LUCERNE – WHERE EVERY VISTA IS A POSTCARD

Compact and colourful, Lucerne in Central Switzerland seamlessly portrays a subtle interplay between nature and architecture. Here’s what you can see and do when here

SWISS CITIES

Dainty swans swimming freely in a misty Lake, a flower-lined wooden bridge, gorgeous architectural treasures reflecting in shimmering waters, people cycling and walking on a maze of cobblestone streets and giant mountains looming over a delightful, serene town. Now, imagine immersing yourself in this beautiful view from a sidewalk cafe, accompanied with a cup of hot coffee or a glass of Swiss-made red Pinot Noir! You certainly aren’t at fault if you’re already mesmerised by this inspiring terrain. Located in the geographic heart of Switzerland, Lucerne is where urban life and nature come together to give you endless photo opportunities, and this isn’t an overstatement!

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SWISS CUISINE – A POTPOURRI OF INFLUENCES

Apart from being a harmonious tableau of beautiful images, Switzerland is home to a hearty traditional cuisine. Stay with me as I find out what’s cooking in the land of four languages

ENGADIN St. Moritz: Champagner-Feeling in Engadin St. Moritz

While Switzerland borders France in the West, Germany in the north, Austria and the principality of Liechtenstein in the east and Italy in the south, you can only imagine its culinary diversity.

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PICK YOUR KICK IN SANTA MONICA

Santa Monica isn’t just another coastal paradise. It’s a place where art, nature, adventure and urban excitement converge

The entrance to the Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California, March 7, 2017.

While soft, sandy beaches, wavy palm trees, sun-lit eateries and orange-pink sunsets heavily contribute to its good looks, it is the vibrant cultural scene and neighborhoods loaded with character that really make it enviable. Santa Monica aptly combines the laid-back appeal of a beach town with big-city sophistication, sprinkled with Riviera-style romance and Hollywood glamour. Yes, you have excellent odds of spotting a celebrity or at least someone who seems like they could be one. With beautiful bodies working out everywhere around you, Santa Monica is as inspirational as it is charming. Spend time here and you’ll quickly discover how much SaMo packs in its compact area that can be easily explored on foot.

HOW ABOUT A CLASSIC CALIFORNIA WORKOUT?

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Whether you’re a fitness pro or a light-hearted, Instagramming babe, there’s never a shortage of ways to get active here. Head to the original Muscle Beach where the bodybuilding movement of the 20th century began and it seems like everyone on the beach can stand on their hands! They make it seem like cakewalk but it really isn’t, and you only realise this when you dare to try a few body-balancing acts yourself. Looking for an aquatic challenge?

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MOWGLI’S MESMERISING LAND – PENCH

You know nothing about the “wild” unless you’ve experienced the mysteriousness of Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh, where fresh air, sounds of the jungle and feline-sightings await

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After three hours of tossing and bouncing on the bumpy road from Kanha to Pench, my parents and I are about to reach the suppositional cradle of the underwear-clad, little Mowgli. As we drive closer to Sarrahiri, a hamlet near Karmajhiri gate of Pench National Park, we are surrounded by grassy lands with organised patches of plantation on both sides.

The bright green landscape, peppered with tile-roofed mud homes, seems like a heavenly rural scene straight out of a Bollywood film!

We heave a sigh of relief after checking into our tree lodge perched on top of a Mahua tree. Next few minutes are spent relaxing in the balcony that offers uninterrupted views of the deciduous forest; I am delighted to spot some brightly-coloured birds and butterflies while sipping on warm ginger tea. I feel like I am in nature’s paradise where magic is about to unfold.

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Pench Tree Lodge by Pugdundee Safaris offers spacious, luxurious tree houses that give you those jungle feels. Yes, these tree houses come with a private balcony where you can relax/read a book to spend some quiet time amid nature.

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BASICS OF TOURING EUROPE BY TRAIN

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Touring Europe by rail is romantic, inspiring, and if you’re travelling for the first time, a bit complicated. You get to the station and hop on the right train? No, it isn’t that easy. When it comes to European trains, you need to plan in advance and take a series of decisions before you step on the train, and this is likely to make you feel dizzy! So, before you dream of taking in the unmatched scenery from your cosy compartment, here’s what you must know Read more

BEYOND THE JUNGLE OF KANHA

A jungle safari (or many) is definitely on the top of your list when visiting one of the most beautiful national parks of India – Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh – and it should be so, unquestionably. But while chasing the call of the wild, you’re likely to miss out on the little delights the nearby villages dole out.

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While the trend of ‘do it like a local’ isn’t going anywhere, I list down some meaningful experiences to make sure your trip to Kanha is etched in your memory for all the right reasons. And the best part? Your phone doesn’t work at most locations. That’s a sure sign you need to “switch off” from the chaotic city life!

Put up in a Gond-inspired hut
You’re never going to feel like a local if you’re staying in an apartment-style hotel, no matter how luxe the rooms and facilities may be. Instead, put up in a cottage inspired by traditional Gond (Adivasi people of central India) architecture, made using locally available materials such as mud plaster, stone, terracotta tiles and rough-hewn timber beams.

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Tucked away in the little tribal hamlet of Narna, these eco-friendly huts boast of furniture made from waste and recycled wood and blend in seamlessly with acres of natural forest around. Kanha Earth Lodge by Pugdundee Safaris borders Kanha’s buffer zone, and makes for an ideal option.

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TO DOS IN THE 20-MINUTE CITY – ADELAIDE

Cool, cultured and casual are the words that aptly describe South Australia’s capital city – Adelaide.  When here, keep these at the top of your list

LET A BAMBOO TREECYCLE TAKE YOU AROUND

P9390183These eco-friendly bicycle tours (starting $5) are cheaper than catching a bus, train, or taxi

When in Adelaide, travel slow, literally. How about going around the city in an eco-friendly passenger bike built from bamboo? The treecycle is run by young, fit and charismatic home-grown caddies who know the city well and promise to show you around with all their passion, providing interesting insights now and then. All you got to do is download the Eco Caddy app and choose your favourite caddy to pick you up. With Adelaide being the 20-minute city – it’s called so as everything is pretty close and easy to get to – with a flat terrain, it’s perfect for bike rides. Plus, there’s so much buzz that if you move through it too quickly, you’re likely to miss out on the fun. When travelling in this treecycle, you can easily hop on and hop off wherever you like!

GET ON THAT ROOF

0719182Z-AOCLD6A161008H5~AO62820719182ZVY (2)If you’re a cricket-loving Indian, you’re definitely in for one of the most exhilarating adventures at the picturesque test cricket ground – Adelaide Oval. Register for a 2-hour guided climb across the stadium’s unique roofline, put on your suit and safety harness and enjoy stunning views of Adelaide, stretching out to the Adelaide Hills on one side and the coast on the other. Or book an evening climb to see the city bathed in magical twilight glow. At the end of the tour, you not only return with an achievement certificate and a printed snap for memory, but also knowing a lot more about the city. Read more