Thursday, March 24, 2016

Paris Blog on Cox & Kings!

Hey Hey!

My Paris Blog has been featured on the Cox & Kings Guest Blog! Here is the link:

 http://blog.coxandkings.com/four-days-in-paris/

Have fun reading :)

Cheers!


Monday, January 25, 2016

You have been upgraded :)

"Excuse me but don't I need a part of my Boarding Pass back to board the plane?", said I

"Oh yes, I am just upgrading you to the Business Class" said she.

And then all I remember is having the biggest smile pasted on my face till I got to my seat.
There was I, with a seat so comfortable it would put a Mercedes to shame. A mini bar on the right, a huge screen in the front, socks and a warm blanket to make me more comfortable, I was ready to FLY!

The journey was the best I could ask for and Emirates definitely knows how to deliver the best. To top it all I was in the freaking A380 - means, I was sitting on the top floor of the biggest plane used to fly travellers :) I was introduced to all the seat settings and various button by an air steward who was assigned only to 4 flyers. The food was tastier, the alcohol costlier and the seat could be turned into a bed! When I asked for tea, I was also given Godiva chocolates to accompany with the tea. When I got bored of looking at the big screen, there was a tab on the right to keep you company. Everybody who knows me, knows that when I drink, I have to drink a Mojito! And of course there had to be cocktails available for business class!

Flying Business Class was definitely a check off my Bucket List, actually I didn't even have it on my bucket list ;) haha.. There are somethings that you never even dream of or think of doing. Just cuz they either cost a lot of money or you are just underestimating yourself. Here I was underestimating my luck...

When I was back at work, a colleague said, "these things never happen to me."

I said, "these things never happened to me as well."

"So there is still Hope!"

"Yes there is still Hope :)"


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Spain – A short trip and a short blog

So glad to have spent the last few days of European Summer ( by this I mean the not so warm days) in Spain! The warm afternoons and the chilly nights were just perfect..The only regret being - I was there only for 3 days...The main reason behind travelling this time was to attend a wedding in Costa Brava ( 2-3 hours away from Barcelona by road). The wedding was really nice and beautiful but the major highlights of the trip were walking the grand streets of Barcelona, meeting up with a few old friends whom I wasn't expecting to meet so soon, enjoying the beauty of Costa Brava and ofcourse lots and lots of Sangria!

Accomodation
Stayed at "Wow Hostel" in Barcelona (25€ per night, breakfast included), would definitely recommend this hostel because of it's location.

Local Transport
Mostly used the buses and local trains to get around the city. Tickets are not so expensive. Language can be a problem but the locals are sweet enough to help and we somehow understood their sign language ;)
Also the taxis were not so expensive.

Historical monuments:
La Sagrada Familia (Spain's most famous Church designed by a brilliant architect - Gaudi)
It's the most brilliant and colourful holy place I have ever seen. Be sure to book the tickets online in advance and take the audio tour.





Casa Mila 


Another of Gaudi's famous works , a building with no corners. Story goes that it was supposed to be a residential building but the people were finding it difficult to design the interior of their apartments with no corners. So now, it's a museum.


 



Restaurants/Bars/Clubs:
Espit Chupitos
A bar with more than 200 different varieties of shots with crazy bar-tenders. Do try something crazy at this place. We had a shot where the bar-tender lit our fingers on fire!


Cafe Can Joan
An absolute must-go. We ended up at this place by chance and ended up eating a 4 course meal served by the loveliest Spanish family who owns this small local Cafe. The owner made us try Snails and also taught us how to eat them. I had the best Paella ( a rice dish made with saffron, sea food and all kinds of available meat) at this Cafe. The family was so surprised and happy to have such a big group of Indians at her small restaurant that we got the best treatment anyone would ask for. Language was a problem with the owner's parents but they fed us like they would feed their own family - with lots and lots of love and repeated servings.

                                                                 COSTA BRAVA

After travelling a little bit in Europe, I can say that I have seen quite a few beautiful places which blew my mind and Costa Brava definitely tops the list. Everything about Costa Brava is beautiful and it feels like entering a beautiful scene from a movie. The water is as blue as it can get. The sun shines merrily over the green hillocks and the blue waters. 


Thanks to few friends who have international driving licenses we were also able to cruise through some parts of Costa Brava. Renting a car and driving from Barcelona to Costa Brava is something that should definitely be done when in Spain!

So to sum it up these are my top take-aways from this trip:

1. Eating Snails, trying the local cuisine


2. Getting inspired by Gaudi's works



3. The well-planned streets of Barcelona



4. And lastly the people!


And now - I feel like settling in Barcelona! Viva la espaƱa!!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Numero uno Italia!

My whole life, I have been a huge fan of travel channels. They gave me a sense of hope that one day even I will travel the world, see the places I saw on Tv, stand exactly where the hosts once stood and do and experience exactly the same things they did and experienced! Today I feel some of my dreams really are coming true! I never thought I would end up in Europe someday and travel freely like I am travelling today.

I couldn't believe my own eyes when I booked the tickets for Italy with my friends. Italy for me has always been one of the exotic places I dreamt of visiting! And by luck or by chance I ended up in this exotic country :) But I have to say, it wasn't a very smooth journey.


First Impressions of Rome
For starters, our flight got delayed by few hours! The plane journey was really bumpy, lot of clouds and lots of turbulence. Even after arriving in Italy, we had to sit in the plane for 40 minutes because there was no one at the counter to receive our plane! Haha! Finally, after getting out we took the train from the Rome Airport to the Rome Central Train Station. Some random not so old guy dropped his bag on me while removing it from the train and my ear started bleeding. And here started the kindness and the helpfulness of the Italians. I was a little shocked that absolutely no one asked me whether I am okay even if my ear was bleeding continuously. They were all tourists in our coach. One kind Italian man saw me and offered a wet wipe to soak in all the blood. Till that moment I was a little disappointed with all the negative signs that the universe was showing me. And then started the wonderful, historic and warm journey through Italy!

 We arrived in Rome late afternoon and couldn't manage to get an entry to the Colosseum because of the delayed flight. Instead of waiting in the never ending line we just decided to chill in a small cafe in an alley just a little ahead of the Colosseum. There are many historic sites even around the Colosseum so we just took a walk around them soaking in the sun and getting used to the exciting fact of being in Italy! I would definitely recommend buying tickets to the Colosseum online! Saves a lot of time and energy. We left for Naples the same night.

Naples is to the south of Rome, approximately 2 hours by train. And it's the birthplace of guess what!.......PIZZA! The main reason behind going to Naples was to take one day trips to Mount Vesuvius, the volcanic mountain and Pompeii - the city which was destroyed due to Vesuvio's volcanic eruption 2000 years back. When in Italy, one thing you need to know is that the Italians are a laidback kind. Do not expect buses to come on time, leave on time, signs and boards for directions...Basically you are not gonna end up as planned anywhere so just smile and go with the flow. After all, getting lost is also fun :) There is a private bus operating company which takes you almost till the top of Vesuvius. From there it's a short 45 minute hike to the crater. The view was just outstanding from the top. The crater on one side and the sea and Italy's small islands on the other!


On top of the Vesuvius
The hike, even if short might be difficult for old folks.

After coming down from the hike, we ended up at this old cafe near the train station. The pizza I had there was no doubt the best pizza I've had till date! After Vesuvius, we caught a train to go to Pompeii. The way the ruins of Pompeii have been preserved and restored is magnificent. If you really are on a budget trip, a great way to save money would be to read a little bit about the Colosseum, Vatican City, Pompeii and all other places you decide to go to so that you don't need to rent the Audio Guides that are offered. Mt.Vesuvius and Pompeii in one day were really tiring so I would suggest keeping 2 days for these 2 places.


Pompeii with Mt. Vesuvius in the backdrop

Even after being sun-burnt and dehydrated, we were super excited to go to Capri Islands the next day. I have never been to any place like Capri. Really. A ferry from the Napoli Port takes you to this beautiful island. The numerous natural arches in the rocks, the tiny souvenir shops, the brilliantly blue water and us on a boat cruising through all this incredibleness made it a perfect day. I couldn't have asked for more! Capri would be perfect for honeymooners!


Real statues at Pompeii, of people in the exact position when they died, when the lava engulfed them.

We came back to Rome the same night and finally visited the Colosseum the next afternoon. It almost feels implausible that such a magnificent structure was built in a civilization existing thousands of years back! Though the stories of the Gladiators are sad and the misdoings of the Kings in the olden times make you flinch, you cannot help but let the Colosseum take your breath away. The massiveness of it all makes you stop and gawk!

We ended the Italy trip with a dinner at a fine restaurant with clams and spaghetti. When in Italy, it's an absolute must have.


Italy was different. I felt like I am in a different world and I didn't want to come out of it. I had already started planning my next trip on the last night. The people are so cute, always ready to help (even if they don't understand English), fun-loving and polite. The way they speak English makes them even cuter. Rome is fancy, posh while Naples on the other hand looks poor and distraught but still has a character to it. Beauty can't be gauged only from the outside. This is how I felt in Naples. Everything was not beautiful, clean or proper, but it had a charm and I fell for this charm. I am happy that I saw both sides of the country and would recommend others to do the same.

So go go go!  Go see this amazing country. I am sure you will come back with something more than memories!



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Going with the flow....

So... the thing about plans is.........they NEVER work out! Hah! So it's better to not plan and be surprised than plan and be disappointed! This happened to me recently.

A friend was inviting me to Munich and  Salzburg with her family and I couldn't decide what to do! Whether I have the money to spend in both the cities, the time and also whether i should be travelling when my exams are just around the corner. So I just packed my bag and landed in Munich and decided to take it from there!

I have been to Munich before for the Oktoberfest, hence have hazy memories of Munich as I was drunk for the most part of it. So this time, it was nice to take the city walking tour, roam around like a tourist, enjoy the sunny day and spend time with my people from back home. Munich is just incredible! With its huge gardens, huge roads, massive buildings AND the most important - the gigantic Beer Gardens! Whoa! Anybody who visits Munich and likes beer, it's a must that you should go to the Augustiner Beer Garden. Community drinking and eating is absolute fun! The interesting part is Munich still manages to be peaceful when needed besides being so big. I just cannot decide between Munich and Berlin - which city is my favourite!

After having so much fun in Munich I spontaneously decided that I must go to Salzburg as well! And why not! It's just 2 hours away from Munich and it's in Austria! So once again a different country reachable by train in just 2 hours! Also not very costly if you are a group of people and buy the Bayern day ticket..The journey to Salzburg was scenic and fun with lot of interesting conversations. Salzburg is a very fancy city and the fancyness starts right from the train station. It was so posh! My suggestion to all travellers who want to Salzburg would be to go to the information office of the train station and buy the Salzburg Card. The one day card costs around 27 euros and you can buy a card valid upto 2 days. The best thing about this card is that it includes all the local transport costs and also the entry costs of most of the tourist sites! So it's definitely worth buying this card. We ended up saving a lot of money.

 There are lots of things to see and places to visit in Salzburg but as we were there only for a day we decided to first see the Hohensalzburg Castle and then go to the Untersberg. The castle is situated on top of a hill and offers the most amazing view of the city! The ride to the castle in a cable car is fun and exciting! After spending some time enjoying the view from the Castle we decided to take the bus to the Untersberg.



Basically these are range of mountains which you can reach via a Ropeway. The ropeway ride is quite adventurous especially when it changes its level! People with a phobia for heights - BEWARE! ;) The view once we reached on the top was no doubt the best view I have had till now! The crisp air, the smoothly folding Alps, the blue hues. It was just incredible! We walked around a little bit stopping and breathing in the view from different points. And ofcourse! there has to be a cafe serving wine and beer even on top of a mountain. :)

This unplanned trip was no doubt a great one and it makes me think henceforth I should never plan any trips in advance. Going with the flow definitely was very relaxing and stress-free. As they say -
"Go with the flow..let it happen...It's for the best".





Monday, May 18, 2015

Triberg, Germany - A hidden treasure

Sometimes the smallest places turn out to be the biggest surprises. Triberg was definitely one of them. A 3 hour train ride from Stuttgart took us to this beautiful cosy town which hosts Germany's highest waterfall and also has the House of 1000 Cuckoo Clocks - something people all around the world are excited to buy :) It also falls under the Black Forest area making it even more scenic.


Though Triberg is so tiny, it is a very tourist friendly town with directions given everywhere, even in English. We were surrounded by prettiness right from the moment we got out of the train station and it did not just end there. A 1.5 km walk takes you to the City Centre which has a few restaurants, cafes and ofcourse the souvenir shops. We were quite hungry since we started early morning so we decided to have lunch first and then go see the waterfall. Diagonally opposite to the House of 1000 Clocks I noticed this pretty restaurant called "Landgasthof zur Lilie" which had an authentic and a rustic feel to it and it turned out to be a very good choice. We sat in the terrace soaking in the sun enjoying our crispy fish, fresh salad, chilled beer and tasty wine and ofcourse the popular Black Forest Cake!


After the sumptuous meal, we started our trail along the Waterfall. It was a fairly easy hike provided you are wearing good shoes. It was nice to see so many different types of people all enjoying their hike, clicking pictures, couples kissing and telling other couples to take their pictures. The cute dogs accompanying their owners made my day even more entertaining. The waterfall itself is absolutely beautiful with marvelous rainbows emerging from within the water. There are bridges built across the waterfall at regular distances which make it even more fun to stand and feel the little droplets of water fall on you like being in a nice shower. After the waterfall trail we walked down to a small pond and just sat there enjoying the view. Once that was done it was time for us to walk back to the train station with no baggage but lots of memories to carry along with us.




Triberg is perfect for a short one-day trip or a day's stay for the honeymooners ;). It is sooo damn pretty that it makes you forget what the real world looks like. But that's exactly why we need vacations, don't we?! The only regret I have was not carrying my camera along so the pictures taken are from my Nexus phone.

This one-day trip was something I definitely needed to get some peace and quiet and just spend some quality time. It helped me disconnect from a few things and connect with things which actually needed to be connected with. A trip to Triberg is definitely what should be on your to do list when in Germany. Especially for the couples. It will help you disconnect and connect at the same time! So as I say - Lift up your bums and go travel!


Friday, May 8, 2015

Picturesque Prague

So Guys! I visited Prague recently in Easter with a few friends...Man! We had fun!

Prague for me was all about new experiences...The food, the stay, the drinks and the places I visited...

So I took a Bus from Nuremberg to Prague and I was in a different country by Bus in 3 hours..How cool is that?! I wouldn't even be in another State in 3 hours when in India! I had booked a Student Hostel for my stay and was a little apprehensive about how it would be with regards to hygiene and safety...But it turned out to be pretty cool with big clean bathrooms, cleans beds and a nice breakfast everyday. I stayed at the "Hostel Florenc" http://www.hostelflorenc.cz/?lan=en and would definitely recommend this Hostel to you guys. It's not so far away from the city centre and in a very good condition and not costly either.

I took the free walking tour by "Sandyman" on the first day and the tour guide showed us almost all the historic places of Prague except the Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle. The walking tour was quite good but not as good as the one I took in Berlin..We were shown the Old Town Square, the Astronomical Clock, the Paris Street and the Church near the Old Town Square but I would still recommend the walking tour as , Number 1 - it's free! So it's perfect for students and Number 2 - it's the only way you actually get to know the city as the guides tell you a lot of things you wouldn't get to know by yourself. The tour guide also suggested some bars and restaurants to us and they turned out to actually being as good as claimed. I would highly recommend this Uptown Bar that we accidentally entered in: 
http://www.potrefena-husa.eu/en - Good food, good cocktails, good beer and very friendly staff :)


One important thing to know in Prague if you are on a budget trip is that the restaurants close to the Old Town Square are way costlier than the ones a little farther away..So be ready to walk the extra mile if you wanna save those extra bucks :)

The street food at the Old Town Square was lip-smacking! The sweet cinnamon roll (Trdelnik), the curly potato fries (forgot the authentic name) and the "Langos" - this heavenly flatbread topped with garlic, cheese and tomato sauce were all to die for! I felt like my taste-buds have become active again when I was in Prague ;)

The second day I visited the Prague Castle which is on top of a hill once you cross the Charles Bridge. Nothing can beat the view from the Charles Bridge and from the various watch towers of the Castle. You got to keep a day aside to visit the Castle as its one of the biggest in the world by area! We also paid a few Krona to go up the watch tower and see the view from there..It was money worth spent as it was one of the most picturesque views I have seen till now! The street musicians also wowed me! You have to stop walking and listen to these bands play.. They are incredible!

For me Prague was all about getting drunk, wandering through the streets at night with my best friends, acting crazy and eating! I would definitely recommend you guys to visit Prague and enjoy the view that the city has to offer and ofcourse the food! Here are some of my favourite clicks