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.

collage_berlin.jpg

#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.

collage_prague.jpg

#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.

collage_croatia

#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.

collage_estonia

#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.

collage_riga

#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.

collage_iceland

#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.

collage_swiss

#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.

collage_london

#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.

collage_budapest.jpg

#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 😉

collage_india

How was your year in travel? Keep going!!

Weekly Photo Challenge : Repurpose

 

img_7719

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!

Foodies in Budapest

Mr.A & I love good food, it’s one of our common denominators 😃 On our latest weekend getawayBudapest pleasantly surprised and pampered our tastebuds. My favorite places, you ask? Here you go…

#1 The Bigfish Seafood Bistro

Mr.A & I were completely wowed by the excellent quality of the food here.We are seafood paella and fried calamari and vegetables. Both turned out super! The portions were quite hearty. The restaurant’s decor is quite neat. You could also choose fresh a la carte seafood from a glass counter if you fancy. The location is very close to Oktogon, right on Andrassy Avenue. If you are in the locality, give it a go.

#2 The Book Cafe

What a gorgeous cafe! This is one of the most elegant cafes I’ve been to. The ceiling and chandeliers are so luxurious, I couldn’t stop looking & clicking pictures. The food is mostly cafe style sandwiches and cakes. We tried some & liked them. They serve both alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages. It’s a very nice place to feel fancy without having to spend a lot!

#3 Cafe Gelarto

The speciality of this gelateria is that they fashion roses out of your dessert. Delicious and pretty at the same time. You can choose two to four flavours – I picked chilli chocolate with lime sorbet, a brilliant combination. It’s surprisingly cheap, two euros for two flavours! This place is right in front of St. Istvan Basilica.

#4 Kozmosz Vegan Restaurant

It was my first visit to an exclusively vegan restaurant & I was glad to be here. Both gyros plate & Mexican plate were delicious. Although Mr.A thought the bean dish extra garlicky, but I was happy with it. The best & pear juices were absolutely fresh. It wasn’t much crowded, they played nice music & the waiter was so polite. I’d recommend this restaurant to anyone who wants to give vegan a go.

#5 Cafe Vian

This was our first meal in Budapest. We had the local goulash, that was good enough the and chicken paprikash, which was better. They served pálinkas with honey, and the Hungarian red wine was smooth. The Hungarian sponge cake dessert was decadent. Though the waiters seemed a bit clumsy, I heard three crashes in the couple of hours we were there! I guess it just means they are quite busy 😉