Europe Tour 1: Belgium – Iceland

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Old Town of Antwerp, Belgium - Encircle Photos

1 Old Town of Antwerp, Belgium

This view is typical of the charm of the Old Town of Antwerpen in northern Belgium. On the left is the colorful City Hall called Stadhuis. In the middle is the clock spire of Cathedral of Our Lady. With its population of about a half million, Antwerpen is most famous as the “diamond capital of the world.” In addition, 20,000 of its citizens work in the fashion industry. Antwerp has been developing an excellent reputation since the mid-1990s.

Grote Markt 4, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
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Maison du Roi or King’s House at Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium - Encircle Photos

2 Maison du Roi or King’s House at Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium

If you are interested in history, you will want to walk through the Museum of the City of Brussels. It is housed in Maison du Roi. The building is also known as King’s House because it was built in 1536 by the Duke of Brabant. Another name is the Breadhouse because it was the bread market from the 13th through the early 16th centuries. Maison du Roi is located on the north side of Grand Place. This has been the city’s major square since the late 11th century when it was called the Lower Market.

Grand Place 29, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
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Orlando’s Column in Luža Square in Dubrovnik, Croatia - Encircle Photos

3 Orlando’s Column in Luža Square in Dubrovnik, Croatia

From 1102 until 1526, Dubrovnik was part of the Kingdom of Croatia in union with Hungary. A symbol of this protective arrangement was a legendary knight named Orlando (also called Rolando). A larger than life sculpture of the hero stands on this column that bears his name in Luža Square. It was sculpted in 1418. During Medieval and Renaissance times, the platform on top was used by orators for proclamations. The square was the venue for public punishments.

Luža ulica, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
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Tower Kanakević in Korčula, Croatia - Encircle Photos

4 Tower Kanakević in Korčula, Croatia

Tower Kanakević was built in 1488 when this town was named Curzola and ruled by the Republic of Venice. It was commissioned by Agostino Barbarigo, the Dodge of Venice who was also responsible for Italy’s most famous clock tower at Piazza San Marco. This fortress is sometimes called Kula Kanalvic. This refers to Petar Kanavelić, a famous and prolific Croatian writer who lived next door during the 17th century.

Šetalište Petra Kanavelića, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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3,500 Year Old Egyptian Sphinx in Split, Croatia - Encircle Photos

5 3,500 Year Old Egyptian Sphinx in Split, Croatia

This sphinx is often overlooked by most tourists because it is positioned next to the Cathedral of Saint Domnius and the Peristyle of Diocletian’s Palace. But don’t miss it. This treasure from Luxor, Egypt is one of three sphinxes in Split from the reign of Pharaoh Thutmose III. He ruled Egypt for almost 54 years. When he died in 1425 BC, he was buried in the Valley of the Kings.

Peristil ul. 3, 21000, Split, Croatia
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Historical Overview of Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic - Encircle Photos

6 Historical Overview of Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic

In the Hradčany district is the world’s largest castle. It measures 1,870 feet long. The interior is an incredible 750,000 square feet. Prague Castle began in the late 9th century while Bořivoj I was the Duke of Bohemia from 867 until 889. It was extended several times over the centuries. Major expansions were commissioned by King Ottokar II of Bohemia (13th century), Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (14th century), Vladislaus II of Hungary (1471 – 1516), Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I (16th century) and Empress Maria Theresa (mid-18th century). Prague Castle was partially destroyed during the Hussite Wars (early 15th century), a fire in 1541, the Second Defenestration of Prague and the subsequent Thirty Years Wars (first half of 17th century) plus the War of the Australian Succession (mid-18th century). The castle was also occupied by the Germans during World War II and the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia after the coup d’état in 1948. The Czech Republic was formed in 1993 when Václav Havel became the first president. This is the castle’s First Courtyard, built in 1765.

První nádvoří Pražského hradu, 118 00 Praha 1-Hradčany, Czechia
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Rosenborg Castle and Resting Lion in Copenhagen, Denmark - Encircle Photos

7 Rosenborg Castle and Resting Lion in Copenhagen, Denmark

Several major architectural projects were commissioned in Copenhagen during the 17th century. Most were designed in the Dutch Renaissance style. A classic example is the Rosenborg Castle built in 1624. The slot served as a royal residence from 1624 until 1710 plus two other short times during Copenhagen’s history. The Resting Lion, which pre-dates 1673, is one of two matching sculptures. They protect a small pedestrian bridge leading from The King’s Garden.

Øster Voldgade 4A, 1350 København, Denmark
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Fredensborg Palace Called Danish Versailles in Fredensborg, Denmark - Encircle Photos

8 Fredensborg Palace Called Danish Versailles in Fredensborg, Denmark

Denmark is blessed with several palaces and castles, most of which are far more elaborate than the Fredensborg Palace. Yet this seasonal royal residence can best be described as elegant and many call it the Danish Versailles. Its 89 foot dome is flanked by four copper-roofed pavilions. Stretching between them is a sandstone balustrade with a clock in the middle. And the statue in the courtyard is only a hint of the 70 life-sized sculptures that adorn the beautiful garden in back. Tours of the palace are only available in July but the garden is free to visit all year.

Slottet 1B, 3480 Fredensborg, Denmark
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Christian IV Legacy at Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød, Denmark - Encircle Photos

9 Christian IV Legacy at Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød, Denmark

Christian IV was the oldest son of Frederick II. He was born here in Frederiksborg in 1577, assumed the throne when he was 11 years old and was crowned eight years later. His rule lasted 59 years, from 1588 until 1648, which is the longest reign in Denmark’s history. While the King of Denmark and Norway, Christian Firtal not only built this magnificent Frederiksborg Castle but also several other grand structures in Denmark. His dream was to make the country an international trading center and a superpower with a dominant navy and army. Although he is credited with sweeping reforms and a growing prosperity, his aspirations eventually led to overspending, several wars and economic decline.

Frederiksborg Slot 10, 3400 Hillerød, Denmark
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Family History of Egeskov Castle in Kværndrup, Denmark - Encircle Photos

10 Family History of Egeskov Castle in Kværndrup, Denmark

A family estate at Kværndrup, Denmark dates back to 1405. Starting in 1524, Frands Brockenhuus and his wife Anne Tinhuus spent thirty years building the Egeskov Castle on property owned by her parents. In 1784, it was purchased by Henrik Bille. Amazingly, his descendants have lived here for over 230 years. Although much of the surrounding property is now a tourist attraction, the castle has been the home of Michael and Caroline Ahlefeldt-Laurvig-Bille since 1994. I watched one of the family members drive up to the front door and usher their two small children inside.

Gade 18, 5772 Kværndrup, Denmark
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Odense Palace in Odense, Denmark - Encircle Photos

11 Odense Palace in Odense, Denmark

This section of Odense Palace was built in 1723. Yet the history of the property is much older. Portions of Odense Slot date back to the 15th century when it was a monastery run by the Knights of St. John monks. It was confiscated by the king in the early 16th century. As the centuries passed and politics changed, it had several successive occupants. They included Swedish troops, the head of Funen County and King Frederik IV of Denmark who commissioned this addition. Later tenants were a French general, the governor of Funen and then a museum. Today, this Dutch Baroque palace houses administrative offices of the Odense Municipality.

Odense Slot 5000 Odense, Denmark
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Shopping along Gerritsgade in Svendborg, Denmark - Encircle Photos

12 Shopping along Gerritsgade in Svendborg, Denmark

The street named Gerritsgade is in the historic core of Svendborg. It was first mentioned in 1552, making it one of the town’s oldest streets. On either side of the cobblestones are shops ranging from the luxury jewelry store Phigo to small specialty boutiques. You’ll also find taverns and excellent restaurants.

Gerritsgade 50, 5700 Svendborg, Denmark
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Visual Apex of River Avon in Bath, England - Encircle Photos

13 Visual Apex of River Avon in Bath, England

The River Avon, also called the Bristol Avon, flows for 75 miles and cradles the east and south edges of Bath’s old town. This is its visual apex. On the right is the Pulteney Bridge, named after its investor Sir William Pulteney. The very wealthy 5th Baronet commissioned architect Robert Adam to build this arched span in 1769 so he could easily reach the city from his Bathwick Estate across the river. Its 148 foot length is lined with shops. On the left is a three-level, crescent-shaped sluice gate. The current Pulteney Weir became operational in 1972. Yet, Bath had two water-powered mills dating back to the early 1600s. From this vantage point you can also appreciate the Newmarket Row (left), Victoria Art Gallery and the tower of St Michael’s Without (right).

Beazer Maze Spring Gardens Rd, Bath BA2 6PW, UK
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White Tower at Tower of London in London, England - Encircle Photos

14 White Tower at Tower of London in London, England

In a city filled with historic landmarks, the Tower of London is among its most famous. On the right is the White Tower. This 89 foot tall, central keep was ordered by William the Conqueror. Construction of the Norman castle using Caen Stone and Kentish Ragstone began around 1078. The first phase of the donjon was finished at the end of the century. After Henry III ordered it to be whitewashed in 1240, it became known as the White Tower. Over the millenniums, additional buildings were added to the 12-acre royal residence. An example is the Beauchamp Tower on the left. King Edward I ordered architect Master James of St George to build it in the late 13th century. Within its walls were numerous famous prisoners including Anne Boleyn – the second wife of Henry VIII – and Lady Jane Grey. Both queens were beheaded for treason during the first half of the 16th century. In the foreground are the casements. This tall curtainwall forming the outer ward is surrounded by a moat.

35 Tower Hill, London EC3N 4DR, UK
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St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England - Encircle Photos

15 St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England

The first Chapel of St. George was built within Windsor Castle by King Edward I during the 13th century. Unsatisfied with his grandfather’s efforts, King Edward III had the chapel rebuilt in the Lower Ward circa 1337. However, it was Edward IV who started the present building in 1475 during his second reign as England’s king. The Royal Chapel was not completed until 1528 during the reign of Henry VIII. Several monarchs and their queens plus princes and princesses are buried here. The chapel’s namesake is Saint George, a Roman soldier who was executed in 303 for not recanting his Christian beliefs. He is also England’s patron saint.

3 The Cloisters, Windsor SL4 1NJ, UK
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Introduction to York, England - Encircle Photos

16 Introduction to York, England

Eboracum began as a fort in the 1st century and grew to the largest city in Rome’s province of Britannia while witnessing the death and ascension of Roman emperors. It was conquered by the Angles, Vikings and Normans before being granted a city charter by Richard II in 1396. Henry VIII and Elizabeth I purged its treasures and destroyed Catholic churches and monasteries during the Reformation. The Luftwaffe bombed it from the air in 1942. Despite it all, York has evolved into a delightful modern city that takes pride in its medieval landmarks. This view of York from the Station Road Walls shows the three magnificent towers of York Minster. On the left are the Western Towers finished in 1472. On the right is the 235 foot Central Tower completed in 1415. Together they are the visual pinnacle of York.

Deangate, Minster Yd, York YO1 7HH, UK
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Introduction to Helsinki, the Capitol City of Finland - Encircle Photos

17 Introduction to Helsinki, the Capitol City of Finland

If you sail through the Baltic Sea into the Gulf of Finland and through the South Harbour, this will be your first view of Finland’s capitol city. Since Helsinki was founded in the mid-16th century, it has struggled with a devastating plague, foreign invasions, a civil war and the rule of Sweden and Russia. But since the country’s independence in 1917, Helsingfors have prospered, thrived and become the country’s largest metropolitan area with over one million people.

Eteläranta, 00170 Helsinki, Finland
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Introduction to Annecy, France - Encircle Photos

18 Introduction to Annecy, France

Annecy is a tourist town with about 50,000 residents in southeast France about 22 miles south of Geneva. It is nestled in a valley among four mountains at the northern end of Lac d’Annecy, a crystal clear lake stretching over ten square miles. Annecy’s history can be traced back to 4th millennium B.C. and then the Romans in the 1st century B.C. Several of its current buildings, many of which line its canals, were built in the Middle Ages. It has been called the “Venice of Savoie” and the “Jewel of the French Alps.” You can call it charming.

Le Palais de I'lle 3 Passage de l'Île, 74000 Annecy, France
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La Malmaison Art Museum in Cannes, France - Encircle Photos

19 La Malmaison Art Museum in Cannes, France

This building is all that remains of the prestigious Grand Hotel that was built in 1860. Today, the blue carpet welcomes you to La Malmaison, a contemporary art museum. It is located on the Boulevard de la Croisette. This is the main promenade along the waterfront beach that’s lined with luxury hotels and stores that cater to celebrities when they attend the annual Cannes Film Festival nearby.

47 Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes, France
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Labyrinth of Cobbled Walkways in Éze, France - Encircle Photos

20 Labyrinth of Cobbled Walkways in Éze, France

No cars are allowed in the tiny, perched village of Éze. The only entrance is through a 700 year old arched gate called Poterne. From there you wander up a labyrinth of cobbled walkways among galleries and perfume shops, restaurants with stunning views of the Mediterranean, gardens and the charming stone homes of the town’s 2,600 residents. Éze is a marvelous place to spend a few hours. As you trudge up the narrow passages, imagine always carrying everything you need up this steep hill.

1 Place du Planet, 06360 Èze, France
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Côte d’Azur Coastline in French Riviera, France - Encircle Photos

Côte d’Azur Coastline in French Riviera, France

In French it’s called Côte d’Azur, in English it’s called the French Riviera, and in any language it is called beautiful. This marvelous coast of the Mediterranean starts at Monaco in the east and covers several delightful resort towns along southeast France to Toulon. Over 14 million visitors a year are attracted to the year-round mild climate and scenes like this one.

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Régina Palace on Cimiez Hill in Nice, France - Encircle Photos

21 Régina Palace on Cimiez Hill in Nice, France

The Hôtel Excelsior Régina Palace was built in 1896 on Cimiez Hill in Nice to accommodate Queen Victoria’s annual visits to France that were known as her “French connection.” A statue of the United Kingdom’s longest reigning monarch is in the gardens nearby. This elegant building that reflects the prosperity of the Belle Époque period is now for residential use.

71 Bd de Cimiez, 06000 Nice, France
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Pavillon Richelieu and Louvre Pyramid at Palais du Louvre in Paris, France - Encircle Photos

22 Pavillon Richelieu and Louvre Pyramid at Palais du Louvre in Paris, France

It is so exciting to be standing next to the Louvre Pyramid and Pavillon Richelieu in the Napoleon Courtyard of the Palais du Louvre. Formerly a palace, the museum opened in 1793. It now has a collection of over 35,000 pieces spread across 14 acres of space. The Musée du Louvre welcomes nearly ten million visitors a year. Most people want to catch a glimpse of its famous resident, Mona Lisa.

10 Place du Carrousel, 75001 Paris, France
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Tree-lined Promenade in Saint-Ràphaël, France - Encircle Photos

23 Tree-lined Promenade in Saint-Ràphaël, France

Tourists often go to Saint-Ràphaël for its wonderful beaches without the high cost and crowds of several other, more famous towns along the Côte d’Azur. After you’ve had enough sun, stroll along this tree-lined promenade called Commandant Guilbaud that hugs the coastal port and try to decide which of the fabulous restaurants you’ll select for dinner. Then order fresh fish or, better yet, mussels in garlic butter. The perfect way to end your day.

14 Prom. Commandant Guilbaud, 83700 Saint-Raphaël, France
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Vine-covered Quai Along Ill River in Strasbourg, France - Encircle Photos

24 Vine-covered Quai Along Ill River in Strasbourg, France

A quay is a pier alongside a body of water that is used to moor boats. Spelled “quai” in French, they often serve as a promenade like this vine-covered stone wall along the Ill River. Quays surround the Grande Ȋle which is an elliptical shaped island in Strasbourg, France. The entire Grand Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site because its streets and buildings still reflect its Medieval history.

5 Quai Au Sable 67000 Strasbourg, France
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Château de Versailles Marble Courtyard in Versailles, France - Encircle Photos

25 Château de Versailles Marble Courtyard in Versailles, France

What started as a royal hunting lodge of Louis XIII in 1623 evolved into the magnificent Château de Versailles. The palace was the prized residence of French monarchs until 1789 when Louis XVI was forced to flee at the start of the French Revolution. This is the opulent Marble Courtyard. The square greets visitors with the promise of more grandeur behind the golden façade. In back of the palace are elaborate gardens and the petit appartement of Marie-Antoinette. This World Heritage Site is definitely worth the train ride from Paris.

Cour de Marbre, 78000 Versailles, France
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Kurhaus Casino and Kurgarten in Baden-Baden, Germany - Encircle Photos

26 Kurhaus Casino and Kurgarten in Baden-Baden, Germany

Since it was built in 1824, Kurhaus has hosted celebrities, royalty, dignitaries and members of high society with gala dinners, balls and concerts. Beneath glistening chandeliers in elegant rooms is an array of gambling options including French and American style roulette. If you prefer to keep your travel money in your pocket, then limited guided tours are available in the morning for only few euros.

Kaiserallee 1, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany
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Skyline of Downtown Frankfurt, Germany - Encircle Photos

27 Skyline of Downtown Frankfurt, Germany

Unlike most European cities, Frankfurt’s downtown skyline is dominated by skyscrapers which earned it the nickname “Mainhattan.” This combines the name of the Main River shown flowing under the Ignatz Bubis Bridge and Manhattan in New York. Frankfurt has almost 300 high-rises and the ten tallest in Germany. And as you can see from the six cranes in this photo, they are undergoing another building boom with more than fifty new towers either under construction or planned.

Deutschherrnufer 33, 60594 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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Martinstor Fortified Gate in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany - Encircle Photos

28 Martinstor Fortified Gate in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

In German, the word “burg” means fortified town and the Martinstor is one of two gates that protected Freiburg im Breisgau during medieval times. When it was built around 1238, it was called Porta Sancti Martini which translates into the Latin Gate of the Holy Martin. The tower stands almost 200 feet tall and the arch below still acts as an entry into the old town.

Kaiser-Joseph-Straße 233, 79098 Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
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Heidelberg Castle Ruins in Heidelberg, Germany - Encircle Photos

29 Heidelberg Castle Ruins in Heidelberg, Germany

The magnificent Heidelberg Castle ruins stand majestically on a wooded hill named Königstuhl and nicknamed “The King’s Throne.” Starting in the early 13th century, this was the fortified palace of Palatine counts and later Prince Electors before being repeatedly destroyed during enemy attacks and a lighting strike. On the left is the Englischer Bau which was built in the 17th century. In the center is Prison Tower and on the right is the Gate Tower entrance.

Schlosshof 1a, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
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French Occupation of Deutschhaus in Mainz, Germany - Encircle Photos

30 French Occupation of Deutschhaus in Mainz, Germany

During the French Revolution in 1792, the French army occupied Mainz. The Germans tried to declare their independence by announcing the formation of the Republic of Mainz from this balcony, but the French attacked 18 weeks later and imprisoned the republic’s leaders for treason. Two years later, the French seized the Deutschhaus and it was used as a palace by Napoléon Bonaparte.

Peter-Altmeier-Allee 9 55116 Mainz, Germany
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Kröpeliner Tor in Rostock, Germany - Encircle Photos

31 Kröpeliner Tor in Rostock, Germany

During the Middle Ages, Rostock was fortified by tall walls and over 20 gates. The most impressive one was and still is the Kröpeliner Tor. This brick Gothic structure stands 177 feet on a historic street named Kröpeliner Straβe. Since the tower was built in 1270, it has been expanded and restored several times. For years a tram ran through the arch. Today, Kröpeliner Tor houses the Rostock History Workshop. They manage the town’s fortifications plus offer a library and displays about their history.

Kröpeliner Str. 49A, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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Todtnauer Waterfalls Cascading in Todtnauberg, Germany - Encircle Photos

32 Todtnauer Waterfalls Cascading in Todtnauberg, Germany

The Todtnauer Waterfalls is fed by the Stübenbach River and other mountain streams before cascading down layers of tree-lined rock for over 300 feet, the highest natural falls in Germany. Sheets of water sparkle in the sun as they form small pools before tumbling again to the next level. It’s located in the small village of Todtnauberg near Todtnau in Germany’s Black Forest. Admission is free and it is worth a side trip.

Todtnauer Wasserfälle Haldenweide 79674 Todtnau, Germany
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Black Forest Scenery near Todtnau, Germany - Encircle Photos

33 Black Forest Scenery near Todtnau, Germany

Driving through the Black Forest in the southwest corner of Germany is spectacular. You are treated to mountains covered by lush, green pines and firs, valleys that contain quaint towns, farms and grazing cattle plus numerous rivers and glacier created lakes. Don’t speed through the Schwarzwald on the motorway. Take the slow, scenic routes so you can enjoy all of this beauty.

Talstraße 2, 79674 Todtnau, Germany
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Cathedral of Trier in Trier, Germany - Encircle Photos

34 Cathedral of Trier in Trier, Germany

Hohe Domkirche St. Peter zu Trier was completed in 1270, making it Germany’s oldest Roman Catholic cathedral. The stone Romanesque façade of the Cathedral of Trier gives this UNESCO World Heritage Site the appearance of a medieval castle. Inside are the relics of Saint Helena. While she was an Empress and mother of Constantine the Great, the first Christian Emperor of Rome, Helena claims to have discovered the True Cross of Christ’s crucifixion in 328 AD.

Liebfrauenstraße 1, 54290 Trier, Germany
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Couple Stroll Barefoot on Beach in Warnemünde, Germany - Encircle Photos

35 Couple Stroll Barefoot on Beach in Warnemünde, Germany

Technically, this town of 8,500 people in northern Germany is called Warnemünde Seaside Resort. That is more than a moniker written for marketing brochures. The Badestrand or bathing beach has a width of nearly 500 feet that stretches for almost two miles along the Baltic coastline. So take off your shoes. Then let your toes enjoy the white sand and warm surf while you stroll along the beach with your partner. What a perfect way to spend a perfect afternoon.

Seepromenade 3, 18119 Rostock, Germany
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Introduction to Gibraltar - Encircle Photos

36 Introduction to Gibraltar

Gibraltar covers only 2.6 miles. Yet its position at the entry of the Mediterranean Sea – 15 miles by water from North Africa – has etched its place in history for over 50,000 years. Among the people who lived here are Neanderthals, Phoenicians, Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Spanish. Since 1713, it has been under British rule. Gibraltar is now mostly self-governed yet remains a British Overseas Territory. Its most famous geological feature is the Rock of Gibraltar, seen here from the west. This massive limestone promontory is two miles square with an elevation of almost 1,400 feet. At the base of The Rock is the delightful city of Gibraltar with 33,000 people. You will enjoy their hospitality while you explore the landmarks and fortifications that reflect their unique and proud history.

[36.121820, -5.340433]
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People Swimming in Cove near Argostoli, Greece - Encircle Photos

37 People Swimming in Cove near Argostoli, Greece

According to archeologists, people have probably swum in this crescent-shaped cove since Mycenaean Greece. That time period was part of the Bronze Age dating back to 1600 to 1100 BC. The island of Cephalonia (or Kefalonia) was named after Cephalus who was a Greek mythical hero and the area’s first leader. Some experts also claim this was the Greek island called Ithaca from Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey. Those epics were written around the 8th century BC.

Ellinikou Erithrou Stavrou 39 Argostoli 281 00, Greece
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The Parthenon Temple on the Athenian Acropolis in Athens, Greece - Encircle Photos

38 The Parthenon Temple on the Athenian Acropolis in Athens, Greece

This is the world’s most famous Doric temple. The Parthenon was dedicated to the goddess Athena when it was built on a citadel overlooking Athens, Greece. It is one of several archaeological ruins at the Acropolis of Athens. Others include temples and sanctuaries plus two theaters and remnants of other structures. Most of these buildings were constructed during the 5th century BC.

The Parthenon Temple, Zeus' Triangle, Athina 105 58, Greece
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Old Quarter of Corfu, Greece - Encircle Photos

39 Old Quarter of Corfu, Greece

Starting in the 6th century and until the 13th century, residents lived within the walls of the fortified peninsula seen as the summit in the upper right corner. Over the centuries, this became more of a military fort. Therefore, the town of Koryfo grew up outside of the protective walls and in the valley between the Old Fortress and the New Fortress. In the foreground is the Old Quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The entire city of Corfu or Kerkyra in Greek has about 30,000 people. The red dome in the center is the bell tower of Saint Spyridon Church.

Old British Barraks Dionisiou Solomou 20, Kerkira 491 00, Greece
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Five Iconic Windmills in Mykonos, Greece - Encircle Photos

40 Five Iconic Windmills in Mykonos, Greece

These five windmills on a seaside hill are the ionic symbol of the city and the island. During the 16th century, the Venetians were the first to harness the seasonal winds – the Sirocco in the winter and the Meltemi in the summer – to drive these mills for grinding grain. At one time Mykonos was dotted with 28 windmills, especially along the western coastline. Now only a few remain. This row is called Kato Myloi meaning lower windmills.

Molinos de viento mikonos Mikonos 846 00, Greece
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Elevated View of Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest, Hungary - Encircle Photos

41 Elevated View of Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest, Hungary

The architectural gem anchoring the East Bank of the Danube is the Hungarian Parliament Building in Pest. Architect Imre Steindl created this stunning Gothic Revival design. The house for the National Assembly of Hungary opened in 1896. This panoramic view is from the terrace of Fisherman’s Bastion on the Buda side. In the foreground is the Reformed Church. The tower of the Buda Calvinist Church stands 203 feet in sharp contrast to its pyramid-shaped roof covered with colorful Zsolnay tiles.

Budapest, Jezsuita lépcső 1, 1011 Hungary
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Introduction to Eger, Hungary - Encircle Photos

42 Introduction to Eger, Hungary

Hungary has a population of almost 10 million people; over 25% live in Budapest. Compared to the country’s capital city, Eger is small. Its 55,000 residents rank it the 19th city by size. That is also part of its charm. This gem in the northeast near the border of Slovakia offers fabulous architecture, cobblestone alleys, a lively town square, a millennium of fascinating history, a Medieval castle plus some of Hungary’s best wine and food. This visual enticement shows the Minorite Church in the center and the Cathedral of Eger on the left.

Vár 10 Eger, 3300 Hungary
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Strokkur Erupting at Geysir Hot Springs on Golden Circle, Iceland - Encircle Photos

43 Strokkur Erupting at Geysir Hot Springs on Golden Circle, Iceland

About every ten minutes and without warning, an impressive geyser called Strokkur hurdles a massive white plume into the air. This violent yet beautiful column of steam can reach a height above 100 feet before spaying the crowd of tourists as it collapses. “The Churn” was born and began erupting in 1789 after a local earthquake. Its performance was artificially enhanced in 1963 by enlarging the size of its basin.

35 & F333, Haukadalsvegur, Iceland
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Two-tier Plunge of Gullfoss on Golden Circle, Iceland - Encircle Photos

44 Two-tier Plunge of Gullfoss on Golden Circle, Iceland

The descent of Gullfoss begins in two stages. The first drop is 36 feet followed immediately by a 69 foot plunge. The people huddled along the observation deck put the enormous Golden Waterfall into perspective. You are more impressed when you learn 4,900 cubic feet of water cascade over these edges every second during the summer months.

Gullfoss, 801 Selfossi, Iceland
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Kerid Crater Lake on Golden Circle, Iceland - Encircle Photos

45 Kerid Crater Lake on Golden Circle, Iceland

Your last stop on the Golden Circle is Kerið. This cone volcano erupted in 3500 BC. After cooling, the dome collapsed into the empty magna reservoir and then filled with water. The red-rock cavity measures 885 feet across and is 180 feet deep. Kerid is surrounded by 21 square miles of lava fields named Grímsneshraun. This marvelous crater lake is worth the small admission price. Kerið is located about 15 miles north of Selfoss on 35 in the Western Volcanic Zone.

35 & Vaðnesvegur, Iceland
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Reykjanes Lighthouse on Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland - Encircle Photos

46 Reykjanes Lighthouse on Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland

There are about 120 lighthouses along Iceland’s 3,088 mile coastline. The country’s first was built in 1878 on nearby Valahnúkur Point. After it was destroyed by an earthquake, this replacement was raised on Bæjarfell Hill. The concrete, cylindrical tower of the Reykjanes Lighthouse is capped with a red lantern. Together they stand 102 feet yet are 226 above sea level. Ships sailing in the North Atlantic can see the beacon up to 22 nautical miles before reaching the southwest coast of Iceland.

Reykjanes Lighthouse, Islandij, Reykjanes, Iceland
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The Sun Voyager in Reykjavík, Iceland - Encircle Photos

47 The Sun Voyager in Reykjavík, Iceland

While walking along the Sæbraut coastal road, the abstract outline of a Viking ship grabs your attention. The Sun Voyager was created in 1990 by Jón Gunnar Arnason. He claims the stainless-steel sculpture represents a dreamboat of ancient navigators who followed the sun to discover new worlds. Yet its Icelandic name of Sólfar means Viking Funeral.

Skúlagata & Vatnsstígur, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
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First People atop Lóndrangar on Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland - Encircle Photos

48 First People atop Lóndrangar on Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

The Book of Settlement, also called Landnámabók, is a medieval document describing Norse life in Iceland during the 9th and 10th centuries. Within its pages is the story of when Laugarbrekku-Einar observed a troll sitting on top of this tallest basalt pillar at Lóndrangar. From this angle, it does look like a horse. The next person to reach the summit was climber Ásgrímur Böðvarsson in 1735.

Lóndrangar, Iceland
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Amphibious Boat Ride at Jökulsárlón in South Iceland - Encircle Photos

49 Amphibious Boat Ride at Jökulsárlón in South Iceland

Two types of tours are available to experience the thrill of Jökulsárlón. Most tourists opt for an amphibious boat. Passengers embark onto a flat deck surrounded by bench seats. Then the vehicle drives into the lagoon and floats among the icebergs for about 40 minutes. Adventurous people sign up for a Zodiac tour. These are lightweight and fast inflatable boats. They skim across the water and travel further into the glacier lake until reaching the terminus. It is thrilling to watch calving icebergs as they break free from the glacier, splash into the water, twist and turn and sparkle brightly.

Jökulsárlón, Iceland
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Sea Stacks at Reynisfjara in South Iceland - Encircle Photos

50 Sea Stacks at Reynisfjara in South Iceland

Black lava pebbles crunch beneath your feet as you stroll along Reynisfjara Beach to admire the pair of sea stacks. These are called Reynisdrangar. The tallest needle towers 217 feet. According to folklore, they are petrified trolls who turned to stone when caught beaching a boat at sunrise. Other stories tell of a monster living in the cave although you will only notice colonies of seabirds. The rolling surf might seem romantic and calm. Just do not venture too close and remain vigilant. They can suddenly become “sneaker waves.” These are violent surges of water capable of sweeping unsuspecting people into the frigid sea.

Reynishverfisvegur, Iceland
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Rainbow and Legend at Skógafoss in South Iceland - Encircle Photos

51 Rainbow and Legend at Skógafoss in South Iceland

Skógafoss is constantly shrouded in swirling clouds of mist. On sunny days, you are guaranteed to see an arching rainbow and often a double. If you have always wanted to discover a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, then Skógafoss is the place to look. According to folklore, an early settler named Þrasi Þórólfsson buried treasure here circa 900 AD. One man found it during the 17th century. However, when he tried to extract it, the handle came off in his hand and the chest disappeared. The legendary ring is on display at nearby Skógar Museum.

Skógafoss, Skogar, 861 South Iceland
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