Famous Architectures – A history told in a thousand years

A 1000 year of history told through magnificent architectures

In this video series we take a tour of the famous architectures around the world that tells a historical timeline of the past 1000 years.

We start in the middle ages in the nation-state of Pisa. Then visit french medieval sites of Notredame in Paris and Pope’s palace in Avignon. Then explore the wonders of Venetian Empire of late middle ages.

Renaissance wonders by Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Vasari take us to Sienna, Florence and Milan. We then turn to the Spanish empire’s golden age in Seville.

The demise of Spanish Armada leads us to London, England during the Tudor reign in the 16th century. Followed by 17th century reign of Louis XIV in Versailles.

We then move east to Hapsburg Austrian Empire of 18th century in Vienna. Then explore 19th century Bavarian castles of King Ludwig II that gave way to German Unification.

We then head back west to visit the marvels of Industrial era and late 19th century Parisian architecture like Eiffel Tower and the modern Louvre.

Finally we cross the Atlantic to explore the rise of a early 20th century giant city in Chicago. Further crossing the Pacific, we reach Sydney, Australia and visit the wonderful post – WWII architecture in Sydney Opera House.

We end our trip in a architecture landmark of the modern era – CN Tower in Toronto, Canada.

Travel Guide – Exploring Europe in 4 weeks

Europe travel guide

Travelling across Europe, especially in summer, can be an exciting adventure. This is a brief guide on how to do it based on our own real life experience. The guide is primarily geared toward residents from North America but applicable for most travelers flying into Europe. The travels in this guide took place between 2015 and 2019.

Planning

To prepare, you should start planning at least 6-7 months ahead. A helpful resource for planning is Rick Steves Europe Travel Guide and his audio guide and books.

We use hotels.com and AirBnB for accommodation, Kayak for airlines, Duolingo app for foreign language learning, Viator/TripAdvisor for guided tours, Man in seat61 for train connections and Google Search for train, maps and attractions. Make sure you have an international plan with your wireless carrier for your smartphone. Verizon and T-Mobile has the most Europe friendly plans in our experience. For best price and availability, book ahead by at least following timeline:

  • International flights: 3-5 months
  • Long distance Trains: 3 months
  • Flights within EU: 2-3 months
  • Car Rental: 6-8 weeks
  • Hotels/AirBnB: 4-6 weeks
  • Guided Tours: 4-6 weeks
  • Local Trains: 2 weeks

It is better to book the international flight first so you know where to fly in and then plan remaining itinerary.

Places to Visit

The sites visited and the accompanying video blog series are described in my blog Best Of Europe. When in a site, use your smartphone and Google map as much as needed to get the most out of your visit.

The roadmap

Visiting all these sites in a single trip is possible if you have 4-6 weeks in hand. However, you can split it in multiple trips to suit your budget and availability. Below is a suggested itinerary.

1. Fly into Europe via A) London, Then take a flight to Vienna, Austria. Or B) fly to Vienna directly.

2. Take a guided day trip from Vienna to Budapest, Hungary. Explore Vienna as well.

3. Take an OBB train from Vienna to Salzburg for a half day tour. Then a scenic train trip from Salzburg to Munich.

4. Take a day trip from Munich into Bavaria exploring Oberammergau, Linderhof and Newscheinstein. Then head to Zurich via train and enjoy the scenic Rhine river valley and nearby Basel and Rheinfelden.

5. Fly or take train from Zurich to Milan. Take a day tour to Lake Como. Then explore Milan before heading to Venice by train.

6. Explore Venice, then take the train to Florence. Explore Florence. Then take a day trip of Tuscany covering Siena, Pisa and San Giminano.

7a. Head to Genoa by train. Then take a Mediterranean cruise from Genoa or Savona exploring Marseilles, Nice, Monaco and Barcelona. Take day excursions from the cruise ports. Then fly to Marseilles. An alternative to cruise is available in next step.

7b. If skipping cruise then fly from Milan or Florence to Nice. Then explore the Riviera (Nice, Monaco, Ezze, Cannes) by car.

8. Rent the car (preferably automatic and German) from the airport. Then explore Provence by car including Avignon, Arles and Niemes.

9. Fly from Marseilles or Nice to Madrid. Explore Madrid. Then take the train to Seville. Explore Andalusian sites like Ronda, White Villages, Granada via guided day tours. Then head back to Madrid via Cordoba in Train. Spend half or a full day in Cordoba to explore. From Madrid take a flight to Paris.

10. In Paris explore the beautiful city as well as nearby Versailles. Take guided tour to nearby Champagne region or Normandy.

11. Then fly or take the train to London. Explore London. If your entry to Europe was in Vienna then fly back to Vienna. Finally, head back home!

Travel – Best of Europe

Travel 50+ sites in Europe in this playlist!

This video blog series is a trip across Europe compiled over a few years. It is also a roadmap for travelling all these sites in a single trip if you have 4-6 weeks available. For details on preparation and a suggested itinerary for such a trip check out this blog .

Places to visit

We start in Budapest, Hungary and head west across the Alps visiting Vienna and Salzburg in Austria. Then tour Munich, Linderhof and Newscheinstein in picturesque Bavaria, Germany and end up in Switzerland visiting Zurich, Basel and Rheinfelden.

We then head south to Northern Italy visiting lake Como and Milan before reaching historic Venice by the Adriatic sea. We then crisscross across Italy visiting Florence, Siena, San Giminano and Pisa in sunny Tuscany. Our Italian tour continues west through Genoa and Savona and into Ventigmilia of the Italian Riviera.

Moving onto the French Riviera we visit Nice, Eze, Villafranca and Monaco. Driving further west we explore beautiful French villages and towns of Lacoste, Cavallion, Arles and Avignon ending up in the port city of Marseilles.

Their we embark on a cruise exploring the Mesiterranen including Barcelona, Spain! Heading deeper into Spain we explore Madrid and the Andalusian cities and villages of Seville, Zahara, Grazalema and Ronda. We then fly north to romantic Paris and royal Versailles before ending our journey in London, England!

The video blog

Rheinfelden, Switzerland – Serene and Picturesque

A video blog of our stay by the river Rhine

Rheinfelden is a small picturesque town in Switzerland bordering Germany. The name means the fields of the Rhine river. It is home to Feldschlösschen, the most popular beer in Switzerland.

The video clip below are highlights of our weekend stay at the town one summer.

The town is across the river from Rheinfelden in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The two towns are joined by a bridge over the river. They were politically separated when Napoleon Bonaparte fixed the German–Swiss border on the Rhine in 1802 and are still socially and economically tied.

Basel, Switzerland

In the middle of nowhere, close to everywhere!

Imagine a place, where you walk across a bridge to go from Switzerland to Germany. Rent a bike and ride across town into France. Take an hour or less train ride to Zurich, the snowy Alps or tiny country of Lichtenstein. A 2-3h train trip could get you to Luxembourg or Milan, Italy!

In the summer of 2018, we discovered such a destination in the city of Basel, Switzerland and its nearby picturesque villages by the Rhein river.

We arrived in Basel in a regional Lufthansa aircraft from Frankfurt, Germany on a short 45 min trip.

Basel Airport is relatively small. Our next stop was a 4h train ride to Paris. So we took the local bus from the airport to Basel SBB station. Below is a short video clip and some images of a first look at Basel.

The Basel SBB station is an ideal pit stop to freshen up, grab a bite or do some shopping before heading to your next destination – which in our case was Paris. If in any doubt, you can always check with the friendly customer service staff at the upper lobby.

Long distance train services between Switzerland and France are frequent and comfortable in both 1st and 2nd class. Most trains offer free wifi for your devices to stay connected online.

If you are staying in and around Basel, the picturesque Swiss and German villages by the Rhein river are only 15-20 mins ride in local train.

We stayed in one such place called Rheinfelden at the border of Switzerland and Germany. Below are few pictures of this beautiful sleepy little town in the middle of nowhere but close to everywhere!

Oberammargau, Fairytale Bavaria

A fairytale town in the middle of Bavaria

Oberammergau is a small town in Bavaria, Germany known for its 350 year old tradition of Passion plays. It is also famous for woodcarvings like the Grimm fairytales of ‘Hansel and Grettel’ and ‘Little Red Riding Hood ‘ . We visited the picturesque town in summer of 2018 on a bus tour from Munich. Below is a photo tour of Oberammergau .

Munich, Bavaria – An introduction

A short video introduction of Munich, gateway to Bavaria

In the summer of 2018, we arrived in Munich from Paris to embark on a tour of Bavaria. We took a guided tour through Viator (Trip Advisor) . The above video clip is an entertaining short introduction to Munich. See my other Blogs of Germany to see where we headed next! Bon Voyage !