Travel & Me…

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Well, I don’t know what really intrigued me to write this piece but I am still going to go ahead and pour my feelings and emotions about my magical and intense relationship with Travel!

As far as I can remember, I have always loved to travel. No matter what age I was- I was excited each time around mom or dad would announce details of our next holiday. As kids, I’d say our holidays mostly (not all) were to safe and well known places. In the sense, the kind of holidays you usually expect families to take so that minimum risk is involved with going wrong.

A place now not necessarily on one’s “Places to Travel List”- Mussoorie, the “Queen of Hills” as it’s been referred to, made for a constant holiday for us every summer break. To be honest, at times we would detest the monotony. But in today’s times of rampant change- I am glad we as a family had some sense of tradition which got followed and now we do have this treasured trunk of memories. I am not saying monotony was essential but maybe simplicity was. I am thrilled that we tasted the simple things in life as now luxury is more available with growing up.

I mean going pretty much packed in a family car with limited leg room, stocking up everyone’s favourite munchies to share on the way, then heading to modest yet long standing restaurants for their specialties such as Chole Bhature at The Green Vegetarian Restaurant, Steamed Momos at The Rice Bowl, Omellete at the Lovely Omellete Centre or even the Maggie at Char Dukan. All this only added much more flavour to one’s holiday. Best part was that there was little to no “Me Time” and there was a lot of “OUR TIME”. There were little to no selfies but a lot more memories etched in one’s heart.

To be honest, this isn’t a critique of times today necessarily but just a little jiggle for each one of us to be able to enjoy our holidays or family time more. Also, what I didn’t realize then- I wish I am fortunate enough to gift my kids some sense of legacy- in the sense, I visited Mussoorie 24 years in a row straight and that’s not it, this is something which was started during my father’s childhood.  I mean there is no such thing as lack of options but today, I feel blessed to talk about something rather unique even amidst that monotony.

And not to say we just made it to the “Queen of Hills” as a family, we went to the beaches, we went to some really nice heritage properties, we went to some more hills and we also made several road trips. My first flight as well as first foreign trip didn’t come so early but I am glad it didn’t else maybe I would have been devoid of the simple pleasures. For instance, having my father wait as I wrote my final exam to quickly rush to the train station to catch our overnight train to Goa wherein the whole family occupied close to ten beds. Not sure if I’ll do it now but I am glad we did it then as I wouldn’t swap that for anything else!

Today, my job and passion to travel has taken me to several places and I must confess that each place has been ultra-special for me-maybe because there were a lot of firsts attached to them and also for the sheer pleasure of touring on one’s own earnings.

I have to say that my love for travel was triggered during my childhood days and I am glad and grateful to parents and family for ensuring we traveled enough. I pretty much convinced myself of being a travel writer but though that plan didn’t materialize fully (no regrets) – I pretty much got my wings on in my early 20’s and so intensified my relationship with travel.

Here are few snippets of some really special experiences at some really special places-

  1. Thailand, 2012- This one was extremely special as my father let me go by self for the first time to visit friends in Bangkok and Pattaya. I was pleasantly surprised with his decision. And what an empowering feeling- I suddenly felt more responsible and just loved life a little bit more. And not to miss adding- visiting Phuket a year later to indulge in water sports like never before- I feel several fears got conquered at that very instance. Also, Bangkok continues to be special as I have experienced some of the top quality properties, thanks to my blog!
  2. Japan, 2014- I learnt the sense of gratitude and compassion from the most wonderful people I encountered in Tokyo. And in general, the build up to the trip inculcated much faith in self as well as courage and confidence…On a side note, I learnt how to spend 12 hours at the airport if you have a connecting flight 😉
  3. Sri Lanka, 2015- Witnessing the tea gardens of Nuwara Eliya was like my mini encounter with Switzerland!
  4. Bangkok, 2016- This was with family and our special toddler (my nephew), the joy of gifting a holiday to my mom- priceless!
  5. Europe, 2016- What do I say about this one? The trip comprised of my solo visit to Istanbul- sounds fancy but did require much preparation within and out to take it on! But really there was an entire sense of self-discovery during those two days. Then came Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin with my best friend- of course we had some wonderful experiences and ticking off a few things from my wish-list including watching a tennis grand slam live but what it truly made me realize was the richness of a bond that had been nurtured. The way my best friend took care of me, the giggles we shared, the confessions we made- wow, I can see us doing that even at 80!

I must reiterate that I haven’t kicked aside the simple pleasures from my trip, this year itself I thoroughly cherished my trip to Udaipur with my cousin where the simple satisfaction of visiting a temple or being on a boat to absorb the surroundings were truly memorable.

And there is so much more… I can’t thank my job enough for letting me taste immaculate food of Kolkata, treating my eyes to the skyline of Dubai, refreshing my senses in Nepal, indulging in Ayurvedic massages in Kovalam and exploring other cities and their unique offerings such as Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai amongst others!

 

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Gokarna Forest Resort, Kathmandu

Lastly, as the quote goes, “Not all those who wander are lost”- I love to wander every now and then, but trust me- mostly my travels have great purpose as they usually do add more purpose to my life!

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Here’s to my endless wanderlust!!!
-Sonali

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HIGH ON HOTELS: THE DYLAN

Amsterdam… what more do we say that we have not said in admiration of this city? Well, continuing with our public display of affection (P.D.A. you see) for this city, next in our High on Hotel series- we getting chatting with the representatives of another extremely credible and worthwhile hotel- The Dylan, so sit back and enjoy!

Q: Why a stay here would prove to be the most memorable one?
A: The Dylan consist of 40 rooms and suites. All the rooms are individually designed in different styles. The Dylan Amsterdam is located in the heart of the city center and in “de negen straatjes” district. In “de negen straatjes” you can discover different galleries, boutiques, bars and eateries. Personal attention and high-quality service isn’t something we have to explain to our staff –at the Dylan it comes naturally.  Our guests are always our priority. The guests can have a perfectly crafted coffee or one of our signature cocktails at Bar Brasserie OCCO, an exquisite dinner at our Michelin Star restaurant Vinkeles or they can relax in our lounge by the fireplace.

All in one, The Dylan offers a refined, modern decor along with unparalleled, personalized service and a five-star product.
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Q: What all facilities would you find in the room?
A: We have the following comfort in the rooms: Air-conditioning, Bose sound system with Bluetooth iPod connection, safe, minibar, telephone, television, work desk (incl. USA adapter), “Frette” bathrobes, linens and slippers, James Heeley bath amenities and a magnifying mirror. Also, there are tea and coffee facilities, free Wi-Fi and 24 hours room service.

Q: Elaborate on the facilities in the hotel for in-house guests?
A: The Dylan Amsterdam has different facilities. Bar brasserie OCCO, Michelin restaurant Vinkeles, fitness room, a cozy lounge, garden, massages, bicycles, concierge service and free Wi-Fi.

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Q: A must try restaurant in the hotel and why?
A: We have two must try restaurants in The Dylan. One of them is Restaurant Vinkeles. The intimate and historic setting offers the perfect mood to enjoy the cooking of Chef Dennis Kuipers and his team. His modern French cuisine with its international twist, often described as “exciting, modest and refined”, has been awarded a Michelin star in 2009.

Bar Brasserie OCCO is a distinct cosmopolitan eatery with menus highlighting handcrafted cocktails and creative cuisine drawn from local Dutch influences and producers. A perfect, more casual alternative to Restaurant Vinkeles.

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Q: Please throw some light on the USP of the hotel?
A: One of the unique selling points of The Dylan Amsterdam is the location. The rooms have a view over the canals or our garden. The Dylan offers refined and modern décor along with personalized service. Another unique selling point is our the Michelin star restaurant and our beautiful secluded garden.
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Luxury Suite - Loft

Q: Could you share a little about the connectivity of the hotel?
A: The Dylan Amsterdam is perfectly reachable with public transportation. The tram station at the Keizersgracht or Elandsgracht is within walking distance (5 minutes).

Q: Further to the earlier question, what is the easiest way to get to the hotel from the airport?
A: The easiest way to get to the hotel from the airport is with a taxi but the hotel is easily reachable by public transportation.

Q: For all the prospective guests and shopping lovers, please tell us about the closest shopping hub to the hotel?
A: The Dylan Amsterdam is located in “de negen straatjes” (The nine streets).  These streets are the connection between the four main canals. Vintages stores, alternative fashion and specialized theme stores can be found there. The nine streets is also an excellent location for a good cup of coffee and to escape from the busier streets in Amsterdam.

Q: Lastly, if one got back at 2 am to the hotel, what is it that one would get to eat?
A: There are many things that you can eat when you get back to the hotel at 2 am. For example, for a big appetite-we offer pizza, roasted steak with fries, different kinds of wraps and more. Next to this, we have different options for a late night snack. Think of veal “bitterballen” or Dutch shrimp croquettes.

Pictures Curtesy: The Dylan Amsterdam

HIGH ON HOTELS: Swissôtel Amsterdam

It is not an unknown fact that we absolutely love and adore Amsterdam. The place has a fun and cozy vibe which is very inviting and we just cannot wait for our next visit there. Today, in our High on Hotels series, we are throwing light on a boutique hotel situated in our favourite-Amsterdam which looks extremely impressive and comfortable. So, sit back and enjoy this beauty of a property as we get chatting with its representative…

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Sleeping Area

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Q: Why a stay here would prove to be the most memorable one?
A: Swissôtel Amsterdam offers outstanding, personalized service- making guests feel comfortable and at home. The staff goes above and beyond for their guests and has a lot of knowledge regarding the city and its activities and is always there to help and inform guests. Furthermore, the location of Swissôtel Amsterdam gives guests direct access to shopping, public transport and the main tourist attractions. A few minutes away you will also find the famous Body Worlds, Madame Tussauds and Royal Palace.

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Q: What all facilities would you find in the room?
A:
Every room has a Nespresso machine and tea- free of charge and a mini bar at an additional charge. Furthermore, guests can enjoy complimentary wireless access and every room has a pillow menu, where people can find different pillow types that can be requested at reception.

Nespresso

Q: Elaborate on the facilities in the hotel for in-house guests?
A: All guests have free access to the Swissôtel Amsterdam Fitness featuring state-of-the-art TechnoGym equipment and to the business centre which offers complimentary internet access and light snacks.

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Q: A must try restaurant in the hotel and why?
A: Swissôtel Amsterdam does not have its own, in-house restaurant. However, right next to Swissôtel Amsterdam- you can find the restaurant ROYAL98, which offers seats with a view on the famous Dam Square. ROYAL98 opened up last year and offers delicious, fresh wood oven pizzas and pastas as well as more international dishes such as sandwiches, cakes, burgers and Dutch Bitterballen. And don’t forget to try the typical Dutch dessert-Trio of Stroopwafel. Hotel guests can also enjoy the buffet breakfast or A la carte breakfast for an additional charge.

Q: Please throw some light on the USP of the hotel?
A: The prime location on the Dam Square and personalized service would be our USP.

View Square

Q: Could you share a little about the connectivity of the hotel?
A: There is a tram stop right in front of the hotel, which is connected to the most important stops in the city. Furthermore, the metro and train stations are situated on a 7 minutes’ walk, connecting to the other areas of Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport.

Q: Further to the earlier question, what is the easiest way to get to the hotel from the airport?
A: By train, you arrive at Amsterdam Central Station within 30 minutes, then it is a 7 minutes’ walk to the hotel. Swissôtel Amsterdam can also arrange a taxi to pick guests up from the airport at an additional charge.

Q: For all the prospective guests and shopping lovers, please tell us about the closest shopping hub to the hotel?
A: Next to the hotel- the famous warehouse ‘De Bijenkorf’ can be found, other warehouses ‘Magna Plaza’ and ‘Hudson’s Bay’ are on a 5 minutes’ walk and the main shopping street is right behind the hotel with stores of all the popular brands such as Pull&Bear and Forever21.

Q: Lastly, if one got back at 2 am to the hotel, what is it that one would get to eat?
A: Swissôtel Amsterdam offers 24/7 room service, with offerings such as pizza, pasta, sandwiches and ice cream.

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Pictures Courtesy: Swissôtel Amsterdam

 

High on Hotels: El Palace Hotel, Barcelona

Friends, believe it or not but today Helipad on Heels celebrates its 5th Anniversary…Thank you so much for all the love and support!!! And since this is the Anniversary Special Post- we are bringing to you a hotel from the buzzing city of Barcelona. For this continues to be a hot-favourite holiday destination of recent times, we are sure that this post would prove to be rather fun and useful.

Also, for all those who thought that we shall only be talking about Asian Hotels, think again as High on Hotels endeavours to explore hotels from around the World.

Located in the center of Barcelona, we are told that the immaculate El Palace Hotel is a symbol of Barcelona’s hotel tradition. We have also heard that its guest diary includes names of stalwarts like Cary Grant, Sofia Loren, Whoopi Goldberg, Ken Follett and Ronnie Wood. Let us find out more about this beauty of a hotel…

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Q: Why a stay here would prove to be the most memorable one?
A: This hotel opened in 1919 as the Ritz Barcelona and has a long history. The staff will make the stay of our guests very comfortable and enjoyable. We have been ranked between 1st and 10th in the last 6 years.

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Q: What all facilities would you find in the room?
A: In the rooms, the clients would find a king-sized bed with our new linen collection, L’Occitane amenities, telephone in the room, bathroom, television, complimentary water and a kettle.

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Q: Elaborate on the facilities in the hotel for in-house guests?
A: Two fine dining restaurants- Winter Garden and Caelis (with 1-Michelin star), French-style Brasserie 19/Nineteen Restaurant, Bluesman Cocktail Bar, Mayan Luxury Spa, Diana Garden (a truly romantic garden).

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Q: A must try restaurant in the hotel and why?
A: Fine Dining Winter Garden Restaurant located at the new Diana Garden on the rooftop terrace. The restaurant offers luxury tapas with wine pairing and views of Barcelona.

Q: Please throw some light on the USP of the hotel?
A: We believe it has to be the Bluesman Cocktail Bar and Diana Garden.

Q: Could you share a little about the connectivity of the hotel?
A: The hotel is located at the city center so there are many transport options from the property including the train and the bus.

Q: Further to the earlier question, what is the easiest way to get to the hotel from the airport?
A: Taxi or private transfer organized by our Concierge Department.

This hotel steeped in history, sure is a visual delight.

Pictures Courtesy: El Palace Hotel, Barcelona

Holiday with BFF in Europe.Check!

Well, this one is certainly going to be a treasured blog post as it is going to take both of us down memory lane of a summer so special with two weeks packed with laughter and fun. For few already know, that we got lucky enough to do a proper holiday together for the very first time just sometime back. Needless to say that we made the most of it in the true “bestie spirit”…

So, it all started with me taking the Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul. Since I was entering Europe via Istanbul, I thought of just staying back for a couple of days and exploring what I have seen in pictures is pure beauty. Travelling solo abroad does give one a kick for sure. However, I did exercise wisdom and did some good amount of homework. On stepping out of the Istanbul Atatürk Airport, I hopped into a yellow taxi and had my driver take me to my hotel in the Taksim area.  Well, I stayed at the Metropolitan Hotels and must share that I found my room to be very comfortable. All three dishes which I ordered at the hotel were quite well done including the Turkish style Ravioli in yogurt and tomato sauce. The first day, I decided to explore the Taksim street which is rather happening, I didn’t go big on shopping right away as I had much of the trip left and had very happily come with a mind of not going overboard with retail therapy. I landed up at this cosmetic store-Flormar and was lucky enough to get a make-over of sorts. Post which I did explore many stores and eventually, tried what I had heard so much about, the very famous Turkish ice-cream. Well, just the way it is put onto the cone is overwhelming. Next day, I was waiting in great anticipation for the pre-booked tour of mine. First up, we saw the Topkapı Palace which was one of the major residences of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years, it was truly opulent and the most amazing area of the palace was the one from where you get a splendid view of the Bosphorus. The first time I witnessed it, I just wanted the time to freeze. Up next, we headed to the beautiful Rustem Pasha Mosque post which I got off to the Grand Bazaar. It was bright, colourful and had almost never ending shops. It is here that I tried a very interesting pomegranate flavoured tea and also got myself a Turkish scent. Talking about the local stuff, since I had heard so much about it, I did try the Turkish bagelSimit as well. So, this was about some of the stuff I did in Istanbul during my short stay of 2 days.

Further, my excitement held no bounds as I was going to be at my dream destination-Amsterdam and was going to reunite with my definite better half- Shagun. Outside the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, I waited for the shuttle to our hotel- Ramada Apollo Centre. The hotel enjoys a decent location and I found our room to be comfortable and clean as well. In Amsterdam, we walked and explored quite a bit…

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Here are few experiences which gave us a high in the purest sense:

  1. Visit to Café Winkel for one of the best apple pies we have ever had!!!2016-05-29-PHOTO-00002070
  2. For we were missing Indian food, we headed to Ashoka-an Indian and Nepalese Restaurant and everything we ordered was rather authentic…
  3. For what provided the perfect pump to our day was the delicious brunch at Roasters & Bakers. As they correctly say, “B&R is a New Zealand style café served with a heavy dose of Brazil.”
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  4. An experience of liqueur tasting at Amsterdam’s historic distillery-Wynand Fockink 🙂2016-05-29-PHOTO-00002072
  5. For pure pizza lovers like us, a meal at De Pizzabakkers was so worth it!
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  6.  The Canal Cruise proved to be such a beautiful way of exploring the city…
  7. Hopping on to a quick ferry ride to get on the opposite side of the Central Station and post lots and lots of walking, we landed up at a super exciting flea market and then, at a lovely little space by the name of Fashion & Tea where a quick refreshing drink was truly enjoyable!
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  8. For those who love to indulge in retail therapy, Nine Streets has much to offer 😛
  9. Relaxing at the urban Vondelpark…
  10. Fries, fries and more fries 🙂
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Post falling in absolute love with Amsterdam, we boarded our train to the love city of Paris for many fall in love in this city…Here are few experiences, mentioning about them is bringing a smile on my face yet again…

  1. Watching the French Open live… This one would sure be on the bucket list of tennis lovers…
  2. Chilling at the Little Red Door- An awesome cocktail bar…
  3. For the luxury shopping experience, a visit to Galeries Lafayette!
  4. Gorge on Macaroons and try as many flavours… And don’t forget to go big on desserts when in Paris!
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  5. Love and the urge to further explore the Vietnamese cuisine took us to Maison Sen.
  6. Checking out the Eiffel Tower at night had its own charm!
  7. A cozy space with amazing wine and a worthwhile cheese platter was on offer by Chez George’s.
  8. Indulged in some lip-smacking Italian food at Salento!
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  9. Checking out stores after stores at Le Marais…
  10. Louvre and Musee d’Orsay proved to be best museums pick for my first visit to Paris…
  11. Besides at the above, quick pictures at the Luxembourg Gardens and outside Notre Dame shall be with me as keeps.

    And finally, we headed to the city where my bestie resides- Berlin, a place I was truly able to explore and love like a local- thanks to these guys! Visits to the Berlin Wall, The Wall Museum, Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, Berliner Dom, Hackescher Markt and Friedrich Strasse were truly memorable and worthwhile…And don’t forget to relax enough at their lovely parks. And I must add that I had some amazing food in Berlin whether it was the eggs at Napoljonska, trying out pretty much World cuisine including Indonesian and Austrian at a Kids Carnival or Italian at Trattoria Toscana or Californian-style burrito at Dolores-all of it was awesome.
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    All I can say is that I am filled with gratitude for this dream holiday and have come back feeling richer packed with experiences of a lifetime and the assurance of having a solid relationship called friendship…

    Happiness to all,
    Sonali

My Roman Holiday

Years back when I saw Roman Holiday not only did I fall for Audrey Hepburn´s ethereal charm, I also formed a dreamy picture of Rome in my head- a place I badly wanted to visit and feel.  Recently, my sweetheart gifted me so much happiness by materializing this dream into a real vacation. I was full of excitement and packed as many clothes I could imagine wearing in the land of history.

We chose November as the month of visit and naturally I was a little scared of facing a bad pouring weather. But sometimes the weather gods are way too kind and do go out of the way to bless. Luckily, it only rained on one day during our trip and was pretty manageable. Now the good thing about going in an off season is that the places of attraction do not look like a scene of mad rush. In fact, I personally like visiting places when everyone else is detesting going there.

Starting with the touristic places, Colosseum falls first on anyone´s list. What today is nearly ruined, once was a huge amphitheater built in 70-80 AD by Vespasian and Titus. The place held the famous gladiator fights, mock sea battles, animal hunts etc. I was really fascinated to know about the sea battles for which the place used to be filled with water and swimming sea horses and bulls did their show.

TIP: Make sure you have a pre booked online ticket otherwise be prepared to stand in a queue longer than you can imagine. (EVEN IN OFF SEASON)

Colosseum
Colosseum

Colosseum

After seeing the Colosseum, we headed to The Roman Forum (Foro Romano). Very simply stating it is a forum surrounded by ruins of many important government buildings of The Roman Empire. Located between the Palantine Hill and the Capitonline Hill, it is a huge ruin full of many architectural buildings such as The Temple of Vesta, Temple of Saturn, Temple of Vespasian and Titus, Forum Main Square and more. 

TIP: Don´t forget to wear comfortable shoes and clothes because you will need to walk through the rocky ways and also climb up and down the two hills. See the pics below and you will exactly what I mean 😉 

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina

Roman Forum

Roman Forum

Roman Forum

Roman Forum

Roman Forum

View from The Palatine Hill

Next day was all dedicated to the home of the Pope, The Vatican and what is also known as the smallest country of the world. Indeed it is the smallest one for you will cover it on foot in few hours and the population is merely 800 people.

Even if I try hard I cannot get over the intoxicating magic that this place spelled. You will feel the same if you love art and creative magnificence. Others will find it boring. St. Peter´s Basilica, Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums are the three things you will see. St. Peter´s Basilica is not just the most important church in the world but also the biggest. For those who are enthusiastic about heights can reach up to the highest point of the dome via an elevator and 300 something steps. The place has great and wow works of Gian Lorenzo Bernini and also Michelangelo’s Pietà.

Vatican museum is not like any regular museum for it was never meant to be one. It is the amount of art works and sculptures that turned it into one. You will often thank Bernini as you keep moving ahead, soaking in the great works. Honestly, I cant much describe in words.

Even before you are completely over the charm, you will enter the Sistine Chapel that has Michelangelo´s wall and ceiling artwork. The most famous attraction being- The Last Judgement, painted again my Michelangelo on the wall. What´s interesting to know is that this great artist was forced to paint here as he preferred sculpting way more.  I wonder how did he still manage to create such beautiful paintings that became a cornerstone work of Renaissance of art.

St. Peter´s Basilica

St. Peter´s Basilica

Vatican City

Vatican City

See the picture below. It is one of the ceilings in the museum. From first to last thought, I would pass it as sculpting and carving but guess what- its a painted ceiling. You will see such and many mesmerizing and surprising arty works at this place.

3D Painting on the ceilings of The Vatican museum

3D Painting on the ceilings of The Vatican museum

Below is the very famous Michelangelo’s Pietà. My husband like many others find it more realistic and beautiful than David. Well, being a girl I would choose David´s strong and handsome frame over this one. 😉

Michelangelo's Pieta

Michelangelo’s Pieta

See the yellow beaming window in the picture below. Looks like regular stained glass but like many other things even this is not what it looks like. Instead it´s a work of mosaic art. St. Peter´s Basilica has so many such paintings that don´t even remotely look like mosaic but are just that. You will hardly see the cracks that mosaic is suppose to have. Maybe that is the reason behind the beautiful colours that have not faded away.

Saint Peter's Basilica

Saint Peter’s Basilica

The Vatican City

The Vatican City

And below is the exterior of the Sistine Chapel and the place we see the Pope waving out from after being elected by the cardinals.

The Vatican

The Vatican

The Vatican City

The Vatican City

I generally don´t indulge in very touristic things but even I could not resist sending a postcard back home from The Vatican. Actually, I realised that it´s so exciting. 🙂

Typically touristic doings- Sending postcard back home from The Vatican

TIP: There is no way you can really enjoy The Vatican without a guided tour. Invest in a good one. Also, be prepared to walk a lot and don´t go empty stomach because you will only get food after coming out of the place and that takes a couple of hours.

Needless, to say have as much gelato as you can everyday while in you are in Italy. After all, you only have so many days to taste every possible flavour.

Gelato

Too Confused in choosing a flavour. Get a mix of few!

Another thing that I was crazy about since Roman Holiday was The Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi). It was infact the first thing I saw the night I landed in Rome and the only thing I saw thrice on any holiday ever. It´s the most beautiful fountain I have seen so far and there is something truly enigmatic about it and of course I threw the coin to make a wish.

TIP: Visit later in the night as it not only looks extremely beautiful but is also relatively less crowded. 

Trevi fountain at night

Trevi fountain at night

Now that you are at Trevi, there is no way you should be missing on the yummiest gelato available in Rome at San Crispino located at Via della Panetteria. I tried their famous Honey flavour along with Cinnamon and trust me I can still feel my taste buds tingling.

San Crispino, Rome

From here you can walk towards The Pantheon for a night view. I could not see it in daylight for some reasons but I am sure it will be as enchanting with its enormity.

Pantheon

Pantheon

By now we were starving and thanks to our research we had a list of some great pizza places around this area. If you too are a fan of thin crust pizzas then there is no way you should miss Ristornate La Sagrestia at Via Del Seminario. We had a veg pizza with egg-plant, mushrooms, spinach, avocado and more along with mushroom sauce penne pasta. The huge pizza and the pasta were finished by the two of us in minutes. Do I need to say more?

Ristorante La Sagrestia, Rome

Ristorante La Sagrestia, Rome

The evening will be incomplete without a cup of great tasting cappuccino. For the same we headed to the cafe that claims to be serving the best cappuccino in Rome- Sant Eustachio located at Piazza di Sant’Eustachio. The place is easy to get to and falls between The Pantheon and Piazza Navona and is a must visit because who wants to miss such a good cup of aromatic and frothy cappuccino. What turned me off a little bit was that you have to pay extra to sit down and enjoy the coffee. And not everyone would want to pay double the price for sitting on not so well maintained old-school chairs lying outside.

Rome

You must also go to Piazza Navona as its beautiful and less crowded. Plus you don’t want to miss on the yummy and famous  Tartufo. You can try it sitting at Ristorante Tre Scalini while also enjoying the view.

Rome is a place of ruins and history and after a while you do miss serene greens. That day head to The Appian Way, the oldest road built connecting Rome to the port city of Brindisi. It was a brainchild of Appius Cladius who was known for making public life easy. At the start of the road you can rent a bike/bicycle and enjoy the many tombs and monuments on the way. It´s one of the most soothing experiences you can get. Throughout I felt like I am cycling my way into paradise!

Cycling The Appian Way

Cycling The Appian Way

Blissful and Serenity

Blissful and Serenity

The Appian Way

The Appian Way

By now you will be tired and starving and probably cycling your way back and this is when you will start seeing some restaurants and cafes. Serving great food and wine at rates cheaper than the city, these restaurants are perfect to rest at.

Wine & Dine at The Appian WayWine & Dine at The Appian Way

TIP: Plan going only on a sunny day and go in the morning as you want some hours under the sun to enjoy this place. Later in the evenings it turns dingy and unsafe. 

After spending a day at The Appian Village, we got back to the city and went around exploring the shopping streets and vintage markets in Rome. I was not too impressed with the vintage finds but what really turned me on was Via Condotti. This is the same street that Audrey Hepburn passes while checking out shops. Today, it has every possible luxury label you can think of. And as the street ends, it hits right at the famous Spanish Steps. Look at the picture below and you will know what I am talking about. How badly I wanted to enjoy a gelato sitting here just like Audrey did but sadly it was all drizzling.

Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps

Luxury lies at Via Condotti

Luxury lies at Via Condotti

TIP: Also, my biggest tip to you would be that go with enough savings because there is so much leather to splurge on. There are so many small boutiques everywhere selling exquisite leather bags, jackets and shoes that you will be only regretting if shopping is not a big part of your budget plan. 

Lastly, no vacation is complete without a crazy partying night. For the same look nowhere else and head to Trastavere situated on the west bank of river Tiber. It´s a buzzing place full of cafes, restaurants, bars, vendors and happy people. You can easily get bus 170 from Termini that goes straight to this place.

Love,

Shagun