Steve's World Blog Information and articles on cities, towns and villages around the world.

July 31, 2009

Frigiliana Costa del Sol

Filed under: Costa del Sol,History,Holidays,Spain,Travel — Tags: , , , , — needahand @ 7:03 am

Frigiliana Costa del Sol Andalucia – Just 6 kilometres inland from the resort of Nerja on the Costa del Sol, Andalucia, Spain, the pretty pueblo blanco (“white village”) of Frigiliana is a pleasant place to visit if you are in the area. Sitting high on a mountain ridge on the lower slopes of the Sierra de Tejeda, Frigiliana enjoys panoramic views of the nearby coastline and also the valley of the River Higueron. It’s attractive white-walled house line quaint narrow, winding, cobbled streets, with the occasional gift or handicraft shop to remind visitors that this is the 21st century. Historically Frigiliana was the scene of a bloody siege and battle in the sixteenth century when during the rebellion of Alpujarras, Moriscos taking refuge in Frigiliana Castle were defeated and expelled, many throwing themselves from the castle walls rather than be captured by the victorious Christian forces. Frigiliana is located on the MA-5105 north of Nerja.

Andalucia Map.

Read more about Frigiliana here: http://www.needahandspanishproperties.com/frigiliana.html

July 30, 2009

Holiday Islands – Madeira

Filed under: Holidays,Portugal,Travel — Tags: , , , , , — needahand @ 5:59 pm

What can you expect from a holiday in Madeira? Well – holidays in Madeira are perfect for those who enjoy wonderful scenery, with plenty of sub-tropical flora and a dash of old colonial charm, it also has a rich history and was known to the Romans in the centuries BC. One of Europe’s oldest tourist destinations, Madeira has long attracted travellers from many locations and with many interests, be it for the superb weather the excellent water sports facilities, the fine coastal resorts or just to enjoy the wildlife and picturesque scenery. In order to make the most of the island, it is advisable to avail yourself of a car hire vehicle, this will enable you to visit some of the more interesting places. Madeira has some of the world’s finest hotels and features in the brochures of most major tour operators. Lapped by the Gulf Stream, Madeira has a distinctly subtropical climate, with relatively high rainfall, it is perfect for all-year round holidays and Madeira weather is warm during the summer and very mild during the winter.

Madeira Map.

Cheack out the latest weather for Madeira here: http://www.needahandspanishproperties.com/madeira-weather.html

July 29, 2009

Holiday Destinations – Turkey

Filed under: Holidays,Travel,Turkey — Tags: , , — needahand @ 11:49 am

One of Europe’s growing holiday destinations, Turkey provides a wide range of wonderful opportunities for tourists and families. Turkey is unique in straddling 2 continents, a place where East meets West and has a wealth of historical and archaeological sites. It offers a wide mix of choices for its visitors, whether they are looking for the traditional beach holiday, or a more cultural experience. The Mediterranean coastline has plenty of super coastal resorts offering a climate similar to Greece or Spain, one of the best known is Bodrum, an ancient city and now a renowned resort, with fine sandy beaches, here you can enjoy the wonderful Turkey weather with hot, dry summers and mild winters. In the capital Ankara, visitors will find a huge variety of historical sites – a real cultural experience to savour, it has a history stretching back almost 4,000 years. If you have not yet visited Turkey, and are looking for somewhere a little different for your holiday, why not try this ancient and interesting country. Turkey Map.

Travel on the Costa Dorada Spain

Filed under: Costa Brava,Costa Dorada,Holidays,Spain,Travel — Tags: , , , , , , — needahand @ 11:43 am

Less developed and generally less well known than the Costa Brava to the north, the Costa Dorada region of Spain takes in some 216 kilometres of coast and hinterland and boasts some wonderful sandy beaches and popular resorts. The Costa Dorada is not all about the seaside resorts, there are also some interesting inland cities and areas to explore and Costa Dorada travel should take in some of these places as well. Some of the interesting and historic cities include Tarragona, Reus, Falset, Valls and Xerta, there are around 40 cities in all in the region, pick out some of the more interesting for your visit. For instance in Xerta you can see the spectacular Moorish Weir which is over 1,000 years old, in Benifallit you can visit the fascinating caves, Tarragona, a beautiful old Roman city has an ancient city wall and also a Roman aqueduct and amphitheatre, further inland you can visit the picturesque River Ebro Valley or maybe go fishing in the river, it is famous for its huge catfish. Back to the coast and many choose the resort of Salou for their beach style holidays, this is not everyones taste, but it suits thousands each year. What is the best time to visit? Well this depends on what type of holiday you are seeking, in the summer time Costa Dorada weather can be very hot, although on the coast, sea breezes make it altogether more bearable, it is wetter and cooler in the winter months but mostly mild with temperatures ranging from 7-10 degrees Centigrade. If you wish to make the most of your trip and visit some of the fascinating places on offer you will need to check out the best Costa Dorada car hire deals, as having your own transport is essential for getting the best out of your holiday. For a holiday suiting a wide variety of tastes visit the Costa Dorada in Spain sometime soon.

Costa Dorada Map.

Learn more about the Costa Doradada here: http://www.needahandspanishproperties.com/costa-dorada.html

July 28, 2009

Review of Portinatx Ibiza

Filed under: Balearic Islands,Holidays,Spain,Travel — Tags: , , , , — needahand @ 2:25 pm

Hidden away at the northern end of Ibiza in the Balearic Islands, Spain, the small resort town of Portinatx is a purpose built tourist destination which is quieter than many of the lively Ibiza resorts. Perfect for a peaceful family holiday, Portinatx has four super beaches and plenty of facilities, it is a wonderful location for water sports and in particular snorkelling and scuba diving, for those who prefer to stay dry there is a glass-bottomed boat so that you can view the marine life from a more comfortable position. The rugged coastline of this area of Ibiza is great for hiking, cycling and walking and panoramic views of the town and coastline can be enjoyed by those willing to burn a few calories. One of the best walks is a 10 km hike from Portinatx to Punta de Xarraca, but this is tough, so don’t try it unless you are prepared for a tough hike over rocky terrain. To the east you will find the village of Sant Vicent Sa Cala and its coastal limb Sa Cala, worth a visit if you have an hour or two to spare. Portinatx itself has plenty of self-catering accommodation and has some decent hotels, one of the best being the Hotel Presidente Portinatx a 4 Star hotel in a wonderful setting. The resort enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate with Portintax weather being suitable for both summer holidays and winter breaks. Portinatx is a compact resort which can be reached from Ibiza Town via the C-733.

Portinatx Map.

Read about Portinatx Ibiza here: http://www.needahandspanishproperties.com/portinatx.html

Majorca – Interesting and Historic Sights

The holiday island of Majorca in the Balearic Islands is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain. The large majority of holidaymakers head for the well known beach resorts and may be missing out on some interesting and lesser known attractions that would add to the enjoyment of their visit. The best prehistoric site on Majorca is located 5 kilometres inland from Cala Pi, this Talaiotic site known as Capocorb Vell takes the form of an ancient village, some 3,000 years old. South of Algaida is Puig de Randa, site of an ancient monastery founded by Ramón Llull a famous resident of Majorca, it was founded in the 13th century. Off the south coast of Majorca about 18 km off Colonia Sant Jordi, you can visit Cabrera Island, now a protected Natural Park, it boasts the famous “Blue Grotto” cavern and some rare species of flora and fauna. Close to Colonia Sant Jordi on the Majorcan mainland is a small town known as Ses Salines, significant since Roman times for the production of salt, which was extracted from local marshes. East of the capital Palma de Mallorca, is the hub of the Majorcan shoe making industry, Llucmajor, which was also the scene of a bloody battle between two Spanish kings, resulting in the death of Jaime III and the end of the Kingdom of Majorca. This is the end of a short journey to just some of Majorca’s interesting places to visit, so if you are looking for something a little more than lazing on the beach, lapping up the fabulous Majorca weather, then the places listed above may be just right for you.

Cheack out the latest weather in Majorca here: http://www.majorca-weather.spain-and-spanish.co.uk

Birthplace of Aphrodite Paphos Cyprus

Filed under: Cyprus,History,Travel — Tags: , — needahand @ 9:16 am

A coastal city in south-western Cyprus, Paphos is the mythical birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. In Greco-Roman times Paphos was the capital of the Cyprus and was the location of the Roman Governors Palace, now a major tourist attraction boasting some wonderful mosaics. These days Paphos is a growing tourist destination enjoying the beautiful Cyprus weather and very low rainfall, in fact rain during the summer months is very rare, so sunny weather is guaranteed during July and August. One of UNESCO’s world heritage sites, Paphos is an important and protected site with numerous places of interest to visit including Paphos Castle, the Tombs of the Kings, the ancient city walls, the Roman Agora, and a number of catacomb sites.

The Amazing Niagara Falls

Filed under: Canada,Travel,USA — Tags: , , , , — needahand @ 9:11 am

Straddling the border between the USA and Canada the Niagara Falls is one of the world’s natural wonders and one of the most visited tourist destinations in both Canada and the United States, attracting around 20 million visitors per year. Formed as ice receded at the end of the last ice-age, the falls has two main waterfalls, the Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls, and one lesser fall called the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls are separated by Goat Island and in total some 4 million cubic feet of water per minute flows over the falls, making it the second largest waterfall in the world after the Victoria Falls. Sitting between the twin towns of Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York, the Niagara Falls are also important for the production of hydroelectric power. The word Niagara is derived from an Iroquois Indian word meaning “the strait”. Niagara Falls Map.

The Spanish Town of Yecla

Filed under: Costa Blanca,History,Spain,Travel — Tags: , , , , , — needahand @ 8:41 am

The town of Yecla lies on the borders of the provinces of Murcia, Alicante and Albacete amidst mountainous countryside, in south-eastern Spain. The town and municipality with its population of around 30,000 is actually within the Comunidad de Murcia and is a modern industrial town but with a long and interesting history, much of the old town still remains. While there is evidence that there may have been settlements in and around Yecla as long ago as the Upper Palaeolithic Era (30,000 BC) the main human activity appears to have begun during the Bronze Age, probably around the 2nd to 3rd Centuries BC. These early settlers were followed by the ancient Iberians and a little later by the Romans who introduced grape growing and wine production to the area and established the first civilised society. Little else is known of the history of the town until the Arab occupation when a defensive fortress was built (probably during the 11th Century) and the town took on its name ‘Yakka’. The Arabs remained until the Christian re-conquest in the 13th Century when Alfonso the Wise took control of the town in 1243, after which it came under the control of the Marquisate of Villena. The population of the town grew steadily up until the mid-fifteenth Century, when there appears to have been increased urban development in the town and something of a population explosion during the 16th Century. This was followed by a period of decline during the 17th Century when constant wars, epidemics and emigration led to a decline in both the economy and population of the town. Recovery began in the 18th Century and continued in the 19th Century when grape growing and wine production were further developed by French wine merchants following an outbreak of Phylloxera in France. Besides grape growing Yecla is well known for the production of furniture and this has become important for the economy of the town, where you will find numerous factories and furniture outlets. There are some interesting places to visit in Yecla and a good place to start would be the Plaza Mayor where you will find the Town Hall and Tower Prison (Torre de la Cárcel – 16th-18th C), the Palacio de los Alarcos (16th Century), the Clock Tower (17th Century) and the Guildhall (19th Century). Other places to visit include the ruined 11th Century castle, the Arciprestal Basilica (built between 1775 and 1868), the Francisan Church of San Francisco from the 16th Century and the Church of the Assumption also from the 16th Century, there are also a number of museums and other churches to see. Yecla celebrates a number of fiestas and festivals including the San Blas in February, the Romeria de San Marcos in April, the Fiesta de los Judas in May and the Feria de Septiembre in September coinciding with the Feast of St. Martin. Yecla holds its weekly market on Wednesdays and also hold a large Furniture Fair in September. Yecla is located on the N-344 west of Villena.

Learn even more about Yecla here: http://www.needahandspanishproperties.com/yecla.html

July 27, 2009

Buckinghamshire

A beautiful rural county to the north-west of London, Buckinghamshire is one of the traditional ‘Home Counties’ of south-eastern England. The county town of Buckinghamshire (normally just referred to as Bucks) is Aylesbury, situated fairly centrally within the county. Aylesbury however was not always the county town, this honour fell to Buckingham itself, which gave Buckinghamshire its name and was the primary town from 888 until replaced by Aylesbury during the 16th century. The name of the town and the county derives from that of a wealthy landowner named Bucca, and literally means “Bucca’s Home”. Buckinghamshire was originally a sub-division of the Kingdom of Mercia between the 6th and 12th centuries, though there were of course settlers here long before this, with many Roman remains being found throughout the region, for instance in High Wycombe where there was a Roman Villa in the 2nd century AD. The county features a mix of historic and modern towns, the most modern being the huge city of Milton Keynes, which is now a unitary authority separate from the control of Bucks County Council. Milton Keynes was originally just a small village, and the name was taken by the new town (so declared in 1967) which swallowed a number of towns and villages in the area such as Bletchley, Wolverton, Stoney Stratford and Newport Pagnell. The south of the county has some very affluent towns, many of which have become commuter towns for those working in London. In the extreme south, Marlow sits attractively on the banks of the River Thames, and is a popular tourist spot as well as a pretty town, barely spoilt by development, historically it was mentioned in the Domesday Book, and was later given by William the Conqueror to his Queen Mathilda. Other affluent towns in this part of Buckinghamshire include Beaconsfield, Amersham and Chesham. Beaconsfield is very pretty, and during the times of Queen Victoria became notable as the seat of PM Benjamin Disraeli. Beaconsfield sits close to the M40 motorway, making it a desirable though expensive commuter town. Beaconsfield is also notable as the burial place of some famous people including G K Chesterton and poet Edmund Waller. Amersham and Chesham sit together to the north of Beaconsfield, both are attractive towns with perhaps Amersham taking the edge, especially the area of the Old Town which has changed little over the centuries. Amersham has two separate areas the Old Town and Amersham on the Hill (locally called Top Amersham) where the railway station is situated. Both Chesham and Amersham are joined to Central London by the underground network, making them very popular with commuters. Chesham is situated in the Chess Valley and has had human settlement since 8,000 BC, historically it was known for its religious unrest and saw a number of burnings in the 16th century including that of Thomas Harding for being a heretic and a Lollard. Overall Bucks is a pretty rural county with few large towns and only one city (Milton Keynes) it comprises mostly small, pretty villages and attractive market towns, the rolling, green Chiltern Hills add to the attraction.

Visit a dedicated Aylesbury website here: http://www.my-aylesbury.co.uk

View a map of Buckinghamshire here: http://www.my-towns.co.uk/buckinghamshire-map.html

More maps here: http://www.buckinghamshire-maps.co.uk

July 24, 2009

Leatherhead Surrey History

Filed under: England,History,Travel,United Kingdom — Tags: , , , , , , — needahand @ 4:29 pm

A small market town in Surrey, with a very interesting history is Leatherhead, located 4 miles south of Epsom. Though probably seeing human habitation as far back as the Neolithic Era, and certainly known to the Romans (Stane Street passes nearby), the first mention of Leatherhead was in Anglo-Saxon times, appearing in King Alfred’s will and being bequeathed to his son Edward. Later appearing in the Domeday Book as Leret, it was held by Osbert de Ow, and even this far back had a church. Its position on a crossroads and on a ford of the River Mole, led it to becoming a market town and Henry III granted Leatherhead the right to hold a weekly market and an annual fair. The Running Horse pub which still stands in Leatherhead today dates from 1403 and has been mentioned in poems and writings over the centuries. The Swan Hotel was a popular coaching station beside the River Mole, it declined only after the arrival of the railway in the 19th century. Leatherhead’s charming old centre was mostly ruined in the 1970’s and 1980’s as it was developed as a pedestrianised area with little thought for the history of this charming town.

More Leatherhead History.

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