San Marino: the 5th smallest country in the world

Guilty confession: I would have never guessed that San Marino – a nation of 33,000 people – is the world’s oldest surviving republic. It’s said to have been founded in the fourth century by a saint, a Dalmation stone-mason called Marinus, who sought refuge here when fleeing religious persecution. The steep ridge of Monte Titano is certainly a good defensive stronghold. I went in expecting a tax haven similar to Monaco, with only expensive restaurants and unimpressive buildings on relatively flat terrain. I was wrong on all accounts. Instead I saw a glimpse into a world of fairytale castles, views that never get boring and more importantly, how the resolve and determination of a tiny nation helped navigate the complex political battleground to retain its independence.

Latvia: Beyond Riga

Pine-fringed beaches, bogs, wetlands with therapeutic mud, medieval castles and winding valleys would definitely not have been a list I rattled off, if asked to think of Latvia. Yet this is what I came across the moment I ventured outside Riga. Further reinforcing the notion that to see a country’s true beauty, you need to venture outside its capital city. This certainly was natural beauty I never expected to find. The best part? Most of it is an easy day trip from Riga.

Luxembourg – Country #58

‘Mir wëllebleiwewatmirsinn’ means ‘we want to remain what we are’. This refers to Luxembourg’s history of ownership by foreign powers and their wish to remain independent now and in the future. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg may be known for just being a hub for EU organisations and companies that are seeking to benefit from […]

Jersey: Territory #57

I waited with an impatient anticipation as we were landing in Jersey, to see what life was like in the Channel Islands. Would it be an extension of England? A little version of France, given it was just off the French coast? Or something completely different? Many people don’t understand what status Jersey holds, myself […]