There are very few shows that take your breath away as many times as Game of Thrones does. It pulls you in with its gripping pilot and doesn’t let go, even after the end of the third season, leaving fans like myself desperate for more of the epic fantasy series from HBO. For those unaware, Game of Thrones takes place in the mythical land of Westeros, where seven noble kingdoms fight for political power and a spot on the Iron Throne. Much like our planet, the world imagined by George R.R. Martin has a wide array of landscapes, a plethora of cultures, and unique architecture that will make any viewer’s jaw drop. Although the show is geared towards fantasy fans, it definitely stimulates the urge to travel in all of us.
One of the most gorgeous sights in the Game of Thrones universe is the sprawling capital city of King’s Landing, which blends the royal traditions of Medieval Europe with the beauty of a seaside Mediterranean city. While some movies prefer to create these fantastical lands in post production, the Thrones crew shot most of King’s Landing in Dubrovnik, Croatia (See picture leading this post). As an avid fan, I found it hard to believe that much of the architecture King’s Landing is known for actually exists. Croatia had never been on my radar of places I plan on visiting in the near future, but thanks to the vistas in Game of Thrones, it is definitely an addition to my list.
One of the most powerful elements of Game of Thrones is how real it feels despite its magical and fantastical themes. It’s a story about love, politics, war, adventure, and greed set in some of the most beautiful locales I’ve seen on television. It inspires me in so many ways as a storyteller and as a traveler. I highly recommend checking the show out or catching some of the tours throughout Europe that explore the filming locations. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
The paupers have traveled through many cities in Europe, but Amsterdam remains a favorite. We have returned to the city several times and the last time, we decided to get a taste of Dutch life by biking through the country side.
We were staying at a lovely hotel along the water (Movenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Center) and discovered that we could rent bikes right in the basement through AmsterBike. As we were examining various bikes, we were told that an option we had was to go with a guide on a four-hour ride through the dutch countryside. It required no convincing and a few minutes later, we were following our guide along the waterfront to catch a ferry from where our tour would begin.
The simple act of getting on a bike in a city full of bikers already felt like we were blending in with the locals. The ferry was packed with many other bikers and as soon as we had crossed the river, we were already a world away, biking through small town Amsterdam, passing traditional homes along the water, passing acres of open dutch landscape, entering a small town with a tiny church and a windmill, and returning along modest towns watching kids and adults go about their daily routines.
While we had heard many a recommendation to commute within the city on bikes, cycling through the countryside was a more tranquil experience, one that did make me think a few times of my favorite painter Vincent Van Gogh and how he must have looked at similar countrysides in smaller places when he started painting.
If your travels find you in Amsterdam, please do take the time to rent a bike and experience the city the Dutch way. Whether you take in the city or veer to the countryside, you will cherish the experience all the way.