Thursday, 1 December 2016

Mmm bourbon



         Whilst I was in Tennessee, I caught the chance to visit Woodford Reserve Distillery at Versailles, Kentucky. This was my first ever visit to a distillery and the experience was quite a good one. The tour included a taster session followed by a pop to the gift shop. Woodford Reserve is one of the oldest of the nine bourbon distilleries currently operating in Kentucky, with a history dating back to 1780! Thanks Wiki.







I ended up buying a litre bottle of the double oaked and some chocolates as well. Quite pricey but definitely worth it. I'm almost finished with the bottle so, was very sad and happy (a very confusing mix of emotions) to see it go down but luckily, their 70 cl straight bourbon whiskey is around £25 at the moment in pretty much all supermarkets. A very smooth texture with a sharp taste. Also, it's great in cakes! I followed Michelle's recipe and it was absolutely divine~


As a cat lady myself, I found this memorial very touching!


Anywho, I thought I would share these pictures from the visit. A big thank you to Erin for the recommendation and showing us around. Had a really good time in Kentucky and the university is absolutely lovely. Go, Wildcats!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Long Awaited Road Trip | Episode 3 (France, Spain, Switzerland and Germany)


Germany, Austria and Italy: Check!


Day 5 of le road trip | Wednesday, 17th August, 2016

This time, we were off to Nice, Southern France. Btw, yours truly personally chose all the destinations in our itinerary.


          I made all the hotel reservations from booking.com and everything was meticulously planned, we could not spare more time or money on accommodation that extended our budget. With that in mind, I thought I carefully booked a hotel in the outskirts of Nice where hotel prices were in our budget radar and that’s where I was foolish. Instead of reserving in Nice, I booked it just outside Nice, at a place called St-Laurent-du-Var. Well, it was too late to change so, I didn’t mention this to my companions. I presume they still think we were in Nice, France.  Apologies to you all, if you guys are reading this. but still, we had fun.  Even though I made a mistake on the location, you have to admit the accommodation was top notch.

         It was also probably the best accommodation in comparison to the rest. It’s not everyday that you get to stay in a spacious apartment villa surrounded by balconies and vintage furniture that makes you feel utter chic!  Every room had its sense of style with its own charisma and a certain romantic ambience. It would definitely have been nice to spend a holiday there with my girlfriend but reality was crueller than my dream. Unfortunately, I had to share this room with Anup and that was the end of that ambience.


There he goes again. 


         Just like in Lake Garda, we bought some takeaway (on budget) and wine from the local supermarket, which I have to admit was a lot cheaper than expected. And just like every other day, we enjoyed our dinner on a balcony overseeing the city with our baseless conversations. We even met a German couple who were sharing the villa and were generous enough to share their stories, experiences and more (Sumit)…. They were advising us to visit Monaco; since time was of the essence, we've postponed the idea for our next trip, if that is to happen.



As the interest was more in relaxing on the beach and swimming, plus I don’t fancy carrying my DSLR in wet and sandy places, I didn’t take any photos by the sea. And to be honest, we didn’t go sightseeing or anywhere else. Hence, the lack of photos from there.

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Day 6 | en route to Marseille, France:  After we bid our farewell to the best accommodation we'd ever stayed in, we headed to our next destination, Marseille, France. It took about 2 hours to get to Marseille and let’s just say we came from the best accommodation of to the worst accommodation; what a transition. The room, or was it corridor?..., smelled of cigarettes, the size of the room was just okay and to make matters more interesting, yes, it was all 4 of us crammed into that one room…Yes, one room. 2 bunk beds and one double bed adjacent to each other.  Oh yeah, no lock in the bathroom.

       It was mid-day with the sun scorching hot and it was proving difficult for us be enthusiastic about sightseeing. Initially, I wanted to visit Parc national des Calanques but after a more detailed googling, we were sceptical. Reason being, these places require extensive hiking and nor did we have time for hiking or energy. We could’ve just hung out in Marseille which is well known for its modern landmarks but rather than the usual city exploring, I was more interested in Calanques. So I had to use Manish’s…lets say persuasion skills to convince everyone.  All I had to say was, ‘There are lots of cliff diving spots and boat riding’ aaaaaand we were in Calanque de Sormiou. HEHE!...


Location wise, it was perfect. Hidden from all the hustling and bustling while still being close to the city, these calanques (limestoned walls) are a natural paradise with crystal clear water and craggy headlands.




This picture of the beach was specially taken for memories. Memories of bravery, courage, confusion, shock and fun yet painful moments…I presume you can guess from the looks of it. In this unforgettable incident, our legend Manish was involved, whom I have mentioned in my previous post with his obsession of swimming and diving. This occurrence involved the rock on the left hand side of the picture. 
          It was late afternoon; everyone was leaving as we made our way towards the beach, even lifeguards were packing their stuff. With barely any people on the beach, it seemed like the whole of Sormiou was our personal beach and ours only to enjoy. A few minutes were all it took for Manish to disappear from our sight. Apparently, he was in search for the perfect diving spot. The water was a bit cold so, the rest of the gang decided to just enjoy the panoramic view.

10 minutes later, we saw Manish. To not repeat his Italian diving incident, he found a small cliff closer to the shore on shallow water. SHALLOW WATER! Just under that small cliff, there was a small kid swimming. When the kid saw Manish on the cliff, he literally stood up. The level of the water was on that kid's waistline. 

We all looked in surprise, we even shouted at him to not jump from there. We thought, c’mon he wouldn’t jump from there. Anup and Sumit were sure he wouldn’t, then he threw his flip-flops on the water and I knew he would definitely jump. SPLASH!!! There he was in the water…we were speechless and watched in shock. O_O…As he emerged from the water like James Bond…we were relieved but then he started to limp towards us. Sumit and I were still in shock while Anup being a good sport; he started to run towards Manish and helped him out of the water.

So, we had to ask the million-dollar question. Why did you jump? He said “It looked deep from the top.” OMG…


Before Manish's courageous?? jump, we were just enjoying. 


Only photo of Marseille...

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Day 7 | en route to Barcelona, Spain...whoop-whoop! 



Time for some photos


The level of heatwave was too damn high. Ohh my Gaaad...  So humid!


View from our apartment.

This was my second time in Barcelona. The first time, I was a typical tourist with a camera on my neck, map on my hand and an unlimited appetite for exploring. This time, I was a guide in Barcelona for my friends; sadly they were not interested on sightseeing. It seems cramming 6 countries in 10 days had taken a toll on everyone’s bodies and minds. So we settled with sunbathing on the beach and beer with the occasional swimming.


Time for some alcohol


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Day 9 | en route to Mont Blanc, Chamonix, France: Barcelona… it was soothing and much needed. However, the nightlife was a bit crazier than anticipated. Haha. After...lets call it a crazy yet serene Barcelona trip, we headed towards Mont Blanc, France. It took us about freaking 9 hours. However, I would like to emphasise on the fascinating transition from the city to mountain vallies again. It was breathtakingly amazing; all the fatigues disappeared as the panoramic view of the mountains unfolded.  


Mont Blanc, beauty at its best. 


This picture reminds me of Walter...Jeff Dunham muppet. Haha, epic!!



Loved this chalet, Les Campanules. Thankfully, we managed to secure rooms with Mont Blanc vista and balcony.




Day 10 | en route to Switzerland, Rothenburg:  Took us about a few hours to reach Rothenburg and our first impression of Switzerland was…how clean is this place? Do cows also go to toilets to shit? And damn, it was hellaa expensive. So rather than sightseeing, we cooped up in our hotel, got ourselves some kebabs from a nearby takeaway, which was 20 Swiss Francs per meal, roughly £15. O_O. Maybe when our economic condition is a bit stronger... we will explore Switzerland.


Hotel in Rothenburg, where we stayed in playing Pokemon go. Ahhh... the memories.


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Day 11| en route to Munich, Germany: End of the road trip. Everyone was feeling emotional with joy, accomplishment and gloom as the trip came to end. Finally, time has come for us to return to reality. No more exploration, excitement for tomorrow and no more craziness. Everyone was relieved that it ended yet depressed with our awaiting conventional life. It was 10 days' full of exciting moments. There are some instances where we regretted our decisions but the same regrets created priceless memories.  Personally, in those 10 days, 24 hours a day, being with my friends, I had the opportunity to know my friends better and have different perspectives of each individual, which resulted in an even more intensified friendship.


km covered in our trip: 3603


Last meal in Munich. Manish wanted German pork and Anup wanted Chinese but we ended up eating Italian.  



Last photo before boarding

Till next time...hopefully. 

FIN