Lisbon, charming town


Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal nicknamed The City of Seven Hills. This city is unique in that it is the westernmost capital city inEurope and the only one on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world and the oldest in Western Europe, and the Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery are Unesco World Heritage Sites.

Other places to visit include the Monsanto Forest ParkCastle of Sao Jorge, Luis de Camoes SquareMonument to the Discoveries, and Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos.

There are also a number of museums worth visiting including Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga,the National Azulejo Museum, the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, and the Museu Nacional do Traje e da Moda,Museum of the Orient, the Museu do Teatro Romano, and the Lisbon City Museum.

The city, which sits on the mouth of the Tagus River, has a Mediterraneanclimate with warm winters and summers

The city is served by the Lisbon Portela Airport. A high speed rail network connects the city with other parts of Portugal while a tram network operates in the city.


Amsterdam, European waterway

Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands located in province of North HollandThe city enjoys an oceanic climate because of its proximity to the sea.

Among the main places to visit in Amsterdam are the Rijksmuseum which houses many of Rembrandt and Vermeer’s paintings; the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, the Anne Frank House, and the Amsterdam MuseumOther interesting sites include the city’s many canals, red light district and the cannabis coffee shops.

Amsterdam is famous for its cafes and one of the leading cafes is Getto. Getto is a burger bar which has each of its burgers named after a drag queen who performs there.

For restaurants that serve Dutch food there is Moeders. This restaurant serves classic Dutch food. The Haesje Claes offers pea soup, fish stew, and chicken livers while Loetje dishes up biefstek and friet.

Amsterdam is one of the most bike friendly cities in Europe and getting around on a bicycle is quite easy. It is possible to hire a bike using MacBike or City Bikes which both charge €10 per day. Getting around the city may also be done by tram.

The city is served by the Schipol International Airport with flights from other cities across Europe.


San Marino, mountain country


San Marino is an enclave microstate in Europe surrounded by the Italian peninsula. Its capital city is the city of San Marino and it has the smallest population of any country in the Council of Europe and it is the third smallest in Europe.

The country sits on the border of the Emilia Romagna and Marche regions of Italy and about 6 and a half miles from the Adriatic Sea.

San Marino has claimed to be the oldest sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world after being formed in September 301. The country is mainly mountainous as it sits in theApennines. There are no major bodies of water.

The enclave is host to one Unesco World Heritage Site – the “San Marino: Historic Centre and MountTitano.”  The climate is Mediterranean and has warm summers and cool winters.

San Marino has is much like that of Italy such as the piadina but it has a very well-known cake known as the Cake of the Three Towers which is a layered wafer cake covered with chocolate. There are also unique dishes and a small wine industry.

San Marino’s music tradition is long and rich. Among the bands from the country are Love Orchestra, a Gian Luca “Luke” Mazza new age music project.


Barbados, where the sea become blue

The island of Barbados is the easternmost of those of the Lesser Antilles with one coast on the Caribbean Sea and the other in the Atlantic OceanThe island is mostly flat with the high point being Mount Hillaby.

The capital city of Bridgetown is in the parish of Saint Michael. Other major towns include Holetown, Oistins, and Speightstown. A major proportion of Barbados is encircled by coral reefs while there are numerous limestone caves the most famous being Harrison’s Cave which is a major tourist attraction. Another is Welchman Hall Gully.

Barbados has two main seasons -wet and dry. June to November is wet with December to May dry. The island was colonised by the British and still has many English influences.

Cricket is the main sport with some major cricketing figures including Sir Garfield Sobers and Sir Frank Worrell hailing from the small island. One of the major events on the island is Crop Over which is similar to carnival.

The festival features musical competitions and other activities and local calypso and soca music. A king and queen are usually crowned.


The Grantley Adams International Airport is the main airport on the island.

Madrid, flavour of Spain

The capital of Spain, Madrid is the country’s largest city and is known as the greatest party location in Europe with fiestas and other events staged year- round.

Madrid is located on the Manzanares River and is the home of the monarch King Juan Carlos II.

Landmarks include the Royal Palace of Madrid and the Prado Museum, the famous Picasso painting Guernica sits in the Reina Sofia gallery, and the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas is Spain’s largest bull-fighting arena.

There are also a number of catholic churches while most of the city’s tourist attractions city in the old city and Ensanche.

The city’s nightlife is also a big drawing card with many tapas bars, cocktail bars, clubs, jazz lounges, and music venues and the all-important flamenco centres. Flamenco is the national dance of Spain.

The city enjoys a Mediterranean climate with cool to cold winters and warm to hot summers. Green areas are a highlight of the city which has the highest number of tree and green areas per inhabitant than any other city in Europe.

The city is served by the Madrid Barajas International Airport and there is also an international rail network and one of the largest metro networks in the world. 


Washington DC

While it is true that Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States, it is a nice place to visit for the average tourist in its own right.

The city is cool and with an easy road network is one of the nicest cities to walk around in with chic neighbourhoods, trendy restaurants, and an entire section dedicated to American history on the National Mall.

It is also walking or a metro rides distance from the nearby states of Maryland and Virginia which both donated land to help form the district, named in honour of President George Washington, in 1791.

The city is in a humid sub-tropical zone and has four seasons with hot summers and cold winters.

The city has a distinctly European feel which is not surprising since it was designed based on plans of the cities of Paris, Karlsruhe, Amsterdam, and Milan.

Six of the buildings listed in the top ten of the American Institute of Architects are in Washington D.C. These include the White House; the US Capitol; Thomas Jefferson Memorial; Lincoln Memorial, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Historic buildings in the city have a varied style built in Queen Anne, Chateauesque, Romanesque, and Victorian styles.

Georgetown, the Smithsonian Institute with the National Air and Space Museum are also must sees. Across the Potomac River in Virginia is Arlington Memorial cemetery where former presidents including JFK are buried.


Corfu, castle island


In the Ionian Sea sits the Greek island of Corfu. The birthplace of the Duke of Edinburgh, the whole island of Corfu is made almost entirely of limestone formations.

The island was heavily fortified against the Ottoman Empire and its capital city, also named Corfu, is enclosed by castles. It has been declared a Kastropolis or castle city by the Greek government. Among the islands sites is the Achilleion palace. The palace is famous for itsItalianate architecture and was after the Homeric hero Achilles.

The palace is is filled with paintings and statues of Achilles and depicts the scenes of the Trojan War. The historic Palaiokastritsa monastery on the west coast has beautiful coastal views of small, picturesque bays.

The Nymphes waterfalls in the north and the deserted 14th century village of Perithia high in the mountains near the highest peak of Mount Pantokrator are also worth seeing.

The foods of Corfu are similar to those of mainland Greece such as olivesolive oilcheeses,fresh fruitsvegetables and seafood.

Things to try include Bourou-Bourou Vegetable and Pasta Soup, Bourtheto a Scorpion Fish in a Spicy Sauce, Pastitsatha Rooster with Pasta and Sykomaïtha – Spiced Fig Cakes. The island is served by the Corfu International Airport, two miles south of Corfu Town.


Corsica, Napoleon’s birthplace


Somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy, southeast of France, and north of Sardinia is the French island of Corsica.

The island, an departement outre-mer or overseas region of France, is dominated by amountain chain which comprises two-thirds of the territory. Corsica is the most mountainous of the Mediterranean islands.It has three separate climatic zones – hot coastal zone, temperatemountains, and an alpine zone.

For the nature lover there is the Parc Naturel Regional de Corse which boasts several protected species while the Scandola Nature Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Ajaccio, the capital is in Corse du Sud while the second largest city Bastia is in Haute Corse. The Corsican culture is a unique blend of French and Italian.

The French general and emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Corsica and his home is currently a museum while the town of Calvi claims to be the birth place of the explorerChristopher Columbus.

Along with French, Corsica has its own language which is recognised as an official language by the French government.

Corsica has interesting cuisine which includes wild boarseafood and river fishficatellu coppalonzu made from Corsican pork and cheeses such as brocciucasgiu merzucasgiuand veghju made from goat or sheep milk.


Crete, cradle of European civilisation


The island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea is the largest of the Greek isles and the most populous.

The second largest island in the Mediterranean after Cyprus- Crete is teeming with history. It was once the centre of Minoan civilisation which is recorded as the earliest known European civilisation.

The culture is rich. Known for Mantinades poetry and music, and dances the most notable being the Pentozali. Crete is also rich with archaeological sites such as Knossos and Phaistos and there are also Minoan, Roman, and World War II ruins.

Crete is mountainous and has three different groups of mountains forming part of a range running from east to west. The island is plush with fertile plateaux, valleys, caves, and gorges. The climate is primarily temperate and there is snowfall in the mountains between November and May.

Heraklion is the largest city and capital, with more than a fifth of the island’s 600,000 people.

Crete has a road network larger than that of Britain and is well-served by ferries from the mainland city of Athens.

Crete is a veritable den of flora and fauna not seen anywhere else in Greece or other parts of Europe. There are no large or dangerous mammals or snakes on the island.


Cyprus, Mediterranean paradise

Very mild winters and warm dry summers make the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea a hotspot for tourists. The island gets almost twice the sunshine of cities in Northern Europe with as many as 12-13 hours of sun during the summertime.

Cyprus sits south of Turkey and east of Greece and is the third largest island in the Mediterranean. The island of Cyprus is divided into Greek and Turkish rule and is unique in that it is the only one which has a divided capital city – Nicosia. Nicosia is divided by a “green line” with part in Turkish Cyprus and part in Greek Cyprus. The city is surrounded by a Venetian wall.

International flights arrive at Larnaca International Airport in the south of the island. The island is mountainous in the north and south with plains in the centre while there are also plains on the island’s southern coast.

There are many archaeological sites scattered across Cyprus that date from the Stone Age through the Roman Empire and the island also boasts a beautiful coastline.

Cyprus is a great place to buy leather goods including shoes and handbags, jewellery, lacework from the village of Lefkara, and Cypriot wine. It boasts interesting cuisine and meze, a dish that can be made from meat or fish, is a must try.