Stories about tourists

My enchanting trip to Florence: Put it down on your bucket list

The train from Lucerne took me to Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station, where I was glad with anticipation to see my old friend, Stefano. He and his lovely wife were my hosts for nearly two weeks, while I explored renaissance art and architecture, fiaschetteria (wine shops), gelaterie (ice-cream parlours) and upbeat fashion houses, amongst other things in Florence. The one thing I adore about Florence is that you can visit many of the major tourist attractions on foot. And, if you’re one of those modern-day travellers who simply want to click and move on to the next statue, painting or museum, you can go through all of Florence ...

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In Italy, I was asked why I was not wearing a Burqa

It was our last day in Rome. My friend and I decided to spend it at our two favourite places in the city – Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fontana. It was almost noon on a pleasant day with the brilliant autumn sunshine warming the cobble-stoned square and illuminating the magnificent Roman sculptures in the centre of the piazza (city square in Italian). It was as if both of us wanted to take a part of Rome away with us in our hearts as we sat quietly on the stone bench simply absorbing the relaxed Italian life around us. I had my camera ...

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Gilgit Baltistan: You have taken away our livelihood

Yesterday was a sad day for Pakistan. 10 foreigners, who were in Nanga Parbat to witness first hand the country’s beauty, were murdered in cold blood, allegedly to avenge a death caused by drone strikes. How these innocent travelers are related to drone strikes is beyond me.  You know what is even sadder? Reportedly, local tour guides have started to receive emails from tourists who were to visit the area in July and August. They do not wish to visit Pakistan anymore; they have requested for the cancellation of their reservations. If you thought this lone incident would bear no affect on the country, think ...

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Attack on tourists: Yes, you condemn, but what’s next, dear leaders?

We were just coming to terms with the blast that wrecked a student bus in Quetta and the bomb that destroyed the Ziarat Residency. Then, news broke that up in the northern most part of the country, 10 foreign mountaineers – belonging to Ukraine, China, Russia and the United States – have been shot dead in the wee hours of Sunday morning.  One cannot help sounding downright pessimistic when the subject of Pakistan is broached these days. We have become a country that has no dearth of news that horrifies the world; a country that is capable of producing a shocking ...

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Swat Summer festival: A summer retreat, to the heaven on Earth

The glaciers melt; the streams from them gush with fresh water. The Swat River and its tributaries spurt. The fruit laden orchards of peaches, apples, apricots and plumps bloom. The whistles of gypsies, seasonal nomads, buzz and the bells of sheep ring. This is summer in Swat. Since the last successful military offensive against the Swat Taliban the military in Swat arrange festivals in the valley. These events of entertainment are meant to revive tourism in the valley and to present a soft image of the idyllic landscape to the world. And of course one objective is to prove that Swat ...

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Ten things I hate about Dubai

Now, I know that the title makes me look like a snob who gets to go places but is just so ungrateful. However, my trips to Dubai are really never out of willingness to visit, but mandatory – mum’s orders. I cannot stand Dubai. I was born in Dubai and spent my early years there. Now I have to visit twice a year to see my dad and brother, them being one of the few good things about the place. Here are ten things that I don’t like about Dubai: 1. Malls: I know malls are fun, but what if they were all you ...

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