All posts filed under: Europe

Exploring Rome On Segway

There are many ways to explore a city. You can ride the buses, walk the streets, or take numerous tours. But if you’re short in time and the city you’re traveling to is as massive and overwhelming as Rome can be, then what can be your best shot? In one word: Segway! Recently while I was in Rome, and was bitten by the idea of exploring the city, from inside out, in only 7 hours, while keeping it fun and relaxing, I thought… why not Segway it. And it turned out that exploring Rome by Segway, was perhaps the best decision. For €120, you get a 7-hour tour of Rome’s greatest sights including the Colosseum, Imperial Forum Road, Piazza Venezia and Trevi Fountain, among others. To make it better a delicious local lunch of Roman specialties was included! Though ofcourse, Roman specialties can never be good in a restaurant, And my 15 day experience of living with a Roman family in the heart of Lazio, validates that statement well; but for a restaurant it was surely the best you …

How To Skip The Crowds Of Vatican City

Everyday, around 20 thousand people visit Vatican City. And in Vatican, the holy Sistine Chapel. They hope of experiencing a sublime or spiritual moment, but more often than not, their visit ends up into a long, soul-destroying process. I mean how can you, in God’s name, feel anything peaceful in a place where all you get to see is a steam of people pouring in, and guards constantly shouting “no pictures, no pictures”! The solution? Take an exclusive tour carried out before the opening hours (for general public) of Vatican. Private tours to Vatican City were usually reserved for celebrities, royals and politicians. But almost a decade ago, Vatican City opened its gates for general public, and for those who want to pay a little extra and escape the crowds. And this time, as I travelled through Rome, I ended-up being one among them. I booked my early morning Skip The Crowds tour (for a little extra cost compared to what an ordinary walking tour costs) with a tour company called Through Eternity Tours, who …

My First Impression Of Ljubljana, In Slovenia

Before I go any further, I’d like to confess that prior to my visit I knew a very little about Slovenia. Other than vaguely being aware of it as ‘a part of Eastern Europe’, I knew nothing more about this teeny-tiny country. And to my guilt, my heart was always more drawn to the neighboring countries of Italy, Austria and Croatia – as is often the case with a majority of tourists travelling through Europe. Perhaps that’s why, while crafting the itinerary, I gave Ljubljana (the only town in Slovenia where I stayed) no more than four days, out of which I even planned a day out and visited Lake Bled and Postojna Cave. But as I left Budapest, in Hungary, and inched my way towards Slovenia, I realised that we are only moving towards west, and to a place that looked far more organized and reformed, than what I’d initially thought, or had been experiencing for the past few weeks. I realised that Slovenia is actually not very Eastern European – neither by its geographic location, nor by its appearance. And speaking …

Day Trip To Lake Bled, Predjama Castle & Postojna Cave, From Ljubljana

Slovenia may seem like a tiny little country sandwiched between between countries from all its four directions, but it’s not. At least not when you think of all the beauty it holds. Throughout my 4 day stay in the country, I was amazed by its diversity, and the experiences this country had to offer. From serene lakes to gigantic cave parks to medieval towns — Slovenia has something for everyone. But out of all the places of interest three highlights that complete your trip in Slovenia are Lake Bled, Postojna Cave, and the Predjama Castle. Located at only an hour’s drive from Ljubljana, it is fairly easy to explore the three places in one day, but only if you’ve your own car, given that the lake Bled is located in an opposite direction from Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle. And since I’d only a day to spare, and I didn’t want to rent a car and drive in solitude, I carefully chose a company called The Roundabout, which runs day trips from Ljubljana and Zagreb, and …

Metelkova District: Graffiti Art In The Streets Of Ljubljana

Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, has always been a mystery for its visitors. Not many people travelling here have an idea what to expect, and I was no different. But as I arrived in Ljubljana, I realized that it was a town meant only to be loved. With its rich riverside café culture, and an old world European charm, it turned out to be unlike many other places I visited in Europe. But while the overwhelming charm and a chilled out vibe of Ljubljana Old Town enchants visitors, there is also an entirely different side to this fascinating city, which sometimes doesn’t. And you explore it as soon as you walk past the old historic heart, and enter into a shabby area of Metelkova, but of course, with a difference. Where graffiti, in many places, is considered, and even appear to be, a symbol of vandalism, in Ljubljana’s graffiti area the case was rather the contrary. Here it looked more like an art form. At Metelkova City artistic space, Ljubljana’s own graffiti area, several weird and wonderful …

Vienna On A Budget

A city of culture, history, music and art, with a night life to rival with that of any city in the world, that’s what Vienna is, in a nutshell. Walking through its many fairytale-like streets you wonder if there can be a place so royal and majestic in its appearance. No wonder, Vienna deserves its nickname The Imperial City, fairly well. But where on one side every experience, every sight in the city, is a total treat, the cost of travelling here — whether you talk about a 10 Euro cup of coffee, or a 150 Euro ballet performance — can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re travelling on a budget. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to fill yourself up with the city’s history and culture, without having to spend too much. Because with my #ViennaNow budget travel guide, you can explore Vienna on cheap. And here’s how… [Also Read: What To See And Do In Vienna] Arriving In The City If you’re flying into Vienna, the best and the cheapest way to get to the city center is by taking the …

Budapest: In Pictures

I have so much to write from my recent trip to Europe, that even after writing a dozen stories, it looks like I’ve just scratched the surface of it. Sure two months was a good amount of time to get an idea of what travelling in Europe is about, but it was sure not enough – especially if you want to understand the culture and history of a place. And when we’re talking about places like Budapest, things become even more tougher – for Budapest, and Hungary at large, has a rich history associated to it. However, during a total of 7 day period (the time I stayed in Budapest), I still managed to learn a bit about it, even if from a very shallow perspective. So I thought of putting up at least one pictures post on Budapest where I can tell some stories via the pictures. Here you go… A view of the city divided by the River Danube. Pest on the right side and Buda on the left. These two cities were …

Gardens Of Villa d’Este, in Tivoli

The hilltop town of Tivoli, back in time, may just be a summer retreat for ancient Romans, but today, it is home for two UNESCO World Heritage sites: Villa Adriana, the sprawling estate of Emperor Hadrian; and the 16th-century Villa d’Este, a Renaissance villa famous for its landscaped gardens and lavish fountains. During my two week workawaying in Italy, near Rome, I happened to explore the old city of Tivoli, and in Tivoli, perhaps the most surreal gardens I’ve seen in my life. Villa d’Este, as I had imagined (after watching its glimpse in the Hollywood movie Lizzie McGuire) to be grand, majestic and awe-inspiring. But it turned out to be something more than that, something far magical and unrealistic. The detailed Villa d’Este dates from the mid 16th century when Cardinal Ippolito d’Este decided to make changes to the convent he was given, upon his appointment as the governor of Tivoli, Italy. A member of an influential family and a lover of the finest things in life, d’Este commissioned his architect to build a new, grand residence filled with everything that money could buy and from what …

What To See In Budapest, And How

Nesting in the heart of Europe, Budapest offers its visitors an unlimited treasury of experiences. Budapest is one of those European metropolis,  popular for its wealth of sights, sounds and experiences. And what makes it better is that the city has something for everyone — from good food to charming architecture, to world-famous spas. In fact,the city has such rich experiences that visitors — especially those travelling for a short time and looking for offbeat experiences — often get so much peckish during their visit that they end up being confused about what to choose and what not. And if so is the case with you too and you’re in Budapest for only for a few nights (give Budapest at least three days, as less than that would be a total injustice to the city), here’s how I’d suggest you to plan your trip: Before Anything… Welcome to Budapest! Home to world-famous artists, mouth-watering food, and above all — cheap beer! Budapest, as a city, is vibrant. It’s comparatively much, raw, wilder, and backpacking friendly. I personally favored …

Exploring The Iconic Budapest Metro

The Hungarian National museum, if you want to see it all, appear to be much bigger and overwhelming than you can imagine. A long stretch of art and artifacts and centuries old history. Don’t plan to see and absorb it all, in a day, just like I did. You need more time than that. And then certainly not plan an evening show in the city’s Opera House later, the same day — something that I ended up doing, again. I remember my second day in Budapest was long and tiring. I mean the city had too much to offer, and I had only a week to explore it all. But the good thing about Budapest was an efficient public transport, and among its public transport system is the Underground Metro System, that is not just beautiful and iconic, but has a long history associated to it. Yes, we are talking about the history that takes you back in 19th century — when Budapest, or the entire European continent, at large, got its first metro line. In many cities, the underground commute involves boring …