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.
I feel at home the minute I set foot in some countries and feel like a total stranger even to myself in some others. With Scotland, it was love at first sight.
The spires of beautiful monuments and hilltop castles dominate the skyline in cities. Cattle grazing on rolling hills with a scenic backdrop characterize the Highlands. And the fishing villages are full of spirit and seagulls. Scotland, brimming with lochs (lakes) overflowing with legends of monsters and heroes, is now my favourite country.
As the harsh winter takes leave and makes way for spring, connecting with nature becomes much more delightful. My daily walks are now much slower, longer and gratifying as I stand and smell the proverbial roses.
While I lived in Bangalore for over a decade, I treated Ranganathittu as my backyard bird sanctuary. A trip to Ranganathittu bird sanctuary had always been a pit stop before heading to big national parks like Nagarhole, Bandipur, BR Hills and the likes. The fondest memories I have of my trips include devouring Kadubu (rice cakes) […]
Dutch villages are known for iconic windmills, beautiful tulip gardens, impressive old town with stunning architecture in the form of churches, archways, museums, and bridges.