Archive for October, 2013
Budapest, Hungary—take two. My train rolled into this magical city, known locally as “Budapesht,” for the second time in 15 years. The Hungarian capital, divided by the Danube river into the districts of Buda and Pest, was as picturesque as I remembered it from decades ago, although the city itself had undergone major changes since my initial visit. Back then, I remembered a quality of darkness—both in spirit and physical appearance. Buildings were stained black. The city was a bit rough around the edges—a little bit seedy you could say—and there was a certain heaviness of spirit in the air. It was also winter, with fleeting hours of daylight and a frigid bite in the air. The impression was very much one of recovery from the aftermath of soviet occupation.
Don’t these mountains look absolutely surreal? Insanely enough, they are actually real. These photos are from Zhangye Danxia Geological Park in Gansu Province, China (a remote region in northern central China). The intense color of the mountains are the result of red sandstone and layers upon layers of mineral deposits that were sculpted by the rain and wind over thousands of years to form pure rainbow perfection. (No doubt a little Photoshop action contributed to their stunning beauty as well.) Amazing.
London is filled with magnificent places to enjoy afternoon tea. Join us as we explore 3 standout spots in the city:
Dorset Square Hotel
The Potting Shed Bar & Restaurant at Dorset Square Hotel features an airy glass ceiling that fills the restaurant with natural light while the playful interior design lends an elegant, modern style. Afternoon tea here is particularly lovely, with tea served in beautiful floral dish-ware. Starting at £19.50 per person, you get scones with homemade jam and clotted cream accompanied by sweets like lemon tarts, carrot cake, and chocolate fruit-infused brownies. The finger sandwiches are creative as well, featuring tiger prawns, rare roast beef with horseradish crème fraiche, smoked trout with cucumber and lemon, and my personal favorite: truffled egg and cress.
Step Back in Time in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is pure storybook Germany. This city is a maze of winding cobblestone streets filled with crooked half-timbered buildings that look like they’ve been plucked right out of a fairytale. Encircled by old town walls made of stone, the city still retains its distinct medieval feel. There are old clock towers, fancy wrought iron signs, and flower pots spilling with blooms.
The Romantic Road
Although Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small town, it’s far from off the tourist radar. This is due in part to its strategic location along the Romantische Straße, or “Romantic Road,” a title created by travel agents to describe the 220 mile stretch of highway between Würzburg and Füssen in southern Germany, which is filled with quintessential German towns and castles. Formerly a trade route in medieval times, the Romantic Road now serves as a principal tourist artery though Southern Germany.