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.
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.
Some scientists believe fasting for two days a week could improve your health. Can you have your cake and eat it, too?
Every so often, a new diet comes along that captures the public's attention. And 2013 looks set to be the year of the 5:2 diet. Rather than restricting food on a daily basis, which is the traditional approach to dieting, 5:2 means you cut your kilojoule intake for just two, non-consecutive days a week – then eat normally the rest of the time.
On fasting days, men can eat 2500 kilojoules and women 2100 kilojoules, around a quarter of the recommended daily kilojoule intake. There are no rules on what you can and can't eat – you just need to stick within the kilojoule limit.
For women, a sample fast-day menu is a breakfast of two eggs with 50 grams of smoked salmon and black coffee or tea (1000 kilojoules) and another meal of 120 grams of grilled chicken with steamed vegetables (1100 kilojoules). You're encouraged to drink plenty of water and green tea throughout the day, and men can add a slice of multigrain bread and a handful of strawberries.
Published in Sun-Herald's Sunday Life. Copyright Fairfax Media.
Intermittent fasting - where you restrict calorie intake a couple of days a week and eat what you want on others - is being heralded as the secret to losing weight and living longer.
For years we have been told to "eat little and often" and "never skip meals" in order to lose weight and keep it off.
Now, scientists are discovering that short periods of fasting could not only help us beat the bulge, they may also protect against age-related diseases.
Intermittent fasting, where you eat about 25 per cent of your daily energy needs for a couple of days a week, is being touted as potentially "revolutionary".
Studies suggest it could lower the risk of heart disease and protect against diabetes, cancer and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Published in Sunday Telegraph's body + soul. Copyright News Limited.
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.
Never mind the souks -- Lebanon's capital offers traditional shopping with upscale, contemporary twists.
If you’re expecting to haggle for a bargain in Beirut’s souks, think again.
“Beirut is the only city in the Middle East that doesn’t have a souk,” says tour guide Ronnie Chatah from BeBeirut. “In its place we built a shopping mall with a Ferrari dealership and valet parking.”
While there are certainly plenty of big labels on show, Beirut has a thriving art and design scene that values individuality and craftsmanship.
Coffee in copper
Beiruti’s love their coffee and there are plenty of cool cafes serving skinny soya lattes.
Published in CNNTravel.com. Copyright CNN. Photo: Glen Pearson.
Lebanon's cosmopolitan capital is going all out to woo adventurous luxury lovers.
Strolling along the crescent-shaped esplanade of Zaitunay Bay in Beirut’s
Downtown area, it’s hard to imagine that this was once a rubbish dump – and the heartland of the country’s 15-year civil war.
The aquamarine water of the Mediterranean laps languidly at the hulls of multi-million dollar yachts, while Beirut’s beautiful people eat al fresco at the high-end restaurants that line the teak promenade.
Zaitunay Bay’s shiny new marina is the city’s latest effort to shake off its war-tainted reputation. And with a yacht club due to open next year, the city is going all out to recapture the glamour of its 1950s and 60s heyday when it was a playground for the international jet set. That was until 1975, when the city was divided into predominantly Christian and Muslim halves by the infamous Green Line.
Published in Luxury Travel magazine. Copyright Luxury Travel. Photo: Glen Pearson.
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.
Life changes when you have a baby – and that includes your relationships. Here’s how to stay sweet with everyone
from your BFF to your boss.
Now you’re a mum, every waking moment is spent looking after your little one, catching up on housework, and maybe even juggling work as well. Add to that making time for your partner, family and friends, a spot of shut-eye and some me-time – it’s no wonder you’re feeling stretched!
With so much going on, it’s easy to see how those closest to you may feel left out, or how professional relationships can change. The people around you are getting used to a whole new you. So here’s how to keep things sweet with key folk in your life…
Becoming a parent is a steep learning curve for you and your other half. After having a baby together, you may be feeling more bonded, or you could be feeling the strain of added responsibility and sleepless nights.
Published in Prima Baby & Pregnancy. Copyright Immediate Media.
After a turbulent career post-Priscilla, director Stephan Elliott is back with his first Aussie film in over a decade.
Stephan Elliott hates weddings. In fact, he has a phobia of them. Quite surprising really, considering the Aussie director has just made a wedding film and become something of a poster boy for the current gay marriage debate back home. The 48-year-old has been with his partner Wil Bevolley for 20 years, but only came out publicly in January at the inaugural Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTA).
“I thought it was time to get involved in the debate because I could see it going backwards,” he says.
Unsurprisingly though, Elliott’s new film, A Few Best Men starring Xavier Samuel, Kris Marshall and Olivia Newton-John, is not your average feel-good rom com. Instead, it’s a wedding day disaster flick that sees three British buffoons cause havoc when they fly to Oz for their best mate’s nuptials.
Published in AustralianTimes.co.uk. Copyright AustralianTimes.co.uk. Photo: Buena Vista International.
I'm an Aussie journalist and content editor with experience writing for newspapers, magazines and online.