February 23, 2018

Wine along the Mosel!

I was going through some pictures recently and found this one taken along the Mosel River in Germany.

I chose to feature this picture in today’s Travel Photo Thursday for a couple reasons.

One is because it looks very peaceful, tranquil, and cool.  This is important because it has been very hot in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last few days!

Moselle River Germany

Moselle River Germany

I really love this part of Germany!  There are many great villages to explore all offering some exquisite German wine!  That is the other reason I included this picture.  I could really enjoy sipping some wine gazing at this beautiful scenery:)

Hope you enjoy it too!

For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Every Thursday they post new photos from their travels and invite others to join in!

Maybe I’ll see you there.

 

London’s River – The Thames

Continuing our exploration of Europe’s rivers, let’s take a closer look at the Thames.

Like the Danube and the Rhine rivers, the Thames has seen a lot of history.  When you stop to think of all the explorers that must have traveled up the river it is staggering.  How many times have Kings and Queens traveled the river either escaping London or returning to it?

Hampton on the River Thames England

Hampton on the River Thames by motmit

The Thames begins its 210 miles journey deep in the Cotswold’s.  It is here the wee stream starts its passage through some of the most beautiful countryside in England then cutting through the center of London before finally reaching the North Sea.

Tower of London with Thames England

The Thames through London

Along the trip, there are 45 locks all of which are in the non-tidal portion.  It is in this section of the Thames that you will find 25 species of fish alone.

London is in the tidal portion of the river with tides rising and falling up to 23 feet!

There are 20 tributaries feeding the Thames, 80 islands along its path and a huge variety of wildlife due to the existence of both seawater and freshwater.  In the river you will find salmon, brown trout, chub, perch and flounder. Along the shores you will also find a wide selection of birds making the Thames a great place for bird watchers.

Fishing on Penton Isle River Thames England

Fishing on Penton Isle by motmit

The Thames has supported humans for thousands of years providing water, transportation, commerce, food and fun.  It has also shared in the history of England and has been featured by writers, filmmakers, artist and musicians.

Today, there are many ways to enjoy the river, so let’s explore a few ways you can spend time on this amazing river.

  • Sightseeing tours are a great way to spend time on the river as well as see some of the amazing sights of the city along the rivers banks.  This is no exception for the Thames where you can enjoy sightseeing cruises on the Thames in both London and Oxford.In Oxford you could opt for a lunchtime picnic cruise or sunset river cruise where you can enjoy splendid tourist sights including Christchurch College and Meadows, the University boathouses and regatta course, the Head of the River and Folly Bridge.  If literature is more your fancy then you might want to consider the Alice in Wonderland tour which follows the same route Lewis Carroll took when creating the beloved tale almost 150 years ago.
    Newbridge, Oxfordshire over River Thames England

    Newbridge, Oxfordshire by Bencherlite

    Along the banks of the Thames in London are many of the legendary landmarks including Big Ben, Tower of London and St. Paul’s cathedral.  If your speed is a little quicker than the normal sightseeing river cruise, maybe you should consider the Thames RIB Experience.  Enjoy the Thames in a speedboat!  You will be provided all the gear necessary to keep you dry and the PA system is so good there is no reason to slow down to give the commentary!  Cover more in 1 hour on this adrenaline filled ride.

  • The Thames is a great place for boating of any kind.  Whether you want to canoe, row or sail you can do it here!  There is a boat for any budget and any length of time.  Imagine cruising or gliding past some of the most beautiful villages England has to offer.  There are excellent connections along the way to hotels, pubs, restaurants and even campgrounds.

    Raven's Ait on the River Thames England

    Raven's Ait on the River Thames by motmit

  • Literary history abounds along the shore of the Thames.  From Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Kenneth Grahame, TS Eliot to HG Wells.  They have all received inspiration from the river.  Reading, Mapledurham, Henley, Sonning, Marlow, Windsor and Maidenhead are all villages along the Thames where these writers have either lived; went to school or were just plain inspired by a visit to this amazing and beautiful river.  Why not spend some time following in their footsteps?  Who knows what inspiration you may find!
  • The Thames Path is a 184 mile walking path that follows the Thames from its beginning in the Cotswold’s to its end at the ocean.  Along the trail you will pass quaint villages, peaceful meadow and historic towns before finding the North Sea.  The path is meant to be explored as you wish whether it is for a few hours to a day, multi-day trips or along the entire length.  This mostly flat trail is accessible for all walkers of all ages and abilities.  Of course, along your journey you will run into much wildlife including rabbits, weasel, mute swans, ducks and coots.  If you love to walk and enjoy the outdoors, this is the way for you to spend time along the river!

 

What is your favorite way to spend time along the Thames?

Independence Day Celebrations across Europe

Yesterday the United States celebrated the 235th anniversary of its Independence.  It is a day to spend with friends and family commemorating the time when our forefathers declared we would be free of British rule.  We celebrate by having BBQ’s, enjoying local parades, watching fireworks, proudly waving our red, white and blue flags and eating apple pie.

I began to wonder how European countries celebrate their independence.

I randomly selected the following six countries to research how they celebrate their independence or not.

Belgium celebrates its Independence Day on July 21.  This National Day is in recognition of the day in 1830 when they declared their independence from the Dutch.  During the Belgian revolution, on July 21, the 1st Belgian King was inaugurated, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg who was a German!  There is a grand celebration in Brussels where everything is dressed in black, yellow and red flags.  After dark, enjoy wonderful fireworks erupting over the Royal Palace.

Belgium Independence

Episode of the Belgian Revolution of 1830, Gustaf Wappers

Germany celebrates its Day of Unity on October 3 in celebration of the reunification of East and West Germany.  The Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989 but the treaty reunifying Germany wasn’t signed until October 3, 1990.  There are many festivals and celebrations held locally across the country.

Ireland doesn’t celebrate an Independence Day because the whole of Ireland is not united.  Instead they honor the Easter Uprising which began on April 24, 1916 and was the day Ireland declared their independence from Britain.  For a better understanding of the events surrounding the Easter Uprising, watch the movie Michael Collins.

Birth of the Irish Republic

Birth of the Irish Republic

August 1 is Swiss National Day and it commemorates Switzerland’s First Federal Charter of 1291.  This day is celebrated locally across the nation with parades, fireworks and by displaying the Swiss flag.  It is during this celebration that the Rhine Falls are festively lit up.

On June 25, 1991 Croatia declared it’s independence from Yugoslavia vowing to fight for this independence and keep its borders intact.  At the end of the brutal war, that is what was achieved.   To celebrate this day, Croatia celebrates Statehood Day each June 25 with some parades, speeches and lit candles honoring those who died fighting for Croatian freedom.

July 14 is the day France celebrates Bastille Day or La Fete Nationale (The National Celebration) commemorating the storming of the Bastille on this day in 1789.  This was one of the biggest events that occurred during the French Revolution and is seen as the beginning of the end of the constitutional monarchy which then led to the First Republic.  Bastille Day is celebrated across the country but Paris has the biggest celebration which includes a large Military parade down the Champs Elysees with jet flyovers, fireworks, music, and balls across the town.  I’m sure if you look, you will be able to find a Bastille Day celebration somewhere near you!

Storming of the Bastille Paris France

Storming of the Bastille © Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons

 

Have been to another country during their Independence Day celebration?

What was it like?