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April 29, 2017

Sardinia: Su Nuraxi di Barumini


Looking up one of towers at Su Nuraxi di Barumini

On the way from Oristano to the southern Sardinia port city of Cagliari we paused to see Su Nuraxi di Barumini. (more…)

April 17, 2017

France: Porto Corsica


Ota Corsica’s port is a popular beach destination, at least in the middle of summer. But as we learned when we visited in the middle of November 2016, Porto is a seasonal resort; most everything closes for the off-season. With few tourists the town has a weird “redrum” feeling. If a young Jack Nicholson suddenly appeared, we were definitely bolting out of the town. (more…)

April 9, 2017

France: Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains and the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans


A tunnel beneath the saltworks at Salins-les-Bains brings brine to the drying pans.

Salins-les-Bains and Arc-et-Senans are in the Jura and Doubs departments of France, respectively. Both administrative departments are on France’s eastern border with Switzerland. As of 2015 Jura and Doubs were part of the larger administrative region of Franche-Comté, the only region of the continental portion of France that we hadn’t visited. But by the time we first arrived in Franche-Comté in 2016 it turned out that we already had visited all of the administrative regions of continental France. How did that happen? At the start of 2016 Franche-Comté was consolidated into a larger region, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. A legislative act eliminated Franche-Comté before we could visit. (more…)

April 8, 2017

Switzerland: Bern


An interesting fact: Switzerland has no formal capitol. Instead the country has a federal city, the place where most of the federal governmental buildings (parliament, executive, administration) are located. That city is Bern. (more…)

March 18, 2017

France: Côte d’Or


The commune of Vosne-Romanée

Burgundy’s most famous and most expensive wines originate in the Côte d’Or appellation, a band of vineyards extending from the southern outskirts of Dijon to Santenay. On the east side of this limestone escarpment the vineyards spill down the hillside onto the valley floor. A designated 60-kilometer long road route through the vineyards, the Route des Grands Crus, takes oenophiles (more…)

March 27, 2016

France: Strasbourg


Trip boats are a popular way to see Strasbourg

Trip boats are a popular way to see Strasbourg

Visiting Strasbourg was one of our highlights for 2015. And as well it should have been. UNESCO World Heritage designated Strasbourg is a very interesting and photogenic city. You’ll have to take my word on the photogenic. Somehow I managed to only get a few pictures mostly taken in some of the more out of the way areas of the city.

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January 30, 2016

Spain: Caceres


 

Plaza Mayor de Cáceres

Plaza Mayor de Cáceres

The Romans founded Cáceres Spain in 25 BC. Following the Romans, the Barbarians, the Visigoths, the Moors, and the Christians occupied Cáceres. Through it all Cáceres’ medieval quarter has remained remarkably intact. Today UNESCO recognizes historic Cáceres for its blend of Roman, Moorish, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture. (more…)

Portugal: Elvas


The aqueduct in Elvas

The aqueduct in Elvas

About 12 kilometers to the east of the Spanish border is the fortified Portuguese town of Elvas. Elvas was Portugal’s chief frontier fortress south of the Tagus during the Portuguese Restoration War. From the 17th to the 19th Centuries the area was heavily fortified to protect against Spanish invasion. When construction was completed, two forts and several fortified hilltops formed a defensive perimeter around the walled town. (more…)

December 31, 2015

Portugal: Lisbon, Jerónimos Monastery and Tower of Belém


Torre de Belém

Torre de Belém

Along the north side of the Tagus River estuary at the edge of the municipality of Lisbon Portugal is Belém. This civil parish is the location of the UNESCO World Heritage designated “Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon,” two of Lisbon’s top tourist attractions. (more…)

December 27, 2015

Spain: Córdoba, Catedral y Mezquita de Córdoba


The inside of the Catedral y Mezquita de Córdoba looks like a mosque...

The inside of the Catedral y Mezquita de Córdoba looks like a mosque…

It is not unusual for a cathedral in Andalusia to be constructed on the foundations of a Moorish Mosque. Indeed, post the Reconquista, the Spanish symbolically reasserted the supremacy of Catholicism by rebuilding mosques as churches. The Moors, as they occupied Iberia, had done the same thing: early Christian churches were recast as mosques when the Moors took control in the 8th Century. (more…)

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