Archive for the 'Europe' Category

Switzerland: Zurich – Follow the Money Trail Tour

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Zurich is world famous as a global financial center, and internationally companies such as Credit Suisse and UBS are situated there. How did Zurich develop into a city of finance? Who were the first money-lenders and who actually invented the credit card?

This and other questions about the history of money in Zurich are the theme of a guided city tour, “Money, Money, Money – Following the Money Trail”, held in German or English every evening at 6pm between August and October. Participants go on a walk through the city and learn a host of surprising facts and entertaining stories.

http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ca/following-the-money-trail.html

Cosmos Tour: Prague Vienna Budapest – Prague Astronomical Clock

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Walking through the streets of Prague, you will come across the Astronomical Clock. Each hour, the wooden figures of apostles appear in the windows and some of the sculptures move. When the apostles finish their story, the golden rooster crows and shakes its wings, the bell rings and the clock chimes the hour.
AstroClock

An urban myth which went on for centuries was that when the Prague Councillors found out that the 15th century clock maker Hanus (Jan of Ruze) was going to make another clock, they became jealous and blinded him. However in 1961, the real artist was discovered in an old document which described the astronomical dial and says it was made by Mikulas of Kadan in 1410.

www.cosmos.com/Product.aspx?trip=46050

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Cosmos Tour: Prague Vienna Budapest – Paprika in Hungary

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

PaprikaIn Hungary, paprika cream is a condiment on the table – they use it like we would use ketchup or mustard. It’s quite spicy. Locals like to call it  Hungarian Viagra. Why?  If you eat it, the heartburn will keep you up. Since you can’t sleep, you have to do something  to keep  busy, soooo….

 www.cosmos.com/Product.aspx?trip=46050

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Germany: Munich has Beaches

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

The Isar River flows through Munich. There are many beautiful bridges spanning it. If you get hot while touring, why not take advantage of the many beaches along the shore of the river. There’s even a public bath house which you can use for only 4 Euros. If you get hungry, there’s a cafe there too.

MunichBeach
MunichBridge

www.muenchen.de/int/en/tourism.html

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Cosmos Tour: Prague Vienna Budapest – Halushka dumplings and Cimbalon

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

On the Cosmos Tour to Prague, Vienna and Budapest, the first optional excursion was a typical Slavic evening in the well-known U Marčanů restaurant, and included folk music with Bohemian, Moravian and Slovakian singing and dancing, plus gypsy music and dancing. The performers were fabulous at getting the audience involved, and great fun ensued. A musical instrument called a cimbalon was played; it’s a large, trapezoidal box with metal strings stretched across, and is played by striking two hammers against the strings.

Here’s a short video of the cimbalon in action:

 

The  3-course meal accompanied by unlimited drinks (wine/ beer/soft drinks) started with my favorite food of the whole trip – halushka , little dumpling bits topped with cheese and  fried bacon (probably called bryndza) which is one of the the Slovak national dishes. Now we know why. The main course was pork on a skewer with delicate Lyonnaise potatoes, green beans and roasted potatoes.PragueDinner

Everyone ate and laughed and enjoyed the evening.

www.cosmos.com/Product.aspx?trip=46050

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Cosmos Tour: Prague Vienna Budapest – Charles Bridge Prague

Friday, December 26th, 2014

The Charles Bridge over the river Vltava is the oldest bridge in the city, built between the 14th and 15th century and lined with statues and lamps and with Gothic towers on both ends.

St John statue on Charles Bridge

St John statue on Charles Bridge

The bronze statue of St. John of Nepomuk is the oldest (and most famous) one, created  in 1683. St. John was a parson who refused to betray a secret confided to him by Queen Sophia when asked by King Wenceslas IV. In 1393, he was tortured on the king´s demand and then thrown into the river from the Charles Bridge. After his death, supposedly five stars  appeared above the river.

There is a brassy cross with five stars at the place on the parapet, where he was thrown to the river. If you place your hand on the cross, so that each finger will touch one star, you can wish for something and it will be fulfilled. People also touch the relief on the statue for luck.

www.cosmos.com/Product.aspx?trip=46050

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Cosmos Tour: Prague Vienna Budapest – Prague Jewish Ghetto

Friday, December 26th, 2014
Old New Synagogue

Old New Synagogue

The former Jewish Ghetto (now called Josefov) in Prague goes back to the 12th century. In fact, the oldest synagogue in Europe, the Old-New Synagogue, is still there and it is still used for its purpose, as there are regular services. An old legend says it was built of stones from the Second Temple in Jerusalem. This quarter was demolished in 1897. Today, there are 6 synagogues, the Jewish City Hall and the Old Jewish Cemetery from the 15th century. Notice the Rabbi’s house has gold decorations and the clock with hebrew letters which dates to 1674.

In 1389 the biggest anti-Jewish pogrom in the Middle Ages took place here, when about 3,000 citizens of the Jewish Quarter were killed, turning the walls of the Old–New Synagogue dark with blood. Their homes were plundered and burned.

However, in the 16th century, this quarter was thriving. Some of the synagogues we can still see were built then. The Maisel Synagogue houses an exhibition of the Jewish Museum in Prague. In the 1950’s, the Pinkas Synagogue became a Memorial to victims of the Holocaust. The walls of the nave, gallery and vestibule were covered with names of about 80,000 Bohemian and Moravian Jews. You can also see drawings of Jewish children made in the Terezin concentration camp between 1942 and 1944. There were more than 10,000 children under the age of 15 there. In 1577, the High Synagogue was built as a part of the Jewish City Hall, and the original vault with some Gothic features and stucco decoration still can be seen.

The Rabbi's House

The Rabbi’s House

Nowadays, Paris St. in this area is one of the most popular places to live in Prague. If you get hungry, you can eat at the King Solomon kosher restaurant. Michelle Obama ate there when she was in town.

www.cosmos.com/Product.aspx?trip=46050

 

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Cosmos Tour: Prague Vienna Budapest – Free Higher Education

Friday, December 26th, 2014

If you study in Czech in the Czech Republic, there are no tuition fees at public higher education institutions. If you learn in another language, fees vary depending on the language of instruction or the courses.

www.cosmos.com/Product.aspx?trip=46050

 

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Cosmos Tour: Prague Vienna Budapest – Danube River

Friday, December 26th, 2014

The Cosmos Tour through Prague, Vienna and Budapest criss-crosses the Danube River.  The river flows from the Black Forest to the Black Sea for 2,872 km, and passes through or touches the borders of 10 countries: Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia, Ukraine, and Moldova.

www.cosmos.com/Product.aspx?trip=46050

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Germany: Munich: Michael Jackson Memorial Here

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Michael Jackson wanted to live in Munich in the Hotel Bayerischer Hof.  He never got to do it, but the people of Munich have set up a memorial spot to him on the base of a statue of composer Orlande de Lassus (a Renaissance composer) in the grassy median facing the hotel. His loyal fans have put up photos of him and leave flowers, candles and handwritten notes.

michaelj

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