Burgos Cathedral, a Gothic Masterpiece

The city of Burgos was founded in 884.  It has played a major role in the military and political history of Spain.  It was the capital of the united kingdoms of Castile and Leon from 1073, until losing that title to Valladolid after the fall of Granada in 1492.

During the 15th and 16th centuries, Burgos grew from trade, most notably wool.  The wealth generated from the wool trade has financed much of the rich treasures and architecture that can be seen in Burgos today.

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Founded in 1221 by Bishop Don Mauricio, Burgos Cathedral is Spain’s third largest church.  It was begun under the reign of Fernando III.  The Latin cross architectural plan measures 82 meters long.  Over three centuries, the construction of the cathedral was carried out in stages.  Many of Europe’s greatest artists and architects were employed for the task.

The style of Burgos Cathedral is mostly Gothic, showing influence from the great Gothic churches of Germany and France.  The nave and cloister were built first, while the intricate crocheted spires and richly decorated side chapels were constructed later.  Built on a sloping hill, the architects had to incorporate stairways inside and out to accommodate the terrain.

The magnificent star-ribbed central dome was begun in 1539.  It rises on four grand pillars.  It is decorated with the images of prophets and saints.  The tomb of the legendary figure of Spain, El Cid, is located directly below the dome.

 


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


The North of England

There is no part of England that offers so much contrast, such variety of scenery and interest, as the north of England. In the county of Yorkshire alone one may pass, within the distance of an afternoon’s walk, from flat pastureland where cows stand hock-deep in good grazing to lonely moorland heights where the curlew’s mournful cry echoes among the rocks. Yorkshire is divided into three regions, North, East and West. YORK, one of the most beautiful and historic town: in all England, is situated on the spot where the three Ridings meet. It contains so much to see that the visitor may just as well forget his timetable. An idea of the atmosphere of York may be gained from the fact that the curfew is still running there and has been since William the Conqueror first ordered that fires should be covered at night as a precaution against accident.
The best view of the massive and magnificent Minster is to be had from the walls which encircle the town. The Minster (England’s largest medieval cathedral) was founded before history was written, and has existed in its present outward form since the year 1474, where a building program of 250 years was completed. Don’t miss the many quaint side-streets which, in many cases, possess the oddest of names and retain much of their medieval character.


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.


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


Sites for Train and Railroad information in Europe

BEST SITES FOR TRAIN INFO

IN THE UNITED KINGDOM nationalrail.co.uk National Rail Enquiries operates the official Web site for Britain’s 26 train operators. Find departure and arrival times and ticket prices for all routes in England, Scotland, and Wales.

FOR THE REST OF EUROPE bahn.de Don’t let the name fool you: Germany-based rail operator Deutsche Bahn has one of the most comprehensive search engines fortrain times-and it covers roughly 87,000 stations throughout Europe.

FOR ALL-PURPOSE RAIL RESEARCH raileurope.com

Rail Europe’s Web site lets you find and buy tickets and passes, and features interactive maps illustrating connec­tions. If tickets on your chosen dates are not yet available, you can sign up to get an e-mail alert as soon as they are.


Tuscany Wine Region

At its heart, Tuscany is home to the red sangiovese grape. You might not have heard of it, because like many of Italy’s indigenous vines, this one doesn’t love to travel. But you’ve prob­ably heard of Chianti, which has grown up from its bottle-as-candleholder days into a high-quality offering at prices that range from steal to splurge. As with many Italian wines, the Chianti name refers to the growing district rather than the grape. “Classico” refers to the historic heart of the Chianti zone, and “riserva” means the wine has had extra aging. If you have heard wine geeks refer to so-called “Super Tuscan” wines, these are wines made to push the boundaries of Tuscan tradition by mixing French grapes and, very often, French barrels with the local varieties.  The results are magnifico, so if you feel like splurging, check them out.


Turkey

TURKEY IS THE KIND OF DESTINATION YOU FALL INTO, RATHER THAN VISIT IT IS A PLACE OF DAZZLING CULTURAL COMPLEXITY, AT ONCE REMOVED FROM THE PRESENT AND YET ENTIRELY A PART OF IT.

Asojourn here almost overwhelms imagination-from the gran Istanbul to sweeping fig and groves to ancient ruins and such as Troy and Ephesus. Mountainous, coastoral and urbane, Turkey is richly, pervasively by its complicated history. This land reflects t influences of the vast empires that have occupied Istanbul itself remains the city where East me literally straddling two continents-and yet m most arresting features of both, producing a di modern landscape. In Istanbul, tour the holy Byzantine churches, including Hagia Sophia and the blue Mosque. The famed whirling dervishes spin on aturdays and Sundays at the Galata Mevlevihanesi, a ervish hall built in 1491. Then, visit the Grand Bazaar or a day of shopping. The covered bazaar is an endless presentation of handcrafted and idiosyncratic treas­res unique to the region, including jewelry and artwork. Turkey, for all of its cultural impact, is also home o impressive beaches. On a peninsula along the Aegean coast, Bodrum is a Mediterranean resort town here yachting is the popular pastime. From here, enjoy a tour on a traditional hand made gulet or while way the morning at Gumbet, a nearby beach.


Medieval Europe and Cultural Exchange

The territory of Medieval Europe was something of a politically unstable and disparate patchwork. Throughout this period, its internal and external borders fluctuated back and forth with each successive wave of invasions (the Magyars along the Danube, Viking and Saracen raids), the expansion of Islam and the rise and fall of the Carolingian Empire.

But Medieval Europe was also undergoing a process of unification, albeit more spiritual in nature than temporal. Thus. when an 8th-century chronicler from Cordoba related the Battle of Poitiers at which the Muslim advance was halted by Charles Martel, he gave central stage to the Saracens and those termed the “people of Europe”, in other words. Christians. In fact, during the early centuries of the Middle Ages, it was primarily the process of Christianisation which was to bind together this geographical area known, for that matter, as “Christendom”, the word “Europe” rarely featuring in medieval writings.

It is important to remember that Medieval Europe was a vibrant area in which people travelled widely. It also hosted considerable commercial, cultural and artistic exchange between the component kingdoms and regions as well as externally with the surrounding territories of the Muslim world and the Byzantine Empire.


Jubilee Way Pilgrimage in Lourdes – How to Organize

Whether you have only a few hours or a few days in Lourdes, you can easily organize and follow a pilgrimage program that is appropriate for your length of stay.  Follow the Jubilee Way in one of the following formats:

You only have a few hours

Follow the 3’d part of the Jubilee Way from Saint Michael’s gate to the Grotto.

You have half a day

Follow the 2°d and 3’d part of the Jubilee Way (from the Cachot to the Grotto). Take part in the Eucharist Procession of 5.00 pm or at the Evening Marian Torchlight procession at 9.00 pm: they take place daily from 16’° March to 26′h October 2008

You have one day

Follow the four parts of the Jubilee Way. Take part in any one of the processions.

You have two days

You have time to follow the Jubilee Way at your own pace over one or two days, and to take part every day in one of the two processions. You can watch the video on the message of Lourdes in the Information Forum. You can visit the Rosary Basilica and its recently restored mosaics, and the Basilica of Saint Pius X, an audacious building realised in 1958.

You have three days

To the two-day program you can add the International Mass on Wednesdays and Sundays at 9.30 am, call into one of the Pavilions (information offices for various Church movements), the free visit of the Treasure Museum of the Sanctuary.

You have four days

To the three-day programme, you can add two important places in the life of Bernadette (the Boly Mill and Bartres), the visit to the Museum of Saint Bernadette and the exhibition in the castle, or the films of Jean Delannoy, Bernadette and the Passion of Bernadette at the cinema Bernadette, situated close to Saint Joseph’s Gate.