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”
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”
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”
I’ve been living in Switzerland for almost all of my adult life, and it’s arguably the country that I’ve come to know best. Switzerland is beautiful and unique, a treasure amongst treasures, and there’s nothing I love more than to spend an idle summer weekend wandering its mountains, lakes, and valleys.
If you’re planning a trip to this little Alpine paradise, allot yourself a few days to step out into its pristine nature and experience the rosy and spellbinding landscapes for yourself. Don’t know where to begin? Have a look below at my absolute favorite spots in all of Switzerland. These are the places I fell in love with, and the destinations I can wholeheartedly recommend to any traveler. Continue reading “The Best Swiss Landscapes”
From Switzerland, Naples is just a hop away. The InterCity runs from Zurich to Milan several times per day, and from there, it’s a direct ride aboard the Frecciarossa high-speed train. Southern Italy, however, is a world apart from the Alps. In place of snow-capped mountains, a lobotimized Vesuvius lingers forlornly in the distance—a heavy reminder of nature’s wrath and the fragility of civilization. But zoom in a little closer and you’ll discover a Napoli buzzing with lights, traffic, and life. Continue reading “72 Hours in Naples and Nearby”
Before reaching our final stop in Seville, we made a short detour to Cádiz by the sea. Originally founded by the Phoenicians more than three thousand years ago, Cádiz is one of the oldest European cities still currently inhabited, and the oldest one in Spain. But neither of us knew that when we were there. Sébastien wanted to see Cádiz because it was the setting of a French operetta, La belle de Cadix. And me, I was happy to get a whiff of the ocean breeze… Continue reading “Cádiz & Seville”