Author: Sara Dobak

Impressions of India Part 3 – Mumbai and Home

India’s popularity as a tourist destination has increased in leaps and bounds over the past couple of years, but on arranged tours travellers often see only the surface of what this incredible country has to offer. To get right down into the underbelly of a place, you either have to stay a while longer and go for ‘slow’ or ‘experiential’ travel, or approach it from a different perspective altogether. Here, we do just that, as...

When Travel Dreams Fade – The Eclipse That Wouldn’t Wait

I knew I was tempting fate when I published that ‘travel plans’ post in January… I’m sitting here writing this tale of discarded travel plans, wondering whether I should have let it get to me so much. Why is this even an issue? I ask myself. The law of averages tells me it’s N.O.R.M.A.L for a travel blogger, isn’t it? No, scrub that, it’s normal in everyday life. We’ve all been there, having to soak up the...

Summertime Bees and Blooms – A Wildflower Meadow in Hampshire

This month has been a busy one beyond belief for me, for a hotchpotch of reasons, some good and others not so much. I’ve been industriously buzzing around sorting, organising, planning for everything from a likely house move, through a (not-looked-forward-to) operation, to a couple of weddings – one in the glorious setting of Amberly Castle, the other in Sweden. All of which hasn’t left me much time to put hands to keyboard and turn...

BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir Neasden Hindu Temple London

Hindu Blessings at London’s Neasden Temple

I’ve been to UK Hindu temples before, those converted community-hall type of temples you find in most urban population centres, where the shrines are modest and the furnishings sometimes a little frayed around the edges. I’d occasionally wondered if all such temples outside of India were the same. Last weekend I discovered that this is categorically not the case, as I accompanied my longest-standing friend and her family to Neasden Temple in north-west London. I knew nothing...

Why Cuenca is Ecuador’s Loveliest City

Some have said Cuenca stands on the site of what was once El Dorado, the mythical city of gold which the Spanish Empire searched for in vain. Today, this city in southern Ecuador owes its architectural heritage to those marauding Spanish Conquistadors themselves, and is the country’s most important city after the capital, Quito. I wandered the historical city centre and soaked up that ambience during a backpacking trip to South America, and found much...

The Rare Ecosystem and Alien Landscapes of Paracas National Reserve in Peru

With the gold and russet dunes folding into each other in the distance, I stepped straight out onto the arid Martian landscape. Or so it seemed. If it wasn’t for the bold blue of our earthly sky, I could have sworn I’d just set foot on our neighbouring planet. That, and the fact I wasn’t wearing a spacesuit or breathing apparatus! It certainly wasn’t the panorama I was expecting to be met by when I booked...

The East Side Gallery – Berlin’s Cold War Canvas

For a city saturated with graffiti at almost every turn, it’s hard to imagine how any one section of Berlin’s urban art canvasses could stand out.

But here, along a 1.3km riverside stretch at Mühlenstraße, a generation’s hopes, dreams and frustrations lie splattered poignantly across the longest remaining segment of the Berlin Wall.