Articles Tagged with: Unesco World Heritage Site


Seniors Visit Historic Nara, Japan


Senior travelers, one of the top tourist attractions in Japan is Nara, in south-central Honshu with a population of 360,000. Do you have your coffee? Let’s go to Japan.

The city has significant temples and artwork dating to the 8th century, when it was Japan’s capital. A huge bronze Buddha is displayed in a large wooden hall in Tōdai-ji temple, located in Nara Park, which is designated one of the “Places of Scenic Beauty” by the Japanese Government.


With its cantilevered buildings, manicured lawns and deer strolling the grounds, it is said that Todai-ji Temple is  one of Japan’s must-see attractions. On the Park’s east side is the Shinto shrine Kasuga Taisha, which dates to 768 A.D. with more than 3,000 lanterns.

Seniors Love Cheery Blossom Time

Nara, once known as Heijo, was the first permanent capital of Japan, established in 710 and as such, home to the Japanese Imperial Family. The capital was moved to Nagaoka in 784 when the government was threatened by powerful Buddhist monasteries.


Seniors visitors can enjoy Yoshinoyama, known as the best cherry blossom viewing in Japan. Nara Park includes several sites that make up the UNESCO World Heritage Listing of “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.  Nara Park contains over 1,200 wild sika deer which were considered sacred, but today are considered a National Treasure.

With Eight Unesco World Heritage Sites, Nara is second only to Kyoto as a repository of Japan’s cultural legacy. The centerpiece is the Daibutsu, The Great Buddha, a giant statue 15 m/50 feet high, which is housed in the Great Buddha hall, one of the largest wooden buildings in the world.


Seniors Visit Oldest Existing Buddhist Temple

Nara is also compact: it’s quite possible to pack the highlights into one full enjoyable day. Horyu-ji Temple, which is said to have been built in the early 7th century, is known as the oldest existing Buddhist temple in Japan. The temple boasts of the world’s oldest wooden architecture, and there are many paintings and sculptures in its possession. The temple is inscribed as a World Cultural Heritage Site.


“Old Japan” is still easy to spot, from Great Buddha Hall to traditional ryokans and the serene Isuien Garden. Senior travelers enjoy taking walking tours of Nara, particularly in the historic Naramachi merchant area.

I learned that Nara is recognized as the birthplace of Japanese civilization. In retrospect, I regret that our group of 200 US educators did not put Nara on our agenda for a visit.

 Seniors, visit with your travel agent about a visit to Nara. You will not be disappointed. That’s after you visit Tokyo of course. One simply can not go to Japan without a visit to the capital.  We want to thank for photos. -jeb













Seniors Enjoy Edinburgh

images Senior traveling friends, let’s go to Scotland this morning and stop at Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. The 2014 official population estimates are 464,990. Senior visitors find  in Edinburgh, a city that’s not too large, one in which they can get around on foot.

“Edin”, the root of the city’s name, is most likely of Brittonic Celtic origin, from the Cumbric language or a variation of it that would have been spoken by the earliest known people of the area.

It appears to derive from the place name Eidyn mentioned in the Old Welsh epic poem Y Gododdin. The poem names Din Eidyn as a hill fort in the territory of the Gododdin.


Recognized as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century, Edinburgh is home to the Scottish Parliament and the seat of the monarchy in Scotland. The city is home to the National Museum of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery.

Seniors Visit Edinburg Castle

Situated at the top of the Royal Mile on top of Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle is the number one visitor attraction in Scotland and the most iconic building in the city.


The only 5 Star walking tour company in Scotland, Mercat Tours thrill and entertain senior visitors with tales of ghastly ghouls, hauntings and mysteries of Edinburgh of ancient days.

 TripAdvisor has paid a visit to Edinburgh and lists nearly 400 things for seniors to see and do. A couple of “Must See” sites include Edinburgh Old Town and Arthur’s Seat.

The city has long been a center of education, particularly in the fields of medicine, Scots law, literature, the sciences and engineering. The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582 is now one of four in the city.


The city is also famous for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, the world’s largest annual international arts festival.

Edinburg, A Highly Popular Destination

The city’s historical and cultural attractions have made it the United Kingdom’s second most popular tourist destination after London, attracting over one million visitors each year.

Major historic sites include Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, the churches of St. Giles, Greyfriars and the Canongate, and the extensive Georgian New Town, built in the 18th century. Edinburgh’s Old Town and New Town together are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


You will find Edinburgh to be a bustling and vibrant city, steeped in history and host to a variety of colorful festivals throughout the year. There is no shortage of things to do in Edinburgh and senior visitors will find hidden gems around every corner.

Plan an afternoon tea and plan to settle down with a brew at one of Edinburgh’s great cafes and coffee shops. Perhaps I will run into you as my family and I are making plans as I speak. Enjoy Edinburgh. -jeb


Filed under : Editors Choice


Seniors Visit Bamberg, Germany

logo-enPour yourself a cup of coffee, friends, we’re going to Bamberg, a town in northern Bavaria, Germany, that is laid out over seven hills where the Regnitz and Main rivers meet. Seniors find that Bamberg’s Old Town preserves structures from the 11th to 19th centuries including the muraled Altes Rathaus, which occupies an island in the Regnitz reached by ancient arched bridges.

The Romanesque Bamberg Cathedral, begun in the 11th century, features 4 towers and numerous stone carvings. The population runs right at 70,000. Endowed with one of Europe’s largest intact Old Town centers, Bamberg has the magic of the past hanging in the air, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.


From the 10th century onwards, this town became an important link with the Slav peoples, especially those of Poland and Pomerania. During its period of greatest prosperity, from the 12th century onwards, the architecture of Bamberg strongly influenced northern Germany and Hungary. In the late 18th century it was the center of the Enlightenment in southern Germany, with eminent philosophers and writers such as Hegel and Hoffmann living there.

Seniors Enjoy The Arts And The Beer


TripAdvisor selects Bamberg Altstadt and the town hall, Altes Rathaus, for seniors to visit. The cultural program in Bamberg is shaped by the world-famous Bamberg Symphony Orchestra as well as its theaters, music  festivals, and an impressive music scene in jazz and blues bars. The international magician and street performers’ festival in July or the Sandkirchweih Fair in August transform the entire old town into one fun  scene.

Bamberg without beer is like Christmas without Santa – unthinkable! The nine breweries within the town boundaries, cooking up Bamberg’s famous smoked beer and 60 more in the surrounding area illustrate all that can be done with hops and malt.


It is suggested that senior visitors purchase a BAMBERGcard and explore Bamberg at an unbeatable price. I discovered TimeTravelTurtle and their wonderful overview of the city with great photos.

I can not wait to explore Bamberg for myself. Narrow alleys, cozy corners, medieval and baroque building fronts, plus a distinct romantic flair: Bamberg is said to be a unique work of art.

 Seniors Enjoy Bamberg’s History

Bamberg, Dom

Today, Bamberg is a lively arts and cultural center with a thousand year old history. Must-see places include the Imperial Cathedral, a breathtakingly romantic Rose Garden, the medieval Old Court, and the Old Town Hall, that sits right in the middle of the River Regnitz.

Being a “flower man” myself, I would put the Rose Garden with more than 4.500 roses on my “must see list.” It features historic statues and a memorable scenic view across the roofs of Bamberg. Lonely Planet notes that Bamberg is generally regarded as one of Germany’s most attractive settlements, bisected by rivers and canals.

Senior travelers, the town can be tackled as a day trip from Nuremberg, but, to really do it justice and to experience the romantically lit streets once most visitors have left, consider an overnight stay. -jeb




Seniors Visit El Escorial

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA For some reason, this senior put El Escorial on the desktop screen of my computer. So one day I took a closer look at the site and was I ever impressed with what I saw.

It was something very special. Do you have your coffee?  We’re going to Spain this morning.

I discovered that the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, commonly known as El Escorial, is a historical residence of the King of Spain, in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, some 35 miles northwest of the capital, Madrid. The Escorial is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Spain’s most visited landmarks.

El Escorial

The building is the most important architectural monument of the Spanish Renaissance.

Construction of El Escorial began in 1563 and ended in 1584. The Escurial Monastery stands in an exceptionally beautiful site in Castile.

Seniors Find a Monastery, A Church And A Royal Palace


Its austere architecture, a break with previous styles, had a considerable influence on Spanish architecture for more than half a century.

It was the retreat of a mystic king and became, in the last years of Philip II’s reign, the centre of the greatest political power of the time.


Within the monastery’s massive volume, there is an ensemble of different buildings: the monastery, the church, the royal palace, the school, the seminary, and the royal library, brilliantly organized around eleven main courtyards and three service courtyards.

It is said that the design is similar to that of the grill, the instrument used for St Lawrence’s martyrdom.

Its accessibility and connection to Madrid have turned it into a tourist destination for the Madrid residents as well as senior visitors that feel attracted by the patrimonial, cultural and natural attractions of the city.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

16482 notes that El Escorial is “Simplicity in the construction, severity in the whole, nobility without arrogance, majesty without ostentation.” That statement says it all to me from what I have observed writing this blog.

In the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama, it was built as a monument to commemorate the Spanish victory over the French in the battle of Saint Quentin on 10 August 1557 (feast day of St. Lawrence).


El Escorial Monastery was the largest building in the world (about 675 by 528 feet/206 by 161 meters), for a period of time, a great rectangle of three parts, the center being occupied by the church.

So on your visit to Spain and Madrid in particular, senior travelers, plan to spend some times at El Escorial.  Bring along some extra memory chips for your camera, it is that kind of structure.  Enjoy. -jeb


Seniors Head To Gunma To Soak In An Onsen

en-bnr-about_gunmaThis time we seniors skip over Tokyo and head northwest 100 kilometers to a region called Gunma. It is a mountainous, landlocked prefecture on Japan’s Honshu Island. Gunma is known for its hot springs and outdoor sports and is the home of the Subaru auto manufacturing plant.

The small town of Kusatsu Onsen has more than 100 hot springs (onsen), most famously Yubatake, a large pool fed by acidic water gushing down a wooden chute. Set 1,200 meters above sea level, Kusatsu Onsen is popular for skiing and hiking. Seniors, bring along a good pair of hiking boots.


The prefecture is located at the center of the Japanese islands. The shape of the prefecture resembles a crane flapping its widely spread wings so much, that it is referred to as “Gunma Prefecture in the shape of a soaring crane.”

 Seniors Find Best Hot Springs In Japan

The hot springs are said to be the best in all of Japan. It boasts nine consecutive years as the number one spot in the Top 100 Onsen of Japan. The Kusatsu Onsen is particularly famous. Enjoy forests? Mountain forests occupy two thirds of the prefecture’s area and from the north to the west is a range of mountains and hills.


Gunma holds the source of Tone River, which has the greatest basin area of any river in Japan. I located a Guide all in English just for our readers. For senior gourmet folks, Gunma is famous for its winter wheat products. Udon noodles from Mizusawa are considered among Japan’s best.

Search out the famous Wahei Soba-Dokoro that is tucked away on a narrow street in Kusatsu Onsen Town. It looks like a typical Soba shop, except for one thing – senior visitors can watch a chef kneading, rolling and cutting dough to make soba noodles in a windowed cubicle next to the entrance. They say the tempura is worth the stop in itself.

 Seniors Visit Japan’s Castles


TripAdvisor suggests the Haruna Shrine along with the Fukiwarenotaki Falls. Take in a couple of Japanese castles.

Iwabitsu Castle was a hilltop style Japanese Castle on Mt Iwabitsu in Higashigatsuma Gunma Prefecture. Iwabitsu Castle was contructed by the Azuma Taro Sukefusa back in 15th century.

Then head over to Minowa Castle that is a flatland style Japanese Castle in Takasaki Gunma Prefecture. Minowa Castle was constructed in 1526 by Nagano Narimasa and covers an extensive 47 hectares. Yes, they use hectares, not acres; they drive on the other side of the road and you may find snow during the winter season.


Abundant gardens and parks, museums and art galleries attract many visitors as well as the Arafune Cold Storage that is a historic facility associated with the silk industry, sericulture, and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014.

It’s all here just awaiting your arrival, so plan a visit to Gunma.  -jeb


Seniors Stop In Historic Dierdorf

leben-11-foto-01Senior visitors will find that Dierdorf lies more or less right in the middle of Germany, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Known as the town of best geographical environment, it has traced its origins back to prehistoric times. The first land development in Dierdorf dates back to the year 1100. Dierdorf received municipal rights on 17 June 1357.

I came across Dierdorf (pop. 5,845) as the local paper that noted that “13 local band members spent time visiting a Sister City and then living with a host family.  There they were able to “live like a German.”


The group got a tour of a local dairy farm in Dierdorf, visited Koblenz, toured the Marksburg castle, and while sightseeing in Cologne, visited the Lindt museum and Cologne Cathedral. The group also went with a 9th grade class to an indoor rock climbing gym and spent time in the indoor swimming pool with their exchange partners.

The students did a variety of activities with their individual host families. The group spent time visiting local schools that provided them with a different perspective and comparison to schools in the US.

 Seniors Visit Another World Heritage Site


A highlight for senior visitors is to enjoy authentic German food at the Burghof Restaurant. Although most of the town was destroyed by Allied bombing during WWll, the huge historic church was spared.

Dierdorf is nestled in the Westerwald region of Germany and was the UNESCO 2000 World Heritage Site, located 120 miles northeast of Frankfurt. Ruins of ancient civilizations are being discovered among the monasteries, castles and abandoned clay pits and basalt quarries.

Dierdorf is known for its pottery works and extensive ceramics museum, lush woodlands, small lakes and great outdoor activities.

Seniors Enjoy Historical Dierdorf


Of the approximately 6,000 people who live in Dierdorf, many residents choose to work in other communities nearby or in Frankfurt. Some 12,000 people have settled in the five towns that surround Dierdorf – each unique in culture and customs of the Westerwald.

A number of locations can be visited including an old water tower where Jews were hidden after their temple was destroyed in the 1930s. Several years ago their new high school, Nelson Mandela, was dedicated by a South African delegation.

My German City notes that found within Dierdorf’s Castle Park is the Mausoleum of Prince Wied-Runkel. It’s a magnificent piece of 19th century architecture, and a final resting place to a family that ruled over the area for generations. It’s called Mausoleum and senior visitors can’t miss this white gravesite building from 1816.

Seniors, set your GPS in your German rental and head for Dierdorf. Plan to spend a day enjoying dining at Burghof, the plethora of historic buildings and getting to know the locals. Dierdorf will be memorable. -jeb


Filed under : Europe, Family Travel


Seniors Fall In Love With Warsaw


Dzien’ dobry.  I recently read in a Travel & Experience section of our local Sunday paper that Warsaw is considered to be vibrant and trendy and a great place for a visit. Senior friends, get your coffee and let’s go to Warsaw today see why it is gathering so much attention in the travel world.

I learned  that Warsaw is the sprawling capital of Poland with a population or nearly 2 million. It has been on the rise since Poland joined the EU in 2004. Senior visitors soon find out that the old is combined with the new throughout the city.

Its widely varied architecture, from Gothic churches and neoclassical palaces to Soviet-era blocks and modern skyscrapers, reflects the city’s long, turbulent history. As Poland’s cultural hub, Warsaw has a thriving nightlife and music scene, both classical and underground.


Seniors Enjoy Poland’s Capital City

Warsaw, with over 400 years of pride as a capital, is Poland’s largest city and an economic, political, and cultural center. The symbol of the city is the Mermaid, featured on the city seal. You will find mermaids all over the city.

Warsaw is a bustling metropolis and features an unforgettable history. A city where a fourth of the terrain is covered by parkland and a city of culture for all tastes and budgets. Most of Warsaw’s tourist attractions are on the left or western bank of the Vistula River.


Lonely Planet notes that once you’ve travelled around Poland, you realize this: Warsaw is different. Rather than being centered on an old market square, the capital is spread across a broad area with diverse architecture: restored Gothic, communist concrete, modern glass and steel.

This jumble is a sign of the city’s tumultuous past. Warsaw has suffered the worst history could throw at it, including virtual destruction at the end of World War II – and survived.

Senior Visitors Eat Their Way Through Town


This senior would head out first for The Warsaw Old Town, one of the most prominent tourist attractions and the oldest part of the capital city and also a World Heritage Site.

During the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, more than 85% of Warsaw’s historic center was destroyed by Nazi troops. After the war, a five-year reconstruction campaign by its citizens resulted in today’s meticulous restoration of the Old Town, with its churches, palaces and market-place.

For you senior gourmet folks, they say that you can “eat your way through town.” Take a look at the Top Ten Attractions in Warsaw by My Destination. Enjoy your time in Warsaw. You will come away with  many fond memories and maybe even pick up a few words in Polish. Do widzenia -jeb


Seniors Visit Querétaro

Acueducto_qro_atardecerAlthough I taught French for over 35 years, I truly love Spanish, Mexico and Mexicans. I have had the good fortune to travel to Europe over 30 times and to Mexico a dozen times. This senior enjoys exploring Mexico, its cities, its people, its history, its culture and its food.

I was reading the various news sources on my phone this morning and up came Querétaro.  That’s an area that I am not acquainted with. I’ve been close by, but never there. I learned lots by putting this blog together, enough that its on my own travel bucket list.


Querétaro is the fastest-growing city in Mexico, basing its economy to IT and data centers, logistics services, aircraft manufacturing and maintenance, call centers and manufacturing center for automotive and machinery industry, chemicals and food products.

 Seniors Find Large City In A Small State

Querétaro is a small state in north-central Mexico, however the city is huge with a population of nearly 2 million inhabitants. The historic center of its capital, Santiago de Querétaro, has fountain-filled squares and stone streets lined with bougainvillea.


Its wealth of Spanish colonial architecture includes churches such as the ochre San Francisco and the baroque Santa Rosa de Viterbo. One of the most distinct sites is called Los Arcos, an aqueduct with 74 pink stone arches.

Querétaro has an interesting ethnic and cultural heritage that has developed from the integration of pre-Hispanic and European customs.

UNESCO, that selects World Heritage Sites, notes that the old colonial town of Querétaro is unusual in having retained the geometric street plan of the Spanish conquerors side by side with the twisting alleys of the Indian quarters.

 Seniors Find The Safest City In Mexico

Santiago de Queretaro - Cathedral

I learned recently that Querétaro has repeatedly been recognized as the metro area with the best quality of life and as the safest city in Mexico, a significant fact for seniors planning their travel to Mexico.

It is also the most dynamic in all of Latin America and is experiencing an ongoing social and economic revitalization. The city’s full name is “Santiago de Queretaro“, and although it’s spelled out fully on the doors of every taxi in the city, none of the locals use the full name in polite conversation.

The region of Querétaro has a rapidly growing vineyards agriculture and it hosts the famous wine producer from Spain called Freixene. The wine production in Querétaro is now the second largest in Mexico after the Baja California region.

Enjoy this hub of culture and all the city has to offer. -jeb


Seniors Enjoy West Indies Island


Saint Kitts, also known more formally as Saint Christopher Island, is an island in the West Indies. On the west side of the island, senior visitors will see the Caribbean Sea, and on the eastern coast, the Atlantic Ocean.

Its a combination of natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters, and white sandy beaches that combine to make St. Kitts (pop. 45,000) one of the most seductive islands in the Caribbean.

Christopher Columbus first spotted St. Kitts in 1493 when it was populated with native tribes. The Europeans didn’t colonize until later when the British arrived in 1623. Its strategic location and valuable sugar trade led to an advanced and luxurious development that was among the best in the Colonial Caribbean.


Now just imagine an island that has set aside more than a quarter of its land as a National Park, with a rainforest that is actually expanding in size rather than shrinking. That’s St. Kitts.

The island is surrounded by new and untouched dive sites, marked by massive beds of coral, teeming with fish of every stripe and color.

Senior visitors are impressed with the abundant wildlife that includes vervet monkeys, mongoose and roaming cows, goats, and sheep that have black bellies.

Seniors Find Sugar, Tourism and White Sand Beaches

Frommer’s notes that “St. Kitts’s major crop is sugar, a tradition dating from the 17th century. But tourism may overwhelm it in the years to come, as its southeastern peninsula, site of the best white-sand beaches, has been set aside for massive resort development.”

Basseterre_from_sea_2As senior visitors will discover, most of the island’s other beaches are of black or gray volcanic sand. Fodor’s chimes in with… “Mountainous St. Kitts, the first English settlement in the Leeward Islands, offers a surprisingly diverse vacation experience.

Divers have yet to discover all its underwater attractions and history buffs will marvel at Brimstone Hill, known in the 18th century as the Gibraltar of the West Indies.

The many beaches offers pristine aqua waters, soft sand, coconut trees and an uninterrupted peace that keeps folks coming back t0 the two islands again and again. Me, I’d head for the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a World Heritage Site, and the largest fortress ever built in the Eastern Caribbean.

Senior Travelers Find A Vacation Paradise


So where is St. Kitts? The island is one of what are called the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. about 1,300 miles southeast of Miami. Saint Kitts and the next door island of Nevis (just 2 miles apart) make up one country. The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis… senior travelers will find both a vacation paradise.

Lonely Planet notes that the two islands “provide a near-perfect package.” Gotta be something special there as US News reports that Oprah Winfrey, Britney Spears, Sylvester Stallone and Regis Philbin  have found solace on the Kittitian-Nevisian sands.

Both of these intoxicating islands are on my travel bucket list. -jeb


Bamberg, a Bavarian Treasure


I recently came across a site listing the Top Ten places to visit in any country.  Bamberg was #8 for Germany.  I had never heard of Bamberg so it was time for this senior to go exploring.

Bamberg is a town in Bavaria 40 miles north of Nuremberg. It is said to be one of Germany’s most beautiful old towns and a “Bavarian Treasure.”

It is located in Upper Franconia on the river Regnitz close to its confluence with the river Main. Its historic city center is a listed UNESCO world heritage site and as such, jeb would head there first to inspect this part of the city.

With a population of just over 70 thousand including 13 thousand students, the city has much to offer senior visitors. The Regnitz flows right through the middle of town before it flows on into the Main River. Senior visitors will find Bamberg to be a rare German city, having escaped Allied bombing during World War II. Thus it is in fine shape.


Seniors View Seven Hills And Seven Churches

Bamberg extends over seven hills, each crowned by a beautiful church. This has led to Bamberg being called the “Franconian Rome,” although a running joke among Bamberg’s tour guides is to refer to Rome instead as the “Italian Bamberg”.

The Old Town of Bamberg is listed as a World Heritage Site, primarily because of its authentic medieval appearance. One of the main attractions is the Bamberg Cathedral constructed  in 1237. Another is Michaelsberg Abbey built in the 12th century and is on the summit of one of Bamberg’s “Seven Hills.”


The Altenburg castle is a former residence for bishops and is highly popular with senior tourists. The Little Venice area bordering the river displays classic examples of half-timber construction and German architecture.

Bamberg can claim many historic anecdotes but perhaps most unique is its status as the final resting place of a Pope. This fact is unique because apart from Pope Clement II, no other Pope is buried north of the Alps.

Bamberg A UNESCO Heritage site

The lush green countryside around Bamberg is a charming setting for the seven-hilled town, and in 1993, two decades after the town celebrated the 1,000th anniversary of its founding, Bamberg was included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.


The historical fabric of the old town in Bamberg remains generally intact, with over 1000 buildings listed as protected monuments. But there’s more to Bamberg than architecture: with modern shops, a buzzing nightlife, nine breweries producing over 50 different types of beer, and active and varied cultural program including a world-class symphony orchestra, the town is a perfect place for a short break.

 Senior travelers, plan to spend a few days in Bamberg as you are exploring Germany.  You will find a town full of amenities that will remain with your memory for a long long time. jeb

Filed under : Editors Choice, Europe

Find Your Destination

Travel DestinationsTypes of Vacation/Travel
  • Polls

    Where would you most like to travel in 2013?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...