Tiger’s Nest – the highlight of our trip to Bhutan

During our recent trip to Bhutan with the fabulous people from Bhutan Norter, who sponsored us, we did what every visitor to this country does: we visited Paro Taktsang (Paro is the name of this local district, district town, valley, and main river; tak means tiger, tsang means lair in Dzongkha). More commonly known in the West as Tiger’s Nest, it is Bhutan’s unchallenged top cultural icon. Much more importantly, it is an ancient sacred Buddhist site and has been an important place of pilgrimage for more than 1,000 years, long before the first temple was built. Guru Rinpoche The holy site is dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava (“He who came into being in a lotus”), who lived and meditated here in the thirteen caves about 1,250 years ago. This former Brahmin royal from India built the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet and then fled to Bhutan (on a flying tigress […]

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Two days in Nepal – Kathmandu, Bhaktapur & Nagarkot

On our recent trip to Bhutan we extended our stopover in Kathmandu to three nights and two full days on the first leg of our trip. Neither of us had been to Nepal before and this former Himalayan kingdom which turned into a republic in 2008 had been on our bucket list from day one. Our stay and schedule were organised by the brilliant people from Bhutan Norter, who had also sponsored our 6-day tour in Bhutan (we paid full price for Nepal, though, USD 650 for the two of us, incl. 3 & 4-star accommodation, breakfast, all admission fees, and guide & driver, who stayed overnight while in Nagarkot). The pictures below are strictly in sequence but in order to spread them out evenly over the blog post, there are instances where the photos are placed in sections that cover different topics: You will find pictures of Bhaktapur’s Durbar […]

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Bad Hofgastein – this skiing paradise 1h from Salzburg sports the Eastern Alps’ longest slope

To me Bad Hofgastein is synonymous with winter fun. My parents first came here with four of my uncles and aunts and one of my grandmothers in the late 1960s. From the time my sister and I were born in the mid-1970s my parents took us to the same B&B for a week every winter. The owners’ son, who now runs the hotel with his wife and oldest kid, and I engaged in snowball fights and built snowmen 40 years ago. This year round, my parents met up with Ms B & me for just an extended weekend (4 days and 4 nights). While my parents brought all of their own gear, we borrowed ours at Ski-Verleih Service Irausek (pre-ordered via Alpinresorts.com, both of which I’d recommend, even though if you can get a decent deal for ski rental at Angertal valley station then go for that, as much more […]

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Strasbourg Gourmet Food Tour with Pierre

During our recent visit to Strasbourg we did the Strasbourg Gourmet Tour with Pierre, booked through AirBnB for just over £50 per person (tickets start from £43). Strictly speaking we had booked a four-hour experience called Strasbourg Gourmet Tour starting at 9:30am, which was then replaced by a better-value six-hour experience called Strasbourg CHRISTMAS Gourmet Tour, starting from 10am. No complaints from our side. From the moment we met our guide, we knew this is someone who found their calling. You don’t find that much enthusiasm very often. Presumably in his mid-twenties, Pierre grew up in town and clearly loves it dearly and knows it inside out. We also liked the fact that the groups are limited to max 8 people, which in our case turned out to be a middle-aged couple from Yosemite, California, who had just started out as vintners and b&b owners, a bubbly, young lady from […]

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A Self-Guided Visit to the Paris Catacombs – A Sight with Six Million Skeletons

During our recent visit to Paris Ms B & I did what we had been planning to do for a long time: visit the famous Paris Catacombs. They are located close to the metro station Denfert-Rochereau, not too far from the city centre. Skip the queue, kind of We had purchased our skip-the-queue self-guided audio tour tickets in advance. The Paris Museums Tickets webpage to which the official Paris Catacombs website links to, charges €29 per person. With a bit of luck you might find one of the daily changing discounts somewhere else if you google around a bit. €29 is no small amount of money, but you will be grateful to have spent it, when you see the massive queues which meander around the entrance building for two hundred metres and more. While I’m writing this post, I can see on the Catacombs’ website that the queues are currently […]

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