San Remo, five-card stud


Sanremo is a small enclave on the Mediterranean coast of Italy in an area of theItalian Riviera.

The city was founded in Roman times and is a very popular tourist destination known for its cycling and its music festival held there each year.

The city has its own casino and is believed to be the origin of the card game version five-card stud, called telesina. Among the places of interest in Sanremo are theMunicipal Casino, the Ariston Theatre, and the Municipal Casino’s Opera Theatre. The city is sometimes called The City of Flowers because of its important reliance on this part of its economy; the city has its own international flower market, and nearby cities also rely heavily on horticulture and plant flowers for the Sanremo market.

The Sanremo Music Festival is a must do each year, a contest which has been held since 1951 and there is also a song contest for authors, a flower parade, and aFirework International Contest held in August.

Other things to do include the Milan- Sanremo cycle race, the Sanremo Rally which is part of the World Rally Championship, and local Serie A football.

Sanremo’s cuisine is decidedly Italian and Taverna Al 29 is highly recommended serving Mediterranean cuisine. Ristorante Pizzeria Pagoda is also good for Italian fare.


Thessaloniki, the summer in Greece

Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece, the capital of the region of central Macedonia, and is famous for being the destination of two of St. Paul’s epistles in the New Testament.

The city is over 2000 years old and in its hey-day Thessaloniki was a co-reigning city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire alongside Constantinople.

The city is well-known for its many festivals and cultural events with the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair and Thessaloniki International Film Festival held each year.

The city boasts many Byzantine monuments and has 15 listed Unesco World Heritage Sites including the Hagias Sophia and Hagias Demetrius which is said to be the largest basilica in Greece. It also boasts many Roman, Ottoman, and Sephardic Jewish monuments. The Aristotle University in Thessaloniki is the largest in Greece and the Balkans.

The city has many imposing hills, mountain ranges, and fault lines and is subject to earthquakes.

Thessaloniki has characteristics of both temperate and Mediterranean climates and has dry winters, fog, and very hot summers with humid nights.

Thessaloniki is a major transportation hub with the Macedonia International Airport and railways connecting the rest of Greece.


Barcelona, cultural capital of Europe

Barcelona is one of the largest cities in Spain and the capital of CataloniaThe city is the largest on the Mediterranean Sea and sits between the mouths of the Llobregat and Besos Rivers.

The city was founded as a Roman city and has a rich cultural heritage making it a rich cultural centre and an important tourist destination. The architectural works of Gaudi and Domenech i Montaner have been designated Unesco World Heritage Sites.

Among the city’s main sites are the Sagrada Familia church, Palau Guell, the Columbus Monument, and the Arc de TriomfBarcelona has many small hills and boasts a Mediterranean climate with mild humid winters and warm dry summers.

The National Museum of Art of Catalonia has a well-known collection of Romanesque art while several other museums exist, which cover architecture. There are also 68 municipal parks. The Camp Nou football stadium, home of FC Barcelona, is the largest in Europe.

The Barcelona International Airport is one of the busiest in the world. The city also has an extensive road and rail network connecting it to parts of Europe. 


Istanbul, East meets West

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and the second largest in Europe. It was the capital of four separate empires throughout its history from its founding in the 6th century as Constantinople.

It was once the seat of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. The city lies on the Strait of Bosphorus between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea with one part of the city in Europe and another in Asia.

The city’s historic and economic centres sit on the European side. It is further divided by a natural harbour known as the Golden Horn.

The city was the centre of Christianity for centuries until the rise of the Ottoman Empire when Islam took over. Today the city is still home to what was once one of the largest cathedrals in the world, later a mosque and now a museum– the Hagia Sophia.

The symbol of Istanbul may be the Topkapi Palace which was built after the fall of Constantinople. The city’s Grand Bazaar is also the largest covered market in the world.

The city has a borderline Mediterranean and humid sub-tropical climate but also has microclimates due to its vast size. Kebab is the most-well known of the city’s cuisine but it is also famous for its seafood.

The city was once famous for being the eastern terminus of the Orient Express from Paris. The city is still served by two international airports – the Istanbul Ataturk and the Sabiha Gokcen.


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.