Tag Archives: Europe

An Ode to the Bled Cream Cake


Crispy puff pastry layers, light as air, dusted with powdered sugar;

a firm but creamy smooth vanilla custard;

and a layer of fresh whipped cream sandwiched in between.

Almost as famous as the Lake and Castle in Bled, Slovenia, is the Bled Cream Cake, or the Cremna Rezina. A chocolate fan to the core, I was skeptical about this local specialty being too heavy or too creamy or too sugary for my taste. But wrong I was – the cake was baked to perfection – sweet, but not too sweet (how often is a fantastic dessert ruined by too much sugar?); creamy, but light; with a crispy puff pastry at the ends. All that I ordered was a slice but dusting off 4 or 5 of these wouldn’t be a task at all.

If you find yourself in Bled and looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, make sure you try this patented local specialty – and only at the place where it all started – the Park Restaurant & Cafe. Almost everyone who visits the restaurant orders one, so they have pre-cut slices that’ll make it to your table soon and disappear even sooner. And for once, the hype was justified.

Perfection on a plate with a view to match it!


Like Looking into a Mirror: Versailles

A hunting lodge by origin, that ended up being the seat of the French Government and royalty and now figures on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Palace of Versailles has seen its share of glory and continues to bask in it, to this day.

If like me, you’re hungering after some non-palace, non-museum time in Paris (all that sightseeing can get heavy on the head), the Palace is an easy hop from the city and has extensive and perfectly manicured lawns, that one can happily spend a sunny summer, or even winter day in.

On a still autumn Sunday, the many fountains were given rest for the day and undisturbed, the Bassin d’Apollo‘s edge seemed to divide a symmetrical world into near-perfect halves.

Near-perfect halves

Versailles 023

Halves make a story whole here: “Half and Half.”

The Walls, They have Stories to Tell

Walls are often silent backgrounds or spectators to the action upfront.

But sometimes and in some places, they take on a personality of their own – at times a grim one, like the Berlin Wall that once separated East and West Germany; or at times a fun one, like the walls of the Comic Book route of Brussels or the ‘Love Wall’ of the supposed house of Shakespeare’s Juliet in Verona.

More walls from around the world here – Wall.

Which walls from your travels do you still remember? 

The Orange Tops of Europe

The color, orange, dominates many a skyline in Europe. It could be the well-preserved old town of Prague, or the Renaissance capital of Italy – Florence. Another city that’s all orange is Dubrovnik, sitting pretty on the Adriatic Coast of Croatia. Orange-topped sisters by coincidence, I think.

More color here: “Orange you glad it’s photo challenge time?”

Walking around Prague: In Photos

There was a nip in the air as we stepped out of the bus from Munich.

Still slightly inebriated from the copious amounts of beer had earlier in the day, we scurried out of the bus to collect our luggage, apprehensive for some reason, that someone else might walk away with our bags by mistake or intention. The ride from Munich had been a very comfortable one – DB runs a double-decker bus service twice or thrice a day – takes you through the German countryside (rather scenic in the setting sun, I caught glimpses of it between snoozing) at an average speed of 100 km/h (that’s sort of impressive if, like me, you’re coming from a place like India, where buses rarely go above 50 km/h without toppling over). Continue reading Walking around Prague: In Photos

Bringing Together Two Corners of a Continent

This week’s WP photo challenge was a challenge, indeed for me. I’m hardly a photographer but I like going back to old photos and discovering new details or dusting off old memories.

After a fair bit of digging around this weekend, here are a couple of waterscapes from two corners of a continent – the Aegean Sea* of Fethiye, Turkey and the River Tagus of Lisbon, Portugal. The stars of the photos though, aren’t the water bodies themselves, but the petite Turkish tea (çay) glass and the turret of the Torre de Belem, which is anything but petite (can comfortably fit a handful of people inside it).

*technically, the Aegean region of Turkey lies in the Asian part, but it’s close enough to be called Europe!

(I wish I could’ve captured a lens blur in the second picture too, but I would’ve needed to know a bit more about cameras and photography at the time for that. 🙂 )

Turkish Apple Tea posing against the Aegean Sea in Fethiye, Turkey
Turkish Apple Tea posing against the Aegean Sea in Fethiye, Turkey
A Turret of the Torre de Belem, Lisbon stands tall
A Turret of the Torre de Belem, Lisbon stands tall by the Tagus, Lisbon

Discover more interpretations of the “Rule of Thirds.”

Where Love might just be in the Air | Italy

The cynics, the unromantic, the unsentimental and the pragmatic. Stay away from the streets of Italy at nightfall.

Continue reading Where Love might just be in the Air | Italy

Friday Flashback: A scrawl from the past

This Friday flashback comes from a different page (an actual physical one).

I drew this picture on a lazy Sunday evening while sipping on the Oktoberfest beer we had brought back from the duty-free store at the Munich airport. Löwenbräu is one of the six famous old local breweries of Munich, all of which put up huge tents at the fest. The Oktoberfest beer itself is supposed to be different from and 2% stronger than the regular beer that these breweries serve – I’m no expert but real fest beer should be a ‘rich copper colour’, I hear.

(the drawing is nothing to be proud of, of course; but I had fun doing it and it reminds me of the good times I had on my trip, so here it is, making an appearance on my travel blog)

And in case you’re curious – no, the bottled stuff doesn’t taste as great as the real thing, but it isn’t a bad present to bring back for friends who couldn’t join you on the trip (plus, they won’t know the difference anyway!)


Have you been to the Oktoberfest in Munich? Which one was your favourite beer and / or  tent?

Want to read more about the fest? Go here.

Unfinished Business in Munich

I was excited to land in Munich at the early hour of 6 AM, when the city’s residents were still in their beds or were probably holding their breaths, squeezing themselves into dirndls and lederhosen, preparing for a day of raucous merry-making. The airport itself was mostly deserted with shops closed and only the enquiry desk inhabited by two jolly ladies in decked in their Oktoberfest gear, catching up on the morning gossip. After collecting our luggage, quickly freshening up and getting chided by staff at the S-Bahn counter for disturbing them before opening time (7 AM), we bought our public transport day-pass (Partner / Gruppen Tageskarte) from a vending machine and were on our way to town.

Once we climbed out of the platform area, the main hall of the Hauptbahnof (the central train station) was a different scene altogether. You couldn’t be blamed for thinking that you were witnessing a Saturday night on the town, rather than 8 AM on a cool September morning. Tourists buying last-minute, heavily-overpriced Trachten to ‘fit in with the locals’; shopkeepers stacking ‘Made-in-China’ souvenirs in their stalls; women performing last-minute checks on their make-up; groups singing what I imagined were drinking songs while chugging beer by the bottle to prep themselves for the boozy day ahead; and train staff and police trying to make their way to their duties for the day, while expertly dodging all of the above.

Continue reading Unfinished Business in Munich

Visiting the Dark Pages of History – Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany

I wasn’t entirely sure till the last minute if I wanted to go through with this.

The last time I’d been in Munich, I had intentionally avoided a side-trip to Dachau, a former Nazi concentration camp just outside Munich. The reason wasn’t that I thought it would bore me or be too dull; rather, it was the opposite – I was afraid of being in the same spaces as former prisoners of the Nazis, afraid of letting my mind visualize disturbing scenes of torture, afraid of returning with a heart sagging like it was made of lead.

This time, things were a little different – I was all of 6 years older (and 6 years wiser, as I imagine). So this time, I didn’t entirely shrink away at the idea of visiting Dachau when I was making my plans for Munich. However, when we reached Munich amidst the festive atmosphere of an Oktoberfest weekend (the weekend of the boisterous Italians, specifically), I was wondering if a dark, depressing visit to a former torture centre was how I wanted to spend my morning.

Continue reading Visiting the Dark Pages of History – Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany