Objects in the mirror…

Every road trip that Mr.A and I brings so many transient moments like this one captured in the side view mirror of our car, when we feel we own the road, the landscape, the world! And they make me wish if only I could hit a pause button and hold on to this feeling a little longer. But as they say, objects in the mirror are closer than they appear, so are those memories held closer in our minds than we know, and they come back to us at inadvertent occasions to surprise us and bring a smile on our lips…

In response to the weekly prompt “Transient” on The Daily Post.

There’s more of the weekly photo challenges on Sunny District, hope you enjoy them, too!

Travel checklist : 2016

2016 was a year of adventures, big and small. Early last year, Mr.A and I prepared a 2016 Travel Wishlist. And we went though quite a bit of it, of course, missing some here & there, but adding a few more in the end. By the end of it, I had ticked off 9 totally new countries! Whoa, I’m so lucky!! So, continuing on the tradition set down by my Travel checklist: 2015, here’s the lineup from 2016…

#1 Germany : Around my birthday in February, we visited Berlin, a city rife with such poignant history, yet so contemporary at the same time. It was an eye-opener, trying to imagine what the city might have gone through during those war-torn years.

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#2 Czech Republic : In spring, it was time for beautiful Prague, together with our friends N&G. The city of a hundred spires was as intriguing as we had expected. Like Berlin, here too, we experienced some heartrending snippets of history.

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#3 Croatia : May brought in a terrific week of road-trips, when we travelled through the length of Croatia, from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. We visited several cities and witnessed amazing geography, enjoyed traditional food and met some really nice people along the way.

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#4 Estonia : Around midsummer, we took an overnight cruise to Tallinn, to see its charming old town and relax at a spa hotel. Mr.A’s little sis joined us on this fun trip.

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#5 Latvia : A mere 4-hour bus ride from Tallinn brought us to Riga, another really winsome town with its many spires, squares, parks and cafes.

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#6 Iceland : In fall came our epic road-trip around Iceland with our friends S&S, one of our most awe-inspiring trips ever. To say that the landscape is stunning, is a gross understatement. Every step of the way was a revelation in beauty and wonder.

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#7 Switzerland :  In September, Mr.A and I took my parents on a trip to Switzerland, the enchanting land of endless green fields, glorious mountains and postcard villages.

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#8 United Kingdom : And then there was a bonus office trip to London. Though it was short & snappy, I got a chance to see a couple of prime spots and became even more excited about returning to this groovy city.

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#9 Hungary :  In November, keeping up with an unsaid tradition of ours, we celebrated Mr.A’s birthday in Budapest. We were charmed by this city of bridges, and felt knowledgable while comparing it to its almost-twin, Prague.

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#10 India : And finally in December we spent time in India to connect with our beloved friends and family. I know this is cheating, ’cause I am from India, so this is not a new visit, but I just couldn’t resist the fun of getting down to a square ten-pointer 😉

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How was your year in travel? Keep going!!

Weekly Photo Challenge : Repurpose

 

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Kerið, crater repurposed to lake

Iceland, being located where it is, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, is fairly high in geological & seismic activity. As such, there are several craters left over by numerous volcanic eruptions all over the island. Nature has decided to repurpose some of these into water basins called crater lakes, that is a lake formed when water collects in a volcanic crater or caldera.

On our road-trip around Iceland last autumn, we got to see several such crater lakes, one of them being Kerið (pronounced Kerid or Kerith). The small and serene lake calmly sits between slopes that now run partly green in the warmer months. One can stroll around the rim to take a look at it from every angle, and also walk down to the edge of the water. The caldera itself is relatively young, only about 3000 years old. Researchers have discovered that there was possibly no eruption in this case – the cone volcano ran down its magma and the crater collapsed inwards. The water is from the water table, as opposed to precipitation like rain or melting ice. A trip to Iceland is definitely a revision course in geography & geology, something I enjoyed thoroughly back in school. So don’t be surprised if I start breaking into a ramble here 😉 What can I see, it’s as much a treat for the mind as it is for the eyes!

How to get there : Drive yourself or get together with a tour group. Kerið falls along the Golden Circle, a popular tourist route that starts at Reykjavik.

How far is it : From Reykjavik, it is about 62km, which should take you 40mins to an hour.

How much does it cost: With an entrance fee of 400ISK (as of November 2016), which comes to about €3, this is one of the cheaper attractions in Iceland.

If you are planning a trip to Iceland and have any questions regarding planning, just give me a shout-out & I’ll be more than happy to share my tips and stories 🙂

Click away for more stories from the Weekly Photo Challenge!

Street art in Reykjavik

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A few weeks ago, I went on an awe-inspiring road-trip through Iceland with Mr.A and two of our closest friends in Stockholm. Although it will take me a while to recount all those breath-taking views and experiences we shared along the way, let me start with Reykjavik, our port of entry & exit. Like I do on all my trips, I tried to capture the spirit of the city through its vibrant street art. At least a few years ago, the authorities in Reykjavik were not very supportive of this form of art. Not sure where they stand now, but I was happy to find a lot of color along Laugavegur, Reykjavik’s hep main street, leading up to the beautiful harbor area of Gamla Höfn. Take a look 🙂

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Croatia Day 7, 8 : Zagreb

… Continued from Croatia Day 6: Motovun, Hum
We spent most of Day 7 on the road, stopping here and there, at no particular destination. The drive from Hum to the capital Zagreb was  about 200km, we finally arrived at our apartment hotel by sundown and settled in for the last leg of our awesome Croatian road-trip.

Highlights

  • Next morning the plan was to walk through Zagreb’s Upper Town. Mr.A and I started our tour at the Ban Jelačić Square & the Manduševac Fountain. Next, up to the Kaptol dominated by the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then onto the colorfully umbrella-ed Dolac Market where local farmers bring fresh produce every day of the week. Strolling through the happening Tkalciceva Street, we passed under the Gradec Stone Gate, dating back to the 1200’s. Here locals and tourists light candles to the Virgin Mary even today. Next stop was the colorfully tiled St.Marks Church. We toured Gradec some more, listening to piano music floating in from a ballet school, such a pleasant touch to our afternoon! And then ended up somewhere in the Lower Town. The final high-point was the fun funicular ride up to the Strossmayer promenade. At the top, we were enchanted by the bird’s eye-view of the city warmly lit by the setting sun.
  • Tkalciceva Street (pronounced tkal-chee-tseva) needs special mention when one is talking about Zagreb. This is the city’s hep street lined with scores of restaurants, cafes and fast-food joints that to satisfy any craving you might have. Of course, the cuisine is not limited to Croatian food, but a large variety from all over the world. This is where you will find the best dressed Croatians sipping on their coffee, meeting friends and family, hanging out with friends, and generally enjoying the good life. Mr. A and I happily joined the scene strolling through to the very end.We even witnessed some sort of horse procession! We rewarded ourselves with an excellent lunch and coffee 🙂
  • You might have noticed that I have a thing for street-art  😉 and Zagreb had lots to offer on that front. Zagreb’s prominently young population is owed to its universities that attract students from not only the rest of Croatia but also neighbouring countries. As such, it is not surprising that graffiti show up on its walls as an expression of the young voices. Also, there are several inspiring installations all over the city in the form of sculptures & statues.

And that brought us to the end of our amazing week in Croatia, the fascinating, versatile land of natural & cultural wealth. We could wish to stay on much longer, but it was time to head back to new adventures. And there is always a way back to places we love, isn’t that right?!