Superb museum tracing the history of Lyon from the pre Roman era to the 7th century, primarily focusing on the Roman era. Contains numerous statues, Roman memorials, mosaics and pottery to name some of the exhibits.
The thing that really caught my eye was a death mask of a 10-year-old girl from nearly 2,000 years ago.
From the street outside, the building very much reflects its mid 1970s construction with the stark concrete. However inside the museum you slowly descend through five floors which makes it ideal for wheelchairs or those with difficulty with steps. [Lifts are on all 'floors'].
The museum is located next to two well preserved (and restored) Roman theatres dating back nearly 2,000 years. These host concerts in summer.
17 rue Cléberg, 69005 Lyon
+33(0)4 72 38 49 30
Google map: bit.ly/o8TKtx
My husband and I did two bicycle tours of St Petersburg with Viktor and couldn't have been happier. We went out to Pushkin and saw everything EXCEPT Catherine's palace - fantastic gardens, bushland, history and then a city tour of St P the next day. It was great riding and exciting to ride the roads and footpaths of St P. Viktor also knows his stuff and can answer all your questions, great English.
If you're up in the tourist-packed Castle District (Varnegyed) on a steamy summer's day and long for a quiet sit-down and an authentic Hungarian lunch, stroll along Fortuna utca (street) to Pest Buda.
This traditional 'vendeglo' or local, family-run eaterie, dates back to 1948 and has been renovated to keep all the original features such as the wine bar in the cellar where you can see the cave walls (Buda Hill is almost hollow and riddled with caves and passages).
Diners enjoy Hungarian home cooking on red checked tablecloths and, while munching, admire the Pest Buda carpets; vignettes of old Budapest life which have been scanned in and made into wallpaper.
One of the favourites on the menu is 'kenyer langos' (a kind of 'bread flamed doughnut') advertised as Hungarian pizza and a substantial lunch of oven baked dough with Magyar toppings of sausage and lecso (ratatouille), duck breast and spinach or tomato and tangy sheep's cheese.
Pest Buda Vendeglo Bistro
Fortuna utca 3, Castle District, I. Budapest
Open daily 11.00-24.00
Metro to Moszkva ter (now called Szell Kalman ter) then Varbusz (Castle minibus) up the hill.
Google map: bit.ly/r3QEyc
What a brilliant destination for an affordable weekend getaway. A super-smart rail link from the airport takes you into the city centre for a couple of euros, and everything's in walking distance from there. In fact, wandering around this beautiful city is the best way to discover the amazing murals of blue and white painted tiles (azulejos) - don't miss those in the Cathedral cloister. After a stroll through the ungentrified medieval quarter of the Ribeira, cross over the feat of ironmongery that is the Dom Luis bridge to sample the lifeblood of this region - the deservedly famous port wine. The oldest of the wine cellars which throng the quayside is Croft which was established here in 1588, the year of the Spanish Armada. A visit to their vaults is unmissable - watch out for the bats - followed by a complimentary glass of their finest nectar. Tchim-tchim as they say!
On of the main things to be done when visiting Dubrovnik. You can walk around the city walls with great views to be had.
Main entrance near the Pile gate, on the left hand side as you come through the gate.
Google map: bit.ly/btTpel
Bar/restaurant in heart of Kreuzberg since mid 19th century.
It became famous for its confectionery, so much so that cakes were sent to New York in the 1920s via the Hindenburg airship.
It is now a bar and restaurant with German/ international food.
Clove Hall feels less like a hotel and more like the private home of a fabulously wealthy and cultured friend. It’s a place in which it is impossible not to relax. Everything about it is laid-back and beautiful, and no detail too small to have been given thought. Carefully chosen antiques and sepia photographs against light white walls give an impression of understated luxury and are perfectly fitting with the building’s history.
Despite Penang’s UNESCO protection, too many of the old buildings outside the central area are falling derelict, so it was a pleasure to see one which had been so lovingly restored. The owner has a history of renovating old buildings to their former splendour, another of his projects being the celebrated Galle Fort Hotel in Sri Lanka.
Clove Hall is still newly opened and feels like a bit of a secret, but I don’t think it will be long before the travel and design magazine editors take note and its popularity grows - go now!
This is where the engines that drive the cables for the cable cars are located. For geeky kids (and parents), see pre-computer, mechanical stuff.
Largest Catholic church in the US.
Perfect to get away from the hustle and bustle of 5th Avenue. Seen famous funerals in past such as Robert Kennedy's.
A great place to break your trip down the West Coast. A beach with surreal driftwood "sculptures", local museum, lots of craft shops, award-winning Cafe de Paris, and very-own glow-worm cave. We only stopped to buy groceries and stayed for the day.
One of Rome’s highlights has to be climbing the Dome. Set off early in the morning on a clear day with a bottle of water and camera and prepare for a view of Rome that cannot be equalled.
Arrive in St. Peter’s Square and join the queue which forms at the security check. This queue does move quite quickly even if it seems long. Once through security, follow the path around to the Basilica, and head for the ticket office which is clearly signposted. You can opt to climb the whole way or take the lift which takes you to the first part and the roof area where you will find a small cafe.
Once you have reached this roof area, you then start your journey into the dome proper. Just at the start, there is an opportunity to walk around the base of the dome high inside the basilica, giving you a true sense of its scale when you see the tiny tourists below you.
Start the climb up varying staircases for a total of 330 steps. For the most part you follow spiral staircases, but there are also parts where you walk on a slight incline as the walls lean in forming their dome shape, and also very straight steep parts where there is a rope to help you keep your balance, until finally you emerge breathlessly to the top and the stunning views of Rome that meet you from every side.
Slowly make the 360 degree circle absorbing views of the Vatican gardens, the rear view of the statues that stand above the entrance to the Basilica, St Peter’s Square, Castle St Angelo and the cityscape of church domes, buildings, green spaces and the river that stretch out before you. At peak times it can be hard to look properly due to the sheer volume of people at the top, but don’t be hurried.
Then its time to start the descent down to the ground, to stand in St. Peter’s Square and look up at the top of the Dome to appreciate your hard work.
Hints and Tips:
At busy time, there will be a large queue on your right hand side after you have passed through security and headed round to the Basilica – this is the Dome queue – those passing on the left are going straight into the Basilica which is free to enter. This queue can be quite slow moving, and you are really advised to get here early (around 8.30am) not only to avoid a long wait, but also to enjoy the climb and the views at the top more easily.
Opening times are 8.30 to 4.45
It will cost you €4 to make the climb (or €7 if you use the lift at the start) Get your tickets at the office just next to the Basilica entrance, clearly marked after you have passed through security checks.
As with any visit to the Vatican, cover shoulders and do not arrive in shorts or a mini-skirt. You will not be allowed in. In hot weather, get into the habit of carrying a cardigan with you to put on as you enter churches around the city. apart for the decorum aspect, they can be quite cool inside.
St Peter's Basilica is in the St Peters Square, in the Vatican City. Nearest metro is Ottiviano or take the 64 or 62 bus.
Built in the mid-1960s and was the presidential palace of South Vietnam.
The Communist tanks crashed through the gates on 30 April 1975 and other than the repaired gate the palace has been left as it was in 1975 as a monument to the communist victory.
Only about £1 entry fee.
Guides give frank and honest account of Budapest's history and recent developments (particularly the transition to post-Communism) - it really opens the eyes to the sentiments of the local people.
Sights of this interactive adventure include the 1956 uprising areas, the bronze bullet memorial, the flag with the hole and the eternal flame, the secret entrance of a military bunker, the last Communist memorial in the inner city and other symbols of "Soviet friendship". The most important communist relics will also be presented.
Vörösmarty square M1 metro stop (in front of Gerbeaud café at the fountain)
Every M, W, F at 3.30 PM
An engaging city, this one; a real junction for eastern and western Russia. We hit a cold snap in mid-Feburary and it was well below zero, but we had a great combination of snow and bright sun which really suited Ekat (as locals call it).
Main sites include the Church of the Blood, controversial and expensive, very recently built on the site where the Romanov family are thought to have died in July 1918. Walk through the exhibition space into the main interior of the church, which is a very tall open, bright space. It's an eyeful of icons and colour, and depending on the time of day you may hear the chanting of Russian Orthodox priests echoing around the tower.
Walking tours are great as the city is quite compact and full of interesting sites. Wear layers if it's winter! One pair of gloves might not be enough.
Ekaterinburg is a business and travel hub and has a growing number of very good Russian and Japanese restaurants as well as English and Scottish pubs and a microbrewery (with eating place) called Tinkoff.
BA flies direct to Ekaterinburg from London. The airport is 15km from the city centre and has domestic and international terminals, linking Ekat to most major cities across Russia.
Ekaterinburg used to be called Sverdlovsk and sometimes you still see the old name written on signs.
The memorial site for the Battle of Stalingrad. It's a hill just outside the city and it's probably the eeriest, most moving place I've ever seen. You follow the path up the hill through trees and statues, then through a pantheon with an eternal flame and the inscribed names of 7200 soldiers who died here (only a handful of the total number). At the top is the statue of Mother Russia, 72m tall with an 11m stone sword. It's the immense scale that is so stunning, plus the way it speaks to you about power as well as tragedy. We were all silent by the time we reached the top. I've seen no memorial on that scale anywhere else in Europe. The other thing that struck me is how special the memorial is to the city of Volgograd, because so much of the city was destroyed. Because the statue is so tall, you can see it from many points in the city - if you arrive by train from the east, you can't miss it.
3km north of the city centre
Take the tram to the Mamaev Kurgan stop or a taxi to Mamaev Kurgan
I think there are also guided tours available - the hotels in the centre of Volgograd will have information
Well worth seeing. According to the guide she said this was the third best preserved amphitheatre (built between 1st & 2nd century AD) in Italy after Rome and Verona.
The tour of underground chambers under amphitheatre was worth it - also used as an air raid shelter in 1943. In summers it is used as a concert venue.
Off Viale Buoncammino near botanic gardens.
Very near city centre. From Piazza Yenne, turn left into Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, then take a right into Via Sant Ignazio Da Laconi.
Walk up the hill along Via Sant Ignazio Da Laconi and go past botanic gardens. Entrance is on the right.
Situated at the foot of the famous Acropolis, this stunning new museum dedicated to the findings and artefacts is now open. At an entrance price of only €1 it is a bargain for visitors. As you move to the upper levels, the full glory of the Parthenon and the Acropolis itself are magically manifest.
Valencia is perfect for budget travellers - most of the best sights and most impressive buildings are free to poke around, so you can conduct your own architectural tour, with plenty left over for some paella!
Start at Valencia Cathedral, a mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles (with the 'Holy Grail' tucked inside!), and then head to the Palau de la Generalitat, a Gothic palace used by the local government, with elaborately tiled floors and frescoed walls.
Other must-see sights include La Lonja, a grand Late Gothic hall filled with grisly gargoyles and other grotesqueries, and the Colegio del Patriarca, a 16th century seminary adorned with religious frescoes.
Valencia Cathedral, Plaza de la Reina,
Palau de la Generalitat, www.gencat.cat/generalitat/eng/guia/palau/index.htm
La Lonja, Plaza de la Virgen, Valencia
Colegio del Patriarca, Nave 1, Valencia 46002
The Bluecoat is the oldest Grade 1 listed building in Liverpool’s city centre (dating back to 1717). Following a £14.5m redevelopment, it re-opened in March 2008 as a major landmark on the UK map of contemporary culture.
With a new wing of galleries and a state-of-the-art Performance Space, the Bluecoat showcases talent across all creative disciplines including visual art, music, literature, dance and live art, and nurtures new talent by providing studio spaces for artists within a unique creative community.
By far the best way to visit Greece is to take a flight only into Athens then take the one hour bus ride to the port Piraeus. Have a mental list of islands you wish to visit - use the many ticket agents to find a conveniently timed ferry. Outside the period mid-July to end of August finding accommodation is easy as people will meet incoming ferries. In Naxos I recommend Hotel Galini in Naxos Town. Other islands worth visiting, which can be reached easily from Naxos, are Syros, Amorgos, Folegandros and Donhoussa. Read a good travel book before you go!
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