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December 3, 2017

France: Provins


Provins’ formidable ramparts

Entry 873 on the UNESCO World Heritage list is titled, “Provins, Town of Medieval Fairs.” UNESCO’s listing honors Provins role as the location of one of the Champagne fairs, an annual cycle of trading fairs held in towns in the Champagne and Brie regions of Northern France in the Middle Ages. These fairs were crucial to the medieval European economy and were integral to the early development of international trade and the wool industry. At their height, in the late 12th and the 13th century, the fairs linked the cloth-producing cities of the Low Countries with the Italian dyeing and exporting centers. (more…)

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November 28, 2017

Germany, Brauhaus Früh am Dom in Cologne

Filed under: Europe, Germany, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 8:13 pm

Kölsch

Despite sitting in the midst of some of Germany’s finest vineyards, Cologne is a beer-drinking town. The favorite beer is the local brew, Kölsch. Kölsch is fresh and light. Of the beers of Europe, I would put Kölsch as the most similar in profile to American industrial beers. An average Kölsch is like a really, really good version of Coors, if such thing existed. (more…)

November 26, 2017

France: MuséoParc Alésia

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, France, Photography, Travel — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 2:23 pm

A mock-up at MuséoParc Alésia shows the preparations for the battle of Alésia.

Not far from Montbard France is Alise-Sainte-Reine, the location of the last major engagement between Gauls and Romans in 52 BC, the Battle of Alésia. Recently an interpretive center, the MuséoParc Alésia, was constructed to explain the history of the battle. The French have a knack for morphing their historical sites into popular attractions. (more…)

France: Ancy-le-Franc


Château d’Ancy-le-Franc’s courtyard

Deep in the Burgundian countryside is the commune of Ancy-le-Franc. Ancy, once in the domain of the Dukes of Burgundy, is anchored by an attractive chateau. Motorists whizzing by on the nearby Autoroute du Soleil might spot a brown tourist sign encouraging passersby to explore the town’s chateau. (more…)

November 25, 2017

France: Tanlay

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 4:30 pm

Château de Tanlay

Situated on the northwestern border of France’s Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region is the village of Tanlay. Though this commune is home to around a thousand residents one residence stands out, the Château de Tanlay. Separated from the rest of the community by a water-filled moat and a ring of gardens, the manor house is the central attraction in the town. (more…)

November 21, 2017

France: Châteauneuf-en-Auxois


The “new” château at Châteauneuf-en-Auxois

is one of at least 33 communes in France with “Châteauneuf” in the name. The Côte-d’Or version features a turreted castle that overlooks the Autoroute du Soleil or A6. We’ve whizzed through the area many times on the freeway and have seen the château with its ferry tale turrets on the hilltop. On the side of the autoroute a brown tourist sign tells passing motorists that the Château de Châteauneuf is nearby. Through the windshield Châteauneuf, up on the hill in the distance, looked interesting. But passing by at 130 kph it never was convenient to visit. It wasn’t until we traveled through the area by canal that we actually had a chance to explore the town. (more…)

November 14, 2017

France: Tonnerre

Filed under: Europe, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 11:59 am

Fosse Dionne

A couple of hundred kilometers to the southeast of Paris along the Canal de Bourgogne is the town of Tonnerre. The French word “tonnerre” translates as “thunder” in English, though rumblings from the sky do not appear to be the inspiration for the commune’s name. In truth the name alone might well have prompted us to visit. We have a low bar for such things. But there is more to recommend Tonnerre than its name. The commune has two star attractions, Fosse Dionne and the Hotel-Dieu de Tonnerre. Curious name or not, it is a worthy stop for those traveling in the area by boat, car, train, or bike. (more…)

November 9, 2017

France: Guédelon Castle


The castle appears mostly complete.

Have you ever visited an old European castle and wondered how it was constructed hundreds of years ago? Without heavy equipment how could a society move the heavy stones and beams required to build such structures? Many of the answers can be found at Guédelon Castle, a historical theme park a little less than three hours south of Paris via the motorway. (more…)

Italy: Genoa


Looking up inside Duomo di Genova, Genoa’s cathedral

Somewhere around twenty years ago, I got a brief glimpse of Genoa between trains. It seemed an interesting place to visit. There was motivation for a return stopover but it took some time to get back. Indeed, it wasn’t until the very end of our road trip in 2016 that I had an opportunity to see Genoa again. (more…)

October 9, 2017

Italy: La Superba

Filed under: Dog, Europe, Italy, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 3:57 pm

On the deck of La Superba as it moves up the Italian coast

With swimming pools on the top deck, an amusement arcade, and a casino, La Superba gives the appearance of a cruise ship. But in reality she is the 17th largest vehicle ferry in the world. La Superba sails the route from Palermo to Genoa, a 20-hour journey. The ferry has three decks for vehicles; truck trailers take up most of the cargo space. (more…)

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