Frankfurt's romantic love locks
As one of Europe's most important banking centres, Frankfurt has a reputation of being well... boring.
The city in central Germany is home to over 300 banks, including the European Central Bank that is tasked with rescuing the troubled Eurozone.
A city swarming with bankers and bureaucrats is not really compatible with romance, right? Wrong!
Today, as I walked around this really rather pleasant city, I came across a very sweet symbol of romance.
The Eiserner Steg, an iron footbridge that connects the city centre with Sachsenhausen on the southern banks of the Main River, is covered with thousands of padlocks.
Most are engraved with the names of lovers, often with a significant date, and attached to the bridge.
As I loitered on the bridge reading some of them, I saw a couple attach a padlock and then throw the key into the river below. "It symbolises our everlasting love," the newlyweds told me between smooches. All together now, awww...
Over 10,000 people cross this neo-Gothic bridge everyday. And I bet all but the most boring banker does so with a spring in his step.
Uncorking Champagne's secrets
In search of the sparkle in the cellars and vineyards of Champagne.
As we walk into the tiny neighbourhood bar in Epernay, the self-proclaimed capital of Champagne, two burly blokes stand chatting at the bar.
Their thick fingers clasp not a schooner of beer, but the delicate stem of a tulip-shaped champagne flute.
It may be the world's most revered drink, but in this corner of northeastern France, champagne is the local tipple.
France's Champagne region is made up of roughly 34,000 hectares of vineyards spread across 319 villages, or "crus".
Published in Yahoo!7 Travel. Copyright AAP. Photo: Glen Pearson.
Last year, everyone went to London and Gangnam got discovered. Where will the world be going this year?
1. Scotland, United Kingdom
Scotland has seen fit to dub 2013 the "Year of Natural Scotland,"and what better time to do it?
Anyone who saw the 2012 James Bond thriller "Skyfall" walked away wishing they too could race through Scotland's dramatic countryside and hide out in its misty highlands (granted, while not being pursued by a homicidal Javier Bardem).
Of many outdoor events and special deals planned around the Year of Natural Scotland, highlights include: the Dumfries & Galloway Wildlife Festival 2013 (March 29-April 14); Heb Celt 2013 music festival (July 17-20); Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight (September 7-22); and, of course, The Open Championship golf tournament (July 14-21).
Published in CNNTravel.com. Copyright CNN. Photo: VisitScotland.
In pursuit of polo
A prestigious academy in Britain lets you experience the sport of kings. Lara Brunt takes the reins.
Horsemen thunder past in a blur of brilliant white breeches and polished riding boots. With an arching swing, the front runner brings his mallet down hard, and with a crack of wood sends the ball soaring through the goalposts.
For those seeking a quintessential English experience, the spectacle of a polo match played out on the verdant fields of Guards Polo Club near Ascot – a favourite with the Royal family – is difficult to beat.
Steeped in history, the aristocratic sport is not for the faint hearted. “It’s like rugby on horseback,” says professional polo player James White. “But when played well, polo is incredibly elegant and fluid.”
Published in South China Morning Post Style magazine. Copyright South China Morning Post. Photo: Glen Pearson.
Exploring France’s famous and luxurious champagne houses will seduce your senses. Lara Brunt raises a glass in style.
As one slowly descends the stone steps into the ghostly lit tunnel, the temperature noticeably drops. Your eyes adjust and fall upon rows of wooden A-frames holding thousands of dusty bottles of the world’s most celebrated drink.
The underground crayères (chalk pit cellars) of Champagne Taittinger in Reims, in the heart of northeastern France’s Champagne region, were originally carved out by the Gallo-Romans in the 4th century, and later used by the Benedictine monks of Saint Nicaise Abbey in the 13th century. They have lost none of their mystique over the centuries.
Synonymous with luxury and glamour, and coveted by royalty and rap stars alike, champagne seduces long before the cork is popped. Perhaps it’s the unyielding Gallic embrace of traditional techniques – machines are forbidden, with all grapes harvested by hand at a time dictated by the region’s Champagne Bureau – or the slick and sexy marketing campaigns of the world-famous brands such as Taittinger and Moët & Chandon.
Published in South China Morning Post Style magazine. Copyright South China Morning Post.
A look at Britain's tallest building and the world's other high achievers.
London's skyline is rapidly transforming as its latest landmark skyscraper, the Shard, takes the title of Britain's tallest building. Towering above London Bridge train station on the south bank of the Thames, the Shard has already outstripped Canary Wharf's One Canada Square, previously the city's tallest building at 235 metres.
It will eventually rise to 310 metres, making it the tallest building in the European Union when it is completed in May next year.
The pyramid-like, glass structure was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. The Shard promises to be a ''vertical city'', with offices, restaurants, a five-star hotel, a spa and some of the swankiest apartments in the capital (shardlondonbridge.com). The 87-storey tower will also feature a public viewing platform on its 72nd floor, which is expected to attract more than a million visitors a year.
Published in The Age. Copyright Fairfax Media..
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