Dramatic landscapes, mountains with stunning fjords, lakes mirroring colorful wooden houses and to top it all the stunning aurora borealis. Norway and Sweden were full of these beautiful surprises literally everywhere and as far as the eye could see. But when asked how I would describe these places – I was somehow always at a loss for words to describe the beauty. The normal words of such as “beautiful”, “stunning”, “gorgeous” and the likes are somehow insufficient to describe what you feel for this landscape. Traveling here we finally understood why these countries and its people are repeatedly voted as the happiest countries and people in the world.
Germany or Deutschland – just the mention of this name is enough to conjure images of grand castles and palaces, the mysterious Black Forest region, world-class museums, the famous Oktoberfest, ancient art and traditions, amazing Autobahns, classical music, cars (Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche etc), numerous varieties of beer, the famous Rivers of Rhine and Danube, beautiful green covers and scenic beauty, carnivals and festivals, and so so much more. I have had an opportunity to briefly explore this country during my previous Europe trips (I have been to Munich and Neuschwanstein Castle in South Germany and to Aachen and Vogelsang in West Germany) and my curiosity and excitement to explore it further has only grown. But Germany has so many facets with unlimited things to see and experience that no matter how many times you visit, you will always be left with a craving to see more. Luckily I got a chance to explore this country with Germany National Tourism for a 5 day solo and unstructured trip.
Any trip or a holiday creates numerous memories, memorable anecdotes and photographs. But travel stories are created when your best laid plans go haywire. All good stories start with an element of the “unexpected” – getting lost in a city, taking a wrong train and arriving somewhere else altogether, missed connections, getting deported are a few of such unexpected elements and I am sure you get my drift. My travels are self-planned budget trips and despite a lot of research there have been many occasions wherein all that could go wrong has gone wrong and in return many memorable stories created. But my favorite so far is being “Homeless in Hungary”.
Shangri-La, a small town high up in the Himalayas that for some is the beginning of a journey into Tibet, for many the end of a foray into Yunnan and for others just a taste of Tibet (if they don’t plan on going on any further). For me personally it was a mix of end of Yunnan and a taste of Tibet, coz as Indians we need additional permissions to enter mainland Tibet. And my own first impressions of the town itself were quite disappointing as all I initially saw were numerous commercial buildings and a very sleepy touristy town. However I soon realized that the way to explore Shangri-La is to keep it as a base and explore the beautiful landscape all around it.
And based on our own experiences and learnings, please find below the top 5 things that you should do in Shangri-La –
A friend once told to me that “jungles are an addiction” and I thought to myself, “that is just impossible”. Many material things can be an addiction, but jungles – no way. Little did I know then that one trip to Kanha would prove me completely wrong. And if you also think like I did, then its time you plan a trip to this amazing jungle. Below is a quick planning guide to help you find your way –
Introduction to Kanha National Park –
Kanha is one of the biggest national parks and a tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh, India. By definition, a national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns and uses for conservation purposes. Although each country has their own ways of classifying parks as national parks, the common idea always is – conservation of wild nature for posterity and as a symbol of national pride. Per wikipedia, we have a total of 166 authorised national parks in India and there are quite a few more national parks that have been proposed by the state governments and awaiting approval.
Air travels, especially long distance flights, are stressful, but they can be even more so if there are incidents such as unforeseen delays, cancellations, interruptions and others. I experienced one such delay during my recent trip and my blog post on it received numerous comments, suggestions, ideas which were not only useful but also something all of us should know and be aware of.
I have compiled all these ideas, suggestions, feedback below to help you all plan for your next trip and be prepared in case you find yourself in a similar situation. Feel free to customize your plans based on your own requirement and comforts.
Based on my own experiences, comments received and feedback, I will keep on updating this post.
I want to personally thank everyone who took the time to read and spread the word on my post “Indians comfort and loss of time is of no value to British Airways“. I appreciate and I am glad that everyone shared their own experiences also. When I first decided to write this post, it was meant to be a letter to the CEO of British Airways highlighting my experience while flying BA. But your overwhelming support helped this feedback reach them and to get a response. I am glad to update you that BA has sent across their views on this case and an apology for their staff’s behavior at the Heathrow Airport. I am pasting this response for all of you below.
On my post I had also received numerous comments – some “good” some “bad” and some “ugly” but, in all, I think we received some good solutions, answers and suggestions from travelers across the world. This post was a feedback to BA, that they are in a service industry and their customer service should be equivalent for every passenger. They have assured us that they will take this matter seriously and I sincerely hope that they do. I have titled this post “A start..” as I hope that BA and all the other airlines (where people have had similar experiences) don’t wait for someone to complain, but proactively work on their customer service and improve.
Thanks and regards