Blue Orb Travel ‘Best Pick’ Destinations

Add These Often Overlooked Travel Gems to Your Itinerary This Year

          Check out some of John’s favorite places by visiting these Blue Orb ‘Best Picks’ when you travel this summer.  By clicking on the link it will take you to our full article on each travel destination.

Shrewsbury, England

          A charming little town straddling the River Severn near the border with Wales.  Located in County Shropshire, England Shrewsbury is only 170 miles from London.

The River Severn, Shrewsbury, England

The River Severn, Shrewsbury, England

Konigssee, Germany

          This hidden gem of Bavaria is one point on a small tourist triangle that also includes Berchtesgaden with it’s Eagle’s Nest and Salzburg, Austria.  Just 100 miles from Munich, Konigssee is easily accessible by train and you can walk to the lake from the train station.

The Konigssee Lake in Bavaria, Germany

The Konigssee Lake in Bavaria, Germany

Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

          This shining gem just outside the Golden Ring is 260 miles from Moscow and one of the first stops on the Trans Siberian Railway.  Located at the confluence of the Volga and Oka Rivers, Nizhny Novgorod is the third largest city in Russia and is home to a fabulous Kremlin and many splendid cathedrals.

Kremlin at Nizhny Novgorod

Kremlin at Nizhny Novgorod

Luang Prabang, Laos

          Located off the beaten path in the hill country of Laos and accessible only by bus or plane, Luang Prabang is well worth the trip!  This French colonial town on the Mekong River is full of old world charm, wonderful restaurants, great shopping and inexpensive hotels.

Christmas in Finland

Christmas in Finland, Where Santa Lives

          When contemplating travel during the month of December we usually think of the Christmas Markets of Germany, Austria, France, Belgium and the Czech Republic.  One of my favorite Christmas shops is Kathe Wohlfahrt’s year round shop in Rothenburg, Germany.  But Christmas is actually celebrated throughout the world, including countries like Japan which are not traditionally thought of as Christmas destinations.  Many believe that Finland, which is an overwhelmingly Christian nation, is one of the most ‘Christmassy’ countries in the world.  After all, they say, Santa Claus himself lives in Lapland, a region in northern Finland, located near the North Pole.  The fact that there are as many reindeer in Lapland as there are people only adds to the mystique.  Whether or not you believe that Santa originated in Finland, the Finns certainly do and there is much evidence for it as one travels throughout this beautiful country.  I hope you enjoy these photos from my recent trip to Finland that make one think of Christmas.

Santa Claus Figure Outside Shop in Helsinki, Finland

Santa Claus Figure Outside Shop in Helsinki, Finland

Child in Finland Decked Out in Christmas Colors

Child in Finland Decked Out in Christmas Colors

The Finnish Orthodox Uspensky Cathedral in Helsinki

The Finnish Orthodox Uspensky Cathedral in Helsinki

     

Porvoo, Finland

The Old Train Station at Porvoo, Finland

          On a recent trip to Finland, Russia and Ukraine I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful little town of Porvoo, Finland.  Just a 30 mile bus ride from Helsinki, the capital of Finland, Porvoo is a small medieval town located on the River Porvoonjoki.  I was captivated by an old deserted train station located just outside of the old town and could only imagine all the comings and goings from this station over the years.

Porvoo, Finland

The Old Town of Porvoo, Finland across the River Porvoonjoki

Porvoo, Finland

Porvoo, Finland

Porvoo, Finland

Porvoo, Finland

 

The Old Train Station at Porvoo, Finland

 

 

A Garden Gate in Clifden, Connemara, Ireland

Clifden, Connemara, Ireland

          Galway was one of my favorite places in Ireland.  Not only is it a beautiful city, but there are some interesting sights nearby.  I took the bus to Clifden and fell in love with the spectacular scenery of the Connemara region on the West Coast of Ireland.  On my walk I passed this wonderful garden gate and ever since then have wondered what was on the other side.

A Garden Gate in Clifden, Connemara on the West Coast of Ireland

A Garden Gate in Clifden, Connemara on the West Coast of Ireland

Travel Cat

A Favorite Photo from Sligo, Ireland

          I saw this beautiful cat sitting next to a globe in a cottage window in Sligo, Ireland and imagined that he was dreaming of traveling the world.  This photo was taken near the grave of one of Ireland’s most revered poets, William Butler Yeats, near Ben Bulben, a striking rock formation that dominates the landscape around County Sligo.

‘Under bare Ben Bulben’s head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.’
 
Cat in Cottage Window Dreams of Traveling the Globe, Sligo, Ireland

Cat in Cottage Window Dreams of Traveling the Globe, Sligo, Ireland

Where in the World…Take the Quiz

Where in the World…Test Your Travel Savvy

          All right you world travelers…let’s see how much you know about the major cities in Continental Europe.  To take the quiz, try to identify the city where each of the following seven photos were taken.  Enter your answers as a comment or in an email to John@BlueOrbTravel.com.  All contestants with five or more correct answers will be noted on Blue Orb Travel with a link to their website.

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Where in the World Quiz

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Where in the World Quiz

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Where in the World Quiz

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Where in the World Quiz

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Where in the World Quiz

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Where in the World Quiz

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Where in the World Quiz