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The fire, frost and water symbolized by the red, white and blue of Iceland’s flag are manifested in this land. Reykjavik, or Smoky Bay, was so named in 874 A.D. by Ingolf Arnarson when he sighted the numerous hot springs on the Seltjarnarnes Peninsula. Today this remarkably pollution-free city is wrapped around a sweeping bay and has managed to retain its charming Old-World atmosphere. A pastiche of red-blue-and green-roofed houses together with the tall gray tower of Hallgrim’s Church dominate the skyline. In Old Town, many of the wooden buildings have been lovingly restored and stand side by side with modern timber and concrete structures. There are fine museums and art galleries; historic pubs present activity in late afternoon. The beautiful countryside outside of Reykjavik includes such natural wonders as volcanoes, geysers, glaciers, mountains and spectacular waterfalls.
Heimaey, off the coast of Iceland, is one of 15 volcanic Westman Islands - home to "Keiko" the star of the "Free Willy" movies. The island is buzzing with life and there are some truly spectacular sights. The perfectly formed natural harbor area has tall cliffs tenanted by multitudes of puffin, fulmar and guillemot. Sprangan is a cliff where young islanders are taught the rope swinging sport. Herjólfsdalur Valley has ruins of old farmhouses dating back to 650 AD. The western part of the island provides an opportunity to view outer islands. 'Stórhöfdi' has magnificent views over the island and majestic glaciers of mainland Iceland and is home to the island's largest puffin colony. Two volcanoes in Heimaey are 5,000-year-old "Helgafell" (Holy Mountain) and the Eldfell (Mt. Fire), whose history is more recent and which offers a viewpoint. A road through the lava field passes the center of the volcano's crater, the ruins of a house buried in lava, and the main streets. Skansinn wooden church was donated to the people of Islands by Norway to commemorate the millennium of Christianity in Iceland.
This village at the head of the bay Berufiord developed around an important trading post in the past. In 1589 the German Hansa merchants were granted a trading license there by the Danish king. Later on the Danish introduced the trade monopoly and took over themselves. The oldest houses (1788-1818) date back to the Danish period. One of them, Langabud (1790), has been renovated and transformed into a nice restaurant and museums. Fishing, fish processing and commerce are the main trades. The scenic beauty of the surroundings is renowned and visitors are treated well in every respect.
Seydisfjördur is long and narrow and flanked by high mountains. At its head lies the town of Seydifjordur, which has one of the best natural harbors in the country. The oldest part of the town is built in 19th century Norwegian-style architecture, making Seydisfjördur a unique Icelandic fishing towns. Seydisfjördur is close to the Faroe Islands and Europe. A Faeroese passenger and car ferry has operated scheduled weekly sailings between Seyðisfjörður and Scandinavia during the summer, and this has attracted considerable tourism to the area. The cultural life is very lively during summer. The Á Seyði Art festival is a yearly event. The Blue Church has concerts every Wednesday in summer. Art exhibitions are at the cultural center, and there is a Crafts Market. There is a swimming pool, a golf course, mini golf and the Rarik electricity museum. Also offered are guided sightseeing tours, cruises, sea angling tours, and trips to Lodmundarfjördur fjord. There are a variety of marked hiking trails in the area, and fishing licenses are available.
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Approximately one third of the 50,000 residents of the "Sheep Islands" live in Torshavn. The city has large fishing industries, a seat of a Lutheran bishop and boasts many museums and culture.
The name Stornoway comes from the Norse for "Steering Bay", an indication of the early origins of the town. As the best natural harbor in the Western Isles it was a focus for development, and Stornoway Castle was built as early as 1100 by the MacNicol family. Today's Stornoway is a busy, attractive town and the largest settlement in the Western Isles. The shape of the town is defined by the harbour, which partially surrounds it. Visit an interesting range of shops pleasantly different from the usual outlets colonising most UK High Streets. Visitors to Stornoway should be aware that Sunday observance is strong here. Most transport links to Lewis and Harris, and within them, do not operate on a Sunday. Most shops, petrol stations, cafes, pubs, visitor attractions are closed on Sundays, as are at least some public toilets.
Tucked into a bay at the top of the Argyll Peninsula on the central west coast of Scotland, Oban is a ferry port for the islands and a center for Gaelic history and culture. McCaig's Tower, a replica of the Colosseum of Rome, was built in 1900 by a local banker. Argyll, home of the Clan Campbell, was once the ancient Scottish Kingdom of Dalriada. In mist-shrouded Kilmartin Glen, one of the most beautiful in Scotland, are the ruins of Dunadd Castle, where a weathered rock inscribed with a boar head marks where Scottish kings were crowned until the 11th century. Nearby, stone circles attest to a civilization dating back 5,000 years. Loch Fyne is where the present head of the Campbells, the Duke of Argyll, makes his home at Inverary Castle. The 19th century castle was admired by Sir Walter Scott as a fine example of the Scottish baronial style.
Greenock - a town slightly west of Glasgow - has a waterfront surrounded by hills and is composed of a bustling industrial area and a residential area with a 19th-century flavor. Glasgow's top attraction, the Burrell Collection, was amassed by wealthy industrialist Sir William Burrell before it was donated to the city and is now housed in a prize-winning museum in Pollok Country Park. This collection includes everything from Chinese porcelain and medieval furniture to paintings by Renoir and Cézanne. Visit the granite cross above town, a proud memorial to French sailors who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic and lost their lives. Enjoy a short ferry ride to the Scottish Highlands. Explore the statue, scientific library, museum, and the Watt School of Engineering, Navigation, Radio, and Radar that commemorate James Watt (discoverer of steam power) who was born in Greenock. Travel to Glasgow and visit George Square, Glasgow's oldest public square. Shortbread is a traditional recipe of Scotland and should not be missed.
Belfast is popular with travelers who come to discover the city’s physical beauty and renewed tranquility. Enjoy performances at the Grand Opera House, shopping along trendy Donegall Place and visiting numerous pubs along The Golden Mile. St. Anne’s Cathedral, also known as Belfast Cathedral, is the principal church of the Anglican Church of Ireland and contains stones from every county in Ireland. Located next to Europa Hotel, the Grand Opera House boasts an impressive mix of large productions of opera, ballet, musicals and drama. Known as the Big Ben of Belfast, the Albert Memorial Clock Tower was built in 1869 to commemorate the Prince Consort. Built in 1849 as one of Queen Victoria’s colleges, Queens University is one of the foremost universities in the British Isles. The classical-style building of Stormont, erected in 1928-32 to house the Parliament of Northern Ireland, stands 3.5 miles outside the city. The Prince of Wales Avenue is exactly one mile long and is bordered by rose beds containing 600 of the famous Korona roses noted for their scarlet blooms.
Dublin enjoys one of the loveliest natural settings in Europe. Dublin attracts visitors from around the world with its old world charm and friendly atmosphere. Most of the architecture dates from the 18th century, when Dublin enjoyed great prominence and prosperity. Also of interest are stately Georgian houses which front Merrion Square. O'Connell Street is considered the commercial center of Dublin. Perhaps the most memorable feature of Dublin is the traditional pub, where visitors can enjoy conversation over fine Irish brew. The city also offers many fine parks, including St. Stephen's Green and Phoenix Park. National Gallery's renowned collection includes works by such famous masters as Rembrandt and Monet. Trinity College's Old Library is home to the most cherished treasure, the Book of Kells, a manuscript of the Gospels. Admire Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick's Cathedral. Enjoy the exhibits in impressive National Museum. Self-guided walking tours include Old City Trail, Georgian Heritage Trail and the Cultural Trail.
Liverpool – just saying the name automatically brings the world’s most famous group to mind – The Beatles. Liverpool however has more to offer visitors though than just Beatles memorabilia. Located on the Irish Sea on the mouth of the Mersey River, Liverpool is one of England’s most important seaports, second only to London. A bustling port for the exchanging of goods, it is also a passenger port for those traveling to Ireland. Several churches in the city are notable; among them is the Anglican Cathedral, built in 1904 which is one of the largest ecclesiastical structures in the world. There are several museums in the city as well, the Walker Art Gallery and the Merseyside County Museum.
Fishguard is a fishing village in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Fishguard is located in the back of Fishguard Bay where the River Gwaun meets the sea, and this coastal town enjoys a mild climate due to its protected position. Wildlife abounds including dolphins, porpoises, seals and other sea life.
Falmouth is a resort and port in south-western England. The harbor is popular with pleasure craft and Falmouth has several boat-building yards and a major ship repair yard. The Pendennis and St Mawes castles face each other across the Roads. They were built by Henry VIII in the 16th century to guard the entrance to the Roads; the protection they offered played an important part in Falmouth's development as a port. Falmouth was one of the most important ports in Great Britain after 1698, when packet ships, fast, heavily armed sloops, sped across the oceans from Falmouth carrying post, royal messages, and bullion to all parts of the world. The packet service brought great prosperity to Falmouth, and the town's fortunes declined when it was transferred to Southampton. However, after the construction of the railway in 1863, Falmouth gained a new lease of life as a resort town.
London is known worldwide as an entertainment capital, a center for the arts, a center of rich and varied heritage, a 'green' city, and waterfront attraction center. The city is alive with theaters, clubs, pubs, casinos and entertainment venues, making it a day or night out to remember. Southampton is the main regional centre for the arts, offering quality, variety and choice. Southampton has a rich and varied heritage, five excellent museums covering all aspects of the city's past and the remains of the medieval town walls. Southampton's rich heritage of parks and open spaces make it probably 'the Greenest City in the UK'. Whether it's shopping, eating out or taking in great events, there's always something to see and do on the attractive waterfront.
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