Where Turquoise Waters Shimmer

At Angsana Velavaru

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Aangsana Velavaru is an island paradise 45 minutes away from Male, the capital of Maldives. In the shimmering blue waters of the Indian Ocean, the island is surrounded by a live coral reef with unimaginably colourful species and creatures.

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The island is far enough away from civilization to create the illusion of an exotic adventure and disconnection from hectic urban living. But it’s just an illusion as fast free WiFi allows one to reach out anywhere in the world within seconds.

We arrived on a little floatplane right before the sunset and were greeted with the sounds of traditional instruments echoing in the waves. I turned my face to the breeze and smiled.

It was a fantastic ending to a desperate morning struggle to book an alternative to the first hotel that turned out to be hideous. Changing hotels in Maldives was a risky exercise considering logistics, most of the resorts existed as independent islands. I called Angsana Velavaru in panic requesting immediate help with the booking. I wanted to believe they were moved by my sobbing voice however later experience proved Angsana’s team really truly cared about guest’s wellbeing. So in a matter of half an hour, I was assured of a new address to stay at and most importantly, that great humanity existed! So when I stepped out of the last seaplane for the day mesmerized by vanilla sky reflected in crystal clear shimmering waters, I felt like the luckiest girl on Earth! I will never forget the kindness of the person on the opposite side of the line helping me out.

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Our island villa with air-conditioning and cheerful wall art was a delight to step into after a long day of travels.

It included a private swimming pool, spacious garden facing an expansive waterfront, and a complimentary bottle of chilled champagne that obviously didn’t last long.

We spent our first night sipping champagne on the terrace, listening to waves, and bathing in the disappearing sun.

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The next morning was the start of the Maldivian island routine.

Imagine waking up to the sounds of sea followed by a quick splash in refreshing waters, then rushing to exotic breakfast that I usually started with a fragrant cup of black coffee; despite the presence of fresh guava juice on a shelf. The best part was the view.

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After breakfast a wooden boat would take us for a complimentary snorkeling expedition to beautiful reefs, different every time.

Sylvia, our snorkeling instructor, mingled between swimmers, pointing out sea treasures. I kept following her around for a better glimpse of the underwater world. She didn’t seem to mind.

We would spend evenings taking photographs at golden hour and tasting local cocktails. At night the fatigue associated with 3+ snorkeling trips would kick in and I opted for lovely room service dinners.

I miss my time at Angsana and their amazing team and looking forward to going there again!

Take a look at Sylvia’s inspiring Instagram.

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Spring in the city

Toronto in Spring is all about the 3B’s – Beautiful, Buzzy and Breezy (lots of free stuff as well, think street concerts, festivals and ice cream tastings). Every day there is a tiny change in surroundings – the city is greener, lusher, brighter and of course,  warmer (except for when it suddenly snows). On a clear day, the famous CN Tower can be spotted from almost anywhere:

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The people of Toronto and visitors opt for walking and cycling over commuting underground. Streets are filled with love:

The best place for a “walk, breath and watch” experience is High Park. The land was gifted to the City and people by John George Howard (civil engineer, architect and artist) at the end of 19th century. Every May, park turns into a Mecca for cherry-blossoms fans, however this year the weather pulled a wicked trick, and left me heartbroken with no vivid memories:

I learnt that the Canadian spring is moody. I was exposed to the wind, snow, rain, clouds and sunshine all in 1 day. Locals love to quote: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait for a few minutes”. True!

Another way to get into Spring Spirit or Hipster Spirit/Hippy Spirit/Cocktail Spirit is to visit the famous Kensington Market. That place is a legend featuring many Victorian homes and hand-made robots. A true mix of flavors and cultures.

While Canada is loved world-wide for its nature, Toronto is a place where wild life finds you whether you want it or not. Watch out for cute little creatures like squirrels or raccoons plotting to steal your lunch:

Built of glass, concrete blocks and dark-brown bricks, downtown Toronto resembles the streets of New York. No wonder American Psycho, The Interpreter and How to Loose a Guy in 10 Days were shot over here.

Remember the CN Tower? It’s literally poking the sky. It used to be the tallest building in the world (1975-2007) and then Burj Khlaifa in Dubai grew into the title. Sky in Toronto is another phenomena – 50 shades of white and blue.

On the last Monday before May 25th, Canadians celebrate a birthday of the “Mother of Confederation” – Queen Victoria. The long weekend usually marks the beginning of the outdoor season with people opening up cottages, organizing picnics and barbecues. Torontonians gather at the Beaches waterfront to watch fireworks and share a drink from coffee flasks.

No matter where you are – Spring only happens once a year. Use your time wisely!

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