Travel adventures across the World!!!

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My first yoga retreat at Wellspring Farm, West Bend, WI!

It’s hard to remember for how many years now I have wanted to go for a yoga retreat. Finally the studio I have been going to practice for the past 4 years organized their first retreat this spring. I was hooked to it the very moment I heard about it and couldn’t wait to experience it. The retreat was in an organic farm called Wellsprings in West Bend, Wisconsin. My two favorite teachers at the studio organized it and the retreat was at about 2 hour drive from Chicago in the woods of Wisconsin.

I went there with my two other friends. As soon as we reached the retreat center, we could see the stream of water flowing through the forest and immediately felt closer to nature. Our host was very welcoming and greeted us with her lovely laughter. We got out of the car, stretched for a bit, unloaded our luggage into the dorm and did a quick tour of the farm. We enjoyed gazing at the chickens in the farm and strolling along the farm felt great after the long drive. Soon after we met the other yogis who joined us at the retreat. We all together, about twelve of us introduced ourselves to each other at the dining area while savoring the delicious lasagna served by our host, Mary Anne.

 

After dinner we had our first yoga class which was more restorative and relaxing in nature. The artistically built yoga barn felt like a sacred place to practice yoga. The sun was setting and it was getting dark when we practiced our restorative flow surrounded by serenity of nature in the lovely barn. It felt great to stretch after the long car ride and immediately after we started to collect woods to burn for the bonfire. As some of us tried to start the fire, others gathered wood and it felt like a great community. Conversations and s’mores were the best part around the fire. As we all bundled up around the fire to keep us warm, time just flew past and it was bed time.

 

I was super pumped for our next full day at the retreat center. We started off with a two hour energetic yoga flow followed by breakfast at the main house. While we ate oatmeal topped with pecan and maple syrup from the farm, we watched colorful birds by the large tree come visit for food. Mary Anne explained us how she feeds 87 different species of birds in her farm specific to their needs. After breakfast, we had some free time to explore the area. We used this time to explore the Kettle Moraine state park that was right around the corner. The drive to the park was really beautiful with vast stretches of rolling hills. As the weather got warmer, we enjoyed walking up and downhill of the Parnell Tower Loop Trail at the state park.

As soon as we returned, we enjoyed the fresh lunch and headed to our yoga nidra class which as guided sleeping meditation. The class felt right on time as we all craved rest after the long hike. I remember napping for an hour or so before we all got out to get our hands into the dirt and help Marry Anne with some of her garden work. We also enjoyed taking vary many yoga pose pictures at the garden area. Soon after the pictures we had our inversion workshop at the basement where we learnt about body alignment while being upside down in hand stands and head stands. The class was enjoyable and it was fun to practice and help each other to get into inversions.

 

Soon after we all were hungry again and ready for dinner. It was starting to sink in that the yoga retreat was coming to an end and I was trying to embrace every present moment while it lasted. Soon after we had our restorative yoga class while the sunset and then bonfire right after which felt much warmer than last night since it was a warm day. We then set up our tent right next to the fire and were ready to camp that night and sleep outside. I was so excited as it was my first time to experience it. I loved the sight of the stars while I was going to sleep and the sunrise woke me up early morning. The noise of the crickets frogs nearby also were very distinct. The birds started to chirp early morning too.

 

That was the last day at the retreat and I remember starting to wrap up and sit down to write my journal about how grateful I was for this experience to meet and share space with like-minded souls who practice yoga, write journals, dig gardens, eat clean and laugh their heart out. We had a brief meditation at the end which felt just right. We also had a sage ceremony to instill positive vibes with in us. As we started to wrap up and pack, I felt so nostalgic, thanked everyone around and felt a special bond with everyone whom I didn’t even know two days ago.

 

This trip has definitely hooked me to yoga retreat trips forever. It was short yet sweet getaway into the woods with my favorite activities. What are some of your favorite things to do? I would love to read. Please share!

 

 

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Trip to the scenic canyons of Arizona!

Hot and dry, yet beautiful and serene, the canyons of Arizona are definitely worth a visit. This spring season, I and my best friends planned a trip to explore the deserted lands of Arizona. We started to drive from Las Vegas and it took us about 4-5 hours to reach the city of Lake Powell. We had such a memorable time driving through the winding roads along the steep cut mountains and canyons. We started to drive around 4 pm and reached to our destination later at night. As it got darker, the roads seemed a little scary but we continued to chit chat and enjoy our drive.

After relaxing the night at our hotel, we were all ready for our day to delve into the Horse shoe bend and Antelope Canyon which were both at a close driving distance from the our hotel. As we wrapped up our breakfast at our hotel and started to head towards the Horse shoe bend, we found out that the parking services by the canyon are closed and there was a shuttle that provided transportation to and from the canyon. Vast stretches of  dry sand, red mountains and bright sunshine is all I remember while waiting for the shuttle services. As we reached to our destination, our driver informed us about the hike to and fro from the Horse Shoe bend which was about 1.3 miles. I was very excited and couldn’t wait to actually get there.

 

The hike to the bend was downhill and easy like a breeze. As we started to get down, it started to get warmer. The climate in Arizona is always a little tricky in terms of the dryness and heat. So we were all well equipped with all kinds of clothing and lots of water. The horse shoe bend was phenomenally beautiful as we got a peek at it. It was a giant horse shoe shaped structure below the ground level. The Colorado river that was flowing right into it was a lovely sight. We could spot some boats and kayaks in the river and it looked like such an adventure to experience it. It is all a part of the Glen Canyon recreation area and I was delighted to get a chance to visit it. After numerous pictures and sometime of soaking in the lovely views, we headed back uphill to our next adventure which was the Antelope Canyon.

It was unbelievable that half of the day had already gone by so quick and our reservation to see the Antelope Canyon was at 2:45pm. We quickly grabbed subway sandwiches for lunch as there are not very many options for food nearby and headed to our tours with Navajo tour company. The jeeps lined up and we were divided into numerous groups and had to stick with our guide and group throughout the tour. The people with whom we were paired with seemed really nice and their cute children kept us entertained throughout the tour. As we reached the Antelope canyon after driving through vast stretches of deserted land, I could feel the sandy breeze that didn’t seem very comfortable at first and then eventually we just got acclimated to it.

 

The canyon itself was very picturesque and walking into the narrow pathway seemed like a unique experience. Our tour guide was very interactive and made sure we took perfect pictures of the canyon. He educated us about the rock formations of various shapes. Some looked like elephants and some like King Kong. One looked like the face of Abraham Lincoln and these were all carved by nature. The most fascinating one was the shape of the heart in the middle of the canyon. He showed us how it is like when the canyon is hit by sand storms and he described the stories of flooded canyons. As we walked through the canyon, it got narrower, darker and taller. I am glad we made reservations because Antelope canyon does require mandatory tour guides and cannot be visited without one. After enjoying the scenic tour through the canyon and taking so many pictures, we made our way back to our car. We were covered with dust and sand by the time we got back and really needed showers to feel better.

We then headed back to our hotel and jumped right into the hot tub which had scenic mountains in the backdrop. We were excited to see the sunset by the overlooking mountains while soaking in the warm water. As our trip was coming to an end soon, we were all together spending some beautiful moments which are now great memories and will stay in my heart forever. I am so grateful for having given this chance to explore the nature carved Glen canyon in Arizona. I hope to see the Grand Canyon one day as well. What is your go to destination for spring this year? Please share, I would love to read.


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The sunsets and beaches of Coronado Island!

Coronado island is a small coastal town with very rich culture and history. The pristine beaches and dramatic sunsets of the island are extra ordinary and stand out in various ways. It offers a small town atmosphere with old mansion villas, boutique shops and market. In the heart of Coronado stands the historic hotel Del Coronado which is a must visit. The serene island is just 2 miles from the hustle and bustle of Downtown San Diego. The bridge that connects the two has spectacular harbor views.

The two things that I enjoyed the most in the island was the surreal sunsets and the late morning beach combing. We stayed at Loews Coronado Bay resort which was at a walking distance from Silver Strand State beach. The hotel staff was very prompt with their golfs cart transportation to the beach and offered us towels as well as beach chairs. The sunset hues were just phenomenal. We spent lot of time there just enjoying the sunset and taking photo breaks in between. The colorful rays of the sun reflected back gorgeously through the crashing waves. It was such a joyful moment and I am happy we were able to capture it.

The best part about the beach was the fact that it was little farther out from the main area of the island. The white sand was covered with different kinds of shells which made it a great spot for beach combing. My favorite pick was the sand dollars which are species of extremely flattened, burrowing sea urchins belonging to the order Clypeasteroida. It is very important to make sure that the sea urchins are not alive while we pick them. Since they already lost their purple color and tiny spines, I could confirm the ones that I picked were actually from dead sea urchins. Picking these shells was such an enjoyable experience that I went to the beach two days in a row. The key is shells can be picked only during low tides when high tides have already done their job of bringing the shells to the beach. I would recommend the best time for collecting these shells would be late morning during low tides. I personally could spend hours and hours doing this but we had such limited time. The sand dollars are so fragile and need extreme care during travel so they don’t crack.

Overall, Coronado island offered us a lovely vacation and I brought back handpicked souvenir shells which I now use for home decor. Is there an activity you particularly enjoy during your trip? Please share I will be happy to read!


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My big 30th birthday trip to Key West, Florida!

I have always looked into my birthday as gratitude for another year of being alive, and this time I am super excited to have completed 30 years in this beautiful world. We planned our trip to Key West which was a warm weather getaway from Chicago during the month of December. Just as we imagined, it was surreal to celebrate my day in Key West. We flew to Fort Lauterdale and drove down south to the island of Key West. On our way we stopped at Islamorada to enjoy some delicious sushi from Saki Sushi for lunch.

Once we reached our destination, we checked in into the Casa Marina resort which was an absolute bliss. The back of the resort directly opened to the beach and our room was just perfect with not just view of the beach but also a lanai that connected us to go directly into the beach. I couldn’t ask for more for my special day. We enjoyed most of our meals at the resort by the beach at their restaurant Sun Sun.

The beach of the resort was very unique. It was a white sand beach with hammocks, beach chairs and string lights with backdrop of giant coconut trees. It was as tropical as it could get. Although the hammock was occupied at most times, we did get to enjoy it a couple of times. I could clearly hear the birds chirping, roosters crowing and the waves crashing at the shore while I relaxed by the hammock. Wild roosters are historical heritage of the island and it was amazing to see them wander freely in the island. We spent a lot of time by the resort beach and it was so enjoyable.

We also wanted to explore the other areas of the island hence we walked towards the main street of the island – Duval Street which was about 15 mins of a walk from our resort. What a lively city we found Key West to be when we reached Duval Street. We discovered that not only it offered us tropical beach life but also a vibrant night life. We enjoyed delicious tacos at Sinz and loved watching the island hustling with visitors. We also visited the southernmost point where we waited in lines for about 30-40 mins to get a picture clicked which was well worth it. Fresh coconut water in the island is a must, it was absolutely perfect to keep hydrated in the warm weather.

As we walked towards the end of Duval Street, we reached Mallory square which was a waterfront main area of the island where sunset is celebrated every evening. What a beautiful way to celebrate the day. I fell in love with the shell warehouse shop in Mallory square and ended up buying a conch shell for home decor. Key West is also known as Conch Republic and is famous for its conch shells. Since we heard so much about the sunsets in Keywest, we decided to experience it on a sunset cruise. The day was partly cloudy yet we could see the yellow red beams of the sun setting. The ocean was calm and the night was beautiful. The air was chilly yet cozy. The shades of the sun setting are still vivid in my memory.

Our last day in Key West was my birthday. I started my day with practicing yoga at the beach which was really special. It was a great way to remind myself to be in the present and enjoy the moment. I also enjoyed writing my gratitude journal by the beach. After the breakfast at the resort, I also experienced a massage by the ocean which I wanted to gift myself for a very long time now. It felt just right and I really enjoyed every moment of that one hour massage by staying in the present and not letting my mind wander. I am very grateful for living another year of life and ending it beautifully. I am so ready to make this coming year worthwhile and the best year so far.

What are you grateful for? Do share! I would love to read!


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The Mountain town of British Columbia, Whistler!

The lovely ski town of Whistler nestles in between mountain tops, evergreen trees and beautiful lakes. I got a chance to visit this mountain town on the occasion of my Aunt’s 51st birthday. We started our drive from Seattle, eventually crossed the Canada border to drive along the picturesque Pacific coast to reach Whistler. Our first stop was green lake with a backdrop of snow-capped Blackcomb mountains. Since it was so chilly, we didn’t really walk around. We just stopped for a bit to enjoy the lovely scenery and loved clicking pictures at the lake. Soon after we checked into our hotel, I and my aunt started to walk along the hills and valleys near our resort. We enjoyed walking by the streams of river that cut through the hills and had bridges to pass by to relish the views. We could see the last signs of fall colors and I felt like playing a character in a fairy tale story while I was twirling in my long woolen skirt outfit which kept me perfectly warm.

We woke up early next day to rejuvenate our mind and body in Scandinave spa. I was super excited about it and it was my chance to pamper my adorable aunt for her birthday. The spa was a combination of outdoor pools, indoor steam and sauna rooms. We enjoyed the hot water pools outside and the eucalyptus spa room followed by the solarium which had very soothing music while enjoying the enchanting forest views. I particularly enjoyed the yoga studio in one of the indoor rooms where you could self practice. Getting into the mat and practicing after a long time felt so so good. All in all it was a great morning to begin with.

I also really savored the food in Whistler. The different restaurants that we tried were Elements Urban Tapas Parlour, Peaked Pies, and Grill & Wine Whistler. I extremely loved the mushroom Raviolis, gnocchi and the lentil pies at these places and would recommend them to all the culinary lovers out there. Since we visited off season, the restaurants did not have any wait time but still had very delicious food which perfectly worked for us. Our trip was short but yet it felt just perfect. On the way back we stopped by at Surrey to enjoy some Indian delicacies. All in all we had a great family time and at the same time explored a new city. Do you like going to Mountain towns? If yes, please share where you went to! I would love to hear!

 


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Our impromptu trip to paradise ~ Maui, Hawaii!

Maui is one place that my heart and soul wants to go back to ever since I have returned. It is truly a lush green paradise surrounded by the emerald blue Pacific Ocean from all sides. It took us almost more than 10 hours to get to Maui from Chicago but the travel was well worth it. Right when we were about to land on the island, I could see bright blue waves of the ocean crashing into green coastal areas which was the loveliest sight even before getting to the island. When our plane got bumpy towards the landing, everyone cheered out of excitement and that was the best feeling to experience in a turbulent flight.

We rented a car to explore the island which was the best decision as the island is bigger than we imagined. For the first two days we stayed in Kehie, a town in South Maui. Our resort was right next to the Kamaole beach park and the view of the ocean while driving towards the resort was unbeatable. As soon as we reached it was almost time for the sunset and we took advantage of the great location, walked to the beach to watch the beautiful sunset. As the sun started to set, locals and tourists gathered by the beach. I vividly remember taking my sandals off and dipping my feet into the waves. The water was warm and the air felt just right, in short we had begun our journey in the paradise.

Next morning, we woke up really early at 4 am since it was already 9 am in Chicago. The jet lag actually helped us enjoy the island beginning from sunrise all the way to sunset. We wanted to take it easy the first couple days so we just meandered around the neighborhood enjoying the sunrise and exploring the breakfast options. We then attended a detail one hour session with the concierge at our resort to learn more about the island. We mostly tried to relax, explore and enjoy rather than check things off the list because Maui has so much to offer that it is nearly impossible to see everything in a week.

Since we were staying in the southern part of the island, we drove to the Iao Valley State Park which was only a 30 minute drive from us. After relishing some delicious mouthwatering fresh fish tacos from the local food trucks by Big Beach, we started to drive towards the state park. As we got closer, the road turned into valley with dense rain-forest full of coconut, palm, banana and all kinds of tropical trees on both sides. We also stopped by on the way up to the Iao Valley for homemade banana bread and fresh coconut water.  The sight of the stream flowing along the lush valleys was just lovely. We hiked both down and up to enjoy the best views of it. The Iao needle has a huge historical significance and is also known as the Hawaiian God of the Ocean.

Our concierge suggested us to park along Ullu beach in the south and walk around the coastal trail in the town called Wailea. Our drive to the beach was an absolute bliss. I just loved exploring the super easily accessible beachfront trail, which was right next to all the fancy resorts such as Four Seasons, Grand Wailea and Fairmont. The best part about the beaches in Maui is that none of them are owned by the resorts and they all have public access. We did sit down for a bit while soaking in the views and sipping our fresh orange pineapple juice at the Grand Wailea cafe.

With in no time it was time to check out and we headed towards the north west part of the island towards Kapalua to check in into The Ritz Carlton which was our abode for the next two nights. We drove along scenic winding road along the coast for about an hour to get there. The Kaanapali beach area was right next to it to so we stopped by real quick to check out the Whalers Village. The most mesmerizing part is the marine life that is thriving right next to the coast. I was amazed to see all kinds of colorful fishes at the Black Rock, Kaanapali beach. Snorkeling at Maui was highlight of my trip. While others enjoyed cliff jumping from the Black rock, I explored the marine life snorkeling all along the rocks to see the fishes and turtles. Another spot I loved for snorkeling was Kapalua bay where I spotted multiple green sea turtles swimming right next to me. The water was crystal clear and it is just incredible that the beaches are flourishing with such rich coral reefs and marine life. I did hurt my feet by stepping into the sharp coral rocks which can possibly cause serious injuries. The fire ceremony next to Sheraton hotel at the Kaanapali beach is an ancient Hawaiian sunset ritual. The Hawaiian music and storyteller accompanied with the torch bearer who lights the torches along his way making his climb to the Black Rock followed by his dive into the water is a memorable experience in Maui.

Another day full of adventure was our road trip to Hana. 42 miles, 620 curves and 59 bridges through lush green rain-forests leads to the town of Hana. This road trips is all about the rejoice along the journey and not the destination. It takes an entire day to explore this part of the island. The road cuts through tall bamboo forests, spectacular waterfalls, colorful foliage and abundant rain-forests. My favorite spot was the black sand beach at the Waianapanapa State Park. On our way back we stopped at the Hookipa beach in Paia where we spotted about twenty sea turtles that were just basking at the beach.

After a long day to Hana, we spent our next day exploring Kapalua coastal trail and just relaxed for the rest of the trip. We shopped at downtown Lahania for a bit to collect some souvenirs as our trip was coming to an end.  We savored our lunch at the Burger Shack in Kapalua with lovely beach views. We also enjoyed star gazing at Kapalua where large bright stars twinkled all over the sky since there was no light pollution. I was exhausted and tanned by the end of the trip, but my heart wanted to keep exploring. I have never missed a place so much after my return. Have you ever felt of any destination this way? Please share, I would love to read.

 


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The harbor city of British Columbia, Victoria!

Victoria is a unique harbor city which holds a significant historical background. Somehow the name of the city itself fascinated me to visit the Victorian settlement. We traveled to Victoria from Seattle in about two hours by a high speed ferry called the Victoria Clipper. It might not be the cheapest way to get to Victoria but it definitely saves a lot of time and is very convenient in terms of location.

As soon as we reached at the harbor of Victoria, we could spot our Hotel Fairmont Chateau which was in the heart of the city. With the hustle of the musicians, horse carriage rides and fresh smoothie stalls. the harbor city looked just lovely and bright. While we enjoyed sipping on our fresh orange juice, the friendly people in the city guided us all about things to do out and about the city.

The season being spring, Victoria blossomed with all kinds of wild and fragrant flowers. All we did was walk, walk and walk to explore the city. We walked through scenic trails which led to the cute little Fishermen’s wharf, where the colorful floating houses welcomed us right in. The picturesque scenes with guitarist playing melodious tunes is still vivid in my memory. While we enjoyed our fresh seafood tacos at one of the restaurants in the floating deck, the private jets landed on the harbor. We had a great time just soaking in this mini Venice.

We did try out the street food in Victoria and they turned out delicious. The mouth watering falafel wraps and scoops of chocolate ice-cream just spoiled us even more. As we walked through the city, the parliament on one side and the Hotel Fairmont Chateau on the other with harbor right in the center just looked lovely. As we stopped by at the parliament, we could see graduate students line up at the stairs for pictures.

Out of nowhere, we ran into the glistening blue pacific coast. Covered with lovely wild flowers and waves, the pacific ocean looked indescribably pretty. I did step into the rocks of the shore to get closer to nature. Being closer to nature has always bought me a sense of satisfaction and happiness. It has always helped me achieve a balance in life. After walking through the neighborhoods along the coast, we made our way to the harbor to catch the ferry back to Seattle.

Our trip was short but full of lovely memories to cherish. The city of Victoria surpassed my expectation and I would definitely recommend this little harbor city for a perfect weekend getaway.


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God’s Own Country ~ Kerala, India!

Kerala has been in my list of places to travel for a long time now and finally with God’s grace I was able to visit God’s own country. Kerala is one of the few places in India which has preserved the ancient Indian culture and showcases it in a wonderful way. We visited Kerala for 3 days and made the most out of it. Every day seemed to be filled with immense joy and I was so grateful to get this opportunity to explore Kerala.

With my immense inclination towards yoga, I was determined to stay in a resort that offered yoga classes. I came across the Somatheeram Ayurvedic village at Chowara which was about 45 minutes from Trivandrum airport. Every day of our stay in this resort was unique and full of all sorts of adventures. We were welcomed with coconut water, fresh flower garlands and a basket of fruits. Starting from our super healthy buffet breakfasts, caparisoned elephant rides, Ayurvedic massages to cultural performances at night, the resort offered us so much that we just did not wish to step out. The hut style cottages covered with hay surrounded by all kinds of medicinal plants represented authentic Ayurveda vibes and we really loved our wonderful 3 day stay there.

The state of Kerala is also known for its Kerala silk sarees and designer gold jewelry. I and my mom definitely wanted to explore the markets of the Trivandrum city and shopped beautiful silk sarees and lovely jewelry from the city market. We also explored the back waters of Kerala which is beyond beautiful. A speed boat took us into the deep green waters surrounded by coconut trees and mangrove forests. The wild bird watched us while we made our way through the back waters. Our driver was super friendly and a perfect guide.

We also loved the pristine beaches of Kerala. The Somatheeram beach right next to our resort was beautiful. I could see the crabs come by into the shore with the waves and quickly try to walk back into the water. I collected some sea shells from the sea beach while the fishermen gathered around the sea early morning. The yoga by the waves under the coconut tree was a bliss. My mom also really enjoyed the ayurvedic massage which was a specialty of the Ayurveda village. We also loved drinking fresh coconut water which was available at every little corner of this southern state of India.

Our last day at the resort was unforgettable. Luckily that day was the guest honoring day at the resort which happens once a month. The day started with delicious fresh juices and south Indian delicacies. Throughout the day we gazed at artistic decorations with flowers, lamps, tree barks all around us. The caparisoned elephant and fortune telling parrots were welcomed to the beautiful space. Later in the evening we were served dinner in banana leaves which was an authentic south Indian culture experience. The local dancers performed classical dance Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Theyyam and yoga dance to please the audience and we were beyond amazed to be blessed with this beautiful day.

To sum it all up, Kerala offered us absolutely unique things that amazed us and made us fall in love with it. I wish to go back there and explore the other cities. Filled with lovely culture and people, it is definitely a place to revisit. Have you ever visited a city that has taken your breath away? Please share, I would love to read!


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My memorable birthday at the Red Rock County, Sedona!

At an elevation of 4500 feet, in the midst of red rocks, canyons and creeks, Sedona was my 29th Birthday present. Personally I love growing older and the blessing of living in this beautiful world year after year gives me immense joy of its own. I am so so excited to enter into the 30th year of my life and I will strive my best to make my existence worthwhile.

We landed at Phoenix airport and made our way up the deserted mountains towards Sedona. About 2 hours away with a drive of giant cacti on both sides, we reached the red rock county at lunch time. Restaurant Hudson was a perfect lunch spot with magnificent views. The glass doors there opened to the view of huge red rocks. It all painted a beautiful picture of how delightful Sedona was going to be. After enjoying corn chowder soup and beet salad at the Hudson for lunch, we stepped into the art and crafts village of Tlaquepaque.

Tlaquepaque is an excellent outdoor traditional Mexican style market featuring art galleries, craft shops, cobblestone paths and decorative arches. We spotted a beautiful bohemian style chai spot where we enjoyed the hot chai listening to the tunes of bollywood music at their rooftop. After exploring a few shell shops and painting galleries, we reached to the corner where Santa arrived for Christmas celebrations. The joy of Holiday season was in the air and the carols sounded lovely.  We slowly made our way to check in to our hotel although I did not want to leave that market at all.

We stayed at the Poco Diablo resort on our first night in Sedona. Our room overlooked a huge golf course with a backdrop of the mountains. While the sun was setting, we enjoyed sipping hot green teas at our backyard of the room. After a good night sleep we were all set to hike and explore the West Fork trail. Sandy trail with 13 creek crossings of the West Fork Oak Creek and canyons all around made our hike both challenging and fun at the same time.

The most awaited part of our trip was our stay at the Enchantment resort on my birthday night which is one of the most finest resorts in Sedona. Standing up to my expectations, Enchantment resort was a very delightful sight to the eyes. With deers and javelinas frockling around the resort property, our golf cart ride to our red mud casitas was just spot on. The resort in sorrounded by Boynton Canyon and is world famous for its Miiamo spa facilities.

Through the back door of the spa facilities, we hiked to the top of Kachina Woman Vortex which is believed to radiate positive energy. The vortex found in Sedona are rare and signify the balance of masculine and feminine energy. There was a flute musician who played very soothing music on the top of the vortex. He also handed us heart shaped carved rocks and gave us his blessings. I still remember his message about how unconditional love can overcome negative energy in all forms. After resting for a while on the top , we made our way back to the resort facilities. I also vividly remember the lovely stars as it grew darker and colder. I enjoyed gazing at them during our golf cart ride for dinner.

Next morning was my 29th birthday and I couldn’t have asked for it to be more beautiful than this. As the sun shined, I practiced my first sun salutation and thanked mother nature for her blessings in all forms. We then hopped on to our golf cart to take a tour of the property and enjoy breakfast in the main lobby of the resort. Relaxing in the hot tub, eucalyptus steam room and sauna of the Miiamo spa was such a lovely experience.

My 29th birthday was like a dream come true I couldn’t have asked for more beautiful birthday. What has been your favourite Birthday so far. Do share, I would love to read!


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A Classic Fairy Tale City, Old Quebec!

Old Quebec is a classic fairy take city surrounded by citadels and forts at every corner. The moment we entered the city through giant dome shaped gateways, I was already in the awe of the city. Every little street we crossed to reach our hotel had horse buggies running along the pavements bustling with tourists. Every nook and corner of the city was filled with street musicians playing guitar, piano, saxophone and all kinds of instruments. The music being soft and mellow was very soothing to hear.

Our first day at Old Quebec, we checked into the Fairmont Le Chateau that is a palace like looking hotel in the heart of the city. Located right by the Lawrence River, the Le Chateau looks no less than a historic mansion. As we walked out of our hotel, we started to make our way to the lower town down the stairs to the Champlain district which is also known as the shopping district of old Quebec. The shopping district was filled with little art and souvenir shops. As we walked, we enjoyed listening to the street musicians and stopped for a little bit to relax by the saxophone musician who had adorable dogs sleeping peacefully by him.

Exploring further we reached the square for lunch. The European style roofs of the square reminded me of Bruges in Belgium which I visited a few years ago. We also did take the funicular uphill to get panoramic views of the city surrounded by the Lawrence River. As we settled down with the day, the beautiful fairy tale night in the city had begun. Old couples dancing out to the musicians by the streets by the Italian restaurant which I still vividly remember. The caricature and art shops had begun to close but the hustle and bustle of the tourists in romantic restaurants was still a sight to remember.

I was very excited to see the horse buggies right in front of our hotel and really wanted to do the city tour in the carriage. Our carriage tour guide not only educated us about the history of the city but also added his own local entertaining stories which made us laugh all the way through the end of the tour. He did teach us a few French phrases and we loved making conversations with him. Our horse Bob was very friendly and did make multiple stops to drink water at the fountains around the city.

As our trip was coming to an end, we started to gather souvenirs such as maple syrup, fridge magnets and handmade soaps before we flew back home. As we stepped out of the dreamy land, the real life started to kick in and it was time to go back home 🙂