Snapshot of Iceland, PT. 1

Sorry friends, family and followers!

I’ve neglected my blog for some time (life gets busy…you know) but you’ll start seeing posts more frequently with images from my recent travels – starting with Iceland.

Iceland 7

Skógafoss, Southern Iceland

Iceland 6

Typical picturesque views from Ring Road

Icleand 1

Fun street art in Reykjavík

Iceland 4

The clear and very cold Silfra water that you can snorkel or scuba dive in at Þingvellir National Park

Iceland 3

Check out all of those stars!

Iceland 2

Farm along Ring Road in South Iceland

Iceland 5

Solheimajokull Glacier hiking

Iceland’s most “SCENIC” hotels!

ion hotel

ION POOL

ION HOTEL 1

ION HOTEL 3

Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel

HOTEL GLYMUR

hotel glymur 5

hotel glymur 2

hotel glymur 4

Hotel Glymur (Villas)

Hotel Buoir 1

Hotel buoir 3

hotel buoir 2

hotel budir

Hotel Budir

Brimnes 3

brimnes 2

brimnes 4

Brimnes Hotel & Cabin

hellnar 2

hel 2

hellnar

Hotel Hellnar

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

Breathtaking Photographs of Iceland

Iceland 2

Iceland 1

Iceland 4

Iceland 6

Iceland 5

Iceland 3

All of these photographs were taken by a relative of mine- Philip Witt – I’ve provided his Flickr account below

Gannet

Where can you take a car ride into the clouds?

cable ride

Guanabara Bay, (Rio de Janeiro), Brazil

This cable car ride provides magnificent views of Rio’s bay, city, and beaches. 

beautiful view

“The Sugarloaf cable car in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, one of the world’s best known attractions, has received over 37 million visitors since its opening in 1912.

The ride is divided into two stages, each lasting 3 minutes. The first stage goes from Praia Vermelha (Red Beach) to Morro da Urca (Urca Hill), at an altitude of 220 meters. The second stage goes from Morro da Urca to Sugarloaf Mountain at an altitude of 528 meters. Cable car speed varies from 21 to 31 kilometers per hour. Each car has a capacity for 65 passengers.”

http://gobrazil.about.com/od/riodejaneiro/ss/sugarloafcablecar.htm

Every tourist attraction has a cost: Adults= $27 , Children ages 6-12= $16 , Children under 6= No charge

Where can you take a motorbike ride through terraces of yellow fields?

vietnam terraces

Vietnam

These beautiful terraces are used for vietnams staple crop, rice, which has been growing there for thousands of years.  This yellow color appears towards the end of September and/or October and typically only lasts for a few months, it signals that it is the ripen rice season.  Other times of the year you’ll see these terraces displaying beautiful greens.

The most noted areas in which you can find these terraces are Mu Cang Chai, Sa Pa, Hoang Su Phi; needless to say there are many others that may be just as beautiful just not as well-known, crowded and/or touristy.  (Most of the touring companies in Vietnam have various options to hike through these golden yellow fields!)

motorbike

A great way to let your senses truly experience Vietnam the non-touristy way is through a week tour on motorbike; although there are shorter options as well.  Not only will you be safely driven by a well-instructed driver, but you will see almost all of Vietnam (the sought after well-known destinations as well as the more remote destinations) without having to peer through fogged up windows.

A highly recommended company to do this motoride tour with is called Hue Riders.

http://www.hueriders.com/index.html

Where can you lock your love above the clouds?!

mttt

In order to lock your love above the clouds you must first hike up Mt. Huashan (in China) which is no walk in the park.

lock of love

I like to think of this as a twist on the “Love Lock” bridge in France!

This is a scary, endorphin boosting, and very unique hike.  This can be special for a pair or group of people whom enjoy a challenge and sentimental moment.  You can permanently lock your love above the clouds in what feels like your on top of the world while creating a memory so special and unique.

For a more detailed description of the hike:  http://www.travelchinaguide.com/package/tour-xa10.htm