Year 2019 Trips

April – Kerala

The first trip of the year – a hastily booked trip to my hometown when my dad passed away. I’m not yet ready to talk about it. Someday.

April – Rishikesh

My dad had been talking about revisiting Haridwar and Rishikesh for some time but hadn’t been able to make it due to health issues. This trip was in his memory.

Night view of Ram Jhula in Rishikesh

May – Bhimtal

A short trip to my husband’s hometown in the hills. My son had just completed class 12 boards and assorted entrance exams and secured admission in a reputed college. This was a trip to revive our spirits and re-energize ourselves.

Hanuman ji in Naukuchiatal, near Bhimtal

June – Chennai

Life moves on. This was a short trip to drop off my son to a college near Chennai. This also gave me a chance to visit a school friend in Chennai, whom we informally appointed as our son’s local guardian.

August – Bangalore, Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry

A trip that went haywire. Our original plan was to visit my sister and mom in Bangalore, then take my mom back to Kerala to visit relatives and tie up some loose ends, then visit my son in Chennai and finally return to Delhi with mom. However due to flash floods in Kerala, we had to cancel that part of the trip. As our return tickets to Delhi were already booked, we decided to prepone our trip to Chennai and use the intervening days to explore Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry.

I’ve chronicled some of our adventures in this blog:

October – Kerala

Since we couldn’t go to Kerala in August, my mom had been eagerly waiting for a chance to return to Kerala and check on her house, family and friends. A wedding in the family in October gave us this opportunity.

October – Bhimtal

As we were not celebrating Diwali this year, we were at a loose end on what to do during the extended Diwali weekend. We decided to take mom to Bhimtal as she had never been to the hills before.

In Sat Tal, near Bhimtal

December – Australia

Dad’s passing away had (expectedly) brought up thoughts about our own mortality. It has been my dream to see as much of the world as possible.

Though we have travelled extensively in India, we haven’t travelled much outside India. By and large, this was due to my husband’s stubborn refusal to get a passport (as he firmly believes that India has everything worth seeing) and the bureaucratic hurdles in getting my son’s passport when his father didn’t have one. He finally agreed to get one in 2016 purely to make it easier for me to get a passport for my son, who was a minor at the time. After a celebratory trip to Thailand in 2016, we had been unable to make any other international trips due to my son’s X and XIIth board exams and other demands on our time.

But now I was determined to make this trip. In fact, I vowed to make one international trip a year, not knowing of course how 2020 would turn out. There was some talk of waiting another six months and then going to Europe in Summer of 2020. Thank God, I firmly put my foot down and said, I want to go out NOW.

We opted for Australia because it would be Summer in Australia in December and because Australia visa could be obtained online. As our son was in Chennai and my husband was shuttling between Bhimtal and Delhi, it would have been difficult to organize a physical visa interview.

The 10D/9N Australia trip is too exquisite to be covered in a single post. I’m planning to cover this trip in several posts to do justice to each place we visited.

This was our itinerary:

Melbourne, Australia
10 Dec Full day – Arrive in Melbourne and get transferred to Jasper Hotel in Melbourne, CBD. Rest of the day at leisure.
11 Dec Noon to evening – The Evening Penguin Parade Tour
12 Dec Full day – Great Ocean Road Tour (Includes Anglesea, Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch, Kennet River, Apollo Bay, Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, The Razorback and Gibson’s Steps)
13 Dec Noon to evening – Explore Melbourne city and take an evening flight to Cairns.

Cairns, Australia
14 Dec Full day – Big Cat Green Island with Semi Submarine (Includes A Cruise to Green Island, Great Barrier Reef, The Great Barrier Reef from a Semi-Submersible Submarine, and Glass Bottom Boat Ride at Great Barrier Reef)
15 Dec Full day – Kuranda Scenic Railway Day Trip with Rainforest Nature Park (Includes Skyrail Cableway Gondola Ride Over Kuranda Rainforest, a Tour of Kuranda Village, and a ride back in Kuranda Scenic Railway). At night we walked over to the nearby Cairns Esplanade.
16 Dec Noon – Explore Cairns Esplanade at Daytime and take an evening flight to Sydney.

Sydney, Australia
17 Dec Morning to noon – Day of leisure (we decided to go to Bondi beach)
18 Dec Full day – Blue Mountains Special Day Tour with Scenic World
19 Dec Full day – Check out of hotel and take a flight back to India.

December – Rishikesh

We were back in Rishikesh to bid farewell to the year and celebrate a close friend’s 25th wedding anniversary.

Copyright © 2023


Published by Leena T Pandey

I have been reading voraciously since the age of five when I first discovered the joys of reading. I would lap up anything in print. Unrolling an emptied newspaper cone with one hand, stuffing roasted peanuts in my mouth with the other, all the while devouring the printed content on the cone with my eyes, was one of my first experiences in hedonistic pleasure. In fact, sometimes I feel that I am on an adventurous journey through the secret dreamworld of other people's imaginations, interspersed with occasional visits to my own life to attend events like graduation, first job, marriage, and so on. As a true-blue reader, I think I am uniquely qualified to comment on and critique other people's works of labour. I can tell exactly what puts the average reader to sleep, what sets their pulse racing, and what has them salivating for more. Write to me at

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