NECESSARY advice when traveling in Pune!

“Situated in the West Indian state of Maharashtra, Pune (assume an accent on the e) is a city for those who enjoy a lively nightlife, hiking, and spicy and delicious street food. It is an important city to me because I’ve spent many summers with my grandparents here, and I’m back again for a six month internship with a human rights law firm.  I’ve had more time to try the street food, find the best places to shop, and discover where to get the best views of the city, which, in my opinion, is the best part of traveling somewhere new.

I can offer you clichéd advice (“Take an auto rickshaw everywhere!” or perhaps “don’t drink the water”), but there are so many other things that are worth mentioning! I am hesitant to offer advice because when I travel, I do what I want. I look at a map and I simply go exploring. I firstly recommend to never buy a single guidebook, especially with an ever-changing, growing country like India. I also don’t like having a packed schedule during my trips where I’m running from one supposedly must see attraction to the next. Take it easy when you’re here. Don’t be impatient, don’t plan your trip hour by hour; you will get absolutely exhausted. India is for the adventurous open minded soul, so the best way to enjoy Pune, or any Indian city for that matter, is to just go with it!

Yet I realize that this spontaneous way of traveling can lead to missed specialties that can only be found in that city. So I should probably give you something to start with. Let’s make this short, sweet, and to the point.

First thing first. The best time to come here is between November and February, as those are the coolest months. I was here during the summer and it reaches 105; if you’re planning to travel around India rather than stay only in Pune, you’ll bake from April to the end of May. Then, the monsoons start in June, so you’ll drench until September.

Once you’re here, take a moment or two to just soak it all in. The sights, sounds, probably not the smells; it will be like no other city that you’ve ever been to, and I can guarantee that.

Regarding the food, ease yourself into it. Don’t get the pani puri first. Pune is for foodies, and those who enjoy high end dinners will get what they want in the Kalyani Nagar and Koregaon Park areas. But street food is the real forte of any Indian city. The local specialty is the vadaa pav, a spicy potato sandwich, which I’ve literally been obsessed with. It’s doused in oil, so I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who is health obsessed, but still, try it just because you might just have a foodgasm (“I’ll have what she’s having!”). It can be found anywhere in the city, but the best ones are in the Camp area, on MG Road. With your vada pav, have some chai. I can’t imagine it getting any better than that combination.

drink                         food

(left, chai at Vohuman Café. Right, vada pav from Karve road, served with green chilies)

If you’re into hiking or just want to give it a try, check out Sinhagad, which has literally been a tradition for me for years. It has really nice views of a few rivers, and if you’re coming anytime between July and August during the monsoon season, then the greenery of the surrounding mountains is pretty amazing. Other than Sinhagad, there’s Parvati, with a sweeping view of the city at sunset.

Or, if you’re not into the hiking thing and simply want to enjoy rooftop bars and classy evenings, visit the Pashaa lounge at the top of the Marriot. 

temple

(Temple on Parvati)

And finally, shopping. On Lakshmi Road in Old Pune, you can find everything from precious metals to stores filled with random knick knacks. MG and FC Road street shopping can get you a shirt and shoes for less than five dollars total. Lastly, for those who want the international brands, there are the malls of Viman Nagar. But come on! Forget about huge malls! Street shopping and haggling are the proper way to shop here. 

nightlife

(Lakshmi Road at night)

Let me once again emphasize how important it is to take it all at your pace. Don’t think that I’m underestimating you, it’s just that you’ll be pushed in crowds and note the aggression on the roads with apprehension. Yet Pune is a city with beautiful people, savory foods, and scenes of daily life that will absolutely amaze you.

flower shop

(Street corner flower shop)

This post was written by Kanan Gole, if you are interested in checking out her other travels, and/or GAINING helpful advice, check out her blog & leave a comment!

kananabroad.wordpress.com

Eat and Enjoy nature in Namibia

Eat in Nambia

Eat in Namibia 2

A close friend of mine, Shauntay White recently travelled to Namibia.  Shauntay was nice enough to share one of her most special places she used to eat at in Namibia, ” it is a restaurant at the Okapuka Game Drive.  At the Drive, you can eat at a restaurant that overlooks the grounds.  It is not unusual to see animals out in the fields carelessly eating while you do the same. It is a very relaxing environment where you can truly appreciate nature and all of its wonders while enjoying a meal of your own.” 

guy walking

Simply a beautiful photograph capturing the hills on Namibia.

If you’d like to check out Shauntays personal blog, I’ve provided it below!

naturalbyshauntay.BlogSpot.com

A unique & historic home rental in Italy

Civita di

town beauty

Located in Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy “a unique destination that is a pristine Medieval village on a promontory set in a vaste valley carved into volcanic rock by two rivers. Its only connection to the modern world is a footbridge by which you will travel the last half mile of your voyage into another world, virtually untouched by modern life”.

The home rental was designed by Studio F and is called Domus Civita.

pool

cave

bed

Studio F was careful to preserve the historic charm this house contained through careful renovation.  This 3 bedroom/ 3 bathroom rental home has all the essential amenities for one to feel extra comfortable and relaxed throughout their stay while also providing an aesthetically pleasing modern interior and a historic and beautifully decorated exterior.  Each bedroom has their own unique and beautiful views of the town and surrounding landscape for one to feel truly at peace.

If you’d like to check out some more pictures, or learn more about the rental check out their website http://domuscivita.com

3 (unique) things to do near Naples, Italy

naples beach

La Spiaggia dei 300 Scalini – The Beach of the 300 Steps

“This beach is about 1 ½ hours north of Naples and has white sand with crystal-clear water. The catch? You have to descend 300 steep steps to enjoy this little oasis. However, it’s well worth it! Summer weekends feature beach parties and camping.”

Food, naples

Il Garum

“Il Garum is a small restaurant located in the heart of Naples’ historic district. They serve incredibly fresh seafood in a small piazza overlooking a busy street, so it’s great for people-watching. Their carpaccios are great as well as their eggplant, zucchini and mozarella-stuffed grilled squid. Yum!”

naples, Island of procia

The Island of Procida

“The island of Procida is a 1-hour ferry ride from Naples and is less famous than nearby Capri and Ischia – which means…less crowded! The best way to see the island is by boat or on foot. There are plenty of places to rent a small boat, great coves to swim in and small boutique shops with fun clothes and gifts for those not fortunate enough to travel with you to this beautiful island!”

All the pictures and information provided in this guest post was from a close friend whom I met in Tanzania, Bianca Hilary Kenworthy.

Bianca can speak Italian beautifully (fluently), and has been visiting family there since she was patiently waiting in her moms belly. Not only is she a Senior Account Executive at Auster Events but also runs an Italian Food blog that specializes in delicious homemade pastas.

Check out her blog!  http://www.pastificiodeicampi.it/blogs/linguina/

Where can you watch a movie AND eat upscale French-Italian cuisine?!

cine de chef

cine de chef 1

Cine de Chef, Seoul, South Korea

I quote from The Official Site of Korea Tourism, “CGV Cine de Chef is a new style restaurant that connects both move theater and restaurant. This luxurious, but cozy restaurant has seven exquisite chefs that offer delicious French and Italian food. Screen A is equipped with luxurious electronic chairs, Hi-Fi system, 11.1 surround sound system, and three-dimensional sound with a sense of depth anywhere in a 360° span while Screen B offers leather sofas for couples with diverse styles, red egg chairs, and side tables to hold drinks (using drink services).”

Warning: It may cost you, tickets usually start at $54!!

If you’re interested in a more detailed review of the food and overall experience check this out … http://korea.stripes.com/restaurant-guide/cine-de-chef-wine

Where can you bask in lavender fields and learn to cook delicious French cuisine?!

lavender 1

Provence, France!!

The International Kitchen provides a fun and relaxing way to cook Provencal cuisine.  You can go on a “culinary vacation” for a few days, or just attend a one day cooking class!

http://www.theinternationalkitchen.com/cooking-vacations/france/provence-cote-dazur

gorges-verdon-248032

**Bonus: If you’re already in Provence checkout EUROPE’S DEEPEST CANYON, Gorges du Verdon!  You can take a hike, swim, rent a kayak, , or simply drive around the rim!

Where can you eat the BEST cheesesteak?!

Philadelphia

Philadelphia, USA!!

genos  pats

Both FAMOUS for their delicious “Philly cheesesteaks”, there is an ongoing battle between these two restaurants for the BEST CHEESESTEAK.

I’ve tried both, I am in favor of GENO’S CHEESESTEAKS, but like Pat’s CHEESE FRIES more.  Why don’t you decide for yourself and try both, they are right across the street from one another!!

Where can you surf and eat nachos as BIG as your ASS?!

Tamarindo

Tamarindo, Costa Rica!!!  There’s a bunch of great surf spots in and around Tamarindo. If you’re looking for a unique “ride” then I would suggest taking a boat to Witches Rock!

If you’re a first time surfer then I would highly suggest using Witch’s Rock Surf Camp. (The surf camp is located in Tamarindo!)

Check it out….

http://witchsrocksurfcamp.com/eat-at-joes/

Nachos

Eat at Joe’s is a small delicious restaurant located right next to the beach in Tamarindo.  I enjoyed these nachos, but definitely had trouble finishing them, they’re huge!!  If you’re looking for something lighter I’d suggest some good ole chips and guacamole, or salsa.

**Bonus:  There’s a fun nightlife, lot’s of bars, and dancing!

nachos sign

(This is the sign in front of Eat at Joe’s restaurant!!)

**Bonus: Another restaurant in Tamarindo I would recommend is Patagonia, below I’ve posted a link with reviews of the restaurant!

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g309253-d3781345-Reviews-Patagonia_Parrillada_Argentina-Tamarindo_Province_of_Guanacaste.html

Where can you eat some of the BEST CHOCOLATE COVERED KEY LIME PIE?!

Key west, key lime pie

Key West, USA!!!  My grandparents always spoke about how amazing the frozen key lime pie is in Key  West.  Luckily, I had the pleasure of visiting Key West in December, and had a chance to try the key lime pie myself!!  It was OUTSTANDING!!! There are plenty of shops that sell this delicious dessert in Key West, it’s not difficult to find!

conch train

**Bonus:  There’s a lot to do and see in Key West, and it can often be tiring.  If your feeling a little lazy and would like a ride around the WHOLE island then I would suggest to take a ride on the conch train!!  There is also a trolley that is similar to the conch train.

You can get on an off at any of the various stops that the conch train and trolley make, and then hop back on at your own convenience to see the rest of the island.  A new conch/trolley runs about every 20 minutes.

photo 2.43.01 PM

**Bonus:  There is also a BEAUTIFUL beach with crystal clear blue water.  The water is perfect for snorkeling, and many other water sports!!

Where can you learn to cook HOMEMADE fresh Italian cuisine, and enjoy a wine tasting?!

Il fon.

fontana

Il Fontanaro!! Situated in Umbria, Italy Il Fontanaro is a farmhouse located on 40 acres of land covered with all sorts of trees and flowers.  It offers beautiful views, a peaceful setting, along with fun activities such as cooking classes, and wine tastings.

Below I’ve listed two websites that have rated and reviewed (by customers) Il Fontanaro, take a look for yourself….

http://www.flipkey.com/paciano-villa-rentals/p274699/

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1057590-d1165382-r129444448-Il_Fontanaro-Paciano_Province_of_Perugia_Umbria.html