I Travel for the Stars

Tag: europe

Visiting Gudvangen Viking Village on the Norwegian Fjords

Since I’m into history, the Gudvangen Viking Village was a place I wanted to visit to learn more about the Vikings. I find that open-air museums like this one are great for experiencing what life was like in a different time, rather than simply reading about it or seeing artefacts. If you want to go to the Gudvangen Viking Village, here’s what to expect and what I thought of it.

Called “Viking Valley,” the Viking village is actually named Njardarheimr, meaning “the home dedicated to the Norse god Njord.” It opened in 2017 on the site of what was … Continue reading

Posted on Friday, June 7, 2024 in Destinations
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Borgund Stave Church: a Beautiful Medieval Marvel

I didn’t want to visit Norway without seeing a stave church, and Borgund Stave Church is accessible from Bergen and also the best preserved. I’m so glad I got to see it because it is so beautiful and a remarkable emblem of Norway’s history.


What is a “stave church”?

To understand Borgund Stave Church, it helps to know what a stave church actually is. In short, it’s the architectural style of church used in post-Viking Scandinavia.

At the end of the Viking age, in 12th-13th century Scandinavia, Christian churches were built from wood all around the area. I’m really … Continue reading

Posted on Saturday, June 1, 2024 in Destinations
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Bergen, Gateway to the Fjords: Things to Do & Travel Guide

Bergen is one of Norway’s most visited cities, and with its proximity to the fjords, it was a definite stop on my first trip to Norway. I did a lot more in the city than I feel a lot of other travellers do, so what did I think of it?

The History of Bergen

Bergen was founded just at the end of the Viking age in the 11th century, just like Norway’s other big city, Oslo. Due to its location, it very quickly grew to be a large trading port city which also hosted royal residences and coronations by the … Continue reading

Posted on Friday, May 24, 2024 in Destinations
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Exploring Oslo, Norway’s Fabulous Capital: Things to Do & Travel Guide

Would any trip to Norway be complete without seeing Oslo? I admit, before going, some people said they didn’t like it much but I was keen on visiting its museums. I’ll explain more in detail, but even though I didn’t like it much the first day myself, I began to really like it after exploring the city more in depth. Here’s what I thought of it:

The History of Oslo

The city as we know it was actually established after the Viking age ended in the 11th century, but was shortly made capital in the late 13th or early 14th … Continue reading

Posted on Monday, May 20, 2024 in Destinations
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A Quick Stop in Montalcino, a Charming Tuscan Town

When I went on a tour of the Val D’Orca we only got a few hours in Montalcino, but I fell in love. It’s a small town so you can cover a lot in a few hours anyway. Here’s what I thought of my short time in Montalcino.

The History of Montalcino

Montalcino is a hilltop town that dates to the Etruscan times but was more modernly established during the medieval era. It was its own independent commune but eventually became part of Siena and subsequently Florence. In the medieval era, it was known for leather and tanneries but now … Continue reading

Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2024 in Destinations
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A Short Guide to Avila, Spain: Things to Do in Saint Teresa’s Hometown

When I visited Madrid, it was so hard picking which day trips to go on. As a medieval enthusiast, I easily decided on Avila. The town is known as a medieval town with pristine walls, and also the home of St. Teresa de Jesus. I ventured there to step back in time several hundred years.

Some of Avila’s History

Avila existed since before the Roman era but it’s known today for its developments during the medieval period. Though it retains a Roman city structure, the incredible Avila walls were constructed in 1090, and landmarks such as the cathedral were built … Continue reading

Posted on Thursday, January 11, 2024 in Destinations
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Looking at Rethymno, a Charming Town in Crete

When I visited Crete, seeing towns like Chania and Rethymno were high on my bucket list since I’d heard great things about them. Chania was cute but I didn’t think it was as charming as Rethymno. Here’s my rundown on this seaside city and why I fell for it.

A Brief History of Rethymno

What is now Rethymno was probably inhabited by the Minoans and the Romans in ancient times, but its more popular history started in the 16th century when the Venetians used the port here and built a fort to protect the city. Much of the architecture standing … Continue reading

Posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 in Destinations
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The Ancient City of Athens: the Acropolis & Beyond

So many people told us that you only need a day in Athens, it’s not a great city, all there is to do is the Acropolis. This is so not true. If you’re short on time then yes, maybe spending a day at the Acropolis is enough. But Athens is a lovely city with a lot to do and see. You can fill a few days with things to do, easily.

I also felt that Athens was a nice city. Not particularly charming, and certainly not as photogenic as the Greek islands, but a very proper city.

Without further adieu, … Continue reading

Posted on Friday, August 25, 2023 in Destinations
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Visiting Knossos, an Archaeological Splendor in Crete

If you’ve studied archaeology then you’ve probably heard of Knossos in Crete, one of the world’s ancient splendors. I was eager to see this place for myself and thought it was a fantastic experience.

What was Knossos?

The Minoan culture lived on Crete thousands of years ago, and Knossos – being their largest city – was probably their capital or central power. What remains today is the Knossos Palace, which was a working palace with many functions and inhabitants.

Since Crete is centrally located between Europe, Asia and Africa, Knossos was definitely a huge trade city, which can be seen … Continue reading

Posted on Friday, August 4, 2023 in Destinations
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Visiting Akrotiri, Santorini’s Ancient “Atlantis”

I’ve wanted to visit Akrotiri since I first learned of it in college. Much like Pompeii, this city thrived thousands of years ago before it was covered by a volcanic eruption. Though the volcano destroyed the city, it also preserved it so we could get a more intimate look at it all these years later. Visiting was an absolute highlight of my trip and I cannot recommend it enough for history lovers.

What was Akrotiri? A Short History

Akrotiri’s one of Greece’s biggest archaeological finds, but not much is known about it – not even its name. The language, called … Continue reading

Posted on Friday, July 28, 2023 in Destinations
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