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Places - Europe

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Amsterdam, Netherlands - July 2005

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and was founded in the late 12th century on the banks of the Amstel River. It is now the largest city in the country and its financial and cultural center.

Amsterdam has one of the largest historic city centers in Europe, dating mostly from the 17th century. The old city was built up around a series of semi-circular canals, which still define its layout and appearance today. The easiest way to navigate through the city is by bicycle.

The city is noted for many outstanding museums, including the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum and the Anne Frank House.

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Budapest, Hungary - May 2005

The city is divided into two parts, the hilly side of Buda on the western bank and the flat plain of Pest on the eastern bank of the river Danube. These two parts of the city were once separate towns and were merged together with Ancient Buda in 1873.

The Buda side, is comprised of the castle area, St. Matthias church, Fishermen’s Bastion and Trinity Square as well as Gellert Hill.

On the Pest side is the beautiful Parliament building (the 2nd largest in Europe), St. Stephen’s Basilica and Heroes (or Liberty) Square.

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Szentendre, Hungary - May 2005

In the 17th Century, Serbian settlers came to the town and gave Szentendre its characteristic, Mediterranean-style architecture. Artists rediscovered this picturesque village in the 1920s and turned it into an art colony.

The numerous churches in town reflect the cultural, ethnic and religious diversity of Szentendre.

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Val d'Isere, France - April 2005

Val d'Isere is quite historical. On this ancient trade route, the landmark Romanesque-style church and bell tower built in 1664 are still standing, as are many other 17th century stone-and-beamed buildings that line the passageways near the center of town. St. Roch, the patron saint of mountain dwellers who is said to have protected Val d'Isere from the plague during the Middle Ages, watches over the village from a niche in the front of the chapel.

Val d'Isere is also the birthplace of French skiing -- the National Ski and Mountaineering School was founded here in 1934. More recently, Rocher de Bellevarde, one of the resort's main peaks and the one easily seen from the village, was the site of the 1992 Winter Olympics men's downhill race.

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Annecy, France - April 2005

Annecy is one of the most charming and attractive towns in the French Alps. The town in situated at the northern tip of Lac d’Annecy and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The lake itself is supposedly the cleanest lake in all of Europe and based on the beautiful turquoise color, I would have to agree!

The medieval quarter is wonderful, with the canals, the flower-covered bridges and the quaint streets. It’s a beautiful sight, especially on market day when all the vendors have arrived to sell their wares.

The Chateau d’Annecy sits high on a hill with spectacular views of the surrounding lake and mountains. Definitely worth the visit.

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Geneva, Switzerland - March 2005
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London, England - January 2005
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Alsfeld, Germany - December 2004
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Travel Miscellaneous
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