October 20, 2017

Gorgeous Gorges du Verdon

Located in Southern France is Gorges du Verdon a natural phenomenon similar to the Grand Canyon in the US.  A mere 2 hour drive from Marseilles is one of the most beautiful areas in the Provence region!

Gorges du Verdon by bibendum84, on Flickr

Gorges du Verdon by bibendum84, on Flickr

Over the centuries, the blue-green water of the Verdon River has carved the many faces of the gorge leaving visitors awestruck at the dramatic scenery as the canyon descends to the floor.  The cliffs will grab your attention since they are as beautiful as they are dramatic.

Gorges du Verdon Southern France

Gorges du Verdon by bibendum84, on Flickr

The Gorges du Verdon are known for being an outdoor enthusiast’s delight.  Here you can walk along the river, hike in the mountains, enjoy white water rafting, fish, camp, water ski, scale the cliffs or horseback ride.

Gorges du Verdon Southern France

Les Gorges du Verdon by Josef Grunig, on Flickr

But the area is known for so much more. The twisty turning road flanking both sides of the gorge passes 43 villages, many lakes and picturesque turnouts great for viewing.  While driving along the gorge you will pass medieval towns such as Trigance, green meadows full of cabins and wildflowers, abbeys offering concerts of Gregorian chants, fig and olive trees, chateaux and more.

Moustiers Ste Marie Provence near Gorges du Verdon France

Moustiers Sainte Marie by ialiangGao

Moustiers Sainte Marie near Gorges du Verdon

Moustiers Sainte Marie from Wikicommons

Medieval Moustiers Sainte Marie is one of the villages worth a stop. The village hugs the hillside and has a spring flowing out of the cliff creating a waterfall in the middle of town.  The looming Notre Dame de Beauvoir monastery sits on its perch high above the village.  Moustiers, known for its pottery, sets a beautiful picture.

Panorama Tourtour near Gorges du Verdon

Panorama Tourtour by Greteck

Aups near Gorges du Verdon Southern France

Aups from Wikicommons

Yes whether you want to be active or just enjoy the scenery, the Gorges du Verdon has it all!

 

Would the Gorges du Verdon be an interesting addition to your next visit to southern France?

Decision Time: France or German?!?

At this point in my life, for better or worse, my travels are limited to vacations throughout the year.  Much to my chagrin, my “job” dictates the time I have for travel.  We all saw in my post title Bucket List – European Style, I have quite a few items on my list of European dreams so this year I will cross at least one off the list.

Loire Valley France Wildflower

Wildflowers 1 by celesteh, on Flickr

 

In looking at our calendars for the year, we only have 10 – 14 days for our “vacation”.  In talking, the hubby and I really want something a bit on the active side and have boiled it down to two options: either bike riding in the Loire Valley with some time at either end spent in Paris OR hiking in the Black Forest combined with driving, hiking and/or biking in the Alsace Wine region.

Upper Black Forest Views Germany

Upper Black Forest by GNTB: DZT/Honeck

Oooh even as I am reading my choices I get excited and unable to pick one!

Colmar Alsace Region France

Colmar Alsace Region by Calips

Neither of us has been to the Loire Valley and would really enjoy spending time riding along the river, stopping for wine, enjoying a picnic lunch in some idyllic spot, seeing castles, learning about the history, visiting the small French villages. . .  Plus it has been a couple years since I’ve been to Paris and there are some sights I have not visited and more I’d like to revisit.

Blois Park Loire Valley France

Blois Park by celesteh, on Flickr

Germany is one of my favorite places and one that pulls at my heart and always calls to me, so why should this year be any different? Wanderin ohne Gepack (Hiking without Luggage) has been something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.  Add in cuckoo clocks, tradition, farm houses, lakes, forests, beautiful villages, history, great food, wine, beer and schnapps; well  you’ve created something that is just plain hard to resist! After all that,  we would cross into France and spend a few days wandering through more small, beautiful villages sampling Alsatian wine and  maybe even spend a day or so riding bikes or walking through the vineyards!

Black Forest Germany Tradition

Black Forest Tradition from Baden-Württemberg, Tourismus Marketing GmbH

So my dilemma is deciding which option to enjoy this year? 

Azay Le Rideau Loire Valley France

Azay Le Rideau by Ranvig

I’ve got more work to do and will share what I discover about each region that leads us to make this decision.  Until then, tell us. . .

 

How you decide where to visit on your vacation?

A Year at European Travelista

Today is the first anniversary for European Travelista!!!

It’s Been a Year and What a Year It’s Been!

As I looked back at the year, I discovered that during this time I’ve written 134 posts which received 2,868 comments.

Together we’ve visited 18 of Europe’s countries!

The countries we’ve visited include France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  Along with those we’ve also touched ground in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Holland and even Estonia.Views walking up the hill to Gruyeres Switzerland

We’ve looked at food, aperitifs and experienced European wine beer and beer festivals!

Our journey has been by train, feet, bikes and post bus crossing rivers, bridges and scenic routes. We’ve taken a look at the awesome waterfalls in Europe along with some festivals, even if they are a bit crazy!Budapest and Danube River

Because I had a hard time telling the difference between Baroque, Gothic or Romanesque, we spent some time learning a bit about all that wonderful architecture found in European capitals.

I’ve shared my love for Germany and in particular Bavaria.  Heck one of my first posts was titled “Bavaria, Bavaria How do I Love thee?”.  That should have been your first clue 🙂

Hohenschwangau Bavarian Castle

View from Hohenschwangau

Together we delved into my passion for those small little quaint charming picturesque mountain villages.  Yes you know that I am a mountain girl!

We’ve spent time in castles, feasted our eyes on jewels, taken drives and just dreamed.

Cesky Krumlov Castle Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov Castle by Docsj

Yup it’s been quite a year!

And it’s not going to stop yet!

I have many more adventures lined up for 2012 but I also want to include some of your interests.

Where do you want to go?

How do you want to get there and what do you want to do once you get there?

Where or where in Europe shall we go during 2012?  Help me out by leaving suggestions in your comment!

 

Before I go, I want to send out a BIG thanks to you all for making 2011 such a great year!

Gracias.Köszi.Merci.Takk.Grazie.Obrigada.Danke.

 

Bamberg Germany and Little Venice

It’s Travel Photo Thursday again and today I’m sharing a few pictures of a beautiful town in Germany – Bamberg.

Located in northern Bavaria, Bamberg is known as a charming town that if full of picturesque views at almost every turn.   Even though I don’t think Bamberg is visited by many Americans touring Germany, I wonder how many people recognize it by it’s city hall which is located in the middle of the river!!Bamberg Town Hall Bavaria Germany

To say this Unesco World Heritage city is gorgeous would be an understatement.  Situated along the Regnitz River and the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, this Beer City has many reasons to visit.

It’s not hard to find amazing views along the river but one of the more splendid areas is known as Klein Venedig or Little Venice.Little Venice Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Little Venice is a row of fishermen houses dating from the 19th century.  I’m not sure where the comparison to Venice comes from but it is striking.  Do you see a resemblance to Venice?
Little Venice Bamberg Bavaria Germany

The Regnitz river is a grand frame to these small half-timbered houses which are indeed very picturesque.

Maybe including gondola reminds us of  Venice! 

Gondola along Canal Bamberg Bavaria Germany

 

 

 

 

These photo’s are shared as part of Travel Photo Thursday.  For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

Ugly History in Budapest

When traveling I love learning about history of the area I am in.  The thing with history is, it isn’t always pretty or doesn’t always make us proud of those who came before us.  Nope, but it is history and important to look at as a way towards understanding people and societies.

Today we are a sum of all the events that have taken place in an earlier time and to evolve we need to embrace history.

Unfortunately Budapest has its fair share of the type of history that is really ugly and makes us uncomfortable.

War is ugly but WWII and its repercussions to  Jews was especially this way.  This was true for the Jews in Budapest too. Early during the war the Jews in Hungary were basically left alone since Hungary sided with the Nazi’s.  But as the war dragged on Hungarian support changed and so did the treatment of the Jews.Dohany Synagogue Exterior Budapest Hungary

In March 1944 Germany occupied Hungary. Ghettos were formed in Budapest and 200,000 Jews were moved into squalid conditions.  Food was not let in, waste and trash was not collected and the dead were piled high or buried in a mass grave at the Dohany Synagogue.Dohany Synagogue Interior Budapest Hungary

Budapest has many memorials to its Jews that lost their lives during WWII.  Some of these monuments are at the Dohany Street Synagogue, the 2nd largest synagogue in the world.

In the courtyard of the synagogue is the mass grave of thousands of Jews from the Budapest Ghetto. This is very unusual for a synagogue since according to Jewish law the dead are not to be buried on the grounds of a synagogue.  In this case, there really was no other option.Mass Grave Dohany Synagogue Budapest Hungary

As a memorial to all Hungarian victims of the Holocaust is the weeping willow. Made out of steel with each leaf containing a name of a victim, this commemoration was built in 1989 and sponsored, in part, by the Emanuel Foundation which was created by Tony Curtis in honor of his father, Emanuel Schwartz, who emigrated from Mateszalka Hungary to New York.Willow Tree Memorial Dohany Synagogue Budapest Hungary

One of the most disturbing is the “Shoes on the Danube” monument. On the edge of the Danube near the Parliament building you will see bronze shoes standing at the waters edge.  As the war was coming to its end, the Nazi’s realized they were loosing.  They installed the faschist Red Arrow Party in Budapest and empowered them to round up groups of Jews, take them to the rivers edge and shoot them so they would fall into the Danube.  Prior to shooting them, they were required to remove their shoes.     Estimates are that 10-15,000 Jews died in this manner.Shoes Along Danube Budapest Hungary

In 1941 there were about 246,000 Jews living in Budapest and at the end of the war almost 50% had died with most of these deaths occurring after May 1944.

History is philosophy teaching by example and also by warning.
Lord Bolingbroke

 

What’s your take on history?  Like it, love it or leave it?

Cities that leave you Bleh!

This summer I visited Bamberg Germany and loved it.

Mittenwald, loved it.  Innsbruck, loved it.  Salzburg, loved it!  Budapest. . .

. . . I don’t know what to say about Budapest. 

I arrived by train expecting to find a beautiful city on the Danube that I would love.

Instead, I am ambivalent. 

Due to its place in history, I found Budapest very interesting and would love to spend more time learning about all the events and people that have shaped this city.  The WWII history alone is fascinating. I didn’t realize or had forgotten that it was Budapest where the Russians defeated the Nazi’s.  Or the history surrounding the revolt during the 1950’s.  Fascinating history!

But I was still left wondering, where is the beauty?  What is the attraction? 

I have seen the pictures of Budapest that are so beautiful they take my breath away, but it was hard to find this.Budapest and Danube River

I finally found the beauty.  It is down on the water.  From the Danube Budapest is beautiful.  From either bank looking across, Budapest is beautiful.

As I explored the Pest side of the city, I would come across an occasional architectural gem – St. Stephens Basilica, Dohany Street Synagogue, the Parliament building and Szechenyi Baths are a few.   Heroes’ Square is pretty amazing due to its size.Pariliament Building Budapest Hungary

But the real beauty is along the river. 

I was even told by tour guides that the grand boulevard, Andrássy út, looked just like the Champs Elysees because it was modeled after it.

I didn’t see it!  I don’t get it. 

I couldn’t get the feel of the city and, therefore, had trouble getting my bearings which resulted in an unsettled feeling.  I never got lost but just didn’t feel comfortable until Friday, my last day.Across the Danube with Basilica Budapest Hungary

I spent Friday exploring Castle HillNow this is beautiful! I loved it up on Castle Hill.  It had the feel of “Europe”.  The old world feel and small crooked, cobblestoned streets all combined to have a much more familiar feel to it.  Which is amazing considering it isn’t that old at all due to the carpet bombing during WWII!

I was not uncomfortable wandering the streets on the Buda side of the Danube and maybe it was this new found confidence that followed me as I returned to the Pest side of town. I was much more comfortable as I searched for the monuments I wanted to see.

Too bad it was my last day! 

I just don’t know how to describe Budapest because I don’t know how I feel about it.  Bleh, is the best I can do.

 

Have you felt this way about a city?

Bridging Europe

When traveling we come across many bridges that are part of the local customs, history and folklore.

Some bridges are very famous or very high

Đurđevića Tara Bridge over the river Tara in Montenegro

Đurđevića Tara Bridge in Montenegro by Cornelius Bechtler

Tower Bridge London England

Tower Bridge London England by Diliff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some are very beautiful and some you couldn’t pay me to cross!

Kapellbrucke Lucerne Switzerland

Kapellbrucke Lucerne Switzerland

Rickety Bridge in Europe

Rickety Bridge Latvia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But they all are works of art, functional and just plain amazing. I’m not an engineer, so it always amazes me how these structures can stretch so far, reach so high and withstand all the abuse they take from vehicles and the elements.

 

I thought it would be fun to look at few bridges Europe has to offer!

Oresund Bridge

Öresund Bridge Sweden Denmark

Öresund Bridge by Hardo, on Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Øresund or Öresund Bridge is one of the more unique bridges I have ever seen. This bridge connects Denmark and Sweden and is both a bridge and tunnel! The bridge portion spans 25,739 feet from Sweden to a manmade island, Peberholm, from here you enter the tunnel to cross under the Drogden strait. The tunnel includes 2 rail tracks and 4 lanes for cars. During construction there were 2 delays one being do to finding 16 unexploded bombs from WWII laying on the seafloor.

Goltzsch Viaduct

Goltzsch Viaduct Saxony Germany

Goltzsch Viaduct Saxony Germany© Chriusha (Хрюша)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goltzsch Viaduct is the largest brick built bridge in the world. This railway bridge was built between 1846 – 1851, spans the Goltzsch valley and connects Bavaria and Saxony in Germany. There are 98 vaults over 4 levels with the top level made up of 29 arches.

Rio-Antirrio Bridge

Rio-Antirrio Bridge Greece

Rio-Antirrio Bridge Greece © Guillaume Piolle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beautiful Rio-Antirrio Bridge is official known as the Charilaos Trikoupis bridge and is the longest multi span cable-stayed bridge in the world. Crossing the Gulf of Corinth and connecting the towns of Rion and Antrion (on the Greek mainland), this 9,449’ long bridge is a feast for the eyes! The bridge has 2 lanes for traffic in each direction and a path for walkers or bikers. An interesting fact is the piers can slide on the gravel to accommodate any tectonic movement.

Bosphorus Bridge

Bosphorus Bridge Istanbul Turkey

Bosphorus Bridge Istanbul Turkey By Kara Sabahat

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bosphorus Bridge is one of the few bridges on this earth that spans 2 continents. This beautiful bridge spans the Borphorus strait connecting Europe and Asia. The suspension bridge has 3 lanes in each direction for cars and when it is fully loaded sags 35” at mid span! There is an annual marathon that includes running over the bridge.

Vasco de Gama Bridge

Vasco de Gama Bridge Lisbon Portugal

Vasco de Gama Bridge Lisbon Portugal by Till Niermann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The longest bridge in Europe is the Vasco de Gama which spans the Tagus river near Lisbon, Portugal. The bridge is almost 11 miles long and was opened in 1998 just in time for Expo 98 which celebrated the 500th anniversary of de Gama’s discovery of the route from Europe to India.

Magdeburg Water Bridge

Madgeburg Water Bridge Germany

Madgeburg Water Bridge Germany by Botaurus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magdeburg Water Bridge caught my eye because it isn’t a bridge made for cars or trains. This bridge is a navigable aqueduct for boats connecting the Elbe-Havel canal to the Mittelandkanal by spanning the Elbe river in Eastern Germany! There is a walkway and bike path along the span including signs telling the history and construction of the bridge.

So there you have it! Some beautiful, unique and interesting bridges you could find while in Europe.


Have you seen any of these? Do you like Bridges?

30 Days and counting!

One month from now my adventure in Bavaria, Austria and Budapest begins!


It’s Travel Photo Thursday and I am kicking off the countdown with pictures of the places I will visit.

 

First stop –  Bamberg Germany where I will do my best tackling all the breweries in this village!

Old Town Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Old Town from Bayern Tourismus Marketing GmbH

After exploring Bamberg and enjoying many of their beers, it is off to Mittenwald!

Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Mittenwald by Bayern tourismus Marketin gGmbH

Next is Innsbruck and the reason this trip got started – Travel Bloggers Unite Conference!

View of Innsbruck Austria
View of Innsbruck Austria

After the conference is over my plan is to visit Salzburg,

Salzburg Austria

Salzburg by Andrew Bossi from Wikimedia

Before enjoying a lovely cruise along the Danube to Vienna.

Wachau Valley Danube River Austria

Wachau Valley Austria by jay8085, on Flickr

The last stop on my journey is lovely Budapest.

Budapest by ** Maurice **, on Flickr

 

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.

 

Six Months In “My 7 Links”

Being a new travel blogger, I was honored by the invitation to participate in the My 7 Links project I received from Cathy of Traveling with Sweeney.  The timing of this actually coincides with the 6 month anniversary of European Travelista so it is a great time to take a look back at some of the posts I’ve published.  It was much harder than I thought to choose the posts to include even though I only have 6 months to sort through!

But I jumped in and here are My 7 Links .  .  .

 

Most Beautiful – Italy’s South Tirol: Wine and the Dolomites

Majestic Dolomites South Tirol Italy
Majestic Dolomites from Suditirol Marketind/Frieder Blickle


Spurred by a wine tasting my husband and I enjoyed in Avila Beach, California this post has relit my interest with the Dolomites.  I just can’t get over how dramatic and beautiful this region is.  This is where I can combine some of my favorites:  quaint villages, dramatic mountains, outdoor activities and wine!

Most Popular – Rocamadour – A Miraculous Village

This post could have also made it in the Most Surprising category!  At the last minute, I put up a few pictures I had taken while in Rocamadour France for Travel Photo Thursday.  I wasn’t very happy with the photographs but was out of time so that is what went up.  Who would have known it would be so popular!  I still can’t figure it out.

Rauchbier Spezial Bamberg, Germany by Ethan Prater, on Flickr

Rauchbier Spezial Bamberg, Germany by Ethan Prater, on Flickr

Most Controversial – Bamberg plus Beer equals Dilemma

Well I’m not sure this really fits in the most controversial category but I really don’t write about controversial things.  But this could be controversial, right?  I mean if people get all upset because of a sporting event someone could get real positional about a beer or brewery, don’t you think?! ?  Go with me here on this one 🙂

Most Helpful – Baroque: The Emotional Style

I have written a series on the different architectural styles you will find in Europe.  So far I have covered Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Rococo but chose Baroque because it was my personal favorite.  I’d like to think this series has helped us all learn a little more about the styles we see so often when traveling.

Most Surprising Success – Rhine Falls – Europe’s Biggest

Who knew everyone loves a waterfall?  I sure do now.  This one is another submission to Travel Photo Thursday and I never really expected such a reaction.Olivier Magny O Chateau Paris France

Deserved More Attention – Wine Tasting in Paris with O Chateau!

This was my first and only interview I have ever done and I was so excited to share O Chateau with everyone.  I really enjoyed putting this together as I was really tickled by Olivier’s sense of humor and  I like wine (in case you didn’t know 🙂 )!  It didn’t totally bomb but I was surprised it didn’t get a better reception.

Most Proud Of – Welcome to European Travelista. . .

This was the very first post I published on European Travelista.  I am most proud of this one not because it is an example of exemplary writing or because the topic is so grand but because it was a huge step forward for me to launch this blog.  By pushing the “publish” button I stepped into a foreign world and I am so glad I did!  I have learned so much from you all and appreciate your camaraderie even if we have never met.  So thank you all for a great 6 months!

 

 

My nominations for the My 7 Links project are:

Sensible Travel Advice

Quirky Travel Guy

Lisa Overman

Quiet Wanderings

Travel To Sun

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.