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Friday, October 14, 2011

Travel Norway ,Top 10 Travel Attractions in Oslo

For a healthy dose of Viking culture and a good smattering of art and history museums, go to Oslo, Norway. For Oslo, a small capital by most measures, with a mere 500,000 people, has a surprisingly large collection of good museums - most of them easily accessible from the city center and, with the Oslo Pass in hand, inexpensive to boot - as well as a wealth of Scandinavian architecture, both historic and modern.
For first-time visitors to Oslo, however, since it is easy to be overwhelmed by the city's offerings, here are Oslo's 'Top 10' tourist draws.

1. Oslo's Opera House
Oslo's new Opera House, inaugurated in April 2008, is absolutely, positively, a 'must-see'. It is Oslo's bold, New Millennium statement to the world, aptly made with granite and 36,000 slabs of white marble. Partly submerged in the sea, the $700-million architectural masterpiece rises from the fjord like a massive sheet of ice, with its angular slabs, like giant ski slopes, surprising at every level. The opera house is home to both the Norwegian National Opera and the Norwegian Ballet.

2. Holmenkollen
Holmenkollen is one of the world's most famous ski jump arenas and easily Oslo's foremost attraction. The arena was originally built at the end of the 19th century, and renovated extensively in 1952 for the Winter Olympic Games. Holmenkollen is situated 357 meters (1,000 feet) above sea level, and the ski jump tower, which is one of the principal attractions here, is another 60 meters (180 feet) higher, with spectacular all-around views from the top. There is also a ski museum here, the oldest in the world, devoted to the history of skiing which goes back some 4,000 years! Holmokollen is in the Marka region of Oslo, and open to the public year-round.

3. Vigeland Sculpture Park
Located within the larger Frogner Park in the western section of Oslo, Vigeland Park is noted for its wealth of granite and bronze sculptures by Gustav Vigeland, one of Norway's most famous sculptors, for whom the park is named. There are more than 200 Vigeland sculptures here, and there is also a museum with Vigeland's work located just across from the park, open to the public Tuesday to Sunday year-round. The park is open to the public 24 hours, all year.

4. Oseberg Viking Ship Museum
One of the most popular museums in the city, the Oseberg Viking Ship Museum houses three of the world's best-preserved Viking ships. The ships are more than 1,100 years old and were found nearly a century ago in Oseberg, which is near Oslo, in the county of Vestfold. The museum also has exhibits demonstrating fabric and weaving techniques from the Viking era, as well as an assortment of tools and weapons. The museum is open daily.

5. National Museum of Art
Oslo's National Museum of Art is home to the world's most recognized painting, Edvard Munch's Skrik, also known as The Scream. Besides this 1893 masterpiece, the museum houses extensive collections of both Norwegian and International art. The museum is located next to the Oslo University on Universtetsgaten, just a couple of blocks from Oslo's main thoroughfare, Karl Johan. Admission to the museum is free.

6. Munch Museum
Here is a museum entirely devoted to Norway's most famous artist, Edvard Munch, one of the pioneers of Expressionism and painter of the renowned Skrik (The Scream). The museum has two versions of The Scream, one each in pastels and oil, the latter dating from 1910. The museum, which is probably a 10-minute walk from Karl Johan, has literally hundreds of Munch's paintings, donated by the artist to the city. The Munch Museum is open daily, except on Mondays.

7. Akershus Fortress
The Akershus Fortress, or Akershus Castle, situated in the southeastern part of the city center, is an integral part of Oslo's history. It was originally built as a royal residence in the 14th century by King Hakon V, when Oslo first became the capital of Norway, and rebuilt in the Renaissance style in the early 17th century by King Christian IV, following a fire that consumed the entire city. Today, you can tour both parts of Akershus: Akershus Slottet, which is the castle itself, and Akershus Festning, the area surrounding the castle. Akershus Festning is open all year between 6am and 9pm, while Akershus Slottet, the castle, is open to the public only during summer, unless you take a guided tour, which is available on Thursdays, even during off-peak season.

8. Oslo City Hall
Oslo's City Hall has a claim to fame. This is where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded every year on December 10, the only Nobel Prize to be presented outside Nobel's home country of Sweden. This is also the seat of Oslo's city council. The city hall building itself, which was inaugurated in 1950, is not terribly inspiring from the exterior, but has an impressive interior and a stunning view of the harbor. The city hall is located on Fridtjof Nansens Plass and is open on weekdays during business hours.

9. Oslo Parliament
Oslo's Parliament Building, Stortinget, is also worth seeing, especially if you are visiting Oslo for the first time. Uniquely 19th-century neo-Romanesque, the building dates from 1866 and was designed by Swedish architect Emil Victor Langle. Stortinget is located in the center of Karl Johansgate, just past the intersection of Akersgate. Admission is free, with scheduled guided tours available year-round.

10. Royal Palace
Although not as well known as British royalty, Norway still has its kings and queens and this is where they reside. The Royal Palace, or 'slottet', was originally built in 1824 as the residence of the Norwegian-cum-Swedish king, Charles III, and extensively renovated and restored to its former glory in the 1990s, at a significant cost, by King Harald V, the current monarch. The palace, situated on a small rise at the end of Karl Johansgate, Oslo's principal artery, is open for public tours during the summer months, June-August.

Oslo Parliament

Oslo City Hall

Akershus Fortress

Munch Museum


Oseberg Viking Ship Museum

Vigeland Sculpture Park


Oslo's Opera House

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Travel Advice For Your Trip to Sweden

A visit to Sweden which is the largest of the Scandinavian countries is a must if you enjoy old world country punctuated with sophisticated city life and cultural activities. Sweden travel advice would focus mostly on the delightful must see places as well as which months are coldest if this is a concern for one or alternatively if you are looking for beauty and ice skating.

Although most of Sweden is covered by rich green forest, and caressed by sparkling lakes, it is punctuated with bustling clean cities of organized beauty. Stockholm bears testimony to this fact, with its gorgeous waterfront, pristine lake and friendly people. Most of the inhabitants are fluent in English which is a great help to any lonely or lost traveler. So a visit to Stockholm should be on ones top ten to see list

If medieval charm and Renaissance beauty is your thing, visit Gamla which is both charming and beautiful. The buildings are gorgeous in their past era elegance, and the winding roads which flow between then a delight to walk. In summer the country is bathed in light up until midnight which means a bit of additional sight see time.

A lot of travelers and citizens alike, use cycling as a way to get around, and why not amidst such splendor? so do consider hiring a cycle for the day to get in as much as you can while invigorating the soul. Besides most could do with a bit of casual exercise.

If it is picnics or walks you are after, most of Sweden pays host to this activity but try Haga Park for its relaxing spa like environment. Fishing and canoeing is also popular in one of the many pristine lakes, so if this is your focus make sure to dress warmly between November and April as these are very cold months. Better for ice skaters and purveyors of beautiful scenery as most of Stockholm is covered in a cool white blanket of snow.

As well as these tempting outdoor activities, Sweden also offers a rich night life. Whether you are culturally inclined or just simply want to party the night away.

Tuck into Sweden's substantial cuisine which consists mostly of Pork, Beef and crayfish, covered in rich gravy. Alongside this the swedes prefer a tangy or sour taste so longoberry jam is used with these dishes. Breads of all shapes and sizes are served, with big helpings of potatoes. This helps to ward off the winter chills and set you up for the day. But you can also order a good Pizza in Sweden too.

Your Sweden visit would not be complete without a visit to the Kulturhuset which means house of culture. A great cluster of books stores, art shops coffee houses where culture and art is discussed and exhibited, so should be featured in on your Sweden travel advice booklet. Particularly if you are a culture vulture. Sweden has both night and day travel delights to offer one can only try to savor them all.

Stockholm city

Along Göta Canal in Sweden


Haga Park  in Sweden


Kulturhuset, Stockholm.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Travel Ireland , Top Heritage sites in Ireland

Newgrange, County Meath
Newgrange burial chamber is situated in the picturesque Boyne Valley that straddles County Louth and Meath. Newgrange is renowned for the magic of the winter solstice as during this time the sun lights up the central burial chamber. Newgrange is one of the most famous Megalithic sites in the worldThe chamber has been restored and you can now go into it, tours are arranged from the Bru na Bionne Visitor Centre. Newgrange is more than 5000 years old and so is older than the Pyramids of Egypt. At the entrance there is a beautifully carved stone with various Celtic spirals and designs. The mound is about 80 metres in diameter and the stones used to build it are from the Cooley Mountains in County Louth and Wicklow mountains in County Wicklow.

Book of Kells, Dublin City
The world famous Book of Kells is located in Trinity College Dublin and dates back to the 9th century. It is a stunningly exquisite and lavishly decorated copy of the first four gospels in Latin. Even after such a long time, the grandeur and aura of this historical book has not diminished and is considered as one of the major tourist attractions. The book is on a permanent display in the Trinity College Library and evokes much passion among all those who witness this historical spectacle. It is the top tourist attraction in Dublin – a must see!

Hill of Tara, County Meath
THe Hill of Tara, ("Hill of the Kings"), located near the River Boyne, in County Meath, is an archaeological complex that runs between Navan and Dunshauglin. It contains a number of ancient monuments, and, according to tradition, was the seat of Árd Rí na hÉireann, or the High Kings of Ireland. The importance of it cannot be understated in the context of pre-historic Ireland. The Hill of Tara today has the ruins of the royal enclosures, and circular mound formations. There is a statue of Saint Patrick on the Hill of Tara plus an unusual shaped stone called the Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny. Legend has it that when the true high King of Ireland touched the stone it cried out.

Trinity College, Dublin City
Trinity is located in the centre of Dublin, on College Green opposite the former Irish Houses of Parliament, now the Bank of Ireland Building. The campus occupies 190,000 m 2 (47 acres), much of it green area in the very heart of the city, with many buildings, both old and new, ranged around large courts (known as "squares") and two playing fields. The Library of Trinity College is a copyright library for Ireland and the United Kingdom, containing over 4.5 million books and significant quantities of maps, manuscripts and music.

St. Patricks Cathedral, Dublin City
Situated in the heart of old Dublin, St. Patricks Cathedral is Ireland's largest church and was founded beside a sacred well where St. Patrick is said to have baptised converts around 450A.D. A stone slab bearing a Celtic cross and covering the well was un-earthed at the turn of the 20th century. It is now preserved in the west end of the cathedral's nave. The original building was just a wooden chapel and remained so until 1192 when Archbishop John Comyn rebuilt the cathedral in stone. Much of the present building dates back to work completed between 1254 and 1270. The cathedral is actually a Protestant church contrary to popular belief.

Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin City
The cathedral was begun in 1038 by King Sitric Silkenbeard, the Danish Viking King of Dublin, for the first Bishop of Dublin, Donat or Donagh (the Diocese of Dublin was at that time a small island surrounded by a huge Diocese of Glendalough, and answered to Canterbury). The church was built on the high ground overlooking the Viking settlement of Wood Quay and Sitric allegedly gave the lands of Baldoyle, Raheny and Portrane for its maintenance.

Custom House, Dublin City
The Custom House is a neoclassical 18th century building in Dublin, which houses the Department of the Environment. It is located on the north bank of the River Liffey, on Custom House Quay between Butt Bridge and Talbot Memorial Bridge. It was designed by James Gandon to act as the new custom house for Dublin Port and was his first large scale commission. When it was completed and opened for business on the 7th November 1791, it cost £200,000 to build a huge sum at the time. The four facades of the building are decorated with coats-of -arms and ornamental sculptures representing Ireland's rivers.

Dublin Castle, Dublin City
Dublin Castle, off Dame Street, was until 1922 the fortified seat of British rule in Ireland, and is now a major Irish government complex housing the headquarters of Irish Revenue Commissioners. Most of it dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland. The State Apartments dominate the south range of the Great Courtyard. They were built as the residential and public quarters of the Viceregal Court. They were the seat of the executive and focus of fashionable and extravagant social life. An account of Viceregal Court life is given in Chapter 15 of the Dublin Castle History. Today, the Apartments are the venue for Ireland's Presidencies of the European Union, Presidential inaugurations and prestigious functions.

Monasterboice High Cross and Round Tower, County Louth
The historic ruins of Monasterboice (Mainistir Bhuithe) are of an early Christian settlement four miles north of Drogheda in County Louth.
It was founded in the late 5th century by Saint Buite, who died around AD 521 and was an important centre of religion and learning until founding of nearby Mellifont Abbey in 1142.
The site houses two churches built in the 14th century or later and an earlier round tower, but it is most famous for its 10th century high crosses. The round tower is about 35-metres tall, and is in very good condition, although it is not possible to go inside.
It is believed that it was built as a refuge for the monks against the Vikings, although this theory has been widely disputed.
The passage of time has laid down layers of earth so now the doorway is almost at ground level. The monastery was burned in 1079.
The 5.5-metre Muiredeach’s High Cross is regarded as the finest high cross in the whole of Ireland.

Clonmacnois, County Offaly
Clonmacnoise is the most important Monastic settlement in all of Ireland.
It is situated in County Offaly on the River Shannon south of Athlone.
It was visited by the Pope in 1979. The site can be visited for a fee, via an Interpretative Centre.
The modern village of Clonmacnoise is beside the monastery on the R444, 7 km north of Shannonbridge, County Offaly.
Clonmacnoise was founded in 545 by Saint Ciaran in the territory of Ui Maine at the point where the major east-west land route went through the bogs of central Ireland.
Saint Ciarn had been educated by St. Finnian of Clonard and also by Abbot St. Enda of Aran.
Shortly after his arrival with eight companions, Ciarn met Diarmait Mac Cerbaill who helped him build the first church a small wooden structure and the first of many small churches to be clustered on the site.
Diarmuid was to claim the title of the first Christian High King of Ireland.

Durrow Abbey, County Offaly
Durrow Abbey and High Cross is a historic site located off the some 8 kilometres from the town of Tullamore in County Offaly. It is one of the most important monastic sites in all of Ireland.
To this day, the site remains a largely undisturbed early historic and medieval monastic site containing a complex of archaeological monuments, ecclesiastical and secular, visible and sub-surface.
It also includes a motte built by Hugh de Lacy in the 1180s and it was here that he was killed in 1186 by an Irishman.
It was at the monastery in Durrow that the ancient Book of Durrow was compiled. Discovered in the hands of a local farmer, the book is believed to be the earliest surviving fully decorated insular Gospel manuscript. It is believed to date from the 7th century, though this is controversial. It is on a par with the Book of Kells for its gloriously detailed colourful a script.

Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary
The Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland’s most dramatic sites.
Here you will find a spectacular group of medival buildings set on a limestone out crop in the Golden Vale, which includes a round tower, high crosses, churches, a ruined abbey and the 12th century Romanesque chapel of St Cormac.
One of the most famous Irish landmarks, the Rock of Cashel, also known as Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick's Rock, is a historic site in Cashel town, County Tipperary. Cashel has a very ancient history, albeit only documented since the 4th Century.
The Rock of Cashel, with its well-preserved ecclesiastical remains, is one of Ireland's most spectacular heritage sites, rising above the surrounding plain and dominating the land route southward.
The Rock of Cashel served as the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman Invasion, though few remnants if any of the early structures survive.

Navan Fort, County Armagh
Two miles west of the city of Armagh is the great mound of Navan Fort, stronghold of the Kings of Ulster from 700 BC. It occupies a key place in Heroic Age legend, notably in tales about Cuchulain. Whenever King Conor had a problem with Queen Maeve, the rather fierce ruler of Connaught, Cuchulain came to the rescue. The story is told in the visitor centre. In addition to detailing the mythology of the Ulster Cycle and the techniques used by archaeologists to uncover the fort, Navan Centre explores Celtic culture, rituals and beliefs of pre-Christian Ireland.

St. Patricks Cathedral, Armagh City
The imposing Catholic St. Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh City was built to replace the medieval Cathedral, St Patricks Cathedral, which has been then retained by the Church of Ireland since the Protestant Reformation. The Cathedral sits atop a hill and dominates the landscape of the city like no other in Ireland. The interior is a fascinating example of contrasting and stunningly decorative architecture. This is a most curious example of a very important building which changes both architect and architectural style half way up the walls. The bottom half was designed in 1838, in the English Perpendicular Gothic style, by Thomas Duff of Newry; the top half designed in 1853, in the French Decorated Gothic style, by J. J. McCarthy of Dublin.

Ceide Fields, County Mayo
Located near the coast in North Mayo, 10 kilomentres from Killala, the Ceide Fields is the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world, consisting of field systems, dwelling areas and megalithic tombs from 5000 years ago.
The Ceide Fields visitors centre is an impressive heritage centre and is primarily concerned with the archaeology of this area and profits from it are use to provide continuing research, involving the location and mapping of these hidden walls by a specially developed simple and completely non-destructive method of probing with iron rods, and excavation of habitation sites and tombs is yielding a unique picture of the way of life of our ancestors 200 generations ago.

Croagh Patrick, County Mayo
Croagh Patrick is where St Patrick is said to have banished the snakes from Ireland.
The panoramic views from the top on a clear day are stunning as you look down on Clew Bay which is reputed to have 365 islands.
Croagh Patrick) is a 764metres (2,510ft) mountain and an important site of pilgrimage.
It is located 8kilometres from Westport, in County Mayo above the villages of Murrisk and Lecanvey. On "Reek Sunday", the last Sunday in July every year, over 15,000 pilgrims climb the mountain.
The mountain forms the southern part of a valley created by a glacier flowing into Clew Bay in the last Ice Age.

Newgrange, County Meath

Book of Kells

Hill of Tara

Trinity College

St. Patricks Cathedral

Christchurch Cathedral

Custom House, Dublin City

Dublin Castle, Dublin City

Monasterboice High Cross


Rock of Cashel

Ceide Fields

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ten Essential Things To Do When You Visit Monaco

Monaco 4
Small in size but with fame disproportionate, this principality in the French Riviera is the most thickly populated in the world. It consists of a small strip of coastal land with cliffs and beach and is also known for the many luminaries who live and visit there. Monaco is a remarkable example of a state with no natural resources and a small domain that was still able to develop itself into a world-class tourist destination.

Palais du Prince

An imposing edifice, the Royal Palace was originally a thirteenth-century fortress. Aside from serving as the residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco and his family, the palace boasts many superbly-appointed apartments. Tours of the palace are scheduled when the Prince and his family are not around, and you might want to time your visit to coincide with the changing of the guard at 11:55 AM.

Jardin Exotique

Monaco's mild climate lends itself to the flourishing of the many different kinds of plants in this botanical garden. The Museum of Prehistory and Anthropology, which displays various relics from both the pre-Roman and Roman eras of the region, is located within the area. There is also a grotto that has scheduled tours.

Formula One Grand Prix

Every May and June, this microstate plays host to racing cars careering around its narrow streets at breakneck speeds. The Formula One World Championship Grand Prix race in Monaco is said to be the most difficult in the entire circuit. It's also possible to walk the route in the off-season, but watch out while crossing the street.

Prince of Monaco's Car Collection

Oh, yes, His Highness is also an avid car enthusiast. In the event you visit Monaco in the racing off-season, you can always take a look at this pristine collection of a hundred or so four-wheelers. Beautiful things and beautiful people always seem to be associated with Monaco.

Oceanographic Museum

This aquarium-cum-museum is located in the Jardins de St-Martin in Monaco-Ville. Built in 1911, it houses extensive collections of marine fauna and related exhibits. A statue outside the cliffside building commemorates Prince Albert I, who was a renowned marine scientist.

Monaco Cathedral

This is located on the Avenue Saint-Martin, which also boasts lovely gardens. This turn-of-the-twentieth-century building is where Prince Rainier and Princess Grace married. The cathedral is also her resting place, and the bones of many of the ruling Grimaldi family lie there, too.

Harbor Tours

Hang out at Monaco's busy harbor. You'll see passenger ferries as well as the yachts of the rich and famous, either tied up at the docks or coming or going. You might even spot a famous face or two.


Expect to pay top dollar for everything while in Monaco. Some shopping places include the Golden Circle near the Avenue Monte Carlo and the Fontvieille Shopping Center. If you want to be more personally involved in your purchases, you might wish to visit the Condamine Market near the Place d'Ames.


Monaco grew up around its casinos. In the Place du Casino is the Casino de Paris, known as much for its architecture and opulent furnishings as well as its clientele. The Monaco Casino is another well-known casino for high rollers, which enforces a jacket-and-tie dress code.


In Monaco, one can find establishments serving everything from hot dogs to pricey meals that only rich gastronomes could love (and afford). A mid-upper-range place to go to is the Café de Paris. At the Hotel de Paris you'll find the most expensive restaurants, the Le Grill de L'Hotel de Paris and the Louis XV.


Oceanographic Museum

Monaco Cathedral

the Condamine Market

Palais du Prince

Jardin Exotique

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Slovenia and Travelling

Slovenia is not one of the top travel destinations you hear about when you think of Europe, but it is a hidden gem and is fast becoming an up and coming destination for the forward thinking traveller. Ljubliana in particular is one of the smaller cities with just over two million residents, and although overlooked it is gorgeous and will pay dividends if you visit.

The city has so much to offer, whether its historic houses that draw your attention or verdant mountains; tiny caverns or calm lakes are on offer as natural sights from the area. It has always sat on the edge of the German empire until it became part of the former Yugoslavia, and then broke out to be Slovenia.

It hasn't got major attractions, yet it is a perfect destination of you want to walk along the river, people watch in the cafes dotted along the streets and take your time in a calm location.

Ljubliana has a Viennese feel to it; art deco architecture is what you will be most likely to see and you won't be disappointed if you visit the riverfront market at the weekend. A plethora of sellers, whether it is fishmongers or grocers, or people selling their nic naks line the street and you can pick p all sorts of fresh produce for a great price.

If you want to escape Ljubliana then take a trip out of the Karst region where you can walk through caves and tour the intricate maze of underground caverns. The final one is like something out of a film as the water crashes below you, and you take the trip over the footbridge that keeps you safe.

You can also take a trip to Lake Bled for some beautiful calm and ride a boat across to the little church at the top of the island it is nothing if not picturesque and calming.

If you are looking to travel this summer then go online and Compare Travel Insurances to make sure you are getting a good deal and saving your pennies to spend on your holiday.

Lake Bled

Ljubljana City

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