Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Five Reasons I Love India

Looking over my blog posts from the last few months, I noticed that I haven't written much about my travels in India.  I was surprised at this since (outside of the U.S.) India is the country in which I have spent the most time--a total of four months over three different trips.

Perhaps I've felt a little vulnerable sharing because India is so near and dear to my heart.  But after interacting with a wonderful community of travel bloggers via Nancie's great blog, The Budget Traveler's Sandbox, I am excited to share my experiences in India with you over the next few weeks!

Sunset looking over rice paddy fields in Coorg, India

Today?  Five reasons I love India:

1.  My husband is from India.  If you knew him, I wouldn't have to say more :-)  He is a wonderful man and I have loved learning about and sharing his culture.

2.  India will always be special to me because we were married there, in a small town in southern India called Mysore. Getting married in India is no small feat--in my husband's community, weddings usually have hundreds of guests and last three days, all full of ceremonies and feasting and dancing well into the early morning hours.  Luckily for us, we chose a one-day ceremony instead, and it was crazy-fun!  More about our wedding in an upcoming post...

The view just outside my door at the coffee estate in Coorg.  Rainforest paradise!

3. I get to experience India like a local, thanks to my husband's family there.  Not only are they some of the most warm and hospitable people I've ever met, they're also intent on making sure our visits are packed with interesting and intriguing experiences.  Whether I'm staying at their coffee estate in rural Coorg or in one of their flats in Mysore or Bangalore, I always know I'm in for a fantastic time.  Their insider tips on the best places to eat and shop, as well as whether I'm about to pay waaay too much for something, are great, and having a "chauffeur" on India's insane roads is invaluable.

4.  The food!  India is a vegetarian foodie's paradise, and it's one of the few places in the world where I don't have to worry about accidentally eating some crazy kind of meat.  And what's not to love about three incredible meals plus two "tea times" a day?  Between the dosas, the parathas, the curries, and all those rich Indian sweets, I always come back a little more plump but with some amazing recipes to try.

Dosas and chutneys and sambar, oh my!

5.  The culture in India is incredible.  In general, I've found Indians to be extremely friendly, generous, and caring people with a very rich history behind them.  I love India's religious depth, stunning architecture, classical music, colorful clothes, MANY languages, and the overall outlook on life there.  And of course, Bollywood movies :-)

A beautiful temple in India, so intricately carved

Do you have a vacation location that is close to your heart?  What do you love about it?

For many excellent travel photos and stories, please check out Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Traveler's Sandbox and Friday Daydreamin' at R We There Yet Mom.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Window to the World

Several weeks ago I read blogger and traveler Cathy Sweeney's post, From the Inside Looking Out, which included photos taken during her travels from the windows of places she's stayed. Cathy notes that she was inspired by Vera Marie Bardertscher's post, A Room With a View, with the same theme.

What a wonderful idea!  I immediately began thinking of the many views I've enjoyed throughout my travels and perused my photos in order to write a post inspired by Vera and Cathy.  For sanity's sake, I limited myself to photos from the last three years.  In no particular order, here are some of my favorites:

From my balcony at Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay in Mazatlan, Mexico

A view of downtown Singapore and the Esplanade from my hotel window at The Marina Mandarin

A gorgeous California sunset from the Best Western Plus Cavalier Oceanfront Resort in San Simeon

Looking out over a coffee plantation at a homestay in Coorg, India

From my balcony at the homestay in Coorg, India.  Coffee plants, orange trees, pepper vines, and more. 

From the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel, California

Do you take photos from your windows while traveling?  What is your favorite view?

For many excellent travel photos and stories, please check out Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Traveler's Sandbox and Friday Daydreamin' at R We There Yet Mom!