Month: August 2020

Berlin: a Walk Through History

I visited Germany in January of 2019 and met a wild traveller called Aaron (he was taking a break from his business, Pedleys Solar). We enjoyed a four day stay at a bed and breakfast in the East side of Berlin.

As a history buff, this was a dream come true for me!

The remnants of the divide, despite being removed decades ago, are visible for all to see. The feeling of walking on a Western street is completely different to that of an Eastern street; the East has much more space to breathe as well as an abundance of public land to enjoy the sun in.

As my visit was in January, we were lucky enough to have a night or two marked by heavy snow, it put the city in a whole new light; the sharp angles and pristine architecture covered by a blanket of white.

It is obligatory when visiting Germany to look upon the relics of the Second World War, there is no place better for this than Berlin. The Topography of Terror gives you the most in depth walk through Germany’s darkest years you’ll find anywhere. Nearby is the harrowing Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a gigantic concrete maze of towers varying in size from waist high to several stories tall. It is impossible not to get emotional when visiting this area of the city, the historic weight is palpable.

The German DDR museum is a must for anyone interested in Cold War history, you can visit replicas of East German flats and immerse yourself in a completely different way of life. Despite the immense quality of this section of the trip, the true highlight was the East Side Gallery, a section of the Berlin Wall that remains standing. It is truly humbling to stand next to one of the most important parts of 20th Century history, the graffiti is an added bonus too! Following from this, Checkpoint Charlie is a fascinating look at the tensions that used to divide the city, it features road markings that show you exactly where the wall would have stood.

Finishing off the historical section of the holiday, the Soviet War Memorial is a gargantuan monument to the lives lost in the liberation of Berlin; parked in front are the first two tanks to enter the city. The monument stares triumphantly at both the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate, it’s located perfectly to visit all three in one day. I would recommend paying for a guide to walk you through this section of the city as it is so full of history that it is easy to miss things!

As a lover of a good night out, I instinctively looked around several of the bars that the city has to offer. Looking past the prices that are inevitably going to be high in a city centre, there were dozens of pubs with great atmospheres and friendly staff. My personal favourite was a quaint Irish bar near the BnB which specialised in whiskey. For those looking for something more exciting, there are many clubs in the centre of the city with a fantastic reputation.…

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Italy: The top things to do

Italy is without a doubt loved by many perhaps for its immense history, many breathtaking landscapes, many beautiful cities, for the beautiful islands in the Mediterranean or perhaps for a varied and delicious cuisine.

But what we can visit and see in the beautiful country?

1) ROME

On a trip to Italy, Rome certainly cannot be missed.

The capital is also called the Eternal City, a very long history that has laid the foundations for many other cultures in Europe.

Full of monuments, squares and museums. Here’s what to visit in Rome:

A. The Colosseum

B. The Roman Forum

C. The Pantheon

D. The Trevi Fountain

E. Navona Square

In Rome, you certainly cannot miss the Vatican City … a small city within Rome, where the Pope is seated;

Here are the things not to miss:

A. St. Peter’s Square

B. St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest basilica in the world

C. Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s main work: The Last Judgment

D. Vatican Museums

Rome has many other artifacts and historical places not to be missed …

2) FLORENCE AND VENICE

They are the two Italian cities that attract more tourists. In fact, they are both beautiful cities.

In Florence, we can’t miss visiting:

A. The Cathedral

B. “Uffizi” Gallery and its famous paintings

C. Signoria Square: a true open-air museum

D. Brunelleschi’s Dome:

Venice full of canals and gondola rides, a perfect destination for a romantic holiday. The Carnival of Venice, every year in February, attracts so many tourist every single year

But in Venice you can also visit:

A. Piazza San Marco: it’s city’s heart and the pigeon area!

B. Saint Marco Basilica with Golden Mosaics

C. The Ducal Palace

D. Bridge of sighs: the famous bridge in Venice

E. Murano, famous for the production of glass and Burano typical colored houses.

3) VERONA

The Shakespearean city that made it famous in the world for the love and tragic fate of the Romeo and Juliet Tragedy

In Verona, it will be possible to admire:

A. Juliet’s house: you will have the chanceto visit the famous balcony

B. Piazza Bra, where the Arana is lacated

C.Erbe Square famous for markets, bars and restaurant terraces

D. The “San Zeno Maggiore” Cathedral, the oldest one inVerona

E. Castelvecchio is a 14th century castle converted into a museum.

4) LAKE MAGGIORE AND ITS BORROMEE ISLANDS

Lake Maggiore, together with Como and Garda it’s one of the 3 largest, famous and beautiful lakes.

Lake Maggiore is particularly is well-known for its Islands:

***Island “Madre”, where you can visit its exotic garden with freely roaming peacocks.

***Island “Bella”, with the Borromini Palace, the garden and the shell cave

***Island “Superiore”, a fisherman Island

5) GARGANO NATIONAL PARK

The best known natural park in Italy, with limestone rocks carved by the sea over the centuries … you can also see beautiful bays, stacks and fantastic caves …

Famous area for hiking, ancient trees, beautiful flora and fauna, and “Vieste”, a Town to be visited…

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