From Prussian splendor to post-war gloom

A German Christmas Story – Day 2 in Berlin – Checkpoint Charlie and Schloss Charlottenburg I fell asleep early the night before and did not make it to a Christmas market after all. However, I unashamedly got thirteen hours of sleep after a restless night before leaving for Berlin and almost none on my flight,…

Anywhere with a castle

Anglotopia Day 12 – Kendal & Carlisle  Sunshine greeted me early the next morning, as I had forgotten to pull the sunshade on my rooftop window. With rail pass in tow, I hopped a train to Kendal, only a stop or two away from Windermere, to take a wander around the town and visit the…

Highlights of a hidden gem

If you aren’t sure about visiting Bratislava, here are some reasons why you should: The view from the castle(s) are fantastic. Bratislava Castle looks over the city, and Devin Castle, which I didn’t get a chance to see, looks over the confluence of the Moravia and Danube rivers. 2. The buildings look like they are…

The last coffee shop before the castle

Despite the mishap with the train reservation (and another lesson learned), I figured I would at least make it up to Bratislava Castle for the view over the city. It was later afternoon now, so most of the things inside the castle were closed for the day, but the grounds were still open to walk…

I just want your extra time and your … Kiss.

Another day, another gorgeous palace to explore … and little tribute to Prince, RIP. The Lonely Planet guide says that if you’re going to visit any place in Vienna, it should be Belvedere. With its combination of beautiful views (Belvedere – beautiful view), gardens galore, and the Upper and Lower parts of the art museums,…

Let’s go to the Hof!

The Hofburg. Because one palace isn’t enough if you’re a mega-wealthy royal. What does help if you learn how to read a map. I knew at some point on this holiday that I would look at the map and walk in the opposite direction. Well, it happened this morning as I exited the metro and looked…

Schonbrunn on a Sunday

Easter Sunday, to be exact. Rule #1 when visiting anything in Europe during Easter season – prebook your tickets for all popular sites. This absolutely saved my time. There are two popular websites for this: Imperial Austria (tickets to all major Imperial castles and palaces in/near Vienna) and the palace’s home website. Do it. Seriously….

Up to the castle ramparts before it rains

The jaunt up Kossuth Lajos Utca was a sunny one, cheerful, and beautiful. Honestly, Eger is a gorgeous little city, especially when you come up to the Eger Stream, which moves winsomely through the old(er) sections of town. Just near the castle and the stream is the lovely Marjan Cukraszda, a cafe with dessert-full cases…

Give me a map and a one street town and I’ll still get lost

Eger, Hungary, is known for it’s red wine production, notably the Bull’s Blood  variety. It’s a dark, rich, gorgeous wine. I embarked early again, nearly forgetting to set my alarm properly to be up at dawn’s first light, and tucked my feet into plastic bags as I was woefully short of rain boots and it…

Away to the Citadel and an impromptu meander through Budapest

After about twenty minutes of winding around and down and using creating thinking skills to figure out which way to go, I made it to the street flanking the Danube and followed it toward the Citadel. Up and up the path wound, toward the St. Gellert Monument and then stairs beyond it. The path wasn’t…

A dash of sunshine, a sprinkle of surrealism, and stir

Following a truly satisfying hour long tour of Hospital in the Rock, I ventured back up to the city on the hill and found the quintessential Miró Cafe, a cafe dedicated to the surrealist master, painted in brilliant colors, and decorated with bits of his art. I indulged in the ultra-meaty beef stew with its thick, cotton-cloud-like…

It’s a Storybook Kind of City – Prague – Day 1.2

Landing in Prague means landing out in the middle of a field, away from the central city. It also means long queues at the passport control station, but hey, I got my Czech Republic stamp in my passport, and I was finally back in Europe after so many years. I was willing to wait as…