La Jolla Cove- Tranquilizing Blue Water and Adorable Sea Lions

La Jolla Cove is the most picturesque place we have ever visited. As a cove this is a small circular bay, providing protected area to colourful marine life. Beautifully surrounded by the cliffs, it’s widely famous for snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing and many more activities. But this cove is much more besides these, here are some free things to do in La Jolla Cove:

Spend the day looking at spectacular blue water and waves – We enjoyed our whole day watching ocean tides on rocks and cliffs of the cove. Daytime can be enjoyed next to ocean water, but as the day progresses tides rise to upper rocks and gushing water push you back to the higher grounds.

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Spot coastal birds in abundance : La Jolla Cove is home for many birds like Brown Pelicans, Heermann’s Gulls & most commonly spotted ones are Western Gulls. Western Gulls are the big size white gulls from West Coast with yellow foot and can be seen in bunches hovering all around the cove.

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Looking Sea Lions laying on the rocks: Of all the beautiful landscapes and sights around La Jolla Cove, the one which we loved the most was spotting poser Sea Lions. They are very commonly sighted around cove relaxing in sun. Usually they are lazy, harmless and habitual of people wandering around, so one can get really close which most of the public actually does. It’s quite disheartening that instead of leaving them alone people continuously disturb them & choose to take selfies.IMG_3802IMG_3681

Windup your day relishing the vivid sunset- The day came to end with witnessing the most amazing sunset. We spend a good amount of time admiring the sun getting down across the ocean end with vibrant shades all across the sky.

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Travel Tips

  1. Park your car on Coast Blvd or in Ace Parking(public parking) at Prospect Street.
  2. The place smells a lot but you don’t feel it much after a while.
  3. There are also other activities like Snorkeling, Biking & Kayaking.
  4. Must visit Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution, a 10 min drive from the Cove.

Torrey Pines State Reserve: Diverse Trails & Panoramic View

While visiting San Diego we came across Torrey Pines State Reserve, a 15 miles drive from the city, it’s a 2000 acres state park running across the coast.

Offering spectacular beach, cliffs, flora & fauna, trails in abundance & rare torrey pines, this place is a bliss for nature lovers. It has been listed under National Natural Landmark and California State Parks for preserving “Torrey Pines” an endangered species of pines.

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Why to visit Torrey Pines State Reserve:

Hiking Trails :  Having 8 trails including Broken Hill Trail, Beach Trail, High Point Trail & many more this reserve attracts hikers throughout the year. Beach Trail, Guy Fleming & Razor Point Trail are considered as most famous among visitors. The Beach Trail, 3/4 miles stepped stretch takes you to the Torrey Pine State Beach.

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Beach Trail

Glider Port: Apart from hiking, this place also welcomes gliding enthusiasts for paragliding, tandem gliding and hang gliding. Perfectly positioned on the cliff above Black Beach, it’s an ideal way to get stunning view of the ocean, state reserve and La Jolla.

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Captivating Rock Formation: The most striking feature at reserve are the rock formations. This natural habitat is mostly rocky and has sedimentary rocks all over, mainly prone to erosion. That’s why fascinating formations have build along the trails over the vast expanse of time.

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Photographer’s Paradise: Even without an adventurous spirit, still you can enjoy the picturesque landscape or stroll around the park. One can spent a whole day either on the beach or sitting on the cliffs overlooking ocean.

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Travel Tips:

  1. Easiest way to reach Torrey Pine is by car.
  2. Being a natural reserve, food and drinks are not allowed except on the beach.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes for trekking, as trails are steep at points.
  4. Reserve remains open from 7:15 AM to sunset, all around the year.

20 Things to do in Leh-Ladakh

Indian Bloggers

Travel far enough, you meet yourself..

Travel is life changing affair..True !!! Our trip to Leh-Ladakh changed our perspective towards travel forever. It was in month of July 2012 ,we headed towards Himalayas and rediscovered the true beauty of nature in its diverse form.

We spent 9 days in Ladakh exploring Buddhist culture & heritage, experiencing varied landscapes, passing by high altitudes & eating thupkas and momos.

Here are things to do in Leh-Ladakh:

  1. Experience Peace & Serenity with Scenic view at Shanti Stupa–  White domed stupa situated on top of the hill offers breathtaking panoramic view of city. Built in 1991, Shanti stupa symbolizes peace and harmony & is one of the major attraction in Leh.  IMAG0558IMAG0566.jpg
  2. Discover 39ft Shakyamuni Buddha in Shey Monastery-Once the capital of Ladakh, Shey now holds ruined palace and a monastery known as Shey Monastery, originally built in 1655. Make a visit to experience “Shey” era &  39ft Shakyamuni Buddha gold-plated copper statue placed in monastery.078
  3. Visit Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Ladakh- Thiksey Monastery is associated with Gelug and one of the prime monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism in Ladakh. Located at 11800 ft, this monastery has 12 storeys which includes assembly hall, temples, nunnery, Maitreya Buddha statue & is home for more than a hundred monks063047.JPG
  4. Must see the wealthiest monastery- Hemis Monastery situated 45 km away from the main city has been in existence before 11th century and was re-established by King Singay Namgyal in 17th century, it holds copper statues of Buddha, Stupas of gold and silver as well as holy thangkas. One should not miss the extravagant Hemis festival in month of July, which we did sadly.029.JPG019.JPG
  5. Spend time in Lamayuru Monastery-Located on Srinagar-Leh highway, with stunning landscape this should be on your list for sure. With its existence dating back in 11th century this cave monastery(one of a kind), leads the way to 50 monasteries in the lower Ladakh.089080
  6. Visit Alchi for exquisite artwork –  Known as Alchi Choskhor, the monastic complex has detailed wood carvings and artistic wall paintings. An ideal place for art lovers, but no photography is allowed inside the monastery. As it is dark inside one should carry flashlight with him/her. alchi
  7. Confluence of Indus & Zanskar river- It sounded surreal to us before witnessing the two colored confluence of Indus and Zanskar river. The picturesque sangam is one of the best experience of our trip, still fresh in our memories. 164.JPG
  8. Experience Moonland landscape in Lamayuru- When we reached Moonland ,it took us a while to come around the fact that this place actually exist !!!! Located on NH1-D, jaw dropping landscape gives an impression of some other planet as it resembles moon like surface due to it’s peculiar terrain.  106
  9. Strange but worth a try-We did tried this, putting our car in neutral, it feels car is pulled uphill by Magnetic Hill, which is believed to defy gravity. Scientific or not, reality or illusion…it’s an interesting place you come across with. 170
  10. Stop by Gurudwara Pathar Sahib25 miles away from Leh, this Gurudwara stands at the spot where Guru Nanak tamed a mighty demon, who tried to crush him by rolling a boulder(big rock) downhill, while he was meditating. It is believed that the rock softened without hurting Guru Nanak. Sacred rock can be seen inside the Gurudwara with the impression of Guru Nanak’s back.gurudwar
  11. Drive through highest motorable road Khardung La We started feeling amazed by snow covered mountains all around us in the month of July while heading towards Khardung La. The road conditions are not the best but Army and Border Road Organisation try to keep the pass accessible. It was a pride moment for us to be at Khardung La as it’s a once in a lifetime experience. Don’t forget to have black tea & Maggi at Rinchen Cafeteria. IMAG0684.jpg
  12. Make a stop at Chang La PassLiteral meaning ‘A pass in the south’, known for it’s great height lies on the way to Pangong Lake. Special pass is required to get through, as China is in close proximity. Enjoy a cup of tea in mighty Chang La in bone chilling wind. 239.JPG241.JPG
  13. Contemplate the clear blue water lake Pangong TsoLocated in vicinity where it is least expected, Pangong Tso is 134 kms long with 1/3rd part in India & 2/3rd in China, spreading across 3 countries India, China and Tibet. After a good 5 hrs drive and moving through rough roads and barren lands, we got a glimpse of lake getting through the last mountain. This blue water lake is serene & heavenly. Couple of hours spend there, we were hypnotized by the mere fact of its existence.200196
  14. Camel Safari in Nubra Valley- We have never heard of sand dunes in Ladakh before our visit, and Camel Safari just bewildered us (specially me). A short ride on double humped Bactrian Camel should be a definite on your itinerary. 312328
  15. Kali Mata templeGoddess Kali temple located on hilltop near the airport, gives another aspect of the cultural diversity. It is advisable to admire the view & spend some time in tranquility. 188190
  16. Enjoy coffee next to Druk School from “3 idiots”With 3 idiots, Druk White Lotus School gained popularity (school shown in last part of movie), now a tourist spot with a cafe named Rancho’s Coffee Shop. Have a coffee and take a walk around the school. 066.JPG
  17. Book a cottage Planning your visit to Leh-Ladakh?  Apart from visiting major tourist attractions, book a cottage in Nubra Valley or Ulleytokpo on the bank of Indus to inhabit with nature .116.JPG
  18. Meet locals and make friends–  People of Ladakh are very generous and friendly.  What we learnt from our trip. “Life is about meeting new people & the things you create with them”. Leh-Ladakh will leave you mesmerized in many ways for sure, but one thing we still cherish about, our little poser friends from Ulleytokpo, Thiksey and Pangong. The moment they saw camera with us, they started posing. Finally we became friends by exchanging the only word they knew..JULEY !
  19. Take time-off with nature Travelling and exploring the unparalleled beauty of Ladakh might be tiring. Try to take some time-off to re-energize. While staying in Ulleytokpo we spent our day on the bank of Indus river, watching mountains and rejuvenating ourselves for the remaining trip. ban of
  20. Capture MomentsLast but must.. Take pictures, Make memories and be a storyteller !!!

     

Photos: An Escape to St.Louis…

It’s our first winter in Chicago and trust me its harsh, as temperature started dropping to freezing cold we decided to make an escape towards St.Louis. It was on our radar from quite a long time & currently a hot spot compared to Chicago, we planned for a road-trip.

As usual early in the morning when the temperature was giving us a bone-freeze at -12 degree C, we move towards our destination.

We planned to take I-55 South, a straight highway which leads into St. Louis, covering 280 miles on our way.

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Most stunning sunrise.. !!!

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We will be back soon with more from this trip ..

Keep Exploring !!!

The City Of Madison-Day 1

Last week we had two day trip to Madison, capital of Wisconsin. I have heard a lot about Dane County Farmers’ Market & decided to visit.
We started our journey well ahead in morning before sunrise to visit the famous Dane county farmers market around Wisconsin Capitol Square which is only twice a week (Wednesday & Saturday).
As we pass by the highways and farther from Chicago the expanse of our visibility started to widen up. Surprisingly, the traffic on highway was much less & after 3 hours,covering almost 145 miles we reached at Dane county parking ramp which was almost empty.
A 2 blocks walk and we saw first the Capitol and then stalls all around capitol full of fresh fruits, veggies, cheese, food stalls and all range of meats.IMG_2263
We bought some fresh apples including honey crisp (my favorites now), tasted some different cheese flavors including the herbs and jalapenos and bought some fresh Cheese Curds from Farmer John’s as well, had Pumpkin Muffin and Raspberry Scone from Chris & Loris Bakehouse.

As we were about to finish our circle around farmers market we saw Fromagination right across the street. Immediately we left our market tour and went for it. Felt like a cheesy world, all kind of cheese around in all size, cream cheese, cheese spreads, cheese curds & a lot to smell and taste. Also they had the big Parmesan cheese wheel which they were going to open up it in couple of hours, wish we had that much time to stop by and see that happening in front of us.IMG_2294

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But we had to move for our next stoppage which was nearly 30 miles from there “Wollersheim Winery, the vast wine yards spread over acres of land and in middle standing a heritage 150 yrs old. We took the winery tour costing $5 each person and tasted few of the wines like Domaine du Sac, Port Wine, White Riesling.IMG_2327

As the day was landing on side and we were hungry as much we could be we headed to our hotel, Hampton Inn near East Towne Mall. If you are visiting Madison then East Side has a lot to offer from restaurants to shopping and many hotels to choose from.
Well the check-in was quick and I started searching restaurants near by and found this which was at a stone throw distance from our hotel.
Fast Biryani,an Indian restaurant serving authentic Hyderabadi Biryani. We had chicken biryani not the spicy one but the regular one with Chicken 65 wrap and Mango Lassi(very smooth and creamy). The biryani was very delicious,still makes me drool remembering the taste…!!! We tried their Chicken 65 as well but biryani stood out as winner..Good Food,Great Service !!! A Biryani lover should not miss this place in Madison.
As we were worn out of the cold breeze and whole day drive, we headed to hotel and had some rest as the next day was going to be even more tiring.
In the evening we went to East Towne Mall which was also close-by and started my favorite pass-time Shopping ..!!!!
To be continued………