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called it Notre Dame – but it was destroyed several times before being rebuilt in its present form in 1869. Independence Square was created in the late 18th century: it was where council meetings – and slave auctions – were held. It was named in 1983 to mark the creation of the independent Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis

Belfast, Northern Ireland In recent years Belfast has moved away from the troubles of the past and become a modern, vibrant and stylish city. On and around Great Victoria Street there are some excellent restaurants and a wide choice of pubs, while close to Queen’s University are the fascinating Botanical Gardens, which have been established for more than 180 years. The unique Palm House was one of the world’s first cast-iron glass- houses and it houses a wide range of tropical plants, ranging from bananas to rubber. Alongside the Gardens is the Ulster Museum, housed in a beautiful Renaissance-style building, which tells Ireland’s 9,000-year history through art, ceramics, costume, and archaeology, including prehistoric artefacts from local sites. On the northern edge of the city is the impressive hulk of Belfast Castle, standing 120m above the sea. Built in the mid- Victorian era, it offers wonderful views over the city and out towards the Irish Sea.

Belize City, Belize Surrounded on three sides by water, Belize City is a tightly-packed jumble of narrow streets and canals. The area was originally settled by the Mayan people and in the 1600s it was a famous pirate base, before the British arrived and built up Belize City as a centre for the logging industry. Timber was floated downstream to the city where it was sawn and loaded on to ships. Old Belize is a living museum which recreates the

history of the country, with exhibits ranging from a Mayan cave to a logging camp. There’s a beach as well, with a café and a restaurant. The Museum of Belize is in the former prison and has a fine collection of archeological finds, as well as historical documents, photographs, currency and postage stamps. There’s even a former prison cell.

Bergen, Norway Bergen was one of the great Hanseatic ports, and this maritime heritage is recalled by the 900-year-old Bryggen Wharf, with its splendid museum. The Bryggen is a delight to explore: its narrow streets climb away from the waterfront, lined by interesting shops, colourful half-timbered houses and cobbled stairways, with alleyways and tiny open spaces that beg to be explored. In summer months every spare corner seems to be filled with pots and containers overflowing with colourful flowers that fill the air with perfume. Bergen is framed by seven magnificent hills, the highest of which can be reached by a funicular railway. From the top there are spectacular views down to the harbourside, where cafés, bars and restaurants welcome visitors from around the world. Bergen was the home of Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Grieg, and the Troldhaugen is a museum devoted to his life and work, including an exhibition centre, shop and café.

Bitung, Sulawesi, Indonesia A tourist gateway to eastern Indonesia, Bitung has a 3,000-hectare nature reserve on its northern outskirts, spreading over on to Lembeh Island. The Tangkoko Batuangus reserve is home to an astonishing variety of plants, trees and local wildlife. Spread out over a lush landscape of green hills and fertile valleys, the reserve has families of Spectral Tarsier – one of the smallest primates – as well as black apes, birds, snakes, wild pigs and marsupials such as cuscus. Local transport is available from the port area to the reserve.

Boca do Valeria, Amazon, Brazil Boca da Valeria is one of thousands of tiny settlements in the Amazon basin: fewer than a hundred people live here in wooden stilt-houses, with a dirt path in front and the river behind. The community makes its living from the river and each house has a boat slung at the back. There’s a single- room school, a small church and a communal manioc farm, all of which can be visited. On the waterfront, thatched-roof stalls sell hand-made crafts made by local people and those from neighbouring villages.

Bodø, Norway Just inside the Arctic Circle, Bodø is blessed with beautiful natural scenery, including the Børvasstindene mountains across the fjord to the south, and the Lofoten and Landegode islands to the north. The Lofotens are home to sea eagles, and there are more of these huge birds in Bodø than in any other part of the world: every day, you can see them soaring high over the town and, as the mood takes them, perched on buildings. The town was badly damaged in the Second

World War, but was rebuilt afterwards: the last building to be completed was the town hall, opened in 1959. The nearby Cathedral is a fine modern building with wonderful stained-glass windows and a separate belfry, while for a contrast, see Bodin church, a typical medieval building dating from the 13th century. Well worth a visit is the Norwegian Aviation Museum, with an extensive collection of aircraft used by the Royal Norwegian Air Force, as well as British and German warplanes that have been recovered locally and restored.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia An authentic tropical paradise, Bora Bora has beautiful sandy beaches fringed by gently swaying palms. A clear blue lagoon surrounds the island, enclosed by a reef of coral motus – islets – while the extinct volcanoes of Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia tower over the whole island. It’s easy to see why this is the destination of choice for honeymoon couples from all over the world. The marine life in the lagoon, including turtles,

sharks, rays and tropical fish, adds an extra dimension to snorkelling or scuba-diving.

Bremerhaven, Germany Established as the port for the city of Bremen, 60km away on the River Weser, Bremerhaven was once Germany’s biggest port, and much of its history is based around its maritime past. The National German Maritime Museum is in the middle of the old harbour, with a unique collection of more than 500 model ships, including magnificent sailing ships, whalers and the oldest wooden merchant ship in the world. On the opposite side of the harbour is the submarine Wilhelm Bauer, dating from 1943. More than seven million people emigrated from

Germany for the New World, leaving on ships from the port of Bremerhaven. The German Emigration Centre in the town is a cutting-edge museum that celebrates this mass movement through video and audio installations.

Brest, France There’s been a port here since medieval times and it is still an important naval base. Sadly very few buildings remain from before the Second World War, apart from the 15th-century Château de Brest, and the Tour Tanguy, a medieval tower that probably dates from the 14th-century Breton War of Succession. The Château has the Musée de la Marine de Brest, celebrating Brest’s maritime tradition, while the Tour Tanguy has the Museum of Old Brest. One of the best-known sights is the Pont de Recouvrance, a huge vertical-lift bridge, which elevates the 88m roadway on 70m-pylons to allow ships to pass up the River Penfeld. The newest

attraction is the unique Océanopolis marine centre, which has three aquariums replicating polar, tropical and temperate oceans. There are over a thousand different types of fish, as well as 120 species of marine mammal, from dolphins to walrus.

Bridgetown, Barbados The capital of Barbados, Bridgetown was originally known as Indian Bridge after the bridge built over the river – the Careenage – by indigenous Indians. Chamberlain Bridge was built in 1872, after which the name of the town was changed. This was a swing bridge, changed to a lift bridge in 2006. The main thoroughfare is Broad Street, lined with banks and some duty free shops. Rather more interesting are Swan Street and Tudor Street which have smaller shops, as well as some interesting pavement stalls. At the top of Broad Street are the old Parliament Buildings: the Barbados Parliament goes back to 1639 and is one of the oldest in the British Commonwealth. The west wing of the building houses the National Heroes Gallery and Museum of Parliament. Opposite is what used to be Trafalgar Square (now National Heroes Square) with its statue of Lord Nelson – erected before the one in London.

Brisbane, Australia Green and leafy Brisbane is a nature-lover’s paradise. Roma Street Parkland, right in the heart of the city, is the world’s biggest subtropical garden, with wonderful collections of Australian plants and shrubs and glorious peaceful walks. At the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, visitors can cuddle a koala or hand-feed a kangaroo, while enjoying an enormous variety of wildlife, from lizards to the Tasmanian Devil. The Sanctuary is on the Brisbane River – alongside the river there are lovely parks and riverside walks. There are also interesting cafés, seafood restaurants and trendy shops selling antiques, crafts and textiles. When the stunning St. John’s Anglican Cathedral was finished a couple of years ago, it became the last neo-Gothic cathedral to be completed anywhere in the world. It took over a hundred years, as stonemasons used traditional building techniques to finish the work. Brisbane City Hall was once the tallest building in town and still offers excellent views from the top of the 90m-high clock tower.

Buenos Aires, Argentina Stretched out along the Rio de la Plata, Buenos Aires is the first sight of Argentina for many people – and what a sight it is. Enticing and exciting, the city has a complex cultural heritage drawn from half a dozen European countries, with architecture and an urban landscape to match. There is no main focal point, although for local people the heart of the country itself is the Pirámide de Mayo in the Plaza de Mayo. Built to celebrate the revolution of 1810 which gave Argentina independence, the original pyramid is hidden inside the current brick structure. Leading away from the Plaza is the Avenida de

Mayo, a magnificent 19th century boulevard lined with wonderful buildings, many of which are now shops, galleries and museums. Along the avenue and in many of its side-streets are coffee houses, jazz clubs, tango bars and restaurants to suit every taste.

Cadiz, Spain

Standing on a peninsula, Cadiz is almost entirely surrounded by water, with a history dominated by the sea: as a Phoenician trading post, a Roman port and the launchpad for Spain’s exploration of the New World in the 15th and 16th centuries. The old town is Moorish in style, with cobbled streets and small squares lined with whitewashed houses. Over all looms the golden-tiled dome of the Cathedral Nueva. Built with riches from South America, the Cathedral has breathtaking treasures, some in a museum inside the building, including the Custodia del Millón, a Eucharist set supposedly made with a million precious stones.


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