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matt_b's activity

  1. June 2009
  2. matt_b rated The Grand Museum (Giza)

  3. matt_b rated The Sphinx

  4. matt_b rated Abu Simbel

  5. May 2009
  6. matt_b rated Yogamagic Ecotents

  7. matt_b rated Whitepod eco-camp

  8. matt_b rated Thaba-Metsi Adventure Farm

  9. matt_b rated Patagonia Camp

  10. matt_b rated La Brouquere

  11. matt_b rated Airstream and Retro Trailer Park

  12. matt_b rated Le Brévedent

  13. matt_b rated Tipis Indiens, Gedre

  14. matt_b rated Les Tilleuls Campsite

  15. matt_b rated Camping Les Ormes

  16. matt_b rated Camping Domaine le Poteau

  17. December 2007
  18. matt_b reviewed Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland

    "Clan chieftain Cormac MacCarthy built the Blarney Castle over 600 years ago, adding the famous stone after supporting the Scots at Bannockburn in 1314. A grateful Robert the Bruce presented MacCarthy with the magical stone, which was added to the castle …"

  19. matt_b reviewed Dover Castle in South East England, United Kingdom

    "Dover Castle is a real icon of England, with a history stretching back to Norman times and on up through to Henry VIII's turbulent private and public life. Visitors can enjoy various multi-media and interactive trickery, with a tour of the network of sec…"

  20. matt_b reviewed Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

    "Blarney may be the big tourist pull, but Carrickfergus is surely Ireland's most impressive castle - a real hulking presence on the ragged Ulster coastline, defying sieges by the Scots, Irish, English and French and remaining a working castle right up unt…"

  21. November 2007
  22. matt_b reviewed Himeji Castle in Himeji, Japan

    "Himeji Castle, or the White Heron Castle as it's known, thanks to a nattily minimalist colour scheme, dates back to 1346, built by one Akamatsu Sadanori to defend himself from marauding shoguns. In 1577 it became a castle proper, thanks to the addition o…"

  23. August 2007
  24. matt_b reviewed Caerlaverock in North West England, United Kingdom

    "Caerlaverock Castle was built in 1280, coming under the ownership of the English in 1312, before the then owner switched sides to the Scots. Robert the Bruce then ordered the castle to be dismantled to keep it out of the hands of the English. Partly rebu…"

  25. matt_b reviewed Stirling Castle in Scotland, United Kingdom

    "Stirling Castle sits high on top of an extinct volcano, rich in history (the eighth Earl of Douglas met a particularly sticky end here in 1452) and with a restored Great Hall ' all carved oak beams, lead windows ' and three-storey Royal Palace, it's wond…"

  26. matt_b reviewed Craigmillar Castle in Edinburgh, United Kingdom

    "Craigmillar Castle, just outside Edinburgh city centre, was constructed in the 1400s, was given a bit of a facelift by the English in the 1500s (before becoming the brief home of Mary Queen of Scots) and is now a well-preserved oasis, with shaded courtya…"

  27. June 2007
  28. matt_b reviewed Tower of London in London, United Kingdom

    "The Tower of London, one of the city's great icons, has been an imposing fortress keeping both invaders and rowdy natives at bay since the early 1080s, when William the Conqueror ordered the construction of large fortifications on the Thames. The Jewel H…"

  29. matt_b reviewed Caernarfon Castle in Wales, United Kingdom

    "Caernarfon was Edward I's attempt to recreate the imposing scale both of the walls of Constantinople and imperial Rome. Overlooking the River Seiont and the walled town of the same name, it's probably best known these days as the venue for the investitur…"

  30. matt_b reviewed Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, United Kingdom

    "Edinburgh Castle dominates the city's skyline, sitting proudly at the end of the Royal Mile. A major tourist attraction (the castle houses the Scottish crown jewels), if you want a more solitary experience, take a wander up there at night to look out ove…"

  31. matt_b reviewed Windsor Castle in London, United Kingdom

    "An official residence of the Queen, Windsor Castle is the world's largest occupied castle. The royals have called this place home for over 900 years now, and visitors can catch a glimpse of the State Apartments, with paintings by Holbein, Rubens and Van …"

  32. matt_b reviewed Caerphilly Castle in Cardiff, United Kingdom

    "Caerphilly, the UK's second largest surviving castle (after Windsor), has been protecting lowland southern Wales since 1270. A huge (some 30 acres), sprawling, moody fortress, sat in rugged countryside and with a large moat, it remains an atmospheric, im…"

  33. May 2007
  34. matt_b reviewed GR20 Walking Trail in Corsica, France

    "All around me there are granite peaks shaped like crumpled druids hats and below me lie thickly forested valleys and velvet mountain meadows..."

  35. matt_b reviewed Castel Sant' Angelo in Rome, Italy

    Rome's Castel Sant'Angelo is one of the Eternal City's most enduring monuments; a maze of architectural echoes from the Italian capital's dotted past. Begun in AD 123, overlooking the Tiber, it became a Medieval fortress and Renaissance safe haven for Po…"

  36. matt_b reviewed La Granja de San Ildefonso in Segovia, Spain

    La Granja de San Ildefonso sits at the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama. King Felipe V's take on Versailles is suitably impressive, with cool gardens and French-Italian touches in the architecture. Still used for the odd Spanish royal shindig."

  37. matt_b reviewed Warwick Castle in Birmingham, United Kingdom

    Warwick Castle, on the River Avon, has roots dating back to 914 and Alfred the Great's ongoing problems with pesky Danes. Generations of the Beauchamp family built the castle as we know it today, before it came under the ownership of the Earl of Warwick.…"

  38. matt_b reviewed Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic

    Prague is Europe's largest Medieval castle, with a progression of invaders and regimes adding their own appendages, creating a rich complex of palaces, cathedrals and churches in the shadow of the main fortress' walls. It's political and democratic impor…"

  39. matt_b reviewed Heidelberg Castle in Mannheim, Germany

    Heidelberg Castle, built by Prince Elector Ruprecht III in the 14th century, sits high above the town, surrounded by gardens and woodland. In the 1700s stones from the castle were used to construct houses in the town, until Count Charles de Graimberg ste…"

  40. matt_b reviewed Rochester Castle in Southend-on-Sea, United Kingdom

    The castle at Rochester was constructed at the time of the Norman Conquest, built for King William Rufus in 1087, ideally placed for the odd raid on London. The impressive fortifications and keep are in classic Norman style, given an extra bit of bite du…"

  41. matt_b reviewed Brodick Castle in Scotland, United Kingdom

    Brodick on the Isle of Arran is a fine red sandstone castle deep in the woods surrounding Goatfell Mountain, off Scotland's west coast. Ruggedly romantic (it was originally a Viking fortress), your best bet is to get there on foot (though there is a bus …"

  42. matt_b reviewed The Reifenstein in Veneto-Dolomites, Italy

    The Reifenstein, in the Italian South Tyrol town of Vipiteno, is probably Europe's best-preserved Medieval castle. Signora (or Frau) Blanc is the current owner, who takes visitors on a guided tour of her palatial home, regaling all with tales of unfortun…"

  43. matt_b reviewed Alcazar in Segovia, Spain

    The Alcazar in Segovia is perched on top of a rock looking out over the rivers Eresma and Clamores. The earliest records of the castle go back to the 12th century, though the Romans may well have hit upon a similar idea to Alfonso VIII and used the high …"

  44. matt_b reviewed Muiderslot Castle in Amsterdam, Netherlands

    The Muiderslot Castle was originally built by one Count Floris V in 1280. When the Count was murdered by rebellious noblemen, the Bishop of Utrecht stormed the ramparts, gleefully reducing it to rubble. A new castle duly appeared on the same site in 1370…"

  45. matt_b reviewed Belmonte Castle in Castilla La Mancha, Spain

    Don Juan Pacheco built Belmonte Castle at the top of San Cristobal as a perfect pentagon, with a large tower protecting the main gate. Two arcades lead to an impressive array of luxurious, regal rooms."

  46. matt_b reviewed Hampton Court Palace in London, United Kingdom

    "Impressive Royal palace, formerly the private palace of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. Extensive grounds and gardens hosting annual flower show, a magnificent Fountain Court by Christopher Wren, a famous maze and some fascinating tudor kitchens make it a must s…"

  47. matt_b reviewed Tamworth Castle in Birmingham, United Kingdom

    Tamworth is a classic Norman castle, complete with huge ditch, shell-shaped keep and flanking tower. A number of well-preserved Tudor and Jacobean buildings are nestled within the keep, including a banqueting hall. The 13th-century gatehouse is rumoured …"

  48. matt_b reviewed Corfu Castle in Ionian Islands, Greece

    Corfu Town's imposing fortress was built by the Venetians, who basically upgraded an original Byzantine castle, including the Contra Fossa moat. A favourite site for doomed lovers' suicide attempts, who fling themselves off the huge battlements in the sh…"

  49. matt_b reviewed Sforzesco Castle in Milan, Italy

    Milan's Sforzesco Castle sits moody and magnificent in the centre of the Lombardian capital. Soldier of fortune Francesco Sforza began work on the battlements in the 14th century. After his death, a succession of patrons added aristocratic embellishments…"

  50. matt_b reviewed Olavinlinna Castle in Eastern Finland, Finland

    Olavinlinna is the world's most northern medieval stone castle, dating from 1475, a time when Finland was actually part of Sweden and the border with Russia hotly disputed. Originally boasting three towers, the Bell and Church towers still stand, but St …"

  51. matt_b reviewed Glamis Castle in Dundee, United Kingdom

    Glamis Castle sat in the valley of Strathmore is, apparently, the most haunted castle in Scotland (Macbeth's Duncan was supposedly murdered here). A big favourite with generations of royals, it retains a deliciously posh air; all spires, turrets and towe…"

  52. matt_b reviewed Fredensborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark

    The 18th-century baroque Fredensborg Palace sits just north of Copenhagen, overlooking Lake Esrum. The Danish royal family regularly use it for majestic shindigs (Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary were married here in 2004). Also home to the …"

  53. matt_b reviewed Alhambra in Granada, Spain

    "Granada's Alhambra is one of the great icons of European architecture, a sprawling complex of Moorish delights. There's been a castle here in one form or another since the ninth century (built by the Zyridians), but it's the Alcazaba fortress and watchto…"

  54. matt_b reviewed Leeds Castle in Leeds, United Kingdom

    Leeds Castle, confusingly near Maidstone rather than anywhere in West Yorkshire, was built in 857 and has been home to I, Henry V and Henry VIII. The Gloriette gatehouse, Tudor tower, country house and Culpeper garden are all full of atmosphere, while th…"

  55. matt_b reviewed Royal Palace of Madrid in Madrid, Spain

    The Royal Palace of Madrid remains the official residence of the King of Spain though not, strictly speaking, the royals' actual home. Used for ceremonies, the palace traces its lineage to the ninth century, though in its current guise, dates back to 173…"

  56. matt_b reviewed St Gerlach Castle in Aachen, Germany

    Maastricht's St Gerlach castle is part of the Chateau St Gerlach estate and nature reserve, owned by a luxury hotel group, sitting on the River Guel in Valkenburg and now home to Les Trois Corbeaux and Bistrot de Liege restaurants. The castle was somethi…"

  57. matt_b reviewed Kensington Palace in London, United Kingdom

    Royal residence built in the 17thC, site of many famous births and deaths, including the death of King William in 1702 and the birth of Queen Victoria in 1819. Buildings by Christopher Wren, William Kent, Sir John Vanbrugh and others, with magnificent ga…"

  58. matt_b reviewed Ashford Castle in West Coast Ireland, Ireland

    Ashford Castle, perched on the shores of the Lough Corrib lake in County Mayo, dates from the 13th century, with a French-influenced chateau added in the 1700s. Once the residence of the Guinness family, who developed and cultivated the surrounding woodl…"

  59. matt_b reviewed Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto, Japan

    The Katsura Imperial Villa (Katsura Rikyu). Sitting in Tokyo's western suburbs, and a one-time residence for the Japanese Imperial Family, this is a suitably regal retreat, with goldsmith's work decorating the lavish interiors, and a classically elegant …"

  60. matt_b reviewed Matsumoto Castle (Matsumotojo) in Matsumoto, Japan

    "Dating from the early 1500s and sat on a plain, rather than high up in the hills, the Matsumoto is Japan's best surviving example of the country's Sengoku ('warring states') period. With its wooden towers and low-ceilinged rooms full of armour and weapon…"

  61. matt_b reviewed Lincoln Castle in Lincoln, United Kingdom

    Lincoln was once England's third city ' back in Norman times ' and the town's castle, built in 1068, is a suitably impressive affair. A long-time court and jail, the ramparts were frequently used for public executions. Once home to William the Conqueror,…"