GetYourGuide – Travel activities booking platform announces $75M Series D

GetYourGuide is announcing a $75M Series D, led by Battery Ventures bringing its total raised to $170 Million.  They claim to be the world’s largest online platform for booking tours, attractions and activities.

They are mainly focused on European markets – as most of their travel destinations are in Europe ( and also most of their customers are from Germany and the United Kingdom). They are seeing some traction here in United States.

GetYourGuide was founded in 2009 by Tobias Rein, Martin Sieber, Johannes Reck and Tao.

Investor Info :    Battery Ventures is a technology focused Investment firm ( with headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts ) , founded in 1983 by Rick Frisbie, Howard Anderson & Bob Barrett.  It has total assets of 5.8 Billion USD and over 60 employees. ( as a side note, another travel tech company trip.com, which raised $39 Million USD from Battery ventures, Red point and others, was acquired by Ctrip – the Chinese travel giant)

Some of the most popular tours on GetYourGuide is –

London Harry Potter Tours
Reykjavik Day Trips
Reykjavik Tours
Chicago Cruises & Water Tours
New York Cruises & Water Tours
Reykjavik Dolphin & Whalewatching Tours
Dubai Desert Safaris
Husavik Dolphin & Whalewatching Tours
Rome Tickets
Chicago River & Harbor Cruises
San Francisco Cruises & Water Tours
Paris Tickets
Dubai Air & Helicopter Tours
Edinburgh Ghost & Vampire Tours
Amsterdam Cruises & Water Tours
Victoria Dolphin & Whalewatching Tours
Dubai Camel Riding Tours
Boston Cruises & Water Tours
Chicago Architecture Tours
Krakow Tours
Venice Gondola tours
Rome City Cards
Florence Wine Tasting & Winery Tours
Reykjavik Northern Lights
Cairns Snorkeling
Barcelona Tickets
Chicago City Cards
Las Vegas Air & Helicopter Tours
Bordeaux Wine Tasting & Winery Tours
Paris Hop-on Hop-off Tours

Travel metasearch company Skyscanner buys Twizoo

Travel metasearch company Skyscanner ( online comparison platform for flights, hotels and car rental) has bought the London based startup Twizoo ( Founded in May 2013 by Madeline Parra and John Talbott).
Twizoo specializes in development of a platform for automating social content distribution.

Skyscanner’s CTO Bryan mentioned that the company’s aim is to “serve all traveler needs, from inspiration through to planning and booking”.

The Atomium, Brussels

The Atomium is located next to Mini-Europe park (which has miniatures of the famous monuments of EU at a scale of 1:25) beside the King Baudouin Stadium. It is a structure which represents a unit cell of an iron crystal. True to its representation, it has nine spheres made of steel (earlier it was made of aluminum) connected by tubes along the twelve edges of the cube. The structure is 334.6 ft. high with the spheres having diameter of 59 ft. Its stability is ensured by three bipods. The details of the spheres and the locations of the various attractions within the spheres are given in the image here. Please click on the image to enlarge.Location of attractions within the Atomium spheres

The Atomium in Brussels
The Atomium, Brussels

The Atomium was built for Expo’1958 – the 1958 Brussels World fair in Belgium. It was designed by Andre Waterkeyn. (the central sphere has been named after him after his demise). The architects were Andre and Jean Polak. It was meant to last just for the Expo (from 17th April to 19th October 1958) but its popularity resulted in it being made permanent.  The structure is quite impressive.
It is all the more impressive since the skyline is not spoiled by other tall structures. Inside, the tubes which connect the spheres contain escalators, exhibit halls et al. The top sphere affords an excellent panoramic view of the city including an aerial view of the stadium. Three of the upper spheres are closed to public for safety reasons – since they lack the requisite vertical support. The sphere at the pinnacle is open to the public.

About the Spheres-
The top and central spheres are accessible only by lift. The others spheres can be accessed by the steep escalators and these cannot be accessed by people on wheelchairs. The base sphere (called Henri Storck sphere) has permanent exhibition dedicated to the fifties.  The central sphere has a bar. The kids sphere is meant for sleep overs for children from school. This is not open to the public.
The Atomium was closed for nearly two years between 2004 and 2006 for renovation. This was when the aluminium sheets were replaced with steel ones. The interiors were also redone.

More about the Atomium (Atomium Statistics):

DIMENSION OF ATOMIUM:
Height – 102 metres
Weight – 2400 tons
SPHERES:
Surface – 1082 sq. metres / 240 sq. metres per level
Diametre – 18m
TUBES BETWEEN SPHERES:
20 Tubes
Diameter – 3m
Length – 18m or 23m
BIPODS:
Height – 35m
Steps -200
GROUNDFOOR:
Diameter – 26m
STEPS:
Steps up – 84
Steps Down – 187
Lift Speed – 5m/sec
Construction – 1958
Renovation – 2003-2006

How to get to the Atomium in Brussels –
By metro (subway) –  Get down at the Haysel/Heizal metro station on line 1A. This can taken from Station Brussels Central.

By Coach – Take the Brussels Ring Road, then to exit 8 and then follow the direction to Atomium. It’s well marked.

By car –  For GPS – Eeuwfeestlaan/Blvd. de Centenaire or Atomium Square
B-1020 Brussels (Laken-Laeken)

Information about getting around in Brussels can be obtained from the following Link.

Opening Hours – Open daily from 10 A.M to  6 P.M.
Atomium and Pavilion of Happiness – April – Oct. timings – 10 A.M to 7 P.M. (Thursdays – open till 10 P.M)
The 50th anniversary celebrations of Expo 58  took place between April – October 2008.

Ticket Price – Ranges from Free (for Children less than 12 years, Bus drivers & Disabled persons) to € 9 for Adults. Seniors (over 65 years) – €  6.  The rates differ for groups. Minimum persons required to qualify as a group is 20. Pavilion of Happiness rate is € 5 for everyone. Combo tickets are also available for Pavilion of Temporary Happiness and Atomium.
For the 50th year commemoration of Expo’58, a number of activities based on the Theme “Brussels Happiness” is taking place.

Atomium address – Atomium Square
B-1020 Brussel (Laken)
Tel. +32 (0) 2/475-47-75

Related Article: Pavilion of Temporary  Happiness ;
Tourist info and Transportation in Brussels, Belgium ;
Tourist spots in Bruges

Reference: Official site

The Atomium by night is a beautiful sight.

The Atomium by night, Brussels
The Atomium, Brussels
The Atomium by night, Brussels
The Atomium, Brussels
The Atomium in Brussels
The Atomium, Brussels

 

Le Petit Julien (The Manneken-Pis), Brussels

Leading off from the Grand Place square, a little distance away past crowded streets in a corner is the statue called Manneken Pis. This is a bronze statue of a small naked boy peeing. It is a fountain, with water replacing the pee! This is the most famous statue of Belgium. However, tourists expect it to be big, but it is actually a very small statue placed in a corner of narrow streets.  The Manneken-Pis is at the corner of the Rue de l’Etuve and the Rue du Chene. The Rue Charles Buls leading from the Square becomes the Rue de l’Etuve. The statue is dressed up in colorful costumes on different occasions according to a weekly schedule. The Manneken-Pis has several hundred costumes. The changing of costumes is accompanied by live music.

Manneken-Pis, Brussels, Belgium
Manneken-Pis, Brussels, Belgium

The exact legend behind this statue is unclear since there are several of them. One version is that the statue is of a two year old duke whose troops took him with them during their fight against the Berthouts. He is supposed to have urinated on the enemy troops. Another version suggests the story of a small boy who urinated on the fuse of explosives to prevent them from exploding. They were planted by enemies trying to destroy Brussels. Another version as we noted on the shop front just opposite the statue talks about the story of Manneken Pis, also known as Le Petit Julien:
“in 1619, I was 5 years old. I got lost in Brussels. After 2 days of frantic searching, my father, a nobleman, found me in an embarrassing position…peeing. As a token of gratitude, he ordered a fountain to be build, with a statue depicting me in that same position.” The picture of this poster is given on the right (click to enlarge).  Manneken-Pis History as given at a shop corner opposite the statue
The Manneken Pis has a female counterpart called the Jeanneke Pis. This is a modern piece of sculpture made of limestone, by Denis-Adrien Debouvrie, in 1985 and erected in 1987.  This is located on the other of the Grand Place away from Manneken Pis. It is in the east side of Impasse de la Fidélité (Faith Alley) which is a narrow dead end street leading off from Rue des Bouchers (Butchers’ Street).

How to get to the Manneken Pis-
After reaching Grand place take the Rue Charles Buls which becomes the Rue de l’Etuve. The Statue is at the corner of Rue de l’Etuve and Rue du Chene. The details of getting around Brussels is given here. In the picture below, the left hand street is Rue de l’Etuve and the street on the right is Rue du Chene.

manneken-pis at the corner of Rue de l’Etuve and Rue du Chene