2016 was a great year for me travel wise, from the salubrious climes of Scotland to beaches of Goa, my passport and bags did a lot of heavy lifting. I have to plan my travels around my children’s school and academic calendar. I really marvel at the mom’s who manage to travel round the year, maybe I will be able to do it once the kid’s fly from the nest !
JANUARY 2016 – GOA – I rang in the new year in Goa with some very dear friends. I am not a beach-y person and don’t enjoy lazing around on the beaches much but thanks to our friends, we had a blast ! They introduced us to casinos in Goa and the fab Arpora night market where we spotted some minor Bollywood starlets and lots of ‘high on something’ hippies 🙂 . We stayed in North Goa for a few days enjoying water sports on Baga beach and dancing away the nights.
I would have never ever thought of stepping into one of the floating casinos on river Mandvi but after being chided and goaded was arm twisted into going 🙂 .
We shifted to Palolem beach in South Goa a couple of days before the new years and it was like a different Goa altogether. We stayed in shacks bang on the beach. Our days started with lazing around on the day beds with a mocktail, then shifting on to a float in the ocean with another mocktail in the hand, followed with swims, kayaking and long lazy massages !
New year eve was a scintillating mix of fire works, paper lamps gently swaying till they disappeared in the night sky, tempting sea food, people from all the world enjoying bidding farewell to 2015 and welcoming 2016.
FEBRUARY 2016 – ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND – February saw me traveling to the cold climes of U.K. Bundled in layers and armed with jackets, sweaters and boots, I was ready to take on the notorious English weather. Luckily for me, I encountered only one rainy gloomy evening in London,rest of the trip was filled with sunshine, occasional very welcome snow fall in Scotland, and lots and lots to enjoy !
I started the trip by taking a train to Edinburgh from London and spent 3 days exploring the Scottish Highlands which were covered in snow and the delightful medieval city of Edinburgh.
Back in England, I stayed in London as base and explored the cities, towns and rural England. I visited Bath, Stratsford upon Avon, Oxford, Leeds, Windsor, Dover, Canterbury, Greenwich, Cotswold, Warwick and Stonehenge. Do I have a favorite ? Ummm- I actually loved them all, but I do find myself leaning a bit towards City of Bath a tad more than others 🙂 .
And of course exploring London on foot as well as using the extensive tube and my favorite HOHO bus was the cherry on the cake.
Watching the famous Bobbies and the soldiers during Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace completed my London experience.
MAY 2016 – RAMGARH – After the dreary exam months of March and April, we decided to go on a family trip. Having been to almost all mountains in India, we embarked on a road trip to comparatively lesser known Ramgarh near Nainital.
This was a leisurely trip filled with lying around in hammocks, plucking fruits from trees, eating locally sourced fresh food and an occasional burst of energy which led us to trek or para glide or kayak !
JUNE 2016 – LADAKH – June saw my daughter and I take off on once in a lifetime 15 day road trip across Ladakh. We started our journey from Srinagar continuing on to Kargil, Leh, Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Sarchu, Manali and back to Delhi.
Off all the places especially mountains I have seen across the world, Ladakh remains the most majestic without a doubt ! I am yet to see skies more blue, mountains more scary and yet inviting at the same time, air more fresher and water bodies more sparkling.
We drove on river beds where there were no roads, slept in tents with every cell of our bodies freezing, eyes wide awake through out the day despite getting up at 4 am everyday. The simplest of food tasted like gourmet when served hot and freshly cooked. I plan to go to Ladakh once more in thick of winters, hopefully soon !
OCTOBER 2016 – JAMMU KASHMIR – Months of July – September saw a lot of changes and upheavals in our lives and travel took a backseat ! But once bitten by the travel bug, there is no known antidote other than more travel itself :). So October saw me yet again pack my bags for a short whirlwind trip to the beautiful locales of J & K.
This was a time every Armed Forces family dreads, the inevitable field posting leading to years of separation. Our little family got even smaller, the husband along with the doggie left to attend to the call of duty and the kids and I were left on our own, but that is what being married to a soldier means ! After bidding a tearful goodbye and praying for his safety everyday we were left to our own devices, and that means even more time for me to hatch travel plans 🙂 .
DECEMBER 2016 – JAMMU KASHMIR – I was once again in J & K with my family to usher in the new year, but this time amidst powder soft snow, teeth chatter inducing cold rainfall, rainbows and magic !
I spent a lazy 22 days in J & K this time partying till midnight and sleeping till midday ! Screeching to karaoke songs, devouring yummy food, just lying down reading a book for hours and nothing else. No wonder I am having withdrawal symptoms after coming back to Delhi !
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN 2017 ??
I spent a major part of January 2017 in J & K and am regretting spending so much of time there as I am getting seriously depressed after coming back to polluted Delhi !! The only thing keeping me going is planning for the next mega trip which is happening soon 🙂 .
The flights, visas, accommodations are done, just waiting for the kids exams to be over and so my travel dreams can take the flight !
What about you ?? Where are your travel dreams taking you in 2017 ??
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