All posts filed under: Offbeat

cuicocha lake ecuador, solo travel ecuador

My First Impressions of Ecuador.

My tryst with Ecuador started even before I boarded my flight from New York to Quito two weeks ago. I think it was 2014 and I was off on my first trip to Central America (Guatemala) then. The elderly Ecuadorian gentleman sitting next to me on the flight, wearing a black hat above his ponytail, smiled warmly as I tried to practice my rusty Spanish with him. When we got off in Miami to change flights, he waited in the departure area to hug me goodbye. Ecuador is your kind of place, he said, as we parted. I had no plans of visiting Ecuador then, and quickly forgot about him, his kind eyes and his wrinkled smile. Until I nervously boarded my flight two weeks ago – my first time in South America, alone, a newbie vegan. I saw him, again and again, in elderly men, wearing black hats with long ponytails, with an understated elegance, on the cobbled streets of Quito and in indigenous Andean villages. And his words sort of sum up my first impressions of the country: …

Culturally Intriguing Ways to Experience Europe.

Even before my first trip to Europe over four years ago, I imagined whiling away time in charming medieval villages, people-watching in quaint little cafes and soaking up gorgeous landscapes on long summer days. I was lucky enough to live that dream again and again, from falling irrevocably in love with Gargnano on Lake Garda (Italy) to a surreal alpine encounter in Chamonix (France). But it wasn’t until I was invited by iAmbassador and Visit Europe to experience Europe differently, that I started to see beyond the obvious charm of the continent, into its very heart. Meet the “Cultural Routes” – 24 themed trails across Europe, where along with the lure of country life, you can travel through time and learn about the continent’s fascinating history in unconventional ways. I’ve traversed only one cultural route so far, and shortlisted the others for future trips: Hiking: Camino de Santiago I’ve heard of the adventures of three women who’ve walked the Camino – alone – and while part of me wants to do it, part of me is not sure I’d survive! This 800km pilgrim trail, …