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Right about now, you might be day-dreaming of a beach vacation or somewhere the sun shines all day and the people are hot, hot, hot. Come with us on a Spanish adventure, more specifically to Barcelona. The city is known for fine beaches, partying until the wee hours of the morning, tapas and lots of sangria. While we partook in a little of eachmaybe more than a little when it came to the sangriawe brought a little history and culture into our days with a castle visit.
Montjuïc, historically speaking, was the the area that the medieval Jewish community buried their dead, thus the Catalan translation of Jewish Mountain. Now it sits to welcome cruise and cargo ships from the Mediterranean, all the while keeping a watchful eye on the city below. The park area is not easy to reach; either by climbing the steps on the front or riding the funicular from the port, it takes some sweat or fears.
The Newbie Traveler / Photo Gallery / Prague Travel / British Airways / Castles / Czech Republic Travel / Europe Travel / Shopping Travel / → All Tags
What would your life be like if you hadn't yet traveled to Europe? If you'd spent years reading travel novels and fantasizing over guidebooks, but hadn't made the big leap? This is the case for Andy Miles, who in his late twenties just embarked on a trip to hit most of the cities for the first time. He's walking us through the emotions and observations of a true Newbie Traveler.
Since writing my very first Newbie Traveler article back in 2010, I have been to nine different countries. I'm actually starting to feel more like a seasoned traveler than a newbie, but I believe it's less about where you've been and more about where you're going.
I started off my most recent trip with a week's visit to London for a conference. All business. It was my third time in that beautiful city and as much as I hated to leave it, my itinerary this year was well worth leaving for. My girlfriend and I visited Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam and Bruges, all cities new to me.
After our all too brief week in London, we hopped a British Airways flight to Prague.
Movie Set Travel / TV Travel / Dark Shadows / Castles / Historical Travel / Johnny Depp / → All Tags
This weekend's most anticipated movie is definitely Johnny Depp and Tim Burton's take on the 1970's soap opera Dark Shadows, about a vampire named Barnabas set free after being imprisoned for centuries. He returns to his ancestral home, where he meets his dysfunctional descendants.
The castle that Barnabas calls home acts like another character in the movie, and on occasion even comes alive. But, sadly, the house doesn't exist in real life. It was built for the movie at Pinewood Studios in the U.K, along with the town that surrounds it, Collinsport. After the movie wrapped last year, the fictional town of Collinsport was torn down, leaving nothing behind for would-be movie tourists.
And now, a personal travel dispatch from the wilds of North Wales...
Every few years in the course of my travels, I will without fail run smack-dab into a postcard-perfect scene of locals enjoying a game of boules, backed by amazing scenery which is commonplace to them. The first was Bocce on one of Rimini, Italy's famous beaches, though just after the season so the town was as good as deserted. The second was Bocce in the public gardens behind the presidential palace in Slovakia's capital of Bratislava. The third, a sandy game of Petanque along the Esplanade in Nice, enjoyed while snacking on honeyed treats from an Arabic bakery with no name.
And now: a proper game of lawn bowling on a perfectly manicured field situated just behind the medieval castle of Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey. It's one of those things about travelingthat one can go for a walk and stumble upon such pleasant scenes, scenes which will remain in the memory despite their apparent banality.
Copenhagen Field Trip / Copenhagen Travel / Denmark Travel / Castles / Castle Travel / Shakespeare Travel / Historical Travel / → All Tags
This week, Jaunted contributor Heidi Atwal will guide you through a series of food and shopping-rich travels through Copenhagen, a quaint European city trafficked by many a bike and artsy hipster. Stay tuned for suggestions on where to eat, hang, drink, and what to see in the city.
Provided that I'd recently seen a staging of Hamlet at London's Globe Theater, it's appropriate that my recent jaunt to Copenhagen concluded with a trip to Kronborg Castle, the supposed site of the Bard's famous work.
Located in Helsingør, approximately a 35-minute train ride outside of the city, the castle is quite easy to get to from Copenhagen's central station, though the journey itself doesn't afford particularly pretty scenery. (The seaside is mainly obscured by shrubbery en route.)
If touring a castle in Ireland just isn't enough and leaves you wanting more, then why not sleep in a castle? it's the easiest way to live out your fantasy of being a royal, and you're in luck because there are plenty regal Irish castles that have been turned into luxury hotels.
One of the best castles-turned-hotels is the Dromoland Castle in Co Claire, just a few minutes from Shannon, making it easily accessible via the Shannon International Airport. It's also an excellent home base for visiting tourist traps in western Ireland, like the Cliffs of Moher and of course the Blarney Stone.
All this week Jaunted contributor Eric Rosen will be filling us in on his recent field trip, drinking his way through France. Any questions about what he saw, did and drank? Let us know.
In a little-visited corner of France, way down south near the Spanish border, and bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Pyrenees on the other, lies Cathar country. The area was the domain of Romans and Visigoths, medieval troubadours and heretics, fiercely independent mountain men and cultured damsels.
Today, that checkered past makes for some fantastic travel options where you can go hiking to mountaintop Cathar castle ruins one day, and taste some of the region’s unique wines the next (or do both the same day, if you’re in a hurry).
While the film is largely set in Rome, just about every European locale is looking for their own way to cash in on secret society-obsessed tourists. One of the most prominent examples of this is to be found in Portugal, which has its own spooky Knights Templar history to show off.
Slovakia / Monuments / Castles / → All Tags
We didn't think ol' Queen Elizabeth II was getting so many gigs these days, but today she's journeying to the Slovak capital of Bratislava to do a spot of monument unveiling.
In fact she'll be just outside Bratislava at the old ruin of Devin Castle, on the border to Austria. Her Majesty will officially open an iron sculpture sitting on the spot where the Iron Curtain--in this case a barbed wire fence between Austria and Slovakia--used to stand.
Today it'll be all fanfare and nice cups of tea, but it wasn't that long ago that you could've been shot for trying to cross over that part of the border. Of course if the 82-year-old Queen tries walking around the rickety walls of Devin Castle, it'll be just as dangerous for her, so we hope plenty of Slovaks are there to catch her if she falls.
· British Queen to Unveil Iron Curtain Memorial at Devin Border [TASR]
· Devin Castle [Official Site]
· Slovakia Travel Guide [Jaunted]
Take a break from reality this weekend and hit up the theater to see "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," the next installment in the series of the the Pevensie sibs.
This time the charming English foursome find that hundreds of years have passed since their last trip to Neverland, er, Narnia, and a new villan, King Miraz, has taken over the throne. Of course they enlist help from all the Narnia creatures and then have to figure out how to get home. This one's full of mythology, some new local characters and even a night raid on a castle.
In that vein we encourage you to explore Narnia this week. We kid, we kid. Instead, try checking out some of the below hotspots in Poland, where parts of the film were actually shot:
Where to Stay: Hotel Grodek, Krakow Part of the Donimirski family of boutique hotels, the Grodek features distinct rooms (you can view them all online and decide before booking) and is tucked away in the Old Town area of the city.
If you've finished reading your new Harry Potter book then perhaps it's time to start planning a trip to a spot that's already featured in a couple of the films. Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England, is a gorgeous medieval castle that's still inhabited.
But it's not just as a stand-in for Hogwarts that Alnwick is famous. It's also home to the world's largest treehouse! And if that doesn't grab you, perhaps the poison garden will. Ninety species of dangerous plants are housed there, and (sensibly enough) you can only enter the garden with a guide. Perhaps a few Hogwarts deaths can be explained by Alnwick's poisonous plants. Visit if you dare.
· Hotels in England [HotelChatter]
· Harry Potter Travel [Jaunted]
There's nothing we like more than a record-breaking tourist attraction, and Prague Castle makes it into Guinness as the largest castle complex in the world. That's reason enough to stop by, but not only is it huge, it's also impressive in other ways. The president still sits there, but the Bohemian crown jewels do too, and every hour there's a changing of the guard to rival London's, with a musical addition at midday when band members stand in various windows of the castle and peform.
The official castle visiting information site can give you more details on what there is to see, but it also includes a disturbingly long list under the headline "What you cannot visit." Some rooms only open for concert performances, some manage to open up on two random days a year, and some parts are just plain closed. Just think positive and be sure that the friendly Czechs have opened the good bits, at least, for the world to see.
[Photo: Psycho Crow]