Friday, 28 July 2017

A week in Budapest

Sometime in May I decided I needed a holiday. The destination chosen: Budapest. Why Budapest? Well, I had two classmates who had done a semester in my university back in Lisbon and I thought it would be great to visit them and see this city that I had heard so much about. So I booked a week's stay in Budapest for July.

Budapest was fantastic. For the first few nights I stayed at Big Fish hostel, a comfy hostel with fun staff and travelers. I met Luca, one of my classmates who showed me around the city and took me for drinks while we let our legs dangle over the Danube. I did a communism tour, a very interesting free tour that helped to learn a lot about Budapest's and Hungary's history and put things into perspective. I rarely go out partying, but one night at Big Fish I decided to let go my inhibitions and I threw myself into Budapest's night life. We went to ruin bars and clubs and it was a great night out with great people. Zsofi, my other classmate took me to sample some of her favourite street food and was an excellent guide as we walked through this city and then finished with a  drink at Szimpla, a famous, artsy and hipster ruin bar/building. Oh and yes, the famous thermal baths of Budapest, we didn't miss, and could have spent more than the four hours that we did if we didn't have to return to the hostel for wifi.

The highlight of the trip however was the camping and canoeing on lake Tisza at Poroszlo, two hours from Budapest. I joined Luca and her friends and we cooked in the open under the stars and slept in our tents. Canoeing on the lake was a fun experience and I wondered how we didn't lose ourselves on this massive lake.

I was sad to leave Budapest when I did, but I had had a wonderful and well deserved holiday. Budapest is a must visit city and hey it's cheap.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

And Paris happened!

It bugged me for quite a while that I hadn't yet had a chance to visit Paris. maybe I did have a couple of chances but I just hadn't been able to make it work.

I was coming to the end of my work contract at the cafe I was working at in Lisbon and with summer in all its splendor and  travelers walking in and out of the cafe, I just knew it was time for travel. The feet were getting restless and the mind was beginning to wander.

And so, I began looking at budget destinations to spend a week. Croatia popped up but it certainly wasn't budget, so that was out. Mallorca looked good in pictures I had seen, but again, without an income, I had to look past Mallorca. I checked flight tickets to London to maybe catch an Arsenal game while catching up with friends. However, again, it was working out too expensive. I gave up hope for the day.

Right on cue, the next day my cousin Jean Paul calls me from New Zealand and tells me he was heading with his family to Paris for a month and if I could join him there. Now, here was an opportunity. But would tickets be expensive? I decided, I would go anyways since it had been many years since I met my cousin. I immediately got down to checking flights to Paris and BOOM! I get a great deal. Tickets booked then, off to Paris it is! Time to jot down another destination in the book!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

A fresh coat of paint

Apologies for not posting here for a while. I know I have apologized before and promised to post more often but I did not live up to my promise. Hopefully this time I will keep my promise.

It's been four months since I left my homeland, the beautiful and charming Goa. But it feels like I was in Goa just yesterday. It's strange that I should feel that way. But facebook, twitter and social media makes you feel like you are in the same place all the time.

To be precise, I left Goa on the 20th of July along with my twin brother Karl and his wife Astrid. I mentioned in an earlier post how I had to carry two huge suitcases as opposed to their backpacks as I was moving long term (I still don't know. But I'm sure it will be a while before I see Goa again).

I fell in love with Belgium at first sight. I had high hopes in Belgium being a beautiful country and I was certainly not disappointed. Among the cities in Belgium, Brugge has to be right on the top. Sadly we couldn't visit Antwerp but Brussels, Liege, Gent and Leuven were absolutely top notch. If you imagine fairy-tale towns, Brugge a Gent feature right at the pinnacle. Add to that, the flavour of Belgian fries wafting around and Belgian beer to wash down the butter!

Next was the Czech Republic, for which we could afford just three days to Prague. Again, picturesque, exotic and windy! It's a city you can walk around all day, even though you keep bumping into tourists (just like ourselves) every three seconds. "Beef goulash" was my favourite dish in Prague and I would give a thumbs up to the beer too! Oh and definitely, for a budget trip, Prague makes perfect sense!

Shortly we would arrive in Portugal, a country I'm so familiar with and where I would finally be putting down my bags. Lisbon is definitely one of my favourite cities. Even though it doesn't compare to the plush cities of Belgium, it carries a certain charm that keeps you never wanting to leave. It was at Portugal that I bid adieu to Karl and Astrid and would shortly commence my student life.

Student life has been nothing short of delightful. I'm enjoying my new foray into academia and being a student again. Student culture in Portugal is among one of the most exciting parts of Portuguese culture and I've done my bit to try to immerse myself into it.

Three and a half months have passed since I moved to Portugal and I consider it one of the best decisions I have made.

Christmas is approaching and I'm looking forward to a wonderful season.

Signing off!


Sunday, 26 July 2015

The backpacker with a suitcase

Oops! I've been traveling and haven't been blogging. Time to set that straight.

With reference to my earlier post "something's brewing", well indeed something was. I've taken a huge plunge, left my job and cozy life in Goa and will shortly be getting back to the studies in Portugal. Exciting times lay ahead.However,before I do shift base to Portugal I am currently traveling a little bit with my twin brother Karl and his wife Astrid.

We are currently in Brussels and heading to Leuven for a day. Up until now we have covered Brussels, Gent, Bruges,Liege and Maastricht. No prizes for guessing that Bruges has been the most gorgeous city. This fairy-tale like town has it all; canals, cobblestone streets, gardens, parks, windmills, horse carriages, exactly like out of a fairytale. I have no qualms in saying this town ranks way higher than Venice in my book.

After we finish with Belgium,we head to Prague for three days and then onwards to Lisbon. While Astrid and Karl carry their backpacks  I have to lug around two suitcases and honestly I feel like the weirdest backpacker ever!

Oh and I love Belgian fries.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Something's brewing

It's been a long time since I've posted on here. I guess when I stop travelling, I stop posting. I shouldn't though.........................stop travelling that is!

I've been suffering from itchy feet for a while now but haven't been able to do anything about it. Well, I did make a short trip to a nice hill station in Karnataka in India in March, but it was just too short and came in between a horrendously busy time at work, and hence other than a breather (and a weekend getaway) it wasn't much else.

How often have we read "Travel! You can always make money. You can't always make memories". But don't you need money to be able to travel?? That's the darned part! Christopher Mckindless in "Into the Wild" makes it seem so easy. But it's not!

So that would explain this long hiatus from my last backpacking trip Work, earn, save, travel, repeat! That's how I go about it! And maybe that is the best way. It brings more zest to the travel, a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of "I have worked for this!"

But it's been more than eight months now and something had  to give. Maybe I have something planned albeit a little different. It may come as a surprise but I'll wait before I tell you what it is! Whatever it is though, something's definitely brewing!!

I'll see you in two months!



Friday, 10 October 2014

Adeus Lisboa!

So, its my last hour in Lisboa. In a short while I will be leaving back for home. I leave with mixed emotions; sad that my holiday has come to an end but also happy to go back home refreshed after a fantastic holiday.

This trip has been memorable one as I after a while I have traveled alone  and once again it was a fantastic experience. I've never felt as confident of independent travel as I did this time around. Indeed, there are many advantages of traveling alone which I will go through in  separate post.

This trip gave me an opportunity to revisit a country I love traveling to, meet old friends, make new ones as well as discover new places. I go back happy, confident and refreshed.

Where will I go to next? Stay tuned!