Finding Bliss on Lake Bled

Finding Bliss on Lake Bled

Situated at the carrefour between Balkan, Austrian, Italian, and Hungarian realms of influence, the Slovenes have managed to carve out a distinct identity for themselves: a unique mélange of Alpine and Slavic heritage with a spritz of the Mediterranean. The country’s landscape is diverse, ranging from hills and vineyards to breezy coastal towns on the banks of the Slovene Riviera.

Bled, located in the northwestern region of Slovenia known as Gorenjska, lies at the foothills of the Julian Alps. (‘Julian’ after Julius Caesar, who founded the Roman town of Cividale del Friuli on the other side of the range.) Here, the mark of the mountains is evident at first glance: wooden chalets with balconies of cascading of geraniums evoke a suspicion that Heidi might be hiding just around the corner.
Continue reading “Finding Bliss on Lake Bled”

A Journey to Lake Garda

A Journey to Lake Garda

Without knowing, without ever really having been conscious of it, I staked my entire existence on the tracks of the north-south axis, a line borne out of centuries of incessant toil which saw the mighty Alps finally conquered by spike and steel. I realize it now each time stepping into the wagon of a EuroCity in Zurich. To ride the train to Italy is to go back in time and unravel the stitches I had previously sewn shut, whether triumphantly or unwillingly. Continue reading “A Journey to Lake Garda”

Scenic Santorini: On the Trail from Fira to Oia

Scenic Santorini: On the Trail from Fira to Oia

I used to be fascinated with mythology as a child. The Greek pantheon, in particular, had always intrigued me with its tales of adventure and debauchery in faraway lands. Stories like Theseus and the Minotaur, the Birth of Aphrodite, and the Abduction of Ganymede untethered my attention from the ennui of school and homework. I dreamt often of these figures and of the vivid landscapes they inhabited; I dreamt that one day, I too, would traverse them on the way of my own adventure…
Continue reading “Scenic Santorini: On the Trail from Fira to Oia”

Île de Ré: Pearl of the French Atlantic

Île de Ré: Pearl of the French Atlantic

Specks of sunlight showered the inside of our bus. It wasn’t too hot, not for a late July afternoon, but a little muggy nonetheless. I must have been weaving in and out of sleep because I don’t recall ever crossing the bridge separating the island from the mainland port of La Rochelle. I do remember passing the Abbaye des Châteliers; I remember the ruins standing lustrously in their field of gold, a relic time couldn’t bear to fully ravage. Continue reading “Île de Ré: Pearl of the French Atlantic”

A Weekend in Lower Engadine

A Weekend in Lower Engadine

From Zurich, the Lower Engadine forming Switzerland’s eastern corner can be reached easily and comfortably by train, but it wasn’t always the case. For centuries, before the Rhaetian Railway and good roads connected this deeply cut vale in the canton of Graubünden with the rest of the country, the speckled hamlets of Engiadina bassa were left to themselves in sleepy seclusion, all but inaccessible to the world beyond the mountains. Continue reading “A Weekend in Lower Engadine”