Travel experiences we loved

A year full of adventures is almost coming to an end. It has been such a fun ride. From the Arctic in the North to the desert landscapes of Jordan, from a comfortable refuge in the Alps to an abandoned mountain hut in Norway, from luxurious palaces to a half broken tent, from skiing groomed trails to climbing unforgiving mountains, from walking ridge lines in Italy to the bridges of Prague, from kayaking in fjords to riding gondolas in Venice, from UNESO sites to secluded landscapes we experienced so much, yet so little of this big wide world. In all these varied experiences, what remains same is the friendly people we came across and the wonderful memories we made. Here are our favorite travel experiences that we can’t get enough of, read on and indulge!

Climbing the via ferratas in dolomites

Our foray into trying the sport of climbing without actually having ever been to a climbing school started the moment we tightened the harness, put on the helmets and attached the security cable to one of the many iron paths that take people through a journey to the mountains of dolomites. Crossing the knife ridge of Antermoia to get to the summit cross on a day ridiculed by gusting winds and passing hail was the most nerve-racking moment this year.

Kayaking in the Norweigan fjords

If there has to be one way to make the most of having a sun that never sets is to paddle the calm waters of the norwegian fjords watching the midnight sun. While half of the world was sleeping we were getting awashed with the magic of Lofoten islands. The sun painting the clouds in hues of purple, the reflections of mighty peaks in the salt waters was our favorite memory from the arctic.

Skiing in the alps

We never thought skiing in the alps would mean easy access to hundreds of miles of the white magic and receding back to the comfort of a perfect alpine hut while binging on the best of the culinary delights. Skiing in the Austrian alps was our favorite winter activity this year. With convenient access to groomed trails, great ski runs, exceptional hospitality and phenomenal powder days Solden was the best ski resort we could have taken our ski boots to.

We are on our little #adventure in the Tyrol

A post shared by Lila & Praveen (@minikinescapades) on

Backpacking in the lofoten islands

Having done lot of hiking and camping in the north west of USA, we challenged ourselves with a two week long backpacking in the remote arctic islands of Norway. What set this epic trip apart was we were unbound by time with the midnight sun always shining bright on us. Between the never setting sun and our exploring straits it was a losing battle for us when we would recede back to the sleeping bags in daylight, only to wake up to the familiar feeling of exploring further.

Well hello to dangling off cliffs #norwaygirl

A post shared by Lila & Praveen (@minikinescapades) on

Many waterfalls of Plitvice national park

A picture of the cascaded waterfalls of Plitvice took us both to Croatia and witness this natural wonder up close. We spent the entire time in the national park walking up and down on wooden planks precariously placed on the edge of the 17 lakes that feed each other through the most stunning waterfalls. We came back relished and soaked in the jet sprays of the emerald green waters.

Walking the walls of Dubrovnik

To be in a city that is fortified is unique in itself but at Dubrovnik the excitement is multi fold. Flanked by the azures of the ridiculously beautiful dalmatian coast this town was straight out of fantasies of game of thrones. Goes without mention walking the tall walls of the city took the experience to unprecedented levels.

Sandsurfing in wadi rum

With the  middle eastern sun shining hard having sand all over the skin might not sound like an exotic idea. But the feeling of smoothly gliding over the orange sands of the wadirum with the martian hills stretching out in a distance is simply put enthralling. Sandsurfing in wadi rum we scratched off yet another item on our bottomless list of things to try in our lifetime.

Hiking a secret trail for this view of Petra

Looking for exploring the city of petra in a unique way we chanced upon the secret trail that only a handful of the loads of visitors that walk the narrow siq take. We had no idea where to start from and at our lunch table we were told off to not attempt it without taking a guide. We were still determined and soon found a good soul who directed us to the start of the trail. After a steep climb in the afternoon sun, standing on the edge of a cliff staring at the treasury of Petra from high above turned all the drudgery into pleasure. We then hiked to the monastery.

Eating Calcots in Barcelona like a local

Exploring the city with a local is a unique experience. With a local friend in tow, you just don’t stare at monuments but get filled in with all the genuine trivia on it. The best part though is when they let you in on their traditions. One of which was eating Calçots in the spring. These spring onion like Catalan delicacy are barbecued or flame roasted on the event of Calçotada and we happened to be let in to sample some.

Treading the canals of Venice

Venice was one of those cities we knew we would find ourselves in the midst of swarms of tourists. So we kept our expectations of finding any solace very low. But walking back from a dinner on the first evening in Venice we tripped up on a deserted alley. The ambient lighting only made the whole street more intimate and soon we found ourselves looking forward to these sweet nothing night strides. That is what Venice was all about for us, getting lost in the maze of bridges and narrow streets.

Can't help but fall under the spell of #magical Venice

A post shared by Lila & Praveen (@minikinescapades) on

Stumble upon the Blagaj Tekke in Bosnia

This was recommended by the our host in Mostar on our Bosnia trip. He mentioned about this monastery next to a spring while exchanging stories one evening over a glass of Ioza that he made himself. We sure had to go and see it for ourselves.  A stone monastery on the edge of a sandstone mountain next to a minuscule waterfall was in fact a little wonder in itself.

Drifting in Spreewald

Over 200 canals zigzagging and framing islands of pine forests rich with unique flora and fauna make up Spreewald. This UNESCO biosphere reserve used to be an irrigation system with canals cut through to divert water from river Spree. Exploring this water jungle of Spreewald was a retreat. All go abouts here happen by waterways, from post delivery to food. Electric boats are strictly prohibited and the choicest way to go around is on the traditional wooden boats or punts as locals call them. 

Living the royal way in a palace

Most of our rendezvous with palaces and castles have been very brief, restricted to a short tour or peeking at them from afar. We changed this and indulged in staying at one of the oldest palace in Portugal. Palacio Belmonte, a luxury palace hotel in Lisbon’s old town channels the Portuguese roots in every sense. Concealed behind the enigmatic red wooden door on the highest hill in Alfama, this palace is made for superlatives and deserves a sparkling epithet. 

Floating at the dead sea

I can safely say floating in a salty lake is an experience that can only be possible at Dead sea. I am aquaphobic and would never consider myself much of a swimmer. But when I first found how effortless it was for the dead sea to keep me afloat, I could muster up the courage to get into the water. Its surprising how hard it would be to drown yourself here, so we simply enjoyed the novelty of bobbing up on the surface like a pro.

 

Cliffs and coves of Algarve

With little beaches tucked away behind cliff crags, ancient pock-marked strata of limestone creating funky formations Algarve is a place that is worthy of all of its hype and more. The cliffs in south Portugal are in a state of constant erosion from the lapping waves and winds that carve indentations creating hidden coves and caves. Driving through tiny whitewashed villages and pine trees alongside the shimmering ocean, having beaches to ourselves, clambering up the cliffs were the kind of memories we came back with.

Road tripping in Poland

Poland makes it to only a few of those Euro dream trip itineraries, but for us it was an exception. This soviet ruled country still striving to revive itself is actually our favorite getaway from Berlin. Apart from being affordable, the country is scattered by picturesque cities like Wroclaw, Krakow and Poznan. The coastline on the north might not be the warmest but makes for a relaxing break. The mountains to the south can calm all the adventure pangs of any thrill seeker.

Loosing track of time to Berlin’s nightlife

This write up wouldn’t be complete without confessing our love to Berlin, a city we call home right now. Berlin has always been at the junction of all the world warfare, the cold war, the politics and the drama. But what sets Berlin apart for us is not just its rich history but also its culture. A culture not bound by any restrictions, Berlin is the real hip city by heart and soul. A city where you can let your party feet dance straight from Friday to a Monday morning and still have no regrets to do it again the next week.

 

Have you experienced any of this or similar yourself, we would love to know more!

Comments are closed