Bratislava Castle

Sightseeing in Bratislava

Bratislava is the capital and the largest city in Slovakia. It offers a pleasant medieval inner city with narrow, winding streets, a hilltop castle overlooking the Danube, and many historic churches and buildings.

Slovakia is used to be part of Hungary after the fall of the Great Moravian Empire until the end of the First World War, when the Treaty of Trianon created Czechoslovakia.

During World War II, the Germans controlled Slovakia. The Soviets conquered it later, thus recreating Czechoslovakia in pro-Soviet and Communist slant.

The Communist ended during the Velvet Revolution in 1989. In 1993 the Czechoslovakia dissolved into two separate and independent nations – Czech Republic and Slovakia. Read more

Porto

A Weekend in Porto

A sip of this lusciously sweet wine gives me memories of this rustic port city this wine is named after.

Also, the azulejos, these distinctly patterned blue-and-white porcelain tiles adorned in most buildings, the enchantingly winding Duoro river with dotted ships, the sumptuous Portuguese cuisine marked with their love for bacalhau, tripes, pastries, port wines, Madeira – all these remind me of Porto.

Porto is the second largest city in Portugal located along the Duoro river at the north of the country. As one of the oldest cities in Europe, and a mercantile one as it has always been, Porto as a city offers various architectural mix of medieval and modern living side by side.

The town center showcases soaring bell towers, monumental baroque churches, and stately Art Nouveau buildings. Many of its colorful buildings are built into a cliff face overlooking the river, with narrow lanes and zigzagged staircases running up and down along the cliff. Across the river, the attractive cellars and warehouses of port wine companies are located in this suburb of Gaia. Read more

A Weekend in Alsace

I fancied visiting Alsace for three things – the pork-centric Alsatian cuisine, its most noted dry Riesling wines, and a strong German influence in this side of France.

A road trip to Alsace was indeed an ideal weekend getaway.

Due to its tumultuous past and its location between France and Germany, Alsace local culture is quite distinct. Alsatians feel extremely proud to be French, and yet from the local dialect to the traditional meals and iconic architecture, Alsace indeed displays its strong German heritage.

Alsatian Vineyard Route (Route du Vin)

The Alsatian Vineyard Route is absolutely a rite-of-passage especially for wine fanatics. Stretching from Marlenheim in the north near Strasbourg to Thann in the south and east to Mulhouse, this route goes along wine producing villages situated on the slope of the Massif des Vosges. Read more

On the Go in 2015: At Home and A Bit Away Too

“Marmotjes!”

My husband and I just visited their museum somewhere at the mountain top in Grossglochner.   I had already expected that I’d only see these creatures on screen or at their “most preserved” forms.

“Turn around. Look!” hubby was calling me out in a forcibly hush tone, so as not to scare them and run away.

We stopped walking, and I couldn’t believe what I saw.

“For real, I’m finally meeting my furry kinds at last!” I jokingly reacted.

Marmots are large squirrels living in mountainous areas such as the Alps.  These fluffy animals typically live in burrows and often within rock piles, and hibernate there through the winter.  Most marmots are highly social and use loud whistles to communicate with one another. Read more

A Day in Pisa and Lucca

I got thrilled right away to see Pisa on the itinerary for our honeymoon journey in Italy.  Then my excitement waned when I began to realize one thing.

“Oh no… Am I supposed to ‘lean’ on it, like everybody does?”

‘Lean’ on the Tower of Pisa.

When we speak about Italy, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is amongst the firsts that pop in our heads.  Pizza is another, but just because this Italian delicacy and the old city sound alike, I was tickled to death when I heard somebody claiming that pizza originated from Pisa. Mamma mia!

It would have been a disgrace especially to the one who built it, purely because the Tower of Pisa is an architectural mistake. Interestingly though, this miscalculation had actually brought a symbol of civic pride.  Especially for most cheeky tourists nowadays, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is the perfect muse to practice the art of ‘forced perspective.’ Read more

3 Days in Cinque Terre

Visiting these five crazily stacked, colorful fishing villages of Cinque Terre perched on the Ligurian coast seems to be entering in a world drawn only for a storybook.  Grape terraces, lemon trees, the ocean and steep cliffs will corner you; yet still, it’s a great place to get stuck after all.

A UNESCO world heritage site since 1997, Cinque Terre consists of five villages dating from the early medieval period: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.

Cinque Terre’s unique feature is attributed to the carefully built houses and terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean sea.  The “five lands” form part of Italy’s most rugged coastline, isolated and inaccessible for centuries until a railway was completed in 1874. Read more