We were staying at half board, we would usually have breakfast and dinner at the hotel! I am a vegetarian who can eat eggs. Chhavi can eat chicken too! We had plenty of vegetarian options in the buffets.
For breakfast there was a automatic pancake making machine where kids would queue to make a big pile. Chhavi discovered it towards the end of the trip. But once it was found, it was pancakes all the way for the rest of the holiday.
After breakfast on most of the days we would head to the tennis courts! After the morning session, it was time for fun! Chhavi would invariably take me to the pool! There are three sister hotels- Kornati, Ilirija and Adriatic located next to each other. The indoor swimming pool is in between Ilirija and Adriatic. That would be her first stop. Then she would drag me to the outdoor pool at the Adriatic and her final stop would be the sea in front. I would find the water cold and try to inch in, only to be pushed by Chhavi. The guests from all the three hotels can use any of the pools.
Swimming done we would head back to the hotel for a quick shower. Then we would walk out of the sliding doors to promenade in search of food. There are plenty of restaurants around the hotel. There is an ATM machine close to it. The whole area is incredibly pretty.
One day Chhavi decided to wear her mermaid dress in the evening. We just had to step out of the hotel for this photo opportunity! This remains my favorite picture from the entire trip. I wonder for how long she will continue doing such cute things!
There was a live music almost everyday at the hotel, guests would dance to the tune of it. Chhavi and I would sit in the balcony and enjoy the scene. We have so many fond memories from our stay at the Hotel Ilirija. I hope Chhavi and I would go back to Biograd sometime again!
Summer vacations are just around the corner. I am usually quick off the block to plan a trip with my daughter, Chhavi. Last year we visited Koh Samui together and we had amazing fun.
Before that my niece, daughter and I went to Prague. My sister and I have travelled to Budapest and Paris on vacations. I am quite used to applying for a Schengen Visa. When I did the formalities for the first time, I remember I was surprised that the Schengen countries have an approved list of travel insurance companies.
However, this year has been different. I have never been so confused as to where to go. I am torn between taking a simple vacation vs taking my daughter to a place where she can play tennis as well. Chhavi started playing tennis in 2017 and within two years she started playing tournaments as well.
— Mridula Dwivedi (@mridulablog) April 6, 2019
Life was a little less hectic before. Now every holiday means extra practice. Twice a month we go around NCR to play matches. In tennis, All India Tennis Association is the apex body that runs a national league popularly known as AITA. She plays in under 12 and 14 age categories as of now. Contrary to all expectations, she won her very first match of Under 12. By the virtue of that one win she has a ranking of 539 or so in the country. The ranking is of course a dynamic thing and changes from week to week!
Before tennis, choices were simple. She would go to school, play in the park in the evening and we were free to travel in all her vacations. Now there is tennis practice and matches to juggle with school!
My original plan was that we will go out in June to a European country. Within Europe, I prefer a Schengen country as it gives me some flexibility to travel around. Schengen visa travel insurance is also easy. We would combine tennis with a vacation.
But I am not so sure now. Her practice is going on well with her coach, Aman Rawat. I am reluctant to break her rhythm. On the other hand, I feel she is not getting any break so we should simply go on a vacation. Going by this idea I start looking at the air fares and then I feel if I am going to spend so much money; why not add a week of tennis in it! I keep chasing these ideas within my head without reaching anywhere!
Another thought is to take a quick short break on one of the long weekends when the school is open and only focus on tennis during the summer holidays. The difficult part is that I am not feeling peaceful with any of these choices. I keep over thinking without arriving at any decision.
Then I ask the child what she wants, and she says, “Whatever you decide!” So, we go back to square one! She doesn’t seem too keen on an extended weekend break! So, I somehow must find a way to make something work in the summer vacation itself or convince her to take a break later! But before I do anything, I need to make up my own mind. Who thought taking a summer vacation could be this tough!
The first trip of 2019 was to Ranthambore with Abhyaran Hotels. Chhavi and I took the Janshatabdi from Hazrat Nizaumddin to Sawai Madhopur in the afternoon. We arrived at the hotel in the evening after 7.00 pm.
After going for a quick refresh in our spacious room we headed to the pool for bonfire and much needed tea. Every evening a group of local singers perform by the fire under the starry sky. The first day of the trip was almost gone in reaching the destination and recovering from the fatigue.
Tired as we were, there was dinner to look forward to. We joined the buffet dinner at 8.00 pm. The hot roits are served at the table. The buffet offers both and vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The food had a homely feel. Later I realized they grow some of the produce in their own farms.
After dinner we retired to our room. It was a blessing not to have TV there. Kids are so glued to screens these days. However, my endeavors were only partially successful. There was WiFi at the resort so Chhavi could watch something on the mobile. But we both crashed quickly. And we had a lazy day ahed.
Waking up without an alarm is such a simple pleasure of life, more so when you went early to bed the previous night! We woke up refreshed and it was a beautiful sunny day. After a leisurely breakfast we went about exploring the resort.
We had seen the pool the previous night, now it was time to see the farms, cows, rabbits and hen! The garden surrounded by the the Sahtoot (mulberry) trees is a serene place overlooking the mustard fields.
After a round of the hotel, Chhavi and I walked out to the blooming mustard fields! And it was such great fun. We were peering at the fields by the narrow road. Tractors went past us playing local songs at full blast!
After walking for a while, we found a break in a fence. So, went closer to the field. I had to reign in Chhavi or she could have gone wild with the blooms. Still a few flowers ended up in her hands and in her hair band!
While we were walking back to Abhyaran, we met three little girls coming back from their football practice. If we had more time Chhavi would have loved to join them. After tennis, football is her favorite game!
But we hurried to lunch and the evening safari! Our safari was in Zone 10 which is at the other end of the city. It took us quite some time to reach the jungle. The canter was filled with tourists from Italy. They greeted Chhavi warmly. No two adjacent seats were vacant but the driver offered Chhavi the front seat next to his! Her day was made.
We had no luck with the big cats but then we had gone to the jungle and not a zoo! Even Chhavi understands that. It is always a pleasure to go to the jungle.
We went to the bonfire again after the safari. It was followed by a sumptuous dinner. We wish we had one more day but Chhavi had tennis to get back to.
As we waited for our train from the small Sawai Madhopur station at the sunrise we both knew it was a good start to the year!
PS. Chhavi and I were invited by the Abhyaran Hotel on this trip.