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A Travel Blog Guide in pictures Ronda in Andalusia Spain

Day tripping Ronda, Andalucía, Spain, a travel blog in pictures,mainly!

If you are planning on travel to Andalucía and are staying in either Malaga, or Marbella for that matter, then at the very least a day trip to Ronda should be on your trip list. If you use the toll roads, as we did, from Malaga you can quite easily get there in about an hour and a half. Well worth the trip if the sun is shining and the sky blue. The old town is utterly charming with spectacular views. The City of Ronda is situated on two hills divided by a deep ravine (El Tajo de Ronda) containing the Grande River, which is an affluent of the Guadiaro River. The ravine is crossed by several bridges, notably an arch structure 300 feet (90 metres) high built in 1761. The town occupies the site of an ancient Iberian settlement and was known in Roman times as Acinipo. It was occupied by the Moors from the 8th to the 15th century, when it was reconquered by the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, on May 20, 1485. Both Roman and Moorish remains survive, including a Roman theatre and an underground staircase (restored in 1911) built from the town to the river by the Moors to prevent water blockades in times of war. Spain’s oldest bullring, a stone Neoclassical structure (c. 1785), is also found in Ronda; it is now a museum.

There are well located metal street maps throughout the old town.

The city of Ronda is one of the oldest in Spain and occupies the site of an ancient Iberian settlement and  known in Roman times as Acinipo.

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Europe Spain

Travel Guide to Malaga, Andalucia, Spain

My picture travel blog guide & Top 11 things I learned about Malaga

It’s that time of the year in the UK when the days seem interminably short and skies too often a leaden grey and streets awash with rain. Of course with airlines such as Ryan Air offering  fantastically cheap flights to any number of EU destinations why would you stay amidst the gloom. Given that about 95% of the time it’s actually cheaper to go abroad on holiday than it is to stay in the UK and that’s even after you factor in the Brexit effect on our currency the benefits of abroad still stack up. So I searched out a good deals in locations where  there was a reasonable chance of catching some rays and warming heat of the sun on my face and landed on Malaga.

Not having been to Malaga before it felt like a bit of a gamble, more so as the that part of Spain is not generally known for its high culture and there was always the danger of a plane load of hens and stags. There were some, but they all seemed to be headed further down the coast, maybe to Marbella and Fuengirola as there was little evidence of party people on the streets of Malaga day or night. In fact Malaga turned out to be an unexpected revelation and is now on my list of top favorite European cities, although that would most likely just apply outside the main holiday seasons as I’m sure it must get pretty packed during high season. Never mind, the weather was glorious for the four days I was there, just the sort of relief needed from the grey sludge of Manchester in January.

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Europe Germany

Berlin Holiday Weekender Travel Blog

The Berlin Blockade lasted 318 days during which time, 275,000 planes transported 1.5 million tons of supplies with a plane landing every three minutes at Berlin’s Templehof airport. The old airport runway and surrounding fields have now been transformed into a large open park.

Berlin…………city of myth, city of history, city of division, city of rebirth. Whenever a mention of Berlin I can immediately hear in my head the soundtrack to the movie Cabaret, und cabaret, und cabaret, und cabaret, made famous by Liza Minnelli in the movie of the same name. That and Christopher Isherwood who wrote the wonderful novels, Goodbye to Berlin and Mr Norris Changes Trains, all topped off in the background to the smoky husky tones of Marlene Dietrich’s very special brand of drawl English.

Hauptbahnhof Berlin central railway station

I had first planned to visit Berlin as a teenager at the invitation of some Viennese visitors I met one summer in Dublin. They had invited me to join them on a trip to the city to spend Christmas in a Berlin squat. That was in the early 1980’s if memory serves me correctly. In the end they decided to stay in Vienna for the Christmas, so I went there instead. My only other connection with the city, unfortunately, had a more sinister outcome. On a subsequent visit to what was still known as Czechoslovakia, and still at the time part of the USSR, I happened to meet and form a friendship with a guy from East Berlin who was on his annual holiday in the Czech capital, Prague. For people living in the USSR and including East Germany it was basically one of a very limited number of places that citizens of what was then known as  GDR were allowed to visit, as well as being virtually all they could afford anyway. On my return to Ireland we exchanged a number of letters and I, in my naivety at the time, was quite open about how repressive I thought the communist system and the USSR. He, for his part, was quite open about how difficult, depressing and limiting life was in East Berlin, until one day about a year later one of my letters was returned, stamped person and address unknown. That was the last time I heard from him and to this day I still do not know what fate befell him, but I held him in my thoughts as I visited the remains of the Berlin Wall and the East Side Gallery.

Reichstag

Only now, August 2017, have I finally managed to make it to Berlin and these are my impressions of the city and its people.

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Europe UK

Sheffield in 24 A Travel bloggers guide to the City

 

Sheffield in 24

An action packed city adventure

 

Guide book to Sheffield

Despite having visited Sheffield twice before in the past it took an invitation from the Mercure “St Pauls Hotel and Spa” for me to truly discover what this oft overlooked UK city has to offer.

I was fortunate enough to be part of a group of travel and lifestyle bloggers to be invited for an action packed 24 hour city visit.

St Pauls Hotel and Spa, being Sheffield’s only 4 * Hotel, is the perfect spot to stay, being centrally located, and as if that wasn’t enough, it also boasts doors leading directly onto the fabulous Tropical Winter Gardens. Having stayed at the Mercure in the past I arrived early, check in is 2pm, in order to take full advantage of the hotels Spa and Pool, free to use for hotel guests, it also offers a range of therapies and massages at an additional cost. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the spa area has had a makeover, with both the steam sauna and dry sauna benefiting from a complete overhaul, this is the perfect way to unwind before heading out for the evening.

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Europe UK

North Wales Off The Beaten Track

Day Tripping North Wales, Walking in Sunshine, Almost!

With the first weekend of proper blue sky sunshine upon us and a bit of heat in the air to accompany, thoughts turn to getting out of the city, even if just for a day and heading into the countryside.

Living in Manchester we are lucky enough to have a host of easy to reach destinations whether traveling north, south, east or west. That said, it is never a difficult one you make in choosing Wales, one of my favorite places on the planet. It doesn’t matter how far or wide I travel this globe of ours I never tire of trips to Wales, where even a familiar landscape causes me to smile as the light shows it in a subtle different and ever changing fresh perspective.

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Austria Europe

Vienna revisited, a travel bloggers view.

The Long Weekender

Vienna (Wien) Austria

 

Vienna is a city that has held a special place ever since I first visited as an 18 year old. I returned after that first visit a few times between the ages  of 18 and 25, but had not returned since. From that very first visit it struck me as a fairy-tale city, full of romance and joy, enhanced given that it was  December, close to Christmas, the ground covered in a blanket of pure white snow, all adding to that feeling of magic. On one of my visits on a Christmas day I made my way to St. Stephens’s cathedral, more out of curiosity than religious compulsion, and ended up with the very good fortune of hearing the Viennese boys’ choir sing. It still stands out as a profound life memory, along with those memories of the friends I made and times we shared. On one such evening a gang of us all met up (me being the only non-Austrian) in the metro station at Opera before heading off into the snow covered streets, snow ball fighting as we went into the night. The memory of that night and many other remain vivid to my recollection. Indeed, such was the impact of my experiences in Vienna it inspired a short story I wrote shortly after one visit, which was published in a well-known Dublin magazine of the time “In Dublin”

Would I feel differently all these years later I wondered?

View from the plane as we come in to land Vienna.

This time there was no snow to greet me, but then on many of my past visits in younger days the snow had long passed. I am happy to say the city has lost none of its charm and is as wondrous and romantic a place now as it was then.

From a practical point of view  it’s also turned out to be one of the least expensive European cites I have visited, even taking Brexit bashing on my pound into account. This is another city where a city pass is an absolute must, called the Vienna Pass, it offers not only free entry into 60+ attractions in many it also allows you to skip the ques and gain easy access to the attraction, a real boon in peak season As if that wasn’t enough it includes the Hop on Hop off City Tour Bus, again a great was to familiarise yourself with the city and it stunning architectural history. If fact it covers entry to so many places you will be hard pressed to visit them all.

Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens Vienna

Schonbrunn Palace and gardens, a place I remembered well from all those years ago.

Tree lined avenue Schonbrunn

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Denmark Europe

Getting down with the Hygge in Copenhagen……..

Copenhagen Dreaming

 

The long weekender Copenhagen Denmark

 

Top Tips and Travel Know How

Frederiks Kirke (The Marble Church)

Sometimes fast sees more than more time spent can find. It is the fleeting glimpse and quick insight, when the light shines in a particular way, illuminating a view, I sometimes think it better to absorb quick and move on. The light here, on this day, told me all I wanted to know and feel.  In this light, with its crisp short span, from dawn till dusk, it is easy to understand the aesthetic and pared back simplicity that is the very definition of our understanding of what we refer to as Danish style. The light at this time of the year is made for photographers, never too high in the sky, rising late and setting early, but I cannot imagine I could stand too many of these short days and long nights of winter. Yet I can only wonder why it has taken me so long to visit this wonderful city and finish by saying I will be back when the sun and day hold for longer.

 

Stroma Canal Tour

Top Tip here, don’t go for the Netto boat as its pretty naf. A better option with much nicer boats and reputed to be the original tour, Stroma Canal Tour Copenhagen. Offering the Grand Tour and lasting one hour (Included with the Copenhagen Pass) you can join the boat tour at either Nyhavn, or Gammel Strand. A guided tour around the harbor and through the idyllic canals with guide commentary will tell you about Copenhagen’s beautiful churches, castles, old listed houses, new buildings and all other sights of interest. (The English speaking guide gave a very good commentary along the way)

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Europe

The Long Weekender Oslo, Norway Part 3

 

Day 3 Oslo 

Day 3 starts early  with the ferry to the Bygdøy peninsula which operates operates between March to October. More info and links for ferry at the end of post
The trip on the ferry is included in the Oslo pass again making this a fantastic investment for any travel to Oslo.
Departure is every 20-30 minutes from Pier 3 by the City Hall. We caught the first fery at 8:55 as this was to be the last day of our visit we wanted to see and do as much as possible.
Leave the ferry at the first stop  Dronningen and taking about 20 minutes to get there its a very pleasant trip across. (Norwegian Museum of Cultural History/ Folk Museum, Viking Ship Museum and Oscarshall).

 

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 3 (0)

View from the ferry back to City hall

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 3 (1)

Viking Museum

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 3 (2)

Viking museum. Fascinating place full of preserved artifacts and Viking boats and things.

Norwegian Folk Museum

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 3 (3)

For me this museum had to be one of my favorite places to visit as part of my Oslo long weekender. Packed full of fascinating glimpses in Norway’s past, and near past, history all brought to life with full size replicas and originals of the lives and living places of the Norwegians. Fascinating and deserves a good few hours of any visitors time to see it all as the grounds are quite extensive. More info on this at link to bottom of this post.

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Europe

The Long Weekender Oslo, Norway Part 2

Day 2: The Long Weekender

Top Travel Tips; Places to See Things to Do

The day starts with a visit to the magnificent Vigeland sculpture park a must see for anyone visiting Oslo and probably the best collection of sculpture I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. This is the worlds largest sculpture park to be created by one sculptor and i don’t think i have ever seen or heard of anything like it before. Containing over 200 works created over a lifetime by Gustav Vigeland in a mixture of mediums from granite, wrought iron and bronze, it is a truly unique place.  There is also a vitality and life affirming charm to the quality and scope of the works that can but make you smile whilst the park itself is a great place to spend a day have a picnic, if the weather permits, weather was great when I visited in May! I have included a link with more info on the park to the bottom of this post.

Vigeland Sculpture Park

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (1)A Statue of Gustav Vigeland stands in a landscaped area at the entrance to the park.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (2)The wonderful vista from the highest point in the park.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (3)Granite sculpture in the park

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (4)Seagulls take flight from one of the water fountains

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Europe

The Long Weekender Oslo, Norway Part 1

9 Top Travel Tips for Visitors to Oslo, Norway

Or put another way, things you may want to consider before travelling to Oslo in Norway

 

The long weekender a 3 part picture post

Day 1

Top Tip (1) For travelers from the UK It’s very expensive, at probably about twice the price of the UK average for food and possibly 3 times the UK price for a drink with a bottle of beer costing about a tenner

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (1)

The Museum of Modern Art as seen from the water, with viewing lift in background. Yopu pay a small fee to ride to the top of this free standing lift shaft which offers pretty good views.

Top Tip (2) If travelling on a budget you may be surprised to find buying in  supermarket is generally no cheaper than eating out, but tap water is free and restaurants quite happy to provide it, even adding sliced lemon and cucumber in some places.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (2)

Picture of one of the current exhibits in the Museum of modern art, pretty funky place and some very interesting pieces as well as some downright bizarre installation including a gold life size porcelain of Micheal Jackson with chimp and a collection of heads of what is supposed to be Tom Cruise but looks nothing like him!

Top Tip (3) If your flight leaves you arriving late at night from the UK, as ours did with Ryanair from Manchester, there is a bus from the Airport to the City and is the cheapest way to get from the airport to the city, but try and choose accommodation that doesn’t involve a Taxi ride to your final destination. We took a 10 minute taxi ride and paid about £25!

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (4)

I particularly liked this pieces which is a shelf of books with books made of thin sheet steel.

Top Tip (4) If there is one must see destination for the short break weekender in Oslo and there are quite a few noteworthy places to visit it has to be the sculpture park, it’s unique and outstanding.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (5)

To the foreground of this picture is a small beach where locals go swimming when the weather permits brilliant public space so close to the city.

Top Tip (5) Whatever budget traveler you may be get an Oslo pass, worth its weight in gold as it includes all public transport, entry to various museums and attractions, including the ferry to visit the Viking museum.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (6)

I loved this tidy and uniform display of Violas against the outside wall of the museum.

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