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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Are You 50+ and an Actor at Heart? Visit the Venetian Carnival!

The Venetian Carnival dress of Irina. Venice, Italy.

Irina’s Venetian Carnival dress. Venice, Italy.

A carnival and Venice. Two words—two miracles. While any carnival is a wonderful event, the city of Venice is a wonder on its own. Yes, this lady is demanding to your wallet. But you are 50+, you worked hard for most of your life, and your financial advisor will not commit suicide if you spend 3-4 thousand Euro to realize your lifelong dream: to play a role in a show where you are the director, costume designer, sponsor, and superstar. The venue of the show is Italy, the theater is Venice, the stage is the city streets.

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