Canyoncation


Since last few years my friends and I have been able to keep up the tradition of going away for a small vacation once a year. Even after a few us got married, we have managed to keep up the custom. We really look forward to that first get together where we decide which destination to go that year. The excitement of skimming the internet to look at beautiful hotels & destinations and then actually shopping together for our trip…OMG! Planning the trip is almost as much fun as the trip itself. Unfortunately, we would not be able to plan a trip this year as we all have had some unforeseen expenses. Of course we are disappointed but hopefully we can plan something locally over one of the long weekends.

Last year we went to Vegas, Bryce canyon, Zion canyon and Antelope canyon. My favorite was Bryce canyon. Bryce canyon has something to offer to everyone with its very unique geology and a number of outdoor activities. There are various hiking trails to suit all levels of ease to enjoy the rock formations called hoodoos. For the more adventurous, you can try horse back riding, ATV’s, mountain biking etc. Give yourself at least three days to really enjoy the park. If you plan on visiting the park during summer months then do start planning well in advance as good activities, lodges etc to sell out really quickly. If you can, do try to attend one the free star-gazing trips organized by the park rangers. For us city folks we hardly ever get to see the sky and the stars in their full glory.

If in the region a trip to Antelope canyon is a must. It is after all the most visited and most photographed slot canyon in the southwest. The only way to visit the canyon is to take one Navajo guided tours and the best time to take the tour is at noon. The sunlight filtering down the curved sandstone walls makes magical, constantly changing patterns and shadows in many subtle shades of color. Although I do have to say experience would have been a lot better if we were not trying to chase light during the entire tour meanwhile getting out-of-the-way of hundred other tourists all crammed in a tiny slot area.

The beauty of these canyons and the vivid colors are going to stay with me forever!

Antelope canyon

Antelope canyon

View of the amphitheater Bryce National park

View of the amphitheater Bryce National park

Bryce National Park

Bryce National Park

Sunset at Zion National Park

Sunset at Zion National Park

Hello again!


Hello Hello Hello, I know it has been a long time and I have probably missed a few great posts posted by all of you. Well I am happy to be back on this platform again. As you can imagine quite a few things going on in my life, some good and some well not as great. Most of all I am excited to be back in Toronto. I moved here just at the start of winter so it’s been very different from the Houston winters. It’s actually surprising how quickly one tends to get accustomed to warmer weather. Infact in my head it’s never been this cold in TO! Anyways, I finally am settled in my apartment, neighborhood and work. Here’s sharing with you, a view of sunset from my apartment.

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In love with Buenos Aires


Ten minutes into our taxi ride from the airport to the hotel and I asked my husband if we could move to Buenos Aires. What can I say I am in love with this city!! Mr. B on the other hand had a different impression. In his defense though he was a bit apprehensive after hearing a few tales from other travelers about getting mugged on the subway etc. I on the other hand was enamored by this energetic, lively, complex and seductive city.

Here are some of my recommendations. I have deliberately left out information which you can easily get from guide books such as timings, ticket prices etc.

Do take in a tango show. It’s an intimate dance form depicting love, emotion, heartbreak and passion. Portenos ( Buenos Aires locals) prefer to listen to tango rather than see it at their ‘Centro cultural’ and this would probably be the most authentic and least expensive way to experience tango but requires a bit of planning. Another great way to experience tango is to do it yourself at a milonga. A milonga can either be a venue or an event and often starts with a dance lesson followed by a tanda, which is 3-5 set of songs played in a row. Usually couples are supposed to dance a whole tanda together and are then free to change partners after each tanda. Best milongas  are La Catedral (located in an old converted factory. Mostly frequented by a younger crowd. They offer beginner’s lessons every Tuesdays) and La Viruta (a classic and popular milonga. Open till late on Fri and Sat). If you are the type to see than try to dance yourself then head to El Viejo Almacen, a classy and intimate affair and located in a historic venue. This show is a mix of solo performances, a group of couples, live orchestra and some local musical numbers.

If there is one site that you should not miss out in Buenos Aires then it should be the Recoleta Cemetry. One of its kind, this is where the rich and powerful people of Buenos Aires come to be buried. Count on spending at least three hours in this elegant and serene place and if possible take a guided tour, every Tue & Thurs at 11 am (free of cost in English). The cemetery is lined with beautifully adorned mausoleums, small churches, temples and pyramids. Of course most people come here to visit Evita’s tomb.

If all the walking made you hungry then head over to El Sanjuanino for some of the best empanadas. A short five-minute walk from the Recoleta cemetery located at 1515 posadas. This place is cheap and oh so good. My favorite here was spicy beef.

Another place not to miss is La Boca. La Boca in Spanish means “the mouth”, so called as this port area served as an entry point for thousands of Italian, Spanish and European immigrants. Probably not the one of the best neighborhoods in Buenos Aires but for sure the most vibrant!! Be sure to head over to Caminito to see the brightly colored conventillos, shared homes made of wood and corrugated zinc. This square is generally full of Tango dancers. I would highly recommend not going to this neighborhood after dark.

Do stop by Cafe Tortoni, selected as one of the 10 most beautiful cafes of the world. You can’t be so close and yet miss this! Do try their espresso and churros among other tasty delights. Established in 1858 this is the oldest café in the country. Take a moment and try to soak in the atmosphere. This café is beautifully decorated with some Tiffany lamps and art nouveau touches. Do expect to see more tourist than locals but still totally worth a visit.

Here are a few pictures from my trip. Have fun!!

The tomb of Rufina Cambaceres

The tomb of Rufina Cambaceres

Casa Rosada – Eva Peron made her famous speeches from the balcony

Tango Show

Crossing over the Andes


I know it’s been some time and I have been missing in action. I do apologize!! My husband, who is in the midst of changing jobs came upon some unexpected time off and we decided to take a last-minute trip to South America. It was my first time to this part of the world and boy oh boy were we in for some good times!!

For me one of the best things about this trip was that it was very spontaneous. Usually I like to plan my trips down to the last details, where we will stay, what we will do each day, the history, the geography and other than food (that is Mr. B) just about everything else.  It was refreshing to not even know which cities we were visiting.

Over the course of our trip we had to cross the Andes quite a few times. This mountain range is magnificent in its beauty, stretching over 4300 m long and the highest peak, Mount Aconcagua rises to 6962 m.

Here are a few pictures the Andes. I missed you folks and look forward to sharing many more stories and photos from my South American adventures!

 

 

Street Art Houston!!


I have always been fascinated by street art. I don’t know exactly why, but maybe it’s because the artwork is generally very colorful or it seems rebellious or it just seems to have a message.  While walking in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston the other day, I came across a few interesting pieces of art work. I hope you enjoy them!!

Happy Weekend!!


Can I just say thank god it’s Friday!! It’s been a crazy week for me and I just cannot wait to spend some quality time with my husband, who is back in US after a long project overseas. I hope all of you have something fun and exciting planned for this weekend, for me it’s going to be all about eating and relaxing! Also, I am planning a trip next week to Canada to see my friends and what better week then the Canada Day week. Hopefully I get to take a few pictures so I can share them you.

To all my Canadian readers a very Happy Canada Day and to my US readers, indeed a very Happy Fourth of July!! :)

Here’s a picture taken from my Ipad of some tulips that I picked earlier. Looking at this picture I think of purity and innocence. What about you, does the picture speak to you?

London Mania!!


 

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