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europe

Rio Guadiana
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Rios de Guadalquivir and Guadiana

Rios de Guadalquivir and Guadiana

Rio Guadalquivir

Rio Guadalquivir

Photo via Britannica.com

The Iberian river of Guadalquivir is the second largest in Spain.  The Guadalquivir is distinctive due to its plant and animal life being the most varied in Europe.  It begins in the national park of Cañada de las Fuentes from flowing streams cascading down the Cazorla mountain range.  It passes through Córdoba which was originally part of the Islamic Caliphate that comprised most of the Iberian Peninsula and a capital city of the Roman province.  This unique history provides an historic quarter anchored by the Mezquita, an Islamic mosque turned cathedral which serves as a reminder of the importance of Cordoba during medieval times.  It then flows through Sevilla which is the capital and largest city of the area known as Andalusia.  Sevilla also shares a Roman and Islamic history and its Cathedral is the burial place of Christopher Columbus.  The river ends at a small fishing village of Bonanza before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean via the Gulf of Cadiz.

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Georgian House Edinburgh
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Edinburgh – Athens of the North

Edinburgh – Athens of the North

Edinburgh (pronounced ed-n-buh-ruh) is the capital city of Scotland.  Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom for over 300 years and recently voted to continue their union with England, Wales and North Ireland.  In the 19th century Edinburgh was called “the Athens of the North” due to its Greek revival buildings such as the Surgeon’s Hall museum.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is a hilly city with a marine climate that has moderate temperatures with no dry season and typical mist and drizzle.  This creates a very lush and green landscape.  This is creates a great terrain for golf.  This is fitting as Scotland is widely accepted as the birthplace of golf.  Edinburgh has many top golf courses and is only an hour from the fabled links of St. Andrews.

The medieval Old Town section of Edinburgh along with the 18th century New Town is a protected UNESCO Heritage Site.  The Royal Mile is the main road running through Old Town from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace.  Holyrood is the official royal residence in Scotland and Edinburgh Castle is home to the legendary Military Tattoo.  The Military Tattoo is a musical performance of music by armed forces and is Edinburgh’s is an international favorite for its renowned pomp and ceremony.  Edinburgh Castle is also home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, traditionally used in the coronation of Scottish rulers.  The Old Town is also includes Arthur’s Seat which is an extinct volcano in Holyrood Park with some of the best views from its peak.    In contrast, Edinburgh’s vaults are a subterranean world of underground chambers that housed the extremely poor in Old Town.

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Holidays Around the World: France

Holiday Traditions Around the World: Christmas in France

Christmas in France is both a religious and secular holiday as it is in most modern countries.  In French, Christmas = Noël and is a reference to the Gospel.  It comes from the French phrase “les bonnes nouvelles” which means “the good news”.  L’Avent en France (Advent) commences the fourth Sunday before Christmas.    Although the Christmas tree is not so popular, homes all throughout France display the Nativity scene “la crèche”.  The creche is often coupled with figures called little saints or “santons” which represent the Holy Family, shepherds, Magi as well as local dignitaries and people in the community.   The craftsmanship and molds utilized to create the santons have been passed down from generation to generation since the seventeenth century.   Puppet shows leading up to Christmas are well attended particularly in Paris and Lyon.  One of the most famous Christmas puppet plays is Bethlemen 1933 and is considered a masterpiece.

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Basilica di San Marco, Venice, Italy
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Off the Beaten Path in Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Venice – Off the Beaten Path

Venice is known for its canals and romantic gondola rides.  It is a destination on everyone’s wish list with its artistic jewels and monumental architecture.  There are many highlights that every traveler in Venice cannot overlook.  San Marco Piazza is the largest and most important public square originally built in the ninth century.   The Basilica di San Marco, also known as the Golden Basilica, for its golden mosaics is within the Piazza and adjacent to the Doges Palace (“Palazzo Ducale”).  The Doges Palace is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.  The interior comprises vast council chambers, delicately-decorated residential apartments with works by artists such as Titian and Veronese.Read more

Alesund, Norway
Kary World Travel

Norway: Land of the Midnight Sun

Norway is known for its world famous fjords, majestic mountains and spectacular glaciers.  Norway encompasses a beauty so stunning it almost does not feel real.  The other two gals and I were lucky to visit Norway as part of a trip to Northern Europe.  We visited Bergen, Alesund and Geiranger.  Cruising the fjords to Geiranger felt like I was part of a movie.  The scenery was unbelievable.  When we arrived at the bottom of Geiranger fjord we embarked on the most memorable hike of our lives so far. The climb to the top was steep and physically demanding, but entirely worth it.  You could drink the crisp, cool glacial water streaming the waterfalls.  The view from top evoked a feeling that our small group was the only people in the world.  It was July so it was misty, but warm enough to wear pants and a light jacket.  The hike down was the most treacherous part as the mist created a slide of mud and foliage.  It was thrilling, exhilarating and unforgettable.

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