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?

IMG_1986

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.

IMG_1994IMG_1997IMG_1981

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.

IMG_20341934202_10208075373139251_5521298152033966373_n

 

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.

IMG_2058

IMG_2062

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.

IMG_2094IMG_2081

 

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.

IMG_2076

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

Advertisements

First ever Travel – Alexander Springs

Welcome back, hope your week is going pretty awesome.

Just a recap of the previous week- First road trip- crossing Orlando- camping- Swimming in Spring – Beer- BBQ- Tenting. (If it’s confusing – you have two options- check out the points below )

  1. EITHER Go the previous blog read it and come back            
  2.  OR Stay here and read this blog because it’s a fresh and a new place that you haven’t seen yet.

well, In spite of the tired day, we all managed to get off from our tents roll back everything and get to the new location which was pretty close by, like a 20 minute drive that was again a fabulous location for a day out with barbeque, smaller hikes and snorkeling (I wish back then I knew I would travel like this or would write about places – would have captured way better pics lol 😛 )

Capture

Travel from Our location(Juniper springs) to Alexander Springs (Courtesy: Google maps) 

The sun was out, water was pure, the flora was wild   – The bliss of being in a place like this is so exciting, I try and create emotions to showcase how beautiful and breathtaking places are, but when you see with your eyes it is ten times the actual beauty expressed by me. These are places were you can just sit for hours together, by yourself or with your loved ones and admire every minute passing by graciously with this lovely piece of mother nature.

The water body was just a large swimming pool unclouded, where you can look at your feet when you enter and walking by in the silky sand only to an extent because it’s really so deep into the center. Either you know swimming or have a float to support – our whole gang almost droned a guy which wasn’t funny but when you recollect memories today it is funny 😛

      The atmosphere at Alexander Springs 

We Swam and had fun for almost couple of hours by the spring, finally, our stomachs started giving all the signs to say enough of feeding heart with happiness and brain with memories. we still didn’t listen to it, started walking by the trail, doesn’t take much time if you just take the periphery instead of the whole hike. Loaded my phones memory with enough of selfie spamming, finally remembered we don’t have any chicken or veggies to barbeque as we ran out on everything last night itself. You know what, the worst thing is you are hungry af, and people cook delicious barbeque and you are too ashamed to go and ask haha.

cbe47f85-2660-4bc9-9ca0-047f06788e2e                                                           Just a fun PIC 😛

Took a shower got our belongings, ran to the go get some food. But everyone is like”we need Indian Food” ” we need Indian food”. Everyone decided finally to go to an Indian restaurant in Orlando. It was an hour an a half drive through woods and rain. But the food though, OH man so Yum after so long, I knew it wasn’t that great but at least the flavor of the Indian food meant a lot to me but not the check. Which meant still  I was multiplying by 63 or 64 times the cost haha.

All my trip were memorable but this one was First on my list, always sweet and special. Sunshine state – for those who don’t know it’s Florida never fails to make me happy. With all the happiness and back to home. A four-hour drive mostly everyone was sleep except the couple of them driving. With this positive note have a look at the essential things you need to know about Alexander springs If you gonna travel there.

Travelers section: 

10 Essential things to know About – Alexander spring:

  1. Recreational area.
  2. Part of Ocala National park- Florida.
  3. Constant water temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Multiple springs vent under limerocks ledges.
  5. Has a 1-mile trail (If at all you have energy after swimming :P)
  6. Barbeque.
  7. A place for some sports like Frisbie, badminton, soccer (Whatever game you can imagine within that space – I leave it to your imagination 😛 ) 
  8. Canoeing and Kayaking
  9. Stores available for swimming and camping gears.
  10. Bathhouses, Camping area, and Picnic Places Available.

What should I have in my bag pack for camping at springs? (For people who didn’t get a chance to read my previous blog )

  • Towel *
  • Few shorts*
  • Hiking shoes*
  • Slippers*
  • T-shirt.
  • Swimwear and googles.
  • Insect repellant *
  • BBQ skewers, veggies, pre-marinated or required mix, charcoal and fire initiator ( If you wanna do BBQ ).
  • Cutting boards, Knives, spoons, and forks if necessary
  • Essential toiletries and skincare (depending on individuals) *
  • Tent and sleeping bag*
  • Pillows and blankets*
  • Most important always try to carry Trash bags*- Never know when will it come handy.
  • Sunscreen*
  • Umbrella* – you never know when it rains in Florida.
  • Camp reservation confirmation*- If the previous booking is done.
  • Power bank– If you are so much love with the place and click a ton of pictures from your mobile phone.
  • DSLR preferable or a good phone would do.

* – Mandatory

Have a sweet little lit weekend,

1

Travel from  Alexander Springs to Miami (Courtesy: Google maps)

My weekend is gonna be lit as well

Mom is back in the US, Taking her to my Hockey final on mothers day and it’s so freaking exciting. (To all reading my blog better pray for us to win 😛 – you guys better pray, just kidding send me some love and thats enough 🙂 )

See you next blog.

Love,

Praveen <3

Phases of Life /travel – PART 3

Hey people, Glad you guys are back!

Here goes the answer to why am I blogging? What made me write blogs? what travel got to do with me?

To all the reader’s, this is the Last one guys! I swear No more personal blogs guys…Time from next week to see some colorful places and admire… woohoo !!!!!

Even before I received the undergraduate degree,the actual piece of paper which  qualified me as an Engineer, I set flight to a beautiful country that gave me so much of confidence, perseverance, and ability to think  forgetting the fact that there is something called society which will always try to pull you down regardless of what you wanna achieve. Two questions always I have in my mind: If you won’t regret when you look back, what you have done? Are you passionate and happy about doing that? If Yes is the Answer then very well there is no place for second thought.

 Farewell at home and Chennai International Airport (Lol 😛 look at me, seriously )

I still remember my first flight to London and the connecting American Airlines flight to the US. It was like a dream, even today it is. Losing all the connections from the roots, flying 10,000 miles away with a thinking of different time zone, with people of different cultures. Will I be able to deal with it? Will I ever graduate my masters? (I swear I had this doubt – I am not even making it up), Will people accept me for who I am?

Courtesy: Google maps

Taking a break and looking at all this journey made me realize how life is beautiful and could we ever repay at least a part of it to earth, our parents or our friends. Guys take a minute and think how grateful we should be to our lives compared to a million people.

                                        First ever 10-hour flight journey to London 

                                             FIRST SIGHT OF MIAMI – SUCH A BEAUTY 

Well, everything eventually fell into place and for all the questions I would strongly answer a Yes now raising my chest proud and happy.  The first sight of US is still in my eyes and heart even today(As you see in the video, I am glad it came out well and I could showcase it today) – A beautiful evening from 10000 feet above, an amazing view of the south beach with the coastal vibe was so welcoming. Not forgetting the fact roommates are the most important part of anyone’s life but here in the US, it takes a notch more. They aren’t just your roomies, they are family and even well-wishers if it happens right.

We call the home I used to live “508”, A paradise. We never knew we were making memories, all we knew was that we were having fun. When I turn back and see, everyone who lived with me was elder to me (So naturally you become a little bro to them 😛 ) It’s always fun to be the youngest whether it is family or a family away from home. They even feed me, take care of me and made sure I cope up with the culture shock and conditions.(All the face down here had influenced me, taught me and motivated me as much as they could )

The school was different, Classes were different and even exams were kinda different. But I made sure I got this but met two beautiful souls who again made sure I am doing great in school too. Again mechanical engineering gifted me 2 more idiots AKA friends to deal with all my stupidity and the craziness!  Fun times man!

The change wasn’t easy guys, to all who moved to this country or any country abroad for this matter. Let me narrate 10 things, everyone goes through, the at least majority would have.

  1. Converting $1 to Rs.64,65,65…. whatever it was (Don’t smile if you have done it)
  2. Feel like speaking to your friends when you are free – But they are deep asleep at that time.
  3. Looking at the amazing cars, Will I ever be able to buy them? 
  4. Homesick (The magnitude differs though- In spite of staying in residential school from the age of 12, that feeling is real )
  5. There would be bad days where you need to run to someone for just a hug, but the fact is no one would be around you – Need to deal everything by yourself.
  6. Toilet paper (Self – explanatory – If you still don’t get it better move over to the next point haha!)
  7. You have a feeling of being in a mirage: Is this the place I really belong?
  8.  Finance being a constraint,  restrict yourself even to essential things that you would love doing (Unless you are from a status which gives you privilege not to care about finance )
  9. Your taste buds start to fade eating differently from your regular spicy food.
  10. The most important of all “YOUR INNER CHEF WILL COME OUT OF YOU ” (No other way apart from cooking 😛 )

Just letting everyone know, I came to the US to do my masters at Florida International University ( FIU) – A pretty amazing school in terms of schooling experience and in terms of the location and cultural diversity. Just sharing few initial pics while I moved to the school.

I hope you guys know pretty much about me.  (I hear some voices say, no more  – I got you guys !!! )

Can’t wait to show you guys the first travel I ever did in this Country, and many more to follow.

See you guys on next blog.

Love,

Praveen

Phases of Life /travel – PART 2

Hey people !!!! Almost crossing half of April, I am sure you guys have started planning stuff for summer.

Hope you guys read my last blog. Done with schooling and I was ready to move into a metropolitan city,  Chennai for college. Definitely moving into City for a guy who has spent half his childhood in a residential school would be a nightmare. Every single thing was a change from people’s behavior, dressing sense,  to the culture, to the routine. But I kinda liked the change, was always welcome to learn, experiment and experience the city way of living life. ( Most important these guys in the pictures made it even more simple for  me :P)

IMG_20130824_130049

4 beautiful college years passed – an amazing set of classmates, the unlimited amount of fun, fortunate to have a very interesting lovely gang of people who made my change very simple and yet colorful. Never bothered about anything; still need to accept the fact I was studious in my class from my project work to internships to burning midnight oil for almost all exams, which was a quite unexpected change! 😛

But, Yeah a sudden leap into school to college wasn’t that easy peeps. Needed a lot of time into academics, which meant obviously less traveling. Those days my definition of travel was way different, all that I use to think is going out for a movie with friends is fun (Well it is, not saying no to it), going out to a beach was fun. Never understood it’s just not the time I spend with friends but its the influence of the place and aura too. Wasn’t keen on observing nature or changes around me or even paying attention towards minute details.

Overall, I had an amazing set of teachers and friends who encouraged me in whatever I was doing productively. From having a cutoff of last from the second guy when I joined college to going to collect best outgoing student award wasn’t easy. Needed a lot of willpower, positivity, and determination. I went on to present our project in a television channel as well (Youtube link) Look at my amazing machine and my project team below.

IMG_1704PS: Couldn’t manage to find a better pic group pic than this 😛

Places traveled:

  1. Tamil Nadu, India – Rameshwaram, Dhanushkodi, Kodaikanal, Pollachi, Tirupur.
  2. Kerala – Parambikulam (An amazing place – you are just away from mobile networks and wifi )
  3. Goa, India (Best ever trip of my 4 years of bachelors)
  4. My first Ever International tip – Singapore ( My first International flight was just my self Since my mom was already there – A pretty amazing experience – can’t wait to share with you lovely peeps about that in a separate blog post )

 

Hope all my mechies were able to recollect few amazing moments  from the college – starting from mimicking in class, to not making someone not answering attendance, to having late night study/fun nights, to department fights [Which I was not a part of – but yeah stories the next day in class was so much fun ] – I can keep writing about this pages together. Okay, let’s constrain here before it overflows out and all the awkwardness comes out !!!! (Mechanical engineer for lifetime <3 )

Almost getting my Undergraduate degree in hand – Arises a Question what Next?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 All my lifelines in Pictures <3 

You got the Answer in the next blog guys I swear, The whole story of why US, why travel…

I am sure you guys would have all had so much fun in your respective colleges, feel free to share them in comments or send me a message – would love to hear them 🙂

If you love reading my blog, Please do subscribe – option is on the homepage.

Keep reading, Keep inspiring.

Love,

Praveen