21.06.2024

Anyone looking for the modern side of Luxembourg City should visit Kirchberg. Kirchberg is a district in the north-eastern part of the city, connected to the historical city center, Ville Haute, by the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge, which spans the Pfaffenthal valley. It is the predominant location of the European Union institutions based within Luxembourg, and it's also the business and cultural hub of the country. The Philharmonie building and the Mudam Museum of Modern Art are a must for every architecture and modern art aficionado.

Andrzej



16.06.2024

Maybe not in the best shape, damn rain, slippery cobblestones, pain in the knee, thousands of people crowding you, WTF am I doing here? Thoughts in your head as you run (you know, usual stuff, lol) but I’m happy to announce that the second leg of my 3x100 challenge is done.

I took part (along with over 10 thousand other individuals who had nothing better to do on a Saturday night but run in the rain) in the X Night Half-marathon in Wrocław, and it was my long distance run number 100! Yay!

Andrzej



14.06.2024

Sightseeing in France is very easy, there is something interesting to see around almost every corner. Chateaux are a huge, picturesque magnets for domestic and foreign tourists alike, and the are plenty of them. Below is a short description of two of them I had the chance to see and admire a couple of weeks ago.

(From Wiki): The Chateau de Chenonceau is spanning the river Cher, near the small village of Chenonceaux. It is one of the best-known chateaux of the Loire Valley. The current chateau was built in 1514–1522 on the foundations of an old mill and was later extended to span the river. Other than the Royal Palace of Versailles, it is the most visited chateau in France.

(From Wiki): The Chateau de Chambord is one of the most recognisable chateaux in the world because of its very distinctive French Renaissance architecture, which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures. The building was constructed by the king of France, Francis I. Chambord is the largest chateau in the Loire Valley. It was built to serve as a hunting lodge for Francis I (good to be king!).

Andrzej



10.06.2024

The last stop on our recent Portuguese trip was the town of Mafra, specifically The Palace of Mafra, a monumental Baroque and Neoclassical palace-monastery, the largest royal palace in Portugal.

The palace was built during the reign of King John V (1717–1750) and was a secondary residence for the royal family. The construction was funded in large part by gold and diamonds from Colonial Brazil.

In addition to the interesting tour of the castle, it's basilica and the library (30 000 rare books), we stumbled onto the 49th International Porsche 356 Meeting held by the Porsche Club, in the front of the palace, with over 200 owners from all over the world presenting their beautifully preserved iconic machines.

Andrzej



05.06.2024

Having a car when you travel to Lisbon is really nice, as you're able to see a lot more of the surrounding areas and at your own pace. There is public transportation to places like Sintra and Cascais but you're limited in terms of timing and frequency. The downside to driving is, of course, parking, but there was no problem at the Boca do Inferno, in Cascais (Mouth of Hell), or Cabo da Roca, which is the furthest western point on continental Europe. Sintra was a bit more of an issue so if you have a chance to take a tour there or public transportation it's probably worth it.

The best time to go see the Boca do Inferno, in Cascais, is when it's windy so you can see the waves coming through. When we were there it was very calm but it was still beautiful and there's a nice walking path along the cliffs so you can park further away and enjoy the spectacular views.

Sintra is just a big, old tourist trap, in our opinion. There are some nice, colourful buildings, and you can see some beautiful azulejos (ceramic tiles) but there are just way too many people. I really can't imagine what it's like during the high season. We didn't even bother going to see Pena Palace as there were so many people we would have had to wait too long for a bus, and it's no longer possible to drive to the park entrance. I've seen it before though, before it was renovated, and actually think it was nicer back then, more traditional. There are ton of TukTuks though, waiting to drive you wherever you want to go and I would definitely recommend that if you're determined to see everything. If you want to see everything on foot, I would suggest spending a night or 2 in town as there's probably too much for one day.

Cabo da Roca at sunset is well worth the drive and braving the masses there to see the lighthouse and the marker of the most western point of the continent. We got there quite early, in order to check out a beach at the bottom of the cliffs, Praia da Ursa. We didn't take the path down as it's rather steep and my knees are not up to the task but there were quite a few people making their way back up (just make sure you have proper shoes for this as it's a bit of a hike). If you're up for it, I would definitely recommend doing it, the beach looked amazing. We didn't have the best sunset but it was still beautiful. If you're in the area for a few days, I would suggest going a couple of times as it can be very different from one evening to the next.

Shona



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