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

Cycling In Australia: Inglewoods, Ride 2

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.Continue reading

Australian Visa For Indians (compared to Schengen)

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’ 😉

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Taking The Cycle via Airplane, Mostly India Related

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. 😀

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

TriMandir – Adalaj, Ahmedabad

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 + 20 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. 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

Explore The European Countryside: Here’s How

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 some popular 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