All posts filed under: featured

Rocamadour, France

During the time I was living in France, I had some time to explore the interesting places around the region of the Pyrénées. This is the gorgeous ice-capped mountain range that I could see clearly during the autumn months from the lovely balcony of our apartment in Toulouse. It separates the south of France from the north-east of Spain, which is what is known as Catalunya. I was living with my husband and newborn daughter in the capital of the region of Midi-Pyrénées, which is the old city of Toulouse, also known as La ville rose. This appellation came from the rich red color of the bricks of most houses in this beautiful city, full of history and culture and great food, with very warm and friendly people. Recently, though, they are renaming and combining certain regions around the Pyrénées. These combined regions are now known as Occitanie. In this region, you will find Rocamadour, an ancient village nestled in a gorge above the Dordogne river, with houses precariously jutting right out of the rocks and cliffs. Pilgrims are quite numerous …

Iceland – the Land of Fire and Ice

To date, I would say that Iceland is the best place I have ever visited in all my traveling life. From that moment in the plane where we were greeted with the fiercest, most fiery sunset at midnight, I knew instantly that I would be treated to some of the most magnificent, out-of-this-world landscapes that I will ever see in my life. We went from Reykjavik to Jokulsarlon in the East to Borgarnes in the West to Akureyri in the North and then finally back to Reykjavik on self-drive (without GPS). I have to admit that all the places of interest are a little bit too far away from each other. But getting to your destinations is definitely not boring because of the variety of landscapes that Iceland has to offer. We saw countless waterfalls, drove by the coast, up and around hills, hiked on mini-craters on a huge lake, soaked in a hot spring and felt very welcomed by the friendly locals. On our last full day in Reykjavik, my Icelandic friend gave us …

The Great Wall at Jinshaling

The Great Wall of China had always been in my list of must-visit places. I can still vividly recall the first time I read about it in our high school text book. I was in complete awe reading about its history, how it was built spanning dynasties and centuries. When the opportunity to visit Beijing came along, the first thing I did was research on which part of the Great Wall is the least crowded of all. I quickly discovered this tour called China Highlights, which organizes a small group of 5 people for a three-hour trek along the wall. Although they advertise this on their web site as a trek from Simatai to Jinshaling, we actually trekked from Jinshaling to Shalingkou instead. But it was still a great walk. Jinshaling, is actually located in the town of Chengde, which is a couple of hours’ bus ride from Beijing. I chose this portion of the wall not only because it is a lot less crowded but also because these portions are authentic and unrestored, unlike the ones …

A Taste of Tuscany Part 1 – Firenze

Ever since the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, all the women I know dream of visiting this gorgeous Italian region, at least once their lives. I was not an exception. You can imagine how thrilled I was when an opportunity to visit this place presented itself a couple of summers ago. Hubby and I followed the suggestion of this french guidebook that was provided by the french travel agency that organized our trip: We just changed it a little bit, opting to go to Arezzo and Cortona instead of Volterra. The first leg of our trip was France – Firenze, since we were coming from my parents-in-law’s place in the South of France. We took a flight via Volotea, a low-cost Spanish airline. Upon arrival at the airport in Firenze, I was surprised to find how small it is. It seemed more like a domestic airport than an international one. The ceiling was very low, the luggage took forever to arrive at the baggage carousel, and it was very much lacking in souvenir and food shops. Immediately, we headed out to take our …