Tag Archives: Europe

Villa d’Este, Rome off the beaten path


Apart from the topmost things to do, I’m always looking for hidden gems (off the tourist map) when we visit a new country. I’m glad we found Villa d’Este in Italy, which is about an hour drive from Rome.

It is an Italian Villa nestled in the countryside with sweeping views of Rome. There are many gardens, hundreds of fountains, cascades and the grottoes.

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A Little Tour of Italy


France and Italy are the two countries in Europe that I had always wanted to visit. Since we checked off France in 2011, Italy was next on the list. Rome, Florence and Venice were the cities on our itinerary. But due to sudden hospitalization of my father, we visited only Rome. I guess that gives another reason to visit Italy again. 🙂 Rome took me by surprise; I expected it to have usual big city issues like traffic, smoke, crowds etc. But surprisingly it is a very clean city with elegance, so much of history and diverse architecture.

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Reminiscence of our stay in Paris

Paris was the only disappointment, out of all European cities that we visited last year. I guess because the expectations were high. We had heard so much about Paris. The Maharajas (and other elites from India) are known for their love affair with the French designers for centuries. Even now, the city remains a magnet for the most.

As our train approached Paris, it reminded me of Delhi. The old and not so tall buildings, some of the avenues and streets are just like what we see in Connaught Place, New Delhi.

After doing all the research, we narrowed down to only a few landmarks: Luxembourg Gardens, Palace of Versailles, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral and Eiffel Tower (of course). I will start with the most favorite first:

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Brussels means Business

The title of this post says it all. This is the feeling I got during a recent trip to Brussels. I knew it is the capital of the European Union but wasn’t expecting it to be so vibrant.

I didn’t get any sense of slowdown (in terms of economy) while I was in Brussels. This city is hustling and bustling with all kinds of business activities. The construction of new buildings and restoration work is in full swing.

The city is also orderly and clean unlike some of the other European cities. The only issue was that we visited Brussels after Brugge.. 🙂 so didn’t find that many opportunities for photography. I settled with few pics and focused on being there and enjoying the moment (rather than the photography).

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A City called Brugge

I have to thank Payal, Brinda’s friend who highly recommended Brugge. We had no idea that such a charming place existed in Belgium. This world heritage city is about an hour train ride from Brussels. It is also known as Venice of the North.

We got a good feeling about this city as soon as we got off the train and our trip also ended on the same note. It had pretty much everything that we were looking for. It was a real get away for us as we hadn’t seen anything like it in the US, Asia or Australia.

Brugge is perfect for relaxing or taking a break from busy life where you can be just yourself and don’t want to be bothered by anybody.

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