Yo! Vizag caught up with travel junkies, with post-its from wanderers and amalgamated them all into The Travel Diaries. We sprung open the travelogues of our very own Vizagites turned storytellers and bring you snippets of their odysseys.
Where? New York
New York is the best thing that has happened to me. Period. This concrete jungle that never sleeps, was my home for about a year, after a brief stay for my internship. From quaint coffee shops to picturesque parks, the city is constantly on a roll and has something new for each and every person, every time you pay a visit. Being a travel junkie, no city lured me over and over again like NY did. The foodie in me dined in style and gorged on scrumptious incredible eats that the city has to offer. To be precise, NY is a concoction of to-die-for eateries. The best memory of my entire stay in NY needs a special mention as it had me standing in a long queue for so long to get my favourite dessert, which happened to be a chocolate shot topped with vanilla milk. The minute I tasted it, I knew I was addicted. Surprisingly, it sells out in half an hour. So, you got to get your place in the line to taste the heavenly dessert at ‘Dominique Ansel’ bakery. Sunday brunches were extra special with different cuisines at beautiful restaurants to cram my tummy with. The photographer in me was all the more stimulated by the breathtaking view of the city from my rooftop as if I had just stepped into a NY postcard. Immense opportunities to click amazing pictures, a private helicopter tour to get an aerial view of the city, comedy shows at comedy cellar, stroll through the central park, walk on the Brooklyn bridge, watching the sun rise and set from the iconic Brooklyn bridge… it is like reliving a dream which keeps you craving for more. Overall, visiting NY is like kick starting your dreams where your life is akin to living out of a painting!
Summer being the best reason for a quick getaway, we were never too late to pack our bags. Our family being big time travel-o-holics, we decided to go on a road trip across more than 5 countries in Europe. The crisp summer weather took our trip a notch higher and made it extra special. We enjoyed the strolls in the parks and gardens of Vienna, roamed the streets of Budapest, Prague and the village of Bratislava, tried the famous beer in Berlin and went sky gliding in Switzerland. The long drive along the Germany’s black forest housing towering evergreen trees, a thick clump of fern and gorgeous waterfalls is like living a fairytale adventure. Who doesn’t love shopping? I shopped for the famous black forest cuckoo clocks in the short time I had in hand. As they say best things and bonding happen over coffee, I had the best coffee at Mozart’s café where the legend Mozart was believed to have composed his music, and instantly fell head over heels in love with that place. Cherry on the cake was dancing away to the live music with my friend in Salzburg. Long family dinners into the night in the beer houses of Munich will remain special till my last breath. After all, this holiday left us merry-faced and flabbergasted and I still had the nagging feeling that there was still so much left to explore. It reminds me of the saying, “If you love a place, it will keep calling out to you.” So I guess I’ll go on an adventure again soon. The accompanying picture had me posing away happily on the streets of Europe.
Where? Manchester to Edinburgh
Our graduation trip was a road trip from Manchester to Edinburgh. I couldn’t have been more excited to finally be traversing the roads of the city that has fascinated me for so long with a great company. A backpacking trip with friends can’t be more fun with random pitstops and visiting every damn little place on our way. A stopover at Lake District, a rural place near the border of England and Scotland will always remain special in my heart for the positivity it reflects through its people and the place itself has all the vibes. We went hiking and trekking at Lake District. Our trip got more adventurous when we decided to stop by a random lake for the night. I experienced the most amazing thrills of my life that night by going on a boat ride without a boat license. As the night grew old by the time we reached the place, much notice wasn’t paid as to where we were staying. The next morning, to my surprise, we woke up to find ourselves in a massive field with horses and cattle ranches, in the middle of nowhere. Post breakfast we headed to Edinburgh that left me spellbound by its beauty. Fond memories of the city include exploring a haunted castle followed by a ghost tour. The trip ended on a high note; we came across a huge government building while driving back that hosts student nights for a day every week. That party was the most happening thing I’d ever been to. The three-day trip was an exhilarating and rejuvenating experience.
I took a trip to Philippines all alone and it was a three-day stay. Me, being a big time acrophobic and aquaphobic, plunging into the Pacific ocean left me in awe of myself and it has to be the best ever memory for a lifetime. Zip-lined (which was the scariest thing I’ve ever done till date), snorkeled, swam with great sharks, dolphins and sea turtles and made new friends. The waterfalls, beaches, mountains and rivers; I could go on and on about the magnificence of the place. I spent time on a cruise, where they served a massive spread of Philippine cuisine. Astonishing fact about the food was that, Filipino people consider crab vegetarian! All the adventurous sports I’ve ever experienced for the first time gave me an adrenaline rush and kicked away my phobia for water and heights. An unplanned trip turned out to be the most amazing experience of my life.
Travel is pretty much an escape route for me. Taking a break from my academics and monsoon playing the perfect host, we picked Ooty as our holiday destination and how better can our holiday get if it’s a road trip? We hired a cab from Bangalore to Ooty, and drove through the Bandipur National Park and Mudumalai Forest, which happen to be homes to the wild. Watching lots of deers and elephants is a visual treat and monsoon never failed to play the trick, elevating the scenic beauty of the place above and beyond. I managed to go to some off beat places apart from the regular parks and boat rides in Ooty. Travelling to and through Ooty was the best long drive ever in my life. Ooty has magical viewpoints, lakes, brooks, beautiful tea plantations and waterfalls, making our trip picture perfect. It is a paradise for landscape photography where the best interaction with nature possibly cannot go wrong. Looking forward to visiting it again.
Where? Cape Town, South Africa
Packing bags is my favourite to-do thing and will be so forever. This time around, I packed bags along with my husband and a group of friends from the city, for a mini escapade to one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town. I experienced the best of Abseiling in Cape Town in spite of my fear of heights. We wanted to give up when we were on the mountaintop. But, we gathered our courage and took up the rappelling task where you descend a rock face using a doubled rope half way down followed by a free fall with people to hold you at the foot of the mountain. The view from top is stupendous and we were awe-struck. The trip on a revolving cable car that gives you a 360-degree view as you go up is a must-do. The city also had the best shopping stops for local goods. Truly this trip was a dream-come-true.
New Year’s is the best reason to celebrate. Kick started this year with my family and close friends in Dubai, which turned out to be a self-indulgence trip. We welcomed the New Year, experiencing the fireworks standing atop Burj Khalifa, a visual extravaganza. We explored desert safaris with land cruisers, soaked in the music and performance of belly bands, took a jaw-dropping ride on the world’s fastest roller coaster, visualised the exquisite automobile expo exhibiting sexy sports cars and I shopped till I dropped at the world’s largest shopping mall, the ‘Dubai Mall’. Stuffed myself with the best seafood ever at the Pierchic restaurant and gorged on the exquisite menu at majlisal bahar. The icing on the cake was the wobbly feel of sky diving at the Palm Jumeirah, the 8th wonder of the world that made our vacation at Dubai a holiday to remember.
That’s me tasting the first ever snowfall and basking in the relentlessly beautiful Gulmarg, Kashmir. The beauty of the snow clad mountains was breathtaking and beyond description. As you move atop the mountains, mercury levels drop further presenting you an unwavering visual perfection. Skiing, sledging and snow biking everyday throughout my week’s stay got me learning the sport a bit. Pony rides are not to be missed. An experience of lifetime, which makes you want more!
Ravi Kanth Viswanadha
Street photography being my passion, I chose to visit Varanasi claimed to be the vibrant and timeless city of India, to capture ‘actual life’. I photographed sadhus, dimly lit ghats, the Ganges and classic traditions of Kasi. I soaked in the spirituality of Banaras not by just photographing the life, but also by the serenity of the never-ending chants of ‘har-har mahadev’ throughout the city. I would re-visit the place for its architectural artistry and the tranquillity that it generally provides. Retro look of the place and great traditional food are on a high, toning down the sobriety of unadulterated Banaras.
Last December during Christmas, we were en route Singapore for our annual family trip. The first instalment of holiday vibe crept in just after we stepped in Sentosa island, home to Universal Studios and a bunch of other attractions, primarily, eye-popping scenery and landscapes. We got to see the best ever multimedia show called “Songs Of The Sea”; the perfect synchronisation of lights, water, fireworks was a delight to watch and left us flabbergasted. Want to live your childhood dream escalating yourself into the Disney world, roller coasters and adventurous thrills? I suggest, get a ticket to Singapore and chill your thrill of experiencing a whole new world of awesomeness. After all YOLO!
Going on a trip is my annual ritual, and this year it was an adventure camp to Manali. This holiday just took me away from the routine and was an ultimate way to de-stress my body and soul. Nature as a whole played a vital role in teaching me the best of things. We were taught how to live and let live. A retirement celebration of St. Ann’s teacher S.Balamma in our mountaineering camp was one of the highlights of my holiday, who shared lessons for lifetime to cherish forever. We imbibed the serenity of the place to the fullest that at the end of the trip, I was all teary-eyed for I had to leave the place I was attached to the most in no time.
My love for bikes purred off when I was a teen, and successfully converted me into a fanatic, which drives me to take road trips quite often. Adding oomph to my latest travel, my wife and I went on our honeymoon to Badrinath by road making it an adventurous ride to a spiritual place. We visited ancient temples, which hold the history of hundreds of years, which instilled divinity in our souls. Our trip ended with a stop at ‘Mana Village’, which is claimed to be India’s last village and also houses the last tea stall on Indian border. Overall, the ride to a holy place with my better half beside was just next to overwhelming.