24
Dec
2014
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Flashback 2014: Part 1

2014 was a travel busy year for us. We managed to do three international vacations and nine short breaks within India, including the annual visit to our folks’ place. We are not sure if we are addicted to travel or is it the joy of ticking an item on the bucketlist that pushes us to save a little extra. All we know is that travelling keeps us happy! It gives us the drive to get back to our desk at work every morning and the enthusiasm to blog every night!

With 2014 drawing to a close, here is a snapshot of our escapades during the year:

Sula: Time to raise a toast!

We started the new year in high spirits – literally. First weekend of the year and we were celebrating with some bubbly and pizza at Little Italy, the Italian restaurant at the Sula Vineyards. It was a ‘happy’ weekend, in every sense of the world. We spent the day at the vineyard and the one night at the Taj property in Nashik about 7 km from the vineyard.

Happy at Sula Vineyards

Happy at Sula Vineyards

The verdant Sula Vineyards are located close to Nashik, approximately 230 km from Mumbai. It was a beautiful morning drive. We loved the slight nip in the air and the mild morning sunshine; a loaded picnic basket makes a good drive great!

Delhi: Republic Day Parade

26th January is India’s Republic Day. There is a magnificent and gallant parade held on this day in the capital city, New Delhi. As a kid, I would be up early on this day, ready and spruced by by 7:30 am and plonk myself in front of the television to watch the parade – battalions of the army, navy and the air force march by, children perform traditional dance and the multicoloured state tableau …that was always the best!

(Pic courtesy: Hindustan Times)

Republic Day Parade (Pic courtesy: Hindustan Times)

I always wanted to see the whole program ‘live’ and it has been on the list even before it was named ‘bucketlist’ and Ankur knew about it. The visit to Delhi in 2014 was a surprise that Ankur had planned. I was thrilled! Republic day was on a Sunday…a weekend well utilised!

Bhigwan: Shooting Birds

Early in the year, we made a trip to Bhigwan – abode of the long legged beauties. We did a day trip from Pune to see the flamingos strut gracefully around the Bhigwan Lake. It is a joy to watch the flock take off and to watch them flap their wings. The birds have a wingspan span of approximately 100 cm… that’s a sizeable ‘birdie’ to fly overhead!

Flamingos in flight

Flamingos in flight

Our only regret – we had an 18-135mm lens when we went for this trip and the pictures do not do justice to the beauty of winged friends. However, we did manage a few good shots of the sea gulls and lapwings. Hope they inspire you to plan (and execute) the trip to Bhigwan, which has still managed to stay pristine, away from hordes of tourists!

Bhigwan -Seagull

Bhigwan – Seagull

Jordan: Dead Sea, Petra and much more…

The Jordanian jaunt holds a special place in our heart. It is this trip that inspired us to kick start Ticking the Bucketlist. I ticked three items on my bucketlist in this fascinating country:

Petra

Petra

It really was my trip and Ankur gave me company…history isn’t his thing! But he loved the overnight camp at Wadi Rum and clambering over rock bridges in the wilderness. Our most enjoyable experience was slathering ourselves with the Dead Sea mud mud and then bobbing on the water!

Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum

Gir National Park: Hear me roar!

I love the four-leggeds. The only four legged that Ankur has made peace with is my dog Taurus. My love for the animals comes from my Dad. A father-daughter trip was perfect! Dad sure was excited – it was his first wildlife safari! And he was indeed lucky – we saw a total of eight Asiatic lions and five leopards, including three cubs basking in the sun.

Gir: Asiatic lion

Gir: Asiatic lion

Gir: Leopard

Gir: Leopard

Ankur and I have been to Kruger National Park in South Africa in 2010 but we had not been able to sight a leopard. Oh! What a fruitful safari!

Kochi: Fort Kochi and Alleppey

Kerala is called God’s own country… and we hadn’t been lucky enough to get a peek into this land until July this year. Typically, people plan a ten day trip to visit the entire state. We did not have that much time and planned a short four day trip to Fort Kochi and Alleppey.

Kathakali ar Fort Kochi

Kathakali ar Fort Kochi

We pottered around in the Jew street at Fort Kochi, ate some of the best food ever and sailed over the calm backwaters. The place was perfect to calm our mind and the ayurvedic treatments were perfect to soothe our body. We are now left with a desire to plan a longer trip and revisit the state!

Backwaters at Alleppey

Backwaters at Alleppey

In the second half of the year, we explored Croatia and Malaysia and got our passports stamped and visited family in Amritsar/Jalandhar and Pune. More coming up in Flashback 2014: Part 2.

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