Expert Travel Reviews

Saint Moritz, Switzerland

January 31, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Nestled in the heart of the Engadin valley amidst the magnificent peaks of the Swiss Alps is the popular resort of Saint Moritz. With sunshine almost all year round, the resort has become a destination for the rich and famous.

St. Moritz has a multitude of activities that will keep any visitor occupied. It features miles of ski trails, winter walking paths, snowboarding sites and other fun snow-based activities. If you ever get tired of the white powder (snow), you can always take to the air and take in the beauty of St. Moritz by hang gliding or parasailing. When the cold climes get too much for you, you can head indoors for some tennis, squash or swimming. The resort also features casino, opulent accommodation and excellent restaurants to dine in.

The location is popular and well known, with its history of visitors stretching back as far as 3,000 years. The initial draw to the town was due to its healing springs, which contain mineral water that is strong in carbonated iron. Over the years, the attractions have slowly grown in size and variety. In addition to all the snow-based activities, St. Moritz also features a golf course, biking, rafting, horseback riding, polo and windsurfing among other activities.

With stunning scenery and a wide variety of activities to engage in, St. Moritz is a destination that you will have to spend more than a week in to fully enjoy and absorb. Nevertheless, even if it means staying only one day, it remains a place that you must visit at least once in your lifetime.

Dublin, Ireland

January 31, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Dublin derives its name from “Dubh Linn”, from its early days when it was a Viking trading post. The name literally means Dark Pool, and the town merged with a nearby Celtic settlement named Baile Átha Cliath, to become the Dublin we know today.

The city is a great place to visit as it contains a rich mix of the old and the new. Among the most visited old cultural places are Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Castle and Christchurch Cathedral. Apart from this, you can also go to a few of the remaining structures from the 17th century. As most of the structures from that period were constructed from wood, only a few cathedrals, churches and one part of a castle have survived. Once you visit these locations, you can set your sights on some new attractions. Sea world, the Zoo and the nature preserve are all great places to visit. If you are looking for a relaxing time, you can go to Phoenix Park, the largest park in the European continent, and enjoy the pleasant view of the exquisite and formal gardens. There are many museums and art galleries as well in Dublin for your pleasure.

After a long walk, you can step in to the Guinness Brewery and the Temple Bar and take a load off while enjoying some brew. Dublin is home to many musical talents, including U2, as well as literary talents such as Shaw, Yeats, Joyce and Beckett, so you will never be lost for some entertainment or stimulation of the mind.

With all this and more to offer, Dublin is a fantastic destination for the whole family to enjoy.

Copenhagen, Denmark

January 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

A city in Denmark, Copenhagen is a city full of charm. Located on the eastern coast of Denmark’s biggest island called Zealand, Copenhagen is Scandinavia’s largest city and has been Denmark’s capital for over six centuries.

The city is full of picturesque narrow streets, old houses and canals. A walk along the streets of Copenhagen during the early hours of the morning will fill you up with the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked bread. Unlike other cities, this one is not structured into single purpose districts.
Bicycles are a popular choice of transport in this city and it is quite apparent when you consider that the city has on offer over 2,000 bikes for travelers at around 150 racks. The entire process is made simpler by a coin deposit mechanism, which unlocks the bike rack. Your deposit is refunded when you return the bicycle.

Home to the longest pedestrian mall in the world named Strøget that was built in 1962 it is a combination of five streets: Frederiksberggade, Nygade, Vimmelskaftet, Amagertorv and Ostergade.

Get yourself a Copenhagen card, for this is the best way for you to sight see your way across the entire city. You can choose from a one, two or three day option, and the card enables you to travel around Copenhagen for free using public transport services. The card also gives you entry to over 60 museums and other entertainment venues and places of interest in the city.

The public transport system in Copenhagen is an efficient one. Buses and trains operate from 5 am to midnight. Night buses run every 30 minutes.
Places of interest that you must visit during your stay in Copenhagen include, the administrative place of Christianborg Slot located on the island of Slotsholmen and the mesmerizing steeple of Vor Frelsers Kirke.

Prague, Czech Republic

January 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Czech Republic’s capital city Prague borders Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland. It is a much-favored European destination by tourists and is the only European capital that boasts of over six centuries of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture left intact despite war or natural disasters.

Also referred to as the ‘Rome of the North’, Prague gets its name as it was built on nine hills, quite similar to Rome, which was built on seven. The nine hills are Letna, Vitkov, Opys, Vetrov, Skalka, Emauzy, Vysehrad, Karlov and Petrin.

A picturesque city, Prague is not only enchanting but also ideal for an outdoor holiday choice or even if you like dabbling in winter sports. Some of the must-visit sites include the Hradcany castle, Malá Strana, Staré Mesto (Old Town), Josefov, the old Jewish quarter and Nové Mesto (New Town).

Apart from its age old architectural construction, Prague also experienced a cultural upheaval, and this is evident from the new cafes, galleries, restaurants and clubs that serve tourists and expatriates.

Dubbed Europe’s new Left Bank, Prague is best explored by riding on tram #22, which offers a free tour of downtown Prague. The final destination is Prague Castle, from where you should walk down to the Old Town Square. The 1,700 ft bridge is a marvel and crossing it can be quite an adventure. Remember to wear comfortable shoes while walking around the city, as the cobblestone-paved streets are not easy to endure on long walking trips.

The food in Prague has an Austro-Hungarian feel to it and its specialties are, bramborak, which is a potato pancake filled with herbs, garlic and Prague ham.

The shopping in Prague is replete with goods ranging from antiques to crystals and even books and works of art.

Brussels, Belgium

January 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The city of Brussels is a rich fusion of modernism and medievalism. Dotted with beautiful architectural structures, the city is also home to a number of museums and galleries worth visiting. You can explore the inner city either by foot, or by bus or tram. For extensive travel, Brussels has a fabulous subway system.

Over the years, every major power imaginable has ruled Brussels, be it the Spanish, the Germans and even the Romans. Now, a hotspot for the international business community, diplomats, politicians, NATO and EU officials, steel and glass buildings cover Brussels’ business sector – located just a few meters away from its nouveau architecture clad section.

In early times, Belgian artists were famous for being the inventors of oil paintings, and Belgium has produced many a masterpiece in its time. Following these masterpieces in oil painting has been in practice ever since Jan Van Eyck started this trend in the 15th century.

In terms of architectural structure, the Atomium, modelled on a molecule of iron, is one of the most striking post World War II structures. Standing at 300 feet, the reason for building this structure in 1958 was for the Belgian metal industry’s exhibit hosting the World’s Fair. The nine spheres of the steel structure are connected using cylindrical columns.

Brussels was not only famous for its paintings and architecture, but was also rich in literature, dance, music, sculpture and textiles.
Food in Belgium is considered only second to French cuisine and is a combination of French and German styles of cooking. Seafood and meat are the main ingredients in Belgian food. Interestingly, Belgians are the inventors of ‘frites’ also known as potato chips or fries while Belgian chocolate and beer are also highly sought after.

Vienna, Austria

January 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Vienna was right alongside Paris and London in beauty, power and importance just before the Second World War – all thanks to Vienna being one of the main transit points between Eastern and Western Europe. It was a place of inspiration for composers and artists; revolutionaries perfected plans and great theories; all while being in Vienna. It was the choice of destination of vacationing amongst the rich, while the poor yearned for it to escape their sorrows and hardship.

Romanticism was not always Vienna’s allure. During the Cold War, Vienna was a mere distance away from the Iron Curtain. With trade ceasing in the East, tourists were far and few in Vienna, which was then just a war-torn city. The city soon made a comeback with the Eastern Jewels – Budapest, Prague, and Krakow -growing in popularity and wealth. The city’s old world charm lured many tourists and it grew in its magnificence.
If you yearn for fin-de-siècle architecture coupled with a fabulously laid back environment, Vienna is the place to visit. The city’s landscape is painted with the finesse of great artists and composers of yesteryear – expect huge palaces on almost every street corner and church steeples piercing the sky above. From European architecture to the medieval Rathaus, Gothic Stephensdom and the Greco-Roman, it is all there in its wonderful splendor.

Take a walk down the streets dotted with quaint little cafes, shops and bakeries. The Viennese are a well-mannered and well-educated lot, fairly conservative as well and speak a fair amount of English.

Jackson, Mississippi

January 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Expect a wonderful fusion of the old south and 21st century when you visit Jackson, Mississippi. Walk amongst wonderfully preserved historic buildings ranging from the City Hall to the governor’s mansion to Baptist and Presbyterian churches and antique shops. Visit the flea markets, you never know – you might find some fascinating things there.

With a population of over 180,000 people, Jackson recounts a history to be proud of – boasting of being the location for the world’s first ever heart and lung transplants, home to the famed literary greats; Eudora Welty and Margaret Walked Alexander. The city gets its name from Major General Andrew Jackson, the USA’s seventh President. The city has had a colourful and turbulent past with it being burnt three times during the civil war by Union Troops and in the 1960s, Jackson played a crucial role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Named as one of America’s Best Places to Live, Work and Play, Jackson is amongst the top 30 most ‘livable’ communities in the country and embodies its motto “Best of the New South”. The fairly well developed city boasts of having the most advance state-of-the-art conference centre, and also seven colleges and junior colleges, 11 hospitals, the famous University of Mississippi Medical Centre. Rich in culture and arts, Jackson has much more than a regular city has on offer – from the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the Mississippi Opera and the New Stage Theatre.

The moderate climate in Jackson means the number of recreational choices is many, like golf, swimming, tennis and baseball.
This beautiful city full of old world charm and new also has an active nightlife as well as mouth-watering gourmet dining options from Greek, Continental, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, French, Mexican, Thai, Mexican, Russian, or traditional Southern cooking.

Indianapolis, Indiana

January 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Indianapolis has long been known for, and forever will be associated with motor racing. The Indy 500 has traditionally drawn hordes of fans to the city and has kept the tourist population happy for many a year. However, the city is focusing on broadening its appeal. Indianapolis wants to be known to visitors for reasons other than motor racing and is working hard towards it.

Among the family oriented attractions is the Soldiers and Sailors monument. This features a 284 foot spire, atop which rests a 30 foot Bronze statue known as Miss. Indiana. The Monument Circle is also surrounded by entertainment centers, museums, sports stadiums and hotels.

Notable among the new developments is the performance and exhibition space called Indianapolis Arts Garden. The structure is an eight story rotunda suspended over a busy intersection. The city also features several museums, including an excellent children’s museum. Complete with hands on learning, a towering climbing wall, planetarium and an educational IMAX theatre the five story museum is definitely a place to be visited. The Indianapolis Museum of Art is surrounded by a beautiful lake, gardens and sculptures which makes it an essential stop on your visit to the city. But if your interest lies in the Native American culture, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art will offer you a more comprehensive look into the subject. The Indianapolis Zoo offers a nice alternative to the Arts & Culture aspect of the city, especially for the kids as it features a variety of flora and fauna and is situated just outside of town.
All in all Indianapolis has done much to enhance its image and has succeeded in adding depth to itself with multi-dimensional entertainment. Indianapolis now is definitely a place to visit anytime of the year!

Kostenets

January 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The village Kostenets is an idyllic location in Bulgaria, which offers some quiet rest and relaxation. The village is 8kms from the town of Kostenets and is the picture of authentic Bulgarian village life. So much so that the most exciting thing to happen there is the weekly market that takes place every Saturday. At the market you can find anything from clothes, household goods, fruits and vegetables to an animal market where you will encounter piglets sold from the boot of a car or even baby ducks in a cardboard box.

The village is laid out in a circular form, so you will never get lost wherever you are. At the center lies a beautiful park with two cafes, where you can relax away your day sipping coffee and taking in the natural beauty around you. The local church and the war memorial are places of interest within the village, and trek up the hill will take you an outdoor mineral swimming pool.

If you would like to stretch your legs, there are hiking trails that lead into the surrounding Rila Mountains. You could also visit the Kostenets waterfall which is a perfect place for a picnic and is not far from the village. After spending the day there you can drive down the road to the Lake restaurant, ‘Ezeroto’ to try out some traditional Bulgarian cuisine. The woods surrounding the restaurant contain many wooden sculptures of animals, so do not worry if you suddenly come across a bear standing still on its hind legs!

So the next time you go to Bulgaria, take a visit to the Village Kostenets and spend a few days of your holiday in peace and relaxation.