Hiking & Cycling Routes Near Córdoba, Spain

Cordoba’s historic city center is a testament to the times of Roman settlements, Muslim domination of Europe and the later victorious re-conquest by the Christians. It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. And the old town definitely exudes a character and charm not easily found. But this is not why I chose to spend a few days here. There are many hiking and cycling routes around Cordoba – these were my interest 🙂

Here are some details in case you wish to explore them too:Continue reading

Botanical Garden in Ajuda, Lisbon

Botanical Garden in Ajuda - ornamental walkway

Lisbon has three botanical gardens as far as I know. Ajuda, Belem and the City Center. The one in the city center was under renovation when I was there. But I visited the one in Ajuda and Belem, they were very close to where I was staying. This post is about the botanical garden in Ajuda. It was the first one I visited and found totally fascinating! And possibly from what I read and hear it might be the best one in Lisbon.

As I entered the garden after buying a ticket from the office building I saw glimpses of a maze-style garden. In the official website of this botanical garden it is called the ‘ornamental walkway’ but I think of it as the maze garden cause it reminds me of a maze carved from garden hedges. 🙂Continue reading

I Got Lost On A Solo Hike & Had To Be Rescued

Solo Hike

I often wonder, I keep talking abt solo travel as being really awesome. And people around me get impressed, think it is so cool and all that. But what happens when a situation develops that is NOT awesome? Am I only rhapsodizing on the basis of all my positive experiences so far? In which case it really takes only one negative experience to over-rule the positives, isn’t it? Or not? Here is one of my most serious – shit hit fan – solo travel experience. And what I think about solo travel afterwards.

It happened in Spain.

Earlier today I got lost in the mountains and not proverbially….. I wrote late into the night. Once I was back in my hotel…. I couldn’t sleep. And blogging has always been therapeutic for me. So this particular blog post has been in writing since that night itself but of course, I have had to shape it up to make it read more coherent.

I was staying in the town Zuheros in Andalucia, Spain. It was the night halt of my second day of cycling the Via Verde de la Subbetica. I had only one day to cycle further but I found information on some cool-sounding, short walks in the hotel reception and so instead of cycling, I decided to hike in the Subbetica natural park instead.Continue reading

Vegetarian Girl in Lisbon

vegetarian or vegan food in lisbon

In general, Lisbon isn’t considered very vegetarian-friendly. This is what the few people who had some idea about it told me. People generally don’t know much about Lisbon because it is not one of the top must-visit cities in Europe. But after spending over 3 weeks here, I wouldn’t really call Lisbon particularly difficult for vegetarian or vegan food. Here is my experience, and if you are looking for vegetarian or vegan food in Lisbon then this should help you out.

Vegetarian or Vegan?

Firstly, to clarify what these words mean.

Vegetarian typically at least in the European sense means foods that are plant-based or animal products (not animals but their products – milks, eggs, honey and so on). It doesn’t include fish, sea-food or any meat.Continue reading

Lisbon Oceanarium

I came to Lisbon for some work meetups. And everyone in this work team had to vote for one fun group activity. This is how I landed up at the Lisbon Oceanarium 🙂

If you are wondering about the difference between Oceanarium and Aquarium (I was *geek alert*) – any aquarium that provides an ocean habitat for its marine life can be considered an Oceanarium. And this is exactly what we get at Oceanario de Lisboa, Europe’s largest indoor aquarium.Continue reading

13 Black And White Photos Of European Cities

I recently have a new found love – Black and White photos! It started with an impromptu black and white Taiwan Street Photography series. And couple of weeks back I started a series on European cities on Instagram. The idea was to create vintage type shots of a common city scene. Not particularly landmarks or sight seeing spots but just common, day to day scenes of the city in black and white. I really enjoyed this series. Let me know what you think.

And for you blog readers I am putting in one exclusive photo in this post, which is not on instagram. Yay! 😀

A random street of Buda hill, Budapest in the (late) Summer of 2015. #blackandwhite

A post shared by Priyanka Dalal (@priyankawriting) on

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Cycling In Different Corners Of The World

Buy Or Rent A Cycle

I prefer slow, immersive travel experiences. In the Summer of 2015 I went on my first trip to Europe, and tried out solo cycle touring. It was amazing and I found it very well suited for my tastes. Since then I have been on more cycling adventures in other countries and within India too. Writing details about these trips is time consuming and it typically happens only after the trip is over. Sometimes I get caught up with other stuff then it doesn’t happen at all. So, I have created this post to quickly jot down notes. As and when I write detailed blog posts I will link back here, so this becomes one big repository of my cycling experiences.

Also added articles on cycling gear, other logistical stuff and interviews with cyclists, they have been listed right at the end. All trips are solo unless otherwise stated.Continue reading

A Month In Modern Day Germany – How Travel Changed My View

When I first started researching Europe for my first solo international trip last year, I looked at many countries France, Spain, Scandinavia…. But Germany wasn’t really a country I considered in particular. Then I zoomed into going on a long distance cycling & camping trip. This brought Germany into my radar. Because it is the best place to start out – keeping in mind the costs and infrastructure both. So Berlin it was! At the end of the trip it turned out to be the one European city I felt I had spent some time in (15 days) and it was awesome.

Before this trip happened, apart from it being some sort of ‘finance powerhouse’ and a hub for Cars – I had no other association with Germany. Except of course the holocaust crap that happened in WW2. And that was my main association with Germany. As I find with so many people at least in my Indian circle – Germany brings thoughts of Hitler, nazi and concentration camps. And here I was planning to cycle and camp in the countryside, solo! God knows how many concentration camp spots I would pass by on my own.Continue reading

Budapest In 15 Snapshots [Photos]

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. 

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Solo Travel & The Schengen Visa – FAQs, India

“You will never get the schengen visa!”

That’s what 3 well-recommended travel agents said. 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 😀

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 response from the Indian travel agents.Continue reading