3 Days in Delhi

Only have 3 Days in Delhi? Here is my guide to where to go to maximize your time here!

Day One

Morning

Tomb of Safdarjung

(Entry Fee: 200 Rupees)

 

An underrated, mostly deserted attraction - you're greeted by this stunning view as you enter.

 

I found the intricate plasterwork on the inner ceilings of the main tomb to be absolutely spectacular. 

 

The red color of the tomb comes from the sandstone and buff stone. This was the first place we saw when we landed in Delhi and it was a nice warmup to all the Mughal architecture we were about to see!

 

Lunch
 

Mamagoto
(About 800 Rupees per person)
Great restaurant focusing on Asian food. Don't know what to get? Any of the two person bowls are recommended.

 

Afternoon

Humayun's Tomb
(Entry Fee: 500 Rupees)


Humayun's Tomb, the inspiration behind the iconic Taj Mahal, was built by Hamida Banu Begum, the wife of the second Mughal emperor Humayan. It's a large sprawling complex with over 100 graves (many unmarked) and lush gardens to relax in away from the din of the city.

Dinner:

Soda Bottle Opener Wala
(650 Rupees per person)

 

Day Two

Morning

Walk around Old Delhi (try to do motorized tuk tuk to get there)
I found the view at the top of Gadodia Market to be quite stunning. This middle floors of this spice market building is mostly comprised of dried pepper vendors, so bring a scarf to cover your mouth since the smell might be irritating to your throat.

 

After that wander around the small meandering streets of Old Delhi. It might be a bit overwhelming if you're not prepared for the chaos, noise, and smells of it all. 

 

If you can, try to make your way slowly to the Haveli Dharampura Hotel. The original haveli was built in the late 1800's but was abandoned and discovered in much deteriorated shape. The owner took 6 long years to beautifully restore it, keeping in mind the original character and Mughal architecture. 

If you're not a hotel guest, they charge a small fee for you to enter and walk around, but I think if you eat lunch or have some tea you can also enter for free that way.

 

Lunch
 

If you didn't eat lunch at the Haveli Dharampura, there is actually a McDonalds on the way to the Red Fort. I recommend eating there because I was unable to find anything safe to eat inside Old Delhi. Also, McDonald's inside India is pretty delicious! I especially liked the Puri Puri Fries and the McAloo Tiki. Remember, cows are regarded as holy in India, so you won’t find any beef served anywhere!

Afternoon
 

Red Fort
(Entry Fee: 150 Rupees)
The Red Fort, where the Prime Minister gives the annual Independence Day Speech, is a symbol of national pride. It was constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan when he decided to move the capital from Agra to Delhi. It took 10 years to complete the fort due to the complexity and scope of the project.

 

An interesting fact about the Red Fort, is that wasn't always red. It was originally white due to its limestone facade. But when parts of the limestone started falling off, the British painted everything red. 

 

Dinner

Walk around Hauz Khas Village and then eat at

Rang De Basanti Urban Dhaba
One of the best restaurants we had for Indian Food. 
Recommended: Chai, Naan, Aloo Moti Karare, Dal Makhani, and anything the server recommends! :)

Or
Coast Cafe

Dessert:

Make sure you check out Natural Ice Cream - they had some of the most flavorful and fresh tasting ice cream I've ever had. They use so much fruit in their ice cream along with very high quality milk. For me it rivaled the best ice cream shops in San Francisco, Portland, and Italy. 

My favorite flavors were custard apple (sitaphal), pistachio, ginger honey, chikoo, grape, and carrot halwa. The flavors sound simple, but each scoop was simply bursting with natural flavor. You could really see they put a large amount of fruit in each batch of ice cream. 

Day Three

Morning
 

Akshardham
(Entry Fee: Free!)

Akshardham is one of the largest comprehensive Hindu temples in the world. It was completely back in 2005 and was a group effort  from over 11,000 artists and many more volunteers. 

The main temple has the most intricate, detailed handicraft and artwork. I'm not sure if I'd try any of the paid activities such as the light show or the cultural boat tour. I found them overly kitchy and cheesy. 

Some tips: 
Since this attraction is free, it tends to draw massive crowds. Try to go early to miss the afternoon crowds.

Also, they don’t allow backpacks, purses, phones, and cameras inside. So don't bring any of that with you or you'll have to wait in a long cloak room line to check it all in. We had to wait over an hour to check our stuff.

Lunch:
Farzi Cafe

Afternoon
Jantar Mantar
(100 rupees)
Jantar ('instrument') Mantar ('calculation') directly translates to 'calculation instrument'. It was built in 1724 by Jai Singh who had a keen interest in science and astronomy. 

 

Jantar Mantar contains many astronomical instruments that do cool things such as determine the position of the sun, read horizontal and vertical angles, and obtain the meridian altitudes.

 

If you have extra time you can check out the Lodi Gardens
It's free and a nice swath of greenery in the middle of Delhi.


Dinner

(Splurge):
Masala Library
Modern 5 star Haute Indian Cuisine. Worth checking out if you want a memorable gastronomic experience.

Or go back to Haus Khas Village or Khan Market for dinner.

Iceland in Five Days - Day One

Looking for an action packed itinerary if you only have five days in the amazing land of Iceland? We only had five days during our stopover with Icelandair and here is how we filled our time there.

Day One

 
   Iceland revealing itself after descending through the clouds.

Iceland revealing itself after descending through the clouds.

 

Upon landing at Reykjavik, we taxied for awhile looking for a jet bridge to connect our plane to. A jet bridge, or a jet way, are those movable enclosed walkways that stretch out to connect to your plane to let you disembark separate from the outside elements. Apparently the airport at Reykjavik (Keflavik) doesn’t have enough of these for all the arrivals. We ended up having to get off in the middle of the tarmac onto a shuttle bus in the rain. The rain was actually a great introduction to the ever changing weather in Iceland - you always have to be prepared for sun, wind, rain, and the occasional puffin. 

Our initial plan was to head straight to the Blue Lagoon after our early morning landing, relax, enjoy the healing waters until about noon, and then head over to Reykjavik. You can arrange to have a shuttle take you directly from the airport to the Blue Lagoon with Reykjavik Excursions or arrange your own transport. Since we were going to explore Iceland on our own for the next five days we arranged a rental car with SiXT. For those wondering how much the car rental was, we got a great deal on an automatic Opel Astra at about $55 a day direct from their website.

I found it pretty easy to navigate the roads in Iceland. Granted, I did have free data with T-Mobile International Roaming and Google Maps to guide me - but I do have to say that the roads in Iceland were pretty well maintained and the signage easy to read and understand.

Anyhow, it took about 25 minutes to drive to the Blue Lagoon from SiXT. The landscape was pretty surreal - large plains full of volcanic rocks and green moss growing all over them. It felt like we were on a different planet. You can also spot the Blue Lagoon at a distance when you’re driving there. You’ll see a whole bunch of white steam clouds rising into the air. 

 
 So close to the Blue Lagoon!

So close to the Blue Lagoon!

 

We parked the car, walked to the entrance, and waited in line to enter. Here is where we made our first noob mistake in Iceland. After waiting in line for about 30 minutes, we got to the front desk and asked to buy an entrance ticket. The lady seem confused, almost baffled..  apparently, to our chagrin, we found out the hard way you can't just walk in to the Blue Lagoon and buy a ticket there.. you have to pre purchase your ticket for a timed entrance. In some cases, they are sold out for weeks.. Luckily they had a spot available the next day at 8 am which we purchased hastily on our phones using the free wifi in the cafe there.

In Silicon Valley we call a major direction change of a strategy a ‘pivot’. I don’t know if I can call what we did a major strategy strange, but we definitely had to ‘pivot’ away from our original plan of soaking in the Blue Lagoon on the first day. So yes, we decided to walk around and explore Reykjavik all day. That’s what travel is all about actually in my opinion - flexibility and the willingness to have a little adventure when things don’t roll your way! (or pivoting.. omg not that again) 

The first thing we did was head straight to the harbor area and walk around. Full of cute, stylish restaurants and shops - if you like seafood at all, definitely come and check this area out. We happened to really like the exterior of the Verbud 11 Seafood Restaurant and stopped to snap a photo. 

Then we saw this tiny seafood shop next door called The Sea Baron or Saegreifinn. Supposedly they had the best chowder in town and I couldn’t resist the fresh looking cubes of fresh fish on skewers waiting to be grilled. I’d say the chowder was ok - it had a bit of a curry cinnamon flavor to it but nothing to go wild about. Same with the fish on skewers - very fresh fish, but just grilled plainly.

 

After that we decided to walk towards Harpa - the magnificent glass and steel structure that is the main concert hall and conference of Reykjavik. After seeing so many pictures of Harpa, I was still floored by the beauty and architectural prowess it took to construct such a crystalline palace. It was modeled after the naturally occurring basalt formations you see on black sand beaches - similar to the one near Vik. You’ll also notice once inside that the glass blocks contrast heavily to the fiery red interiors of the concert halls. This was done as a metaphor for Iceland being the land of fire and ice for all its volcanic activity along with all its wondrous glaciers. 

 
 
 
 

Next we decided to wander over to the main shopping street of Laugavegur. Laugavegur means ‘Wash Road’ in Icelandic since this street was once the main route Icelanders took to get to the hot springs to wash their clothes. Now, this is a road where you can spend $300 on a wool Icelandic sweater or $750 on a 66 North Parka. Overall the street was quirky and fun with its fair share of interesting street art and colorful buildings. 

 
 
 
 

We also found this adorable little red house in some back street of Laugavegur.

 
 

Next, we walked over to the the tallest building in Reykjavik. Hallgrímskirkja church, with its basalt columnar structure (similar to Harpa), has its design foundation based on Icelandic nature. It took over 41 years to build with its fair share of critics due to cost overruns and ‘stylistic’ concerns from locals. To each its own I suppose, but I think Hallgrímskirkja is a magnificently built structure that is a must see if you come to Reykjavik. Also, it kind of looks like a place Batman might live. 😃  Make sure you pay the small fee to take the elevator to the top for a grand view of the city. 

 
 The view from the top of Hallgrímskirkja

The view from the top of Hallgrímskirkja

 

After all that walking and exploring, we needed some sustenance - so headed over to Kaffi Vinyl - one of Reykjavik’s only vegan restaurants. It also doubles as a record vinyl shop and had a cool, hip style to it. Along with food being fantastic, the tables were large and spacious in case you needed to pull your laptop out and do some work. Check out a more in depth review here from Justin plus Lauren.

 

Being awake for 36 hours straight started to have it’s toll on us as were started to doze off mid sentence. We walked like zombies back to our Airbnb - which I have to mention was one of the best Airbnb experiences I’ve had so far. Our host Kerstin was so friendly and helpful with so many tips on where to go and what to do. I highly recommend staying with her if you’re in Reykjavik. Also, just to sway you a bit more - the guest room has the most comfortable king size bed ever.

 

Follow my travels on Instagram! 😎

 

Also, check out the rest of my trip to Iceland:

Day Two - The Blue Lagoon

Day Three - Black Sand Beach

Day Four - Vatnajökull Glacier and Fjallsárlón Lagoon

Day Five - Icelandic Horses

VSCO Contemporary Collection review

VSCO is a great app - in fact, it's the first photo editing tool I reach for when I'm on my phone and need to some quick editing. 

I'll usually start off with applying one of my favorite filters to give it that look and feel that I try to maintain across my portfolio. Then, I'll fine tune with some of the other VSCO settings along with some further HSL color correction in Polarr

But first off, if you're new to using VSCO - sometimes it's hard to pick which filter packs to buy since they tend to use different photos in their examples. The photos they pick usually are especially suited to that filter number alone. Wouldn't it be nice to see each filter applied separately to the same photo?

Well I'm glad you asked! I'll be doing a series of before/after pictures of each VSCO filter set. I'll start with the  VSCO Contemporary Collection (A1, A2, A3, N1, N2, N3, H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6).

 

Analog / Archetype (A1, A2, A3)

With hints of pastels, lifted mid-tones and slight overexposure, A1, A2, and A3 embody analog film. Analog / Archetype is the perfect choice for portraits, interiors and food.

A1

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A2

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A3

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New Modern / Lights (N1, N2, N3)

Tailor-made for bright lights and colors, this N Series works well with photographs shot with the flash or direct sunlight. N1, N2, and N3 have a modern and bold aesthetic.

N1

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N2

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N3

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Polychrome Summer (H1, H2, H3)

An ideal all-purpose pack, Presets H1, H2 and H3 excel in fashion, lifestyle and still object photography. Subtle pink, yellow and purple hues evoke the best memories of summertime.

H1

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H2

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H3

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Polychrome Winter (H4, H5, H6)

An ideal all-purpose pack, Polychrome Winter excels in fashion, lifestyle, and still object photography. H4, H5, and H6 are understated and cool, delivering dreamlike hues inspired by the winter season.

H4

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H5

 
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H6

 
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Hope you guys found this post useful! I'll be applying filters to the rest of the VSCO collection. Stay tuned! :)

Some links to the apps I used or mentioned in this post:

VSCO

VSCO Contemporary Collection

Polarr