The Castle of Counts was founded in the 12th century and after an interesting history that saw it converted to a cotton mill in the 19th century, has been restored more or less to its former glory. The armoury displays some startling weaponry but is surpassed by the exhibition of 'Instruments of Correction', a highly euphemistic name for the tools of torture seen here. Fascinating.
A fascinating history of the town with great maps and well-preserved Bavarian artefacts. There is also a puppet museum on the top floor that is a little unsettling but unique and well worth seeing. When I was there it also had an exhibition about the Nazis, an admirable example of a city facing up to its unpleasant past. The museum is free on Sundays.
St-Jacobs-Platz 1, a short walk through the marketplace from Marienplatz.
We have an 8 and a 5 year old, and really enjoyed half-term in Amsterdam. Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum are reduced scale due to building work, but that means all the best "must-see" stuff is more easily accessible, and 90 mins in each was sufficient. The Artis Zoo and Nemo science place are both worth seeing. Canal boat trips ease tired feet. Great food, lovely people, very child friendly and family orientated.
Fly with KLM, only c.£30 + tax each, but no hassle, really nice people and none of that easyjet scrum. We stayed with City Mundo (recomended in the Guardian) in a private apartment on the outskirts by the Vondelpark and a beautiful canal - very affordable, easy by tram into town. Good local amenities.
A nice collection of pictures, old documents and a general overview of the history of the city. Generally it's quite deserted and you may find you are the only one in there! There is a sweet kite museum downstairs and a nice park opposite. Worth a look if you are in the area.
On the Bhagatcharya road close to the Sadar bridge.
This is a wonderfully serene place to spend a few hours. Gandhi lived here from 1917 - 1930 and you can take a walk around the main Ashram where Gandhi and his wife lived and held meetings as well as the smaller huts, occupied by various people over the years. There is also a museum which gives you a comprehensive overview of Gandhi's life as well as his work in Ahmedabad. There is also a library collection of some of the letters Gandhi wrote - including one addressed to Hitler.
The museum's various galleries are well set out and the signs are written in Gujarati and English.
All this said, this Ashram is just a wonderful place to sit and read or think and watch Ahmedabad go about its business from the river. Many people do come here simply to meditate.
The best time to come is early in the morning when there are fewer people and the morning light is always the sweetest I think. The Ashram is open daily from 8.30am - 6.30pm and it is free.
At the northern end of the Ashram road.
This is a beautiful museum in the north of the city. Just head north on Metha road or over the Subhas bridge from the west and you'll get there.
The museum has a huge collection of amazing textiles, some of which are over 400 years old and beautifuly crafted. The tour guides are wonderful and as well as ensuring that you have all the details of some of the more ornate pieces, history of the use of textiles and folk stories that acompany them, they also give you a good, if brief, introduction to Hinduism and Hindu rituals.
A fine collection of sculptures and reconstructions of traditional Gujarati houses are also to be found here, all set in beautiful botanical gardens which you can arrange to view by booking in advance.
Unlike the other museums in the city you can't simply turn up and have a wander around. Because of the fragility of the pieces the lights have to be low and turned off when you leave the room - which also means you are not allowed to bring cameras into the museum.
Tours start at 10.30am and 2.45pm (both free) and are done on a first come, first serve basis so it's worth getting there a little early on the weekends.
A must for anyone visiting Ahmedabad.
Located in the Shahibagh area 3km north of Dheli Gate. If in doubt hop into a rick and ask for Gandhi Ashram and direct them over the river to Shahibagh.
Bantry House sits on a hill at the edge of Bantry looking across the bay. One of the best preserved in Ireland, it provides an hour or two of cultural heritage on a grand scale.
Mosaics on the floor culled from Pompeii provide a classical reference which is further developed by the marble Ionic pillars. Much of the furnishing is English but there are examples of Irish workmanship. Evidence of the Grand Tour is everywhere. An ivory chess set from China, a ginger jar from Japan or a French prayer stool.
The gardens continue the classical theme with a formal design of dwarf hedging and velvet lawns at the front of the house while an Oriental theme permeates the estate at the rear. And Bantry itself is a most pleasant town.
Tel: +353 27 50047
Old homes. Recommended by government.
Goa state museum in Panjim. Good on history of Goa.
Study Portuguese. School, with short courses,in Porvorim.
Goa State Museum, EDC Complex, Pato, Panaji, Goa - 403001. Tel: 91-0832-2438006/2437306
This absolutely magnificent building and grounds were once the home to the King of France and his Family. When you have a look at it you can quite litterally see why the impoverashed citizens of France had a revolution. It is grand beyond belief.
There are no two ways about it - a day here is not enough. Two days and maybe you will have seen most of it but by no means all. I will be returning again soon and perhaps will be able to catch one of the shows they put on outdoors in the garden over the summer months.
A worthwhile train trip away from the center of Paris to the station at Versailles. Easy to get to and easy to get into once you are there. I would recommend going to the tourist office that is near by the palace to get a pass. This means you will avoid any queues there are on the way in. Unfortunatly it doesn't give you much of a discount on the train and no discount on sandwiches but still very worth while. There was a rumour that you could pick up a day passport for the palace at train stations but I never managed to find them there.
A great day or two out for all the family.
This is the place to get that picture every one has got of someone holding up the leaning tower or that postcard of all three buildings, the tower, the baptistry and the Duomo or cathedral.
Staying here for a night to get your flight or stop off before you hit the rest of Tuscany can be a good diea. It will leave you refreshed and ready to see all the wonders this part of Italy has to offer.
Ocho Rios is a bit of a mixed bag. What spoils it somewhat are the hundreds of cruise ship tourists who flood into the resort on an almost daily basis. Whilst the residents of Ocho Rios naturally thrive from the custom that this brings to their shores, the smoke-belching cruise ships docked in the harbour do somewhat mar the view from what is otherwise a pleasant beach.
That said, Ocho Rios provides a great location for visiting some of the Island’s most impressive attractions, as well as some nice bars and restaurants. ‘Coconuts’ is a very pleasant restaurant just off of the beach front serving nice food and just about any drink you can imagine. Alternatively try ‘Trade Winds’ for some more authentic Jamaican fare and a great host – just don’t get him started on the subject of George Bush! ‘Mama Marley’s’ owned by the mother of the Island’s most famous former resident, is a bit of a tourist magnet (and not recommended if you’ve spent the afternoon swimming with the dolphins at Ochie’s ‘Dolphin Cove’, as dolphin steaks feature on the menu) but serves great jerk chicken. Dining is not cheap in Jamaica – so take some extra cash or be prepared to ‘go local’ and search out some of the delicious Jamaican patties from one of the bakeries in the resort.
Music is, and has always been, a powerful social tool for the people of Jamaica. For a glimpse into Jamaica’s potent musical past check out ‘Reggae Explosion’ - an interactive museum located in the Island Village shopping complex. The museum chronicles Reggae music’s evolution from mento, ska through to rocksteady, roots, dancehall and beyond - and includes a recreation of Lee Perry’s infamous Black Ark studio (which was allegedly burnt down by the musical maestro himself). Judging by the amount of times you are likely to hear Bob Marley’s music playing in the streets and bars during your stay in Jamaica, this is a refreshing introduction to the Island’s rich and socially significant musical history!
A modernist building housing a wealth of Portuguese artifacts and architectural gems from the last century. A fascinating journey back in time to Goa's Portuguese heritage.
Torda, Salvadore do Mundo, near Mapusa on the Panjim to Mapusa road. A small turning to the right leads to the village of Torda.
Most tourists to the Cape only stick with the tried and tested routes and experiences. !Khwa ttu is one of the very few GENUINE San Bushmen-led initiatives in southern Africa. It's set on stunning hillside overlooking the coast and Table Mountain and here you can meet the San, learn about hunting, gathering, tracking, take a trailer ride, see all of the amazing game and other animals, go on hikes, enjoy the restaurant or stay in their amazinginly peaceful accommodation (cottage or tents). There is a museum, art gallery, training centre, conference facilities and shop too.
I recommend it because I lived and worked with the San in southern Africa until recently and this is the BEST thing I have seen out there, that really, practically helps the San and teaches tourists about some of the real issues still alive in South Africa today...
What's more it's as cheap as chips if you are coming from Europe!
www.khwattu.org email - firstname.lastname@example.org
It's just 70 km drive north of Cape Town - takes 40 minutes and just a short drive from the historic village of Darling and the beautiful beaches of Yzerfontein.
Not to mention the amazing art galleries Villa Borghese is an oasis of quiet in the bustling city of Roma - a must see for all visitors. If you want to visit the galleries you need to pre-book online before your visit ... tickets sell out fast but they are reasonably priced.
It can be reached by climbing the Spanish Steps but for the less energetic a taxi is relatively inexpensive.
It's actually possible to escape the crowds and the noise in Cairo, although you have to put up with a lot of both on the way. I would recommend Beit el-Suhaymi, a wonderful, labyrinthine Islamic house-turned-museum where you can really picture how the large families used to live.
Before or afterwards take a stroll around the north of Khan al-Khalili market. Away from the hassle of the market stalls you see a bit of real innercity life. I am female and, being there on my own, I didn't feel hassled at all in this part. Be sure to respect their dress code though.
Another tip is go to the Mosque of Sulayman Pasha when at the Citadel. Around the Citadel itself, in particular the Muhammad Ali mosque, was very busy, but the simpler, smaller mosque felt like a peaceful oasis and has lovely mosaics.
Beit el-Suhaymi, Khan al-Khalili market and the Citadel are all located within the city centre.
The Musée d'art Contemporain can be found near the Jardin Public just to the north of the city centre. The building it is situated in is an old 19th century spice warehouse and is very atmospheric, often with imposing and grand exhibitions being shown in the largest hall.
It also has a fantastic cafe -though rather soulless inside the building, it extends onto a sunny terrace. It is often quiet, feels very private and they serve coffee on a fancy plate, often with a slice of cake.
Open daily but Monday from 11am until 6pm.
7 rue Ferrère
Tel : +33 5 5600 8150.
Don't expect meticulous curatorial standards, but it does have an immense amount of stuff, and when you find some descriptions in English, or can read the more frequent French, you can learn some good things too. Also, Tutankhamun is there in all his glittery glory.
When planning on going to the Egyptian Museum it's a good idea to set aside the whole day and head there early. There is a lot to take in and the sheer mass of archaeology and antiquities is amazing.
Tahrir square, Cairo
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