Year: 2015

Rüdesheim Wine Festival: Sneak a Peek Into Germany’s Wine Culture.

I had an unshakable image of Germany in my head – drinking freshly brewed craft beer at an open-air beer garden, hearing locals cheer “prost” with every chug and watching women dance in traditional dirndls. But two weeks ago, when I arrived in the Rhine Valley, an hour from Frankfurt, that image was shattered. The Rhine River flowed gently amid hills covered in steep vineyards, Rudesheim’s cobble-stoned streets brimmed with wine stalls, wine gardens tucked away under vines replaced beer gardens, and my first drink was not a Radler (like on every other trip to Germany) but a Riesling from a small family-run winery! I found myself in Rudesheim as part of the Must Love Festivals project, which has bloggers traveling across the world to showcase quirky traditional festivals! Here’s why the Rüdesheim Wine Festival is a great introduction to Germany’s lesser-known wine culture: Hiking meets wine-tasting in the vineyards My withdrawal symptoms of Georgia gradually dissipated on the first afternoon, when the festivities began with a hike through the vineyards of Rudesheim! Barring me and two other English-speakers, the forty odd people were all locals …

Go to The Caucasus Mountains, Find Your Soul, Set it Free.

When I see a mountain, I’m not gripped by the desire to conquer it. I hope instead, that the mountain will conquer me. That walking on its slopes, I’ll hear my own heartbeat. That in its open meadows, my thoughts will flow. That in its magnanimity, I’ll realize just how tiny a place I occupy. That it will reveal myself, honest and unmasked, to me. And so it was with the Caucasus mountains of Kazbegi in northeast Georgia. *** Among the wildflowers of summer and mist-laden valleys I wandered, not knowing what I was searching for, yet finding it in the raw beauty that encompassed me. I found comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one drawn by the inexplicable notion of solitude. 700 years ago, a monk seeking solitude in these very mountains, built the Gergeti Trinity Church in the daunting backdrop of Mount Kazbeg, and it is in his conviction that I found mine.   We walked in the rain, through the clouds, up steep paths, balancing on small rocks, seeking shelter under stray …

Unexpected Ways Long Term Travel Has Changed Me.

About this post: Does travel really change you? What is like to travel the world long term? What does a digital nomad lifestyle teach you? An as Indian traveller and travel blogger, a reflective post on how travelling the world has changed my perspective on life. I’ll spare you the clichés. Four years of constant travel hasn’t made me the most fabulous person; in many ways, the opposite. It has gradually, sometimes unnoticeably and sometimes frustratingly, evolved the way I think, interact and live. It has broadened my perspective but also narrowed it, given me answers but many more questions, taught me to appreciate camaraderie but perhaps made me more of a loner. My restless mind is no longer my best friend. The very thing that helped me build this incredible life of travel four years ago, the one that wouldn’t let me settle for anything but freedom, is the one I seem to chide often these days. Perhaps I’ve fallen in love with a place too many times and broken my heart that many times (Read: How Travelling is Breaking My …

Alila diwa goa

Alila Diwa: A Little Bit of Goa and A Whole Lot of Luxury.

When I dream of Goa, I don’t hear the roar of the ocean or feel the sand on my feet. I hear the pitter-patter of rain on old Portuguese roofs and the chatter of women in their rice paddies. I feel potent home-brewed Urakh smoothly slipping down my throat, a burst of flavors from fiery curries on my tongue and my mind slipping into a susegado mode. Earlier this year, when I landed in India after a six-month sojourn across Central and North America, I knew I needed Goa as much as I needed a cocoon of luxury to call my own. Alila Diwa was the kind of place on my mind, and this is why I loved staying there: Floating on the edge You know that feeling of lounging on a relaxing beach chair, floating in a pool that has no edge, shades on your eyes to keep the sun out, the wind ruffling your hair, a cocktail in your hand, lush rice paddies stretching out into the horizon? Yeah, I didn’t know it either. Until I found myself in Alila Diwa’s …

Retracing the Journey of Europe’s Forgotten Refugees.

Having grown up in a protective Indian family and been on the road for almost four years, I like to think I know a thing or three about freedom. Breaking away from the shackles of a cubicle-bound life was easy. Breaking away from the expectations of society continues to be a constant battle – and one that I’m not the first or last one to face. Today, I’m hopping over to Western Europe to hike through the secret trails of the Huguenots and Waldensians – religious refugees who were once banished from their home for rebelling against the popular religion; they walked through the mountains, valleys and vineyards of France, Switzerland and Germany in search of freedom. I hope to follow in their footsteps, find solace in their monasteries and truth in their wines, and bring you stories from a region that hasn’t been discovered by most. Why is this trip special? This trip is a milestone in my journey as a travel blogger. It will be my first campaign with iAmbassador, perhaps the most successful travel bloggers collective of our times and one that I’ve …

Kazbegi, Kazbegi photos, Stepantsminda

If You’re Looking for the “Shire”, Come to Georgia!

Somewhere deep in the Caucasus mountains, I sip a glass of fine Georgian wine, watching the clouds playfully swirl around the snow-clad Mount Kazbeg and my gregarious Georgian hosts lovingly tending to their vegetable garden below. I’ve spent my days indulging in the country’s sumptuous gastronomy, drinking mineral water right off the spring, lounging in my remote mountain home as though nothing else in the world matters. The mist descends on our postcard village of Stepantsminda, a woman in a traditional black dress carries fresh lavash bread from the neighbourhood bakery, the valley echoes with the laughter of men, children and horses.  This isn’t the Hobbiton trail in New Zealand, but the closest you can get to life in the Shire (Lord of the Rings style) – where people live beautifully, eat well and be merry. Two weeks ago, I landed in Tbilisi, Georgia’s photogenic capital city, with a friend, a one month visa and no fixed plans. The rugged mountains, chilled out locals, Soviet-era homes, underground wine taverns, artsy cafes and quirky cultural vibe instantly cast a spell on me. I …