Tried and True Niagara Falls

What’s not to like about tried and true Niagara Falls? Those of us who live in Southern Ontario and Western New York largely take it for granted. Living in Toronto, Niagara Falls is just a short drive down the highway. 90 minutes if the traffic is good; 2 hours or more if its not so good. From Buffalo, Niagara Falls is 30 minutes give or take. Over the years, I’ve probably been to Niagara Falls 25 or 30 times, maybe more. It’s intoxicating.

Niagara Falls USA

Before COVID-19 and 9/11, a quick trip across the border was a semi-regular event. Lunch, dinner, shopping, etc. Buffalo was normally the final destination but it’s always a treat to cross the border at Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls U.S.A. has the American Falls, the Seneca Casino, outlet shopping, hotels & motels. They also have some authentic American food restaurants like Villella’s Italian Restaurant (795 Rainbow Blvd), Buzzy’s (7617 NiagaraFalls Blvd.) and Sammy’s Pizzeria (1400 Hyde Park Blvd).

Niagara Falls Canada

Niagara Falls Canada gives you the full view of both the American Falls and the Horseshoe Falls (the Canadian Falls), 2 casinos, not so great shopping and many more hotel & motels. The better side for falls views and other activities. There are 27 wineries within 20 minutes and several championship golf courses. There always been this “vaudeville” feel to Niagara Falls with the walks, jumps and plunges that have taken place for almost 200 hundred years. In 2012, Nik Wallenda walked across a tightrope from the U.S. to Canadian side and an unidentified man became just the 3rd person to survive an unprotected trip over the falls.

Beyond looking at the Falls, there are a couple of great interactive Falls experiences. “Journey Behind the Falls” takes you down a 150 ft. elevator into a tunnel to 2 observation decks and portal behind the falls. The rushing water and roar of the falls is something else. The other more well known option is the “Maid of the Mist” boat tour. The boat takes you passed the base of the American Falls and into the basin of the Horseshoe Falls. A short walk from the Falls, Clifton Hill and area gives you amusement rides, takeout food and a lot of neon. The glory days of “the honeymoon capital of the world” are long gone but you can still find a motel with a heart shaped Jacuzzi tub.

Summary – Niagara Falls

At the end of the day, it all comes back to the wonder of the Falls. I never get tired of seeing Niagara Falls. It’s the unofficial 8th wonder of the world. It’s well worth the visit any time of year. And almost in my backyard.

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The Adventure Trek of Kasol-Kheerganga

The Adventure Trek of Kasol-Kheerganga

Himachal Pradesh is a place full of adventures. There are a lot of adventures one can do whether they are treks, rafting, bungee jumping, sightseeing, cable car, etc.

One of these adventures is the Kasol – Kheerganga Trek. The trek is one of the most popular treks in India.

Kasol

Kasol is a small village nestled in the hills of  Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh. It is a popular spot among hippies, backpackers, trekkers and nature lovers. The nearby village is Malana (famous for Malana Cream) and is deep-rooted in the Hippie culture. Kasol is a hub for Psy parties and every year attracts many tourists from across the World. Kasol is calm and quiet and will give you vibes of OM Shanti!

Kheerganga

Kheerganga is another small village that lies at the end of the Parvati Valley. It offers numerous waterfalls, hot springs, snow-capped peaks, and all-around lush green forests. Parvati Kund or hot spring pool is very famous among the Hindus and Sikh people as they believe the water has sacred healing properties.

Kheerganga offers amazing views of the Parvati River and the snow-covered Lahaul Spiti Valley.

The Adventure Trek of Kasol-Kheerganga

The Amazing Kasol- Kheerganga Trek

The Parvati Valley provides stunning and captivating views of the Himalayas. The trek  starts from Kasol. This 13 km long trek ends in Kheerganga and provides ample opportunities to explore the natural bounties of the region. On this adventure trail, you will pass by Rudranag, a serpent-shaped waterfall. There are numerous captivating waterfalls which are the highlights of the Kheerganga Trek.

The trek is considered as the best trek for beginners. It is a short and easy trek. It will take you through dense forests of rheodordans, oaks, and pines. You will be passing by the village of Barshaini – a small hamlet and the confluence of the rivers Parvati and Tosh. You will be treated to snowclad mountains, breathtaking views, and scenic landscapes of mountains.

 

 

A few of the villages that you will come upon on your trek:

1. Malana

A small village near Kasol, famous for Malana cream ( a drug). The place is quiet and calm with people here following the Lord Shiva. You will also start the Chandrakeni Trek from here. Malana is a village more for backpackers and nature lovers and less for tourists.

2. Tosh

It is located at 2,400 meters in elevation on a hill near Kasol in Parvati Valley. The place is famous for waterfalls and surrounded by Apple Orchards. You will see wooden architecture all over the village and captivating views of Parvati Valley. Tosh village is located close to the base of Kheergange.

3. Pulga

A small Hamlet in the trail near Malana. It is a beautiful place to visit and experience the great views of lush greenery, snowclad view of the peaks and skies landscapes.

After reaching Kheerganga, it is time to take a dive into the hot waters of the Parvati Kund. Enjoy the hot springs and relax your sore muscles after the tiring trek. And enjoy ravishing views of the valley all around.

You will see many local restaurants and cafes in small villages. Restaurants serve German, Chinese and Israeli cuisines. You can also have tea, coffee and snacks at tiny tea stalls.

Camp near Riverside and get close to nature by seeing the beautiful sunrises and starry nights. Or opt for a homestay and get a chance to explore the life of locals and their culture.

The best time to visit Kasol – Kheerganga is totally depended on your own preference. In summer, the weather remains pleasant and calm. In winter, the weather stays chilly with snowfalls. Most of the trekkers opt for the winter. Kasol is famous for rave and Psy parties and attracts many Indians and foreigners. They come here to backpack and explore the Hippie culture. Getting to Kasol is an adventure in itself with different routes and forms of transportation.

Here are some basic tips for beginners who are planning to do this adventure.

  • Beginners are advised to take a trek leader along with the trek.
  • Keep a route map with you.
  • Always keep something to eat with you like chocolates, chikki, energy bars, etc.
  • Follow the instructions of your trek leader.
  • Carry minimum weight.
  • Take necessary medicines or a medical kit with you.
  • Keep yourself healthy and fit.
  • Inform your family in prior advance.

Kasol Kheerganga is just a weekend away. Plan your next trip in the mountains and feel peace all around. Beginners will love their first trekking adventure!

Live. Travel. Explore!

The Paris Series (Part 2) – Sainte-Chapelle

Among the many things that Paris is famous for, its collection of museums is second to none. There are over 50 museums and noteworthy monuments in and around Paris. There are of course many very well known ones including the Musee du Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, Musee Picasso and monuments including the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Chathedral, Chateau de Versailles and more.

One of Paris’ greatest jewels, and often overlooked sites, is Sainte-Chapelle. As you walk down Boulevard du Palais, you’ll see a line of people that appear to be waiting to enter the Palais de Justice (a large building from 1868 that still functions as a court house). Behind the entrance and in the courtyard is what they are actually waiting for – the entrance to Sainte-Chapelle. (Unlike some other museum sites, your Paris Museum Pass does not get you queue-cutting access here).

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Sainte-Chapelle is a royal medieval Gothic chapel dating back to the 1200s and Louis the IX of France. Although damaged during the French Revolution, Sainte-Chapelle contains one of the most extensive and beautiful collections of stained glass anywhere in the world. As you enter the chapel, you’ll see a small sample of stained glass and a gift shop. Look for the stairs on either side of the room to ascend a very narrow staircase to the second floor and you’ll enter the main room. You will be awestruck. It is absolutely spectacular and breathtaking! A very worthwhile visit!

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