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Kemwel Travel Blog

Kemwel makes it easy to book the best discounted travel services and car rentals in Europe. Whether you need a rental car, a buy back auto lease, airfare, hotel reservations, or even a luxury auto rental, Kemwel can meet your needs. Check out our car rental guides for useful travel and driving information. Drive Europe!

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The Strange Roman History of Lake Nemi: Ships, Caligula & More

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When traveling in Rome, you may hear the whispers of the stories surrounding the short lived Emperor, Caligula, and the two enormous wooden ships that once belonged to him. These Caligula ships were dedicated and built to the moon Goddess Diana on Lake Nemi, Italy. In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt, the moon, and childbirth, and was associated with wild animals and woodland creatures.

 

The Rich Roman History of Lake Nemi, Italy

The largest of the Lake Nemi ships resembled one of the Emperor’s palaces and was adorned with marble mosaic floors of many colors, inlaid ivory on the walls, heating, plumbing, and steam baths. Everything was quite remarkable looking even for the royal standards of that time. Caligula himself is generally depicted by historians as a cruel power-hungry man who was noted for many excesses and strange desires. His floating palaces, the ships, were attached to shore by chains and bridges so that people could come and go as he pleased. At 250 feet long, there was plenty of room for decadent parties, large pets, and sporting activities.

 
Unfortunately, (or perhaps not) the emperor Caligula had a very brief reign.  He ruled from 37A.D. to 41A.D. for a period of three years and ten months. His downfall? An assassination by members of the Praetorian Guard, who were sickened by his depraved behavior and reckless spending. He was twenty-eight years old. Because of the scantlake-nemi-ships historical record, Caligula’s final resting place has become the subject of debate, but many think that his body was buried in the Mausoleum of Augustus, in Rome, and still lies there today.

 
Sometime after the death of the Emperor, the ships tragically sank to the bottom of Lake Nemi, Italy, taking all of their treasures with them. There is some speculation that perhaps they simply floated on the lake until they leaked and became too heavy with water to stay afloat. Other analysts have speculated that Caligula’s successor, Claudius, a more kind and practical ruler, may have had them sunk to help obliterate the memory of his predecessor.

 

 

Resurrecting the Caligula Ships

After hundreds of years with many excavations and restorations, the Caligula ships were brought out of the water and put on display in a large museum dedicated to the Lake Nemi ships, the Goddess Diana, and the treasures that were found in those floating palaces. During the Second World War though, the two ships were completely burnt to ashes after a nearby bomb set the museum on fire.

 
Today, the Lake Nemi Museum still exists in the same building after being restored and reopened in 1953. The spaces once taken up by the two mighty ships are now occupied by one-fifth scale models that were built in the naval dockyard near Naples, and various artifacts that had escaped destruction. The people of Rome and Lake Nemi, Italy have found other ways to preserve and restore what once was.

 

Modern Attractions for Your Own Visit to The Lake Nemi Ships

The Festival of Nemoralia (sometimes known as the Festival of Torches) was once celebrated by the ancient Romans either on August 15th or on the August Full Moon, in honor of the goddess Diana. Worshippers would form a twinkling procession of torches and candles around the dark waters of Lake Nemi (sometimes now called ‘Diana’s Mirror’ because of the extremely clear water). Today, the festival still takes place and people from all over the world come to see it every year. Rent a car in Rome this summer and you too can take part in the festivities and explore the beautiful regions surrounding the Italian capital.

 

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Lake Nemi today is still a beautiful place and a very popular summer tourist destination. Formed by the crater of an old volcano, there is plenty to see when vacationing here. After visiting the Caligula ships museum, see all that Rome has to offer by exploring the Pantheon, the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel (just to name a few). In Italy’s capital, you’ll be captivated for days by all the attractions there are to see and remember that Kemwel can provide you with the versatile transportation you need at affordable price with some of the best travel deals and promotions around. Peruse your options online or give one of our travel experts a call, toll-free at 1-877-820-0668 to get started planning your next vacation!


The Best Cultural Festivals in Europe This Summer

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There are few things better than a relaxing summer holiday in Europe. If you’re searching for adventure, sunshine, unique and fascinating cultural experiences, and plenty of fun, why not check out these great summer festivals in Europe? The exciting and diverse programs of events cater to every interest, from classical music and ballet to modern theater, film, and literature. In between your cultural endeavors, you can enjoy the best of what each destination has to offer in terms of food, history, and nightlife. Expand your mind this summer while enjoying some cultural immersion at these excellent cultural festivals in Europe!

 

Barcelona Summer Festival / Grec Festival

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1st July – 31st July, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain
Get into the vibrant spirit of summer on the Mediterranean with the lively Grec Festival in Barcelona. Complete with international and local contemporary dance, music, theater, and circus performances, the festival is set to showcase of some of the world’s best contemporary talent in the arts. A staggering array of theatrical disciplines, music genres, and art styles are represented, with high quality and inspiration as the common threads running through the program. Enjoy Shakespeare on stage, soul-stirring Latin jazz, modern dance, electronic music, modern theater, and many more performances in various venues around Barcelona this July. Barcelona is not only known for its vibrant cultural pulse; it is also a city of leisure and pleasure, so prepare to feast on tapas and sangria, dance all night in trendy nightclubs, and soak up the sun on the sprawling beaches.

 

Dubrovnik Summer Festival

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10th July – 25th August, 2015 in Dubrovnik, Croatia
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival is one of the more traditional and refined cultural festivals in Europe, with an impressive program of classical music (philharmonic and symphony orchestras, vocal ensembles, chamber music), theater, opera, film screenings, presentations by writers, and art exhibitions. The venues are varied and often surprising, ranging from fortresses and churches to squares and main streets. Dubrovnik is a stunning walled medieval city on the Dalmatian coast, and it serves as the perfect setting for this old-world cultural festival.

 

Galway International Arts Festival

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13th July – 26th July, 2015 in Galway, Ireland
Known as the most imaginative arts festival in Ireland, the Galway International Arts Festival is a celebration of the city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere and its budding creative talent. In July the seaside city of Galway comes to life with impromptu street musical performances, world-class theater and dance, and other new and surprising art forms and installations. The Galway International Arts Festival is dedicated to showcasing new performances and ideas every year, making it an exciting event to attend. The line-up for this year includes performances by Sinead O’Connor and Kodaline, with the full program to be announced later this month. Galway is a charming seaside city with plenty of historical sites to visit and nature areas to explore, so plan your trip carefully to ensure that you have enough time to get around to doing everything you want to.

 


Plotting a Course to the Best Summer Festivals in Europe

Whether you’re heading to the balmy beaches of Dubrovnik or the cobblestone streets of Galway this summer, grant yourself an invaluable amenity in the form of versatile and comfortable transportation! Rent a car in Spain for an unequaled opportunity to explore the countries rich culture in some of Europe’s best summer festivals, or travel Croatia by car and easily fit everything you want to see and do into one trip. Vacationing is a breeze when you have the reliability and convenience of a car rental by your side, and Kemwel is here to help you book your ideal vehicle at a great price with special travel deals and promotions available daily! Browse our rates online or feel free to call us anytime, toll-free at 1-877-820-0668

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Inside Berlin’s Carnival of Cultures 2015

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When people think of festivals in Germany, the first thing that typically comes to mind is beer at Oktoberfest. However, many people do not know about the other fantastic events that they can visit with their rental car in Germany, such as the Carnival of Cultures, known as Karneval der Kulturen in German.

For four days every spring, the streets of Berlin are filled with people celebrating diversity and inclusion in a colorful and peaceful manner. This year Carnival of Culturesberlin-carnival-of-culture-food will be held from May 22 to May 25. During that time, there will be several events, including a parade, live music, theater, and educational workshops.  In addition Carnival of Cultures also has exotic food, good drinks, a fun craft market, and exciting children’s programs.

The Carnival of Cultures dates back to 1996, when Berlin was becoming an international city with 500,000 foreign residents from over 180 nations. To counteract the nationalism and racism in Germany at the time, the city decided to host a festival aimed at making minorities more visible and guiding the city to be more inclusive. Every year, the event grows and the city of Berlin is transformed into a self-empowering, heterogeneous, pluralistic safe place for all people, no matter their cultural background.

 

The Parade

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The Carnival of Cultures parade is an opportunity for people of all backgrounds and age groups to demonstrate their artistic talents while participating in an event that celebrates cultural identities. With over 80 groups and 5,000 participants, this large-scale parade, is a spectacle not to be missed. People watching the parade will witness several dance styles and outfits, ranging from traditional folk to hip-hop. At the Carnival of Cultures parade, spectators will experience the samba rhythms of Brazilian drummers, listen to Congolese singers, and watch larger than life puppets march through the streets.

 

Live Music and Performances

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On the street-fest stages and off-stages, popular artists and up-and-coming bands showcase their talents. Over 100 bands and DJs, plus over 200 performers and artists participate, creating four jam-packed days of live music and theater. Any type of music is welcome, so festival-goers can expect to hear classical music, reggae music, and anything in between. Other performances include stilt-walkers, acrobats, magicians, and more.

 

Workshops and Conferences
Last but not least, the Symposia component of the festival provides opportunities to discuss critical issues, such as artistic practice and political engagement. These workshops and conferences provide unique learning opportunities for anyone and everyone.

In the last 20 years, the political situation in Germany has changed for the better; yet, Germany is still not a pluralistic society. Therefore, the Carnival of Cultures continues to grow in size with each passing year. With over 1.4 million people attending, Carnival of Cultures is able to make a lasting difference in just four short days.

Carnival of Cultures is one of the best festivals in Germany that you’ll have unrestricted access to when you rent a car in Berlin. Attending this event is sure to create joyous vacation memories full of laughter and fun in an open-minded community!

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