estonia, international holiday, scandinavia, Tallinn, toddler, travel, vacation

Tallinn – Land of Legends & much more

During our trip to Helsinki, we went for a little adventure in the beautiful town of Tallinn. Though it took approximately two hours to reach Tallinn through Vikings cruise, we were transported to a completely different atmosphere. And I say this because not only the country changed, the people, the culture, the architecture all changed drastically. Out of all the places I have been, I can easily say that Tallinn is one of the most beautiful and well-maintained historical town. Being a small city and the capital of Estonia, Tallinn stands for itself.

We visited the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral which was a beautiful experience. The majestic architectural marvel is really outstanding. We went through the streets of the old town which all lead to the Town square.

The beautiful walk through its old city clearly indicates why its listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is beautiful with cobbled streets running throughout the city lined up with charming wooden houses. There are a variety of streets owing to their different speciality like street with sweet shops, most fashionable street, street of education and so on. But I was amazed by the most haunted street (‘Lühike Jalg is a narrow street with lots of stairs that connect Toompea with lower Old Town.’)

Tallinn is a town of legends and we were impressed by various legends inscribed at different locations giving an insight to the visitors about the history of this marvellous land.

The town square is filled with restaurants and cafes all around. There is house carriage available for the tourists which adds to the medieval theme of the whole city. We saw the Viru gate which are two similar towers left of a larger chain of towers which supposed to defend the town in earlier days.

Old Town Square, Tallinn

It was a sunny day and we made the most of it by shopping (beautiful imitations of the colourful houses, clothes, really warm socks, and other souvenirs). For lunch, we sat in the middle of the Old City at Saku Gastro and we were delighted with the service as well as the food. What added to our lunch was the experience of observing a theatrical performance being held at the centre of the Town square. On enquiring more, we came to know that it’s part of their biggest yearly festival ‘OLD TOWN DAYS’ dedicated to the local cultural heritage and community & the theme of 2018 was 100 steps into History. Although, unplanned, we were elated being in the festival.

Owing to its strategic location, the city still remains a major trade hub. Numerous cruise lines make a stop here. I wish I could have spent more time here as we had to return for our cruise back to Helsinki at the end of the day. The Viking Express cruise was a wonderful experience with a plenty of activities for the kids. Added benefit was our room where we had kept our belongings and went on to visit Tallinn without any discomfort.

TripsCopy NikitaSinghGulati
baby travel, family trips, FORT, India, indian family, JODHPUR, RAJASTHAN, toddler, travel

Best Places to visit in Jodhpur – Blue city of India

Named after the great king Rao Jodha, Jodhpur truly stands for royalty. With numerous iconic heritage sites, this city boasts of a number of places to visit. Travelling with a toddler, we narrowed down the best places to see in Jodhpur.

MEHRANGARH FORT

Being one of the largest fort of India, it does not disappoint anyone looking for historical Indian architecture. Situated at a height, one can easily see it from the city. The entrance is convenient with options of elevator (as one have to walk on cobbled sloppy road) to reach the fort from the entrance. Grandeur and historical heritage can be found in each corner of the fort.

 

There are cannons and vivid arms & armours on display at this fort. Looking at the city from here, we found most of the houses are painted blue giving it the iconic nomenclature of blue city.

The museum is one of the most well-stocked museums in Rajasthan. Beautiful rooms are also shown which has real gold embedded on the ceilings and intricate art work brightens the whole place.

JASWANT THADA

The Jaswant Thada is a cenotaph located near to the Mehrangarh Fort. The cenotaph’s grounds feature carved gazebos, a tiered garden, and a small lake. There are three other cenotaphs in the grounds. One can easily unwind at the park after a good walk at the Mehrangarh Fort.

 

CLOCK TOWER

One of the most happening places in Jodhpur is the Sardarpur market which is the market around the clock tower in the old city. Numerous vendors and tourists flocking the market makes for a wonderful sight.

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CLOCK GATE, JODHPUR

UMMAID BHAWAN PALACE

Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of the world’s largest private residences. A part of the palace is a museum and some portion is hotel. The Palace was built to provide employment to thousands of people during the time of famine. The museum has exhibits of stuffed leopards and various household’s items used by the royals (made up of gold & silver). The classic cars of the Maharajas are also on display in the garden in front of the museum.

AMUSEMENT PARK, baby travel, Copenhagen, denmark, europe, international holiday, Tivoli Garden, Uncategorized, vacation

Tivoli Garden – where Magic comes alive !

Being the second oldest amusement park in Europe, one cannot be disappointed in this whimsical fascinating place. With a plethora of activities for each age-group, this place is a must visit when in the Scandinavian region. One can easily see movie coming to life here : old couples sitting in the parks enjoying the scenery, teen couples walking hand in hand, children brisking here and there and what not.

TIVOLI COPENHAGEN TRIPSCOPY
AMAZING RIDES AT TIVOLI GARDENS

We spent an entire day in this beautiful place and were not tired. One of the best things about this place is its timing. It closes a little late in summers offering the visitors to utilize their otherwise wasted time (as shops and malls close early).

tivoli tripscopy
MOM SON TIME AT TIVOLI GARDEN

Being with a three year old means lot of kiddie rides and I must say we were not disappointed. Our little one enjoyed : The Vintage Cars (on-track cars), The Wood Carousel,  The Dragon Boats, The Elf Train, The Fun House, The Little Dragon (swing ride), The Little Pilot, The Music Carousel. We missed the famous Rutschebanen (wooden roller coaster), as well as the the Vertigo. (Note : Running nose and high fever correspond to that face 😉

TIVOLI COPENHAGEN TRIPSCOPY
FUNNY FACES AT TIVOLI

But the highlight of the day was when he engaged in a duck hunting game and surprised us by winning the best prize (for picking up three ducks in a row which had red mark in the bottom). I was supremely elated but it was short-lived as he chose a colorful lizard as his prize (note : he could have picked any toy from that shop but he picked the most common soft-toy). We did not push him to pick any other toy as it was his choice.But hey- he won !!

The utilities were clean and moderate.Overall a great park specially for the kids. And for adults (if you don’t like the rides and are there just for their kids, you can always go shopping at the famous Illums Bolighus store which offers the exclusive range of Danish and international design. We bought some amazing souvenirs from there.

VINTAGE CAR TIVOLI TRIPSCOPY
CAR RIDE WITH DAD AT TIVOLI

 

There is an array of dining options but we chose Joe and the juice as it had amazing juice range which we certainly needed after hustling through so many rides.

JOE & THE JUICE TRIPSCOPY
JOE & THE JUICE AT TIVOLI

belgium, Copenhagen, denmark, estonia, europe, Malmo, netherlands, sweden, Uncategorized

2018 – Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Netherlands, Estonia, Kerala, Goa, Jaipur

Though I’m penning down my journey details after a gap of 6 months (since my European adventure with my little one), it feels like yesterday. We visited a total of 6 countries including Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Netherlands and Estonia. It was a beautiful trip with varied experiences.

Historic windmills with distinctive green wooden houses made for the perfect postcard pictures. Being in one of the oldest amusement park has a different impact altogether. We sailed through the waters of Baltic Sea. We cycled our way through Copenhagen and met lovely people in Malmo.

The trip was a blessing as I met my college friends too after a long time. Life has been extremely busy and I hope to be regular in my blogging and fill in all the details of my trips before taking another one.

Apart from Europe, we went to Kerala – the bliss of being in backwaters. It was full of peace and harmony and soul relishing experience. The annual trips to both Jaipur and Goa proved why we go there every year and still find so many new things to do.

Overall, the year 2018 was a wonderful year with trips packed back to back. Hoping the same for 2019.

 

 

baby travel, family trips, hill station, indian family, Nainital, toddler, Uncategorized

FIVE MUST DO ACTIVITIES IN NAINITAL WITH TODDLER

Our short but sweet trip of Nainital would not have been perfect if we would have side-lined our toddler’s interest. With a wide array of fun-filled activities which take place in this scenic Himalayan valley, there are a few options which we must not miss at all. So, our top five picks are as follows:

  1. Visit to the Governor House

Being the only governor’s house open for visitors in India, this place still is not marked as one of the most visited places here. Maybe due to strict time-limits of entry and exit which has to be made in groups at the main gate of the Raj Bhawan which happens at precisely 11 am everyday except Tuesday.

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Governor’s house, Nainital

Constructed on the lines of the Bukinghum palace, this monument is spectacular to look at. The sprawling campus gives it the much needed peaceful surroundings and highlights its beauty. Apart from its own golf ground, it also consists of a marvelous garden and Swimming Pool. Our little one had a great time enjoying the gardens and running uphill/downhill.

2. Boating in the Naini Lake

Boats with peddle were not an option for us due to our naughty kid. So we took the brave step of boarding the vintage gondola boat.Though the boats used in this lake seem to be very risky, but the oarsmen know their job. And contrary to our expectations, we had a wonderful ride. We enjoyed the serenity and beauty and the freshness of the air so much that we took another ride through the lake. Not to mention our toddler loved it.

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Boating in Nainital with a wonderful rainbow in the background

3. Stroll in the Mall Road

No visit to any hill-station in India can be regarded as complete without the customary visit to the mall road. Mall roads are primarily the most busy street of any hill stations where tourists are found in abundance due to the availability of numerous eating & shopping joints. What we loved about the mall road here in Nainital was that it is free of any vehicle, even rickshaw after 6 pm making it a  very interesting place to relax with a kid. We bought a small toy with wheels from a side shop and our kid had a great time riding it throughout the Mall road.

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Mall Road, Nainital (notice the wheel)

4. Visit to the Shyamkhet Tea Garden

People in India are so used to tea gardens in Kerala, that they forget their presence in North India as well (since the terrain for their production is same). But since, I always wanted to visit one, we made our decision to visit this garden. It was just an hour drive. Though it was not a very large garden but it was enough to satisfy our curiosity. We got some really good tea from there as well which they claimed to be free from any chemicals and totally organic.

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Tea Garden of Nainital

5. Visit to the Nainital Zoo

We can never miss any zoo when we are traveling with our baby simply because he is so fond of all the animals. And its always great to let him see all the wild beasts in real. We must say that the Nainital zoo was above our expectation and we were pleased by the staff over there. They also let you adopt an animal and contribute your share to them.

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Nainital Zoo

baby travel, family trips, travel, Uncategorized

How to have a great trip with a Baby

When we become parents, everything around us changes to such an extent that we forget that we are still the same people. I strongly question the mindset of people who think that they cannot travel once they have a kid. How come when we are eating and sleeping and doing all the things we did earlier (with variations of course), we think travel is not meant for us? We just have to be cautious and plan the travel well to have fun with our babies. Some handy pointers for the same will be :

Choosing the location

This is the most important factor contributing to the success of one’s vacation. The location of the vacation must be selected properly after analyzing various factors like : weather, flight time, safety and infrastructure of the place. Most importantly, the place should be baby-friendly with access to pram to most places.

Choosing the flight

The correct flight will be the one which matches the nap time of your baby. We also have to keep in mind the travel time. In case of long flights, we need a stop-over and in case of short flight timings, we must aim for direct flights to further decrease the traveling time.

Carrying proper food items for the baby

Be it a flight, train or car, we must always carry baby-food. We always have hot water in an insulated container along with baby milk powder and other such things which has a larger shelf life,for example vegetable munchies, chips, puffs. Once we are at our destination, we can make healthy food and buy fresh fruits.

Keeping all baby-care products handy

Besides the food and diaper bag,a proper handbag for baby stuffs like toys, pillows, blankets and other such things which either comforts or distracts the baby (in case he is not in a good mood) is also necessary.

Choosing a Proper Hotel

Its best to choose an apartment or a suite over a hotel room. It is advisable as it gives us the flexibility of making different baby food as well as it tends to be bigger, thereby providing a bigger play area for the baby.

Choosing the Itinerary

Visiting all the important sites and vacation spots at a particular location should be done in a leisurely fashion with proper breathing spaces with the baby. Preferring one place a day has better chances of giving you a better holiday rather than squeezing numerous sites and activities on a single day.

Nap Time

Even on vacations, its best to let your child sleep properly so that they enjoy the whole trip. Many of my friends skip nap-time to utilize the maximum holiday time but this always results in making the child cranky who will not enjoy anything he sees or does.

Let the Child Enjoy

If we stick to our cameras and keep posing with our children, there is no point in going for a vacation. Although we should click pictures but we should not overdo them. Until the child finds himself free, he will not be involved in exploring which is what makes a good traveler.

Though, this list works for me and I had great holidays with my baby but there might be more to it.

activities, baby travel, JAIPUR, travel, Uncategorized

Jal Mahal Palace, Jaipur , India

The marvelous and beautiful palace in the Man Sagar lake in Jaipur is known as Jal Mahal. This lake was basically constructed by the rulers to fight famine and shortage of water in Rajasthan as a dam. However, the palace underwent many renovations and now stands as a famous tourist attraction in Jaipur. Though, the palace is a five storied building but only the top floor is exposed. The road corridor connecting the main tourist attractions of Jaipur basically the Amer fort and the Nahargarh fort runs through this road. Generally tourists are not allowed to visit this palace, but we managed to visit it with our little one.

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JAL MAHAL PALACE,JAIPUR,INDIA

We reached the palace by a traditional wooden boat through the clean lake. Our son enjoyed the boat ride and was fascinated to find the sailor using oar to splash water and move the boat forward. The air was misty and refreshing. As soon as we stepped in the palace, we were amazed by its wonderful architecture. There was a narrow corridor running in the periphery of the palace and it was very airy. The ancient Indian Maharajas were wise to come up with such a clever architectural plan. Since there was no electricity, they kept the palaces well ventilated in the center of the lake to make it cooler.

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JAL MAHAL PALACE,JAIPUR,INDIA

After spending sometime in the palace, we went on its terrace and was awed by the gardening done there. We could really imagine how the Maharajas and their allies must be having good time in the past. It was a beautiful view. The Jal Mahal palace provides a picturesque view of the lake , and the surrounding Nahargarh hills. You can also spot small islands in the lake which act as wintering grounds for migratory birds. Overall, the trip to Jal Mahal went very well.

 

baby travel, family trips, FOOD, Singapore, Uncategorized, vacation

DELICIOUS SINGAPOREAN CUISINE

Someone wisely said – What we eat,reflects the culture of our society.The multicultural ethnicity of Singapore furnishes it with multi-cuisines. Singapore is one of the topmost places when it comes to having options in food. The luscious and mouth-watering Singapore local food is influenced by Chinese, Indian & Western tradition rendering a unique delicacy to all the food menu.

Though we tried almost all famous local food options like Dimsums, Ice Kasang, Biryani, Roti, Chicken rice, and curry puffs; we relished more on the below mentioned items :

  • Kaya toast & soft boiled egg with Tea – It was so yummy and light,just what is required in a tropical climate. It made for most of our breakfasts. The most famous place to have this is ‘Toast Box’.
  • Huanian chicken rice – Served at most of the hawker centers along with presence in food-court of varios malls, it was a spicy and wholesome food. We loved the ones served by ‘ Mini Wok Zhi Char’.
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  • Refreshing coconut ice-cream with berries at Co+Nut+Ink was simply out of the world. I think that it is the first ice-cream to be so healthy.
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  • Nasi Lemak – Though traditionally, Nasi lemak is a Malay fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf; there has been many variations to it. For example, the rice can be crispy or may be made soft (as per your requirement)
  • Ice-cream toast is a must for everyone. As traveling require a lot of walking, an ice-cream toast was what energized us in the daily heat. There were numerous vendors in Orchard road who provided different kinds of ice-cream flavored toast at very reasonable rates.

We must have missed on a lot of other food options available but with a baby, we managed to try quite a few of them.

baby travel, family trips, indian family, international holiday, Singapore

Trip to Singapore – Why Singapore?

When our son turned 18 months old, we realized that he was ready to travel abroad with us. We did not wanted his exposure to be limited only to India. So, we brainstormed various options for him. As Singapore has always been one of my favorite holiday destination,it was fairly easy to choose it as our first international holiday for our son. (Choosing the destination was easy but convincing my husband to take leave from work was a really tough job. But it was totally worth it.)

Top factors for choosing our first international holiday destination with the little one were:

  1. Flight time : What we thought As it takes only 5-6 hours from Delhi to Singapore, it is convenient to travel. Moreover, we booked overnight flights overlapping our baby’s sleep time. What really happened – Though my baby sleeps by 9 pm in general but it was not until1 am that he slept in the flight. We had to play dough and show him different videos so that the other passengers were not disturbed. To make matters worse, he even vomited once. I don’t know what was I thinking. There can never be a leisure trip with a baby on board. But we reached Singapore.
  2. Status of the country : Singapore is considered to be one of the safest countries with very stable government and policies. You do not want any unplanned adventure with the baby. It was really a very safe place. We used to go for midnight strolls when our baby used to sleep. Taking him in his pram,of course.
  3. Weather : Close proximity to the Equator corresponds to the warm weather throughout the year in Singapore. We traveled when it was winter in India. So, the heat was welcomed in the beginning. But there were occasional showers everyday owing to its island topography.
  4. Infrastructure : What we thought – With state of the art transportation system , you can travel at any point of the day safely. What really happened – We did all the traveling through taxis as though MRT & buses were available, but carrying a pram and baby bag along with a camera bag; traveling by personal taxi was the best bet.
  5. Cultural exposure : With a balance between old and new, Singapore strikes the perfect harmony which gives tourists of all ages and class whatever they desire. It made for a perfect destination for my husband (as he amused himself in geek shopping), my child (with so many parks) & me (any thing is good for me as long as I am not at home).
  6. Places suitable for kids : With a long list of parks and museums, Singapore is a blessing for kids. There was not a single moment when we were out of plan.
  7. Food : Singapore is simply the paradise for foodies. You get delicious cuisines of food including Indian,Chinese, Japanese and Thai. Except for my child (who is a very fussy eater by the way), my husband and I are fond of food and drinks. We like to taste the local food whenever we travel.
  8. Shopping : With a number of malls at the orchard road, there are so many options to shop for the parents as well as the little ones.

I will write a copy of my Singapore trip in next posts. Goodbye for now !!

Continue reading “Trip to Singapore – Why Singapore?”