World Tour 2: Cuba thru Gibraltar

Part 2 of the World Tour showcases another 50 international cities. Use the Locations list to find your favorite countries and cities. You will also enjoy exploring locations in all 50 states.

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1 Bay of Havana History in Havana, Cuba

In 1515, the Spanish established Villa de San Cristóbel de la Habana as their first town in Cuba because of the large, natural bay. Five years later, they created the Port of Havana to harbor their Fleet of the Indies during their trade routes between Spain and the New World. It was not long before ships laden with treasures attracted the attention of pirates. To defend against the attacks, the Spaniards built four fortresses from 1590 through 1774. In the background is one of them: Castle of the Morro. As navigational trade flourished, so did the city. The port was extensively expanded between 1790 and 1850. In 1898, the battleship USS Maine exploded and sunk in the harbor. This aggression sparked the Spanish-American War leading to the end of Spanish control. The American’s invested in the port’s infrastructure for a few years until 1902 when the Republic of Cuba was formed. Further enhancements during the 20th century have been limited.

Canal de Entrada, Havana, Cuba
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2 Floating Market in Punda, Eastside of Willemstad, Curaçao

This view of the Floating Market from the Queen Wilhelmina bridge makes it seem the market is conducted from the tethered boats along the Waaigat waterfront. However, behind those tarps are produce stalls brimming with fresh fruits, vegetables and fish. They are built along the colorful buildings of Shailio Caprileskade. Many Venezuelan merchants live in those small wooden boats. They also use them to transport their fresh product from their homeland 40 miles away across the Caribbean.

Kon. Wilhelminabrug Willemstad, Curaçao
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3 Charles Bridge and Old Town in Prague, Czech Republic

This iconic view of Prague shows the Charles Bridge spanning the Vltava river as it connects with Old Town. Staré Město became a walled-in settlement after it was founded in the 9th century. Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV commissioned this namesake bridge after its predecessor, the 12th century Judith Bridge, was crippled by floodwaters in 1342. The designer was Petr Parléř, the same architect who created its eastern gate, the Old Town Bridge Tower in the center of the photo. Construction of the 16-arch bridge was finished in 1402. After an extensive restoration ending in 1978, Karlův most has been restricted to pedestrians. This very popular landmark is typically packed with camera-ready tourists taking photos of the 30 sculptures lining its 1,692 foot length.

Karlův most, 110 00 Praha 1, Czechia
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4 Sailing Ships Docked along Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark

These ships are moored at the quay on Nyhaven. Docking vessels here continues a tradition dating back to 1673 when this inner harbor was dug out by prisoners at the command of King Christian V. For the next 400 years, it grew into a major shipping port but then tapered off in the late 1940s. Today, traffic consists of some working vessels, restored wooden sailing ships plus sightseeing boats.

Nyhavn 2, 1051 København, Denmark
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5 Expansion History of Fredensborg Palace in Fredensborg, Denmark

When the initial pleasure palace for King Frederick IV was finished in 1726, it was a modest building of one-and-a-half stories. His successor, King Christian VI, initiated a significant expansion in 1741 that would stretch through the reigns of two more Danish kings. By 1770, it had evolved into an elaborate, octagonal-shaped complex complete with riding stables and a huge garden. It became a favorite venue for monarchs to spend their holidays plus their spring and summer months.

Slottet 1B, 3480 Fredensborg, Denmark
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6 Architectural Details of Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød, Denmark

It is a delightful challenge for your eyes to drink in all of the magnificent details of the Frederiksborg Castle. The slot’s red brick façade is adorned with a clock tower, copper-crowned spires plus mythological and Renaissance sculptures. In the foreground is a reproduction of the Neptune Fountain. The original was installed in 1620 but then seized by Swedish soldiers in 1659 during the Second Northern War. Jacob Christian Jacobsen, the founder of Carlsberg brewery, paid for the fountain to be recreated in 1888.

Frederiksborg Slot 10, 3400 Hillerød, Denmark
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7 History and Design of Egeskov Castle in Kværndrup, Denmark

During the mid-16th century, Denmark was plagued by civil wars plus political and religious upheaval. Therefore, it was common for Dutch noblemen like Frands Brockenhuus to build a fortress to defend their estate and family from attacks. The design of the Egeskov Slot included a wide moat, three foot walls, battlements, arrow slits plus machicolations for dropping stones or scalding oil from the towers onto attackers below.

Gade 18, 5772 Kværndrup, Denmark
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8 Spire of St. Alban’s Church in Odense, Denmark

This photo was taken along a long boulevard called Sankt Knuds Plads. It shows the spectacular spire of St. Alban’s Church which soars 177 feet in the center of Odense, Denmark. It is sometimes confused with the St. Alban’s Church were Canute IV of Denmark was killed in 1086. That historic site was near here but no longer exists. This St. Alban’s Church was built in a neo-gothic style in 1908.

Adelgade 1, 5000 Odense C, Denmark
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9 Pastel Row Houses in Samaná, Dominican Republic

These pastel buildings near the Bay of Samaná along the Avenida la Marina look like a painter’s pallet. The colonial row houses have a quaint village appearance. Inside they are designed to attract tourists’ wallets. On the right is the Samaná Casino. It is small with about 50 slots and a couple card tables. The rest are part of Plaza Pueblo Principe, a center containing shops, restaurants and nightlife. This property is owned by Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa, a resort located a short distance away.

Plaza Pueblo Principe, Avenida La Marina, Samaná 32000, Dominican Republic
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10 Blue-footed Booby on Eggs at Punta Suárez on Española Island in Galápagos, EC

Also along the eastern coastline of Punta Suárez are colonies of blue-footed boobies. With a wingspan averaging five feet, they are the second largest booby endemic to the Galápagos. The mating season of these monogamous seabirds peaks between June and August. The female typically lays two eggs on the ground about five days apart. The parents take turns incubating the eggs with their bright blue feet for about 45 days. Then the chicks are protected and fed for about two months. There are more than 25,000 breeding pairs of blue-footed boobies living in the Galápagos Islands.

Punta Suárez, Española Island, Ecuador
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11 Arriving at Darwin Bay Beach on Genovesa in Galápagos, EC

While cruising around the Galápagos Islands, you itinerary typically includes two excursions a day. After your ship anchors in open water, you will board an inflatable raft for a short journey to the next destination. There are two types of landings: wet and dry. The former means you will step into shallow water along the shore. Good water shoes are a must. There to help you disembark are members of the crew and the occasional swallow-tailed gull. Welcome to Darwin Bay Beach on Genovesa Island.

Great Darwin Bay, Genovesa Island, Galápagos, Ecuador
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12 Red Sacs on Male Magnificent Frigatebirds on North Seymour in Galápagos, EC

You will never forget seeing a male magnificent frigatebird with an enormous red balloon below the neck. The color is intensified by their black feathers and the surrounding white brush where they perch. This scarlet throat pouch is inflated during mating season to attract females. Notice the deflated sac of the bird on the right. Most pelecaniformes – such as pelicans and related marine birds – have a similar gular pouch. It is designed to scoop up fish and then drain water before eating. But the frigatebird has elevated this feature to a dramatic flamboyance.

North Seymour Island, Ecuador
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13 Incredible Scenery of Rábida Island in Galápagos, EC

You will be awed by the landscape after your wet landing at the northeast side of Rábida Island. You may be so engrossed by the forest of white trees encircling the reds, oranges, pinks and greens that you might not notice the sea lions sleeping on the maroon beach. Some people call this “moon on earth.” Another nickname is the Red Island. This travel guide shows some highlights of your 60 to 90 minute hike. The .7 mile trail is easy. The experience is unforgettable.

Rábida Island, Ecuador
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14 Galápagos Tortoise Description at Darwin Station in Puerto Ayora, Galápagos, EC

The Galápagos tortoise richly deserves the common adjective of “giant.” An average adult of this endemic species – the largest in the world – weighs 400 pounds. Yet size varies by island. The biggest are native to Santa Cruz Island. Males here can measure up to five feet and be nearly 500 pounds. The largest was 6.1 feet and 880 pounds. Their scale-covered legs have to be enormous to carry that much weight. There are five claws on the front legs and four on the back pair. Their carapace (shell) is either saddleback, domed or a variation of the two. Most impressive is their life expectancy. In the wild, they typically live over 100 years. Harriet was the oldest in captivity when she died at 170 years old in Australia Zoo. With that much time, who needs to hurry?

Charles Darwin Research Station, Ave Charles Darwin, Puerto Ayora, Ecuador
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15 Lighthouse on Santa Ana Hill in Guayaquil, Ecuador

This 61.5 foot lighthouse with the blue and white stripes at the 197 foot summit of Santa Ana Hill is the symbol of Guayaquil. The initial Spanish settlement was founded in the 1530s. After being destroyed twice by indigenous people, it relocated here at the base of Little Green Hill in 1547. Since then, Guayaquil has become Ecuador’s largest city with over two million residents. From the light’s observation deck, you can enjoy a panoramic view of many of the landmarks in the Old and New Towns plus the Guayas River.

Diego Noboa y Arteta, Escalon 444 Cerro Santa Ana, Guayaquil 090313, Ecuador
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16 Square at Alfaro City Civic Center in Manabi Province, Montecristi, Ecuador

Eloy Alfaro was president of Ecuador around the turn of the 20th century. He is credited with building the country’s unity, education, railroad and infrastructure but also suppressed the Catholic Church. He was deposed in 1911 and murdered by a mob a year later. This monument to him is at the Alfaro City Civic Center Square on a hill known as El Centinela. It overlooks Montecristi, the town best known for originating the Panama hat.

Civic Center Ciudad Alfaro, Montecristi, Ecuador
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17 Historic Centre Icons from Plaza Grande in Quito, Ecuador

The Historic Centre of Quito is an 800 acre time capsule of Spanish architecture blended with European and Ecuadorian indigenous designs. Flanking the cobblestone streets are marvelous churches and monasteries, former opulent palaces, two-story houses with balconies and red-tile roofs, fascinating museums and quaint squares. The iconic landmarks range from the mid-16th century like the Cathedral of Quito to the Virgin of Quito statue erected in 1976. In 1978, Centro Histórico was the first to be named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in its entirety. El Centro is also so charming it earned the nickname “Florence of America.”

Chile & Venezuela Streets, Quito 170401, Ecuador
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18 Pharaoh Ramesses II Statues at Temple of Ramesses in Abu Simbel, Egypt

It is extremely hot in southern Egypt on the shores of Lake Nasser. Located there is the almost deserted town of Abu Simbel. Few people would visit here if not for two spectacular temples built by Ramesses II. He ruled for 66 years until he died in his mid-nineties in 1213 BC. These are two of four colossal statues of the pharaoh sculpted into the face of a cliff. They guard the entrance to the Great Temple. This is also called the Temple of Re-Harakhte or the Sun Temple. These magnificent carvings are over 65 feet tall. They portray him on his throne wearing a double crown and a nemes headdress. Notice on the left that his false beard is still intact.

Abu Simbel Temples, Aswan Governorate, Egypt
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19 Camel and Egyptian Man at Step Pyramid in Cairo, Egypt

The Step Pyramid of King Djoser at Saqqara was built around 2,650 BC. It is considered to be Egypt’s first pyramid. The ancient structure is over 200 feet tall and consists of six external levels. Underground it is more impressive. There is a network of chambers, tunnels and galleries traversing over three miles. This camel seems to be smiling with pride. Or was he puckering up for a kiss from his Egyptian owner?

Pyramid of Djoser Saqarah, Al Badrashin, Giza Governorate, Egypt
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20 Relief in Temple of Horus Sanctuary in Edfu, Egypt

The Temple of Horus on the Nile River was completed in 57 BC after 180 years of construction. It is considered to be the best preserved Ptolemaic temple in Egypt and is the second largest. The temple was dedicated to Horus, the falcon-headed god and the lord of the sky. The sacred sanctuary, where a statue of the deity was kept, is surrounded by golden reliefs. This one has two images of Horus. His left eye was the moon and the right was the sun. Also carved was an image of King Ptolemy IV Philopator. All pharaohs were considered to be incarnations of Horus. Between them is Hathor, the goddess of love and beauty.

The Temple of Horus at Edfu Adfo, Markaz Edfo, Aswan Governorate, Egypt
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21 Great Sphinx and Pyramid of Khufu at Giza, Egypt

A short distance from Cairo is the country’s most iconic archeological treasures. The Great Sphinx was built around 2,500 BC. This 240 foot statue has the shape of a lion with the face of Pharaoh Khafre. The likeness is magnificent despite the missing nose. In the background is the Pyramid of Khufu. Also called the Great Pyramid, it is the largest and oldest of the three pyramids surrounding the Sphinx. This architectural marvel is over 450 feet tall and consists of 2.3 million limestone and granite blocks.

Great Sphinx of Giza Al Haram, Giza Governorate, Egypt
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22 Nile Lechwe Walking Along Nile River at Sunset near Kom Ombo, Egypt

The Nile flows over four thousand miles from Alexandria to Aswan. This distance makes it the world’s longest river. For Egyptian towns, this is the primary water source for transportation and farming. Its annual flooding supplies silt and irrigation creating a fertile path through the desert. Along the riverbanks, the farm buildings, practices, crops and free-roaming animals appear little changed since ancient times. This female Nile lechwe – an endangered species of antelope – was meandering along at sunset. I call this photo, “Rush Hour on the Nile.”

Kom Ombo Nagoa Ash Shatb, Markaz Deraw, Aswan Governorate, Egypt
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23 Colossi of Memnon Statue of Amenhotep III with Hot Air Balloon near Luxor, Egypt

This is one of two huge, 1,000 ton statues of Amenhotep III called Colossi of Memnon. He was the King of Egypt from 1382 to 1344 BC. The pharaoh built a 4.2 million square foot temple in the ancient city of Thebai on the Nile’s west bank near Luxor. From 27 BC. until 130 AD., this 75 foot, quartzite block used to make bell sounds in the mornings. They are all that remain of the temple after it was washed away by the river.

Colossi of Memnon, Al Bairat, Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt
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24 Reclining Limestone Statue of Colossus of Ramesses II in Memphis, Egypt

Memphis, Egypt, was the capital city along the Nile’s west bank beginning in the Old Kingdom in the third millennium BC. It is now an open-air museum containing ruins, a sphinx, granite statues and monuments. The site’s main treasure is inside a two-story courtyard: a magnificent, 33 foot statue of the reclining Ramesses II. He reigned from 1279 to 1213 BC during the New Kingdom era. This stunning limestone statue is called the Colossus of Ramesses. It used to stand outside the God Ptah temple. His idealistic image includes the royal headdress called a nemes, the diadem headband and the uraeus cobra snake, plus his false, rectangular beard.

Memphis Mit Rahinah, Al Badrashin, Giza Governorate, Egypt
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25 Introduction to Bath, England

Bath, England is a city of about 90,000 residents in Somerset County. It is named for the hot springs that soothed the Romans during the 1st century. From the mid-18th century until the early 19th century, those same mineral waters transformed Bath into a major resort destination for the social elite. Filled with Gregorian architecture constructed with beige limestone, Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One look at this idyllic view along the River Avon should prompt you to add Bath to your bucket list.

Grand Parade, Bath BA2 4DF, UK
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26 Queen Elizabeth in Opening of Parliament Procession in London, England

Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952. She is the Queen of the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and a dozen other countries. In her role as Head of State, Her Majesty delivers the annual Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament ceremony inside the Palace of Winchester. She and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrive in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach. The 18 foot carriage was built by W. J. Frecklington in 2010 and put in service in 2014. It is drawn by six Windsor Grey horses. Notice her crown. There are 1,333 diamonds weighing 320 carats in the George IV State Diadem. It has been worn by every queen since it was commissioned in 1820.

Palace of Westminster, Westminster, London SW1A 2PW, UK
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27 Arriving at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England

Windsor Castle is a must-do day trip while visiting England. The 13-acre royal estate is about a half-hour train ride from London and then a short walk from Windsor Central Station. Your first glimpse is the western curtain wall constructed during the mid-13th century by King Henry III. This defense stands 100 feet and is 13 feet thick. On the left is Curfew Tower, a former medieval dungeon, built circa 1230. The belfry was originally part of the College of St. George and moved here in 1478. The clock was replaced in 1689. All of these features were restored in 1863. On the right is the Garter Tower. Its namesake is the knights of the Order of the Garter. Now hurry along. You haven’t come to the best parts yet.

Windsor SL4 1NJ, UK
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28 Brief History of York Minster in York, England

Several churches stood on this site before York Minster. The earliest were finished in 627, 637, the late 8th century and 1080. Building of the current cathedral began in 1220 under the orders of the Archbishop of York, Walter de Gray. In 1472 – over 250 years later – it was considered finished. Throughout its history, it was plundered during the English Reformation, threatened by civil war, suffered from fires in 1829, 1840 and 1984 and been endangered of collapse. On each occasion, the treasured landmark was restored. Measuring 524 feet long and 222 feet wide, it is Northern Europe’s second biggest Gothic Cathedral. This matches the Archbishop of York’s second highest rank in the Church of England.

Deangate, Minster Yd, York YO1 7HH, UK
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29 Gentoo Penguin Colony at Bertha’s Beach in Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands are a British overseas territory in the South Atlantic Ocean that are interesting to see for a day because of the miles of active mine fields that are remnants of the brief war with Argentina in 1982 and for the colonies of Gentoo penguins. It is hysterical to watch these penguins waddle along the coast on their webbed feet with their tails sticking out. Also among the colony are the stately King Penguins plus other breeds. When visiting Bertha’s Beach, however, dress warmly because the temperature is cold and the wind blows relentlessly.

Bertha's Beach, FIQQ 1ZZ, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
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30 Finnish National Theater in Helsinki, Finland

This National Romantic style building features a Finnish granite façade, cooper dome and flanking towers. When the theater was constructed in 1902, it gave a permanent home to a touring company of professional actors. The ensemble was established in 1872. Suomen Kansallisteatteri has been expanded a few times during its history. It now includes four stages, a studio and a night club.

Läntinen Teatterikuja 1, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
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31 Palais de I’Isle Reflecting in Thiou Canal in Annecy, France

Sitting regally on a triangular island in the Thiou Canal is an equally triangular castle with thick stone walls resembling the bow of a ship. Apparently, after some of the major Parisian landmarks, the Palais de I’Isle in Annecy is one of the most photographed buildings in France.

Le Palais de I'lle 3 Passage de l'Île, 74000 Annecy, France
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32 Jardin Exotique Garden Blooming Cacti and Succulents in Éze, France

These are just some of the 1000 species of succulents and cacti that have hugged the edge of a cliff in Éze, France, since 1933. A dirt path winds you up a hill through the three acre Jardin Exotique garden. Most of the plants are described on plaques. Buy you hardly have time to read them because you are mesmerized by their beauty and fascinated by the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea below.

20 Rue du Château, 06360 Èze, France
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33 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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34 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 has 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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35 Basilique Notre-Dame de la Victoire in Saint-Ràphaël, France

In the Judeo-Christian religion, the Archangel Raphael is responsible for healing. He is also the namesake for Saint-Ràphaël which is a seaside town located near the center of the French Riviera. This is the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Victoire. The two bell towers, rose window and red, Esterel sandstone façade were built at the end of the 19th century. On top is a gilded statue of the Madonna holding the Christ Child.

158 Boulevard Félix Martin, 83700 Saint-Raphaël, France
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36 Strasbourg Cathedral Main Portal in Strasbourg, France

The Gothic features of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg’s main portal are incredibly ornate. Most of the statues date back from the 13th to the 15th century. Below the giant rose window are rows of spires that crown the archivolt and tympanum. In the center of the pediment is the Virgin Mary holding the Christ Child.

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg Place de la Cathédrale, 67000 Strasbourg, France
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37 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 until the French monarchy had to flee in 1789 during the French Revolution. This is the opulent marble courtyard which greets visitors with the promise of more grandeur behind its golden walls. On the backside are elaborate gardens and the petit appartement of Marie-Antoinette. This UNESCO World Heritage site is definitely worth the train ride from Paris.

Cour de Marbre, 78000 Versailles, France
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38 Theater Baden-Baden in Baden-Baden, Germany

Back in 1862, when Baden-Baden was reaching its pinnacle as a resort destination, this performing arts venue was built with a Belle Epoch architectural design. Since 1918, Theater Baden-Baden has continually had a professional ensemble of actors. The interior was completely renovated in 1992. Now plays are performed on three stages.

Goethepl. 1 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany
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39 Brandenburg Gate and Quadriga of Victory in Berlin, Germany

Since 1793, Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory who holds an iron cross while riding a horse-drawn chariot called a quadriga, has witnessed history atop the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. She was seized by Napoleon after his triumphal march in 1806 but was returned in 1914 to watch the ravages of WWI and WWI plus the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Throughout history, this landmark has symbolized military success, the Nazi Party and freedom.

Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin, Germany
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40 Dresden Frauenkirche Lutheran Church in Dresden, Germany

The Dresden Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady, is a jewel of Dresden, Germany. It was Catholic when completed in 1743, then Protestant and now a Lutheran church. Johann Sebastian Bach performed a recital at the organ’s dedication. The initial dome, called “Stone Bell,” was 12,000 tons of sandstone that stood 315 feet. In 1945, the church was destroyed when the Allies dropped 650,000 incendiary bombs on Dresden. The charred ruins remained untouched for 48 years. Then, from 1993 to 2005, it was meticulously rebuilt to its former glory.

An der Frauenkirche 17 01067 Dresden, Germany
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41 Freiburg Minster Stained Glass Window in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

When the Freiburg Minster cathedral was built mostly in the 13th century, the local guilds donated the funds for the stained glass windows but insisted that their symbols be incorporated into these colorful works of art. For example, if you look closely below the image of the Madonna with Child, you will see a scissors representing the tailors’ guild. On the left is Mary Magdalene and on the right is St. Catherine of Alexandria.

Münsterplatz 10, 79098 Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
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42 Elevated View of Old Town in Heidelberg, Germany

Nestled in the Rhine Rift Valley between the Gaisberg and Königstuhl mountains is the medieval Old Town of Heidelberg, Germany. On the left is Holy Spirit Church. The Heiliggeistkirche is located in the market square and took 117 years to build from 1398 – 1515. Spanning the River Neckar is the Karl Theodor Bridge. However, it is usually referred to as the Alte Brücke or Old Bridge so named because it was finished in 1788. This view is from the Belvedere terrace outside the Heidelberg Castle.

Schlosshof 1a, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
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43 Christ Church in Mainz, Germany

Until the French occupation in the late 18th century, Protestants were discriminated against by Catholics. But Napoléon Bonaparte declared freedom of religion and, about one hundred years later, the Christuskirche was finished in 1903. The Christ Church’s imposing, 262 foot dome and Renaissance Revival architecture makes it an impressive landmark in Mainz. It was heavily damaged by bombs in 1945 but reconstructed in 1954.

Kaiserstraße 56, 55116 Mainz, Germany
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44 Historic District on Elbe River From Castle Hill in Meissen, Germany

Meissen, Germany, also known as the Cradle of Saxony, is famous for its porcelain. Atop a hill sits Albrechtsburg, a grand castle that was finished in 1525, and a cathedral. Below this perch, and nestled along the Elbe River, is the historic district. Many of the buildings have orange, beaver-tail tiles, Renaissance architecture and plenty of charm.

Domplatz 2 01662 Meissen, Germany
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45 BMW Welt and Museum in Munich, Germany

I have tried to limit my personal experiences when writing descriptions of the photos on this website. But I can’t help myself this time. About two weeks after retiring in June of 2011, I took delivery of a new car in this marvelous, steel and glass building, the BMW Welt or World, in Munich, Germany, which was built in 2007. Under its “Cloud Roof” was an ultimate experience for the ultimate driving machine. Since then, I have driven that wonderful automobile through six counties and 30 states while averaging about one photo per mile.

Am Olympiapark 1, 80809 München, Germany
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46 New Town Hall in Marienplatz or St. Mary’s Square in Munich, Germany

This magnificent Gothic Revival building in Munich, Germany, is a city government center called New Town Hall. It was built in 1908 on Marienplatz, which is also called St. Mary’s Square. It’s most exciting feature is the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in the main tower. Once a day, or three times daily in the summer, life-size figurines dance merrily and equestrian knights joust while 43 bells play a song for about 15 minutes. Get there early, however, because the rest of the crowd does.

Geldhauser Marienplatz 8, 80331 München, Germany
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47 Ständehaus Now Higher Regional Court in Rostock, Germany

This stunning red brick, Neo-Gothic building in the Steintor-Vorstadt district was the Ständehaus Rostock when it was built in 1893. The House of the Estates served as the meeting house and administration offices for nobles, knights, land owners and the parliament until 1918. Today it is occupied by the Higher Regional Court of Rostock.

Wallstraße 3 18055 Rostock, Germany
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48 Todtnauer Waterfalls from Footbridge in Todtnauberg, Germany

Surrounding the gorgeous Todtnauer Waterfalls is a series of paths and footbridges that allow you to explore it from several angles as it flows down the granite rocks towards the valley that’s situated between the towns of Atersteg and Todtnau. It is a refreshing way to spend a hot summer day with the family. This area has been protected as a monument since 1987.

Todtnauer Wasserfälle Haldenweide 79674 Todtnau, Germany
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49 Porta Nigra City Gate in Trier, Germany

The Romans built Porta Nigra around 180 AD. While savoring its grandeur, you begin to appreciate why Trier claims to be Germany’s oldest city. Black Gate was one of four entrances to the fortified town. It is the sole survivor. The others were dismantled for building materials during the Middle Ages. Porta Nigra was reconstructed upon the orders of Napoléon Bonaparte in the early 19th century. The huge sandstone blocks without mortar stretch 75 feet wide and 90 feet tall.

Porta Nigra, Porta-Nigra-Platz, 54290 Trier, Germany
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50 Lighthouse and Teapot Landmarks in Warnemünde, Germany

The two famous landmarks in Warnemünde stand side-by-side along the Seepromenade pedestrian walkway parallel to the Baltic Sea. After getting a bite to eat in the uniquely shaped Teepott, consider exploring the lighthouse. Guided tours are conducted by volunteers from the Warnemünder Lighthouse Society. If this light looks vaguely familiar, then you probably saw the marketing material for the 2010 movie Shutter Island starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Seepromenade 3, 18119 Rostock, Germany
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51 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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