Year: 2013

Holiday Time In Toronto

After a delicious breakfast with the family, a group of us decided to head to Queen Street West for a walk. We rode Toronto’s tram the “rocket” to the intersection of Queen Street W and Spadina, also known as the Fashion District. This place is paradise for someone like me who loves fabric and sewing. Fabric store after fabric store line the street. This part of Toronto has cool home decor stores, eclectic shops, and hipster cafes and bars. We had a quick pint at Squirly’s.          Advertisements

Venice In October

Venice was the first and last stop on our recent trip to Europe. To my surprise the city was still busy with tourists at the beginning of October, technically the end of high season. Venice is a great place to wander around, explore and get lost. And get lost we did on multiple occasions while trying to navigate the intricate narrow streets and figure out the impossible-to-read city map. Venice is living history but it also entices visitors with designer boutiques and inviting window displays. Although the budget didn’t allow for shopping, I took the time to admire the perfect leather Italian shoes in the shop windows. One of my favourite landmarks in the city is the Doge Palace. The tour of the palace allowed me to learn about Venetian history and the structure of the Venetian government across centuries. Layer upon layer of government was added over time to deal with social and political issues. The palace is also a great place for art lovers. The interiors of the administrative offices are decorated with …

Picturesque Piran

Piran is a small town in the southwest of Slovenia on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. There’s no direct train from Ljubljana to Piran but the bus ride between the two cities takes only about 3 hours. Piran is popular with Slovenians and other Europeans alike. The town center is small and it can be visited quickly. This is the perfect place to take a few days to unwind after a busy trip without feeling guilty that parts of Piran are left unexplored. We stayed at Hotel Piran, a well established hotel that had been recently renovated. The hotel is right on the coast. Breakfast was phenomenal and included prosciutto, smoked salmon and a variety of delicious baked goods. Piran was under Venetian rule for over 500 years (13th to 18th century). Traces of Venetian Gothic architecture have been left in Piran. A tower inspired by the tower in Piazza San Marco in Venice was built here. The tower is on top of a hill overlooking Piran right next to St-George Cathedral. The town’s main square, Tartini Square, is named after composer …

Bloody Good Trip to Bled

Bled is a small town fifty minutes by train from Ljubljana. The town is known for its incredibly blue glacial lake and its thermal baths that became popular with European aristocracy at the beginning of the 20th century. In the middle of the lake there’s a small island home to Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church that can be reached by climbing 99 steps. This church is a popular venue for wedding ceremonies. Bled Castle watches over the lake. The castle has an exhibition of the history of the area. The entry to the castle is 8 euro but it’s worth visiting if only for the beautiful views of the lake and its surroundings. About 4 km away from the lake is Vintgar Gorge. You have to walk through the quaint countryside of Bled to get there. Golden corn fields and beautiful gardens line the road. A wooden walkway 1,600 m long has been built along the steep banks of the Radovna River. The river flow is interrupted by waterfalls and the water is crystal clear. The walk is spectacular. …

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and the first stop on our recent trip there. The town is small (about 280,000 people) but trendy and cosmopolitan; it has designer boutiques, a castle on a hilltop, Roman ruins, Art Nouveau architecture, a gigantic park and a modern university campus all within 30 minutes walk from the train station.    The city’s Old Town is an area of pedestrian streets lined with beautiful architecture, restaurants and boutiques. On our first  evening in Ljubljana we had dinner in the Old Town at Špajza. We ordered Jakončič Cabernet Sauvignon with our dinner and I was impressed. This wine comes from the western part of Slovenia that’s known for its wineries. Unfortunately this is not sold in stores across Slovenia but only distributed to restaurants. One would have to take a visit to the Jakončič winery to get a bottle of this delicious Cab Sauv. The city is divided by the Ljubljanica River and the bridge leading to Ljubljana Central Market (Butcher’s Bridge) is decorated with key locks and interesting sculptures. The market has an outdoor area …