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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Indian, Female And Solo In Algarve, Portugal

I am a lazy writer and I guess I will always be one. There are so many things to write about my Europe trip and I have no clue which place to start with. This is the problem that happens when you have been to too many gorgeous places and you don’t know which one to start with.

Portugal – A gorgeous underrated country
Many people ask me which was my favourite country this time around and I answer Portugal without any hesitation. I never realized how underrated a country Portugal was till I went there. Most Indians flock to the more popular neighboring country, Spain due to a famous Bollywood movie ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ that released a few years ago.

Even though I flew to Lisbon, I thought I will start with Algarve, Portugal since the number of Indians traveling to this beautiful part of the world is so less. It was very difficult for me to figure out where to stay and how to reach Algarve. I thought by jotting down my mistakes, you guys can avoid the same mistakes.
Indian, Female And Solo In Algarve, Portugal
Carvoeiro, Portugal

Friday, August 19, 2016

One Year of Travel, Books and Food

I cannot believe that it has been one year since I went ahead and registered my own domain. One whole year since my travel blog went live (I wrote couple of blog posts in June but Travel, Books, Food went live on August 19th) . That is a huge milestone, right? Someone, please pinch me. Okay, don’t pinch me because that will hurt. From what I have heard, most travel blogs don’t last more than one year and I have at least crossed my first milestone.

Travel, Books, Food - One year
Algarvae, Portugal

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hotel Zeitgeist Vienna: My impressions

You are reaching after a long night’s journey and you are exhausted. You just want a bed and to sleep for a while after a quick shower. The bus journey was more than 10 hours and you slept sporadically on the bus. Also your feet look like baby elephants. You wanted to take a train, however none were available. And you know that you will have to wait till 2pm to get a room.

So after a long journey from Strasbourg to Vienna, I reached Vienna around 9 in the morning. By the time I reached the hotel, it was after 10 AM. Since it was too early for check in, my receptionist asked me to drop my luggage at the reception and come back after 2 PM.

Military Museum , Vienna

Monday, August 1, 2016

Hotel D, Strasbourg - Best Customer Service Hotel From Eurotrip 2016

What do you reckon is your favorite part of traveling? Exploring new places, eating delicious food, getting to interact with people from different parts of the world. Whatever it is, when you are traveling there are two aspects that you cannot afford to miss. One is accommodation and the other one is mode of transportation.

Many times we, as travel bloggers claim that we will sleep anywhere as long as it is clean and safe. But, in reality it is not the case. Sometimes we also crave for other luxuries.

So I was heading over to Strasbourg after a delightful 3 night stay at the Dominican in Brussels. My expectations were very high and I hoped the next hotel on my itinerary met all my expectations.

The minute I stepped out of the Gare de Strasbourg, the railway station in Strasbourg, I noticed that there were plenty of hotels around the square. I hoped my hotel was not among them and I was relieved when I searched the hotel’s location through Google Maps. You may find this strange. But Strasbourg being one of the capitals of the European union, the railway station and the surrounding areas were quite crowded because of a conference that was happening in Strasbourg the week I was there. I knew about this since my hotel concierge had warned me when I had made my booking. I am pretty sure I would not have slept at all if I had selected one of the hotels around the square.

Google maps showed that my Hotel was around one km from the square. Since I did not want to walk in the sun with all my luggage, I decided to hail a cab.

Hotel D, Strasbourg is a charming little design hotel and it was a perfect spot for travelers like me who wanted to explore the Alsacean region. I chose this as my base location for one night while exploring both Strasbourg and Colmar.

Hotel D, Strasbourg, Flowers
Hotel D, Strasbourg

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Random Thoughts From A First Time Solo Indian Female Traveller

So how was it like traveling solo for the first time? Did I like it? Will I do it again? These are the many questions I have been asked ever since I returned from my first solo trip. So let me try my best to answer them.


So before I start, let me tell you the factors that made me to decide to go solo this time. Even though I did some roaming around in the USA by myself, I have never been on a solo trip. I never had to do it till now. Being from a traveling family, I always had company whenever I wanted to go anywhere. I was born as one of a twin. So that meant I was always stuck with someone (just kidding, Ramya) for the rest of my life. Since I live in India, there never has been a shortage of friends. I have always been amused by the fact that some of my friends need company to go to the bathroom even when they are in office. Even at office, if I decide to have a quiet meal in the pantry, I am surrounded by at least 5 people who just can’t bear the thought of me eating alone.

So you got the gist, right? I was never encouraged and never had an opportunity till now to travel solo. 
Then what changed this time? Ever since I started reading multiple travel blogs over the past year, I have always wanted to travel solo. I wanted to see what was it like to be traveling solo. Was it as liberating as they all claimed it to be? It was weird coming to this decision since I am in my early thirties and I was traveling alone for the first time in my life. 

Another factor was the time I had. I wanted to take a break between my two jobs and no-one I knew had the convenience to take such a huge break. So then it was decided and I booked my tickets to Europe.

So how did my family take it? Surprisingly well. At least in front of me. I am pretty sure that my mom would have had some high BP issues when I announced it to them after booking the tickets. They did have a hint but they had no clue that I was going to do something this extreme. In the process I ditched my sister and brother in law. I was supposed to go to Tanzania with them to meet our friends (including the wildlife) but when I decided to go solo, they went ahead without me.

Random Thoughts From A First Time Solo Indian Female Traveller
Colmar, France

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My Favourite Hotel From EuroTrip 2016: The Dominican, Brussels, Belgium

When my mom saw the size of my hotel room and my bed in Amsterdam, she was upset with me. It was difficult for her to understand why I chose to stay in such a place. I couldn't justify it myself since I was really pissed off for choosing such a terrible place. Well that is the reality of traveling and sometimes you are stuck with a bad deal. The thing about being part of an affluent family is that I never got to stay in crappy places when I was younger and we were traveling as a family. It was only when I started traveling with my hard earned money, I realised that I could travel more if I stuck to a budget. But even now there are days when I choose luxury over budget. For my European trip, I decided to do a combination of hostels, budget hotels and luxury hotels. This was random and I chose ones after carefully combing through many hotel booking sites.

So after the worst hotel experience in Amsterdam this time around, I landed in Brussels hoping that I would not be disappointed. I headed over to the Dominican and I was swept off my feet from the minute I landed there. 

Dominican is a 4 star boutique hotel right in the middle of Brussels city centre. It is at ideal walking distance from many well known spots like the Grand Place, Central Station, Manneken Piss, Les Galleries etc. Since it is part of the Carlton collection, everything is top notch. As mentioned before, I always consider Safety, Accessibility and Cleanliness as the top most priority while choosing a hotel.

Lobby, Dominican, Brussels
Lobby, Dominican, Brussels

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pitstop Number One: My Story Hotel Ouro, Lisbon, Portugal

What are some of the things you are concerned with when you are a solo female traveller? Especially when you are traveling alone for the first time in Europe? I believe that Safety is the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind. Secondly accessibility and convenience. Budget is also a key factor when it comes to deciding a place to stay in a new city. For me, cleanliness is also vital. Anything that comes in addition to the above is an added bonus.

With these in mind, I descended on TripAdvisor to find an ideal place to stay in Lisbon. Lisbon was after all my first stop on my European tour. Since I was reaching Lisbon after a long day of flying from Bangalore, I was not too keen on shared dorms in hostels. That is when ‘My Story Hotel Ouro’ caught my eye. It fit my budget and I immediately booked a room here for 3 nights.