Guest Post || Top 5 Reasons to visit Canada for Your Winter Vacation by Savannah

In the winter, most people are looking to visit warmer destinations and escape the snow. These people are missing out on opportunities to make the most of the weather, and do the things they can only do one season of the year. Canada gets some really cold winters, and the locals have found a lot of ways to embrace and celebrate that weather. Instead of heading for an island, set out for a snowy adventure.

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  1. The Carnival

If you’re traveling with your family, the Quebec Winter Carnival is a must-do. It runs in January and February, and it’s all about traditions. Toboggan races are a major draw, though most families come just to see the ice palace. The kids will have a ton of fun, but there’s also plenty of things for the adults to do. The festival’s signature cocktail, the Caribou, is a concoction of whiskey, red wine, and maple syrup. There’s never been a more Canadian drink.

  1. The Skiing Opportunities

Skiing is fun for everyone. Whether you’re vacationing with your family, your friends, or your coworkers, you’ll all enjoy yourselves while you’re getting a little adrenaline rush. There’s no shortage of excellent places to ski. Mont Sainte Anne boasts some incredible views of Quebec, and it offers over a dozen trails in varying difficulties.

mont-sainte-anne2Everyone will be able to find the right trail, and if you’re staying for a while, you might start to feel comfortable enough to take on some of the big ones.

  1. Eating and Drinking

Every year, Nova Scotia holds the Winter Icewine festival. It’s a foodie’s dream come to life. Boutique winemakers from the area, as well as some of the region’s most esteemed chefs, come together to create magic in the tummies of locals and tourists who come to eat and drink. This is a ten day festival and exhibition with dozens of events.

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If you’re more interested in eating and drinking in style, La Bodega Tapas Bar and Grill builds an ice bar every winter. Even the stools are carved from ice. Save the regular table for any other time of the year – how many opportunities will you have to dine on ice?

  1. Pond Hockey

Sports lovers rejoice. In New Brunswick, you’ll be able to attend the World Pond Hockey Championships. Over a hundred teams come out to participate, and you can take part in the fun. It’s the only sport that can’t be played at any other time of year. Pond hockey has deep roots in Canadian culture, and it’s just as enjoyable for any hockey lover from any other part of the world. Sports fans will want to hang around for all four days of festivities, and they should bring a pair of skates.

  1. Ice Climbing

Ice climbing probably isn’t for everyone, but people who are on the hunt for a great adventure won’t be able to pass up the chance. Thrill seekers from far and wide come to Canada to ice climb in the winter. There are designated safe places and instructors for first timers, so everyone who has never climbed before will have the opportunity to learn how to do it the correct way. You can go hiking or mountain climbing anywhere, but you can only scale these ice walls in Canada.

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If you’ve ever wanted to walk in a real winter wonderland, bump Canada up to the top of your list for your next winter vacation destination. You’ll get the experience that world famous Canadian hospitality, and you’ll be glad that you did.

Savannah WardleAbout the Author: Savannah is an experienced traveler who loves winter sports and mountains. Whenever not working, she’s at the slopes in the US, Asia or Europe. She’s also interested in photography and film-making.

 

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

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Guest Post || How To Plan A Multi-generational Family Vacation by Kiley Morrow

A family vacation is tough enough to plan without age difference consideration. Meanwhile, many families use their vacations as an opportunity to spend time with their parents and children.

Going on a holiday with all the family members is fun and exciting. However, the lack of planning may lead to disaster. If you are responsible for the planning part, the below tips can help you come up with a vacation that will satisfy everyone.

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Know That Ideal Vacations Don’t Exist

An ideal multi-generational vacation exists in the same magic universe as Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. If you are planning to go on a vacation with a big family, someone will always find something to be upset about.

Your goal is not to plan an ideal for everyone. It’s to find an option that will satisfy most of the family members.

Plan Ahead

Start planning the vacation as far in advance as possible. People have a way of changing their plans so make sure you set the dates early. The earlier you start planning, the better chance it will be that everyone will make it to the vacation.

Meanwhile, you can get some early booking deals. Early planning allows you to take things slow and avoid being in a constant rut.

Ask for Everyone’s Opinion

Before booking, ask everyone what they want from a vacation. The best way to go about it is to have them make a wish list. Let them know that all the wishes are impossible to consider but you’ll try to factor in at least a couple.

This way you’ll get an idea of what to look for when planning while satisfying at least some wishes of each family member.

Don’t Hesitate to Get Help

If you are the designated vacation planner, it doesn’t mean that everyone else should sit around and do nothing. Delegate some of your responsibilities to the others. While you are busy with hotel booking, someone else can look for car rental options, museum discounts or interesting places to visit. Once they have the options ready, you can proceed to incorporate them into your plan.

 

Choose Accommodation Wisely

Large multi-generational families usually go on a vacation together in order to spend some quality time with each other. That’s why you should consider accommodations that allow everyone to live close. Townhouses and villas are great choices. Such accommodations usually have large common areas such as kitchens and backyards. Meanwhile, everyone gets his or her own room.

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However, some families prefer not to have a common area. They’d rather go to a restaurant and spend quality time there. Ask everyone for their accommodation preferences when they are making their wish lists.

Optimize Your Packing

When several adults from one family are traveling together, they can optimize their packing list. There is no need to bring 3 scissors, 2 tweezers, 2 flat irons, and 4 boxes of Advil. If you are planning to live in the same villa, this over packing is not necessary.

Talk to the family members and designate someone responsible for each shared item.

Consider the Expenses

Since you’ll be living together as one big family, you need to discuss the finances. In most cases, someone pays for the trip (hotel and tickets) but the expenses incurred during the vacation are distributed among the family members. Talk about the financial part in advance in order to avoid misconceptions during the vacation.

Financial matters have a way of ruining even the best of times. A great way to avoid financial complications is to book an all-inclusive vacation, just make sure you pick a family-friendly all-inclusive, not an adults-only resort. When everything is covered in advance, most of the money questions become irrelevant.

Plan For Some Time Apart

Even if you consider all the wishes, it’s hard to plan an ideal vacation for everyone. So occasionally, you need to spend some time apart. Grandparents might feel like taking a nice walk in the park while the kids can take advantage of a water park nearby. Spending a little time apart can make your family vacation even more exciting.

Do a Final Check

Before the trip, make sure both grandparents and children have all the proper documents with them. Check for the requirements in advance. If you are traveling to another country, consider checking up on the rule and law differences that don’t appear intuitive.

Some countries require additional documents for children traveling with just one parent. So if you are divorced, you may need permission from your ex-spouse to travel with the children abroad.

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Get Ready to Be Flexible

When going on a vacation with a large family, unexpected things are bound to happen. Besides coming up with Plan B and Plan C in advance, you have to be in the right mindset.

When it comes to large multi-generational groups, ideal planning doesn’t exist. Get ready to make changes along the way.

Have Fun

Multi-generational vacations are not a burden. They exist to allow the family members to spend quality time together. The only way to do it is to relax and have fun. After all, such vacations don’t happen more often than once a year.

Even if you get tired by the end of the trip, you know you have just created unforgettable memories.

Kiley MorrowAbout the Author:

Kiley Morrow is a travel/lifestyle expert. She’s spent the past 3 years traveling the globe and sharing all the experiences she had through tips and guides.

 

 

PS: Special thanks to Emma Johnson (Digital Marketing Coordinator-Sandals Resorts) for facilitating this brilliant story. 🙂

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

Cheers !!

 

Guest Post || Fall Foliage Road Trip : Boston to Burlington via the Mohawk Trail by PeaceJoyAustin

 

Background: Our Fall Foliage Adventure

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to go to New England in the autumn to see its famously bright fall colors. One of my dearest friends lived in Boston and we convinced two of our other great friends to fly out and join us on an adventure across Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine to see some of the best fall foliage the country has to offer.

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It’s always fun to make a list of goals for a trip, whether easy or far-fetched, silly or serious. Here were our goals for the trip:

  • Meet random people!
  • Hidden – NSFW 😂
  • Eat lots of yummy local food!
  • Hidden – NSFW 😂
  • See lots of cute small towns!
  • Admire fall foliage! (Obviously)
  • Hidden – NSFW 😂
  • Stand under a variety of covered bridges!
  • Climb mountains, cross rivers, & hug trees!
  • Meet politicians campaigning in New Hampshire! (We went in 2015)
  • Reach great highs and strong buzzes!

Boston to Greenfield

We picked up our rental car – which was hilariously a tiny subcompact Mitsubishi – and the four of us left Boston early to drive west on Highway 2 toward Massachusetts’ scenic Mohawk Trail. An hour and a half drive took us to Greenfield, a small city on the eastern terminus of the Mohawk Trail. Just before we entered the city, we stopped at the French King Bridge to get an epic view of the Connecticut River and surrounding foliage (see top photo).

In Greenfield, we went to Poet’s Seat Tower, an observation tower built in 1912 that has a panoramic view of the city. It’s free and open to the public – just take two stairwells to the top. We had it to ourselves until a car pulled up and we witnessed what appeared to be  a drug deal and/or a scandalous teacher-student relationship 😂

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Greenfield from Poet’s Seat Tower

The Mohawk Trail

From Greenfield, we drove west on Highway 2. (Highway 2 between Greenfield and Williamstown is considered the Mohawk Trail.) Our first stop was the town of Shelburne Falls, a cute tiny town with a historic downtown and a famous Bridge of Flowers which is exactly what it sounds like 😉 You can walk on the floral bridge itself or another bridge next door to get a good view of it. From the southeast side of the bridge, we walked down Deerfield Avenue to a series of beautiful white water rapids on the Deerfield River.

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Bridge of Flowers

We got back onto the Mohawk Trail – after six miles, we saw a stop we knew we had to make: a corn maze! The Hicks Family Corn Maze was only $6 and we were given a paper with some landmarks we needed to find in the maze so that added an extra element of fun.

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Hicks Family Corn Maze

Then it was back to the drive – once the road entered Mohawk Trail State Forest, we began to stop frequently to savor the epic views. We stopped at Eastern Summit Gift Shop just past the tiny town of Florida and were amused by a collection of “mystery gifts” they sold that were wrapped and labeled according to the ideal recipient (young girl, adult male, etc.). From this shop atop a hill, there was a stunning view of the surrounding fall foliage.

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The view from Eastern Summit Gift Shop

After five more miles, the road came to a dramatic bend and began to drop into a valley. Right on the bend, we saw a quaint-looking building that was a treat for our hungry eyes – the Golden Eagle Restaurant. The food was traditional American food and fairly average, but the view was quite scenic. We experienced some subtle racial prejudice from the staff 😡 – don’t listen if they tell you to use the outdoor port-a-potty.

Southern Vermont

We reached the end of the Mohawk Trail in Williamstown, turned right on Highway 7, and crossed into Vermont. Our first stop was The Apple Barn & Country Bake Shop just before the town of Bennington 10 miles past the border. Vermont is famous for maple syrup and our first stop in the state certainly lived up to this – they had maple flavored everything! I opted for some maple flavored froyo – mmm! Next, we stopped at Goodwill in Bennington as Halloween was coming up and I didn’t have a costume. They had the best costume selection I’ve ever seen and I walked out with a fabulous (life-changing) $5 tutu 😉

We continued north on Highway 7, following signs to take Highway 313 to Highway 7A to reach the town of Manchester (30 minutes north of Bennington). This quintessential New England town had a tall white church tower and great views of the surrounding mountain peaks. We were short on time, so we took a quick walk and then drove straight to Burlington via Highways 30, 22A, and 7 which interestingly took us through New York for a few minutes. As we drove through cute small town after cute small town, we noticed that New England has a TON of cemeteries! There were probably more dead people than live people in a lot of the towns. 😲

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Manchester, Vermont

A Night Out in Burlington

We checked into our hotel for the night – the Colchester/Burlington Motel 6. Our goal for the trip was to spend as little as possible on lodging and some research found that New England’s hotels are cheaper than AirBnbs and we were able to secure the cheapest 2-bed room each place we went 😉

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Kountry Kart Deli – they don’t take reservations!

Upon researching the best eats in town, we decided upon Kountry Kart Deli, a sandwich shop in Downtown Burlington. My friend called to ask if they had any tables available and got laughed at since (as we later found out) it’s a counter-serve deli without any tables. The sandwiches were large, delicious, and all under $10 – a great find!

We then walked a block over to Club Metronome, one of the only clubs in this small city. Shockingly, there was a line and it was bitterly cold so that wasn’t fun. But once we got inside, we went up to the 2nd level and danced for a bit until we got tired and went home for a good night’s rest.

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Freezing in line for Club Metronome

 

Click here to go on to the Fall Foliage Day 2 blog as we fend off dog attacks and explore some of Vermont’s delightful towns.

About the Guest Author:  Travel doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, or difficult! No matter your constraints, you can get away to somewhere near or far and discover something magical.

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I love hiking amidst beautiful scenery and exploring new cities and areas. My site aims to provide you with tips on the best cheap and free things to do and see and affordable places to eat and drink in U.S. cities and national parks, as well as few international destinations. While many tourist spots are amazing and well worth your time, I always include a variety of off-the-radar places that are popular among locals to ensure that you experience a place as someone who lives there does.

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

Cheers !!

Guest Post || 6 Awesome Hacks to Maximize Your Road Trip by Jonathan

Get a comfortable and spacious car’s gas tank full, holler up your friends and just leave. That’s all you need to do enjoy a perfect DIY road trip which saves you from a crazy mess of plane tickets and visas. So the next time you’re looking for some fun on a road trip, follow these simple six steps and you’ll have an awesome trip, without any doubt: 6 awesome hacks to maximize your road trip

  1. Always Keep A Backup Plan:

Road trips are full of unexpected happenings and events; you cannot quite predict a predetermined way in which the trip might go. You need to have your car in the right condition, always keep a spare tire. Keep an eye out for hotel deals because you might need to spring into a hotel room for a night if you lag up due to traffic jam or simply because you couldn’t drive. Keep your car’s security your top priority. Consider getting a good quality alarm for it.

  1. Be Spontaneous:

Always leave room for spontaneity, unlike train and plane trips you do not have preset schedules and you do not need to stick to conventional ways of travelling. Take this opportunity and step out of your comfort zone, and just go with the flow. Make random stops, if you come across different places that are not very famous. This is something you might never regret in the future, so make the most out of these unplanned moments.

  1. Divide Responsibilities:

As much as the element of spontaneity is essential to keep the trip’s fun intact, planning out certain things like designating each traveler their tasks and their responsibilities leaves no room for mismanagement and everyone plays their roles effectively to ensure the trip remains fun. And this way, the whole burden is not laid upon one person altogether so that they don’t feel all worked up.

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  1. Find Entertainment On The Way:

Don’t forget to enjoy the roadside sights. It might seem really childish but spotting the world’s largest dinosaurs or stuff like that can be really enjoyable. Check out if you can find some applications which let you know what sights you could come across when you hit the road. Look out for restaurants that provide ethnic food while on the way, often you’ll find specials of an area. Cherish the culture you across while on road trips, the native dialects of standard languages and much more.

  1. Keep Snacks Stocked!

Make sure you have enough snacks and drinks stocked up in your icebox. Having snacks helps you avoid roadside patrol pump shops with aisles full of candies.  Find a couple of recipes that you can put together easily and stock up for some time. So do not sacrifice your health and wellness goals and routine for a road trip, you can definitely manage to maintain along.

  1. Manage The Expenses:

You have to figure out a way to keep your expenses in track because chances are; you chose a road trip because it saves from soaring airfares. Have one person in the group keep a track of all the spending so it splitting the money doesn’t become a problem later.

Yatripandit’s add-on: There are many apps available these days for managing the expenses for e.g. Splitwise and settleup which can be downloaded from the app stores on your cell phones.

If you love Bollywood music check out Roadtrip Playlist by Yatripandit

Also, we have taken various roadtrips across India which can be viewed by clicking Various Yatripandit Roadtrips

jonathanAbout the Guest Author: Jonathon is an IT expert and a researcher. He is obsessed with cars and all the digital accessories. He regularly posts at www.sakerracing.com

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

Cheers !!

Guest Post || NEW ZEALAND, ROUTE 6: THE ULTIMATE ROAD TRIP by Talek Nantes

As many have said and all who’ve been there know, New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Crystalline lakes reflect the sky like a polished mirror, lush green rainforests shimmer with dew, fur seals cavort on pristine shores and soaring, snow-caped mountains pierce the sky. All these sights can be experienced within short distances of each other on scenic route 6. New Zealand’s South Island is truly an outdoor paradise.

THE GLACIER TOWNS
Start at Greymouth on the island’s west side and head south on route 6 for about two hours. You will come to the small towns of Franz Joseph and Fox Glacier, New Zealand equivalents of the wild west. The surrounding area forms part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage park hosting glaciers descending from the Southern Alps.

During the day, most travelers hike the many, well-marked trails or go on helicopter rides to get a birds-eye view of the glaciers. Some rides include glacier hiking. I took one of these exhilarating rides over the mountain peaks landing and hiking on a glacier and saw some of the most spectacular views I’ve ever experienced. I felt my heart pound like never before when the helicopter soared off a cliff over a bottom-less precipice. That’ll give you about a month’s worth of cardio workouts.

The other must-do experience in either of these towns is a temperate rain forest hike, geographically the opposite of walking on a glacier. The humidity here is almost 100%. Surrounding vegetation is thick with exotic insects. Giant ferns and other bizarre plant-life loom overhead. Everything is carpeted with a moist moss in every variation of green. It’s like walking in a film set of Jurassic Park.

During the day, this makes for a fascinating hike in alien-like surroundings. But if you go on a midnight forest hike, the glow worms put on a “light show” for you. Bring a flash light, walk deep into the forest on the hiking trail then turn off the light. You will see thousands of lightning bugs twinkling in the total, absolute darkness like stars over a moonless desert sky.

WANAKA
Continue south to the town of Wanaka on the shore of a lake created by a receding glacier. The main street fronts the lake and has funky little cafes and restaurants with pretty lake views where you can idle with a glass of one of New Zealand’s crisp, white wines.

While in Wanaka, or anywhere else in New Zealand, be sure to sample one of the country’s signature dishes, lamb. Once New Zealand had up to 80 million sheep. Since dairy production has become more profitable, however, the sheep population has decreased to about 30 million. But lamb remains a local favorite in its many culinary iterations. One lamb dish I loved in Wanaka was lamb curry at The Spice Room, one of four, count them…FOUR Indian restaurants in town. Another good option for lamb dishes is Public Kitchen and Bar with branches throughout the country.

Stop by the Visitor Information Center on Main Street and book something that will get your heart pumping like a helicopter flight, hand-gliding over the mountains or a 4WD safari tour. We booked with Wanaka River Journeys and were glad we did. We opted for a jet boat ride on the Matukituki River in Mount Aspiring National Park piloted by a funny Maori guide.  The tour included a wilderness walk to see waterfalls, forests and wildlife.

Route 6 in New Zealand is truly a wonderland of exciting and educational activities.

Read Part Two of NEW ZEALAND, ROUTE 6, THE ULTIMATE ROAD TRIP here.

Talek on Egyptian travels pyramids in Giza About the author: In college I determined that whatever I studied would have to lead to the ultimate goal of traveling. I obtained a Masters in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania but felt that alone could not guarantee me a career that would enable me to travel as much as I wanted, so I got an MBA in International Business. My Spanish language background and love of languages also helped me. Over the years I learned Italian, Portuguese and enough French to manage. To know more details about this interesting traveler click HERE

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

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Guest Post || Why Fatehpur Sikhri is a MUST visit from Agra, by Rommanne

The architecture. It is beyond brilliant. The intricate details and carvings on red sandstone and white marble is unique to the Mughal Sultanate, and is a visual treat for the eyes. I wish the walls could whisper about the grandeur and charisma of this magnificent empire!

img_20151217_120526Jalal-ud-din Mohammed Akbar, the greatest emperor of the Mughal dynasty, had built the twin cities of Fatehpur and Sikhri between 1571-1585. The capital city of Sikhri is an example of meticulous urban planning of medieval times. This ancient township is protected by a 11km long fortification wall. A tomb is dedicated to the Sufi saint Salim Chisti. The palace complex houses various important buildings. A tour of the city is like walking into the pages of your school history text book – only to realize that no words can do justice to the pristine glory of the mighty Mughal empire.

How to get there?

By Road from Agra

It is only 37 km away from Agra, towards the west. An hour’s drive from the beautiful mausoleum city.You can hire a cab for approximately Rs 2000 (an air-conditioned Indica which is a four seater) and the price varies based on the number of people commuting. Your hotel will be able to help you with this booking.

Note: The Taj Mahal is closed on a Friday, but Fatehpur Sikhri isn’t. The Taj Mahal is open to tourists on full moon nights (once a month) and the view is of paramount beauty. So plan your tour itinerary accordingly.

What to Carry?

Carry a cap to avoid the blazing sun and sunscreen during the day in summers
Warm clothes – It can get icy cold during November to February
A good pair of walking shoes
Cash – the cab driver and local shopkeepers do not use debit / credit cards
A good camera
Water bottles – it is allowed inside
Some snacks to eat on the way (not allowed inside the monuments).
Entrance Fee (subject to changes)

Indian nationals : Rs 40
Foreign Nationals: Rs 550
Additional camera charges apply

Traveler’s Tip:

A tour guide is essential to explain the nitty-gritties of the architecture. Beware of cheats! An official guide would be wearing a white uniform and will have a license. He would charge you approximately Rupees 1500 and would not bargain. You could wait for another travel group to split your expense. However, many fake tourist guides roam at the entrance to con the tourist with a fake ID card and similar uniform. They agree to a lesser price but often provide false information or no information at all.

Sikhri

Babur, the descendant of Chengiz Khan, had noticed a small village and name it Shukri (meaning shukriya or thank you) when he defeated Rana Sangwa at Khanua in 1527. Akbar, Babur’s grandson called it Sikhri and made it his capital between 1571-1584.

Diwan-e-Khass

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Diwan-e-Khass (The Jewel House)

 

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The pillars are a blend of Indo-Islamic architecture

 

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The ornately carved central pillar is believed to house the throne of Akbar while the Ministers were seated at corners of the passage

Ankh Michauli – The Imperial Treasury

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The crevices in the wall suggest that the Royal Treasure Troves filled with gold, silver and copper coins were placed here

Palace of Jodha Bai – Shabistan-i-Iqbal

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The design of this building draws inspiration from Rajput traditions and Hindu architecture and was also equipped with a kitchen based on the request by Akbar’s favorite queen
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One of the walls of Jodha Bai’s palace lined with various designs of the Rajput Queen’s jhumkas or earrings

 

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While some historians believe that this was the Hindu prayer hall Jodha used, others refute by suggesting that Jodha had a summer palace and a winter palace. Akbar was the only Mughal emperor who allowed his queen’s to follow their own religion. The Jalal carefully examined the doctrines of all religions, customs and ceremonies and blended the best practices to start a religion called Din-i-Ilahi

 

Turkish Sultana’s Pavilion

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Rukaiyaa Begum’s Pavilion. The paintings adorning the walls have faded with the sands of time. The beauty and finesse of the Persian silk curtains guarding the entrance to the chambers can only be imagined
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A verandah facing the Talao. Intricacy herself would have sculpted the walls of the Turkish Queen. The delicate carvings on the friezes, pillars and pilasters of the stone masons can be mistaken to be teak wood carvings

 

Panch Mahal

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Badgir (wind catcher) consists of four storeys of decreasing size. It was meant to mitigate the intense summer heat

 

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No two columns are alike on the first floor. Several designs such as bell-and-chain motif, floral patterns and tiny circular blossoms are carved on these walls

 

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The ground floor consists of 84 columns (an auspicious number for the Hindus, the first storey consists of 56 columns, the second storey 20 , the third 12 and the top storey is a domed kiosk supported on four pillars

 

Hujra-i-Anup Talao

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North-east of the Talao is a beautiful structure described as a ‘superb jewel casket’

 

Fatehpur

The twin city of Fatehpur – meaning land of victory was built next to Sikhri. However, Akbar had to abandon Fatehpur-Sikhri due to the saline content in the water and scarcity of water in this region.

Jami Masjid Complex in red sandstone

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The Badshahi Darwaza, the entrance used by the Emperor to enter the Jami Masjid complex.

 

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Pillared bays in Jami Masjid

 

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The remnants of the ceiling once adorned with marvelous paintings and colors. A look at the center of the dome shows signs of the last designs peeling off

 

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The Masjid, the principal building of Fatehpur consists of an open courtyard. The inscriptions on the wall gives an idea regarding the construction and commissioning of the mosque

Darbar of Salim Chisti in white marble

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Akbar sought the blessings of Shaikh Salim Chisti who predicted the birth of his sons, heir to the throne of the Mughal Sultanate. The dargah marks the profound reverence and respect the Sultan had for the saint

 

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The intricate jali work architecture unique to the Mughal Empire, resembles carved ivory instead of white marble. The devotees tie a sacred thread around the jali to seek blessings of the famous Sufi saint

 

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The pillars around the dargah consists of serpentine brackets which spring from the shafts. The space between the curves is filled with jali work

 

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The marble screens around the tomb draw different patterns such as pentagon, hexagon and octagonal patterns. The early morning sun casts beautiful shadows which leaves the tourist spell-bound

Buland Darwaza

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The Buland Darwaza (Lofty Gate) was built to commemorate the conquest of Gujarat. This imposing gate is made up of plain red sandstone framed in white marble. Verses from the Holy Quran are inscribed on the structure which can be seen from far distances.

The gigantic gate characterizes the assertion of power and dominance of the most successful Mughal Emperor.

Souvenir Shopping at Fatehpur Sikhri and Agra

Click here to read what Agra is famous for and tips on souvenir shopping!

 

cropped-13906890_10155214073928636_2127596217741220551_nAbout the author in her own words:    A Bengali brought up in the cosmopolitan city of Bangalore, I believe in living life to the brim. I have spent years to hone up my technical skills to get the coveted tag of an “Engineer + MBA” and worked with some of the best brands of the corporate world. I love to splash colors on canvas, disappear into a different world by picking up a good book and flipping a few pages, put together some spices and meat to please my taste buds, sway to my favorite tune each time I hear good music and of course explore a new place every time I get a chance! Well, this doesn’t even sum up 0.1% of me! Each article here is a bit of me, a bit of what I think, a little of what I feel and are pieces of the jigsaw puzzle which makes me, Me!

You can check other amazing stories by Rommanne at http://www.rommanne.com

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

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Guest Post || 7 Things Not To Miss in Rome by Always Fly Business

There’s no place like Rome. The impressive showcase of ancient history, celebrated monuments, and bustling city vibes are the ingredients for an ideal city break for anyone with an appetite for world culture.

There are relics of old worshiped gods dispersed across the city and cafe bars where both young and old take their espresso exchanging the latest news. Morning traffic is colored up by well-dressed business people on Vespa scooters, and upscale locals stroll the elegant shopping streets looking for the most recent design pieces. Rome is full of stereotypes and of world-famous attractions that visitors want to see with their own eyes, from the Colosseum and the Roman Forum to the Pantheon, and the Vatican; they are all extraordinary sights you can’t miss when you are in Rome because each of them is unique. We suggest however, also to go off-the-path for a little while to uncover alternative things to do beyond the famed churches and museums and archeological ruins. It will show you a different aspect of the city and you experience what Rome is about and what it feels like.

Here our recommended seven things you cannot miss on your next trip to Rome.

  1. The Colosseum & Roman Forum

The Colosseum is the most abiding sight in Rome and still remains in its perfect condition after about 2,000 years. Back then, it was the largest amphitheater, seating up to 80,000 Romans. The design of the magnificent three-tiered structure conveyed the wealth, might, and power of the city of Rome and the Roman Empire. Holding lots of history about the city, The Colosseum is such an important landmark that you simply must visit when in Rome.

There is likely to be long lines to enter the Colosseum, so to save time choose the Palatine Hill entrance at the Roman Forum (at a less than 5 minutes walk). Here you can purchase a combined ticket for the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum, which is valid for two days. The Roman Forum is one of the most prominent archaeological sites on earth, as it was once the epicenter of the massive Roman Empire. Here elections, public speeches, and important events took place.

As there is not that much of information we would recommend investing in an audio guide when visiting the Roman Forum, to help give you some context of the impressive sprawl of ruins in front of you! Also, we advise to visit the (fully intact) Pantheon first, so you get a better feeling of the grandeur this ancient Rome’s center used to be.

Photo by: Bjarki Sigursveinsson / Wikimedia Commons
Licensing: Public Domain
  1. The Pantheon

The Pantheon is an architectural marvel, that looks today – inside and outside – much the way it has been for almost 2,000 years. Imagine that on the marble floors people have been walking for two thousand years and that the building still possesses its original bronze doors! When you are inside (entrance is free) gaze at the domed ceiling and watch the sunlight entering the room.

Photo by: Ian Monroe / Wikimedia Commons
Dual-licensed as GFDL and CC BY-SA 2.0
  1. The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

The Vatican has a lot to offer to visitors, particularly if you are interested in the history of the Catholic religion. Inside the city walls, there are some fantastic museums with a seriously impressive collection of artwork and it is the home of the Sistine Chapel famous for its breathtaking ceiling painting by Michelangelo.

Laocoon Sculpture in the Vatican Museum, Rome.
Picture by Benutzer / Wikimedia Commons
Licensing: CC BY-SA 3.0

For most travelers, visiting the Vatican is one day out of their city trip to Rome, and that’s what we believe is the right time to spend in Vatican City. In addition to dedicating a day for the Vatican, we also recommend reserving a good guided tour here. This will not only facilitate navigating the labyrinth of the Vatican Museums but will also help you understand the context of what you see as well. Be aware that there is some serious walking involved on this day, so make sure to get out in the morning with your comfy shoes! If you book online for the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, you will be able to skip most of the lines to make your way inside.

  1. Get lost in the labyrinthine streets of the historic center

Rome’s medieval “Centro Storico” (historic center) is a maze of narrow alleys and cobbled streets filled with churches and palaces dating from the Renaissance and Baroque eras. The only way to explore it is on foot, and the best time of the day to do that is in the evening. Its heart is the bustling Piazza Navona, home to Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers. It is a beautiful place to enjoy an excellent meal and a delicious “Tartufo” (a traditional chocolate ice-cream dessert) at Bar Tre Scalini. The wine bars and cafés around Piazza Navona are definitively chic, trendy and as well excellent spots to watch people. Head over the Trevi Fountain, Italy’s largest and most famous Baroque fountain, an ensemble of mythical figures and wild horses that is dominating the small Trevi Square located in the Quirinale district. Toss a coin in the fountain to ensure a trip back to Rome, as the original legend says. Continue your walk to the square in front of the Pantheon (Piazza della Rotonda) which is a cool hangout spot on a warm summer day.

  1. Explore the Trastevere streets

If you need a break from the city vibes of Rome, go to the relatively peaceful Trastevere neighborhood on the west bank of the Tiber. Trastevere is a little unconventional, has a real Roman appearance, but is at the same time very international. The cobblestone streets are mostly car-free, the restaurants serve up excellent (and cheap) dishes, and there a plenty of good pubs and wine bars for an aperitif. The piazza in front of Basilica of Santa Maria (which is beautiful) is as charming and splendid as you would find in any Tuscan hilltop village. After nightfall, the Trastevere becomes the place to be for young locals and travelers alike, who love its original scene and relaxed atmosphere.

  1. Stroll Rome’s food markets

Rome is a perfect city for a picnic lunch, and its food markets are ideal places for filling up your basket. The oldest market in all of Rome, and undeniably one of the most famous, is the open air market, Campo dei Fiori. Colorful vegetables and fruits, beautiful flower shops, ham and cheese to enjoy at your picnic, as well as clothes, and souvenirs. You can find all kinds of goods in this market. In the heart of Rome’s most multi-ethnic neighborhood, nearby the Termini train station, you find Nuovo Mercato Esquilino. Here you feel the atmosphere of a multicultural hub; usual grocery stands are complemented by exotic produce, perfect for an international meal.

Then there is the Mercato in Testaccio where you will experience a real taste of Rome’s authentic food and soul. Get some olives, fresh mozzarella, and bread before heading out to the gardens of Villa Borghese – the largest public park in Rome – for your picnic.

Cultural lovers should not miss the Borghese Gallery inside the park, featuring some of their most exquisite (and famous) works of Bernini and Caravaggio and offering one of the best collections of art related to sculpture, painting, and architecture (the building itself is one of the attractions.) If you plan a visit to the Gallery, buy your ticket online to avoid the long, long wait to enter.

  1. Go shopping

Rome is well known for its luxurious shopping; the city has many beautiful streets that are home to glamorous designer boutiques and flagship stores, while in others small exclusive stores with an authentic style are hidden. For the best upscale shopping head to the prestigious and famous Via dei Condotti and Via Borgognona near the foot of the Spanish Steps. Wander to the lively Via del Governo Vecchio for trendy boutiques and to beautiful Via Giulia for art and antiques. When it’s time to take a breath, go to Via Vittorio Veneto. Walking down this elegant boulevard – as well renowned for its stylish hotels and lively bars – it will showcase some truly unique and exclusive stores from high fashion to authentic Italian boutiques.

Piazza Venezia with Trajan’s Column, seen from Vittorio Emmanuele II monument
photo by Markus Bernet / Wikimedia Commons
Licensing: CC BY-SA 2.0

logoAbout the author: Always Fly Business is a new web community built for travelers interested in premium traveling options. Our goal is to share our travel tips, luxury hotel and business class flight reviews as well as best practices how to find the premium deals.

More from Always Fly Business:

 

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

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Guest Post || Melbourne by Pablo

If you are looking for the definition of cool transformed into a city, then you are looking for Melbourne. The capital of Victoria, and Australia´s second biggest city (after Sydney), is one of the trendiest cities in the world (even being 20+ flight hours away from London, Berlin or NYC). Of course, if a city is cool, trendy and far away, it is a flashpacker’s paradise!

Melbourne has been appearing as the world´s most livable city in many rankings during the past few years, and this is just a way to say it is full of cultural spots such as libraries, museums and theatres, good transport, amazing parks, top universities and sport venues plus a vibe that transmits the sensation that there is always something happening in the city.

After almost a year and a half living in Australia (in Perth, to be specific), we decided it was about time we travelled to Victoria to see the city with the world´s largest urban tram network…and guess what? We loved it!

We started by taking an awful overnight 3.5hs flight that arrived at 6am, so with close to zero hours of sleep, we decided to start exploring the marvelous Melbourne.

We decided to stay in an AirBnB apartment in the CBD, so it would be easy (and free) to move around mostly all important places in a first visit. The apartment was located in the Chinatown area, which as you can imagine is full of great places to eat. Also, as Chinese influence in Australia is huge these days, it is a great place to see that influence.

As mentioned, Melbourne has a Free Tram Zone, so you can just jump on and off the tram without paying as long as you stay within that area. It is well signaled in the stations and also, in case the tram you are on gets to the end of the FTZ, it will be announced on the speakers.

 

MelboruneFTZ

Day 1 – Melbourne 101

So, as said above, we arrived in Melbourne early in the morning, and we took the Skybus from the Melbourne Tullamarine airport to the city. Skybus costs 19 AUD per person, so normally taking Uber would be cheaper when 2 or more people are going to the CBD. However, when requesting from the Airport, you can only request Uber deluxe service, so it is more expensive than taking the Skybus. This being said, we took the bus to the Southern Cross Station, and from there, the free tram to get to the apartment.

After leaving the apartment, we did one of the Melbournians favorite things: meeting with a friend for coffee.  In our case, we went to one located in Centre Place. One of the cafes, close to Flinders Lane, has a great deal of coffee + muffin for 5 AUD. And coffee is really good.

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Centre Place: coffee, coffee, coffee

Once coffee was running through our veins, we decided it was time to start the real walk. We took the tram on Swanston St and went all the way up north of the Hoodle Grid (name for Melbourne´s CBD), to see the State Library of Victoria on La Trobe St. Beautiful building, the gem there is the La Trobe reading room. Amazing place to enjoy quietly, the views from the higher balconies are really nice. Also, right in front of the Library on La Trobe St nice Victorian buildings that are part of the RMIT University campus can be seen. Good place for photographs.

From there, we took La Trobe St to the east, towards the Carlton Gardens. The Royal Exhibition Building is located within the gardens. This Building was constructed for the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880, and is currently used for diverse events closely related to the Melbourne Museum located right behind.

After walking through the gardens, we went to see St. Patrick´s Cathedral, on Albert Street. A Victorian Era building, it is Melbourne´s Roman Catholic Cathedral, and considered the biggest church in Australia. We kept onto MacArthur St., to see The Old Treasury building (to our left) and the Parliament House. Both nice buildings, what we enjoyed the most was the view of Imperial Hotel with the Old 35 Tram coming by on Spring St.

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The Melbourne Tram

By that time we entered into the “Huddle” again, especially to start discovering Melbourne´s famous lanes. The city is so full of those alleys full of urban art and hidden bars and cafes you can never get tired of exploring them. Some of our favorites during the visit were Hosier lane, AC/DC lane, and Tattersalls lane. One tip: go really early in the morning, so you can find them as desert as possible. We came back on Sunday morning to have the chance to find them that way 🙂

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Hosier Lane

Within the CBD, we also visited Federation Square, which is the heart of Melbourne´s city, right in front of Flinders Train station and St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral. On peak times, the spectacle of people crossing the street after the lights change can be pretty intimidating if you are not used to huge cities. At Melbourne Visitor´s centre, located on Federation Square, you can get maps as well as lots of discounts for different attractions. Good to have a look there.

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Federation Square

After walking through that area (and having lunch), we headed to see two of Melbourne most famous Arcades: Block Arcade and Royal Arcade. The first one was built in the late 1800s inspired in Milan´s galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and is a classic of Victorian architecture. The second one, the Royal Arcade (Main entrance on Bourke st., but also can enter opposite to Block Arcade on Little Collins St.), is the Oldest Surviving Arcade in Australia, having been open since 1870.  In the same area, corner of Bourke and Elizabeth St., the former General Post Office can be found. Nowadays a flagship store for Swedish fashion brand H&M, the building is very nice and worth a visit.

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Royal Arcade

After that, we took the tram on Bourke Street to head south west to visit the new development known as “the Docklands”. It is full of super modern buildings, a multiuse stadium and the Melbourne Star, Southern hemisphere biggest Ferris wheel.

As you can imagine, it was almost 5 pm, Friday, in Australia, so it was beer time! We met friends at the Southbank area, in a Pub named Munich Brauhaus with 5 AUD pints from 4PM to 7PM (great deal!). We enjoyed a few of those and walked over the Southbank, passing through Melbourne´s tallest building, the Eureka tower, as well as enjoying a lovely skyline lit up.

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Night City Skyline from Southbank

As already mentioned a million times in this blog, Australia is possibly the most multi-cultural country in the world. And one of the biggest influences is Chinese, so we decided it was a good opportunity to have Chinese food. We took the tram and went back to Chinatown to have dinner at a place on Little Bourke St and Celestial Ave. The place has Mao´s face in the logo, and is right in front of Vintage Cellars. This last thing is an important tip for Australia. Many restaurants, mainly Asian ones, have the BYO policy, meaning you can bring your own beer or wine from outside and you can drink them there. Eventually, they might charge you a corkage fee, but it is still cheaper than buying it at the restaurant (if they sell it).

After dining dumplings and sweet and sour pork, it was time to call it a day. We were too tired to continue so we went to bed. Next day, new adventure: the Great Ocean Road!

Day 2 – The Great Ocean Road

One of Australia´s must visit, the Great Ocean Road disserves more than one day to enjoy it fully. As our first visit to the state of Victoria was just for three days, we decided to struggle it in just one. It is doable, yes. But if possible, it is good to have an overnight stop in the area (we will go for it again!). Read about our visit here.

Day 3 – Market, Parks and Sunday life.

Day number three in Melbourne started with a photo tour of the lanes we had seen on Day one. Yes, as mentioned we wanted to see them empty, so we went there 7.30am. And it was a good decision that can be seen in our picturesJ.

After enjoying the lanes, we took the train south to see the Brighton Beach Boxes. One of Melbourne classics, it is possibly more enjoyable in Summer than in July, however, we could see them all, have a nice walk on beach and take the glimpse of one of Melbourne´s nicest suburbs. The boxes, particularly, are used by their owners to change when they go to the beach, to keep some belongings and to provide shade. Sadly, it is impossible to rent one, as they are only allowed to be used by owners approved by the city council. To get there to see them, take the train to Sandringham and get off at Middle Brighton Station and walk towards the beach.

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Brighton Beach Boxes

The train took us back to Flinders, from where we took the tram to the Shrine of Remembrance located within the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Shrine, erected as a memorial for all Victorians who served in World War 1, is now a memorial for all Australians who have served in War. While the building itself is impressive, our favorite thing was the view of the city from the balcony.

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View from the “Shrine of Rememberance”

To return to the city, we took the tram again. It left us close to the Queen Victoria Markets, which we visited with friends. The Market has been there since late XIX century, and currently is an experience itself with different stores from fresh markets to deli and clothes shops, as well as some food trucks and food stalls. One funny story, the name is not directly after Queen Victoria, but instead it gets the name from the location on the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets.

When it was about lunchtime, we headed to Fitzroy. This former working class neighborhood is currently one of Australia´s most trendy and bohemian areas, with lots of bars and eateries on the Brunswick street area. We ate at Vintage, which had a great deal of a Chicken Parma + Pot for 12 AUD (meaning Chicken Schnitzel with Cheese, tomato and fries, and half pint of good beer!). Highly recommended.

After lunch, we walked all the way to the Fitz Roy Gardens. James Cook´s family house, brought from England, is located there. Captain Cook was the first European to make contact with Eastern Australia, making him very important for Oceania´s history, but as per the house, we don´t think it is worth to visit. The park is nice.

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Fitz Roy

Our next to final stop in Melbourne was the Sports and Entertainment Precinct. Containing the Olympic Park – where 1956 Olympic games took place- as well as the Melbourne Park -where the Australian Tennis Open is played-, and the Yarra Park – where one of the world’s biggest stadiums, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, is located- this is a central part in Melbournians life, and a must for any sports fan.

Finally, last stop was one more coffee in the lovely lanes, before heading back to the airport. While we still have so much more to visit in Melbourne, these three days have given us a great first glimpse of this amazing city.

Have you been to Melbourne? Are you planning to go? What are your impressions? Tell us!

 

About the authors in their own words: We are a young Argentinean couple who have been enjoying traveling for a while. We have visited several destinations on our own (or with friends and family), and in the past few years, a lot of destinations together.

   Flor.jpgFlor: Born & raised in Buenos Aires, my first backpacking experience was with friends in Argentina’s Northwest, followed by a couple other trips around South America. As I grew older I was more than happy to switch backpack for wheels, considering I could afford a more “comfortable” style of travel. Now I realize that traveling light (no more than 8kilos) is part of “comfortable” if you are planning to travel a lot! An amateur photographer, I enjoy capturing moments in the places I visit.

Currently living in Perth, Australia.

Instagram: @life.through.my.lens

PabloDCIM100GOPROG0307344.JPG

Born in La Plata, Argentina the same year Back to the Future was released (don’t look online, it was 1985). First travelled at the age of 6 to Rio, Brasil. At 12 took my first ‘long’ flight to Florida, US, and since 21, travelling has been one of my top priorities, mixed with work and study. Visited 30+ countries in 4 continents, and always plan to add more. Besides travelling, huge fan of association football (soccer), history and long discussions about “what is your favorite city”.

They share there travel tales on Flashpackermemories

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

* All pictures by flashpackermemories.com

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

 

Cheers !!

Guest Post || Wah Taj by Sonam

It was the month of Feb and the Climate in Delhi seemed to be pleasant.  Me and my husband were in Delhi to attend a wedding.

Having a day to spare, we boarded the morning Shatabdi express train@ 6am from Delhi’s Nizamuddin Station to the city of Taj, Agra.

The Journey was very comfortable. If you love Road Travel then you must try the Yamuna express was which connects Delhi to Agra and is a road to cruise on. It will take you to Agra in approx. 3 hours. We reached Agra at 7:50am. We had hired Life India Taxi which turned out to be excellent. Our driver Mr. Shyam Sundar was right on time, to pick us up from the railway station without any hassle. Nowadays the Air Quality in Agra has improved evidently the city is declared “an industry free zone.”

TAJ Mahal – A walk to remember

Taj 2

When we reached the ancient monument, my first thought was “I couldn’t believe I’m actually standing right in front of the Taj Mahal.” Majestic, magnificent and mesmerizing Taj was standing tall in pure white marble. It is one of the 7 Wonders of the world & the most iconic monument of love, in true sense. This masterpiece was built by Mughal emperor Shan Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the center piece of a 42-acre complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a wall.

It’s advised to be there between 9am-11am. There is less crowd and one gets to spend ample time. Ensure to hire a certified guide for TAJ MAHAL as they will get you the detailed history & also take you to lot of Important Points. They will charge you around Rs. 600 but it’s worth hiring a guide. 

Avoid Hiring a Local Photographer as the quality of the photos is not at all good. You can also book your guide online. Avoid visiting on Friday as the monument is closed on Fridays. We also purchased a beautiful replica from ITDC Store just outside the TAj Mahal Ticketing Gate.

Taj

Overall it was a memorable trip which I will cherish forever. While return we booked the newly launched Gatiman Express train which took us to Delhi in 1.5 hrs.

1About the author – Sonam is a marketing professional in Pune with brilliant communication skill. In her free time she loves to try different cuisines and read. She is a regular visitor to yatripandit.com.

This is her 1st attempt in writing a travel blog. Encouragement via comments is welcomed with wide open arms.

 

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

* All pictures are clicked by Sonam

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

Cheers !!

Abhimanyu@yatripandit

Guest Post || 11 tips for traveling in Japan – by Globazine

We compiled a list of eleven tips and tricks that can make your stay in Japan easier, more efficient, cheaper and special! We even threw in some bonus tips. Let us know your tips in the comments down below or on social media!

 Tip one

If, like us, you are planning to see a lot of Japan, make sure you order the Japan Rail Pass in advance. There are several rules conditions of use and requirements for eligibility, so check the official site for more information.

Although now, the Rail Pass can be bought as part of a trail in Japan, it really pays off to order it in advance since that is much cheaper. Prices differ following exchange rate differences and between companies. So, it pays to shop around. We used Japan Experience and were really satisfied with their service.

Tip two

This tip mainly concerns those of you going to use the train and public transport. To plan your journey, use the website and or app HyperDia. They have the latest timetables for all the trains in Japan, both for the different Japan Railways (JR) companies and all the private companies operating in Japan.

The app can do a Japan Rail Pass search, providing you with all the options which are free with your Japan rail pass. To enable this option you must pay €2.99, the app and website themselves are free to use.

Tip three

Another railway tip. When travelling by train, make sure you reserve a (window)seat before departure. You can do this at the station, until five minutes for departure, but also in advance for the rest of your trip, if you already know which train you plan to take. Making a reservation is not mandatory, but it ensures your seat on the train, as the trains can be quite full.

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A scenic view from Train

Bonus Tip Look for the Limited Express (WIDE VIEW) trains for even better views. They are for example available in the Japanese Alps between Nagano and Matsumoto and between Toyama and Nagoya.

Tip four

If you do not want to feel lost in Kanji-translation during your whole trip, we have some tips for translation help. Technology is advancing at a rapid pace and one area where a lot of advances have been made in, is machine translation. Translate apps can scan menu’s and signs and even translate speech back and forth. Although the universal translator still is a few years away, these free apps come pretty close.

Microsoft translator

Google translate

Tip five

Roaming costs may be a thing of the past inside the EU, but roaming can still carry quite a hefty price elsewhere. There are two solutions for this problem, our preferred solution is using a pocket Wi-Fi. The alternative is buying a Japanese SIM card for your phone. The advantage of the SIM card is the price, they are a lot cheaper than a pocket Wi-Fi. But the pocket Wi-Fi has the advantage that you can connect several different devices to it at once and so spare the battery life of your phone. The disadvantage of the SIM in your phone is that at the moment it’s not easy to tether and have a VPN running at the same time. If you’re a bit privacy minded this might be a disadvantage for you.

You can order a pocket Wi-Fi in advance and have it mailed to the airport where you arrive or the hotel you’ll be staying at. If you want to get the best of both worlds, then buy a pocket Wi-Fi device for yourselves and use a pre-paid SIM card of the country that you are travelling to.

Tip six

This tip concerns booking the best places to stay. We just loved to alternate between staying in hotels and staying in an Airbnb to experience best of both worlds: the luxury of hotels and the insights that Airbnb apartments can give in the Japanese lifestyle. There is not much price difference between either option in Japan. The main tip wherever you want to stay, is to arrange your stays as early as possible to secure the best stay on the best location for the best price. Don’t think in days or weeks, think in months in advance. Especially for stays in popular cities like Tokyo and Kyoto, or popular/special places like Beppu and Koyasan. The same is also valid when you want to stay in a Ryokan or sleep in a temple.

However, be aware when using Airbnb, and this happens quite a lot: if the host says they offer only half a bathroom, it really is just half a bathroom, without a shower.

Tip seven

Arrange to stay in Osaka if you are planning to visit Kyoto. Osaka is just a short 15-minute train ride away, but the restaurants and nightlife are just something else and won’t bore you. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.

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A night in Osaka

Tip eight

We can’t give tips about Japan without giving some advice on where to go. And while tastes and interests differ, here are some of our favourite places to visit:

  • It takes some time to get there, but we cannot think of much that beats our stay in a temple in Koyasan, joining the morning prayer with the monks and strolling around in the mystic mountains.

  • Cycling on the modern art island Naoshima was a very welcome change from all the temples and pagoda’s that we saw right before and after our stay there.

  • When in Tokyo, a must visit is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, where you can have a free panoramic view from the top floor. Another insiders tip is the boat ride from Hama-rikyu garden to Asakusa. Read our Tokyo itinerary for more tips.

Tip nine

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Japanese Alps

If you are going to travel on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, read here to see why we advise you to do. Then our tip: buy the ticket in advance at certain JR rail stations. This gives you a reduction of 25% and will save you 3.090 yen per ticket. See this website for more information on where and how to buy these relatively cheap tickets.


Tip ten

Get your breakfast at the convenience store (7-Eleven, Lawson, etc). This way you can eat on the way to your first activity of the day and save some money at the same time. You can even choose to do this when you are staying in a hotel, as excluding the breakfast option will save you more money than a convenience store breakfast will cost. And while you’re at it get some bento boxes for lunch.

Bonus tip 7-Eleven is the best place for finding ATM’s that work with European bank cards.

Tip eleven

Get up early, so you arrive at the main highlights before the tourist busses do. Especially when you are planning to visit great sites as the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. You don’t want all your photos ruined by crazy tourist groups, do you? An added bonus depending on the season is the beautiful and photogenic qualities of morning light.

About Globazine:

pic of olga and timWe’re Tim and Olga, a married Dutch couple, living in Brussels and traveling the world for work and pleasure. Tim is a history nerd (studied history and tries to cover all the bits and pieces that are left of the Roman empire) and Olga loves art (Johannes Vermeer, Edvard Munch, Yayoi Kusama are one of her favorites). We prepare our travels very well, to be able to pack as much art, culture, history and nature as possible in our days.

With Globazine, we want to share our travel experiences, tips, tricks and pleasure. Hoping to inspire others to get the most out of their travel experiences. We write most of the content ourselves, but we’ll also ask our friends to write about their travels, to have a more exhaustive overview of possible destinations for you.

More from Globazine:

  • globazine.com
  • @Globazine1 on Twitter
  • @Globazine on Facebook
  • globazinegram on Instagram

 

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

* All pictures by Tim and Olga

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Cheers !!

Abhimanyu@yatripandit