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Monday, October 17, 2016

MEININGER Hotel Amsterdam City West Review

I am pretty mad this week and maybe I will write later on why I am so angry this week. All I can say is that we finally got fed up of people taking our family for a ride and we have finally decided that enough is enough. I have spent half of this week screaming at incompetent people.
That is why I decided to write a negative review this time. I was in no mood to write something positive and this post has been long overdue. Many of you, who have read my previous posts, know how I have been complaining about the smallest bed ever at MEININGER Hotel Amsterdam City West.

I am not a fussy traveler anymore. As long as I get a clean and quiet room that is centrally located, I am fine. When we were younger, we were used to staying in good hotels around the world since dad used to work for an airline. I think my fussiness disappeared when I spent two months in one of the dirtiest hostels during my first year in college (we once found a cockroach in our morning coffee). I have camped in tents and places where the commode was filled with frogs (We ended up peeing outside and each of us had a marked territory by the time the sun rose). I have slept in a train for 2 days and I still loved it. So you can understand how flexible I am when it comes to accommodation.
MEININGER Hotel Amsterdam City West Review
A Flower Garden Just outside the hotel

Monday, October 3, 2016

Exploring Colmar: A Fairytale Town In Europe

Sometimes I ponder. Why do I love traveling so much? Why do I have to go to so many unknown places? As our strategy professor pointed out last week, virtual reality is going to be a thing of the future. According to him, you just have to put on some glasses and you are virtually transported to a beach and that will give you the same experience as being at the most beautiful beach in the world. Maybe that is the thing of the future but do I agree with him? Will I ever be content with seeing the world from my bedroom?

According to me, that is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in a long while. Even though I have immense respect for him as a professor, I doubt we will ever see eye to eye on this topic. How do I tell him that no amount of seeing it on a virtual screen can prepare anyone for the actual real deal? World is a much more beautiful place than we can ever imagine and whatever his convictions are, I would rather see every new place with my own eyes, smell it on my own, feel the excitement of experiencing a new place on my own.

I know for a fact that magical fairytale like places do exist and I have seen many of them around the World. I thought I had seen it all but then I heard of a small town called Colmar in France. People who had seen it before often called it one of the prettiest towns in Europe. I knew I had to see it once I saw all those gorgeous pictures.

Travel, Books & Food - Exploring Colmar: A Fairytale Town In Europe
Colmar, France

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Planning A EuroTrip From India

Many of us have that dream. To spend one summer, backpacking across Europe. Even though it was not my first time in Europe, I finally got some time off to do a trip across Europe this summer.
I am not sure why. But suddenly, I am getting queries from many of my readers to help them plan their trips to Europe. Yes, I have been to Europe multiple times but that definitely does not make me an expert. Also being on a really long flashpacking trip, does not make me an expert. I am still learning and I believe that I should not be the only point of reference.

Since I have a full time job and I am studying part time as well, I really cannot spare the time to plan someone else’s vacation. What I can do is give pointers to help ease your planning. I had written a similar one for USA and hopefully this guide will be as helpful as that one.

Travel, Books, Food - Planning A EuroTrip From India - Lisbon Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal

Monday, September 19, 2016

Robbed And Almost Penniless in Europe

Some of you, who have read my previous post, may be wondering why I am writing about being robbed once again. That emotional post was written the day after I was robbed and it was just a way of venting out my frustration using a medium I am most comfortable with, writing. It is also my top viewed post and one of the most honest pieces I have ever written. Real life can really add some drama to your adventures. But three months down the line after the incident, it is finally time to do some introspection.

My Advice:

Many people ask me what my advice would be for such scenarios. My advice is just one: “Do not get robbed while travelling”. I am not joking. I am telling you that getting robbed was one of the most humiliating things that has happened to me. After all, how many of you know a person who has lived all her life in Tanzania and India and managed to get robbed in Europe? It is really a bad scenario and it is not something that I wish upon, even for my enemies. Also I got robbed, so I am probably not the most suitable person to give you advice.

But it is not that uncommon. When I posted the previous article, I had friends and family from around the world, who told me stories about how they were robbed. I think that is the one thing that gave me the most consolation. There were people who were robbed before me and there will be countless more who will get robbed after me. I tell you, our human hearts are really incomprehensible.  There is also no guarantee that I, myself will not get robbed again.

Robbed And Almost Penniless in Europe: Travel, Books and Food, Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain
Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Review About My Viator Europe Tours

Every frequent traveler knows this. Your traveling experience will most probably never go according to plan. There are days when you have to throw your plan outside the window and just go with the flow.

I have slowly come to realize that I do not like someone else planning the entire vacation for me. When I was planning my trip to Europe, many of my friends asked me to opt for a group tour since I was doing my first solo trip. I cringed, politely thanked them for their suggestion and went ahead and made my own itinerary.

But I have also realized over the years that we cannot leave everything to chance and we need to do some kind of planning when it comes to seeing a new place. You cannot just land up in a new city and just expect to see a new city without a plan in place.

Since I was going to be on the road for 5 weeks, that meant I needed some help in planning some details of the trip. This is where apps like Viator come in handy. I first came across Viator last year when I was booking my first broadway show. I found it to be pretty useful and I ended up going to Yosemite using Viator as well as I used them for some airport transfers.

A Review About My Viator Europe Tours: Travel, Books And Food: Bruges
Bruges, Belgium

Monday, September 5, 2016

Tanzania: A Photo Story

Tanzania, how can you not fall in love with this country? I spent my growing (17) years in this beautiful country and there is not even a single day that I don't wish to go back. I spent my childhood days here. Maybe that is why I associate happiness to this place. Who wouldn't want to go back to their crazy childhood days when everything was hunky dory and we did not have a care in this world?

I have been doing a series of Tanzania posts on my Instagram for the last few weeks. I just wanted to capture the same through a photo story.  I know why I hate zoos and I hope you feel the same after seeing some of the pictures here.  I hope I have inspired at least some of you to take a safari.

There were thousands of pictures but filtering them down to only 20+ pictures was the difficult part. Maybe I will do another series in the future but for now, take in the beauty of Tanzania with these pictures. It is really a gorgeous country.

All pictures except one are credited to my brother in law Anil Menon and my sister Kavya Nambiar from their recent trip to Tanzania. The exception is a photo clicked by my other brother in law, Nishanth Nottath. Come fall in love with my favourite country through the frames captured by them.

Tanzania: A Photo Story
King of the Jungle waits for no one

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