Tryst with South America Visas!

So turns out among other things an Indian passport and South American visas dont so together! This December I’m planning to do a hiking trip with a good friend of mine starting with Peru, going through Bolivia, Chile and ending in Argentina.

I was hoping roughly to following this itinerary – Peru (Dec 19-23), Bolivia (Dec 24- 27), Chile (Dec 28- Jan 6) and Argentina (Jan 6 – 10). Continue reading

Euro Trip 2014 – A Travelogue

After every trip I think of so many things to write about. So many questions to explore about culture, language, cuisine and technology. But time is limited and life catches quickly!

So what should I write about by three week trip to Europe! I’ll try to capture the essence, some pictures, some tidbits and promise to write more later :). Before leaving I said to friends that I don’t really like Europe but I treasure the travel for opportunity to spend time with friends and family. And above everything else big goal was to practice traveling light. Continue reading

Bicycle Touring Victoria Islands

Over the labor day long weekend I did 3 day cycling tour in Victoria Islands with a good friend of mine. Given the ease of getting from Seattle, good camping and amazing riding – I would say this is a great tour to partake!

The first day we biked about 10km out to a park from the Victoria ferry terminal but then did a 20km round trip to Victoria to get dinner! On the second day we biked about 75km from Fort Victoria to Sooke Potholes park and then onward to French Beach Provincial Park and on the third day we make the journey back to Victoria covering about 65km.


Fig 1. The Three Day Route

Continue reading

Summer ‘10 Activities – Climb, Camp, Hike and Cycle away!

Alrite summer is just around the corner! Its the time we folks in Northwest look forward to! The entire misery of dark winters and rainy days is worth the gorgeous 3 months of summer we get around here!

I have been meaning to do a few outdoorsy things this summer, and wanted to started chalking my list here so that friends and family can join in, talk me in to and out of few things :) –

  • Rock-climbing & Bouldering
    • A weekend bouldering trip to Squamish!
    • Climbing as many single-pitch 5.8s as I can. May be pick up Exit-38 Wednesdays!
    • Goal: Outer space (?) (July 2nd week or Aug 2nd week) – Outer space is a six pitch climb near Leavenworth, and it has been my goal since i started cragging a couple of years ago. Given my space and rock-climbing touch, it might not happen this year but still a worthy goal.
  • Mountaineering
    • Mt. Adams (June 19th?)
    • Mt. Baker (June 26th)
    • Mt. Shuskan (?)
    • Goal: Lead a trip up Mt. Rainier (July 17th), may be two
    • Goal: One ice-climb, may be Mt. Hood late in the season (Aug 1st week?)
  • Cycling
    • Flying Wheels Summer Century! (June 12th)
    • Goal: Lead a week-long trip along Oregon Coast (week of July 24th), in preparation to India biking adventure.
  • Motorcycling
    • Now that i still have my SV650s for this season I would love to do some long riding and track days with it. I have already been eyeing some routes.
    • Goal: Do at-least one long ride and one track day!
  • Backpacking
    • Yosemite (?) (Late summer Aug(?))
    • Need suggestions and friends to go with!
  • Hiking & Camping
    • Granite Mountain
    • Camp Muir
    • Goal: At-least do one camping trip with friends
  • Try a new activity
    • Rafting down Yakima river! (July 4th –?)
    • Sea-kayaking or Sailing
    • Goal: Learn to swim in open water

May be I should make a outdoor activities calendar. Making it public is a little itchy but hey its summer in the northwest!!

Winter Olympics are here and near!

A lot of folks have asked me to share the links for looking for last minute winter Olympic tickets, so here we go –

By mere fluke I stumbled in to tickets for Feb. 20 Ice Hockey 4:30 PM at Canada Hockey Place. We don’t have accommodation yet was considering a day trip, but that will be crazy! Let me know if any of you guys are up for sharing accommodation in Vancouver around Feb 19, 20.

Costa Rica!

Myself and Chris, just planned to do an extempore trip to Costa Rica. Riding our bikes earlier this summer one of the deep and meaningful conversation we had was that we need to make a list of things to do if we had infinite time and money,  and then try to accomplish it! Costa Rica has been on my list since 2004, every year I had a to-do about going to Costa Rica, so this year may be it will be a reality!

Well this is really extempore, but situations in life & work dictate a lot of my scheduling (*things which i don’t have control on*). Vaidehi is going to India earlier in Dec & needs time to prepare, Maris is travelling to colder continents for blessings from Uncle Sam (Calgary); so the Mexico team is out :(. I convinced Chris (& then he convinced me) relying on the fact that all we need to take off are few working days.  Anyways, enough of the why part but life, resources, buddies and of course the onset of Seattle winter has given me the opportunity to explore Costa Rica in seven days!

So what are we going to do?

I was browsing through Lonely planet, WikiTravel and Couch surfing. Here is the current thinking.

Day Place to sleep Activities to do Transport
Tues Nov 24 San Jose, Costa Rica
(Hostel Pangue)
Enoy Dallas transit for four hours, and may be go out in San Jose. Pangue pickup
Wed Nov 25 Arenal
(Arenal Backpackers Resort)
Wed: La Fortuna Hot Springs, Volcano Tour (3:30-9:30)
Thur: Water fall
71 miles

Transit:12:30, 2:30pm
Transit time: 4.5 hours

Thurs Nov 26 Monteverde
(MonteVerde Backpackers)?
Thurs: Night tour 110m on map

Jumbo Jeep $25
Transit time: 3.0 hr

Fri Nov 27 Hiking
(MonteVerde Backpackers)
Canopy tour Cloud Forest (7:30, 10:30, 1, $45)  
Sat Nov 28 Playa Tamarindo
(Tamarindo Backackers)
Rafting (possibly with Astha and group)??, Beach, surfing Tamarindo is 100m from Monteverde  

Public transit: 8am, 12pm
Transit time: 4 hrs

Sun Nov 29 Playa Negra surfing, Trip to Jaco Most likely we should ditch Jaco and take a trip back to San Jose.

Public transit:
Transit time:

Mon Nov 30 San Jose More San Jose ..?  
Tues Dec 1 Trips in San Jose and catch 11:30am flight :).  


Things to bring?

  • DEET
  • Internet Device (Phone or Laptop?)
  • Backpack, rain gear, sleeping bag.

Mexico Trip!

This Holiday season myself, Maris and Vaidehi spent some awesome time in Mexico. In the few paragraphs here – I will touch upon some of the great aspects of our trip.

Well, Why Mexico? Because it is warm, when its really the beginning of winter and gloom in Seattle and North America. I wanted to be in some place warm, I was up for doing a cruise but Maris want a more immersive experience and Vaidehi wanted to buy stuff :).

In our, 11days in Mexico we primarly tried to cover the central plateau. We started with the big bad Mexico City. Lonely planet and friend has suggested that the city is really a crime zone, and make sure you dont use the bug taxis. We were very careful of that fact, we just used the taxi’s from a authorized center or calling the cental number. We stayed in Centro historico district in Hotel Gillow, it was a very great and convenient place. Centro historico was the place to be, the Zocalo had a huge ice rink (apparently world’s largest outdoor rink) and the citizens lined up from 9 in the morning to enjoy their government’s gift! Over the three days in Mexio city we thoroughly got acquainted with Mexican history and culture. I read a few pages in to the book “Mexico”, it really laid out the lay of land from Teotihaucans, Aztecs , Mayans, Hernan Cortez, French, to Mexican revolution, General Santa Anna, to the PAN, and gave a perspective of why the current PRI gorvernment is so unique!

We thoroughly enjoyed the vegetarian food in Mexico City, especially the Restaurant Vegetariano on Madero and Cafe Vegetariano in Zona Rosa.

We took a day trip from Mexico City to the ruins of Teotihuacan.

From Mexico City we headed to Michaocan – the state of artists. To spend the New Years and immerse in traditional mexican way of living. We stayed in Morelia in a really well accentuated Mexican condo –

The orginal plan was to go to Patzucuaro but Maris and Vaidehi were more interested in the Monarch butterflies and they already did a tonne of Dulce and Artisanians shopping locally. So we headed the to santctuary and man! it was a million of butterflies, simply outstanding experience.

The New Years we relatively low key, we headed to this place Casa de Salsa after midnight in Morelia but it was not as packed as we expected…

Vaidehi and Maris – fell a litle ill do we decided to take a rest day. Go do some grocery shopping and cook at home – ! Maris made awesome soft tacos… and hey my side dish (yet to be named concotion comprising kidney beans…) was amazing…as Vaidehi will vouch….

We headed from Morelia to Zinhuatenjo…lovingly called Zihua just near the popular criuse ship base of Ixtapa. The bus ride to Zihua was very scenic..i never imagined that Mexico would have such a variety ..coming down from central coast to the sea level brought in the much needed and sought after warmth. Our hotel was right on the beach playa madera. I loved this beach the most (compared to the other much commercialized ones), for next three days i was busy catching the waves :). We took a small trip to neary by Manzillino beach which has coral reef just near the beach and did some snorkelling, man the girls went mad…. they just didnt want to go home. I gave up after an hour, but Vaidehi and Maris snorkelled for like 2.5 hours!! It was lovely, colorful and warm!!!

On our last day, we did a tonne of shopping in Mexico City (Centro Historico), some cute silver jewellery and Tequilla….

To summarize, it was a really great trip – we indulged in the histroric, artistic, rural and beach Mexico. It was nice to see, that in this third word country the state of toursim is really a notch up 0 – the buses were we took were really comfortable, hotels very tuned to the traveller and people very helpful! It was surprising that with very little spanish between myself (I specialized in numbers) and Maris (she specialized in directions), we could navigate the Hispanic world and have a great time, may be this calls for a revisit – sometime in future …….

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London Longings!

Originally uploaded by vbha.

After the fabulous rest in India I had an hectic week in London! First couple of days i spent in oxford with Srikumar and next 3 days i spent in London with Axel, I met Tanushree for a brief moment as well!! Well@ Oxford times reminded me of the 17th-19th century mighty and brainy Empire!! and the times in London where the 20th Century fun! I loved both!! London was a mix of the tourist sight-seer and the party animal!!

Friday we hit the bars as soon as Axel got to the hotel and we ended up disliking the fact the bar closed at 11pm!! and for a other one we had to walk few blocks with no success tho’.

Saturday we spent seeing the bukingham palace, london tower bridge, the russian new year celebration and yep! then we hit the party scene at Leicester square – damn it was cool!!!

Sunday was the day of Madame Tussauds!! We spend a tonne of time posing :). Well in this picutre you have to make out who is Mayor of London. Apparently Axel fooled a tonne of passer bys by posing as Mayor of London, it was hilarious!!! And in the evening we couldnt keep ourselves from hitting the Leicester scene one more time!! This time we were greeting with Live music, and you know what happened then! Well none of us got enough sleep before the flight next morning :).. hehe.. nothing more..;)/

Feeling Smarter in Oxford!

Originally uploaded by vbha.

Wow! I’m enjoying the univerisity town of oxford. With huge gothic (?) sculptures around and the plagues like the one in pic, i’m all of sudden feeling like i’m part of intelligentsia..hehe.. ! I’m getting ready to do a night biking tour of oxford may be check out the Alice’s shop and then head to the pubs, with Srikumar!!