.All Trips / Car Culture / England / Europe

Toys for Boys! The Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection

12 Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection Jaguar XK 140 1956

As with all good museums of its type, a visit to the Cotswold Motoring Museum is like stepping back in time.  Located in one of the most beautiful parts of England, in the town of Bourton-on-the-Water, the museum is housed in a building that once functioned as a mill. 

A modest admission fee lets you explore the many features inside (see link above for details).  There is an assortment of interesting vintage cars, caravans and motorcycles dating from the early 20th century through the 1970s.  You can see the museum at your leisure as you walk from one gallery to the next.  Most of the vehicles are of English vintage, but not all are.  Lining the walls …

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.All Trips / Europe / France

The Eiffel Tower at Night

00 Paris 05-2013. Eiffel Tower at dusk and after dark (35)

Everyone loves the Eiffel Tower!  In today’s post I wanted to talk a little about the transformation that takes place at the Tower with the setting of the sun.

As the glow of the sun fades, the Eiffel Tower shines!  Plus it’s a good time to view the Tower as it’s not very crowded.  The views in the gallery below were taken from the Park Champ de Mars southeast of the tower.  It was a pleasant atmosphere — many people sitting on blankets and enjoying the sights.

Beyond the regular lights that illuminate the tower, there’s a twinkling show of lights that lasts for five minutes every hour on the hour.  There are apparently some 20,000 strobe lights on the tower, installed for …

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.All Trips / Europe / Italy

A Day of Mosaics: Visiting Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily

24 Villa Romana del Casale (189)

I like to visit UNESCO World Heritage sites when travel allows because they are uniformly interesting.  Villa del Casale is no exception as it has some of the best preserved and most extensive Roman mosaics anywhere.  The place is situated off the main tourist path in the central hills of Sicily and was a little hard to find, but the lovely well-preserved floor mosaics make it worth a little effort to get to.  It’s about 3 km from the town of Piazza Armerina.

Villa Romana del Casale was built in late Roman Empire, around the middle of the 4th Century AD, as a hunting lodge for a wealthy Roman (whose name is unknown).  The overall architecture is similar to many villas …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 18, 2019: The Metropol Parasol, Seville

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It’s hard to miss the massive Metropol Parasol, which is said to be the “World’s Largest Wooden Structure”.  Not sure how to verify such a claim but it certainly is large.  It measures 150 x 70 meters (490 x 230 ft) and is about 26 meters (85 ft) tall.

The structure was designed by German architect Jurgen Mayer and was completed in 2011 as part of the revitalization at Plaza de la Encarnacion.  It consists of 6 interwoven large mushroom-like structures built of birch panels which provide welcome shaded relief from the warm Spanish sun.

Metropol Parasol is one of Seville’s newer structures and is becoming an icon.  It’s home to a museum (with Roman and Moorish ruins displayed), a market, restaurant …

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.All Trips / Europe / Germany

Berlin’s unique Museum Island: a UNESCO World Heritage Site

03 Berlin Museum Island (2)

Situated on an island in the Spree River, Berlin’s Museum Island (Museumsinsel) is home to five world-renowned museums.  The space is shared with Berlin’s great Cathedral, the Berliner Dom.  In 1999, the Museum Island complex was declared a UNESCO World Heritage. 

The five museums on Museum Island are:

1) Pergamonmuseum (Pergamon Museum):

Opened in 1930 — the last museum on the island to open but also perhaps the greatest of these museums.  This museum alone attracts around one million visitors every year and is currently under refurbishment. Its collection includes the Pergamon Altar and  Ishtar Gate.

Bode Museum, Berlin's Museum Island

Bode Museum, Berlin’s Museum Island

2) Bode-Museum:

Opened at the northern tip of the island in 1904 and with a renovation completed in 2005.  It has an …

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.All Trips / Europe / Spain

Granada’s Other Great Attraction — a Visit to the Granada Cathedral

06 Granada Cathedral (9)

Most visitors to Granada come to explore the fascinating and beautiful Alhambra, with good justification, but you shouldn’t skip the chance to stop by Granada’s Cathedral as well.  In fact, it’s most pleasant to walk through the relatively compact historic core of Granada.

After the expulsion of the Moors from Granada and take-over by Spanish Christian forces, it makes sense that a new Cathedral was called for, but that did not happen right away.  The war had been very expensive and other conflicts were diverting the monarch’s monies away from Granada.

View of Granada Cathedral from the Alhambra

It was not until 1523 (31 years after the conquest) that construction on the Cathedral began atop the site of a mosque.  The project was not finished for 181 years (in …

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.All Trips / Europe / Spain

An Evening Stroll in Barrio Santa Cruz

An Evening walk in Santa Cruz, Seville (50)

My wife and I spent a fun week in Andalusia with our two dear friends from Germany, Bernd and Monika, whom we’d met some years back while on safari in Botswana.  We’d arranged to meet in Seville, we arriving in a rented car and they in their RV.  Our first rendezvous was near Seville’s glorious Cathedral, in Barrio Santa Cruz.  This neighborhood was once a busy and crowded Jewish Quarter but, as with much of Europe, few Jews remain today.  Instead, Barrio Santa Cruz has become an area popular with tourists looking to experience the “real Seville”.

What you’ll find when visiting Barrio Santa Cruz is a pleasant neighborhood of narrow lanes arranged in a maze-like manner, charming homes and restaurants, …

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.All Trips / Europe / France

Exploring the Arc de Triomphe

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Paris’ Arc de Triomphe rests at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, near the western end of the Champs-Élysées, and is at the hub of twelve radiating avenues.  It is a war memorial honoring those who fought and died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.  The monument is decorated with war scenes, symbols and the names of French victories and victorious Generals. 

Beneath the vault rests the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (from World War I, interred in 1920).  This grave was visited by President and Mrs Kennedy in 1961.  Rumor has it that after JFK was assassinated in 1963, Jackie requested an eternal flame be placed at her husband’s grave in Arlington Cemetery because she’d liked the one under the Arc de Triomphe.

Closer view of the Arc de Triomphe

Closer view of the Arc de Triomphe

The design of …

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