Spain’s Old World

¡Vamos a Toledo! 

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This post is geared more toward UW’s readers who don’t live in Europe, since Toledo, Spain is well known among people living inside the EU. We didn’t even know Toledo existed until we went there. Glad we did.

An hour train ride southwest of Madrid is a city that’s just as authentic as it is old. It has the face of the Old World with a hint of an even older city found in the Middle East, given Toledo’s Arab traits that have existed throughout the centuries. The scenery is something to be admired as well once you’ve explored this fascinating place.

Links
More information about Toledo

Monumental Challenge

It All Started 200 Years Ago

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Looking out of place in Edinburgh, the National Monument of Scotland was meant to honor the fallen soldiers of the then-recent Napoleonic Wars. It was all good intentions when construction began on this ancient Greek Parthenon replica in 1822, but sadly, the project was never finished. Funds dried up and it was put on hold.

And it’s still on hold.

Despite the tragic nicknames it has accumulated over the last two centuries, it’s an interesting attraction that overlooks the Scottish capital.

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The New Florida

Florida’s West Coast is Hoppin’

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It’s no secret that the Tampa Bay area is seeing a revival these days. It’s becoming a hub for young people in particular. Tampa and Clearwater are growing, but there’s still a lot of Americana in Florida that hasn’t yet fallen prey to overdevelopment, including a sleepy little town called Dunedin.

Known for its Scottish roots, Dunedin is a quiet slice of relaxation in an ever-changing state. It’s Main Street shops and boutiques are far from the busy world of South Florida. Beautiful harbor, too.

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There be Romans Here

Old Frontiers Die Hard

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Once upon a time, there was an empire that stretched from northern Africa to the British Isles. It stopped close to what is now Scotland because, as Emperor Hadrian decided, the Scots–or Celtic tribes–were too “uncivilized” and barbaric to be conquered. Go Scotland? So he threw up a wall along the jagged landscape to ensure the continuity of his empire. Rome was never the same again.

Today, most of the wall has withered down to the stubs. But there are parts of the once mighty 70-mile barrier that still exist throughout the English countryside, so the good news is that you can find it without looking too hard. A good place to start would be England’s Newcastle upon Tyne area, where you can also find the ruins of a Roman fort (see map point above and links below).

Think your job is tough? Imagine being a sandals-wearing Roman soldier guarding the harsh terrain of Britannia, with howling gales and bone-chilling winter cold being daily reminders that you’re far from home. Happy times.

Links
More about Hadrian’s Wall
Housesteads Roman Fort ruins

Oldest “Inn” England

It’s Old

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To the pub enthusiasts, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem is famous for being “England’s oldest inn”, dating back to the year 1189. It’s actually built into the hill behind it. Great place to see, and really good food (and beer). And, since it’s in Nottingham, you’ll find it’s close to a statue commemorating a famous local resident. *Hint*–he took from the rich and gave to the poor:

Robin Hood Statue

Official website