The road to Portland – First Drive ever

Hey everyone. Hope you all had a good time entering fall season. Probably the best season out of the 4 seasons we have. Let me take you back on memories of my Seattle trip having so much fun and getting to see amazing places even though we were short on the budget (Link for those didn’t get a chance to read – Link). Having a good time in Seattle just didn’t stop me from exploring the nearby places which led to take a courageous decision of me renting a car on my own and driving my friend to Portland.

Well, the fact is I have never ridden in the USA except for getting my driver’s license back in Florida for half a day within a parking lot.  I was scared, to be honest. Woke up really early and got ready. I was boasting about my ability to find one of the cheapest rentals ever. But the happiness didn’t stay too long until we entered the FOX  car rental. I would still not forget the complete scene, we were supposed to get the car rental at 7 Am. Yes, we were there, but unfortunately, I didn’t have a work back then which automatically doesn’t qualify for a credit card in most cases. The price we were supposed to pick up the car was $45 per day. we were totally upset and we were ready to get back home and binge lol. But the store guy himself felt so bad for us, called up a couple of people and tried to arrange a car for an individual with only a debit card.

A few Minutes walk he said and pointed us towards an Enterprise, which is again a car rental company. They are one of the largest chains of car rentals in the US and they do offer cars to debit cardholders with a hold in the account. and the hold gets back as soon as we return the car safe and sound. A ride of $45 cost us $160. But since we planned already, we were not okay to ditch it even though the rental became a high priced commodity.

TIP: If you only have a debit card account, Always see if your friend has a credit card and he can be the primary driver and add your name to it as a secondary driver or find and book an enterprise car even before getting charged $160 a day lol. 

The rental was sorted but who was gonna drive? well certainly not her, as she doesn’t know driving at all. The worst thing about Seattle is that busses, metros, trams, bikes/ cycles and the whole human crowd were in the street which made my heart beat go higher every second I see one more additional person or a vehicle on road. The fascinating fact about the rental is that we rented out in the downtown which has the lesser crowd in the most sarcastic way :P. The moment I brought the car to the basement I was about to hit a stranger and well I didn’t. Swetha was like “Are you okay ?” “Will you drive that far ?”. Even today close to 4 years of driving in the US she still doesn’t let me have my phone in my arms to even have a look at the google maps. So you can imagine my first epic drive.

All that said and done I managed to steer the car to the freeway/ highway.  That’s when I got a little bit of confidence and started to play some songs and watch the amazing view. After which I never had issues till date haha. Isn’t my driving story overtaking my Portland story? what do you guys think? Okay, let’s cut it short and get to the vital part of the story.

It’s just a couple of hours drive to either Mt. Rainer or Portland. If you at Seattle and you gotta a day it’s worth spending on either of these days. The drive during the day, when we were travelling was clear yet a little gloomy setting up perfect weather for driving and hanging out. The complete drive of 2 hours was completely filled with mountains, trees and gorges all over. The effort of driving couldn’t even be felt throughout the trip due to these amazing scenic views.

The first place we visited was Forest park which was in the middle of Portland with a short hike overlooking the Willamette River. Parts were covered partially with snow and made the hike a little bit challenging yet really fun. After hiking a good amount of time and capturing those natural beauties in the middle of the forest. Our body needed a recharge before getting to the next location. All that we had in mind was to go to amazing falls that everyone who had previously visited and suggested as well. It had a good rating on Google as well.

Instead of further wasting time in the restaurant waiting for food, we thought of doing fast food and keep running to the next destination as half the day went figuring out the car rental. The next location was Multnomah Falls. That’s where the most interesting and one of the best rides of my life ever took place. While driving towards this natural beauty, we actually lost the route and within a minutes we started claiming the hills as it started to drizzle, rolling down the window to feel the smell of nature and feeling the fresh air. Further, the altitude increased and we also lost internet connectivity. Now it becomes super fun, we know where we wanna go, but we are in a new state and city, no connectivity and wouldn’t see anyone whom we can go and approach to ask for location. As we’re driving moving higher the altitude it started getting cool and started to drizzle. Further, I started driving within a span of 15 minutes all the trees were completely filled with snow.  And that sight just got my heart. Look at those amazing pics.

 

When I am able to recollect about it after 3 years and still try to express the feeling, you guys have to imagine how special and gorgeous that would have been in reality. Now I even forgot the location we were supposed to go enjoying this white beauty. when I started driving past these snow filled trees, it started to snow. Within 20 minutes of the drive getting to experience gloomy, drizzling, snowflakes over the tree to completely snowing atmosphere was just an incredible experience.

Finally, we were at the peak playing with the snow and finally got to see some people. Fortunately, they were few people not lost like us. They guided us in the right direction of the falls. But its always the road not taken delivers you the most exciting places just like what I explained. Finally, after all the detours we reached our destination Multnomah Falls. It was just a majestic site and the view was pretty lit.

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There are two picture points one just the bottom one where I have taken pictures or you can hike up to the bridge and take pictures over the there. Pretty sure they would be Pretty lit as well. We didn’t have much time to do the hike. I am going back to this city in three weeks if you wanna have a sneak peek just follow my Instagram (Link).

There are more amazing places in Portland that I need to check out this time. Then it was a quiet drive back to Seattle due to tiredness. And one of the exciting trip coming up next post. Stay tuned fam.

Love,

Praveen <3

 

 

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Wanna know how much I made or lost in my First Gambling Attempt – RENO, The Mini Vegas

Hey Folks, Hope everyone is having a good time. I understand I haven’t been as consistent as I use to be, Caught up with job and rituals. As the saying goes better late than never, here we go to the next blog post. Ready to explore how much I made or lost during Gambling.  Just not to jump into the play of what I wanna write to you today. Let’s have a quick talk of my drive from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe (Blog Link). So Finally, we came to the beautiful small city, RENO -decorated with lights everywhere and I could see a ton of posters and banners for Casinos. I did shopping for the baggage claim cost the airline company issued me. As I was getting back to the place I stayed, the sight was just a castle with all the extraordinary arrangements as it was the Christmas the day after.

Hope you could just visualize from the pictures how grand and amazing the place would be. It was too cold and we decided on going to the pool. It should have been around 5-degree Celsius and a hot water pool (The First Picture Below). The best combination I would ever imagine at that point of time after an exhaustive day at a skiing resort. Was I left alone? well No. I was the one babysitting all these kids and making sure they were fine however I had my own moments enjoying the weather, pool, and my inside song (What’s an inside song ? Well, you would hear when your passion meets your hobby. Just kidding I just meant the rhythm that keeps playing when you are happy and your heart feels so light) Just had one such moment. After a long day of stressful activities thought I would go to sleep after draining out completely, but that didn’t happen. The pictures below showcase the grandeur and majestic place of the pepper mill resort (Resort link).

Instead, Uncle and I went on to the Casino floor. That was my First-time experience on entering a Casino and getting to watch so closely what’s really happening there and how are different games and their rules and regulations as well. All that I was doing is watch Uncle what’s he playing and how are things working in the game table. People who don’t wanna hear about Gambling well you should better skip to the next paragraph 😛 Lol, I am serious. So here it goes. The game he played that night was Craps(Picture below). He takes out a $300 and changes them into Casino Coins and brings them over to the table. In the meantime I was just going around tables looking at poker, roulette, baccarat, blackjack etc.. I came around after a while and he makes a total of around $550 and I was like “what the heck”. Then I started to observe the game and how tactically he plays to make that profit. As soon as he made $600, took his investment and just started to play with the profit he made. well, that needed some brain. I was shocked by the amount of profit he was able to make in the short period of time. I made myself clear that I am gonna mint money tomorrow playing this.

As usual got ready and was planning on going to the Ski resort the next day (Pictures explain how enthusiastic I was 😛 ).

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Both the vehicles were loaded with the required ski dresses. There came the twist as we just started to go grab some breakfast, the snow started to shred all over. I was just astonished by the fact how quickly and gorgeous the snow started to cover up the complete place. I was just immersed with this beauty as this was my first time ever seeing the snowfall covering up a complete area and it was the Christmas day. I was so happy to celebrate the first white Christmas. we were just 5 to 10 minutes away from the resort and getting back the short distance was a struggle due to the snow. Do look at the picture and it just explains to you how the atmosphere was changed in just a few hours.

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     Just a comparison of the sudden change (The pics depict them well and the change was just a matter of 2-hour difference )

We were just kinda doing activities within the resort and was trying to while away some time and we were all settling for the Christmas feast at the resort. In the meanwhile, we decided to go to the hot pool maintained at the right temperature. The pool was surrounded by snow and it was such a delightful experience.

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    The snow made all the difference 🙂 

Post which we headed over to dinner as we were hungry after a good pool session. Never been to such a big feast which included food from all over the world and with various varieties. I think the pictures describe them better.

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Once I was done with my dinner if I wasn’t gonna do any physical work I was for sure exploding. Not Exaggerating that’s exactly how much I had. I started walking around to get some food digestion going on. The sight of the gambling boards, the money my uncle made never made me settle. So, I wanted to try my luck out and see how much I make. So I made one of  the unwanted decision ever made in my life to play Craps. And I didn’t know how much should I spend in order to start making money. But somehow, I came up with a total of $40. I was able to understand half of the rules. Based on my understanding,  changed my money into casino coins and I kept a bet on multiple numbers. It was holding for a few minutes and I increased the bet 10 dollars more and all I was left was with the final 10 dollars in hand.The previous round I already lost $30. Already feeling guilty about doing that still my mind didn’t let it go. I finally bet on the last $10 and one more round everything was gone.

Maybe it was a coincidence my mom called me in whats app to say something and I am like I lost $40 bucks in the casino assuming that she is gonna go real hard on me. Back then I didn’t even have a stable income. But on the contrary, she was like gone is gone. Just give it a thought for a moment, If you had given that money to someone who really needs it, the happiness you yield would have been way more than making the profit out of those dollars in gambling. That thought really went deep into my brain. That was the first and last time I gambled.

The next day we packed up and drove all the way back to San Francisco. On the way back we went to a ski resort and did tubing. we had a ball as it was cold but we did have sunshine. Let the pics do the talking.

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    Finally the one good family selfie 🙂 

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After a tiring session, we had a scintillating drive back home due to the picturesque view of the Lake Tahoe.

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I had already planned out on a trip to a mystery place (Letting you know next blog post) and got to meet my childhood bestie after a very long time. Let’s roll soon about that in the next blog post buddies 🙂

Much love,

Praveen <3

 

TOP 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU ARE TAKING A FLIGHT

Hey everyone, how is the heat treating you? Yaas summer it is, but honestly who cares about heat when you get time to travel to beautiful destinations and with sun everything is a just a notch brighter and prettier.  Today’s blog is just a guideline for you if you are a frequent traveler, a newbie to travel or a traveler on and off when you got time. This post is gonna help you not miss, get all your desirable perks and be a pro in a flight travel. Not to boast but giving you the background, I have traveled almost 5 to 6 international airlines and more 10 domestic airline carriers across the globe. Yes, I have made so many blenders which I don’t want you to commit. So here you go.

To accomplish all this, all you need to do – is to just follow the 10 steps below 🙂

I am letting you guys know what I learned the harder way, do follow this and I am pretty sure 99% you would not have any hiccups in your flight journey or maybe with respect to any sort of transportation.

1. Checking your Name, Date of Travel and Place of travel:

The most important and the first step you need to do is make sure all your details that you input for the flight are in accordance with your actual schedule (Dates and months to be verified) and as per your government documents(Name and Date of birth). Most flights have the option for the travelers to change it within 4 hours to 24 hours from the time of booking. So, make sure you guys have a check once you book your tickets, usually, we conceive in our mind what we had given is right but double checking is always better.

Courtesy: ndtv.com and travelvisapro.com

My experience: Did this mistake N number of times, I went to meet my friend in Seattle and I was supposed to fly to Los Angeles on 31st of December to have my new year gala at Los Angeles. I was about to check in on the 30th of December and my ticket was booked for 30th of January. Well, pay another $160 for a silly mistake. This list doesn’t stop from name changes to schedule changes. Well, I was fortunate enough to escape because of the 24-hour flight change policy quite a few times- but honestly why to risk it instead of verifying a couple of seconds.

2.  Checking-In in Advance:

Hey, is it a big deal to check in within 24 hours of the flight? Well, the answer is yes, it is. It’s not that it reduces the time drastically but also makes sure you have a seat. There are chances if you don’t check in earlier you end up waiting in the general line where people wait to check in the luggage (This reduces your time for security check, time to sip a cocktail at the lounge or even have some delicious food from your favorite restaurant). The list doesn’t stop right there, It can make you wait for a seat even till the last moment till everyone board (Your mind voice: Is this guy serious? I am not kidding, It has happened to one of my very own friends). One more additional advantage, I am not sure of domestic airlines of different countries but the domestic airlines in the USA charge less if we check in our bag when we check in.

Courtesy: Iberia.com and American.com

3.  Dress as per Destination:

The common mistake we do as a traveler or even just as a passenger is we get to pack dresses as per the source place instead of the destination. If you are traveling for whatever span, you always have the option of finding on the internet, how is the weather going to behave for the days that we are gonna stay at that place. Just a fun fact mostly in the world we assume June, July and August are summers but those are winters for people who live in Australia. So always make sure pack your pieces of luggage with the right combination of dresses in terms of climate as well as culture (If you wanna blend in a little bit 😛 )

Courtesy: thefashiontag.com and basecampadventure.com

4.  Gate Change Update:

Well, one more Concerning thing that you as a passenger must know. Is it fine if I am done with security check and get to the gate? Can I relax and don’t care about anything until they call me to get on the flight?

Hell No, that’s when you gotta pay attention to every announcement that hears by your ear. Gates that the boarding pass say is not always going to be final, it can change due to technical reasons. It is even more catastrophic if there is a terminal change (Which usually doesn’t happen that often). So, the only thing we need to do is pay attention to the announcements and try to sit in the gate where our flight was intended to fly from.

Schiphol Gate D, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Courtesy: familytravelck.com

5.  Do’s and Don’ts for a Carry-On bag:

There are always restrictions in Carry-On baggage in terms of size, weight as well as things. One of the blog posts which gave a complete description of the restrictions has been added please go through it if in case you have any doubts about whether you need to carry them or Nah. (Carry on restrictions).

Few things I always have doubts about personally are Will I be allowed to carry food? Since they have restrictions on liquid, Can the food be semi-solid? As I guy Can I carry a razor? Few questions which knocked my mind when I was penning down my thoughts.

Answers are yes we will be allowed to carry food as long as it’s not semisolid or liquid. For example, I am a south Indian who loves parota with salna – which I usually don’t get in most of the Indian restaurants (For those who don’t know what it does mean just google it or I am putting up the link where I purchased in the USA – Restaurant) Well no shamming I am proud foodie 🙂  The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) didn’t allow me the salna or gravy whatever you wanna call since it was semi-solid. Razors, as well as a solid food substance, are fine to carry in a Carry-On baggage.

Any liquid item has a restriction and TSA’s official page has its description on what the weight we need to carry and exceptions on stuff like medication and infant items – Have a look a the link. (Liquid Restriction)

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Courtesy: Cil.com and travel.gc.ca

6.  Size and Weight restriction:

As a traveler, the thing you would hate the most is to pack and unpack within the flights constrained weight allowances. Every carrier has their own restrictions and allowable criteria make sure to check the respective weight criterion of the airline you are gonna travel. Usually when its international you would be given with two check-in baggage (23 Kgs each), a carry-on baggage and a personal item. In a domestic flight, it completely depends on the country and the carrier varies from just a personal item, or just a carry on with it or even free of cost check-in baggage. This completely depends on the carrier. This is more important when you need to choose what the purpose of the visit, if you are shifting from one location to another (It is better to prefer the airline which gives free checked in Baggage) or If you are going on a short trip for three days you wouldn’t even require a carry on Baggage so prefer to choose a cheap and non-baggage friendly airline. Blog post for size restrictions( Size restrictions ) Always double check with the airline for the latest update. 

Courtesy: Target.com and Vincentloy.wordpress.com

7. Parking / Uber Choice:

The Choice of transport to/from airport depends on three factors,

1. Traffic 2. Distance and 3. Economy

Traffic: So basically, in a city like Los Angeles or Bengaluru traffic gets in the way so badly that it can take several hours for us to reach the airport. God bless Google map, keep checking the estimated time of arrival when you are planning on driving or even using the public transport such as a bus or a metro.

Distance: If you live far away from the airport and your trip is as short as 2 to 3 days. Most of the Cities have parking next to the airports and those parking centers provide shuttles to the airport. So, it’s a win, you arrive on time, don’t have to wait for a public transport and obviously more comfortable.

Economy: Three options, Either we just use Uber (Something similar to the App like Lyft or Ola), Or have our own car parked in any of the airport parking centers or use a public transport. As a traveler work out the math which comes out to be cheaper and ofcourse use the effective one.

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Courtesy: Medium.com

8. Netflix/Song Download:

Flight experiences are amazing but at the same time if you fly in the nights or its really sunny outside and you don’t open the shades on the window. you are going to be completely bored especially if you travel alone. Adding to it, if you completely have a boring or a silent person next to you. you are done. That’s why always when you know you are gonna fly, download songs and shows of your Interest so that you never get bored. Few flights provide WIFI service in the air but it’s too pricey.

        Courtesy: makeuseof.com and wikipedia.com

9. Free Upgrades to Business Class:

Have you ever heard of this concept? you pay for an economy ticket and just because there is an availability on the business class the airline company upgrades your ticket to a business class one. Well, I am not kidding I have known friends who have had this amazing opportunity. I wish I can get one day but it has never happened as of now. It’s always better to go and ask when you are check-in in your baggage or even at the gate when you are about to enter your flight. If there is an availability for a business class and if their answer is yes we do have but you gotta pay for it. All that you can answer as well I am good for now, I was just looking for a free upgrade if in case you guys have it. It’s okay to not get but it’s not okay to ask lol. You never know whether that’s gonna be your lucky day.

Emirates 777 New Business Class

Courtesy: pointsguy.com

10. Baggage Loss:

The 10th and the most important section is baggage loss. What should I do if my baggage is lost? The answer is to keep calm and you are definitely not responsible for it. Make sure to complain to the respective airline companies baggage claim team and fill out the required forms.  The airline company or the insurance company take up the complete responsibility to bring the luggage to your own home address. Apart from that as a customer we also can purchase things for the amount sanctioned by the airline company during the phase of getting our luggage to our phase. Every airline has its own limit if you are not sure of the amount then check their website or call customer service which is always a better option. Just not waiting for your baggage delays might as well use your flying perks.

Any doubts you guys have feel free to reach out to me. I’ll try my best answering them or at least try to guide on where could you find the answers for.

Feel free to share with your friends who would need these tips 🙂

Have an amazing weekend you all <3

Love,

Praveen

 

FIRST DOMESTIC FLIGHT IN THE USA Miami – San Francisco

Hey Fellas, Hope everyone had an amazing couple of weeks. I guess you all would have guessed this week’s blog about. Flying – isn’t always fascinating? Be it we see a flight during our school time and counting them during our physical training periods or even today when it passes through the sunsets with a beautiful sight. The love for flying never settles be it five or fifty (Well except for the ones who have flight sickness). Getting to the point, did you guys have a chance to find what’s going on with Gatlinburg, Tennessee in my last blog post. Yes, it has been a couple of weeks, been extensively traveling for the past three weeks.

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                                                ENROUTE (Courtesy: Google Maps)

This blog is just about my first flight travel and the issues I faced as an amateur traveler. well, I was back home from the Alternative Break trip (Smokey Mountains trip)with my friends at Florida International University. It was just a day, did all my laundry, took rest to an extent and packed for the next 20 days to the west coast of the country. I guess, you guys would have guessed the place by now. If not give it some brain work to see what would be on the beautiful place on the west coast. Just before I reveal the place, I’ll let you know this is one of the places everyone would have dreamt at least once in your life to visit.

Yes, that’s right for those who have guessed it right – CALIFORNIA woohooooooo 🙂 I was flying to San Francisco but I had a layover at Denver.  I was flying with United Airlines. The best thing about flying to the west coast is you get to save 3 hours. For example, you take off from your flight at 9 am from east coast even after 6 hours of flight you would land at 12 pm PST. This flight especially made me learn a lot of stuff that I didn’t know that existed.

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 DREAM STATE (Courtesy: Google Images)

Learning A.K.A Bad experience:

  1. Not Checking in advance
  2. Change of flight due to air traffic at the end destination
  3. Loss of baggage.

The worst part was I didn’t know this would happen nor I was prepared for it.

I had my flight at Miami International airport. Being my first domestic flight assuming that I am arriving on time at least couple of hours early, I didn’t take the pain of spending 30 seconds to a minute to check in which cost me literally an hour of wait, as the kiosks for the automatic check-in wasn’t working. The lines were up and every minute passed my pulse was adding up as I am relatively new to this process and finally when It was 30 minutes to departure I got to the security check. Long lines moved fast and with my heart-pounding, I boarded straight into the flight running to the gate.

  MIAMI AND IT’S ELEVATED BEAUTY 

A peaceful flight to Denver. It was a beautiful sight to see mountains filled with snow and feel the cold when I exited the aircraft to the terminal. And once I came to the gate of the San Francisco (SF) flight all the chaos started happening from the flight delay, to change of flight. I was told there was air traffic in SF, which delayed my flight by 3 hours. So, I was just roaming around the alley, a completely new experience as I have started liking and feeling lively traveling alone myself. In an hour and a half the flight crew was asking as in any passenger wants to go in the previous flight and I was the first one to say YEEESSSSSS in the excitement of reaching San Francisco. I just made sure my baggage will be shifted to the right flight and they did confirm it.

DENVER  INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

All the eagerness packed in the bundle when I buckled up for the flight to SF from Denver. And you guys got to know I was the one to run first to the flight and I was last one from the flight to get out of the airport. Yes, my baggage was missing and all my belongings were in there. I didn’t even have any change of dress or even a towel. At least I wouldn’t have minded it if I was staying in SF. I was leaving as early as 5 am to Lake Tahoe (Lake Tahoe location) So nobody would be there to even collect my belongings for the next three days.

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   NIGHT VISUALS OF SAN FRANCISCO

Then the procedure of claim, refund, the purchase was all confusing and new. After a continuous hustle with the airline company, the airline company gave me a credit of $150 and asked me to purchase what I want for the time being. It was already 11 pm and I was pretty sure, it’s gonna go waste and I have also instructed them to send it over to the amazing location that I was going (Will reveal the Place next blog). It was One amazing and a learning experience.

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                                                           BAGGAGE DELAY FORM 

In my next blog post, I am gonna share few tips as a traveler of any magnitude we need to know to avoid problems related to flight travels, baggage claim, checking in and long ques in the security.

All said and done. Stay tuned next weeks blog post.

Have an amazing weekend folks.

Love,

Praveen

GATLINBURG – LOST SEA ADVENTURE- A DAY OUT- ICE SKATING- TUBING

Still with those beautiful views from smoky mountains last week. Yay welcome back guys. what’s up?

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Heading over to THE LOST SEA ADVENTURE

During my whole week of stay in Smoky mountains, one day was off, so we were kinda let free from the camp. There are so many beautiful destinations across Smokey mountains. One most important and beautiful destination is Gatlinburg. Since we were there during the month of December, it was misty, cold and yet so beautiful.

Before we hit the spot we were planning on going to THE LOST SEA ADVENTURE – yes the name was kinda intriguing for me as well, as you all are thinking right now. It was a privately owned Cavern ( What is it Private? Yes it was fascinating to me too that an Individual can own a cave in the USA ). The entry to the place is $20.95. It is a cave, completely dark and a constant temperature of 65º F ( 18º C). It was one such experience guided by individuals who take us on a tour around explaining its reasons for the erosion and all the minerals present and suddenly we see a pool of water with fishes swimming around. We were also taken a ride around- Such a beautiful start to the day. Then we were heading over to Gatlinburg.

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Gatlinburg is a small town in Tennessee and has the best views, best wine tasting and alcohol(Moonshine) tasting in the country. The thing about that day was everybody was on time so we could leave as early as possible out of the camp and come back late. we did make it as per plan. It was like a couple of hours drive from our place and reached for lunch and to my surprise, everything I did on the day was just my first time ever.

We went to dine in a restaurant, and I could eat something simple like a chicken burger. There was a log of meat got served by the waiter to one my friends and I was like what is this? and he replies “what the heck haven’t you tried ribs?  Don’t you know what ribs are, expect the human rib cage lol ?”. Well, the honest answer is a NO and I did say it. He cuts a part of it and insists me as in I need to complete it. It was so nicely done that I started loving Ribs the very first time I tasted it.

Then we had a plan of events lined up for the entire day starting off with going to an Ice skating arena. And kid you not, the shoes felt weird when I actually saw them as they were a single piece of metal welded to the shoe and again the question arose was “Haven’t you done Ice skating?”. What will I say them, I am from a tropical country where the temperature is around 30 – 35 degrees Celsius approximately literally throughout the year. Being my first time, I fell on my ass every single time I tried to skate. Then everyone came to my rescue and taught me how to do? Held on to my hand and took care of me like a baby bro haha.

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Strictly NO JUDGING on my Ice Skating skills 😛 

The most enjoyable experience was the snow tubing, its fun guys.  If you guys would have done it, you would probably accept the fact. It was open and freezing in spite of my leather jacket. It wasn’t a lot of people which means we get more turns to do it. Let the pictures explain you better.

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Gatlinburg is a small beautiful town famous for its architectural experience, Moonshine, breweries, and their amazing wineries as well as their outlets (More important free tasting – SAY NO TO FREEEEEEE right 😛 ). We went on the Gatlinburg sky lift- like it was one of a kind views from the top of the mountain. The ride was amazing and thrilling as we went higher it was steep and scary. Overall worth the cost.

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Then after a tired day. We went on a walk to purchase some souvenirs, but the walk was so beautiful following us with the creek next to us. the sound of the water over the rocks, lights of the city, and the amazing architecture of the city was all worth the while. When we were on the lookout for restaurants, the wineries didn’t let us pass through. People from the shop were so welcoming and explained us about the complete procedure of preparation of wines. They were really a rare collection compared to the rest of the country and the aroma and taste were on point. Passing by every winery, none left us without tasting, never seen a bunch of people this courteous to serve free alcohol.

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When we were done with the wine section, Moonshine stores didn’t let us pass by without tasting. Moonshine(Link to explore more about Moonshine) is a type of alcohol mostly specific to smoky mountains area. This is a mystery drink as it can generate two flavors, for example, they had a cinnamon apple moonshine which tasted cinnamon while drinking and when you exhale it gives you an apple flavor. The storekeeper made sure, we had a taste of all the flavors. (I still didn’t understand why are people too nice :P)

PS: Drink responsibly, drink only if you are above 21 are moreover drinking can be injurious to health – I see you guys better behave, just kidding keeping in control is always better.

After such an amazing day, we did grab some food from the McD’s if I am not wrong and back to our forest zone at 11.30 pm.

TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS:

  1. Make sure you have a plan based on your interest.
  2. Hotels and resorts are pretty expensive, try to book it beforehand. (Options for cheaper booking: Hot rate hotels @ Hotwire.com)
  3. Keep your activities in the morning, so get ample time to explore the city at night.
  4. If you are a Wine lover, Never forget to taste raspberry and blueberry wines pretty much from all the outlets. Buy a few which suits you- they are amazing for the cost. (Average price $15 – $25 per bottle and cheaper when taken in a case)

THINGS TO DO IN GATLINBURG:

  1. Skiing, Ice tubing or Ice skating – So many options to choose from (We went to Ober)
  2. Creek walks around 7 pm if its winter and 9pm if its summer.
  3. Try out the wines from different local wineries.
  4. Amazing Barbeque places. (Choose based on google ratings – It works)
  5. Go on to the top of the mountain – Use Skylift (Tickets for $7)
  6. Moonshine tasting is a must if you like are a Whiskey Lover.
  7. Climbworks smoky mountains for zip line lovers.
  8. Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster.
  9. Wild Bear Falls Indoor Waterpark. (Pretty amazing place for some family time in the water )
  10. Mountain mall (Both for purchasing souvenirs and spending some time )

Hope you guys had an experience exploring this beautiful city. Let’s explore my first flight journey in the US and check out next week to see where I flew.

Love,

Praveen