All posts filed under: Europe

In sLOVEnia with lakes,caves and the Julian Alps!

Slovenia – a pocket-sized country with what seems to be a difficult-to-pronounce name for its capital Ljubljana (somewhat like : Lube-Lee-Yah-Na. Let’s address Ljubljana as LJ from now on.) However, don’t be fooled by its small size –  it has so much to offer for travellers that many don’t have any traces of regret left after visiting this charming country. Check out Rick Steve’s praise for this country on his website/blogs! You’ll fall in love with it and that’s why their Tourism Board pitches their slogan as: ‘I FEEL SLOVENIA’ Day 1 : Day Trip from LJ to Vogel (Vogel Ski Resort) (Triglav National Park – Triglavski narodni park), Lake Bohinj (Bohinjsko jezero) and Lake Bled (Blejsko jezero) Gaurav and I stayed for two nights in LJ in Hostel Vila Veselova run by a sweet lady called Vandana ( she has visited India before). We woke up quite early on 29 June to catch a bus to Vogel from LJ. We had booked the bus ticket from LJ Bus Stand the evening before and started the journey at around …

Call me Ahmetović !

Bosnia and Herzegovina… This country conjures up images of war and terror, of ethnic cleansing, and of course ‘Balkanization’. I was a small child in school when the former Yugoslavia and the USSR broke apart but those images still seem relatively recent in memory! A brief history of this country since the start of 20th century is essential to get a grasp of it’s troubled state and may be summed up as follows: “Bosnia and Herzegovina annexed to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated in Sarajevo and World War I started because of this. Became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes after World War I.During World War II, it became a part of Independent State of Croatia (World War II puppet state of Germany and Italy) under Nazism and Fascism. Became part of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia after being liberated during end of World War II under leadership of Tito. After the collapse of communism in the early 1990s, war broke out. An extremely complex multi-ethnic scenario. Muslims and Serbs …

“An der schönen blauen Donau !” – Day 1

7-8 June, 2015 Boo-dah-pesht – not to be confused with Bucharest! Whenever I hear the word Budapest, a famous waltz (by the great Austrian composer Johann Strauss II) plays in my mind. It is “The Blue Danube” or more commonly known in German as “An der schönen blauen Donau” (By the Beautiful Blue Danube) . Well, the Danube may not be that blue in Budapest. Don’t blame me for not telling you this! A Wall Street Journal article describes the song : “As with most waltzes, each successive episode, with its subtle change of instrumentation and mood, is repeated before proceeding to the next one. This lends a feeling of symmetry and substance to the musical architecture, while giving us the pleasure of hearing each melodic invention twice. Indeed those lilting, surging melodies, while not actually descriptive, seem inspired by the Danube’s currents and the whirlpools and swells churned up by the paddle wheels of its steamboats.” Though I can’t read music, I feel that the magnificent architecture of Budapest is as varied as musical …

First birthday outside India ( 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites)

I had actually planned this short South-East Europe trip to coincide with my first ever birthday outside my country – India. The last time a birthday cake was cut for me was four years back and I don’t care for my birthday anyway! This time also, no birthday cake was cut but however it was much special as I did not realize that I would be checking out 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that day technically (to account for IST and CET time difference!). On 9th July, I reached Country No. 8 (last country – Poland) of my trip. Kraków it is! There is some joie de vivre associated with this academic and artistic city which is an economic hub of Poland. Also former Pope John Paul II was a priest here before he became the Pope.Since Kraków was relatively undamaged in the Word War II, it retained its grand architecture almost intact and in its Old Town, it has the largest medieval market square in Europe,the Rynek Główny. My accommodation Cracow Hostel is located just at …

A Bite of Balkan

(This post originally appeared in my friend Prateek Dasgupta’s blog on food and it’s impact on culture – Flavor Of Spice) This summer of 2015, I went on a short trip (partially solo and partially with a college friend) to South-East Europe touching some of the Balkan countries (Slovenia, Croatia , Bosnia and Herzegovina – parts of the former Yugoslavia) on the way. This gave me an exciting opportunity to taste some of the varied cuisine of the region including a healthy amount of seafood too as we passed through the stunning Adriatic Coast and the Dalmatian region of Croatia. Former Yugoslavia has had its own share of brutal internal conflicts leading to its breakup and one of the worst war scars in relatively recent history.Like its varied ethnicity, its cuisine is also a culinary melting pot. You may read the rest of the blog here .