All posts filed under: Europe

The alternate world in Copenhagen’s backyard – Freetown Christiana

I chugged along on my bicycle, occasionally stopping to take a quick look at the map on my phone till I could see the entrance to Christiana. I turned to B, who was right behind me and with a quick nod of agreement, we decided to a few more minutes of cycling till we were officially “outside of the European union” and inside Christiana. We found a good spot to park our bicycles and decided to walk around. As history goes, Freetown Christiana was established in 1971 by a group of hippies, who broke down barricades to an abandoned military base and eventually built a society, with its own rules, laws, currency, completely independent of the Danish government and “considered outside of it”. Over the years, this community built houses, workshops and cafes, experimented with green building techniques, solar energy and water-treatment systems to reduce their ecological footprint. Many small businesses flourished and the place attracted artists and musicians, free thinkers who found it a haven. In 1973, the government gave Christiana the temporary status …

A Laid-back Weekend in Copenhagen

One would wonder how a city break could be termed “laid-back” but that was the thing about Copenhagen. Its compact size and easy, relaxed vibe demanded slowing down and focusing on the good stuff – like a glass of wine, a bit of sunshine, a good book and a hearty meal. I felt out of place to rush and try and do too much and I was happy to meander wherever the city took me. Copenhagen is easy on the eye, but not so much on the pocket. Paris has been my benchmark of an expensive city but Copenhagen beats that – the food, transport and hotels all come steep. But don’t let that discourage you, it is a beautiful city, friendly and cozy and you won’t leave it feeling dissatisfied. STAY We rented an Airbnb in the very hip Norrebro district, with great public transport connectivity and a wide selection of neighborhood bars, cafes, galleries and boutiques to browse through. Norrebro is a part of the city with its own distinct charm, youthful and …

The Tree House at the Berlin Wall

B erlin is a city with history at every turn. And for me, one of the most intriguing aspects of this vibrant’s city’s past was the Berlin Wall. Not only because I could actually see a part of the wall still standing, but because it seemed incredulous that this wall stood  tall and mighty till less than three decades back, dividing a city and it’s people. Everyone I met had been a part of this piece of history, having lived it themselves. It made it seem so real and close and tangible, not like a textbook chapter on a moment begone. There was one story in particular that I especially loved, that of Osman Kalin. “Osman Kalin who?” you ask. A commoner, like you I, but there is something very special about his story. Read on. Osman Kalin was a Turkish immigrant living in Kreuzberg district in West Berlin when the wall was erected in 1961, cutting off the West and the East. Due to a bend on the border, a small patch of land which belonged to …

Love, Equality and Freedom – At Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade,2016

In it’s 20th year, and playing host to EuroPride 2016, it was natural to expect the Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade to be bigger and better this time. And while I was stunned(second year in a row) with the eclectic boats, the carnival-esque vibe and colors, what truly stands out about this event for me is its spirit – of love, equality, freedom and respect, not only for others but for your own self. We live in a world that is becoming increasingly intolerant on so many issues, a fact that is disturbing as it is unfortunate. Witnessing this parade is heartwarming for me, while many of course come to enjoy the party, there are as many that come to show their support and acceptance for the LGBT community. It makes me want to believe that there is still hope, that a lot of the world will stand for freedom of choice as long as it does not harm anyone, that we believe in the power of love, no matter it’s orientation and that we are willing …

A Weekend in Bruges

You know those wonderlands we all read about in books as children, of cobbled streets, beautiful houses, flowery window sills, blue skies and music floating in the air, Bruges is that place in flesh and blood. Bruges isn’t really a secret anymore so you can well expect thronging crowds especially in the center. But walk down a side alley and it feels like a different world. There is a certain romance and charm to this city that I find tough to put into words – it’s like a fairy tale in motion right before your eyes, every tiny piece of it perfection, a place fitting enough for happily ever afters, dreamy and unreal. Where I stayed Hotel Aragon – On a quiet street just 5 min walk from the markt, this is a pretty good hotel with a decent breakfast. We could get a room for 3 which was great. Good places to eat The Olive Tree – A family run Greek restaurant with super friendly staff and scrumptious food. Gran Kaffee De Passage – An old fashioned art deco style …

A Southern Italy itinerary : Part 2 – Nocelle and Naples

Continued from A Southern Italy itinerary : Part 1 -Atrani, Ravello and Amalfi Day 4 – Nocelle Morning A typical Italian breakfast of breads, spreads, canned orange juice and coffee was served in the cozy dining room at Casa Cuccuro. On a sunny day, you can eat on the terrace with stunning views of the coast. Dina and Peppe  also serve some extras which are charged for, such as boiled eggs, fresh orange juice etc. The personal attention which they give to each guest is immense. One of the things you must try and do in Amalfi is the “Path of Gods” trek, which offers amazing views of the coast and is set in scenic natural beauty. The trek runs from Nocelle to Boomerano, and you can start it at multiple points, depending on where you are stationed. Luckily for us, it started right at our doorstep! Consider three hours one way at least (a bit more if you stop in between), most people do it one way and catch the bus back. If you have a …

A Southern Italy itinerary : Part 1 -Atrani, Ravello and Amalfi

The mister and I recently spent 6 days in Southern Italy, out of which four days were at the Amalfi Coast and two days in Naples. We used Naples as a base, you can use Rome too as both cities are well connected to the coast. Below is a day wise itinerary, including where we stayed and ate, and an indication of the budget. Highlights Food, food and more food – you probably know by now that food is a very important part of travelling for me. And even if it’s not the same for you, Italy is one place that WILL convert you. The quality of food is pretty high, no matter where you eat and the variety is immense. A trip to Southern Italy is incomplete without trying Limocello – traditionally had as an after dinner digestive liquor, I loved it as a cocktail with loads of ice. Another favorite was the Limoncello sorbet which tastes wonderful on a sunny day. The Path of God’s trek offers spectacular views of the coast (plus it’s …

5 tips to Travel Amalfi Coast Cheaper

Whoever said that the good things in life are for free obviously hasn’t been to Amalfi coast ;-). To be honest, Amalfi was never on my agenda, what with it’s reputation of being ultra-expensive, and supremely glossy. But as I started researching to put together my itinerary, I realized that there is more to Amalfi than meets the eye. And there IS a way to experience this spectacular coastline in Southern Italy without making a big dent in your bank.Below are my top 5 tips, to enhance your experience and save a few bucks – Timing – Summer may not really be the best time Timing is everything when it comes to Amalfi. It will have a tremendous impact of your experience, and your wallet. July-August is peak season so expect soaring prices and a LOT of people. We visited the coast during Easter holiday, and the bigger towns of Amalfi and Positano were really busy, presumably with local tourists but the smaller towns were nice and quiet, which made for a very personal experience. …

Amalfi, you Beauty! In-Photos

With it’s gravity defying cliff’s, sparkling blue waters and endless lemon groves, Amalfi coast is a spectacular part of the world where every turn is exciting, every nook is beautiful. And what’s most intriguing is that it’s a changing world every few miles. Beyond the glitz and glamour of the bigger towns are the rustic, sleepy villages. Almost around the corner but so far removed in spirit, you wouldn’t imagine two such worlds can exist in this close a proximity. What remains constant though is the dramatic beauty, of a world almost suspended between earth and sky. In photos, Amalfi coast (unedited)….. I spent 4 days in Amalfi coast and will be sharing more details on places to stay, eat and see. Stay tuned!  

Paris tips for a solo budget traveler

I wasn’t specifically looking to visit Paris, but an offer for discounted train tickets did me in (the power of a “sale”, buying things we didn’t really know we needed 😉 ). Anyway, I booked my tickets, only to second guess my decision many times in the weeks after that. Should I be going solo to the City of Love? Will I regret my decision in hindsight, thinking I should have done this with the mister (or anyone else for that matter)? I thought about this a lot, and obsessively read online to prepare myself on things to do, places to eat etc. so that I didn’t feel lost. The end result? I had a great time! Though I must admit that the weather sucked the weekend I was there. Apparently, it hadn’t rained that much in years! Anyway, I wanted to share my wisdom 😀 through some tips that I think can enhance your Paris experience significantly, especially if you are solo and on a budget. Where to stay Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements (neighborhoods) and …