Es­cape to bliss

Marwar - - Travel - Text Joseph Rozario with in­puts from WIYO Travel and Nir­vana Travel

Ro­mance is the first thing that comes to mind for newly-weds af­ter the long-drawn Mar­wari wed­ding is over. Fi­nally it’s time for the be­sot­ted cou­ple to flee to a fairy-tale land for fun, frolic and some ‘you-and-me-time’. But where? With off­beat des­ti­na­tions gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity, MARWAR sug­gests a few that are sure to cast their spell on new-age cou­ples.

Hon­ey­moon des­ti­na­tions have seen a world of change in re­cent years and as op­posed stereo­typed des­ti­na­tions of yore, to­day’s hon­ey­moon­ers have nu­mer­ous op­tions to choose from—so much so that they leave cou­ples spoilt for choice. “How about Goa?”, “Or will Mal­dives be bet­ter?”, “Or should we go to some far­away ex­otic land syn­ony­mous with bliss?” Th­ese are the kind of ques­tions that cou­ples typ­i­cally find ask­ing them­selves nowa­days with tour op­er­a­tors and hol­i­day plan­ners bring­ing ev­ery con­ceiv­able land in the world within the reach of In­dian hol­i­day­mak­ers.

"For In­dian trav­ellers, there are a few all-time pop­u­lar hon­ey­moon des­ti­na­tions such as Sin­ga­pore and Thai­land in Asia, and Switzer­land, France and Italy in Europe,” says Jay Kantawala, the founder of Mum­baibased WIYO Travel, whom we asked for sug­ges­tions. What Kantawala says may well be true, but there is a new breed of hon­ey­moon­ers, who are not just averse to over­crowded, jaded des­ti­na­tions, but also are gung-ho about off­beat places. This trend of head­ing for un­ex­plored places finds res­o­nance with Kantawala’s ob­ser­va­tions, who adds, “Nowa­days, cou­ples also want to go to un­ex­plored places like Morocco, Kenya and South Amer­ica to spend qual­ity time with their loved ones."

Viren Ba­tra, the co-founder of Nir­vana Travel, Mum­bai, on the other hand sug­gests des­ti­na­tions like Bar­iloche (in Ar­gentina) and Poland when it comes to cater­ing to the grow­ing num­ber of cou­ples look­ing for off­beat places. “Bar­iloche and Poland are highly un­ex­plored, yet they are a trea­sure trove of unique sights, thou­sands of years of twists and turns and amaz­ing sto­ries,” he says. Closer home, Ba­tra rec­om­mends Udaipur, which he says “is an ab­so­lutely royal des­ti­na­tion and a great fit for any­body, es­pe­cially those look­ing for a royal ex­pe­ri­ence”.

Sift­ing through var­i­ous op­tions sug­gested by Ba­tra and Kantawala, the places that per­haps truly stand out for their un­spoilt beauty are Poland, Bar­iloche, Morocco, Fiji and Posi­tano. We bring you a glimpse of some of the at­trac­tions of th­ese places.

Fiji: A trop­i­cal par­adise “Fiji Is­lands is an ex­cel­lent choice for a lux­ury beach hon­ey­moon. From larger is­lands with some city life to pri­vate is­lands with ex­clu­sive re­sorts, the des­ti­na­tion has a lot to of­fer to a hon­ey­moon cou­ple,” says Jay Kantawala.

Fiji is a hands down choice when it comes to hon­ey­moon­ing in the South Pa­cific. The crown jewel of ro­mance, Fiji has 333 sun-kissed, pic­turesque is­lands and a balmy cli­mate that make it a per­fect beach­side hon­ey­moon des­ti­na­tion. Fiji of­fers lux­u­ri­ous hon­ey­moon re­sorts, white sandy beaches and un­be­liev­able sun­sets that cre­ate a per­fect back­drop for some un­for­get­table ro­mance. While some re­sorts are lo­cated on pri­vate is­lands, some are lo­cated in a larger is­land. Most of­fer an ex­clu­sive hon­ey­moon ex­pe­ri­ence with fab­u­lous spas, out­door can­dle­light din­ners, beach pic­nics and beach ac­tiv­i­ties.

Fiji of­fers a host of other at­trac­tions, be­sides. You could find your pre­ferred stretch on a de­serted beach and set­tle down with a gourmet bas­ket, with not an­other per­son in sight. Your re­sort could also help you to set up a pic­nic ta­ble and leave you to en­joy the serene beauty.

The crys­tal clear wa­ters be­tween the is­lands of Fiji are an­other story. As the sun moves, watch the shade of th­ese wa­ters change spec­tac­u­larly as you cruise on a cata­ma­ran or go kayak­ing. You could also in­dulge in fun wa­ter sports, or ex­plore the amaz­ing un­der­wa­ter world of Fiji. Go div­ing or snorkelling to en­joy Fiji’s lush soft corals, amaz­ing reefs, myr­iad species of fish, sea tur­tles and the giant blue starfish.

Fiji is also known for black South Pa­cific pearls which are sought for their beauty and el­e­gance the world over. As you pre­pare to fly out of the trop­i­cal par­adise, don’t for­get to take one back home as a sou­venir.

Bar­iloche: An An­dean love af­fair “Bar­iloche is an idyl­lic place that’s pick­ing up as far as tourism goes, yet is still quite un­ex­plored, which re­ally adds to its charm,” says Viren Ba­tra. “And while it’s not your typ­i­cal hon­ey­moon des­ti­na­tion, we per­son­ally rec­om­mend it, es­pe­cially if you have only a cou­ple of days to spend.”

A small Ar­gen­tinean town at the foot of the An­des, in the prov­ince of Rio Ne­gro, Bar­iloche is pep­pered with ski re­sorts that cater to skiers of all lev­els of ex­pe­ri­ence and en­thu­si­asm. If ski­ing isn’t your cup of tea, rent a kayak and ex­plore the amaz­ing fjords. For some­thing more ad­ven­tur­ous, try the glacier hikes.

On the qui­eter side, horse­back tours would be a great op­tion. Jour­ney into the Patag­o­nian steppe and the foothills of the Ar­gen­tine An­des, as you ad­mire the pic­turesque lakes, tran­si­tional forests of cy­press trees and spot con­dors, black-necked swans, gua­na­cos and deer.

A ma­jor at­trac­tion in Bar­iloche is the Route of the Seven Lakes drive. An amaz­ing and scenic 248 Km roundtrip jaunt, it fol­lows a windy road past mag­nif­i­cent lakes, charm­ing towns, green forests and tun­dras.

Yet an­other not-to-be-missed at­trac­tion is the breath­tak­ing Iguazu Falls, which is made up of a sys­tem of 275 wa­ter­falls or cataracts, span­ning an area 2.7 kilo­me­tres wide. Whether you choose to take a walk around this amaz­ing force of na­ture or just stand and gape from a dis­tance, the Iguazu Falls is rea­son enough to plan a hon­ey­moon in Bar­iloche.

In Bar­iloche, don’t for­get to sam­ple the choco­lates that the place is famed for. Known as Ar­gentina’s choco­late cap­i­tal, there is some­thing spe­cial for ev­ery­one and no sweet tooth will ever go back dis­ap­pointed from Bar­iloche.

From lux­u­ri­ous cruises to ex­cit­ing sail­ing ad­ven­tures and wa­ter tours, the op­tions are plenty and the nat­u­ral beauty ab­so­lutely breath­tak­ing in Ar­gentina.

Snow-driz­zled vol­ca­noes, crys­tal clear lakes, the mag­nif­i­cent An­des Moun­tains—th­ese and more go to the mak­ing of the ir­re­sistible hon­ey­moon des­ti­na­tion that Bar­iloche is. Morocco: Mediter­ranean med­ley Though a lesser-known des­ti­na­tion for hon­ey­moon­ers, few places mea­sure up to Morocco. From ad­ven­ture, cul­ture, his­tory and wilder­ness to ma­jes­tic palaces, in­ter­est­ing mu­se­ums, lux­ury ho­tels, mouth wa­ter­ing cuisines, fine din­ing op­tions and stun­ning nat­u­ral land­scapes, Morocco of­fers it all! Blessed with di­verse, cap­ti­vat­ing panora­mas and a rich kalei­do­scope of cul­ture, Morocco presents it­self as an un­beat­able des­ti­na­tion to hon­ey­moon cou­ples look­ing for a per­fect bal­ance of lux­ury and ad­ven­ture.

“Morocco’s var­i­ous of­fer­ings will mes­mer­ize your stay and give you a mem­o­rable hon­ey­moon. It of­fers a com­plete hon­ey­moon ex­pe­ri­ence from ad­ven­ture, cul­ture, his­tory and wilder­ness,” says Jay Kantawala.

Lo­cated at the in­ter­sec­tion of Europe and Africa, Morocco is hemmed by the wa­ters of the Mediter­ranean on one side and with vast stretches of the At­lantic Ocean on the other. A di­verse coun­try, Morocco’s at­trac­tions range from the an­cient mar­kets of Mar­rakech and Fes to the splen­did land­scapes of the At­las Moun­tains and the deserts of Ouarza­zate, Sa­hara and Agafay, not to for­get the beaches of Es­saouria. In the north lie the ru­ins of the great Mediter­ranean civ­i­liza­tions, while Ra­bat’s ar­chi­tec­tural works are rem­i­nis­cent of the old French pres­ence. Trea­sures of Mus­lim civ­i­liza­tions lie scat­tered through­out the rest of the coun­try and also rem­nants of myr­iad dy­nas­ties that suc­ceeded one an­other. Ex­plore cities like Casablanca, Mar­rakesh, Es­saouira, Fez, Ra­bat and the Sa­hara, or head for a lux­ury beach des­ti­na­tion such as Agadir, Moulay Bous­s­lam.

Morocco of­fers mag­nif­i­cent sea and moun­tain land­scapes and is home to the full range of Mediter­ranean cli­mates. Step back in time in the an­cient me­di­ans

of the his­tor­i­cal cities, stay warm in the moun­tains with mint tea, sleep be­neath the stars in the desert, or stroll along the beach front; or com­bine all of th­ese for a mem­o­rable trip. Poland: East Euro­pean idyll A gold­mine of his­tory and her­itage, Poland mes­merises you with its trea­sure trove of re­gal me­dieval cas­tles, fas­ci­nat­ing Re­nais­sance ar­chi­tec­ture, tow­er­ing moun­tains car­peted with lush forests, colour­ful old mar­ket towns and a deep-rooted his­tory.

“Ex­plor­ing a thou­sand years of twists and turns, his­to­ries and sto­ries and culi­nary ad­ven­tures mean that a trip to Poland will def­i­nitely be a unique and ful­fill­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Viren Ba­tra. “It may not be a typ­i­cal hon­ey­moon des­ti­na­tion, but it def­i­nitely war­rants a place on your bucket list, only if for the myr­iad lives, ex­pe­ri­ences and sights you’ll get to live there.”

One of the best ways to en­joy Poland is to ex­plore it city-wise. You could start with War­saw which with its che­quered his­tory has its in­com­pa­ra­ble draws as a hon­ey­moon des­ti­na­tion. Stroll around the Old Town, ex­plore the city’s iconic land­marks such as the Royal Cas­tle, the Cathe­dral and the Mer­maid Statue and then walk down the Krakowskie Przed­mieś­cie and Nowy Świat streets, packed with colour­ful shops and charm­ing cafes. While about it, tuck in some of the best cuisines from around the world from an ar­ray of restau­rants.

Head for Wro­claw next, a charm­ing city on the banks of the Odra River that boasts nu­mer­ous bridges, breath­tak­ing mar­ket squares, nu­mer­ous Re­nais­sance man­sions flanked by gas street­lamps that are still lit by hand and a se­cret pop­u­la­tion of tiny dwarf stat­ues that at­tract tourists from the world over. Visit the Old Town Hall, the Mil­i­tary Mu­seum, the Mu­seum of Ar­chi­tec­ture and the Mu­seum of Bour­geois Art and the Church of St Mary Mag­da­lene, be­sides.

Kraków’s main draws in­clude the Wawel Royal Cas­tle, which is a sym­bol of na­tional iden­tity, soar­ing churches, im­pres­sive mu­se­ums and the vast mar­ket square of the Old Town. For a glimpse of Poland’s tur­bu­lent his­tory, ex­plore the former Jewish quar­ter and then pro­ceed to the lively squares and back­streets, with nu­mer­ous restau­rants, bars and clubs. Among the city’s other tourist hotspots are the Wieliczka deep salt mine, Schindler’s Fac­tory and an in­ter­ac­tive mu­seum show­cas­ing the Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion of Kraków.

Af­ter a hec­tic hon­ey­moon, some much-needed

re­lax­ation is def­i­nitely in or­der, and Torun City is the per­fect lo­ca­tion for it. This mag­nif­i­cent Gothic town is not very high on most trav­ellers’ lists, en­sur­ing that you get all the pri­vacy you need. Posi­tano: Ro­manc­ing in Italy Ac­cord­ing to Jay Kantawala, Posi­tano is a top choice for des­ti­na­tion wed­dings as well as for hon­ey­moon­ing and works great for short ro­man­tic get­aways.

A pic­turesque cliff side town lo­cated on the Amalfi Coast in south­ern Italy, no pic­ture can do jus­tice to Posi­tano’s charms as a hon­ey­moon des­ti­na­tion. It has a lovely beach­front, nar­row streets lined with bou­tiques and cafes that are ideal for en­joy­ing sun soaked, pasta-filled hol­i­days.

Posi­tano ex­udes ro­mance. There is some­thing spe­cial and ro­man­tic about the place. Walk along the beach or watch the beau­ti­ful sun­set— both will make you fall in love with it. You can oth­er­wise wan­der away from the usu­ally crowded main beach and go to the Fornillo Beach which is set in a pretty cove with watch tow­ers and plenty of sun beds and um­brel­las for a re­lax­ing day at the beach.

One can splurge on the stay by stay­ing at one of the in­cred­i­ble lux­ury ho­tels. Posi­tano also has sev­eral restau­rants with ro­man­tic set­tings to en­joy cock­tails and ex­clu­sive Ital­ian cui­sine. It’s also known for its piz­zas, lo­cal wine and the fa­mous hand­made gelatos, all of which fill your hol­i­day with the kind of Ital­ian charm that tourists from all over the world crave from their Ital­ian hol­i­day

Clock­wise from top, left: A cou­ple en­joy­ing a sunny evening in Mar­rakesh, Morocco; Tra­di­tional Moroc­can ar­chi­tec­tural de­tail in Che­fchaouen, Morocco; Me­dieval Town Hall and square in the Old Town of Torun, Poland

Top: A panoramic view of Bar­iloche Bot­tom: Na­tional Con­gress Build­ing in Buenos Aires, on a sun­set

Bot­tom: Posi­tano, Italy

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