Travel adventures across the World!!!

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Los Angeles with my girls!

I have always wanted to take a trip just with my girlfriends and finally after a long wait this did happen on our recent trip to LA. We all studied together from high school in India and never imaged we would plan a trip after twelve long years, now that we all are in US. All four of us traveled to LA from different parts of US. All we did was eat, shop, walk and talk. Los Angeles is such a huge city and we spent all four days exploring the different neighborhoods. I particularly fell in love with the food and the people in LA. Every restaurant we ate was both healthy and delicious at the same time. People seemed to be very carefree and easy-going. Here are bits and pieces of our trip broken down day wise!

Day 1 – We spent our first day exploring the Venice beach neighborhood of LA. The locale that I adored the most in LA was the Venice beach Ocean front. The boardwalk filled with artists, musicians and fortune tellers was very pleasant to walk by. Every other person there was skateboarding and it was quite a relaxed atmosphere around. Almost every restaurant had outdoor seating and served delicious food. We enjoyed the delicious taco salad bowl and burgers with coconut water. After our brunch we enjoyed biking along the oceanfront trail which ran parallel to the ocean. With ocean on one side and little shops and market on the other, we all enjoyed our bikes that we rented right at the Venice beach.  As soon as we returned our bikes we were ready to explore the little shops by the beach. The best part about going with my besties in the trip was shopping. We spent so much time in the shops looking for cute little things and most importantly all of us loved it.

Universal Studios Hollywood is where we all headed the next day and it was definitely much more thrilling than what I had expected. Although the wait times of a few rides was long, it was totally worth it and one of a kind experience. The ride that I enjoyed the most was Harry Potter. It was more like a 4 D experience and we all absolutely loved it. We also loved posing by Shrek and the Minions. The little houses by minions were adorable, it felt like we could sit there forever by the colorful neighborhood. One thing we missed during our visit was the studio tour which was long and did not quite fit into our schedule. No wonder early arrival is recommended for all the theme parks.

Our third day in LA was kind of touristy for us. We walked through the Walk of Fame trying to pose with the stars in different creative ways. We enjoyed open bus tours which drove through Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive and Hollywood sign showing us different celebrity homes. I loved Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie’s house the most, it looked like a fairy tale home.

The most captivating part of our trip was visiting the Warner Brother’s studio. It was where the sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S was filmed. It is one of my favorite shows and I was so very excited to get to visit the studio. On top of that, the best part was I got to visit it with my besties. We all enjoyed the whole interactive experience in the studio where each one of us got to be a part of the show and enacted a scene from the show. Some of the other studios that we got to see were the Ellen’s show, Gillmore Girls and Big Bang Theory. It was very interesting to see all these places in real. It is something that everyone who enjoys watching television will really appreciate.

Day 4- Our last day in LA we were all heartbroken that such an amazing trip was coming to an end. We wandered by the rodeo drive and also stopped by the Santa Monica Pier to catch a last sight of the beautiful city. We enjoyed our spicy and savory Indian lunch at Spice Affair in Beverly hills. The day went by pretty quickly and we were all set to make our way to the airport. Goodbyes are hard and we did promise each other another fun trip soon 🙂

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El Yunque National Forest and Luquillo beach, Puerto Rico!

By now you all know how much I love hiking and being out in the nature trails. I thoroughly enjoyed trekking the El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico which is the only tropical rain forest in the United States. The jungle is located few meters above the sea level so we had to drive through winding roads to reach one of the parking spots to catch the trail. We also stopped to enjoy delicious coconut water on our way up to the forest. We decided to take the La Mina trail which took us to the La Mina falls. It was a challenging trail and although it was just a mile each way, the uphill walk made it seem longer.

It was totally worth it when we reached the gorgeous La Mina waterfall. The tourists enjoyed taking a dip in the icy cold water while the warm weather around kept them comfortable. I couldn’t resist myself from getting into the water and enjoyed the dip amidst the slippery rocks. After our hike, we quenched our thirst with the refreshing lemonade right where we started our hike.

On our way back we stopped at the magnificent Luquillo beach which was about 20 minutes of drive from the forest. The beach was beautiful with the rain forest in the back drop. The beautiful tall coconut trees made the beach all the more beautiful. I watched the kids enjoy digging sand in the beach while sipping on my mouth-watering virgin Pinacolada. After a short walk along the beach we ended up having the most delicious italian dinner at Pasta y Pueblo which was a little restaurant by the beach. They were giving away free Margaritas on the occasion of Valentines Day and the their pesto pasta was one of the best I have ever had. Their menu was limited yet delicious. The day ended on a very sweet note when we munched on the chocolate cake on the house 🙂

Things to do:

Hiking the Rain Forest
Swimming in the beach
Take a dip in the waterfall

Places to eat:

Pasta y Pueblo( Italian)


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My Birthday in the tropical forest, Key Largo!

I always tend to find reasons to travel and my birthday was just a perfect reason for another travel adventure. Starting this year I have decided to travel to a new destination every year on my birthday and make some extraordinary memories every year. This time I spent my 27th Birthday in Key Largo, one of the islands in Florida. It is also called the diving capital of the world because of it numerous diving sites in the Atlantic Ocean.

To name a few, Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon and Key West are a string of islands that stretch across Southern Florida also called the Florida Keys. After visiting Key West last year, I really wanted to explore the other islands and picked Key Largo since it was just a couple of hours from Miami. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo is very famous among divers for its shallow coral reefs which makes excellent snorkeling location. So we were really excited to take a snorkeling trip there. We were lucky that our guide decided to take us to the Christ of the abyss location for snorkeling. The bronze statue of Jesus Christ stands underwater and makes one of the favorite spots for snorkeling.

After spending the day snorkeling in the ocean, we then headed to our resort, which to my surprise this was by far the best place I have ever stayed during my travels. We stayed at Hilton Key Largo resort which had its own private hammock beach and huge tropical forest. Our room overlooked the forest area I enjoyed every moment of our stay at this resort. I celebrated my outdoor birthday dinner with live music at one of the local restaurants and it was like a dream come true to sit outside and enjoy the warm weather in the month of December. Now that is why Florida is one of my all time favorite destinations to travel. What’s yours?


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My tropical getaway to Miami and Fort Lauterdale!

I must admit that my trip to Florida during this winter was one of the best things I did to myself. The warm weather there throughout the year makes it such a go to destination. I have visited Florida in both summer and winter and I will definitely recommend winter time as it is so much more pleasant. We luckily escaped the downpour, it did not rain all 3 days we stayed there.

We arrived at Miami during evening and I was so excited to explore the Ocean Ave which is also called Miami strip right by the South Beach. Full of restaurants, bars, clubs and music, Miami offers a fabulous night life right by the beach. The holiday season being so close, everything was beautifully decorated with lights. Even the coconut tree trunks were wrapped around with glorious little light strings. After enjoying the night, early next morning, we walked along the 17th street beach walk which was right behind the hotel that we stayed. We came across a guy who was selling fresh coconut water that was the highlight of my trip, I always wanted to drink fresh coconut water in an exotic location. Warm weather, coconut water and beach felt just perfect. We also drove through the villas in Star Island and I was amazed to see private houses of people which looked like palaces. Lucky them.

We then drove to Fort Lauterdale and made our first stop at Las Olas Blvd which is the art center of the city full of art shops and restaurants. We also stopped by the Farmer’s market which to my surprise also had some Indian food stalls. We enjoyed the delicious spinach samosas and then made our way to the Fort Lauderdale beach.  The Fort Lauterdale strip by the beach was quite similar to the Miami strip but more laid back and less crowded. Out of the two, I liked the Fort Lauterdale strip better just because I loved its laid back atmosphere. We enjoyed our early dinner by the beach and watched the lovely sunset.

Overall I fell in love with both Miami and Fort Lauterdale and already missing it now that I am back in Chicago.


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Kayaking in the Caves, Munising!

After my incident of toppling down while kayaking in Door County, I was quite adamant about giving it another shot. This time I tried my hands on kayaking in Lake Superior at Upper Peninsula in Munising, Michigan. I was a bit nervous about it in the inside, but definitely wanted to give it another try. This time round, to my surprise the kayaking trip was just perfect. It felt like all the elements of nature including pleasant weather, calm water and mild sunlight encouraged me in my venture.

We started to kayak from Miners beach towards the Miners Cave and Miners Castle. The water was beautiful and quite clear to look at. Our guide was very friendly and kept an eye on us through out the trip. We took photo breaks in between to relax our hands and this time being very careful with the camera and phone, keeping it all safe in the dry bag. The caves looked phenomenal and I could clearly hear the water splash the rocks, and the erosion it has caused in the past years is the actual reason of the formation of these caves. I loved my kayaking experience this time very much and I definitely learnt one thing in life “Never give up”. Travelling does teach us things that we always remember. I would love to read your travel experience that helped you learn and grow. Do share 🙂


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Weekend in San Diego,California!

California is undoubtedly one of my favorite states in the US because of its lovely weather and scenic outlook. Located on the pacific coast of California, San Diego is a lively city with rich architecture and lovely beaches. My trip to San Diego in the winter was very refreshing because of the beautiful weather and warm people. It was a perfect blend of both urban city and natural beauty. My weekend in San Diego was very fast pace and here are some things that I enjoyed a lot.

Bask at La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove is an extraordinary beach in San Diego surrounded by marine life, sand cliffs and caves. The sea lions and the wild birds bask along the shore while the visitors enjoy this remarkable sight. Kayaking along the caves and snorkeling through the clear water is an amazing experience. If you are not a water lover, instead you can step into the caves by the shore to see the tiny fishes swim by along your feet. You can relax there for hours watching the gigantic waves hit the shore.

Watch sunset at Coronado Island  

The best time to visit the Coronado island is during sunset. It is one of the best sunset views that I have ever seen in my life.Take a ferry or drive through the scenic Coronado bridge to the Coronado Island from San Diego to catch the spectacular sunset view from the shores. Walk along the famous extravagant Hotel Del Coronado across the ocean to watch the tourists enjoy the bonfire by their cottages. Go ice-skating in the arena by the hotel if you are in a mood for an adventurous evening. Wander in the streets to shop for souvenirs and grab a bite in the restaurants along the streets. Take Segway tours to explore the different parks in the island if you have the entire day.

Night Life in Gaslamp Quarter

Located in the heart of San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter is the historic downtown of San Diego. On your visit to San Diego make sure you plan to stay by the Gaslamp District to experience the rocking night life in San Diego. There are more than 50 night clubs and lounges there, few of them are roof top and offer fantastic night view of the city. Moreover all the eateries including brunch and lunch are at a walking distance and there is plenty of parking available as well.

Go Sea World 

A day is Sea World is worth spending if you haven’t been to this theme park previously.Personally I love the shows in Sea world, the killer whale show being my personal favorite. Do not forget to hop on the cable car in the sea world which runs over the San Diego bay and offers a panoramic view of the skyline and the bridge.

A few things that I missed during my visit to San Diego are Balboa park,San Diego zoo and the safari park which I will definitely plan during my next visit. I am definitely going back as it is one of my personal favorite cities in the US. What’s yours?