Read more about the article Trier – Germany
Trier - Germany

Trier – Germany

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Roman Augusta Treverorum

Our second part for this weekend after visiting the city of Luxembourg was for the historical small city of Trier, just across the border in western Germany. So what’s the importance in this city, that perhaps majority of people did not hear about its existence? Being one of the most important ancient Roman cities in current Germany, as well believed to be the oldest city in the country. The ancient Roman monuments and remains are scattered through the city, most of which reused many hundreds of years ago implemented in new constructions from the era.

By the 4th century the city was among the largest even in the world at probably reaching around 100000 inhabitants. Nowadays to compare, the city is home to 107000! Almost equal to what is today, 1600 years after its peak at the brink of the decline of the Roman Empire.

But is is not only about the Roman monuments that makes the city special. Of course having the largest hall from antiquity to survive today in almost intact condition, or the oldest bridge in the whole of Germany, are some of the facts. The other ones are the oldest Gothic church in the country, the oldest of any church in Germany, and also the second oldest, and while talking about cult and Christianity here, the Cathedral of Trier has among its treasures the Holy Tunic, said to be the robe Jesus was wearing when he died. All of this, together with a very beautiful old town, that even it was heavily damaged during WWII, was nicely restored and rebuilt afterwards; makes it perfect for a great day out. (more…)

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Read more about the article Luxembourg City – Luxembourg
Luxembourg City - Luxembourg

Luxembourg City – Luxembourg

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Gibraltar of the North

Although cannot really recall how many times I’ve now been to Luxembourg, it is certainly getting closer to 10 for sure. Considering the very first time I went in 2009 and how long it took me for returning to do a proper visit, I was not expecting the following trips that came afterwards and will possibly come in the near future. The fact of being that near to London, with plenty of flight options, most of the time so cheap well below budget, then it’s one of these cities great for a escape, enjoy nice food, some culture and good shopping.

Flights to the city are very frequent from cities such as London where we came from, Germany, France or Switzerland, with deals every now and then depending on the season, date and times. It’s not really a big problem to find something nice, but getting a hotel over there can easily cost you way over what you initially though. A great way to save you on budget securing nice flights and hotel is to have a look at the British Airways website and search for “flight+hotel” deals. This is how we are doing more and more often our European weekend trips, and it works awesome! I really encourage you to take a look, because sometimes you can be surprised on how much you can save.

The capital city of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, one of the smallest countries in Europe, is often ranked as having the second highest per-capita GDP in the world, also topping the lists high up in the ranking for best quality of living. The figures of course, directly translates into a pretty much rich country with high standards of living and high costs for everything, like Switzerland. Do not expect this to be a “cheap” trip even if you find a great flight deal, not to mention this is certainly not a backpacker country.


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Read more about the article Trondheim – Norway
Trondheim - Norway

Trondheim – Norway

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Nidaros: Mouth of the river Nid

Back into Norway, just few months since we repeat a trip to its capital, Oslo. But with such a large, and long country, the amount of great places to go are quite endless to us for now. While we’ve been already to many places, those are all still towards the quarter part south of the country, never anything farther north. With Trondheim we can say we move a little bit north, but when you see this point on a map of the country then you realise how enormously long the country is and how much farther north is still to be seen!. Unfortunately for now and unless a good offer comes out by any airline, I do not believe we will be returning anymore to Norway for this year. Tromso, Alta and Nordkapp will have to wait for the near future.

Our plan for this trip would not only be visiting just Trondheim, but also for driving through the ever beautiful landscapes of fjords, mountains and lakes south towards Kristiansund, and farther beyond in order to pass by the more and more famous and visited Atlantic Ocean Road. Once a very quiet and remote road that since being featured on TV, travel sites, best roads to drive and so on, it is becoming a worldwide attraction! And I see the clear reason anyway. You have to be there to experience it, truly exciting and beautiful. This is what we did the day right after our arrival in Trondheim, sparing Sunday for sightseeing the beautiful city itself.

Visiting the city is matter of few hours. Although the 3rd largest in the country, it is indeed small to the standards we are used to. Norway, after all, is a very underpopulated country, with majority of its inhabitants living south in Oslo and nearby metropolitan region. As more north you go, the less people. That’s why when planning a trip here, make sure you also come with other ideas, like the road trip we did the day before (guide here if you want to know more). Spending the entire weekend in the city alone could be too boring.


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Read more about the article Hoxter and Goslar – Germany
Hoxter and Goslar - Germany

Hoxter and Goslar – Germany

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Carolingian Abbey and a 1000 years old mine

Continuing on the second part of the weekend today Sunday, after visiting the day before the cities of Hanover, Hildesheim and Alfeld with their UNESCO World Heritage sites; our first point would be the beautiful and historical city of Hoxter, some 100 kilometres south of Hanover, our base city. While a small city, probably unheard to everyone (unless for a German), it is very important in the country due to its Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey, the only standing structure that dates back to the Carolingian era in the country.

Farther east from Höxter, not near though and on small roads since there are no motorways in this area, is the city of Goslar with its over 1000 year old mines of Rammelsberg. All the places and cities are incredible in every sense, and something we actually did not expect. We did not know there was so much to see at both cities, and so many timber framed buildings, specially in Goslar. It was literally every single building! The only fact that played against us was the time. We wish to have had more time to enjoy more peacefully the visit, and even reach the historical city of Quedlinburg. This will have to be done on a future trip.

So while our original thoughts were that Hanover would be a bit boring, with not much to see to keep you buys for a weekend, it does have a good side, the many many other places “nearby” in the region. Way too many, so in the pipe, probably for the next year, is to find another good flight deal to Hanover and continue visiting the region and historical cities. (more…)

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Read more about the article Hildesheim and Alfeld – Germany
Hildesheim and Alfeld - Germany

Hildesheim and Alfeld – Germany

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Masterpieces of Medieval, neo-Gothic and Modernist architecture in Germany

While at first before we even came here I was not planning in creating a travel guide for those places wrongly thinking there would be not much else to see apart from the World Heritage Sites, we were quite wrong! In fact, we found ourselves actually struggling for time. Hildesheim has by far much more than both UNESCO World Heritage Sites listed and it is an extremely beautiful city worth to enjoy for longer than what we did. Alfeld in the other hand, while our original plan was to only visit the Fagus Factory, it is then that we discovered an incredible nice historical centre full of timber frame houses.

All of this was a nice surprise, on the same way it happened to us the following day with Hoxter and Goslar, yet stressed us a little bit because we did not have the time at all to enjoy all these places as we would have liked, with more time. We simply did not expect it as we only had in mind and planned visiting the World Heritage sites, and we had to even scrap the city of Quedlinburg all together for a future time.

All these cities are very small but because of so much to see, literally every building, it takes a while to explore, and so it takes a long time to drive there. With no motorways, the only choice are small roads passing never ending little villages, curves and forests in between. It might sound like a beautiful trip, but it’s plain, nothing really out of the blue bearing fields. (more…)

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Read more about the article Hanover – Germany
Hanover - Germany

Hanover – Germany

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Honovere: High river bank

As difficult as it is slowly getting nowadays find a destination never been before in Germany, we managed to grab another great British Airways flight+hotel deal at their website to Hanover, and with it, another tick off the list. Not only just the city itself, but few other places nearby to the south of the city, all of which UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Among them, one I really wanted to visit for a long now, the Fagus Factory in Alfeld, a masterpiece of modernist architecture designed by Walter Gropius.

We knew once again this was going to be a very busy weekend packed with sightseeing as many places as we could, but with a city like Hanover this was easy. There is no need to give the city any longer than a day, and even that is actually too much. This was, unfortunately, one of the most heavily bombed cities during WWII and its destruction lead to the loss of 90% of the historical landmarks. Majority of the buildings you see today are 1950’s, ugly blocks and pastiches, but of course not everything was lost, and heavy efforts were done to salvage as much and recreate a nice old town. Surrounding this old town there are nice grand constructions that to our surprise, were not mentioned anywhere not even in the city’s “red line sightseeing route”.

The “Old Town” (Altstadt) is actually not “old”, but a redeveloped area with some 40 old original houses that were left standing after the war and grouped together here in order to give the city once again an old historical core. (more…)

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Read more about the article Rennes – France
Rennes - France

Rennes – France

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Roman Civitas Redonum

Our first weekend trip to France so far in 2016. Still, one of the largest countries in Europe with the most places to see and cities to visit which we still missing greatly, specially central France. While we’ve been to the entire Mediterranean coast, southeast and northwest, getting to find a good flight to any other destination is what is pushing us back from coming more often to France. Either there are no daily flights, or no flights returning Sundays; flight times not working at all in order to be able to manage a nice weekend, or sky high air fares. Thankfully, slowly, there are more airlines seeking the potential of such destinations as is the case of Rennes.

Surprisingly this time, with FlyBe from Southend Airport was really a bargain (although let’s better say not so bargain when considering how expensive was the train from central London to the airport, and the time it all took having to change trains). Anyway, well worth it.

The main aim for this weekend trip was getting to Mont Saint-Michel which we did the day before. And while other airports “nearby” are either much farther than Rennes, or with poor flight connections as is the case of Dinard airport, all makes up the reason why we could not come here before, but with Rennes it worked perfectly! You kill two birds in a shot, or three if you have time (if including Saint Malo in your plan). A very beautiful and historical medium-size city, worth an entire day, and at barely 1 hours by bus/car, the Mont Saint-Michel. (more…)

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Read more about the article Saint Malo – France
Saint Malo - France

Saint Malo – France

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Not French, not Breton; but Malouin

Our next stop-over for today coming from Rennes and after the Mount Saint-Michel was the city of Saint Malo. Because of it being quite near Saint-Michel and because there is enough time to visit both cities on the same day, we could not leave the occasion pass and complete this area by coming here too. That was in fact a great decision! But I cannot imagine having to do the same we did if you are not having your own transportation (rental car) and depending instead on public buses or trains. Still feasible but stressful and way much shorter time to enjoy the places.

I could not imagine myself having to spend a full day in Saint Malo anyway, I would not know where else to go, unless heading across the Bassin de la Rance to Dinard which in any case, apart from luxurious mansions there’s no more. That’s why when you plan to come here, try to include either Saint-Michel if you’ve not been before, or other cities nearby to make the most out of the day, otherwise coming only just here is not that worth it. Yes it is a pretty city, but not one of the really must-dos if I am to be honest.

Saint Malo was in origin an island-city, but for many years not anymore although it is still surrounded by water at all sides, with a very strong tide, on the same way as it happens with Mont Saint-Michel, you can have 2 different views of this city either at high or at low tide, whichever is the case, the beauty of the city still there, and the number of tourists speak for themselves. It’s the most visited place in Brittany. (more…)

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