weekend getaways from milan

A Holiday in Hamburg: Family Fun!

If the curtain-raiserinspired you to visit Hamburg, here are more reasons to book your tickets!  A Wild Day Out at Tierpark Hagenbeck (Hagenbeck Zoo): The Tierpark Hagenbeckor Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg has been owned by the Hagenbeck family for six generations. It was rebuilt after being destroyed during World War II.This vast zoo is characterized by its “open” design; the animals are housed in open enclosures with moats. The endearing elephants, the polar bears and walruses in the Eismeer, and the beautifully landscaped park and garden make this one of our favorite zoos.

A Holiday in Hamburg: Port on the Elbe

The Free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg was a sudden and unexpected entrant on our list of travel destinations this year. And what a fantastic trip it turned out to be! In spring this year, we got lucky with flight ticket deals and seized the opportunity to spend a few days in Hamburg. This large German port city on the River Elbe revealed a world of cargo ships and cruise ferries, old warehouses and modern districts, picturesque lakes and verdant parks.

Stresa: Villas, Islands, and a Beautiful Lakeside Promenade

Stresa, on the shores of the large Lake Maggiore, is a quick, easy, and beautiful weekend getaway from Milan. With a train journey of about an hour, Stresa could even be the destination of a day trip from the fashion capital. We conversed with garden lizards and Amherst pheasants at the beautiful Isola Madre, strolled along Stresa’s lovely lakeside promenade, sighed over the views from the public park, and petted farm animals in the gardens at the Villa Pallavicino.

Rome: A Morning at Gianicolo (Janiculum) Hill

For a slice of tranquility and a different perspective of Rome, we spent a morning at the Gianicolo (Janiculum) Hill, had lunch in the charming Trastevere neighborhood, and strolled along the Ponte Sisto.  We boarded a bus that halted near the Piazzale del Faro. The Faro al Gianicolo (Lighthouse) in this piazza was a gift from Argentina to Italy. From here, we walked along the Passeggiata del Gianicolo that leads to the hilltop.

Salzburg Stories: Mozart, the Sound of Music, and More

Having grown up on a staple diet of Do-Re-Mi and My Favorite Things, I was thrilled to visit Salzburg in Austria. The imposing Hohensalzburg fortress rises above the city and the River Salzach winds its way through the birthplace of Mozart. Salzburg is closely associated with the popular movie, “The Sound of Music”. From the “Do Re Mi” song location to the convent where Maria lived, several scenes from the classic were filmed here.

A Trip to Padua

Padua, a city in close proximity to the Queen of the Adriatic, Venice, appears to live in the shadow of its more “popular” neighbor. During our weekend escape to Padua, we discovered a charming city that boasts of a renowned university (dating back to 1222) whose alumni and professors list includes Galileo Galilei, Copernicus and William Harvey. The world’s first university botanical gardenfinds its home here, and features in the UNESCO heritage list.

A Weekend in Verona: From Romans to Romance

From the beautiful Roman Arena to the romantic atmosphere inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a weekend in Verona can be memorable. The Adige river winds its way through this beautiful city in the Veneto region of Italy. We “exercised” our feet at the Arena, ambled along in Piazza Bra and Piazza delle Erbe, smiled at the fuss about “Juliet’s balcony”, wandered in the maze at Giardino Giusti, and enjoyed a tranquil evening stroll along the River Adige.

Innsbruck Diaries: In love with Ausserkreith, Ferienhaus Panorama and the Stubaitalbahn (STB)

My most memorable vacation in Europe? Would very likely be our summer holiday in Austria. And one place that left an indelible impression? Would most certainly be Ausserkreith near Innsbruck.  We grabbed our bags and hopped off the OBB trainat Innsbruck after a pleasant journey from Salzburg. Our hosts at Ferienhaus Panoramahad advised us that the best way to reach the accommodation was to take the tram from outside the station.

In Pisa: A Date (or Two) with the Tower that Leans

On a cool, grey evening in Pisa, we walked along a pleasant route beginning at the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, past the shopping area along Corso Italia, crossing the calm waters of the River Arno, continuing along Borgo Stretto, briefly halting at Piazza dei Cavalieri, before reaching our destination. The Piazza dei Miracoli. The Square of Miracles. Also known as the Piazza del Duomo. I was awe-struck by the size and the beauty of the piazza and its monuments, and was reminded of my first glimpse of the Taj Mahal.

In “PIZZA” City, Napoli

The city of “authentic” pizza margherita, Napoli (or Naples), has a remarkable identity of its own. Great food (read PIZZA :)), spectacular views of the Gulf of Naples and the majestic Mount Vesuvius, a beautiful historic center, and the delightful nativity scenes and figurines in a vibrant street made our visit very memorable. Hunger pangs: Having heard rave reviews about Neapolitan pizza, we did not think much about lunch and dinner choices – it was vera pizza napoletana all the way, with bufala DOC – and we did not regret it at all :).