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

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

HOW ABOUT DOING DC DIFFERENTLY?

If you’re visiting the US capital for the first time, it can be tough to sort through the maze of its must-see sites. Go beyond-the-norm and do DC just like a local

Lincoln Memorial? Check. Smithsonian troves? Done. National Zoo? Clicked a selfie with the pandas. But there is a lot more to do in DC beyond visiting its astonishing museums and historical sites. Have you had a bite of the very bucolic Georgetown’s famed cupcakes or flicked through 500 years of news history at the Newseum? If you haven’t, here are a few unusual things to do when in Washington DC. This way you won’t wind up ensnared in queues for most of your trip.

GEORGETOWN
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Washington’s oldest and wealthiest neighborhood, Georgetown, can be divided into four sections – the marketplace along M Street, the university, the historic residential neighborhood where miniature cottages stand side by side with rambling mansions, and the waterfront. Stroll or bike along the tree-lined paths that offer wonderful views of the Potomac river, indulge in some serious designer retail therapy, step into the town’s past with a visit to Tudor Place, a Federal-style mansion of the Custis-Peter family, or spend an evening enjoying sunset drinks aboard a cruise. You won’t regret a visit to Dumbarton Oaks. The lovely oasis boasts of galleries filled with Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and European art, as well as acres of meticulously tended historic gardens. You can easily spend a day in Georgetown as the vivid street scene invites you to linger.

TIP: Georgetown is almost always crowded at night. Driving and parking are difficult, so it’s wise take a bus or taxi.

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LADAKH FOR THE CULTURE VULTURE

Over the years, Ladakhis have proven the fact that satisfying life can be lived even with minimal natural resources, extreme heat and cold, little or no rain, a crumbling mud-brick homestead and a cooperative spirit. You already know that journeying along Ladakh’s spectacular supernatural surroundings is an exceptional experience. Now imagine taking it all in along with heartwarming conversations with the locals about their culture and conventional ways of life! Here’s how to bond with this magnificent region beyond just sightseeing

VOLUNTEER AT A NUNNERY WITH A VIEW

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Travel does go beyond photographing iconic sites and sampling local food. Volunteer at Nyerma nunnery (in Leh) overlooking the snow-clad Himalayas and give your trip a deeper purpose. Shake off the stress of city life and live like a nun for a few days. Relax, meditate and occasionally help the elderly nuns in their day-to-day chores like cooking food, farming, cleaning up and more. If you’re good at something, share your skills and knowledge with the humble nuns who enjoy bonding over activities and conversations. By giving something back to the society as a traveller, you not only understand and respect other cultures better but also work towards finding a clearer direction in life.

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7 MUST-DOS IN BOSTON

With Georgian-style houses balanced by soaring glass and steel skyscrapers, Boston efficiently weaves past with the present. Here’s a checklist to help you go about the compact, clean and easily navigable harbour city

1. THE STORIED HARVARD UNIVERSITY

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Don’t miss out on the smallest pleasure of simply sitting and people watching at one of the inviting open spots in the Harvard campus. It gives you a genuine feel of the place

Doesn’t matter if you couldn’t get through Harvard; at least you can feel like a Harvardian for a day! Head to Cambridge, approx 5.5 km north-west of downtown Boston, and register for a 70-minute guided tour ($10 per person) of the Harvard University. Absorb every inch of ivy-leagued glory from your guide who is a fun-loving current Harvard student and enjoy an insider perspective on the history and culture of the institute. Go around the 210-acre main campus while popping into the Memorial Church and one of the eight interesting museums or get some dope on the king-size Widener Library, one of the largest college libraries in the country. Back outside the gates, you can gorge on cheap yet tasty food; try every Harvard student’s favourite thin-crust, Sicilian pizzas from Pinocchio’s Pizza & Subs. And if you’re a passionate bibliophile, keep a knapsack handy because you’re going to have a lot to take back. Stores like Grolier Poetry Bookshop, Schoenhof’s Foreign Books and Harvard Book Store boast of a collection that can leave you bewildered. Lastly, remember to buy a precious Harvard souvenir for yourself. Read more

TRAVELLING WITH YOUR LITTLE ONE THIS SUMMER VACAY?

Air travel with kids can be highly stressful if you fail to plan it well. With the holiday season approaching soon, here’s an air travel survival kit for flying with your mischievous munchkin. Bon Voyage!

Implement a reward system
Before you head to the airport, sit with your kids and work out a reward system in which they get points for behaving well as travellers. It will include things like staying quiet, not crying and fighting, eating properly, being courteous by saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to the air hostess etc. You can keep a notebook and record the points and tally up the points at the end of the trip. Also, make sure you give them a good reward and on time or else they’ll never be motivated to behave well in future. If you have more than one child, see to it that the prizes are equal. During the entire process, you aim should be keeping your kids on track and less likely to misbehave. Also, stay away from any reward that is monetary in nature.

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How to stay fit on a vacation

EXPLORE ON FOOT

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Ditch bus, train and taxi. Walk it instead. Walking is a great form of exercise, and above all, helps you save a lot of money when you are out sightseeing. While burning loads of calories, walking also helps you go deep into the local culture, people, food and music.

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FOR EVERY BOLLYWOOD-LOVING TRAVELLER

If you’re a Bollywood buff with an undying passion for travel, here’s what your travel bucket list should look like

You want to go where the celebs go and why not? It’s great to visit the beautiful locations where your favourite film or song was shot. Plan your next holiday to Iceland and shoot your very own version of the romantic number Gerua or head to the Mediterranean island of Corsica with a bunch of friends and indulge in some matargashti. If you haven’t planned your holidays yet, here are the top destinations for Bollywood-inspired travel. It’s hard to pick one!

Whisk your partner away to BRUGES, BELGIUM

BRUGES, BELGIUM1Remember the romantic song ‘Chaar Kadam’ from the film PK? Anushka Sharma and Sushant Singh Rajput happily sing and dance along the picturesque canals, medieval buildings and everything else that looks unbelievably enchanting. It is none other than Bruges – the fairytale city of the Flanders region. Postcard-perfect Bruges still testifies to a past steeped in history. Though quiet, atmospheric and arrested in time, it is also a convivial place.

Vivid canals of BRUGES, BELGIUM
Vivid canals of Bruges in the Flanders Region of Belgium

Visit the Market Square that is dominated by its Belfry that stands 83 metres tall and offers jaw-dropping views of the expanse of the quaint town below. Yes, you can still climb to the top of the tower! It is also a place that is pleasantly adorned with food joints, cafes and restaurants that serve delicious food. Don’t forget to sample Bruges special popular frites and mayonnaise or pamper your sweet tooth with the world’s best waffle dipped in chocolate. With its cobblestoned streets, vivid canals and old world horse-drawn carriages, it boasts of some of the most photographed spots in Flanders. Stroll, amble and saunter down the streets of this beautifully-preserved medieval city with your partner and fall in love all over again!

Soak up some history in LUBLIN, POLAND

LUBLIN, POLAND1We bet you wanted to play Alia in the film Shaandaar only to be able to stay in that magnificent 18th-century Zamoyski Palace located in Kozlowka, Poland. Plan your next holiday to Poland and visit this authentic Polish aristocratic residence. Miraculously, it was destroyed neither by Nazi Germans or Soviets during World War II nor by communists after the war, and preserved with its original décor. This baroque and neoclassical palace-and-park complex in Kozlowka is now one of Poland’s national historic monuments.

The charming, majestic palace in the film Shaandaar is Zamoyski Palace located in Kozlowka, LUBLIN, POLAND
The charming, majestic palace in the film Shaandaar is Zamoyski Palace located in Kozlowka, Lublin

There are many other places to visit nearby. If you’re someone with an interest in Jeweish history, the city of Lublin is a must visit. It may attract fewer tourists than Krakow or Warsaw, but it is that one place that saw Polish and Jewish cultures harmoniously coexist while the city’s fibre developed. Apart from a very charming Old Town that looks like a ready-made medieval film set, Lublin offers other attractions, including a wild nightlife and a multitude of friendly restaurants and cafes. On your visit to the Old Town, you simply cannot miss the Dominican Church and the monumental neo-Gothic castle that boasts of a chapel decorated with 15th-century frescoes.

Wonder at the marvels of nature in ICELAND

ICELAND1Obviously apart from the iconic SRK-Kajol jodi, what really made you fall in love with the romantic song ‘Gerua’ from Dilwale was the breathtaking scenery of Iceland. Want to visit all those dramatic natural landscapes? Travel to Iceland to experience the stunning Icelandic nature, the beauty of the rugged landscape and the creativity of the Icelandic people. Rainbow-arched waterfalls of Skógafoss, Black Beach at Sólheimasandur, Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, the world-famous Reynisfjara shore and Stokksnes – a headland on the southeastern Icelandic coast are places you simply cannot miss.

Skogafoss waterfall in  ICELAND where a part of the song Gerua was shot
Skogafoss waterfall in Iceland where a part of the song Gerua was shot

Iceland is home to the largest glaciers in Europe, as well as some of the world’s most active volcanoes. It is widely known as “The Land of Fire and Ice”. Its location, just below the Arctic Circle, makes for long summer days with near 24-hours of sunlight; offset by short winter days with very little sunlight at all. Fortunately, while winters in Iceland are dark, they are relatively mild and play host to one of nature’s most spectacular exhibitions of beauty; the Aurora Borealis. One of the most interesting places is the capital of Iceland – Reykjavik – that combines colourful buildings, excellent museums, quirky, creative people and rich culinary choices. A mere twenty minute drive from Reykjavik center takes you out of the hubbub of city life and into the seclusion of Iceland’s spectacular landscapes. But the landscape is not just for gaping at; Iceland’s rivers are perfect for rafting, fishing, diving and snorkeling; its mountains, volcanoes and glaciers are good for hiking, climbing, dog-sledding, and snowmobiling; its snowy hills for skiing and snowboarding; its waves for surfing; its caves for exploring; and its barren highlands for jeep safaris.

Sunbathe on the pristine beaches of KRABI, THAILAND

KRABI, THAILANDWhile Thailand is already a hotspot for destination weddings and bachelor-bachelorette parties, it’s become a favourite holiday destination among the younger lot after the filming of Pyaar Ka Panchnaama on the pristine beaches of Krabi Island. Yes, Krabi has everything you’d need to let your hair down in the company of your friends – exotic white-sand beaches, crystal clear water, extensive coral reefs, charming locals, interesting markets, intoxicating nightlife and adventure galore. Situated on Southern Thailand’s Andaman coast, Krabi’s most-visited attractions include hot springs, a wildlife sanctuary, sea caves, limestone cliffs that draw rock climbing enthusiasts from around the world, and national parks that include the island paradises of Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. You can easily spend weeks in Krabi and leave yearning for more.

F33-193227It’s difficult to take your eyes off these beautiful limestone cliffs in Krabi

Moreover, here you can enjoy some of the most photogenic sunsets in Thailand, that are best viewed from a beachside bar or restaurant. The charming riverside town features a number of cozy cafes and inexpensive, authentic Thai cuisine is served at an outdoor, riverside evening market. Book a stay in the bustling centre of Ao Nang, a seaside strip of guesthouses, hotels, bars, restaurants, spas and souvenir shops. Since Ao Nang is the major launching point for boat trips to nearby islands, it’s very convenient to put up here.

Saunter around the stylish coastal town of CORSICA, FRANCE

CORSICA, FRANCERanbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone starrer Tamasha has given us another beautiful location to dream about. Corsica is an island hidden between the borders of France and Italy and is divided into two parts: Upper Corsica (Haute Corse) and Southern Corsica (Corse-du-Sud). Travel to this Mediterranean paradise to enjoy sparkling waters full of marine life, mountains, bays, beaches, valleys, tiny seaside villages, dense forests and hilltop chalets. Corsica is a land of character. The 67 Genoese towers which cover the Corsican coastline, the Calanche de Piana, the remains of Filitosa, or even the beauty of the reserve of Scandola, are marks of time that have shaped its unique contours. Struck by the tumult of the past, Corsica offers a remarkable built area: Romanesque and baroque churches, prestige homes etc.

This would surely remind you of the song Matargashti from Tamasha that was largely filmed in CORSICA, FRANCE
This would surely remind you of the song Matargashti from Tamasha that was largely filmed in Corsica, France

With its magnificent mountain scenery and delightful seascapes, Corsica is full of surprises. Shaped and hollowed by erosion, the striking red granite cliffs known as the Calanche de Piana plunge steeply into the sea. Consider a drive to Calvi. The charming city is located on the northwest coast of Corsica. Down the small town’s cobblestone streets, you will find plenty of restaurants, shops, and art galleries. Or hit the beach. Corsica is surrounded by stunning beaches. Grab a spot on the white sand, catch some rays, and take a dip in the cool waters of the ocean. Not only does Corsica offer a million pretty sights to see, it also gives you some amazing options for outdoor activities. Try mountain biking, horse trekking, quad biking, white water activities and more.

HOW TO TELL AWESOME STORIES THROUGH YOUR CAMERA

Travel the world and come back with a suitcase full of memories – all this only with your camera lens

Do you happen to remember the smell of a pretty flower you saw in the garden, the thrill of sitting in a roller coaster ride, the adrenaline rush you experienced during white water rafting, the fragrance and taste of local food and the warmth of the natives who gave you shelter? The photographs you click during your travel should bring these sensations back and help you share those fun-we-had stories with your loved ones. So how do you click the best shot?

You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved…
– Late American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams

For capturing a picture that comes alive every single time you look at it, you need to think and feel as much as you need to look.

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PLAN AN ALL-GIRLS GETAWAY TO KRABI

My escape to Krabi with my girlfreinds had everything needed to make an “all girls” vacation awesome – exotic white-sand beaches, charming locals, interesting markets, intoxicating nightlife, adventure galore and not to forget ‘safety’

Who says family vacations aren’t great? But a time away with your best friends is an emotional necessity. You got to go for it to know it. If you haven’t yet, add it to your bucket list now! This way, you not only get to know them better but also get a chance to create loads of memories – these shared stories will be things that you and your friends will reminisce and laugh about forever. In June last year, I decided to take off to Krabi (in Thailand) with my gal pals and it was one of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had. Since we were a trio – each with competely different and craziest travel sensibilities – we did have disagreements on things like where to eat and what mode of travel to opt for. Being an undisputed nomad, I would want to explore most places on foot, sample the wierdest of street foods and dive into all kinds of adventure while my best friend, a complusive shopaholic by passion and a desi (jain) vegeterian out of choice, wouldn’t refrain (in spite of all my attempts to demotivate her) from hunting for an Indian restaurant that serves her the tastiest paratha and biryani in town! And trust me, she succeeded every single time! You’re definitely heaving a sigh of relief if you’re another ghaas phus person (as we non-vegeterians call them), but if you’re not one, you can imagine my plight! Thankfully, the third one among us was pretty much okay with anything, as long as we let her put on her ‘selfie-clicking’ mode. Yes, she has this uncanny ability of clicking some amazing mirror selfies even in the loo, pouting with the pot in the background! Nonethless, it was a joy ride as Krabi somehow manages to seduce every kind of globetrotter.

EXPLORING AAO NANG ON FOOT

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We started the trip on a lighter note by relaxing a little post the five-hour flight and then exploring the area around our hotel at Aao Nang (40 minutes from Krabi airport) – one of the most happening and attractive spots in Krabi. Compact, easy to navigate and comparatively cleaner than Krabi town, Aao Nang has plenty to offer. Apart from offering midrange and luxurious stay options and tons of restaurants, massage parlours (if you know the art of bargaining here, you know it all!) and local stores for a fun shopping experience, it’s the central spot from where all the adventure tours like snorkelling and island tours are organised. For a dose of relaxation, we straightway hit a decent-looking, no-frills massage joint that had more than 20 beds in a row and a host of over-friendly masseurs; it pretty much did the trick for us! Whether it’s a foot massage with shea butter cream, just a plain head massage or a full body coffee scrub, the menu will make it tough for you to zero in on one treatment. We spent the remaining evening strolling around, picking up some souviners and sampling some local dishes. If shopping or therapy isn’t what you are looking for, think spending a laid-back evening on the beach under the stars. The area is known for its fairytale limestone crags and beautiful beaches with turquoise blue sea, tied together by narrow strips of golden sand. Read more