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Castles and Copenhagen

Denmark-Sweden 2016


View Travelling the movies & Road Trip Denmark - Sweden 2016 on Stefmuts's travel map.

large_1297706_14766338256171.jpgVallø slotToday I have a list of castles I want to see, starting with Vallø slot. The castle is not open to the public but as I said before my interest is mainly the outside of the building (I call it a profession deformity) The building is in scaffolding (my luck) The architect and/or the client could not seem tochoose between round or square towers and so it has become one of each, I think it's both ugly and beatiful (now I can't seem to make up my mind)

On to Helsingør, Kronborg Slot. It is said that the people of the Swedish city Helsingborg (across the water) name the view on Kronborg as the cities biggest plus. Shakespeares Hamlet takes place here and it's an Unesco site.large_1297706_14766338591812.jpgKronborg - lighthouse towerAs I,m only planning to walk around it I paid parking fee for an hour, that turned out to be only just enough! You can walk all the way around on the outer fortress which takes away a bit of the view of the inside castle, maybe I should have taken more time and visit the inside as well but I'm on a strict schedule today. As the castle is situated on the water front it has a lighthouse on one of the towers, but as it's built in the same fashion as the other towers its not immediately stand out as being a lighthouse. It's a really nice combination of the robust fortress on the outside and the stylish castle on the inside.

As I said only just in time back at my car and on to Hillerød for Frederiksborg castle and its beautiful gardens. I arrive there at lunch time but on the map at the parking the 'you are here' dot is missing so I'm not really sure on which side I am.large_1297706_14766338648176.jpg Just start walking and after a bit I can see the castle appear in the distance. First I walk all the way to the castle, there Is a restaurant near the main building so I first go for something to eat and wil check out the gardens later. It's busy at the restaurant (Leonora) but I can get a table (for 4) and order a smørrebrød with fried herring with a soda named Hyldeblomstdrink, I asked for something like lemonade and the waitress suggested this very tasty drink. The smørrebrød was also very nice. Since I was taking up 4 spaces by myself and I saw people getting send away due to no more room, I offered to share my table with the next couple, the gesture was appreciated. After lunch I took my time in the gardens, they are really beautiful! And then off to Copenhagen [Copenhagen-travel-guide-921103].large_1297706_14766338814577.jpg

I already been to Copenhagen before but I couldn't remember more than having seen the little mermaid so I decided to just do it again while I'm in Denmark. Driving through the city (any city) is not my favorite thing, too much of everything all around, I was really happy to have a navigation system in my car, otherwhise I might have given up and turned around. I parked in a underground parking right in the citycenter. Expensive but I don't care today. I walk to Nyhavn but it's very very crowded, specially on the sunny side of the canal. From Nyhavn I walk to Kastellet, the fortification with the nice park. Since I'm close to the statue of the little mermaid I pay her a visit as well, I still think it's small but last time there were much more tourists at the spot. I walk past st. Alban's church and I take a look at Amalienborg to realize I've been here last time watching the change of guards. I forgot a lot of that last visit but hey, it was just a few hours in the city and the rest of the 5 days at Roskilde [Roskilde-travel-guide-922435] festival. Frederik's church is on my way back to the parking garage but I just take a quick picture and head back to the campsite.

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Posted by Stefmuts 23:42 Archived in Denmark Tagged city castle sightseeing Comments (3)

Exploring Taroudannt

Morocco 2015


View Morocco 2015 on Stefmuts's travel map.

large_1297706_14696432931810.jpgWe had a full day to go and explore Taroudannt for ourselves. I hooked up with four group members and we started walking to the famous city wall. It's actually really close to the hotel. We walk along the outside of the wall untill we get to the next gate. Here we can go up on the wall and we do except for Cynthia who still has problems with her knee and doesn't want to make it worse by going up the stairs. On top of the wall you have a nice view of the area, but it could have been nicer if there not was a sort of garbage dumpside nearby. We walked a bit, took some pictures of eachother to have proof we've been there and meanwile Cythia was sitting on a bench in the shade. We joined her for a bit and then we started walking in the old part of town. We just started walking, left turn, right turn, nowhere in particular.large_1297706_14696433636880.jpg we ended up in a residential area with the laundry outsideand the local children following us. We had some fun with them, took some pictures then we tried to send them home. They woudn't listen to us (I'm pretty sure they understood though) but some local guy helped us out by telling them to leave us alone and go home. Everything with a friendly smile though.

We walked until we reached another gate in the wall and went outside the old town again. Getting thirsty we looked out for a restaurant or bar. We came past Hotel Palais Salam, might have been a nice place to have a drink but it seems the personel is on strike because they didn't get paid for some time. They were having a break from demonstrating but left their banners at the entrance. We decided this might not be the right place at least not for now.

We walked on along the city wall untill yet another gate. Here a restaurant and it seemed to be open, turned out there was one guy looking after the place for the owner who already left town for the upcoming festival. Kitchen closed but drinks he could do. There was a huge language barrier but he tried his best to keep the conversation going and so did we.

This evening we had to go shopping for a lunch for tomorrow, due to the festival we won't be able to have lunch anywhere on the way to Essaouira [Essaouira-travel-guide-1079514]

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Posted by Stefmuts 04:14 Archived in Morocco Tagged culture ruins castle sightseeing Comments (0)

Dowth, Knowth & Newgrange

Ireland 2008


View Ireland on spec (2008) on Stefmuts's travel map.

large_1297706_14348108455769.jpgToday we start of with taking some pictures in Carlington, Abbey, tower , city gate, the Mint and near the harbour King Johns Castle. Then off to Monasterboice, a 5th century settlement where there are three high crosses and a round tower, Muiredach’s Cross should be specially beautiful. The route was more difficult, the route planner gave destination reached in the middle of the highway (?) but we did find the site. The round tower is roof-less and there are also ruins of two churches. Near the tower is the 6,5m high West high cross and in the centre of the cemetery the beautiful decorated Muiredach’s Cross, North high cross is tucked away in the back and less decorated.

Then off to Newgrange [Newgrange-travel-guide-1309872], another ‘must see’ on my list.large_1297706_14348113229302.jpgMonasterboice, West high crossIt’s Europe’s most famous megalithic Passage Tomb dated around 3200BC which makes it older than Stonehenge. On our way to Newgrange we see the Dowth tomb, my book says not accessible to visitors so we don’t stop there, doesn’t seem much to see anyway. Dowth was unprofessional excavated in 1847, which left a crater in the centre of the mound, we later learn that the site itself can be visited and only the passage chambers are not open for the public. At the Newgrange visitors centre there are also tours to Knowth, one of the other important sites besides Newgrange. We decide to take the Knowth tour and a good choise it was! A bus took us to the site where we were greeted by a guide. The guide had a whole lot of story to tell in too short a time, about how the site over the years has been occupied by the builders, the early Christians and the Normans who even had their settlement on the mound.large_1297706_14348113868488.jpg The funeral ritual according to the experts: only the bones were after the cremation interred in the tomb. The tomb itself we were not allowed in, but we could go inside the corridor a bit, and we could take some pictures there. The site consists of a large double tomb hall and several smaller passage graves around it. The large tomb has ornate stones all around and the finest specimens are placed at both entrances. These stones are 1/3 of all decorated stones found in Europe of this age, so a really special site. Unfortunately, after the tour there was not much time to roam around on our own.

To Newgrange again by bus. Here the ornate entrance of the passage tomb has been restored as the specialists think and calculated it must have once looked like. White quartz stone with rounded granite boulders.large_1297706_1434811371447.jpg At the entrance is a stone carved with a three spiral shape that is adopted by the archaeological service as its logo. You can visit inside the tomb, but no photos or video, so I put my camera away (I know myself)

Through the gate with its skylight through the narrow corridor to the burial chamber, here are three richly decorated niches, in the eastern niche is a stone basin and the ceiling is decorated with spiral and zigzag shapes. In the days around December 21 (winter solstice) the sun shines in attendance about 17 minutes through the skylight on the northern wall of the recess. This was discovered in 1967, there were already stories about the midsummer solstice as at Stonehenge so they gathered around on June 21, but nothing happened. Then someone came up with the idea to come back on December 21.large_1297706_14348125139572.jpg

In the western niche again the three spiral shape, just like at the entrance and on the outside at the rear. To get an idea of what exactly happens at sunrise around December 21 they turned off the lights and when everyone is a little used to the dark sunrise is simulated by shining a light through the skylight. The real event must be a very special thing to experience, which is however only for a small select group of people. Each year there is a lottery held among people who want to experience it.

On the way out we can see the ornate stonework in the walls, upon entering your eyes are a little less habituated to the dim light and you don't see them. Back outside my camera clicked just in front of the entrance ... I just can't help myself!

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Posted by Stefmuts 04:23 Archived in Ireland Tagged landscapes castle megalithic high_cross Comments (0)

Nothern Ireland in one day

Ireland 2008


View Ireland on spec (2008) on Stefmuts's travel map.

large_1297706_1434574371948.jpgToday we make the crossing to Northern Ireland, starting with Derry. Derry is a walled city and actually that’s it, the wall and it’s gates are nice but not much else to see so we continue on to the Causeway coastal route. In Downhill water falling from the mountain and you can see the Mussenden Temple on the rock, and we stopped at Downhill castle (not more than a ruin) and the walled garden. At the village of Portrush [Portrush-travel-guide-1258225] there are the ‘white rocks’, cliffs that are not spectacularly high, but have a distinctive white color.

A little further on Dunluce castle, which is built so close to the edge of the cliff that pieces of it already disappeared into the sea below, and even now with the restoration of the castle sometimes bits disappear.large_1297706_1434574409477.jpg In 1639 Duchess Catherine Manners got the shock of her life when a part of the kitchen collapsed and disappeared with staff and all in the waves, she then left Dunluce and refused to ever return, ultimately on the mainland a new castle was built for her.

Then off to Giant’s Causeway, parking the car at the visitor center and then taking the shuttle bus down. This was the main thing I wanted to see in Northern Ireland.The Causeway is composed of basalt columns that run into the sea, creating a sort of alien landscape. Legends tell of a giant named Finn MacCool that would have built the causeway as a bridge to the Scottish island of Staffa (there is a similar basalt landscape) to visit his beloved. In the cliff walls you can also see the basalt columns, including the so-called organ.large_1297706_14345744196326.jpg

We walked the path along the coast until the point the path was closed, you could see why it was closed, a bit further on the path was gone completely. A sign was placed to explain why the path was closed (!) and a map showing low hazard, green(ish), moderate hazard, yellow, high hazard , orange and very high hazard, red. The sign was placed on a spot coloured orange on the map (!!!) We walked back and spent some time on the rocks leading into the sea. Since there was more in the area we wanted to see we took the bus back up instead of walking the part.

Next on the list: Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, not for people with vertigo! It wobbles and squeaks. The island it leads to is only for a small part accessible so after taking a few pictures it’s back to the car.

We actually planned two days in Northern Ireland but we already been to our must sees so we decide to cross the border again and find a B&B in the Euro part. We found a nice one in Carlingford. We had dinner in the local pub and had a beer after. A really drunk guy was talking to me (hey blondie) but I couldn’t understand a thing he was saying. His mate was laughing his head off though. But I think he couldn’t understand the gibberish either.

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Posted by Stefmuts 04:20 Archived in Northern Ireland Tagged landscapes castle natural_wonder giants_causeway Comments (0)

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