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Strasbourg: from the past to the future

Time to time I go to Strasbourg. The reason for my visits is business, but luckily I always have some free hours to discover something of the city. I saw the main attractions and the beauties of the city. There are of course some places that must be seen for a traveler. But also some less known places that are amazing. I spent there only a few days. Luckily I had enough time to see what I wanted and also to go a bit outside Strasbourg.

You maybe have already read my previous post about the curiosities of Strasbourg, meanwhile, in this article, I describe some of the attractions that I visited on my last trip. More I go there and more I fall in love with the capital of Alsace, really an amazing area in France, close to the German border.

 

 

The first step in Strasbourg: the island

From where to start a visit? The Grand Île (it means large island) is the historical center of the city and it is under Unesco Heritage. It has a particular atmosphere because the buildings and the streets are kept like in the past and it helps the visitor to jump in the past. There are beautiful buildings that remind the German style and many lovely bars and restaurants.

In the main square of the Grand Île, there is one of the main attractions of Strasbourg: the  Notre-Dame de Strasbourg cathedral, a marvelous example of Gothic architecture. There is no entrance fee, except for the platform to go up. Climbing the 332 stairs the visitors can arrive on the top to admire all the city. The sun must enjoy the panorama. The church has a large rose window on the main facade and there is also an astronomical clock: every day at 12.30 pm it turns to show the various ages of the life using the parade of apostles before Christ.

                                     A particular of the Cathedral’s facade

Walking in the area it is possible to see four medieval churches and St. Paul. Among the medieval churces. I liked very much  Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune because inside there are a lot of frescos realized in XIV century. That art is great and it is very interesting to go deep into religious history using the artistic representations of the ancient time. The religious buildings are not the only one to be seen.

The square that hosts the cathedral, called Gutenberg, is amazing, maybe not too big but with all impressive buildings from different ages, starting from the medieval age to XVIII century. The best idea to see the different constructions is to seat in one of the coffee shops present in the square and take a look with tranquility.

In the area, there are three interesting museums, all of them located in Palais Rohan: one dedicated to archeology, one to fine arts and the last one to decorative arts. They deserve a visit and you need not less than half a day if you want to see the collections. Moving through the prestigious palaces you can reach the most characteristic area, almost intact as it was when they built it.

                                                             Unesco Heritage

The French village in the city

Petite France (Little France) is a picturesque neighborhood of Strasbourg, where in the past the fishermen and the workers were living. It is close to the water and made by half-wooden houses well preserved and protected against humidity and water. A trip with the boat on the river is a good way to explore the city. You can pass from the old part os Strasbourg to the modern buildings, main occupied by EU institutions. It is almost like start the journey in the ancient time and arrive directly to a future era.

The element that I adore about the modern architecture in Strasbourg is the glass that offers great reflexes of the ancient buildings, of the water and the sky, especially during the sunset time. During the trip on the river, it is easy to catch the shape of the city and to see the location of the main attractions. I think the boat can be even the starting point of the trip, so from there you can decide what to see and when.

                                       In the Orangerie Park

Crossing bridges and walking in the park

Who loves the architecture can’t miss the covered bridges, built as part of the fortification to defend Strasbourg by the attacks and to guarantee the movements of the inhabitants inside the city. To find them you need to follow the river around Petite France. Some restaurants offer a great view of the river and its ancient bridges, so you can taste the local food and admire the architectural works.

To walk around nature there is the lovely Orangerie Park, there are many varieties of flowers and trees but many locals and tourists are going there to practice some sport before to start the day or just to keep themselves in form and playing together during some daybreak. It is quite big, so there is a lot of space to use without disturbing each other and find a space full of quiet in the middle of Strasbourg.

The park has some direct connections with the river, so it offers nice corners with a nice view. If you like to take special pictures of the river and mixing the nature and the buildings, the Orangerie is the perfect location, you will stay there for hours, maybe also to have a break during your tour and take some fresh air after a visit to the local museums.

                                       The European Parliament

Present and future

The modernity is represented by the European Union buildings. The main ones are three: the Parliament, the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights. The first one was built on a corner on the river where the boat tour finish. And it is full of glass there, so the sun and the sky are always visible on the palace windows. It is different from the typical architecture of Strasbourg, but this is the charm of these constructions.

I had the chance to be inside and what impressed me is the natural light that enters in corridors and different rooms. But also the luxury of the setting and the floral decorations that come from the top of the internal walls. The spaces are so big. But this is not related to my tour in Strasbourg.

                                             Inside the European Parliament

I still have to see many things, but I hope to do it in my next trips, as to go out from the city and to see the castles, there are some not far from Strasbourg. I suggest you also to go to Eguishem, a small village a few kilometers far from the city with half-timber houses full of flowers on the balconies. It is the only place outside the urban area that I visited.

                                             European Parliament hall

Plan the trip

Now it’s time to put Strasbourg on your agenda. Plan a trip there. You can find a mean of transport on the Infobus platform that offers the best deals.

If you want more tips and ideas check out the destinations section of the blog. Then subscribe to my newsletter to get updates. 

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New Year’s Eve destination

My dears, with my friends we finally decided the New Year’s Eve destination. After discussions and researches online, we came up with a common idea about the place. There are a lot of cool proposals around Europe, but we can’t obviously to join all of them. So, what to do? We agreed on the place. The reasons are different so I won’t list them here.

Now your question is becoming bigger: what is your New Year’s Eve destination? Well, I have to answer… We will go to Prague. I have already been there, but I am happy to go back to that superb city. Also, I was there for some work meetings and I didn’t have so much time to visit the attractions, neither to enjoy the city entertainment. What we will see during the party night?

The New Year’s Eve in Prague

Prague, in the Czech Republic, is surely one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and maybe in the world. Since the Middle Ages, it is considered a jewel of art and architecture. People call our New Year’s Eve destination “golden city” and also “city of hundred spires” or “the crown of the world”. It is located in the heart of Europe. What will they organize to celebrate the arrival of 2019?

It is full of small events around Prague, but we are interested in what will happen in Letná Gardens. There will be a traditional fireworks display and they will be visible on the river, from every bridge. This is not the only thing that we considered, also because fireworks are part of the party everywhere. Let’s see the plan to know better why Prague is our New Year’s Eve destination.

New Year’s Eve in Prague plan

It is possible to do river cruises (also if now the tickets are almost all sold out). There are boats for every taste, as the party one, the jazz one, and the panoramic. Unfortunately the boat with the dinner a la carte is already full. I have a friend in Prague who can help me with this. The New Year’s Eve on the river is something that I really like to do. It is something different. Around the city, performers will act with theatre and opera shows.

As midnight approaches the fireworks start. The river cruises, the restaurants, and the clubs already organized programs to allow guest to see the fireworks. Anyway, our decision was to choose the cruise. We can enjoy other people and meet locals and persons from other countries as well because the city is the New Year’s Eve destination for many travelers.

The cruise

Prague New Year’s Eve cruises are quite similar in terms of content. The tour requires about 5 hours and include obviously a scenic spot on the river. They give you a welcome drink and you can enjoy the buffet food, snacks, and music entertainment. Drink, chat, and dance are the keywords, to spend time with new people and of course with my friends.

It is also a good way to explore the city, or better to see it from a special point of view: the river. Going around you can see the main attractions and then make a plan for the visits. After the cruise, we will go maybe to some club, because all of them will have a fun party. The New Year’s Eve is an important moment to celebrate so I will try to enjoy it with my friends in Prague. I need your help, don’t forget it, because I have to define the accommodation: boutique hotel or luxury apartment? Stay tuned for my next post.

 

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Eve in Europe

The New Year’s Eve is getting closer and we need ideas. Till today I was thinking of a relaxing night with friends or something like that, but one of my friends proposed me to search for a short trip. Well, he literally asked me some last minute proposal. I am still not convinced to accept, but at least I want to help him. That is why I started my research online.

I love to travel so it is certainly not a big deal to prepare the luggage and to go abroad for a few days. But I travel often and maybe I can enjoy these holidays at home. Maybe just visiting friends around me. Anyway, I am not here to share my wish about the New Year’s Eve, but to tell you about my research and to ask you some ideas also.

New Year’s Eve trips

Generally, when I search online for some advice I have already a general idea, but not this time. So I have to combine the last minute proposal according to my (and the ones of my friends) interests. The New Year’s Eve offers are really a lot, also if many hotels, at least in Italy, seems fully booked. Amsterdam, Paris, London, Berlin and many other destinations in Europe.

Stay in Europe is better to not lose too much time in traveling. I decided to check the various events around the main cities. It can be funny to attend a concert. It is also better to see something innovative or exclusive. What to do? Where to go? These questions are in my mind all the time, but I need to win the challenge: find a good place for New Year’s Eve.

The events of New Year’s Eve

Rome, Milan, Turin, Naples will host big concerts, but Italy is not in our wish. We want to go out of our country. Then it is not a too crowdy place, but just some fun with new people. There are also proposals for a break in nature, mountains to see the snow and stay close to the fireplace. We need a last second travel offer for the New Year’s Eve.

A plane, a room and nothing more. This is what we are searching for. Of course, it has to be a good destination, where to have fun. Possibly a place where I have never been. Maybe this is too much for my friends. Reading the New Year’s Eve idea I get confused. What to do? Maybe you can help and maybe my friends will easily decide.

European cities and New Year’s Eve

The first proposal in Madrid, Spain: the capital appears as a must for party lovers. There are a lot of events, some places where to drink and dance and they have also a good cuisine. At midnight they eat, as the tradition says, a bunch of grapes. Then there is Madeira Islands in Portugal. There is a cruise ship that starts from Funchal and there are fireworks on the sea. In 2006 they were recognized by the Guinness World Records for the largest display of the fireworks in the world.

The New Year’s Eve is cool also in London, UK. The sky at midnight becomes a blaze of light and colors. They organized a big firework show. On 1st January there will be a parade with 8,500 performers from 20 different countries. In Berlin, Germany, at the Brandenburger Gate they will have more than two kilometers of fun stages for shows, party tents, light, and laser shows as well as a mass of food and drink stands. An amazing street party.

Other proposals

In Paris, France, the New Year’s Eve will have a magical setting with the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, the bridges. They offer a special festive menu: scallop céviche, duckling breast, Christmas Log. All accompanied by a live orchestra. Edinburgh, Scotland, host Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, one of the biggest world’s celebrations. It consists of a Torchlight Procession that will end with a fireworks show.

In Brussels, Belgium, they will play more than 60 DJs in 15 different New Year’s Eve parties around the city. The charming streets will become a big discotheque. They will play from rock’n’roll to hip-hop. Dubrovnik, Croatia, will be full of performers to entertain people, also with music. Then in Vienna, Austria, in the City Hall Square and in Prater there will be great events. The first one is a gala dinner with festive ball and opera. The second one is a concert with a hip club and sophisticated bar.

Among the proposals, there are many other cities as Prague and Stockholm, but I guess there is enough to choose. Also, research on Booking.com gave me some ideas. In fact, there are some hotel offers. Now we need only to prepare our credit card.

And you?

What will you do for your New Year’s Eve? Any ideas? Do you have some tips? What would you choose among the proposals that I found? Share your traditional party or just some curious way to celebrate. I will appreciate it a lot. You can just write in comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book a hotel in Asolo

Asolo is a quite popular destination for tourists and that is why to book a hotel can be a bit hard. The museums, the ancient buildings, and archeological finds are important attractions for travellers. But also the events can attract many people during the year. Then the place is quite close to Treviso and Venice, two marvelous Italian towns. This means that sometimes it can be fully booked. I want to share my experience, made twice in Asolo. I went there for some meetings and I wanted good accommodation, so I started to search among the offers.

The rates depend of course on the period. Because during some particular events and spring and summer generally, the prices are higher. In Asolo to book a hotel means to choose among different types of accommodations, included B&B, apartments, and farms. What to do? Before to go into the topic I think it is necessary to explain why this beautiful village is the perfect location for a holiday.

Asolo and the region

The area is full of history, monuments, and museums where to discover the region. Asolo it is close to the main cities and towns of Veneto. The place is far a few kilometers from the most popular mountains and it is full of amazing landscapes all around. Not only history but also art, architecture, and nature are the ingredients of the village and the surroundings. You can find a quiet place to walk in nature. The village offers you the accommodation you are searching for with the typical kindness dedicated to the tourists.

If you want to visit Venice you can easily go there. You only need half an hour by car. It is possible to use buses and trains to move, but I suggest to do it by car, it is faster. You are free to transfer when you want and you need less time than public transport. To sleep in Asolo costs less than Venice and it is quieter. These are the reasons why you can consider to stay in the village and to book a hotel there.

How to book a hotel

Asolo offers, as a tourism destination, a good variety of accommodations. There are five stars hotels to guest houses. I have been again in the same hotel, but how did I choose it? Well, I was searching for a comfortable room, close to the main square and at a good price. I like a luxury, so this influence my evaluation. When you travel for work reasons you want to sleep well and to receive the proper attention. That is why I check always luxury structures. My second criteria were related to the position. To sleep not far from Piazza Garibaldi it is a great opportunity to go to all the attractions on foot.

As I already mentioned the rates are lower than Venice, plus I add the quiet, almost impossible to be found in the city. I noticed that a five stars hotel can be quite cheap compared to other places in Veneto, but it offers a great experience. Also, I wanted a structure with a restaurant, because without a plan to out, when you are tired in the evening you can eat a few steps far from the room. I tried to check also other solutions, but most of them were not in the best position, except Hotel Duse, three stars and historical structure. I decided to book a hotel called Albergo al Sole.

Albergo al Sole

The five stars hotel is not the only one in Asolo, but it is 300 meters far from the main square. It offers a great view and it combines tradition and modernity. An old and historical building shows the tradition, also in room settings. Meanwhile, some furniture element and impeccable service are given a good experience. According to modern high standards. I already wrote in the past about this accommodation, but I want to add something more after my second visit.

The staff is friendly, they welcome the guest as people do in private houses. You feel at home, maybe also because the structure is quite small. The rooms are spacious, with a stylish setting that reminds the traditions of the past. But the equipment is modern and complete. You are in history with all the contemporary comforts. They also have a shop inside with exclusive products, as food and home design objects.

A shuttle service is available for guests. I suggest you to use the car also to explore the area. In case they provide you the permission to enter the traffic limited streets to reach the hotel and the car parking. Guests can also benefit from the luxury bikes of the hotel.

I took these pictures in September 2016.

The restaurant

Food is important in Italy and Asolo has great products. To taste the local cuisine you have to enjoy the restaurant La Terrazza. It is inside the Albergo al Sole. When you book a hotel, especially this one, you have the chance to find special offers including other services. I suggest you consider the dinner at La Terrazza. Recipes from Veneto and Mediterranean dishes are proposed according to the availability of seasonal ingredients. You can choose between fish and meat, both of them cooked with some innovation by the chef. In summer it is possible to use the terrace with a superb view of the village. They serve there also breakfast.

The food

The Emporio of the hotel has a very good oil, made a few kilometers out of Asolo. When you book a hotel in the village and you want to taste the local products Albergo al Sole can help you. I have one more tip for you about the local food. If you like to bring home some products or just to taste something while you are doing your tour, buy it from the shop.

In Via Browning, a few hundred meters from Piazza Garibaldi, there is Gastronomia Sgarbossa. A big shop with local products like oil, wines, cheese, and salami. There is a huge variety and it is an opportunity to taste the specialties. Book a hotel in Asolo will be your delicious idea.

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