Ciao Italy with a bambino! 

Our first family vacation- lots of nerves and hope went into or holiday, and a world of planning. And the result was a dream holiday- relaxing and happy! 

We picked southern Italy, bringing my old hollywood Italian riviera dreams to life! Based on research, we realized the coast is a bit impractical with a buggy and our bubba was not into the sling. We set up base in Sorrento, which is just between Naples and the coast. The coast is pretty crazy in the summer, so we got lucky with timing- spring was the beginning of the tourist season and we still got lots of sunshine. 

Italy is absolutely the best place to visit with a baby- everyone seems to love babies, our bubba was the center of attention with people cooing and appreciating. Most restaurants have high chair and they go out of their way to entertain the baby.

While most blogs advise you not to rent a car, we did rent one. Driving around Amalfi coast is stressful- the streets are narrow and there are cars parked in one side, people are impatient and fast.  Having said that, hubby didn’t mind because the spectacular views were well worth it. Also it was the convinient choice with a bubba- we didn’t have a plan, we would drive till she was happy and when she got restless, we would stop and walk around that town or village.

Our tip on traveling with a baby would be to not really have an agenda and work on the baby schedule. We started our day with a leisurely breakfast and walk, then nap in car, a stroll around and lunch at the town we stopped at as bubba got impatient, drive back and nap when baby got restless, play time at home and a relaxed dinner. We initially talked about going to Pompeii and Capri but realized it’s not practical with a 8 month old. 

We enjoyed driving around the coast, stopping at Priano, Amalfi, and Atriani. We didn’t spend too much time researching but Sorrento, but that turned out to be our favorite- the land of limoncello, we enjoyed walks with a view of Mount Vesuvius and Naples, the blue sea, lush greenery, and the mountains; the tiny marker streets with amazing restaurants and cute stores; the cute street train ride around town. 

Having said that, we did see a lot of amazing places, and here are some of our favorite pictures (all pictures are my own, shot on iPhone):

Positano in all its vertical glory


The view from one of the overlook points- great place to get fresh juice and produce

The view from our lunch spot in Priano (the lovely Restaurant in Costa Diva, amazing food and service)

My lunch table at the lovely Costa Diva

Marina Grande in Sorrento

The omnipresent lemon trees

Narrow streets of Sorrento, full of food and magic!

beautiful church in Sorrento

Spectacular architecture detail

Another Sorrento picture 🙂

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Hola Barcelona

Hi everyone

I escaped to sunny Barcelona from grey rainy London over the Easter holidays. Everyone I talked to prior to the trip said Barcelona was their favorite city, and you can see why on day 1- the sun, the people, the vibe of the city. There is something for everyone here- the Gothic quarters, Sangrada Familia, Parc Guell, tapas and sangria… the list goes on!

I have to say while I adored and loved Barcelona, I have to say for someone on their babymoon, I couldn’t indulge in a few things Barcelona was famous for: the bars and nightlife, sangria, and it was still a bit too cold for the beach. So this post is the more pregnant friendly activities in Barcelona: walking around the city, eating tapas, and just relaxing! 🙂

Here are some of my pictures:

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Hubby enjoying the first sangria of the trip!

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Some gems around Gothic quarters

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St. Mary of the sea- amazing tall ceilings

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Cathedral of Barcelona

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Swans at Cathedral of Barcelona

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Parc Guell

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The grand Sangrada Familia- expected to complete construction in 2026, a full 150 years labour of love

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The apse at Sangrada Familia

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The incredible stain glass windows at Sangrada Familia

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The gorgeous ceilings with tree columns at Sangrada Familia

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An orange tree in Spanish Village (Poblo Espanyol)

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Poblo Espanyol has buildings styled by each region- some reviews found it touristy, but we loved it!

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Flamenco at the Andalusian part of Poblo Espanyol


I hope you enjoyed this slice of Barcelona- please share your comments!

Postcards from Paris

I spent the Christmas holidays in the romantic and magical city of Paris. As it is one of the most popular cities in the world, I don’t have to share my travel guide for it.

Here are my travel postcards (enhanced with a little help from Instagram):

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La Tour Eiffel during the day

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A closer view of La Tour Eiffel at night

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View from above LA Tour Eiffel

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Louvre

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Notre Dame on Christmas night

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The Notre Dame cathedral ceilings

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Love locks <3! Pont de l’Archeveche

 

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Pont Alexander

A fall weekend in Cotswolds

Ever since I moved to London, I heard about Cotswolds, the Hamptons of London. I got the opportunity to spend a Fall weekend in Cotswold- just as their tourist season was wrapping up. It is a picturesque part of the country, with tree tunnels, rolling meadows. As we drove by, I kept reminding the novels I read through childhood.

This post isn’t pictures of sights, just the fall colors and greenery.

Hopefully it will have the same effect on you as it did on me- I fell in love with nature again ❤

(Pictures are all me with a little help of Instagram)

The many colors in one frame

The many colors in one frame

I love yellow!

I love yellow!

Orange is the new block

Orange is the new black!

Colors of the shrubs- so they don't feel left out

Colors of the smaller plants- so they don’t feel left out

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree :-)

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree 🙂

Ello Scotland!

Exotic Scotland always beckoned me- with mountains and the breathtaking landscape of Scottish highlands, the rich history, traditions and castles, the mysterious Nessie.. the list goes on and on…. So when I finally got to Scotland, it was a dream come true!

My pictures are more from Loch Ness- the natural beauty captured my heart and gave me a much needed break from the hustle and bustle. The enormous Loch, the green mountains, clouds and rainbows, and when you least expect it, some sheep! What would have made this album epic would a picture of the elusive Nessie- but I wasn’t that lucky! 🙂

I couldn’t cover much of Edinburgh- it is a big city, and we got there during the summer fringe festival- full of music, performances, and art- which made it crazier. The streets were full of people, so stopping for a picture was next to impossible.

So come see the magic of Scotland- one of my favorite vacations to date (all pictures are mine, and with no filters :-)):

The magic of Loch Ness

The magic of Loch Ness

Uruquat Castle

Uruquat Castle

The cascading hills near the castle and Loch

The cascading hills near the castle and Loch

A waterfall in the mountains around the Loch

A waterfall in the mountains around the Loch

Fort Augustus Center

Fort Augustus Center

Roybridge while driving around the Loch

Roybridge while driving around the Loch

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

From inside Stirling Castle

From inside Stirling Castle

Fringe Festival in the background of Edinburgh castle

Fringe Festival in the background of Edinburgh castle

Bristol relived!

My first taste of UK was during my year studying at Bristol- the city is always in my memory as the place which was full of fun, friends, and carefree fun! After 9 years, I was curious to see how much the city has changed.

I guess the first thing I realized is I never truly explored the city- the touristy bits! So it was fun to rediscover the elements that make it so tourist friendly, and what better weekend to explore than when the annual balloon festival is in town!

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge

One of the mos amazing sighs is the Clifton Suspension Bridge- walking along the bridge is an incredible experience. The river Avon below, the greenery around the bridge, and the gorgeous hill with observatory… perfect spot for a picnic!

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The balloon festival

The balloon festival- the annual event that attracts thousands…. one of the best places is the White Lions bar at Avon Gorge Hotel- the best view of the bridge and to see the hot air balloons….

How did a monkey get here?

How did a monkey get here?

Clifton village has lots of cute arts and craft stores and boutiques, and as I was walking around, and look who I spotted?

Victoria Rooms

Victoria Rooms

One of the most beautiful landmarks are the Victoria Rooms, with gorgeous fountains outside…

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter’s Church, Castle Park

Castle Park is an an open green space by the river, with herb gardens, and the ruins of Bristol castle, and St. Peter’s church. It is a great combination of history, green space, and tranquility by the river.

Other spots that I couldn’t take a picture of:

  • Cabot Towers
  • College Green
  • Bristol Harbor

My first few pictures of London

Hello London! Thank you for the great welcome- gorgeous weather with hardly any rain and some awesome company to explore… 🙂

So here is a collection of my postcards so far-taken by me, with some help from Instagram!

Westminster

Westminster

Big Ben

Big Ben

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

Artwork outside Regent Park

Artwork outside Regent Park

Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hind - boat

Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind – boat

Southark- remains of Winchester Palace from 12th century

Southark- remains of Winchester Palace from 12th century

Kensington

Kensington

Camden

Camden

Oh Martha! How I love thee…

After a long hiatus, I am getting back to blogging, and boy is it awesome to be back! 🙂

In the East Coast, there are a few dreamy summer destinations that everyone dreams about- Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, Provincetown, Cape Cod. After a long freezing winter, you count down to spring an summer, and run to the nearest beaches for some much needed sun!

Martha’s Vineyard is the setting for the epic movie Jaws to Jumping the Broom, apart from being the vacation stomp ground for Obamas, Clintons, and other big shots! Watching the movies and looking at pictures, I always had a fantasy view of what it would like, and I finally got a chance to see what the fuss was all about!

After the perfect 3 day break, here is my take- Martha’s Vineyard was everything I thought it was and more: it is a picturesque setting- the beautiful blue ocean, stunning lighthouses, fantastic beaches, cute local stores, and seafood shacks. My bucket list is to be one of those people that spend a month on their boat, hitting port to port- Martha is full of people enjoying the boat and sail life, and I for one am very envious! There is something in the air- such a relaxing vibe, you feel the stress evaporate and sense of calm coming inside you.

Here is some proof! 🙂

The ocean, beach, and lighthouse

The ocean, beach, and lighthouse

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Close-up of the lighthouse

The 50 shades of blue!

The 50 shades of blue!

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Cute boats

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More of the ocean lifestyle

I have never seen roses near a beach, but Martha is full of them

I have never seen roses near a beach, but Martha is full of them

The charmed ocean entertainment- spectacular!

The charmed ocean entertainment- spectacular!

Aloha Maui!

Whenever I speak to anyone who goes to Hawaii, they describe the place as magical, a dream, absolutely incredible…. and I always wondered if it would live up to the hype. And now that I actually got to Maui I can say-“it doesn’t just live up to the hype, it exceeds it!”. It has everything- beaches, mountains, lush greenery, volcanoes. One week in Maui isn’t enough- now I know why people take a sabbatical and move there!

Idyllic sunset

Idyllic sunset

I cannot have a post on Hawaii without a picture of an amazing sunset (photo credit- Aishwarya 🙂 )

The stunning beaches

The stunning beaches

There are stunning beaches all around Maui- the soft sand, blue dreamy water and the soft breeze- perfection!

Ocean and greenery!

Ocean and greenery!

There is something amazing about the juxtaposition of the ocean and greenery- driving around in Maui you will be struck by the ocean, mountain, greenery- next to each other complimenting the overall magic!

Secreat beach

Secreat beach

Secret beach- the shades of blue

Secret beach- the shades of blue

My favorite discovery was the secret beach- tucked between two houses, there are lava rock walls on both sides, and it looks like a door way. But when you enter, you see the gorgeous beach, like a tiny piece of heaven.

Haleakala Crater #1

Haleakala Crater #1

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater #2

One of the most incredible sights is the sight of the Haleakala Crater- atop a long and twisty ride, you reach the awe-inspiring volcanic peak. People try to get there for sunrise or sunset, but we didn’t want to risk bad visibility while driving up so we chose to go midday. It is incredibly cold, but totally worth it!

āhinahina- Haleakala Silversword

āhinahina- Haleakala Silversword

The Haleakala Silversword (āhinahina in Hawaiian) has been a threatened species since 1992- I was so glad I found one!

Hooki'pa lookout

Hana Highway Stop: Hooki’pa lookout

Hana Highway drive is one of the landmarks in Maui- it has multiple stops along the way that just take your breath away! Hooki’pa lookout is one of my favorites- there were endless waves rushing to the shore. The lookout is a surfer’s paradise- so even if you aren’t a surfer, it still takes your breath away!

Hana Highway Waterfall 3

Hana Highway Waterfall 1

Hana Highway Waterfall 2

Hana Highway Waterfall 2

Hana Highway Waterfall 1

Hana Highway Waterfall 3

Hana Highway Waterfall 4

Hana Highway Waterfall 4

The drive to Hana has gorgeous waterfalls like Twin falls, Wailea falls, etc.

Seven sacred pools

Hana highway spot-Seven sacred pools

One of the most celebrated spots on Hana highway is Ohe’o Gulch or seven sacred pools. It is after 3 hours of the long and arduous drive- and while it was beautiful, I felt it was a bit overrated- there are many other beautiful waterfalls along the way.

Long greenery and two rays of sunshine

Long greenery and two rays of sunshine

Banyan tree- reminds me of India

Banyan tree- reminds me of India

Spot the pineapple?

Spot the pineapple?

Bamboo trees

Bamboo trees

Oranges anyone?

Oranges anyone?

Walking around the trails in Maui you see such amazing greenery- The Avatar movie was shot in Hawaii- the greenery everywhere reminds you of the movie!

 

Here are some travel tips for Maui:

  • Plan your trip! There are many things to do around Maui.
  • The island is pretty huge so you need a car- my personal tip: get a convertible so you can really enjoy Hawaii!
  • Try and split your stay in the north and south side- this way you can explore the area without driving for an hour each time.
  • Go to a luau! For the vegetarians out there, go to Feast at Lele!
  • Get the Hawaiian wardrobe- flip flops, leis, Hawaiian shirts and dresses!
  • The road to Hana is slightly overrated- don’t get me wrong, the views are incredible driving along side the water around the mountains. But the sharp turns and hair pin bends are tough even for the most seasoned drivers. The best sights are at towards the first half of the highway so you don’t have to go all the way to experience it!
  • Stops like Ohe’o Gulch are over 3 hours without a break, so if you want to do it in 1 day, you have to leave really early. While the Gulch was pretty, it was a bit underwhelming- there are many stunning waterfalls along the way.
  • If you would like to go through all the stops on Hana, you should stay a night on the route- there are some stops along the way.
  • Some of the stops like Twin falls aren’t exactly paved for hiking- so only experienced hikers should try!
  • Haleakala crater is a tough drive- sunset might be stunning, but you might end up having to drive in the dark- which I wouldn’t recommend.
  • Keep some time for the beach- some of the best beaches are in Maui.
  • It does rain in Hawaii- so keep a day or to as buffer so you can hit all the stops on your list!

In the meanwhile, Mahalo Maui- can’t wait to come back!

A sunny day in Jamaica

After a long hiatus, I finally decided to get around to writing- inspiration was the beautiful sunsets in dreamy Jamaica. One of the most natural stunning places I have been to-the juxtaposition of mountains by the sea makes Jamaica a real stunner!

We started off at Montego Bay- land of the beaches and the dolphins. You see the brilliant blue sea on one side and lush green hills on the other side. Along with the warm tropical weather, you are surrounded by warm and friendly locals who say “Yah Mon……No Problem”… as you spend time in Jamaica, you also get to a Jamaican state of mind!

Bird at Sunset

Bird at Sunset

My favorite sunset point in Montego Bay

My favorite sunset point in Montego Bay

Colors of sunset

Colors of sunset

Dolphins in Ocho Rios

Dolphins in Ocho Rios

Next stop was Negril- As you drive from Montego Bay to Negril, the azure water keeps you company along with the rolling green hills! Negril is a beach side town with a twist- the west end is on cliffs… Just 5 minutes and you will realize why Bob Marley spent time there!

Gazebo at our Negril hotel

Gazebo at our Negril hotel

Cliffs and sea..

Cliffs and sea..

Where the sun meets the sea...

Where the sun meets the sea…

Rick's cafe

Rick’s cafe

Storm on the last day at Negril

Storm on the last day at Negril

I am sitting today, going through pictures, and dreaming about being back in Jamaica! Yah Mon!