France is a popular destination for UK tourists, with some of the easiest cities to travel to being located in the north of the country. One that many people enjoy visiting is Calais and this coastal town and ferry port is a picturesque location. This means that anyone traveling there will find plenty of great photo opportunities. Beach...
The view from the top It’s a cliché for a reason. The top is the highest you can possibly go, and the view is always spectacular. This is why we climb mountains. And why we invented the airplane. And why we build skyscrapers and launch astronauts into space. We humans, we love the view from the top. The Rockies are light on skyscrapers The...
Nancy is a must for any art and architecture lovers as it has a wonderful collection of art nouveau buildings around the old town. It has long been recognised as a city of culture and academia and it was here that the famous glass designer Emile Galle established the “Ecole de Nancy” that flourished during the Art Nouveau period.
There are also many fine examples of buildings from the 18th century in Nancy, the oldest being the cathedral. There is also the Arch of Triumph and the Palace de la Carriere. Nancy also has some luscious green spaces, with the Jardin Botanique du Montet and the Jardin Dominique Alexandre Godron being two particularly fine examples.
Nancy is best explored on foot but with so many fascinating buildings to see it is essential that you wear comfortable footwear. You would be well advised to break in your footwear gradually – you can choose a pair of walking shoes and order them online at Cotswold Outdoors which has an extewnsive range of walking clothing, footwear and equipment.
Nancy’s cultural contributions can be found in the Musee de l’Ecole de Nancy, the Museum of Fine Arts of Nancy and the Lorraine History Museum. All have fine collections of work down the ages with the Musee de l’Ecole exhibiting a marvellous collection of the works of Galle, Louis Majorelle and the Daum brothers, they also have Renaissance paintings by Perugino, Tintoretto, the impressionists Manet and Monet and modern works by Picasso and Modigliani.
Art Nouveau in Nancy
Due to the overwhelming influence of the Ecole de Nancy and its designers the Art Nouveau curves and stylised flowers are to be found throughout the city. They appear in the facades of buildings, decorating shelves in shops, on lampposts and railings. Everywhere you look you will see the imprint of the art schools hand.
This gives Nancy a fairytale; playful feel to it and you can’t help but enjoy a simple walk around the town glimpsing the artistic flourishes at every turn. The Chambre du Commerce et Industrie in Rue Henri Poincare has marvellous Gruber stained glass windows and Majorelle ironwork. The Banque du Credit Lyonnias on Rue St Georges is equally as beguiling.
Even apartment blocks are elaborately decorated in the manner, with Lang House, Bergeret House and the France-Lanord Apartments particularly gorgeous examples. The interior of the Brasserie Excelsior is a wonderful explosion of Art Nouveau with glass, plaster and ironwork throughou
Along with the array of Art Nouveau attractions in Nancy there is also the baroque Stanislav Palace, with its pleasant gardens and fountains, the natural wonders of the Aquarium Museum.
I have laid foot in hilly cities before, but I have never once visited a location which seems as though it was crafted from the landscape itself. But if I were to pick one location where the buildings and the history should be so in tune with the rolling vistas which surround the town, I can think of few more suitable and few more seductive backdrops than the ground on which Edinburgh was built.
I had decided to book myself into a self-catered accommodation, to all the more easily take a taste of what the city had to offer. Every step I took further out into the city after arriving, I could feel the constant presence of one particular feature. Everywhere I went, I knew that the castle was there. Even when I could no longer see the shape, the silhouette of it rising up into the sky, I knew it was there. It ducked behind buildings and wrapped itself up in that gossamer mist which suits the city so well and it is impossible to think of the area without picturing this castle crowning the landscape.
Without any of the history, it would still be an architectural marvel and I can think of few buildings which so elegantly seem like an extension of the very ground on which they are built.
Rising up from the rock – once you are stood on the castle battlements – you open yourself up to the entirety of the scenery on offer. My eye was immediately drawn towards the sloped greenery of Arthur’s Seat. Beyond the cathedral spires, the rooftops and the chimneys, the natural power of the formation was described by Robert Louis Stevenson as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design”, and it is exactly that. An imposing, enticing view which watches over the city, offering a glimpse into the area before the city rose up. Whilst the castle might claim to be the heart of the city, Arthur’s Seat offers a breath-taking backdrop which only serves to emphasise the nature of the Scottish landscape from which the city was born.
From the tip of the city, I decided to go a little deeper. Walking through the Gothic fineries of Old Town, even this attempt to formalise and control the Scottish scenery is still unique. The buildings rise up, the roads slope down; the paving slabs meet the cobbled roads and every single piece feels like it would weather a thousand centuries. The enduring nature of the architecture is unlike the delicacy of Parisian design or the dilapidated finery of Rome’s empire-designed wonders. Instead, Old Town offers not only a chance to enjoy some of the finest shopping available in the city, but to bear witness to some of Edinburgh’s most finely designed buildings.
Prince’s Street Gardens
I finished my personal walk around the city with a stroll through the Prince’s Street Gardens. After the powerful and natural experience of the rest of the city, this was almost a silent moment. The cultivated craft of the landscaping contrasted with the rising might of the castle above. But there was a stillness and a calm beauty. At the same time, there was a similar sense of the Scottish landscape being echoed in the wildlife and the plants; this moment of serenity surrounded by the engrossing scenery of Scotland’s most striking city.
Many holidaymakers dream of going on a Caribbean cruise all of their lives but, for one reason or another, never quite get round to going on one. To make sure you don’t miss out on one of life’s great experiences, here are our top 10 reasons why you are guaranteed to adore every second you spend on a luxurious Caribbean cruise.
#1 – Weather
While obviously there is a degree of variation from island to island, one of the biggest attractions of going to the Caribbean is the excellent year round climate it enjoys. With many hours of beautiful sunshine per day, wonderful warmth from the sun above and cool breezes to take the edge of the heat, it truly is perfect in this regard.
#2 – Beaches
Spending relaxing, replenishing time on the beach is synonymous with having a fabulous holiday for a large number of holidaymakers. Here the Caribbean truly shines with an array of stunning beaches covering the whole region including Tobago, Trinidad and Cuba.
#3 – Friendly Service
Nothing irks more and takes the shine off an otherwise fantastic holiday than getting poor service at your resort and surrounding attractions. Fortunately in the Caribbean that won’t happen as the place is just so friendly and brimming with enthusiasm that you can’t help but feel welcome.
#4 – Incredible Cocktails
If you enjoy a cocktail, then the Caribbean will blow you away! It is renowned for its stunning cocktails made from incredibly delicious liqueurs and fresh fruit juices expertly mixed together.
#5 – Crystal Clear Waters
One of the major attractions of going on holiday to a Caribbean cruise is how stunningly beautiful the waters are that you will cruise along. There is hardly anywhere else on the planet to rival it.
#6 – Luxury On Offer
Sometimes in life it is time to stop settling and go for what you really want. After all, why not the best? There is incredible luxury on offer in the Caribbean, if you so wish. Luxury cruises on Azamara Club are an example of this with a mouthwatering itinerary and cruising experience that you’ll remember all your life.
#7 – Value
Although there may be a sizeable upfront cost for board and flights, once on a caribbean holiday you’ll often be pleasantly surprised at just how cheap most things actually are.
#8 – Music
The Caribbean is blessed with some of the best traditional music anywhere on the planet. One small warning: here is so much soul and happiness in it that you can’t help but dance to it at times!
#9 – Variety
In all senses, any Caribbean cruise will offer you as much variety as you could ever want. With so many unique islands with their own history, attractions and culture you will never be short of something new to see.
#10 – Wildlife
The Caribbean offers an array of wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else. From different species of whales and turtles along with amazing birdlife, it really is a pleasure to behold.
France is a popular destination for UK tourists, with some of the easiest cities to travel to being located in the north of the country. One that many people enjoy visiting is Calais and this coastal town and ferry port is a picturesque location. This means that anyone traveling there will find plenty of great photo opportunities.
Taking in the beachfront of Calais provides the chance to snap some great seaside pictures. The beach is around 1km from the Place D’Armes and is kept in pristine condition to make it a beautiful place to spend some time.
The Calais Lighthouse is also close by and climbing to the top of this will reveal some nice panoramas out over the English Channel, as well as a great view of the town. Other coastal locations that provide the chance for some impressive pictures include the Cap Blanc Gris and Cap Blanc Nez headlands.
The Town Hall is one of the most famous landmarks in Calais. It is a beautiful Flemish-style building that was constructed in the early 1900s. Its red exterior is a great backdrop for a photo, with the 75m high belfry and Rodin’s bronze sculpture of the Burghers of Calais being its stand-out features. It is possible to get to the top of the belfry for some impressive views out over the town. The 13th century watchtower is another of the town’s impressive landmarks. It is located in the Place D’Armes and on Wednesdays and Saturdays this area is transformed into a colourful open-air market.
Travel to Calais
Calais is one of the main destinations for UK travelers wishing to travel by ferry to France. Ships sail to the port on a daily basis from Dover and this is a relaxing way to make the journey. It also provides the chance to get some photographs of the French coastline and the attractions of Calais as the ferry comes in to dock. The Eurotunnel is an alternative for those that do not want to take the ferry to France. This runs train services from Folkestone to Calais all year round and is a quicker way to get to the town.
Once you arrive there are a host of places other than the beach and town centre to enjoy the sights and take some photographs. Some of the top attractions include the 13th century Eglise Notre Dame church, the Calais Citadel and grounds around it, and the Calais Theatre. However, these are just a few on the many sights that can be enjoyed on a walk around the town.
Calais is within easy traveling distance of the UK for a day trip or more. Those that visit this French coastal town are sure to have an enjoyable time and come back with some great photographs of a fun trip.
Gluepot Reserve – a Wonderland for Wildlife-spotters
Combining rare habitat, diverse wildlife and easy accessibility, the Gluepot Reserve in Southern Australia is a destination that deserves to be on the list of every wildlife enthusiast and international birdwatcher.
Natural History and Wildlife
Gluepot is considered one of Australia’s best and most important nature preserves. It is part of the largest area of intact mallee scrubland the country, and home to a huge diversity of birds and other animals, including a number or locally and nationally threatened species. The combination of large, uninterrupted habitat, scrubland, and old-growth trees creates homes for a wide variety of species. Much of the land was saved from burning when it was purchased from a local farmer in 1997. A complete history of the reserve can be found at www.gluepot.org.
Bird species of note include the black-eared miner, one of Australia’s most endangered birds, as well as the mallefowl and two species of parrot. Birdwatchers will find comprehensive information about the bird species found at Gluepot by visiting the site’s page at birdlife.org.au. A number of reptile species of note are also found here, including the bandy-bandy, a threatened species of snake, various species of geckos and legless lizards. Endangered frogs and unusual mammals, such as the short-beaked echidna and the pygmy possum, can be spotted here as well.
The Gluepot Reserve is relatively easy to get to, as it is accessible by a well-maintained dirt road from the town of Waikerie (about 170 km from Adelaide), and camping fees are reasonable. However, travel sites such as www.campingsouthaustralia.com warn that after heavy rains roads inside the park can become quite muddy. Mobile phone service is generally not available in the park, so keeping an eye on the weather is a good idea. Campers should also plan to be self-sufficient and bring plenty of water and supplies, including cooking fuel as wood fires are not permitted.
For the less adventurous, a guided tour such as those offered by www.ANZCRO.co.uk may be a better choice. Enjoy the beauty and diversity of this unique area without having to worry about supplies or weather conditions. In addition to it’s Australia tours, the company offers car and RV rentals for those who want to explore on their own.
Gluepot – a Great Place to Visit
In the relatively short time it has been around, Australia’s Gluepot Reserve has already gained an international reputation as a destination for birdwatchers, but it also offers so much more. Australia is known for its unique and fascinating wildlife, and the Gluepot Reserve is one of the best places in the country to see it for yourself.