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

Solo Hiking Safety: Preparation Checklist

Solo Hiking Safety

I have been on a few solo hikes so far. Three solo hikes in the Himachal near Jibhi. One hike in the Subbetica Natural park in Andalucia, Spain. In general, it is a bit too soon for me to be putting a “Solo Hiking Safety” post. I like to be more experienced about a subject like this before I write about it. But………I got lost on my previous hike in the Subbetica Natural park and had to be rescued! And it got fairly dangerous due to the weather forecast!

My mind was on overdrive for a few days afterwards, trying to figure out why it all became so serious.  Failure is a great teacher. And I also realised that there were a lot of things I did right, largely owing to my previous solo cycle touring experience (and the few hikes), which led to an ‘easy’ rescue.  So I decided to write this post on potential problems and the solutions for solo hiking (also relevant for group hiking). Also, I don’t think there can be a truly ‘complete’ list for these kind of activities – it is after all the WILD! So feel free to search more if you are planning a solo hike. And if you have suggestions to add to this list, comment and let me know too 🙂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

Places to Meditate in Salem, Tamil Nadu

Oothumalai, Salem, Tamil Nadu

Places to MEDITATE. This is my favourite activity (or rather no-activity ? 😉 ). Go somewhere awesome and sit and meditate or cycle. Kind of the same. Haha. And one podcast I heard from Swami Tyagananda of Ramakrishna Chapter in Boston, said that spiritual seekers notice a sense of familiarity when they do their practices in a new place. And I have been thinking that my daily yoga and meditation practices in every new place I go to, adds to the experience of the place for me.

This Salem trip was very interesting and one of the first such trips where I met a fellow, senior seeker, chatted about spirituality and he showed me around some great places to meditate. And we meditated a while.

Happy life.

So if you are around Salem and wondering what to see, head to one of these places and meditate a while.Continue reading

Wandering In The Himalayas : 50 Days In Spiti, Jibhi and Shimla

serolsar lake

What is it about ‘a month’ of time, that makes it really exciting to spend ‘a month’ in a place? Wandering in the Himalayas for a month had been on my mind since a long time. Now that it has happened, I am thinking of spending a few more months next time around. 😀 I think a year seems more of consequence as it allows us to see the place in all its seasons and festivals.

Lesser Known Places in the Himachal

This June – July 2017, I spent over a month and half in the Himalayas. I covered a lovely, fairly offbeat route in the mountains. And there are many of you out there who are looking to move outside of the tourist circuit. Well, kudos on looking around for different places to explore. It simply doesn’t make sense to keep to tourist hot spots, especially with the problems of high prices, ecological sustainability, crowds, noise and so on. But keeping these problems of the tourist hot spots in mind, it becomes our responsibility that when we move off the tourist track, we ensure that we don’t become a cause of these problems ourselves. We will definitely impact the places we land up in as travellers. But the question is how will we impact them?Continue reading

Spiti Valley: Meeting High Himalayas, Travel Guide

Spiti Valley High Mountains

योगीश्वराय महादेवाय त्रयंबकाय त्रिपुरान्तकाय
त्रिकाग्नि कालाय कालाग्नि रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय मृत्युञ्जयाय सर्वेश्वराय सदाशिवाय
महादेवाय नमः महादेवाय नमः महादेवाय नमः

I have explored various parts of the Himalayas in India. The chardham in Uttarakhand, gardens and lakes of Kashmir, Buddhist ambience of Sikkim, amazing hospitality of Himachalis – the diversity and mountain environment make a rich experience. I have also been to high altitude places a few times but it was only in Spiti that I truly got acquainted with the ‘high’ Himalayas.

This was a trip where I spent 4 days completely in over 10000 ft. Snow clad peaks became common sight. To the extent that after 3 days, we even stopped clicking pics all the time, because every where we looked was a picture worthy, totally fantastic view.Continue reading

Taipei River Bike Path : For Cyclists, Walkers, Travellers et al.

Taipei River Bike Path Map

when I started searching out cycling routes in and around Taipei, I found a lot of mentions about the Taipei river bike path. And I loved it! I was fascinated on having such amazing infrastructure for cyclists, so easily accessible and right in the middle of a capital city! This bike path is still a work in progress and possibly because of that, most of the write ups don’t elucidate enough. So here is a detailed write on this river bike path.

Taipei River Bike Path Map
A view of Taipei city. Note the various River channels in the city. That’s where the River Bike path is.

Bike Paths or Bike Path? As seen in the map above of Taipei city, the entire stretch of River banks have got bike paths. Different sections of this path have individual names depending on the landmarks nearby etc… So you often come across maps of each section of bike path. But these are not separate paths – they are all one long, continued stretch of bike path. Probably 200+km long. Maybe earlier the bike paths were separate and hence, it is more common to find separate maps for each section. But since it is all connected now, it becomes an amazing ride for a cyclist looking to ride long distance within the city itself.Continue reading

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

Tentative Melbourne to Adelaide Cycling Route Map

I went on a cycling trip to Australia in Spring 2016. I was to land in Melbourne and had tentatively thought of doing a Melbourne to Adelaide Cycling circuit. One obvious route between these two cities is the coastal one including the great ocean road. I plotted another more northern route which I thought would give me a taste of the Outback without making it too serious because I was still a newbie in bike touring. Continue reading