Featured

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Finally, after months of contemplation, with my family and friends coaxing me, here is my first blog and blog post. 

Let me take you on a journey with me to the beautiful hill town of Nainital in Uttarakhand, India. 

There are various ways of reaching this hill town from Delhi. Its accessible by road, air(Pantnagar airport) and train. I chose the train simply because, train journeys I have always found rather charming and rarely get the opportunity to undertake these days . We took the Shatabdi Express up to Kathgodam Railway head and from there rented a cab till Nainital. A word about the cabs here. Once you step out of the quaint little railway station, you will be spoilt for choice as there are dozens of cabs lined up outside waiting to take visitors to various places-Nainital, Ranikhet, Corbett…

You can expect to pay anything between 1000-1200 INR for a medium sized car such as the Honda Amaze.

It took us about an hour and a half to reach the cottage we had booked ourselves into- a quaint little gem called ‘The Hive Cottage’ at Ayarpata, Mallital in Nainital. I’ll fill you in about this beauty in another post.

IMG_20190418_112616

Boating at Naini Lake- we got caught in a heavy downpour after this 🙂

After checking in, we trudged downhill to get ourselves some ‘Pahari-Kumayoni ‘ food. Talking of food, will tell you about all the must eats in Nainital and also will share with you the next three blissful days we spent here.

So, till then- take care, have fun, be healthy and keep travelling joyfully…

Ciao

Europe Diaries- Chapter 2 Ljubljana,Slovenia

Zdravo (hello) again!

This time, we are in Ljubljana the capital city of Slovenia.

We reached Ljubljana from Budapest.

There are several ways of travelling between these two places. We chose to travel by bus and used the services of the Flix Bus- having used it many times earlier, we were comfortable doing so. We departed from the Nepliget station in Budapest and arrived at the Ljubljana bus station in about 5 hours. The journey en route was picturesque, to say the least.

Once in Ljubljana, we took a taxi to the apartment we were booked into. A little word here on where to stay and how to choose the location-

You see, Ljubljana is a small Charming city/ town where life pretty much revolves around the river which flows through its centre. Being a university town, it is small and walkable – almost end to end. So, it really does not matter where you choose to stay – you will always be close to the centre. Also, the cost of stay is reasonable.

We stayed at a place called Apartma ( apartment ) 1001 on Igriska street. The owner, Mr Borut was warm and friendly as all Slovenians are (we found out later). To give you little example of that- We had forgotten our adapter plug in Budapest and Mr Borut not only provided us with two brand new ones but even gifted us one that we could carry along with us for the rest of the trip. Thank you, dear Borut!

I had been in touch with him via watsap before we arrived and he had been waiting with the house keys for us.

Once we alighted from the bus, we found taxis lined up along the street. Unlike many European cities, the cabs here are safe and very reliable. They run by the meter and frankly you rarely pay more than 10-11 Euros(so short are the distances!)

Once we met Borut, he handed over the keys to us and briefly oriented us to the place. The apartment was cozy, pretty, well lit and had everything that a traveller would need. He’d even stocked up the fridge with complimentary wine and some (chargeable) essentials. We got to know from him that Slovenia has 13 wine growing regions and produces wine of superb quality- I vouch for that!

A little tip here: We have found the best variety of wines in the supermarkets here at very reasonable prices. The average price that we paid for a bottle of wine was about E 1.40! I just heard some exclamations!

/p>

The pictures above are of the charming apartment that we called ‘Home’ for 4 nights.

We loved it! Right across the street was the ‘Merkator'(super market), a bakery, restaurants,bars and what not. Till wee hours of the morning the city is awake with sounds of music and laughter… The spirit of the city is what hit me the most. The icing of the cake was that we were right next to the Congress Square and the University. Every evening, during summer the Music Dept students put up amazing performances for all to watch… I still re live those moments when the city- life tries to pull me down!

By the way…the meaning of the word Ljubljana is- ‘My beloved’ in Slovenian…how apt!

A performance at Congress Square…

Now for our itinerary:

Well, the first thing that we did (as always) after we reached is set out to familiarise ourselves with the surroundings. The apartment overlooks the castle and Borut had told us to keep walking towards the castle and we’d find everything there. That’s exactly what we did- with the cool summer breeze of the juliana Alps blowing against our faces, we just walked towards the stunning view of the castle towering over all else… And- what met our eyes in just ten minutes was the gorgeous Preseren Square(where stands the statue of their national hero France Preseren who was a romantic poet- a rather unusual choice for a national hero but how befitting), the river, the charming buildings, a flurry of activity- of children skating, people dancing(on the road!!) To lovely music coming from just about EVERYWHERE!!

We crossed the triple bridge and made our way to the ‘Tourist Information Office’. The English speaking lady at the counter had many suggestions for us in terms of day trips that we could undertake to the Slovene country side. The two trips we were particularly interested in and bought tickets for was a combined trip to Lake Bled, Postojna Caves and The Predamja Castle. A tip here:

Both these are very doable on your own using public transport. Buses leave regularly to either of these two and more places from the main bus station/ train station.

However, we chose a guided tour because we wanted to do all these trips as a combined one without having to worry about the how and the where. The combined trip was expensive. We paid about E175 per person…. It is MUCh cheaper if you do it on your own… But as I said, we were okay with this ‘Convenience tax’ that we paid simply because Bled and Postojna are in opposite directions and we wanted to do both on the same day.

With the tickets in our pockets, we set about walking past the town Hall, down the cobbled alleyways and slowly climbed up the hill to the Castle. The view from the castle was breathtaking! We walked around the castle grounds, enjoying the view and reading the little information tablets put up everywhere. It was relaxing. After about an hour there, we made our way down and straight into one of the several Italian food places that is found all over town. Once you visit Slovenia, you will realise the strong Italian and Austrian influences that the country enjoys. Both historically (will tell you in a bit) and geographically, Italy and Austria are very close to this country. Italian, Slovene and English are spoken fluently by all. So, coming back to the food before us- we enjoyed some hand tossed excellent pizza with a citrus drink each. Let me add here that I am no fan of the pizza normally (no offence meant to anyone- food is a personal taste as I said)- however, the pizza we ate in Ljubljana was nothing like what we had tasted before. It had cheese which was neither stringy,nor salty- was delicious and tasted more like flavoured Paneer. The crust was not very crisp but had a flavour too. The topping was deliciously spicy(apparently made extra spicy to suit the Indian palate!) and juicy ,if I may say. The lady at the sales counter was friendly and looked straight out of an old Hollywood movie- I got to know from her how the pizza crust varied from region to region in Italy and with a lot of pride exclaimed that, she had chosen the Roman crust for us because the chef was Roman and that I’d be compelled to visit Rome after tasting the crust! 😊😊

Let me add here that Pizza is quite a staple with the students and you will find them in all prices. The HUGE slices that cost only a Euro each can be compared to the fast food pizza we get at a regular Pizza Hut back home; for pizzas that we ate which I thought were fresh with fresh vegetables and herbs you may expect to pay about Euros 11-12 for a portion that is enough for two people. It is sold by the kilo!

Thank you, Borut for introducing us to this wine. Costs about 5-6 Euros at a local supermarket. We got back several bottles 😋

The delicious ROMAN pizza- sold by the kilo

After that good food in our belly, we strolled along once again towards the river. Enroute, see what we found 👇

A store selling the best schnapps and liquor. For the happy and free spirited (😊) you are allowed to taste any amount and as many before buying or not buying any at all!!

Well, we then sat down with some good coffee at one of the many cafes dotted along the promenade letting the music and laughter flow over us… A day well spent indeed!

Day 2: Next morning after breakfast (beef sausages available at the supermarket is a must try) we headed to the Preseren Square to begin our free walking tour of Ljubljana. Our guide was Peter. He made every statue, bridge and building come alive with his stories from history. It was as if, some chapters from world History were being enacted before us. Again, I will not repeat the stories as I believe a lot is lost in the translation itself- you need to hear it from the man himself. So, Ljubljana free waking tours is a MUST!

We learnt that Ljubljana or Emona as it was called by the Romans, has changed many hands before attaining it’s present day status. First it was the Romans( so the name ,Juliana Alps as Julius Caesar crossed them en route his conquest), the Turks, the Hapsburgs, the French( was Napoleon’s capital), the Germans and Italians(WWII), part of Yogoslavia till 1991 when it declared it’s independence till 2004 when it became a part of the EU. Today it is a city which embodies mainly Austrian and Italian cultures and is the greenest city of the world. May it always stay blessed!

The walk ended at the Cobblers Bridge. After the long and interesting exercise, our next stop would obviously have to be a gastronomic indulgence(a family tradition and rule we follow)So, we headed to the FIGOVO restaurant to taste the PREKMURSKA GIBANICA CAKE.

An article I read worded it rather aptly: “The first dilemma is its name. Is it better to say layered strudel, cake or a pie? Actually, it doesn’t matter so much. It is an interesting combination of cake and pastry, and we can say it is one of the most famous and popular Slovenian desserts.”

We enjoyed this cake with some chilled wine. We did reach heaven for a short while…🌈🎈

A little bit about the BRIDGES of this city. The river here is transversed by multiple bridges- each built at different periods in history. Earlier they’d be built of wood and often would be burnt down by fire… till the concrete ones started being constructed.

Each bridge had a story to tell. I particularly liked the one about the Cobbler’s Bridge- apparently it was named so because, cobblers would display their items for sale on either side of it. In the centre was a pole to which was attached a huge cage. Apparently ,if any baker was found to have cheated on quality or weight of the bread loaves that he sold, he’d be brought here, put into the cage face down and dunked into the river. The idea was never to take one’s life but, to teach the offender a lesson – if found guilty more than twice, licences were cancelled- intriguing, isn’t it?!

The different bridges of Ljubljana that stand to tell their tale…

We ended the day with a hearty bowl of Goulash- which was slightly different from the Hungarian one. It was thicker, sweeter and delicious!

Day 3:

We started this day early as we were picked up from a prior designated spot by 7:30am. There were 4 more people along with us and we left for Lake Bled. The vehicle was comfortable and after the travellers got acquainted with each other (we had an American couple and a couple from Helsinki), the journey seemed even more interesting. It was interesting to note our perspectives on each other’s countries and we were impressed at the American gentleman’s knowledge of India and it’s election process!

We reached Bled in bout 2 hours. At first sight, the shimmering blue lake, the mountains at the back with the church spire standing out in the skyline was mesmerising…it was everything that we had expected and more! We first visited the Bled castle before going down to the lake. The view from the castle was even better, but the castle itself had little to offer. We spent a few hours walking around the lake, taking a Pletna (flat boat) to the island in the centre, ringing the wishing bell there, tasting the delicious Bled creme pastry, before we set out to begin our journey towards Postojna Caves. A tip I’d like to share here: Bled is beautiful and one needs to spend a night there to truly be able to experience it. If you are hard pressed for time, choose the Soca Valley or the Julian Alps over Bled.

👆Cream cake, characterized by delicate puff pastry atop layers of light vanilla cream and custard, is a dish that can be dated back to the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries. Almost all the countries under the Hapsburg’s former reign still have a version of the cake: Bosnians enjoy krempita, Polish love kremówka, and Slovakians dine happily on their krémeš. The Slovenian version of cream cake is kremna rezina and, thanks to a recent granting of protected designation of origin status, it only comes from the patisseries at Lake Bled. The sugar is JUST right and the pastry very light. We could not stop eating it for desert every single day that we were there. It costs about 4-5 Euros each. But, be warned that it is large enough to be easily shared among three people if eaten after a meal.

(Source: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.nationalgeographic.com/)

After Bled, we set off once again towards the famous Postojna Caves and Predjama Castle. Both of these lie in close proximity to one another and are found in the Karst region of Slovenia. This region being characterised by limestones, has extensive caves found under ground. The Postojna caves(discovered so far) extend over 27Kms. The Karst river has carved out extensive rock formations underground. I have to admit that, they are not only magnificent but also hard to believe at times! We were taken into the cavern in little trains till a certain spot and then had to walk from there. It was awfully cold underground and you are advised to carry a jacket with you. This is one visit which cannot be missed while in Ljubljana. We also sighted the tube like salamander or human fish as it is commonly called in these caves. Photographs do not do justice to the beauty that awaits you,once inside.

From these caves, a short ride away was the Predjama Castle( the J is pronounced as Y in Slovene) which stands hanging out of rock on a cliff edge. This medieval castle is listed as the most haunted castle in Europe (found out later 😊) and no one wants to work here at night – we were told! This castle too is a must visit and has the most well structured water collection system of its time. The views from the castle are sure to blow you away! It is well maintained and as we took a tour, one could imagine how the robber baron of the castle, Predjama must have lived ‘On Edge’ with his army of mercenaries, fleeing the Hapsburgs… From his vantage point, he had a three hundred and sixty degree view of the approaching enemy.

This trip is a Must!

With the tales of the mediaveal Robin hood, Predjama ringing in our ears, our tired feet took us back to our vehicle for the journey back to Ljubljana. The return journey seemed to fly past in a jiffy with our driver/ guide filling us in with stories of the enchanting haunted castle!

👇 One of the several structures you will view inside the cavern

The view of Castle as we approached it

The next day was our last day at Ljubljana. We spent the day getting lost in its meandering alleyways, browsing around in the Farmers market and generally soaking it all in. We tried a drink of chilled milk each, from the many milk machines in the city – have to confess ,it’s merely a touristy thing which can be avoided! We re visited some of the souvenir shops and the liquor shops. For every ailment, we found they had an alcohol remedy! Interestingly, their National Anthem we found, is sung around a table and a toast is raised to every stanza!

Till late that night, we sat on the promenade and tried to take in the positive vibe of this beautiful city. We left the next morning with a promise to definitely return and for a longer time.

A few tips I wish to add for you:

  • Ljubljana is very close to Italy. So, you could combine it with your Italian holiday.
  • Trieste in Italy is half an hour away. It is a port town and a must visit.
  • Piran is a little coastal Slovenian town along the Adriatic sea- must do from Ljubljana.
  • If you also wish to do Croatia, make Ljubljana your base as it is much happier and prettier. Also if you have an Indian passport, visiting Croatia will need a multiple entry visa
  • Buy all your wines here- very cheaply priced.
  • Buy cheese for Italian cooking here. The cheese here is different from the Dutch ones.
  • Give Ljubljana 5-6nights at least.
  • Expect to pay around 100 – 150 Euros for accommodation per night
  • Carry a jacket as early mornings and late nights are cold even in June.

Last but not the least, am leaving you with images that speak of the strong Roman influences visible in the city everywhere.

A carved door

Reluctantly, I bid adieu to the city where a piece of my heart remains.

Hope to meet you next at the Bavarian Alps…

Keep travelling and stay happy!

Ciao & Dobro zdravje (good health & well being)

Europe, 2019 Diaries Chapter -1 Budapest,Hungary

Budapest, the capital of Hungary is a fairytale city where every building and every street screams of art and beauty. The people are friendly and easy going. The currency used is the Hungarian Forint and this city is easy on the pocket. I spent 5 idyllic days here and to tell you the truth could have spent many more, had time permitted. I have listed down for you my itinerary with details of accommodation, food, shopping, transport etc. Hope it helps.

Let’s begin with- Where to Stay

The area I chose and I think most tourists should is the Parliament House District… Next to the river Danube. The reasons are obvious- it’s safe, picturesque and central – so we just walked everywhere.

stayed at

mailto:anabelle@bedandbreakfast.hu

It was right next to the Hungarian Parliament, next to one of the best money exchanges called Haneefa, next to a Spar(super market) and next to the Danube promenade. I had a wonderful experience at Anabelle. I highly recommend it. Please note that I have received no discounts from them for this blog post.

Day 1: Reached by evening by a flight via Zurich. I had requested for an airport pick up from the apartment- fantastic experience there with good , professional , English speaking taxi driver. However, you could easily book a Fo Taxi which is the official Budapest taxi, once you exit the airport…that would be slightly cheaper.

At the apartment, Mr Joseph was waiting for us with a map of Budapest and he sat us down to explain everything to us. We ate at some of the places recommended by him and I have given all a full 10!

Next- money change. Budapest is notorious for ripping off tourists as each money exchange gave a different rate. Haneefa which is next to the apartment too was very good.

With Forints in our wallet, we then set out to do what we always begin a city with- join a city Orientation tour. However, we were late as the tours had already begun so, we decided to just walk down the promenade and take in the cityscape- which was just AMAZING!!!

The Chain Bridge

What we saw….blew our breath away. We were on the Pest side and could see the castle and Gellert hill across the Chain bridge- on the Buda side. We quickly bought a ticket for the sunset cruise on the Danube and hopped aboard the vessel for an hour and a half long cruise along the river. In front of us we saw the Sun go down and both sides of the river light up- the view and experience was unimaginable…. An evening cruise on the Danube is an absolute MUST. Please don’t bother pre booking it as you will be spoilt for choice with the number of options you find.

View of the bridge from the cruise
The entire city is lit up as the Sun goes down- a fairy tale view!

Days 2,3&4:

After a sumptuous breakfast in the morning, armed with our bottles of water and sun shades, we headed out to the Budapest -eye at Elizebeth Square(  Budapest Erzsébet tér – Budapest Eye ( Ferris Wheel, 1051 Hungary) to join our Free walking tour. The link is: http://www.triptobudapest.hu/

I highly recommend it as most of the free tours are done by young , passionate students( mostly of History/Archaeology) and are a better way to orient oneself to a city rather than by the HOHO bus(my opinion only!). This walk took us across the Chain Bridge, up the Gellert Hill and then the Buda Castle. It ended at the steps of the spectacular Mathias Church with its mosaic-tiled roof! A long walk, but so satisfying- we stopped at every turn en route as our guide Audrey told us little stories which added so much meaning to every structure and every building we saw. She regaled us with Hungarian History and stories from their mythology which added meaning to the statues of mythical creatures that we saw and without which, it would have just been yet another pretty statue carved in stone! I would not take away your fun and kill the surprise by narrating the stories- you need to hear it from a Hungarian!

A visit inside the Mathias is a MUST! The city panorama from the Fisherman’s Bastion is just gorgeous!

Although, one can take the funicular up to the castle, but believe me you will miss the gorgeous views as you walk up- the choice is yours of course!-also, you get to save some Forints!

The Castle with the Fisherman’s Bastion

After having stayed on till evening, we began making our way downhill to cross over the bridge to the Pest side- but not before we promised ourselves to come back to the Buda side again to explore the Castle quarter some more!

A view from the Castle

Yet another epic view from the castle

We ended our day with some delicious Hungarian Goulash and grilled Salmon with hand made pasta. For food please try the 6th October Street- absolutely recommend.

Goulash with hand made pasta

We meandered our way back after an early dinner (washed down with some good Hungarian Beer) down the pretty promenade with stories of the Magyar chieftains creating images in my head…

Please note: Hungary is known for superb wine and Schnapps( called ‘Palinka’ locally. The beer is still the forte of the Germans and the Czechs!)

Day-3: We started the day with the Parliament visit. The Hungarian parliament is a visual treat with baroque architecture and history. However do remember to pre book your tickets online atleast a month or two in advance. One needs to present oneself 15minutes before the slotted time and an official tour guide will take you around. We ofcourse chose the English tour. A little tip here – the cafeteria at the visitors Centre is very good so maybe you may may decide to try it.

Next on our list was the Jewish Quarter. Hungary had the second largest Jewish population in Europe and therefore a visit to its Synagogue is a must. We walked around the Jewish Quarter and after the Synagogue visit, enjoyed a few drinks and lunch at a Ruin Bar called Szimpla. A Ruin Bar in Budapest is another must- do experience. The Nazi era led to the Soviet occupation and once the Russians left and property prices were at an all time low, the people here decided to buy and convert the jews’ houses into ‘Ruin Bars’ or pubs, decorated with stuff found in these ruins itself as a grim reminder of the Holocaust and a tribute to the victims.

We walked back once again, via the beautiful promenade along the Danube. Of course, a few stops for shopping( for Paprika and Palinka) was naturally a given! We then stopped at the Stephen’s Basilica where a music carnival was on. We sat ourselves down on stools with some good coffee and enjoyed some Hungarian Folk music.

We had dinner at a Chinese place close to the apartment this evening… Good food! However a word of caution here: Boiled momos( we assumed were steamed)- turns out was boiled in oil 😂- delicious though!

Day 4

We started our day even before sunrise. We walked across the Danube and climbed up to the Castle even before the Sun had risen. We were mesmerized by the view that met our eyes as the reddish golden globe slowly bobbed up across the horizon and up the Danube! It was enchanting. Then, with fresh coffee in hand( Hungary grows and drinks one of the best coffees in the world!) we walked around the up scale rich neighborhood of Buda- the architecture there is old and magnificent!

We slowly( reluctantly) made our way across the Danube and headed for Heroes Square. It is indeed a beautiful place which leads out from the famous Andrassy Avenue- very touristy though. After a few photo ops here, we headed out to the Great Market Hall which again is a must visit while in Budapest. This morning we used the metro service of the city. Budapest has a good public transport system and is easy to use. However, what we found fascinating were two things- the depth of the tracks with extremely steep escalators which are of a different era and the train compartments which resemble old and quaint carriages Viz a Viz the contemporary, modern ones we are used to! The steepness of the escalator at the Kossuth Lajos Ter Metro station is definitely worth mentioning! We loved the experience.

  • After a hearty lunch( you guessed right!) Of Goulash, sausages and rice at the Market Hall, our tired feet made their way to the Szechenyi Bath. The architecture of the place is beyond marvellous! Our tired limbs soaked in the goodness of the thermal spa. The experience is yet another must do in Budapest.
  • https://images.app.goo.gl/9a9iUekmn1WC7oW26
  • We soaked in the thermal spring till late evening and finally made our way back to our apartment that evening with a heavy but satisfied heart! However, before we turned in for the night, we could not resist spending yet another evening on the banks of the Danube with it’s cool waters lapping at our feet while our eyes tried to (maybe for the last time) soak in the illuminated beauty of the city that is- Budapest!
Shoes By The Danube- a stone’s throw from the apartment we stayed a

So, while we travel to Slovenia and meet you there, let me wish you joyful travelling…

Do remember to leave your comments below and also let me know of your experiences and queries if any.

Ciao

Nainital- where to stay…

I always believe that where you decide to stay during a holiday can either make or entirely mar your trip. Nainital is no different. In this post, I will write on the various accommodation options available at this hill town.

Broadly speaking, you may choose to either stay in the hub centre(on the Mall Road), where all the chehel pehel and raunak is or (as I did) away from the madding crowd, up in the mountains. All of this will depend primarily on YOU…what you enjoy- and both have their pros and cons.

So, the pros of staying at The Mall are:

Brilliant view of the Lake, City centre- hence most places accessible by foot and taxi expense will be lower.

Cons: Obvious- can get crowded and noisy during the season.

As opposed to this, further away from the Mall might get slightly heavier on the pocket as taxis may have to be hailed as you trudge uphill (especially if you have children with you). However, if sitting with a book amidst the mist and clouds,far away from the traffic noise is your thing then you may find this option well worth it!

As they say,what is the point of being in the mountains if you don’t trek the mountain trails and lie on the bed at night with a dull (albeit satisfying,may I add) ache in your calf muscles ! 😊

So,now that you’ve taken your pick…let me tell you more about the various places I thought were worth checking into…. Let me also add that the room tariffs etc you may have to check online.

The hotels on the Mall that I found charming were

1) Alka Hotel

http://www.alka.in

2) The Grand Hotel

3) Classic- the Mall

4) Hotel Channi Raja

Hotels away from the Mall

1) Mannu Maharani

2) Naini Retreat

3) shervani Hilltop Hotel

And finally, the place we stayed at- ‘ The Hive Cottage’. We were absolutely blown away by this place and am going to fill you in about this place in a bit.

At this point,I would also want to add that, I have stayed in none of the above places so, please make sure you read the reviews before booking.

Okay….so now, about the little gem we were lucky to find…. ‘The Hive Cottage’.

It’s a little treasure perched on a hill, away from the madding crowds. The name of the property is,as already mentioned, ‘The Hive Cottage’. It housed the Post Office, way back in the late 1800s and Christopher William Corbett, father of Jim Corbett who happened to be the Post Master back then was a proud resident of the present ‘Corbett Suite’.
The Mall road is a short ( a Km maybe) trek down. We stayed at the Magnolia Cottage which gets its name from the wine coloured ( very rare colour for Magnolia flowers!) Magnolia trees that grow around it. The USP of this place is the personalized attention that you get once there…the food is home cooked and fresh. Whether you choose to order Indian or continental, the score is a perfect 10! low oil,yet flavourful! Orders have to be placed beforehand as they cook individually for their guests – very old dakbunglow style!
Compliments to the owners, Padmashree Dr Ranjit Bhargava(a renowned environmentalist who has been decorated globally for his rich work towards the environment in the Uttarakhand hills) and his wife Mrs Shrruti Bhargava for having kept the old world charm intact amidst the various multi star properties mushrooming all around it. Well done indeed! If in Nainital,do take a look at the property.

I am uploading the video link of this place below. Although let me add, the camera does not do justice to the beauty of this property,I feel. Please check it out.

I used Booking.com to book here. However, in case you are interested I will share the number of this place with you and you may also book directly with them. May I also add that I don’t earn any commission on account of it!

A few tips before you go:

  • If you go by train or air, expect your cab to cost about Rs. 200 or so more on your way down.
  • Mallital , refers to the higher areas and Tallital the lower areas-both being a part of Nainital.
  • Rates of goods in most shops are fixed- I appreciated that!
  • In case you have not visited Bhimtal and Sattal, do combine it on your way down from Nainital. In that case, expect to pay the cab about Rs 2000, till Kathgodam( all inclusive).

So, go on book yourself a trip to this lovely destination and enjoy!

I’d be happy to answer any further queries that you may have. Please leave your queries and comments and I’ll get back ASAP.

So, adieu….

Remain joyful and keep travelling…

Ciao

Nainital Food Trail

So, FOOD is a huge part of getting to know the culture of a place. Besides,eating local is my mantra for life. So let’s begin:

1. While in the Kumayon Hills, you must head to The Anupam Restaurant at Bara Bazar to try out their Pahari/ Kumayon Thali. It is delicious! And if you are accompanied by a Carnivore like I was,you could choose to add any side non vegetarian dish of your choice. We chose to have the Khada Masale Mutton as is made in the hills…did not regret it at all. I give this place a 4/5 easily

Loved the Pahari Thali they had on offer

Oh,and as an extra you will get to be a part of the local community as you see local friends stopping by and chit chatting. The easy,laid back mountain air makes this place very special.

2. The next place on my list would of course have to be ‘The Sakleys’, once again in the main market. This place has a history and the desserts here are truly lovely. The continental food on their menu is very good. I’d give this place a 4/5 again.

3. The Machan: This place is right on the Mall and you can never miss it. This place is a must visit for its ambience. The view of the lake with the mountains in the backdrop is just brilliant. I don’t recommend the momos we ordered here. However, saw some fellow tourists devouring some typical butter chicken- Naan kind of food and that sure looked good. I’d give this place 2/5 for the food we had but a 5/5 for the view…

If unsure, just order some beverage….that’s what we did the next day and were more than happy.

4. The Chandni Chowk: Once again, a prominent place on the Mall. This place is famous for garam jalebi aur garam doodh. Frankly, both fell flat and personally found neither great

However, the ambience of the place is quite interesting and one gets the feeling of sitting at a street side place on Chandni Chowk…check out the pictures below. I’d give this place a 2/5 for food. Visit it though,to look around at the street scenes of Chandni Chowk.

5. Momos: Found everywhere. Hot momos in the cold weather are a good combination and Sonam Momos in the Tibetan Market is the leader here.

6. While out in the market, also visit the ‘Pahari Store’ which sits atop(1st Floor) the Capitol Hill movie hall which faces you as you approach the Tibetan Market/ Naina Devi Mandir from the Mall Road. This store houses a large variety of aroma candles, wooden artifacts, Pahari masalas,Pahari dals, hand knitted woollens and a whole lot of stuff you may want to browse through while visiting the hills. It also is a factory outlet for a candle making factory of Nainital…. I loved the place!

7. And while walking down the Mall road, ofcourse you will stop for the various Hot chocolate, coffee and masala Chay breaks!

Some of you have requested me to share with you my itinerary…will do that next.

Till then, remain joyful

Ciao