Page 5 of Driving Vacation Travel Blog Posts


Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid July 12th 2011

We are ready for our next destination, Palacio Real de Madrid. We punch in the destination to our portable Garmin Nüvi 1370/1370T that we bring from US. After parking our TT underneath Plaza de Oriente, we start our exploration by foot. A row of elevated full-size sculptures depicting the Greek Zodiac lined the shady path way towards Palacio Real. As the view opens up before us, we quickly agree with the assessment of many guide books about this place. It is the largest palace in Europe with over 2000 luxuriously decorated rooms. The exterior massive Tuscan pillars and intricate carvings give the grandiose impression. Today, this palace is mostly used for state ceremonies. And guided tours are offered to public. Inside the palace, large inspiring paintings, royal armory, porcelains, watches, silverware, and antique furniture make up ... read more
Palacio Real de Madrid and Plaza de Oriente Palacio
Palacio Real de Madrid and Plaza de Oriente Palacio
Palacio Real de Madrid and Plaza de Oriente Palacio

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid July 12th 2011

Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas Next morning, we begin our exploration by car. On the way to our first destination, Parque del Retiro, we pass the famous Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas bullring on Calle de Alcalá. It is regarded as the home of bullfighting in Spain. This brick-red-colored Neo-Mudéjar (Moorish) structure, adorned with pottery representations of the heraldic crests of the different Spanish provinces, has a seating capacity of 25,000. Nowadays, this arena is also used for music concerts and tennis tournaments. Parque del Retiro After finding a street parking space on Calle de Alfonso XII, we enter Parque del Retiro through the main west gate. This entrance leads to Plaza del Parterre which is filled by sculptured trees, manicured lawn, vibrant flower beds, and oversized statues. They not only serve as eye ... read more
Parque del Retiro
Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas
Parque del Retiro

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid July 11th 2011

Traffic at Grand Via near Plaza de España Metro station is still heavy and moving at a snail pace. Crowds are seen on almost major intersections waiting impatiently to cross the streets. City street lights and billboards lit up the area and illuminate Spanish architecture’s intricate and ornate patterns, windows, gargoyles, and iron balconies. As we stroll through a maze of cobblestone alleys towards Plaza Mayor, the sounds of music and laughter bounce around the ancient stone walls. Restaurants and bars are brimming with conversations despite the fact that it is eleven o’clock Sunday night. This effervescent night life, even on a very late school night, is the reason why we are back in Madrid. We want to rejuvenate and escape from the monotony of going to bed at nine o’clock at night and getting ready ... read more
Madrid
Madrid
Madrid

Europe » Luxembourg » Vianden April 13th 2011

Luxembourg is a home to about 130 Châteaux. Some are fortified castles, others are lavish mansions. So, our weekend getaway would not be complete without visiting one of them. Mightily sits on a high ground, the eleventh century castle of Vianden glowed in the dusk. The mixture of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance features of this castle made this castle a perfect place to have a Halloween party. Many kids and their parents dressed in scary, funny, and medieval customs were dancing in a very large, tall, and airy hall at the heart of the castle. Walking around the castle ground, we soaked the fairy-tale panoramic view of dark deep blue sky, orange band of sunset on the horizon, and rolling lush hills highlighted by lights from small towns below. It was a great place to end ... read more
Vianden
Vianden

Europe » Luxembourg » Luxembourg City April 12th 2011

Many people who visited the Old Town claimed that they had traveled back in time to witness a thousand year history in about two hours by walking through the Luxembourg’s oldest quarters. It must be true because in 1994, UNESCO designated the city a World Heritage Site. The remains of centuries of fortifications by the best military engineers of the Burgundians, the French, the Spaniards, the Austrians, and the Germanic Confederation give Luxembourg an enigmatic allure. Its high position surrounded by deep gorges and rivers at the bottom enabled its military advantages and importance in its past. During its high time in the history, there were three girdles of battlements. The inner most one was fortified by bastions. The outer most one was composed of an exterior wall hewn into the rock and the wall was ... read more
Luxembourg Old Town
Luxembourg Old Town

Europe » Luxembourg » Kirchberg April 11th 2011

After a few hours of rest, we started our exploration. For architecture students, Kirchberg is probably the best place to study the latest trend of eco friendly modern architectures. Stringing both sides of avenue John F. Kennedy, the main street of Kirchberg, are glass buildings exposing the inner structures and offices in them, towers featuring gardens in middle section, and buildings made of materials that breath to reduce heating and cooling energy consumption. Furthermore, this district embodies the live, work, and play urban layout. Entertainment complexes, residential buildings, office towers, schools, and manicured parks are within walking distance from each other. It is purposely designed to reduce the energy consumptions by its inhabitants. Ornamental sculptures adorn open spaces in between buildings. The works of international eminent architects are well represented here. ... read more
Kirchberg
Kirchberg

Europe » Luxembourg April 11th 2011

To accentuate our exploration, we got an eco car that drinks gasoline in the manner cactus drinks water, and yet it was still capable to instill tingling sensations in our weekend driving vacation. We rented an A4 Avant TDI from Europecar rental car company at Frankfurt Airport. Our first stop was Légère Premium Hôtel located just of A1, less than 10 km east of Kirchberg, the modern city of Luxembourg that hosts many European Union buildings and financial institutions. This four star business hotel has spacious and airy contemporary exterior and interior designs. The room incorporates the latest trend of efficient layout and open bathroom concept. To top that, the minimalist furniture in the room gives futuristic ambience and abundant space. ... read more

North America » United States » California February 26th 2011

This trip will not be complete without taking this A5 Cabrio to Pacific Coast Highway. So, we head west towards Santa Monica Pier, where the historic Route 66 officially ends. The colorfully lit Ferris wheel welcomes visitors from far away. It offers a variety of entertainment, dining, and shopping experiences. Street performers and decorative vendor carts keep visitors engaged as they stroll the plank. For fitness addicts, Muscle Beach, south of the pier, offers abundant choices of outdoor workout equipments. Judging from noises we hear from the direction of the pier, it is definitely a very festive place. Heading north on Pacific Coast Highway, the view of vast Pacific Ocean fills our windshield as we see Santa Monica Pier disappearing from our rear view mirror. A few brave surfers are seen far from the beach floating ... read more
Driving in Beverly Hills, California

North America » United States » California February 25th 2011

Coincidentally, the twice-a-year special Affaire in the Gardens Art Show is being held this weekend at downtown Beverly Hills Park. This Cabrio allows us to soak smell of foods, colorful sight of sculptures and paintings, and sound of jazz ensemble as we are driving slowly towards the iconic Beverly Hills City Hall and Police Station. Anyone who saw Beverly Hills Cop movie will immediately recognize the Italian Renaissance tower featuring intricate carvings and mosaic dome. The golden crown above the dome shines brightly against a slightly cloudy sky. The about-three-block stretch of Rodeo Drive between Wilshire Boulevard and US 66 / Santa Monica Boulevard glitters with high-end international brand shops; Bvlgari, Chanel, Ferragamo Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Porsche Design, and Versace, just to name a few. Not only locals and tourists come here, but also many movie ... read more
Driving in Beverly Hills, California
Driving in Beverly Hills, California
Driving in Beverly Hills, California

North America » United States » California February 24th 2011

Beverly Hills Cop and 90210 brought dramas to this seemingly orderly, quiet, and opulent small town. In this 70 degree Southern California weather, Abeng Halim, a senior car designer at VW/Audi Design Center California at Santa Monica, and I are driving around in my favorite car, the 2010 A5 2.0T Quattro Cabrio. Built in the early 1900’s, Beverly Hills Hotel has seen the booms and busts of Hollywood industries. Many celebrities and foreign dignitaries had stayed here, and some took residence at private bungalows surrounded by twelve acres of lush gardens and exotic flowers. The exterior and interior of this hotel resemble Renaissance palaces and seaside villas in Italy. Hotel guests who are enjoying this Mediterranean Revival architecture feel that they too are celebrities during their stay. Built in the early 1900’s, Beverly Hills Hotel has ... read more
Driving in Beverly Hills, California
Driving in Beverly Hills, California
Driving in Beverly Hills, California




Tot: 0.906s; Tpl: 0.014s; cc: 7; qc: 68; dbt: 0.0198s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb