Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: castle

I left my heart in Bratislava

One coincidence that I have noticed these years is that my favourite destinations in Europe and some of the most memorable ones all start with the letter “B” – Bordeaux, Brussels, Barcelona, Bologna…and now, I arrive in Bratislava. From Vienna, it was a choice between Bratislava, Prague, and Budapest as a day trip, but it was not much a choice at all as Bratislava is the closest one and doesn’t take too much time to reach. An hour by bus and you jump conveniently from Austria to Slovakia.

It took a while to get to this post, but I’m glad I’m finally writing about Bratislava three months after the visit. Somehow, unexpectedly, I left a piece of my heart in this blue, melancholic city.

Slovakia is perhaps the second most mysterious (if not the most mysterious) country I’ve visited, next to Latvia. First impression of the old town: some areas were tattered with an air of sorrow, and strangely, it attracted me. A friend once told me that I gave off a strong aura of pensiveness with a touch of sadness surrounding me. Is this my “style”?

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A mission in Portugal, part 3 – Cascais & Sintra

Day three of the Portuguese trip brought me to a few unexpected places. To start with, I didn’t have any plans at all. It would be a day when I let Mr. DS take me around in his car, since he’d know better where to go. I thought we’d mostly be exploring Lisbon again, but the first thing Mr. DS said was, “I’m gonna take you to Cascais, it’s such a nice place.”

Then he asked me if there were places I’d like to go to. I told him that I had originally planned to go to Sintra, but ended up heading to Óbidos with my friends instead. He thought for a little bit and told me, “You know what, I’ll take you to Sintra as well, it’s not so far from here.” Wah, extra plus!

Cascais is approximately 30 km west of Lisbon, and Sintra is another 20 km or so to the north. After having a light lunch by the sea in Cascais, we hopped onto the car and as I thought we were going to Sintra, Mr. DS decided that on the way there, we’d stop by Cabo da Roca first. Ah, what a spontaneous guy! Where exactly ARE we going?!

This is Cabo da Roca, supposedly known as the westernmost point on continental Europe. The view of the sea and the cliffs was simply breathtaking! This is why I was so glad to have Mr. DS, the most authentic Portuguese I’ve ever know, as my companion during the trip. Of course, the car helped greatly. Without Mr. DS, I would definitely have missed out on this detour, which was one of the best part of the day. It was a windy day, alright, more so by the sea!

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March getaway part 2, Carcassonne

This leg of the March getaway is new to both LY and me – Carcassonne! I’ve heard so much about the medieval village and castle enclosed within the old city walls, and I had been anticipating to go for a long time. Being three hours from Bordeaux by train, it was a perfect day trip for my visitor and me, as we could conveniently make a stop in Toulouse on our way back 😉

We took the 9:31 train in the morning from Bordeaux St.Jean, but what’d you know…the train was delayed for half an hour due to “difficulties in preparing the train”. Hmm. I closed my eyes and promptly fell asleep, waking up and getting off at our destination, Carcassonne.

The first thing I saw when I exited the Carcassonne train station was the Canal du Midi and its clear, green water. The supreme icing on the cake was the gorgeous blue sky, which lasted the entire weekend despite the weather forecast of rain. Quelle chance! It was too bad that the boat tours weren’t operating until April. It would have been such a relaxing ride.

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Basque Country part 4: Biarritz

Last but not least, Biarritz! It’s been more than two weeks, but Biarritz will be the concluding post in the Basque Country series.

Training school finished at around noon on a Saturday. While most people either headed back to Bordeaux with the school shuttle buses or left for their flights back to their host universities, a small group of us had some time to spare. Mariel and I would be taking the 18h45 bus in Biarritz to San Sebastián, while Nhi, Naresh, and Ragu had a train to catch in Bayonne at 18h30. That gave us five hours of free time from 13h00, after lunch. Hmm. Mini-Biarritz exploration team, anyone?

Of course, we decided that the little we saw on the bus to the excursion was definitely not enough, and since we had the time, we took a taxi to the Biarritz town centre to walk around a bit until it was time to go. We were joined by Diana, whose flight was at around 17h00 and who would leave Biarritz at 15h00. A cozy group of six, off we went!

The taxi dropped us off at the Biarritz town centre, and before going anywhere, I needed to head to the tourist information centre to make sure that there was actually a bus later that day that would take Mariel and me to San Sebastián. Biarritz has a very cute tourist information centre – it looks like a noble castle! I would have thought this was a tourist attraction itself, hehe 😉

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