The Sunday market in Bac Ha, Vietnam

A weary bus ride up a windy road on a Saturday afternoon was finally close to its end, as we were creeping up into the small town of Bac Ha, Vietnam. It felt tiny and yet full of hotels - I certainly did not get any sense of character of its own. I wasn't sure whether I would have good time there. But once a new week started afresh on Sunday, the tow[...]

Unwind in Berlin: A weekend retreat at Storchenhof

It doesn't have to take hours on end to travel to a place that catapults you into a parallel universe. In fact, sometimes the most serene of all oases can be a short train ride away. And sometimes, just sometimes, it takes a mere 48 hours to calm down the buzz in your head. When I stepped into the old farm-house of a stork farm in Groß Pankow, Brandenburg[...]

Why markets should always be on your itinerary

Over the years I have developed a good strategy for traveling new cities and new countries, and local markets have definitely made it onto the list of things to do when discovering a new place. I blame it on my students years, when travel money was short and spending it on admission tickets or eating in restaurants was rather a singular treat than a r[...]

The Hot Springs of Beppu, Japan

Billowing white clouds rise up towards the sky, and the drizzling rain only adds to the eerie feeling I get. I'm in Beppu, on the Japanese island of Kyushu. The steam, too light to be seen as smoke, looks completely different to anything I have ever seen before. The Kanazawa Jigokus are volcanic hot springs where you can gaze at the bubbling, frothing vol[...]

Welcome to Oymyakon - the coldest village on Earth

I have never been on a cold weather holiday. Every January, as we enter the depths of bleak mid-winter here in the UK, my little brain awakens from its gentle festive fugue of eat, sleep, drink, repeat, and starts to plan how best to flee the country to get some much needed Vitamin D. Occasionally I have allowed myself to get seduced by the idea of romantic [...]

12 Traveletty Places for 2015

Like it or not, 2014 is coming to an end soon and it is almost time for the annual new year's resolutions. Usually my plans about what to do less or more of in the next 12 months are forgotten just after a few weeks, so I decided that this year shall be different. One of the Dalai Lama's most popular quotes is "Once a year go somewhere where you have never b[...]

How to survive an authentic hammam

In a hammam the Moroccans not only say goodbye to dirt and dry skin, but the inhibitions of everyday life outside. Sounds like an oasis of peace, soap bubbles and relaxation? Not quite - you literally need to have a thick skin there! “Watch out, watch out”, a man with a turquoise hood tries to find his way through the narrow streets. He’s sittin[...]

The Travelettes Wish List 2015

Personally, I have never been a big fan of bucket lists. With every "20 places to see before you die" and "10 once in a lifetime trips" I shudder at the fact, that some few experiences (like seeing the Taj Mahal or hiking Machu Picchu) are deemed to be more valuable than others (like seeing the Victorian necropolis in Glasgow or hiking Sambock in South Tyrol[...]

Opera for all - the Arena di Verona Festival

When asked about their favorite love story I'm sure many people would pick Romeo & Juliet right off the bat. There simply is an irresistible charm of the idea of two young lovers in Italy that has people fascinated. Surely that love story was the main reason for my excitement when I first traveled to Verona a few years ago. I wandered the streets wonderi[...]

A brief guide to the suburbs of Melbourne

Melbourne is arguably, and most rightly so, one of the top most liveable cities in the world! I lived there for nearly three years and it is definitely a place that stole my heart - I'll always think about it with affection and hope of returning. One of the many reasons why I love it is that it is so diverse with a multitude of suburbs that would suit any ch[...]

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