Category Archives: Travel

The Leaning Tower of Pisa and it’s balustrades

One of the most incredible structures in the world is that of the leaning Tower of Pisa. It is a huge tourist attraction in Italy that also draws pilgrims to this religious site. It acts as the bell tower or campanile to give it it’s proper name, for the Cathedral at the city of Pisa itself. The Cathedral itself is an impressive structure full of white marble gothic work and formidable balustrades. The coverings and archways on the tower act as kind of Brise Soleil, much like those by Alusystems.

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It is the Tower that is the main draw because it is literally leaning by some four degrees. The reason it leans is due to the foundations of the tower being unstable. However it has never completely fallen. It was soon apparent when it was started in the twelfth century that it was going to start to tilt but the builders carried on regardless. It was finished in the fourteenth century when it was at a full four degree tilt but seemed to be stable. However the visiting tourist and worse conditions meant that by the late twentieth century the lean had increased to over 5 degrees and was evidently worsening. It was corrected and brought back to a healthy four degrees.

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The architect is greatly debated amongst historians just as it is debated whether the lean was intentional! It has been the site of many scientific tests. Galileo dropped two cannonballs from it to show that mass not distance determined whether the balls would land equally. It was almost blown to bits by the US Artillery in the Second World War.

The only thing that Nelson could see from his Column

Trafalgar square is one of the most iconic places in London. It was built to celebrate one of the greatest victories of the Nation in a battle that meant that Britainnia finally ruled the waves andsetting up the creation of the British Empire. The architect of this great win was Lord Nelson and a statue to him sits atop a column in the centre of the square. As he looks out at St Martin’s in the Fields, the stone lions and the unfinished plinth there was a time that his view was obscured by a very common bird. This was the pigeon and they certainly made a right mess of his stone appearance.

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Trafalgar Square had so many pigeons it was becoming quite ridiculous. It was certainly a job for a Pest Control Chelmsford based company to come and remove them. If you have a similar problem Find out more about pest control in Chelmsford by clicking the link. The pigeons were everywhere. Not only were they leaving large amounts of guano they were also stealing food. It wasn’t the bird’s fault. They were only responding to the seed being fed to them via the many tourists that bought it from the vendors.

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Slowly word got around amongst the birds (pigeons are very intelligent) that there was a ready source of food available. There were not only seeds there were also human food leftovers like crisps and donuts too. The selling of bird food was banned, anti landing devices installed and even a couple of Harris Hawks added which soon reduced the numbers.

Travelling to the Ukraine – The Perfect Holiday for Explorers and Nature Lovers

The Ukraine is not one of the top choices for Brits holidaying abroad – the country has seen more than its fair share of trouble. The most devastating even was the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in 1986, which caused huge problems both in the Ukraine which was part of the Soviet Union at the time, and across Europe.

Nowadays, Ukraine is still fighting battles, this time with Russia, with military clashes on the Ukraine and Russia border, this region is certainly not an advisable place for tourists to visit.

Still Cleaning Up: 30 Years After the Chernobyl Disaster - The ...

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However, much of the Ukraine is beautiful, from the stunning city of Kiev to the rural regions of fields, forests and lakes, for stunning scenery the Ukraine has it all. As well as this, the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant has actually been the reason for a more tourists visiting the Ukraine in recent years – this, and the popularity of the 2019 tv series, Chernobyl has meant that many people are keen to see for themselves what is left of the reactor, and wander around the haunting town of Pripyat, the town closest to the plant that was evacuated and left in eerie silence 3 days after the explosion.

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Despite some of the trouble in the Ukraine, the majority (even Chernobyl) is perfectly safe to visit and you can purchase travel insurance from any good insurance company such as these insurance brokers Bristol.

Remember you must try the traditional Borscht bread, and of course the chicken Kyiv! All washed down with the Ukrainian drink Horilka!

Walking the Cotswold Way

The Cotswolds, an area of outstanding natural beauty, attracts visitors from all over the country, and even the world come to enjoy the beautiful scenery, explore the pretty local villages such as Bourton on the Water, and Bibury, and enjoy the warm welcome in some of the little country pubs and guesthouses dotted around the region.

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One of the main attraction in this area is to walkers, who come to enjoy the Cotswold Way walking route. With over 100 miles of countryside to explore, it is plenty to keep all walkers happy, whether out for a gentle Sunday stroll or a more vigorous hike across the hills!

With so many pretty places to stay in from rustic farms serving traditional breakfasts, to luxury boutique hotels, walkers will be spoilt for choice – but the thing that you must remember if you are planning on a few days of hiking is the correct footwear – when it comes to hiking socks Ireland can supply you with a fantastic pair from https://basecamp.ie/outdoor-footwear-dublin/hiking-socks.html – you don’t want to bring blisters back home with you as a holiday memory!

There are many routes that you can walk, each taking in a unique part of the surrounding countryside. Some of the most popular routes are

Crickley Hill to Stonehouse

Tormarton to Bath Abbey

Chipping Campden to Broadway

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There are also many circular walks that you can do if you are wanting to return to the point that you started from. It is a good idea to plan your route before you go, as this will enable you to make the most of your walk, and ensure that you include everything that you want to see, such as the Broadway Tower.

Prepare for a Visit to Connemara National Park

In the beautiful County Galway, in the West of Ireland lies the Connemara National Park. Covering a wide range of terrains and habitats, the park contains mountains and grassland, and some of the mountains are part of the Beanna Beola mountain range. It is advisable if you are visiting and intend to explore the mountains to wear comfortable walking boots and warm clothing such as aran sweaters from https://www.shamrockgift.com/aran-sweaters as the weather can be unpredictable at any time of the year (yes even in the summer – this is Ireland after all!)

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Part of the park was once owned by Richard Martin, one of the people who founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals during the 1800s. It is a fitting tribute to him that the area is now a diverse and thriving eco system, where conservation is of the highest importance and animals and plants can flourish.

Because of the varying terrains which go from low level blanket bog to the mountainous regions, the park is home to a huge amount of wildlife species. Purple moor grass is common across the park. Songbirds such as chaffinches and robins are at home in the park as well as birds of prey like kestrels, merlins and peregrine falcons.

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Visitors to the park may also see the Connemara ponies – these were brought to the park as a gift from President Childers, and the ponies that roam the park today are their direct ancestors.

Although the park is a wild and natural terrain, it is possible to find some human relics. The oldest of these are the megalithic tombs which are over 4000 years old. You may also find the remains of an old road to Galway, some ruins of houses and an old graveyard believed to date back to the 1800s.

A Spiritual Trip to Fatima

If you’re looking for a holiday with a distinctly spiritual feel, then a visit to Fatima in Portugal is a must. Now a site of great importance to Christian pilgrims following an apparition of the Virgin Mary to three shepherds in 1917. For Catholics, the town of Fatima will hold very special meaning indeed. Here is a guide to the must-see churches of Fatima.

  1. Sanctuary of Fátima

Standing in this large plaza will give you an idea of the sheer number of devotees who come here, and you can’t help but be wowed by the size of the place. Fatima’s two basilicas can be found at each end of the plaza and the best time to visit is around the 13th of each month between May and October when various pilgrimages take place to the shrine.

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  1. Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Rosário

Just shy of a decade after the apparition, work began on this Neo-Baroque church on the exact spot where the Virgin Mary was seen by the young shepherds, who first mistook it for a storm. On completion and consecration, the church was granted minor basilica status by the then Pope and the tombs of the young shepherds sit either end of the transept. For flights to Fatima from Irish Airports, visit https://irelandwestairport.com/

  1. Capela das Aparições

The very first site of worship to be constructed after the apparition, this church was built to answer the request of the Virgin Mary and is now housed in a bigger modern building. The site of the oak tree where Mary is said to have appeared now has a statue to mark the spot and is located in a glass display case in the chapel.

  1. Basilica of the Holy Trinity

By the mid-20th century, Fatima had become famous across the globe and visitor numbers exploded. It was clear that a second, larger basilica was needed, and this project finally came to fruition in the 2000s. With its minimalist design, it is impressive for its sense of scale, being able to seat over 8,600 worshippers.

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  1. Casa Jacinta e Francisco Marto

The three shepherds were children, two siblings and their cousin. They lived in a small village named Aljustrel, not far from Fatima. It is easy to reach their home by car, train or a walk along the Via Sacra. This is the house where the two siblings, Francisco and Jacinta sadly died during the terrible flu epidemic after World War One. It is quite something to stand in the home of two saints.

  1. Casa de Lúcia

This is the home of the third shepherd, the cousin of Francisco and Jacinta. She survived the flu epidemic, becoming a nun and living to the good age of 97 years old. It offers a fascinating insight into poor rural life of a century ago, as the possessions and furniture inside are all original.

  1. Igreja Paroquial de Fátima

The original parish church was standing here long before the apparitions occurred. It dates back to around the 16th century, with numerous reconstructions since Fatima was placed on the map by the sighting of the Virgin Mary. The most poignant thing to see is the font where the three child shepherds were baptised. The cemetery here was the original resting place for Jacinta and Francisco before they were moved to the Basilica.

 

Tips for staying calm at the airport

Do you love going on holiday but break into a cold sweat at the thought of the airport? While some people love the bustle, excitement and waiting around in departures, most of us would rather be magically transported to our destination without all the hassle. If you find your stress starts increasing as soon as you walk up to check-in, here are some tips for keeping calm at the airport:

  1. Let someone else drive

Driving to the airport, finding the right terminal and locating the car park is enough to set anyone on edge. Choosing public transport also means lugging your bags around and relying on others to get you there on time. The most relaxing option is to let someone drive you in comfort, so you can begin your holiday from your doorstep and not when you step off the plane! For Coach Hire Dorset could be the solution. For coach hire in Dorset visit Turners Coaches today.

  1. Have everything to hand

Avoid stress by having all of your important documents easy to reach. Place boarding passes, passports, tickets and flight information in the same pocket of your bag each time you travel, so reaching for it becomes second nature. This will save time and you from panicking to find the right documents at the right time.

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  1. Weigh luggage before getting to the airport

A set of luggage scales is a must-have accessory for frequent flyers. They can save you from embarrassment and hold-ups at check-in and help you avoid costly additional charges from the airline. This also means you don’t have to feel apprehensive on check-in and can just relax.

  1. Check the latest security measures

Getting through security can be time-consuming, especially when people don’t prepare for what’s involved. Understand that you might get patted down, be prepared to remove your shoes, take laptops out of bags and walk through scanners etc.

  1. Be patient and breathe

Nobody enjoys queueing but there’s no point in losing your temper, getting uptight or being miserable about it. Take a deep breath and practice some patience next time you’re in an airport. Do what you can to help speed up things but for the times when you can’t, just relax and accept the situation.

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  1. Be kind to yourself

Plan in advance to spend your time in the airport indulging yourself or having a treat. It is the start of your holiday after all! Buy a best-selling book, treat yourself to some perfume or see if there’s a spa or salon on site. Save the time you’ll be waiting around at the airport to do something nice for yourself.

  1. Give yourself lots of time

So, these days with online check-ins, you don’t need to be at the airport 3 hours before your flight but it’s still a good idea to be there at least a couple of hours ahead of time. This way you can check-in your luggage and clear security at a relaxed pace instead of panicking to get to the gate on time.

  1. Keep focusing on the destination

Try not to become overly distracted by the queues and people but on the excitement of flying and getting away for a holiday. If you feel your anxiety levels increasing, think about your destination and that a little stress at a bothersome airport is totally worth it.