Prague was the first European city I ever visited on my own. One summer, many years ago – when I was 18 – I did a travel writing course in Prague. It’s safe to say that I wouldn’t be a hobbyist travel blogger without that trip. But then again, Prague will turn anyone into a travel blogger.
It’s no secret that I love a good cup of coffee.
It’s also no secret that when it comes to cafes, Vienna has a special league of its own – the Viennese coffee house.
The Viennese coffee house culture is listed as “Intangible Cultural Heritage” as per UNESCO. It’s a concept I recently became familiar with my friend Melissa went to Marrakech and told me that the markets were listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage. While the more well-known concept of World Heritage sites refers to tangible – or touchable – buildings, monuments, places etc., this particular categories refers to song, music, drama… overall vibes that you can’t replicate elsewhere in the world.
And surely, I’ve never been to a coffee joint quite like the Viennese coffee house. I liked them right away, and went to several during my trip to Vienna. They all have different decors, moods, menus, but what remains the same is the hushed banter, the elegant service, melange on the menu and delicious cakes served with silverware.
The first coffee house we went to – literally within two hours of arriving in Vienna – was Cafe Hawelka. It was on the very top of my list for all the historical significance it boasts of – opened by Leopold Hawelka (who passed away in 2011 at the age of 100) in 1939, the interior of the establishment has been fully preserved, from its marble table tops to elegant lace curtains. I ordered my first Wiener Melange, literally translating to “Viennese blend.” It’s something I’d describe as a cross between a cappuccino and a latte. And I liked it!
Paris is always a good idea.
So naturally I decided to kick off my 2015 travels by revisiting Paree.
Fanny, my former classmate and old flatmate, now calls the French capital home, and was a lovely host during my short weekend stay, even succumbing to my request of visiting the ultra-touristy Montmarte.
I am on a mission to visit all the Nordic countries.
Considering I lived in Denmark and visited neighbouring Sweden and Norway two years ago, there were just a couple left to check off my list. So when I found out that my coworker Melissa was jetting off to Finland for the August long weekend, I invited myself along.
Helsinki is interesting. I don’t think it’s as charming as Stockholm or as creative as Copenhagen, but it’s definitely got a unique character that neither of those do. It’s the only European capital without a medieval past – and even after visiting nearly 20 European countries, I’ll have to admit I am a sucker for old town squares, cobblestone streets and towering churches. Therefore, I wasn’t particularly impressed with Helsinki’s architectural beauty, but it surely has attractive features that make it perfect destination for a weekend trip.
After all, put me in any city with a harbour and I’ll be happy and snappy!
It’s taken me wayyyy too long to visit Lausanne. Almost as long as it’s taken me to finally get around to writing this blog post.
A’ite back to my story: So as I was saying, my friend Gerrit is from Lausanne and over the years I have virtually/electronically/telepathically gotten to know many of his family and friends. Obviously I had to go visit the beautiful lakeside Swiss town one day, both to enjoy the heavenly Alpine scenery and to say hello to all these lovely people I keep hearing about.
My Erasmus girlfriends and I have a bit of a tradition: we like going on trips for our birthdays.
For my last birthday we all met up in Amsterdam and the year before we went to Krakow. And now that we don’t live under the same roof anymore, it’s even more crucial to plan holidays where we can catch up, overdose on coffee and check off another place on our bucket lists.
Somehow it came up that we go to Palma de Mallorca for Nina‘s birthday. Palma was never on my must-visit list, but it should have been.
By going in the spring, we avoided the hoards of rowdy summer crowds and were able to admire the beauty of this Balearic island at leisure. Inspiring architecture, buzzing squares, delicious food, sea breeze and the company of my two darling friends: how was I not supposed to fall in love with Mallorca?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, the first order of business in Palma was celebrating Nina’s birthday. Continue reading
My friend Cat arrived in New Delhi yesterday. And I am so excited to play host/tour guide/translator/navigator/travel buddy for the next 10 days.
I have been inviting my friends to India for years but no one has visited me yet because 1) Well… I haven’t been back in 5 years, and 2) Schedules and holidays are hard to match up. Naturally, I was stoked when Cat decided that she was going to come visit me and tour India for a few days. She couldn’t get too much time off work, so when she arrived, we got down to business.
We only had one day in Delhi, which is a challenge because there is so much to see in the capital and traffic makes is impossible to cover everything in one day. So, I devised an orientation itinerary, which I thought had a bit of everything: history, culture, colours and flavours.
Nothing says “Welcome to India” better than India Gate. Naturally, that was our first stop. And along the way, we spotted the Dandi March memorial monument. The “You Britishers” jokes started from there.
No, I haven’t pulled an Elizabeth Gilbert. But I have eaten a lot, prayed a little and loved every minute of my time in Bangalore.
I arrived here at the start of the week with a jam-packed schedule. Unfortunately, sight seeing was a very small bullet point on my agenda. I was researching my Masters thesis and reporting for a London-based publication. So, I was rushing from interview to meeting to event.
But, obviously, I found some time to get my tourist on.
Bangalore – or Bengalaru – is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. It’s the third largest city in the country and an international IT hub. It has managed to acquire a couple of nicknames: Silicon Valley of India, Pub City of India, and Garden City of India. What it lacks in picturesque tourist sights, it makes up with its happening vibe, (relatively) progressive locals and an overwhelming number of dining, drinking and shopping options. Continue reading
Two weekends ago I started working on my Aussie Bucket List and flew (even more) south to Tasmania. My home base for the next four days was Hobart, a cute city at the base of Mount Wellington and a good launch pad for many Tassie activities such as Port Arthur and MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). I travelled around the Huon Valley and checked MONA with my gracious hosts over the weekend, but on Monday, they all went to work so I was left with the ever-exciting challenge of exploring Hobart on my own.
My trusted Lonely Planet guidebook has less than two pages on things to do in Hobart, but after visiting over 20 countries in the last five years if there is one thing that I have learned it’s this: the best kept secrets never make it to guidebooks.
I started Hobart’s cultural exploration on Salamanca Place. I’d visited this restaurant-packed esplanade with my friends on an earlier evening and thought it would be a good idea to check it out during the day.