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Ride the Schwebebahn in Wuppertal, Germany

WHY I WENT

Acclimatizing. It was my first trip to Europe and I had an Indian friend staying there on the day of my arrival. I decided to spend the first day there with my friend to get a hang of all the newness around me.

WHY YOU SHOULD GO

To take a ride on the Schwebebahn, the hanging tram.

The first time I saw the Schwebebahn

My first view of the Schwebebahn

Continue Reading →

ITINERARY: Weekend trip to Belum Caves (Andhra Pradesh, India)

Belum cavesIf you have seen the Borra Caves situated near Araku Valley and come to Belum Caves expecting something similar, you will be in for a surprise.

The longest cave in the Indian Subcontinent is different and will impress you with its unique and incredible geological formations.

A great place to visit for the geologically inclined, the cave has been formed by the constant flow of water and you will see beautiful water lines on the cave walls and the sedimentary rocks. The caves are known for the stalactite and stalagmite formations and spacious chambers. Continue Reading →

Give slow travel a chance

logo-3.3-with-bgOnce you are back from a two-week trip to Europe, it feels good to tell people back home you saw six countries, doesn’t it?

But the part about the trip you’d rather not dwell on is that you could not spend more than an hour at the Louvre because you still had to see Eiffel Tower, the Montmartre and five other places by the end of the day. You also tend to skip the part about visiting St. Peter’s Basilica but not finding enough time to go to the Vatican Museum to see Sistine Chapel.

In fact, you realise later that you spent more time travelling from one place to another than taking in a particular place, especially if you were doing the trip with a tour company that promised you the “highlights” of Europe. Continue Reading →

Why you should do an Aurora tour in Tromsø

logo-3.3-with-bgWhether or not to do a northern lights tour was one of the major questions I had in mind ahead of my visit to Tromsø, an university town in northern Norway situated some 2,200km from the North Pole. From what I gathered, a trip was worth it.

So, on an early March evening, I got into a little bus with a group of around fifteen people, most of them with fancy cameras, to try and see the Aurora Borealis. My camera wasn’t so fancy but then, I was no professional photographer. I was just going to check the northern lights off my bucket list.

Trine, the friendly guide from Tromsø Friluftsenter, the northern lights tour company we were travelling with, drove us south of the city to find a place with clear skies and no artificial lights so that we could have the best views. We drove quite some distance until we found a clearing by the road. Continue Reading →

You are fortunate if you are able to travel

logo-3.3-with-bgSomeone I know keeps a lot of birds as pets at home. He was recently jesting about how many animal-lovers complain about people keeping birds in cages.

“But you do realise it restricts the movement and freedom of the birds, don’t you?” I said.

“But it’s a huge cage,” he argued.

“Certainly not as big as the open skies,” I said.

This conversation got me thinking. Continue Reading →

How loyal you should be to an airline

logo-3.3-with-bgI believe every flier should become part of the rewards programme of the airline they fly most often. And that applies even if you fly only once or twice a year.

This is because, first, enrolment is free and second, some day it could save you money for doing nearly nothing out of your way.

That being said, it is also true that being too faithful to one airline has its price and this I found out the hard way. But then, I kind of went out of my way to be faithful. Continue Reading →

Germany visa for Indians: The 2016 process

logo-3.3-with-bgIf you’re applying for a Germany tourist visa (which is actually a visa that lets you travel to all the Schengen countries), you can either apply as a tourist or as someone going to visit family or friends.

I prefer the second because in that case, you do not have to furnish the details of all your hotels bookings. Consequently, this lets you be more elastic about your trip. Since I do not have any family in Europe, I requested a German friend to send me an invitation letter and she agreed. Things went pretty smooth from there. Continue Reading →

The audio guide at Golkonda is a good idea

The audio guide at Gokonda Fort

The audio guide available at Gokonda Fort

One day during my stay in Hyderabad when I was feeling particularly touristy, I decided to spend several hours at Golkonda Fort. I discovered that making use of the audio guide there is a great way to explore the historic site as a solo traveller on a budget.

Human guides cost around INR700 and that’s probably not a bad deal if you are in a group. But as a solo traveller on a budget, I thought that was a little too much.

I read the advertisement about the audio guide right next to the ticket counter. When I asked them where I could get it, they said it would be right at the main entrance of the fort. As soon as I got there, several guides approached me, but when I told them I was looking for the audio guide, they left. The place where they rent out the audio guides is bang opposite the main entrance. Continue Reading →

What is AC First on Indian Railways about?

logo-3.3-with-bgWhat is it about travelling AC First on Indian Railways? I mean, how different was it from say, 2AC (I had travelled 2AC)? That’s one thing I had always wondered about. So, when I realised I wasn’t in a hurry and the AC First fares were exactly the same as a flight to Hyderabad, I chose the slower option.

For the uninitiated, AC stands for air-conditioned. 2AC is the second-most luxurious options on long-distance Indian trains each cubicle has 2+2 berth configuration; apart from two more berths on the other side of the passage. (In 3AC and Second Class, the configuration is 3+3, plus two berths on the other side of the passage). Continue Reading →

How to travel London on a budget

logo-3.3-with-bgA month ago, UBS Wealth Management named London the fifth-most expensive city in the entire world, which often scares off young and budget travellers who are inclined to believe that they can only afford backpacking-friendly destinations. Truth be told, there are actually plenty of ways around all those expenses that the English capital is notoriously known for.

To survive a holiday in London on a limited budget, here are a few tips to keep in mind. Continue Reading →

How travel sets you free

logo-3.3-with-bgIn many parts of India, if an unmarried Indian couple went looking for a hotel, they would encounter problems.

Many hotel-owners would flatly refuse or say they had no free rooms. However, if the traveller couple is from a foreign country, the hotel owners couldn’t care less if they were married or not.

There are a lot of people with double standards everywhere. While they see themselves as moral guardians in case the travellers are from the country, they believe foreign couples were governed by a different set of moral values and it was not their responsibility to implement that. Continue Reading →