Malta is actually an archipelago of three islands
Three hundred days of sunshine, crystal clear Mediterranean waters, seven thousand years of history, thriving local traditions, a vibrant nightlife and laid-back rural villages – Welcome to Malta! Malta is actually an archipelago of three islands – Malta (the commercial and cultural centre), Gozo (its more rural sister) and Comino (which is largely uninhabited). Spread over only 316 square kilometres, getting around the many attractions the Maltese islands have to offer couldn't be easier especially if renting a car during your stay. This traveller friendly country is made even more accessible thanks to the bilingual (Maltese and English) nature of the vast majority of its 400,000 inhabitants. It is difficult to comprehend how much is packed in this smallest of the European Union member states. The capital Valletta, with its fortifications and history-filled streets, is probably the most known place in Malta and gems such as St. John's Co-Cathedral justify its reputation. The picture perfect medieval citadel of Mdina is another great draw and a surreal evening walk round its lamp-lit hidden laneways is a must. Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea (together known as The Three Cities) were home to the first Knights of Malta and their forts are an exquisite sight for the many cruise passengers entering the majestic Grand Harbour throughout the year. If medieval is too recent in your history gauge, then you certainly cannot be disappointed with the exceptional UNESCO World Heritage Megalithic Temples and the Hypogeum subterranean tombs in Southern Malta dating back up to 3,600 B.C.! Sliema and St.Julian's are the entertainment centres of the islands. This is where the majority of Malta's opulent 5-star hotels are situated, where exquisite restaurants are dishing out local and international gastronomic delights, where the more affluent locals reside and meet up for an early evening stroll along the waterfront promenade and where the young (and young at heart) enjoy the nightlife into the early hours of the morning in Paceville. Has the mention of such indulgence got your head swirling? Then head out to Northern Malta where you can relax in some of the prettiest beaches in the Mediterranean, set-out on a countryside walk in the unique rugged countryside and feast your eyes on the imposing coastal cliffs. Alternatively, catch the 30-minute ferry to the local's favourite hideaway – Gozo. Renting a converted 400-year old farmhouse in Gozo is the best way to escape the package-holiday crowds and to enjoy the slower pace of rural life in this picturesque island. It also offers the most incredible spots for diving and is only a stone throw away from the crystal clear waters of the Blue Lagoon in Comino.
Marbella is Spain's answer to St Tropez.
Situated along the Costa del Sol, Marbella is Spain's answer to St Tropez. This chic holiday resort is a favoured get-away among the rich and famous and it’s not hard to see why. There’s an endless supply of world-class restaurants, luxury hotels, spectacular golf courses, fashionable shops, a lovely marina and a vast number of lively bars and clubs to keep you entertained til sunrise. Marbella may be the most famous place on the Costa del Sol but there are numerous other areas that are well worth a visit! There is a wealth of things on offer in the surrounding region with each destination offering its own individual qualities. You can visit the ‘white village’ Mijas and wander the cobbled streets, dine in the mountains at Benahavis or go down to Gibraltar to see the rock and the monkeys that reside there. With the N340 coastal motorway traveling right across the Coast it is extremely easy for those that are unfamiliar with the area to navigate their way around the Coast! All the areas listed are within a two hour drive of Marbella and hiring a rental car at Malaga Airport is often the most popular and cost effective way of getting around!
Holy Chapel (La Sainte-Chapelle), Paris, France
Built by the obsessively pious Louis IX (1226–70), this Gothic jewel is home to the oldest stained-glass windows in Paris. The chapel was constructed over three years, at phenomenal expense, to house the king's collection of relics acquired from the impoverished emperor of Constantinople. These included Christ's Crown of Thorns, fragments of the Cross, and drops of Christ's blood—though even in Louis's time these were considered of questionable authenticity. Some of the relics have survived and can be seen in the treasury of Notre-Dame, but most were lost during the Revolution. The narrow spiral staircase by the entrance takes you to the upper chapel where the famed beauty of Sainte-Chapelle comes alive: 6,458 square feet of stained glass is delicately supported by painted stonework that seems to disappear in the colorful light streaming through the windows. Deep reds and blues dominate the background, noticeably different from later, lighter medieval styles such as those of Notre-Dame's rose windows. The chapel is essentially an enormous magic lantern illuminating 1,130 biblical figures. Its 15 windows—each 50-feet high—were dismantled and cleaned with laser technology during a 40-year restoration, completed in 2014 to coincide with the 800th anniversary of St. Louis’s birth. Besides the dazzling glass, observe the detailed carvings on the columns and the statues of the apostles. The lower chapel is gloomy and plain, but take note of the low, vaulted ceiling decorated with fleurs-de-lis and cleverly arranged Ls for Louis. Sunset is the optimal time to see the rose window; however, to avoid waiting in killer lines, plan your visit for a weekday morning, the earlier the better. Come on a sunny day to appreciate the full effect of the light filtering through all of that glorious stained glass. You can buy a joint ticket with the Conciergerie: lines are shorter if you purchase it there or online, though you'll still have to go through a longish metal detector line to get into Sainte-Chapelle itself. Sights aside, the chapel makes a divine setting for classical concerts
Musee Rodin, Paris, France
MUSÉE RODIN REVIEW
Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) briefly made his home and studio in the Hôtel Biron, a grand 18th-century mansion that now houses a museum dedicated to his work. He died rich and famous, but many of the sculptures that earned him a place in art history were originally greeted with contempt by the general public, which was unprepared for his powerful brand of sexuality and raw physicality. During a much-needed, multiyear renovation that has closed parts of the Hôtel Biron (it's set to finish in late 2014), the museum is showcasing a pared-down, "greatest hits" selection of Rodin's works. Highlights Most of his best-known sculptures are in the gardens. The front garden is dominated by The Gates of Hell (circa 1880). Inspired by the monumental bronze doors of Italian Renaissance churches, Rodin set out to illustrate stories from Dante's Divine Comedy. He worked on the sculpture for more than 30 years, and it served as a "sketch pad" for many of his later works. Look carefully and you can see miniature versions of The Kiss (bottom right), The Thinker (top center), and The Three Shades (top center). Inside the museum, look for The Bronze Age, which was inspired by the sculptures of Michelangelo: this piece was so realistic that critics accused Rodin of having cast a real body in plaster. There's also a room (condensed during the renovation) of works by Camille Claudel (1864–1943), Rodin's student and longtime mistress, who was a remarkable sculptor in her own right. Her torturous relationship with Rodin eventually drove her out of his studio—and out of her mind. In 1913 she was packed off to an asylum, where she remained until her death. For €1 you can enjoy the 7 acres of gardens. If you want to linger, the Café du Musée Rodin serves meals and snacks in the shade of the garden's linden trees. As you enter, a gallery on the right houses temporary exhibitions. An English audioguide (€6) is available for the permanent collection and for temporary exhibitions. Buy your ticket online for priority access (€1.80 extra fee).
Take in the city’s best views
The Madrid skyline is one of the most attractive in Spain. And if there's a perfect place to take it all in, it's from the rooftop terrace at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in C/ Alcalá. From this massive patio you can see the whole city, its great avenues, famous monuments, green spaces, and the Cuatro Torres, the capital's big skyscrapers. It's also an ideal spot to have a drink and watch the sun set. But that's not the only vantage point for enjoying the incredible views. In Gau&Café, smack in the Lavapiés barrio, you can have dinner while you admire ruins from an 18th-century building or the 'corralas' - apartment buildings with a central courtyard and balconies running around each floor that each flat opens onto - very typical of Madrid's residential architecture, especially in this neighbourhood. If you're looking for something a bit more central, try the Hotel de las Letras or the Urban (with a swimming pool), which are just a short walk from the Puerta del Sol. The lookout point from the Basílica de San Francisco el Grande or the one behind the Templo de Debod show a lesser-known side of the capital, while if what you're after is more of a bird's-eye view, head for the Teleférico de la Casa de Campo.
Walk along the Gran Vía
The city's main tourist artery runs the famous Metrópolis building to the Plaza de España. Shops, bars and even a casino line this wide street that stretches for more than a kilometre. If you start walking at the Metrópolis building, with its stunning dome crowned by a bronze statue, the next landmark you'll come to is at Gran Vía 1, the address for Grassy jewellers since 1952. A bit further on, the Hotel de las Letras deserves a peek inside before you're wowed by the window display at the Loewe shop or stop to have a drink in the legendary Museo Chicote, which, despite its name, isn't a museum at all, though there is some art on the walls in the form of photos of celebrities who have passed through the swinging doors. The impressive Telefónica building kicks off the next leg, where clothing shops compete with each other to grab the eye, and the euros, of a wide variety of clientele. Look carefully - some of the shops are inside old cinemas that have long had to close their doors. Still showing films on the big screen, however, are the Palacio de la Prensa, Capitol and Callao cinemas, in the square that divides this celebrated street. From here to Plaza de España theatres such as the Lope de Vega and the Compac update their programming every season with major works. Gran Vía comes to an end between the Torre de Madrid and the Edificio España, facing the monument to Miguel de Cervantes that's in the centre of the grand square.
Bodega Museo Maserof, Jalón, Spain
Cenando en el Maserof
Algo Fabuloso, es ir al pasado; en la epoca de la pisada de la uva, es impresionante, ver el lugar llenos de velas y candelabros, te transporta en el tiempo.
Business Incubator BioPartner, Leiden, Netherlands
BioPartner — это голландский инкубатор и акселератор, рассчитанный на биотехнологические стартапы. Его здания имеют простую и свободную внутреннюю планировку, что позволяет легко модернизировать помещения под новые нужды. Также благодаря этому решению молодым исследователям легче объединяться в новые команды.
Quantum Science Center, Waterloo, Canada
Квантовый центр университета Ватерлоо
Одной из главных целей создания канадского Квантового центра было увеличение синергии между отдельными областями современной физики. Для того, чтобы привлечь в лабораторию лучших учёных со всего мира и увеличить вероятность сотрудничества различных исследователей, в центре были созданы удобные условия для общения. Так, вся коммуникация внутри здания строится вокруг открытого шестиэтажного атриума, — по его сторонам находятся столовые, места для отдыха и совместной работы.
Woking McLaren Center, Woking, United Kingdom
Исследовательский центр McLaren
Другой проект Нормана Фостера: офис команды McLaren, в котором инженеры разрабатывают новые болиды «Формулы-1», выглядит не хуже будущей штаб-квартиры Apple. Исследовательский центр имеет обтекаемую крышу и полукруглый фасад, обращенный к искусственному озеру. Такое решение, придуманное инженерами гоночной команды во время создания нового спорткара, позволяет значительно сэкономить на кондиционировании здания.
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