St Peter's cathedral is discretely hidden away behind the Palais de l'ile and has a plain façade but a glorious interior with renowned religious icons and an intricate altar. A peaceful retreat from the hordes of tourists
Cathédrale St Pierre is just a 10 minute walk from the Palais de l'ile and just 15 minutes from lake Annecy
The castle looms over the old city and lake Annecy, it has a (overpriced) museum inside, but I chose to skip the museum as it was too expensive and you get great (free!) views of it anyway from the lake and from the steep alleyways which snake behind it to bring you back down to old Annecy.
It's a stunning castle with the turrets and gates showing the power and might of Annecy when it ruled over Italy and western Switzerland and its museum is great for families as children will love the suits of armour.
Chateau d'Annecy is only a 20 minute walk from the train station and is well signposted
The Palais de l'ile is the most photographed monument in Annecy - and for good reason - as it is a beautifully situated castle in the middle of a canal and is a quaint introduction to the old city, sometimes it hosts exhibitions and the cafés (not cheap) next to the castle make for a good resting point before exploring old Annecy.
Palais de l'ile is just a 20 min walk from the train station and just 10 mins from lake Annecy
The Vielle ville is the old medieval and historic heart of the city with arcaded streets lined with the inevitable souvenir shops, but there are some interesting shops selling clothes and local food.
However, don't go on Sunday morning/afternoon (after 1pm) when there is the market and tourists, vans and market traders clog the narrow cobbled Rue Ste Claire, but there are plenty of hidden alleyways and squares behind the castle and canals where the tourists don't go. Just loose yourself.
Annecy lines 28 miles north of Chambéry and 20 miles south of Geneva. It can easily by reached by TGV from Paris and Geneva, as it's on the direct line between Valence, Chambéry and Geneva
It's not just the home of the National Motor Museum. The place also has a walled garden, a palace house and a ruined abbey. Alongside the ruins is the active parish church. There is a beautiful footpath that runs between the lake at the palace house and the monorail station at the motor museum.
Oh yes, and a bunch of cars. Some really old ones, and some sporty ones, and some two wheelers (i.e. motorcycles), and some movie ones (James Bond cars!), and firetrucks, and old buses, and...well there's a lot. I think most of them are in running order, too. You can take a ride in an original London double-decker! Its exhaust stinks: do they use yesterday's fish batter oil to run the thing!?
The palace is a large mansion, some of which is open to poke around. The guides are very knowledgeable and helpful. The lord and lady still live in the place. Sometimes, you can sneak a look at their private apartments. In spring, the gardens and paths are awash with daffodils!
If you gift-aid your admission, then you get free re-entry to the motor museum (but not the rest of the place - although that is discounted).
Photos and a description of our visits are on our website: www.reeves-hall.net/kids-outings/beaulieu-motor-museum/
Beaulieu Enterprises Ltd
John Montagu Building
Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire
+44 (0) 1590 612345
The Nozyk Synagogue is the only synagogue in Warsaw that survived the war. It is located in an area of Warsaw that was originally inside the Little Ghetto in 1940, but was later outside the Ghetto after it was made smaller, following deportations.
Out of thousands of synagogues in Poland, there are only about 245 remaining. All of the unique wooden synagogues were destroyed, although some 17th century wooden Catholic churches remain to this day. The Nozyk synagogue was named for the man who founded it in 1900, Zalman ben Menasze Nozyk, and his wife Rywka bat Mosze (some guidebooks say it was founded in 1902).
Today services are held here every Friday night and every Saturday. Inside, you will see the interior of a moderately wealthy synagogue from turn-of-the-century Warsaw, with the cabinet containing the Torah scrolls and the bema (or pulpit) in the nave. The upper galleries are set aside for women.
6 Twarda St, Warschau 00-104, Polen
Tel.: 48-22-620 3496
A must see, the temple is made out of mirrored glass. Thousands upon thousands of pieces of mirrored glass inset into the walls - if you have ever been to the Amber Palace in Jaipur.
Off Ras Dinendra St and down Badr Das Temple Rd
Local pub, great welcome, open fire, good English bar food. Must be the only pub in the world to keep an ancient skull (stuffed with newspaper) in the cupboard by the side of the fire. Lemon tart to die for.
After eating take a walk through the pretty village with an old church that has a runic headstone. Then up to the site of a stone burial site.
Great Urswick is a few miles from Ulverston, and quite near Barrow in Furness.
Having used the been there to plan a short trip to Belgium I thought it only proper to note down my experiences for the reference of other visitors.
We travelled to Bruges in our own car via ferry from Dover to Calais – for our trip we found that this was the most cost-effective means. The drive from Calais to Bruges is not arduous and took less than 1.5 hours - sat nav makes it all the more simpler and brought us to the door of the Anselmus Hotel in central Bruges.
We found that this was a very comfortable, friendly family-run hotel that we could heartily recommend. It is ideally located close to the central area.
The city is fabulous – we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Take the canal tour and get a view of the local Flemish architecture, visit the Chocolate museum, watch the demo and sample the goods. Have hot chocolate and waffles in one of the street cafes as a mid morning snack or maybe grab a portion of chips and mayo from the mobile frituur in the market square, browse the unique shops – not too much sign of globalisation here!
For our meals we found excellent mussels and frites at Breydel-de-Coninck just off the main square at Breidelstraat 24 and for an alternative evening we could recommend the Grand Café de Comptoir with their excellent selection of international dishes, warm welcome, elegant décor and reasonable prices.
Then there’s the beer, you can visit a local brewery but if it’s the business end of the operation that you are interested in you will not be disappointed by the selection of bars and pubs and the variety of local beers on offer – close your eyes and take your pick.
The following day we visited Ypres (Ieper), about 70 km away, where you cannot fail to be stirred by the tragedy of the first world war. The museum named ‘In Flanders Fields’ in the main square of the town and only a short walk from the Menen Gate really puts a subsequent driving tour of the battlegrounds and cemeteries into vivid perspective.
Near Hill 62 you can view the trenches and let your imagination construct what it must have been like to fight in these conditions. The largest allied cemetery at ‘Tyne Cot' has over 12,000 graves regimentally aligned plus a wall of remembrance with thousands upon thousands of names of those who fell but have no known grave.
Bruges and the locality have much to offer visitors looking for a city break with a difference – I look forward to going again at some stage.
Check out the hotel at en.venere.com/belgium/hotels_brugge/hotel_anselmus.html?fe1&ref=682988, Breydel Restaurant site is www.breydel-deconinc.be/
The north coast of Spain is much neglected but if you happen to like, say, the Yorkshire Dales (on a much bigger scale) then it's the place for you. In addition to fine mountains we also have caves with prehistoric paintings, the village where Spanish Modernism began (Comillas) and fine food.
We have lived here for ten years and would never live anywhere else. Try El Nuevo Molino in Puente Arce for excellent food and wines. Also, almost any bar will offer a Menú del Día for around €10 which includes three courses, bread and wine. Don't miss Cocido Montanés, a luscious bean stew, and very good cheeses.
The country is small so you can reach any place in Israel (well almost) in a few hours drive from Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv by far has the best services, entertainment, hotels, and restaurants compared to any other Israeli city. Even if you don't like the hustle and bustle of a large city (the Tel Aviv metropolitan area has more than two million people) you should still consider the convenience.
And if you are into cities that never sleep (like Madrid and New York) then there are few that can compete with Tel Aviv.
The people are friendly and helpful, most speak English, crime is low (so you don't have to worry about walking at night), and the weather is warm and sunny most of the year.
Another tip: Don't miss historic Jaffa (located in southern Tel Aviv). Great shops, clubs, food, and the biggest outdoor flea market I've ever seen.
My daughter loves Tel Aviv (and I do too).
Check out some photos at: www.pbase.com/gilazouri/telaviv
Tel Aviv is on the Mediterranean coast, more-or-less in the centre of the country.
Aix-les-Bains is the second spa town of France (after Dax) full of beautiful sights such as splendid hotels, a casino, museums and a baroque church. It may be a small town but it has a lot more to see than you first think.
First, explore the town centre, than walk to the Petit and Grand Ports on Lac du Bourget and finally climb up the mountain above Lac du Bourget in Tresserve for breathtaking views of the lake (the lake is prettier on the Aix-les-Bains side than on the practically deserted western shore at Le Bourget) and the town, and then climb back down to the town centre via Tresserve.
Aix-les-Bains is 9 miles north of Chambéry on the train line between Chambéry and Lyon/Annecy.
It's only a 20 minute train ride from Chambéry - don't just pass through it (like so many tourists do) on the way to Annecy or Geneva as you're missing out on a great place
Kalimpong is about two-three hours by shared jeep from Darjeeling. Worth a trip (even if only for the views on route).
If you go to KP's Motor Stand & in Himalaya Travels ask for Gobinda Dradhan, he will take you on a (set fare) tour of the local sights - magnificent viewpoints and Dr Graham's home.
Best of all, Gobinda takes his time, does not hussle you into visiting shops and is very knowledgeable about the area.
I love Krakow. If you like Prague and the charming atmosphere of old european cities. You’ll love Krakow, too – I promise! European history is omnipresent: starting with Romanic buildings from the 10th century, when Krakow was an important retail centre, you find early sacral buildings and a castle (Wawel Hill).
A university was founded in medieval times, which made the former Polish capital a leading intellectual centre. There is a long list of buildings from throughout the centuries to explore. Don’t forget about the influence of Jewish life and culture. To get an idea of the amount of things to explore and the variety, start with a hike along the royal route.
But what makes Krakow so special? Its living and lively urbanity. Some grand old cities appear like a museum with inhabitants as living accessories, but not Krakow.
This former 'model village' built by Sir Titus Salt in the 1800s to house his workers has fantastic architecture. The Mill itself is a fantastic place - now housing art/book shops, designer homeware store, outdoor clothing store, designer jewelery and David Hockney art gallery, among other things. And then there is the fantastic Salt's diner. Great food at reasonable prices. Entry to the mill is free. The village itself also has a range of arty type shops and cafes. For nature lovers, there is a canal and park next to the mill, and 10 minutes' walk through the woods brings you onto the fantastic moorland of Shipley Glen.
Nearest Station: Saltaire train station.
This website is about the real Budapest, and gives very interesting background details about the history, culture and architecture of this beautiful capital which is slowly losing some of its unique features (old presszo bars, neon signs, dingy borozos) as it changes into a modern European metropolis. Written by a Hungarian speaker, the articles featured go behind the facade and into much more detail than a guide book could manage.
It has a wealth of information for people who really love Budapest and want to know the city better.
Check out the recent story on the Trabants - really interesting!
The ruins are under the hill but you can climb to the top of the hill and you have amazing views of the Somerset levels and on a clear day can see as far as Yeovil (20miles away).
Go to South Cadbury and there is a small car park just past the town on the left, directly opposite is a house. By the side of the house is the pathway leading up to the top of the hill. It is a steep climb and wellies or hiking boots a must (definitely nothing nice!)
A pedestrian shopping street in a real market town without any chain stores or significant supermarkets. Halesworth is in the 'Cranbook Triangle' that has seen off predatory supermarkets but for how long?
The Thoroughfare is a pedestrian street of friendly and helpful independent retailers of clothing, hardware, stationery, health foods, gourmet foods, toys and most other essential services like banks, chemist, opticians and so on.
It also has several cafes and two art galleries at either end without the heaving crowds and parking hassles of Southwold (which is a great town too). If you're going to Latitude in the summer, drop in for supplies.
Halesworth is on the East Suffolk rail line and ten minutes off the A12 by road.
This is a new restaurant which is known as the best seafood restaurant in Sultanahmet. The food is outstanding, you should ask the staff for the special of the day.
The restaurant is on the shore of Marmara Sea with a view of Turkish islands. The "Boukoleon" name comes from the 5th century. There used to be a "Boukoleon Palace" standing right where you sit.
Now you can easily see the archeeological heritage of the old time palace. If you are interested in history, looking for a nice Istanbul view and also outstanding food, I would highly recommend you go to this restaurant.
Hagia Sofia, Sultanahmet, Istanbul
Tofino is on the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island. The area is formed of temperate rainforest and white sandy beaches which stretch for miles. Beyond its unbelievable natural beauty, it offers a rare thing in North America: harmony. The indigenous First Nations people, aided by eco-warriors, made a stand against the loggers in the 1980s and since then it has been given UN status as a natural wilderness.
The high-priced resorts dotted along the beaches are best avoided, especially in summer. To see the real Tofino go there in May (shoulder season) and stay in the town. The Tofino Motel offers great views at around $85 (£40) a night per room. If you like seafood Shelter and Schooner restaurants are a must, but for something more funky try Raincoast.
There are three impressive beaches nearby. Tonquin is but a short walk from the town and is good for a post-prandial stroll. Chesterman beach is a short drive away and is full of spirits and driftwood and as the site of First Nations resistance has great historical resonance. Long Beach is, well, just long. The caveats to all this are that because this is the raincoast it rains a lot. However, much natural beauty comes from this rain.
The First Nations people run several businesses in town offering whale watching, bear watching (you park near a beach and watch the bears forage for food) as well as trips to hot springs. The botanical garden are like nothing else, blending sculpture and nature. Getting to Tofino is easy. You can fly from downtown Vancouver from around $250 (£120) return by sea-plane, but the best way to travel is to take the Harbour Lynx from downtown Vancouver and then the Tofino bus across the island. Even though this journey takes around six hours, don't fall asleep. Remember you're going to paradise.
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