Doorways decorated for Dia de Muertos. Picture by Ramaa Reddy

Spain’s Colonial Heart Beats Seductively in Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende lies in the Eastern part of Mexico’s State of Guanajuato, about a three-hour journey from Mexico City. It’s a cobblestoned colonial town with pastel-colored buildings that has changed a lot over the past century yet remained remarkably the same. The city’s main square, or Jardin Principal, is canopied by trees. It’s a popular local hangout where Mariachi bands roam about awaiting paying customers. On the Northern corner stands the majestic Catholic church, Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel.

There’s More to Romania than Transylvania, Dracula and Ghostly Carpathian Forests

Romania conjures mysterious and sinister images of Count Dracula and the Transylvanian forests. The foreboding Bran Castle high in the Carpathian Mountains certainly looks like the location of Irish writer Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Stoker’s story of vampires rising from their coffins is an invented tale. But in autumn when twilight comes early it’s easy to imagine ghostly spirits of the undead lurking in the shadows.

Yet the Bucharest I saw was a bustling metropolis with museums and traffic jams, wide boulevards and cobblestone streets, good restaurants and late-night clubs. And a handful of lakes and gardens.