Tasting the Amritsari Kulcha near Golden Temple

We got up to go to the airport at 4 in the morning. There are hardly any people and we pass all the controls very fast. Luckily, at Delhi airport there are wonderful sunbeds where we lie down to sleep until boarding. We fly with Air India, which leaves us stunned when we see that we have a new Boeing 787 for a flight of one hour.

The air hostess give us breakfast. And we thought that yesterday's dinner at Royal Nepal Airlines had been something weird. At the airport in Amritsar a driver picks us up. He takes us to the hotel, which is right next to the Golden Temple. We leave the suitcases and we go to see the city. We do not have much time here and we want to take advantage of it.

Our first mission is to take out some money. We tried it without luck in the Delhi airport as the ATM machine did not accept our card for being MasterCard (only Visa accepted). Here we have problems again. In two ATMs there is no cash and in the third one we get a limited amount. We took that, although we would have preferred to take more.

ATMs in India usually have a withdrawal limit of 10,000 rupees. Some also do not support certain types of cards. It is advisable to carry both Visa and MasterCard. Our first impression of Amritsar is that it is a very busy city. In the pedestrian area there are many people, all heading to the Golden Temple, which is the main attraction here. There are also many Sikhs. After all, we are in Punjab, which is their territory.

We enter the Golden Temple. The Sikhs are very friendly. The Temple has doors in the four cardinal points to reflect that they are open to all visitors. In addition, they provide accommodation for pilgrims and have a free dining room. Today it is especially full because, as they tell us, it is an important day due to the Diwali.

Thousands of pilgrims have come from everywhere and the queues to enter the temple exceed eight hours. People huddle between the railings that form the row and it is quite an anguish to see them. Obviously we discard to enter and we are content to see it from the shore.

A family stops us and asks us for a photo. We think they want us to do it but no, they want to take a picture with us. It seems weird, but we accept with a smile. Half an hour later we have already had six or seven photos with different families. Some put their babies in their arms. It is very funny because we see people who look at us with curiosity but do not dare to ask us for the photo. There are also groups of friends. The strange thing is that usually women do not come alone and that, those who come, usually ask me for the photo.

The most curious thing happens when we see a Sikh who we take a picture of because his outfit is spectacular. Realizing it, he comes running behind and asks us for a selfie. And we were thinking that he was going to scold us for taking the picture. We go to eat near the Temple. We ordered a thali, which are some dishes combined with a bit of everything from dal tadka, punjabi wadi and amritsari chole. It is usually a great option to eat because it allows us to try several things and it comes out very well priced. The bad thing is that the same thing always comes along and ends up getting boring.

Then we take a little tour of the shops here and at 3 we get back to the hotel where our driver wait for us. We are not very clear about our destiny because we have not managed to understand his heavy accent.

It turns out that we are going to the closing ceremony near the Pakistan border, which is about forty minutes from Amritsar and it is a very rare thing. We were amazed. There are a lot of locals and barely half a dozen foreigners. This is basically a beating retreat border ceremony. The two armies, or a representation of them, face on the border with a kind of dance parade. Meanwhile, the public screams madly and waves its flags. It's like a football game.

Tasting the Amritsari Kulcha

We return to the city and go to have dinner. I asked for something quick, which is also typical of Amritsar. We tried the amritsari kulcha, which is a stuffed bread that is very good. I also ordered shahi paneer korma and paneer fried rice. We also had a lassi and a kadai, which is something similar to custard, which is so good that we end up repeating it.

We go to visit the temple at night. People keep asking us for pictures and I do not know how many babies I could catch. The temple is beautiful at night, illuminated. We stayed a long time sitting on the shore of the pond. The queue continues as there is no tomorrow. I imagine it will have advanced but pilgrims have continued arriving. In the arcades there are people sleeping, also in the square that gives access to the temple.

After the temple we went through the market and I ended up buying a kurta, the typical long dress. We also tried a typical ice cream here called kulfi, which is the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. There was a moment when a group of children surrounded us. They looked like school children or something like that because they were with an adult woman that we suppose was the teacher.

It has been an authentic madness, as everyone wanted photos and did not give us life to satisfy everyone. In addition, other people in the street have started to be encouraged and we have become a bit overwhelmed. Some guys from a nearby store have taken pity on us and said something that has dispelled the tumult. We thank them and go to the hotel. We really laugh at the situation. It has been intense but fun.

A Memorable Day on the Li River in Guangxi in China

Today we are going to share a very memorable day for us in one of the most beautiful and special corners of the world. We decided to go on a trip along the Li River in Guangxi in China. If it was not for the adventure we lived, we enjoyed the plans that were unexpectedly emerging. It's one of the good things about traveling solo.

Li River in Guangxi in China

One day during our trip to China we were in Guilin when, early in the morning, we decided to go on a trip along the Li river. Through the hotel, we hired a boatman who would take us from the area of ​​Yangdi to Xingping. We told them that we would leave our bags there and we would return the next day, to keep the room (which was really cool).

They took us by car to the shore and there a private bamboo boat wait for us to sail the waters of the beautiful river surrounded by its karst mountains! It was about an hour and a half walk. The day was clear and sunny, with what looked like the reflection of the mountains on the river.

Guilin is a mountainous area located in southeast China. It is a very touristy area where many of the locals come to spend their vacations. The landscape is spectacular, almost indescribable, with which it will be better to observe it for yourselves.

The river went down very little since the rainy season had passed and the boatman even let us drive. The truth is that it was a fun experience but above all very romantic. We never tire of seeing the mountains surrounding us. We see the people on the shore washing clothes, fishing, and children playing.

We got off in the Xinping area and took the most famous photo of the area, the image used in the yuan notes. Xinping is a very traditional little town where the tourists hardly stay to sleep. We went for a walk through the town and stopped to eat at a guesthouse, where they made the best stone baked pizza we have ever eaten!

After the binge we went out to the street and suddenly we found a sign that said viewing platform. We certainly knew from reading on travel blogs that there was a sign that invited you to go to a place and that the views were incredible. So we did not even think about it and we went crazy to climb the mountain.

We still did not know what awaited us. There are 1159 steps on the stone! In total, it took us about 45 minutes to reach the top. When we reached the top, we could hardly believe it but, as the signage said, the effort was totally worth it.

Once up, we met several tourists who were watching the views. The most amazing thing of all was, to meet there, the man of Japanese origin who along with his crew of nine bricklayers built the stairs. It turns out that the man, upon discovering that, decided to build a hostel down in the village and give his guests with such a wonderful experience. We even took the photo with him as a souvenir.

After going down we went to the bus zone to take one that went to Yangshuo, which is where we were going to stay. That was an odyssey, full of minibuses that went to areas written in Chinese calligraphy. As we did not even know what the destination of each was, so we had no choice but to search among all little signs that looked like the drawing we had on our map.

Bingo! After a search, we find it. We got on the bus and as there were few seats. There were stools where people sat down to fill the minibus. I remember that a man got up, bald with a tagline and a long pointed beard taken out of a Kung Fu movie with a pint of beer. After taking a second minibus, we arrived at our destination in the outskirts of Yangshuo.

Before we go to the hotel, I took the opportunity to take some pictures at sunset. I had not even noticed but in the undergrowth there were tombs of an improvised Chinese cemetery. There I understood, because some workers who were working the field did not stop looking at me.

We went to the hotel to rest, being the only guests of the hotel, from where we enjoyed the tranquility and the views of the mountains from our room.

Li River in Guangxi in China

Day 2

In the morning with charged batteries we rented bikes in the hotel. We went with a map to travel the area, looking for the Moonhill, Banyan tree and some curious town that we were searching. Nobody had explained to us that Moonhill was a simple hole in the mountain. When we found it we started taking photos.

A group of Chinese students came and started to take pictures like crazy. We planted some wreaths on the head. They were so freaked out that we thought they even wanted to eat us! It is that they only wanted to become our friends.

After taking the book we were offered to go with them, they went on a trip, but it gave us a bit of cut and we said we had to continue with the bikes. We said goodbye to them and everyone went by their side. After half an hour we found them again, when we were asking for a price to enter the Water Cave.

A dilapidated bus that moved more than anything, took us to the entrance of the cave about 15 minutes. The excursion began. The first step was to take of my shirt and put on some rusty flip flops and enter the cave by boat through that little hole. Once inside we did an hour of caving, walking among the stalactites and climbing the walls.

We were delighted. Everyone was talking to us. Their English was not very good. We arrived at the area of ​​the mud baths and in some improvised changing rooms we changed to put on the swimsuits. We leave our things lying around near the pond and to bathe in the mud!

It was great fun. They started to get confidence right away and we started doing a mud war. We showered in a stream of freezing cold water and we walked again through the cave to the hot springs area! It was like an egg cup, with small natural hot water pools each at a different temperature. There we also began to play, passing from one to the other.

We left the cave all together very happy and while we got on the bus some went to steal oranges from an orchard. The owner caught them and came to give us a fight to all. Before taking our bike we took a group photo and we said goodbye with a smile of complicity for the good time we had spent together.

During the rest of the day, we spent in Yangshuo, until we caught the bus that would take us to Guilin again. We were in a cloud remembering the great experience we had experienced from the moment.

Traveling with Friends to Marrakesh

Marrakech is a must-visit city during a trip to Morocco. I have excellent memories. I highly recommend spending a day or two in Marrakech when you have the chance to visit Morocco. I hope you can get valuable information to prepare your next trip to Morocco, and that this example of travel diary can inspire you.

I and my friend visited Marrakesh a few months ago, during our tour of southern Morocco. We stayed only a day and a half in Marrakech to visit the main points of interest (but we did not have time to hang out). This ancient imperial city has an important historical legacy. Not least because there are many dynasties like the Almohads, the Almoravids and the Saadians. The architecture of buildings and historic monuments is very interesting.

In the morning, we started the visit of Marrakesh by going to the Menara Gardens, located near the city center. On the road, I was surprised to discover the heavy traffic on the Avenue Mohammed V. Some tourists travel by horse-drawn carriage, others go on camel treks. It's quite exotic!

In the Menara Gardens, we discover about forty varieties of olive trees, as well as the irrigation system set up, more than 700 years old. There is a large pool located next to a pavilion that acts as a reservoir. I really enjoyed the visit of these gardens. We have the opportunity to make a nice walk. The atmosphere there is relatively calm, compared to the tumult of the Jemaa el-Fnaa, that I had the opportunity to discover in the afternoon.

We then took the taxi to the Koutoubia mosque. Rather than dropping us near the Koutoubia, the driver preferred to drop us in the vicinity, in front of the store of his cousin. It surprised us at first but in Morocco, it's like that. So we head to the Koutoubia on foot! This religious building represents the art of the Almohads (although the construction of this monument began under the Almoravid dynasty in the 12th century).

This mosque is also called the mosque of booksellers because it was located at the souk of manuscript dealers. The exterior architecture of the Koutoubia, including the minaret is really worth a look. The park around this monument is also very peaceful and appreciable.

Ayudha Puja images

We had lunch then we walked in the district of Kasbah to the Saadian tombs. I appreciated the decoration and the beauty of the tombs. They date from the 16th century but they were discovered and restored only at the beginning of the 20th century. The most surprising mausoleum is that which is composed of 12 columns and which houses the tomb of Sultan Ahmed El Mansour of the Saadian dynasty.

We then depart towards the Bahia Palace. This building of the 19th century is really worth visiting, just to discover its beautiful Moroccan architecture. At the time, it was the most majestic palace in Morocco. The palace of the beautiful was actually a gift from the vizier for his favorite wife.

It reveals how Ahmed ben Moussa and his 4 wives lived, not to mention his 24 concubines. The rooms are decorated with marble, wood paintings, stained glass and sculptures. The patios are just as beautiful. Today, a part of this palace is open to visits, and hosts art exhibitions. Another private part serve as accommodation for the Moroccan royal family.

We also visited the Dar Si Said Museum of Fine Arts. By going there, I enjoyed discovering a nice neighborhood with pretty streets and impressive riads. I am not a very museum freak but I still enjoyed discovering a little more about Moroccan crafts and culture. There are, for example, pretty presentations of jewelry, costumes and pottery. Especially the decoration of the Museum and the building that houses it is full of charm.

Then we go to the souks of Marrakech. This is of course an essential step to fully discover this imperial city. We walk in its narrow streets where the souks of small size succeed one another. The crowd is present and we almost jostle to move forward, not to mention the mopeds that roam on all sides.

We appreciate the charm of traditional Moroccan objects like babouches, carpets, and tea sets. We get drunk with the good smell of spices. We appreciate the special atmosphere, but we buy nothing! From one stall to another, prices double. Of course, we have to negotiate prices but I cannot stand the pressure from traders. They will do everything, for example, to sell a T-shirt far too small. All occasions are good to ask us for a piece.

Leaving the souks of Marrakesh, we arrive at Jemaa El-Fna Square. This popular place is home to many merchants and traders with their stalls and street vendors. Jemaa El-Fna is registered with the heritage of UNESCO. It is famous especially for its animated and surprising life. We see snake charmers, monkeys, and fire eaters. To enjoy quietly this place and take pictures, we go for a drink in a cafe in a terrace!

Overall, I have fond memories of my trip to Marrakesh. It is a surprising city, hectic, with wonderful architecture. Personally, we would not have liked to stay longer because we were a little tired after facing the relentless salesmen in the souks.

Momo: A Typical Tibetan Dish of the Himalayas

Undoubtedly one of the great pleasures of traveling to exotic places is to taste its rich and varied cuisine. It is an experience that always brings new flavors to our palate and knowledge. Today we travel to Tibet to tell you about a typical food of the region that those who visit it should not stop trying. Actually, it is not one of the strangest foods in the widest sense of the word that exists in this area of ​China. It is so cheap it is the star dish of Tibetan cuisine, and also of Nepalese cuisine and West Bengal region (particularly Darjeeling).

They are called momos although the pronunciation is somewhat different. In Tibet and the places where they eat everyone knows them as so-so. The variants and the ingredients from which the filling is formed also vary considerably according to the restaurant where they are served. I also like to snoop in Kathmandu, among the street vendors, who prepare hundreds at a time in huge metal steamers. I always have the feeling of being able to eat dozens.

Similar to the jiaozi of Chinese cuisine, momos are traditionally made from barley flour mixed with water. From this preparation a white dough is obtained which must be flattened on a smooth surface in the manner of conventional bread. Once kneaded and flattened, it will be necessary to cut it into small pieces or portions, ready to be refilled. Whatever the main ingredient chosen, it is always seasoned with different spices that give it its characteristic flavor.

Chicken Momo Recipe

Once stuffed and closed, the momo is cooked in a steaming pot, where in a few minutes they come out ready to be savored. Normally, the cook serves them in a small dish or disposable container (in the case of street carts) and serves them with a tasty soup.

Depending on the region of the Himalayas in question, the filling of the momo is different. They are steamed or fried, with a vegetable filling or sometimes with buffalo or chicken meat. Although it is usually made of minced lamb or pork. However, there are also important variants such as those filled with cheese or vegetables for vegetarians. Normally you can choose the filling although in some street stalls there is only one class. If you are not scrupulous it will be in these improvised places in the streets where it will be cheaper to eat a plate of momos.

Weekend in the Snowy Peaks of the Himalayas in Mussoorie

Mussoorie in the state of Uttarakhand does not offer much in terms of entertainment, but it is an excellent place for those who want to enjoy solitude. There is beautiful mountain scenery, beautiful views of the beginning of the Himalayan massif and the plains, pretty houses nestled on the mountainside, a good range of hotels and restaurants, some of which are quite chic. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, about 30 kilometers from Dehradun, the city is known as the queen of the hills.

Not to mention a very friendly atmosphere made of a mix between locals and tourists, many of whom come here for their honeymoon. It was in Mussoorie in the Happy Valley district that the Dalai Lama established in 1959 the first seat of the Tibetan government in exile, before moving to Dharamsala in the state of Himachal Pradesh.

After the clouds and the rain of Darjeeling I let out a sigh when I boarded the train to Dehradun on a cold night. All night we listen to music and play card games. We did a carnival outside the train trip that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. In the end, I was almost out the window to take a look at the hills and forests.

At one point I could see the whole length of the train, and in the distance the mountains, half covered by clouds. My senses were assaulted by the delicious and indescribable visions and smells. I lay back and enjoyed the moment. Finally, the train stopped at our destination. Once we go down the train and left on foot, I felt overwhelmed by the beauty that surrounded me and excited by the adventure that awaited me.

The desire to explore unknown realms has only been strengthened over time. We hired a car which took us to Mussoorie. It took us almost two and a half hours to reach our destination. First we zigzag an hour to reach our destination, and then enjoy the beautiful view, with endless terraces, and a little British perfume in the architecture.

The place was some distance away, there was no concrete structure in sight except the complex where we were going to be and the beautiful bare hills. The city is still alive, but some places, look like as a scene in a cinema. We stay in an old Victorian guest house. The interior is really well preserved, but we imagine that at another time, the affluence had to be quite different.

After a quick bath in ice cold water, I went to the patio and sat on the fence facing the mountains. Calm, tranquility and silence of pin-drop prevailed. It was as if life had stagnated. The yellow ocher hills guarded the complex on one side, and the ecological park on the other. Sitting on the fence and looking towards a valley covered with forests, a fissure that separates the golden hills, I marveled at the serenity of the place, away from the dust and heaviness of city life.

A short walk along the snow-covered paths took me to the periphery of an apple orchard that stretched for several kilometers. Sunlight was welcome, filtering through the dense virgin forests of deodar, rhododendron and oak. A walk around was a delight, as it was a place stripped of any local settlement. We had barely walked a meter, when we were greeted with a heavy snowstorm that lasted a couple of hours.

That was the first time I witnessed a snowstorm in Mussoorie, and I felt no need to escape from that. I let every part of the experience sink. The green plantations that surround the area, as far as the eye can see, were covered with thick layers of ice. The logs stored for bonfires had been dampened, waiting for the morning sun to dry.

The weather was nice. It was cloudy most of the time, the fog floated from time to time. During the very nice walk in the mountains on the heights of Mussoorie (Landour), I got lost in the woods but luckily I met on my trail two very friendly teachers (and very surprised to meet a stranger in this remote corner of the mountain) who guided me to find my way.

Three layers of clothing had been enough to defy the cold along with boots, gloves and headgear. There was a shack near the compound, separated by a road, run by an old woman who offered excellent chai and maggi noodles. It was the perfect place to establish a balance between the healthy mind and the seemingly crazy one.

Day 2

The sun light dominates the valley from our nostalgic gazebo that dominates the valley. We have a multitude of choices for breakfast. We eat the Puri bhaji, fried bread that swells in the pan, to get hot on the plate. We enjoy it with mint sauce and Potato sambar.

After a good breakfast we go to get a closer look at the mountainous horizons. From the Gun Hill, which we finally climb in the heat, the slope is steep. We are not too lucky, as the mists of heat do not allow a very clear visibility for the photos.

Bypassing the hill, we find in the middle of the pines, the old British cemetery, where the last witnesses of a long-gone era have not yet completely disappeared. But the bad weather comes to assault us, and the cold too. So we go back downhill to Dehradun, to be picked by a tropical storm. The only possible refuge is the station and its cafe.

While we wait for the tea, we are astonished by the sight of a fat guy, who screams in his phone, on the boys, on his computer and believes himself the master of the world, or almost. And we put our nose out once the past storm has passed, to move to the Tibetan quarter, on the edge of the city.

Past the gates, it's like coming out of India. The streets are clean, the houses painted, the people smiling and welcoming. It is clear that this Tibetan community has succeeded, and the sumptuousness of its temples, its immense Buddha and its sense of commerce testifies to this. The interior of the stupa is richly decorated and we arrive just in time to point our nose.

It is difficult to really get along with all these demons, incarnating ideas, vices or temptations that are watching men. The Buddha trones with an enigmatic smile and the laughter of the monks, busy teaching themselves dance steps in the courtyard of their monastery explain in part. Despite the exile, this community is prosperous. It takes 2 hours to get back home.

We have the meal with chapati, dal, aloo gobi in a good mood. We arrive at the station, drink a little tea, and we get on our bus.