How many times have we been prescribed “spending time in nature” as an antidote to busting stress, to losing weight, to mending a broken heart, to maintaining sanity? Then why not connect with nature as you travel.
Staycations are an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. While you go on a long vacation sometimes, you can go on a staycation anytime you please.
It is after I moved to Germany watching the locals I learnt to enjoy staycations. For instance, coming from India, I took sunny days for granted and for good reasons. But here I notice when the Sun makes its grand appearance in summer, the sunroofs of cars slide open, the best sunglasses and barbecue grills will be on display in parks and balconies. People spend most of their time outdoors, making it looks like an open-air festival.
When the soup arrived, I understood why people eat it for lunch. The massive soup bowl contained at least five litres of soup in it. Now I moved on to the next challenge, that is, what to eat it with. It was too watery with floating vegetables and tofu in it.
You can’t just stroll around Moelln without stopping every few steps to gasp at the dreamy landscape. The tiny lakes streaming through the town, dotted with swans and lined with charming houses cast a spell on its onlookers. It is best to visit Moelln in spring or summer, for you can choose a bench in one of the many beautiful parks and enjoy a scenic view of the dense forest from across a lake while licking a cone of ice-cream.
I’m a sucker for scenic castles and the legends that entail them, and Germany is full of them, 20,000 castles to be precise, and I’m still counting the legends. My excitement knew no bounds when I discovered there was a stunning castle just 100 km from Hamburg. Thus, one fine spring morning, we set off on a day trip to Schwerin, a picturesque town and home to the renowned Schwerin castle.
The iconic Heidelberg castle overlooks the Neckar valley as the river Necker glistens through it. A stroll through the long, narrow lanes of the old city, laced with Baroque architecture, unveils the romantic landscape of Heidelberg: the famous old bridge (Alte Brücke), an arch bridge surrounded by the forest-clad hills. At sunset, drenched in the warm glow, the town puts up a show that inspired many a poet and artist alike.
I came away with mixed feelings visiting Marrakech, Morocco and I’ll tell you why.
Strolling through the narrow, dirt lanes of Marrakech, I travelled back home to India. Arrays of shops hugging the crowded streets sold an assortment of products: Moroccan jewellery, handwoven rugs, leather goods, and heaps of spices, among other things. Bright kaftans hung from the stores’ ceilings, and glass enclosures displayed Moroccan lanterns and what looked like brass and bronze artefacts. And the stray dogs wandering through the streets added to the Indian-ness.
In the wee hours of the morning, safari jeeps zip through the mist-covered forest. Foraging langurs, usually the first mammals in sight, and humans exchange curious glances. Sambars scurry into thickets at the sight of an approaching jeep. A pack of dholes tease each other in the distance. Jeeps trace their way, each taking a different route, from one water body to another where the animals come for a drink. Naturalists listen and observe intently for calls and sightings of animals and exchange information on their mobiles with other naturalists.
While exploring the artsy neighbourhoods of Berlin, admiring the graffiti-ridden walls, one of my friends, a Berliner, once told me that Berlin is the sexy lady of Germany while Hamburg is the pretty lady. I could not agree more. If I have to describe Hamburg, a city I now call home, in a few words, […]
Germany abounds in well-kept parks and ponds. To my surprise, I started spotting wildlife like deer and wild boar casually go about their business even in ordinary parks where people go walking or beer drinking.