Category Archives: Tales Across the World

Top things to do in Italy

Truth be told, a short description of Italy probably isn’t necessary for you. For one thing, Italy is too big and varied to accurately describe it in a few sentences. Plus, chances are you’ve already got a good idea of the country’s wonders else you won’t be here on this travel blog. So if you are thinking about a holiday to Italy, here are some must see destinations, from the well-known to what’s off the beaten track.

Colosseum

When in Rome

The capital of Italy is so filled with activities and sites, it can be a bit overwhelming. There is of course the Coliseum, where gladiators and slaves battled thousands of years ago. It’s both a magnificent display of architecture and a reminder of the depths of human behaviour. Another site well worth a visit is the Vatican. While you’re probably not going to meet the pope, you can still see the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s frescoes or wander through St. Peter’s Basilica. Of course, you could always just gorge yourself on some world famous gelato, with vendors lining seemingly every street.

The countryside of Umbria

Situated in the centre of Italy, Umbria is the only region that does not border a coastline or a surrounding country. Relatively unknown to tourists, what separates this region from its peers is the pure, unadulterated beauty of its landscapes. The countryside views are scenes straight from a postcard; the type of scenery that makes you sit back and reflect on how blessed you are to be able to experience it first-hand.

See the Amalfi Coast

Stretching along the Sorrentine Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast is an extraordinarily scenic coastline in Southern Italy. A bus ride through this 50 km stretch will offer some of the most breath-taking views you’ve ever seen. Be prepared for an adrenaline rush, as a 150 meter drop into the sparkling blue ocean awaits the inattentive driver. Along the way are charming little towns, but be aware that these are usually overrun with tourists. The real thrill is the drive along the coast.

Traveling and accommodation tips

Lodging prices vary sensibly depending on the area and quality. You shouldn’t expect to pay less than 30 euros per night, with hotels in high tourist areas usually more expensive than that. If you do decide to look for hotels in Rome, you’ll have a better chance of getting a deal because of the high amount of lodging around the area.

As far as traveling goes, Italy has an efficient public transportation system. Getting from city to city is easy, whether by train or bus. Buses will be the cheapest, but they’ll also be the most uncomfortable and take the longest. Trains on the other hand are much more comfortable. The fastest, their Eurostar line, will cost 40 to 100 euros. The best deal is a slower regional train, which will set you back anywhere between 5 and 10 euros. So now, the question is, what are you going to go see?

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Cruise through Asia…

One of the things that I haven’t yet done and is certainly on my travel bucket list is to cruise! Set sail across the sea and enjoy wilderness into the oblivion like never before. Of course sailing alone would be on the top of that list, however, to begin with a cruise would be the most imperious way to spend a time of my life letting my hair down and relaxing all the way for a week without the hassle of the world. Leaving behind all the worries I’d love to enjoy something that would help me feel rejuvenated again.

So I decided to check out what are some of the best Asia cruises and this is what I’d recommend to be on top of your list.

 

Far East

One of the best things about Asia is that on the Far East cruise you’ll get to see Asia in all its shades. Just last week Cherry Blossom in Japan happened and that is something you shouldn’t miss especially during April. This cruise offers just that. Far East, cherry blossom, buzzing markets in my hometown Mumbai, raving sunsets across beaches in Thailand.

Asia is best known for a wide variety of it’s beauty. The best thing about Asia is that it has diversity to the best of anyone’s reach. There are places that you can’t even imagine and you’d get to cruise among these beautiful views across the sea and cover various landscapes at it’s ports.

If you have trouble deciding where to begin then let size be your guide. Covering an area of more than nine million square kilometres, China has to be a splendid pick as part of their collection of Far East cruise holidays. Certainly beautiful from a cultural stand point too. The country has a history that dates back to more than 4,000 years, making the 15th-century Forbidden City in Beijing an infant as far as the timeline is concerned.

Next in the size line is India, a country of chalk and cheese sights. Anyone with stars in their eyes should head to Film City in Mumbai to perform in a Bollywood movie. Foodies can try a real-deal curry in Madras. Sunseekers, meanwhile, can loose track of time on the beaches of Goa.

Thailand is a smaller country as far as the list of Far East cruise stops. However on the beaches of Koh Samui, the sand is truly white and the water is crystal clear. Then you’ve got Bangkok, a city where twelve-lane motorways and skyscrapers go hand in hand with old ancient temples.

Moving on,  you’ll find Japan. This country has a beautiful mixture of past and the future, ancient and cultural as well as modern and technological. Villagers plant rice in the paddy fields in various perfectures at the same time as cartoon-like Harashuku girls try to out-vogue each other in the cosmopolitan cafes of Tokyo.

Once you’ve ticked off the biggest countries in the Far East cruise collection, you can move onto the more pint sized places. Sip jasmine tea in the teahouses of Ho Chi Minh City and worry the bank manager during a spree at the world’s largest department store in Busan, South Korea. Alternatively, spread yourself like butter over the beaches of Penang in Malaysia.

Something worth doing especially if you are in love with Asia! What say?

Enchanté Singapore

As soon as I came into the Changi Airport, I could feel the amazing beauty of the country. The spaciousness and the amazing transit from Airport’s Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 to catch the MRT was the beginning of an amazing journey. I entered the train with some more folks and some  air hostesses who had arrived via Air Canada flights and were probably heading to their respective hotels. The train just took me in a jiffy to the Terminal from where I got the MRT to go to Pasir Ris. After a bit of struggle operating the MRT card system, I managed to get my ticket and board the MRT. That was something I was going to get used to soon 🙂

The place was so vacant and felt so amazingly clean and neat it wasn’t even funny. As soon as I arrived in Singapore on Saturday I checked into my hostel at Costa Sands! As soon as I arrived in Singapore, I truly was Enchanté (French: Delighted to Meet You) Indeed, the country/city/island has a beauty that mesmerizes anyone… The most amazing thing about this place is its penchant for a certain meticulous way of life is what caught my attention. Yet it brings quite a certain delight for first time visitors especially with it’s multitude of cultural diversity and to be able to bump in with almost any kind of people from the world and for that matter to be able to visit places and eat food which is in the truest sense, ethnically and worldly different. Out of the world is the phrase to best express myself in this context.

Being a backpacker, I booked a Youth Hostel (Hosteling International) reservation online well in advance, and here I was at the Costa Sands Resort in Downtown East… One of the most interesting things I felt after staying here in the hostel is that, it wasn’t actually a hostel at all… It was more like a four star hotel with three people staying in one room… Surprisingly, no one was checked in for the first three days and later on, Sam from Taiwan came along… He was here for work and mostly out during the day… But yeah, the overall feeling was great… Loved the discipline and the meticulous way Singapore has built itself. Being quite a small place and with population round about 4.5 million, I guess it’s easier to do… But overall the feel was pretty good as soon as I entered.

Since I’m on the go I’ll go ahead and share my Photo Travelogue for now… I hope you enjoy the beauty of Singapore through my blog and most certainly once I get back home, a beautiful story about the sojourns of Singapore is in order and you shall certainly receive it.

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My dorm at the Costa Sands Resort @ Downtown East

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A view from my dorm room

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My first meal in Singapore – Mixed Vegetable Garlic Chicken rice… Ate it to my tummy’s fill and yeah, with Chopsticks… 🙂

Post lunch I met up with a friend who’s just got a job here recently and started working in Singapore… We strolled around the Marina Bay Area and checked out some amazing sights at the River HangBo festival that was happening.

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The view of the other side of the Marina Bay from the Helix Bridge

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The amazingly beautiful, Lotus Shaped Arts & Science Center

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The beautiful and colourful Hangbo River festival

We strolled around and checked out various interesting installations and walked a bit to the different installations of the astrological signs that were present there… Very beautiful and decorated nicely, this truly showed how much significance the Chinese New Year has during this time of the year in Singapore. In fact, we were lucky enough to get a few chocolates from the Giver of Fortune…. Usually it’s tradition amongst Chinese to give oranges, gifts, red envelopes filled with money, bonuses to the employees by the employers and in this case some chocolates were being distributed by someone dressed as the fortune giving man. (Don’t exactly know what he’s called yet.)

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The Chinese giver of fortune

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These are actual moving installations, which were moving as if they were playing music, the birds wings were actually moving.

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Paper puppets installation at the Hangbo River Festival

Once we were done visiting the place, we headed to grab some food at a local old hawker center… Before that I couldn’t resist but to get a glimpse of the beautiful night by the bay…

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Interesting collection of old / antique items found in the Old Hawker center near Marina Bay on your way to the High Flyer…

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The Buddha Tooth Relic temple near Chinatown

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A beautiful sculpture outside this temple

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Chinatown at night… Beautiful lanterns especially since its The Chinese New Year

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If you are a Tintin aficionado then this is the place for you to be… From keychains, to mugs, to merchandise to comics to DVDs they have almost everything… A bit expensive of course, but you can take your pick….

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If you enjoy partying, and you’re a night crawler, then Clarke Quay is the place to be in Singapore!

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Generally on Chinatown, you can go grab a bite at any place… Plenty of them good food places especially on Pagoda street. But one of the best you can find is Chinatown Heritage…. Do go there if you are around Chinatown…

I also happened to check out this amazingly spacious, minimalistic Zen like joint at Tanjong Pagar Rd… A Thai Vegan / Veg food joint… Brilliantly healthy and tasty food that I could eat.

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If you like Thai and Veg food, then Whole Earth near Tanjong Pagar is the place to be…

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The other side of Clarke Quay is Boat Quay… This place is very popular for its sea food… This is near the Parliament House / Arts House…

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The Parliament House

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The Arts House

This is the place where you’ll find screenings of great artistic shows and collection of brilliant artwork and something that you’ll enjoy if you are a fan of any form of art.

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That’s a Half a century old Morris Minor near the Arts House.

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And that’s me standing next to it… My undying love for vintage cars is truly undying… Couldn’t resist… 😉

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Some really cool graffiti at the underpass around the Boat Quay / Parliament House area..

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Some really interesting building structures on the streets of Singapore

On board the flight to Singapore

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My first time on an international flight… Sitting in the plane looking outside the window… Yes, I always knew this day was going to happen, sometime or later… But NOW, it’s happening NOW!! And I can feel it as I type these words sitting in a still plane, gazing across the window…

Having enjoyed wonderful journeys across Incredible India, this experience will probably be one of my most enchanting ones as I look forward to a destination unknown, unexplored and yet so close to a lot of aspects of our Indian culture and yet so different and I mean flabergastingly different and a lot lot more advanced than the way we share our lives with each other.

Funnily, never expected some mosquitoes to join me as well… Ahh what the heck 🙂 Let them also enjoy their ride to Singapore…

The feeling as I type this on my iPad is surreal. Surreal as I bid goodbye to the city of dreams to move onto unchartered enchanting territories and fly beyond horizons that will bring a different level of maturity, shades of some exploration that I have yet to carve out as a travel blogger.

This feeling of the journey of life, being truly begun is sinking in… Hope the city of another dreams also has a lot in store for me. For some reason, with the soothing and serene music that’s playing in the background is kind of giving me an inkling… An inkling of something great in store for me, even as I am yet to begin the journey.. Like an alternate, similar universe waiting out there for me… 🙂

So, let us see where this heads… For now, signing off… Oh and yeah, also the Mosquitoes on the plane say Hi to you all… 😉

Will blog about my escapades once my trip’s over…

For the Live Blog please follow http://srinistuff.tumblr.com

Cheers
@srinistuff

Singapore – Here I come…

Well, pretty soon, I’ll be on my way for my first international trip. Yes, the calendar is blocked and the itinerary is about to be made… Looking out for hostels / hotels is already done, sending right emails and checking with people is done. Being a traveler and an avid one within the country has been by far one of the best things to have happened to me. So that’s something I cherish a lot. I have certainly traveled far and wide when it comes to the boundaries of India and its diverse terrains. So, this is something I was looking forward to for a while and that’s when this  moment came along.

The destination? – Singapore!

Singapore

I’d be down in Singapore in the 3rd week of February and I know there are plenty of places within the city to visit.

So now that I’m gonna be there the planning has become quite the pain, but I know soon I’d be on my way. What’s most important though for me is that  ‘THE TICKETS ARE BOOKED!’ The hustle and bustle, the packing and booking… Everything will become a major chaotic affair. But now there’s no stopping me! Hopefully I’ll do some sight seeing on the two weekends that I’ll get during that week.. A week which will be mostly spent in being with Social Media Professionals and a lot of interactions to happen at the Social Media Week Singapore 2013  and maybe  meeting a couple of friends out there, I’ll spend some of my time visiting a few places out there!

Any specific places that I can go to over the weekend? And maybe if there’s any tourist bus service that you can recommend? For a change, I’ll not research and let the plan take its own course… What say?

Also when I’m down thre stay tuned on My On The Go –  Tumbleogue Travelogue

Lisbon – A destination to enchant…

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine”

Yes indeed, one of these days I need to start reading more pages of this book. Its almost about time that I start going international on my travel. Yes I have a bucket list and there are certainly some places that I’ve bookmarked already and need to plan my travel accordingly.

One of the things that I want to do in Lisbon is take a road trip! And what better way than get a cheap car hire than DealChecker… 🙂

Why Lisbon?
One of the most amazing destinations that are already on my bucket list is Lisbon, Portugal. Yes, the capital of Portugal. Why Lisbon though? Well, there are plenty of reasons why I’m pretty much attracted to this destination. Most importantly because of its  contemporary culture that is alive and thriving and making its mark in today’s Europe. Perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is one of the rare Western European cities that face the ocean and uses water as an element that defines the city.
So with that in mind, I thrive to take a look at one of such beautiful cities soon and hopefully add this on my bucket list.
What would I do in Lisbon?
There are a several things that one could do in the largest city of Portugal and my list would probably be endless if I think of it. So let me narrow it down to one of these amazing locations that I’d love to go to.
The Famous Se Cathredal
A solemn-looking cathedral that reflects the Romanesque style of the 12th century. Built on the grounds of the city’s main mosque, the cathedral was raised to celebrate the Moors’ defeat in the mid-1100s. If you are an admirer of sacral architecture one needs to visit this church, the monastery and the treasury. It has a very particular calm, dark atmosphere. The monastery is quiet and somehow comforting. The style(s) of architecture are interesting to study and very inspiring.
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Walk through Alfama
This again is an enchanting experience for a traveler like me. The backpacker unknown traversing the dreams of destinations across the universe. One should take this opportunity to walk through Alfama, a beautiful neighborhood and go up to St George’s Castle. Built in the 6th century, it was a royal castle for the Moorish until it was captured by the Portugals’ first king. It is now famous as an ‘oasis of peace’. Enjoy the majestic view of King Afonso’s statute at the main door and then a series of cannons.
St. Georges castle
Belem Tower
The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Belem Tower is a fortress built in 1515 to guard the entrance to Lisbon’s harbor. Commissioned by King John II, the tower is an important example of the Portuguese Manueline style. Other places to visit while in the neighbourhood are Jeronimos Monastery, Monument to the Discoveries, Coach Museum, housing the world’s largest number of coaches and royal vehicles, and Statue to Afonso de Albuquerque.
Belem Tower
Jeronimo Monastery
Jeronimo Monastery is the sleeping place of one of the most famous travellers and explorers the world has seen – Vasco da Gama. It is also the place where sailors in the olden days would pray before embarking on a voyage. The church is beautifully designed with ornate portals, pinnacles and gables. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Jeronimo Monastery
Quinta Da Regaleira
Besides being in Lisbon, a short trip to Sintra would be also very nice… One of the prime attractions of Sintra is the Quinta da Regaleira, located in the historic centre of Sintra. The estate consists of a palace and chapel, a park featuring lakes, grottoes, wells, benches, fountains, and a vast array of exquisite constructions. The Regaleira Palace features five floors with a living room, dining room, billiards room, balcony, bedrooms, some smaller rooms and servants rooms.DSC01327
The Pena National Palace
The Pena National Palace and the surrounding Pena Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is also one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. The Palace is an interesting mix of Romantic,  Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Islamic and Neo-Renaissance styles.  The construction of the Palace and park started in the middle ages with the erection of a chapel, however the earthquake of 1775 reduced the monument to ruins. In 1838, the King Consort, Ferdinand II, commissioned a palace to be built on the ruins.
Pena National palace
These are some of the top destinations that are on my mind. But of course, how can I forget the most enchanting scene in Lisbon city itself. Perch myself on top of one of the resorts or hotels on the mountain top or generally go on top of a building and click something like this at night…
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What do you think? Ever been to Lisbon? Any tips for me there, when I do go…

My Egypt Bucket list

One of the most enchanting destinations for me was always Egypt. I’ve always been fascinated with History and archaeology in general. But one of the most amazing things and striking about Egypt is it’s beautiful rustic and yet very enchanting ancient culture and heritage  was always inspiring to me. Besides the historic significance and it’s age old mystical nature that one sees in movies and read in books, there is always a fascinating awe to the place especially when it comes to the way people lived back in the olden times. And that is something I always found fascinating.   A lot of times I randomly search for places and try to find offers to various destinations in case any plans of travel happen sometime soon. That’s when I stumbled upon Holiday Hypermarket while looking for Holidays in Egypt

And as aptly mentioned on the site, “A holiday in Egypt simply can’t be beaten, with its world-class diving, an incredible history and golden beaches. Whether you’re walking down the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, cruising down the Nile, diving in the Red Sea or lazing on the beach, Egypt promises an amazing holiday.”

Having that in mind I’ve decided to make a bucket list for myself for the places I should visit in Egypt whenever I do go ahead and decide to take that trip. 🙂 Here’s what I came up with after a little bit of research and this should be quite a trip whenever I do decided to go there.

1. Cairo: The capital of Egypt and the largest city in the entire Arab world, offers way too many things to present in a nutshell. This city is not just a concentration of people; with its old town showcasing what is left of the cities that were previous capitals, and The Egyptian Museum  having an endless stock of the country’s antiquities, Cairo is a concentration of culture. Not to mention, its proximity to the pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza.

2. Mastaba of Seshemnufer 4 – The Pyramids of Egypt are famous all across the world but The Pyramid of Seshemnufer IV still lies as an offbeat among it. Lying on the way from the main office to Khufu’s pyramid, this particular pyramid consists of several rooms, a pleasant sanctuary and an underground burial chamber. There’s no long waiting period as most tourists don’t take the time to explore these ancient chambers.

3. Pyramids of Giza: The Great Pyramid of Giza is oldest and the largest of the three pyramids. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World. This pyramid was built for Pharaoh Khufu. This pyramid was the tallest man made structure for over 3,800 years, at 146.5 metres. It is the only pyramid which has ascending and descending passages.

4. Khan El-Khalili Market – This market was built in 1382 by the Emir Djaharks el-Khalili. This largest market is situated in one corner of the triangle of markets. Prices are lower in area north of al-Badistan and to the west. One will find here great deals on Gold, silver, brass and copper. Besides shopping, this market is also famous for its historic cafes.

5. The Hanging Church: (Located in Shar’a Mari Girgis) is one of the oldest Coptic Churches in Egypt. and still in use. This ancient church is adorned with beautiful wooden ceiling, marble columns and ebony as well as ivory screens. While you are here make sure to look down through the plastic viewing ports which gives one the feeling of being suspended in air!

5. Luxor: One of the most popular Egyptian destinations among international tourists is Luxor, because it features the ancient city of Thebes. The area is widely known as the world’s largest open air museum because of the incredible concentration of massive monuments, temples, and tombs. The great Nile flows through, separating the modern city of Luxor (East Bank) from the ancient Thebes (West Bank).  The Tomb of Pabasa belongs to the 26th dynasty priest, with beautiful views of agriculture and self-indulging activities such as hunting and fishing. Entry Tickets are available at the ticket office of the Deir al-Bahri Temple. Here’s a link for more information

These are some of the items on my immediate checklist…  If there are some better, let me know which ones?