Month: March 2017

What To See And Do In Stuttgart, And How!

Before I visited Stuttgart, I had no idea what to expect. A few people moreover discouraged me by stating that it’s not Stuttgart that you’d want to visit in Germany, especially if you’re bound in time. Rather, as they suggested, you go to more vibrant and backpacking-friendly towns of Munich and Berlin. But to hell with unsolicited recommendations, I still decided to take a chance and see what Stuttgart had to offer. And it turned out that I instantly loved the city. Between lights and life, and the many loud cars chasing around the streets, Stuttgart has its own unique charm. Though the town isn’t very big and it’s fairly easy to move around places using the ever impressive tram and bus connections, I went even luckier by staying at a place called International Student Hotel, thanks to its easy location, only a couple of tram stations (or a 10 minute walk) away from the central Hauptbahnof. As I checked-in, the hotel turned out to be very clean, neat and orderly — everything I’d come …

Mercedez Benz Museum In Stuttgart

Stuttgart, as a town, has been around since the early 10th century, and its numerous cultural and historic buildings offer a sight to behold. But out of all architectural marvels, and museums that this tiny little town has to offer, I loved the popular Mercedes-Benz Museum the most. It showcases the company’s (and moreover the man’s) very first models of automobile… while finding a perfect harmony with the cars of past and of future. So yea, when you think of Germany, and Stuttgart in particular, it’s cars and cars only that should first come to your mind, after all it was the region of Stuttgart that gave the man its first vehicle designed to be propelled by an internal combustion engine — a technology we are still using more than 100 years later. Stuttgart is the only place in the world with two car museums, and that too belonging to brands like Porche and Mercedes. On my #VisitStuttgart blog trip, I happened to visit the home of Mercedes Benz, the only exhibition of its kind in the world to document a 130 year old …

24 Hours In Zurich

If I am going to fly cross continent from India to Europe, I am always going to want to make the most of it and choose the best of all destinations. So as I decided to backpack across Europe for almost two months, exploring eight countries in total, I used it to my advantage by starting the journey from one of the most beautiful countries in entire Europe. Yes, I am talking about Switzerland! And in Switzerland, the hub of all activities and cultural treats: the town of Zurich! As I stepped out into the Zurich airport, and headed to have my first couch-surfing experience ever, I was more skeptical than ever. I had the impression that it would feel sterile and bounded with punctuality and rules, but it wasn’t anything like that. My 48 hours in Zurich went just as smooth and happening as I wanted it to be. My couchsurfing host turned out to be one of the amazing people I’ve met in my life and so were the other locals I interacted with, during …

Mount Titlis: A Day Trip From Zurich You’d Not Want To Miss

Switzerland, for Indians, has always remained a county with beautiful countryside and well distinguished farmlands. It’s a country to skip the big towns, wander off the highway onto the back roads, and experience those unforgettable bollywood movie sequences we’ve gown up watching. From Sangam (released in 1960s) to Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaege, Indian cinema’s fascination for romantic songs and dreamy sequences, to be shot in Switzerland, never took a step back. And to personally experience the never-ending fascination Swiss countryside and its Alps, I decided to leave Zurich behind, and do a day trip to the mount of Titlis. For those who don’t know, Mount Titlis is a mountain located at 10,000 feet above sea level, in the Urner Alps of Switzerland. It is easily accessible from Zurich, via train, but the best way to explore it is by booking a day trip from a tour company. This is for two reasons, one: because it’s convenient and saves you time, and two: because by doing so you get to explore another highlight in Switzerland, and that is the …

It’s Never A Perfect Time To Travel

Last week I was watching the movie “Into the Wild” for the seventh time, and it struck me what a frugal thing happiness can be. It has been more than two years now, since I’m living out of my backpack, without a permanent source of income, owning no more than a handful of belongings, yet I am happier more than ever. We’re caught up in the clutter of day-to-day existence, of paying bills, of buying this and selling that, that taking some time out, only to realise that there is a wide world outside has become so difficult. And not only are we ignoring the free world out there, we are moving farther away from it, everyday, suffocating our previous lives around the tiny corners of our home, and our workplace.   We’ve all read plenty of books, heard dozens of real life accounts, about happy travellers and blissful nomads, and they always leave us in a complete awe. And within us all, there is always a part that wants us to break free and become that rolling stone …

Before 58 Days In Europe : The Planning Phase

Yesterday, on my Facebook page, I posted the route-map that I’ll be following during my upcoming 58 day backpacking trip in Europe. And one of the comments on the post, written by Mohit Agarwal, gave me a bright idea. The comment read “Have a great journey…. waiting to hear about your planning phase and the trip”. I realised that I seldom talk about the planning phase of my journeys. And if I don’t talk about that, how can I consider them as journeys. Planning is, after all, just as important to a journey, as the journey itself — you plan better and you will thank yourself throughout the trip! Planning becomes even more important when you want to travel under a budget, and/or you are travelling outside of your country. And on my upcoming 58 days backpacking trip, I was doing both! Hence, I planned enough! However it’s a different thing that I still do not know if I am going to follow the exact route-map I’ve created at the moment, or I’ll still alter it and …

How To See Delhi In 2 Days

Despite Delhi being one of the places I personally don’t endorse, there’s much to see and do here for a tourist here. Delhi is rich in culture and history. After all, there must be a reason why it was declared as Republic of India’s first capital city. So visit to Delhi can’t be denied, and if you finally end up here, being a first timer, and aren’t sure from where to start and end your day, this two day travel itinerary will set you up for a real Delhi experience. This is Delhi on a fast-track… Day 1 Start from the hub of all activity in central Delhi, by taking a metro to Patel Chowk, and then a brief tuktuk ride to the iconic India Gate. This 42 meter structure is the nation’s pride with its two columns inscribed with martyred soldiers names. There is no visitor or photography fee in and around India Gate. Located on Rajpath and close the Parliament house, India Gate is the perfect destination to start with your Delhi tour, …

Schengen Visa For Indians: How To Apply And Get It Yourself

I know that Indians are the vulnerable bunch, because of their weak Indian passport. They are required to submit hundreds of documents, prove their existence and go through a process so mentally tormenting, that getting a new birth certificate might apparently feel easier than applying a tourist visa. And when it comes to a Schengen visa, for Indians, things become even more complicated. Perhaps that’s the reason why a majority of tourists contact a travel agency and pay more money. They do it out of helplessness. For a quick rescue. They opt for travel packages and pre-paid itineraries – even if that meant bleeding unnecessary money, and exploring silly places abroad. To tell you the truth, I also considered that option before going through the process myself. But as I pondered upon the idea and calculated the prospects, I realised that it will be a lost deal, especially because I was on a limited budget. I mean we anyway pay over 1500 Rupees to Vfs that is nothing more than a cheap middleman, so why …

My First Snowboarding Experience

Confidently balancing on my board, gliding down the slope with all the grace of a gazelle, I slid for a few metres before finally landing on my chest. The last night’s snow absorbed the hit pretty much every time I crashed, while trying to polish my left and right turns while snowboarding, with a little to no luck. But I was firm on my goal! A few weeks ago the lovely folks at NorthlandAdventures, in Manali, invited me to try a few days of skiing or snowboarding with them, at their ski hotel, Sethan Heights, in Hamta Valley, Himachal. And as soon as they first mentioned it, my (first) reaction was ‘oh, bum … I can’t ski!’. Then I realised, this would mean gaining a new skill, and I spat a big yes… Though I was still unsure about it! For the next few weeks, the crashing, getting uncontrolled, and other hazards made me wince every time I thought about my decision. And I sure didn’t want to crash in front of others. But To hell with it… I’d …

Sethan Village In Himachal: A Place To Relax, Unwind And Just Be!

After a few nights in Charanag, a small town tucked away from the crowds connecting Kullu-Manali, in Himachal Pradesh, it was time to lose myself in oblivion, yet once again. And Sethan, as my next destination was called, sounded like a perfect option. Located approximately an hour’s drive from Manali, Sethan was definitely a place for slow travellers – at least during winters, when the snow still claimed the ground and any movement beyond this tiny Buddhist town, was pretty much impossible – unless you’re conquering glaciers. I sure wasn’t! In the month of March, and with mercury still falling beyond zero for most of the hours in a day, the valley here was draped in white. Little flakes of happiness were everywhere! From Sethan, one can see the towering Dhauladhar ranges surrounding the village, and the river Beas flowing right next to it – perhaps a few thousand feet down. The inhabitants here were originally migrated from Tibet, and represent a Buddhist community who share their roots being horse herders in in their past. …