Welcome to Luxembourg

Welcome to Luxembourg

Luxembourg City, founded in 963, was once one of the strongest fortresses in Europe and you can still walk through the Casemates a 14 mile long network of underground passages hewn out of solid rock. The city has 91 bridges, the newest being the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge, 178 feet high, which limks the city with the Kirchberg Plateau.

The Ducal Palace, built 1580 and renovated in the 19th century, is not open to public. One of the oldest parts of the City is the Marche aux Poissons (fish market). Here are the Museum of History and Art, and the Natural History Museum while in Luxembourg Park is the J P Pescatore Museum.

Children will enjoy a trip to Bettembourg, seven miles to the south of Luxembourg City, where the Parc Merveilleux has a miniature zoo and farm, a fairy wood and a mini train and boats. Not far to the North East is Walferdange, which also has a children’s park, and Senningen where is a zoo.

Luxembourg Culture

Luxembourg has been overshadowed by the culture of its neighbours. It retains a number of folk traditions, having been for much of its history a profoundly rural country. There are several notable museums, located mostly in the capital. These include the National Museum of History and Art (NMHA), the Luxembourg City History Museum, and the new Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art (Mudam). The National Museum of Military History (MNHM) in Diekirch is especially known for its representations of the Battle of the Bulge. The city of Luxembourg itself is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, on account of the historical importance of its fortifications.

The country has produced some internationally-known artists, including the painters Théo Kerg, Joseph Kutter and Michel Majerus, and photographer Edward Steichen, whose The Family of Man exhibition has been placed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World register, and is now permanently housed in Clervaux. Movie star Loretta Young was of Luxembourgish descent.

Luxembourg was the first city to be named European Capital of Culture twice. The first time was in 1995. In 2007, the European Capital of Culture[132] was to be a cross-border area consisting of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Rheinland-Pfalz and Saarland in Germany, the Walloon Region and the German-speaking part of Belgium, and the Lorraine area in France. The event was an attempt to promote mobility and the exchange of ideas, crossing borders physically, psychologically, artistically and emotionally.

Luxembourg was represented at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China, from 1 May to 31 October 2010 with its own pavilion. The pavilion was based on the transliteration of the word Luxembourg into Chinese, “Lu Sen Bao”, which means “Forest and Fortress”. It represented Luxembourg as the “Green Heart in Europe”.

All About Finnish Sauna with Beer

All About Finnish Sauna with Beer

The Sauna, the world famous Finnish bath, is a part of every Finnish home. To be nvited a sauna party is to meet the Finn at his most hospitable.

Finnish beer comes in light or stronger grades. Next to beer the national drink is Finnish Vodka, drunk as Schnapps and like the Finnish berry liquers Mesimarja (Arctic bramble) and Lakka (Cloudberry) is usually served ice cold with meals. Scotch and American whiskies are available. Restaurants (mostly licensed) and bars open until 1 am or 2 am; night clubs open until 4 am.

The Finnish sauna is a substantial part of Finnish culture. There are five million inhabitants and over three million saunas in Finland – an average of one per household. For Finnish people the sauna is a place to relax with friends and family, and a place for physical and mental relaxation as well. Finns think of saunas not as a luxury, but as a necessity. Before the rise of public health care and nursery facilities, almost all Finnish mothers gave birth in saunas.

Many different types of sauna can be found in Finland. They can be classified either by the sauna building itself or by what kind of stove it uses.

The main division of saunas is between once warmed and continuously warmed stoves. All smoke saunas are once warmed, but there are also other type of ovens that are once warmed.

Once warmed stoves have larger amount of stones that are warmed up before the bathing. This can be done by burning wood, with or without chimney, oil or natural gas. Continuously warmed stoves have lower amount of stones that are heated during the bathing. The warming can be done burning wood, oil or natural gas, or electrically.

The temperature in Finnish saunas is 60 to 100 °C (140 to 212 °F), usually 70–80 °C (158–176 °F), and is kept clearly above the dewpoint despite the vaporization of löyly water, so that visible condensation of steam does not occur as in a Turkish sauna.

Florence: The symbol of the Renaissance

Florence: The symbol of the Renaissance

180 miles north of Rome, Florence is one of the great cities of the world. Everywhere you turn in this incomparable town you will see exquisite masterpieces of architecture and art which recall the days when Florence was the undistuped leader of the Renaissance world, under the rule of the powerful Medici family.

Magnificent palaces like the Galleria degli Uffizi, built to house the State Judiciary in 1565 and now one of the largest and most important mseums in the world; Palazzo Pitti, in the Boboli Gardens, which has a modern art gallery and a silver museum as well as Raphael works, Titian and Giorgione. Donatello’s famous statue of St George is in the Bargello Museum (a prison of the 16th century).

The second pair of bronze doors which Ghiberti designed for the Baptistry of the Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiori, were described by Michelangelo as ‘the gates of paradise’ and the cathedral itself, with its celebrated bell tower is a glowing masterpiece of colored marble. Every square and every ancient building is a work of art – the 13th century church of Santa Croce, where Machiavelli and Michelangelo are buried; the Dominican monastery of San Marco, with its beautiful Fra Angelico frescoes; the Accademia di Belle Arti, where you can see Michelangelo’s superb statue, David. A copy is in the Piazza della Signoria, which is a busy square in the city and one of the most beautiful open air galleries in Europe.

Florence is also one of the top gourmet cities in Europe. Try bistecca alla Fiorentina, the Fiorentine way with a big juicy steak, or tortino di carciofi (eggs with artichokes), or triglie o baccala alla Livornesei which is a fish and tomato sauce concontion.

Places to enjoy these masterpieces – the roof gardens of the Baglione Palace hotel, where you can dine and dance in the evenings. The Open Gate (Viale Michelangelo); Ristorante Ponte Vecchio, near the famous 14th century bridge; Sabatani (via Panzani); Villa San Domenico (via della Piazzola); Otello (via Orti Oricellari); and if you want to eat American now and then, Doney’s (via de Tornabuoni) does a good line in snacks as well as specials, like scampi alla Medici. Harry’s Bar is a favorite meeting place and Jolly Club is a lively discotheque.

Why Americans travel to Europe for what?

Why Americans travel to Europe for what?

Americans go to London for social triumph, to Rome for art’s sake, and to Berlin to study music and to economize; but they go to Paris to enjoy themselves. And there are no young men of any nation who enter into the accomplishment of this so heartily and so completely as does the young American.

Paris determined to see all that any one else has ever seen, and to outdo all that any one else has ever done, and to stir that city to its suburbs. He saves his time, his money, and his superfluous energy for this visit, and the most amusing part of it is that he always leaves Paris fully assured that he has enjoyed himself while there more thoroughly than any one else has ever done, and that the city will require two or three months’ rest before it can read just itself after the shock and wonder due to his meteoric flight through its limits. Paris, he tells you, ecstatically, when he meets you on the boulevards is “the greatest place on earth,” and he adds, as evidence of the truth of this, that he has not slept in three weeks. He is unsurpassed in his omnivorous capacity for sight-seeing, and in his ability to make himself immediately and contentedly at home.

The American visitor is not only undaunted by the strange language, but unimpressed by the signs of years of vivid history about him. He sandwiches a glimpse at the tomb of Napoleon, and a trip on a penny steamer up the Seine, and back again to the Morgue, with a rush through the Cathedral of Notre Dame, between the hours of his breakfast and the race-meeting at Longchamps the same afternoon. Nothing of present interest escapes him, and nothing bores him. He assimilates and grasps the method of Parisian existence with a rapidity that leaves you wondering in the rear, and at the end of a week can tell you that you should go to one side of the Grand Hôtel for cigars, and to the other to have your hat blocked. He knows at what hour Yvette Guilbert comes on at the Ambassadeurs’, and on which mornings of the week the flower-market is held around the Madeleine.

While you are still hunting for apartments he has visited the sewers under the earth, and the Eiffel Tower over the earth, and eaten his dinner in a tree at Robinson’s, and driven a coach to Versailles over the same road upon which the mob tramped to bring Marie Antoinette back to Paris, without being the least impressed by the contrast which this offers to his own progress. He develops also a daring and reckless spirit of adventure, which would never have found vent in his native city or town, or in any other foreign city or town. It is in the air, and he enters into the childish goodnature of the place and of the people after the same mariner that the head of a family grows young again at his class reunion.

The Château Rouge was originally the house of some stately family in the time of Louis XIV. They will tell you there that it was one of the mistresses of this monarch who occupied it, and will point to the frescos of one room to show how magnificent her abode then was. This tradition may or may not be true, but it adds an interest to the house, and furnishes the dramatic contrast to its present wretchedness.

Evening in Zurich, Switzerland

Evening in Zurich, Switzerland

Zürich or Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zürich. It is located in north-central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zürich. The municipality has approximately 400,028 inhabitants, the urban agglomeration 1.315 million, and the Zurich metropolitan area 1.83 million. Zürich is a hub for railways, roads, and air traffic. Both Zürich Airport and railway station are the largest and busiest in the country.

Permanently settled for around 2000 years, Zürich has a history that goes back to its founding by the Romans, who, in 15 BC, called it Turicum. However, early settlements have been found dating back more than 6400 years ago. During the Middle Ages Zürich gained the independent and privileged status of imperial immediacy and, in 1519, became a primary centre of the Protestant Reformation in Europe under the leadership of Ulrich Zwingli.

The official language of Zürich is (the Swiss variety of Standard) German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect.

Zürich is a leading global city and among the world’s largest financial centres despite a relatively low population. The city is home to a large number of financial institutions and banking giants. Most of Switzerland’s research and development centres are concentrated in Zürich and the low tax rates attract overseas companies to set up their headquarters there.

Monocle’s 2012 “Quality of Life Survey” ranked Zürich first on a list of the top 25 cities in the world “to make a base within”.[10] According to several surveys from 2006 to 2008, Zürich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world as well as the wealthiest city in Europe. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Ranking sees Zürich rank among the top ten most liveable cities in the world.

Many museums and art galleries can be found in the city, including the Swiss National Museum and the Kunsthaus. Schauspielhaus Zürich is one of the most important theatres in the German-speaking world.

Triple Bridge in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Triple Bridge in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana is the capital and largest city of Slovenia. During antiquity, it was the site of a Roman city called Emona. It was under Habsburg rule from the Middle Ages until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918.

Situated at the middle of a trade route between the northern Adriatic Sea and the Danube region, it was the historical capital of Carniola, a Slovene-inhabited part of the Habsburg Monarchy, and it has been the cultural, educational, economic, political, and administrative center of independent Slovenia since 1991. Its central geographic location within Slovenia, transport connections, concentration of industry, scientific and research institutions and cultural tradition are contributing factors to its leading position.

The most notable bridges of Ljubljana are the Triple Bridge (Tromostovje), the Trnovo Bridge (Trnovski most), the Dragon Bridge (Zmajski most), the Hradecky Bridge (Slovene: Hradeckega most), and the Butchers’ Bridge (Mesarski most). The Trnovo Bridge crosses the Gradaščica, whereas the others cross the Ljubljanica.

The Triple Bridge

The Triple Bridge is a group of three bridges, connecting two parts of Ljubljana’s downtown, located on both banks of the Ljubljanica. Originally, there was only a single bridge, which linked Central Europe and the Balkans. In order to prevent an 1842 stone arch bridge from being a bottleneck, two additional pedestrian bridges on either side of the central one were added in 1932 according to the Plečnik’s 1929 design.

He decorated them with large stone balusters and lamps. There are two staircases, leading to terraces above the river, the banks with poplars, and the Ljubljana fish market. Two Plečnik’s urban axes of Ljubljana, the water axis and the Ljubljana Castle–Rožnik Axis, cross at the bridge.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria

Tour agents arranges trips and excursions to all parts of the country from every major center.

Sofia, a pleasant open city, is 5,000 years old. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral dates only from the 19th century, but go there to hear the choir and to see the exhibition of ancient icons in the crypt. The remains of the 4th century Church of St George are in the countryard of the Balkan Hotel.

Many mosques survive as reminders of Turkish rule including the Big Mosque, the Black Mosque and the Banya Baski Mosque. The pride of the Archeological Museum, 2 Stamboluski Boulevard is the Vulchi Trun treasure, 8th century BC. The National Gallery, in the former royal palace, is open 10 – 5 Wed, through Sun, 9 – 2 Mon, closed Tues.

The Black Sea Coast is an up to date holiday area where new holiday towns appear among the ports and fishing villages. The main centers are Varna, Drouzhba, Golden Sands, Sunny Beach, and Albena, Bulgaria’s newest Black Sea resort. Among hotels are: Varna – the Varna, Bulgaria or Moussala. Drouzhba – the Tchaika, Lebed, Neptune, Prostor and Rubin. Golden Sands – the Astoria, Metropol, Moskva, Rondina and zlatna Kotva. Sunny Beach – the Europe, Globus and Olymp.

Traveling to Valetta, Malta

Traveling to Valetta, Malta

Lying between Sicily and North Africa are Malta and her sister islands of Gozo and Comino. There are modern hotels, night clubs, discotheques, an elegant casino and a coastline with first class facilities for swimming and all water sports. But Malta is also the historical island of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem who, from 1530 to 1798, built palaces and churches and defended their fortress against all invaders, including the Turks’ attack during the Great Siege of 1565.

Valletta, the island’s capital, designed by Francesco Laparelli, Michelangelo’s assintant is named after Jean de Vallette, the heroic Grand Master who organized the island’s defences at the time of the Siege. At the beginning of the 19th Century the British came and they stayed until the island was granted independence in 1964.

Climate is high summer can be oven hot, but there’s usually a light breeze. Winter is mild, but you will need a raincoat. Sunshine all the year round. Nearly everybody speaks English, Maltese and Italian.

Lupa Airport is four miles from Valletta. Airport bus service. Taxis are metered. Most hotels charge bed and breakfast, though fulland half pension terms can be arranged. Your travel agent, or the Malta Tourist Board (9 Merchants Street, Valletta) will give you a complete list of hotels. Most hotels add a 10 % service charge. Rates usually lower between November and March.

Basque Region of Pyrenees in France

Basque Region of Pyrenees in France

Between France and Spain run the Pyrenees, with spas and winter sports centers, seaside resorts, mountain amphitheaters, such as the Gavarnie, with a waterfall 1450 feet high, subterranean grottos and caves rich in prehistoric finds. Biarritz is the smartest of Atlantic seaside resorts. There is an 18 hole golf course, casino, restaurants (while here you must try Cargolade – grilled snails with peppers; or fried eels a la bordelaise) and several de luxe hotels. Far more picturesque and intimate is the fishing port of Saint Jean de Luz.

Eastward along the mountain range is Pau, the starting point for tours of the Pyrenees. Every year millions of visitors come to the pilgrimage city of Lourdes to see the grotto where in 1858 St Bernadette had visions of the Virgin Mary. The most important pilgrimage takes place from 18 to 25 August. Luchon, overlooking Spain, has excellent ski runs and thermal baths.

You must see the Grotto of Gargas, near Saint Bertrand, whose vault is covered with the prehistoric imprints of mutilated hands and the caves of Mas d’Azil, near Saint Girons, with its fascinating rock drawings of horses, bison, reindeer and cats – the Caverne Merveilleuese extends for two and a half miles. These caves were used during World War Two as aircraft factories.

Val de Loire: The land of the nobility, partisans and revolutionaries

Val de Loire: The land of the nobility, partisans and revolutionaries

The river Loire flows through the Chateau Country: five centuries of the history of France beautifully preserved in magnificent castles, fortresses and abbeys. Kings and Queens and the nobility, partisans and revolutionaries come to life again in the gorgeous son et lumiere spectacles.

Traveling south by car along the N10 highways, you will come to the fortress castle of Chateaudun; follow the same route and you will reach the Loire and the city of Tours, the center of this region. To the east, along the valley (upstream) you will find Amboise, in whose chateau Charles VIII died and where 1,500 Huguenot conspirators were massacred in 1560; Blois, where you will be shown the death chamber of Catherine de Medici; Chambord, which has 440 rooms, walled-in gardens and the largest estate in France.

Westward along the walley towards the Atlantic, you will come to Azy le Rideau, with one of the most beautiful castles of early Renaissance; Saumur, renowned for the Cavalry School and its Cadre Noir (Black Squadron); Angers, whose chateau with 190-ft high towers is surrounded with 30-ft deep moats and where you shouldsee the Cathedral Saint Maurice and the Museum of Tapestry. There are 120 castles to visit. You must see the vineyards of Vouvray, where some of the finest wines in the world come from, and the Cognac country. If you are in France on 7 and 8 May, go to Orleans for the annual festival of Joan of Arc.