|June 2010||Würzburg, GERMANY|
|June 2010||New York, UNITED STATES|
|May 2010||Treviso, ITALY|
|May 2010||Barcelona, SPAIN|
|February 2010||Valencia, SPAIN|
|February 2010||Rochester, UK|
The day after getting back from New York I am in the city of Würzburg in Bavaria and there could not be a greater contrast - not a skyscraper in sight. Although most of city was destroyed during a World War II air raid all of the important historical buildings have been rebuilt.
The city of Würzburg viewed from Fortress Marienberg
Würzburg's Old Bridge (Alte Mainbrücke) over
the River Main is lined with statues of saints
Statue on Alte Mainbrücke
Festung Marienberg (Marienberg Fortress)
The old cranes (Alter Kranen) dating back to the 1770's are
a reminder of the importance of the River Main for trade
Trams run through the centre of the city
The Haus zum Falken (Falkenhaus) with
its splendid Rococo stucco facade
A town crier leads a walking tour of Würzburg
In June the pfifferlinge (chanterelles - yellow mushrooms that grow in association with certain species of tree) come in season and are often served in a delicious cream sauce. The ones I had in Würzburg were still quite small indicating that the season had only just started. I also enjoyed a glass or two of the locally produced Silvaner wine at the Würzburger Ratskeller.
The Würzburger Ratskeller
Steak with pfifferlinge
Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)
I am staying at Park Central and it only cost $7.25 to get to Midtown Manhattan from JFK airport using the AirTrain to get to Jamaica Station and then E line on the New York City subway. Pay for the journey when you get to Jamaica Station by buying a MetroCard before going through the turnstyle. Beware on the subway that you will have to lift your suitcase over some of the turnstyles so if it is very large or heavy you are better off taking a taxi.
A human Statue of Liberty at Battery Park
You can get a good view of the Statue of Liberty from the free ferry to Staten Island however it is worthwhile paying for the ferry to visit Liberty Island with its panoramic views of New York Harbour and Manhattan. Be sure to visit the museum located inside the pedestal which gives details about the history of the monument, how it was constructed and recent renovation work.
Statue of Liberty viewed from the ground on Liberty Island
View of Manhattan from Liberty-island
Brooklyn Bridge connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn has
a central raised walkway for pedestrians and cyclists
A plaque gives details of how the cables were constructed
Elegant houses in Brooklyn Heights
The Empire State Building
Inside the Empire State Building
You get a very good view of Downtown Manhattan from the observation deck in the Empire State Building however for unobstructed views of Central Park it is worth visiting the 'Top of the Rock' observation deck located at the historic Rockefeller Center.
View of Central Park from the Top of the Rock
I asked a Japanese tourist to take a picture of me
Belvedere Castle (or Tower) a folly in Central Park
once housed a meterological observatory that
has now been moved to the Rockefeller Center
The statue of George M. Cohan in Times Square is
eclipsed by the massive electronic billboards
I was in Barcelona last week now I am visiting Treviso in Italy. This small city is surrounded by the remains of its extensive Venetian walls (le Mura) and is also characterised by a system of canals and the rivers Sile and Botteniga. The town centre is noted for its colonnades and the remnants of painted frescoes on some of the historical buildings. I am staying in the Hotel Continental situated near the railway and bus stations. You can take the number 6 ACTT bus from Treviso Canova Airport to Treviso at a cost of only €1 (if ticket bought inside the airport or pay €2 on the bus). There are good bus and train connections to Venice so if you are on a budget Treviso would make an excellent base for visiting Venice. At the self-service restaurant Brek I had a generous helping of lasagne and half a litre of wine (on draft) for only €7.
The river Botteniga flows underneath the city walls after
which it is split into three canals which pass through the city
The water flows under numerous bridges inside the city
The canals were once used to drive water wheels
The Loggia dei Cavalieri was originally a meeting place
where nobles met to take part in parlour games
Frescoes located under eaves of the Loggia dei Cavalieri
The restaurant chain Brek offers good value for money
The winged lion is a traditional symbol of the
Venetian Republic and appears all over Treviso
Porta San Tomaso is one of the 3 remaining city gates
Porta Altinia another city gate has a stark appearance
due to the limited resources available when it was built
Picture of Porta Altinia in its heyday
A section of the old city walls (le Mura)
A quiet spot on the river Sile just outside the city walls
I am back in Spain again this time with Rita. We are staying in the hotel Catalonia Port which has an excellent location not far from the harbour and the start of Las Ramblas.
Human statue in Las Ramblas
Sand sculpture being prepared on Barcelona beach
Casa Batlló designed by Antoni Gaudí
Casa Milà another building designed by Antoni Gaudí
There is a walkway on the roof of Casa Milà
where you can view the ornate chimneys
We visited the famous tapas bar - Tapaç 24
My favourite dish - Bikini Commerç 24 (Iberico ham & Queso
Manchego cheese toasted sandwiches with grated black truffle)
An interesting dessert - Xocolata Amb Pa, Sal i Oli
(chocolate with bread, salt & olive oil)
I took the lift up one of the towers of the Sagrada Família
to get this picture before desending via the spiral staircase
Rita enjoying pa amb tomàquet and sangria at the restaurant "Sailor"
There are some interesting historical buildings in the Ciutat Vella (Old Town) part of Valencia. I stayed in Hotel Valencia near the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and just a short walk from Xátiva metro station. The two underground lines (line 3 and 5) which link the airport to the city centre both pass through Xátiva and it only costs €1-90 to get from the airport to the city centre.
Torres de Serranos - the 14th century Serranos Towers are
considered to be the largest Gothic city gateway in Europe
View of the Ciutat Vella from the top of the Serranos Towers
The Cathedral of Valencia viewed from the Plaza de la Virgen
La Lonja de la Seda once used by merchants for the trading of
silk is considered a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture
The room of columns inside La Lonja date to around 1498
The 18th century Baroque bell tower of Santa Catalina church
Built as a luxurious palace for a Valencian noble family
this building is now used as a Ceramics Museum
The Sagardi restaurant located on Calle San Vicente Mártir has a tapas bar that serves Basque "pinchos" (Pintxos) - bread with toppings. Very tasty with a glass or two of Spanish wine.
The City of Arts and Sciences is a complex built on the old riverbed of the Río Turia (the river was diverted in the 1970's to prevent flooding of the city centre). It includes a Science Museum, the Oceanográfico (currently the largest aquarium in Europe), the Umbracle (an arboretum and car park), the Palau de les Arts (the centre for performing arts) and the Hemisfèric (IMAX cinema).
The futuristic looking Science Museum
The Umbracle has a walkway lined with indigenous plants
Follow the yellow-brick road - its carnival time in Valencia
After the carnival there is a spectacular fireworks display
I am spending half a day in Rochester one of the Medway towns in Kent. Charles Dickens immortalised several buildings in the town by including them in his novels and today many are still there marked by commemorative plaques. Most are located on the High Street.
The ruins of Rochester castle with its impressive Norman keep
lies just off the High Street.
Just a short walk from the High Street and opposite Restoration House is a small park known as the Vines. The name derives from its use as a vineyard in times past by monks from St Andrews Priory.
Departing the area I stopped off for lunch at the Leather Bottle an old inn featured in 'The Pickwick Papers'. The Leather Bottle is located in the village of Cobham about four miles west of Rochester.
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