Tag Archives: travel

Cambodia: The Splendour And The Suffering

For many, travel is an escape from day-to-day life, a chance to explore other countries, and whether it’s the freedom of the open road for months on end or a quick holiday, it’s a way to leave behind the troubles and responsibilities of home. For me, it has always been a taste of unparalleled independence and liberty. Most tourists will therefore dedicate their time to seeing the sights, relaxing on a beach, or finding adventure — but in order to understand a new country and culture, it’s not enough to explore their art or cuisine. The truth of a country lies in its history, and while it’s tempting to see only the glory and gloss over any uncomfortable episodes, it’s not enough.

A prime example of this is Cambodia, home to the magnificent Angkor Wat and paradise beaches — but also to the terrifying dictatorship of Pol Pot. During the 1970s, his regime saw approximately 25% of the Cambodian population drawn from society either for manual labour or into concentration camps before eventually meeting their death in a 4-year period commonly remembered as genocide. And yes, it’s heart-rending. It’s awful. But in order to truly appreciate the beauty of the country and the spirit of the people, it is necessary to see what they have suffered and survived — in truth, it makes the beautiful parts shine brighter.

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Wenje, Zhang

An American in Rome

As an American transfer student studying full time in Rome, I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over Europe by myself and with others. With Rome as my home base, there has been a very fun and, at times, challenging transition process. This is the beginning of a series discussing this transition and what other Americans visiting Rome should expect.
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Rediscovering My Home Country And Its People

I left Pakistan four years ago to pursue my bachelor’s degree in English from the UK. One thing led to another and now I am pursuing my master’s here too and, thus, haven’t lived in my home country for four years. The decision that I made in the beginning still stands, however living in the UK and only visiting Pakistan in the holidays has led me to discover new things about the UK, Pakistan and myself.

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Mike Mantin

Pocket Guide to the Gower Peninsula

The Gower Peninsula is a rural, rugged landscape, shaped around the south coast of Wales. Unsurprisingly

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Allie_Caulfield

German Christmas Markets: Why You Should See Them In 2017 

As we are exactly half-way through the year, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas… right?

The festive season may be long gone but if you’re hoping to make your first Christmas market trip in 2017 then it’s never too early to start searching for good deals and doing some research. I love visiting the markets in Germany and would recommend them to anyone, particularly if, like me, you’ve always loved the idea of the kind of festive holiday you see on traditional Christmas cards.

Growing up in Texas where we were lucky if the temperature even dropped below freezing, let alone received anything close to resembling snow, I used to think that Christmas in New York City was the most magical way to spend the holidays, but then I went to Germany. Don’t get me wrong, New York at Christmas is just how you’d imagine, it’s like something straight out of a film. The city decorates every street corner, the tree in Rockefeller Plaza is mesmerising, and, if you’re lucky, you even get snow to top it all off. Celebrating Christmas in New York City should be added to everyone’s bucket list, but spending the festive season in Germany should definitely be added as well. 
Anthony Quintano

Make sure you visit NYC around the festive season at least once in your life, but for a ‘Christmas card’ experience, head to Germany. (Photographer: Anthony Quintano; Flickr)

  
German Christmas markets have been popping up in the U.S. quite frequently in the past few years, but there’s nothing like experiencing them in Germany itself. The atmosphere is a dreamy mix of warm, cosy drinks and energetic bands of tubas and trombones blasting away. The stalls lining the streets sell anything from Christmas cookies to scarves, hats and gloves, and while many of them seem to sell the same things, you can’t help but scan each and every one. There are what seems to be hundreds of food stands surrounded by upright tables to stand at and sip your mug of GlühweinThe warm, spicy mulled wine is served in a special glass unique to each city which makes a perfect souvenir; and don’t worry if you take it home at the end of the night — with each glass you purchase, a Pfand, or deposit, means you can keep it or just return the glass at the end of the night and get your money back. 
Allie_Caulfield

Have a glass of mulled wine to warm you up as you wander around Nuremberg’s Hauptmarkt. (Photographer: Allie_Caulfield; Flickr)

Christmas markets are a huge thing, but none are as big as the Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg. The market is a huge affair, with thousands of stalls packing the Hauptmarkt (main square) in Nuremberg’s old town. Another important attraction of the Christkindlesmarkt is the Christkind. Every year, hundreds of young women audition to become the Christ child, who opens the market with a prologue. The Christkind, dressed in white robes with long curly, blonde hair, even travels to the U.S. to Philadelphia and Baltimore to open their Christmas markets and meet with children. In Nuremberg, there is even a children’s Christmas night, or Kinderweihnacht, complete with a carousel and a small Ferris wheel.  
 
Even though some of these markets can seem large and intimidating from a distance, inside they are full of a comfortable warmth that makes you want to go back again and again. They’re the perfect place to spend time with friends and family, to meet new people and to celebrate the holidays. After spending the last two winters in Germany and its Christmas markets, I can’t imagine a single Christmas without them.  
Featured image © Allie_Caulfield
 
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