The last time you went to Shimla, you were convinced your precariously perched hotel would topple any moment into the valley. You survived the night, but barely survived the crowds, the pollution and seeing your next-door neighbour at the Mall.
Top of the world: (left) Camp Craignano; and biking into the wilderness.
This year, abandon the city and head to Camp Craignano, a retreat dating back to the British times and named after an Italian countess. This getaway is 12km from Shimla and had long been popular as a picnic spot with the locals. Now TopCamp, a travel company, has set up base here with family tents, dining areas and toilet facilities, and offers multiple activity options with all safety precautions in place. From mountain biking (five trails, ranging from 14-39km) and day hikes (3-6 hours) to rafting on the Sutlej, the team at Camp Craignano can organize it all for you and your children. Besides, there’s rock-climbing, rappelling, star-gazing and wool-gathering too, and the last two are on the house!
The camp has four itineraries, from three days/two nights to six days/five nights. Over three days, you could cycle down the Mashobra road towards Baikhalty and back, have a picnic lunch, hike through a 3-hour trail and go river-rafting.
The experiences increase exponentially with the number of days, including hiking towards Hatu Peak (3,200m), cycling to Narkanda, lunching by a stream, et al.
An economy package (accommodation in tents which can sleep four, sleeping bags and common toilets) costs between Rs8,800 (for three days/two nights) and Rs18,200 (for six days/five nights) per couple. The comfort package (deluxe tents with attached toilets) costs between Rs9,800 (for three days/two nights) and Rs19,800 (for six days/five nights) per couple. There’s is no charge for children below five; for those above five, there’s a flat charge of Rs3,000 per head.
For details of packages and bookings, call Baljit on 9212186719 or visit www.indiabeyondtaj.com
Europe. Been there, done that, we know. But have you seen the continent from its waterways? Germany, France, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Belgium, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands are criss-crossed by some of the greatest rivers on earth, and cruising down the Rhine or the Moselle offers a unique perspective on the multiple countries they run through.
Anchors away: Sail along Europe’s great rivers for a new view.
Till recently, river voyages were rather crummy affairs. But leading companies have now begun conducting river cruises in ships comparable to ocean liners. Peter Deilmann Cruises, a German company, has seven deluxe river ships with 50-100 cabins each, fitted with four- and five-star comforts, multilingual staff and menus that draw from the best of the continent as well as the route of the ship.
So what will it be? A four-night, seven-night or 10-night cruise down the Rhine, Moselle and Amstel, with stops in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Basel, Cologne, Mainz and Strasbourg? A seven-night trip on the Elbe, Havel and Moldau, through the Czech Republic and Germany? Or a week-long focus on the Seine, past some of the most magnificent chateaux in Europe?
To make a booking, call Rahul Sarin on +919899970646 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or check out www.deilmann-cruises.com. Prices start at $1,838 (around Rs88,000) per person on twin-sharing basis for a seven-night cruise.
Nosh, the Nobu way
Atlantis the Palm—yes, the very same Dubai hotel that had the whole world talking with its over-the-top opening celebrations in November—is now set to ensure you can have the whole world eating out of your hands. The Nobu at the
Atlantis—the first West Asian outpost of arguably the world’s most famous Japanese restaurant—will throw open its kitchen doors to 12 select guests on the first Saturday of each month till December. The bespoke 3-hour cooking class conducted by chef de cuisine Hervé Courtot will begin with an introduction to the art of sushi-making, move on to a main course, and finish with a dessert: Nobu’s signature chocolate bento box—a molten chocolate cake topped with green-tea ice cream. Of course, you eat the meal you cook with a congratulatory glass of champagne as well.
Roll play: Learn the art of making sushi.
Guests need to register for the course in advance by calling Nobu at +97144260760 or by emailing Dxb-nobu@ atlantisthepalm.com. The package, inclusive of the cooking lesson, three-course lunch and a Nobu apron, costs AED1,250 per person (around Rs16,000). Participants need to be at least 16 years of age.
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