All posts filed under: Europe

My travel notes from a continent I love to love.

Germany solo travel, Berlin photos

First Time to Germany? Practical Tips to Plan Your Travels.

I vividly remember my first trip to Germany, exactly four years ago. I had won a pair of flight tickets to Europe, taken a two-month sabbatical from my corporate job, and arrived in Munich with a friend – anticipating Germany to be uptight, and not half as fun as Italy or France. I was so wrong! On that first trip, I guzzled the finest beer in the country’s oldest biergartens, savored the wry humor of locals, climbed the stunning limestone mountains of Saxon Switzerland, and fell in love with the quirky city of Dresden, once the seat of east Germany’s cold history. I’ve been back twice to revel in the snowy Christmas Markets of Cologne and Rothenburg, attend a travel conference in the port city of Hamburg, soak in the spring colours of Berlin and discover the fascinating lake region of Spreewald. Here are some travel tips to experience one of my favourite countries in Europe: What’s the best time to visit Germany? I loved the onset of summer in early June, with long days and sunsets …

Romania photos, Brasov photos, Brasov Romania

Snapshots from Romania!

It all began one night, when a friend and I sat staring at the world map. I had landed a fat assignment and finally reached my savings goal for a long overdue trip out of India. After turning down many drab international 3-4 day FAM trips that offered nothing immersive or even remotely exciting, I craved a mix of the east and the west, interesting food and the chance to experience a culture I knew little about. Romania seemed to tick all the boxes. Flights were booked, visa hurdles painfully crossed, and off we went. Into a world that continues to delight and surprise me.

5 Quirky Ways to Discover Madrid.

Exactly a year ago, I was packing my bags for a solo trip to Madrid and Valencia. I travelled back in time to revel in the medieval era festivities of the Las Fallas in Valencia, which I wrote about in a story recently published in The Hindu. And I fell in love, almost instantly, with the vibrant colors of spring in Madrid. I strolled along quaint neighborhoods and tree-lined boulevards, and stumbled upon some of the city’s quirkiest secrets to discover why it inspired the likes of Ernest Hemingway. If you’re going to Madrid, take my list, and let the city charm you, as it charmed me. Stroll along the Manzanares river, under the cherry blossoms.   I expected to find medieval architecture co-existing with a cosmopolitan vibe in Madrid. But its tree-lined walkways, gorgeous parks, and natural colors of spring caught me by surprise. Thus began my quest to traverse through the most scenic parts of the city, and when I saw a map showing the River Manzanares flowing through Madrid, I decided to journey to the far end. As I …

In Photos: German Christmas Markets.

I’ve forever romanticized about a white winter in Europe. The kind where I would watch snowflakes gently descend upon cobbled streets, and look poetically at the gloomy skies for a ray of sunshine. On this whirlwind trip across Germany with Lufthansa and German Tourism, I did just that. I sipped my first of many cups of gluhwein in Frankfurt, found myself in a time warp with Rothenburg’s medieval era festivities, fell in love with the colorful celebrations in Cologne and Berlin in the backdrop of quaint old churches, and revisited Dresden with much nostalgia. It was festive and charming, but just so cold, reminding me of What I’ve Learnt From Winter in Europe. By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be on my way back to sunshine! *** 1. AERIAL VIEW OF DRESDEN’S CHRISTMAS MARKETS  from a Ferris Wheel! Glittery festivities lie in contrast against gloomy midday skies, symbolic of winter in Europe. *** 2. A LOCAL ARTIST’S WOOD-CARVING COLLECTION at Cologne’s Christmas Market aka Weihnachtsmärkte on the Alter Markt; wood-carvers, crystal painters, glass glazers, all showcased their …

Indian travel blogger, Indian female traveller

Contest: Win a Flight to Europe With Lufthansa!

Back in 2011, when I took my first trip to Europe, I wasn’t a travel blogger. I was just a girl with a dream to see the world. I was bound to a cubicle, with a 9 to 5 schedule that I couldn’t wait to break out of. And then it happened. I took part in a travel contest on Facebook, and unexpectedly won two return flights to Paris! I decided to make a full-blown Euro Trip out of it, started blogging about travel, and the rest as they say, is history (Read: The Story of How I Quit My Job to Travel).

Albufera Valencia, Valencia secrets, Valencia lake

Albufera: Valencia’s Best Kept Secret.

On my way to Valencia’s city centre for the Fallas festivities, I got talking with a Spaniard from Asturias in the north of Spain. Hailing from the mountain countryside, surely he could tell me a thing or two about escaping the city on the only spare day I had. La Albufera, he said, es muy bonita. I was sold. By the time I got on the bus that would take me to the south of Valencia, it was almost lunch time. I feasted on glimpses of the charming countryside from the window. The rice paddies had just been harvested, and shone a golden brown. A small river meandered through farms of potato. Men and women strolled through their fields, some watering them, others basking in the warm afternoon sun. Small thatched huts reminded me of villages in India. A paved road ran alongside the fields, and cars raced past in striking contrast to the casual pace of life here. The bus stopped at El Saler, indicated on the map in blue. Across the road, I found myself in a pine forest with a …

Madrid best things to do, Madrid attractions

Te Quiero Madrid: A Photo Essay.

I’m not a big fan of cities, but Madrid was almost love at first sight. Maybe because it was just the start of spring, or maybe because the city is just that beautiful! I spent most of my time by the River Manzanares in Madrid, strolling along the parks and squares of Madrid, exploring Madrid’s markets and cafes, and discovering its quirky neighborhoods. In this photo essay, I share a roundup of some of the best unusual things to see and do in Madrid, including local hangouts and relatively secret places, that are sure to make you fall in love with this Spanish city too.

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4 Time Zones, 2 Bucket List Items, 1 Month.

What a month March has been. I’ve travelled along the mountains, rivers and rice paddies of Thailand’s north, revisited with much nostalgia the familiar streets of Singapore, revelled in the festivities of Las Fallas in Spain, and finally made that illusive trip to India’s northeast to live with the Mishing tribe of Assam and explore the wilderness of the eastern Himalayas. And in the midst of all these adventures, I’ve been overwhelmed to see my travel story about Turkey’s Black Sea region, published in BBC Travel, a travel publication I’ve always held in such high regard.

Tarragona things to do, Tarragona photos, Arcs restaurant Tarragona

Spain in Ruins.

It lies before us in all its splendour, brought to life by incessant cheering and booing. Men in white togas, and women dressed in colourful long tunics, keep their eyes glued to the pit below. The chariots have circled the arena, and the dust kicked up by the hooves of their galloping horses is slowly settling down. Armour-clad gladiators take centre stage; battle-hardened men who know this might be their last fight. The smell of sweat hangs heavy in the air, as their bravado drives the fourteen thousand spectators wild. The crowd is baying for blood, as a strong sense of anticipation mixed with dread engulfs the atmosphere. I am forced to look away from the bloodshed, towards the calming expanse of the emerald blue Mediterranean Sea that this Roman amphitheatre overlooks. I shake off these musings and smile at my vivid imagination.