Travel Guide To Paris and Barcelona

An Artist Has No Better Home Than Paris In Europe

This would be an enough hint to guess about my next destination after Belgium. It’s Paris!!

Well, I heard a lot of mixed reviews about Paris before heading there, some were of the opinion that it is too overhyped while some said that the city is truly a ‘city of love’ !!
I also met a few people who stayed at Paris for few months and they absolutely loved the city and they usually say that, the vibe couldn’t be matched with any other city in Europe!!

With the kind of expectations that I had about Paris, this city didn’t disappoint me with the kind of art it embodies but the Parisians really turned out to be averse to welcoming or helping tourists. This is something which I have not noticed in any other European city so far, except Paris. It is a tad bit disappointing in that aspect.

The last and final destination of this trip after Paris was Barcelona and this turned out to be my second visit to Barca!! So, I am not going to get into detailed travel tips about it. You can check out my old post about Barcelona!! (Well, I visited Barca again because we had a company off-site in Barca for 4 days !!  )

Let’s dive in to the trip details now 😀

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Paris

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 8-10 C  (Visited in Mid-October. Warm clothes are recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at a cute little studio apartment (airbnb) in Paris. It was a good stay and the place is not more than 3-5km from all the major touristy spots.

The way we explored Paris was more touristy than the actual local experience. We eventually found that 2 days is not enough to explore this place. I am definitely going again to explore it properly. If you are planning to visit Paris, plan for at-least 4 days so that you can leisurely explore the place.

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Eiffel Tower

Main Places to Visit:

Eiffel Tower – Of course, one can’t miss this beauty. Though, initially I expected that Eiffel tower would be uninteresting, I absolutely loved it when I saw it!! The magnanimous structure standing out in the city is a true visual retreat. Entrance fee is almost half for anyone below 25 yrs. Don’t forget to mention it at counter, if it applies for you.

Arc de Triomphe – The view of Paris from the top of Arc de Triomphe is magnificent!! I personally loved the view from here rather than the view from the top of Eiffel tower!! It is free entry for anyone below 26 yrs.

Louvre Museum –  This is one of the the top most recommended places of Paris but we ended up visiting on Tuesday which is an official holiday for Louvre. So, plan your schedule accordingly. We missed it this time!!

Notre-Dame De Paris – It is a beautiful architectural masterpiece which is bound to mesmerise you!! It is all about the glass painted interiors , stunning exteriors, and the French gothic architecture.

Montmartre or Sacré-Cœur – One of my friends recommended this place for the stunning view of the city. We visited this place in the night and it did have a good view of the city. I would recommend to visit this place in daylight as the surrounding areas are usually unsafe in terms of robbery.

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View from Arc De Triomphe
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Eiffel Tower In The Night
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Notre-Dame De Paris
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Louvre Musuem

Things To Do :

Visit Eiffel tower in the daylight and also, once the sun sets!! Especially, don’t miss the flickering lights show of Eiffel Tower which happens every hour after the sun sets till 11 pm.

Walk along Champs-Élysées where you get to see all the high street brands. One should experience that atmosphere if you are into fashion. Also, Paris has a lot to offer in terms of street fashion!! So much to learn- I wish I could stay in the city just to learn about Fashion

Don’t forget to taste those yummy french crepes 

Not to forget, the famous macarons and the french wine
(I personally didn’t like macarons though!! )

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Travel Tips for Paris :

If you are below 25 years, you would be getting discount in entry fee at almost all historical locations

Paris is comparatively expensive than most other cities in Europe. So, plan accordingly

Shopoholics, ensure that you have at-least a day to explore the shopping streets. Do note that they close by 7-8 pm

Don’t stay far off the city as travelling is a bit expensive. We have tried “Chauffeur Prive” app in Paris which offered 5 euros discount on each of first six rides. You can try that!!

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Bridges and Canals of Paris

Barcelona

I am including only the new places that I visited and found interesting this time. Do check out my previous post for more detailed Barcelona travel tips.

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 20-25 C  (Visited towards the end of October. Might require a jacket during the night)

Accommodation : Le Meridian, La Rambla.
It is located right in La Ramblas, the famous street of Barcelona. All major locations are not more than 1 or 2 km from the hotel. However, this 5 start hotel didn’t provide service that matches up to the 5 star standards.

Newly Explored Places:

La Boqueria – It is the biggest market in Barcelona which has shops selling all different kinds of fruits, vegetables, sea food, chocolates and what not!! If you are a foodie or a grocery-shopping enthusiast like me, you should not miss this place. You will discover many new food items.

Streets of Gothic Quarters – The ancient vibe of gothic quarters in its narrow lanes and the small little squares is something one can’t miss. And, if you are looking for some vintage shopping, this is where you need to go. Carrer del Duc,Carrer de Retrizol, and  Carrer de Bisbe are some streets which I loved.

Camp Nou – We watched a FCB Vs Inter Milan match at this Stadium. The vibe and energy in the stadium is commendable. A Life time experience!!
Even though, you are not a football enthusiast, I would recommend you to watch a match if possible or visit the stadium.

Montserrat Monastery in Barcelona – It is famous for a monastery located on the top of one of the hills of Montserrat mountain range. However, I found the journey and the view from the top much more beautiful. It is a 40 min train from Barcelona city. You could do a day trip. The mountain range looks incredible when you are going to the monastery.

Torres Vineyard – We went on a vineyard tour which was interesting to a certain extent in terms of understanding about the wine making process and also, the wine tasting session. Ping me on Instagram if you want to know more details about it.

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Different type of Mushrooms at La Boqueria
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At Camp Nou
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Montserrat
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Torres Vineyard
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La Boqueria

Shopping Tips in Barcelona :

Zara and Mango are cheaper than India as these companies have main manufacturing units in Spain and Portugal. Visit Zara store in Plaça de Catalunya for good collection.

Sephora near La Ramblas is a very huge store and has massive discounts on few items which are way too expensive in India. So, girls, visit it if you like makeup and skincare

Visit Hema or Flying Tiger for cute knick knacks and some good gifts at affordable price

You can visit Pulls and Bear for good t-shirts. They have good collection. I found urban outfitters way too expensive.

Do visit Bershka, their shoe collection is usually good and the casual clothes too.

HnM is much cheaper in India than Europe. So, don’t waste money over there unless you like something very much

The streets in Gothic quarters have some amazing vintage stores which sell unique stuff but they are way too expensive

You can get good post cards, souvenir boards and magnets on La Ramblas.

Also, pickpocketing is very common in Barcelona. Be extremely careful.

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Plaza De Colon, Barcelona
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Zara Outlet
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Common Sight of Dressed Up Artists at La Ramblas 

That’s it for this trip!! 

Hope you enjoy my content and hope it would be useful if you happen to visit these places!!

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Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Previous post : Travel Tales of Belgium

Red Sneakers, white flared trousers : Zara |White Blazer : Forever21| Boots : Zara | Ref Crop top : Lefties|  Backpack : Shein|Accessories(Jewellery) : Thrift stores | Saree : Handloom Store 

 

Travel Tales of Belgium

While most of my trips are usually restricted to exploring places rather than food, this Belgium trip was more about food than places. Who would not want to taste those extremely soft waffles topped with some heavenly whipped cream and strawberries, or who wouldn’t want to relish the widely renowned Belgian chocolates and fries, and not to forget the wide variety of Belgian beers that are available!!

By the way, this is in continuation to my previous blog on Amsterdam which was my first destination in the backpacking trip. From Netherlands, we headed to Bruges followed by Brussels in Belgium.

Let me just jump into the details now 🙂

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Bruges, Belgium

Bruges

Also known as ‘Venice of North’, this little town on the countryside of Belgium is widely known for its medieval homes, cobble-stoned streets with horse carriages roaming around and small canals lined with colorful dutch houses and filled with in-numerous white swans. The moment you see those streets and houses, I can guarantee you that it will just take you back in time. It feels like a fairy tale!!

( A must-visit place if you are planning to visit any nearby major cities. If you are visiting Brussels, then it’s just a 2 hr travel to reach this place and most of the tourists visit this place for a day tour)

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 10-15 C  (Visited in Mid-October. Warm clothes recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at an airbnb in Hertsberge, Bruges which is 14 km away from the Bruges city centre. We choose this place as it had the best reviews and undoubtedly, our host was extremely cordial and the airbnb was too good. The only drawback is the location which is quite far off from the city and the lack of good internal public transport in the city makes it difficult unless you have a personal vehicle.

Main Places to Visit:

Belfry – It is the clocktower in the main market square of Bruges where you can take the stairs to go to the top of the tower. It gives a panoramic view of the entire city, sunset is usually good. Charges per person are around 10 euros but if you are below 25, there is a discount.

Markt – The main market square of Bruges where you get to see the horse carriages and the colourful medieval buildings along with the city hall.

Walplein Square – This is my most favourite spot in Bruges. It truly takes you back to 1900’s. It is a quaint little square with horse carriages and a canal filled with swans all the time. One can just sit back and relax.

Minnewater park – The castle in the minnewater park which is just by the lake is a visual retreat to anyone.

Begijnhuisje (Ten Wijngaerde) is a preserved beguinage (UNESCO World Heritage Site). I personally didn’t find it interesting. If you want to visit this place, visit before 5 pm and it is near Walplein.
We visited Church of Old Lady as well but didn’t find anything very special about it. It was similar to many other churches.

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Markt
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Streets of Bruges
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View from the top of Belfry
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Belfry of Bruges
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Castle of Minnewater Park
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Canal at Walplein

Things To Do :

Canal Boat Tour – Though it was not as good as Amsterdam, Bruges canal tour is interesting in terms of the very tiny canals that it has, and the beautiful houses. Costs around 8-10 Euro per person and is not more than 30 min. We choose Canal Boat Tours , the experience with them was just average (Guide was speaking Dutch, so it was difficult to understand)

Walk on the streets near Walplein –  Noordstraat and Mariastraat are some good streets. Best way to explore Bruges is by walking around and since it is a small town, it is not so tiring to cover it by walking.

Try waffles at Chez Albert .The plain waffle is just too delicious.

Try Belgian fries at Chez Vincent

Try strawberries dipped in chocolate

If you are into berries, this place has really good berries

Belgium is famous for Lace as well. However, I found it expensive than India.

The only travel tip that I would suggest for Bruges is that, walking in the city is the best way to explore it.

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Belgian Fries With Tender Chicken
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Walplein

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Streets of Bruges
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Strawberries dipped in Chocolate

Brussels

Brussels has a busy city vibe with people hustling around. I didn’t find it interesting as a place, as I am inclined towards nature-centric or less-crowded places. However, one has to visit this place atleast for the chocolates, waffles, beers and fries.

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 10-15 C  (Visited in Mid-October. Warm clothes recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at an airbnb right next to Manneken pis, which is just a 2 min walk to the Grand Place of Brussels (Main City Centre). It was a comfortable stay and it was very close to all the main locations of the city.

There are a lots of trains and buses running from Bruges to Brussels and vice versa (Also, you can get a train ticket at half the price if you are below 26). The journey is ~2 hrs.

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Streets of Brussels

Main Places to Visit:

Grand Place – It is a square in the centre of the city which is surrounded by age-old buildings with spell-bound architecture. Do visit this place in the night once all the buildings are well-lit and the vibe couldn’t be missed in the night!!

Place Poelaert – It is a place suggested by my friend and which is not so popular but has an amazing view of the city. Visit during sunset for the best experience.

Sablon – This is a peaceful and less crowded locality in Brussels with good restaurants around. Walk to explore this place.

Mont De Arts – It is a good place away from the hustle and bustle of Grand place with a view of the highest tower of Grand Place buildings. The view is good and if you want to chill and relax for some time, it’s a good place

We also visited Royal Palace of Brussels which was a good masterpiece of architecture. However, we couldn’t cover the European Parliament area (Do visit if you have time) and Atomium ( We didn’t find it interesting)

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Grand Place
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Grand Place

Things To Do :

Visit Delirium Cafe which serves almost 2000 types of brewed beers (If you are into beer, this should be on your list)

Taste desserts at  Aux Merveilleux de FredExpect long queues and these desserts are slightly on the sweeter side. If you are into dark chocolates and don’t like too much sugar, it is not a place for you. But, it also serves amazing chocolate buns and croissants

Taste waffles at Waffle factory. Slightly expensive but I loved the whipped cream over there 😛 ( But I loved Bruges waffles more)

Taste fries at Fritland. They are really good and the sauce is something special which adds to the taste

Go to Rue Neuve  for shopping. It almost has all the brands covered. Ensure you don’t plan it on Sunday as shops are usually closed on Sunday. Also, on weekdays, the stores get closed by 7 pm. Plan accordingly.

For more general Europe travel tips, visit my previous blog post.

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I hope you find it useful if you are planning to visit Brussels or Bruges 🙂

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Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Previous post : A Ticket To Amsterdam

Red Sneakers, black halter top, glitter pants : Zara |White offshoulder top : Shein| Boots : Zara | White fitting top: HnM |  Backpack : Shein|Accessories(Jewellery) : Thrift stores

 

 

 

A Ticket To Amsterdam

Amsterdam!!
It just broke the clichéd opinion that I had about this city before visiting. I knew this place more as a city for stoners and thought it to be over-hyped. To my surprise, it hosts some of the most beautiful canals, bridges, flowers and dutch architecture. The streets were all vibrant and buzzing with people who are moving around on cycles at any hour of the day.

Also known as a city where Cannabis and prostitution are legal, and where you can savour some of the most amazing dutch pancakes, and of course, lots and lots of canals and bridges.

Before I could explain any further about the city, let me just dive into the actual things to do and places to visit in Amsterdam. We spent around 4 days in Amsterdam during mid-October.

Temperature : 15-20 C  (Warm clothes recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at our friend’s place in Amsterdam Amstel which is pretty close to the city centre. Since I had already done my research about good hostels, dropping in some suggestions here : ClinkNOORD, Flying Pig

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Canals of Jordaan

Main Places to Visit:

Rijks Museum – It is one of the best museums that I have seen so far. It showcases the rich heritage of their ancestors and their lifestyle incredibly. If you plan to visit, don’t forget to cover 2nd floor and also, the 1.2 section in 1st floor.

Red Light District – The widely renowned red light district of Amsterdam is a must visit after 11pm when the streets get lit up with red lights.

Zaanse Saanch – It is 40 min metro ride from Amsterdam to this beautiful place which is designed in a way to give you an essence of age-old dutch countryside with windmills!! It takes atleast 3 hrs to explore this place properly. Don’t miss this place if you have enough time.

Anne Frank House – It was the place where Anne Frank was reportedly in hiding for around 2 years during WWII. However, if you are planning to visit this place, ensure that you book your online tickets (no offline tickets available) well in advance (We couldn’t get the tickets :/ )

Vondel Park – If you want to relax in a very silent place filled with beautiful trees, canals, and swans, you must visit this place. It had insane variety of trees sporting different fall colours. It is also a place where public sex is legal!!

Van Gogh Museum – If you are into paintings, you should consider visiting this place. (We couldn’t find time to visit it)

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At Museum Entrance

If you want to go shopping, you can find many shops near Dam Square or for street shopping, you can visit Albert Cuyp Market.

Also, you might want to get clicked before ” I Amsterdam ” Symbol which is just close to Van Gogh/ Rjiks Museum. You are lucky if you get a good picture without the crowd.

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Coffee Shop (Smokeys)
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Adam’s Lookout (Look at the view)
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Amsterdam Canals (Canal Cruise)

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Few Travel Tips :

If you are below 25 yrs, you are most likely to get a discount in entry fees in most of the museums, historical monuments in Europe. Just ask them about it and flash your passport and you get a discount 😀 (I availed many such discounts)

If you are planning to rent a bicycle in Amsterdam, you can visit Mac Bikes . They charge around 10-15 Euros per day. Also, ensure that you carry a mobile holder otherwise it gets difficult to deal with google maps.

If you are planning for shopping, never plan it on Sunday as most of the stores remain closed that day. During regular days, the shops shut by 7-8 pm, so plan your shopping accordingly. Also, street shopping markets shut by 5 pm

Ensure that you have a minimum of 2-3 hrs to explore each museum. If you don’t have enough time, ask for the must-visit spots in the museum at the ticket counter. Also, while planning for museums, check for working days.

Pick pocketing is common in Europe. Be alert (Especially your passports and wallets)

You can get a metro pass for 4 days which costs around 18 Euros. It would be really helpful for internal travel.

If you are into exploring other museums, you can checkout “I Amsterdam” Card which offers many activities at a discounted price of 75 Euros per person. It covers most of the museums. Since I am not into museums, I didn’t take one.

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I hope you find it useful if you are planning to visit Amsterdam 🙂

Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Olive Trouser : Mango |White Top : Shein| Sneakers: Nike |Boots : Forever21 | Blue Dress and brown top : Forever21 |  Backpack : Shein | Sling bag : Zara | Skirt : Zara | Accessories(Jewellery) : Primarc

Exploring Lisbon!!

After a tiresome road journey of 12 hrs from Madrid, Portugal welcomed us with an impeccable view of the sunrise over the huge expanse of Tagus River on Vasco Da Gama Bridge. It just reminds me of how sleep deprived I was and how my eyes couldn’t stay open but that view was too mesmerising that my mind started shouting, ‘You Moron!! Look at the beauty and skip your sleep for sometime!! ‘ 😀

Cobblestone streets that are lined up with pastel coloured houses having balconies that flaunt the most colourful bunch of flowers are just a visual retreat in the older parts of the city. This hilly capital city with coastal beauty has a lot to offer!!

The essence and the actual culture of any city could be best witnessed in the older parts of the city. Go to such place and walk around to experience the best!!

We had 3 days to spend in Lisbon and I am a person who is not so keen on visiting the historical monuments unless it is highly highly recommended. So, if you are expecting that from this blog, then 😐

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LISBON

4 days and 3 nights stay

Accommodation : Hub Lisbon Patio Hostel (The worst maintained among all other hostels I have been to, so please avoid it and search for some other option )

Main Places To Visit :

Alfamas – It’s old Lisbon and it literally takes you back in time with the trams on the road, old buildings, century old cathedrals ,castles and not to forget some old wine shops!! Visit the famous Lisbon cathedral if you visit Alfamas – the interiors are sure to impress you!!

Miradouro das Portas do Sol – This is the one of the best view point to see the entire rooftop view of Alfamas. Must visit!!

Bairro Alto – The streets have such a lovely vibe with Fado (Traditional Portugal music) being played by people and is lined up with some amazing restaurants!! Again, walk to experience 🙂

Cais do sodré – Best riverside neighbourhood to walk around and relax!!

Sintra – This place is on the countryside which is 40 min from Lisbon by train and is totally worth visiting. It has fairytale streets lined with tall and lush-green trees, not something you could see anywhere in Lisbon. Visit Pena Palace in Sintra for the incredible view it offers from the top!!

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Miradouro das Portas do Sol, Alfamas
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Miradouro das Portas do Sol
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Bairro Alto
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Pena Palace, Sintra
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Pena Palace, Sintra

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Things to Do :

A walk in the streets of Alfamas 

Try pizza and portugese red wine in Bairro Alto – totally flattered!!

Watch the sun go down with live jazz in background at Miradouro das Portas do Sol

If you like to just sit and watch the Tagus river, Praça do Comércio and Cais do sodré are the go-to options

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Streets of Alfamas
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Praça do Comércio
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Near Praça do Comércio

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Previous post : Backpacking Trip To Spain

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Backpacking Trip To Spain

When it comes to ticking things off my bucket list, I have my head clear and my mind focussed 😀

Do you think anyone would want to have ‘facing a gruesome accident but managing to get out alive’ in their bucket list? Well, I did tick it off my list 😛

Brushing aside such not-so-sane things, I do have some travel goals and Europe was always on the list and I wanted to do one backpackers trip with strangers before I turn 25. And yeah, it’s done now (atleast, a little part of Europe)

Spain and Portugal exploration happened to be my first leg of Europe journey. To all those people who wanted to know about how I have planned the trip, about the backpackers group and about my experience in these two countries- this blog post, the upcoming one and my Instagram posts would answer all your queries. I will be pitching in my suggestions about the places to visit, the places you could skip and also, the precautions you need to take based on my personal experience.

Let’s get started!! 😀

Mumbai > Barcelona > Ibiza > Madrid > Lisbon > Mumbai

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BARCELONA

5 days and 4 nights stay

Accommodation : Generator Hostel

Main Places to Visit:

La Sagrada Familia – Renowned for its captivating Gaudi architecture and magnificence. Book your tickets online and they don’t allow post your time slot (Be on Time).It will be a guided tour provided you make it on time. By the way, it is still being built!! (since a century almost :/ )

Gothic Quarter – Old city of Barcelona. Explore the place on foot. Has a plethora of options for restaurants and clubs. Night life is good here.

La Rambla – You can’t miss this street. It is one of the best to witness the vibe of Barcelona city.

La Barceloneta – Seaside neighbourhood of Barcelona lined up with good restaurants along with a splendid view

Things to Do:

Cycling tour in the city ( they are going to show you some of the best streets in Barca)

Try Sangria and Aperol Spritz if you are into wine and alcohol

Try PaellaTapas, Churros, Croissants  when in Spain (Food)

Camp Nou (didn’t visit as I am not so much into football) and Opium (popular pub) are two things which have good feedback but I couldn’t make it. Try those if you find time.

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Streets of Barcelona 
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L’esquerra de L’eixample
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Gaudi Fountain
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La Sagrada Familia

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IBIZA

2 days and 2 nights

Accommodation : Amistat Island Hostel 

Main Places to Visit:

Sant Antoni de Portmany – Town on the west coast of Ibiza (party place). Explore port area for night life.

Dalt Vila – It’s the old town of Ibiza which should be explored on foot. Such amazing fairy tale streets!!

Castell de Eivissa – You might want to visit this place to get a good panoramic view of Ibiza.

Things to Do:

Boat Party – You should not miss on this. A unique experience all together. Costs around 6-8k per person.

Watch the sun go down with wonderful live instrumental music and some wine at/ near Café Mambo in Sant Antoni de Portmany. Have to say, my best sunset so far.

Amnesia is apparently an amazing pub you can visit in Ibiza. We chose to party by the sea-side with some good wine and good company !! (my way of partying 😛 )

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Carretera de Cala Gracio`
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Sunset near Cafe Mambos in Sant Antoni de Portmany
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View from Castell de Eivissa
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Near Playa De Bossa

MADRID

3 days and 2 nights

Accommodation : Sun Gate One (best hostel in the entire trip)

Main Places to Visit:

Royal Palace of Madrid – One of the most popular places in Madrid. We didn’t enter inside though!! We were enjoying the view with some good live music 😀

Gran Via – This street is always buzzing and is the best for shopping 🙂

Toledo – It’s on countryside, a 45 min ride from Madrid. You can find many local travel agencies conducting a day trip to Toledo. Historically significant place!! Again, explore this beauty on foot.

Also, Stadio Santiago Bernabeu  if you are interested in football 🙂

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Royal Palace of Madrid
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Streets of Madrid
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Streets of Toledo
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View of Toledo from the highest view point
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Near Gran Via

I didn’t find Madrid interesting though!! It mostly had the busy city vibe with good partying and shopping places. Teatro Kapitol is a must visit pub if you are into partying.

Alert : Pickpocketing is damn prominent in Spain. Be very very careful with your belongings!! You never even notice it, they are too good at it.

Backpackers Group

‘When in City’ is one such travel agency which frequently does backpackers’ trips across the world every year. Well, there are enough pros and cons when dealing with this group. So, weigh those if you are planning to join their trips :/

Pros being that you might end up meeting really cool people like I did. It could be a coincidence too. Of course, more than anything else, people you are with, is important.

Cons being that you are going to overpay for their not-so-good service and their not-so-experienced team. You end up paying a premium compared to other such groups. They have limited knowledge about the best places to explore (atleast in case of Spain and Portugal)- had received misleading guidance at times, and you will also see them become stingy :/ (mostly in case of accommodation)  –  which was so disappointing for many of us. Their packages include only accommodation at hostels, internal flights and a trip guide ( International flights , visa charges not included). Many things in their itinerary require additional payment. So, take note of all those.

So, before you go ahead, decide if you are okay with the cons and then take a call.

Well!! These are some suggestions based on my travel experience. DM me on Instagram for more details. Would always love to help you guys 🙂

Hope this post is helpful for those planning to any of these places!!

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Those who made the trip worth-while 😀

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Wide Leg Red Trouser : Shein |Flats : Tressmode| Sneakers: Nike |Sunglasses : Primarc | Red Offshoulder top : Romwe | White, pastel green offshoulder top : Shein | Backpack : Shein | Sling bag : Zara | Denim shorts, black dress, floral skirt : Forever 21 | Gingham top : Shein | Swimsuit, Lace Cover-up : Shein | Shirt, embroidered skirt, white skort, black short  : Zara

5 Things To Do In South Goa

Sun-soaked skin, salty hair, fresh air, breath-taking sunsets, isolated beaches, beach walks, tired bodies, energized souls, tan lines, delicious food, long drives, lush green trees, pretty little alleys, cozy cafes with slow jazz, unexplored paths, interesting people, old memories, deep conversations and refreshed minds.

This sums up my recent trip to South Goa 🙂

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It was a 3-day short trip but we managed to explore 4 beaches 😀

Here I go with the details of my trip :

Accommodation

Patrice’s Villa – We booked this place in Airbnb and it is more like a homestay than a regular hotel. Since this trip was mostly like a get-together, we preferred an Airbnb. It is well maintained by a foreigner. The place is close to the beaches – almost like 500 m from Canacona beach and 2 km from Palolem beach. Everything was fine with the villa except the dim light in the house and frequent electricity fluctuation which was a major downside :/

5 Things To Do In South Goa

1. Visit Galgibag Beach

It is the best beach that I have been to in India, other than the Andaman beaches ( If you haven’t read my Andaman travel story- Here it is ). It’s almost around 10 km from Palolem further down south. It is a perfect place to just sit and let your thoughts flow 🙂

You can hardly find anyone on the beach and there are no beach shacks. It is not yet commercialized and hence, the clear water and unpolluted atmosphere. Would definitely be my go-to place the next time too 🙂

This beach is known for turtles but we couldn’t spot any 😐

Also, there are narrow alleys near the beach which are more than perfect for a peaceful walk 😀

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Sunset at Galgibag Beach

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Galgibag Beach

2.  A Long Drive To Talpona Beach

Talpona beach is a very small stretch of beach compared to Galgibag and it comes right on the way to Galgibag. The ride to this beach is refreshing with isolated lanes lined up with tall trees and bridges over narrow creeks.

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3.   Taste the Goan food

If you are a sea food lover, you have to try out Dropadi beach restaurant in Palolem . It also serves good cocktails 🙂

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Crab Masala at Dropadi

If you want to experience the Goan atmosphere and some good jazz, drop by Jaali Cafe near Patnem Beach or Siyaram’s on Palolem Beach.

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Jaali Cafe
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Goan Fish Fry
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At Jaali Cafe

4.   Attend a Silent Disco Party

I am not quite sure if these parties are held in North Goa but Neptune’s Point on Palolem beach hosts a silent disco party every Saturday.

Wear that wireless headset and move your feet to the tune while the rest would be enjoying the silence 🙂 It would be a completely different experience.

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Sunset at Palolem Beach

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5.   Finally, Explore Shopping at Palolem

Unlike the usual shopping experience at Anjuna flea market or any of the North Goa beaches where you mostly find beach clothes, Palolem streets offer a wide variety of handmade knick-knacks for home decor. I stocked upon some cloth lamps,  hand woven storage boxes, tassel key-chains and bamboo accessories. There are good dream catchers too 🙂

Don’t forget to bargain 😀

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Shopping on Palolem streets

 

Canacona is also one beach that we have been to. It is more of a rocky beach with a beautiful view and less noise. You can even try Patnem which is close to Palolem. Agonda is also one more popular beaches in South Goa.

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Canacona Beach

Honestly, there are good beaches if you could travel further down towards South from Palolem. We had limited time so we were able to explore only few beaches. If you do have time, explore the place as much as you can.

Always, explore the unexplored paths !!

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Sweat Shirt : Zara | Romper : Forever21 | Coordinates and Mesh Top : Shein | Mules : Koovs, Metro | Shades : HnM | Accessories : Colaba Causeway , Romwe 

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Weekend Getaway To Guhagar

If you are staying in Mumbai/Pune and would like to quickly escape to a less crowded beach and a good resort for a weekend, then this post would help you plan one 🙂

We wanted to just chill and relax at any place with a clean and isolated beach for two days and also, wanted to explore beaches other than Goa.

We started exploring the places along the Konkan Coast and finding resorts along the coast. We were not intent on travelling a long distance ( not more than 300 km from Mumbai).

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Accommodation

Mango Village Resort 

The resort had villas spread over a huge arena. It was secluded from the hustle and bustle of the city and it was exactly what we were yearning for – a quiet and relaxing place.

You should definitely try this resort if you are planning to explore this place.

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Mango Village Resort

 

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Travel

 

If you are in Mumbai/ Pune, a long car drive would be the best way to reach this place.

Chiplun is one of the major cities near Guhagar- Trains heading towards Goa stop at Chiplun and there are also a lot of MSRTC buses which can get you to Chiplun from Pune/ Mumbai. There are local buses/ taxis which can take you from Chiplun to Guhagar.

We preferred travelling by car over train/ bus just so that we could enjoy the route as per our convenience.

Guhagar – Places To Visit

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Guhagar Beach

Guhagar beach is the main attraction and it is completely worth to visit this place to chill. A continuous stretch of tall trees guarding a beach is a perfect visual retreat.

It’s a pretty small village and hence, a walk through the peaceful little lanes would be enought to explore this  place.

We limited ourselves to exploring the resort and beach as we wanted to have a lazy and relaxing weekend instead of hopping around a lot 😛

Hope this helps 😀

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DM on my Instagram if you need detailed information.

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Skort & Skirt : Zara | Tops : Shein | Mules : Koovs | Maxi & Tops & Shades : Shein | Hoops : Colaba Causeway

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120 Hours In Delhi, Agra, Amritsar

Architectural marvels speaking history, halls of fame, tombs that made a mark in the world, the local traditions, and last but not the least, the food – All of these in just 120 hrs.

It’s definitely not a relaxed trip as we had a time constraint. Our focus remained only on the must-visit places in Delhi, Amritsar and Agra. So, if you are looking for something similar, then this might be helpful 🙂

Brief Itinerary

It was a 9 day trip including Jaipur. As mentioned in my previous blog, we stayed for almost 4 days in Jaipur and the rest was in Delhi, Agra and Amritsar.

Delhi > Agra > Jaipur > Delhi > Amritsar > Delhi

You could also plan a different route, given the same 5 day constraint. This majorly includes Delhi >  Dehradun-Haridwar-Rishikesh-Jim Corbett > Delhi

We stuck to Amritsar as we had Wagah border on our priority list 🙂

Places to visit in 120 Hrs

Amritsar

It’s a place welcomed by the Sikhs, Gurudwars, and good food. One day would be enough to explore the main places in Amritsar.

Travel

One night travel from Delhi ( ~700 km)

Places to visit
  • Wagah Border

Adrenaline rush that you tend to have after you watch the popular evening parade at this India-Pakistan border is commendable. If you are in Amritsar, this can’t be missed. It’s just around 30 min drive from the city and totally worth the visit.

Also, make sure you reach there at-least by 3 pm if you want to witness the 5 pm parade so that you won’t be lost in the crowd.

IMG_1245 (2)India-Pakistan Border

IMG_1293 (2)Evening ParadeIMG_1274 (2)India and Pakistan Gates at the Wagah-Attari Border

IMG_1319 (2)As the dusk sets in, flags flaunt their beauty

  • Golden Temple

A Gurudwar that stands amidst a huge pool of water is a architectural masterpiece and a pristine pilgrimage. If you can manage to visit this place in the night (open till 10 pm), you get to see the place flaunting all its glory in the form of lights.

IMG_1355 Golden Temple Entrance

photo6077727140633225189A Closer View of the Golden Temple

IMG_1362Golden Temple

  • Jallianwala bagh

Though I couldn’t manage to visit this place as my train reached Amritsar almost 6 hrs late (Indian Railways – Never Trust them :/ ) , you need to visit this place to see the terrifying remains (bullet marks on the wall) of the 1919 massacre.

Agra

Hosting one of the seven wonders of the world, this place attracts many tourists. This was 1 day trip but it turned out to be too hectic. If you are not ready to such a vigorous day, plan your stay in Agra.

Travel

It’s a 5 hr drive from Delhi and there are few places you can visit on your way to Agra. We headed to Jaipur after visiting Agra. Ensure that you start super early from Delhi if you want to cover these in a day.

Places to Visit
  • Vrindavan

Known as the place where Lord Krishna spend his childhood, this place has a unique vibe attracting not only Indian devotees but also foreigners across the world. This would be right on your way to Agra from Delhi.

Visit the renowned Banke Bihari temple and also, if you are a foodie, do check out the food stalls in the temple street which sell delicious milk sweets.

This place looks best during Holi (mid-March) . If you are planning to stay in Agra and interested in exploring temples, then do visit Nandagaon and Govardhan.

  • Mathura

Known to be the birth place of Krishna, this is another holy temple which you could visit on your way. Don’t forget to taste Rabdi and Lassi in Mathura 🙂

  • Agra

Renowned for the impeccable beauty – Taj Mahal.

IMG_0348 (2)Taj Mahal

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IMG_0375 (2)North Gate of Taj Mahal

  • Fatehpur Sikri

This is around 36 km from Agra and flaunts the most magnificent sand-stone structures  with a blend of Mughal and Hindu architecture.

Buland Darwaza, Jama Masjid and the Royal palace are the places to cover here.

IMG_0463 (2)Fatehpur Sikri

IMG_0466 (2) Ornate Doorways

IMG_0469 (2)Buland Darwaza ( with my parents 🙂 

IMG_0477 (2)Buland Darwaza

Delhi

This has to be atleast a trip for 3 days as there are way too many historical places to visit in Delhi. Considering the Delhi traffic, you might want to relax a bit and consider adding one more day and make it a 4 day trip.

  • Red fort

Frankly, this is something which you can just view it from outside instead of venturing in as I couldn’t find much to explore after I entered inside.

IMG_1384 (2)Red fort ( Outside View )

IMG_1443 (2)Red fort ( Inside Gate View )

  • Jama Masjid

This is right opposite Red fort and both of these could be visited in the same day.

IMG_1199 (2)IMG_1212 (2)Jama Masjid

  • Paranthe wali gali

If you want to satisfy your hunger with some delicious mouth-watering paranthas, then this street which is close to Red fort needs to be visited

  • Qutub Minar

I initially had a feeling that this place is not so great in terms of architecture as per the pictures that I saw. However, all my assumptions are busted when I saw the intricate details of the red-stone inscriptions on the monument. Definitely, a must visit.

IMG_1102 (2)Qutub Minar – A Blend of Mughal and Hindu ArchitectureIMG_1141 (2)Qutub Minar – A Blend of Mughal and Hindu Architecture

  • Humayun’s Tomb

Another Mughal architecture marvel

IMG_1153 (2)IMG_1169 (2)Humayun’s Tomb

  • India Gate

The view of the road connecting India gate and Rastrapathi Bhavan is something which I loved.

IMG_0335 (2)India Gate

  • Rashtrapati Bhavan

If you want to visit Rashtrapati Bhavan , you can book your tickets online and this is the link which includes all the details about it 🙂

  • Akshardham Temple

It is more like an experience rather than a temple. The detailed stone carvings of the current era, the laser show and the puppet shows (used to describe the history of Lord Swaminarayan) leave you amazed.

Also, though this is a picturesque place, this is a no photography place 😦

Tips

  • Most of these monuments have one holiday during the week. Plan accordingly or else you end up wasting your time
  • You will be surrounded by many tourist guides saying that they will show you around and explain the history. Not all of them are genuine and not all places require one.So choose one if required
  • If you are travelling in Delhi, travelling by Metro would be the best choice considering the crazy traffic and pollution

You can plan your stay in Delhi for all the 5 days so that it would be easy for you to travel to Amritsar / Agra.

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Hope you enjoyed reading it 🙂

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10 Things To Do In And Around Jaipur

Camels decked up in beautiful colors, streets beaming with homes resembling the palace architecture, women clad in colorful sarees with a ghungat (a veil worn to cover the face), men flaunting their multi-color turbans and of course, the scorching heat – If you have experienced all of these, you are definitely in Rajasthan.

We didn’t have enough time to explore Rajasthan completely. So, we thought we would be doing two different trips. One is the short one- includes Jaipur, Ajmer, Pushkar and the other includes Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaiselmer. The first one is done in this trip and I would be planning my second one sometime next year.

Since many of you requested for this trip details on my Instagram, here I go with all the details and the things to do 😀

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Accommodation

I was exploring Booking.com and found this cute little homestay, Magpie Villa which was right in the center of  Jaipur .We stayed in Jaipur for 3 days. There are also good number of luxurious options available in Jaipur.

Budget options : Magpie Villa , Umaid Bhawan

Luxurious : Rambagh Palace

10 Things To Do In And Around Jaipur

1. Visit Amer Palace and City Palace, Jaipur

City palace is the current residence of the royal family which is in Jaipur whereas Amer Palace is the age-old residence of the royal family when Amer used to be the capital of the state.

These two palaces are a must-visit to see the architecture and mind blowing facilities that the royal family had, back in 16th century.

155-1453715009_56a5ee41a4766Amer fort

IMG_0696City Palace

2. Don’t forget the elephant ride in Amer fort, Jaipur

There are two ways get to the top of the Amer fort – elephant ride and vehicles. Elephant safari is something which you need to try here.

IMG_0828Amer fort

3. Visit Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur

This fort which is situated on the top of a hill will give you an entire view of the city. This fort has a completely different architecture compared to the other forts in Jaipur. While most of the forts have intricate stone carvings, this portrays detailed paintings as well.

IMG_1029Nahargarh fort

4. Shopping in the streets near Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Silver and Gem Jewellery is something which I loved about this market.

IMG_0784Hawa Mahal (It’s just a wall – No palace, as the name says it)

5. Taste Pyaas Kachori and Raj Kachori in Jaipur

These are really popular in Jaipur. You can snap a quick break in LMB near Hawa Mahal to taste these. If you are person with sweet tooth, then you would be enjoying the food even more 🙂

kachoriRaj Kachori

6. Camel Ride and Rajasthani women dressing in Pushkar

Pushkar is my favorite part of the trip. You can actually witness a bit of the actual desert atmosphere in Pushkar. Since we went just before the Pushkar Camel Mela was about to start, we could see the preparations in full swing.

Also, you can try dressing up like a local for which they usually charge 100-200 bucks per person. Camel riders usually takes you to this place if you ask him 🙂

IMG_0577Pushkar ( That’s me 😀 )

7. Visit the Brahma temple and Pushkar Lake in Pushkar

This is the only temple which is built for Brahma in the world. More than the temple, I liked the Pushkar lake which is just close to the temple.

8. Shopping in Pushkar Streets

This is one more thing which I loved the most in Pushkar. Home decor and camel leather bags are the best here. I stocked up quite a lot of stuff here. Personally, I found Pushkar shopping much better and cheaper than Jaipur.

unnamed (4)Local Women In Pushkar Market

unnamed (5)Crockery in Pushkar Market

9. Take the rope-way to reach the Savitri Temple, Pushkar

More than the temple, rope-way gives a view of entire Pushkar.

10. Visit the Ajmer Darga

Ajmer was on my list mostly because of the Darga, which is extremely popular. Be prepared to witness some insane crowd 😛

PS : This Darga didn’t really appeal to me as I found it as a place where you find few locals looting money from the devotees in the name of the god (especially if you are an outsider).I personally experienced it.This is not only the case in this Darga but also, many of the temples that I have visited in recent times.

Other than that, Darga was good 🙂 If you are a foodie, then the streets outside Darga need to be explored 😀

unnamed (2)Entrance to the Darga

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Tips

  • Carry a scarf / hat to protect yourself from the sun. Otherwise, you are going to see  50 shades of tan 😛
  • Bargain a lot if you are shopping in Jaipur. Since many foreigners visit these stores, they hike up the prices (Ask for 40% of the price)
  • For camel ride in Pushkar, you can find one place where all the camels are present just near Savitri temple. However, those are a bit expensive. Bargain or you can find a cheaper option if could spot any camel on the road which is not in any group
  • Shorts are not allowed in most of these temples and Dargas. So, dress accordingly
  • Opt for tourist guides only for City palace and Amer fort. Other places don’t require one

That’s it for this blog, DM me on Instagram or email me on lavanyapulijala7@gmail.com for anymore details.

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Yellow dress : West Side| Black Kurti & Skirt : Myntra | Juttis , Jewelry & Leather Bag :  Street Buy | Black Legging : Lyra | White shirt : Shein | Boho bag : Krafted with happiness | Belt : Forever21 | Dupatta : Biswa Bangla

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Trek to Andharban

The quiet rustle of the leaves due to the cool breeze, the slow moving clouds that were surrounding us, the green pastures, the sound of white water cascading down the majestic hills and the muddy forest trail awaited to welcome us.

That’s where our trek started – Pimpri village base camp near Pune.It was a descent trek unlike the usual treks where one treks up to the peak and down back.It started uphill and we need to trek down to finally reach the Bhira river.

Difficulty level : Medium

Best time to visit : Monsoons

Location : Near Pune

We were a group of 20 people in the trek. It was a trek of around 15-20 km. Terrain was flat for first few kilometers. It involved walking through dense forests, crossing rivers and crossing waterfalls. The path got narrower as one moved forward.

One needs to be careful while crossing the waterfalls and rivers as the rocks get too slippery during monsoons. There are around 3 main rivers that one needs to cross before reaching Bhira. The first two rivers can be crossed by helping each other without any ropes.Heavy rains tend to make the trek difficult.

After crossing those two rivers, the terrain was a mix of flat terrains which were filled with lilies all around, and a descent terrain with slippery rocks. The descent became too difficult due to the incessant heavy rain. The difficult part in any trek is the descent and this trek comprised of around 5-6 km of descent. One needs to be really careful as the path gets too slippery during monsoons.

Due to heavy rains, we couldn’t even use ropes to cross the third river.It was a challenge to cross that river.Our trek lead managed to gather some tree branches to form a bridge which was used to cross the river. Just the bridge wouldn’t be safe either, so we crossed the river by using the bridge one after other holding the rope.Usually, this trek doesn’t get this difficult such that even ropes couldn’t help.It’s only 2-3% of the cases where it gets this intense. Better be prepared for the worst and be relaxed while trekking.Trekking in hurry might lead to serious injuries.

The effort one takes to trek Andharban is absolutely worth-while, considering the view of wide expanse of trees and waterfalls that one could witness.It was so heavenly to see clouds moving around, the beautiful view of a continuous range of  huge hills covered with lush green trees and waterfalls. I was head over heels in love with that heaven.Such things make me realize how grateful I need to be of myself to be able to visit such amazing places.I wish I could spend an hour just sitting there, watching the view and having a cup of coffee 🙂

I tried to capture the views using my phone but those pictures don’t do justice to what I exactly saw  :/

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