Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A Punjabi, a Wierdo and an Alcoholic walk into a Map #TheBlindList

September 2016

Nisha Planning Punjabi – that’s what they call me. Google Street is my favourite companion. I devour reviews and I download maps and transport applications before I reach a destination. I read on the history of the country before going there; it’s economics – well, whatever is on the Wikipedia page is embedded in my encyclopedia of a brain. High rated restaurant names are on my fingertips – after all, I start following the destination’s Instagram page from months in advance.

Yes, yes, probably a local can ask me for recommendations in his city and he would be surprised. THAT is why Planning is my middle name. You can read about the Punjabi part of it here, but this post is not about that!

There are pain-in-the-backside kind of excel files on my desktop that I constantly look at. If there was a person keeping track on this particular travel website, he would ban me thinking I am a spammer because I go there several times a day. I am constantly looking for travel inspiration ideas for the destinations on my mind.

Screenshot of my excel file from my last trip to Baltics
 in July

Here is where I explain why I am NOT a weirdo - it is just how I like to travel. If you have seen Monica on FRIENDS on television, you will know we are not a rare breed. Some people find us adorable because of our quirks. And if you are anything like my husband, you would be relieved because you will not even have to lift a finger before and during your travelling. Like he says, he goes on organised tours customised for the both of us by me!

October 2016

My middle name is overpowered by the strength of my last name which signifies I am a Sindhi and NOT a Punjabi. Wait, what? Since you didn’t read the post I directed you to, here is the gist of it: I am a Sindhi but my surname is Punjabi because some people in my community have this surname. Why? As I said, this post is not about THAT!

So, when this can’t-leave-this-deal on Lufthansa came in October 2016, I had to be spontaneous.

We were getting tickets to quite a few destinations in under 250 USD. There was no time to think – it was a one day offer to be redeemed on the same day and travel within the next one month. We had a long weekend coming up, leaves were hard to come by and so we had to travel during the same week. The sweet guys at German embassy had given us a 3-year Schenghen visa on our last trip to Europe. And since it was October, a comparatively low tourist season in European countries, we knew hotel will not be a problem.

Out of some 20 cities on offer in Europe, we closed our eyes and put a finger on one. I did not know then that we were being blessed with MAGIC!

Image source

The next few days are a daze – I had some chores to finish and had absolutely no time to plan or investigate the destination. We picked a hotel purely based on its ratings and did not care much. I was a nervous wreck – will I be able to sleep in that room, will it be close to public transport, will it be clean… well, I calmed myself by telling me that if a nine out of ten rating on all these aspects will not make me happy, nothing else will!

We packed one jacket each and 2 pairs of jeans with some t-shirts. I had no time to think what I will wear on each day, forget shopping for new clothes for new pictures! What will my socially active friends think – I have no new clothes? I did NOT have time to contemplate on that.

With very little hope and lots of jitters, I stepped on the plane with the Boy and our cheap flight tickets. The Sindhi in me was very happy, the planner, well, she was annoyed and baffled at this new turn of events.

We reached Prague at 7 in the evening. The journey was extremely comfortable, but I was not. It is in the flight that I revise my notes for a perfect trip. I was reading a book, A BOOK on this one!

Anyway, after taking a taxi to the hotel and checking in, we just wandered in the by-lanes for dinner and called it a night.

If I had to tell you about our first day in this city in one word, I would say 36000 steps!

A screenshot from my Instagram page that day

 See, the tourist information kiosks in each city gives you the basic top 10 or some locations to visit. The Hop-on-Hop-Off bus covers major tourist attractions and you can easily see the city without planning. However, one thing I did not tell you about me is that even though I like to plan, I can’t take instructions or visit a place based on someone else’s planning! The HoHo bus was my enemy and so I figured I would find a different way to see the city.

We spoke to our second best friend, Google, and walked our way to a nice breakfast place. The things you see when you walk in a city are the best. We reached the main square and had a lavish breakfast. It was here we saw the astronomical clock, the town hall and other pretty buildings.

Then we saw a lot of people walking in one direction as if something free was being distributed. We followed with greed in our eyes and were treated with the best bridge of the city! Charles bridge is the most iconic part of Prague and has the most beautiful views. We didn’t know that we would be walking over it for atleast ten more times during the trip! 

We were hungry again and looked for a place to eat and drink. Prague has a number of breweries and we wanted to try atleast a few. The most famous according to Google was U Zlateho Tygra and so we ventured into it. Now this place was famous with the locals. You share tables and then some stories. We sat with a father-duo daughter from Prague and talked about so many things. They gave us names of other famous breweries in the city and well, our plan for the next few days was set. Instead of eating around a place of interest, we decided to see the places of interest AROUND the best eating spots!

Him on the bridge, us in the pub! Hazy pictures are symbolic of goofy times - or so I say!

All our walks in the city were towards some brewery or beer garden. In the process we discovered nooks and crannies of Prague which were not mentioned in any guide book. We saw some extremely beautiful views and loved each one of them. 

We just walked to eat and drink our three meals a day and saw pretty sights on the way. Despite what these pictures may suggest, I am NOT an alcoholic. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of food because we just pounce on it when it arrives!

Hot chocolate with Rum and a Beautiful church for a view!

It is not what you think it is. Just a regular ice-cream!

This place served toys with its cocktails and the square had horse driven carriages!

Oh, this brewery was in a monastry and had entire Prague for a view!

Frankly, I have many more pictures like this but I don't want you to think that this was just a beer trip!  For the love of new things, we even took a beer spa. Needless to say, finding this place in a unique neighbourhood was one of my favourite things of the trip.

You really do walk through these lanes and you really do bathe in beer :P

I have taken many planned trips before and after this. But this blind date with Prague was kind of a self exploration and remains my favourite. I had no expectations, I had no clue, I had not read anything and yet it blew my mind and was an extremely enriching experience.

To change overnight is a difficult thing, but I am now slowly understanding the perks of being spontaneous. My new mantra is - #Bucketlist is a passe, #SayYesToTheWorld and to #TheBlindList.

And my new name is – Nisha BlindList Punjabi. Ah, just kidding – I have enough mystery around me already with Punjabi!



  1. Your husband is the luckiest man.

    Can you be my travel planner too? (Its the new way of asking will you marry me :D )

  2. The perks of being a Sindhi and it works pretty smart in planning travel zeroing on good deals. Enjoyed reading this post, Nisha!


Your sweetness makes my day. Gentle criticism will be taken in the right spirit too :)