THE BAVARIAN ALPS ~ MUNICH

Munich, the gateway to the Bavarian Alps, is a city with a great many historical associations—past and present—a city with an atmosphere completely unspoiled by bustling modernity. Lying midway between Strassbourg and Vienna, it is the most important town in southern Germany, also one of the largest European towns to be situated at so high an altitude. Founded in 1158, Munich was for centuries the capital of the independent kingdom of Bavaria, and in more recent times the birthplace of Nazidom. A heavy ring of munitions factories built by the Hitler regime made it an important target for allied bombings in World War II; however its protected location prevented much of the devastation suffered by other large German cities. After the Americans liberated Munich in 1945, the Temple of Honor, a memorial to the 16 Nazis killed in the “beerhall putsch,” as well as other remnants of Nazi rule, were destroyed. Today, Munich has regained much of its former prominence as a cultural center of world fame. This is a city rich in museums, art collections and exhibitions, theaters and concert halls. Especially famous are the Munich Opera, the art treasures of the Old Pinakothek and the Deutsche Museum. Every year the inherent “joie de vivre” of Munich is expressed in three typical festivals—the Munich Carnival, the bock beer festival held each spring and “Oktoberfest” in the fall is one of Germany’s gayest festivals


Switzerland ~ The Crossroads Of Europe

Matchless scenery, centuries-old towns and traditions and the proud cultural heritage of the world’s oldest republic have led travelers to Switzerland for generations. The rigid Swiss national standards of hospitality, superb cuisine, cleanliness and honesty appeal particularly to Americans and enable them to enjoy the details of living while they enjoy abundant scenic and historic charms. The scenery, which usually causes visiting writers to resort to the adjective “incomparable,” is an ideal backdrop for the unlimited sport and recreation facilities found throughout the country. Of course, the really outstanding sports are mountaineering and skiing, for which this tiny republic has had a matchless reputation for generations, since fifty 13,000-footers, the most challenging peaks of the entire Alpine region, sparkle skyward in Switzerland’s Alpine rampart. Beauty, hospitality, health, sport — and education — make this not only the favorite location for all kinds of international conferences, but also the favorite vacation area for people of all nations.


Finland and Helsinki

Heart of HELSINKI the lively, modern capital of Finland, is Senate Square, or the Great Square. Since most of the buildings surrounding it were designed in the early nineteenth century by the same architect, the whole square forms a remarkably homogeneous and attractive sight. Architecturally it is Empire, with its neoclassical slanting roofs over bright-colored buildings. The north side is dominated by the magnificent Great Church of Helsinki, with its beautiful columns and minarets, while the old Helsinki University Building is on the western side. The only exception to these Empire buildings is the mansard-roofed Sederholm Residence, built in 1750. On Mannerbeim Road, the main boulevard, is the impressive, modern Eduskuntatalo (Parliament House) of red Finnish granite and the Kansallismuseo (National Museum), with its tower, incorporating the facades of a palace, a castle and a church. Just oft this road is the railway square, with the famous Rautatie Asema (Railway Station), one of the most beautiful public buildings in Finland; Ateneum Art Gallery and Kansallisteatteri (National Theater).

The Mannerheim Museo, a conspicuous yellow wooden house, was the home of C. G. Mannerheim, Marshall of Finland, and is now preserved as a museum with all his trophies and relies. Since the Finns are great sports-loving people, there are a number of stadiums in the capital, but the most important is Olympic Stadium, built for the 1952 Olympic Games. The top balcony of the stadium tower commands a wide view of the city, coastal islands and dense forests of the interior. Suomcnlinna, the Gibraltar of the North, is a group of fortified islands with ramparts protecting the approaches to Helsinki. This island fortress has had a long and stirring history, and the special atmosphere of former centuries can be felt even today. Visitors should also make the trip to Korkeasaari Island Zoo, rich in northern fauna. Seurasaari island, with its open-air museum and a village made up of original old wooden farm buildings from various districts, is a fine natural park and a popular swimming place. Folk dancing and an open-air theater take place during the summer. The most famous of all Helsinki festivals is the Sibelius Festival, held in early June in the Festival Hall of Helsinki University, in honor of Jean Sibelius, Finland’s native son….

The tourist cannot help being struck by the profusion of lakes in Finland, and no one should miss taking a cruise through one of the important watercourses on a white passenger steamer. In this way, travel to AULANKO NATIONAL PARK, the number one lake resort near Hameenlinna, Sibelius’ native town. Here you can enjoy the excellent beach, a traditional sauna (Finnish steam bath) or a restful afternoon by the idyllic swan lake Former Finland Travel” capital TURKU …. second largest city in Finland, dating back to about 1150, grew up round its famous Cathedral. Its archipelago is considered the most beautiful in the country, and the Turku Castle an outstanding landmark. . . . Unique experiences are provided by a thrilling rapid-shooting trip in the north, demonstrations by lumberjacks of their hazardous skills in several log-rolling contests or a trip to KILPISJARVI, in the heart of the vast, barren arctic expanse north of the Arctic Circle, where herds of reindeer are tended by colorfully costumed Lapps.


How to See the Best of Paris – Part 1

PARIS. Synonymous with gaiety, good food for gastronomes, gorgeous gowns, delectable wine, all the good things of life, is unrivaled, appealing Paris. The early morning mists on the Seine, the lazy-plying barges, the ever-patient fishermen, the spellbinding orators in the Chamber of Deputies, the gaunt, leafless trees along the quays in the fall, the flowering horse-chestnut trees in the spring, the breath-taking vistas from the bridges, the ageless, awe-inspiring beauty of the churches, the avid poets and painters, all this and much, much more is Paris. For centuries generation after generation of people from all over the world have gravitated to her narrow alleys and wide boulevards, for Paris “is not just a city, she is a world.” To women, she is the undisputed center of high fashion, the acknowledged authority on what well-dressed beauties everywhere should wear. As style leader, the showings of top Paris dress designers draw all the editors, manufacturers and buyers of the fashion world, while their collections continually attract wealthy shoppers and less-wealthy window-shoppers. The noted Rue de la Paix is identical with Parisian- elegance, an air every woman openly or secretly strives to exude. Not only the epitome of glamour, this fabulous capital has been a focal point of culture, too. In Paris, history, poetry and art sit on every doorstep, set the backdrop for everyday living, and great painters, musicians and writers have all been caught in the seductive web she weaves. The left bank of the Seine, lined by the famous open-air book stalls, is the intellectual and governmental section. Here is the Sorbonne, center of the University of Paris, perhaps the most influential and greatest school of liberal arts in Europe; the classical Church of Saint-Sulpice, with famous paintings by Delacroix, and noteworthy Saint-Germain-de-Pres, oldest church in Paris, dating from the eleventh century. The gallery of nearby Ecole des Beaux Arts, scene of the annual wild Art Students’ Ball, displays works of Fragonard, David and Ingres. Radiating from the university is the Latin Quarter, second oldest and one of the most picturesque sections in the city. For centuries these streets around Boulevard Saint-Michel have been the haunt of university students and teachers. Also in this area are the Cluny Museum, one of the fine medieval buildings still standing in Paris, housing a rare collection of medieval arts and crafts, and the Luxembourg Palace and Museum, surrounded by its beautiful gardens, housing contemporary painting and sculpture.

http://instantworldbooking.com/france.php


ARANJUEZ

ARANJUEZ

At the meeting point of the Tagus and Jarama rivers, this low-lying meadow was a cherished spring escape for Spanish kings and queens for many centuries. The stunning gardens of this UNESCO World Heritage Site blend architecture and nature.  Have lunch at the star-studded Casa Jose restaurant (casajose. es), where sophisticated renderings of traditional Spanish dishes include grilled hake with almond and saffron and roast pork with orange and parsley.


ALCALADE HENARES

ALCALADE HENARES

This World Heritage Site is less than 20 miles from Madrid. One of the most important cities in Spanish history, Cervantes, Tirso de Molina, and Lope de Vega are just a short list of the renowned writers who have called this “city of words” home. Visit the Universidad Complutense, which dates back to 1499, and is an important stopping point on the “Path of the Spanish Language” route celebrating the Spanish language’s history.


MONASTERY OF EL ESCORIAL

MONASTERY OF EL ESCORIAL

This mountain town is nestled in the Sierra de Guadarrama at the foot of Mount Abantos about 30 miles from Madrid.  Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, the Monastery and Real Sitio de San Lorenzo are prime examples of Spain’s imperial glory.  Walk through this scenic outpost which was once the powerful stronghold of Philip II King of Spain, ruler of one of the world’s largest empires.


CHINCHON

CHINCHON

This picturesque medieval city brims with warm character and wonderful restaurants less than 30 miles away. It is far enough away that it feels like an adventure, but close enough to visit in a day. Settle into a cafe off the main square lined by its distinctive changing balconies and order up orange juice for the kids and an aperitif the city’s signature anise liquor for mom and dad.


Free Guidebook For Lanzarote Tourists

The Canary Islands are the second most visited region in Spain after Catalonia.  And Lanzarote, the fourth largest of these islands, has long been a hot favourite with British tourists.  With over 820,000 visitors from the UK enjoying a holiday there during the course of 2009.  A figure that is expected to increase even further this year.

Free Guidebook For Every Visitor

 Now all tourists visiting Lanzarote can save money and make the most of their holidays by getting their hands on a comprehensive, 96 page Guidebook to the island – entirely free of charge.  By downloading a copy of the latest edition of Lanzarote Guidebook at www.lanzaroteguidebook.com.

 

Local Knowledge – The Inside Guide

Lanzarote Guidebook is written and published by local residents.  So readers can benefit from their in-depth local knowledge, rather than wasting precious holiday time and money visiting tourist traps and enduring low quality meals in dodgy restaurants.

 

Up To Date Information

It is published every quarter, so the information in Lanzarote Guidebook is always accurate and up to date.  Unlike conventional guidebooks which can often be obsolete in parts by the time they reach the bookshelves.

 

Discounts On Excursions & Restaurants

Lanzarote Guidebook readers can also enjoy discounts at local restaurants and on some of the islands best excursions.  With 10% off the price of a trip on Lanzarote´s popular Yellow Submarine available – along with a 10% discount on all meals at La Cabaña, one of the islands leading restaurants.

 

Why Buy A Guidebook?

Lanzarote Guidebook contains all of the information and high quality pictures that can be found in a conventional Guidebook – but at no cost.  Enabling readers to explore all of Lanzarote´s resorts and attractions, browse maps and plan their holiday before they even arrive on the island.

 

Delivered To The Door

As well as being available as a fast and free download Lanzarote Guidebook can also be delivered direct to any address in the UK at a cost of £3.59, which covers postage and packing.


European Train Travel Guide

European Train Travel

Traversing the Continent by rail is romantic. It’s also practical. After all, who isn’t desperate for an alternative to air travel? Especially one that involves few delays or security lines, stations in the center of the action (forget schlepping to the airport!), affordable ticket prices, and a chance to take in the scenery up close. Riding the rails is also easier on the environment. A trip on the Eurostar from London to Paris produces one-tenth the carbon dioxide per passenger of a plane flying the same route. And as of November 2007, the service is carbon-neutral, thanks to the purchase of offsets. Ready to roll?

Europe By Rail

Rail Europe (888/382-7245; raileurope.com) specializes in selling single tickets, as well as all of the major multitrip passes. BritRail passes (from $259 for four days) are the only option avail­able to North Americans for unlim­ited travel throughout Britain. (Snag these before your trip ­they’re not sold in the U.K.) Eurail passes cover the Continent and include the Global Pass (from $744 for the 15-day first-class option), valid in 20 countries. For less­sweeping itineraries, there’s the Eurail Select Pass, which is good for three to five adjoining coun­tries; 25 regional passes, each encompassing two or more coun­tries; and 17 single-country passes. Whichever you choose, don’t wait until you hit Europe to buy-it’ll be 20 percent more expensive there.

FIRST CLASS VS. SECOND First-class tickets cost about 50 percent more than second class. That typically buys a reclining seat, a meal, more space for luggage, and a quiet train car. Second class is absolutely fine if your trip is only a few hours-and your mother­in-law isn’t along for the ride.