Keukenhof: Legendary Garden of Tulip Country

Flower river. The Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, Holland, the Netherlands.

Flower river. The Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, Holland, the Netherlands.

If I ask you to name a country which you think is the motherland of tulips, most likely, you will say: the Netherlands. This European country has actively maintained this association for many hundreds of years already. However, the first tulips were bred not in the Netherlands, but in Central Asia (today, it is Turkey and neighboring countries). The first large consignment of tulips was delivered to Amsterdam, the capital of the Dutch Republic, in 1562, and this modest flower’s conquest of the world began.

At first, the price of tulip bulbs was so high that merchants weighed them on precise apothecary scales and sold them by the piece. Collectors were ready to pay a huge sum for rare sorts. It’s known that one gentleman gave 4,600 guilders and a carriage with two horses for one bulb of Semper Augustus. In those times, you could buy a house for such money. Thank God, today, we buy tulip bulbs for our country house’s garden much more cheaply, although the label on their pack still reads: Made in the Netherlands.

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Why We Adore Castle Ruins: Hohenfreyberg and Eisenberg, Germany

Castle ruins of Eisenberg, Germany.

Ruins of the castle of Eisenberg, Germany.

It seems that some of us prefer ruins to whatever these ruins were before the deterioration: castle, estate, or palace. Why? Is not it better to admire the decorated ceilings of the Vatican; the interiors of Versailles, France; or the marble floors of St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Malta? Undoubtedly. But just imagine what our descendants will see in these places, if they find them in ruins (heaven forbid) as we found ruins of temples in Angkor, Cambodia, Cathar castles on the rocks of Languedoc, France, or the heroes of today’s story, the castle ruins of Hohenfreyberg and Eisenberg in Bavaria, Germany.

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La Scarzuola, Umbria: New Life of St. Francis Monastery

By Irina.

The ideal city of La Scarzuola, Umbria, Italy.

The ideal city of La Scarzuola, Umbria, Italy.

We stumbled upon the information on the St. Francis Monastery, La Scarzuola, Umbria, Italy, accidentally. Its pictures in the Internet looked like a hello from a wonderful private estate, Quinta da Rigaleira, Sintra, Portugal, that we visited a couple of years ago. Then we found the website of La Scarzuola with minimal historic information, but with an Italian telephone number and email. So, it was possible to agree on the date and time of our visit. Why?

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