An entire month’s worth of Instagram updates, dedicated just to Travel; now that’s what I call a GREAT month!
After a few local trips these past few months, from Mumbai in January to Mussoorie in February, and then spending a day exploring the Delhi Zoo in March, April was a BIG month for me in my quest to #Take12Trips this year.
My mother and I traveled to Europe this past month. We spent beautiful spring days exploring Vienna’s many parks and palaces, a rainy but still gorgeous day in stunning Salzburg, and a few mesmerizing days in the perfection that is Prague. We also managed to squeeze in half a day in Bratislava.
Here’s a look back at the month, through Instagram.
We kicked-off the first afternoon in Vienna with some Beer and Wiener Schnitzel in the warm spring sunshine of The Stadtpark, a large municipal park in the heart of the city.
After some sightseeing and exploring Innere Stadt, Vienna’s first district, we made the customary (and very touristy) trip to Hotel Sacher, to taste the “original” Sacher Torte, quite possibly the city’s most famous cake.
The next morning, after touring the Schönbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the Habsburg monarchs, and exploring the Schönbrunn Easter market, we journeyed towards Vienna’s 19th District. Situated on the northern edge of Vienna, and bordering Wienerwald (the Vienna Woods), this district – Döbling – has a lot to see and do. Not only is it considered one of Vienna’s poshest living areas, but it is gorgeously green. Walking around the wide tree-lined streets, gazing at the elegant villas and soaking up the lush surroundings, you feel you are worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city center; yet it takes only 30 minutes to get here.
We took the bus up to Kahlenberg, a hill top of sorts, popular with tourists and locals alike. There is a souvenir shop, a restaurant and even a church, for you to spend your afternoon in. And the look-out platform rewards you and thanks you for visiting, with this breathtaking view over the city below.
Perhaps what this Viennese district is best known for, other than once being home to the likes of Johann Strauss and Ludwig van Beethoven, is the Heuriger – the traditional wine tavern. Vienna is probably the only metropolis in the world that produces huge amounts of wine within its city limits (there are apparently 700 acres of vineyards within Vienna). The Heuriger typically serves home-made wine from the current vintage, meaning wine made in the same year; and traditionally the term was also used for private bars run by local wine farmers, where they sold their own – and only their own – wine.
On our third day in Europe, we made the comfortable 2.5-hour train journey to Salzburg, and spent the day amidst the sights and sounds of this most gorgeous little city. The Salzburg Fortress (Festung Hohensalzburg), Europe’s largest in-tact medieval fortress, towers over you no matter where you are in the city, and is a must-visit. The views alone will be worth it.
Growing up, The Sound of Music was most certainly one of my favourite movies. Needless to say, we visited some of the sites from the movie, such as the Mirabell Palace Gardens where much of the song Do-Re-Mi was filmed, as well as the lake and facade of Schloss Leoppoldskron (Leopold Palace), one of the locations of the Von Trapp Family home. The Gazebo in the picture below, really needs no introduction. While I couldn’t go inside and hop from bench to bench like Liesl did as she sang ’16 going on 17′ in the movie, I loved the surrounding gardens at the Hellbrunn Palace where the Gazebo is located today.
Spring had sprung and Tulips were in full bloom. I entered this photo, with the Tulips in the foreground, into an #ExploreMyCity_Spring contest on Instagram, and I won! 😀
Follow @ExploreMyCity on Instagram for great pictures from all over the world.
Vienna and Bratislava are the two closest capital cities in the world. We visited on a cold and rainy day and didn’t enjoy our time in the city much. But at one corner of Hlavné námestie (Main Square) is Schokocafé by Maximilian Delikateso. If it is called Chocolate Cafe, and when it has I can’t even remember how many varieties of hot chocolate on the menu, it is just my kind of cafe.
Next up – and without a doubt the highlight of our trip – Prague! Perfect in every way.
Captured here is the Old Town Bridge Tower, the Gothic tower that leads from the Old Town (Staré Město) and on to the Charles Bridge (Karlův most), the historic bridge built over the Vltava river.
We somehow found ourselves back at the Charles Bridge, this most iconic of Prague landmarks, almost every evening we were in Prague. Here, the setting sun lights up the sky in a symphony of colours, with one of the Bridge’s 30 statues in the foreground.
As we walked from the Charles Bridge towards the nearest tram station, we looked back at this wonderful vista of the Prague Castle, all lit up and glittering in the night.
We visited the Prague castle the next day, and also explored Malá Strana, known as the Lesser District. This area, located at the foot of the Castle complex, is one of Prague’s most historic sections. The greenery, the narrow cobblestone streets, the hilly terrain, the brick-red roofs interspersed with domes and spires every where you look, there is nothing “lesser” about Prague’s Lesser Town.
We chanced upon a restaurant at the end of one quaint side street, and popped in for a quick bite.
On our last day in Europe, we traveled about 30 km southwest of Prague to one of the most popular Czech castles – Karlštejn Castle (Hrad Karlštejn). A large Gothic castle, it was used as a place for safekeeping the Imperial Regalia as well as the Bohemian/Czech crown jewels, and other royal treasures.
So there you go, the month of April, flashed back through Instagram.
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So, where are you off to today?