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Downtown Aspen

Aspen is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Pitkin County, Colorado, United States. Its population was 6,658 at the 2010 United States Census. Aspen is in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains’ Sawatch Range and Elk Mountains, along the Roaring Fork River at an elevation just below 8,000 feet (2,400 m) above sea level on the Western Slope, 11 miles (18 km) west of the Continental Divide.

Founded as a mining camp during the Colorado Silver Boom and later named “Aspen” because of the abundance of aspen trees in the area, the city boomed during the 1880s, its first decade of existence. The boom ended when the Panic of 1893 led to a collapse in the silver market, and the city began a half-century known as “the quiet years” during which its population steadily declined, reaching a nadir of fewer than a thousand by 1930. Aspen’s fortunes reversed in the mid-20th century when neighboring Aspen Mountain was developed into a ski resort, and industrialist Walter Paepcke bought many properties in the city and redeveloped them. Today it is home to three institutions, two of which Paepcke helped found, that have international importance: the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Aspen Institute, and the Aspen Center for Physics.

In the late 20th century, the city became a popular retreat for celebrities. Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson worked out of a downtown hotel and ran unsuccessfully for county sheriff. Singer John Denver wrote two songs about Aspen after settling there. Both of them popularized Aspen among the counter-cultural youth of the 1970s as an ideal place to live, and the city continued to grow even as it gained notoriety for some of the era’s hedonistic excesses (particularly its drug culture).

Today the musicians and movie stars have been joined by corporate executives. As a result of this influx of wealth, Aspen has some of the most expensive real estate in the United States and many middle-class residents can no longer afford to live there. It remains a popular tourist destination, with outdoor recreation in the surrounding White River National Forest serving as a summertime complement to the four ski areas in the vicinity.

Travelers enjoy mile-high romance in Aspen, an ultra-posh resort town in a remote corner of the Colorado Rockies. After a day on the slopes (during which skiers, including A-listers like Kate Hudson, Orlando Bloom, and Jessica Alba swish down a breathtaking 4,000-foot vertical drop) couples converge for one of the best après ski scenes in the United States. Book a room at the historic Hotel Jerome, a Victorian-era boarding house reborn as a playful but swanky lodge from Auberge Resorts, or the ski in/ski out Little Nell, which boasts marble baths and roaring en suite fireplaces.

Quebec is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is bordered to the west by the province of Ontario and the bodies of water James Bay and Hudson Bay; to the north by Hudson Straitand Ungava Bay; to the east by the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador; and to the south by the province of New Brunswick and the U.S. states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. It also shares maritime borderswith Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. Quebec is Canada’s largest province by area and its second-largest administrative division; only the territory of Nunavut is larger. It is historically and politically considered to be part of Central Canada(with Ontario).

Quebec is the second-most populous province of Canada, after Ontario. It is the only one to have a predominantly French-speaking population, with French as the sole provincial official language. Most inhabitants live in urban areas near the Saint Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec City, the capital. Approximately half of Quebec residents live in the Greater MontrealArea, including the Island of Montreal. English-speaking communities and English-language institutions are concentrated in the west of the island of Montreal but are also significantly present in the Outaouais, Eastern Townships, and Gaspé regions. The Nord-du-Québec region, occupying the northern half of the province, is sparsely populated and inhabited primarily by Aboriginal peoples.

The climate around the major cities is four-seasons continental with cold and snowy winters combined with warm to hot humid summers, but farther north long winter seasons dominate and as a result the northern areas of the province are marked by tundra conditions. Even in central Quebec, at comparatively southerly latitudes, winters are severe in inland areas.

Quebec independence debates have played a large role in the politics of the province. Parti Québécois governments held referendums on sovereignty in 1980 and 1995. Although neither passed, the 1995 referendum saw the highest voter turnout in Quebec history, at over 93%, and only failed by less than 1%.  In 2006, the House of Commons of Canada passed a symbolic motion recognizing the “Québécois as a nation within a united Canada”.

While the province’s substantial natural resources have long been the mainstay of its economy, sectors of the knowledge economysuch as aerospace, information and communication technologies, biotechnology, and the pharmaceutical industry also play leading roles. These many industries have all contributed to helping Quebec become an economically influential province within Canada, second only to Ontario in economic output.

offers travelers the joie de vivre of Europe without the transatlantic flight. T+L readers head here for a romantic getaway just north of the border, thanks to the cobblestone streets, 17th- and 18th-century row houses, and historic citadel ramparts. Lovebirds enjoying a trip to Canada can admire the natural scenery, too, with a photo opp at the towering Montmorency Falls or a stroll along the St. Lawrence River. Above it all, the landmark 1920s-era Fairmont Le Château Frontenac dominates the skyline from its hilltop position.

Clockwise from top: the Colosseum, St. Peter's Basilica, Castel Sant'Angelo, Ponte Sant'Angelo, Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon

ROME , ITALY

Rome  is the capital city and a special comune of Italy (named Comune di Roma Capitale). Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country’s most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City (the smallest country in the world) is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

Rome’s history spans 28 centuries. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe. The city’s early population originated from a mix of Latins, Etruscans, and Sabines. Eventually, the city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, and is regarded by some as the first ever metropolis. It was first called The Eternal City(Latin: Urbs Aeterna; Italian: La Città Eterna) by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, and the expression was also taken up by Ovid, Virgil, and Livy. Rome is also called the “Caput Mundi” (Capital of the World). After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome slowly fell under the political control of the Papacy, and in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. Beginning with the Renaissance, almost all the popes since Nicholas V (1447–1455) pursued over four hundred years a coherent architectural and urban programme aimed at making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the world. In this way, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance,and then the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters, sculptors and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city. In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic.

Rome has the status of a global city. In 2016, Rome ranked as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, and the most popular tourist attraction in Italy. Its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The Vatican Museums are among the world’s most visited museums while the Colosseum was the most popular tourist attraction in the world with 7.4 million visitors in 2018.[17] Host city for the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome is the seat of several specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme(WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The city also hosts the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) as well as the headquarters of many international business companies such as Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p.A., and national and international banks such as Unicredit and BNL. Its business district, called EUR, is the base of many companies involved in the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and financial services. Rome is also an important fashion and design centre thanks to renowned international brands centered in the city. Rome’s Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies.

Ancient birthplace of the term Latin Lovers, The Eternal City is a dream destination for countless couples, and for good reason. Walking up the Spanish Steps, sharing a refreshing scoop of gelato, and throwing coins into the Trevi fountain together have all become rites of passage for paramours visiting the Italian capital. For romantic digs worthy of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier’s honeymoon, reserve a room at the Hassler Roma.

Clockwise from top-left: Rainbow Row, Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, cobblestone street, McLeod Plantation, battery, Fort Sumter

Charleston is the oldest and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County, and the principal city in the Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina’s coastline and is located on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley, Cooper, and Wando rivers. Charleston had an estimated population of 134,875 in 2017. The estimated population of the Charleston metropolitan area, comprising Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, was 761,155 residents in 2016, the third-largest in the state and the 78th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.

Charleston was founded in 1670 as Charles Town, honoring King Charles II of England. Its initial location at Albemarle Point on the west bank of the Ashley River (now Charles Towne Landing) was abandoned in 1680 for its present site, which became the fifth-largest city in North America within ten years. Despite its size, it remained unincorporated throughout the colonial period; its government was handled directly by a colonial legislature and a governor sent by London. Election districts were organized according to Anglican parishes, and some social services were managed by Anglican wardens and vestries. Charleston adopted its present spelling with its incorporation as a city in 1783 at the close of the Revolutionary War. Population growth in the interior of South Carolina influenced the removal of the state government to Columbia in 1788, but the port city remained among the ten largest cities in the United States through the 1840 census.[8] Historians estimate that “nearly half of all Africans brought to America arrived in Charleston”, most at Gadsden’s Wharf.[9] The only major antebellum American city to have a majority-enslaved population, Charleston was controlled by an oligarchy of white planters and merchants who successfully forced the federal government to revise its 1828 and 1832 tariffs during the Nullification Crisis and launched the Civil War in 1861 by seizing the Arsenal, Castle Pinckney, and Fort Sumter from their federal garrisons.

Known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, distinguished restaurants, and hospitable people, Charleston is a popular tourist destination. It has received numerous accolades, including “America’s Most Friendly [City]”  in 2011 and in 2013 and 2014 by Condé Nast Traveler, and also “the most polite and hospitable city in America” by Southern Living magazine.[12] In 2016, Charleston was ranked the “World’s Best City”

Carmel by the Sea Coastline (Unsplash) (cropped).jpg

Carmel-by-the-Sea  often simply called Carmel, is a city in Monterey County, California, United States, founded in 1902 and incorporated on October 31, 1916. Situated on the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history. In 1906, the San Francisco Call devoted a full page to the “artists, writers and poets at Carmel-by-the-Sea”, and in 1910 it reported that 60 percent of Carmel’s houses were built by citizens who were “devoting their lives to work connected to the aesthetic arts.” Early City Councils were dominated by artists, and the city has had several mayors who were poets or actors, including Herbert Heron, founder of the Forest Theater, bohemian writer and actor Perry Newberry, and actor-director Clint Eastwood.

The town is known for being dog-friendly, with numerous hotels, restaurants and retail establishments admitting guests with dogs. Carmel is also known for several unusual laws, including a prohibition on wearing high-heel shoes without a permit, enacted to prevent lawsuits arising from tripping accidents caused by irregular pavement.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is located on the Pacific coast, about 330 miles (530 km) north of Los Angeles and 120 miles (190 km) south of San Francisco. Communities near Carmel-by-the-Sea include Carmel Valley and Carmel Highlands. The larger town of Montereyborders Carmel to the north.

As of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 3,722, down from 4,081 at the 2000 census.

San Sebastián as seen from the air

San Sebastián (Spanish: [san seβasˈtjan]) or Donostia (Basque: [doˈnos̺tia]) is a coastal city and municipality located in the Basque Autonomous Community, Spain. It lies on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, 20 km (12 miles) from the French border. The capital city of Gipuzkoa, the municipality’s population is 186,095 as of 2015, with its metropolitan area reaching 436,500 in 2010.[5] Locals call themselves donostiarra (singular), both in Spanish[6] and Basque.

The main economic activities are commerce and tourism, and it is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Spain.Despite the city’s small size, events such as the San Sebastián International Film Festival have given it an international dimension. San Sebastián, along with Wrocław, Poland, was the European Capital of Culture in 2016.

Montage of San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende (Spanish pronunciation: [san mi’ɣel de a’ʎende]) is the name of a municipality and its principal city, both located in the far eastern part of Guanajuato, Mexico. A part of the Bajío region, the city lies 274 km (170 mi) from Mexico City, 86 km (53 mi) from Querétaro, and 97 km (60 mi) from the state capital of Guanajuato. The city’s name derives from two persons: 16th-century friar Juan de San Miguel, and a martyr of Mexican Independence, Ignacio Allende, who was born in a house facing the city’s central plaza. San Miguel de Allende was also a critical epicenter during the historic Chichimeca War(1540–1590) where the Chichimeca Confederation defeated the Spanish Empire in the initial colonization war. Today, an old section of the town is part of a proclaimed World Heritage Site, attracting thousands of tourists and new residents from abroad every year.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the town was in danger of becoming a ghost town after an influenza pandemic. Gradually, its Baroque/Neoclassical colonial structures were “discovered” by foreign artists who moved in and began art and cultural institutes such as the Instituto Allende and the Escuela de Bellas Artes. This gave the town a reputation, attracting artists such as David Alfaro Siqueiros, who taught painting.

This attracted foreign art students, especially former U.S. soldiers studying on the G.I. Bill after the Second World War. Since then, the town has attracted a significant number of foreign retirees, artists, writers and tourists, which has shifted the area’s economy from agriculture and industry to commerce catering to outside visitors and residents.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated the Protective town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco as a World Heritage Site in 2008. The area of designation includes part of the town San Miguel de Allende and part of the town of Atotonilco, which are about 14 kilometers apart. The World Heritage Site is highlighted by a core zone of 43 hectares in San Miguel de Allende’s well-preserved historic center, filled with buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. The other part of the World Heritage Site fourteen kilometers north, at the Sanctuary of Atotonilco, which has a core zone of .75 hectares surrounded by a buffer zone of about 4.5 hectares.

File:Collage Firenze.jpg

Florence  is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,084 inhabitants in 2013, and over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area.

Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of that era. It is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called “the Athens of the Middle Ages”. Its turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1871 the city served as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy (established in 1861). The Florentine dialect forms the base of Standard Italian and it became the language of culture throughout Italy[9] due to the prestige of the masterpieces by Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini.

The city attracts millions of tourists each year, and UNESCO declared the Historic Centre of Florence a World Heritage Site in 1982. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture and politics. Due to Florence’s artistic and architectural heritage, Forbes has ranked it as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Florence plays an important role in Italian fashion, and is ranked in the top 15 fashion capitals of the world;furthermore, it is a major national economic centre, as well as a tourist and industrial hub. In 2008 the city had the 17th-highest average income in Italy.

A collage of Venice: at the top left is the Piazza San Marco, followed by a view of the city, then the Grand Canal and interior of La Fenice, as well as the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.

VENICE ITALY,

It is situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Poand the Piave rivers (more exactly between the Brenta and the Sile). In 2018, 260,897 people resided in the Comune di Venezia, of whom around 55,000 live in the historical city of Venice (Centro storico). Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE), which is considered a statistical metropolitan area, with a total population of 2.6 million.[5]

The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC. The city was historically the capital of the Republic of Venice. The 697–1797 Republic of Venice was a major financial and maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as an important center of commerce (especially silk, grain, and spice) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century. The city-state of Venice is considered to have been the first real international financial center, emerging in the 9th century and reaching its greatest prominence in the 14th century.[8] This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history.[9] After the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna, the Republic was annexed by the Austrian Empire, until it became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1866, following a referendum held as a result of the Third Italian War of Independence.

Venice has been known as “La Dominante”, “La Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City”, and “City of Canals”. The lagoon and a part of the city are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parts of Venice are renowned for the beauty of their settings, their architecture, and artwork. Venice is known for several important artistic movements—especially during the Renaissance period—has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music, and is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi. Although the city is facing some major challenges (including financial difficulties, pollution, an excessive number of tourists and problems caused by cruise ships sailing close to the buildings),Venice remains a very popular tourist destination, an iconic Italian city, and has been ranked the most beautiful city in the world.

Louvre Museum Wikimedia Commons.jpg

PARIS FRANCE,

is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres (41 square miles) and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe’s major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €681 billion (US$850 billion) in 2016, accounting for 31 percent of the GDP of France, and was the 5th largest region by GDP in the world. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zurich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018.

The city is a major railway, highway, and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle (the second busiest airport in Europe) and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city’s subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, and is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th busiest railway station in the world, and the first located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015.[9]

Paris is especially known for its museums and architectural landmarks: the Louvre was the most visited art museum in the world in 2018, with 10.2 million visitors.[10] The Musée d’Orsay and Musée de l’Orangerie are noted for their collections of French Impressionist art, and the Pompidou Centre Musée National d’Art Moderne has the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe. The historical district along the Seine in the city centre is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Popular landmarks in the centre of the city include the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and the Gothic royal chapel of Sainte-Chapelle, both on the Île de la Cité; the Eiffel Tower, constructed for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889; the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, built for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900; the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Élysées, and the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur on the hill of Montmartre. Paris received 23 million visitors in 2017, measured by hotel stays, with the largest numbers of foreign visitors coming from the United States, the UK, Germany and China. It was ranked as the third most visited travel destination in the world in 2017, after Bangkok and London.

The football club Paris Saint-Germain and the rugby union club Stade Français are based in Paris. The 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located just north of Paris in the neighbouring commune of Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris hosted the Olympic Games in 1900, 1924 and will host the 2024 Summer Olympics. The 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and the 1960, 1984, and 2016 UEFA European Championships were also held in the city and, every July, the Tour de France bicycle racefinishes there.

 

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