In Riga: Old Town

Old town is full of little streets to wander around and I highly recommend you take the time to explore. I was walking around on an overcast St Patricks day and it was quiet and just want I needed. I loved the architecture of the Old Town, medieval buildings with brightly coloured restaurants and shops. PhoebeGill170317116There are some incredible points of interest like the House of the Blackheads. This incredible red brick gothic structure is where you can get walking tours of Old Town. It has such great detail you can’t miss! PhoebeGill170318184Riga Castle is the official residence of the president, it has been rebuilt many times over the years, old structures and new bits added on gives this building a unique look, with six towers, all different colours and sizes. It is closed to the public due to a fire and will reopen in 2018. PhoebeGill170318143Old Town is small but its is completely charming, nothing is symetrical and there are so many little streets with charming spots. There are also big open squares where events are held and markets are set up. When I was walking around there was a brass band playing to no one, soft music reverberated in the square and it was lovely.PhoebeGill170318179There is one thing in European old towns that I love and that is making three building of similar ilk siblings. I have seen a few three brother buildings over Europe and I love finding them. These brothers are awkwardly placed down a small street.

Take the time. Take a walking tour. Enjoy!

Happy Travels!

In Stockholm: Gamla Stan, Old Town

There is something so wonderful when you can explore the old areas of a city, it can bring you back in time with the classic architecture, small streets and gorgeous squares. Gamla Stan has to be one of my favourites! phoebegill160714149This beautiful area is crammed full of cafe’s, bars, restaurants, cute quirky shops and so many tourist shops for all you fridge magnet and Swedish tat needs! Wandering around this busy little area, exploring the beautiful golden streets is so so lovely! phoebegill160714190I didn’t know what was around the next corner and that was really nice, I just walked around and then I stumbled upon this charming little square, Stortorget. I sat down outside the Nobel Museum and just took a minute. So many people coming in and out of the square, sitting having a drink or eating outside. It is such a beautiful place to watch the sun leave the square and take a rest after a day of walking around Stockholm.phoebegill160714663Skirting the outside of Gamla Stan is the parliament buildings and the Royal Palace where you can find the Royal Jewels, well worth a visit to admire the sparkly diamonds. This area is steeped in history and there is so much to see! I want to be back strolling around in the warmth of the evening watching the sun set.

There was lots more I could have done in this area but in all honesty I needed an excuse to come back, I really want to see Stockholm in Winter and a little less crowded. So until then.

Happy Travels!

In London: The Tower of London

On a rainy day in London I went to the Tower of London, I had never been before and only ever got a small glimpse of it as I was rushing to the airport. As I had planned so many new things to do during this trip, this had to be added, it’s an iconic tourist attraction.PhoebeGill160510206I think the rain gave the Tower a fitting atmosphere. This medieval fortress is very impressive and has got really interesting history around it. I am not going to do it justice but there are lots of historic elements in each building that showcases the stories of the past. Some buildings of interest are the torture section which really does baffle the mind, there is the armour section that has wonderfully intricate pieces and of course the building where the crown jewels are kept. Which is what everyone really wants to see. PhoebeGill160510229Walking into the crown jewel building, you definitely get a sense of pride, it is very much ‘yay Britain’. There is lots of fanfare and video, bigging up the royal family and Great Britain in general. It is a bit of fun and it’s interesting to see where some of the pieces came (were taken) from.  I saw Queen Victoria’s tiny crown, that is a interesting piece. All in all it’s very opulent and lots of sparkles. It’s great craftsmanship and they are really gorgeous treasures.PhoebeGill160510217My favourite story from this site is the Ravens, it was said at least 6 ravens must be in the grounds at all times or the fortress will fall. Reminds me of Game of Thrones, I really enjoy the superstitions of the past. It was very interesting learning and I definitely recommend you go and see it! PhoebeGill160510238I bought my ticket online so it was a little bit cheaper, it was £21. It is a little pricy but you can also group purchase tickets for different attractions and you can go to onto discounted ticket sites but I don’t know how reputable they are. You can buy your tickets from the official website here!

Have you visited the Tower of London, what was your favourite part? Thank you for reading!

Happy Travels!

In London: The British Museum

In all my years of going to London, I had never been to the British Museum. So when I had some free time on a recent trip I headed straight for it. The only tip I have is, and this goes for any museum visit in London is to go early, especially at the weekend! PhoebeGill160508007The British Museum is free to enter, which really is wonderful. The building is so grand and it is very impressive. As a first time visitor it can be a little confusing where you should start but there is a big information point inside the door where I am sure they will point you in the right direction. It get’s very busy as time goes on so it can feel very cramped but just respect other people and let everyone have a turn. Remember manners people! PhoebeGill160508011Museums are really important so that we can learn and understand history. People don’t often get the chance to travel and see artifacts that are native to that country so I understand the need for museums. I got to the Rosetta Stone and it was so crowded and people had to squint to see the information written beside it and there was different information on each side. Which was a shame but still really great to see such an import piece of history that deciphered an amazing ancient writing system. PhoebeGill160508016Although I understand the need for places like the British Museum, I have to say that I felt very emotional walking around the Parthenon room. In school I learnt about Greek and Roman architecture and mythology and having been to the Acropolis and seeing how incredible that site is, it’s horribly sad to see the amazing elements of the Parthenon sitting in a grey, cold room. There was a caryatid all by herself! PhoebeGill160508019As interesting as The British Museum is, it really does feel that the artifacts that decorate this building aren’t theirs, and sometimes it feels like it should be back where it belongs. Maybe it is just the fact that I have been to the countries where these pieces come from that I have more of an emotional connection but I just didn’t really feel comfortable there.PhoebeGill160508030Thats not to say this building isn’t impressive and the design isn’t immersive but to be honest if you are going to have big pieces from places with such a rich history, I would have liked way more information! I suppose I would just like a person like my sister beside me all the time who can explain it’s history in such an engaging way! Definitely go for a visit, there is so much to see I am sure I actually saw very little!

Happy Travels!

In Croatia: Dubrovnik City Walls

‘I’m walking the walls’

It sounds and feels very Game of Thrones like! Everyone says walking the walls is the top thing to do in Dubrovnik and it is understandable why. The walls fully encircle the Old Town, it is a 2km uninterrupted walk that gives the most fantastic views!
PhoebeGill150620032-3

I recommend doing the route at the first entrance, this entrance is located opposite the Big Onofrio’s Fountain. It costs 100 kuna (€13) to walk the walls and admission into Fortress Lovrijenac so don’t forget your ticket!!
PhoebeGill150620065-5

I loved the Ikea like system they have in place when you are walking the walls. You walk one way, it means you don’t have buildups and people passing you by, you can generally stay in your own group and walk with minimal disruption. Loved the organisation! PhoebeGill150620428-1

The views from the walls are beautiful, there is one side the looks out to see on one side and then over to the buildings and small streets that makes up old town. There are forts and lookouts that give you so many vantage points. PhoebeGill150620468-6

Looking out over the red topped roofs you can imagine ships out at sea and the threat of a siege but you forget there was huge upheaval here twenty years ago. These defence walls are an amazing piece of history that seem untouched by war. It really makes you see how strong Croatia is. PhoebeGill150620704-7

If you take the first entrance your walk will end with the big tower to the North. Tower Minčeta is very popular with not much open space to look at the views it may get a bit crowded. It’s a really great way to end the walk. Walking it, with lots of stops for photos should take less than two hours and it is definitely two hours well spent!

Fortress Lovrijenac

PhoebeGill150620389-8I definitely recommend you go over to Fortress Lovrijenac. When you take the first entrance of the walls one of the first things you see is this beautiful fort on a rock and it looks amazing. Getting to the fort is a little confusing because there is the main square outside Pile Gate with restaurants, a bus stop and tour guide stalls. There are some steps down on the right side of the square that meander down to a small little harbour, you can then see lots of steps up to the fort. Don’t forget to bring your ticket! The views are great, it’s nice to see a different angle of the walls. Fortress Lovrijenac has been repurposed into a theatre space, Shakespeare’s Hamlet is preformed here which would be an amazing experience.

So it’s clear to see why people really like this feature of Dubrovnik. Take note you might want to walk the walls in the morning or evening it can get really hot so morning and evening means it’s a little cooler and a little quieter. It’s a must to visit this amazing structure and learn about it. Would you like to walk the walls?

Happy Travels!