Ready for the ride :)

Cycle touring is not that common in Australia and that has one fall out – People keep wishing me safety from traffic because that for them is the biggest danger in this kind of travel I guess. As I entered Inglewoods 40km from Atisha Buddhist Centre, I passed by an old woman. She stopped me to say something and I thought it would be good day wishes etc… In Australia people have Good Day conversations with strangers, it is sweet. But instead she said, “Stay safe from the cars. I am gonna worry for you”.

Yikes, so scary.

I just pedalled away. I have some worry wart aunts, I lie to them and never tell them about my adventures (until after they are done) :p

So, scrolling back to the beginning of ride 2: as I left Atisha Buddhist Centre I wished a lot of people goodbye – because it was Community Day for them and lots of people were around. And everyone wished me safe traffic. Ahem. Funny then that the big challenge I faced was the weather.

One lady who came to know about my journey was too excited and insisted on giving me something, finally I took a collapsible travel glass from her as I didn’t have one. She also offered a room in her house if I was passing by again. :)

So with too many ‘safe traffic’ wishes I started off my ride 2. And I found that Australian traffic is even more gentler and concerned about cyclists than I experienced in Europe. Here there aren’t any signboards telling cars to keep distance from cyclists, but they all do anyway. Time and again I noticed that the cars will actually move to the next lane while passing me by. Only very few times when both lanes had traffic and the vehicle was too big like trucks, then it would pass close to me.

Secondly, the highway I took had ample side lane for cycling. They could just paint a cycle symbol on it and it would be a good cycle lane. But here in Aus there seems to be a culture of big side lanes on all roads. On roads with cycle lanes there is still side lane area… I am not sure what this is for – but I didn’t notice such big side lanes in Europe.

Arriving Inglewoods… Notice the side lines – ample space to cycle.

Mid route, snacking…

Golden flowers..

Aussies are funny :)

I enjoyed my ride from Atisha Buddhist Centre to Inglewoods.
I passed couple of small towns – Marong and Bridgewater on Loddon. Bridgewater on Loddon is interesting as it has many activities like sky diving, canoeing and so on. Can be an interesting place to stop. Though if you are passing by and are interested, do call and check the various services. Everything has a timing in Australia and also a season. Things change depending on these.

Bridgewater post office. Interesting architecture?

Old texas feel… Have to go to Texas to really find out if that is how it is :)

In Bridgewater and Inglewoods there were many curio shops. Curious, isn’t it.

Passed by a few cafes on the road. Marong, Bridgewater and Inglewoods had one. So ample places to have a meal if hungry.

Aussie Wilderness

Another thing that was noticeably different from my earlier cycling in Europe are the birds – there are so many of them. Even without making an effort you can see 4/5 different ones like cockatoos, parrots and magpies. And the birds are complimented by silent sheep grazing in the fields protected by alpaca, originally brought in from South America but now bred here in Australia. Often there are horses in farm padlocks. And of course the kangaroos gazing at you from a distance… I have seen them number of times now but they always run away if I try to get closer. :)

When it is not farmlands around the road then it would be the eucalyptus trees or ‘bush’ as the wild regions are called in Australia. This unique foliage set a distinct tone for my travels. I began to love the bush and am always looking at opportunities to explore it.

Inglewoods

Inglewoods is a small town with a few pubs and cafes. One supermarket/pharmacy and such shops. The place to camp is the motel which was a km out of town.

Camping

Cost: $20 for campsite with bathroom & shower facilities. There was a small space for barbecue or cooking with my stove.

There were a few caravans about but no other campers. This is when I realized that I had started out a bit early, it was still chilly and not really camping season.

Hungry as usual after the long ride, I went to the nearby petrol pump which served hot food. It was run by  Indians! Voila. Turns out that a large number of petrol pumps in Victoria are owned by Andhra people. And they bring more Andhraites, maybe from their village to service them. I asked the service staff if they liked living here and Yes, they did!

Glad :)

Ozland #ftw


I had my flight from Kochi to Melbourne on 27th Aug, 2016. The Mumbai – Kochi wasn’t booked because I hadn’t gotten my visa yet. It was already 25th Aug. Then on 26th Aug morning I received The Email – with my visa. :)

So all is happy and a LOT of last minute packing took place. It was not a good day I must say, because I got stuck in a traffic jam for 3 hours. Yea, the universe has been trying to tell me something.

Now when I relax at my AirBnb home in Melbourne, having delayed my cycling road trip due to cold and flu – I am slowly unraveling the universe’s message or at least trying to piece it together. It seems to be ‘Relax, All iz well’ šŸ˜‰

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I am sitting in my Indigo flight enroute to Kochi from hometown Mumbai. Boarding this flight was a total last minute madness mainly because I was transporting my cycle.

I could have planned it better, so jotting down notes here for next time. Ya, I still have appetite for a next time. My parents were probably traumatized by how close I cut it, but that is OK. Next time I will make it easier for them. šŸ˜€

In case you are wondering: I ended up dismantling my bike for the first time just an hour before I had to leave for my flight. Everything could have been smooth as I planned it out in my head but well it wasn’t. The pedal got jammed damn bad so much so that finally I cut a hole in the box and that pedal just poked out. No other way. Continue reading


Konark Sun Temple

Which is the only god worshipped across the world?

Err… Not sure

One and only – The Sun!!Ā And that is why this is the greatest temple in the world.

Ehhh… Everyone doesn’t worship the sun.

Who doesn’t? In Egypt he is known as Ra, in Greece as Apollo, in Rome as Helios, even the Incans worshipped the Sun…..

Yea… *polite smile*

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Trimandir in Twilight

Trimandir backview from the ashram side

Trimandir on the outskirts of Ahmedabad has three major deities – Simandhar swami, Shiva and Vishnu. Yes, Simandhar swami is from the Jain religion. Along with him there are a number of other Jain idols too – Mahavira, Parshavanath, Rushabh, Ajitnath and Padmaprabhu. Not sure how these Jinas from the Jain 24 + 20Ā tirthankars have been chosen. Traditionally in Jain temples the idols are chosen on basis of some astrological calculations done by Pujaris, as far as I know. Not sure if same method has been used here.Ā  Continue reading


I have so much to write from my trip to Europe last year. I have just scratched the surface of it. A month and half was a good amount of time to understand their culture to some extent. However, the long distance cycling & camping nature of my trip has also left me quite wordless. So I thought of putting up at least a few picture posts where I can tell some stories via the pictures…. Here is a glimpse of my 5 days in Budapest,

Budapest

A view of the city divided by the River Danube. Pest on the right side and Buda on the left. These two cities were merged to form the Hungarian capital Budapest.Ā 

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“You will never get the schengen visa!”

That’s what 3 well-recommended travel agents said.Ā And then I managed to get a multi-entry (I had asked for single entry) visa for the number of days I had asked.

I applied on my own! And then as usual – I blogged about it šŸ˜€

Since then a lot of people have contacted me to clarify doubts because they are in a similar situation. It seems that anyone looking to travel solo, backpack or go long distance cycling trip in Europe gets a negative responseĀ from the Indian travel agents. Continue reading


Spent a relaxed 5 days in Kolkata last month. I have been to this city earlier but always with family as my close relatives stay here including my grand mom :) This time I planned to spend time with family AND explore the intriguing Kolkata!

One of the first places that I wanted to take a look at was the Kali temple, as Kolkata is a city that intrigues with all sorts of dark stuffs. No, if that caught your interest – I didn’t majorly explore any “dark stuff”. But I did dig into some of the oldest temples in Kolkata. My interest in temples fundamentally lies in really old temples where I can sit and meditate for a while. I also like toĀ understand the older traditions, rituals, culture, architecture and so on.

Kali Temple, Kalighat

Kali – Calcuttawali, this a saying I have often heard but never thought much of it until I started researching what to explore in Kolkata and realized that the entire region predominantly worships the Devi and there are some fairly significant Kali temples. This one at Kalighat is within Kolkata while another popular one is the Kali Temple @ Dakshineshwar near the Belur Math. Continue reading


One of the exciting aspects of cycle touring is passing through the charming, small European towns. I know a lot of people who plan a trip to someĀ popularĀ metropolis in Europe often Paris but then they quickly realize that the romanticized notions are often lost in the hustle bustle of the huge city. But they find the European charm they are looking for in the nearby small town they pass through on a random drive.

So whether or not you love the big cities of Europe, be sure to include activities which let’s you experience the European small towns too. There are many ways of doing this for everyone. You don’t necessarily have to go on a long distance cycling tour like I did. Continue reading