A weekend in Bangalore

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Visiting Bangalore was a strange place for us as it came immediately after leaving Our Home Community. Once we did finally manage to wipe away our tears and venture out of our hotel room we soon discovered we were in what could become one of our favourite Indian cities! Please forgive our lack of photos in this blog, we felt we just needed a few days away from smiley snaps and social media!

Where not to stay:

We booked to stay at Treebo Edge and being a business city, accommodation wasn’t cheap to come by and the location of this particular Treebo caught our attention.

The hotel was a short walk away from the grand UB City Mall and this was fantastic but unfortunately this is where the positives ended.

The room was small and stuffy with no windows. The staff were not helpful at all and borderline incompetent, we aren’t the most difficult travellers to please but the staff found it difficult to answer the simplest of questions.

The walls were wafer thin so you heard every conversation from the reception to the guests next door and all in between. The food was mediocre at best (that’s being generous) and we had to argue to get access to the wifi! All together Treebo Edge in Bangalore is a big no no.

What to do:

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Bangalore is one of the biggest cities in India but unfortunately we only had two nights to explore and most of our time was spent in the luxurious UB City mall and comfort eating! The whole layout of the place is exceptional and exudes class, we would suggest you leave the elephant pants behind for this outing and it’s by no means a cheap place to shop but even if you go for a walk and a beer you will enjoy your experience. Our top tip would be to save your ventures to UB City for the evenings and take advantage of the many happy hours on offer at the local bars during the day. Bootlegger was our preferred choice and we’d definitely recommend giving it a visit.

Where to eat:

Once again UB City was our saviour from the disappointment that awaited us at Treebo Edge. There is an abundance of incredible restaurants to choose from on the outside terrace and we decided to give Sanchez a try after being lured in by the scent of fresh fajitas!

Sanchez was reasonably priced considering its setting and the food itself was delicious. The staff were exceptional and it was the perfect pick me up as we drank our sorrows away in the Mexican surroundings.

We also visited Shiro for a drink and we were right when we guessed they would make one hell of a Pinocalada! *inserts throwback to Mauritius*

Shiro was especially busy and no wonder as the setting was one of a Japanese paradise with the dark shades contrasting with the giant Buddha as the white elephant in the bamboo enclosed room. We managed to get a seat on one of the sofas in the main restaurant but we would avoid waiting at the rooftop bar in the sweltering summer nights despite the soothing sounds of live acoustic music.

Cafe Mojo on St.Marks road was another great find. From the outside it doesn’t look the most appealing and you have to go up a set of stairs before reaching the restaurant, but when you enter you are immediately relieved! Goan themed this hidden gem wasn’t as busy as it should have been. Excellent service, cheap but delicious food and drinks with a good atmosphere. If you’re looking for a budget night out then this is your place.

Finally if you’re an ice-cream lover make sure you take a break from the scorching city heat and visit Fava. The most incredible menu of luxury ice cream for such reasonable prices!

We can’t really say we explored Bangalore as we missed out on many of the top things to do due to a lack of time. However we weren’t there for a long time, we were there for a good time and that’s just what we had.✌🏽

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Mumbai Tours

 

Our first experience of a Mumbai tour was in 2015 when we booked to visit the slums to see exactly where some of the ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ scenes were filmed. Although incredibly sad to see, the tour itself was a great insight into the slum life for millions of Mumbai’s citizens and certainly opened our eyes.

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Last month we returned to the Bollywood city and got in touch with Magical Mumbai. Wanting to explore the crazy city further, we booked ourselves onto a walking market tour. Our guide, Sam, was a young student from the slums working four jobs to pay for his education, he had an insane passion for life. Not only was he an interesting and informative guide but we really got along with him and now have a new friend in Mumbai.

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Having visited Mumbai before we thought we had seen it all but clearly not! The market tour visited the Crawford, Mangaldas, Kalbadevi St and CST markets and each was so different from the next. If you’re an animal lover you won’t enjoy the pet section at Crawford market but the rest of the day was fantastic, with plenty of photo opportunities, especially with Sam being an aspiring photographer! This tour is great value for money at just 800 rupees per person.

We enjoyed ourselves so much so that we organised a car city tour for the next day where we teamed up with Sam once again. If you’ve already seen a bit of Mumbai you can skip the obvious stops like the Gateway to India and get straight to the good stuff!

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Sassoon dock was incredible and being one of the oldest docks in Mumbai we highly recommend you pay this place a visit. The people are engrossed in their work, throwing buckets of fish from the boats to the dock three metres above to unloading truck loads of ice. However, we recommend you leave your flip flops behind if you’re visiting the docks unless you want fish guts between your toes!

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Dhobi Ghat was another of our highlights. The whole community works together to wash and dry millions of clothes from across the city everyday. All the machines on site are made by the people, for the people, from giant tumble dryers to heavy duty washing machines. A birds eye view of Dhobi Ghat would reflect a rainbow of colour, just as most of India but there is a method to the madness here.

Other stops on the tour included Victoria Train Station, Marine Drive and the Oval Cricket Ground where cricket was first introduced to India. The entire city tour cost 3000 rupees for two people, a luxurious AC car, our fantastic guide and some great memories!

Magical Mumbai Tours made our time in the ‘Hollywood of India’ unforgettable, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or them if you’re visiting and have any questions!

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10 tips for your trip to Paris

“Paris is busy, dirty and too touristy.”

“Paris is the most romantic city in the world full of culture, delectable food and incredible wine.”

 

Two very contrasting opinions about the French capital. We love Paris, and the best part for us is it’s only a train away! We want to share some of our tips with you to make sure you have an unforgettable trip. The main tourist spots can be seen in a day, or take your time and you could easily relax for a week here! Whether you’re there for a flying visit or have more time on your hands, there are certain things you need to know before you start exploring…

1) Eurostar sales

Eurostar regularly holds sales where you can bag a great bargain. Starting from £26 one way from London to Paris, you won’t find cheaper than that! Use the opportunity to book a spontaneous weekend away.

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2) The Metro

The metro system is completely different to the London underground, if you leave via London St. Pancras you’ve got a shock when you step out at Gare du Nord! It’s very old and can make you feel a bit uneasy, but brave it and embrace it, it’s the quickest way to cross the pond to Paris. The double decker trains are also quite cool, just watch out for the rats as you step on!

3) Try and speak a bit of French

Probably our best advice for you.  It’s not only polite but you’ll find it helps a lot. We found not many people in Paris spoke English, so they will be more able to assist you if you can understand a bit of the lingo! It’s also fun to practice in some of the little brasseries, give it go and you won’t regret it!

4) Pickpockets and scammers

Paris is notorious for pickpockets. We don’t want to scare you but just be alert. Keep your eyes peeled, backpacks close and senses alert.

5) Holiday Inn Notre Dame

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This little gem is a great place to stay, with rooms starting at €115 it’s not recommended on a backpacker budget but is complete luxury for an affordable price. Friendly staff, a lovely reception area and the best little surprise; a rooftop bar with a magnificent view over the quaint streets of Paris and the iconic Eiffel Tower.

6) Museums

If you’re looking to get a bit cultural Paris is perfect. Full of museums from the Musee d’Orsay to Grand Palais, but of course there’s one that everyone wants to visit; The Louvre! Outside is the must see Instagram spot to get that perfect snap and inside you’ve got the famous Mona Lisa. Don’t underestimate The Louvre, there’s so much more to it that you could easily spend a day here, so give yourself some time to explore!

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7) Parisians smoke – a lot!

If you’re a non-smoker, be warned that the Parisians smoke a lot – not passing judgement but as a non-smoker this can be quite unpleasant especially when you’re trying to enjoy a meal! Just a little tip to prepare you for the fumes…

 

8) Food

Paris is not a good city to visit if you’re on a diet! The croissants, the cheese, the steak, the crepes … do we need go on? All so authentically French, you will find so many great restaurants especially in the Latin quarter, you’re spoilt for choice and we highly recommend you stop by!

9) Eiffel Tower

The one, the only, the Eiffel Tower. It doesn’t disappoint. If you’re wondering whether to go up or not, and a lot of travel blogs we’ve read advise against it, we say go for it! Yes it’s a bit overcrowded at the top and the champagne is overpriced, but the view makes it all worthwhile. Literally draw dropping as you get to the top, we recommend you visit at sunset when there is a majestic feeling surrounding the world’s capital of romance.

 

10) Walk!

Walking is the best way to see most of the hot tourist spots in Paris. Invest in some comfy trainers, pack your bag for the day and set off. You’ll also find plenty of beautiful spots off the tourist map as you explore the streets.

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Why EU should go to Brussels

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In the aftermath of the EU referendum (don’t worry this isn’t another rant from an unqualified politician) there was only one place for the next instalment of KHTravels; Brussels.

The heart of Europe and the EU, Brussels was exactly what we expected it to be. A real European city, café cultured with incredible art and architecture, an extraordinary love for waffles and amazing Belgian beer, what more could you ask for?

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Staying at the Radisson Blu in the centre of Brussels, we decided to take a break from backpacking and splash out with pure luxury! With a bucket of beer upon arrival, we took the glass elevator overlooking the Michelin stared restaurant to our floor before falling in love with our room. This was our first break away from England together since coming home from our travels and we had totally forgot that holidays are meant to be relaxing. We’d become so accustomed to dorm rooms and wooden beds the incredible décor and lavish style of the Radisson Blu was just what the doctor ordered!

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After tearing ourselves away from the gorgeous room we decided to head down to Grand Place which was only a few minutes’ walk away. As luck would have it, the Brussels Jazz Marathon was taking place and we kicked back with a freshly brewed Belgian beer soaking up the sun and the atmosphere. Grand Place was stunning, you feel as if you’ve been enclosed into a mythical land, although with some of the buildings being very dark, we felt this land could also have a gloomy, eerie side if no one was around …

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Manneken pis was next on our hit list and we soon found the small bronze sculpture by following the giggles of tourists sniggering around a small boy with an everlasting bladder. We have to be honest, the sculpture was interesting but with so many people and an overkill with replicas all over the city we were slightly underwhelmed. We may have also been slightly distracted by the multiple one Euro waffle bars that were distracting our attention. These were the greatest waffles on Earth, we know you’ve heard this a lot but trust us, please go to Brussels if only for the waffles … beer, oh, and the Belgian frittes. Just go for the food, everything else is a bonus!

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Speaking of food, we may have had our best meal ever at a wonderful little restaurant called Meet Meat. Slightly out of town on a rainy evening, we took the option of travelling out of the city centre to Meet Meat due to the rave reviews on Tripadvisor and it was definitely the right decision! With a wide range of steak cuts for you to select, cooked to your preference and accompanied by a host of impeccably presented sides, Meet Meat certainly continued with our theme of excellency and quality during this city break. The prime cuts of beef almost melted in your mouth and filled that gap in your stomach in such a way that you would not know how you ever lived without it. Simply exceptional.

Enough food porn for one blog and back to the sights! We loved the accessibility of Brussels, from walking through the cobbled streets to jumping on the tube without paying through your nose for travel. We did exactly that for our next destination – the Atomium and Mini Europe. The Atomium was opened in 1958 amidst great fanfare at the World Fair of Brussels (aka Expo 58). This incredible structure was designed to symbolise utopia and peace, a structure without structure and a figure of the past with a permanently futuristic look. Climbing through the Atomium there is a sense of imagination and wonder with a hint of incompletion. A wondrous view from afar and equally breath-taking views of the city from within, the interior of the Atomium just seems a bit hollow, yet it almost seems as though it was meant that way.

A stone’s throw away was Mini Europe, a grand collection of Europe’s most iconic and recognisable landmarks and a fantastic place to inspire you to travel the continent. Featuring the eruption of Vesuvius and the leaning tower of Pisa, this is the perfect spot to choose your next destination if backpacking through Europe.

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Other city highlights included brunch at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), St. Michael & St. Gudula Cathedral Tower and Galeries St Hubert. Brunch at the MIM was unreal with limitless prosciutto ham, champagne and a selection of cheeses and freshly baked breads. The cathedral was another piece of architectural brilliance while the Galeries reminded us of just why Europe is so fantastic. Lined with exquisite chocolatiers, theatres and luxury stores all enclosed with a glass roof, this was one of our most favourite spots being just a short walk away from our hotel.

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Finally, despite being in the immediate aftermath of Brexit we could not leave Brussels without visiting the European Union. Politics are politics and there will always be rights and wrongs to both sides but one thing we can say is that we are better collectively than individually. In a world of travel and integration, there is no room for segregation. The EU may not have been what it had set out to be but it did help to bring together 28 countries with different languages, different cultures and different people. No one is certain what the future will hold or what another decision would have brought but one thing we do know is this. The European Union was one of the most boring day trips of our time in Brussels so instead of visiting a building full of politicians, you’d be better off hanging back in Grand Place with a beer and meeting the real people that make Europe so great.

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