A Travellerspoint blog

November 2012

Un encantador destino otoñal

semi-overcast 8 °C

Un hermoso amanecer escarchado se abre sobre la antigua ciudad de Durham durante el mes de noviembre. Gotitas heladas que yacen en el suelo brillan en la tenue luz de la mañana, y un aire fresco y glacial saluda a los residentes al salir de sus casas. El sol, cansado, queda bajito en el brumoso cielo, produciendo sombras curiosas y tintes azules en las pintorescas callejuelas. El sinuoso río Wear fluye con gracia alrededor del casco viejo de la ciudad actuando como un elegante marco natural. Y siguiendo su ruta encontramos mini bosques que en esta época del año son explosiones de colores vibrantes. Los tonos cálidos de las hojas y su banda sonora crujiente crean un rico ambiente de temporada. Y para los deambuladores, súper bufandas y gorros de pompones son la alta costura de la estación, y dan un toque alegre al asecto de todos.

La histórica ciudad de Durham es un perfecto destino para pasar un fin de semana otoñal. El antiguo barrio central está lleno de pequeñas y bonitas tiendas que venden un despliegue de maravillas coloridas. Ahí se encuentran librerías a la antigua, boutiques tentadores y cafeterías estrafalarias donde se puede disfrutar de chocolate caliente sin-fin y grandes trozos de tartas templadas. O si tenemos más hambre, ¿por que no entrar a comer en un típico pub del norte de Inglaterra, y probar uno de los famosos pasteles de carne al lado de un atrayente y ardente hogar? Perfecto para una trade de frío.

El corazón de la ciudad está marcada por la impresionante e inmensa catedral que tiene más de 900 años de historia. Es sin duda uno de los edificios religiosos más imponentes de Europa, y uno de los que más mantiene su forma original. El enorme complejo tiene un encanto muy especial y un ambiente mágico, y visitarlo es una oportunidad única, particularmente cuando tomamos en cuenta que varias escenas de las películas de Harry Potter fueron rodadas ahí. El castillo al lado también tiene un aire muy evocador y ayuda a dar la impresión de que estamos de verdad en medio de Hogwarts. En noviembre el festival de luz, Lumiere, llega a la ciudad, y durante unas gélidas y oscuras tardes ilumina de manera preciosa la catedral y las calles de alrededor – una perfecta manera de distrutar de las largas noches otoñales.

Otra actividad muy emocionante es acudir a un evento del famoso Bonfire Night. El 5 de noviembre es un día muy especial en el Reino Unido en el cual se recuerda del viejo rey James I. Ese mismo día del año 1605 James fue salvado de un intento contra su vida. Entonces para celebrar su salvacion, declaró que en ese día todos los pueblos deberían encender una hoguera en su nombre. Todavía hoy se mantiene esa tradición y además se organizan fuegos artificiales. Cada año la universidad de Durham monta un evento estupendo con un maratón de música, infinitos colores y un increíble telón de fondo proveído por la magnifica catedral.

Entonces, para unos dias otoñales llenos de historia, cultura y curiosidades ¿por qué no visitar la hermosa ciudad de Durham? Igual, se podría combinar el viaje con otros estupendos destinos Británicos – a York y Edinburgo se llega en menos de dos horas en tren.

Posted by lauracerys 08:46 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged england durham harry_potter inglaterra otoño Comments (0)

Baubles and Bratwurst!

overcast 1 °C

Frankfurt Christmas Market is an epitome of festive clichés, merry, bustling and with a perfect frosty chill. Although the city itself is primarily made up of modern, industrial buildings, historic Römerberg Square is turned into a quintessential Bavarian winter wonderland at the end of November each year. Infinite twinkling fairy lights illuminate the aisles and a sky scraping Christmas tree acts as a proud and magnificent centre piece. The quaint, wooden-framed buildings enclosing the square offer a backdrop straight out of a Grimm fairytale and provide the perfect setting for this festive spectacle.

Traditional wooden booths, embellished by elegant red and green wreathes, offer a magical array of yuletide treats and are bursting with colours, sparkles and flavours galore. Handmade wooden toys delight and intrigue, whilst mini candle-lit cottages give displays a warm and inviting glow. Opulent baubles and enchanting decorations glint at passers-by, their varying shapes and sizes never failing to impress.

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Traditional German Christmas carols, many of them now famous world-over, are regularly performed, providing a perfect soundtrack for our wintertide get away. And meanwhile the old fashioned merry-go-round entertains children and adults alike, provoking smiles and giggles all-round.

On a cold winter’s eve the deliciously sizzly wurst are perfect, comforting snacks, their rich scent whirling in the nose-numbing air, enticing us over for a nibble. And the sweet toothed visitors are far from disappointed either. Fantastical baked ginger goodies with their intricate designs pose for the festive food paparazzi, the glisteningly sticky pretzels and divine chocolate kebabs never far behind. And perching at one of the market’s bars for an apfelwein or rich mulled wine is a truly evocative way of soaking up the festive atmosphere.

So for scenes and an ambience fit for a Christmas card, why not head to Frankfurt this year for a few days of festive fun! Fröhliche Weihnachten!

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Posted by lauracerys 09:35 Archived in Germany Tagged markets traditional germany christmas frankfurt german carols christmas_market Comments (0)

Incredible, In Your Face and In The Middle Of Nowhere

The Three 'Ins' of Las Vegas

sunny 35 °C

Las Vegas is bizarre, mesmerising and downright weird… all in the best possible sense of course. But it’s true. From the moment I arrived I was baffled and delighted as the scenes I had so often seen in films were played out before me. Flashing lights, revelling sounds, extreme and fantastical constructions and generally over the top everything, meant I just didn’t know where to look first. ‘How is it possible that a place like this exists?’ I continuously thought to myself. ‘How are Luxor, New York, Venice and Paris suddenly all in the same street?’. ‘Why are there Romans and pirates here?’. ‘Why does everyone want me to have a nice day?’. ‘And why are there so many options for my burger?’. Indeed, to this day, I’m not sure how or why.

The first thing that intrigued me was the scale of the city and its geographical surroundings. As our plane began its descent into the airport I was surprised by how small Las Vegas was – one bold boulevard surrounded by increasingly diminishing suburbs, until it fizzled out into nothingness. And this nothingness led to awesome scenery. I knew that the city was located in ‘desert country’, but I didn’t actually realize to what extent. In comparison to its surroundings Las Vegas is but a small mark on a wild vast canvas of amber and crimson rock. It is literally in the middle of nowhere, standing alone and slight amidst an arid sea of thirsty earth. But yet this small city, or at least that which us tourists experience, is booming and vibrant and in ridiculous contrast to its barren environs.

The Strip, the area of Las Vegas recognized world over for its flamboyant hotels and casinos, is unbelievable, astonishing and rather absurd. The grand constructions that line the avenue are dreamlike, outlandish masterpieces, inspiring awe, laughter and bewilderment. ‘How have I ended up atop the Eiffel Tower looking out at Aladdin’s bazaar and a Roman fortress?’ you may ask yourself. But alas, Las Vegas is thus. Simply walking the boulevard provides unreal experiences, inconceivable sights and scenes of ludicrous frivolity. Near on ten lanes of traffic buzz up and down The Strip day in, day out, ferrying thrill seekers to and from the various party and gambling joints of the city. At night, neon signs and theatrical light compositions excitingly illuminate from ground to heaven. Everywhere we look there is something or someone to be seen and all around, money is constantly on show, extravagantly displaying her power.

Inside The Strip’s hotels, all you may wish for is available. Whatever and however much you want to eat or drink, it’s possible. If you want to party, you can, whenever you want. The difference between day and night is blurry in the dimly lit swanky bars and gambling halls, and cocktail glasses and slot machines jingle and clink at all hours. Sounds of winnings and failings hover in dizzy clouds, and if it is your desire to spend obscene amounts of money, you will certainly be more than welcome.

Las Vegas… Incredible. In your face. And in the middle of nowhere. I think that pretty much sums it up.

Posted by lauracerys 08:54 Archived in USA Tagged desert las_vegas casino usa gambling the_strip Comments (0)

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