Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Beautiful Castles to Visit in Europe

There is something unusual about visiting a castle. Perhaps it brings out the inner child and day dreams of royalty and knights in shining armor. Perhaps it is the exquisite craftsmanship that has lasted for so many hundreds of years. Perhaps it is the immaculate settings on which you find them. Whatever the case is, if you are on a quest to visit a castle during your Europe tours, here are some that you cannot miss.

Europe has been a tourist destination for centuries. That is the reason why there is a huge choice of accommodation available everywhere for travellers. There are a lot of international flights going to Europe from any destination worldwide. Be sure to book it in advance to avoid stress and to avail of cheaper prices. Easyjet and Ryanair for example are only some of the affordable airlines from anywhere in Europe.

Leeds Castle – Kent, England

With nearly a thousand year history, Leeds Castle is a must-see. This fortress castle was constructed in 1119 as was occupied as a residence until 1974. The castle is complete with a moat and wonderful stone architecture. It is now available to hire as a castle venue and celebrities have been known to marry there. The castle is also available as venue for conferences, concerts and use in cinema, TV and radio. The grounds are beautiful and a garden maze can be experienced when visiting.

Neuschwanstein Castle- Bavaria, Germany

This is considered to be the most photographed building in Germany. It is also the most lavishly romantic castle in the German-speaking world. The fairytale castle of King Ludwig II of Bavaria was used as a retreat and homage to Richard Wagner. It was the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle. Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Gothic Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau. Its construction begun in 1869 and was said to be completed in 1892. It was actually unfinished because of King Ludwig's II death.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Hohenschwangau, Bavaria, Germany. I had been to this castle thrice and I always love it there especially the scenery around.

Segovia Castle (Alcazar Segovia) – Segovia, Spain

Segovia Castle, as it stands today, was built before 1120. On this same spot an Arab fort stood as well as a Roman stronghold. This impressive castle, built high above the city, is of typical medieval styling. It is one of the largest attractions in the area.

Mont Saint-Michel – Normandy, France

Mont Saint-Michel sits atop a small island in the Normandy region of France. This magnificent structure was built, at first, as an abbey in 708. It became a Norman stronghold in the 900’s and has played a significant role in the lives of people such as William the Conqueror.

Lincoln Castle – Lincoln, England

Lincoln Castle was constructed by William the Conqueror in the 11th century on top of an old Roman fort. The strategic importance of this place was the main reason for its construction. Today, Lincoln Castle is one of the best preserved castles in England. It is a beautifully constructed building that has served many purposes in its history. Today, open as a museum, you can see one of the original Magna Carta documents signed by King John.

Chateau de Chambord – Loire, France

This stunning castle dates back to the year 1519 when construction began. The building was completed in 1547. King Francois I had the chateau constructed as a place to spend his “off” time. There are 440 rooms in the structure and nearly the same amount of fireplaces. In total, there are 84 staircases throughout the structure and each floor contains vaulted ceiling hallways that are in the shape of a cross. While the building is not the standard fort type castle, it marks the period when castles became a luxury and not a stronghold.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hohensalzburg Castle in Salzburg, Austria

It was during my third visit in Salzburg, Austria when I had the chance to go inside the Hohensalzburg Castle. The Festung Hohensalzburg which literally means "High Salzburg Fortress" is located on top of the Festungsberg mountain. It is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe with a a length of 250 m (820 ft) and a width of 150 m (490 ft).

From the you can have breath-taking views of Salzburg and the Alps. Inside the fortress is a museum of medieval weapons, life on the fortress, and torture instruments. Since we don't have so much time to hike up to the Fortress, we took the funicular. A family ticket cost 24.30 Euros.

Festung Hohensalzburg during my third visit last July 2011.
Construction of the fortress began in 1077 under Archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein.

panorama of Salzburg from the Hohensalzburg Castle..taken last July 2011.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Memorable Vacation in Budapest

Hello folks! It is time to update this blog again. I was away for a couple of days for a short trip in Hungary and Austria. The highlight of the trip was the fireworks on the banks of Danube in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. It was again a wonderful and memorable trip. There is only a sad news after that trip. I noticed that I gained more weight again. I guess one of the best ways to eliminate those excess pounds is to take diet pills. The trip had good foods. Imagine a buffet breakfast and dinner which are all included in that trip. Those are the reasons why I gained extra pounds again. I also brought with me some snacks for everyday consumption especially when we go to different places. I thought I can lose weight everytime I go for a trip because I keep on walking but it is the other way around. At least, we had fun and truly had a nice trip that time.

panorama of Budapest taken from the Citadel. The Citadel was built as a military fortress on the highest point of Budapest’s city centre by Habsburg Austria, following the 1848-49 Revolution.

I finally had the chance to visit Budapest last weekend. It is quite an interesting city full of history.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blue Sky and the Inspiring Words

"Today, don't think of saying any unkind word, think of the people who can't speak.
Don't complain about the food you eat, some have nothing.
Don't complain about life, many die young.
When you're tired of your job, think of the jobless, the disabled and those who wish they had yours.
When sad thoughts seem to put you down, paint a smile on your face and thank God you're alive and still around.
Life is a gift.
Live it well."

tulips from our garden from spring 2010.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thanks To All Who Remembered my Special Day

It was a very memorable birthday celebration I had a week ago. A lot of our friends attended during my birthday and at the same time our thanksgiving party. Some neighbors and relatives were also present. I believed everybody was happy and contented. I would like to send Paper Culture thank you cards for those who attended but it seems that I was so busy the past days. I also can't find the right one. I was even very tired today and can't stopped to go for a quick nap. After taking a short I prepared a simple dinner. After taking our dinner I spent almost two hours working in our garden. It was quite a relaxing day despite being tired.

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who took their time in celebrating with us my special day and our thanksgiving celebration. Most of all, thank you dear Lord for everything! You are always great!

some of the Filipino foods prepared during my birthday. Thanks to all friends who helped in preparing it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

I love this food. I usually made this with mango but this time I tried to just put a mozzarella on top of the tomato. I added some chopped onions leaves on top of it and it taste really good. You can also put some olive oil on top of potato first before putting the mozzarella. I wish to eat more fruits and vegetables in a couple of days. I miss eating it already.

my homemade salad. I love it!

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