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D-Mad Travel Adventures!

The world through our lens and our fun(ny) experience!

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December 2012

Utah – Life Elevated!!

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We did a road trip a year ago from Las Vegas,NV to Denver, CO driving through the beautiful landscape of Utah. Our goal was to get a lot of hiking done and cover most of the national parks on the way. We covered 5 national parks and few other amazing sites. Here is an account of the same.

We drove from Vegas straight to Zion National Park. You require at least 1.5 – 2 days to explore Zion. We did 2 long hikes Angels Landing and Observation Point. We could not do the Narrows hike as the water level was too high. But, on good days I would skip Observation Point hike for Narrows. So keep these 3 in mind. Zion also offers great views and shorter hikes. You can drive around for 2-3 hours and be amazed!

Our next stop was Bryce Canyon National Park which was around 2 hours from Zion. We reached there before Sunset and did the Sunset Point hike which takes you into the canyons where you feel so insignificant around the hoodoos surrounding you. You can decide the length of your hike depending on the amount of time you have. Make sure you get back in time for Sunset at the Inspiration point. This is a great panorama point to soak in the beauty of this place when the sun setting behind you lights up all the hoodoos.

Oh I just remembered something. You need to book a hotel at Zion well in advance if you are planning to go there during any long weekend. It is a small town and there are way too many visitors. We were not aware of this and our plan was not yet concrete so when we actually started looking at the hotels it was too late and everything was booked out, including the campsites. Even the first come first serve campsites were taken when we reached there. So we drove into some deserted crossroad and slept in the car! If you end up in that situation make sure your car has a moon roof because if the weather is good and skies are clear you see millions of stars in the sky!

We crashed at a hotel in Kenab the next night, which is a good stopping point between Bryce and Page AZ. Next morning we drove from Kenab to Page, AZ stopping at Lone Rock beach, Glen Canyon dam and other vista points of the Glen Canyon National Park. Though this park is very picturesque, most of it is only accessible  by water. So if you own/rent a boat, you can explore a lot. The color of the water is beautiful and with a lone rock at the center and many mountains behind. This is a nice stop for some pictures. Continue reading “Utah – Life Elevated!!”

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Byzantium? Constantinople? Istanbul!

This has to be the most intriguing cities we have been to so far! The idea of a trip to Turkey was planted in my mind by a good friend of mine and I had wanted to visit ever since. Turkish Airlines had some great deals on flights from Chicago to Delhi with a stop over in Turkey for a week. Hence, we planned a Turkey vacation around Turkey day (Thanksgiving) 😛 !! Since it is off-season  for travel everything was cheap and luckily weather was great to us. This trip is more memorable as we got to share our adventure with my parents who absolutely loved Turkey too! Since there is so much to talk about this beautiful country one post will not be enough. Hence, I will break it down and start with Istanbul. 773626_586127721402964_519331272_o Istanbul is a unique city where two continents meet, two cultures amalgamate and two architectures concoct! Being the largest metro in Europe in terms of population, is like any other big city bustling with a lot of people  and activities. But the highlight is, it is clean, safe and people are amazing. Also, they love people from Hindisthan 🙂 (Yes that is what they call us Indians). 4 days in Istanbul was enough to weave memories for life. Places not to miss –

  1. Hagia Sofia – Originally a church and then a mosque; just beautiful inside and out!
  2. Blue Mosque – Loved the low and gigantic chandeliers!
  3. Grand Bazaar – Largest and busiest indoor market in the world!
  4. Spice Bazaar – You can go in early and finish your breakfast here. The vendors are very generous with the sample sizes and there are lots of heaps of different dry fruits and spices. Largest exporter of figs!
  5. Galata Tower – Beautiful 360 deg views of old and new Istanbul, those beautiful mosques and the sea.
  6. Topkapi palace – Huge!!
  7. Basilica Cistern – Go inside for a great surprise!
  8. Bosphorous bridge – Connecting the continents of Europe and Asia!

Accommodation & Transportation – Anywhere in Sultanahmet is the most convenient. There are tons of cheap and expensive hotels in the area which is walking distance from the metro stop and all hotels in the area have airport transfers for just 5 Euros from as early as 2.30 am. Getting to and from airport is very convenient as the metros run till 12 am. Unless you have too many bags, you can easily travel around in the metro. Only flip side to using the metro is you have to pay 3Liras every time you exit and re-enter. To avoid this purchase, buy a refill card at the airport itself as most vending machines in other stations seem to have problems vending one. Here is the link to the latest metro map. Most places the new routes are not updated, so take a print of this.

 

Continue reading “Byzantium? Constantinople? Istanbul!”

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