We started the journey from Milan Centrale at about 7:30 AM. It is about 3 hours 5 minutes by the fastest train. The train tickets cost about 67 euros per person each side. Ticket cost varies from 45 euros to 90 euros depending on the time you book.
My trip to Lisbon from Milan was originally planned via Brussels, but due to unexpected circumstances, I found myself crossing over all the way from Liege in Wallonia to Ostend-Bruges in Flanders to catch the last seat in the flight to Lisbon.
Milan to Brussels to Lisbon became: Milan to Liege + over priced Taxi to train station + Train to North Belgium Ostend-Bruges(with help from a nice friendly local who helped me book the tickets at the station without the intention of scamming me) + Bus to the airport + 2 hour wait with loads of travelers in a little airport.
I wont complain much, as not only was I completely refunded for my troubles by Brussels Airlines (Taxi fare + Train tickets + bus ticket), they managed to get me at my final destination comforted with a seat in business class in TAP Airlines (Portuguese Airlines).
Travel Blog Confession: Sold to Portugal after business class upgrade
My first ever Business class trip after literally covering not just a country but en entire continent. Let me explain my complex trip to Portugal.
Milan to Liege (Economic Class Air)
Liege Airport to Train station (Taxi)
Liege Train station to Ostende Bruge city (Train)
Ostende Bruge Train station to Airport (Bus)
Ostende Bruge Airport to Lisbon (Upgraded to Business Class Air)
Starting from the land where they speak Italian to the land of French speaking Belgium. Next, a train to the Dutch speaking part of Belgium to only end up being spoilt by the best of Portuguese air hospitality. The crew of TAP airlines were obliged to treat me special as a Business class passenger. I wonder if they knew that I was upgraded by the awesome staff in Flanders Ostende Airport. They really did their best that busy day.
The funny thing that day was me even attempting a maverick journey like that to travel all across Belgium to catch a flight in time.
Vasco Da Gama would be proud of my Travels
Vasco Da Gama traveled south reaching below the cape of good hope in South Africa before he reached north east of Africa and then to South India while taking help of the ruler of Malindi (present day Kenya) and the great Arab navigator Ahmed Ibn Majid, to show the explorers the route to India.
Mean while , I found myself reaching Liege and taking the help of a cool Arab Taxi driver who helped me quite a bit in realizing that Ostend- Bruges was actually all across the other end of the country and that it would be better and cheaper if I juts took the train from the train station.
He did that speaking in French to some one who has a real tough time saying Bonjour and always prefers to say Ciao with a wink. He did try to over price me though and but was quite easily prepared to bring down the amount upon me bargaining like a typical Indian.
Our conversation reminiscent of conversation between the great explorers, navigators and sea faring merchants of that time who would often hang around India, Indonesia, Persian gulf or across the sandy beaches of east Africa.
A trip to the National Museum in Rome would enlighten me of the historical Roman trade with many Indian ports and beyond that was thriving until the demise of the great empire.
Landing in Portugal on a busy weekend night
Lisbon had great vibes. I love coastal cities, they are always special. Maybe the influx of people over ages brings all the coolest people over to a coastal port city. Wading through the busy evening streets, we find ourselves in a little street with history written all over it. Our Airbnb hostess invites us to climb up 3 storeys on wooden steps that seemed to belong in one of Vasco Da Gama's old ships.
I gasped for my breath as I carried our week long luggage across the tiny wooden steps. Had to climb three floors to finally reach our beautiful little Portuguese apartment. Our Airbnb landlady would further entertain us with an introduction to Lisbon city and Portuguese culture. Like a typical coastal nation citizen, she takes out an old paper map. As she reads out some Portuguese names of the areas around, we get interested and take notes. The next day you would find me jumping in joy around the coast. I was absolutely loving my holiday in a country which helped make Goa fun.
Lisbon fever: Love at first sight
We took the city sightseeing bus service that would play beautiful fado music while educating us about Lisbon. I was awestruck listening about its glorious history on top of the bus. Walking across Lisbon was great fun. Paradise is sunny weather and regular supply of Codfish Cakes (Pasteis de Bacalhau).
Do click on the link to the have a glimpse of this Portuguese delight. I had actually tried it at this very place on the link. The perfect brown fish cutlet is filled with melted cheese and has to be eaten with care.
You fall in love instantaneously with Lisbon, while sipping wine on a disposable "I Love Lisbon" wine glass at the Torre de Belem.
Strolling across the Bairro Alto or the upper neighborhood/district, you can find the best food at the best price. Just make sure to avoid the tourist traps. By tourist traps, I refer to those unscrupulous businesses that exist all around the world. Usually near the perpetual tourist attractions. Intending to only benefit from a location but not to deliver in terms of value. The rent could be high or the motivation to meet a threshold to have customers may be low.
Soon we would find the best places as we dine with old friends in Lisbon. Later we would eat the best frango and wine near the train station at faro completely based on a intuitive hunch. Not always do you enter a place to be completely blown away with the service, quality and value. I discovered loads of trattoria in Italy where you can end up having a really good meal at lunch time at a great price.
Two of the most successful football clubs of Italy – Internazionale FC and AC Milan – still play their home matches in the very same stadium. If you're looking for return on investment on your travelling, this is the perfect place.Famous footballers to have played here: Paolo Maldini, Javier Zanetti, Luiz Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Hernan Crespo, Kaka.Things to do apart from football: Visit the Sforza Castle to check out medieval art treasures. Shop for the best fashion at Galleria Vittorio.Average expenditure per day per head: Rs. 4,500Book the best hotels.Read more about the city.
The best thing that could have happened during an otherwise uneventful summer vacation was our Italian holiday. Though short-lived, those seven days will forever remain etched in our memories. Planned on the spur of a moment, my three boys (the eldest, being my husband) and I eagerly looked forward to visiting Italy – a land of history, romance, wine, pasta and home to the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We booked our tickets on Qatar Airways , applied for our Italian visas which we got in a week’s time and kept counting days and finally hours.Day of travel: Sunday, 3rd July, 2016With the commencement of the summer holidays and Eid Al-Fitr just round the corner, we expected a very crowded airport. But what awaited us there was way beyond our imagination. We boarded our 4:40 flight to Doha at 5:40. Desperately we prayed we wouldn’t miss our 7:00 connection flight to Milan. Unfortunately, the 7 o’ clock flight departed leaving us at Doha. We were rebooked for the afternoon flight and landed at Milan Malpensa International Airport at around 20:40. I've heard that the sun sets late in these European countries but to experience it first hand was indeed ethereal. At 20:40 in Milan, the sun had just begun its official descend.
9 | LAKE Como + SWISS ALPSFly into Milan and hop the train towards George Clooney’s stunning stomping grounds – Lake Como. Not much beats the picture perfect scene of the bright blue lake with pastel lake villages below the snow-capped Alps. For easy train connections, stay in Varenna for a few days but be sure to take the ferry to nearby Bellagio. After gorging on pasta and wine, head north into the Alps to St. Moritz for fantastic hiking in the summer or world-class skiing in the winter.
A city that I have consistently never liked: it’s not rich in art and I am not rich enough for Via della Spiga yet. All that shopping just waiting to be done and I can barely afford the window-watching here. People are smartly dressed which is a pleasant distraction from the ugly post WWII buildings that had all the flamboyance of a finance manager. And the creativity of a blender. Wooh, am on a roll here!
My recommendation... Do NOT take a taxi to the airport, unless you booked a hotel right next to it, or are the type who flies charter. My Google Maps kept going on and soon enough I could see the Piemontese appellations on the same screen and Turin was a bare 100 kms away! I almost thought he was kidnapping me and to leave a sommelier stranded on the Nebbiolo wine route did strike me as smirk-worthy. I don’t know how far it was – he said 45 kilometres, I think he meant light years – but I paid a godawful 103 Eu• Nottingham Forest: I missed it this time but a molecular bar that comes up in every conversation must be worth its test tubes and vials. Dario Comini is no small name in the world of mixology so make sure you try something here. Closed on Mondays, which was my reason for not making it. Rita bar on Canigli was a healthy compromise but be there early so you get the tasty aperitivo treats; for come 10pm and they remove it all. And your table looks empty, and now you have to make conversation, and the drinks disappear faster and the bill mounts. En suite, we hit the Mag bar and that was by far one of the best cocktail bars I have ever been to and I do like my mixes. What a shake, what cocktails. I preferred it to the Rita. These guys also have a speakeasy (1930’s) and they have an awesome card; don’t even bother walking upto it. You need to have your name on the list. I didn’t make it. The alcohol-soaked me had to call it a night.ros! So much for not shopping in Milan. The man had already started setting up the credit card machine even before we pulled into t
Italy is just round the corner from French Riviera and therefore we decided to make the best use of our schengen visa. We took a train and headed to the Italian town of Ventimiglia. It's just a small train ride away. From eating oysters to digging in pasta- we did that in one day and we were pretty kicked about it. The moment you cross the border, you will notice a stark difference between the French and the Italian culture. Just within a few miles, you see a difference in food, textures, flavours, language, people. We entered a bustling market selling local fruits, vegetables and flowers. The prices are generally lower than what you will find across the French border. Do find time to devour some sinful local risotto, spaghetti and pasta and end your meal with a heavenly tiramisu.Read More
Italy is just round the corner from French Riviera and therefore we decided to make the best use of our schengen visa. We took a train and headed to the Italian town of Ventimiglia. It's just a small train ride away. From eating oysters to digging in pasta- we did that in one day and we were pretty kicked about it. The moment you cross the border, you will notice a stark difference between the French and the Italian culture. Just within a few miles, you see a difference in food, textures, flavours, language, people. We entered a bustling market selling local fruits, vegetables and flowers. The prices are generally lower than what you will find across the French border. Do find time to devour some sinful local risotto, spaghetti and pasta and end your meal with a heavenly tiramisu.
We decided to soak up the Riviera vibe and there is truly no better place to do so than Nice. Sitting on the pebbly shores of Baie des Anges, Nice is a tenacious mix of old world charm, sun, sea and high-end shops and cafes.
C. NICEFrom Nice Vile station, you can head to your Hotel & later in the evening get ready to explore Nice, the best city I have visited so far.With its mix of real-city grit, old-world opulence, year-round sunshine and stunning seaside location, Nice is the unofficial capital of the Côte d’Azur, and a must-see for every tourist. A magnet for sunseekers and high-rollers since the 19th century, this bewitching coastal city has so much going for it, glorious architecture and a wealth of super restaurants. If you really want to soak up the Riviera vibe, there’s really no better place to do it than in Nice.
Nice (pronounced like the English word "niece") is a big city in France on the French Riviera, popular destination for travelers of all ages with something to offer nearly everyone. It is renowned for the beautiful view on the Promenade des Anglais, its famous waterfront, and is an ethnically diverse port city.One can reach Nice by from any other city of Spain,Italy or France. From Spain, Vueling is the best low cost airlines, good fleet of aircraft & great service.Plan in such a way that you reach Nice in late evening/early morning so that you have full 3 days to explore Nice & adjoining areas. Having reached Nice airport, the best option is to go to nearest SNCF railway station i.e. Nice St.Augstin, it takes about 10 min to walk from Airport to this station & lot of travelers use this route. Before choosing this option, know that the station is not in the airport, and getting to the station can be tricky with a lot of luggage or small children. It is possible to walk to the station.
Nice is a little mix of sugar, spice and everything 'nice'. It is appropriate for everyone - right from those looking to spend a few days in the lap of luxury to shoestring backpackers looking to explore the south of France. The pebble beaches look almost heavenly, if not entirely comfortable and the nightlife is fantastic. Right from open-air markets and musical performances to a promenade right out of your dreams, Nice is the ultimate getaway.
If you’re looking to venture to the South of France, don’t pass up this spot loved by locals. You may be thinking how a well known city like Marseille made this list, but there’s more to it outside of the crowded city center. Come here to experience Les Calanques, or coves, where adrenaline junkies can jump off cliffs into the sea or you can lounge in the sun.Read More
If you’re looking to venture to the South of France, don’t pass up this spot loved by locals. You may be thinking how a well known city like Marseille made this list, but there’s more to it outside of the crowded city center. Come here to experience Les Calanques, or coves, where adrenaline junkies can jump off cliffs into the sea or you can lounge in the sun.
Top 3 things to do in Marseille1. MUSÉE DES CIVILISATIONS DE L'EUROPE ET DE LA MÉDITERRANÉEDesigned by architect Rudy Ricciotti, the new Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée is one of the jewels in Marseille's cultural crown.2.VIEUX PORT (OLD PORT)One of the most picturesque spots in all of France, Marseille's spruced up Vieux Port is the beating heart of the city. The port's expanded walkways and refurbished wharves make room for pedestrians to easily enjoy regular sculpture exhibitions, street musicians, concerts, and dance performances held throughout the warmer months. For a glimpse of old Marseille, drop by the fish market at the top of the port, where fisherman offer the catch of the day.3.Day Trip to the CalanquesOne of the loveliest trips out of Marseille is to hop on a boat and do the calanques – the limestone cliffs and creeks stretching 20 miles to the south of the city.
If this was all that time would allow I would head out of Marseille. I can’t personally recommend much in Marseille as we haven’t made it there but I hear many many good thing, amongst the bad, so I would definitely give it some time, otherwise keep going towards Nice but stop off in other beautiful towns and villages like Saint-Raphael and Bagnols en Foret along the way.
I have been staying in Marseille since January 6 and have traveled to Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany and of course in France maintaining it as a base location. I start my Europathon of 14 countries from here!
Geneva is globally known for being the headquarters of the mighty United Nations. But, the city's vintage charm, eloquent looks and bubbling energy will not only help you relax but live life at large.Read More
I am not a huge fan of one day trips, however, you make the best of what you get. Here's how I spent my last weekend, a full day taking in the beautiful sights of Geneva. Here is a Be For Beauty special on how to spend a day in gorgeous Geneva: things to do, lots of photos, places to see and of course, travel tips that'll help you.