I am a very organised person. This ‘pat on the back’ is a strange way to open this piece of writing, but I must say it as an intro to what I am going to say next 🙂 Most of my trips are well planned. So it should not surprise you that I have saved pictures from all the trips year by year, trip by trip. From time to time I look at them and feel immense happiness.
Today was one of those days and I was trying to do a ‘where did we go a decade ago, in 2010′ and realised that we had clocked quite a few miles that year!
In February 2010, our annual visitor had come and we went on a weekend trip to Morritt Farms in Kolar which is about 90km east of Bangalore. It was a simple farm stay, the highlight of the trip was a bullock cart ride to spot blackbucks (The Indian Antelope, another one of those animals reducing in numbers due to lack of habitation and therefore vulnerable to attacks by dogs and humans). That and the pool, the cricket nets and the swings kept us happy and relaxed. Encouraged by the success of this trip, we booked the place again in 2014 for a family trip, we were a busload of uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews. The place sadly did not live up to the expectation. As I was writing this blog, I looked up TripAdvisor reviews for this place. 119 reviews and a score of 4/5. Not bad I thought 🙂
April and May are school summer break months. We went to our hometown for the annual temple festival. It’s a time when all (yes, the same busload of people that went to Morritt Farms and some more) try to be there, it’s a large family get-together. It is an event that all look forward to, it is an event that everyone tries not to miss. My kids love that visit and look forward to it year after year, so much so that my daughter chose to write about it as one of the essays for her College Admission 🙂 The kids find the fancy-fete that comes up on the grounds next to the temple far more exciting than visiting the temple itself! Year after year they enjoyed all the paid rides in rickety contraptions, watched a scary car-stunt show, ate their favourite churmuri and Gobi Manchurian and hogged on the most famous Ideal Ice Cream. While our hometown itself is not on the coast, we are never too far away from the sea and having a cousin living close to the sea is a blessing in disguise. We walked down to the beach every evening and watched the sunset while the kids frolicked in the water.
May saw us in Mangalore, though the occasion was not a pleasant one (we were there to attend the final rites of my maternal uncle) our car had it good, what with two enthusiastic car-cleaners 🙂 Talking about the car, it was in fact on this trip that I was asked how I managed to drive on the ghats 🙂
Over a long weekend in September we visited our family friend in Chennai and once again the beach beckoned us as did giving rangoli art a try 🙂
In October we visited Dubai and showed the kids where we lived and worked once upon a time. We hit all the usual spots, visiting the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa was a highlight. I was looking forward to visiting the hot water springs at Khatt in Ras Al Khaimah. The place has changed (turned too commercial for my taste) so much since our time in the UAE! The place has lost its rustic charm entirely, but the warm waters are still as soothing, trust me when I say that all physical aches and pain vanish after 20mins in the warm pool!
In December it was family time once again when we spent Christmas in Mumbai and on that visit I took the kids to the Taj for a meal. The historic wing had opened just a few months before our visit; after the devastation of the most gruesome act of terrorism that the city had faced in 2008. This was our way of paying homage to the brave hearts. It was a sombre feeling especially to hear one of the staff on duty that day tell us that he had lost a friend to the attacks.
Late December saw the better half and I take off to Chiang Mai, Thailand without the kids. We ziplined on treetops, our first time and probably still a new adventure activity that was just about coming of age. We ate some tasty vegetarian food in a restaurant called “Taste from Heaven”. We loved the food so much that we went back a few times during our stay there. The restaurant still exists and has a 4.5/5 rating from 1390 reviews on TripAdvisor 🙂
As 2020 is slowly coming to a close, like everyone else I too wonder if we will ever go back to living our lives the way we used to or if we have to draw a new normal and get used to it. Until the time we know better, stay safe and if you do plan to step out for a getaway, please travel responsibly.