Tag Archives: Lakshmi

Tintern Abbey – a Romantic Spot, a Poet’s Inspiration and a Driver’s Challenge!

By Lakshmi:  

We had a long weekend ahead of us and browsing through the Lonely Planet book for Wales landed me on a page mentioning one of Britain’s most romantic spots – Tintern Abbey.   The Abbey was a monastery founded by the Cistercian monks in 1136 as a perfect spot to practice their principles of obedience, poverty, chastity, silence, prayer, and work.  The ruins of their place of worship and dedication inspired William Wordsworth to compose his famous poem, “Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey.”  Given the proximity of Chepstow to our home town of Abergavenny (a 35 minute drive), the decision was made to venture out to this spot the very next day.

Of course, the best laid plans rarely work and soon after embarking on our journey, we missed an exit on a roundabout.  Soon, we were thrust from the highways to narrow lane roads barely wide enough to accommodate a single car, leave alone two lanes of traffic.  Thus began our adventure….we navigated through residential areas, tree-lined spaces, farmland and oncoming traffic to finally reach the haunting ruins of the Abbey.

As we parked the car, purchased our tickets and approached the Abbey, all that built-in stress quickly evaporated.  Nestled amongst the mountains in a town on the banks of the river Wye, the ruins formed a stunning backdrop against the azure clouds and green landscapes that surrounded us.  The grassy land on which the spectacular ruins stood provided the perfect backdrop to contemplate on life, love, prayer, beauty and more.

Take a walk with us through this photo journey and tell us if this does strike you as one of the most romantic spots the UK could offer.

You can find out all about visiting Tintern Abbey including directions, entry fees and more at


Falling In Love with Paper Travel Guides In The Digital Age

By Lakshmi:

For the last several years, most of our trips have been facilitated by electronic media.  From downloading apps on local transit systems to those that point you to what’s around, from eguides to cities to programs that track your visits, going paperless has been quite a liberating experience.

However, despite our newly discovered efficiency, there is something magical about picking up a print travel magazine (the most recent case in point being an issue of Wanderlust at Heathrow airport) that sends our hormones into a state of bliss.  Given this induced state, it should come as no surprise that my heart skipped a beat or two when I discovered alacarte maps.

Pitched as a package that combines a travel guide with a city map that can serve as a piece of art, these extremely attractive, easy to carry guides may be the perfect companion to discovering an entire city or a quaint neighborhood.

Founded by two Swiss flashpackers (backpackers who like to journey in style), these enticing maps provide tons of tips from locals on where to go and what to do in addition to of course providing you with what you would expect from good old fashioned maps.  In fact, mix one part eye candy, one part personal tour guide and one part reliable data and you come up with a map ideally suited for today’s digital age limited attention span!

I happened to see the one on my former home town of Washington DC and can’t wait to buy a few for cities I am already quite familiar with…London, New York, Vienna.

Take a moment to peruse their collection at http://www.alacartemaps.com/ and if that’s not enough to get you excited, take a look at one of their creative videos at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvBqCCRd4PI

And if you’ve used their maps, please do send us your feedback.

Food – The Ultimate Reason To Visit Ethiopia

Contributed by Sara Genene

Today, we bring you the final installment of Sara Genene’s top five reasons to visit her home town of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.  Needless to say no write-up on Ethiopia would be complete without a mention of its food.

Ethiopian cuisine is as unique and diverse as the country and is worth experimenting. It is in the city of Addis Ababa where the taste of Ethiopian adventure starts with the national staple “Injera” a fermented pancake like bread straight from the oven.  Through these pictures, you can have a virtual introduction and enticing invitation to the world of Ethiopian cuisine.

PS from Lakshmi: We hope you enjoyed this multi-part journey through Sara’s lens on her homeland.  To learn more about Ethiopia and continue your virtual journey, please do visit Sara’s blog  at www.aboutaddisababa.wordpress.com