Travel Ideas

Great walks on earth

Are you into hiking, away from city lights?

Here are some great choices across the 5 continents: The greatest walks on earth.

Travel Ideas

20 great spots in Australia

To kick off the new change, here is an interesting article for people planning to travel to/in Australia, where 20 famous Australians share their favourite national parks around the country..

20 great spots by 20 great Aussies

I am ashamed to say that pit of the list I have only been to Sydney Harbour (>4x), Wilsons Promontory (1x), Grampians (2x), part of Blue Mountains (1x) and Noosa (2x).

Site News


This has been a long time coming, but I have finally decided to change a little the flavour of this site. Instead of simply documenting my own travels, from now on I will also include snippets of travel-related information so that I will be able to find the same information in future!

2006: Canberra/Sydney

Retracing steps

Had a chance to attend a 2-week long Machine Learning Summer School held at The Australian National University (or ANU) in Canberra, 6 – 17 February. It was both somewhat strange and exciting to be back on the grounds where I spent three and half years of my life as a PhD student. The move to Canberra really marks the start of my independence as well as a journey that has taken me away from home since, and one that I am still taking in fact.

During the weekend of 11-12 February, took some time out and went up to Sydney with colleagues attending the same Workshop. There was a couple of “firsts”. This was the first time I travelled by coach to Sydney; this was also the first time in many years that I was in Sydney as a complete tourist. On previous trips, I was usually the unofficial guide, mostly for the international students at ANU. This time I had a local guide – I have known her and her boyfriend since the days at ANU and who is currently working in Sydney – and I was able to fully enjoy myself. Nice to have such good friends and I do wish her all the best in her life in Sydney, also far away from home.

Spent the first afternoon milling about George Street, then travelled up to Circular Quay, by strolling through the Botanic Garden – a first experience for me, as a matter of fact. After the obligatory photo-taking at the Opera House, went to the ferry terminal and caught a ferry to Darling Harbour. Had a slow dinner at Harbourside and then headed to our hotel on the north side. The “slowness” was not by choice but simply poor service, by the way.

The following day started off nice and cool, but the temperature quickly picked up. After a nice breakfast of French toast and latte – loved the coffee in Sydney!! – went over the Milson’s Point to begin the harbour bridge crossing. You can see many of the shots I snapped here.

This was followed by a nice relaxing lunch at the Rocks, with full view of the opera house and harbour bridge. A bit pricey but at least worthwhile for its location and ambience, for lunch. :-) Later, headed over to Paddy’s Market where you can pick up many souvenirs, but most are made in China these days.

1997: Europe


I have to be honest and say that I really had never heard of this place before I planned for this trip. In fact, had my friend Lorenzo (from Rome) not suggested Tours, I would have missed out on something really wonderful! In fact, I had initially wanted to spend more time in Switzerland, but as he said, there is nothing but “cows, mountains and chocolates” – his words, not mine – I, in hindsight, quite wisely followed his advice.

What are the main attractions here? Well, lots and lots of medieval castles and chateaus! Most (mainly the ones belonging to the royal family directly), such as Chambord and Amboise, have been turned into museums, while some (mainly the properties of prominent officials in the French court) are still in private hands – but portions are open to the public, such as Cheverny with its large pack of hunting dogs. If you are a lover of history, this is definitely the place to be. The Loire Valley is the home to Leonardo da Vinci in the final days of his life; Catherine Medici of the Medici family in relation to the Renaissance movement was also active in this area. The end of the prominence of this region also marked the shift of royal power towards Paris.

Finally, to get around, from personal experience it was quite easily to find a comfortable hotel for about AU$15 per night, shared bathroom, very close to the station. There were many day-tours to the various castles to choose from; Amboise itself is reachable by train, although you should always check the departure time of the last train.

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