Akrotiri

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2/23/22

This is going to be a short post since I am already tired but I committed to writing even the highlights of the day each day instead of waiting till the next day. I almost didn’t want to write today, but I also just read my friend, @ritupandey’s post about writing daily and keeping consistent. After all, like people say with exercise, it must also apply to writing, consistency is key. Once you let the ball drop, it’s easy to let it go altogether.

We knew the weather was not going to be great today since there was forecast of rain, however, we were determined to make the best out of our last day on the island. A little sad to be leaving, but also excited to explore Athens! The rain wasn’t too bad and our raincoats saved the day. The morning started with walking to the bus and catching the bus to Akrotiri. It was about a 20 minute ride again, by now you know that this island isn’t too large, all bus rides have been about 20 minutes or so. On the bus we met a Bangladeshi man form Rajshahi and got to know a lot about working in Santorini. He came here 20 years ago and has been working as a boat driver. He earns about 1,500 Euro per month and tax is 300 Euro. 20 years ago he went to Turkey and then took a car from Turkey to Greece. He then made his way to Santorini and has stayed ever since. He now has his permanent resident card so he goes to Bangladesh every year in the winter. He has three daughters and one is even getting married soon. He showed us pictures of the house he built in Rajshahi and his daughters. He also mentioned he would never bring his daughters here since he didn’t want them to go to school here and get derailed. He would rather have them study in Bangladesh and get married to a good boy. I have lots of thoughts but won’t go into details on this blog, but wanted to share the story of a local. Rent is 100 euro for him per month since he shares with 7 other men. He seemed happy with his job and his life here.

We got dropped off at Akrotiri pre historic museum. This museum is indoors and the tickets were 6 Euro per person. It was a 3 acre excavation of a town from 3000 BC. That’s about 5000 years ago. This was a fishing town since it was really close to the sea.  The history was super interesting to read. The town was destroyed in two earthquakes but people built it back. After which it finally was covered by a volcanic eruption. Because it was covered in volcanic ashes, many things were preserved well. The architecture of the buildings from so long ago were so amazing. They had three storey houses with bathrooms. The rooms were painted with murals about fishermen and other local daily life scenes. Most of the murals have been saved in museum of Ancient Thira. I am glad we went to the museum before heading to the actual site since I could imagine what the pottery and the wall art looked like in real life.

We then walked to the red beach. It’s not easy to find this beach and you might think you are here once you reach the pretty church by the red rocks, but that definitely did not look like a beach. There is a small sign that says 7 minutes to red beach. You have to follow that sign and hike up a small path to find the beach. The beach was absolutely gorgeous. In the summer people go swimming and lay on the beach but since it’s winter time there wasn’t anyone on the beach. We didn’t hike all the way down but the view was amazing from the top. We came back to Fira and had lunch at The Greco Tavern. Rajib had red bean soup and I had seafood risotto, bill 34 euro. We walked around Fira some more to take in the last views of the Caldera and the town from the top. We then discovered the path to the old port. There are more than 600 ish stairs you have to take down to go to the old port. Alternatively, you can take the cable car or ride the donkey. We did not go all the way down but enjoyed the view from the top. One thing I did learn from the Bangladeshi man today was that water around the Caldera is still so hot that an egg would boil there. In the summer you can take a boat and go see that water. Well, now I know I have to come back here! 

Kamari – A journey back in time

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2/22/2022

Rajib said, let’s make this a day of less walking and what happened was exactly the opposite. We start our days in Santorini with a 15 minute walk to the Fira bus stop from Karterados where our Airbnb is. Before that we had a great breakfast, the butter and the eggs are extra good here. The tomatoes and the olives here are extraordinary as well. The wine is pretty awesome in Santorini too. Well I sidetrack, because all the food has been great and fresh here. So, we walked to the bus stop to catch the 11:15am bus from Fira to Kamari. By today we are experts at taking the bus. The bus fare if I haven’t mentioned before is 1.60 Euro. It takes us to Kamari in 20ish minutes. From there we have to find a way to get to the ancient city of Thira. I knew there was a shuttle from Kamari but didn’t know it was also closed during the winter. The bus dropped us off at Kamari beach so we took a nice stroll on the black beach. The beach was pretty but it was windy so we didn’t stay long. Rajib got a bite to eat at the local bakery and tried to find ways we could drive up to the ancient city instead of hiking. There was a whatsapp number on the shuttle sign so although it looked closed, we called the number. Someone actually picked up! He said he could give us a ride to the top, a 3.5km ride for 10 Euro per person but he wouldn’t give us a ride back. At that point we figured we would just hike it.

The hike wasn’t bad but it wasn’t for the faint hearted. The whole way is uphill and you don’t really know how far you have left since there is no signage. We finally reach the top, which was almost the top of the mountain and saw a ticket booth and a few other cars parked. We also saw the sign for the City of Ancient Thira. Tickets were 3 Euro per person. We started our walk and realized there was more up hill hiking to do. The ruins started with a small cemetery and ruins of a church and a sanctuary. All this dates back to 8th century BC. Once you start climbing uphill, you then come upon the whole city. This was amazing and way more than we expected. We thought it would only be a couple of sites, but this was a whole city. It had a marketplace, a city center (agora), public baths, communities, a theatre, sewage system, garrison and a gym! We almost spent two hours looking around and reading the history. We really did get transported back in time.

We had missed the 2:15pm bus so we slowly started down hoping to catch the 3:45pm bus. The hike up took us 55 minutes so we figured it would take us about 30 minutes or so to go down. Well, it took us less! A nice couple from France saw us huffing and puffing and offered us a ride. He didn’t just drop us off to the bus station, he actually dropped us back to our Airbnb! What a nice guy. We then got lunch, spaghetti and rice and beans and head back home for Rajib’s work. We took another small nap and he started working and I went for another neighborhood stroll to find the beautiful blue church which I can see out the window.  There are about three churches we can see from our place. Unfortunately it started raining so I had to run back. Put my time to good use and did a workout while looking at the rainbow and the church from the apartment. Ended the day with a Greek mythology podcast.

Oia – It was just like the pictures!

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Working hours start at 5pm for Rajib so we are able to use the morning to explore! We walked to the Fira bus stop. This is where all the buses leave from. Took a bus from Fira to Oia for 1.60 Euro each. It was a fun 20 minute ride. The city of Oia is north of Fira and has the views that we see in all the pictures. We even saw people taking the flowy dress pictures which we see so often. Here you can rent a photographer and they give you the dresses! Since we were here in the off-season, many of the restaurants were closed in Oia, but there was still plenty to see and walk around. We walked to the Church of Panagia which was right behind the bus stop. We were amazed by the views from the church. Many of the hotels were closed, but we were able to walk down the stairs to catch some views. We then walked around the narrow roads, into an art gallery and some small souvenir shops. Suddenly we heard the donkeys coming. These donkeys carry all the construction material up the hills. We followed them to take a video and were lead to the view of the famous three blue domes! Thanks donkeys. We then hiked to the Palace of Oia which is ancient ruin of a palace with some breathtaking views of the caldera. Oia was very very pretty but since things were closed, we returned to Fira after lunch at a Gyro place near the bus stop. I had a gyro and Rajib had a chicken souvlaki, which is chicken on a stick, bill 6 Euro. If you thought, Greece was expensive, think again.

The bus brought us back to Fira and we went to the Ancient Museum of Thera. I really liked this museum since we plan to go to the Akotiri ruins tomorrow and this museum had all the remains of the Akotiri region and the history of Thera. This island was actually called Thera but the foreigners started calling it Santorini after a Saint’s name so it is now named Santorini. I have seen many excavated pottery before but this was especially interesting because it had stories for all of them. My favorite one was the one about the labeling. So the archeologists, or whoever studies these potteries figured out that the ancient people of Akotiri had a labeling system, just like our pantry and this was in 1700 BC. I can’t even count how many years ago that was, but it was a long time ago. They drew certain things for water jugs and another kind of symbol for food. Really reminded me of me labeling the items in my pantry, but this was in ancient times! I also enjoyed the wall art which depicted their lifestyle. It was so great how all this was preserved.

Jet lag catches up at some point. We both got kind of sleepy around 3pm, so came home and took a nap. It was going to be Rajib’s first day working from Santorini, so we wanted to make sure everything was set up correctly. We got some Santorini Rose and fresh olives and settled in for the night!  Also, the good thing about being on vacation for me is that I get to blog and read while he works. I am thankful for this time.

Santorini – It’s so dreamy!

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2/20/2022

I was so excited to see the ocean and go to Santorini in the morning. We grabbed breakfast, spinakopoita – spinach and cheese pastry and coffee and head to the airport on the bus, X95 from Syntagma bus stop, fare 6 Euro per person. We took Skyexpress airlines to take a short flight from Athens to Santorini. While at the airport, I realized all the cool places that we could fly to if we had more time. Even thought about extending our trip for a few minutes, but work calls and have to head back next week. We will definitely be back to this part of the world though. Rome is only a 2 hour flight from Athens. Now I know why people jump around countries when they are in Europe, it’s so tempting! When we read the baggage rules for Skyexpress, it said we were allowed a carryon, however, what they didn’t mention, or maybe they did and we didn’t notice, is that these had to be European size carryons. Our American size carryons did not fit in the box they specified for measurement so we had to check our carryons in for 25 Euro each. Lesson for next time: travel with European size carryons or backpacks! The flight was really fun because it didn’t really fly that high and I could see the different island with their complex road systems from the plane! Landed in Santorini within 30 minutes. We chose the flight instead of the ferry to save some time but I know many people take ferries interisland as well. Our Airbnb host arranged airport transfer for us for 15 Euro.

The Airbnb is in Karterados which is a 20 minute walk from Fira towncenter. We really like the Airbnb. It’s a one bedroom with a small kitchen and everything you need. Another lesson learned, travel with an adapter if you want to charge anything. You can tell it’s our first time in Europe, since we forgot that. However, the Airbnb host saved us and got us adapters. She also got us an extra pot and chairs for the front balcony. We have the view of a cute blue church and the ocean from the bedroom so can’t complain!

We walked to Fira for lunch at Yogi gyro place. The gyros were so delicious. We both got the lamb gyro, bill 8 Euro for lunch and we were stuffed. We also got groceries from the supermarket near the Airbnb right before lunch. Our plan was to eat lunch out and dinner at home since Rajib will be working. I will be taking the week off. Walked around the town of Fira with the beautiful cliff views and white buildings. We are visiting in the off-season which ends first week of April, so many stores were closed, but the scenery was still gorgeous. We hiked to the Three bells of Fira and enjoyed the views from the top! Just walking around town and soaking in the views was so amazing! Went home and cooked some good old fish and rice. I bring my spices from home usually, so we had a delicious home cooked meal and went to bed!

Athens, Greece

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Athens, 2/19/2022

This trip was planned because my host family from MN was doing a study abroad trip with students from St. Ben’s and St. John’s. We thought we would join for a week since they would know the local lifestyle. Well, life takes different turns and you do what you can to make it work! So, here we are, doing Plan B. Rajib and I have traveled to Athens for the week and it’s just the two of us. My parents were supposed to accompany us on the trip, but they could not make it either. Having a Bangladeshi passport, I had to get a visa from the Houston Consulate. I had to go in person and appear for an interview. That’s a story for another day!

We flew Lufthansa to Frankfurt and then to Athens. It was an 8 hour flight to Frankfurt and then only a 2-3 hour flight to Athens. I can’t exactly remember since I slept the whole last leg. The flights were on time and the food was good too. The planes were not as fancy as Qatar or Emirates which we normally fly to go home to Bangladesh, but the service was good. Our immigration happened at Frankfurt. It was easy for Rajib with his American passport, but it’s always an adventure for me. She looked at my visa and looked a little confused. She took my fingerprint for two fingers and it did not match. She then took me to another immigration officer, at which point I was thinking they would probably put me back on another flight to Dallas. The second officer took my fingerprint for four fingers and voila, I was allowed to enter the EU! No more immigration in Athens since we were flying from another EU country.

As usual Rajib wanted to take the taxi from the airport to the hotel but I wanted to explore options. I noticed there was a bus that could take us downtown. Instead of 40 minutes it would take an hour but it was a direct bus. I somehow convinced him to take the bus. It was really easy to catch the bus from exit gate 4, bus no. X95. The bus goes from the airport straight to the city center, Syntagma bus stop. From there our hotel (New Hotel) was only a 4 minute walk. We only had hand luggage so it wasn’t difficult to walk over. The hotel was nice and the location was perfect. Dropped off our stuff and went straight to lunch at The Greco Project. It was a cute restaurant and great for people watching too. Rajib had a kabab plate and beer and I had a Gyro, bill was 20 Euro. Pretty affordable compared to the US. Then we walked to the Acropolis. Google said it was open till 8pm, but actually it closes at 4:30pm. This was a recurring theme with google with incorrect information. So we saw it from afar and hope to go back when we are back in Athens. We climbed a small cliff for some awesome views. They used to have houses on this cliff back in the 17th century BC. We then walked to the Acropolis Museum which I really liked. All the history of the Acropolis can be seen and read here. Many parts of the sculptors and pottery is preserved in this museum. The history of the Parthenon was especially interesting to see. We then head to a cute restaurant near our hotel, forgot the name of this one, but we had delicious seafood. Rajib had the sea bass and I had grilled calamari, bill 30 Euro. We really liked Athens, the short time we were here and looking forward to heading back after our trip to Santorini.

Mini Hikes around Silverthorne, CO

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In one of my last posts, I talked about how we decided to work from Colorado from an apartment we rented. One of the best decisions in the last few months. I really feel like you don’t get to completely experience a place unless you stay a month or so, and ideally it would be three months. I have “lived” in a few different places over my life and visited others. However, the places which are close to my heart or where I have felt less like a tourist and more like a local are the places where I have stayed long term: China – 1 year, South Africa – 4 months, India – 3 months, Vermont – 1 year, Minnesota – 5 year. Dallas and Dhaka are home of course. Rajib and I plan to lots of these long term stays around the world and hope to start with Mexico. Well coming back to the small town of Silverthorne, CO, where we spent a month and got to see some absolutely amazing places.

We were in the middle of a national forest so there were plenty of hikes all around. We made it a point to do most of our work by 5pm and enjoyed the rest of the day doing small hikes around Silverthorne. Since I was in the middle of tax busy season, I had to work nights. However, I did not mind working the long hours at all after all my senses were filled with the greenery and mountains all around us. Weird how nature can give you so much energy! The hike pictured above was to “Rainbow Lake.” It was about a 2 mile hike to this pristine lake. See me posing perfectly like the titanic, well don’t always believe the pictures, since I fell in the water and got my shoes wet right after! But hey, it was worth this picture.

The next day we went to “Officers Gulch,” a lake that’s known for trout fishing. Rajib likes to fish and the good side of that boring hobby (don’t tell him I said that) is that I get to visit pretty lakes. It’s a win-win. Many times we think the best spots are reached by driving long distances or hiking up high mountains. Can you believe this lake is right on the side of the road about 12 minutes from our apartment in Silverthorne? We didn’t even have to hike. W did decide to go on a small 2 mile hike all around the lake while Rajib fished. We went at the perfect time to catch this unreal reflection on the lake. There was a woman there who told us that she goes there all the time but rarely does she catch this perfect of a reflection. I guess we were lucky!

The local friend we met at Officers Gulch, told us that we absolutely had to do the “Lily Pad” lake hike. The trail to the lake was only 3 miles long and we could walk to this trailhead from our apartment. So we started walking to the trailhead, thinking it will be a quick walk. It ended up being a 3 mile walk, fully uphill, with views of Lake Dillon but strenuous. Once we got to the trailhead, we thought, can we even do the rest of the hike? Well, our adrenaline kept us motivated to finish the hike and we enjoyed getting to the lake after 3 more miles. A 6 mile hike on a weekday! On our way back, we were happy to see the Free Bus sign. We jumped on this bus and rode down right to our apartment. We needed masks because of COVID-19 and some of us got creative if it meant we didn’t have to walk another 3 miles. See Alvee’s mask pictured above!

That was Week One in Silverthorne for us, filled with smiles, mountain views and the best kind of physical exercise – hiking! If we did all this during the week, can you believe how fun the weekends were? Well, you have to keep reading and follow my blog for that. Hit the “Follow” button below to get emails every time I post. Hope you enjoyed the read.

Cleburne State Park

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Another weekend and another campground in Texas. This one was really close to Dallas which made it even more special. Once you get to this park, it won’t feel like you are only 1.5 hours from Dallas.


After a long week of work it’s nice to get away to the wilderness and disconnect. For people who are completely afraid of disconnecting, don’t you worry, this park does have spotty LTE network. Our campsite was at Cedar Grove site #13. It was a water and electricity site. We didn’t use the electricity since the whole purposes is to get away from our screens, but we it’s nice to have water right there. You realize how important water is, when you have to wash your face or wash the dishes and the bathroom is a 5 minute walk. You can see Rajib walking to the bathroom in that picture. Even the walk to the bathroom was picturesque. Every time we made the trip to the bathroom, we got to see the lake. Due to COVID-19, all Texas state parks are limiting the number of people they allow each day, so it was almost like we had the lake to ourselves! This park also has great day use areas by the lake if you are not into camping! Pictured above.

We woke up and made coffee in our new coffee maker! For this camping season we bought ourselves a little gift of a stainless steel Mueller French press. As much as I wanted the fancy glass ones, I figured I would thank myself for getting the stainless steel one for camping. At home we use one of the old school coffee percolators, but it was taking too long at camp, so we got this new one, which only takes 4 minutes and makes awesome coffee. Oh did I tell you it comes with an adorable coffee pot. This post is not sponsored I promise, I am just really excited about coffee.

After coffee we and yummy breakfast, we went on a 4 mile hike around the park. This park, surprisingly also has great trails with a little bit of elevation too! Ok, don’t laugh at 300 ft. elevation people from Colorado, but it was fun for us. It took us around the limestone hills and back to our camp. The trails were really well marked and color codes, you just had to find the color markings on the tree. Pictured above! On our way back we saw the other campsites and listed the ones we would like to go to next time!

BEST CAMPSITES (for next time):

Poplar Ridge Site numbers: 45, 46 and 57

We read some interesting history about the park. There was a man named Cash Zimmerman in the 1930s who said the people in the town of Cleburne didn’t have a lake to enjoy the weekend and morale was down after the war. He had the idea of making this lake and a place for people to enjoy their weekends and thereby increase their morale. I thought that was really far sighted and intelligent back in the day to realize that by having a place to relax, people would be in a good mood and society would get better. Great learning for other countries/leaders.

We got very special surprise visitors in the evening! My sister and the two little angels joined us for our gourmet camping meal of chicken, pre boiled rice and pre made mashed potatoes. I got to “hang out” with my BFF on our hammock too. She said she felt like she was on a beach, drinking pineapple juice, she was so relaxed. They ate it with so much excitement, we felt like we were top chefs. We also did a small hike with the kiddos and sis. Great sister bonding time! Both nights Rajib and I spent time around the fire watching it burn till the very end, listening to music and contemplating life.

Last day at camp, we enjoyed reading by the lake, and rented kayaks from the self serve rental. The lake it not too big, so we were able to finish the whole lake in 45 minutes or so. Our arms were pretty tired after, but it was a good feeling! Rajib even tried his luck at fishing from the kayak while I slaved away. Nah, I enjoyed rowing while he chilled, we each got to do what we love. It’s all about balance in this relationship haha. Well that concluded our fun filled and relaxing weekend. Next trip is to a park with an international night sky, so keep reading folks!

Working from Home or Colorado!

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The pandemic was a horrible thing that has happened to us all over the world. So many people have died and so many have gotten sick. Amongst all this sadness, we had to find a silver lining somehow so we could save ourselves from being burnt out from working, sleeping, eating, working, sleeping, eating. Exercise has been a HUGE help for physical and mental sanity, but we missed traveling! Then the idea of relocating our work to Colorado came to mind.

Us flatlanders from Texas get so excited from the first view of the mountains. Texas is such a huge state, it takes us almost 8 hours to see the first sight of the mountains. The first mountains we saw were in New Mexico. It’s almost like they drew the border of Texas where any sort of hills started. Alvee accompanied us on our trip to Colorado so the 3 of us stopped at a gas station and warmed up my pasta. We always try to pack food for our road trips so we are not wasting time picking up food or choosing which restaurant to go to. Did you know almost all gas stations have a microwave?

We stayed one night at Amarillo which was 6 hours away from Dallas. Then we drove another 5-6 hours the next day to get to our destination – Silverthorne. It’s a small town 2 hours from Denver and set in the middle of White River National Forest. Our apartment was perfect for the 3 of us. 2 bedrooms with a cozy living and dining area. The dining room was my office looking over that beautiful view from the balcony! Rajib was in the bedroom and Alvee was right next to the balcony. We all wanted pretty views and got them. While entering Silverthorne, we drove through Breckenridge, which is the cutest town I had ever seen. With pretty flowers hanging and mountain views all around, it’s a nifty little ski town. We knew we had to come back during our trip. Stay tuned for the Breckenridge post.

Oahu Surprised Us!

We were a little nervous about Oahu since we had heard about the traffic and busy streets of Honolulu. It’s Hawaii so we should never have doubted it for a second. It was absolutely gorgeous and the hiking, food options and beaches were all amazing. We only spent 4 days there which is never enough but here is a snapshot of our trip if you like the things we like to do!

Day 1: Our friend had been staying in Oahu for a month so he took us to all his favorite spots as soon as we got picked up from the airport. We started the day with some poke at ono seafoood which was delicious. So yummy that I forgot to take a picture.

Day 2: Jam packed with fun activities planned. Started the day with a hike recommended by my friend. She said it was her favorite hike in Oahu and I can see why. Check out those amazing views! Still surprised why I loved Oahu? The day went on with another small hike to see the lighthouse. The lighthouse was next to the makapuu tide pools but we couldn’t figure out an easy way to get down to the tide pools. They looked cool though. Something for next time! Ended the day with sunset at Ala Moana beach. It’s a city beach park which is pretty crowded but the sunset was pretty. Not a good swimming beach but I swam nonetheless. Calm waters but rocky. Unlike waimanalo which was just perfect. Smaller waves and smooth sand. Had to go get a covid test done at the HNL airport for our trip to Maui in two days!

Day 3: Probably our favorite hiking views were from the lanikai pillbox. These were set up at lookouts for soldiers during world war but now serves tourists to enjoy some amazing views. After the hike, I took a quick swim on the clearest beach ever, lanikai beach. This neighborhood was also so beautiful with million dollar houses. We spotted some airbnbs we may wanted to try next time!

We went to the pearl harbor museum right after. It was a sad but eye opening experience to stand on top of the USS Arizona which drowned with 900 men on board. You can still see the remains of the ship. We needed to get tickets ahead of time to visit the USS Arizona. They take you out on a five minute boat ride and you can see the remains of the ship. The museum was great too. Spent quite a few hours reading through the stories. After the museum we did another hike on the Judd Trail. This was a rain forest, totally different than the morning hike. Thats the fun of these islands. The landscape can totally change within minutes.

Ended the day with sunset at waikiki beach. While crowded, it was fun to people watch and the sunset was beautiful!

Day 4: Our last day in Oahu so we packed the day with lots of fun activities. I am missing some pictures but we started the day at 7:30am by hiking diamond head. It’s a peak you can see from anywhere in the Waikiki area so it was fun to finally hike it. Short and semi paved hike but pretty steep. We had packed lunch so ate it at the botanical gardens. We also spent an hour or two at the gardens but probably could’ve spent half a day. It was so peaceful! So was the valley of temples. It’s a replica of a Japanese temple and such a quiet and peaceful place. The surrounding area is a graveyard with ocean views. Ended the day with Aloha Shrimp. Arguably the best garlic shrimp on the island. Some would say it’s giovannis but our friends suggested this one and we absolutely loved it. Will have to try giovannis next time. We also had some cane juice. Freshly squeezed from the owners sugar cane farm! We watched the sunset at the Banzai pipeline beach which a beach on the north shore which is famous for its massive waves. And massive they were. There is another pillbox hike in this area but we saved it for next time. Too tired at that point! We had so much fun watching the surfers and walking along the long beach. Did not dare swim in that though. Had foodland poke which was awesome to say goodbye to Oahu. You were good to us. Headed over to Maui for trip #2. Stay tuned…

Backpacking in the Rockies

We had been planning this backpacking trip for a while. There is a significant amount of planning you have to do in order to make a backpacking trip to a different state.

Food for the trip packed by meal

We were luckily joined by our two friends so it made the trip even more fun. Also felt safer to have two more people with us while we stayed in the wilderness! We started on the Tonahutu loop on the less trafficked west side of the Rocky Mountain national park. We started at the kawuneeche visitor center to get our wilderness permits and store some of the extra things we had. All bakcpackers pack too much so this was a chance to shed some weight.

The map of the area from the nps website

We parked our cars at the north inlet trailhead and started our trip towards east meadow campsite. First time for Ariq and Alvee, so it was really exciting and they were champs!

You can’t even tell the suffering in the faces haha

Our site was not too far from the trailhead, only about 2 miles but you still needed to think about all the things you may need for two days since you would not want to walk back. Our plan for the next day was a 10 mile hike without packs to see the lake and meadows. We even spotted some elks.

The views were amazing throughout the hike
Even though the site was only 2 miles away, it seemed like we were in the deep forest. Not another person nearby. Just us and the elks!

The spot was so clean and maintained. The views as your can see were mesmerising. We could even see some of the fall foliage since this was in September.

You can see some of the fall colors. Pictures never do justice.

On our hike the next day, we started early in the morning after breakfast and packing our lunches. After 5 miles of hiking we thought we would never see this lake and would have to return. But after our tuna wrap lunch, we gained some energy and one by one all ended up at the lake. Rajib even caught a rainbow trout there which we fried and ate for dinner. Had to make sure that we dug the fish bones far away from the campsite so the bears didn’t come.

Filtering water was a daily activity. This stream was right behind our campsite. You understand the importance of water when you go somewhere like this.
The stream behind our site was the most peaceful place ever.
Promise this is not a stock photo. This place was just out of the magazine.

Our meals were very planned out but we were pretty good at packing no extra weight and finished all the food. We had oatmeal with powdered milk for breakfast. The packet oatmeal with flavor. The maple brown sugar was the best. We had thai chili tuna with wraps for lunch and ramen with tuna for dinner.

After two days of backpacking food, we enjoyed some hamburger and fries!

This trip was refreshing for the soul. With good friends and amazing views, you heart and mind are so fresh. Great conversations, some hard work and lots of fresh air later, we are left just a little more happier in life. Thanks to Ariq and Alvee for joining us on our adventures. After the 10 mile round trip hike, Ariq said “it would be fun they said”. Haha, well I hope after the sweat and tears, it was actually a trip of a lifetime for you. It was for me and I hope we can make many more such memories!

Visiting 3 State Parks in Colorado

Hi Friends,

It’s been a minute, or more like 3 months, that I have written a blog post. I had some family visiting and we were too busy having fun for me to sit down to reminisce about my trips and adventures. Now that everyone is gone and Rajib and I are at home, we now constantly talk about what we will do after we get the vaccines. Which restaurant are we going to dine in first, which trip will we take first, which friend will we visit first? So many thoughts. Well, made me think about writing another post from Colorado.

We were lucky we had friends in Colorado who had bookings at states parks for the summer. For the long weekend, we got to camp at two different state parks and visited three! We stayed at Pearl lake the first night. You can see the site overlooking the water. It was absolutely gorgeous. For the first time in my life I saw a “moonrise.” For anyone who has seen one, its so breathtaking. First I thought the light was coming from a city or something and Rajib kept saying it was the moon. Ofcourse, I didn’t believe him and slowly the moon started showing and it ended up being a full moon. It was so bright we saw a big deer without any light standing 5ft away from our site. Creepy? Yes, a little bit, but cool too. We spent the day swimming in the lake and also shooting a dance video. Here is the link to the video if you guys are interested!

The second day we went to Steamboat state park and swam around some more. The day was absolutely perfect, so we lay around the beach and had lunch there. We stayed the night at Stagecoach state park pictured above. We were steps away from the lake for this one. Thanks again to our friends who had booked these awesome sites way earlier in the year. We were just lucky to be at the right place at the right time! On our way to Stagecoach we stopped at this cute little town (of course I forgot the name, and I should have done these blogs a long time ago). Every mountain town is so quaint and pretty. We did a small hike around a waterfall and got coffee in town. You can see me happily posing with the flowers, like I always do.

On our way back to Silverthorne (our home for the month), we did another hike by the side of the road. You can always see cars parked randomly on the side of the road and you know there is a good trail there somewhere. It was a fun trail marked with blue diamonds. We knew it was 4 miles long, but we didn’t know the markings were going to be so hard to find. You can see me pointing to one in the pictures. It was a challenging trail but you can see my happy face once we got to the top and enjoyed the views. We packed our lunch and almost gave up and turned around, but Rajib and Alvee were champs and wanted to keep going to finish the trail (ok, I motivated the two of them mostly). Whenever you do something challenging, it’s the feeling of accomplishment that gives you the satisfaction.

Well friends, that was a quick one of our camping weekend. Will come back with some more hiking trails we did next time. Till then, be safe and plan your next trip!

Caprock Canyon Camping

My first post as a blogger! I have been lazy to start this blog since I am not a good writer but I do enjoy sharing my pictures and travel stories with my friends, then why not with the extended online community. This is also a way for me to not only store my stories on social media, but also save my memories in writing somewhere. My blog is inspired by Jim and Connie’s travel blog. Very recently I went back and read their blog and enjoyed reading about their memories from China, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh and the many interesting places they have been. Thanks J&C for the inspiration.

Well my first post is about our short trip to Caprock Canyon state park. This winter Rajib and I decided to explore the Texas state parks since we are not able to fly to other cities due to Corona. First trip was to this beautiful Canyon in North Texas. It was a 4 hour road trip from Dallas and had AZ/UT type terrain with 90+ miles of hiking trails. Probably one of the best places for hikers in Texas. Our trip started on Friday after work.

Our campsite was next to the lake but about a 50 yard walk from the parking lot. It was pitch dark so we had to put on our headlamps and get to work! Took us three trips to move everything from the car to the campsite. This campsite was the only site with flush toilets, there were other prettier sites but with vault toilet only. We set up camp and enjoyed a beautiful moonrise as you see in the picture. This was our neighbors tent. They were really nice and friendly. Campers are always so friendly.

The next morning we decided to do a long hike. While the park itself isn’t very large, you can drive it within 30 minutes, the hiking is great! We did a 7 mile round trip hike. You can see in the map, we parked at the North Prong trail and went up Haynes Ridge (HR) and came back on North Prong. HR is marked as a very challenging hike, but it wasn’t too bad for us. Definitely not a straight path and lots of climbing, but it was fun for us. I was glad we had our hiking sticks. The views were nice along the way. We had some “chanachur” for snacks and lots of water.

There was a fun fern cave along the hike. Amongst the desert land, there is this small area where it’s always wet. We stopped for a quick picture where you can see all the green fern! After that it was time for a lunch break. Rajib found a nice shady spot to eat our gourmet tuna sandwiches.

Can you tell I am really excited with my new camping stove? I had always seen people cooking so conveniently with these things, but I was always hesitant to buy one. I thought cooking over the fire, or with the light weight stove is the best way. However, I have been converted. This is the most comfortable thing ever. Highly recommend this Coleman 2 burner gas stove for car camping. The next day, the Rahman family also joined us. It was their first time camping and the little one was super excited. This park is famous for their bison, so you can see them pictured! We saw a whole lot of bisons but they looked more like cows with a beard. They were not that big!

We had a fun night with lots of chatting and watching the red moon rise along with Mars! We didn’t know it was Mars at the time but heard that Mars was visible that night. Day 2, we woke up and went to a some pretty spots in the park by car and did a short walk. Can you tell the park belongs to the bisons? They are everywhere, but very calm animals and didn’t come close to humans. We enjoyed our short weekend getaway. Hope you had fun reading about it! Come back for more since I have lots of posts coming up!