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Trieste and Venezia

Trieste, Italy

Located in the northeastern corner of Italy, with its stunning architecture and picturesque waterfront, Trieste is a hidden gem that often gets overlooked by tourists.
Tucked away in the northeastern part of the country, this charming city offers a unique blend of Italian, Slovenian, and Austrian influences and rich history.


Its strategic location on the Adriatic Sea has made it a major port city throughout history, with a rich and diverse cultural heritage.

The city’s main square, Piazza Unità d’Italia, is a perfect representation of its cultural fusion, with grandiose neoclassical buildings that were once the headquarters of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, alongside elegant Italian cafes and restaurants.

Piazza Unita Trieste

Trieste is also known for its literary and artistic contributions, with famous writers and poets such as James Joyce and Italo Svevo, calling the city their home.

James Joyce
Miramare Castle

One of the most iconic landmarks in Trieste is the Miramare Castle, a stunning 19th-century palace perched on a cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
This castle was once the residence of Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Habsburg and is now open to the public for tours.

Another must-see attraction is the Grotta Gigante, one of the largest and most impressive underground caves in the world, with stunning stalactites and stalagmites.
The Central cavern is an impressive 107 meters high, 130 meters long and 65 meters wide.

It will take you 500 steps to go down the cave and another 500 steps to come out of it.

Grotta Giggante stairs

Stalactites and stalagmites, inside the cave, are of exceptional beauty.
These formations have been shaped over the time by  water dripping from the heights up to 80 meters, depositing calcium carbonate across a wide area.

Grotta Gigante Stalagmites

Trieste is a city that truly has something for everyone. Its rich history, diverse cultural influences, and stunning natural surroundings makes it a must-visit destination for travellers.

Lille, France

Lille, France

Lille - Euralille

Lille, the vibrant city in northern France, is a hidden gem nestled in the picturesque region of French Flanders.
Situated on the banks of the river Deûle and bordered by Belgium, it stands as the capital of the Hauts-de-France region.
It is a vibrant, multicultural city, with a rich history and a bustling atmosphere.
Both French and Flemish cultures influences can be seen in its architecture, cuisine, and language.
Lille is a charming and dynamic city that offers something for everyone. Whether you are interested in history, food, or simply soaking up the lively atmosphere, this French gem is definitely worth a visit.

The city is home to many beautiful buildings, such as the Palais des Beaux-Arts, which is the second-largest museum in France after the Louvre.

Le Vieux Lille
Or Old Lille, is a charming and picturesque neighborhood located in the heart of the city.
With its cobblestone streets, picturesque cafes, and colorful buildings, Vieux Lille has a distinct charm that transports visitors back in time.
This historic district is proof to Lille’s rich cultural heritage, with its mix of French and Flemish influences.
Walking through the Old Lille, one can see the beautiful architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries, which has been well-preserved and restored.

Le Vieux Lille
Detail on Grand Place

One of the must-see attractions in Vieux Lille is the Grand Place, a beautiful square surrounded by stunning buildings adorned with intricate facades.
Visitors can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or a delicious meal at one of the many outdoor cafes while taking in the bustling atmosphere of the square. 


Grand Place
Lille Grand Place

La Vieille Bourse
Another popular spot is the Vieille Bourse (also known as the Old Stock Exchange).
Built in the 17th century, this building is a prime example of the Flemish Renaissance architecture, which its intricate details and ornate decorations.
Originally used as a trading center for merchants, it now houses a bustling antique market and several picturesque cafés and bookshops.

La Vieille Bourse

As you walk through the cobblestone courtyard of La Vieille Bourse, you can’t help but feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
The grand façade and imposing columns transport you to a bygone era, where commerce and trade were at the heart of the city’s prosperity.
Inside, the interior is just as impressive, with its grand staircase and beautiful courtyard surrounded by charming little shops.

Lille Citadelle
The Lille Citadelle is a historic fortress in the city of Lille.
It was built in the late 17th century by the military engineer Vauban, who was known for his elaborate and strategic fortifications.


The Citadelle was designed to be a stronghold for the French army, protecting the city from potential invaders.
Its location on a hill overlooking the city made it a perfect defensive structure.

In addition to its historical and cultural significance, the Lille Citadelle is also a beautiful and peaceful place to visit.
The surrounding gardens and green spaces make it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to relax and take in the stunning views of the city.
It is also popular spot for outdoor activities such as picnics, jogging, and cycling.

La Citadelle de Lille

Beffroi de l’Hotel de Ville (Town Hall and Belfry)
One of the most iconic landmarks in the city of Lille is the Town Hall and Belfry. Located in the heart of the city, this magnificent building stands tall (104 meters) and proud.
Originally a watchtower to defend the city, it now serves as a bell tower with 25 melodious bells which chime every hour.
Built in the 17th century,the Town Hall is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance styles, and has undergone several renovations and expansions over the years.
It stands as a proof of the city’s past wealth and prosperity.
To have a breathtaking view of the city, visitors can climb up the 360 spiral steps to the top.  Tickets are available online.

Today the Town Hall and Belfry are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Lille is a charming and dynamic city that offers something for everyone. Whether you are interested in history, food, or simply soaking up the lively atmosphere, this French gem is definitely worth a visit.

To be continued…

Riga, Latvia


Discover the wonders of Latvia, a thriving and economically dynamic democracy in the heart of Europe. Explore its rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes. Immerse yourself in the charm of Riga, the capital city, known for its stunning architecture and energetic atmosphere. Experience the largest city in the Baltic States and witness firsthand why Latvia is a must-visit destination.

Latvia Map

Riga is the capital of Latvia and is also the largest city in the three Baltic states. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga at the mouth of the Daugava river where it meets the Baltic Sea. The city is located on both banks of the river Daugava which separates the city into two parts, Vecriga (Old Riga) and Pardaugava.
Four bridges, and one only for railway traffic, connect the banks.

Albert of Bremen established Riga in 1201, using it as a port and a base to conquer and evangelise the native Livonians.
In the 13th to 15th centuries, Riga became the principal commercial centre of the region and was governed by the Archbishop of Riga.
In 1522, the Reformation made it to the city, ending the rule of the Archbishops.
Riga joined the Kingdom of Sweden in 1621 but kept a great deal of its independence.
Swedish sovereignty in the city was overthrown by a Russian invasion led by Peter the Great in 1710, which also solidified Russian dominance.

Riga’s Old Town has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stepping into this living museum feels like being transported back in time to an era when craftsmanship and attention to detail were held in high regard.

At the heart of Riga lies its renowned Old Town (Vecrīga) and city center (Centrs), where over 800 buildings proudly showcase the exquisite Art Nouveau style of architecture.
This unique style, also known as Jugendstil in German, is characterized by its intricate building facades adorned with mesmerizing carvings of flowers and other organic motifs.

you’ll also find hundreds of green areas and parks scattered throughout the city. Whether you’re in the bustling city centre or exploring the charming Old Town, there’s always a tranquil spot nearby where you can escape the hustle and bustle. These green spaces provide a breath of fresh air and a peaceful retreat from urban life.

whether you’re seeking tranquility in lush green parks or immersing yourself in cultural experiences within museums and theatres – Riga has it all!


The Freedom Monument in Riga, Latvia, is a significant symbol of the country’s freedom and independence. It is a memorial dedicated to soldiers who lost their lives during the Latvian War of Independence. Standing at 42 meters high, the monument is made of granite, travertine, and copper, and it is frequently used as a gathering place for public events and official ceremonies.

Freedom Monument

Riga Central Market is a popular and historic marketplace located in Riga, Latvia. 
It is one of the largest markets in Eastern Europe and attracts a high number of visitors daily. 
The market’s iconic food pavilions, originally military airship hangars, add to its architectural appeal. 
Additionally, the market’s old warehouses, known as spikeri, have been converted into a trendy arts and entertainment area.
In recognition of its historical and cultural significance, Riga Central Market was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1998.

The Cat House in Riga is a historic building constructed in 1909. It is famous for its distinctive cat sculptures on the roof, depicted with arched backs and raised tails. The placement of these cats, with their tails turned toward the nearby Great Guild house, is said to be a symbolic gesture of the owner’s animosity towards its occupants.

The Cat House

St James Cathedral in Riga is a significant symbol and historical site, and is the seat of the Archibishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lavia.
Built in the 13th century, it has been modified over the years.
The cathedral features a weather vane in the shape of a cockerel on its spire, as well as an older version displayed in its Romanesque cloister.
The Dome Pipe Organ, while once the largest in the world, was destroyed in a fire in the 16th century. The current organ, installed in the 1880s, is known for its magnificent carved wooden case and 6718 pipes.

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