Guest Post || What I learnt from my travels by Naina

27 years old, 15 countries, 8000+ miles, 11 times circled the globe, 700+ hours, 23 mountains hiked, 9 different time zones..and the list goes on!!

Jet lag — That’s the 2nd most common word in my life.

Over the years I have been traveling to different countries on business or tourist/pleasure while sometimes just to escape the reality and find my focus.

While some people think travel is to : pack all the essentials, just hop on the plane, put your phone in the airplane mode, take that cozy blanket, put on your favorite movie and enjoy glass of fine vintage Château Côte de Baleau Grand Cru.

For me, travel= magic. So quick summary of the things I learnt from my travels :

1.You meet interesting and unforgettable people :

Once I was flying from Munich to New York, and met a very interesting student. She was quite intrigued by the book (Murder on the Orient Express) I was reading. I asked her name and then she introduced herself. As we continued to talk for the next few hours, she told me about her life, how she left everyone to pursue her dreams and how she is working as a part time bartender to make sure she pays her bills and completes her education. While I could see some hesitation in her voice, I was also impressed by her determination to be better in the life.

Life is not “bed of roses”, but how many do you think are determined to make it better every day?

Just 2 months back, I was flying from Shanghai to New York ( business class) and met an investor, must be in her 50’s. While she was happily enjoying her wine, after 50 minutes into the flight, we started talking and that’s when she shared her “grand perspective” towards life and startups. While she had few hiccups as an investor previously and on the personal front due to her marriage yet she never bogged down. I shared few start up ideas, why I thought it can be next the “big thing” and to what level it can succeed or fail. She asked me to send her a business plan. Just few days back I sent her the plan with an empty feeling that she must have forgotten me. I have always been a person who cared about time and details, she replied to me after 3 days and I was completely amazed by her detailed feedback. I thanked her later!

2. You find your “why”

There was a point in my life when traveling wasn’t just a hobby but a therapy. I called it my “inflection” point and it helped me in finding my why. I found myself and it made all the difference in my life.

3. Started writing a book

I have always been an avid reader (completed reading my 457th book recently). Having met so many people in my life and been through so many experiences, I started writing a book ( which I’ll publish soon). Experiences ranged from going on date with an absolute stranger — discovering different “kind of personalities” — an emergency landing — hitchhiking in a new country at 3am — — hiking with different group of people — camping with strangers— drinking wine with guys I never met in my whole life — diving 10 m deep in the sea — — ending up getting hitched for fun in a chapel in the Vegas and many more…

4. You feel “unstoppable”

Someone said it right that if you are feeling over confident, hike a mountain because mountains have a way of dealing with overconfidence. Till now I have hiked 23 mountains and that created all the difference in my personality. One such place where I exhausted myself was “Pinnacles in Borneo”. Sharp blade like rocks ( pic below) tested everything I had in me. I cried with happiness when I completed the hike after 9 hours of climb and descend. It made me feel “unstoppable”.

Pinnacles

5. Humbleness and Grateful

More than 8 billion people on this planet from different countries, religion and cultures. Different cuisines, celebrations and colors, I have experienced it all and I cant be more grateful. I became more open to people’s opinion, appreciate the fact that different people react to the same situation in a different way. In short I became more acceptable to the fact that I can be wrong in someone’s opinion and can be idolized in someone else’s mind. Having met so many people I learnt how to be grounded and be a better listener even when I’m talking. Everyone has a story, perception of reality, opinion, experiences and thoughts. There is no right or wrong opinion.

6. Get out of your comfort zone and try new things

Travel allows you to experience living in conditions that you never thought you could survive. But you will. Only when you step out of your comfort zone, then can you really push yourself to your limits and discover what you can achieve. Now whenever I feel I cannot do something, I replay those moments when a task/situation seemed utterly difficult and the way I accomplished it.

“Your strength lies in all those things you completed which once deemed impossible”

7. Finding the way on your own after getting lost.

Ever got lost? No phone, no maps, language barrier, no one to help? Take a deep breath and look around. What do you feel? I felt like wandering on my own.

There is nothing like being lost in Rome where every street corner has another spectacular sculpture; or being lost in Brussels where every neighborhood has a cluster of bistros or bakeries.

By the end of the day, I explored more than I planned. Some one said it right :

“Not All Who Wander Are Lost”

8. Knowledge and fearless mindset

I faced language barrier many times especially when I was in China and Korea. So I learnt Mandarin and Korean. Life is full of adversities and I’m not new to such situations. Bus broke down? Train delayed? Road block? Severe food poisoning? Lost your way? It’s okay, slow down and find an alternative way out.

Many times I asked myself “What’s the worst that could happen?” and that’show I developed a “fearless mindset”.

9. Living the moments

This one is my favourite. I was just out of my cocoon and in Singapore. Like any amateur traveler I was clicking the beauty Singapore has to offer. A European guy was watching me. He came to me and said something I’ll always remember. He said “ Sometimes we are so engrossed in capturing/clicking things that we forget to live the moments and beauty the place has to offer”. He was right! From that time on, I started living in the moments and in my perspective it’s beautiful!

Living in the moments

“An amateur traveller tries to capture everything amazing in his/her camera whereas a mature traveller live those amazing things and moments”

Oh did I forget to tell you about the spectacular vast and infinite “ Sky views”?

Pics I clicked)

View from Plane

Why I wrote this post? Some day I’ll be 80 years old and still be traveling. When I’ll look back, I will read this post again and say to myself “The journey is more beautiful than the destination” and I lived every moment of it.

**** This is my first post, apologies if you find any error/mistake. And, if you like it and want me to write more posts, please don’t forget to “like & comment” because your appreciation would motivate me***** 🙂

Keep traveling !!!

Love Naina 🙂

 

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

**Photos from google

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Guest Post || 7 Things to do in Hong Kong – By Arliss

Hong Kong is one of the most vibrant places in the world, having more than 7 million people. According to Wikipedia, it is also one of the world’s most important financial centers. If you are travelling to Hong Kong and are still unsure as to what you should do, that is probably because you couldn’t eliminate your choices (it is one of the most amazing places and the safest to visit). To ease your decisions, here are the seven things you should do in Hong Kong.

hong kong

1. Experience Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak is probably the first thing you should visit. The Peak grants a grand view of Victoria Harbor, Central, and other surrounding islands, and is one of the most notable places for tourists.

Also, if luck is on your side, you will even witness Kowloon’s eight mountains. Take the Peak Tram, and enjoy the ride to the top. Once you get there, you will experience one of the most amazing views!

2. Try Local Cuisine

Cuisine is an integral part of every culture. If you do not have any particular restaurant in mind, just enter the one that seems appealing to yours. It is likely the restaurant serves somewhat unusual food (like chicken feet dim sum) but trying it will change your perception of the food.

If possible, try the Sweet and Sour Pork, the most notable food of the region. If you don’t want to go to restaurants, there are plenty of street options if you’re adventurous, the most notable being the fish balls, a snack made of fish meat (served cooked or uncooked).

3. Experience The Everyday Street Life

If you are an easygoing person, just pick a sidewalk and start walking. The point of travelling is that you experience new things, relax and enjoy yourself, and walking the streets of this fantastic city. You will hear people conversing and merchants and traders yelling at each other.temple-street-hong-kong-03

Moreover, you will smell and taste the food that is made right before your eyes, buy souvenirs in antique stores. However, this is probably not for everyone; if you are only interested in taking pictures of famous sites and sharing them on social media, then walking the streets is not something you should do, especially overnight. However, if you want to experience the life in this city, even for a few hours, then you have to try this, especially at night.

4. Enjoy the Star Ferry Ride

Starry Ferry functions for over a hundred years, transporting millions of people across Victoria Harbour. The ride will also allow you to have a better look at the Victoria Harbor and will distant you from the city itself, providing you with a new perspective of the city.

The price is reasonable for both day and night rides, and if you can, you should try both trips. It will also allow you to witness the city from a distance, with the focus on its skyscrapers (the city has the most skyscrapers in the world).

5. See the Tian Tan Buddha

Made entirely of bronze, the Tian Tan Buddha is the world’s most gigantic statue of Buddha in the world. The way you get there is by taking the Ngong Ping 360 Skyrail, a cable car that will provide you a fantastic view as you are travelling towards the destination. You have two options: you can take a regular ride or a ride in a glass bottom cabin.Tian_Tan_Buddha_August_2013

Latter is more expensive than the first, but it does provide you with a unique view of the environment. Be aware of the fact that you will be floating in the air in a glass cabin, which can be pretty scary for many people.

6. Attend the Happy Valley Racecourse

Happy Valley Racecourse is the primary destination for everyone who loves to gamble, especially on a Wednesday night. Moreover, even if you do not care that much about gambling, horse races, or gambling on horse races, visit this place if you have the time for it. Find a seat in the stands (you can sit in a garden), order some food and beer and soak up as much as you can: the sounds, the smells, the overall atmosphere.

Note that this is one of the most popular places to go to amongst local population as well as tourists, so make sure that you book your ticket on time, especially if you are planning to visit the place on Wednesday. Why Wednesday? Happy Valley Racecourse hosts a total of eight races on that day; it can turn into a pretty crowded place!

7. Visit the Wong Tai Sin Temple

The Wong Tai Sin Temple is the city’s famous and busiest shrine. According to the kau cim practitioners, you make a wish, and your wish will be granted (“What you request is what you get.”) It is a top-rated tourist attraction. You will walk through the religious history, see The Nine Dragon Wall and lamp holding statues.

If feeling ambitious or adventurous, you should also try the fortune-telling stalls (you can also find your fortune on the streets of the city). The shrine was built to honor the shepherd boy that supposedly had healing powers. Whether you are religious or not, it is a place to visit if you are interested in the Taoist culture, its architecture, and art.

arliss-veldhuizen-1About the author : Arliss is the Managing Editor here at trekbible as well a social media editor at IncomeStore. She is also a writer and aspiring novelist. Arliss has family all over the world including the Ivory Coast, Denmark, Germany, and the Dominican Republic, a fact that greatly contributes to her passion for travel and culture.”

 

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

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Tour Package || Bhutan on Budget

The Trip

This edition of our Bhutan trip is meant for the backpackers, for the budget travelers, and everyone in between. Take part in this 1-week adventure in the land of happiness with EIT and explore the vast mountains, the royal monasteries and so much more!

 Day 01:

Arrival at Phuentsholing. Transfer to Thimphu. Travel Time – 6.5 – 7 hours.
Check into hotel

 Day 02:

Local sightseeing after breakfast (Memorial Chorten, Buddha Statue, Thimphu Dzong, Takin Reserve,
National Museum of Textiles)
Evening sightseeing (Changankha Lhakhang and sightseeing left over from previous day) and shopping etc.

 Day 03:

Mild hike to a monastery near Thimphu
Personalised postal stamps at Thimphu Post Office, and evening free for rest and shopping

 Day 04:

Check out of hotel after early breakfast & leave for Punakha district. Travel time – 2 hours.
All sightseeing in Punakha via Dochu La Pass (Chimi Lhakhang, Punakha Dzong & iron suspension bridge)
Evening free for rest after a hectic day

 Day 05:

Early breakfast & leave for Paro Travel time – 3 hours
Local sightseeing at Paro (Paro Dzong, Dungtse Lhakhang, Kichyu Monastery)
Evening free for rest

 Day 06:

Early breakfast and begin climb to Tiger’s Nest/Taktsang. Climb will take about 2.5 – 3 hours.
Evening visit National Museum and thereafter go shopping/exploration in Paro town

 Day 07:

Departure from Paro after breakfast

This itinerary can be customised to include a longer stay in Thimphu, especially for first time visitors to the country. However, the Price Tag will then change

Note: Bhutan trips are planned in association with our travel partners, Easeindiatravel

For reading a traveler’s 1st hand experience please click Here

For Tariff

or

you can directly contact our tour partners, “EASEINDIATRAVEL“on info@easeindiatravel.com. Mention Yatripandit’s name to get special tarrifs.

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Cheers !!

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.

mont-sainte-anne

  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.

quebec-city_

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.

tremblantgondo

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 || 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.

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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.

train-view
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.

osaka
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

japanese-alps
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

Guest Post || Walking the way of St. James through Portugal and Spain – by Kay Bolden

El Camino de Santiago — The Way of Saint James — is the pilgrimage on foot to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, where Saint James the Elder are entombed. The Camino has existed as a spiritual pilgrimage for well over 1,000 years. In medieval times, completing the arduous journey could “pay off” a debt of sin, making amends for any wrong the pilgrim had done.

On the Camino de Santiago
On the Camino de Santiago

The medieval peregrino (pilgrim) almost always walked the Way for serious religious reasons, finding lodging and food where he might, and depending upon the kindness of strangers. But today, modern peregrinos have more varied goals, such as physical challenge or self-discovery. We sleep in hostels with hot running water, instead of in stables or under the stars. A popular route is the Camino Francés, with a starting point in St. Jean-Pied-du-Port, although there are many other routes. 

Gifts for Pilgrims
Gifts for Pilgrims

          

I chose the Camino Portugués, a 150-mile trek up the rocky coast of Portugal and into Spain. I was not seeking spiritual enlightenment … only solitude and physical challenge. The route required 10-12 miles of walking daily, on paths as varied as rough cobblestones, muddy hillsides, tree-lined sidewalks and dangerous roads. Without a map, a pilgrim simply follows the yellow arrows and scallop shells painted onto trees and boulders and sidewalks, trusting that the route will lead them to Santiago de Compostela.

Coast of Portugal
Coast of Portugal

           

So at age 55, I set off alone from the coastal town of Porto. I hugged the untamed Portuguese coastline in almost complete silence, encountering few others on the journey. Wearing my backpack and my scallop shell – the symbol of a pilgrim – I wandered through fishing villages and small towns, where people seemed to still live in the 19th century. Old men bringing in their catches on wooden boats, grandmas cleaning oysters by hand, children squealing as they played on the docks, the mournful lighthouse foghorn, calling the fishermen in from the sea.

They would see my scallop shell, hanging from my backpack, and smile at me. The children would wave shyly, peering at my funny hat and my heavy hiking boots. The old ones would tell the young ones, “She is on her way to Santiago. God bless her. Bom Caminho (Good Journey).”

Follow the Yellow Arrows to Santiago
Follow the Yellow Arrows to Santiago

The people who live in the cities and towns dotting the Camino have a long relationship with the legend of St. James. They believe that a pilgrim on the Way is under his protection; to harm a pilgrim is a terrible sin. To help a pilgrim – to offer food or libation or lodging – will please St. James, and result in more blessings for their families.

In the beginning, I found this attention rather quaint, but pointless. After all, I was working on the mental and physical challenges of the trek; the religious or spiritual aspects didn’t seem connected to me at all.

As I passed through a tiny village on the third day, a man dressed in rags stuffed chunks of fresh baked bread into my hand. I tried to give him money, but he shook his head, aghast that he should be rewarded. “St. James will provide for me,” he said happily in Portuguese. “Bom Caminho.” A thin little girl threw her arms around my legs, slowing me down to give me apples and cheese. A priest standing in the doorway of a tiny stone church blessed me as I walked by.

It wasn’t until I crossed the International Bridge into Spain on the sixth day that the spiritual power of the Camino was revealed to me: I got lost. Somehow, I’d made a wrong turn, missed a yellow arrow, and was now wandering in the woods, the sun sinking fast, with my hostel nowhere in sight. My phone battery had long since died, and I was exhausted, having already walked 14 miles.

I sat down under a tree, growing afraid for the first time since I left Chicago. How far from the city was I? I didn’t know. Where had turned wrong? I couldn’t tell. I fingered my scallop shell and thought about all the pilgrims through the ages who had found themselves lost in the dark, but found the will to keep going. I snacked on grapes and bread, the gifts of strangers. And after resting a bit, I got to my feet. I would do as all pilgrims had done for thousands of years; I would trust St. James, and keep walking.

No sooner had I made that decision, four elderly gentlemen came out of the woods, laughing and talking and sharing a bottle of wine. They came to me at once, and although we couldn’t speak each other’s language, they understood that I was lost. They gathered me into the center of their little group and walked with a little way deeper into the woods, where they showed me a footbridge, an underpass and the route to the city of O Porrino. “Buen Camino,” they called out in Spanish, as they disappeared back into the forest.

It was many more days until I arrived at the grand Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. I found that my entire attitude had changed as I walked the Way. I was filled with gratitude for all the people who had so little themselves, but shared their food and love with me. Instead of keeping to myself, I waved to fisherman and other pilgrims, taking pictures of their beautiful boats and farms.

Sunrise Just Outside Santiago
Sunrise Just Outside Santiago

At the Cathedral, I visited the shrines and dodged the crowds. Tourists gushed about how sacred the golden artifacts were, but I knew the truth. The real transformation had already happened, as I walked on the Way.

Kay Bolden, Travel WriterAbout the Author:

Kay Bolden is a travel writer, blogger and newspaper columnist who encourages women to travel solo and discover their inner strengths. Follow her travels on her blog, KayBolden.com, or on Twitter @KayBolden.

She has successfully published 2 books(Check links below) and the 3rd one about  Camino de Santiago will be available on Amazon on August 11.

iii) More Wine, Please

At age 55, I set out alone on the Camino de Santiago. Unlike religious pilgrims, I was not seeking God, but three weeks of silence and solitude. The Camino, however, had other plans for me. Available on Amazon August 11, 2017.

ii) Veggie Casserole: Kids Cook the Darndest Things 

When kids grow their own veggies, they eat them, too! Veggie Casserole is filled with recipes, gardening tips and ideas for reconnecting our kids to whole, healthy food.

https://www.amazon.com/Veggie-Casserole-Kids-Darndest-Things/dp/150872038X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500466803&sr=8-1&keywords=veggie+casserole+bolden

i) She Lives in You! The Kathleen Bolden Story is a memoir of community organizer, civil rights activist and social justice warrior, the late Kathleen Bolden.

https://www.amazon.com/She-Lives-You-Kathleen-Bolden-ebook/dp/B00I8M9P7G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500466913&sr=8-1&keywords=she+lives+in+you+bolden

 

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

** All pictures by Kay Bolden

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Abhimanyu@yatripandit

 

Guest Post || On a tour to Germany: Düsseldorf – by Melisa

Hearing about Germany, two things normally come across the mind of an average person – beer and sausages. Although Germany is more than that. Of course, its beer and sausages are famous all over the world and every aware person would want to try them at least once in a lifetime. Apart from that, it is a land of poets and philosophers and a country with beautiful architecture.

Düsseldorf. It is the seventh city of Germany by its size. It is chic, fashionable and business. There is plenty of things business elite and people of fashion would find inviting and engaging for themselves. Along with its deep gratitude for art, high cuisine and exceptional stores. The city buzzes with cultural events as long as its citizens live according to the standards of high life. There is a boulevard of shopping, which is called Königsallee. You can find the stores of such worldwide famous fashion brands as Prada and Louis Vuitton. For those ones of you, who are into retro style jewelry, you will be happy to find out about the stores on here to make some based on the pieces of artists from 19th and 20th century. Some are so unique being manufactured in here and Munich only so the guests of the city might find something really distinguished from every other.  Dusseldorf1

If to speak about its architecture, it does have its moments. The old city should be mentioned here. You will find a huge variety of restaurants and pubs, markets and museums, decorated in classic for Germany style buildings. There is also the biggest in Germany Japanese community with places to eat traditional food accordingly. Düsseldorf`s biggest church is called St. Lambertus Basilica. You will easily recognize it by its twisted spire. It is its famous feature. Also, there is tower on its central square Burgplatz. This tower is everything what has left after the fire in 1872. Originally, there was a palace built in baroque style. Among the places of interest, are also the Neander church and St. Andrew`s church. This is one more church, which is worth seeing once you visit Düsseldorf.Dusseldorf travel guide

Going back to the theme of beer, “Atlbier” (alt is German for old) is traditional for Düsseldorf. It is dark and hoppy. Back in the 20th century, there were nearly 100 breweries making Altbier while today – less than ten unfortunately. Altbier is considered to be an ale and even though it is hoppy, the taste of fruit is felt less than in other light ales.

The night-life of the city is really something. As has already been mentioned, the largest amount of beer houses are located in the area of the old city but its beer is not the only “treat” you may get visiting Düsseldorf. I am talking about herb-infused liquor, which is called Killepitsch. There are more than 90 kinds of fruit, herbs and spices. Quite often, it is compared to Jagermeister but it is stronger.

The trip is nothing without a souvenir for your family and friends apart from taken pictures and re-corded videos. If to talk about something traditional, a typical for Düsseldorf souvenir, draw your attention kindly to store of spices. It is a business run by a family. You will find hundreds of jars in there full of spices. Those jars are ceramic and decorated by hand. Its mustard is well known.

for author bioAbout the author: Melisa Marzett is the author who has an outstanding blog available for your viewing HERE, where you may find interesting posts on traveling and look through the tips for those ones of you, who are eager to travel and has traveling in plans some time soon. The information is given clearly and wisely so there is no way you could get lost but will be well-versed in the area of traveling.

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 || Going up the peak, Hong Kong – by Becca

Our second day in Hong Kong couldn’t have been better. It started off with shock, when we realized we’d somehow managed to sleep in until 1pm, but I haven’t been able to sleep in weeks due to excitement so the rest was well needed. All day today we’ve been full of energy and have recovered from our jet lag so it’s done us a favor.

It was 28-30 degrees and unlike yesterday the sun was out, the skies were blue and the mist and fog was non- existent. The ideal weather for going up Victoria peak.


We decided to go for lunch at an Italian place called Spasso near our hotel; yesterday we met a lovely Philippino woman who worked there and we said we would go back another day. She was delighted that we kept our promise and seated us outside by the main road with gorgeous, clear view of Hong Kong across the water.

With full stomachs and well-needed increased blood sugar levels, we made our way down to the pier to get on the ferry to Hong Kong island. On our stroll I noticed how nicely the Asian women dressed; some looked cute in knee-high floral dresses with frilly sleeves, others in dungarees or three quarter length baggy trousers.
A ticket for the ferry to central pier cost only 3.40HKD, the equivalent to 30p! The waves were gentle and the water was a deep turquoise colour. Whilst gazing out the window I realised I’d never felt so content. I had no working phone, no make up, no worries and no rush to be anywhere. There’s no better feeling than realising this feeling will go on for weeks to come.

We caught a taxi from central pier to the peak tram station. Walking would only take you about half an hour, but in the heat when you don’t know where you’re going, paying 28HKD (£2.70) won’t break the bank.


Whatever you do, DO NOT be put off by the queue for the tram. It goes really quickly and you’re in such a happy daydream that waiting doesn’t bother you. We sat on the wooden seats of the bumpy tram and got some fantastic views on the city in daylight.


Once at the top, the view got even better, Hong Kong resembled a little lego town, the clouds surrounding the skyscrapers at eye level. We decided to save our ticket for the peak until dark, so we explored the shopping centre inside and took a walk down a dainty pathway, wrapped up in exotic foliage.


We then chose to wait in a romantic little restaurant for a pint of Budweiser until the sun had gone to sleep. The garden was dressed in fairy lights and tropical foliage gave it a chilled out feel. Once again the staff were more than friendly and even gave us mosquito spray to prevent us from getting bitten.

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Finally the time had come for us to take ourselves 428 metres above sea level to admire the city lit up from above. To say it was the most beautiful site I had ever seen would be an understatement. The fog had been kind to us again and disappeared, the warm weather reminded me of toasty evenings in Bulgaria after sunset. Looking at all the windows and lights put into perspective just how populated Hong Kong actually is. It got me thinking about all the people behind the windows and their individual lives.  Some would be sleeping, some eating, some working, some young, some old. It made the world feel much bigger rather than small for once. We got some great photos, but they will never do the real thing any justice.


Before getting the ferry back to our hotel, we stopped off at Mak’s noodles in one of the shopping centres up the peak. The staff brought us free, unlimited top ups of green tea and we enjoyed authentic Chinese food. They had loads of vegetarian/ pescatarian options which made me happy! I had shrimp wonton noodle soup and chestnut mushrooms.

About the author :

Rebecca Gouldbourne fondly know as Becca is an fantastic human and fellow travel blogger. She is on a world tour and always encourages yatripandit.com.

She de12140710_10153362259534081_109508521977048061_nscribes herself as,” my name is Becca (usually referred to as ‘the small one’ or ‘the one with the laugh’). I’m 22, but still a child at heart. I come from the South Coast of England and have an obsession with dogs, food, sun and people. After studying journalism with creative writing and graduating from Kingston university, I have now decided to break free from my repetitive routine to go and explore the real world.” You can keep a track of Becca’s travel tales by clicking the link https://small-feet-big-steps.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

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Guest Post || TOP 5 PLACES TO GO CAMPING IN EUROPE – by Shawn

Breathtaking landscapes, challenging heights, vibrant scenery – the world’s best camping sites offer something to everyone. That said, there’s no better assortment of camping places than those wended through Europe, covering the world’s most beautiful sites, from the Swiss Alps to the Scandinavian fjords. While there are many places to go camping in Europe, the list we’ve compiled mentions only the most adventurous, beautiful, and iconic spots to set up your RV or tent on.

  1. Chateau de Monroeville – France

France’s west coast has some good old fashion camping fields, and this is one of them. There’s no space for caravans or RVs, so be prepared to set up a tent. But there’s a swimming pond and fire pits around the property. If you make your way to this camping site, do check out the Irish gypsy caravan The Roulette. It’s customized to make for space; it can sleep around four people with two single beds and one double bed. The cellar of the chateau is where you’ll find toilets and hot showers.

Camping_on_unnamed_lake_in_Brooks_Range

  1. Camping Ca’Savio – Italy

This is a big but laid-back family camping site with two large pools and access to a beautiful sandy beach with trained lifeguards. If you want more of the aquatic fun, there’s one of Italy’s biggest waterparks situated just 20 minutes away from the location. Nearby, there are opportunities to try surfing and windsurfing. Those who can drag themselves away from the water can take a day-trip to Venice. The camping site also offers something yummy for your tummy –a famous eatery that bakes pizzas in a brick oven.

  1. Camping Village Simuni, Pag, Croatia

This is the place to be if you want direct access to multiple beaches – there are six at this location. While there is no pool at this European camping site, campers won’t need access to one as there’s the clear Adriatic to go for snorkeling. There is also a wide range of boat excursions and water sports adventures that can be booked by arriving guests. The location has its own tennis courts, climbing wall, shop and restaurant, pizzeria, and more. So, do not forget to pack your top-quality climbing boots on the go.

  1. Camping Tonnara, Sardinia

Sant’Antioco Island is attached to Sardinia’s south-west coast with a causeway and is popular for blue waters and breathtaking beaches. Camping Tonnara is located over there; it’s a tiny, peaceful location that offers direct access to a bay. However, this isn’t the place to pick for families looking for children clubs or around the clock entertainment. It has fairly low-key facilities – tennis courts, a bar, supermarket and restaurant. The ice cream and coffee served by outdoor cafes are a must have.

  1. Lake Shkodra Resort – Albania

This is a family oriented camping ground for those who are traveling on a budget. Albania is untouched by most tourists, which means there is an opportunity to explore the gleaming natural beauty of the camping places in this country while avoiding the crowds. This campsite is present on the lake and features an on-site restaurant and bar. There’s also a private beach with umbrellas and sun beds available. Budget-friendly campers would love Lake Shkodra Resort.

About Guest Author:   Shawn Michaels is a blogger who loves to write about his outdoor experiences. He is also a shawn-michaels-300x300passionate rock climber and loves travelling. He is currently studying and spends his free time reading reviews and gear shopping! He regularly blogs at TheSmartlad.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

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