December 10, 2018

COLOURFUL BURANO

Some 11 kms. north of the Grand Canal in Venice and 45 minutes by vaporetto  (water bus) lies the island of Burano which is inhabited by 3,000 people. The quiet canals that crisscross the whole island is lined by brightly-painted houses that are the main attraction of the place. The vibrant colors made it easier for returning fishermen to find their homes in the thick fog and also marked the boundary of one’s property since houses were built cheek-by-jowl beside each other. Burano is also famous for its hand-stitched lace which used to be a flourishing industry during the 17th century. There are many shops that you can visit where…

August 30, 2018

THE WALK ALONG THE WARTIME TUNNELS OF LAGAZUOI

During the First World War, there was bitter fighting here in this rugged, rocky mountains between the Austrians and Italians. Soon after war was declared, the more inferior Austro-Hungarian troop retreated into this part of the Dolomiti mountains to wage a high-altitude war at almost 3,000 meters. It soon turned into a tunnel war as both sides dug, in abandoning frontal assaults which was useless in the mountains. So the aim was to blast off the enemy from the peaks with the one occupying the higher elevation having the advantage. It must’ve been hellish for the soldiers of both sides who fought not only the enemy but also the cold,…

August 18, 2018

ONBOARD THE BERNINA EXPRESS

There are two great train journeys in Switzerland. One is the Glacier Express that runs between Zermatt and St. Moritz and the other one is the Bernina Express that runs from Chur/St. Moritz to the southern Italian city of Tirano. Like they say, from the glistening glaciers to the swaying palms since it starts from the Alps and winds its way far down below to the Italian border.   We boarded the Bernina Express in the dead of winter and were greeted with an all-white landscape throughout the journey as the train slowly picked its way through thick snowdrifts that mostly covered the railway tracks while negotiating 55 tunnels and…

June 16, 2018

BELLAGIO: THE CROWN JEWEL OF LAKE COMO

Jutting out of a promontory into Lake Como, this place is considered by many to be the most beautiful town in Italy. You will soon agree once you see the quaint scenery around you – the ubiquitous cobblestone streets, the narrow alleys full of surprises and picturesque houses as well as the grand villas around. You have to walk uphill immediately behind the narrow waterfront in order get to the top of the town center where most of the action is. Quite tiring but you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the lake. Besides, you can always stop for a cone of gelato or a cup of espresso and…