Charming Canterbury

The tiredness of the day prior had not even worn out and we were back on our feet to explore the Charming Canterbury!

Our beloved Captain, Araf Ali took up the responsibility to drive us to the town of Canterbury, which was about 2 hours from the vibrant city of London.

Our prime motive for visiting the town of Canterbury was to visit the Canterbury Cathedral which is a renowned cathedral because of the famous Saint Thomas Becket, around whose name mystery still revolves. And we were there for a special purpose and met 20 other familiar people with the same purpose!

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As soon as we stepped into the town of Canterbury our eyes were left in awe-struck! The town probably had the least people but it also could be because it was a Sunday and we reached quite early in the morning. After walking a while we decided to get a cup of coffee. We stopped at Cafe Nero the cafe which probably serves the best coffee in all of United Kingdom. In that cafe we got acquainted with a couple who came into town every Sunday. They lived a little outside the town of Canterbury, for more than 30 years. This kind couple pointed us in the direction of the best offset and the most unplanned places we went to, Herne Bay!

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Let me come to that a little later.

We had our coffee’s said our goodbyes’ to the wonderful couple and headed to the Canterbury Cathedral as we were there to attend the service and it was time. Standing at the gates of the Cathedral we greeted the ones who had reached us, and as we turned around we saw some more familiar faces. We greeted them and walking from far away were some more familiar faces approaching us. Every face that we greeted had a smile ear to ear and we were all delighted to be in each other’s company. We weren’t family, but it was the best family reunion one could every imagine or ask for.

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After catching up with our beloved familiar faces we headed inside the Cathedral. The magnificence of the Cathedral left us all in awe! The beautiful Canterbury Cathedral surprised us with every step we took. The service was a beautiful setting with soulful prayers being sung in chorus. We sang too!

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After leaving the service we all headed to explore the Cathedral. It possess too much history and mystery! You have got to visit it to believe it! The most fascinating story of all was of the Saint Thomas Becket. He was given the title of ‘Saint’ after his assassination which was apparently falsely been ordered by King Henry the second of England. The exact order of the events are still under speculation.

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After exploring the beauty and the mystery of the Cathedral we all headed out to our different respective destinations. The wonderful couple had suggested us to visit Herne Bay. Initially we were supposed to go to Cliffs of Dover but we decided to take the advise of the aged couple. And thank God we did! Taking the advise felt like serendipity because we cruised into a place which was the least touristy and the most jaw-dropping of all! The beach couldn’t be more pure and the wind in our hair just re-assured of our moments there. We calmed our heads and rested our eyes beholding the vision which was in front of us!

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The voices of our stomach broke our meditative state, and our captain showed us the was to Mushy Pea which was probably the place where we had the best Fish and Chips!

The wonderful day ended on an amazing note when we came back to London with memories which will definitely have a special place in my autobiography!


 

Hello all. Thank you for taking the time to read!

I hope you all like it! Do visit my other blogs if you have not read yet!

Comments are most welcome and sharing the link is encouraged!

Thank you all, have an amazing day ahead! 🙂

Pictures: Taken by Shaheen (the Author of the blog) and Zainuddin Aarif (the authors uncle)

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Adventures Of Ananthgiri

We found ourselves back in our hometown after 2 whole years for Eid celebrations with my uncle and his family. We reached Vishakapatnam one day before Eid. The plan for the next day was pretty clear and everyone was all ready to celebrate the most auspicious day after a month of fasting.

So after the morning prayers and breakfast, south Indian style, we headed to our respective homes and exactly 2 hours later, 6 families, were off to Ananthgiri, a hill station 4-5 hours from Vishakapatnam. We had a heavy lunch enroute, and still found the courage to embark on the well-trodden road ahead.

The road ahead of us was breathtakingly bewitching. The mountains on one side stood tall, showing off their taint less, lush green allurement. On the other, was the gushing river, meandering along with the road, recently augmented by the exquisite rains. The site that the nine pairs of eyes (in one car) beheld, proved to be the object of fascination much needed for elevating the pleasure of this getaway.

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It was dusk when we finally reached our destination. We parked our respective vehicles and headed for the most needed beverage of every Indian, CHAI (tea). There was nothing much to do to pass the time, as the majority of the travellers were youngsters. Before reaching our rest house we saw a bunch of locals playing volley-ball. We approached them and till dark there was a fierce match going on between the team of my cousins and the locals. The locals were indeed a tough competition.

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The Chai Stall
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The volleyball match

When the nature forbade us to loose any further, we headed to out rest house. While we were struggling to set up the tents, the most amazing dinner of our lifetime was getting ready. Tired and exhausted we ate as much as we could, and headed of to our tents. Before sleeping the biggest challenge we faced was, how to fit in 4 people in the tent, which was meant for two. Everyone wanted to experience the rough sleep of tent, leaving behind the luxury of comfortable rooms already provided. Some of us were willing to rough it out, while others just wanted to sleep it off (Mostly the elders were involved in “others”). The ones who did not get a chance to sleep in the tents, and wished to do so, made it their mission to scare us off. But we were so tired that not even a real ghost could scare us away, let alone the “ghosts” the we knew.

I woke up to an absolutely amazing view. After having a delicious breakfast we all headed out to the most Adventurous trek of all of our lifetimes. We parked our respective cars in the middle of the Ghat roads, and headed down to a path which seemed to lead to know where.

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We started on the path which was at an angle of 60 degrees approximately. The further we went the steeper it got. The path was a small pagdandhi amidst the lush green wild mountain grass. The fresh rain had loosened the mud making it slippery and very difficult to walk on. The path turned and twisted in every nook and corner. No corner was left where one of us did not slip. As hilarious the walk was, it was extremely dangerous as one side was the danger of the lush green animals and on the other side was a deep trench, going straight down, and the person on that path would go straight up. Embarking this journey was not only the risk of our legs, but our lives to! But we did it anyways!

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Tired coming down the slippery road, we saw a villager climbing up. We asked him how much further down was it to reach the falls, instead of answering us, he just scanned us and asked why in the hell were we coming down this road. Climbing further down, we could see the magnificent falls, but were not able to see the approach road. It terrified us. The last lap of the trek was, either go for it or you fall of the deep trench. We had no choice, we were already there, we couldn’t go back because of the steep climb. So each of us sat down one after the other to get to the waterfalls. The people who were already there helped us by forming a chain and giving each of us a hand while we made our way down.

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Whatever the hardship, whatever the road, the view of the destination was absolutely PERFECT. The mini heart attacks on the way down proved to be totally worth it when we actually reached the spot. Without waiting for even a single second, all of us were in the cold, beating water washing away our tiredness.

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After having a heart warming bath, we headed to the ascending path of our trip. As dangerous the descend was, it was more tiring while climbing up. We did not go back the way we came, but took a different road which was easier but longer, but safer, much safer.

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Finally after a demanding ascend we reached our cars, ate whatever we found as we were all extremely hungry and headed for the hotel, where an absolutely delicious lunch was waiting for us. We spent some time in the hotel where most of us were sleeping, but whoever was left i tried to scare them of with my singing but that did not happen. And of we were meandering down the beautiful ghats headed straight for our respective homes.


This trip, was the most exciting and nerve reckoning trip I had ever embarked upon. It taught us not only how to keep going, but to keep going with everyone. Team work, hard work, dedication and focus is all you need to achieve the best, and trust me what you get at the end of day is nothing but the satisfaction of doing something worthwhile, which may or may not have made an impact on others life, but it sure has improved your own!

Protectors In Disguise

Background: A small travel story, i hope you will enjoy it.


Since an early age I have been volunteering for travel companies, who take children to spend an adventurous summer. My passion has always been to travel the farthest. So gathering up all my courage and my backpack, on 27th May 2017 I stepped out of my home for a solo trip to Uroli. Located 6131ft. above mean sea level, its a few kilometers above Nainital and 27km away from Ranikhet by bus. I finally reached a small village on the bus where I saw the villagers doing their daily chores. They scanned me from top to bottom, but I gave them a pleasant smile so they would allow me to stay for the night. In India the people living on the mountains are friendly and stand true to the saying “Athiti Devo Bhav” (A guest is equivalent to God) and so they took me in willingly, providing me with a cozy warm bed and a delicious dinner for the night. As I woke up to a beautiful sunrise in the morning by the sound of my alarm, I was ready to start my adventure.

I walked a few miles, in the morning confirming the address, from where the trek was to be started. When I finally reached the foothills of the mountain I was to climb, I stood there for a moment and scanned the mountain side. Though the mountains were not very tall, the pagdandi (trails) were the real challenge. The weather was mild, the sun shined above me, as I had started my trek early in the day. The whole mountain area was covered with lush brown colour, with the pine needles from skyscraping pine trees, giving the mountain its color. With clear sky above my head, I carried on with my trek, already contemplating the place to rest for the night.

It was the middle of the day and I had walked continuously for about 4 hours, taking short breaks to hydrate of course. I started feeling hungry and I could see no place where I could light a fire and cook something for lunch, because of the pine needles there was also a risk of lighting the whole mountain on fire and burning myself with it. So I sat for a while eating what could have been eaten without the requirement of it being cooked. After having sufficiently filled my stomach with biscuits and water, I knew I had a little time to rest according to my map timings.

The place where I was sitting was covered by the shade of a tree. The cool breeze, and the comfort of the shade, made my eyes heavy, and in no time I fell asleep. It must have been the weather and tranquility, and the fact that I had woken up early in the morning and had walked for 4 hours non-stop. When I woke up, it was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, way over the time limit on which I had decided to start back. So I hurried back on my track, because I had to find the camping land shown on the map.

I am a crazy fan of sunsets, so to witness this beauty when the sun was at the bottom of the horizon, I started to walk slow, taking in the beauty that the nature had to offer. When the sun was about to disappear, I decide to stop to remove my jacket and my guiding light. After taking out the necessary equipments I started staring into the horizon, witnessing the utter grandeur of a setting sun. I hoped the serenity of the nature would calm me down, and rationalize my thinking, as I knew I was already behind my schedule.

After the sun disappeared from the horizon, leaving only a little light behind I decided to move along in my journey. Looking into the map, I realized that I had about 3-4 hours more to walk. I kept climbing at a faster pace. The hours passed by, I became tensed, my heart started racing faster, and as I had a breathing condition, I had to take more stops than I did before. Walking for about an hour now, the little light from the sun had disappeared, the moon shined brightly allowing me to see only a little in the darkness.

I read in my research that the mountains of Uroli had dangerous animals, like leopards, the most harmful snakes and jackals, but I was sure I was not going to encounter them. After walking for another two hours, I saw the camping land and in my excitement hurried to the place, threw myself on the ground and laid down with relief. As it was a set campers place for the night, I was sure that before me some campers had camped in this very place, as there was a hole dug in for the fire. I used the same hole, to light my fire and cook my food. Till the time the food was being cooked, I pitched my tent, spread my sleeping bag and waited for the food to be cooked.

I had made inquiries and found out that, the weather changed in just matter of time one minute the sky was clear, flaunting the stars and next the thunderstorms struck and it started to rain. I had to take my food inside though I kept my tent’s door open. I sat inside comfortably and enjoyed the meal that I had cooked. I was busy eating, and suddenly I heard sounds, of something running. I panicked, it was my first time in the mountains alone, and I did not wish to die. I was too scared to sit inside and too scared to see what it was. So I opted for the latter, I gathered up my courage and opened the back window of my tent and looked. Jackals stood about 500 ft away from my tent. They did not growl or attack, they just stood there. I did not know what to do, it was still raining outside, so I decided to pull out my pocket knife, curl up in my sleeping bag, and call it a night, but as petrified as I was the curiosity of jackals standing outside my tent did not allow me to sleep.

Few hours passed away, and they did not flinch. So I decided to do something. As soon it stopped raining, I stepped outside the tent and tried to shoo them away, but they did not even cringe a muscle. So I stepped back inside. After sometime I had an absolutely absurd idea, first I decided against it. One peep outside into the eyes of the jackals I decided to go ahead with my decision. I stepped outside the tent again and I did what animals do best, I peed to mark my territory near the tent, and shouted at the jackals, “Mine, and yours” as I had seen in the movie Life Of Pie. At least this way I would be a little relieved that they wouldn’t come near the tent, I still had my doubts though, if the human pee works the same way as the animal? But after that I spent the whole night in my tent, apprehensive, yet a little calm. The pocket knife still my hand, I woke up to the sharp rays of the sun and chirping birds. With caution I opened my tent door avoiding sudden movements I first peeped out, and there were no jackals in the near site of my eyes. My eyes fell on the horizon and far off were the beautiful Himalayas. I did not know what happened in the night. I knew that I was alive in the morning and I was happy about it. Just when I had finished my breakfast, I saw cattle approaching. On arriving, I greeted the man with a smile and a pleasant good morning, he returned my greetings and asked how my night was. In reply to his question I described the whole incident of the night. He gave a smirk and told me, that I was very lucky to have had jackals, in the night. He told me that there is almost every night a visitation made by the leopard for water and because there were jackals, I was. I bid goodbye to man and he did the same. I thought about what he said, it was definitely a superstition, but the fact that the jackals were there in the night, posing as protectors was enough for me. My rest of the trek went on smoothly, and as I had peaked my trek, the clear sky showed me the beautiful outer Himalayan ranges far in the distance glorifying their magnificence. I met other trekkers at the end of my uphill battle and decided to hitch along with them for the downhill trek. The jackals posing as protectors against the leopard was the last thing I had expected on this highly adventurous trek in the mountains of Uroli. The delightful end to this adventurous trek, with other trekkers was the only add on I needed to etch this trip as the best one in my small but brave autobiography now making me a true traveler.


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