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May Tree Celebration or Maibaum Tradition from Germany

9 Aug

One of my favorite things about traveling is learning newer and unique customs / things of the places that I visit. One such unique custom / festival that we learnt about during our Europe trip was the traditional festival of a Maibaum or the May Tree celebration. We came across this festival in Vaals when we were staying with our friends P and J and couldn’t understand what these colorful hanging trees were. It’s then that P and J explained about this festival to us.

A Maibaum that we saw in Fussen

A Maibaum that we saw in Fussen

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A Visit to the Hellbrunn Palace, Salzburg

9 Jun

If you ever find yourself in Salzburg, tired after half a day of forts and gardens and in need of some fun – then take a bus and head to the Hellbrunn Palace. What? Another Palace you say? But believe me this is something that you have to see. This is slightly on the outskirts of the city and the bus frequency is rather slow, but the trip in so worth it.

Hellbrunn Palace is about 400 year old, more of a mansion (than a Palace) and was built only for use as a day residence in summer. While the Palace is beautiful with some pretty artifacts, paintings, murals etc, the main highlight is the Trick Fountains in the Palace Gardens.

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How we planned our Europe Trip

8 May

Planning that first trip to any new continent is quite challenging. But planning that very first trip to Europe is nothing short of an overwhelming and even traumatic experience, as that first looks at the map of the continent and you are – “hmmm now from where should I start”. Even the lonely planet for this continent is super confusing with various editions like continental europe, central europe, western europe, eastern europe, Scandinavia etc etc. Phew…

Europe Map - courtesy youreuropemap.com

Europe Map – courtesy youreuropemap.com

This is clearly because there are about 50 countries to choose from and just too many things to see and explore – so much so that you are clearly spoilt for choices. And mind you everything is beautiful and worth an experience / visit. Here each country has its own unique history, culture, art, cuisine, landscape, architecture and in most cases even within each country there are numerous regions and small things to experience.

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Cruise down the Wachau region in Austria

22 Apr

When we had finalized our trip to Vienna, we had decided to spend one day on a cruise on the Danube river and in our research of the region we found the perfect solution – a day trip from Melk to Krems. This is a very convenient trip, all you need to do is visit a major train station in Vienna and book an all-inclusive day Wachau valley trip ticket.

The Wachau region is a valley in Austria with picturesque landscapes, the  Danube river, forests, beautiful vineyards and pre-historic towns.

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Taste of my visit to Europe – Sachertorte

8 Feb

During my travel planning phase for Vienna, I was generally discussing my travel plans with a friend and she told me, “if you are going to Vienna then you must go to the Cafe Sacher and try the Sacher Torte. It’s a must must eat pastry of Vienna”. 

This got me interested and I decided to research further on this, which yielded that there has been quite a controversy surrounding this small pastry – concerning its recipe, name (who was the original) and the marketing (this legal battle was between Cafe Sacher and Cafe Demel). Not surprisingly, the recipe is a closely guarded secret and available in very select places. This was enough to pick our interest and we decided to visit Cafe Sacher to try this “pastry with the interesting legacy”.

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Coffee Culture in Vienna

7 Feb

This post is my dedicated to my love for a good cup of coffee, which is a rare commodity (drink the everyday coffee in my office and you will agree), and to all coffee lovers (especially my friend Sridhar) reading this post.

When we were researching on things to do in Vienna, the thing that kept popping up on all websites, blogs and advice from friends was that – a visit to a typical Viennese coffee-house is a must. Naturally, we were quite curious as to what is it that warrants such attention and following. Well we were in for a pleasant surprise.

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Colors of Vienna

5 Feb

During our visit to Vienna,while generally walking around we saw some beautiful sights with some amazing color contrasts. Hence decided to write to quick photo essay of some of these sights 🙂

Mozart in a garden

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