Author: Ankita Bhatia

The alternate world in Copenhagen’s backyard – Freetown Christiana

I chugged along on my bicycle, occasionally stopping to take a quick look at the map on my phone till I could see the entrance to Christiana. I turned to B, who was right behind me and with a quick nod of agreement, we decided to a few more minutes of cycling till we were officially “outside of the European union” and inside Christiana. We found a good spot to park our bicycles and decided to walk around. As history goes, Freetown Christiana was established in 1971 by a group of hippies, who broke down barricades to an abandoned military base and eventually built a society, with its own rules, laws, currency, completely independent of the Danish government and “considered outside of it”. Over the years, this community built houses, workshops and cafes, experimented with green building techniques, solar energy and water-treatment systems to reduce their ecological footprint. Many small businesses flourished and the place attracted artists and musicians, free thinkers who found it a haven. In 1973, the government gave Christiana the temporary status …

A Laid-back Weekend in Copenhagen

One would wonder how a city break could be termed “laid-back” but that was the thing about Copenhagen. Its compact size and easy, relaxed vibe demanded slowing down and focusing on the good stuff – like a glass of wine, a bit of sunshine, a good book and a hearty meal. I felt out of place to rush and try and do too much and I was happy to meander wherever the city took me. Copenhagen is easy on the eye, but not so much on the pocket. Paris has been my benchmark of an expensive city but Copenhagen beats that – the food, transport and hotels all come steep. But don’t let that discourage you, it is a beautiful city, friendly and cozy and you won’t leave it feeling dissatisfied. STAY We rented an Airbnb in the very hip Norrebro district, with great public transport connectivity and a wide selection of neighborhood bars, cafes, galleries and boutiques to browse through. Norrebro is a part of the city with its own distinct charm, youthful and …

Stumbling upon Lawn Bowling in Lake District

Our 2 days in Lake District were laden with rains, which was frustrating enough and more so, considering that we drove from Loch Lomond in Scotland, and had to head back to Edinburgh to catch our return flight. Too confusing? The map below will help prove our rather navigationally challenged decision 😀 . I sincerely wanted to like Lake District, so that it would make the decision to go there feel worthwhile and the distance covered irrelevant. I was utterly disappointed to find it torrentially rainy on Day 1 and while the property we stayed in was very vintage and pretty (Rydal Lodge), it didn’t do too much to uplift my limp spirit. On the second day the rains continued, and we were stuck indoors, waiting inside our small cozy rooms with a cup of tea and cookies, desperate for the rain to slow down. The weather took a turn for the better around afternoon, and we decided to head out to Windermere and explore the streets with a vengeance. We savored the fish and chips at …

Photo Story : Highlights from Scotland

I spent 5 days in Scotland in August 2016, flying into Edinburgh and spending a day there, followed by two days each in Inverness and Loch Lomond. I came back feeling that I hadn’t seen enough. This was not any FOMO(fear of missing out) talking, but Scotland’s vast expanse, natural beauty, dramatic highlands and bustling cities had this effect, like there’s a lot more to explore, and a few days is just touching the tip of the ice berg. Nevertheless, I had a wonderful time and am sharing below some pictures from the trip. Till I see ya again, Scotland! Day 1 We flew into Edinburgh in the morning and checked into our Airbnb apartment. The day was spent exploring the streets of the city, eating, visiting the old town area and checking out bars in the historic Grassmarket. Day 2 We left for the three hour drive to Inverness in the morning. Driving around Scotland is spectacular and truly the best way to explore this country. We checked into our hotel, Premier Inn which was about 1.5 miles from …

Recent Trip to India – My take on Annoying Stereotypes

I came back from India yesterday after a 3 week trip and an overload of festivity, food and socializing. I had a fabulous time, barring the toxic Delhi air, which was unbearable. Since this visit came nearly after a year, I was totally pumped about catching up with friends and family. And while I tried to restrict socializing to my closest circle (which is quite a mammoth task in India), I invariably ended up meeting some people that I could have very well avoided :-D. The good part is, my interactions gave me some interesting fodder and I decided to do a post on the most absurd things people said to me which had me laughing. P.S. This is intended to be a fun, humorous post. You must be thinking “Oh My Gawd, so much pollution” Not only me you idiot, but everybody in Delhi was thinking the same. Anybody who had a choice was trying to get out of the city for a few days or stay indoors to the extent possible, schools were shut, people were …

Explore Scottish Highlands – A day out at the Glen Ord distillery + Robertson’s farm

As a whisky lover, one of the things that I truly looked forward to in Scotland was visiting a distillery. If you didn’t already know, Scotland is one of the major whisky producing countries in the world, with the main regions in the country being The Lowlands, The Highlands, Islay, Campbeltown and Speyside. Hence, it would be fair to say that if you don’t visit a distillery while in Scotland, you are really missing out on something! And even if you don’t drink alcohol or whisky, this is a fascinating experience that I would truly suggest you don’t skip. If you look online, you can find a lot of whisky trail tours stretching over days, however if you don’t have enough time for that, you could just go for the one that is most convenient and make a direct reservation. We visited the Glen Ord distillery which is a 30 minute drive west of Inverness and is situated on the edge of the Black Isle in the Highlands. It was founded in 1838, making it one …

That night in a Scottish pub in Balloch

Follow my blog with Bloglovin We knew as soon as we entered the door that we were the odd ones out – a dimly lit room, with a huge bar running along its length, filled with tables and chairs and people and dogs and beer and conversation. And a strong air of intimacy, like you just entered someone’s living room while they were discussing things only meant for their ears. We hesitated, the six of us to take a step forward. Till one of us decided to go to the bar and request for a table, and was told that this room was reserved for locals, most of whom met every day to catch up over a drink, and the main bar was out front for all guests. As we took a step in that direction, the bartender laughed and said “No no, don’t go, of course you can sit here. You guys are more than welcome, everyone is”. We looked at each other for affirmation to stay on. And thus began this night in …

The Tree House at the Berlin Wall

B erlin is a city with history at every turn. And for me, one of the most intriguing aspects of this vibrant’s city’s past was the Berlin Wall. Not only because I could actually see a part of the wall still standing, but because it seemed incredulous that this wall stood  tall and mighty till less than three decades back, dividing a city and it’s people. Everyone I met had been a part of this piece of history, having lived it themselves. It made it seem so real and close and tangible, not like a textbook chapter on a moment begone. There was one story in particular that I especially loved, that of Osman Kalin. “Osman Kalin who?” you ask. A commoner, like you I, but there is something very special about his story. Read on. Osman Kalin was a Turkish immigrant living in Kreuzberg district in West Berlin when the wall was erected in 1961, cutting off the West and the East. Due to a bend on the border, a small patch of land which belonged to …

Love, Equality and Freedom – At Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade,2016

In it’s 20th year, and playing host to EuroPride 2016, it was natural to expect the Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade to be bigger and better this time. And while I was stunned(second year in a row) with the eclectic boats, the carnival-esque vibe and colors, what truly stands out about this event for me is its spirit – of love, equality, freedom and respect, not only for others but for your own self. We live in a world that is becoming increasingly intolerant on so many issues, a fact that is disturbing as it is unfortunate. Witnessing this parade is heartwarming for me, while many of course come to enjoy the party, there are as many that come to show their support and acceptance for the LGBT community. It makes me want to believe that there is still hope, that a lot of the world will stand for freedom of choice as long as it does not harm anyone, that we believe in the power of love, no matter it’s orientation and that we are willing …

A Weekend in Bruges

You know those wonderlands we all read about in books as children, of cobbled streets, beautiful houses, flowery window sills, blue skies and music floating in the air, Bruges is that place in flesh and blood. Bruges isn’t really a secret anymore so you can well expect thronging crowds especially in the center. But walk down a side alley and it feels like a different world. There is a certain romance and charm to this city that I find tough to put into words – it’s like a fairy tale in motion right before your eyes, every tiny piece of it perfection, a place fitting enough for happily ever afters, dreamy and unreal. Where I stayed Hotel Aragon – On a quiet street just 5 min walk from the markt, this is a pretty good hotel with a decent breakfast. We could get a room for 3 which was great. Good places to eat The Olive Tree – A family run Greek restaurant with super friendly staff and scrumptious food. Gran Kaffee De Passage – An old fashioned art deco style …