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Brussels, Mussels and more

Have a holiday, will travel is the mantra we follow. Especially with Europe at doorsteps, it is hard to resist. Bank holidays are a good excuse to escape the weary routine. So we took this opportunity to pay a visit to our neighbour. Belgium. Our travelling mates Priti and Dev decided to barge into our plan for two as well. We simply dropped off our bags in the hotel at Brussels and basked into the blazing Belgian sun starting with a visit to the famous Atomium. As we were too cool for a queue to the top, we simply went around the connecting colourfully lit up escalators of this 1958 structure which was built for a World Fair. The famous coach tour special ‘Mini Europe’ is conveniently located next to the Atomium. We tried to identify the places we had already seen and started making mental notes of the places on the to-do list. ’We can no longer bear the heat’’, we moaned unanimously. Any one up for a beer? Well, who could resist in the land of Beers. We strolled in the Grand Place and Markt that evening which had ornamental buildings and intricate sculptures.  The next day we left for the historic town of Bruges. Yes the same place where Anushka Sharma meets that whats his name guy in the movie PK. But unlike the idyllic town in the movie, it gets really really busy in the summer. After […]

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Paris is for Girls

It was a balmy evening in Bangkok as we sat down at a food court in mall with tired feet. Suddenly, tears flowed down my eyes. We were on our honeymoon and poor Adi had horror on his face, he had no idea what his new bride was thinking. (Ah! The sweet joy of arranged marriages) ‘’Actually, I didn’t really have a good time with you today. Shopping is so boring with you. I miss my girlfriends!’’ (Oh! Woman) So I was on cloud 9 when my two besties since school decided to visit me in London. It was the most awaited trip of the year, the one which had taken several months of planning over ‘watsapp’. Several versions of the itinerary were created and discarded. The best version was ditching the husbands, of course (two of us are married). The super cool version was when we decided to include ‘Paris’ in the list. As a new Londoner, I have always wondered about the bitter-sweet rivalry of the two cities. With two drastic views, I had no idea what to expect in the City of Lights. My only concern was our ability to survive with zero French speaking ability. But thanks to technology and some planning beforehand, we found it easy to travel in the city. From the super cool St.Pancras International station at London, the Gard du Nord at Paris seemed a little dull to the Londoner in me. […]

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Travel : Discovering places and beyond

People travel to faraway places to watch,                                                  In fascination The kind of people they ignore at home. ‘’What is the best time to visit to London?’’, a lot of our friends and family ask us, after all its their ‘’Hakkach  ghar ani manasa’’. We equally love having people at our place or atleast make it a point to see them in London considering its just the two of us throughout the year.With travel, curiosity fills the minds of our guests, ‘’ Oh! It is so quiet here’’ to ‘’ The pubs open at 11 am!’’ General observations and discussions follow and we are happy to give all insider tips and experiences.  But the best part of it, is the to do lists people have when in London. When Shruti visited London, she had every attraction on her agenda . The two of us were delighted to roam arround every nook and corner of the city. I was two months old in London myself and it helped me get acquainted into cultural ways of the English. The history and museums fascinated our geeky brain whilst accidentally attending a practice session of musicians at Cambridge made our faces smile. When Teju visited us on a cold autumn weekend, she couldn’t be happier posing at the ‘Bridge’ on Thames where Shahrukh Khan dances to Challa song. I couldn’t be more delighted to see Adi at Lords souvenir shop, he spent half hour selecting his merchandise whilst […]

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Paradise found : The mountains, the sea and a little adventure

The sky was twinkling bright and our stomachs were filled to the bream as we entered our cute villas by the sea. Just as I was relaxing in the shower after an exhausted day, Preeti knocked on the door. ‘’Dev has big hives on his body!’’, she declared panic-stricken. Very unlike Preeti. It was nearly midnight on this largest but quiet island in Greece. The sweet resort manager was not answering his call (save his otherwise hospitable demeanour), we did not have a single medicine in our travel kit (surprise, surprise!) and the four of us were frantically trying to call emergency medical help.Our prayers were answered as an ambulance took apna party-boy Dev away to Chania, the next major town which was 12 miles away for an exciting night-out. So as Adi and I tried to catch forty winks, Preeti being the Pativrata Naari spent her night with very loud nurses. We were the early visitors on this serene island where the ‘season’ actually begins mid April. The winds were still strong, restricting any sailing or diving activities. The gorgeous looking snow covered White Mountains were not accessible either as the water flows through the gorges till early spring.   Feeling a little dejected, we hired a taxi ( No, we don’t drive in London ) and drove from north to south of the western side of the island. The island spans 270 km from east to west, has two international airports […]

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South Africa: Top tips for your travel

It is an exciting continent! Its mysteries always alluring to the world.We have watched documentaries. We have read it in history. We have seen it in Bollywood songs.It is Africa. It is South Africa, the nation which altered history and has been witness to a saga of 21st century human rights movement. A true ‘Rainbow’ nation with 11 official languages and multi-ethnic groups.My imagination had been engulfed  with endless possiblities before I left London for Johannesburg, the financial capital of the nation unfortunately notorious for its crime rate. I didn’t know what to expect. Pretty sights, good food was a safe bet. But essentially the question was how will the people be? How good is the infrastructure? My journey began at the Apartheid Museum at Johannesburg. Just the thought of walking through two different entrances – ‘’White’’ and ‘’Not-White’’ a concept made at the museum to remind of those dark days shattered me. Tear drops trickled easily. Imagine not able to play cricket as you were a ‘black’ person. Humanity is the greatest faith. I am truly thankful for being raised in much free society, a safe place of today. The rest of the trip only had pleasant surprises and the interactions with locals were warm.The food has been greatly influenced by the migrants. The Dutch specialities include the malva pudding/the banting cusine, the French brought the wine, the Indonesian slaves introduced the famous Cape malay cuisine and us Indians invented the Durban […]

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South Africa : Cape Town : Cape of Good Eats and Priceless Views

It was a Big Day! The most awaited part of the trip. A drive around the Cape Peninsula. We had infact drove almost half way through the Peninsula over the False Bay from Fansschoek via Grabouw to the boutique hotel near Simons town. ‘‘Oooohhss, Ahhhhs’’ , I marvelled at every turn a bit to Adi’s annoyance. Adi only punctuated with choicest Marathi words instead!This route was so picturesque. We wondered what views the rest of the Peninsula had for us. Soon,  we drove off on the winding road with mountain to our right and emerald blue waters to our left. Dil Chahta Hai…..We sang merrirly (with twisted lyrics…..Rangile Din, Masti ke din :P) Within 10 minutes we reached the Table Mountain nature park gate at  Buffelsfontein for Cape Point or Cape of Good Hope . One can drive around the nature park to soak up in the gorgeous views and bright sunlight.  If you are little adventurous you can cycle or trek in the area or have a picnic if you have bunch of kids.  It was a Big Day! We were posing at the Cape of Good Hope! Later we hiked our way to Cape Point and the Light house. The flying Dutchman is an excellent way of going up and enjoying excellent views if you are tired. The sun was shining bright and Mr.Sun (Adi) was hungry. Time for Birthday lunch at Two Oceans Restaurant which was packed with tourists! The […]

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South Africa: Pilansberg – Call of the Wild

’You bring us rain!’’, chuckled Alice as we arrived at Ivory Tree Lodge at Pilansberg. Our faces drooped and we apologised profusely. (Rains and English effect) Will we be able to see any animals though? asked Adi, the man who accidently became an engineer instead of a quizmaster.  ‘’Oh yes!’’, We need rain here, animals like to shower after the hot sun. Our faces beamed.After researching for months on Kruger, we had to make a compromise – Pilansberg. Thanks to  Adi’s visa restrictions, we could holiday in South Africa only for a week. Pilansberg was an excellent choice given its proximity to Joburg and the chance to see the Big 5 in a malaria free zone was a bonus. (Yes, I do dread malaria, the fatal mozzie nearly killing me twice) After relaxing a bit in our posh lodge and the clouds clearing out, we boarded the open safari vehicle to a mixed crowd of enthusiastic locals and tourists as co-passengers. ‘’There is a cheetah on a prowl’’, announced  Leon our ranger in an accented Afrikaans.As the rangers co-ordinated about the cheetah spotting, Leon drove us into the heart of the forest reserve. The passionate locals who had been to several safaris in their lifetime (just like we do Lonavala) helped us spot animals even from a far distance. I was keen on spotting a Zebra because of their cuteness factors. (Weird?) and Adi had never seen a herd of elephants […]

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More Prague Tales

I almost had tryst with language, on the morning we started for Vienna at Tesco. So I had ventured by myself to buy few essentials for the trip as it was a long journey and apprehending that we may not stop for lunch. One of them items was a necessity for female hygiene. I scorched earnestly the basement – usual food, toiletries section. Having that Indian mentality, I never bothered to ask the male assistant but approached few local ladies – calling the object of urgent necessity by their standard references. Unfortunately, they did not get what I was trying to say and I was about to make another attempt – by telling them in sign language of course!  What will I enact? wait  a minute ….Eeeks…. I will look like a clown, I thought to myself. Luckily I saw the female assistant on the floor to my rescue.‘Upstairs in women’s section’, in her broken English. Ha! There they were next to perfume and lingerie! This made me realise, how we see world with a One Track mind all the time. My brain was programmed to find them in the toiletries section and nowhere else. How most of the times we often think that the way we do things is the best way.By day 3 , we had seen most of the touristy Prague, including throngs of youngsters walking down the streets for the famous Pub Crawls at night. So […]

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Prague Tales : Discovering the dark , mysterious city

Prague! Where is that? Most of us reacted when we saw the movie Rockstar, many pronounced it as ‘Pregue’ or something of sorts. Thanks Bollywood, you added one more European city to the list. So as hubby was dilly-dallying his plans about summer holidays, I checked with my friends if they would like to have a quick go at the city. So the three of us agreed to ditch our husbands and venture to Prague over a pre-weekend. (Pre-weekend huh? Welcome to life of JK where weekend starts earlier than most mortals) Other than discovering a city by myself, I was also happy that I would get time knowing two new people- MJ and MP. Perhaps the six degree of separation rule holds true. I had bumped into  vivacious MP at my local gym and although we had not exactly spent tons of time together, we did get comfortable enough to tolerate each other for next 3 days. MJ, I met her in fellow Indians locality group and we convinced the funny foodblogger to join us. As I started my research for this trip, I was fascinated by this capital of Czech Republic. A country engulfed in rich history and culture. There was certainly more to Prague than Nargis Fakhri running down a bridge in her long gown at dawn.As we set out with a map (we left the job to MP), to explore the city on foot, we were bedazzled by […]

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