Tag: sofiablogs

Sofia’s Photo Diary: Bolivia Bound

Sofia has been exploring the world and has kindly taken us along with her on her travels. So far she’s showed us RajasthanSouth IndiaNepalMyanmar, the PhilippinesJapan, Cuba, and Peru. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from the final stop on her epic journey – Bolivia.

bolivia photo diary

At times Bolivia feels like it’s in a bubble, separated from the rest of the world. The country has such a strong culture and traditional dress that speaks of years gone by. And the landscapes seem to belong to another planet.

Throughout Bolivia you will find cholitas – women with long dark hair in plaits with beaded tassels attached to the ends. They wear black hats and large petticoats with huge Cinderella-style skirts, and on their feet they have schoolgirl-style socks and sandals. Unlike in parts of India, where things seem to be evolving to adopt western ways, Bolivia feels like it still very much embraces its culture, through the local dress, the food or the many band parades. There is an authenticity to the country even throughout the big cities.

When I arrived in La Paz, the first thing that struck me were the women lining the streets between the high rise buildings, each one selling her beautiful wares. Every turn you make reveals a new square and as you look out you can see the valley, scattered with square brick houses in uniform rows. Parades fill the streets with women twirling their skirts and men playing trombones. Everything here feels a little offbeat and everyone moves at their own pace.

The strangest experience I had in Bolivia was the San Pedro prison tour. Our guide walked with us around the prison walls, explaining that the prisoners have their families living with them inside and that they buy their own cell. The more money you have, the better your cell will be. There are no guards, justice is doled out by the criminals themselves. The prisoners run a cocaine operation – producing it, selling it to outsiders and apparently giving a cut to the prison. It was the craziest tour I’ve ever been on, that’s for sure.

Beyond the crazy though, are the beautiful landscapes. Copacabana and Lake Titicaca offer stunning mountain views at altitude – the most tranquil backdrops you can imagine. Take a trip through Uyuni and you’ll come to the world’s largest salt flats, which are an enormous white expanse that reflect like mirrors during the wet season. You’ll see flocks of pink flamingos, and beautifully colourful lagoons in shades of red, blue and green. The hidden marshlands and streams in the middle of the desert feel like something from Lord of the Rings – each new setting transports you somewhere new – somewhere magical and quite surreal.

From the Andean highlands to the Amazonian lowlands, Bolivia is so climatically diverse and incredibly interesting. Take the time to go and explore this beautiful country. Appreciate all of its charms and quirks and allow yourself to be amazed.

Sofia’s Top 5 Tips for Bolivia:

  • Get those layers on and venture to the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni. I would recommend doing one of the longer 3/4 day tours to see all the ‘National Geographic’ landscapes.
  • Go wild at one of the many parties in La Paz.
  • Rummage through the never ending lanes off La Paz’s flea market where you’ll find yourself many a bargain, I picked up an 80s festival swimsuit and ‘spice girls’ style bomber jacket, both under £1!
  • Spend an afternoon at the Mirador Cafe in Sucre. Enjoy the tranquil laid back vibes of the city, whilst indulging in the panoramic view and one or, go on, two bottles of great red wine!
  • Catch a boat across Lake Titicaca to the tranquil island of Isla Rosa. Watch the Cholita women herding goats across the mountains and take in the beautiful scenery of the mountains sat against the sparkling lake.

 


 

Thank you Sofia! Don’t forget to catch up with the rest of Sofia’s journey here.

Sofia’s Photo Diary: True Adventures in Peru

Sofia is travelling the world and has taken us along with her on her incredible trip. So far she’s showed us Rajasthan, South India, NepalMyanmar, the Philippines, Japan and Cuba. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from her latest destination – Peru.

From the tribes who live within the Amazon to the ancient Inca civilisations, Peru is steeped in history. It’s a traditional land and the people in it praise the pachamama (Mother Earth). You can definitely relax and admire the beauty of Mother Earth in this country, but you can also be challenged by it and revel in the new experiences you’re bound to have.

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Throughout Peru there are tons of beautiful spots to hike and explore, like Colca Canyon – the second deepest canyon in South America, just off from Arequipa or Hauraz. Or of course, the most famous of all Peru’s incredible sights – Machu Picchu. I decided to opt for the jungle trek when I booked my trip, which was four days of pure adventure. We mountain biked through the towering mountains, sailing above the clouds. We whitewater-rafted through the valleys and zip-lined through the jungle. We walked the path of the Incas and learned how they built a city that would still be standing 500 years later.

From Cusco you can also discover the layered wonder of the colourful Rainbow Mountain. Or if you’re super brave, you can try your hand at cycling ‘Death Road’. Call me crazy but I wasn’t feeling quite that brave. Cusco itself has a clear Spanish influence, the cobbled streets of San Blas and the churches in San Francisco Square are distinctly colonial. It’s here you’ll find amazing flea markets with retro sports apparel for your inner 90s kid, and street food aplenty!

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In fact ceviche may just be a reason to travel to Peru alone. Peru, and more specifically Lima, is a culinary feast. Earning itself multiple Michelin stars, the city has endless high quality restaurants for you to sample. However, head to the streets for lunch and you’ll be equally impressed.

For a change of scenery, try Huacachina – a natural oasis in the desert. Get out on the dune buggies and explore, or try sandboarding and go sliding head first down the steep slopes, it’s a quick adrenaline rush! By night you can climb the towering dunes and look down across the land. Marvel at the curving structures as the shadows fall across the dunes at sunset.

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For even more jaw-dropping nature, make your way into the Amazon jungle from Iquitos, in the North of Peru. The town itself can’t be reached by cars, so you’ll find plenty of tricycles buzzing around. Around Belem market you can see witch potions, BBQ’d maggots on sticks, furs and animal teeth. You definitely have a feeling that you’re entering somewhere different, of different values and customs. Most restaurants will even offer an ayahuasca menu as this is one of the most popular places to try the traditional healing ceremonies.

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I spent 4 days at a retreat, La Luna del Amazonas, learning the ways of the shaman and having a total out of body experience. You can jump in a boat for several hours, float down the river and stay in one of jungle cabins, listen to the orchestra of creatures as they sing the songs of the jungle. There are birds calling, frogs ribbiting and insects buzzing. The fireflies flicker as little fish leap in and out of the water. You’ll see sloths, monkeys and dolphins. If you want you can even hold a tarantula or catch some piranhas for lunch!

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I spent 4 weeks in Peru, but only just scratched the surface. I’d love to see the surf and beaches in the north, do plenty more treks and explore many more small cultural treasures.

Sofia’s Top 5 Peru Tips:

  • Learn how to make ceviche. I did a lesson with in Lima, which I would very much recommend, Lima Gourmet.Whilst I didn’t find Colca Canyon the most rewarding trek, the town of Cabanaconde where you finish is really interesting to see. We were there over a festival weekend and watched women swirling in local dresses, whilst the men marched in the band with drums and trombones. Taking the time to see a village, slightly off the beaten track is well worthwhile to see how the Peruvians live outside of the modern cities.
  • Challenge yourself to the 2,500 steps to get to Machu Picchu. Be there to see the sunrise over the impressive ruins.
  • Try sandboarding in Huacachina, find yourself screaming as you fly through the dunes on the buggies!
  • If you are open to new experiences, head to an ayahuasca retreat in either the Amazon or Sacred Valley

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Thank you Sofia! Don’t forget to catch up with the rest of Sofia’s journey here. 

Sofia’s Photo Diary: Captivated by Cuba

Cuba photo diary

Our lovely Sofia continues to share her gap year adventures with us. Check out her stunning photo diary of Cuba and read her five top tips for anyone travelling to the island.

With each footstep I take through Havana, the further I become suspended in time. Tall, crumbling buildings, once full of grandeur and wealth, now crumbling but still full of character. Music spills into the streets, people tapping, clapping, singing; they rise to dance. They seem almost physically unable to resist the urge of the music around them. There’s colour and vibrancy everywhere – bright pink and yellow paint that flakes away from the deep orange brick. Blue soft top 1950s cars that roar past. There are no adverts, very few shops. Just roads filled with history and music. Women with cigars, men carrying the weight of a cello on their back, old cars fill the streets (spot a new one and you’ll be sure to find a ‘gringo’ inside – it’s a rental!)

Cuba photo diary

Part of the reason visiting Cuba feels like entering a time warp is the revolution, the resulting US embargo and the isolation that the island has felt ever since. Throughout Cuba there are museums, monuments and evidence of the revolution everywhere. Particularly in the noisy, bustling city of Santiago de Cuba, where street art depicting the political situation covers the walls. However, it’s apparent that despite the official communications celebrating the communist way of life the reality is very difficult for many. I spoke to a couple of taxi drivers who discussed smuggling American branded clothes and illegal satellites for WIFI, as life in Cuba is a simple one. Food is basic but tasty – meat, rice, beans and plantain. People dress simply in lycra and denim. They’re laid back and there’s a slower tempo to life.

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If you head to Vinales or Cinfeugos, you can expect to get around on horse and carriage. Just be glad you’ve got a seat – unlike the cowboys you’ll see galavanting through the fields on horseback without even a saddle! You’ll see the farmers wearing their cowboy hats with a cigar in their mouths as they walk through the fields. They’re heading off to one of the many sugar, coffee or tobacco plantations set in the countryside. If you stroll into town you’ll see the locals sitting in their rocking chairs watching the world go by. Pull up a chair and join them.

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Whilst these sleepy towns may seem quiet, at night salsa music fills the air. Every town has a Casa de Musica, a square where live music is played in the evening and the locals dance all night. Be prepared to be asked to join them! You’ll be escorted to the dance floor to be swirled to the beat of salsa, then returned to your table at the end of the song. Forget cinemas and tv shows, the evenings here are for socialising, dancing, and almost certainly a rum or two!

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The other joy of Cuba is its natural beauty. Outside of the charismatic cities, you’ll find beautiful waterfalls such as El Nicho, pristine white beaches with crystal clear waters, the most famous being Varadero (if you don’t mind crowds, it’s only two hours out of Havana), and brilliant spots for snorkelling and diving, such as the Bay of Pigs. There are big open fields, surrounded by caves and mountains – great for hiking and horseriding. If you are considering a two week holiday, the classic Havana, Vinales, Trinidad, Varadero loop will show you the diversity of the country. You’ll have a laid back adventure, where you’ll find yourself simply getting lost in the streets and soaking up all the rich culture the country has to offer.

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Sofia’s Cuba Top 5:

  • Visit the Fabrica de Arts in Havana – wander around this old peanut factory, sipping on mojitos whilst admiring the modern art. Make sure to get there before 8.30pm if you want to get in, but stick around as the live gigs, DJ sets and contemporary dance acts start to kick off around 10/11pm.
  • Indulge in happy hour at Oasis de Creperie in Havana, the most amazing daiquiris for just £1.50!
  • Spend an evening dancing with locals at the Casa de Musica in Vinales
  • Go horse riding through the beautiful national park of Parque el Cubano in Trinidad
  • Stay in a casa de particular. In Cuba, families will rent out a few rooms to guests. You can eat with them and if you speak Spanish have a chat and learn about the local way of life. An authentic experience, which can be so charming. You’ll definitely feel looked after!


 

Thank you Sofia! Don’t forget to catch up with the rest of Sofia’s journey here. 

Sofia’s Photo Diary: New Experiences in Japan

Sofia is travelling the world (lucky thing!) and has been sharing her journey with us here on the Patchwork blog. So far she’s showed us bustling Rajasthan, South IndiaNepalMyanmar and the Philippines. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from her latest destination – Japan.

Japan, the land of the future, technology, efficiency. From the hustle and bustle of Tokyo to the quaint picturesque landscapes of Kyoto, Japan has many a hidden treasure.

Starting in Tokyo, one of the first things you notice is the sense of order. People queuing patiently to board the metro. Everything is on time. Everything is slick and clean. The people are well dressed, reserved. Though despite their private nature, you will come across many an oddity – maid cafes, ready to serve you, sir. Manga shops. A clone factory. Love hotels. Onsens where being naked is the norm. One area of Tokyo – Akihabara – in fact feels like it’s been designed by a teenage boy – a gaming shop, next to a sex shop, next to a yoyo store, next to a gadget store followed by comic books and back to a maid cafe! Amongst this though was a realisation that the Japanese had considered how to fulfill your every need in the city. It has everything from amazing shopping districts, to captivating exhibitions, to cat cafes, to capsule hotels for a quick power nap. You name it, you can find it!

One of things I was most excited about for Japan was the food, and boy did it deliver. With an array of options there was always something new to try; the vending machine snacks are on another level – we’re not just talking chocolate bars and crisps – everything you can think of is inside these machines. There are amazing sushi joints for a quick lunchtime bite, Korean BBQs for socialising, all you can eat and drink Japanese tapas for the pre-nightclub fuel up! There are street food vendors often with various iterations of octopus and pancake. And cakes! All of the cakes, light, fluffy, delicious, a culinary treat I hadn’t associated with the country before. Hell, they even have a restaurant where you can fish for your own dinner within the restaurant! Overall the standard of quality of food in Japan is exceptional. Incredible fresh fish and tender meats. Hard to be disappointed even if you’re just grabbing a bite at a train station.

Talking of train stations. Whilst the Japanese rail pass may be expensive, it is well worth the money. The bullet trains are as the name suggests – fast and efficient. Whilst based in Osaka, you can easily get to Naoshima, the stunning art island, pop to Kobe for dinner or be moved by the heartbreaking stories of those who lived through devastating atomic bomb of 1945 in Hiroshima.

Japan, whilst modern and super advanced is a country with a long history of traditions and cultures, which it has not only held onto but is very much proud of. There seems to be a great deal of respect for these values, reflected in their courteous manner and in how the presence of geisha girls, sumos, Onsen houses, tea ceremonies and ryokans remain both relevant and iconic. And with a landscape punctuated by traditional architecture, shrines, temples and castles, Japan manages to feel both old and new all at the same time, always with something to experience and discover.

Sofia’s Top 5 Japan Tips:

Get intimate at a local Onsen. Natural hot springs, where everyone is naked. The interesting part is the cleaning ritual as opposed to the nudity! Very relaxing and quite an experience.

Try Shabu Shabu restaurants serving hot broth, which you can quickly dip raw meat and vegetables in to cook. Delicious and lots of fun.

Spend some time at Naoshima. A tranquil, beautiful island dedicated to art.

Sing your heart out at karaoke, try warming up with some pre-drinks in the Golden Gai in Tokyo first.

Spend a night at 9 Hours hotel, Kyoto. The sleeping capsules will make you feel like you’ve been transported into the future.

 


 

Thank you Sofia. Next up, Sofia’s heading to Cuba!

Sofia’s Photo Diary: Pure Beauty in the Philippines

Sofia is taking a career break, exploring parts of the world she’s never seen before, and has been sharing her journey with us here on the Patchwork blog. So far she’s showed us bustling Rajasthan, the beautiful landscapes of South India, the tranquility of Nepal, and the mystery of Myanmar. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from her latest destination – the Philippines.

  

Luscious green vegetation and sparkling blue seas contrast with the pristine white sands of the Philippines – a place of natural beauty, paradise on earth. Once you’ve entered the home of the blue lagoon and discovered its many hidden treasures, you may never want to leave.

The mainland of Manila has a familiar vibe to many south Asian cities. An abundance of street food, busy roads, lots of noise. But don’t be fooled – it’s filled with plenty of its own unique quirks. From the Wacky Races-style tricycles, to obscure coffee shops (like the Harry Potter bar that I stumbled upon), or over-the-top karaoke, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. But the main event are the islands – island hopping is an absolute must. Just be aware when planning your trip that flights and boats are often delayed, so do account for a full day of travel when getting from one island to the next.

With so much to see and do in the Philippines, you can really feel your surroundings and ‘holiday mode’ change as you jump from one island to the next. One minute you’re chilling out in the luxury resort of Bohol, with infinity pools and cocktails aplenty. Then you’re in full adventure mode – canyoneering in Cebu or diving in Coron, or partying the night away in Boracay on its famous white beaches, lined with bars and clubs.

Whichever island you go to, you’re sure to find many boat trips offering you the chance to snorkel, visit private islands and hidden lagoons and take in everything nature has to offer.

Personally, I could have stayed in El Nido forever – there are several beaches to choose from, each with a different vibe – beach bums chilling to music with a beer, quiet empty spaces or the perfect surf. It has the most serene surroundings and smaller islands and lagoons to visit. At night you can either relax watching the sunset or you can be sure to see some familiar faces at its one and only late night beach club.

Sofia’s Philippines Top 5:

  • Go diving in Coron! Swim through sunken shipwrecks, find Nemo in one of the many beautiful coral reefs
  • Fly yourself to the Birds Nest in El Nido and unravel the love story of Camilla and Mark, who set up this incredible glamping spot at the end of their honeymoon. Wake up to views of the mountains and seas and read a book in their swinging chair, sniffing the sweet aromas of home-baked treats that await you
  • Go to the floating bar at Snake Island in El Nido, sip on a fresh piña colada and dip your toes in the crystal clear water
  • If partying is your thing, shake your hips to the beats of Boracay’s Rasta drum circle on Station 1 beach.
  • Go to the stunning twin lagoon in El Nido. If you’re able to, find a boat tour that sets off a bit later avoid the crowds, so you can make the most of this incredible setting. Crack open a beer, kayak through the narrow passageways of the rocks and enjoy the cool waters

 


 

Thank you Sofia! Next time, Sofia’s in Japan.

Sofia’s Career Break Photo Diary: Myanmar

So far, you’ve read about Sofia’s adventures in India and Nepal, and seen the beautiful photos she’s taken along the way. This week Sofia’s in Myanmar (formerly Burma) – a country that has captured her attention and imagination since she first arrived. Over to Sofia to share her take on this amazing country. Plus, read on for her top 5 tips for Myanmar.

Myanmar   

Myanmar is a country of intrigue. Unexplored, unexploited, ancient temples and hushed secrets of political turmoil. And with tourists only being allowed to travel into the country in recent years, I wasn’t sure what to expect when arriving in Myanmar. But what laid ahead of me was a country of great history. Despite all of the challenges Myanmar had faced with internal conflicts, war, and a steep economical demise, the people are kind, warm and modest. They are happy to welcome you, smiling and peacefully quiet.

This attitude stems from their Buddhist values which are most prevalent in their everyday lives. This is perhaps the most interesting thing to see when in Myanmar. Everywhere you go, the red and pink robes of nuns and monks can be seen wandering in the markets and walking the streets. Turn the corner and you’ll see young children being inducted into the monastery on ceremonial processions. Wake up each morning to the chants of prayers and a line of young boys collecting food, holding out silver bowls for rice to feed the monastery. Head to one of the many pagodas and watch the locals bow down to the Buddha.

Travelling through Myanmar, though the landscape may change, one constant is the way in which it’s lands have been adorned with temples – ornate crumbling red brick temples in Old Bagan and tall gold steeples in Yangon. Throughout, you can admire the architecture and detail that has gone into building the pagodas, from the Hsinbyume wedding cake-shaped pagoda in Mingun, to the Pindaya cave temples and the giant stone walls of Kuthodaw in Mandalay.

  

And once you’re all pagoda’d-out, there is still much to see of local life. So spend some time cruising through Inle Lake and discover small wooden huts on stilts that form the basis of many villages. You can see the traditional leg rowing boats as they collect plants to build the floating gardens. Alternatively, hire a bike and cycle through beautiful Old Bagan. A horizon of temples lies over the desert-like land, transporting you to a different time. Or, hike through the mountains of Kalow and take in the views.

  

When it comes to the evening, Myanmar is fairly sleepy. As tourism increases, so does the emergence of hipster-style venues. There’s the Rangoon tea house in Burma and The French Touch in Nyaungshwe, where you can eat Myanmar French fusion food and catch an art house documentary or film.

Better yet, the local restaurants offer up BBQ style dining, where you chose your skewers with accompanying rice and veg. Or in the cities, the street food such as Indian chapatti and curries found on 82nd street in Mandalay come highly recommended.

Sofia’s Myanmar Top 5:

  • Wake up early and watch the sunrise on top of a temple in Old Bagan. Even better, splash out and catch a hot air balloon ride over the hundreds of scattered temples with a glass of champagne in hand!
  • Take a long boat and explore Inle Lake. Stop off at the silk makers, blacksmiths, silver workshop and floating markets.
  • Spend a night on a stilt house on the lake at the Bagan-Myaing community lodge. Hire some bikes and visits the local villages. See how the locals really live.
  • Explore the Pindaya caves, get lost in thousands of Buddhas.
  • Go to the teak monastery in Mandalay. Walk around and watch the monks meditate. Feel free to sit and practise yourself.

 

Thank you Sofia! Next time, Sofia’s in the Philippines.

Sofia’s Career Break Photo Diary: Nepal

Sofia is taking a break from London and from working life, and has been sharing her incredible journey around India and Southeast Asia with us here on the Patchwork blog. So far she’s showed us the hustle and bustle of Rajasthan, the majesty of the Taj Mahal, and the ever changing landscapes of South India – from the rugged cliffs to the tropical jungles. Now, she’s exploring Nepal. Over to Sofia to share her thoughts, feelings and photos from this beautiful place.

Nepal, home to some of the world’s most breathtaking mountain ranges – the Himalayas – is a place to discover, explore and reflect.

Unlike Nepal’s neighbour India, there is a distinct calmness to the country, a softness to the people, a serene tranquility in the mountains and chants of buddhist prayer echoing through the air. Nepal has an earthy, natural palette – from the silhouetted blue mountains, crashing white waves of rivers in the valleys, scattered gold and white of the temples in the cities, and the piles of earthy rubble and bricks where people continue to rebuild after the earthquake in 2015.

In the city of Kathmandu, you can get lost through the winding passages, stepping over cracked pavements and avoiding mounds of construction dirt. Passing temples at every turn, you can light a candle for a loved one or even attach a coin to the tooth temple (this will ensure you keep your full set of gnashers!). At night you can wander the main strip of late-night bars, listen to live bands and watch the locals do karaoke (with full boyband moves to accompany their wailing).

For more adventure, head to Pokhara, which is set against distant mountain ranges on the lake and has a really relaxed vibe. Coffee shops and North Face apparel line the streets. You can spend the day looking out to the lake with an iced coffee, take out a boat or climb up to the peace pagoda. There’s all sorts of evening entertainment here, from an outdoor cinema to lots of live music sets. But if you’re up for some adventure, set your alarm early and set out on a trek, where you’ll discover life on the mountain, seeing the people who spend their days hiking back and forth between villages, women delivering food, men herding donkeys, porters lifting what looks like the weight of the world!

Sofia’s Nepal Top 5

Push yourself out of your comfort zone with a new challenge – be it water rafting, bungee jumping or trekking.

  • Enjoy a drink at Purple Haze in Kathmandu, nod away to some rock covers and watch the local lads singing their hearts out to many a ballad
  • Do a trek, take in the breathtaking views of the Himalayas and experience local mountain life
  • Eat some momos – Nepalese dumplings
  • If you have time, do a bit of volunteering to help rebuild after the devastation of the earthquake. I met so many people who formed really close communities with locals and travellers alike working together on projects.

Next time, Sofia’s in Burma.

Sofia’s Career Break in India: A Photo Diary

We’ve written about the fear, joy and many rewards that come with taking a career break. And although we hope everyone at Patchwork will sit still for the next few years we’re very happy that the lovely Sofia has packed her bags and taken six months off for a once in a lifetime adventure. And the best bit? She’s going to chart her journey through India and Southeast Asia, checking in every now and then to share her photo diary and five top tips for each place she visits. Over to you Sofia…

First stop, Northern India:

 

If you plan to explore Rajasthan be prepared to experience an assault on your senses – the sounds of beeping cars, calling birds and chants of prayers. Vivid colours painted across the walls, woven through the silks of the saris and displayed in the array of fruits, jewels and trinkets. The constant smell of mud, dirt and cow dung mixed with delicious spices and curries, the sweet scent of sugary desserts and sharp tangy chutneys. Around every corner, a new experience awaits you.

With a civilisation dating back to 3000BC India has a rich oral history, so wherever you go you’ll hear stories of ancient rulers, fables from the gods and reasons behind local superstitions and social rituals.

Rajasthan, filled with palaces, forts and temples, has a majestic charm that transports you back to a different era. Also, being more traditional than other parts of the country, you can see how other areas are undergoing a cultural transformation in comparison. During my time here I shared a meal with the local Sikh community in the Gurudwaras, walked with rats in a temple, rode camels through the desert, haggled in the markets, explored many ancient ruin and had my fortune told (all looking good. Phew).

Travelling through the north of the country is by no means a laid back journey, so to love it requires time and patience. But once you get used to the pace, it’s somewhere you can become completely absorbed, surrounded by friendly faces and with so much to see and do.  

 

Sofia’s Northern India Top Five:

  1. Get a sleeper train: a squashed and hot experience but a great chance to meet people and appreciate the stunning scenery from sunrise to sunset.
  2. Take a guided tour around the Taj Fort: the architecture alone is amazing but the stories behind the fort give crucial context and bring the experience to life.
  3. Visit Udaipur: Soak up the artistic vibes against the beautiful backdrop of the lake.
  4. Enjoy ‘fast food’ in Kanha, Jaipur: Really cheap and you can try a massive selection of  street foods.
  5. Get a boat in Varanasi at the Ghats: Watch the sunset ceremony and learn about the Hindu approach to death.

Next up: Sofia’s photos from Southern India.