Did you know: Spain

…that Spain has one of the highest degrees of liberty in the world as part of its LGBT rights?

…that the Constitutional Court of Spain is the highest judicial body with the power to determine the constitutionality of acts and statutes of the Spanish Government?

…that the Guardia de Asalto patrolled the countryside and rural areas of Spain throughout the time of the Second Spanish Republic?

…that that Cuerpo Nacional de Policía uniform was formerly brown, thus leading to their nickname of la madera/los maderos?

…that the Professional Association of Magistrates is one of three professional Spanish associations of judges and magistrates

…that the Spanish Constitution of 1978 documents the culmination of Spain to a transition of democracy?

…that one of the first major Nationalist victories in the Spanish Civil War occurred at the Battle of Badajoz (1936)?

…that that resulting effects of 2007 Iberian Peninsula earthquake were felt in Portugal and Morocco’s coastal cities?

…that Abdera was founded by the Carthaginians but became under Roman control after a period of declination.

…that the Spanish National Badminton Championships is a tournament organised Federación Española de Bádminton to crown the best badminton players in Spain?

…that Francisco Abreu won both the 1973 German Open and the 1976 Madrid Open?

…that the former mining railway which previously linked La Camocha to Veriña now operates as a La Camocha Greenway for hikers and cyclists?

…that the Canary Island Pine (pictured) cannot withstand low temperatures or hard frost?

Places to See Paris

Paris. The city of love. The Eiffel Tower. Arc de Triumph. The Louvre. Notre Dame…

There are many things to see in Paris where excited crowds gather, but what are some of the lesser known places to visit? Here are a couple that we LOVE!

If you love art, you will want to discover the recently renovated galleries of the Musée d’Orsay, located under the soaring roof of one of Paris’s grand old Beaux Art railway stations and home to the world’s largest collection of Impressionist masterpieces.

To relax, the manicured gardens of the Palais-Royal is a stunning setting for lunch, a cup of tea or just to relax. The former royal residence is now home to world-class perfumers, antiquaires and designer boutiques—including Marc Jacobs, Rick Owens, Stella McCartney, and Pierre Hardy.

And if shopping is your thing, the Marais is by far the best shopping neighborhood in Paris. Located in the historic 3rd and 4th arrondissements, the Marais’s ancient private mansions, museums, restaurants, the old Jewish quarter and the Place des Vosges make this an absolute must-see.

 

Did you know: Singapore

With just over five million people on the island, Singapore is the second most densely populated country in the world – yet more than 50% of the area is covered by parks and reserves.

Shopping is a great way to spend a day or two, or five, in Singapore. There are malls and markets, not to mention low taxes, and with most shops open from 10am til 10pm, you can’t go wrong.

For nature lovers, the Botanic Gardens will have you wandering through the rainforest and taking a walk amongst more than 1,000 orchid species and 2,000 hybrids. Founded in 1859 by a horticultural society as a leisure garden, in 1990 the gardens came under the management of the National Parks Board and saw a comprehensive improvement programme which helped to bring it to the forefront of botanical and horticultural activity.

Singapore is a great way to experience a range of cultures, through a simple tour of the region. Little India, Chinatown, Kampong Glam, Joo Chiat and Katong are just some of the areas where you will experience many forms of Chinese, Malay, Middle-Eastern, Indian and European influences.

One of the most notable attractions in Singapore is Sentosa, a separate island that has been transformed from a military fort, into a resort and theme park. Take the skyrail or monorail across from the mainland, and look out in wonder at the country from above. Visited by around five million people each year, Sentosa includes Fort Siloso, a 2 kilometre sheltered beach with restaurants and resorts, and Resorts World Sentosa, which includes Universal Studios theme park, a casino, and the world’s largest oceanarium. And if you’re after adventure, you won’t have any trouble finding activities, with everything from diving with sharks and mountain biking, to water-sports, go-karts and rock climbing.

50 Things You Need To Know About Italy

  1. Italy has three active volcanoes: Vesuvius, Etna, and Stromboli.
    2. Italy is often called the Bel Paese, which means beautiful country.
    3. Italy is home to the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites – more than 40.
    4. Italy has 20 regions and 6 islands.
    5. Italy speaks a national language, which was based on the Tuscan dialect, but each region still speaks its own dialect.
    6. The Vatican is a separate sovereign nation, its own country.
    7. Italy is slightly larger than Arizona.
    8. The thermometer is an Italian invention.
    9. The piano hails from Italy.
    10. With almost 40 million visitors, Italy is the fourth most visited country in the world.
    11. The average Italian consumes 26 gallons of wine a year.
    12. The typewriter is an Italian invention.
    13. Italy did not become a united country until 1861.
    14. The Italian Wolf is considered the national animal of Italy.
    15. Italy has over 3,000 museums.
    16. The national sport of Italy is soccer (known as football outside of America).
    17. Italy’s national dish is pasta.
    18. Napoleon spent his first exile on the Italian island of Elba.
    19. The vespa scooter was invented in Italy in 1946.
    20. Italy has the most hotel rooms of any European nation.
    21. Everyday 3,000€ gets tossed into the Trevi Fountain.
    22. Italy’s national flower is the Lily.
    23. Sixty percent of the world’s art treasures are in Italy.
    24. Opera was created in Italy.
    25. Bubonic Plague killed one-third of the Italian population in the 14th century.
    26. Italy has won the World Cup four times.
    27. The average consumption of pasta in Italy is 25 kg per person per year.
    28. The violin and the cello were both invented in Italy.
    29. Italian pizza originated in Naples during the 18th century.
    30. Italy holds the Guiness record for having the most elevators.
    31. The national bird of Italy is Bluebird.
    32. Italy is famous for its sports cars like Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Lamborghini.
    33. The oldest European university in continuous operation is the University of Bologna, founded in 1088.
    34. Italians invented optical eye glasses.
    35. Italy has been making wines for over 2800 years.
    36. The oldest film festival in the world, beginning in 1932, is the Venice Film Festival.
    37. Italy has more famous fashion designers than any other country.
    38. Many of Shakespeare’s plays were set in Italy, including Romeo and Juliet from Verona.
    39. Carabinieri uniforms are designed by Valentino.
    40. The highest point in Italy is Mont Blanc, in the alps at 15,770 feet.
    41. The longest river in Italy is the Po.
    42. Italy is the largest wine-producing country in the world.
    43. Italy has hosted the Olympic Games three times.
    44. The patron saint of Italy is Saint Francis of Assisi.
    45. The national Italian airline is called Alitalia.
    46. The largest white truffle in a half century weighing over 3 pounds,was unearthed near Pisa, Italy.
    47. Italy is home to some of the world’s greatest composers, like Vivaldi, Rossini, Verdi and Puccini.
    48. The espresso machine was invented in Italy.
    49. Venice has over 400 footbridges.
    50. The oldest olive tree in Italy, in Umbria is reportedly over 1700 yrs old.

Did You Know… About Greece

…that the Greco-Buddhist art is an artistic manifestation of Greco-Buddhism, a cultural syncretism between the Greek culture and Buddhism, which developed in Central Asia after the conquests of Alexander the Great?

…that the Rio-Antirio bridge between the Peloponnese and mainland Greece is the longest cable stayed-suspended deck in Europe?

…that the country’s highest mountain, Mount Olympus was said to be the home of the Greek Gods in ancient Greek religion?

…that the Olympic Games, originated in Greece 3000 years ago, and that the 1st games of the modern Olympics were held in Greece in 1896, as a revival of the Games?

5 Highlights of Greece

  1. Myrtos Beach – famous for the magical colours of the water, you will want to test them out yourself. The blue and turquoise colours of the sea are a stunning contrast against the bright white of the smooth marble pebbles that line the beach. It has been voted the best beach in Greece numerous times.
  2. Samaria Gorge – a 16km canyon where walking is extremely popular as you traverse through forests of ancient cypresses and pines, and cut between vertical cliffs through the mountains to emerge at Agia Roumeli, located on the Libyan sea.
  3. Santorini – a volcanic island in the Cyclades group of the Greek islands which is most famous for its views, sunsets, white-washed houses and its active volcano.
  4. Spinalonga Island – an arid and barren rocky islet with an interesting past! The island has served a number of purposes, the most distinct being that it was an “island of outcasts” where lepers were kept in isolation until 1957. The island forms a natural defence “mechanism” for Elounda harbour, and in 1579 the Venetians built a mighty fortress here on the ruins of an ancient acropolis. Take a walk around and enjoy.
  5. Crete – the largest of the Greek Islands is filled with activities and natural beauty. The locals are warm and friendly and in general, its a great place to holiday.

 

Great Photo Opps in Greece

  1. Meteora – Meteora means “suspended in the air” and this sight is well worth the visit when you’re camera happy. Located in central Greece, this is a collection of six monasteries (the first of which was founded in the 1300s) situated on top of several rock pillars.
  2. Filopappos Hill – opposite of the Acropolis, the hill is also known as the Hill of the Muses, since the myth says it used to be the home of the 9 muses. The hill is covered by pine trees and its top is only accessible by foot. Here you will find incredible panoramic views over Athens, the acropolis and the Saronic Gulf.
  3. Delos – The ancient Holy Island of Delos is a vast archaeological site and for many hundreds of years it was the religious centre of Greece. It was the centre of the circle of the Cyclades islands and the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis and as such, has much to offer in terms of capturing history.
  4. Oia – a small town and former community in the South Aegean and the highest village on Santorini island. At the pinnacle point of Oia you will find the ruined castle, the seat of the Argyri family under the Venetians, which serves as a lookout point with a stunning 360-degree view.
  5. Spetses – an island in the Saronic  Gulf is a world of its own outside the booming tourism areas, with horse drawn carriages taking visitors past neoclassical houses edged with bougainvillea, harbours with fishing boats, deserted beaches and cobbled streets.

5 of the Best Places To Visit In Spain

 

  1. Seville – located on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, Seville is teaming with culture and scenery. Visit here and experience the Andalucian way of life in its purest form.
  2. The Canary Islands – including (from largest to smallest): Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, La Graciosa, Alegranza, Isla de Lobos, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este and Roque del Oeste.
  3. The Sierra Nevada – a mountain range in the region of Andalucia, provinces of Granada and Almería in Spain. It is a popular tourist destination, as its high peaks make skiing possible in an area that is known for its warm temperatures and abundant sunshine.
  4. San Sebastian – one of the most famous tourist destinations in Spain. It is a coastal city and municipality located in the Basque Autonomous Community, 20 km from the French border.
  5. Valencia – founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC and is located on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea. With one of the largest historic centres in Spain, you will find an abundance of monuments, views and cultural attractions.