Category Archives: Uncategorized

Grand Canyon National Park – Day 1

Standard

It was our 7th wedding anniversary and a surprise was waiting for me . A trip to one of the 7 natural wonders of the world .

7-natural-wonders

We took an early flight and reached flagstaff where we rented a car .Grand Canyon National Park is one hour 30 mins drive further. we were staying at Canyon plaza resort hotel just outside the Grand canyon national park in Tusayan . This hotel had reasonable pricing, but no complimentary breakfast.Hotel was neat.

After the hectic day of long travel we had no energy to start exploring the park for the day . Also park’s visitor center was closed by 5pm . We decided to rest for the day . Soon we realized there are not many options for good food in Tusayan. It is also expensive given that area is a tourist attraction

26th Oct 2016. 

Grand Canyon National park has north rim and south rim.North rim closes by Oct 15th ,while the south rim is open throughout the year for travelers . Hence we could do only the south rim . 

We started our day with McDonalds breakfast at 7.30am . After breakfast we headed straight to visitor center to plan rest of our stay here at national park . Entrance to the national park is $30 for 1-7 days. The lady at visitor center guided us as to what we could do the next 3 days . We were all set to explore Grand Canyon National park – South rim. 

gc

Five mins walk from visitor center is Mather point – where you get a first view of grand canyon  . GC is just so vast with its huge walls ,layered and colored patterns that you could just stand and stare and keep wondering as to how this has happened . Just breath taking wow!. This point is also good for sunrise and sunset. 

From Mather point there is Rim trail that goes all the way to the Grand Canyon Village .

gc-map

You can view the Canyon from different points here on on this trail . Either take the trail or choose to take shuttle buses that start from visitor center. There are 3 different routes represented by 3 colors of shuttle buses . 

Red- scenic route of the national park

Blue – village transfer route .

Orange – route to Kaibab trail and Yaki point.

Red shuttle buses start only from bright angel trailhead . 

matherpoint  matherpoint2matherpoint1matherpoint4

We started on rim trail from Mather point capturing the beauty of grand canyon in the morning sun . We stopped by here and there analysing and comparing the heights and colors of the canyon . En-route there are many information boards about how, what and why’s of the Canyon . Everything about canyon is in terms of millions of years ! 

After taking small stops along the trail, the next main stop was Yavapai Point & Geology museum . Here again lots of information to know about the Canyon . The museum has glass windows from where you get to see complete 180 degree view of the Canyon .

Continue on this trail next stop is Verkamp’s visitor center and Hopi house .Verkamp’s visitor center has the historical information about the Grand canyon railway and how the community developed over years. Back in the days Hopi house was Mary Colters idea to sell the products made by native Americans. Now it has products made in USA . Just next to hopi house is the El tovar restaurant . Lunch seemed expensive and we decided to move on to next stop . 

kolb-studio

Kolb studio is the free exhibition of Grand Canyon paintings by various artists . Amazing paintings to admire or buy if you are interested .

Just before Kolb studio is the Bright angel lodge and restaurant . The restaurant here had very good food at reasonable prices and service was good too. Highly recommended place to eat . 

After kolb studio is where the Bright angel trail begins. This is one of the moderate hiking trails. 

hr1 hr2 hr3 hr4

From Bright angel trailhead we took the red route shuttle to Hermits rest . There are 8 points on this route from where you can see the Canyon . Sunrise , sunset , different colors of canyon in layers , view of the Colorado River and standing at the cliff to feel the depth  are the different things you can do at these different points . Final destination of this route is Hermits rest . Here you can relax and have some coffee and snacks before you head back to village transfer shuttle stop . 

After refreshing coffee stop at hermits rest, we came back to bright angel trailhead to board a blue route shuttle also called village transfer shuttle . This shuttle took us back to visitor center where the car was parked .

We exited the park and came back to Tusayan where we were staying . ‘We cook pizza pasta’ is the place we decided have dinner . Their pizza was undercooked and expensive and we could do nothing about it since it was carry out. Probably the worst pizza I have eaten so far. Would never recommend this place . 

We are just so tiny in front of this huge divine creation.

More about Grand Canyon in the next post.

Good night ! 

Advertisements

Summer Beginning at Niagara falls!

Standard

June 21 marks the beginning of summer 2014 as per the US calender. What better weekend than this to spend time admiring thundering water beauty.

Driving to Niagara falls would take approximately 14 hrs round trip. Spending those hours driving on a weekend seemed tiring. Hence we opted to try the China tour bus.China tours is not the name, Sunshine travels is the name of the travel organization that runs these tours. SunshineBoston.com is the website you can use to book tickets online. There are many other websites connected to the same travel agency.There are connected and collectively organize these tours. It is all run and organized by Chinese. Hence the name china tours. They have their office at Chinatown, Boston. They begin their tours from Chinatown.

IMG_8096IMG_8092

This was my first trip in a China tour bus. These tours are mostly for international travelers. One does not have to worry about parking,food and accommodation during travel. Hence you can see only international travelers in these buses.

The total expenses by the china tour bus per person will be $250.$150 is for bus travel and accommodation. $100 include the ticket expenses for local attractions. The additional expenses on you will be the food expenses.

That is all about china tour buses. You need to know more, Ask me :).

We started off from Chinatown Boston at 7.30 am on a Saturday morning. There were 3 buses with 60 seats each running that day to Niagara falls. One can imagine number of tourists to Niagara from all around. Buses were neat and fresh. It felt like mini Asia.:). One of the best things to mention about these tours is their timings. We started at 7.30 am. We were told we reach destination by 4 pm. We were on time as mentioned at the destination. This included breaks of every 2 hours for 15 to 20 mins each and 45 mins for lunch. Departure from hotel to attractions were perfect timings.

IMG_9255IMG_9233IMG_9216IMG_9236

We reached Niagara at 4.30 pm. The first attraction was old fort Niagara . Tickets were taken care .Costs $12. This place is of historic importance. This fort was used as a training camp for soldiers. French , Britain and finally United states have owned this place at their war times. Kitchen, dining,meeting hall, prayer room, sleeping place for the soldiers is all you can see here. This fort is located on the bank of river. Makes it a scenic place.

IMG_8062IMG_8087

After about an hour at this place we headed to Niagara falls. Around 5.30 pm we were in the queue for tickets to Maid of mist. Tickets to the maid of mist boat ride is $17.Tickets were taken care. But the queue to get to the boats is always longer. While waiting in the queue,on the right side is the beautiful view of the rainbow bridge that connect US and Canada.To the left is the view of the Niagara Falls. It looks amazingly beautiful from the waiting queue near observatory. To get to the boat, there is an elevator that takes you down by 2 floors.Long queues are a torture in hot sun. Don’t forget your hats,sunglasses and sunscreen lotion.

IMG_8067IMG_8082IMG_8074 IMG_9270

After settling on the boat, We ride towards the American and Bridal veil falls. Because of the force at which the water falls down on stones, there is lot of mist. Mist in combination with sun rays forms the rainbow. One can see a rainbow always at this place. This is where the heaven of mist beings showering at us on boats. Further ahead is the wider part of the waterfall called Horseshoe waterfall. Water falls at an enormous force here. The Mist literally engulfs the boat. If you do not have a raincoat one will be completely drenched in the mist water.

IMG_8075-SMILE IMG_8077

How often does one get to stand under such mist of forceful water. It feels awesome to be there.Probably safest way of enjoying such thunderous water mist. It just feels amazing to stand still and feel the mist all over the face. I wish we didn’t have rain coats. The moment boat moves out of that place, All the heat of sun and wait in the queue feels worth it. Maid of Mist is the best thing to experience in the Niagara falls.No wonder it is such a popular international tourist destination.

Here is the link for some facts about the Niagara falls
http://www.niagarafallsstatepark.com/amazing-facts.aspx

IMG_8090

At around 7.30 pm we exited the water fall area for dinner at the mall across the road. This mall has a food court with Indian, Chinese, Mexican and Italian cuisine. We had best Indian dinner at India kitchen.Food was just amazing. I had not eaten such tasty Indian food in any restaurants around here in a long time. Naan, Paneer mutter, Dal Makhani and Chawal. Veg thali. Just loved it.All places here don’t take credit cards. Cash is a must if you want to eat and drink in this food court.

The 2nd floor of the same mall had the native american dance performance in the theater. $20 per person. The show is named ‘Spirit of the Mist’. Here is the glimpse.

And finally after sun down we headed to the Goat Island to see the illumination on the falls. Different colored lights are projected onto the water fall from the Canada side of the fall. The illumination on water fall is best viewed from the Canada side. From Goat Island it was difficult to catch the view of colorful lights on the waterfall.

IMG_9341photo 1

We then headed back to hotel and settled in at 11.30 pm in the night. Hotel accommodation is taken care. Just make sure you mention if you need a smoking or non smoking room. We ended up is smoking room and it stinked.

We had an early start on day 2. You cannot expect much for breakfast at such places. 7.30 am we started to 1000 islands. It was about 3 hrs drive from the hotel we stayed.

IMG_9439 photo 2
Alexandria bay is the place where you have boat rides to see these mini islands.Uncle Sam boat ride is the one we were on. Cost for the boat tour is $27. 1000 islands is a place where you can see million dollar homes on small islands.They look beautiful and fascinating. Million dollar homes because they are on these tiny islands.Its all beautiful around there. But there is nothing much you can do at this place.

IMG_9353 IMG_9359 IMG_9364 IMG_9396

Drive back to Boston was 7 hrs. They got us back on time by 8.30 pm. My first china tour travel experience was a good one.It is a time bound travel experience. There wont be any leisure relaxing time in such tours. Probably there is more you can choose to do in Niagara falls when not on tour bus.

 

Parasailing at Cape Cod

Standard

Day 3 we decided to try water sports! Unfortunately weather continued to not support the plan.Windy and cloudy day with chances of rain.We didn’t want the last day of the long weekend to go idle. Parasailing is what we decided to do.

IMG_7893IMG_7890

We booked the slot for parasailing. Online booking of the slot saves you $10. The price per person is $89 for a height of 600 ft. They also fly you at 900 ft and 1200 ft.

IMG_2259IMG_2207

The parachute is connected to the boat with just one loop of the thread. That’s what seems scary when you are up there in the air.

When you go for parasailing the wind speed cannot be more than 20mph. Anything above that range you will not be allowed to parasail. We were doing 18mph. When we went up there at 600ft, we were swinging in air due to wind.

IMG_2234 IMG_2294

I am guessing the best view of the place through parasiling is at a height of 1200ft.It was fun to be sailing on water at 600 ft too. The boat that is holding the parachute and the people in the boat look tiny.The gushing waves of high tide seems like small ripples.

When you are up in the air tied to parachute sitting on a single rope, few things definitely cross your mind, like
1. What if rope disconnects from the boat
2. what if boat stops and you fall in water..(You have life jacket, dont worry)

IMG_2270 IMG_2278

But if you forget all that for that moment, you can enjoy the view from the top. It sure is fun.

 

Natural Pedicure – Fish Spa

Standard

Legs in warm/hot water with some liquid soap  soak, scrub legs to remove dead skin and dirt,then moisturizer to remove the dryness. This is the regular pedicure we girls get done at the parlors.

Now think of something natural, No liquid soap soak, no scrub to remove dry dead skin and dirt. Just leave you leg in a small pool with cute little fishes. Yes, I am talking about the Fish Spa. A Natural Pedicure mechanism.

These are one type of small fishes that mildly scrape the dead skin and dirt from the legs. Soak your leg in the pool with these fishes and they do all the leg cleaning required.

As soon as you put the leg in pool to soak, they all come and grab making you feel ticklish. Ticklish to an extent that you feel like taking legs off from the pool. I did it 3 times. Finally I could make it, to tolerate tickle of the fishes. After around 5 minutes I got used to the kiss of the fish on my feet.

Fish Spa is for about 30-40 minutes. They keeping scrapping the dry skin and dirt as long as u leave your legs in the pool. I just loved the way these cute little fishes do the natural pedicure.

It costs around 200-300rs for the Fish spa. Fish Spa is available in Body & Soul(J.P.Nagar).

Fish spa is one of the pedicure experiences but not equivalent to the normal pedicure.

As the fishes do all the cleaning, they deserve part of the amount paid for the service. Try it. But be prepared for the tickle.

Guddani @ BTM,Bangalore

Standard

Yet another place we discovered on Friday 5th Feb, with my friend Manasa. Its called Guddani. A vegeterian place with variety.Lot of thali options. pleasant, satisfactory, homely taste. Place as such is very small with village home looks. A hut feeling rather. Good sweet dishes too. Hope they continue to maintain the quality as they make profits.

Good vegetarian place, which is hard to find these days.

How to reach : Dead end of updupi garden road,which connects to BTM lake road

Another route : from silk-board towards BTM, take left from AXA signal, just after the BTM lake ends, there is a right turn starting of the road on the left is guddani.

Adigaas @ Total Mall,Madiwala.

Standard

Of late I have been visiting total mall quite often for lunch outing. Reason being it is closer to office and also a vegetarian restaurant.Two things one should not miss eating there is a soothing Dahi Vada(Dahi is always fresh) and  yummy carrot halwa.

There could be other delicacies which I would not have tasted.Which one is your pick? Let me know by comments on my blog.  Vegetarian quote readable on the dosa wall.