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#KeralaStories: Elephants, Yoga & Bollywood

“What’s in today’s program?” I asked Kenney, the organizer of Kerala Tourism blog express project. “Elephants bathing, a yoga course, rowing and something I can’t tell you about – it’s a surprise” he replied with a secretive smile. I leaned back to my seat, anxiously waiting for the bus to begin. We left Trivandrum, heading to Kollam. It was a 3-hours trip full of green landscapes, colorful cities, some intense glances and lots of on-the-go shots. I just couldn’t get enough of it! First stop: Elephant Rehabilitation Centre! We arrived there at around 9.30 a.m. (tell me about an early wake up call…). The centre is located in Kotur and as Manoj – our guide – explained, it is where elephants with a history of abuse from every corner of India were transferred in order to recover. He added that it is common for wealthy people in India to own elephants as pets …

#KeralaStories: The Press Conference, the Temple & the Bus

“30 travel bloggers from 21 countries on an enchanting journey across Kerala!” The bus that would help us explore one of the most exotic areas of India had this phrase written all over it. Yes, that’s right; we had a bus exclusively for our transportation, a bus that was meant to become our “home” for the next 2 weeks. A pleasant surprise awaited us on our 1st day, as we began this journey with the Minister of Health of India welcoming us at Mascot Hotel and quite a few journalists taking brief interviews from all the bloggers, plus asking us to present our blogs. Until next morning we were on every newspaper and news website around the country! Wohoo! We then had lunch at the hotel and prepared to hit the road to explore the city of Trivandrum for the very first time! (On food now; that’s a whole different…

#KeralaStories: A night -and a half- to remember

Ok, you may have heard me saying this before but believe me when I say that, when you will be virtually traveling with me, it won’t just be about exploring some picturesque (or not so much) parts of the world. It won’t be about sight-seeing or listing all the ‘must-visit’ restaurants of an area. It will be about hearing stories from people living all around the world or seeing the faces of those my life crossed paths with. It will be about quoting every conversation I had with the locals, any words I shared with fellow travel bloggers, about me living in their houses or planning a trip with someone I’ve just met. It’s not a coincidence I named my blog ‘Travel Stories’. Stories are the bread and butter of this travel blog. Because, I do believe that a story can’t be interesting unless it comes with a name and…

“Congratulations! We are waiting for you in Kerala!”

“Congratulations! Can’t wait to see you in Kerala!” That was the headline of the email I received about a month ago, and, after spinning around myself for quite a while, and calling my loved ones to announce the great news, I dove into a pill of information about the place that will welcome me in less than a month.   But let me take it from the start! A few months ago I read that Kerala Tourism is organizing a trip exclusively for 27 travel bloggers, writers and photographers from all around the Globe, and that to get in the list I would need the vote of my (digital and non-digital) friends. Even though I did not even know where Kerala is actually located, I spontaneously decided to take place and notify my Facebook friends! Without having any great expectations…I ended up in the list! 600 votes of friends and…

My Erasmus* years

It was a German, a Belgian and two Greeks … Seems like a joke but it’s the common daily life of four erasmus students  four years ago, in a spanish apartment in the region of Valencia. But, let’s start from the beginning … I’m on the train and thanks to the ubiquitous Apple technology, I decide to watch a movie so as to pass my time. Searching all around the web, I find the L’auberge espagnole- Spanish apartment, and I decide to watch it-once again-. In the first 10 minutes … the  memories of my erasmus life in Spain are popping up! The Erasmus Program except the initial paperwork, the running, the stress and the final interview with the head teacher, is an incredibly unique experience which you rush to grab it from the hair without letting a moment go wasted. That’s how I were feeling 4 years and 2 months ago at…

The ghost wagon

I start running and keep running as I take a look at my watch, at the departures board, at the number of the platform and at the train for Verona… Whew! I did it! With a huge leap that only a champion could compete, I jump in the train and cross the first wagon  opening and closing the doors behind me as I search for a seat with less people and less noice. I’ve crossed half of the train and I continue my search, determined to fight for a place next to the window… until I see from the door of the penultimate wagon something that each train traveler hopes and wishes! An empty wagon, only for me! After one hundred Wows Icheck behind me to see if I’m followed, I open the door of happiness … and of the desired solitude! A wave of hot air followed by a smelly combination…

The wrong…ticket

December 2005. That week seemed to me endless. I was looking forward to Saturday’s morning as I would catch the train to go to the airport and pick up my sisters who were coming from Cyprus for a long week in Greece ! I was going to welcome them for the first time in my new home in Athens and I wanted to do everything to show them that I had learned everything  I needed to know in order to live in this crazy city. I had already completed three months as a student in Athens and one of the most important things that was feeling proud of was that I was no longer losing my orientation every time that I was entering in the train… Square Panormou on Saturday morning hosts one of the biggest flea markets, from which it appears that the whole neighborhood shops-except me of course!…

The first time…

This morning it was impossible to sleep in the train! The reason was the woman next to me  who couldn’t stop chatting with another  passenger in front of us. Their favorite argument : the yesterday s rain in Milan… I tried a little more but their voices couldn’t let me sleep, so I put the ear headphones to avoid their  annoying chat and immersed myself in an hour of  thoughts  accompanied by the music sound of  Beatles. Listening to the Yellow submarine remind me of the first time when I took the train during my trip in Germany…and automatically tried to remember all the first times that I got on a train and the mood in which I was at that moment! So, let’s think about it! The first time that  I took the train was in Athens, when I had to go for the first time at the Panellinios…


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