Ljubljana may be a destination you don't know a great deal about, as it truly is a hidden gem in Europe. Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and is located in the center of the country.
There are four main roads in Slovenia that form a cross across the country and Ljubljana is where they meet in the middle.
How can you go wrong with a city that translates as “the loved one”?
Ljubljana is a perfect blend of Slovenian, German, and Mediterranean cultures. A charming fairy-tale city that is a blend of Baroque, Renaissance, and Art Nouveau buildings, watched over by a medieval castle.
Perched on top of Castle Hill and dominating the city skyline to the south, Ljubljana’s magnificent castle is a must-see. Take the funicular up to the castle where rather than touring the rooms with an audio guide you can go on a scavenger hunt / escape the castle. This is a challenge where you are given challenges that lead you through the various rooms of the castle. You are given one hour to complete the puzzles and save the dragon.
The dragon is the symbol of the city, and you will see them everywhere - buildings, bridges, etc.
Legend has it that Ljubljana was founded by the Greek mythological hero Prince Jason and the Argonauts. The dragon was harassing the townsmen so Prince Jason fought and killed him. Curiously enough it was the dragon that became the symbol of the city and is now depicted on the Ljubljana coat of arms. The dragon represents power, courage, and greatness.
One of the city’s most photographed spots is Dragon Bridge, where you will see a wonderful green statue of the dragon.
A fun fact is that the dragon at the Dragon Bridge wags its tail every time a virgin lady crosses the bridge.
If you would like to visit Ljubljana, please contact me at Lene@PerfectlyPlannedJourneys.com or 703-927-0588, and let's plan your adventure.
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Amsterdam, the capital of The Netherlands is a city that many of you will be familiar with. It is famous for its romantic canals, bridges, more bicycles than people and of course tulips!
In the 13th century, Amsterdam was a small fishing village. It was protected from the Amstel River by a dam, hence the name Amstelredam.
Amsterdam is situated approx.3 ft. below sea level and built on eleven million wooden poles. Most canal houses require about 10 poles and are very small at the entrance, the reason for this is that homes were taxed for the size of the facade of the house. That’s why everyone built high and longhouses.
You may know that Amsterdam is known for its Red Light District, but did you know that at the beginning of the 20th-century dancing was forbidden? Incidentally, when a room in the Red Light District is blue or purple it indicates that the woman is transgender.
Amsterdam known as the "City of Canals" has 165 canals, which is more than Venice. It also has more bridges than Paris. If you enjoy museums, Amsterdam is the destination for you! It has the highest centration of museums per square mile in the entire world. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol even has a museum, being the only airport in the world that has a museum. You can find it behind passport control and the entry is free.
Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, and Stedelijk Museums are definitely museums you should make sure to visit while in Amsterdam.
Did you know that water in the canals is so clean that the Zoo gives its elephants pure drinking water straight from the Amsterdam canals? and contrary to most destinations in the world Amsterdam has worked so hard to abolish harmful pesticides and set up special flower gardens inside the city that since 2000 they have 45% more bee species?
Last fun fact - for those of you who love cats, you may also want to visit the Poezenboot, a catboat that is an animal shelter.
Interested in discovering the charming 17th-century city of Amsterdam? please contact me at Lene@PerfectlyPlannedJourneys.com or 703-927-0588, and let's plan your adventure.
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The ancient walled city of Saint-Malo is located in Brittany, in the northwestern part of France.
Founded by Celtic tribesmen in 1 BC. Situated on the English Channel, the port has famously been the center of seafaring adventurers and became a breeding ground for privateers.
By the late 4th century AD, Saint-Malo was fortified with its walls for protection from not only pirates and Vikings but also from the sea, which rises up to the city walls during high tide.
It was not officially founded until a Welsh monk named St Maclou (Malo) settled on the island in the 6th century, having fled to the French region of Brittany after the fall of the Roman Empire. He most likely became the first bishop in the region.
Much of the city was destroyed during World War II, but has been carefully restored and has managed to retain its medieval architecture and Old World charm. Walking along the picturesque cobbled streets of La Ville Intra-Muros (inside the walls) definitely makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
An interesting mix of quaint hotels, excellent restaurants, bars, and a myriad of little shops offers visitors plenty of interesting places to explore. Be sure to visit the Musée de la Ville where you will learn all you need to know about the town’s history.
The sandy beaches of the Emerald Coast are very popular with visitors who come to enjoy swimming in environmentally clean waters, sand yachting, and wind-surfing.
A fun fact is that Saint-Malo has a tradition of asserting its autonomy in dealings with the French and local authorities. From 1590 to 1593, Saint-Malo declared itself to be an independent republic, taking the motto "not French, not Breton, but Malouin."
Interested in enjoying your next vacation in Saint-Malo? please contact me at Lene@PerfectlyPlannedJourneys.com or 703-927-0588, and let's plan your adventure.
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Some destinations evoke the imagery of magic and fairytale. Istanbul does just that! The only city in the world that straddles two continents - Europe and Asia. This is the meeting point where East meets West. Istanbul is a true melting pot with its rich history, opulent culture, and exotic customs.
Istanbul is one of the oldest cities in the world. Archeologists have determined that the area of Istanbul has been inhabited for over 8000 years, having been the home to Christians, Muslims, Jews, ancient Greeks, Romans, modern Europeans, Turks, Arabs and even Vikings.
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is the biggest covered bazaar in the world, with over 3.000 shops. It has been around since 1461. According to Travel&Leisure magazine, the Grand Bazaar was No.1 most-visited tourist attraction in the world – with over 91 million visitors per year!
Istanbul, with more than 13 million people, is the largest city in Turkey. It was the capital of Turkey until the Turkish Independence War in 1920, when it was decided that Ankara should become the capital for strategic reasons.
Istanbul is home to the highest number of mosques in the world. According to the statistics of Religious Affairs Directorate in Turkey, There are 3269 mosques in Istanbul.. Some of these mosques are remainders of the Ottoman Empire; like Sultanahmet Camii a.k.a. Blue Mosque.
The incredible Blue Mosque, an absolute must-see – is the only one in Istanbul with six minarets, the maximum number allowed. It is known as the Blue Mosque because of blue tiles surrounding the walls of interior design. It was completed in 1617 just prior to the untimely death of the young ruler at the time, Sultan Ahmet I.
If you are ready to enjoy a little magic in Istanbul, please contact me at Lene@PerfectlyPlannedJourneys.com or 703-927-0588, and let's plan your trip to Turkey.
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Lene H. Minyard