Stories about tourists

Cinque Terre: The heavenly villages of Italy

I suppose I should begin with a disclaimer: I have never been a ‘sea person’. My husband on the other hand, being a ‘child of the coast’, mocked me for my aversion towards oceans and beaches. Sometimes, however, destiny has a different plan for us than the one we expect. So one fine morning, we decided to drive, and drive we did! The Ligurian sea Starting all the way from Brussels to breathtaking Interlaken in Switzerland, then Como in Italy and finally heading towards the five enchanting villages of the Italian Riviera, known collectively as Cinque Terre ...

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No country for Kiki challenge: Forget corruption, ‘goras’ dancing with our flag is the bigger problem

The entire world is familiar with the rather infamous ‘Kiki challenge’ by now. It is yet another one of those social media influenced fads, readily embraced by the younger generation, along with celebrities of course, and involves dancing on the song In My Feelings by Drake. However, one particular challenge landed both a vlogger and the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in trouble, and left Pakistanis wondering – why? Eva zu Beck is a Polish tourist and vlogger currently on a world tour, who recently filmed herself doing the Kiki challenge in collaboration with PIA; the latter being eager to promote ...

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Paradise from a different perspective: Maldives is more than just turquoise waters and sandy beaches!

Whenever the phrase ‘vacation to the Maldives’ rings our ears, turquoise waters and luxurious resorts instantly flash into our minds. In order to fully utilise their vacations, the general preference of tourists is to spend time relaxing and soaking in the beauty of beaches.  Land of clear waters. Photo: Ahsan Nadeem Turquoise waters. Photo: Ahsan Nadeem Conversely, my idea of traveling and vacationing is slightly different, for my chief aim is always to explore the historical and cultural aspects of different places. Therefore, my very brief yet unique trip to the land of the clear blue waters – ...

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As an Indian army soldier, this is what I wanted to say to a Kashmiri child, but couldn’t

I have been to Kashmir. No, not as a tourist. I have lived there. I have worked there. I was part of the heavy military instrument of the Indian State in the paradise, guarding it from the heaven dwellers themselves. And some mischievous neighbours too. As a 21-year-old, with the might of one of the biggest militaries in the world behind me and its command pinned on my shoulders, its determination manifested in the AK in my hand, I have roamed the towns and villages with authority which none of the Burhan Wanis or Bhatts or Wazirs or Bhans or Wattals or anybody else whose land ...

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He was only a Buddhist by salutations, just like we are only Muslims by virtue of rituals

If you visit the Tiananmen Square at any given day, you’ll see hoards of people flocking around in large groups. Some can be seen led by a guide, others trying to find an inlet to the tunnels that lead to the main square, turning the entire landmark into a beehive. Besides being the womb of the People’s Republic of China where Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, the square also houses the Chairman’s mausoleum. On my 10 day visit to China, I found the Tiananmen Square to be the most religious of all spaces. It ...

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Is the majestic and secular Turkey ready for its horde of tourists?

Nearly 42 million tourists flocked to Turkey last year, generating over $36 billion in revenue for its tourism industry and this year, Turkey is expecting more tourists than ever before. Amidst more than a million other tourists, I too was one of them and visited Istanbul last week. The massive influx of people was evident from an aerial view of the airport, even before we touched down at the airport. Planes landed in quick succession, at intervals of barely a couple of minutes, and the immigration desk lines for foreign passport holders far exceeded those reserved for the locals. The fruit of Turkey’s past efforts in aggressively promoting its many historical, cultural and natural wonders was evident. ...

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Why Gilgit-Baltistan is not given the appreciation it deserves

The world has shrunk into a global village and everything seems to be available at the request of a single click. The promotion of any sort of business, even in far flung developing countries, has become easier than before. It seems that social media is facilitating the marketers to a great extent. However, this ease has triggered a complex competition of creative ideas, a race of initiatives, and the tactical management of these social media mechanics in order to attract fruitful prospects. In such a scenario, it was really surprising for me when I couldn’t find the name of our country and its beautiful and scenic tourism ...

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Don’t want to pay for a hotel while travelling? Find a couch!

“Hello Azhar. Yes, I will be available to host that weekend. Regards, from Germany.” This was the reply I received from Markus, my to-be host, with regards to my couch-surfing request that I had sent, for a two day night-stay in Heidelberg. I was nominated by my employer to attend a week-long seminar in Frankfurt, Germany and after the five-day sponsored-stay was over, I had decided to stay back and explore other parts of Germany on my own. I searched on the internet for tourist attractions in the country and picked Heidelberg, for its scenic beauty and diversity. But for this two-day stay, I chose not to ...

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The colours of Kashmir

The harud (autumn) is when the hustle and bustle in Kashmir villages begin with the season of harvest. The green turns to gold and then to russet and red; leaves fall to melodious cracking sounds under the feet of passers-by beneath the shades of the Chinar (maple) trees. Autumn, the indication of a long winter season in Kashmir, is marked by a crimson yellow on the Chinar trees. In Kashmir, the season in September, October and November can be dry, wet or windy. With the decrease in temperature, it’s the season when the maple trees turn into bonfires and leaves start falling from them. [caption id="" align="alignnone" ...

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Can Pakistan ban alcohol for non-Muslims? Not ethically!

As the nation slides down the slippery slope of prohibition, progressives entrench their nails into its icy surface, resisting the imposition of Islamic dicta on the state’s non-Muslim subjects. The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights stated its opposition to the proposal to impose a complete nationwide ban on alcoholic beverages, revoking the exemption provided to non-Muslims in Pakistan. It is a restriction Pakistan’s ultra-right political parties have long pushed for. JUI-F MNA, Maulana Shirani, has been particularly vocal in this regard. The proposition implies a constitutional amendment, which has faced a welcome amount of resistance from the ...

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