Travel checklist : 2017

It’s no secret, we at Sunny District LOVE to travel. Couldn’t have stressed that any more, could I?! We have an endless list of must-go places and we are going about checking them off one at a time. Early each year, we scout the calendar for long weekends and bank holidays attempting to max out on all available opportunities. We match the available dates with the places on our wishlist and look for the best match of dates against cheap flights. It’s worked out pretty well for us to plan & book ahead this way. For the last couple of years, I have been publishing a travel round up of all the places Mr.A and I visited during the year. Do you remember these? Go ahead, take a look 🙂

Travel checklist : 2015

Travel checklist : 2016

Thrice in a row means a tradition, doesn’t it? So here comes the 3rd installment in Sunny District’s traditional travel round-up series! It’s a ten on ten 💯 😀

  1. Vienna and Salzburg, Austria
  2. Venice, Italy
  3. St.Petersburg, Russia
  4. Paris, France
  5. Gdansk and Sopot, Poland
  6. Aiya Napa and Paphos, Cyprus
  7. Ljubljana, Bled and Slovenia’s coastal towns
  8. London, England
  9. Dubai and Abu Dhabi, UAE
  10. Kyiv/ Kiev, Ukraine

I’d love to hear about the amazing places you discovered this year! Have you been to any of the ones we visited? What did you think of them? Was there something that pleasantly surprised you or was there anything that did not live up to your expectations? I’m so curious to know! Let’s get talking in the comments 🙂

Hugs,
Bipasha 🤗

Postcards from Dubai

Last day of the year! Here I am wrapping up a week in Dubai… I’ll tell you all about my trip, but first, a little sneak peek 😎

Thank you all for showing me so much love this year 💖 Wish you an amazing 2018!

Hugs from Sunny District 🤗

Two trips to Paris

This post was inspired by a recent post by my blogger friend Bri, in her own words, ‘a 22 year old with an intense need to see the world.’ Read all about her adventures at A Little Slice of Bri. Cool name, right?! But wait a sec, and this might sound a bit strange to many, but Bri hates Paris!

What? How could someone hate Paris, right? But when I read Bri’s post about why she hates Paris, I started reflecting upon my own visits to Paris on two separate occasions. I was quite close to having a disastrous first trip myself & might have completely agreed with her if I hadn’t been saved by one more day on my first visit, and with the second trip this year, a very happy one at that 🙂

The first time I arrived in Paris was the day after Mr.A had returned from a trip to China, so the poor guy was totally messed up in terms of body clock 😦 Plus, we booked cheap flights between Stockholm & Paris, which meant we had to fly to and from airports far outside of the city viz. Skavsta outside of Stockholm and Beauvais on the outskirts of Paris. Unfortunately, we hadn’t accounted for the additional travel time 😦 So we arrived  at our hotel by mid-day, already tired. Hotel rooms in Paris are not my favorite, they are tiny and cramped up, and you’d have to shell out a lot for a relatively small improvement. Nonetheless, we ended up spending a lot of time sleeping off the fatigue on the day we arrived. We were going to spend only the weekend; to my dismay one day was already gone! So my first day in Paris was quite in tune with yours, Bri!

But we decided that Sunday was going to be different. Totally refreshed, we cashed in on  all the major sights with the help of the L’Open Tours hop-on-hop-off bus. The Louvre is enormous and grand but we didn’t spend too much time there. We prioritized the Mona Lisa, but it was too small and too many tourists like ourselves were trying to get a closer look. The irony, I know! It was a bit disappointing, but that’s what I mostly hear from fellow travelers, so no surprise there. It was fun to take the quintessential illusory photos at the Pyramid, though. Up at the Eiffel Tower, the view was enjoyable, and I liked the modern history around it’s construction. We rode the bus along Champs-Élysées to the end of Place Charles de Gaulle. It was interesting to draw parallels between the Arc de Triomphe and similar arches in other cities (I wrote a guest post on A Date with Delhi, inspired by that visit.) A high point of the day was the grand Notre-Dame Cathedral.  Even better, we finished the day with a really nice dinner with a classmate from our Manila days. We were exhausted by the end, but it wasn’t so bad after all 🙂

The second time around, however, things were looking up. Earlier this year we celebrated the wedding of that same friend in Paris! It’s not just that I’m slightly biased because this couple is dear to me, but I do believe theirs was one of the most beautiful and romantic weddings I’ve ever been to. On a bonus we got to hang out with a bunch of other friends who studies with Mr.A and me at B-school in Manila. It was an absolute joy to reconnect after so many years – a mini reunion of sorts. Thanks to the bride, we also got to spend a day at Disney Land Paris, trying out all the thrilling rides! Back in the city, we followed one of Rick Steves’ audio guides and walked by the Seine river at a leisurely pace, going back to the Notre-Dame Cathedral during the day and watching the shimmering Eiffel Tower (from a little distance away) at night.

I honestly think our company affected our mood the second trip in a hugely positive manner. And it does take a lot of things to click together to bring about an aha! feeling, but only a couple of negatives can spoil an entire trip. So I would say, why not give Paris a second chance, and never say never 🙂

[On a side note, if you haven’t tried out the Rick Steves’ Europe guides, I would highly recommend giving it a go. You can use the app to use it on the go & enjoy many a nook & corner that regular guide books do not provide. They are extremely well researched and thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve tried different guides in Rome, Florence, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, Berlin and many others, and never been disappointed. Nope, he didn’t pay me to say all that, I am a true fan 😉 ]

 

5 things to do in Sopot

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Sopot is a charming seaside town in Poland, off the Baltic coast and a short ride away from the bigger port city of Gdansk. Don’t let it size dupe you as there is much to do here. Here are my top picks:

  1. Walk the longest wooden pier in Europe: Yes, in a world of superlatives, Sopot holds its own. Wooden and within Europe, conditions apply. Built in 1827, this pier still serves as a quiet & peaceful walkway into sea. Fancy private boats with funky names dock here. An ominous looking ‘pirate ship’ also comes by every once in a while, ferrying passengers on a 40-minute tour around the bay. There’s a restaurant at the end serving patrons. Go up to the deck for a nice wide shot of the entire pier as well as the beach.
  2. Enjoy the beach: You are at the seaside so get on & take a stroll by the edge of the water, watch kids make sand castles, and feed the birds. Oh, the birds! There is a big flock of swans at the Sopot beach and they know you’re looking 😉 Walk below the pier to observe the strong support structure from below. It makes for an interesting photo point, too.
  3. Promenade along Monte Cassino: The main street of Sopot is a slightly sloping path perpendicular to the beachfront. It is lined with restaurants serving various cuisines, from local delicacies like potato dumplings to the omnipresent pizza. And the quintessential souvenir shops. Make sure to take a picture outside the crooked Krzywy Domek, quite an unusual building on the exterior, although nothing special from within. Walk further along a park and a historic tower, onto the big square of Skwer Kuracyjny, from where you head up to the pier.
  4. Enjoy a ‘lody’, Polish for ice cream: While you are walking along the main street or the beachfront, enjoy a flavorful treat at one of the many hole-in-the-wall ice-cream shops. Such a relief on a warm day in June when we were in Sopot. At a couple of euros apiece, you can gorge half a dozen of those, never mind the calorie count when you’re on vacation 😉
  5. Take a ride through Park Północny: A little beyond the Sopot beach lies a harmonious little patch of green with clearly marked bike paths. Hiring a bike is economical at €5 an hour. You could also enjoy a trike ride or glide along on a skateboard under the green canopy of the park. Along the opposite side of the Pier, you will pass by many cozy beach side residences, hotels and restaurants that will make you want to hang out a little while longer.

    Have you been to Sopot? What did you like best?