Innsbruck, medieval city with sports mountain and disco igloo

The city of Innsbruck recalls mountains, as it is surrounded by the Austrian Alps. More than a quarter of the population are students and the town center preserves its medieval style. Despite being considered a ski resort, Innsbruck has many things to offer.

The most interesting point at the old town is the Golden roof from the XVI century and built in honor of King Maximiliam, who used to sit at the royal balcony to witness tournament and games. Strolling the historic old city you can notice many buildings with a rococo and Gothic architecture. On the street Marie Theresien can be seen the Arc of Triumph and the pillar of Santa Ana to celebrate the release of the city from Bavarian´s hands.

Innsbruck (Austria)

Golden Roof

The River Inn 517 Kilometers long passes through the Tyrolean city. In fact the city Innsbruck means bridge over river Inn. Worth a walk by the river and watch the beautiful contrasts between the mountains and the colorful houses.

Innsbruck (Austria)

Bridge over River Inn

The Patscherkof Mountain is situated at 2264 meters offering the best views over the city, you can access by a cable car. At the south is located the Bergisel sky jump, a modern architectural landmark of Innsbruck. The Bergisel hill has hosted two winter Olympic Games, the papal visit in 1998 and numerous Austrian ski competitions. Tourists also visit Bergisel to enjoy mountain views (Nordkette, Patscherkofel, Serles, Hehe Munde, etc).

Innsbruck (Austria)

Innsbruck view from Mountain Patscherkof

For beginners skiers like my case, I recommend the ski resort Muttereralm, half an hour from the city by public transport. This resort has easy slopes for those less experienced, who want to improve their skills as the slopes are quite wide and not too demanding. At the hut restaurants the portions are very generous, so meals can be share for two people.

Innsbruck (Austria)

Ski Resort Muttereralm

Innsbruck even offers the possibility of skiing at night in some of its resorts. But the most interesting thing is that you can even party at a disco igloo in the mountains. You only have to take a cable car to arrive there, get warm clothes and enjoy a disco party at Cloud 9, name of the disco. You can also enjoy the night views of Innsbruck. The igloo parties start around 8pm and finish before midnight with the last departure time cable car.

Innsbruck (Austria)

Igloo disco

Innsbruck (Austria)

Party inside igloo

Whether you live in Austria or you are on vacation in this country, the best and more comfortable option to arrive to the city of Innsbruck is by using the high speed ÖBB trains. The Austrian ÖBB trains connect the 476 km between Vienna and Innsbruck in less than 4 hours. During the trip the train only stops at the main cities and the price starts at €29 if you book in advance.

Innsbruck (Austria)

High Speed train ÖBB

Dublin home to Guinness and the book of Kells

The Irish capital of Dublin offers a variety of plans for its visitors. Founded by Vikings in the ninth century, Dublin combined its Gaelic traditions with the needs of the present. Many of the city´s signs are still in Gaelic language. Literature, history, traditions, monuments, buildings and green areas are some of Dublin´s attractions. The only inconvenient is the cloudy and rainy weather during winter and autumn.

The O’Connell Street is the lung of the city and stretches over O´ Connell Bridge near River Liffey. The wider avenue is always crowded. There you can see some interesting things: The Spire, 120 meter tall and erected in 2003, the Central Post Office symbolizing the first Irish Republic in 1916, and the bronze statue of poet James Joyce with his hat and umbrella.

Dublin (Ireland)

River Liffey

Strolling over O´ Connell Bridge, you will reach Graffon Street, the main shopping area. Musicians and singers enliven the street which is home to the sculpture of Molly Malone, a woman who sold fish in the morning and her body at night. At the end of Graffon Street, we can walk St Stephens Green, a Victorian layout park with more than 9 hectares. This rectangular green area includes a beautiful pond inhabited by swans and seagulls, surrounded by wooded areas and the use of Pulham rock to recreate landscapes. The park has many figures of Irish characters and many of the plants have inscriptions in Braille for the blind people.

Dublin (Ireland)

Leprechaun, an Irish symbol

The hop on-hop off Dublin bus is the most convenient option to reach the more remote attractions like Guinness Storehouse. The seven storey building contains different themes: the brewing process of Guinness based on water, barely, hops and yeast; machinery used in the past as the mills, roasters, and giant wooden barrels; the storey where the Guinness distribution is explained and another storey dedicated to Guinness advertising and marketing. On the last floor you can learn how to pull your own Guinness and going up to the gravity bar and enjoy Dublin´s view.

Trinity College is a must see attraction of Dublin. Founded in the sixteenth century by the Queen Elizabeth II, it is the oldest University in Ireland. You can walk the surroundings of the campus but you need to pay to access the old Library and probably face longer waiting times. The Old Library is worth visiting as it offers visitors to see the Book of Kell, a ninth century gospel. Although you can only see a few pages of the book there is a multimedia gallery explaining which materials were used in that time. The 65 meters long chamber is amazing with its ancient wooden shelves, alcoves and arched ceiling. This longest room houses more than 200, 000 of old Trinity books and the oldest harp in Ireland.

Dublin (Ireland)

Trinity College

After leaving Trinity College take the Lord Edward Street and you will arrive at Dublin Castle. The building was used as a fortress and a residential palace, but today it is used for Ireland receptions. I highlight the royal chapel and some of its luxurious rooms like San Patricio and the ballrooms. The Castle maintains neo-Gothic architecture. Very close is the Christchurch cathedral, which has a peculiar bridge that connects it with the Vikings museum Dublinia. Even if you do not believe in God, I totally recommend you to enter in order to see a twelfth century crypt which is still in a very good state.

Dublin (Ireland)

Dublin Castle

I cannot end this post without mentioning Temple Bar, a quarter full of bars and pubs offering traditional Irish music and a lot of fun. The area is not only about drinking and parties; there are many cultural galleries and alternative shops there as well. During the morning, there are stands where food and books are sold.

Here you have a gallery of pictures about Dublin and a video. Enjoy

Your tourist route for London

Visiting London is finding too many choices about what to see. It does not matter if you stay many or few fays days in the British capital because you feel that your trip will be short. Another inconvenient are getting to places and queuing at the attractions.

I recommend you to start at Tower of London, the most beautiful fortress in England. It used to serve as a royal palace, prison and even as a zoo. The Tower of London is home to the Crown Jewels, which displays an amazing collection of diamonds still used by the Queen. There is also the White Tower, where is displayed different exhibitions about royal artifacts.

Looking at the Thames River we can see the Tower Bridge, which used to be raised by using a steamed mechanism machine until the end of the 70s. The bridge was built with a Victorian Gothic style to be in harmony with the Tower of London. Inside there is an exhibition museum featuring the steam machine to raise the bridge.

London (UK)

Tower Bridge

Buckingham Palace only can be visited when the Queen goes on holidays to Scotland during August and September. However, you can see the change of guard daily at 11:30am from April to July on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. After this show that lasts about 40 minutes, you can walk to Trafalgar Square, where thousands of tourists pass. There you can get into National Gallery museum or keep walking to Down Street number 10, where there is a large black iron fences surrounding the whole building residence. Here you are just near to the Prime Minister house.

London (UK)

National Gallery

Staying at central London we cannot miss Hyde Park, one of the prettiest gardens in London. Its 142 hectares has a lot to offer to the public like swimming, boating, cycling and skating. There are pitches team games, tracks for horse riding, and a spectacular children´s playground. If you are out and about on Sundays do not miss at the Speaking corners the orators sharing their particular opinions about the world.

Let´s go to markets and we begin in Brick Lane. The area has an ethnic community very diverse and offers many art and fashion galleries that goes against the vanguards. The best day to visit Brick Lane market is on Sunday, when the streets are lined with people selling their second-hand goods. Moreover, there are a lot of stands of international food, music and parties at the street. At Brick Lane you can find many curry restaurants as it the hub of London´s Bangladeshi community.

We move to Camden market the most known in London and the busiest, especially on weekends. There are lot of shops offering fashion, crafts, and foods from every corner in the world. Whatever thing that you are looking for is in Camden market. You can be taken aback by the giant signs that many shops use to call your attention like big dragons, boats, shoes or even piercings. Walking around Camden market can be tiring because it is a huge market and there are many signs to be processed by your brain. So take it easy.

London (UK)

Camden Market

London has many things to offer and you will not have time to see everything from this cosmopolitan city. Do not stress. Here you have a video an a gallery of photos, enjoy.

Learning artisanal craft in Vejer

Walking around Vejer de la Frontera (Spain) is travelling back to the past. This white village lies on the top of a hill surrounded by pine trees. White washed houses with its Arab-Andalusian architecture, cobbled streets, and secret corners are the main features of Vejer. You can see in some of the houses the typical Andalusian patio community that is share between the neighbours. Many patios have a disused dwell and a lot of lovely flowerpots.

Andalucia Travel Dreams: Bolonia & Vejer De La Frontera

Patio Andaluz (Foto de http://www.Creativelena.com)

My first creative appointment leads me to Carmen Sánchez´ house. This lady from Madrid has moved to Vejer a long time ago looking for peace and quiet. She has two looms in the ground floor, where there are all the resources she needs to create her artisanal products.

Andalucia Travel Dreams: Bolonia & Vejer De La Frontera

Carmen tensing the loom. (Foto de http://www.creativelena.com)

We start setting up the loom, this process takes time and you need to be patient because you have to insert the warp into each of the slots. Once this process is done, we secure the back beam on the loom with string loops. Using the weaving stick on the loom, you can practise different techniques obtaining the patterns for you design. This is the part where you develop you creativity. Carmen sells her products in a coquette shop El Telar de Vejer, located opposite to the church in Vejer.

Andalucia Travel Dreams: Bolonia & Vejer De La Frontera

Juani Marchán at the back of the basket shop. (Foto de http://www.creativelena.com)

My second meeting takes me to Trafalgar street, where is placed Cesteria Juani Marchán, an artisanal basketry and craft shop owned by Juani. This craft lady works with local palm and wicker like no other. Her shop is small but there are many objects that catch the eye of locals and tourists. At the back shop, Juani keeps working her artisanal products at the same time that she deals with the clients. She shows me basic techniques to make a basket. First you place 5 reeds parallel to each other, then you interweave with the other 5. Juani only uses her hands, wicker or palm and knife to make baskets, hats, bags and brooms.

Here is a video about this trip.