Our folks at Pastels and Pop love Juttis and travelling. What happens if you put them both together? Our travel journal, of course!
While there’s always space to fill in a passport, ours have been lucky enough to have been inked several times over the past few years. We have been awed by the Golden Gate in SF, blinded by the bling that is Las Vegas, and even wandered aimlessly in the Straten of Amsterdam and des Rues of Paris (in our favourite P&P’s, of course). Savour the sights and stories of these amazing cities as we relive our escapades.
First stop, San Fran - The peninsula of San Francisco is like a thumb pointing up; much like the warm and optimistic attitude of the people here. The year round fog and stunning panoramas are the only two constants in this hilly town. Do plan to visit the many Wineries and vintage saloons that are as commonplace as the dot-com giants in this city. And how can one miss the signature landmark - the Golden Gate Bridge. Our Starry Nights just can’t get enough of that view!
Best time to visit: September to November
Ah, the Windy City. A place where you can stare down a knee-weakening 103 floors standing on the glass floored Willis tower Skydeck, walk down the beautiful Michigan Avenue, and dance to rock bands thrashing out at the Lollapalooza by night. Chicago is that cool sibling your city wants to be like.
Chicago is a bit of everything awesome rolled into one. While the dizzying skyscrapers keep your necks craned upwards, the art in upscale museums and the streets alike showcase this city’s unabashed culture. Expect to make plenty of high-spirited acquaintances at the local watering hole while enjoying a pint and whatever game that’s playing on TV. It’s all good.
Chicago is home to the Magnificent Mile, the upscale section of the Michigan Avenue, aptly named for being one of the top 10 hospitality, dining and retail destinations on the planet. You can gorge on gourmet, bask in a sea of entertainment, and of course, literally shop till you drop, with more than 460 stores to choose from. And if you haven’t visited the Millennium Park and taken a selfie beside the Cloud Gate AKA “the Bean”, then your trip is incomplete. Don't forget to add the the Architectural tour on the Chicago river and enjoy the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier.
Best time to visit: April-May and September-October (weather is anyone’s guess though, as it is extreme throughout the year).
An oasis of shimmering opulence in the midst of the dry Mojave desert; if the Sin City isn’t the definition of the American Dream, then we don’t know what is.
The last American city on our list is not for the faint-hearted. Vegas is popular for the plethora of luxury casinos (remember, house always wins) that line the famous stretch of the Las Vegas Boulevard, known as the Strip; but you’ll also find high end restaurants, music venues and even circus shows like the Cirque du Soleil on the famed avenue. The dramatically choreographed Fountains of Bellagio will leave you mesmerised with the sounds and lights befitting an opera. Take in the city sights from a bird’s eye view - atop the 1,149 foot observation tower that is the Stratosphere. Our Juttis can be spotted getting comfortable by the Venetian Grand Canal replica.
Indulge. There’s no better place.
Best time to visit: September to November
Across the Atlantic, we are now off to one of the most visited cities in the world. Art, fashion, food, architecture and history are served up as one intoxicating concoction (with a side of a good French wine, no doubt).
Paris has something to awaken each of your five senses. Feel the centuries of expression speaking to you through art in the Louvre, and take your olfactory functions for a spin around the Tuileries, as you head down towards the Eiffel Tower. And that’s a sight you’ll truly never forget. Ask our Juttis.
Also on the must-visit list are: the Sacre-coeur(our personal favourite), Arc de Triomphe, and the Notre Dame cathedral. And did we forget to mention that the City of Lights is also the epicentre of fashion in Europe and the world, with influential designers like Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and many, many others, calling it home? From the grandeur of Golden Triangle formed between the avenues Montaigne, George V and Champs-Élysées, to the exquisite boutiques of Rue Saint-Honoré and Place Vendôme, it is hard to argue with the fact that Paris is THE fashion capital of the world.
Ernest Hemingway put it best: there are only two places where we can live happy - at home and in Paris.
P.S - Don't forget to pack some lip smacking Laduree macaroons!
Best time to visit: June to August
Amsterdam represents so much more than pot and Red Light District.
Mokum, as it was fondly called centuries ago, is a maze of narrow lanes amidst the numerous canals that fill the city. The biking frenzy is everywhere, with locals preferring the bicycle lanes to the wide streets.
The Van Gogh museum is an art connoisseur’s delight, with more than 1200 individual pieces of work by the maestro Vincent Van Gogh on display. If you pride yourself on being an anthophile, do take that one hour journey (April is the best time) from Amsterdam to Keukenhof, the world’s most beautiful tulip garden. If you are travelling with your beloved, the boat cruise along the canals might be your romantic getaway (legend has it that if a couple kisses under the Skinny Bridge, they will be in love forever!).
While we have barely scratched Amsterdam’s surface here, you can be sure that once Amsterdam clutches at your heart, she will never let go.
Best time to visit: March to May (Tulip season!)
One of our MOST favorite! Praha is a city that defines European mystique. You’d be better off wearing a pair of comfortable shoes (our Juttis worked wonders here), because you’ll be beckoned to turn that extra corner and explore more of this enigma of a city.
The city of a thousand spires, Prague’s sobriquet, is a city where the best view is from the top. Countless spires dot the brilliant skyline at night. Walking tours (we recommend the Bananas free walking tour) take you on a journey that explains the history behind Prague’s baroque monuments, while also giving you a lowdown on the eateries that locals frequent to, serving up authentic Czech cuisine and great Pilsners. While Charles Bridge might seem to be teeming with tourists, you do not want to miss seeing the absolute best footbridge you’ll ever see. Just beside the bridge you’ll find Lennon’s wall with murals and graffiti, and aspiring musicians setting up a treat for the ears and soul; time will seem to stand still. The beautiful Gothic spires of the Tyn Church loom over the Old Town Square, one of the most well known landmarks of Prague. The best view of the city will undoubtedly be from the majestic Prague Castle, atop the St. Vitus Cathedral.
A place that is steeped in history with a hauntingly beautiful cityscape; Prague is a no-brainer on your Europe itinerary.
Best time to visit: March to May or September to October
We can almost feel our Juttis quivering for another holiday now! Let us know which place left you mesmerised on a holiday in the comments section below.
Till then, au revoir!