There was this cafeteria in the heart of the old town, a perfect escape with its shades on an extremely warm Wednesday. After the coffee kick I was ready to travel the city where old and new, odd and conventional, peaceful residents and loud football fans mixed surprisingly well. Pity that I only had a few hours in Maribor, but luckily I managed to make the most out of my brief stay. If you are around this Slovenian gem, this is how you can jump in the middle of the “small” city’s bustling everydays.
Located in Upper Austria, surrounded by mountains and a crystal clear lake, the charming village of Hallstatt has not only attracted thousands and thousands of visitors from all parts of the world but the Chinese also needed one right away so they came, saw, measured and copied the whole damn thing. And the result?
When you just know you have to take that next step. When life starts to kick your ass and have to take the challenge knocking harder and harder on your door. When you know you can’t fiddle around in one place anymore and life anyway will sort the rest out.
Museo della Tortura – San Gimignano, Italy
Short and sweet or long and tedious, plane journeys can be equally dull and frustrating when no activity is found up there to keep the hyperactive traveler’s mind on a constant spinning-mode. Preparing for a 10-hour flight or even a short hour disconnection from the ground freaks you out? No need to stress much, rather take advantage of every single minute while above the clouds.
Returning home from a journey is always another journey. Here are 5 reasons behind the secretly awaited moment:
Overdosing pasta and Carpaccio Italian style – part IV.
… and the usual-unusual touring in Tuscany did not end here but rather turned into a desperate gem-hunting spree to avoid the guide-book’s top ten and get lost off-road.
Il Guerrino – a hidden gem in Montefioralle
TenAm. WeOverSlept. CoffeeQuickly. WhatDayIsIt? ThankGodSaturday. WhatDidWePlan? NothingExtra. AreWeCrazy? InItaly? WhereShouldWeGo? NoIdea. FirstThingFirst. Let’sHaveBreakfast. What’sInTheFridge? JustAYogurt. WellWhatToDo. WhatTimeIsIt? It’sEleven. HalfDayIsGone.
Unexpected visitor – Marsaxlokk fish market, Malta
Overdosing pasta and Carpaccio Italian style– part II.
What’s common in vintage cars, pristine landscape, Harley-Davidson and crystal clear water? I also didn’t know but pretty much seems to be it’s Lake Garda, coz all these can be easily spotted on the way from south to north, from east to west. Driving around the biggest Italian lake is feast for the eyes and food for the soul.
Italy and design walk hand in hand to shape a dream.
Room – La Triennale di Milano
Overdosing pasta and Carpaccio Italian style– part I.
A city pervaded by a great architect’s designs. A city amongst the wealthiest in the Northern part of the boot. With Verona to the west and Padova to the east Vicenza is often overlooked by the mass tourism, so luckily it managed to preserve its old charm. The winding cobblestone streets without the maddening crowds of visitors, gothic and renaissance arcades, hidden villas, elegant cafés, tiny shops coupled with the unparalleled architecture definitely put the city on the “must-see in Italy” list for all off the beaten track travelers. Among lots of small and medium size museums, graceful villas and churches I managed to find those hidden treasures I was looking for.
Traveling the world and hopping from one country to the other is something that certainly everyone would be up to try. Whether trekking the globe is happening bit by bit or in one go you finally get to tick that bucket list jotted down ages ago.
Currently I am on another 12-day trip in Italy to immerse myself in the beauty, culture and cuisine of the country as summer kicks-off. On my list are exploring Milan’s tranquility and side street cafes, marveling the enthralling architecture in Palladio’s Vicenza, driving around Italy’s biggest freshwater, Lake Garda, walking the roads of the ancient university town of Padova, getting lost in the center of Shakespeare’s love story, Verona and hopping from train to train, bus to bus to see anything I can squeeze into my travel schedule developing on the go. So bring on the sunshine, bring on Italia!
Some of us go to Egypt to fulfill a long-term dream by seeing its monumental symbol, the Pyramids and visiting the remains of the ancient building complex, the Luxor temples on the bank of the Nile. Some others opt for the country for its abundant sunshine and blatantly affordable 5-star luxury to worry about nothing else during the holiday but to avoid overeating at the all-inclusive buffet. But is there anything else you can do beyond the comfort of the hotel walls and the air-co seats of the tour bus? Sure, there is.
Traveling without your camera is traveling without shoes. You are physically able to do it but you constantly feel something is missing.
Luckily even in my early years of traveling I thought the same and even though the photos are a far cry from being professional they are good enough to recall the moments of my wanderings in this astonishing South Indian state.
Fishermen at work – Chinese fishing nets in Cochin
Khao Sok, Thailand
How would you discover big cities’ mysterious corners, the countryside beauties and rural island paths? If I’m not wandering around alone, I definitely opt for an original kind of outing, rather than following the red umbrella. So here’s the deal.
Prejudice is all around, walking hand-in-hand with us. For some it’s stronger, for some it’s less. Our exaggerated generalizations get a lot more intense when we travel abroad. We haven’t even visited the country but ‘we know’ many about its people. We heard that the French not for all the tea in China speak English, the Swiss will never be your best dudes, India is all a sizeable slum, the Africans are hungry and wild and fill in the blank.
Storefront sign – Birzebbuga, Malta
We are all waiting for something. Always, ever. We are waiting to be 18 and we are waiting to finish high school. We are waiting to get to university but soon after waiting to graduate. We are waiting to get a job and we are waiting for a promotion. We are waiting for the perfect relationship and we are waiting to get married. We are waiting to set up a family and we are waiting to buy our first home. That’s how we stroll through life. Waiting can be exciting but might also turn frustrating. Sometimes we have to wait only for an hour or two, e.g. when at the airport, but it can be longer when we missed our connections. This is the frustrating kind of waiting. Life goes on out there and what we do is just sit and wait, because
“what else can we do”?
Too much waiting in life is like a slow killing poison. It gets into our home, our workplace, our everydays, drags us down and slowly takes control of our life. When waiting too long the moments of present are missed. Slowly we get completely disconnected from the reality since all we do is sitting idle. Either literally or at the back of our mind. When an unplanned event happens, that turns our life suddenly upside down, people tend to say
“time will sort things out”.
But how much time? How long we have to stand still for time to sort our things and let us live our life again? Shouldn’t we just be more flexible and take things as they come? Not that we should take everything easy but just a little more flexibility? Shouldn’t we just let us go with the flow sometimes and cherish every little moment of our precious life? Why do we want to turn 18? Isn’t it better to have a carefree life? What’s the problem with high school? It’s so much fun! Uni is a cool place, so many interesting folks you get connected with. When waiting to get our first job or just lost our job the lots of free time can be used to live for something we always enjoyed doing or always wanted to do. And the list goes on. Working towards our goals is important but instead of the void waiting game you are better up living, breathing, exploring and enjoying.
journeyfiles musings & tidbits on travel:
- Solo traveling also has its pros, find out more about it
- See how to trek the globe with an open mind in Breaking prejudice
- Discover places through locals’ eyes in Worn down shoes do inspire
- Guests are not welcome? The most common hotel mistakes
- Think you are not gifted with skills? Trek the world and see it yourself
- Holiday is over? See how to overcome pain When the journey ends
- Get inspired how to pass time up in the skies Because great ideas are born above the clouds
- Life is a journey and sometimes you have to make that next step
The highest sailing boat…
Hotel Daniel, Vienna
When was the last time you totally let your hair down? When was the last ‘burn the house down’ kind of night out with your friends? Dancing the night away is something that keeps us going in our teens, essential in our social life in our twenties, gets us connected in our thirties, brings some memorable weekends in our forties. And so on. And how is all that when you do it on an island?
As spring is knocking hard on our door (actually we’ve already let it in), we are itching to get out to nature more than ever. Probably with this in mind, I caught myself looking at photos of lakes the other day. Not a particular lake but all kind of lakes. Then memories were flooding back all of a sudden of last summer’s family vacation.
Pre-season lake holiday
This is the place where modern meets traditional and Gothic meets Art Deco. The fascinating architecture of Paris makes the city one of a kind in Europe and throughout the world. Be it Renaissance or contemporary, stone or metal structure looking at the details will make you adore the city more than ever before.
Paris from bird’s eye view
No time would be long enough to discover all the beauties, major and off-tracks, splendid buildings and tiny shops Paris hides. To try to make the most out of it, a well-constructed list and a detailed map were my best travel companions when I visited (came in very handy indeed). Yet so many things left undiscovered for now but not for ever.
Eiffel Tower sneak peek
Before not at all I would have considered traveling alone as an option. Ok, that was long time ago. I was thinking (way too wrong!) that you need company, people to talk to, to go out with, to be protected by and so on. But traveling unaccompanied no way means you are a lonely wanderer. There are so many unprecedented things waiting for you out there so are the pros of walking the roads alone.
The streets of India are always alive…
Started with a filling breakfast, then visited a number of upcoming hot spots in Vienna. After a short break I hit the streets of the buzzing Austrian capital again.
Due to the hearty breakfast just a few hours back, some quick bites were more than enough to get back on track for the afternoon. The good thing is that you can always grab something fast and healthy in Vienna. You can pick up a whole-grain sandwich in one of the bakeries, if opting for something light you can find a number of vegetarian restaurants around the seventh district. Pop in for the daily vegetarian and vegan lunch menu to Govinda (Lindengasse 2).
One of the guest rooms at Hotel Daniel
Conventional yet innovative, bustling yet livable, Vienna is very different from other capital cities around Europe. Loyal to it’s traditions but open for the new this fantastic city can always surprise. Travelers who venture beyond the obvious will be left with colorful memories and a good dose of inspiration. I’ve put on my walking shoes on a Saturday morning and checked for myself what all the sidetracks hide.
We go to wellness hotels for many reasons. We work hard so we deserve it. We are heartbroken, so we deserve it. We have anniversaries, birthdays, name days, joy, sorrow, kids, no kids, lost our job, got a job… so we deserve it. In fact, sitting in the spa, musing about life while your mind and muscles are pampered is one of those uplifting moments in life. Well, up to the point when you see other guests circulating around ‘your’ Jacuzzi or giving an urging look through the window of the infra sauna, as a slight indication that you are sitting inside for more than 15 minutes. This can certainly kill those moments when you felt you breath with the place. Suddenly the well deserved vacation turns into a sneaky fight for deck chairs and for a good position under the neck massage jet.
It was a warm day. We traveled an hour in the car to reach there. We had to look it up on the map. I’ve never heard about it before. That’s my bad. We were searching for a house. Not like a house to live in but rather a place to retreat. The village was silent. The roads were empty.
An unforgettable trip always has something to do with wine. Wherever in the world, unless alcohol is banned, wine helped so many travelers across the globe to overcome language barriers and smoothen their way to people and culture. That’s how we feel at least after a couple of glasses.
Beyond guidebooks around the Maltese islands (part IV.)
The best Sunday pastime on the island? Sure you can get your suntan lying on the beach or have a grand buffet brunch out, however to me Sunday’s were about the always so lively, always so loud fish market.
Beyond guidebooks around the Maltese islands (part III.)
There is a small village down south with a small population. It might seem insignificant for some, but all the more important for its residents. And me. Birzebbuga gave me joy for the day, shelter for the night and friends for a lifetime.
Beyond guidebooks around the Maltese islands (part II.)
Did anyone say Malta was relaxing? It’s time to rethink. With a territory 5 times smaller than London, this charming place has a lot to offer the adventurous traveler. Getting above or underwater, hanging from the rock or racing off-road, Malta is slowly getting on the bucket list of adrenaline junkies.
Beyond guidebooks around the Maltese islands (part I.)
Traveling to Malta for the umpteenth time? Staying longer than a short-term vacationer? Living on the rock for over 14 months, within weeks I’ve finished off all the sightseeing the guidebooks had to offer. Then I put the map and a bottle of water in my bag and let the roads take me wherever they had to take me. Out of this experience I’m starting a series of alternative trips around the islands to share some handy tips with fellow travelers.
Feel like jetting off to a place to leave the rat race behind for a while and just find your little escape in nature? Have you dreamed about being offline for more than 24 hours and enjoy the pure serenity of flora and fauna? Three hidden accommodations built right in the heart of nature await those with adventurous soul.
Rainforest bathroom – Elephant Hills, Thailand
The best way to start immersing in a country’s culture and heritage is to get a taste of their cuisine. Skipping the luring restaurants on busy shopping streets targeting masses of tourists, the real secrets of a country’s gastronomy are waiting to be discovered away from the city’s buzz. The following restaurants are offering unforgettable journeys around (the world) to the traditional gastronomic delights of 3 countries.
Can’t get more local than this – Seagull restaurant, Kerala
In today’s competitive hospitality industry some hotels just don’t want to keep up and mastered the art of frustrating guests, chasing them away forever. So see a list of the most common mistakes – from my perspective – a hotelier should just not turn a blind eye to.
Berlin has always been a top pic among hip travelers. We love it for its profound history, abundant culture, underground bars and cosmopolitan atmosphere. It’s so wanted by the young crowd around the world that in a Lufthansa competition a Swedish guy – among 41 others – went as far as to change his name from the absolute normal Michael Andersson to hilarious sounding Klaus-Heidi (a mix of German male and female name) to win a new life in the German capital prepaid by the airline. So how Berlin can keep on attracting a good number of visitors year by year?
A city with 1000 faces – 25hours Bikini Berlin Hotel
Have you heard of the increasingly famous vineyards in Hungary? Probably Tokaj, home of the sweet golden liquid. But you better know that this is not the only notable wine region in the country.
Lonely wine cellar
Milano. Beyond the Duomo and Da Vinci’s Last Supper it offers many off-path venues for the design hunters. You only have an afternoon and a night free to immerse? Here we go.
All about design – reception at Nhow Milano Hotel
It was a journey back in time, stepping into a rather hallucinatory universe of young intellectuals, hipsters, rebels, artists. The world of the Beat generation.
The morning of 1st January when most people were struggling to get out of bed, or actually they went to bed at that time I started to feel an inner push, an urge which did kick me out of bed in the early hours. Something repeatedly was telling me ‘what you do today will reflect on your entire year, get up and be productive’. I took my morning shot of coffee, with an unusually fair amount of time devoted for breakfast and went on to immerse myself in a couple of projects I have started have been planning to start recently. My New Year’s resolution for 2014? Stop dreaming about things, get up, get out and just get it!
Printa design shop
If you were a tourist in your own country and were looking for off the beaten track places do you know where would you go? What spots would you hit with a friend coming from abroad to amaze him? These are the questions I asked myself earlier today while taking the public transport to my Italian teacher. Looking out of the window I was like, how beautiful this city is. I studied here for 4 years, then worked here for a few more and actually still living here at the moment but I’ve never devoted enough time to explore Budapest further. I know where to shop what, where to go out for a few drinks or a nice dinner, what are the major landmarks, but nothing beyond that. That’s not good enough. So I decided to add the ‘get to know your home country’ activity to my to do list. I am going to dedicate a full day going around the city where I live and find the hip places, art galleries, local designer stores, small spas, restaurants and side street bars. Sounds like a good starting point.
What about you? Do you really know your city?
Discover Budapest off the beaten track: Design, vintage, art and wine – Budapest side street walks
There’s something that never changes. And that is the beauty of Italy. There can be winter or summer, economy rising or declining, the boot-shaped country proudly shows off its constant splendor. But what’s all the buzz about?
Mesmerizing landscape of Northern Italy