How how how… Christmas is near…

Christmas is so close. So today a little about places, where you can REALLY feel Christmas spirit.
Do you remember Griswold family? If so, for sure you remember their Christmas lights on their house. So here we are, today about places with that great decoration!!!

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First place is Louisvillle in Kentucky. It is a cavern that has 17 miles of Christmas Lights underground. Christmas music echoes through the caverns as you drive through. Unfortunately you are not able to stop, so I guess that is why there are so few good photos. The rout is $25.00 per car.

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For those who cannot see it (like me) there is nice video to give you an idea.

The next place which I want to present you is definitely The lights at Clifton Mill. It is located to the east of Dayton near Yellow Springs, the amazing display takes 6 men about 3 months to assemble and is one of the biggest with over 3.5 million lights. There is a 100 foot waterfall of lights, a Miniature Village and Santa Claus Museum. If you arrive in the evening, the lights go out every hour on the hour and then with the flip of a switch, all 3.5 million lights come back on at once for a spectacular show! The visit is 10 dollars per person.
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After that I choose some pictures that are mind-blowing. I really wouldn’t like to pay a bill for electricity in those houses! I cannot give you a location of the places, because I too the pictures from web.

 

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Museums in Brussels

Today I would like to mention about two great museums in Brussels. First is called Museum of Natural Sciences http://www.naturalsciences.be/index_html and second one is Musical Instruments Museum(MIM) http://www.mim.be/en . Unfortunately in both of them you will need to pay for the entrance, but what is great is the fact that every FIRST WEDNESDAY of the month since 1 PM they are for free. So if you are lucky enough, or you will plan well your visit, you can go into those places free of charge!!!!

Why they’re so nice? First one is full of animals including dinosaurs, and you can learn really many interesting things about them. Descriptions are in 4 languages (French, Flemish, German and English). The museum looks old from outside, but in reality is quite interactive.

Musical Instruments Museum is located in a gorgeous building that looks like taken from fairytale. Once you will get in, they will offer you a nice interactive tool, which allows you to listen to every instrument that is on the exhibition! It is really great idea, because you will not only see strange instruments, but you will be able to hear them, and that is something unique! During my visit there were as well some  live concerts that made my visit even more interesting!

On the top of the building (10th floor), is located a charming restaurant with a nice terrace from where you can adore spectacular view for all city! Really worth to see! The only bad thing about both of those museums is that they close at 5PM so you will have to rush, to see all exhibitions. I didn’t have time to see all of MIM.

Did you know that there are more free museums in Brussels? On that page http://brusselsmuseums.be/en/faq.php?id=6 you will see which one is always for free, and which one are on first Sundays or Wednesdays of the month. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask me. I will be glad to help. 😉

So Do Not Go There If You are not a big fan of music and animals. You can get easily bored then.

Frankfurt am Main

Today few words about the 5th biggest city in Germany and one of the most important financial metropolis in the world. It is home to the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange and several large commercial banks.

Frankfurt am Main! Ok, that will be enough about its statistics and now few words from my own experience. Frankfurt is a nice city, but unfortunately only in certain places. One of the main streets is full of drug-addict people, and people that just don’t seem to be really friendly. On the other hand we had a really nice cultural experience visiting for example (MUST SEE) the cinema museum. It is worth to see even for those that aren’t cinema freaks. 

What disappointed me was the Main Square. It is really small and not as nice as in other German cities. What is worth to see is the spectacular view from top of the Cathedral tower.

To sum up, I guess you got used that all my posts are about beautiful places, but this time is different. Frankfurt is really strange and full of contradictions. You could imagine that in the city where are located main world banks should be a lot of money and that the city itself should be some kind of icon. Unfortunately, (In my opinion) it is not. Maybe it’s too big or maybe I didn’t spend there enough time… (3 days). Simply I didn’t fell in love with it. But who knows… Maybe you will. So what is your opinion about it? Please leave your comment!

This time I can honestly say Do Not Go There If You don’t like dirty streets, and feeling unsecure.

 

Angkor Wat.

Maybe some of you already heard, or saw that amazing place. It is located about 5,5km away from Siem Reap which is in Cambodia. So the place I am talking about is an important group of ancient structures. It is the southernmost of Angkor’s main sites.

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Angkor Wat is the biggest and the most famous temple in whole Angkor complex. It was built for about 32-35 years. Angkor Wat was first a Hindu, then subsequently a Buddhist temple. What is interesting is the fact that it is the largest religious monument in the world. The temple was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century.

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It is a good idea to take bottle of water there and something that will cover your head. It can be really hot there! It is also worth to calculate your time, and be there during sunset or sunrise. You should be prepare for a long walk! The area is really big!

So do you like ancient history, walking and admiring places? If your answer is no, Do Not Go There!!!

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Sunday in Brussels? Do some antique hunting!

There are many flea markets in Brussels, but one of my favorites is the one on Place du Jeu de Balle, located very close from the Palais de Justice. It is open all year round, but it feels like a especially good option to me going there on a sunny Sunday morning as the atmosphere, a mixture of tourists and locals, is especially nice.

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The first impression may be that everything here is a big mess, and certainly it is, but that is part of the charm, and actually each seller has a good control over its items. Here you can find all kinds of antiques and art objects, furniture, clothes, books, pictures, and mainly anything you can imagine; so who knows, maybe you will find the object you’ve spent years looking for!

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The best of all is the charm of the square itself, surrounded by bars where you can get a drink or eat something after the arduous search! My recommendation is to try the delicious hot dog from “Chez Charlotte”, a deli where also several types of sandwiches and snacks are sold. For around 5 euros you will get a generous hot dog, stuffed with fried onion, sauerkraut or apple compote at your choice! Simply irresistible! You will recognize it easily by the long line that people forms in the door.

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The market opening hours are 6am to 2pm on weekdays and from 6am to 3pm on weekends.

So DO NOT GO THERE if you are a tidiness freak!

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Posted by Nacho

“Tapas” of Granada

Probably you heard already about the famous Spanish “tapas”, but what do you really know about them?

Of course you can taste them all around Spain, but there is one city where you will find the “mecca of tapeo”, and this place is Granada. There you will get a free tapa in almost every single bar of the city when ordering your drink, and believe me when I tell you that in some of them they are really big! So much, that probably with two tapas you should be already full!

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There are many theories about the origin of tapas, but the most consistent of all, is the one which says that the idea appeared in the Middle Ages, when some publicans began to “tapar” (to cover) their customers drinks with a slice of bread, in order to keep away insects and dust. Personally this is the theory that I like the most!

You can find tapas bars of all kinds, traditional, oriental, design, Asian, vegetarian, etc., so as you can imagine the variety is wide! You will need several days to be able to try a little bit of each!

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Is also important to know that there are usually two types of bars, those in which there is a predefined order of tapas and therefore you will be surprised with every round you ask for, and others in which there is a menu with all the tapas available, so you can choose the one that you prefer. If you are a group, usually you will be allowed to request up to two or three different types for each order.

To finish I am going to write a small list with some of my favorites tapas bars, they are all easily accessible and well known to the inhabitants of the city. Also is important to mention that Granada is a beautiful city, well worth a visit!

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– La Antigualla – Calle Elvira

– La Riviera –  Calle Cetti Meriém, 7

– Bodegas La Bella y La Bestia – http://www.bodegaslabellaylabestia.com

– Brasilia Café Bar – Calle Dr. Mesa Moles, 2

– Café Bar Oriental Feng Shui – Calle Hermosa, 7

So if you don´t want to eat and drink good for a ridiculous price, then DO NOT GO TO Granada!

Posted by Nacho

La ruta del agua (The water route)

Do you like to hike in the nature? If the answer is yes, this post is definitely for you!

Today we are recommending a natural trail called “La ruta del agua” (The water route); you will find it next to Chelva, a town located around 70 km from Valencia (Spain). It is a route that combines culture, nature and gastronomy, so what else could you ask for?

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The way starts at the center of the village, in the “Plaza Mayor” (Main square), then runs through the four historic districts of the city and later will take you through the Chelva River and its spectacular natural environment.

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There are signs that will guide you all the way (around 4,5 km), so it’s hard to miss it. Besides the natural beauty of the route, you will pass also through some points of interest, like a long tunnel dug in the mountain (without any light) or an old and abandoned light factory.

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To finish the journey the best is to return to the “Plaza Mayor” area and eat at one of its restaurants. The best is to ask for the “Menú del día” (Daily menu), where for a small price you will get two courses, dessert and drink! And indeed the area is famous for its “embutidos” (something like sausages), so do not hesitate to order them! After all it was a long walk and you deserve the feast!

So DO NOT GO THERE if you don´t like natural beauty and gastronomic delights!

Posted by Nacho

Luxembourg trip (EN)

So as I said, my next trip was Luxembourg. I will call it the greenest country ever!

There is something amazing about that place. Maybe it will be its size, maybe people, amazing people or just all kind of green colors. It is amazing how many shades green has.

Our first stop was obviously Luxembourg City. Unfortunately weather was not good once we arrived. It was cold and raining, so first impression was not the best one. We found our host and decided to walk under the rain. We did not visit anything because of the national holiday (almost everything was closed) but we walk a lot around. Architecture is nice, very nice. Thanks to its location, the city is divided into two parts. It is a good idea to admire it from the top of bridge. The view with all bridges between trees is spectacular .Finding way down can be a little complicated at first but nothing that you cannot do.

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I should mention here about the public transport. It works perfectly. Trains and buses are never late and there are so many of them. And the best part is that they are cheap. You can choose between two tickets.

Option a) 2 euros ticket valid for 2 hours trip

Option b) 4 euros day ticket valid for any kind of transport in whole country!

So as you see it is pretty amazing! What is more, buses are modern and most of trains either.

As long as Luxembourg country is so small, we decided to visit as many places as possible. Our first choice was Echternach. It is a small village from where you can start your tracking called Mullerthal trail. All trail has a length of 112km but we choose 6 km route from Echternach to Berdorf. It is difficult to describe that place in few words. You are walking through magical forest and you feel like you are acting in Hobbit movie or any similar one. Path is surrounded by very high rocks. All around you can see all kind of green. Among the path there is a small river that will help you to indicate the way, although it is really well organized. It will be impossible to get lost there.

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After 2,5 hours walk we decided to eat our picnic in next village. Finally we change our opinion, because Berdorf was so small that in 5 minutes you saw everything and we didn’t find attractive place to do our picnic. So we moved to other place. As long as our ticket was valid, we could visit many villages. Our final destination was Diekirch. We walked along Sauer river and then ate our picnic. That city is really amazing. Full of donkeys! Doesn’t matter where you will look there will be one monument of donkey. As I found out later on, it is a mascot of Dierkich. There is even a donkey fountain in the center of Diekirch, that you can move as you wish. “As well the yearly cavalcade (carnival procession) is held under the sign of the donkey.”[1]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diekirch

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Good tip is to buy Luxembourg card. It is really cheap (11euros per day) and includes free admission to 69 sites and reductions to 15 places. The best is that it includes as well all kind of transport.

We manage to visit Bock Casamates in Luxembourg City. It is underground fortification situated on different levels. It is a nice place to get lost there but maybe a little creepy.

Next on our map was Vianden castle. Build between 11th and 14th century. It is one of the largest and most beautiful feudal residences of the romanesque and gothic periods in Europe. All information about that place you can find here http://www.castle-vianden.lu/english/ . There are three ways to arrive to it but personally I think that the nicest one is Vianden chairlift. It is the only chair lift in the Grand Duchy which passes above Our valley up to the summit at 450 m.

If you are not a big fan of high try Benni- The sightseeing train or just simply walk up to the castle. All of those activities are of course included in price of Luxembourg card.

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Next and last village that we visited was Grevenmacher. Place at self is not the nicest one, but it offers you many things. One of theme is visit to the Exotic butterfly garden. It is quite small but full of flying all around butterflies and interesting birds and reptiles.

To finish our trip we went to check Bernard Massard cellar. It is the biggest producer of sparkling wine in Luxembourg. We made a guided tour (that unfortunately was in French, but if you have time you can catch English group, we didn’t have time so was French or nothing). After all guided tour you will taste some sparkling wines that indeed are delicious. I would like to add here that all workers in that place were extremely kind with us, and it is a MUST SEE and taste place!

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To sum up, Luxembourg is a great idea for a few days. You cannot get bored there. Each kind of tourist will find something interesting there. So the only reason to not go there is hmmm actually difficult to find one… ok expensive food in restaurants 😉

(English) Miranda castle- Noisy castle, Château Miranda- Château de Noisy

As title of my blog means do not go there if… I decided to describe places which i saw, where I’ve been but as well places where I would like to go and where I will go.
Currently I live in Belgium, and not long time ago, checking polish newspaper; I discover one place that is not that far away from my one. Castle, that both is scary and amazing called Miranda Castle or The noisy castle in French Château de Noisy. First of all it is not that easy to arrive there. The best what you can do is go by train to Dinant, where you can stay for a night and then walk or hitchhike or just go by car.
That castle is unfortunately closed for visitors, but that makes him even more desirable. To arrive there you will have to a) climb the gate which I do not recommend, because is high and too visible, and b) climb a hill from the main road, that is much better way to get there. Hill is not that high but it is really steep and slippery, so better take some trekking shoes.
Once you are there you will see that all that effort was not for nothing. First view on the castle is breathtaking. Dark and forgotten. Once you will get closer you will realize how destroy it actually is. That is the main reason why it is closed. If you want to visit that marvelous place, you should hurry up, because on December 2013 owners, sign up the contract to destroy that place.
So, if you are not willing to have some adventures and to discover dark and abandoned places, definitely DO NOT GO THERE!
HISTORY
The constructions of the castle started in 1866 for a family named Liedekerke-Beaufort. Edward Milner was an architect which was responsible for it. Unfortunately he died in 1884 and never finished the castle. New French architect- Pelchner decided to make that palace bigger that was supposed to be. Finally in 1907 Mirranda castle was finished. Family Edward Milner loved their new castle, and they were spending there summer brakes. Unfortunately they did not stay there for long. During second war, Nazis took their summer residence. In 1950 the castle was taken over by National Railway Company of Belgium (NMBS) as an orphanage. It remained a facility for the use of children until 1980. In 1990 the owners had an idea to change it into hotel, but potential investors were frightened with high costs of that investments and they never decided to do it. Since 1991 castle is empty and in 1995 some part of the roof burnt. After that owners, decided to take more important things like fireplaces, marbles and wooden floors to their residence in Italy.

References:
http://deser.pl/deser/51,111858,15608263.html?i=0
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miranda_Castle
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