Soak in the most stunning Austrian countryside ever

And also relive your ‘Sound of Music’ memories…

Your inspiration for visiting Salzburg may not be ‘Sound of Music’ (one of the world’s best-loved movies shot in and around here). But you can’t resist total recall, because all over this picturesque Austrian town, there are posters of ‘Sound of Music’ excursions that will appeal to the ‘classic movie’ lover in you. All this hype is more than justified…after all, the blockbuster grossed more money than any musical in history and even bagged five Oscars! Not only is it a fun opportunity to relive scenes and locations of the song-and-dance sequences starring Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and seven chirpy children…but a fabulous way to soak in the stunning Austrian countryside. So, are you in?

Continue reading “Soak in the most stunning Austrian countryside ever”

Which is the most charming promenade in Europe?

Riva in Split is my all-time favourite…

If you’ve taken the bus from Zagreb to Split, you will literally descend upon the city from high above the curving mountainous road basking in the birds eye view. Habitat springs up as if out of nowhere. An average looking semi-modern city, no spectacle so far. But hold on. You haven’t reached old Split yet. Nearer the shore, older mansions and stone buildings take over…and then, like a curtain rising to reveal the stage, the road gives way to a vast vision of the the sparkling blue Adriatic waters, hugging a busy port filled with dozens of Jadrolinija cruise ships and boats. Buses moving in and out, cars inching along, travellers alighting from and board all forms of land and sea transport…widespread, yet organised chaos! Don’t get disheartened just yet.

Continue reading “Which is the most charming promenade in Europe?”

10 tragic Berlin landmarks that will melt your heart

One walk you must take…

Berlin has come a long way from the time Slovenians discovered a marshy, swampy fishing village (ber-lin), way back in the 1500s. Cut to a few centuries later…post WWII and communist era, not only did the city survive, spirit intact, but reinvented itself yet again. There are at least 4000 live construction sites all over the city today…talk about work in progress!

The best way to immerse into the essence of Berlin by taking an escorted walking tour of its historic sights. A fascinating half-day is all it takes to relive the entire gloomy ’40s. And when you’ve walked down this stark, dark memory lane of dictators, war and oppression, you’ll be recommending Berlin to everyone you know too. Here are the unforgettable landmarks from the walk:

Continue reading “10 tragic Berlin landmarks that will melt your heart”

This was once the greatest city in the world!

Cordoba is Andalusia’s most precious gem… 

An hour and a half or 140 km from Seville will take you at Córdoba, the erstwhile capital of al-Andalus (Islamic Spain), where you can witness intriguing remnants of its glory years that lasted from 756 to 1031. Along the road, large yellow faces of thousands of sunflowers bend joyfully towards the sun, welcoming you cheerfully, as if saying, “choose happiness”. Feel the comers of your mouth tilting up unconsciously in a broad smile as you are reminded that they crave warmth too.

Continue reading “This was once the greatest city in the world!”

The most amazing Roman monuments hidden in France

Nimes and Pont du Gard will stun you…

Did you know that picture-perfect romantic French Provence, whose sunflower and lavender fields inspired legendary impressionists like Van Gogh is also home to two of the most jaw-dropping, magnificent Roman structures in the world? And one day is all you need to gawp at their architectural splendour.

Continue reading “The most amazing Roman monuments hidden in France”

Marvel at the unspoilt magic of Montenegro

A day in Kotor, Montenegro’s prettiest town…

Honest confession. To start off, I was first drawn to Montenegro by the clever deception created by James Bond’s Casino Royale. In reality, not a single scene was shot there. Revelation. It is a thousand times more enchanting than the fantasy its name evokes. 

Continue reading “Marvel at the unspoilt magic of Montenegro”

Feel the irresistible allure of the Algarve

A lazy, laid-back vibe…

Moorish legends, an exotic coastal countryside, trailblazing Portuguese voyagers of yore, and a name shrouded in mystique (from Arabic al-Gharb, meaning ‘the West’). How can anyone dare to skip Algarve from their Portugal itinerary? 

We picked Portimao as our base. So much less touristy than the nightlife hub Albufeira and the golf mecca Villamoura. And perfect for its proximity to Lagos, Sagres, and Monchique…which were our other lures. Missed Tavira, but you can’t have it all, can you? Multiple queues at the coach counters on Faro airport seemed like a setback until we reminded ourselves that October is off-season. An hour-long wait for the next bus or a seventy euro taxi. Hmm…devil or the deep blue sea, we pondered, before a taxi driver offered a shared ride with three other passengers. Five minutes, coffee and bags of munchies later, we were on our way. 

Continue reading “Feel the irresistible allure of the Algarve”