ABC of Our Travels

ABC of Our Travels

15 January 2012 | By Lavanya

Topics: Featured, Places, Travel Advice

 

After a significant and undeserved break from the blog due to several reasons ranging from injured ankles to injured laptops we’re back on the web world.

We were recently nominated by Bobbi and Ric of HeelsandWheels to participate in a project for travel bloggers which sounded like a lot of fun!

Here we look back on all our past travel experiences both individually and together, from A to Z. Hope you’ll enjoy the read!

 

Us in Cappadocia, Turkey

 

A: Age you made your first international trip

L: I was just 1 month short of my 24th birthday when I left India for the first time to France. It sometimes surprises me to think it was only about 3 years ago.

P: Although not too far from home my first trip out of Poland was to Slovakia at the age of 9 – I have to admit that I don’t remember much of it though.

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where

I don’t know if this is the best beer ever but recently we had the chance to try – Jungle Beers from a micro-brewery in Singapore and it was definitely the best on the trip so far.

C: Cuisine (Favorite)

L: Though we’re yet to visit Thailand on this trip my favourite cuisine has to be Thai. From the countries we’ve visited so far I did enjoy Iranian food a lot as it was often in the homes of our friends there and home-cooked food while travelling is a luxury!

P: My favourite cuisine without a doubt has to be Indian and let me assure you I’m not being forced by ‘anyone’ to say this ;)

Having Pad-Thai in Singapore

 

D: Destinations. Favourite. Least Favourite. Why.

L: The most interesting destination for me so far has been Iran. I would love to go back there one day.

Least favourite – This is going to be a tough one to answer. But after our travels during the last few days I’d have to say ‘Kuta’ in Bali was definitely my least favorite place and we wouldn’t have gone there if it weren’t for a flight from the airport. Though Bali is simply amazing and has a lot to offer, I’d be fine with never having to visit Kuta again.

P: I have a special fondness for places with mountains, so mine would have to be Nepal, which amazed me with its scenic nature.

As a place to travel to, I think Dubai would have to be my least favourite among all I’ve been to so far. It’s way too artificial with all concrete, metal and glass so there isn’t much to travel there for unless of course if you skiing in a mall is your kinda thing.

E: Event you experienced that made you say ‘Wow’

L: The first time I ever experience snowfall during my trip to Poland definitely tops my list. Another would be attending an ‘all women’ party in Iran at a friend’s family’s house. I was amazed to see a different side to their lives. Women from 3 generations, dressed in western outfits, belly dancing, watching music videos and having a great time.

P: Approaching and viewing the Grand Canyon for the first time during sunset when it was lit up in all its different natural colours.

My first snowfall ever - still remember the excitement

 

F: Favourite mode of transportation

L: Definitely train journeys.

P: I’ve recently developed a passion for traveling on a motorbike. It gives you complete freedom of going where you want and when you want to, stopping on the way to talk to locals and seeing the surroundings at your own pace all of that’s possible when you’re on your own vehicle.

G: Greatest feeling while traveling

L: For me it’s when I experience or do something for the first time – first time I stepped out of the airport in Paris, tried scuba diving or snorkeling for the first time etc. Travelling often makes you push your own boundaries and presents opportunities to try new things which you may have never considered while at home and when you do try you’re often pleasantly surprised!

P: Feeling of immense relief after finally being allowed to board my flight to Jordan after I’d arrived late and the boarding gates were shut. After desperately pleading with the airport staff I was even allowed to take my entire luggage on board without checking any of it in.

One of our many train journeys in India

 

H: Hottest place I’ve traveled to

This is an easy one for both of us- Dubai in the peak of summer!

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where

Definitely on one of the buses we used in Turkey. They were not only super comfortable but we had a ‘bus attendant’ making announcements, serving us meals & snacks and they even asked us to put on our seatbelts!

J: Journey that took you the longest

L: Recently while travelling in Indonesia I felt like we were never going to leave the bus. After a 14 hour bus journey we reached Bromo at 11.00 pm only to wake up at 3.30 am to climb the volcano for the sunrise and get right back on the bus for another 14 hour journey.

P: My longest journeys were always in India, and one of them was particularly memorable. A 2 day taxi drive from Mahabalipuram to Kovallam to make it on time to spend Christmas there, combine that with a crazy driver it was definitely the longest journey I’ve ever made.

K: Keepsake from your travels

Since we’re travelling for a longer time we often don’t buy too many souvenirs (apart from the occasional fridge magnet that I like to pick up) as both weight and budget are serious concerns. But we do often keep entrance ticket stubs and boarding passes. Our well used guidebooks also serve as a memorable souvenir from the trip.

We do have some keepsakes though like a scarf I bought in Iran, or gifts we gave each other for Christmas bought in Bali.

 

Celebrating Christmas 2011 in Bali

 

L: Let down sight. Why and where?

Near Esfehan in Iran we read about a small mosque which has a ‘shaking minaret’ to be viewed, but it just turned out to be a 5 feet high tower which was manually shaken by an attendant who climbed it. I’d have to say that was a big disappointment but at least we all had a good laugh about it.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel

L: For me there was no one such moment but several. Wandering around the city of Barcelona by myself and even while travelling around India there were several such moments which confirmed there was no stopping this now.

P: During my studies in India we backpacked across the country for 2 months and that was definitely the time.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in

L: For my work I’d travelled to Myanmar where I stayed at the Shangri-La hotel in Yangon. It was no doubt a fancy hotel with all the usual amenities but the staff there amazingly enough memorized the names of most of the guests and addressed them by name whether it was housekeeping or at the restaurant, I thought that was quite impressive.

P: We normally stay in quite low key budget hotels, but when studying back in India on a spur we’d decided to splurge on a really fancy hotel in Agra, one of those with a giant bathtub. It was definitely one of the fanciest places.

Trying to catch some sleep on the Indian trains

 

O: Obsession. What are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?

Food definitely tops the list of things we obsess about with our cameras another would be local customs.

P: Passport stamps. How many and from where?

L: I had my previous passport for just 1.5 years when I exhausted all the pages with about 60 stamps and have 20 stamps in my current passport and they’re from 16 different countries.

P: With both passports I have 35 stamps from 14 countries.

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where.

We racked our brains over this one and couldn’t really come up with any quirky attractions we’ve visited. I guess that’s one more to be added to the bucket list.

R: Recommended sight, event, or experience.

L: I would recommend trying Couchsurfing at least once during your travels. Most people are hesitant and unsure about it, I was too when I first heard about it. But it will really change your experience and perception of the place you’re visiting and renew your faith in the kindness of strangers.

P: I would really recommend a trip to India for at least of a month to see a different world and for an ‘ultimate travel experience’.

During my trip to Rajastan, India back in 2007 (with my friend Marcin)

 

S: Splurge. Something you have no problem forking over for while traveling.

L: Has to be food. I negotiate for accommodation, think twice about hiring tour guides but if I know/have heard the food is good then I don’t think twice :)

P: I generally prefer not to ‘splurge’ on anything while travelling as its always possible to find an alternative to fit your budget. But I have to admit a fair amount did go towards sheeshas (hookahs/water pipes) during our travels across Middle East.

T: Touristy thing you’ve done

L: Camel ride around the Pyramids but totally worth it.

P: Desert jeep safari in Dubai.

Our touristy camel ride around the Pyramids, Egypt

 

U: Unforgettable travel memory

L: When I tried diving for the first time at Jordan in the Red Sea. Prior to this I’d never even been able to keep my head under water without panicking and inevitably swallowing way too much water, so this was really an unforgettable experience.

P: Chartered flight over the Himalayas

V: Visas. How many of them and for where.

L: 21 visas – from France (Schengen), Poland (Schengen), China, Myanmar, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Oman and UAE.

P: 12 visas – from India, United States, Jordan, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal.

Everyone visiting Paris needs to have a photo in front of the Eiffel Tower (Oct 2008)

 

W: Wine, best glass while traveling and where.

Well we’re rarely fussy and hardly connoisseurs over any wine we can get. I do remember quite a few bottles of them were had in France where you could get one to suit any budget and they still tasted good for my student tastes.

X: Excellent view and from where

On a spur of the moment during our trip to Syria we had decided to visit a Christian monastery to see what it would be like. After staying the night we woke up at 4.00 am to watch the sunrise that that view was unforgettable.

Y: Years spent traveling

L: This is hard to answer exactly but I think it’s safe to say since I got my passport back in 2008 I’ve sort of been travelling on and off so it’s been over 3 years now.

P: Putting all my travels together I think it should be just under 2 years in total.

Trying out traditional attire in Dubai, UAE (June 2009)

 

Z: Zealous sports fans and where

L: I haven’t had a chance to attend any major sports events while travelling not entirely by chance, but I think it would be hard to find more enthusiastic sports fans than Indian cricket fans especially during an India-Pakistan match.

P: I agree. One of my best memories from India is watching a World cup final match between Indian and Pakistan in our hostel in Gurgaon with over 100 screaming Indian fans; I’d never seen anything like it!

 

Enjoying travel in Iran at Persepolis

 

So there are the ABCs of our travel experiences. Hope you enjoyed reading them. We’re curious to find out if any of these answers surprised you, let u know in the comments below!

Now we pass on the torch to fellow travel bloggers Denise of The Art of Slow Travel and Sarah (who we were glad to meet with in Malaysia) and writes at Where’s my toothbrush.

 

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8 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Dharmit says:

    Surprised to know that Pawel is such a big fan of India. :)

    • Pawel says:

      Dharmit, it was 8 months spent in India that made me love travelling so it would be really ungreatful of me if I didn’t give it due credit :)

  2. Chaitanya Jha says:

    Agree with Pawel about ‘Chartered flight over the Himalayas’. Its an absolute unforgettable experience!

  3. Jarek says:

    Paweł,

    You forgot about Portuguese Vinho Verde:)

    • Pawel says:

      Jarek youre right – I did forget! Portugese wines are definitely worth recommending. And Vinho Verde is probably the best pick for the budget oriented travellers :)

  4. Denise says:

    Great article! Thanks for the nomination. These are hard questions to answer and I’m sure it will take me ages to finish this article :)

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