Skip to main content


Showing posts with the label solo travel

Voronet Monastery

Church of St. George, Voronet Monastery Eight churches of Moldavia in northern Romania have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites for the distinct Byzantine inspired frescoes with religious themes that cover their exterior walls. Built between the late 15th and 16th centuries, these churches are remarkably well preserved. I had the opportunity to visit four of these churches namely, the Church of the Beheading of St. John in  Arbore, the Church of the Annunciation in Moldovita, the Church of the Resurrection in Sucevita and St. George in Voronet. The Church of St. George has been singled out for the vibrant blue color background of its frescoes which was made from lapis lazuli, among other elements. This particular shade is referred to as Voronet Blue. The Church of St. George was completed in just three months and three weeks. It was built by Stefan the Great, Voivode of Moldavia, in 1488 to commemorate his victory over the Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Vaslui. The photo abo

48 Hours in Chișinău

Cathedral Park Moldova is one of the least visited countries in the world according to the   United Nations World Tourism Organization. It received 174,000 visitors in 2019 and the pandemic effectively slashed the number of visitors to 29,000 in 2020. It’s too bad because Moldova has a lot to offer, especially to wine enthusiasts. But it won’t be long before Moldova will be “rediscovered” by intrepid travelers and then we will whine about how crowded it is. Already the traffic in Chișinău is a growing pain for the country. Thankfully, there are many beautiful parks in the city when you need a break and a cup of coffee. Cathedral of Christ’s Nativity The Nativity Cathedral was built in the 1830s in the Neoclassical style after the design of Adam Melnikov, its chief architect.  It lost its bell tower in 1962 after it was destroyed by local communists. The zinc dome and cross are additions from 1997. Religious worship was banned during the Soviet era and the Cathedral was converted into a

Basilica Cistern - the Sunken Palace of Istanbul

Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi ) The Basilica Cistern or the Sunken Palace, has been around since the 6th century when it was constructed as a reservoir for the palace of Constantinople and the surrounding neighborhood. It takes its name from the Stoa Basilica which once stood on the very same site. There are 336 marble columns standing 30 ft. high supporting the ceiling. Many of these columns were recycled from the ruins of other buildings. The vaulted ceiling and rounded arches remind one of the great cathedrals of Europe but the Cistern predates these cathedrals. It has been restored multiple times through the years and earthquake-proofed in 2017. The Cistern was reopened to the public in July 2022. This is the bottom of the cistern with just enough water to reflect the columns and artworks scattered throughout. Visitors walk on raised walkways. Here’s a Corinthian column decorated with acanthus leaves. Peacock Eye or Column of Tears This column may be a tribute to the slaves wh

Helsinki Airport Design Aesthetic

Passing through Helsinki International Airport last May, I was struck by the furnishings I found while waiting for my flight. The benches are clearly different from the standard metal and polyester airport chairs and the minimal look is eye pleasing.  The use of wood is attractive, warm and certainly welcoming. These simple, modern benches are also ideal for stretching out (when no one is around). Maximizing space by adding a seating area here is brilliant while covering up functional but unsightly fixtures underneath. The Spacehub (office space) rents for €5 per half hour and may be reserved in advance.  You can get a lot of work done in a quiet space while waiting for your flight. How to book the Spacehub Another feature of the Helsinki airport is the area dedicated to charging gadgets. They thoughtfully added restrooms nearby so you can easily freshen up before going to your assigned gate. ***** Images by TravelswithCharie