All posts filed under: Europe

Albi Chronicles: A tram ride to remember

As the noisy white tram clattered through the narrow cobbled streets, I am filled with wonder at the navigation skills of the driver of this rather clunky long vehicle. He’s doing very well and considering the train runs around 5-6 times a day, he can probably do this in his sleep. We’re in the town of Albi in Southern France and this tram proves to be a rather quick and easy way to get in a 45 minute glimpse of the city.  Though I’m using the term city rather loosely. It’s small as far as cities go and this is one place where you’d be hard pressed to get lost. The first morning here, I realized that all roads lead to the main cathedral. And you don’t really need GPS or a map after the first couple of hours—just check where you are in relation to the cathedral tower, which is visible wherever you go.  Located beside the Tarn river, the main attraction of Albi is the Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile. The outside walls of this imposing …

Picture postcard Albi-Ville

Landed in this charming little town yesterday and walked around the cobbled streets on a rainy evening. The town’s main feature is the Saint Cecile cathedral, which is the largest brick cathedral in the world and a UNESCO world heritage building. It’s been rather gloomy but I plan to venture out today, umbrella in tow, of course!  Please follow and like us:

Losing a passport and why travel insurance proved useless

This post is all about “what happens when you lose a passport” and my personal experience with ICICI Lombard Travel Insurance. Yes. I did the “no 1” thing feared by most travellers. It features probably on the top of things NOT to do when on the road. Lose a passport; your most precious travel document. So how I lost it is not a very glamourous story. It has no masala or intrigue at all. I won’t get into the details. For the record, somewhere on the streets of Malaga (Spain), while on a sightseeing trip (on a cycle), I am quite sure the passport got lost (case of the open bag, carelessness of not closing it properly). But more importantly, what happens when you do happen to lose a passport? While it’s not something you hope will ever happen to you, there’s always a possibility. Having gone through this experience, here’s what I did and I hope will help anyone who lands up in this quandary. My second part details with travel insurance. In my …

A Malaga moment

When I look back at my Europe trip, I have so many moments and sights that stand out. So many things to write about – just looking back is a bit daunting. But I’m trying to organise everything and share useful information in nuggets, along with tips and travel information. Hopefully, over the next few months I’ll get to share some of it. In the meanwhile, enjoy this lovely view of Malaga with me. It was a cloudy day to start with. My host was quite disappointed by the weather I was getting to witness (it’s never like this, she kept telling me). But I set off anyway on a bit of sightseeing. I borrowed her son’s cycle and decided to explore the city on two wheels. At the end of my gallivanting, the skies cleared quite a bit and I decided to climb to the Castle of Gibralfaro. Even though I wasn’t optimistic about the views that day, I started off. It was a good decision. As the evening set in, suddenly I got …

Walking around Aarschot, dreaming of noodles

I spent a week in the town of Aarschot. If you’re wondering where that is, it’s very close to Leuven (a university town), around 50 from Brussels. It’s a city and municipality in the province of Flemish Brabant, in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. The town of Aarschot, with a population of 27,864 (in 2006) My home for a week was a caravan in the home of a farming couple and their two children. My caravan mate was a lovely girl from England and I was glad I had some company. I hadn’t really lived in a caravan before and this was a different experience for me. (But I’m saving that story for later). Aarschot turned out to be a much larger town than I initially thought so. I had an impression that it will be a smallish town the size of my locality in Bangalore. But it turned out that I was wrong. The town is actually quite large and has a nice big square with different restaurants around it. On …

Why cities shouldn’t have more than one airport

I rush to the Vueling airlines desk at Brussels airport. Rather breathless. Trying on my best “distressed” look face. Actually, I don’t need to try. I am rather distressed. I have been looking forward to landing in Spain. And it seems the universe colluded. Against me. Earlier this morning, I wake up really early (like 5 am), trying not to disturb the three other sleeping occupants of my hostel room. Got ready in around 20 minutes and snuck out of the room. I double checked with the guy at the desk as to which station would be closest to the airport. The north, he said confidently. So I made my way to Brussels Nord station, towing my luggage along. At the counter I ask for a ticket to the airport. He gives me one and says I’d have to get down at the last stop and take a bus. “The train doesn’t go to the airport.” Sounds fine, I think. He points me to the train and the platform number. I run and make it …