JB Macatulad is one-half of Will Fly for Food, a travel blog for the gastronomically inclined. He and his wife Renée are the Traveleaters who enjoy experiencing the world through food.
We love to eat. It’s the one thing that excites us most about travel. For some people, it’s climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or diving the Great Blue Hole. For others, it’s visiting a UNESCO World Heritage Site or doing the Camino de Santiago. But for us, it’s the food. Just the thought of tasting something new and unfamiliar is enough to give us a serious case of resfeber.
The Historic Centre of Riga is a living illustration of European history. Through centuries, Riga has been the center of many historic events and a meeting point for European nations, and it has managed to preserve evidence of European influence on its historical development, borders between the West and the East, and the intersection of trading and cultural routes. Riga has always been a modern city keeping up with the current trends in architecture and urban planning, and at the same time, preserving the city’s integrity in the course of development.
Riga, which was founded as a port town in 1201, was one of the key centers of the Hanseatic League in Eastern Europe from the 13th to the 15th century. The urban fabric of its medieval core reflects the prosperity of those times, though most of the earliest buildings were rebuilt for actual needs or lost by fire or war. In the 17th century, Riga became the largest provincial town of Sweden. In the 19th century, it experienced rapid industrial development. It is in this period that the suburbs surrounding the medieval town were laid out, first, with imposing wooden buildings in neoclassical style, and later, when permanent stone buildings were allowed instead, in the Art Nouveau style. In the early 1900s, Riga became the European city with the highest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture with around 50 Art Nouveau buildings of high architectural value in the medieval part and more than 300 in the rest of the Historic Centre. The site reflects various architectural styles, which provide valuable insight into the stages of development of Riga as a city. The Historic Centre of Riga is comprised of three different urban landscapes – the relatively well-preserved medieval core, the 19th century semi-circle of boulevards with a green belt on both sides of the City Canal, and the former suburban quarters surrounding the boulevards with dense built-up areas with a rectangular network of streets and wooden architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries. Each of these parts has its characteristic relationship of buildings and public outdoor spaces.
Riga is the capital of Latvia and its historic center is one of two world heritage sites in the country. It is located on the Baltic sea and was one of the original trading cities in the Hanseatic League.
The Vilnius Historic Centre began its history on the glacial hills that had been intermittently occupied from the Neolithic period; a wooden castle was built around 1000 AD to fortify Gedimino Hill, at the confluence of the Neris and Vilnia rivers. The settlement did not develop as a town until the 13th century, during the struggles of the Baltic peoples against their German invaders. By 1323, when the first written reference to Vilnia occurred, it was the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. At this time, some brick structures had apparently been erected on a small island formed when the Vilnia changed its course. By the 15th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, with its capital Vilnius, had become the largest country in Europe, stretching from the Baltic Sea in the North to the Black Sea in the South. The historic center comprises the areas of the three castles (Upper, Lower and Curved) and the area that was encircled by a wall in the Middle Ages. The plan is basically circular, radiating out from the original castle site. The street pattern is typically medieval, with small streets dividing it into irregular blocks, but with large squares inserted in later periods.
The Curonian Spit is a unique and vulnerable, sandy and wooded cultural landscape on a coastal spit which features small Curonian lagoon settlements. The Spit was formed by the sea, wind and human activity and continues to be shaped by them. Rich with an abundance of unique natural and cultural features, it has retained its social and cultural importance. Local communities adapted to the changes in the natural environment in order to survive. This interaction between humans and nature shaped the Curonian Spit cultural landscape.
The Curonian Spit is perhaps the top natural attraction in Lithuania and one of the top attractions in the Baltic Region. I visited the Curonian Spit on a G Adventures tour of the Baltic States.
Most of the information in this article will pertain to visiting the Lithuanian side of the Curonian Spit, however, half of the spit is shared with Russia. The Lithuanian side is much easier for most tourists to visit unless you have gone through the process of getting a Russian visa. This article will deal mostly with the Lithuanian side.
This week Jen Leo, Chris Christensen, and I are joined by this week’s guest Spud Hilton., former Travel editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.
We have a discussion of what happened in travel in 2018 and what we think might happen in 2019. We also talk about the travel newspaper section as we have talked with Spud pretty much his entire career as a travel editor.
On the photography front, I was named Photographer of the Year for a fourth time by the Central States chapter of the Society of American Travel Writers, won seven NATJA Awards, and was named Best Travel Photography Blog at the TBCAsia Awards in Sri Lanka.
The monastery is an outstanding repository of four centuries of Spanish religious architecture. It symbolizes two significant events in world history that occurred in 1492: the Reconquest of the Iberian peninsula by the Catholic Kings and Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas. Its famous statue of the Virgin became a powerful symbol of the Christianization of much of the New World.
The Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe is located in the town of Guadalupe in the Spanish Region of Extremadura. It is one of the most important religious destinations in Spain and was a vital place in the history of Spanish exploration and conquest of the Americas, as well as to the political history of Spain.
The site is a popular religious and tourist destination for Spanish tourists, but relatively unknown to international travelers. About 80% of the visitors to the site are from Spain.
Guadalupe is the namesake of many other Guadalupes around the world, mostly in Latin American countries.
The monastery is still an active monastery with monks and daily services, although the number of monks living here is much smaller than what it was in the past.