Read more about the article Hamburg – Germany
Hamburg - Germany

Hamburg – Germany

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Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

Again the finally well deserved time to come back to a city I have never returned since the first and only time 9 years ago, Hamburg. Why this long is easy to explain, basically being concentrated in visiting hundreds other cities across dozens of countries across the globe. In a lapse of 9 years I can easily count 90 countries and over 400 cities and places, most of which available here in my travel blog for anyone to enjoy a proper guide. No need to mention this is a great excuse for remaking this entire guide adding lots more to what was there already and bringing it a most up to day bump.

How a city can change in that many years is fascinating to be honest. Back then I remember a lot of cranes and construction going on. The second largest city in Germany was transforming and evolving itself, gentrification at its best and incredible projects coming out from the countless derelict areas around the former docks and factories. Restoring its heritage buildings while designing a proper 21st century city. Today, most of it is done, and new projects being drawn ever since. What has been a very industrial city, suffering from destruction during the WWII raids, the 1962 North Sea flooding, and then from the closure of dozens of factories, re-emerged  wealthier each time as a key tourist destination in Germany focusing in business, finance, media, research, education, science, arts and of course what it does best, a major shipping logistic and infrastructure.

Hamburg, together with its neighbouring trade alliance city of Lübeck merely 65 kilometres to the east marked at the brink of year 1241 the origin and core of the powerful Hanseatic League of trading cities; Lübeck itself becoming the capital of such vast network that extended all over the Baltic and benefiting Hamburg ever since in the riches and wealth from the trade.


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Read more about the article Malbork – Poland
Malbork - Poland

Malbork – Poland

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Civitas Beatae Virginis, Royal Prussia

An unexpected visit to what’s been for a while in the back of our ears: Malbork and its fascinating Teutonic castle. The reason is simple, since we’ve pretty much been to almost every possible important and historic city and place in Poland, there are still just a small bunch in our agenda, one of them was this, and with a double reason, the other being completing a visit to another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s not a secret how passionate we are about visiting as many WHS in the world as possible, so this is always fun and excitement for being to another one. That’s close to 100 alone this year so far!

Then, unplanned visit because when we booked the tickets to Gdansk to visit our friend there, same as for the last time, we though we will be there around and that’s all, however we are very pleased she did plan this trip for us. Being that near Gdansk it was a great decision, and now I can strongly recommend should you be staying in Gdansk, (and nearby Sopot and Gdynia), to include Malbork in your plans. However visiting all these places in just a weekend, even if they are small, it’s almost impossible. So like it was for us, returning to this region was the best bet, yet it won’t be the last, it is always great to have some nice time with our great friend here, even if we are not travelling for sightseeing.

Malbork is very small, and other than its huge castle, there is not much more there to see and do. Considering it was a member of the Hanseatic League, it was very elegant, with very imposing buildings however after the destruction of WWII, the city was not rebuilt and its brick ruins were used to rebuild the old areas of Gdansk and Warsaw instead. Still, there are some buildings such as the neo-Gothic railway station and around the area at both banks of the Nogat River, but a half day visit is all you need to fully explore. (more…)

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Read more about the article Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia – Poland
Gdansk - Poland

Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia – Poland

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The Tricity by the Baltic Sea

A bunch of years have passed since the first and only time in Gdansk, the beautiful city by the Baltic Sea; now glad to return and enjoy the same or more than the first time, considering it’s the third. Not just the city but the great company of our Polish friend whom we came to visit once more time. What a better way to escape the horrible weather in London after all? Surprisingly, this was the end of September, however still a nicer weather over here bearing in mind it generally chills earlier than other places. A coincidental fact back in June 2012 it was the weekend of a Football Euro Cup semi-finals where Spain was playing against France. Definitely we are not football fans at all, but being Spanish and such a great ambiance with all the terraces showing the game at the time we were in Sopot, made it for a great dinner time entertainment.

I take the chance to revamp this guide and further expand it in line to what I am generally doing for the places I do return. While there is still a large number of travel guides from the beginning of times in my blog quite outdated or even poor comparing to what I now do, it’s great to see the speed in recreating them as I keep returning to such beautiful places. It’s becoming more and more difficult anyway to get for a weekend trip to destinations not been before. It might sound silly, but yes, we are running out of flying routes with any airline within Europe!

Gdansk is the largest of the three cities, capital of the region and principal seaport of Poland. And also, one of the most beautiful cities in Poland, full of Medieval and Hanseatic buildings, remarkably well preserved even though many of these had to be painstakingly reconstructed after their destruction during WWII. All these facts, the history behind and the countless cultural places are one of the reasons for its inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage Site listing.


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Read more about the article Nuremberg – Germany
Nuremberg - Germany

Nuremberg – Germany

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The Centre of the German Renaissance

Just 2 weeks since the last time we’ve been to Germany, in Stuttgart, we return to another of the cities we’ve never been before taking advantage of these really cheap low season flights right before the Christmas peak when the costs increase dramatically. Unfortunately we knew we would not be able to enjoy the world famous Christmas market in this occasion, as it was due for opening in 3 weeks after our visit, but at least we finally managed to come to this beautiful city avoiding a hefty cost.

I must say after this weekend I might have found some of my all-time favourite big cities in Germany, especially for adding the nearby “cake-dream” masterpiece city of Bamberg, an UNESCO World Heritage listed. Nuremberg is one of the most historic and traditional, where bearing the lost of 90% of its buildings during the WWII bombing raids, it was rebuilt afterwards to its pre-war medieval look. Not in full since half of its original historic centre was lost forever, but greatly enough comparing to all other cites of similar size that suffered the same fate. While there are hundreds of smaller cities so beautiful, with their typical timber-frame colourful houses towards the east and south of the country, and the brick Gothic Hanseatic cities of the north; Nuremberg is in the other hand a good combination of both, containing a wide variety of architectural styles from every epoch. In a sense like Bremen is, but larger and even more imposing.

A weekend is perfect and good enough to visit every bit of Nuremberg and nearby Bamberg without any rush but giving you plenty of time to also enjoy some nice food, cake and coffee or some beer at any of the nice Bavarian breweries yet beware of the sizes! In this part of Germany a litre glass is the usual; not that I would mind but it gets you drank without realising. (more…)

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Read more about the article Stockholm – Sweden
Stockholm - Sweden

Stockholm – Sweden

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Venice of the North

Happy to return to this beautiful city, considering the first and only time was almost 6 years ago! It would have been in September precisely 6 years, and that was back then a very short trip when the usual travelling gang we used to be “abused” on the super low Ryanair fares to everywhere we could find. It was just £2 return! Leaving on Saturday extremely early in the morning and returning the same day but already back in London way after midnight. Long and tiring happy days. Nowadays, circumstances have changed for all, and not only you can never find such air fare deals, but we rather spend the entire weekend leaving on Friday night to return Sunday night, or similar.

Although one of the downsides of flying a low-cost airline to Stockholm is to find yourself at Skavsta Airport. This is almost 100 kilometers to the south of Stockholm itself, but the almost 2 hours bus journey to the centre is in fact also well invested and to be honest, part of the trip for the beautiful scenery you will pass and see along the way.

Being the largest city in the whole of Scandinavia and having been always so powerful and rich in history due to its strategic location and trading within the Hanseatic League, you can imagine this legacy is greatly spread across the city at the many grand buildings, medieval wealthy houses, architecture and urbanism.


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Read more about the article Torun – Poland
Torun - Poland

Torun – Poland

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The City of Copernicus

Our second stop over for this weekend brought us to the beautiful historical city of Torun. Not only famously known to be the birthplace of astronomer Copernicus, but more important, it is the only example of perfectly preserved medieval and Gothic architecture that entirely survived during the war without any damage nor destruction; no wonder why the UNESCO included it in the list of World Heritage Sites.

Yet it’s true to city is very small, in the other hand it has a large old town core with plenty to see and do. Most tourists come here as part of a day trip from wherever their main city base is. In our example, we came from Poznan some 130 kilometres to the west of Torun. But coming here was not just pure chance. Knowing myself and while preparing the information and guide needed for visiting Poznan is when I realised with a day would be more than enough to see everything. And then what? Trying to figure out an alternative plan for Sunday, which as usual rule of thumb I googled for UNESCO sites “nearby” and Torun popped out to be the perfect candidate at a reasonable distance to Poznan airport which was our departure point.

This trip ended up in being a great choice! And it is the fact that both Poznan and Torun are ranking among the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to Poland so far. (more…)

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Read more about the article Szczecin – Poland
Szczecin - Poland

Szczecin – Poland

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Latin Stetinum

An irresistible flight deal to Szczecin on what would have been otherwise a weekend without any trip planned so far. We only booked those tickets 7 weeks before the actual flight, plus considering this was the last weekend of June, already high season; furthermore the flights at perfect times from Friday evening to Sunday evening. Indeed, a temptation not to let it go. After all, finding an European destination not been before is becoming a challenging task. Of course, there are endless cities and places to visit, but there are not flights to every one of those destinations either.

Right after booking the flight and researching a bit on the city, this is a city that can easily be done and fully visited in a day and even less than that. The good news are the many nice places to the north and northwest, already in German soil. The city lies just few kilometers to the east from the German border that runs north to south. Therefore, the plan for this weekend was postponing the visit of Szczecin itself to the following day, while for today driving towards Swinoujscie, the last city in Poland before the German border through the Szczecin Lagoon, passing the beaches by the Baltic Sea, and continuing to the UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Stralsund in Germany.

Sparing Sunday to be in the city was a good decision. We had plenty of time, were relaxed since there was no need to drive anywhere, and took the time for quite a lazy visit. Why to rush when there is no need! Instead we took the time to get a really nice lunch, some Polish snacks, coffee here, cake there and enjoying a beer at one of the many terraces in the old town watching the live passing by. (more…)

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Read more about the article Stralsund – Germany
Stralsund - Germany

Stralsund – Germany

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Stralow: Polabian for Arrow

And yet again back in Germany at only 6 days after the last time. On this occasion, our final destination was Szczecin, city we flew on Friday night but that we left for visiting on Sunday. Instead for today Saturday, we decided to enjoy a day trip towards the Baltic Coast of Poland, and crossing over to Germany which lies few kilometres from the border towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site listed city of Stralsund. One of the most beautiful and iconic Hanseatic cities, which together with its brother city of Wismar, shares the same UNESCO status listing.

Unfortunately due to the lack of time and because of the already far distance we had to drive to come here, it was physically impossible to fit this second city of Wismar, way much farther to the west. The easiest and fastest way for this one will be in the future, flying to Hamburg or Lübeck as those are the nearest airports and a short train or bus ride from there.

The way from Szczecin to the north is a fast and beautiful drive, in between lakes and nature, soon arriving to the Baltic Sea passing Swinoujscie. From here it is meters away from the German border which is a pretty straightforward crossing and without queues. There is a fee to cross over but that’s all. Probably they don’t even require you to hand over your ID/Passport either, since they are in the European Union and they run only spot checks at random.


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