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The Storybook Village of Annecy

After a few days with family in Paris, I had to decide where to go next. My first thought was to travel to Carcassonne via Provence for a week of wandering in the region. While studying my options, I came across a photo of Annecy similar to that above. I took the fast train to Annecy the following day and lost no time in exploring the Vielle Ville (old town). 

The Palais d’Île was constructed in the 12th century on a rocky island on the Thiou River. It has served as a prison, a mint in the 14th century, the residence of the Dukes of Savoy in the 15th century, a courthouse and now serves as a museum for Architecture and Heritage Interpretation.

Lake Annecy What I liked best about my visit to Annecy were the daily walks I took along the lakeshore. The backdrop of mountains and fall foliage made the stroll even more pleasurable. I felt invigorated after spending time by the crystal clear waters of the lake.

Pont des Amours (Lovers Bridge) The Pont des Amours over the Canal du Vassé connects t…

Boracay Rejuvenated

White Beach Two days prior to the scheduled reopening of Boracay, we had the chance to take a day trip to what was hailed as the best island in the world for 2016 by Condé Nast's Readers Choice Awards. And we found this beautiful stretch of powdery white sand with nary a sunbather.
The island had been closed to tourists since April 2018 after the President of the Philippines remarked that it had become a “cesspool”. Unchecked growth and the 1.7 million visitors annually had left environmental damage to the tiny island. Nearly 6 months after the closure, Boracay was getting ready to receive visitors again.
We took an electric tricycle from the jetty through dusty backroads to get to a drop off point close to White Beach. These e-trikes are a welcome addition to island transportation.     
White Beach It was nice to see White Beach free of stalls and vendors. We weren't allowed to eat nor drink on the beach. So we sat under the shade of these palm trees and stared out to sea, took oc…

Zero Visibility and Disappointment

Lake Thun Interlaken as the name suggests, means between lakes. So I was watching the passing view carefully as the train raced closer to the valley between the lakes. And suddenly the shimmering, crystal clear waters of Lake Thun came into view. Heaven!
Jungfrau It was fascinating to watch paragliders drop anchor on the Höhematte under the shadow of the Jungfrau. They make it look so easy to land on the green lawn of the park.
Two Lakes Bridge, Harder Kulm The opportunity to see all three peaks, the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, from the summit of Harder Kulm was something I felt I couldn't miss. I had been observing the funicular climb up the steep side of the mountain from my hotel doorstep. It takes approximately ten minutes for the ascent to the summit (1,322 meters above sea level) by funicular. But in those 10 minutes, the clouds rolled in and swiftly wiped out the view. 
Coffee anyone? After waiting for thirty minutes in the cold mountain air for the fog to disperse, I decided to wa…

The Season for Sea and Seafood*

Beyond the sea-to-table cuisine that Capiz is famous for, the province serves a plateful of surprises to feed your wanderlust.

Gugma Beach Aptly named Gugma (Love), this off the grid stretch of warm grey sand in Sapian ticks all the right boxes for a splashing good time with its expansive views of the coastline and striking rock formations by the shore.


The White Sand Beaches of Ivisan Speaking of beaches, the town of Ivisan has fine white sand beaches bordered by palm trees. The laid-back vibe of Basiao, Ayagao and Patio beaches will please the consummate beachgoer. Pumpboats are available to explore the tiny shoreline of Maba-ay Island, just minutes from Basiao beach.

Ruins of Railway Bridge Once upon a time, there was a railroad connecting Capiz and Iloilo. Buses eventually replaced the trains which were finally put to bed in 1985. There are remnants of the supporting approach to a railway bridge in Dao, about thirty minutes from Roxas City. Hardwood pylons cut dramatically across the f…

A Rainy Afternoon in Geneva

Chapel of the Maccabees How much independent sightseeing could one pack into an afternoon in Geneva? Factor in the rain and the early sunset and the answer is, not much. But it has been decades since I first visited Geneva and got lost in the city on the way to meet a friend who had our rental car. That was a nightmare! Yes, we did find each other eventually and drove on to complete our grand tour of Europe.

I really wanted to see Geneva again and I had two things to check off on my itinerary. The first one was to go up to the old town and the other, to walk along Lake Leman. Trying to do more would have been a challenge with my bad knee. I didn't realize though that the Cathedral of Saint Pierre was up on a hill so I had to work my legs a little harder but thankfully, it wasn't as steep as the other hills I climbed in Annecy.

The highlight of the Cathedral is the colorful Chapel of the Maccabees which was the tomb of a cardinal when Saint Pierre was a Catholic Church. It is in…

Paris in Autumn 2018

Remember the song, I love Paris? 
“I love Paris in the springtime
I love Paris in the fall I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles I love Paris every moment Every moment of the year.”

Found myself in Paris in early November with someone who has never been to Paris. How wonderful it is to see Paris from fresh eyes. I had so much to show her but since she only had 36 hours in town, it was a short and sweet visit. She wanted to see the Tour Eiffel, first and foremost, so we went up to La Terrasse at Galeries Lafayette Haussman for her first glimpse of the tower.
And lucky for us, the much awaited Christmas tree at Galeries Lafayette was up. This year the tree is right side up. Last year's tree was candy themed and was upside down. At the Lafayette Café on the sixth floor, a window seat affords views of the Tour Eiffel and the back of the Opera Garnier. This is a good spot for scanning the Parisian skyline while indulging on a piece of cake.
Guest…

Waiting for the bus in Ostuni

Ostuni is a whitewashed hill town in Puglia in Southern Italy. It is referred to as La Citta Bianca or the White Town. It has narrow, often steep alleys that challenge both legs and knees. But the rewards are pure delight for the resolute traveler. Imagine door frames that seem to have time traveled to the 21st century, mesmerizing views of the sea and olive groves which produce some of the finest olive oil in Italy!
The Aragonese defensive walls in the photo above are remnants from the reign  of Isabella of Aragon, the Duchess of Bari and her daughter, Bona Maria Sforza (Queen Consort of Poland) who succeeded her. 

Getting to Ostuni was as simple as taking the train from Bari, the capital of Puglia, for the two-hour ride that provided glimpses of the Adriatic Sea. I found no taxis nor buses outside the station when I arrived in Ostuni. I asked an elderly gentleman standing around if a bus would be passing by and he kindly informed me that there would be one shortly and that it would go…