Showing posts from June, 2016

Milan: My Date with Leonardo

I cannot be in Milan and not see Leonardo Da Vinci's “The Last Supper.” So I set aside a day to do the art/museum hopping thing. Although some familiar tour operators offered something called “The Davinci Tour” with guaranteed tickets to see the “Last Supper” for 79 euros, I didn’t want to join a tour group and be rushed; I wanted to enjoy and savor Leonardo’s masterpiece. So the next day, I headed into the town center and looked for the Church of Santa Maria Delle Grazie. I hopped on the usual Metro yellow line from my hotel without studying the metro map that the concierge handed me. I figured the metro was easy and assumed that everybody in Milan would know where the famous painting was. I asked a fellow passenger, where the stop for the Maria Delle Grazie Church and she told me it was the next station which happened to be her stop. As we emerged from the metro, she continued to give me direction to the church. As it turned out,  it was not the church I was looking for. I end

Cinque Terre

I could have spent a week hiking in Cinque Terre , but my plans to travel the Mediterranean got changed because of an unforeseen circumstance. Today, I finally got around to spending a day in Cinque Terre . And it was one very hectic day. Cinque Terre or Five Lands as the name implies, consists of five villages: Portovenere, Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Manarola and Monterosso Al Mare.  They're hidden in tiny coves along the craggy stretch of the Liguria coastline. Because of very high cliffs and rugged terrain, Cinque Terre was inaccessible and had been isolated and virtually unknown to outsiders for centuries.  Today, Cinque Terre is one of the most visited places in Italy. Like most people, Cinque Terre has been on my travel bucket list for years. Pictures of Cinque Terre are among the most posted on social media or popular on Instagram.  And for good reason: Cinque Terre has the most gorgeous scenic landscape, with century old churches and multi-colored dwellings b

Bella Tuscany

Italy is one of the most visited countries in the world and visiting some of the popular tourist sites is sometimes a turnoff because of the crowd and the waiting in line.   However, my visit to the hills of Tuscany was the most pleasant and enjoyable.  It was not only the eating and wine sniffing, swirling and tasting part of this wine-hopping excursion that gave me a full sensory experience, but the drive along the winding country road amid a postcard-perfect landscape unfolding before me was serendipitous. It was a riot of green. The scenery confirmed what the flight attendant told me about the weather in Europe during my flight to Italy, “spring arrives late in Western Europe this year.”         Passing the Chianti region, we headed to the wine town of Montepulciano and hiked up the highest hill town in Tuscany at 2,000 feet above the Val di Chiana.   We stopped for a photo-op of the valley below us. The views extend into the lake and the medieval Cortona, another hill t