Year: 2015

Explore Prague – My top 5 things to do

Prague is a beautiful city and you will probably not meet another person who says otherwise. With its winding alleys and cobbled streets, architecture, castles, museums, churches and of course the cheap beer, you will always have enough to explore.  But I wouldn’t dare generalize Prague as only vintage – the city has its quirks like you wouldn’t imagine. Think men statues peeing water on the street, giant babies guarding the entrance to a museum, a ghostly procession at night on Charles Bridge. Chalk and cheese indeed go together, only in Prague ;-). The popular attractions such as Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, Astronomical Clock etc. will pop up on the internet as “must-sees” if you do a simple search. I will admit here that while I didn’t skip these totally, I didn’t spend significant amounts of time either, to offer you any deep insight. To be frank, I am not really big on museums and churches and buildings, as beautiful as they may be – I can see them in passing, even appreciate their beauty, but …

Living the Antwerp Fairytale in 48 Hours

If you follow me on Instagram, you would know that I was in Antwerp with my mom a couple of weeks back – she was visiting me and was keen to see around, and a weekend getaway to Belgium made perfect sense since it is extremely quick(plus cheap) to reach from Amsterdam. I was quite confused on which city to visit, Brussels seemed like the most obvious choice, but many of my colleagues suggested otherwise hence I decided to alter my plans and visit another city called Antwerp. And I am quite glad that I did, because I found Antwerp to be extremely charming! I spent only 48 hours in the city, so I can’t really claim to tell you “the best things to do” since that is hardly enough time to draw firm conclusions, but I can tell you that all of what I did was based on the recommendation of my Airbnb host who is a true blue local, so what I share are definitely the highlights of this cute little city :-). I did have some unanticipated …

A Little Something called Summer Picnics

If you read my blog you would know that I love food. And open spaces. And sunny days. So when I got to know about the food truck festival at ProefPark in Haarlem in August end, it was a proposition I just could not resist. Haarlem where? You may ask. And rightly so, cause I doubt that anyone who visits Netherlands, makes a stop at any city other than Amsterdam. But if you do have time on your next trip, I strongly recommend that you go beyond Amsterdam for a day trip into these charming little cities like Haarlem, Leiden, Hague etc. which are even more compact and slower but full of many interesting gigs and festivals. My experience of this food truck festival brought back childhood memories of picnics at India Gate in Delhi, which I think was quite a staple family outing for all kids born in the 80’s and early 90’s. I remember that we used to go in big groups of 20-30 people, tightly squeezed into cars, with bed sheets and …

The Grandeur of SAIL Amsterdam : In pictures

So I know that I have been a bit late on this one since SAIL Amsterdam 2015 ended nearly 3 weeks back but things have been a bit crazy with work, a new house and the general settling in, in a new country. But, this is a post I just HAD to share even if it is untimely, mainly because I have never seen anything like this before, and I doubt if I ever will. SAIL Amsterdam as the name suggests is a sailing event (duh!), and one would question as to what is so special about it. And question I did, ignorant me 🙂 It is MIND BLOWING to say the least, in beauty and in scale. And while I (and my last generations) have no connection to sailing whatsoever , I still enjoyed this event tremendously! What really made my experience exceptional was the SAIL-IN ceremony, which is the epitome of “grand”, “scale” and “beauty”. Since it’s first edition in 1975, SAIL Amsterdam has grown to become the largest public event in the Netherlands and the largest …

In photos – Canal Parade at the Amsterdam Gay Pride, 2015

So last Saturday (August 1st), I attended the Canal Parade, which is undoubtedly the most sought after attraction of the Amsterdam Gay Pride festival, attracting hundreds and thousands of locals and tourists. I was extremely excited about attending the parade all week, since it seemed so theatrical in its setting and spirit, and I wasn’t disappointed to say the least. In my last post, I wrote about Dutch tolerance and just letting people be, and its acceptance for the LGBT community is a huge example of that. The Amsterdam Gay Pride, a week-long celebration is possibly the largest of its kind, across the globe and the city of Amsterdam truly comes alive with parties, events, exhibitions and more. The crown in this week long party is of course the Canal Parade which had over 80 boats, with DJs, colors, people and performances, truly having a blast. And all of this with a strong message of tolerance and acceptance, but done in the most fun way possible 😉 I was told to grab a good viewing …

My First Impressions Of Amsterdam

If you have been wondering why I have been missing in action for the past month, then I have got some really exciting news for you all – I have moved to Amsterdam! Yes, I truly have! So I have been sort of busy settling in, looking for a house and in general, getting my bearings around. Everyone has been asking me how this came about ? Well, let’s just say I got lucky ;-). Truth be told, my current company had an opening in Amsterdam which I decided to take up – a new challenge and an opportunity to travel Europe seemed just like the right thing at the right time in my life, and I decided to go for it. My friends and family constantly want to know if this is a short term/long term/midterm plan and to be honest, I don’t really know. There are many if’s and but’s (as always) and I think life is too unpredictable to plan too far ahead, BUT while I am here, I intend to make the most …

A rustic retreat at Himalayan Village, Sonapani

I was weary with work, frustrated with the hustle of city life and craving some quiet time last week. And the soaring temperatures in Delhi were adding to my woes. All I wanted was to get away to somewhere, nowhere and just do nothing at all. Recharge my drained batteries. And what better way to do this than to retreat to the hills with my partner in crime, my sister 😛 Himalayan Village, Sonapani in Uttarakhand has been on my mind for some time, having heard wonderful reviews from many but somehow, it never materialized until now! So we packed our bags, took the train from Delhi to Kathgodam, and a two and a half hour (very snaky)cab ride later, we were at our destination. Himalayan Village I don’t really know how to define this place, it is not a hotel or a resort but more like a homestay. The owners Ashish and Deepa stay on the property, along with their two children Aru and Vanya, and a big mountain dog called Jhumroo(who I found mostly …

Life lessons from Cambodia

Travel is a great teacher. And I feel that every experience has opened my eyes to some important life lessons, which no classroom education or job could ever teach me. And while one may not necessarily need to travel to realize these life truths, at least for me, the true acceptance of these has happened only through my time on the road. Cambodia is a country that had a profound impact on me for many reasons – its history, people, beauty affected me in good and bad ways both, and below I share some of the lessons I learnt during my time there. Never Generalize I had read a lot about crime in Cambodia and the lack of safety before I visited it, and while I will admit to having certain not so great experiences, I cannot deny that I had many more wonderful ones. Like the Tuk Tuk driver who stopped his dinner midway to drop us to our hotel late into the night. Or the owner of a hotel on Otres beach, who went …

The paradise that is Koh Rong!

There is a certain beauty in wilderness, it is all-consuming, brazen and unapologetic. And for me, no place embodies this spirit better than Koh Rong – a beautiful Cambodian island in the Gulf of Thailand, this place overwhelmed me in more ways than one. When I was planning my itinerary for Cambodia, this island particularly stood out – it seemed so far off, so secluded, so beautiful in pictures and still fairly undiscovered, I just knew that I couldn’t go back without a stop here. The fact that just getting to this place would be fairly time consuming on a 10 day trip wasn’t a deterrent. So I landed in Sihanoukville and an hour’s ferry ride later, I was in Koh Rong. And in spite of all my online research, I just wasn’t prepared for what I saw 🙂 . Clear crystal waters in various shades of blue, an open expanse of a limitless sunny sky, powdery white sands, and that feeling of discovering something that not many have access to. We got off at Tui …

Why I wouldn’t go back to Phnom Penh

The bus ride from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh was fairly uneventful, the so called highway was nothing more than a never ending dusty stretch of land, and by the end of it, we were pretty glad that we hadn’t attempted to drive around on our own. A short Tuk Tuk ride from the bus stand took us to our hotel, The Plantation. I had read rave reviews about this hotel, as one of the best places to stay in this city and I wasn’t disappointed. The hotel is really artistic, the staff is very friendly and helpful, the buffet breakfast is fantastic, and the spa, totally relaxing (we were offered a discount which I obviously availed 😛). But the absolute best part is the huge pool with cabanas along it’s length, where you can relax endlessly with your drinks and books, and when the sun gets too much, just walk down few steps and jump right into the pool! I had two days in Phnom Penh which I spent mostly at the pool and spa in our …