Did I say how much I loved Budapest?? Okay I probably did but here’s another post to prove my point 😉
On my second day I went to Fisherman’s Bastion at the Buda side of the city. Situated on Castle Hill, it is a unique monument whose name comes from the fishermen who defended the walls in the Middle Ages. The entire area on Castle Hill is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Buda Castle sits on the other side and houses the National Gallery of Hungary along with a Library and Museum of History. Completed in the 13th century, the castle is one of the most imposing structures of Budapest. Also at the Fisherman’s Bastion is the Mathhias Church made in a gothic style with 7 bells!
Reaching the Castle Hill is very easy as there is the option of walking, taking a bus (No 16) or a funicular. I chose the first one as it was only a 5-10 minute walk. Along the way I could see amazing views of the city. It was surreal!!
Best part of visiting the Castle Hill is really the location. One can spend as much time as one wants and see the vast vistas of the city! The entire area is like a small town with an old part and a Palace. There is also a five star hotel and a Starbucks which shows how commercial it is now becoming.
Many expensive shops in the area sell “Hungarian” goods but I didn’t know the authenticity of them so chose to ignore. Walking back to Pest I noticed how quiet the Buda side of the city is compared to the hustle and bustle of the Pest side.
It was an intriguing experience to see both sides of the city. More so because I had no idea about the history of Hungary and just got curious to know more. After my visit, I stopped at a bookshop to read more on Budapest. I’ll be posting about them later but for now I hope you enjoyed the hike to the Buda Castle?? Tell me if you are enjoying the Budapest series 🙂
I was in Ragusa only for a quick stop but the baroque town was nothing as I had imagined and seen on TV. Ragusa’s medieval styled architecture and piazzas with lack of tourists was enough to give me a high. It was raw and indescribable beauty.
Take a walk with me….
Did you enjoy??
Last week several fellow Italy bloggers met in Rome and spent an entire weekend discovering the delights of the magnificent city. If you check the hashtag #WinterinRome on Instagram/Twitter you will be amazed at the options Rome has in Winters. My fellow bloggers really inspired me to visit Rome in winters and I hope to make it a possibility someday. I felt a little “Rome” sick while following them along so thought of writing a post to make up for it 🙂
Today we will travel to one of Rome’s most enchanting structures- Castel Sant’Angelo. The Castel is my second favorite historic building of Rome, after the Pantheon.
Castel Sant’Angelo is gorgeous and ancient and will leave you spell bound. Built around 135 AD (Yes that long), the Castel served as a mausoleum for the Roman emperor Hadrian and his family. It was also used as a prison at a certain point in time. Now it is a National Museum and is only a stone’s throw away from the Vatican. The Castel is huge and awe inspiring and one can even go inside for a price of EUR 9.
Castel Sant’Angelo is a pedestrian area and is connected through a bridge called the Ponte Sant’Angelo. The bridge is a photography zone. No really, you should see the number of people (myself included) grabbing the opportunity to capture Rome in its glory not to forget the fabulous views that the bridge offers of the St. Peters Basilica.
The bridge is flanked by 10 angels designed by Lorenzo Bernini, Domenico Guidi, Ercole Ferrata, Antonio Georgetti and several others. I love this area of Rome, could easily spend hours there, of course with my book and a gelato 😀
What do you think about this stunning structure??
Friuli-Venezia Giulia is a region of Italy that few venture to see. Touching the borders of Slovenia and Austria, Friuli is often overlooked by travelers. And I wonder why. While I was in Trieste, the capital of Friuli, I visited Castello di Miramare.
Overlooking the stark waters of the Adriatic, Castello di Miramare is on the edge of a cliff and is really a sight to behold!
Castello di Miramare was built by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilan in 1860 for his wife, Charlotte of Belgium. To declare his love for her and make it a quiet retreat in the summer, he built 20 odd rooms. Now with an entry of EUR 6 you can almost visualize how the Archduke and his wife stayed away from the hustle and bustle. The grounds of the castle are free to explore and it is a treat to be away from Trieste for a while. Small ponds, rare plants and bubbling fountains makes it very grand!
Like many historic places, Miramare has a tragedy attached to it. The Archduke died at an early age of 34 and it is said that after his death Charlotte went insane and spent her days in the castle pining for her lost love. Many people believe that spending a night in this castle could lead to a person’s death, so as to say that the castle is cursed. Miramare may have a tragedy attached to it but it is absolutely safe to spend the day here.
It gives a beautiful backdrop of Trieste and an expanse of Adriatic Sea.
I visited Siena on a radiant day from Florence. Although a few hours is not enough to see this gorgeous Tuscan town, it is definitely not worth leaving either.
Known globally for its Palio- a horse race that happens twice every year on July 2 & Aug 16, Siena also prides itself in its medieval walls and stunning squares.
Its rivalry with Florence since the Middle Ages is probably there even now but I can’t see how both the towns are similar. Maybe the territorial, cultural and economic conflicts of the past made them constantly fought but to me the two can never replaced for the other!
Coming back to my small excursion to Siena… Well I mostly walked around the town to get a sense of place. Its popular landmarks- Piazza del Campo, Torre del Mangia and the Piazza del Duomo were the ones I saw first.
I could easily add Piazza del Campo in my favorite piazza of Italy list. It is breathtaking with its shell shape line of cafes, marbled fountain and Civic Museum. The piazza gives a sense of local as well touristy life. I had a glass of wine and a quick bite of panforte here.
If the piazza was grand, I didn’t even know what the Duomo of Siena had in store for me. It beats many of the Duomos I have seen in my Italian travels. With marble columns carved by Giovanni Pisano, Siena’s Duomo gives Florence’s Duomo a run for its money 😉 This should in no way get controversial as I love them both. Oh wait, there is also the Duomo of Orvieto…..So you see how hard this keeps getting??
Very impressive and a touristy area but the smell of truffle oil and fresh pasta is divine so you won’t mind! Siena is such a great trip and I know I have yet to experience more of but there is always the next time.
Ci Vediamo presto, Siena! 🙂
Siena’s train station is at the foot of the hill and is a 10-15 minute climb to the main piazza. If you are visiting from Florence, the best way to reach is by bus. There are several local operators in Florence.
The entry to the Duomo of Siena is EUR 12 which includes the Cathedral, Piccolomini library, Bapistery and crypt. Thank me later!
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most famous monuments of Italy and its beauty is universally acknowledged. It is a quite a queer sight when you first see it but it is beautiful! The stark white tower is part of a splendid square called “Piazza dei Miracoli” (Square of Miracles) that proudly boasts a cathedral, a baptistery and a cemetery.
There is an option of climbing top of the leaning tower (296 steps) to see the town of Pisa and get some fantastic shots of the square. Despite a slight “lean” during the climb, the 296 were manageable. I did feel a little dizzy afterwards because the tower defies gravity. But it so worth the effort when you reach the top. The ticket cost is EUR 18.
Despite the fun climb, I found the ticket to be insanely priced. I’d rather recommend you spending time in the piazza below at a Bar or at the lush green lawns annd relax with a picnic or a book.
|The Morni Fort|
I arrived there at the time of rains and it was gorgeous and really peaceful. As I climbed the hill towards the fort, a beautiful Shiva temple awaited me at the entrance. On my left was a Pheasant Breeding centre managed and run by the Wildlife Department.
|The restored gardens|
The guard sitting at the entrance of the fort was able to provide me with some information of the history as there isn’t much written on this place. Apparently, they are now converting the fort to a five star hotel.
|The South Tower|
Morni fort wasn’t like any of the forts I have visited before in Delhi or Rajasthan. For here you will find no queues for tickets, no guide books or vendors selling knick knacks, but just the fort itself standing mammoth for you.