This month’s travel link up is a creative and delicious one. If Travel were a 3-course meal, what would you choose as your appetizer (short haul), main course (long haul) and dessert (lasting impression)? Being a foodie and travel-lover, that’s an awesome idea to write about. So here are my picks for satisfying the appetite and the wanderlust including some places I have sampled already and some waiting to be ticked off the bucket list.
Appetizer: Salalah, Oman
I would start closer to home in the Khaleej (Arabian Gulf) or rather my home away from home. Ever since my parents and siblings did a road trip to Oman last year (driving through Saudi & UAE) I have been craving for a trip to Salalah. However, a long road trip with the little ones is not on the cards anytime soon, but I have full plans of jumping on a plane to this beautiful ‘second city’ of the Sultanate of Oman as Qatar Airways has twice daily, 2-hour flights from Doha.
This Emerald green gem in the Arabian desert is described by many as reminiscent of some tropical place, or even of East Africa. Certainly a unique place in the gulf. I can’t wait to walk along the coconut lined corniches, the cliff-fringed beaches and the fruit plantations. The wild green wadis are lush and sometimes heavily foggy too during the khareef or monsoon season which is the best time to enjoy this place with an annual Khareef festival to showcase the Dhofari culture. It’s also the perfume capital of Arabia with its old frankincense trade route and also a museum celebrating the same. Add to that the charming old city, bustling souqs and archaelogical sites, it makes for the perfect bite sized piece of nature and culture to enjoy in a short visit!
Main Course: The Himalayas
For the Plat Principal I would like to head home to India. But further north from my hometown into the mystic and majestic Himalayas. I have a love affair with mountains. They present the height of the beauty of nature, standing tall in testimony to the glory of the creator.
Each of the hillstations in these pristine mountains are unique and have a different story to tell. I have been to some and there are many more on the bucket list. The journeys to these destinations through the mountain passes, the rolling hills, the innumerable streams and rivers gushing forth, the views that take your breath away, the snow-capped peaks, the different peoples and cultures through the length and breadth of this mighty mountain range needs to be savored slowly and fully just as you would in a delicious main course that appeals to all your senses.
Shimla – one of the touristiest of them all. Overdone but still enjoyable. Kullu & Manali – quaint & pristine with the Beas river gushing by, Srinagar, Sonmarg & Gulmarg in Kashmir with its pristine beauty all accessible through the neatly built military roads. I want to do it all again and then some more. I wish to feast my eyes on the beauty of Darjeeling & Nainital, Gangtok , the rugged Leh & Ladakh and further afield to the North east in Assam and Manipur. Maybe even Nepal with its mighty Mt. Everest? Now am thinking even a seven course itinerary wouldn’t satisfy my craving for the Himalayas!!
You know how you are always thinking about dessert all the time. It happens to me anyways. I might just go back to a place only to repeat a dessert I had there and there’s always room for dessert, of course!
So here’s my choice… Switzerland. My dream destination since childhood. The dream came true last year and I want to go back again already. The beautiful cities of Geneva and Lucerne, the breathtaking Golden trail through the Bernese Oberland, Interlaken between two stunning lakes, glaciers, the skyline of the snowcapped Alps and the journey to the top of Europe. Everywhere your eyes turned was a postcard perfect shot. Transport that runs with swiss-clock like precision, with so much to see and do, I just want to go back for more.