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25 November 2013

In search of Christmas: Spending the holidays in Bulgaria

Christmas in Sofia, Bulgaria. Photo: SetTimes.
Christmas in Sofia, Bulgaria. Photo: SetTimes.

Each year during Christmastime, I begin a new journey "In Search of Christmas" to discover how Christmas is celebrated in various regions of Europe and to bring these Christmas tidings to you! This year, my Yuletide chronicles take us to the eastern-European nation of Bulgaria to uncover their time-honored traditions. Unlike most European countries, Bulgaria is not known for its festive Christmas Markets [yet], but there are fascinating customs observed here as I have recently discovered in an impromptu interview with a resident and new friend, @Kristian_Mitov. It all started with a simple question on Twitter, "has anyone celebrated Christmas in Bulgaria?" Kristian replied "many times." At that moment, those two words spoke volumes to me and I knew he was going to be able to open a new window into the world of Christmastime in Bulgaria. I must admit I had a lot of fun talking with him especially when some of our exchange got lost in translation as you'll read below. Join me as we discover the sights, the sounds and the flavors of the holidays in Bulgaria.

21 November 2013

A journey to Shakespeare country in Warwickshire, England

Perhaps one of the most picturesque of the Cotswold villages is Arlington Row in Bibury. Photo: WikiMedia.org.
Perhaps one of the most picturesque of the Cotswold villages is Arlington Row in Bibury. Photo: WikiMedia.org.

Warwickshire and nearby Gloucestershire in the southeast of England are renowned not only for their literary connections but the area's idyllic beauty of rural countryside and quintessentially English sights from "chocolate-box" villages and English gardens to formidable medieval castles and cobblestone streets. Many of you know Stratford upon Avon as the home of the literary giant William Shakespeare, and as such, you will be spoiled once you arrive in this enchanting place. However, there is so much more to see in the surrounding villages as well! Let’s take a look at what to see and do in Shakespeare country today.

17 November 2013

Discovering Oslo, Norway, one cultural attraction at a time

Norway's capital city of Oslo. Photo: Nancy Bundt / Innovation Norway. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
Norway's capital city of Oslo. Photo: Nancy Bundt / Innovation Norway. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

Having recently celebrated its 1,000th birthday at the turn of the 21st century, the capital city of Oslo, Norway, is a vibrant urban center steeped in Nordic heritage but yet surrounded by scenic splendor of Norway's world-renowned fjords. Once here, you'll travel back in time to encounter 1,000-year-old Viking ships at the Viking Ship Museum, as well as soar to the highest heights at the top of the Holmenkollen Ski Jump for some of the most jaw-dropping views of Oslo and the Oslofjord. In between, a bustling city center awaits replete with an opera house, fascinating galleries and museums, plus two remarkable sculpture parks that cannot be missed. And don't forget to stroll along the revitalized waterfront promenade for wonderful views of the city and fjord. The real bonus is that most of these places are within walking distance of the city centre. Be sure to check out VisitNorway.com for planning the perfect visit to Oslo.

16 November 2013

Highlights of Stavanger, Norway

Welcome to 'Old Stavanger' in Norway. All photography is the property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
Welcome to "Old Stavanger" in Norway. All photography is the property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

While I've introduced you to many of my intrepid adventures through Norway's fjords, I want to take you on a tour, a closer look at some of the villages and cities we visited and their main attractions. And so our Norwegian immersion begins, well at the beginning of my epic journey, our first stop in the country's oil capital of Stavanger. A coastal port city that owes its life to the sea—from shipbuilding to herring and sardine production to its recently discovered oil fields in the North Sea, Stavanger thrives because of its ability to adapt, to change; to embrace new opportunities as they arise.