praha, the royal bohemian city of 500 spires—photo essay

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One of my wanderings in Central and Eastern Europe was through Prague—or Praha in Czech—the economic, political, and cultural centre of Central Europe for most of its 1,100 years of existence. Generally acclaimed as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it is after London, Paris, Istanbul, and Rome, the fifth most visited European city.

An overnight train from Budapest in a dark, panelled, velvet-clad train compartment took me to the “City of a Hundred Spires” [based on the count of a 19th Century mathematician]; a statistic which has now increased to 500 spires piercing its ethereal skyline. Praha was left largely untouched by the second World War unlike other European cities since Hitler made it a Nazi Germany protectorate in 1939. The result is a precinct pulled straight from the pages of a mythical past: Those that are romanticized and reminiscenced about, and are a treasure trove of art and architectural styles. Continue reading

brighton: sun, sea, pebbles and george IV

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Brighton is the story of George IV (1762-1830), the king who liked to party, party AND party, and whose patronage subsequently, turned the once small fishing village into one of the most ‘happening’ places in the country.

As Prince of Wales, and later Prince Regent, his life revolved around lavish gatherings, heavy drinking and an indulgent lifestyle. The Royal Pavilion, his palace designed by John Nash in 1822, testifies to it. I stood in the music and dining rooms with my mouth open and had to blink once, twice, thrice. Continue reading