Thursday, August 16, 2018

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My eldest brother worked through the late 1970s to late 1990s for GATT (General Agreement for Trade & Tariff and now), an UN agency, as consultant to its Director General. He used to live in Versoix (pronounced Versoa) and go to work in Geneva. In 1987 he suggested to us to take a trip to Switzerland. Although those days were not so expensive as they are now – the two way air fare was around Rs. 7000/-, the Swiss Franc was worth Rs 8/- (currently Rs. 68/-) and a Dollar was worth little less than Rs. 14/- (now 64/-) – yet a trip to Switzerland was not quite affordable for us as the salaries... Read More

I wrote a novel in 2007 based on a trip I took to Peru in 2002. The country had intrigued me; emerging from a revolution that had recently ended and that still showed traces in bombed-out buildings, the underlying vein of poverty that intruded despite the bright colours of the clothes and ponchos worn by locals, the daunting heights of the Andes and the threat of altitude sickness that lurked with every painful step along the rugged Inca trail, and the magnificent ruin that awaited us at the end of the road: Machu Picchu. There were unpleasant sights too: favelas that encroached on historic... Read More

Then comes the cringe-inducing question: "Now, why on earth did I bring that?"

Why can't we help but feel the need to bring stuff that we merely HOPE we could use on a trip? Well, for one, people like to run scenarios through their minds for when they might need this or that -- but ultimately they go unused.

For some odd reason, it is comforting to know that you've packed the portable fire extinguisher, the portable coffeemaker and about 10 extra battery packs (all inside waterproof bags of course), you know, just in case.

But excess baggage comes at a price we are rarely... Read More

It´s such a big world out there that if you only have a small travel budget you might wonder whether it is possible to see much of it.

While travelling on conventional holidays can be an expensive business, there are some terrific ways of seeing big chunks of the world without spending too much on it. Which of the following sound the most interesting to you?

Start Walking

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It is unlikely that you are planning to walk around the whole world. While this sounds like an incredible thing to do, we can´t all head off to walk the entire... Read More

Because Portugal is such a beautiful country, from gorgeous cities to stunning coastlines, it’s no wonder that it’s a very popular holiday destination for Britons.

Every culture has its own norms which foreigners may not be aware of and therefore risk causing offence. This guide by PPA properties explores the key rules of etiquette in Portugal to ensure your visit there is smooth sailing.

Summary of Portuguese People

Generally, the Portuguese are polite, reserved and rather understated. Their culture tends to be traditional and conservative. Family is everything; the Catholic... Read More

We had heard of Gulmarg much before we ever saw it. The name suggested “meadows of flowers”. A visit to it was, therefore, obligatory. As it was only about 30 miles away it could be done in a day. The bus took us only up to Tangmarg (meaning a place of pears), then a small town and now a revenue sub-division. Though known for its pears the place has now strongly come in to grow strawberries. It is from here the climb for Gulmarg commences. The road to Gulmarg was not till then motor-able, not even jeep-able. Hence, one had to make it on ponies or horses. Horses were organized for our parents... Read More

Valley of Flowers Offers Sublime Trekking Opportunities like Nowhere Else on Earth. The Valley of Flowers in Uttarkhand, recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserves is home to some really rare species of Alpine flowers which when bloom present an enchanting sight to behold indeed. Nature lovers, botanists, florists from every corner of the globe are drawn to this unique fairy land to have a glimpse of that colorful floral bounty in full blooms. The trek to the valley of flowers is a real difficult one. If you are planning for the trek, read on to get all the relevant... Read More

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