Our excitement knew no bounds as Chhavi and I were invited to stay at Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa for 2 nights. Luckily it was a long weekend so she was not missing school. But on weekends she plays tennis both in the mornings and the evenings but I could do nothing about that. Both of us have been to Goa before and yet her excitement knew no bounds.
— Mridula Dwivedi (@mridulablog) August 5, 2017
Chhavi was bouncing in the plane itself. Our Air Asia flight was mostly uneventful otherwise. We were promptly picked up at the airport. The kid fell asleep in the moving vehicle and I had to wake her up when we arrived.
She loved the room, it was after all the Prestige Suite. There was something on the table all gift wrapped. She asked me if she could open it? It was a Minion! She jumped around the room for half an hour with it.
However, her favorite part of the room is the bathroom where she likes to be in the shower for a long time! This time was no different.
The Swimming Pool
After playing with her Minion for a while she started chanting, “lets go to the pool.” So pool it was. Even though Chhavi knows how to swim, she likes to fool around much more than anything else! There was ice-cream for kids by the pool! It is a daily event and happens at 5.30 pm.
Then she discovered the sunken bar by the pool! Of course she was thirsty and only a lemonade by the pool would do! I also took it as an opportunity to order a beer! It was the same story the next day too. At the end of the vacation I asked her what was her favorite bit about the trip, she replied without any hesitation “the drinks by the pool!”
I too love swimming pools but my favorite bit was the kids room and I will tell you in a minute why!
The Kids Room
There is a dedicated kids room at Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa and at the Novotel Goa Shrem too! Initially both of us would go there, then she got comfortable. That meant I could go to the room and pack in peace on the last day. I could also make a cup of tea and sip it without being distracted a thousand times with “mamma …” If you are a mom you know what a luxury it is!
Activities for Kids at the Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa
There were many other activities for kids at the resort. There was a Table Tennis table, a basketball hoop, Fustball, Carom and much more. We tried out everything.
There were computer related extravaganza too! There was an interactive game table where kids could touch the screen and choose age appropriate games! My girl would play Angry Birds all the time!
There was a TV too where games were loaded. You could play by moving around, the screen would respond to the movement. Chhavi tried bowling on it!
During our stay carnival games were organized too. Chhavi was busy for good two hours, which meant mama was free to enjoy her day too!
She was anyway pampered to the core throughout her stay. I often wonder if she will start expecting it on every trip but so far she has been happy either way, as long as she is traveling!
We had our meals at the Food Exchange. It is a buffet type all day dining with a wide variety of food. They had ice-cream for breakfast! And it is full of kids running around. A father was feeding his toddler who was making him run all around the big dining room! The girl was so cute, she came by our table and we chatted for a while. In the meanwhile the poor father was able to feed her two more spoons!
— Mridula Dwivedi (@mridulablog) August 6, 2017
Chhavi too gives me a lot of trouble for eating food! Recently we watched ‘Dangal‘ together and I told her “मुझमें भी महावीर सिंह फोगाट की आत्मा आ गई है!” (I am also inspired by Mahavir Sing Phogat, so you better eat your food!) She sulks, she avoids and then she starts singing under her breath “ये तो torture है बड़ा, ये तो torture है बड़ा” (It is such a big torture)! If I can get inspired, so can she! But these days I hold firm when it comes to food!
I quite enjoyed my meals. But I enjoyed the coconut ice-cream a bit more than anything else.
We also enjoyed dressing up for the dinner on both the nights, though you can dress as you please at the resort!
Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa organizes free shuttles (every half hour, between 10.00 am to 7.00 pm) to Candolim Beach. We went there on the second evening. The girl loves water! The sea was rough and I had to restrain her!
It was her first, watching a rough sea. But even in the limited way, she had a gala time playing with the sea, I am sure she was talking to it too!
When she plays it is easy to click her pictures! Otherwise she behaves like a diva! I think we fight the most about clicking pictures, after food. So all the credit for the pictures goes to me!
Overall, we had a memorable trip to Goa with Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa! We will remember it for a long time! After coming back she was telling her brother (my nephew, the one who is known as Brat 2) it is a fancy hotel, a really fancy hotel!
PS. We were invited by Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa on this trip and we had immense fun!
I visited the beautiful Inle Lake in Myanmar as part of #escapers17. It is a super event organized by Scoot and Accor Hotels. It is one trip that I will remember for a long time for all kind of reasons! It was a trip where I caught a flight every day for about five days in a row! It was also a trip where we bonded and had fun, actually you will get a better idea if you watch the video below!
I will focus on the Inle Lake and Novotel Inle Lake in this post, though I explored a bit of Yangon too. Inle Lake is a freshwater lake located in the Shan State of Myanmar. The local people are known as Intha.
The most distinctive feature of the fishermen of the Inle Lake is that they row with their legs standing on the boat! They are the star attractions of the lake! I think before tourism became popular they just went about their business but now the sunset pictures are entirely for the benefit of the tourists! No, I don’t have a single one. It reminds me a little of Stilt Fishing in Sri Lanka.
The best way to get around the lake is by boat! In my experience, not too many boatmen speak English though. The tourist part is Ayaung Shwe where most of the accommodations and restaurants are. Our hotel Novotel Inle Lake Mayat Min is in the same region though in a more secluded part with direct access to water!
After closely observing my behavior, I have come to the conclusion that I like ‘doing nothing’the most on a trip! Sitting in the boat and being in a state of limbo till we reached the next spot was probably my favorite pastime. But I was forced to come out of my happy daze frequently.
One of my first stops was the Jumping Cat Monastery (Nga Hpe Kyaung) on the Inlay Lake. While there are no jumping cats these days, cats are certainly there. They are well fed, prone to lazing around. For me the visit to the monastery was special because of the picture of the cutest lama I have ever seen! In Burma people pledge a certain part of their life to priesthood. It could be as short as 3 weeks.
Even though it was not the racing season we got to witness a mock boat race on the Inle Lake. Later we were allowed on the boats to try our luck at rowing with legs. To our credit no blogger fell off in the lake!
One of the popular things to do at Inle Lake is to visit a cheroot making factory. This is combined with lotus weaving, iron smith and boat making factories. There is hardly any pressure to buy anything though. I rolled a cheroot and tried taking a puff too. But any kind of smoke doesn’t agree with me. However, the cheroot was mild compared to Sheesha! I have concluded long ago that smoking is not my thing.
I came across weaving from lotus stems for the first time at Inle Lake. It is a labor intensive task. They made beautiful shawls from the lotus thread but for me it was too expensive to buy!
Our last stop was the Indein Village. It has an impressive collection of old pagodas which are being restored! It has a beautiful covered market too.
She sat by the road as we walked around the Indein Village. She looked so cool that I asked in sign language if I could click a picture. She agreed, at the end she signaled if I I would give her some money which I happily did.
I stayed at the Novotel Inle Lake Myat Min. It is a beautiful hotel right by the lake. You can go to the jetty and start your excursions right there. The jetty is also a great spot to watch sunsets. The first picture in this post was clicked there and the model is fellow blogger Mar Pages.
I also enjoyed a cultural evening at the hotel. There were fire dancers, elaborate costumes, and even we were invited to join in the dance!
We also got an opportunity to release the lanterns at Novotel Inle Lake. It was a first for me. I totally loved it!
My trip to Inle Lake was short but beautiful. I was amazed that I would get mobile data even in the middle of the lake! I hope I will go back one day and explore more of Inle Lake and Myanmar.
PS. I visited Myanmar as a part of #escapers17 team. The event was organized by Accor Hotels and Scoot along with other sponsors.
Remember I was talking about new year resolutions related to food a few days back! Well they took a severe beating on this trip to Pune with Novotel. I will blame that lavish dessert spread for it. Here is a glimpse of some of the Novotel Pune food. I am sure I have gained 2 kg in two and a half days!
10. As far as you can see in this picture, it is the dessert table. With my sweet tooth how could I resist taking multiple items? OK this spread had one small section of salad and one for behl, but other than that everything was sweet. I never touched the salad but I did enjoy the bhel.
9. The oranges looked really good as a partition show piece. But on this trip I really did not eat any fruit! Too bad I know. But when I had so many real desserts to choose from, why would I look at fruits?
8. I classify my desserts in two ways, Indian and foreign. I know the names of a few Indian desserts but to me all the foreign ones are cakes and pastries. I know it is bad, more so when the name tags were right next to them! In future, I will click the name tags too so that I can write about them properly. I did not try this one, tempting though it looked. There were way too many to choose from!
7. Red, yellow, green and orange and white, I have to say it was the colors that make me pause. For this pictures, I even removed a name tag to take a better one. The green one is cucumber juice. If you find yourself at Novotel, Pune do give it a try. It tasted fresh and good. Remember to stir it well as they added masala to it.
6. This was my first gajar ka halwa of the season, and any other I eat, will have to be really good. Unless of course my sister makes it! How I miss being active in sports these days. In spite of liking it a lot I restricted myself to small quantities.
5. I have lived in hostels for close to 11 years. And at one place where I spent 5 years, the daily breakfast was sliced bread. I started to hate bread with all my might. When I said this early on, someone told me I have not discovered real bread. I turned my nose and walked off! But now I know they were right, I really liked their spicy bread which had olive in it.
4. For every buffet meal Novotel Pune does a sugar free dessert. Of course I would pick it up but along with 2 to 3 full of sugar desserts. I am not a big fan of sugar free but these were seriously good!
3. These doughnuts are from the breakfast table. For once, I clicked them because they make for a good picture but I did not eat them. I have got nothing against doughnuts, it was just that there were many other things that came up higher in my priority list.
2. Novotel, Pune had a decent South Indian section for breakfast and that is where most of my stuff came from, vads, idilis and doasa! And guess what other than the chutney they also had scrunchy milagai podi.
1. I am one of those people who like pineapple to be pineapple and jalebi to be jalebi. I am fond of both actually. When I saw the fusion I was intrigued as well as a bit skeptical. But once I had it I was completely bowled over, so much so that it is my number 1 pick from the lot. I still regret that I had only one! Next time when ever I encounter them again, I will set the record right!
For this Sky Watch I bring forth a few new things. I learned how to create the sun flares at will. In the past I would mange them accidentally but not anymore thank to a Digital Photography School article on sun flares! However, there is one common thread, and that is Pune Skies.
The second new thing is that this is my first time in Pune. Even though it was a short trip, I managed to venture out into the city. I took a brief peak at the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park and discovered this magnificent lake Katraj in its backyard! The trees gave me a perfect opportunity to create a sun flare. There is an awesome collection of snakes in the park but I say, there is no substitute for spotting animals in the wild.
I was in Pune at Novotel Pune’s invitation. And I am so happy that the leave gods worked in my favor this time. Here, I have been eating desserts like there is no tomorrow. That necessitated a trip to the swimming pool. I went there when the sun was high. Friends on Twitter asked if I would not find it cold? After Delhi, Pune was not cold at all, not even the swimming pool. While swimming, I realized that the sunset was in that direction! So went back at the sunset too. I am happy I did. And this time no sunrises for me. I am really tired, I am looking forward to getting up late everyday till Sunday. This is one of the rare trips when I get back home on Friday and I do not go to work the very next day!
This is a Sky Watch post. And I hope it needs no introduction. If it does just visit the page. I hope you enjoyed my Pune skies.