Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts

Friday, August 15, 2014

Highgrove Estate: Country home of Prince Charles

August 15, 2014 0

Oh, can't wait to be on the road again for another getaway! 

But no travel plan at the moment, still fixing a schedule with some friends to visit Puerto Galera, a picturesque island in Oriental Mindoro, hopefully this coming September.

While waiting for another road trip, I will just update this blog with some of the world's most enthralling holiday destinations!

After featuring the splendid natural wonder of Niagara Falls (special thanks to my friend, Arman Esmas, for the photos I featured), magnificent countryside of the New England States and the fascinating surroundings of South Carolina, it's time to move back to my obsession, Europe! And be amazed with its charming landmarks and countryside gems!

Before embarking elsewhere in the continent, let's drop by at the vibrant British Isles and wander around and yeah, what could be more magical than visit the royal abode of the future British King, Prince Charles?

If you are a nature lover and adored the countryside life, you will surely admire the Prince's spectacular country home, the Highgrove Estate.




One of England's most innovative and beautiful farm properties, Highgrove offers a modern-day living in the countryside under the comfort of nature. It has a very relaxing atmosphere of wild trees, lush greenery, flowers of different varieties, meadows, organic vegetable farm and fruit orchard.

So if you're thinking of embarking into an ultimate nature getaway in England with a dash of royalty, choose Highgrove Estate.

Let's visit Highgrove!

And have a taste of grandeur and royal charm at the sprawling country home of the Prince of Wales.

I've been planning to write a feature story about this beautiful countryside residence of His Royal Highness for my Royal Blog but never got a chance to do it until I decided to just publish the entry here in my travel site.
King-in-waiting: His Royal Highness, Charles, the Prince of Wales
An environmentalist and a keen gardener, the Prince is a great advocate 
of nature, organic farming and modern-day architecture. 
He loves the country life and would spend most of his leisure time in his beautiful gardens at Highgrove Estate 
Photo image credits: The Telegraph UK

The Prince of Wales is a great advocate of organic farming and countryside life. A nature lover and a keen gardener, he had personally supervised the development of this estate since 1981 and its transformation from a tousled barn to one of the most amazing working farms and innovative gardens in the United Kingdom.

High Grove Estate was purchased by Prince Charles in 1980, a year before he married Lady Diana Spencer. It's basically a private home of the Prince of Wales and not part of the crown properties. He purchased this property from his Duchy of Cornwall income which supports the activities and personal needs of the Heir-apparent.

The elegant three-storey Highgrove mansion of HRH Prince Charles
within the Highgrove Estate in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England

High Grove Estate is located in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England and has been the Prince's country home since 1981. Over the years, the Prince cultivated and transformed the estate into one of Great Britain's most spectacular countryside wonders with elaborate gardens and highly innovative organic farms, meadows and fruit orchards.

Every corner of the estate truly describes who the Prince of Wales in private. He is basically a nature lover, he loves the countryside life and has been a great advocate of organic farming, agriculture, gardening and fine architecture. It's a mixture of the natural beauty of the wilderness and a comfort of life in the countryside. Highgrove Estate truly represents environmental sustainability.

Within the estate is a beautiful three-storey Victorian mansion surrounded with a beautiful landscape of flowers, wild trees, verdant plants and a manicured lawn. Highgrove Estate has organic farm that produced vegetables, fruits and dairy products, wild flower meadows and an elaborate tree house which the Prince commissioned to be built during the boyhood of his two sons, William and Harry.

Taking care of the environment is the primary focus of Prince Charles at this country home. Waste management is fully implemented with a specially built reed bed sewage system that is used for all Highgrove's waste. Cans and bottles are recycled, kitchen waste goes through the composting system.

Bed of flowers at Highgrove
Highgrove wild flower meadow

All images featured here are from the Highgrove Gardens website



And while this is a private home of the King-in-waiting, the good news is that, the gardens are open to the public! Visitors have a chance to enjoy, discover and learn more about Prince Charles's life in the countryside. The gardens can be visited any days in a week from 9:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon through its guided Garden tour packages. 

Each season, Highgrove tours offer a magical experience of visiting and wandering around the elaborate gardens with a royal feel. The experienced tour guides of the Prince will take visitors to the history of the estate and the gardens and will have a chance to experience what it feels like to be in the royal private home. This is the closest way of knowing the other side of the future British King. 

The estate has a souvenir's shop for visitors to take home some of the best mementos of the estate. The income generated from these tours are given to different charitable institutions supported by the Prince. So when visiting Highgrove, you are not only experiencing the royal grandeur and the beauty of nature but you are also contributing something worthwhile to people in needs through the Prince's charity works.

Here are the choices of the tour packages at Highgrove:

The Garden packages:

A. Champagne Tea Tours - A small group of just 16 persons.
Ticket: 75 pounds for individual, 145 pounds for pair.
Time schedule: Mon to Sun 9AM to 5PM 
  • Walk around the magnificent and elaborate gardens of the estate.
  • Experience the unique garden style of Prince Charles.
  • Have an afternoon tea at the Orchard restaurant.
Click here to read more details and buy the ticket for this tour.

B. Individual Garden Tours - A guided tour for a maximum of 25 individual visitors
Ticket: 24.50 pounds per person
Time schedule: Mon to Sun 9AM to 5PM 
  • Walk around the magnificent and elaborate gardens of the estate.
  • Visitors will see the abundance of Britain's most beautiful flora and fauna.
  • Light lunch and afternoon tea at the Orchard restaurant.
    C. Group Garden Tours - Maximum of 26 visitors per group and per visit
    Ticket: Ticket: 24.50 pounds per person
    Time schedule: Mon to Sun 9AM to 5PM 
    • Walk around the magnificent and elaborate gardens of the estate.
    • Visitors will see the abundance of Britain's most beautiful flora and fauna.
    • Light lunch and afternoon tea at the Orchard restaurant.
    Within the Estate, visitors will discover more awesome natural sceneries:
    • Organic Farm of the Prince of Wales
    • Kitchen Garden with a beautiful landscape of home grown vegetables, herbs, wild trees.
    • Orchard Restaurant offering teas, sandwiches, soups, organic vegetables, fruits, etc.
    • Iconic wild flower meadows (Highgrove and Transylvanian)
    • Tree house
    • Flowers of different varieties, lush plants
    • Fruit orchards
    • Fountains, rocks
    • Highgrove souvenir's shop
    Kitchen Garden
    This area of the estate is surrounded with seasoned organic vegetables, herbs and spices

    Afternoon Tea at the Orchard Restaurant in Highgrove Gardens
    Offering teas, sandwiches and fresh food varieties from the organic farm


    Visit the official website of Highgrove Estate HERE

    Sources:

    www.highgrovegardens.com
    www.princeofwales.gov.uk

    Sunday, June 22, 2014

    Cool Travel Destinations

    June 22, 2014 1
    Got these travel destination ideas from other "stumblers" while adding my sites in Stumble Upon. I love nature and I adored Europe so these suggested European holiday getaways are simply perfect!

    What made these destinations very interesting is its terrific location in the countryside, calm, quiet, and romantic with a vibrant scenery of greenlands, streams and valleys, a perfect diversion from the redundant beach resorts and luxurious amusement parks we regularly read in travel magazines and websites.

    So let's get to know more about these spectacular villages in Europe which are perfect holiday escapes but rarely mentioned in travel surveys and articles. 

    BIBURY, ENGLAND




    I love everything about Britain, from the afternoon tea tradition, beautiful countryside to castles and royalty, it's cool to explore the archipelago even just in my thoughts. 


    Bibury village in the Cotsworld Region, Southern England
    Image source: Stumble Upon

    I've been researching for quite sometime now how to travel to Britain (Great Britain is composed of three countries which are ancient in existence: England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland is not part of the geography of Britain but it constitutes the whole part of the United Kingdom, the official name of Great Britain) and read everything about its beautiful countryside, Northumbria, Grasmere, Cornwall, Gloucestershire and the Scottish Loch ness for instance, but I didn't know anything about Bibury! I read stuff about Cotswold, which is known as the area of outstanding natural beauty, and its breathtaking sea side but haven't heard anything about its villages.

    Okay, so here. According to the source, Bibury is a beautiful English village at the Cotswold region in Southern England. So lovely that by looking at the village's cobbled houses and pathways through photos you will be instantly entranced with its extraordinary beauty of nature!

    According to the image source, Bibury has relaxing lush meadows that serve as a natural backdrop to the ancient stone cottages with steep pitched roofs in the village. The most scenic area is the Arlington Row, a lane of sepia-hued cottages believed to be built around the 17th century and has been preserved up to the modern times.

    Oh I love Cotswold! This Southern England region is really fantastic and dreamy. The countryside and the beaches are captivating and I believed the Isle of Mull (correct me if I'm wrong) is part of this region.

    CONG, IRELAND

    Before going elsewhere in the continent, let's have another taste of wonder at England's nearest neighbour, Ireland. This might sounds strange as some globe-trotters never included this country in their list of favourite travel destinations, but did you know that Ireland, known as the emerald isle, is equally interesting as England? Or so I thought (I just read it in the book).


    Classic Victorian architecture of Ashford Castle in Cong, Ireland
    Image source: Stumble Upon

    I'm not quite familiar with Ireland, aside from its capital, Dublin, and the Giant Causeway, the only Irish village I know (through books) is Limerick. But Oh, there's one, Cong! What a name!! Never heard about it.

    Cong is a lovely village whose topography straddles between the County of Mayo and Galway dominated by vibrant meadows, lakes and lush plants, it has medieval cottages that survived up to the modern times. The most fascinating thing about this village is that it is home to Ashford Castle, a grand Victorian estate that has been converted to a luxurious hotel.

    Cong, Ireland might not be your ideal travel escape but with its amazing gift of nature and interesting culture, it's not bad to include this place when travelling to Ireland.

    REINE, NORWAY

    Known to the world as the Land of Midnight Sun, Norway is equally interesting as the rest of the countries in the Scandinavian peninsula. Its countryside is covered with fjords, streams, lakes, rugged terrain, rolling hills and beautiful blooms.
    Experience a snowy travel to Reine, Norway
    Image source: Stumble Upon

    Everyone knows Norway's capital is Oslo, but only few travellers are aware that the country has an extraordinary and lovely lakeside. Here, let's find out more about this lakeside sort of thing and discover Reine, one of Norway's wonderful villages which has a direct access to the Arctic circle.

    According to the source, Reine is located in the North of the Arctic circle, so expect to experience a terrible blizzard of ice during winter when visiting this place. Basically, Reine is a fishing village in the Lofoten archipelago which is shrouded by the breathtaking wilderness of Nordic!

    This village offers visitors an extraordinary experience of breathing the cool fresh air from the Norwegian sea and the amazing view of the summer midnight sun through its cottages and cabins which are directly facing the sea side.

    BLED, SLOVENIA

    Oh! Another unpopular European destination, you might thought. But no, Slovenia is as lovely as Austria and Germany.

    To make things easier for everyone to know Slovenia, here's a little background:

    This country is once part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, when this Kingdom was partitioned and thoroughly erased in the map of Europe, Slovenia for a time was annexed to Serbia until 1991 when it became an independent country. Now, this small nation is one of the most interesting places to visit in Central Europe. The country's capital is Lijublijana.

    It borders Italy, Austria and Croatia and what's interesting about the landscape of Slovenia is its ideal location near the Alps! So just imagine how romantic it is to visit Slovenia during winter or even Autumn.
    Bled is a small Alpine Town in Northern Slovenia cradled with lake, mountain and meadows
    Image source: Stumble Upon

    One of its amazing villages is Bled. The atmosphere is so relaxing because this small Alpine town is cradled by mountain hilltops, meadows and a lake whose glacial blue waters encircled the tiny island with a baroque church smack in the middle.

    While we never gone yet to Bled, Slovenia, we can easily picture out how everything runs when we travel to this place someday. After visiting the church and marvelling at its placid blue water, a quick mountain trekking is somewhat ideal and experience the soothing breeze while throwing glances to the panoramic view of the Alps. Picture-perfect isn't it?


    There you go, the amazing European villages we almost never know as these are rarely featured in the travel magazines and articles. Countryside travel is ideal especially if you want to discover the natural beauty of the country you are visiting and experience the stillness of the mother earth.



    Friday, February 7, 2014

    Ultimate Travel Dream: TUSCANY!

    February 07, 2014 0



    Each one of us has a unique travel dream.

    It could be just within our country of birth or abroad! This absorbing desire to go into an adventure once in a lifetime is part of everyone's curiosity what's on the other side of life. I am no exemption. I have this unique travel dream too!

    I always considered travelling as the most wonderful escape from clutters and pressure in life. To be able to visit the fantastic places I only read in books is such a huge accomplishment.  One of the most beautiful regions in the world I longed to see is the romantic region of TUSCANY in ITALY.

    Sounds super ambitious, but one of my fantasies in life really is to experience a relaxing TUSCAN HOLIDAY! It started as a fascination towards renaissance culture, history and arts that grew into an obsession of a grand European tour where Tuscany is the ultimate destination. 

    Tuscany is one of the regions in Italy on the central part and its capital is the artistic city of Florence. It is often dubbed as the world's greatest repository of art collections, from paintings to frescoes, sculptures and architectural masterpieces. Some of its famous cities are Florence, Sienna, Pisa and Chianti. With its interesting history, culture, food and romantic landscapes, Tuscany, for me, no doubt, is one of the best regions in Europe to explore for leisure, adventure and learning.


    The vineyard in Chianti, the wine producing region in Tuscany

    Tuscany is also known for its breezy scenery, spectacular beaches, breathtaking countryside and authentic Italian dishes. Its artistic legacy and influence on high culture made this historical region even more interesting especially among artists, scholars and researchers.

    Beautiful Tuscan beach!

    Four of Tuscany's most beautiful destinations I dreamed to explore:

    Florence - This is Tuscany's capital. Considered as the birthplace of the Renaissance period in Italy, it is highly popular due to its legendary artistic culture, so much so that it is consistently named one of the most beautiful cities in the world!

    Sienna - Famous for its medieval buildings, arts, museums and cuisine, Siena, no doubt, is one of Europe's lovely places. Its countryside is dominated with rolling hills, beautiful scenery and relaxing mountain paths. Some of the best attractions in Siena according to an Italian travel guide online are the following: Piazza del Campo, Palazzo Pubblico, Piazza del Duomo, Siena Cathedral and Torre del Mangia. Siena also offers unique Italian food and wine.

    Pisa - Home to one of the world's oldest universities, the University of Pisa. This Tuscan city houses some of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy including the Square of Miracles known in Italy as Piazza del Miracoli. 
    Piazza del Duomo where the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is located

    Square of Miracles is where the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is located, it is a bell tower of the Cathedral located within the ground of Piazza del Duomo. The baptistery located within the cathedral is considered one of the largest baptisteries in Italy. Other must-see landmarks around the Square of Miracles are enchanting monuments, treasures and the famous Camposanto, an ancient monumental cemetery located north of the Square.

    Chianti - Located between the cities of Florence and Siena, Chianti is very famous for its stunning hills, vineyard, castles, medieval villages and churches. But most of all, this city is popularly known for producing the best wine varieties in the world. Delectable regional Italian food can be tasted in Chianti also and because of its close location to Siena and Florence, visitors can easily reach Chianti in just a short travel.

    There you go, the reasons why Tuscany is my ultimate travel dream!

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Tuscan Holiday. My Life's Greatest Dream

    November 07, 2011 0


    Everyone dreamed of embarking into a Tuscan holiday  and who would not be? It's probably one of life's greatest indulgences!

    It's one of my ultimate wishes in life too. Aside from Cornwall and Cotswold in England, St.Kilda in Scotland and Klosters in Switzerland, another European destination I am dreaming to visit someday is the region of Tuscany in Italy.

    Famous for its three romantic and artistic cities: Florence, Pisa and Sienna, Tuscany is home to several historical landmarks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and medieval castles. It is in this province that, well according to various sources, travelers can taste authentic, home-made Italian cuisines, pizzas and wines. I am not into pizza (I hate it) because I don't like the taste of crust bread so maybe I would just choose other traditional Tuscan foods like Pappardelle sulla lepre or Crespelle Crepes with Aperitif.

    I've been fascinated with Tuscany ever since I was a teenager because of its captivating countryside and enthralling landscapes and vineyards and this amusement was even intensified when I watched "Letters from Juliet" (which was entirely shot in Tuscany). 

    I also read the blog of Lisa Jobs, a Harvard communication graduate and eldest daughter of the late Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, where she described how wonderful and fulfilling to be in Tuscany and how she had hoped to live there. Oh God, me too!!

    Lisa, whom the PC unit -- Lisa of Apple Incorporated, was named (though Steve Jobs denied it at first :-D), wrote a beautiful line in the last paragraph of her blog about Tuscany: "Italy is where the soul went to find calm and love and I want to hold the best of it at the palm of my hand".

    The gorgeous countryside of Tuscany region

    Tuscany is one of the most popular regions in Europe among travelers because of its unique historical landmarks and romantic holiday locations where everyone can freely stroll around its countryside and coastline with a soothing feeling of being "at home". 

    Tuscany is home also to famous Italian geniuses like Galileo Galili and Leonardo Da Vinci. It is in this region where visitors can witness the rich artistic and renaissance culture of Italy. Tuscany's capital city is Florence, just three hours from Rome.

    South of Tuscany overlooking the Mediterranean sea

    Its fascinating villages, especially Sienna and Pisa, are just some of the favorite wedding and honeymoon destination choices among the rich and the famous. Aside from its romantic countryside, the region overlooked the fabulous Mediterranean sea with its gorgeous sparkling cobalt blue water beckoning below.

    Authentic Italian wines are famous in Tuscany because of its vast vineyards particularly in the  chianti countryside. Someday, I know, this wish will come true.


    According to a Tuscan holiday website, the best way to experience a relaxing holiday in Tuscany is to stay in a Villa with various choices from holiday farm houses to apartments and cottages. 

    Most of these villas are directly facing a scenic view of the countryside, villages and beaches with rich verdant flowers and lush plants cascading nearby.

    You may visit the Tuscan Holiday website for more details how to get there. Check this site
    -->

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Europe's Most Beautiful Sunsets

    August 12, 2011 1
    Email this to a friend
    Email


    An Escape to a Paradise!

    Here are some of the world's most spectacular holiday destinations where we can witness the most beautiful and romantic sunsets according to Beth Greenfield of Forbes Magazine. These two European villages are known for its legendary sunset viewing and romantic beaches.

    OIA, SANTORINI, GREECE
               
    Pronounced as "Ia", Oia seemingly belonged to the ancient world of Greece. It is a quiet village located in Santorini, a mystical island of Greece where many archaelogists believed it as the true "Atlantis" the lost continent. Oia is known in the world for its magnificent and spectacular sunset and picturesque surroundings. 

    Travelers will be treated to a beautiful and quiet countryside of Oia with narrow streets, blue house roofing, sunbathed verandas, cultural attractions like its maritime museum, art galleries, taverns, tourist shops and cafes.

    Oia is perched above a beautiful cliff where the sparkling cobalt water of the Mediterranean awaits below. The tranquil surrounding and the soft sea breezy air are enough to lure travellers to take a repeat visit to this amazing village in Greece. For more information how to get to Oia, visit THIS SITE


    IBIZA, SPAIN

    Definitely one of Europe's best holiday destinations among the rich and the famous because of its popular club party houses and romantic seaside, Ibiza is beautifully located along the Mediterranean Sea in Spain not far from the island of Mallorca. 

    Ibiza is being called the world's capital of electronic music because of several party clubbing houses. But beyond electronic music and clubbing lifestyle, Ibiza is also popular for its sun-kissed shorelines, gorgeous beaches and crystal blue water where sunset can be seen at its best.

    Night life is very lively at Ibiza that's why it is the favourite holiday destination among the upper class, Prince William, Prince Harry and Princess Caroline of Monaco's children are just some of the frequent visitors of Ibiza. Its cool cafes, restos and hotels will surely delight travelers.

    For more information how to visit Ibiza, visit this TRAVEL GUIDE SITE


    -->

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    A Royal Adventure to Cornwall

    November 20, 2010 0
    Cornwall has a famous association to the Duchy of Cornwall to which the annual income of the heir-apparent to the British throne is generated. His Royal Highness, Charles, the Prince of Wales, gets his annual income from this duchy, that's why the King-in-waiting is not included in the Civil List of the crown. 

    The Duchy of Cornwall, established by King Edward III of England in 1337 for his son, Edward the Prince of Wales (often called the Black Prince, he died during the Hundred Years of War and the throne was passed to his son, Richard II), is a crown property and its income, since the 14th century, supported the daily activities and expenses of the heir-apparent.

    Rugged beach at Cornwal Photo source: www.guardian.co.uk. Photographed by Adrian Houston/Corbis

    Cornwall is one of the ceremonial counties in South West England with medieval remains of castles and palaces, most notably the Tintagel Castle, believed to be the birthplace of King Arthur, the legendary British King, then there's St. Michael's Mount, a fairytale castle perched atop in Mount Bay overlooking the coastal area of Penzane where visitors could gaze the warm sea below. This beautiful English county is known for its rugged coastline and beaches. Sailing and surfing are the popular water sports in Cornwall

     The ruins of Tintagel Castle at Cornwall, said to be the birthplace of King Arthur, the legendary British King. Image from www.english-heritage.org.uk
    St. Michael's Mount. Image from www.penwith.co.uk

    Cornish beaches such as Bude and Newquay are some of the major surfing destinations in the British Isles. Cornwall is one of the sunniest areas in England making it an ideal place to visit even during winter season as the temperature would not go down below 11 degrees Centigrade. For people who find surfing as life’s most wonderful beach adventure, Cornwall is a terrific place to visit. 

    Cornwall has a spectacular countryside, where taking a leisure walk along its breezy road with trees and plants can be a soothing adventure. There's a beautiful landmark in Cornwall called The Eden Project, one of the most magnificent tourist attractions in England, it is a world’s largest greenhouse with artificial biomes housing plants collected from other parts of the globe. 

    Eden Project Complex, created by Tim Smit, designed by architect Nicholas Grimshaw and Anthony Hunt and Associates (an engineering firm), is located at Kaolinite Pit near the town of St. Blazey and St. Austell.  It has adjoining domes that house plant species, tropical environment and Mediterranean environment.

    Going to Cornwall made easy through a railway transit, by air or by car to the south west region of England. Train leaves London Paddington railway station on a daily basis to Penzane, online ticket purchase is available at www.thetrainline.com. 

    If by air, flights are available from London Gatwick to Newquay, Cornwall. Overnight stay at Cornwall is not a problem since the place is offering terrific hotels and tourist lodge houses at reasonable prices. 


    Source:

    http://www.cornwallinfocus.co.uk/leisure/gettingtocornwall.php






    Sunday, October 31, 2010

    Fairytale Castles: Romantic Travel

    October 31, 2010 0
    Taking a leisure trip to the countryside is one of the most fulfilling ways to relax, much more if it is surrounded with romantic castles we only read in fairytale books. As the old adage goes "fairytale do come true", it is indeed magical to visit these amazing castles once in a lifetime.

    Two of the most frequently visited royal structures in the world are Windsor Castle in England and Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Known for its grandeur, charm, mystic, gothic architecture and romantic ancient history, these two castles attracted tourists annually.

    WINDSOR CASTLE


    Windsor Castle echoes a vivid past with a touch of mystic and romance, so much so that Diarist, Samuel Pepys dubbed it as the most romantic castle in the world. it was at Windsor that Queen Victoria retired in seclusion, mourning for forty years the death of her beloved husband, Prince Albert, it was also at Windsor where the present Queen, Elizabeth II, discovered how much she loved the dashing Greek Prince who would become her husband in 1947. 

    The castle is the ultimate symbol of Great Britain and the focal point of the British Monarchy. It is the favorite royal residence of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and the seat of court during New Year and Royal Ascot Party in June. It is  the oldest inhabited castle in the world dated back from the Norman conquests in the 12th century. When the Duke of Normandy, William, defeated the last Anglo-Saxon King, Harold II, in the famous Battle of Hasting, he became England's King and crowned as William I, he then chose Windsor Castle as his official royal residence.

    Windsor Castle covers 13 acres, cloaked on the chalk cliff of Berkshire county above the placid Thames River. The castle had been remodeled and refurbished by many monarchs over the centuries. The most splendid renovation was done by King George IV. The King preferred to stay at Windsor than in London to avoid a wife he found intolerable and the subjects he could not understand. He ordered the grand renovation of the castle's several state apartments, turrents and labyrinths. 

    The Queen's chamber, originally built for Queen Catherine, wife of King Charles II, now a room where Queen Elizabeth II received her audience when visiting at Windsor. Image from www.royal-windsor.com

    During the English Civil War, where King Charles I (the second Stuart monarch) was beheaded through the order of military leader Oliver Cromwell, the royal family fled to France (Charles I's wife was Princess Henrietta Maria of France) and the castle became the prison site of the enemies of the Cromwellians. Ten years later, the monarchy was restored and Charles I's son ascended the throne as King Charles II, he started the extensive restoration of the castle replacing most of its ancient features with grand architectural designs. He also commissioned architects to design the "Long Walk" similar to the beautiful ground of the Palace of Versailles in France. Long Walk is a magnificent avenue of neatly-trimmed garden, trees and flowers, located on the southern part of the castle.
    The elaborate garden of the Long Walk. Image from www.destination360.com

    Best Attractions at Windsor: 
    Windsor Castle became very popular because of its glorious past, today the castle continues to mesmerize the public with its unique background of fairytale and legend, often visited by travelers whole year round, the castle is open to the public when the Queen is not in residence, booking can be arranged ahead of the tour.

    Windsor Castle, with all its romantic splendor, offers one of the best traveling experiences in Britain. It has a breathtaking view of the countryside with lush green plants covering the area. It has two working farms, a chapel, a souvenir's shop, a private residence called "Frogmore", originally bought by King George III for his unmarried daughter, Princess Augusta, and several winding pathways.

    A guided tour will bring you to the imposing ground of the castle with a beautiful landscape of trimmed plants, flowers and park benches, visitors will also witness the ancient ritual of changing of the guards, then take a leisure walk around the elaborate avenue of the Long Walk, wandering around the breezy environment of the Windsor Great Park and a sneak view of the state apartments edifice and St. George Chapel. This site offers best packages for a magical Windsor tour www.trafalgar.com.

    NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE

    If there is one ancient fortress in the world, aside from Windsor Castle, that I am aching to visit, it is Neuschwanstein Castle. This spectacular royal structure offers a wonderful, lovely view of the wooded hills of the Bavarian region, the rocky Schwangau village and the placid lake surrounding the area. It is indeed a welcome respite, a perfect place to unwind and rethink about life!

    Experience the beautiful countryside scenery of the amazing fairytale castle of King Ludwig II

    The existence of Neuschwanstein Castle is as mystical as the existence of fairytale. Originally conceived through the illusion and fantasy of the King who was ruthlessly called by his ministers "the mad king", the castle stood imposing on the breezy ground of Schwangau in Bavaria region. 

    The King's excesses and uncommon fascination towards fairytale earned him the title "the Swan King", his pompous extravagance annoyed his ministers that he was declared insane and psychologically incapacitated to govern a Kingdom. He was forced to abdicate and held a prisoner. He was found dead with his psychiatrist one day through mysterious circumstances in a shallow water, about a knee level, a strikingly uncommon occurrence, since the King, according to history, was an excellent swimmer.

    Feel the romance of living happily ever after through Neuschwanstein Tour. Image from www.junksblogger.com

    King Ludwig II never married and just devoted his life ruling his Kingdom with dissatisfactions from his ministers. He was extremely fascinated with poet Richard Wagner's theater plays that he ordered his staff to imitate the costumes and characters of Wagner's theatrical performances. The King detested official gatherings and preferred a life of fantasy and would mostly confine in his private apartment in the castle. 

    The construction of Neuschwanstein Castle was one of his splendid illusions, the creation of the building horrified his ministers as he commissioned theater artists for the castle's design rather than architects. When the King died mysteriously, the construction was continued and financed by the government. When monarchy was abolished, the castle was converted into a museum and the government opened it to the public to generate income.

    Neuschwanstein became a popular holiday destination among travelers who are besotted with the castle's mysterious existence and King Ludwig's real story. It became a favorite location of Hollywood's fairytale movies. The castle of Sleeping Beauty in Disneyland is patterned after Neuschwanstein Castle.

    For more information about Europe's grandest castles, visit my CASTLE BLOG

    For online booking and complete details of a Neuschwanstein Castle tour, you may visit their site www.hohenschwangau.de (please choose the english page)

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    DREAMY GETAWAYS!

    September 23, 2010 0
    Greece in Europe enthralls international travelers, especially those who love beaches and romantic seaside, due to its numerous islands and lovely coast line. The country is blessed with spectacular beaches with sun-kissed shorelines, crystal blue water and breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea. It is also a country where tourists can step back in time and marvel at its beautiful Neoclassical architecture and several ruins. However, the major draw of Greece remains to be their beaches.

    The Mystical Beaches of GREECE!

    Greece boasts captivating beaches and historic villages. The mystical islands of  Santorini, Myconos, Crete, Piraeus are just some of the country's charming destinations. Voted by the Blue Flag Campaign (BFC) as the country with the second-highest number of clean and well-maintained beaches in the world, Greek islands accomplished the criteria of BFC which include water quality, environmental management safety and fabulous beach surroundings.

    Here are three of Greece's most gorgeous islands:

    1. CRETE

     Above Photo: Beach in the Greek Island of Crete

    2. MYKONOS

     The irresistible Greek Island of Mykonos believed to be the birthplace of 
    the Greek god of the Moon, Apollo.

    3. SANTORINI

    Aqua green water of the mystical island of Santorini, world archaeologists at one point released a study revealing Santorini as the real ATLANTIS, the legendary island which was mysteriously sank at the bottom of Atlantic Ocean.

    If you are outside Europe, traveling to these breathtaking dreamy Greek island destinations might be a real burden to your budget but with careful planning and determination everything is possible and you can make things happen. So why not take the first step now---save and save.

    Sponsor

    Our Online Booking Partners

    Agoda Badge

    Find Cheapest Deals

    Asian Transport Deal

    Powered by 12Go Asia system
    Booking.com