Our Blue Danube Intermezzo with More Lies About Vienna

The whole of Vienna is built on a foundation of lies The Danube does not really flow through the city (and is neither beautiful or even blue), Vienna’s Imperial splendour belies the reality of being the capital of a small-ish country in Eastern Central Europe; a good portion of her much famed architecture is essentially just “icing sugar” that was pasted on uninspired pseudo-classicist structures. When you talk to the Viennese, it won’t be long

Our Blue Danube Intermezzo with More Lies About Vienna

Revealing the Many Truths About Vienna

Vienna: for some people it is the city of Mozart, for others the city of Freud, for others still the place where Orson Welles charms and deceives everybody in The Third Man. Possibly the only thing they can all agree on is that Vienna is located on the Danube. It turns out, however, that the reality is a good deal more complicated than that. We reveal the many truths about Vienna

Even a

Revealing the Many Truths About Vienna

To Passau for the Second Movement of the Blue Danube

In the initial post about our trip along the Danube, I said that the Rhine landscape featured a large number of castles While this is undeniably true, it may have been misconstrued to imply that the landscape of the Danube did not.

So let me clearly state once and for all that this would be a totally false impression. Of course the Donau has castles, too. And just to prove the point, today

To Passau for the Second Movement of the Blue Danube

Regensburg, Why Have You Got a Heart of Stone?

Considering we have sung the praises of Regensburg in our last post, it seems all the more unforgivable that we failed to mention the city’s key asset on the central European tourism market: the fact that its entire (and fairly substantial) Old Town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You are forgiven to ask, how come, that a medium-sized city in provincial Germany of which until now you had heard little, was found

Regensburg, Why Have You Got a Heart of Stone?

Prelude to a Blue Danube Dream

Alone among European countries, Germany can claim sections of both the Rhine and the Danube, Europe’s most storied rivers. Most of you will have been aware of that, of course, but here is something that may surprise you: the German sections of both rivers are of a roughly similar length (865 km for the Rhine, 687 km for the Danube), and of the 10 countries that the Danube passes through on her

Prelude to a Blue Danube Dream

How to Spend the Hours Before Your Flight from Nice

Why would you want to go into a public park on the French Riviera when nature in its untamed variety – more coastal walks and mountain hikes than you could possibly pack into a long holiday – is only ever a bus ride away?

On most days, admittedly, any argument in favour of a trip to the public park will indeed seem a trifle weak, but there are also circumstances under which it

How to Spend the Hours Before Your Flight from Nice

Get to the Greatest of All Riviera Gardens

Riviera gardens are, in a number of ways, like London City churches: there are so many of them that only the truly obsessive can name them all There are enough differences between them for you to visit more than just a single one, while, on the other hand, they are sufficiently similar to invite informed comparisons. And just as the power and the majestic glory of St Paul’s tower above all of the other post-Great-Fire

Get to the Greatest of All Riviera Gardens

Do You Agree that Grasse is for Inhaling?

Grasse, as Joe Namath very nearly said, is not for visiting, it’s for smoking. And you’d be surprised how many locals share this opinion, at least the first half of it: that your time would be better spent going somewhere else (not to put too fine a point on it.)

Nice-Matin, our local rag, recently dedicated a photo spread to the refutation of this very idea that Grasse is ugly, that there is

Do You Agree that Grasse is for Inhaling?

Sniff Your Way to the Garden of Scents

What Made Grasse Famous Has Made a Smell-O-Rama Convert Out Of Me Few people have ever regretted that Hollywood failed to further evolve its 1950s format of Smell-O-Rama which allowed the movie houses to pipe in scents for the purpose of highlighting the cinematic narrative.

Full disclosure: I have always been one of those Smell-O-Rama skeptics – until last weekend, that is, when we visited the garden of scents, the Musée Internationale de

Sniff Your Way to the Garden of Scents

Professional Cycling: Is it Just All Sweat and Lycra?

A Walk in Sanremo Professional cycling. Don’t you just love it?

Sprinter Alessandro Petacchi winning Milan-San Remo in 2005

You don’t? Too much lycra, too much sweat running down contorted faces, too much time-where-not-very-much-appears-to-be-happening-at-all?

Races remind you of those depression era dance marathons where the last guy standing wins? Of who-can-hold-his-breath-the-longest contests?

Oh well. That is certainly one way of seeing it. But there is another way, too. Plenty of

Professional Cycling: Is it Just All Sweat and Lycra?