Monday, 15 September 2014

Camping & Hiking

I don't know if I should say it's a new found obsession or hobby, but recently it has come to my own attention that I have a growing interest in outdoor activities, like bushcraft or survival techniques. (that is in extreme measures, which I'm not sure if I will ever experience it) Camping and hiking are more easier options for me. Experience wise, I had only hiked long-scale once in my entire life, back in 2012 when I visited Nepal. The struggle of walking up and down steep hills, constant awareness from falling off the edge of the mountains and crossing the river on dodgy suspension bridges were not what I thought would interest me. 
This mind of mine sure is tricky; the world is advancing in technology where one hardly has to lift a finger, and here I am, captivated with the techno-free lifestyle. Or is this the result of watching television shows like Bear Grylls and reading books of Bushcraft?  Whatever it is, I can confirm that I do love to be with nature. I am not sure if I will ever have the need for theoretically learned survival techniques but one can never get enough of those valuable information.  

So, a few weeks ago, we (Subodh, Kriti and I) went camping and hiking at Lake District. Of course that's not a survival technique requiring area but being close with nature is good enough to test the skills, plus it soothes the mind and the body, which we desperately needed for the past couple of months. 
The initial plan was to go pier fishing in Dover but then we voted for a hiking trip impulsively as we hit the road. As soon as I entered the motorway I realised we were missing a few things which I was in charge of; a stove, cutleries, some food we prepared and extra clothing. Rather than going back to retrieve the items, we decided to buy it on the way. 
Now all that was left was the 250-mile journey and approximately 4 hours of driving, which would have been a hardcore monotonous session if it weren't for Kriti's amusing stories from China. Well, Subodh who was snoring behind us only woke up on the service station for a munch.  

Finally we were getting close to our destination, and the road was getting narrower, bendy, bumpy; just rough, but with a spectacular scenery. It was one of those enchanting views where I lose concentration from my driving, an experience which Kriti and Subodh were clueless about (hahaha, although it is no laughing matter). After a few miles, we reached our campsite; Helvellyn Glenridding. Apparently, there is mountain called Helvellyn which is third highest mountain in England,  and we were determined to climb to the top.
The next day, we started from the bottom (no, not the Drake song ^^) of the mountain with Kriti looking like a Ninja in all black, and taking some breaks in every few minutes. Getting to the top was not as easy as it seemed but when we reached to the top the path was fairly easy with spectacular scenery all around it. I suppose it was worth the effort. 

Three miles to the top of Helvellyn.

A map is essential for this rocking mountain. Subodh and Kriti trying to figure out where exactly we were on the map. 

Stone wall to separate the mountains

It was very steep when we were coming up. Why is it that photos on hills never appear steep at all??? Just can't reflect those perspectives.

Some photos before continuing our journey

Kriti trespassing to someone else's property the ninja way :).. She likes to live dangerously!!!

Yes, Yes...Flex time!!

I could've done this karate kid pose on the top of that rock but let's be safe instead XD Plus, behind that rock is a deep fall. Let's not take an unnecessary risk. ^__^ Still acing the pose!!!! 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Old Market Square

Poznan was beautiful on a completely different level. The old market square is a small but dainty town full of delight which reminded me of the settings similar to that of the Grand Budapest Hotel. This cute little town is very hospitable and I can't help but mention the ridiculously low amount of money it took to stay at the city! Staying at the Sheraton cost only ~ £60 per night!

The food was absolutely delish. I like my spices in my meals and I must say Polish chefs really know how to cook good! I tried honey beer for the first time, that too from apparently the best pub in Poznan. So there you go, a good trip indeed.

Overall, the city is lovely and the trip was definitely awesome. I think I bled my family's ears out talking about Poznan once I returned back home. Another thing I miss from there is watching the Polish drama Czas Honoru.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Notting Hill Carnival 2014

I had always heard of it, saw the pictures and had been bragged to by a lot of people on Notting Hill Carnival. I've lived in London for a good number of years now, and actually, I live pretty close to Notting Hill as well, but every year, somehow and in some way, I manage to miss it. 

2014 has been a generous year for myself, in terms of visiting places. I have a tentative plan to visit Nepal and India (fingers crossed, hope everything goes as planned). So I thought I might as well have a look at one of the biggest carnivals in Europe this year. 

Of course, the weather!! Had to be expected from England; gloomy and dark with some showers. I could picture the whole plan going down the drain :( so, I asked Kriti again if she really wished to visit as I was getting pretty reluctant to go. Note: Kriti is my junior from high school who is in London for holiday, just in time for the carnival too.  Finally, the decision was made to run for the carnival hill for a couple of hours IN THE RAIN! I wrapped my camera around with a bin bag for protection, bought ourselves some ponchos and then got ready for some action. 
“Where are the people?” were my thoughts when I stepped onto Portobello Road. Probably because of the wet weather this year, the crowd was limited and the streets exposed with plenty of room to move around. The carnival did not seem like the much hyped rumours we heard about. As we were aimlessly marching, we joined the first group of people we saw; fortunately the parade was coming towards us. It was only later we found out that the parade moves around Notting Hill on specific streets only.
Loud music, people cheering, dancing and singing their hearts out; it was one of the best experiences. I have to give those parade participants a big round of applause for enduring the cold and wet weather. The carnival was getting more pleasant with the sweet burning smell of jerk chicken and the faint smell of  marijuana, although I do not support drug intake "wink wink, nudge nudge". There were too many booty shaking at the same time, which of course I am delighted to bear witness to. I did move my body a little bit but failed to execute this art of 'the booty shake'. In that cold and wet day, the whole of Notting Hill was brightened with people dancing in strong bright colours.

In conclusion, it sure was an entertaining and a remarkable experience with lots of memories to hold onto. Hopefully, I'll get to attend it next year as well, most favourably on a dry day. As for now, please do enjoy the pictures that Kriti and myself have managed to capture.