Category: Travel Thursday

Tataie watching

One of the first words Buzz said besides the customary Maa, Paa was Tataie. Since the first time she saw a picture of a butterfly in one of her books she has been fascinating. From all the pictures on a page, tataie is the first thing that she points to. And tataie is what she points to every other minute.

We got to know about a ‘Tropical Butterfly House’ exhibit from some friends. Promptly plans were made to visit. We could not wait to see how Buzz reacted to seeing real, vibrant, flying tataies.

Fighting traffic, struggling with parking, we got there. We stepped in to a small, dark room with doors on both sides and smell of tropical flowers strong. All of it made Buzz really uncomfortable and had her scrambling to be picked up. With D holding her we stepped through the next set of doors in to the Butterfly house. He walked to a red and black butterfly, talking to Buzz all the time. The minute it registered what she was looking at, she wanted down. There was no stopping her. She clapped, she ran, she laughed, she pointed, she chanted

‘Hi Tataie’..’Bye Tataie’.

I was on camera duty while D followed Buzz around. There was this beautiful Blue/Grey butterfly that I was trying to capture, when I saw a wing flutter from the corner of my eye. My right arm became the landing spot for one beautiful butterfly. All excited, I headed to where D and Buzz where. While D took the camera from my hand to take pictures, I bend down to let Buzz have a better view of the butterfly.

No tataie. Aaaa Daaaa

Demand to be held, crying for the tataie to go away followed. That was it. She wanted out of there with her Maa all to herself, much to her parent’s amusement.

The visit to Tataie house has been a while, but she still points to my arm every now and then, when talks of tataie come up. A fun day with beautiful, delicate, patterned, colored butterflies. 

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Travel Thrusday – Golden Gate Bridge

A nice, clear, warm, blue sky, not a cloud in sight day. We make our way to the Golden Gate bridge. Drive over it and park at the viewing area on the other side.

Then starts the wait and tactic of finding a parking spot and actually muscling the car in the parking space before anyone else can. By the time we accomplish the feat and step out of the car we see clouds literally pouring in from the small hill above.

A mad dash to take a good look at the Golden Gate before the clouds obstruct the view completely, only to figure out this is the famous SFO fog we are looking at. Which seems to be coming in waves. One wave each for the two towers of the bridge.

A windy, huddle inside your jacket, walk on the bridge. The tower looks amazing covered up by the fog.

As you step up to the tower, magic..no fog in sight. The tower stands tall, impressing the hell out of everyone.

Turn around time. Fog is still on the little hill but nowhere else.

Back to the car. No fog to be seen. Only the impressive Golden Gate bridge in all its bright red glory.

Travel Thursday – Flying over the Himalayas

As you plan a trip, you read up about the place. Make a list of the places to visit, things to do, what to carry along and what to leave behind. The big day arrives. Bags are packed, checked in. You step in to the aircraft, take your seat, close your eyes to rest for a bit, mentally gearing for the fun ahead. You open your eyes as the food cart comes around. Something outside the window catches your eye and you are caught, unable to take your eyes off the view unfolding below you.

Delhi to Leh – 1 hour 15 mins of flying time. A look at the mighty Himalayas like no other.

Snow covered tall tall mountains.

River or road

Glaciers that look like highways of snow.

Glaciers meet up

Glaciers so many, they are difficult to count.

The Mountain Range

Silver line of the river that flows through.

River flowing through

Lake frozen a sight to behold.

Frozen lake

Stok Kangri the crown of Leh.

Leh

The decent in the bowl-shaped valley of Leh.

Spot the Runway

A stark contrast from the white snow to the brown which is Ladakh.

Landing

Sometimes the destination is what holds our interest..sometimes it is the journey that is a harbinger of the delights ahead. This is a flight time like no other. The best 1 hour 15 mins of air time I have ever had.

Travel Thursday – Angles Landing

1500 feet elevation gain in 2.5 miles. That should be easy. D and I smiled and left the hike for the last day at Zion National Park. Allocating about two and a half hours for it, before making our way out of Zion the same afternoon. Got up early. Packed up. Checkout of the hotel. Placed everything in the car. Took the bus to the base of Angles Landing. Started the hike around 9:00 A.M.
Zion valley looked amazing with every step we took, with meandering Virgin River and the curving national park road surrounded by beautiful Zion rock faces. The paved hike with steep switchbacks in places was not too difficult.  
View about 15 mins in to the hike
We made easy work of the first two miles. Smug smiles on our faces we stepped out of the last switch-back. Angles Landing laughed at us. The first look at the last half a mile had me shaking in my boots.
Last 1/2 Mile
Which did not even come close to what I was feeling as I walked the said last half a mile. Holding on to the chains for dear life. Less than a feet of rock with chains and 1000 feet of fall on both sides. All smugness left me. I kept walking. The aim, to get to the top without slipping.
Hold on
Having measured every step we took and watching out for where every foot went we finally made it to the top. Zion valley never looked more beautiful.
View from the top
With height adding new dimension to everything. And opening up new hidden rock formations.
The other direction
Having basked in the glorious view we turned around to head back. And it hit us all over again. Oh the first half a mile. The trail from where the easy paved part of the hike started shining like a beacon.
Spot the trail
It was ‘take a deep breath and hold on for dear life’ time again.
Here we go again

A hike like no other. A view like no other. Would we do it again. Hell yeah.

Travel Thursday – Oregon Sand Dunes

Oregon cost is beautiful but what makes them interesting are the Sand Dunes. To gaze at a point where you don’t know where the dunes end and the beach begins. Amazing.

Ocean say hello to the dunes
Ocean say hello to the dunes

And then on the other side of the dunes are lakes and streams. So the Sand Dunes are in fact sandwiched between two water bodies for most part.

Dunes over the lake
Dunes over the lake

Sand Dunes also means ATV and Biker haven. There are outfitters where you can get ATVs and bikes for rent or you can bring your own and ride up and down the dunes.

Top of the dune
Top of the dune

One word of advice if you are renting them from one of the outfitters though, take one ATV or bike per individual. Don’t say you would to ride tandem since these for hire vehicles are very low in power and will see you stuck in a sand pit no sooner than you start off, leaving you to walk back to the outfitter and get someone to help you get unstuck while still on the hourly clock.

Coming down
Coming down

 The dunes look scary when you are on top but they are not so bad as you start making your way down, till you see someone perform a trick or two which then makes your head spin and your hands shake. But worth it for sure 🙂

Travel Thursday – Antelope Canyon

We were in Hawaii. An art gallery attracted me. I stepped in. As I walked around a set of photographs caught my attention. I gazed upon them for endless minutes. There was no indication where the pictures were taken. I walked out. But the images stayed with me.

The next time we were planning a vacation. I tried endlessly to find this place. Saw images of Zion National Park and thought I had hit the mark. Trip was planned and executed upon. I loved Zion, a lot. But did not find the one thing I had planned the entire trip around. On our way back, as is our custom, we stopped at a souvenir store to buy a coffee mug for our places visited coffee cup collection. I saw the image I had dreamed dreams around on one cup. Picked it up and walked up to the cashier. While paying up, got talking to the lady at the checkout counter. 

Only interiors of Zion are similar to what I was looking for, I was told. Which would mean multiple day backpacking trip. But the image on the mug was taken at the Antelope Canyon. A few hours’ drive off of Zion.

Antelope Slot Canyon was written down in bold with the next place to visit. I read up extensively on it. Gazed on un-countable pictures online, each more stunning that the previous.

Somewhere around the end of last year, the guys..D, Bhaiya, Papa..started planning a boys road trip. D having caught up on my obsession for this place mapped the route of the road trip to pass through Antelope, leaving a very long faced me behind.

Every time I see these pictures, I want to hit D for going there without me. Every time I see these pictures, I want to pick up and go visit. Every time I see these picture, I go green with envy.

Travel Thursday – Lake Louise to Banff

Highway 1 and 1-A both lead from Lake Louise to Banff. Highway 1 being the fastest way to get there, where are 1-A being the scenic byway. We made our way between the two places so much that we took both almost equally.

1-A is a travelers paradise. Long stretches of empty roads. Bikers in hordes making their way back and forth. Cars parked on the side of the road with people off on hikes or taking in the various waterfalls. Campsites. People having a picnic next to the river. Deer, Moose and sometimes Bear spotting.

Standing alone

Unsurpassed beautiful grasslands and meadows, towered by gorgeous mountains. The greens of the trees..the brown of the mountains with hints of white snow..the blue sky dotted by white-gray clouds. The sheer beauty of the place is a must see.   

Grassland

The most prominent being the castle mountain. Seen from miles away. The shape of it making it stand out from all else.    

Castle mountain

 But not to be left behind Highway 1 has the amazing Rundle mountain. The jagged peaks, reaching out to the sky, makes an amazing picture when the clouds are lower because the two seem to merge and it looks like the clouds are cutting the mountain.   

Rundle Mountain

And then there is the drive along Bow River with its blue-green water. How can one not be caught up in the beauty of it all.   

Bow River

 The drive that no one can remain aloof in. You can’t help but get caught in the beauty that is Banff. And it stays with you years after you visited the place. A must do for everyone. You will not be left unmoved.