As we come to the end of a year full of exciting new travel stories, it is time that we shared 5 of our best experiences…
On a recent press trip to Toulouse, Midi-Pyrénées where violet is the emblem, Alexandra was given the opportunity to visit the “La Maison de la Violette” on board a barge anchored on the Canal du Midi. She informed us that when stepping aboard, your senses are overwhelmed with violet, from the scent, the colour and the taste. While there, you learn all about the history and if you are lucky, are invited to taste a few of the violet wares – she had violet ice cream, violet cola, candied violet, a violet mocktail and strictly for the grown-ups; a violet liqueur. Yum!
A saga in A3Traveller’s exciting schedule this year led her to Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire, a religious structure with a history that is breathtaking. Hosting two Jane Austen memoirs as well as mortuary chests which, we are told, hold the bones of pre-conquest monarchs and bishops as well as the bones of William II (Rufus).
The medieval Great Screen is another must see, originally dating from between 1475 and 1490. What you see today is probably from the late 19th century but the damaged statutory which you would originally have seen here can be viewed upstairs in the Triforium Gallery – destroyed by Henry VIII’s vandals in the reformation…that is just a peek into what is available to see at this stunning cathedral!
When people mention Dubai, they immediately think of sharp, contemporary skyscrapers, excessive wealth and hot, hot sun. Whilst it is all that of course, Sue personally found the older elements of the city of more interest.
When stepping into Old Dubai she was given the opportunity to experience one of the earliest forms of air condititioning, witness gold as far as the eye can see and around the corner was faced with spices, dried fruits and all sorts of potents and potions guaranteed to sort out any and all ailments!
When travelling home from Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, en route to Madrid, Sue stopped off in the ancient city of Segovia for a brief moment to marvel at one of the most incredible engineering projects she has ever seen.
The Roman Aqueduct of Segovia, located just by the Plaza del Azoguejo, is now – quite rightly – a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It apparently dates back to around AD50 – and is built from around 25,000 granite blocks, placed so perfectly that no mortar was used. It is around 813 metres in length, consists of more than 221 piers and at the lowest part of the valley, the Aqueduct is around 28.5 metres in height above ground.
Our final visit took us to the capital city of Azerbaijan, Baku. When entering the city it is hard not to be distracted by the architectural marvel that is the Flame Towers. Set on the highest part and overlooking the entire city, the three-columned building is designed in the shape of a flame with even the tip of each tower designed with a “flick”. One tower houses offices, another residential apartments and the third a hotel (our client) – Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers – located in the northernmost block.
Baku is city full of art and culture with the inner city acting as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dating back to the first Millennium. The city has also been graced with the genius that is Zaha Hadid who has created one of the most spectacular modern buildings of all time in the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre.
Contributor: Guy Hough in conversation with Sue Lowry and Alexandra Pinhorn
Photography: Sue Lowry and Alexandra Pinhorn
Toulouse is part of the CRT Midi-Pyrénées which is a client of Magellan PR. Follow them on Twitter: @tourismemidipy and Facebook: Tourisme-en-Midi-Pyrénées. Toulouse is also on Twitter: @VisitToulouse and on Facebook: Toulouse.tourisme
Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine is a client of Magellan PR. Follow them on Twitter: @LeDomaineHotel and on Facebook/Abadiaretuertaledomaine.
Follow Winchester Cathedral on twitter: @WinCathedral and on Facebook/WinchesterCathedral. For more about Winchester, follow @King_Alf on twitter and on Facebook/KingAlfWinchester.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is a client of Magellan PR. For more information, please visit http://www.fairmont.com, follow them on twitter @FairmontHotels, on Facebook/Fairmont Hotels and on Pinterest under FairmontHotels. Their community website is www.everyonesanoriginal.com. Fairmont Baku is on twitter: @FairmontBaku and on Facebook/FairmontBaku.
Magellan PR is on twitter @MagellanPR and on Facebook/MagellanPR. For more information on our company, visit http://www.magellan-pr.com. Please see our sister blog focussing on travel in the South of England – A3 Traveller.
- Winchester Cathedral: simply the best … (a3traveller.com)