Tuesday, 15 April 2014

My Experiences In Melbourne

I am fortunate to have travelled to Melbourne - a city of my dreams. If I try to rewind and think of it now, I remember quite vividly that it had always been one of the cities that I fantasised about. Although I didn’t know much about it, I was fascinated plainly by its name. I had seen a few glimpses of it in the movies or somewhere, but was oblivious of its character and uniqueness. But when I landed in Melbourne, I found it just as I had visualised it in my fantasy – dainty, quirky and so alluring.


There are some quintessential experiences of Melbourne that a traveller must not miss. It’s a city that should be explored with spontaneity. You don't need to worry about things to do or a specific itinerary. 

I got acquainted with it somewhat like this -

Travelling on a tram –

Melbourne is full of trams. They look pretty and add an old-world beauty to the city. My sister and I were excited about travelling on a tram. We hopped on one and while we tried to purchase our tickets, the machine didn’t work and we ended up travelling without tickets. It was a kind of a sweet adventure for us. We were afraid of being caught by the police, but an amiable local lady who was travelling in the same tram made us feel better about it and told us not to worry.

   
Sipping coffee –

Melbourne is a coffee capital of sorts. Even we consumed quite a lot of coffee while we were there. It seems like an obvious thing to do while lazing around or even walking. Cafes are mostly seen thronged by all kinds of people. It wouldn’t be wrong if I said that it’s a kind of a seduction for coffee lovers. 

  
Walking on the streets –

Melbourne is a walkable city. Pedestrians don’t have to bother about traffic at all. The streets are so well organised that you feel like walking endlessly. I don’t think I walked so much anywhere else. It’s a pleasure to ramble without a care, stop whenever and wherever, glance through the sights, watch trams and other vehicles pass by. 

Sydney, another sizzling city of Australia, is also comfy for amblers.



Lingering in the laneways –

Melbourne has charming laneways. Lingering in the laneways was my most favourite experience. There is so much to see and do – sit and hang out, eat or drink, admire graffiti or simply loiter around. I felt ‘laneways’ were the place where Melbourne’s true character could be found. Later, when I read about the city I realised that I made the right observation.


Savouring the street atmosphere -  

I’d say the ‘life on the streets’ is the soul of Melbourne. Thus, savouring it comes naturally. There are different engaging elements to take note of – people playing chess, an artist engrossed in painting something, musicians playing different instruments, florist shops, cafes and bars, and people going about their businesses.

  
Checking out the designer stores and shops –

There are loads of designer stores and boutiques in Melbourne. Although we didn’t shop too much, checking out different shops was fun. If you have time and patience to explore, Melbourne is a shopaholic’s paradise. Don’t be intimidated by brands and labels, there are lots of cheap (yet good) stuff available too.  

Visiting a church –

While my sis wanted to check out more shops, I decided to saunter around Swanston Street. That’s when I visited St Paul’s Cathedral, which is located right opposite Flinder’s Street Station. It’s a lovely church with a great exterior and interiors.  


Riding on a carriage –

It was my dream to ride on a carriage like a princess. I fulfilled it with my sister on our last day in Melbourne. Initially, she wasn’t too keen for a carriage ride, but when I insisted she agreed. Our carriage rider was a girl by the name of Marriane. Although the ride didn’t last too long, it was a lovely experience. It’s a good way to soak in the city’s sights and nuances. 



So, is Melbourne your kind of a city?

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Top 10 Things I love About Travel

Of course, I love to travel. If you are wondering why do I need to even mention it, let me tell you that I love to talk about travel as often as possible, because that gives me a chance to inspire people about this fascinating aspect of life. I’d like to admit that I need a bit of inspiration myself at the moment. Thus, I feel like mulling over this very topic. I would like to share with you what I really like about travel and would like to hear from you as well!

    
So, are you ready?

Hiking and wandering

I’d say hiking is my top favourite thing to do on a trip. It’s something that I have been doing since childhood. Since I was born in the mountains (Uttarakhand, North India), I got lots of hiking opportunities quite early in my life. It’s something that I enjoy the most. Whether it’s hiking up the mountains or wandering through the market places and the alleyways, I love the spontaneity of it. You get to observe so much, in the course of which, you learn so much and the best part is that you don’t spend a penny!

      
Photography

I love pictures! If you are not new on my blog, you probably know how often I post photo essays. Photography is the number one priority on my travels. The moment I see something worth capturing, I go berserk. I often refrain from visiting a site if photography is prohibited there. There is an unexplainable joy in seeing something from my own perspective and freezing it for life.


     
Landscapes

Landscapes give me a sense of freedom. I love to be numbed by the far-reaching panoramas. I feel they have a quiet, yet compelling way of enrapturing you. I love it when the sun leaves behind its poignant hues in the sky; I love the imposing mountains and valleys, the serene lakes, the rustic desert, the never-ending sea and anything and everything under the sun.


    
People

I have had some really sweet interactions with all kinds of people on my travels lately. Although I am not exactly an extrovert, I enjoy talking to people that I bump into by chance. I feel it adds more meaning to the overall experience of travelling. I usually like exchanging pleasantries with chauffeurs, hotel staff, shopkeepers and random strangers.


 
Relaxing and savouring

While I enjoy walking endlessly, I also enjoy relaxing and doing nothing. I like to find a spot from where I can catch a good view. I like to savour my surroundings. It could be having lunch alfresco under the balmy sun, sitting quietly by a lake or simply lying on a hammock.

    
Different experiences

Whenever I am able to experience something new or unusual, I feel I have gained something extra on my trip. Like for instance, I never thought I could hitchhike, but I had to do it on one of my trips and it wasn’t bad at all! It saved me money and I could rediscover my own enthusiasm for travel.
     
Culture and atmosphere

I like to appreciate the distinctive character of a place. Every city has a certain culture that makes it unique. I like to admire that uniqueness. For instance, Mumbai has an effervescent soul that reflects in its sights and sounds, while Delhi has an old-world classiness embedded in its heritage buildings and squares. 

     
Unpredictability

The most interesting thing about travel is the unpredictability associated with it. Even though you plan everything, there is something or the other that happens on its own – good or bad. Thus, it’s important to travel with an open mind and an adventurous spirit. There have been many instances on my travels when I have faced unexpected troubles and also times when I enjoyed something more than I imagined.

Fulfilment of curiosity

I basically travel to feed my curiosity. I am a curious person and I want to discover my planet. Although I travel to a certain destination because I am fascinated by it, I am generally curious about the whole world. Thus, each new travel experience unfolds more of my own life story. The world is full of thrill and beauty, and I am keen to witness it.

Endless variety and possibilities

Variety is the spice of life and travel offers lots of it. There is a wide gamut of things to experience – different cuisines, art and culture, historical insights, raw natural beauty, adventure and so much more. Besides, slow travel allows you to experience a city like a local and know it deeply.


I’m so glad travel has become an integral part of my life and it has given me the power to be myself.

Now it’s your turn!

What do you love the most about travel?

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

10 Tips To Prepare For An International Trip

International travel is tons of excitement for a travel buff. However, it’s not really a piece of cake. There is a lot that you need to do before you take off for that exotic destination of your dreams. If you want to get your visa on time, grab the best possible holiday package and the cheapest flight deal, you need to work towards it. Well, you may want to travel independently and not through a package, in which case, you need to be even more diligent with your research and preparation.
   
Here’s what you need to do –

Keep looking for flight deals

There are great flight deals offered by different travel websites these days. For instance, if you search for flights to London or any other destination, there are numerous options to consider. Don’t start looking for flight deals when you have to travel in the next 20 days. In order to get an affordable deal, start with your research way early, maybe a couple of months ahead of your tentative travel date.


Start your hotel search early and book in advance

It’s wise to look for good hotel deals online and compare prices. Yes, it’s extremely important to compare prices along with other aspects such as location, comfort and rating. Your early research will help you get the hotel of your choice and budget. Once you have found a suitable hotel, make an online booking.
        
Applying for the visa

Before you even apply for a visa, do research it thoroughly. Go on the VFS website of the country you want to visit and read about the visa requirements. I’d recommend applying for the visa on your own and not via an agent, because you may need to answer queries of the custom officer too. Thus, it’s better to do it independently and be aware of everything. Make sure that you include a cover letter in your visa application that should introduce you and state your purpose for the travel.

Plan ahead

Yes, it may sound very simple, but planning ahead saves you from a lot of hassle. You don’t want to go wrong when you are travelling abroad. You know that it’s going to take a lot away from your bank balance, so why not plan it properly and make the most of it. Refer point 1 and 2.


Managing funds

Of course, you have funds to travel, but managing it is important. Remember, you can never have enough to travel. It is definitely expensive. There are numerous unexpected expenses that occur spontaneously on a trip (especially international). Thus, you need to ensure that you put aside your travel funds in a separate bank account.
  
Research your destination

Most of the people don’t bother to read about their destination. But if they would, it could ease off a lot of things – language barrier, food and culture differences, and other stuff. If you have somebody to host you, nothing like it, but if you are visiting a new country on your own, better know it.

Make a rough itinerary

List down the places you want to visit and plan accordingly – figure out the distances and the modes of local transport. For instance, if you are visiting Sydney, plan in advance what all places you want to visit there and how you are going to make it work. Don’t travel at a loose end. Be sure about each and everything.

  
Make a check-list

Once you have your visa and the tickets, get going. Now is the most exciting part! Make a check-list of all the things you want to take along and keep ticking off as and when you pack each thing. Doing so will ensure that you don’t skip packing anything essential.

Consider taking travel insurance

You may think you wouldn’t need it, but take it. In case of an unforeseen situation abroad, you can rely on your travel insurance and come out of the difficulty with ease.
   
Take care and take it easy

Planning an international trip can be stressful, which can impact your health as well. Thus, make sure that the last 24 hours before the travel are easy and relaxed. Don’t keep rushing until the eleventh hour. Keep everything ready in advance and reach the airport in time, which is three hours before the departure time.


Have you got something to add that I have missed?

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Discovered ‘The Tree-lined' Green Bangalore

Indranagar is a dainty neighbourhood in Bangalore. I’d say it’s a much-needed escape from the bustle and chaos of Commercial Street and Brigade Road, which are more popular shopping and hangout hubs in the city.


Bangalore has always been one of the most liveable cities in India. It has appealed to people for its gentle weather and green spaces. However, just like any other city in India, it has also got trapped in the layers of pollution and over-commercialisation. Although I still like it, I get a different picture of it whenever I talk to somebody who has lived here for ages. The city has certainly lost its true charisma with the passage of time. It isn’t as green and inviting as it used to be a couple of decades ago.

Also read Dehradun – Is Green Turning Into Gray?


Nevertheless, I’d still recommend Bangalore any day. After I discovered Indranagar, I feel there is still a space in the city that is cool and easygoing, green and beautiful. It’s a commercial and residential neighbourhood with tree-lined streets and spacious pedestrian lanes. Indranagar is happening and lively with its many cafes and restaurants, shops and designer labels, yet has a laidback and peaceful atmosphere.
   
Things to do in Indranagar –

Shop

Of course, shopping is quite an obvious thing to do when you have so many brands and labels lined up. Although I did not go there with an intent of shopping, I could comprehend the presence of all kinds of shops to appease a shopaholic. So, splash out!


Eat

It’s got tons of options for foodies too. I, along with my family, had breakfast at Peacock restaurant, which is a nice, ambient place. They serve all kinds of cuisines, which are prepared quite authentically. We chose to have Spanish and American platters. I’d say it was completely my kind of a restaurant – elegant and chic. The Grill House, The French Loaf, The Island, Copper Chimney and Smoke House Deli are also some good choices.



Hang out, sip coffee

Indranagar is a perfect place to hang out and have coffee with a friend or two. There are so many cafes, some known and some pretty new, which promise great coffee-sipping and conversational times. Matteo Coffea, Chaipatty, Crisp Resto Café, Gloria Jean's Coffees, Starbucks Coffee and Breadworks are some of the cafes that I noticed while sauntering.



Stroll along

While the city of Bangalore is getting more and more crowded every year leaving little spaces to walk, Indranagar has plenty of neat and tidy lanes to stroll. Thus, if you enjoy strolling along the shops and stores, old residences and settlements, Indranagar is going to beckon you.


Do nothing

Yes, doing nothing and simply savouring the greenery and the urbane ambiance is worth your time. Indranagar is a kind of place where you will end up doing many things on impulse like checking out an art exhibition or stopping by to admire a church building. The idea is to enjoy the open, clean and green spaces that are extant in the city of Bangalore.


Well, I was inspired to write this post because I have been discouraged to visit Commercial Street and Brigade Road as they are no more the places that they used to be. They have lost their charm in the wake of metro construction work and the growing crowd and vehicles. But after I discovered Indranagar, I realised that the ‘real Bangalore’ – the clean, green and spacious city isn’t a thing of the past.

So, what do you say? Can we preserve green and open spaces in our cities?

Monday, 24 March 2014

Hyderabad-Bangalore Road Trip – A Photo Essay


Early summer warmth, a sense of spontaneity and rustic vistas along the way made our road trip from Hyderabad to Bangalore a thrilling affair. I’d say it was one of my best road trips so far. The Hyderabad-Bangalore route is exceptionally scenic, smooth and comfy. Although it took around 10 hours to reach Bangalore, the distance seemed to trail away like a breeze. From rocky hills to distant mountain ranges, arid lands to lush farms, vineyards to coconut groves and little ponds to widespread lakes, our eyes were glued to the flashes of beautiful sights that ran by.

I can’t wait to share the pictures with you!


So, that was my road trip from Hyderabad to Bangalore.


Hot Tip – The same route is even more stunning during the monsoons.

Do you like road trips? Any favorite memory?

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...