Without sparing our sweat drops, hours of (sort of) suffering, overcoming our sluggishness even the most lazy looking day, all year round we are striving to keep up with the good work we do when it comes to staying fit, building up our muscles, stretching our body or finally losing that little excess belly fat. But all our efforts seem to be down the drain when we take a break from the fit-race while traveling.
Living abroad or spending longer time far away from the home-comfort-zone can do some good to your personality. After I had spent eight weeks in India I returned home as a different person and it really is a challenge now to be normal part of the Western society again. Probably I don’t even want to be part of the classic Western consumer society anymore. I might risk to be excluded, how knows. For now let me share the most important things I learned in the ‘School of India’:
And after a 2-hour train delay before the sun could come up we went off the Indian map to find ourselves in Karwar. It looked like I was the only non-Indian which gave me even more intense stares than I ever experienced before.
I’ve always dreamed of an undiscovered beach. Ok, I would have agreed with a lonely seashore even if it had been discovered by someone else before me. They say if you dream of something long enough and hard enough, one day you will get it. So I just did that until a remote coastline revealed out of nowhere.
If you thought there is nothing beyond the sandy shores in Goa then think again. Whitewashed churches, narrow streets, traditional and new-wave restaurants, hidden bars and old-school shops are scattered over the small area.
Goa is the laziest place on the globe I’ve ever been. Absolutely. The whole state has an extremely laid-back vibe that you tend to forget everything about your life before Goa.
Probably it’s the sunny days and chilled nights, the energising yoga sessions on the beach, the freedom seeker cosmopolitan crowd on the roads with their rented bikes or the cheap alcohol. Whatever. There is certainly something in the air that makes the place utterly different from other coastal areas I had been earlier.
I arrived to North Goa just a week before the ‘harvest’ season Goan businesses so much look forward to year after year. It was 18th December and tourists had already started to flock to hippie’s paradise on Earth.
I’m a hobby blogger. I’ve started writing a bit more than a year ago out of a simple desire to leave my footprints on Earth. Since my travel blog is pure passion and not my career people in my surrounding tend to ignore or at least undervalue it. Do people around us understand the real meaning of blogging?
Dawn to dusk in Hampiis not enough to quench your cultural thirst? Whether you are up for a few more stops along historic roads or would rather be on top of the rocks with your climbing gear, the ancient empire has a lot more on offer than it seems like.
By looking at nomad farmers along rice fields in the morning sun the world of materialism falls thousand miles away. After a chilling walk in the neighborhood all you need is a hearty breakfast and a friendly talk to kick-off with the day around a town called champion. Hop on your vehicle and let your driver take you to wonderland.
South India’s – what South India’s, the world’s – awe, a place that speaks hundreds years, where columns are musical and carvings are ‘God-made’. Hampi should be cheek by jowl with the Taj Mahal on any traveler’s list to India.
We are traveling from A to B to C to D and then back to A again. In our hectic schedule though we want no rush sometimes. Even if we were traveling across half the globe to see it all, THE destination has to offer. So there are these let’s call lazier days but we don’t want to laze around too much. Time is ticking, tick-tock. Quite fast. So why not carve out a day when we can deepen in our thoughts while we somehow deepen in the culture surrounding us? Exactly a day like this called my slow(er) paced itinerary forward in Bangalore, but on a second thought a similar agenda can be implemented in nearly all big cities in the world. Let’s just get into it right away in a bit more detail.
To be honest, Bangalore is a destination for high stake businesses or simply a point of transfer on most travelers’ list. The city however is not at all short of fascinating sights and bright cultural life. Whether you are there for business or just on a short stopover try to squeeze a day in your schedule, book a driver and explore the less traveled parts of this seemingly crazy place.
South India’s business hub, a once upon a time green and chilled hill station has become pure synonym for tech hub in the past few years. But only a few know, that the city of Bangalore has much more on offer than shared service centers and fearlessly slaloming rickshaw drivers. Traveling around four South Indian states Bangalore was my base, the one and only place to kick-start my journeys from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu to Kerala to Goa. My initial web search and first blink on the place did not buzz me up much but when I dug a bit deeper walking its streets (or rather trying to walk the streets without falling into a suddenly arising deep hole) I found quite a bunch of things it was eventually worth to be crammed in extreme traffic jams day after day for.
A place that not too many heard about. A crescent-shaped seaside that is often overlooked by winter beachgoers. A little oasis where tourism forms a perfect blend with age-old traditions. An exotic escape alive and laid back at the same time. Somewhere by the Arabian sea, towards the Southern tip of India, Kerala’s little beach town is something called love at first sight I guess.
We want to carry joy, health, love, energy – and fill in the blank – into the new year and try to avoid bringing sorrow, sickness, hate and negativity through from the past year. We are pushing and pulling and taking and dropping at a mental level and hoping it won’t have a physical effect on us. Because we don’t like to physically carry things.
But it’s way not the case when you come across some of the master transporters in India. They are literally doing all kinds of circus when it comes to moving something (or someone) from A to B. Let’s kick-off the year with a short recap on how things are carried through at this part of the world where seemingly everything is possible.
“But how are we going to carry this home? Don’t worry dude, I already have an idea!”
With nature’s scenic backdrop this natural phenomenon is worthy of its nickname. 70 km from Cochin, Athirapally has two remarkable waterfalls, the lush green Vazhachal forest and the wildlife infused Vachumaram lake on offer.
Passing by steep valleys, robust waterfalls, colorful roadside shacks and the greenest tea plantations the drive from Thekkady to Munnar is mind-blowing. In Munnar everything is pretty much about tea, the city itself is not so impressive but the surrounding area is something you don’t come across with everywhere.
Do not miss the junction – tea estate junction sign, Munnar
Touristic and off-the-beaten-track at the same time, Thekkady is a green delight you wouldn’t want to skip if you are down in the southwestern county of India. From wildlife to lush green vegetation from spices and herbs to Ayurvedic treatments there is simply an abundant list of activities you can immerse yourself in during your stay out there.
From crowded Trivandrum we headed onto quiet Varkala in the evening. The peak season hasn’t come in yet, so there was enough and more personal space to finally experience some serenity far away from mad drivers and the freaking toots and honks.
After the off-beaten trip in Quilon it was time to venture into Kerala’s polluted capital, Trivandrum. The city itself did not look like any attention puller and I would have easily skipped it if I didn’t have an appointment in Kottakkal Ayurveda hospital. It was a morning session. The hospital itself is not the typical 3 to 5 star Ayurveda resort but more like a modest looking facility. Very simple building with no fountains, no incense sticks, no rose petals, no music and shoes to be strictly removed before crossing the threshold.
Visited by far less crowd, untouristy Quilon (or Kollam) is an authentic experience if you are craving for the real taste of the local lifestyle. During my Kerala visit I guess one of the most relaxing days of my entire stay goes for this old coastal place. If you already have some time scheduled in trendy Varkala at a 35 km distance just pop over to Kollam for a quiet day. Sure you won’t leave disappointed. Here’s how you can make the most out of your journey:
God’s own country taught me some lessons from the moment I landed on its territories. The lush green scenery, endless coconut palms, quiet backwaters and seemingly laid-back life made me believe I am only here to unwind and relax so I would have never thought I will be experiencing the unexpected.
Being in India after a few days made me come up with different new survival routines. I’m staying in a residential area in Bangalore to get a glimpse into the locals’ everydays. One thing is sure. Life is not at all easy out here. What we take for granted in our western comfort society is not always unequivocal this part of the world, to say the least. Being a temporary visitor I’m facing issues from a different angle, which might be pity problems in the eyes of the locals but coming from the ‘everything is a click away’ side of the world some things for me are quite challenging to cope with.
When you think of Hungary do you look beyond buzzing Budapest and chilling Balaton? Well, you certainly should push a bit more to the west and just before you cross to the other side and find yourself in Slovenia or Austria there comes this region where every corner speaks a tradition dating back to hundreds of years and where tradition means not only past but real time. 3 hours drive from Budapest, Orseg is quite a hidden gem in the country and does not see flocks of tourists, which makes this ethnographic treasure not only one of the most welcoming district in Hungary but also affordable and livable. So here’s what you should be up to when you are around for a short while.
Less than 2 weeks to go to touch ground in the vibrant tech-city of Bangalore and spend the rest of this year in the land of colors and religions and languages and crowd and… let’s just say diversity. For two months I will be wandering around the incredible cities and states of India and as the date is getting closer the itinerary pretty much seems as diverse as the country itself.
What would you trade in a grand Baltic drive followed by a two-month trip to India for? Basically I believed for nothing. And then things just started to happen and I realized that I had taken up a project in the midst of summer in Hungary’s capital city of Budapest sacrificing my European and Asian travel adventures to bring back the old-school circus, the bucking bronco and some vintage Ford Mustangs for a night.
Apart from the discomfort caused by the 10 suitcases of (only) the most necessary stuff packed for this extreme long 4-day trip we were able to cover more than 50% of the distance without major headache and noise. We were silent and they were relatively silent.
One of the biggest, the brightest, the craziest and (…fill in the blank) music and cultural festivals in Europe attracted record number of visitors this year, turning an average August week in Budapest to a colorful, exciting and jaw-dropping 24/7 blast.