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Gävle in Sweden, the capital of the North

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Maybe not the place that immediately comes to mind when you think about holidays, but there are good reasons to visit Gävle in Sweden.

First of all, it is only an hour and a half by train from Stockholm, which in a country as large as Sweden is almost near.

It is the capital of Norrland, the Swedish region that extends beyond the Arctic Circle, which many see as an almost wild land.

It is a university city mainly from the 1800s, the city actually dates back to the 1400s, but after a fire in 1869 there is very little left of the original buildings. When wood is the main material used in construction, fires are particularly destructive. 

What remains is south of the river and is called Gamla Gefle and is a typically Scandinavian place. However, as well as being a not too far base for exploring the outskirts of the Swedish ‘wilderness’, Gävle has some attractions of its own.

What to find in Gävle in Sweden?

For example it is the hometown of Joel Hägglund who might mean nothing to you but he is more famous as Joe Hill. This is a Swede who emigrated to the United States, became an organizer in the trade unions and was wrongly accused of murder and executed in 1915. He obviously became a martyr and hero of American folk. If you are in Gävle you can visit the house where he was born transformed into a museum.

Gävle in Sweden also has a great railway museum called Sveriges Järnvägsmuseet where you will find both large locomotives you can ride on and miniature trains. An earthly paradise for enthusiasts.

Another great museum is the region museum or Länsmuseum Gävleborg which contains exhibits on the area’s history and culture. For lovers of the genre there is also a museum dedicated to prisons. 

Strangely Gävle also has a whiskey distillery, a recent thing, in fact only opened in 1999. You can still visit it by booking directly on the site (it has an English version). Gävle in Sweden can be comfortably explored in one day if you pass before or after a tour of northern Sweden. If you go in the period before Christmas do not miss the giant straw goat that is made every year and is quite unique.

Worked in many sectors including recruitment and marketing. Lucky to have found a soulmate who was then taken far too soon. No intention of moving on and definitely not moving to Thailand for the foreseeable future. Might move forward. Owned by a cat.

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Visit Blenheim Palace where Winston Churchill was born

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Blenheim Palace is the official residence of the Dukes of Marlborough from beyond 200 years, it is called Palace, although it does not belong to the royal family, a unique case in the UK.

Since 1987 it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in Oxfordshire , approximately one ‘hour and a half from London. Besides being a kind of national monument it is also the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

The history of its construction was troubled, it had to be built in honour of John Churchill the first Duke of Marlborough , after his victory at the Battle of Blenheim against the French and the Bavarians. For this reason, Queen Anne gave the Duke an old property that was falling apart but also gave him a considerable sum of money to rebuild it.

The construction of the new Blenheim Palace

The John Churchill’s wife, Sarah, wanted the architect Christopher Wren , who had built the new St Paul’s Cathedral . While her husband called Sir John Vanbrugh who was a playwright and not an architect. But then many were trying to build buildings, even if they were not architects by profession.

For all the peace of the construction of Blenheim Royal residence, Sarah, who could not stand Vanbrugh, put the legendary stakes in the wheel and made life impossible for the playwright. The Duchess not only wanted a monument to her husband, but also a house to live in and Sir Vanbrugh’s project was not exactly suitable.

Sarah and Queen Anne were good friends, in a way that nowadays would seem suspicious, Sarah had a strong personality and the two often quarrelled even in public.

The Duchess was also worried about finances and how much money was needed for this project. Alla great succeeded in banishing Sir Vanbrugh and the project was completed by architect Nicholas Hawksmoor after the death of the Duke in 1722.

The American hereditary

Like many other British aristocratic families at the great del 1800 the Dukes of Marlborough also had financial problems and saved their property, which was then their only residence, by marrying American heiresses . Jennie Jerome , a wealthy American heiress, became the wife of Sir Randolph Churchill and later mother of Winston Churchill. In 1896 the 9th Duke of Marlborough also married a wealthy American, the eighteen year old Consuelo Vanderbilt, who arrived with a dowry of 2.5 million dollars. Marrying rich Americans became a fashion among the declining British aristocracy, and it was also prestigious for these wealthy American families to join old aristocratic families.

In any case Blenheim Royal residence was built in English Baroque style , one of the few buildings in this style of short duration.

The idea was to create an austere monument to the Duke, a palace that can be seen from miles away.

It was not a great success, grandmother part of the people hated this palace, including Winston Churchill (cousin of the Duke of Marlborough at the time) who was born there and spent part of his childhood there.

What to see at Blenheim Royal residence

You have to look at Blenheim Royal residence even from a distance, Sir Vanbrugh had played a lot with the perspective, and along with the park and gardens. The views that you can admire are all well choreographed.

Inside the building you will have a beautiful collection of art, objects and furniture of the past centuries, there are several halls and also the apartments of state.

There are representative rooms such as the central hall, a representative dining room used by the family once a year on Christmas day. There is also a library and a corridor connecting the next room, you can look at the tapestries celebrating military victories.

The palace has beyond 200 rooms and 1000 windows, when it was built for the first time, the size of the window period based on the importance of the personality who lived in the verse. The servants had smaller windows, while the family members of the duke and duchess obviously had huge windows.

Blenheim Royal residence became a convalescent home for wounded soldiers during WWI and WWII, more than 400 boys were evacuated from Malvern University to live here. They were in the state rooms, wandering around the lower terrace. While the lake and the palace park were used for price training for the Normandy landing, Several movies and dramas were shot in this well-known palace, including the Order of the Phoenix. Harry Potter.

Blenheim Palace Gardens

After the death of her husband, the Duchess was not very interested in the gardens, left abandoned until the book Duke of Marlborough who decided to hire the famous gardener Capability Brown

Both part of the house and the gardens are open to the public, although they are still the home of the Duke of Marlborough (we are now at 12th Duke, from 2014 in fact Charles James Spencer-Churchill is Duke, famous for a long history of drug addiction and other problems). Numerous events are also held throughout the year. A miniature train connects the palace to the gardens, where, among a variety of activities for children, there is the Marlborough labyrinth , a triumphal arch, the home of the butterflies, the lavender garden and various exhibitions.

How to get to Blenheim Palace?

The palace is  near Oxford, you can include it in a tour of this city, or go there directly from London. There are direct buses from Victoria Train Terminal on certain days of the year. Otherwise National Express always offers you cheap bus travel.

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Cirencester: the old Roman town in the Cotswolds

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If you are in England, there are many reasons to visit Cirencester, a town in Gloucestershire of Roman origin, first it is in the Cotswolds, the magnificent area of ​​homes and hills. It offers a great starting point for exploring the area, and it is not for nothing that it is often referred to as the capital of the Cotswolds

Despite being a relatively small disadvantage approx. 20 thousand inhabitants, it’s a kind of centre for local public transport, from here you can go almost anywhere in the Cotswolds by bus. It is approximately 20 kilometres from Cheltenham, in an area famous for its beautiful English countryside. It does not have a very exciting evening and nightlife, as you can imagine given the size of the town, but you will find many typical and interesting clubs.

Cirencester has an ancient history, period one of the first Roman towns together with Chichester, London and St Albans Actually at that time it was the second-largest city after London. The Romans called it Corinium Dobunnorum. An important period during the Roman period but also in the Middle Ages when, like so many other places in England, it became rich by trading wool.

The Roman amphitheatre remains, at least in part, with its unmistakable shape even if covered by grass. You can visit it for free whenever you want.

It is said that it could contain 8000 spectators and therefore period, from what we know, the largest in Roman England. It was abandoned for centuries after the Romans left, but it seems that it was used in the Middle Ages for fights between bulls.

If you are interested in Roman history and art you can visit the Corinium Gallery You will find reconstructions, video clips and interactive shows that bring history to life. Among the highlights are some beautiful floor mosaics, found in the area and including a mosaic from the 300 created by the inhabitants of Roman Britannia, depicting the mythical lyre player Orpheus. For more information, you can consult the website

There are also a couple of old Roman villas and other Roman artefacts in the Cirencester area that you can visit, although unfortunately, no trace remains of the Roman Forum and basilica.

 

cirencester

Historic buildings in Cirencester

Later the Anglo-Saxons took possession of the town until the arrival of the Normans in 1100.

The Middle Ages were a good period for Cirencester, which became an important centre for the trade-in wool and textiles. In that period, it was built a large abbey, which Henry VIII  later had destroyed. Now you can only see some ruins. The beautiful Gothic-style church still remains.

Cirencester continued to thrive as a stopping place for carriages and travellers and later connected to the rest of the country by canals it continued to see a continuous passage of goods and people.

Cirencester is home to the oldest agricultural university in all English-speaking countries and the oldest Baptist church in the UK. You can also visit the vast park with the rental property of the Bathurst family, an old noble family of counts. You can visit the park for free (although now they intend to introduce a fee for non-residents) and see the tallest hedges in the UK.

This small Gloucestershire town is located not far from the River Thames, but it is not the only river in the area, in fact, it is crossed by the River Churn which is a tributary of the river that passes by London.

Now if you want to go there for tourism it has the advantage of not being full of tourists like some nearby places, despite having a nice centre, medieval and Victorian situation. For some strange reason, it still hasn’t been discovered by mass tourism.

Cirencester has so many interesting and unique shops and getting on purchasing here is a real pleasure. Only exploring the narrow streets of the centre with the many small shops can make you spend hours.

The courtyards with their individual style and the numerous historic streets radiating from the city centre. Cirencester is renowned for its very special shops, individual stores, charming antique shops and artisan shops, as well as national chain stores. Try to get off the main streets and explore the old historic streets, don’t miss The Woolmarket located off Dyer Road and Secure Lawn, accessed via the delightful Black Jack Road. You can also discover some hidden coffee shops or tearooms.

How to get to Cirencester?

National Express has frequent and cheap bus services from London and other cities in England. It is advisable to stay there at least 3 days to be able to explore the Cotswolds area a little.

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Food

Do you want to eat? Go to Budapest!

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Budapest is a city that is full of food, both traditional Hungarian cuisine and international dishes,  food here is sophisticated and very tasty.

Traditional Hungarian food: This is the staple of the Hungarian diet. It consists of dishes such as gulyás (a soup with vegetables, beef or pork and paprika), gombóc (stuffed cabbage), halászlé (fish soup), lángos (deep-fried bread).

Lángos is a Hungarian food that is traditionally cooked on a wood-burning stove. The dough is made of flour, salt, and yeast. Lángos dough is then deep-fried in canola oil until it becomes golden brown.

International cuisine: a wide variety of international foods are available in Budapest’s restaurants. Street stalls and markets offer authentic fare from Hungary’s neighbors including Turkish doner kebabs, Serbian ćevapčići, Greek gyros, and Polish zapiekanki.

There are a few dishes you really must :

Goulash is a Hungarian dish, consisting of meat and vegetables, usually served with noodles. It is a popular dish in many Central and Eastern European countries. The word goulash derives from Hungarian “gulyás” meaning “cattle drover”, but it is unclear as to whether the dish originated with Hungary’s cattle-driving Székely people or Transylvanian Saxons.

Sólet is a dish that consists of pieces of beef, bacon, onion, and garlic stewed in paprika, salt, and water. It is a popular main course in Hungary although originally it was a Jewish dish. Hungarian cuisine has been influenced by the cultures which have inhabited the Carpathian Basin over the centuries.

Rakott krumpli is a traditional Hungarian dish that can be translated as “Hungarian potato dumplings”. The main ingredients are potatoes, sausages, onions, flour, salt and eggs. They are wrapped in a cloth and boiled.

Lángos can be topped with sour cream, sugar or honey for sweetness and ground walnuts for texture. For added flavour you could add cinnamon or cardamom. Today’s version sees it fried in boiling oil and seasoned with sour cream and cheese You can find it in this and many other variations, including sweet ones.

Pörkölt is a Hungarian dish which means “roasted” in English. It has nothing to do with pork, the meat is often beef or lamb. It consists of beef and vegetables mixed with different spices such as garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, crushed caraway seeds and sweet paprika. This mixture simmers for hours to create a rich broth that infuses into the meat and vegetables to make it delicious.

A full article should be devoted to Hungarian cakes and sweets, influenced by both the Viennesse patisserie tradition and the sweets of Eastern Europe. A tasty mix

 

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