All posts filed under: Europe

Europe: In Pictures

Europe is a long, long way away. It takes tiresome hours to fly to. Getting there and staying is expensive than many people can afford to. The exchange rate between Euro and whatever currency you own is also (as expected!) not very encouraging either. And if any will was left, the super-cheap all-inclusive packages to Bali and Indonesia, costing just as much as a return airfare to Europe does, makes it even more discouraging. So why even bother with travelling to Europe at all? Well, let us count the ways in ‘Europe in Pictures’. Europe For Neoclassical Architecture The revival of Classical architecture during the 18th and early 19 century, defines Europe. Almost in every big city, and even in smaller towns, you can find an elegant piece of architecture characterised either by the grandeur of scale, or something just as alarming. Take St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest, for an example, which looks both reviving and ancient. With its 100-meter high dome, it represents a neoclassical and a period architecture. Europe For Beautiful Drives Whether driving with a purpose or for recreation, in Europe if you’re behind the wheel, …

Travel Tips For Slovenia

What people think about a place, and what it actually is, can be two different realities. And so was the case with me before I travelled to Slovenia. While I was planning the itinerary for my first backpacking trip across Europe, I expected Slovenia as a part of the ‘wild west’ or the ill-famous Eastern Europe. Moreover to my guilt, my heart was always more drawn to the neighbouring countries of Italy, Austria and Hungary. But since there was no way to travel from Hungary to Italy, via land, without travelling through Slovenia (because I didn’t want to cross through Croatia holding a Schengen Visa), I decided to pass through Slovenia, and moreover stay in Ljubljana for a few days. [Read: My First Impression of Ljubljana] So if you are visiting Slovenia for the first time, then read ahead. These four significant misconceptions are the most useful travel tips for Slovenia. Don’t Mix Slovenia And Slovakia Slovenian people are very friendly and well-versed. For almost always you will find them smiling. But if there’s one thing that really annoys is someone referring to …

Budget Travel Tips For Europe

Even with more and more budget backpackers making it to Europe, discovering their own quirky ways to travel on a cheap, Europe is still considered as a fairly expensive destination (especially among those who are dealing with a big currency difference, as I did, of 1Euro (EUR)= 70 Indian Rupees). During my 2 months of travel in Europe, and especially while travelling across countries like Germany, Austria and Italy, I often get sick to my stomach seeing how expensive everything was — from transportation to food to accommodation. A few things, however, have worked in travellers favour, for example, the dawn of hospitality networks, the rise of sharing economies, and an introduction of cheaper public transport. And all this has contributed to making Europe more affordable than ever. And here are my Budget Travel Tips For Europe: Take Buses more often. And Avoid Trains There’s no denying the fact that in Europe buses are a lot cheaper than trains. And most budget backpackers rely on buses to keep their travel costs low. Speaking of my personal experience, during the recent backpacking trip …

My Workaway Experience In Rome

First things first: I was not sponsored to review workaway, which you may otherwise feel once you read this blogpost, but what can I do if my volunteering-stay turned out to be so great. Moreover, the fact that I had a great volunteering experience and that I encourage the idea of Workaway-ing, are not linked. In case you’re wondering what’s workaway… Workaway.info is a site where you can find volunteer positions in tourism, agriculture or as an au-pair anywhere in the world, and where potential hosts can hire you. You start by creating an account. All you have to do is sign-up, pay the fee for one year ($29 for a single person, $38 for a couple or two friends), and create a profile. Once it’s done, you can start contacting businesses or local hosts based on countries, cities, and/or type of work. The general gist in each location is that you get a room and board in exchange for 5 hours work a day. [Also Read: How Workaway Helps In Travelling The World Without Spending Much Money] The only problem is, however, you never know what …

What To See And Do In Basel

Basel is so tucked away on the northern edge of the country, bordering both France and Germany, that it’s not on the regular Geneva-Bern-Lucerne-Zurich route and is often forgotten by tourists. But speaking of my first impression of Basel, as I happened to explore it during a 3-day blog trip with Basel Tourism, it was undoubtedly charming and undeniably pleasant. Being Switzerland’s third largest town, Basel offers something for everyone. It has over 40 museums, uncountable art-galleries, world-class architecture, quirky bars, polished restaurants, it’s own trademarked beer, a lively riverside, traffic-free streets, Switzerland’s best town hall… well, I can go on. But honestly speaking I loved Basel not for the attractions it offered, but because of its old town European charm. Its many medieval winding streets that ooze both history and culture, offer a treat for the eyes. There couldn’t be a better place to conclude my 2 month long solo backpacking trip across Europe. Understanding Basel Before I arrived in Basel, I’d no idea that this part of Switzerland is straddling the borders of three countries, with little to indicate …

A Scenic Bus Ride In Switzerland

It was undoubtedly clear that as soon as the bus escaped Italy and entered into Swiss territory, the journey became far more surreal. The majestic Swiss Alps, perfectly beautified with an unbroken chain of white glaciers, crystal blue lakes and the many quaint villages – as I happened to explore, during a cheap 25 Euro Flixbus journey, offered no less than many million dollar views. I was travelling from Milan to Basel to spend my last weekend in Europe, before flying back to Delhi, and it couldn’t start any better. I mean there is no denying the fact that Switzerland offers the beauty unparalleled, on any road trip, taken in any direction — but this 300-km long stretch, even though I’d nothing more than a window seat on a public bus, felt no less spellbinding. (PS: Milan to Basel route was even better than Zurich-Lucern-Engelberg, as I explored during a day trip to Mount Titlis from Zurich) What To Expect From the Journey The first two hours, as we escaped Italy were perhaps the most boring, but as we …

My First Impression Of Basel

With museums galore, an emerald green river running through the heart of the city, and an old-world European charm, Basel indeed makes an appealing stopover. After spending a fortnight in the heart of Lazio, in Italy, while living with a Roman family and experiencing their way of life, as I left the country and started heading north, my preconceived, seemingly romanticized notions of Switzerland — now that I’d already explored Zurich and the Swiss Alps of Mount Titlis almost two months ago — started reappearing slowly. It was undoubtedly clear that the bus ride, as soon as we escaped Italy and entered into Swiss territory, became far more entertaining. Everything around now looked unbelievably beautiful. But as I arrived in Basel, and took the tram to my hostel, things became beautiful to another level. Basel was, indeed, a city to behold! An Old European Charm Despite being the third largest city in Switzerland, Basel unwinds itself as a romantic small town. Its many winding cobblestone streets, in the old town (that are also, lawfully, traffic free) are both narrow and beautiful. Its combination …

Exploring Rome On Segway

There are many ways to explore a city. Use public transport, hop-on-hop-off tourist buses, walk the streets, or take guided tours. But if you’re short on 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, on a fast track, 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 even better a delicious local lunch of Roman specialities was included in the tour. Though of course, Roman specialities can never be good in a restaurant, And my 15-day experience of living with a Roman family in the heart of Lazio, validated that statement for me well. Before The Tour The …

How To Skip The Crowds Of Vatican City

Over twenty thousand people visit Vatican City every day. And in Vatican, the holy Sistine Chapel. They hope of experiencing a sublime or spiritual moment, but only end-up having a baffling experience. I mean how can you, in God’s name, feel anything peaceful in a place where all you get to see is a crowd of people pouring in, and guards constantly shouting “no talking, no pictures”! The solution? Take an exclusive tour carried out before the opening hours (for the 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 to the general public, and for those who wish 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 claim to have their …

My First Impression Of Ljubljana, In Slovenia

Before I go any further, I’d like to confess that prior to my visit to Slovenia I knew a very little about this country, but my first impression of Slovenia changed it all. Other than vaguely being aware of it as ‘a part of Eastern Europe’, I knew nothing more about Slovenia. 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 were 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 was actually not very Eastern European — …