review

Jan Steen Exhibition at Mauritshuis The Hague – review

The Mauritshuis is home to some of the most famous Dutch paintings of the Golden Age. The gallery is a perfectly formed and fitting contemporary venue for its much-loved collections. It has a beautiful and leafy location in the heart of The Hague and it houses masterpieces such as Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring…

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Antwerp for a Belgian Break – Things to do! – travel review

Antwerp for a Belgian Break – Things to do! – travel review

Antwerp is the capital of the Belgian province of Flanders. It is one of the most populous cities in Belgium, although the old city centre gives the impression of a much smaller and more intimate town. It is about 40 kilometres north of Brussels, and only 15 kilometres from the border with The Netherlands. The…

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Port, Wine and the Douro – travel review

Port, Wine and the Douro – travel review

Ah, beautiful Portugal! Striking architecture in iconic Lisbon. History and character in Porto …and then there is the Douro Valley, which is stunning and will entice any visitor. This area is known for its natural beauty and also for its wines and, in particular, Port. No, it isn’t made in Porto although it’s that city…

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A Dog of Flanders in Antwerp – travel review

A Dog of Flanders in Antwerp – travel review

‘A Dog of Flanders’ is a novel by English-French author Marie Louise de la Ramée and was published under her pseudonym “Ouida” in 1872. It is about a Flemish boy named Nello and his dog Patrasche, and is set in Antwerp, where there are numerous reminders of this popular literary work. I confess that I…

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In Nuenen with Vincent van Gogh – travel review

In Nuenen with Vincent van Gogh – travel review

Vincent van Gogh’s Nuenen is documented in charming fashion at the Vincentre Who is this ‘Vincent’ and where is Nuenen? We are exploring the life of THE Vincent. That’s Vincent van Gogh. Yes, he of the Potato Eaters and Starry, Starry Night fame. Nuenen, a beautiful small town in the region of Brabant in The…

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Loving Vincent …and Tim – exhibition review

Loving Vincent …and Tim – exhibition review

The ‘Loving Vincent’ Exhibition of the Animated Film The Loving Vincent Exhibition is now open at the Noord Brabant’s Museum in Den Bosch. This beautiful town is just one hour from Amsterdam by train, too. The exhibition runs until 28th January 2018 and displays 120 of the paintings from the film. The exhibition shows how…

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Portugal – A world of flavours – travel review

Portugal – A world of flavours – travel review

It’s true that many British tourists are regulars on the beaches of the Algarve and they will say they love the country. Yes, they enjoy that little corner of this amazing land; but far fewer visitors travel away from the resorts to discover the real personality of Portugal. The Portuguese are the product of a…

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Porto – Harry Potter was born here – travel review

Porto – Harry Potter was born here – travel review

Yes, it’s true, dear reader! The boy with the lightning scar was conceived and born in Porto. This city is also known as Oporto and is the second-largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. In 2014 and 2017, Porto was elected The Best European Destination by the Best European Destinations Agency. It is an ideal city…

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Port, Porto and culinary culture – travel review

Port, Porto and culinary culture – travel review

You might have visited Porto in Portugal before but it’s worth another look, and perhaps with food and drink in mind this time. There has been more investment lately in this vibrant town, which exudes character and charm. During the 15th and 16th centuries Portugal was a leading European power, ranking with England, France and…

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Esterházy Torta on the Danube – travel review

Esterházy Torta on the Danube – travel review

Floating Viennese Patisserie The French tell us that they have the best food in the world. The Italians say the French learnt from them. The Germans have, in my opinion, some totally underestimated dishes; and we all remember the delights of paella in sunny Spain. But when it comes to cake-and-café culture then you can’t…

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AmaWaterways – floating luxury – travel review

AmaWaterways – floating luxury – travel review

Cruising! Now, there is a prospect that would likely divide the population in two. Each party would have very strongly-held views and would profess to know all about the subject. But perhaps they don’t! I have had the opportunity to ‘enjoy’ many a cruise so I can understand both opinions regarding a floating holiday. The…

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Melodies of the Danube – travel review

Melodies of the Danube – travel review

AmaWaterways on the Danube: first-class floating hospitality We have likely all heard of the Blue Danube, a waltz by the Austrian composer Johann Strauss II. But this majestic river isn’t actually blue, although it is beautiful and worthy of a nice tune. AmaWaterways offers a trip that will cover all the famous sights along the…

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Bratislava – sculpture and urban art – travel review

Bratislava – sculpture and urban art – travel review

We have all heard of Bratislava but mostly with regard to iffy stag do’s. They are thankfully drifting into the mists of a former time, and there is so much more to this city than nightlife. The first known permanent settlement here was around 5000 BC. About 200 BC, the Celtic Boii tribe founded the…

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Three Chairs for The Netherlands – travel review

Three Chairs for The Netherlands – travel review

I am an unashamed supporter of The Netherlands. It’s next door, but unknown to many British. (That might be perceived as an advantage, at least to us who have already discovered it!) It has history, beautiful architecture, surprisingly good food, art and individual design – chair design. Those national assets are not confined to Amsterdam…

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Mallorca for the Arts – travel review

Mallorca for the Arts – travel review

We might well think we know everything about Mallorca – possibly spelled Majorca and often pronounced with a hard ‘j’! It’s evidently a tapestry of an island and so far we are just considering the name! This is a beautiful island which has laboured under the touristic yoke of cheap package tours and ‘English Pubs’…

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