Preserving Your Travel Memories on Travelibro


I was looking back at all of the trips I did last year, and I realized I couldn’t even recall a few! On an average, I had been on at least one trip a month in 2015. If I struggled to remember 12 destinations, I would certainly find it it a task to remember 12 times the-number-of-years-I-live (assumiing I keep up my pace of travel for the rest of my life 😉 ).

As I flipped through my Poland album (see What Warsaw Whispers – A Photoessay), I was suddenly gripped by the fear that I would someday forget all about those wonderful moments I spent there.

View from the Royal Castle in Warsaw

View from the Royal Castle in Warsaw

I knew there were myriad ways I could store all the pictures, but I wanted to keep a trace of the path I took at every place I went. That is when I stumbled upon Travelibro. This site showed me (and quite literally with its video and user-friendly prompts) how I could preserve some practical bits of my trips so I would never have to worry about forgetting anything.

My travel map on Travelibro

My travel map on Travelibro

After I created my account on the website, I could colour the world map with all the places I have already seen (and also pick those on my bucket list). I quickly filled up the list of countries as I went through one photo album after another, remembering my moments in every place I have been.

I stopped at Colombo (see First Impressions of Sri Lanka), and longed to plan another trip there.

Sri Lanka is almost synonymous with palm trees

Sri Lanka is almost synonymous with palm trees

Travelibro created a neat little travel tracker for me with the flags of the countries on a timeline. I have only been to 10 countries so far, and that makes me a “globe trotter” already on the site. 🙂

Tracking countries on a timeline

Tracking countries on a timeline

After I marked my countries, I got to the task of documenting my trips. I started with Latvia (see The Romance of Riga). The process of creating an itinerary is very simple on Travelibro – you pick your country, the cities you have been to, the dates of travel, the type of trip (adventure, budget, romantic, etc.), the places you stayed at, the restaurants you ate at and the activities you recommend. Most of these have preloaded options to guide you. You can then start telling your stories (by each city/town/village) and create a day-by-day plan. You obviously get to upload pictures with captions and finally select the cost of your trip before you publish it for the world to see.

The silhouette of Riga as I last saw it

The silhouette of Riga as I last saw it

I currently have most of my recent foreign itineraries up on Travelibro. Do visit my profile – http://travelibro.com/users/oindrila-de. It will be fun swapping itineraries and taking travel tips from the growing community of travellers and travel bloggers on the site!

For those who prefer flash-packing, do check out their On-The-Go app feature. It lets you create shared timelines with your travel buddies on the fly with simple things such as check-ins, photo uploads and status updates.

My easy-to-use country-itineraries

My easy-to-use country-itineraries

I understand that many travellers prefer to have their hands held through the tedious process of preparing for a trip (think booking flights, hotels, planning the itinerary etc.). I have also gone through moments when I wished I could outsource the boring stuff to an agent, especially when I was planning a trip to Lithuania (see Running in Lithuania – My First Half Marathon Abroad) – applying for a visa was a real hassle! If you like to relax while someone else plans your trip for you, Travelibro has something that will make you smile! You can choose from a collection of travel agents to bear your headache for you.

While I was running through Vingis Park - the largest park in Vilnius

While I was running through Vingis Park – the largest park in Vilnius

Of course, there are many of us who truly enjoy the task of planning every bit of our trip. (And I belong to this group.) Travelibro lets you search for itineraries (created by real people who have actually undertaken those trips) by destination and type (luxury, business, roadtrip, etc.), so you can look for some inspiration. Do read their blog posts for useful tips!

Hundreds of itineraries to help you plan a holiday

Hundreds of itineraries to help you plan a holiday

The site also interfaces with Skyscanner for flight search and Homestay for accommodation search. Now, you can’t even blame laziness for not taking that long-pending trip! 😀

We are never the same people when we travel. It changes us in beautiful ways. If you ever forget how fulfilled you felt when you just returned from a trip, you will thank yourself for storing your memories on Travelibro.

Puppets hang grinning inside a souvenir shop in Prague

Puppets hang grinning inside a souvenir shop in Prague

I read my own itinerary for Czech Republic a while back and remembered I haven’t written about it on this blog yet. Now, I know I won’t have to wrack my brains to recollect all my experiences there.

How do you record your travel memories? Let me know by commenting below!

The Romance of Riga


I want to… but should I?… looks like I can’t… wait, maybe I can! 🙂

I fought a dozen thoughts before I caught one by its wings while I was two days from flying to Europe. It was never supposed to be a part of my plan. It was last minute. Then again, the best memories you make are never by design. I booked my tickets to Riga on a whim. And that is how I learned I should do such things more often – doing things on a whim, that is.

Riga's cityscape breaks the blue monotone of the river and the sky

Riga’s cityscape breaks the blue monotone of the river and the sky

Love at First Sight

When I first looked at Riga, I had to take off my sunglasses to see it with my naked eyes. Dazzling under the afternoon sun, the river Daugava glowed like sapphire. The endless waters seemed to separate the new town from the old, which were joined by impressive bridges. I saw the famous railway bridge made of iron – quite hard to miss since there’s always a train crossing it with its accompanying sounds. It was my first time in Latvia, and I could not tell the old town from the new one (at least from where I stood). So, I decided to toss a coin and cross the Stone Bridge (which is for cars and pedestrians).

The Latvian National Library

The National Library of Latvia

And that is how I ran into Latvijas Nacionālā bibliotēka, the silver building with an interesting architecture. After walking about on this side of the town for a few minutes and hardly finding any humans on the streets (the population here must really be low! 😛 ), I finally decided to open up Google Maps for help. But thanks to Murphy’s Law, it wouldn’t work! So, I did what I best do when I am lost – found me a place to eat. 🙂

At Picas Meistars

At Picas Meistars

In the tranquilizing ambiance of the quaint diner, I decided to stop being my own compass and texted my only friend in Riga. From our short chat, I knew I was on the wrong side of the bridge (that is, if there can ever be a “wrong” side). I ordered something with ƥampinjoni (mushrooms, if you really want to know) after some difficulty interpreting the Latvian menu. You will be delighted to know that English is rarely used in this country. That means, you have a great chance of picking up some Latvian. 🙂 (On the contrary, if you don’t like to open up to other cultures and languages, you will be in a tight spot! 😀 ) After crossing over to the Old Town, I managed to pose for a picture with the notable library in the background.

Blue and white - I did get my colours right! ;-)

Blue and white – I did get my colours right! 😉

Old Town

I entered VecrÄ«ga (the Old Town of Riga) to the melody of a Latvian folk song. Strumming a blue acoustic guitar, stood a man by a lamppost at the centre of the old town. His partner, dressed in a long yellow frock, swayed and sang a fast paced country rhyme – or daina – as called in Latvian. Oh, how beautiful it felt to gaze at the towering steeple of St. Peter’s Church (first built in the 13th century) – with the perfect music to set the mood!

I could see that Riga was all out to impress me – first, leading me astray and building up the suspense; then, finally taking me on a musical date in the heart of Old Town. I had but 24 hours in Latvia, and my surprises had only just begun! 🙂

Fresh music in the Old Town - a poetic welcome!

Fresh music in the Old Town – a poetic welcome!

In Love and War…

I was awed by the impeccably maintained buildings which looked as though they had just been constructed. I soon discovered that most of these structures were first erected in the 13th and the 14th centuries. They saw the biggest of wars – The Great War (Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic War) and the Second World War – and suffered destruction at the hands of the Germans and the Soviets.

It is almost ironical that the Germans in 1941 should bomb the House of the Blackheads – a church initially built for a guild of unmarried German merchants in Riga – Brotherhood of the Blackheads. Even its remnants could not survive for long as by 1948, the Soviets razed everything to the ground.

Dine under a patio umbrella in front of the House of the Blackheads

Dine under a patio umbrella in front of the House of the Blackheads

Riga is Born Again

Despite the wars, Latvia picked up its pieces and restored its heritage buildings. The Historic Centre of Riga is now a World Heritage Site, and tourism has gathered steam in the recent years after Latvia became independent again in 1991.

Strolling by the souvenir shops, one can’t help but notice cute figurines made of ceramic gracing the window displays. From sheep to barristers to village-huts, the mementos one can take back home are diverse. The red and white Latvian national flag is also visible everywhere.

Adorable little things that almost beg you to pick them up

Adorable little things that almost beg you to pick them up

Sauntering down the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, I counted rows and rows of houses that looked like they had come out of a children’s story book – red brick roofs, attics which looked like small houses themselves, windowpanes which appeared to have been made of ice-cream sticks, striped awnings, and even tall chimneys! So, these were the houses I had always been drawing in primary school! 😀

Gingerbread Man houses for real?

Gingerbread Man houses for real?

Meeting My Latvian Friend

I had wanted to see Riga for more reasons than one. 4 years ago, I was not even aware of a country called Latvia! I first heard of it when I was in interning in Lleida (see Lleida – A Reminiscence and Flashback to 2011: How I Started a New Life in Catalonia) and had a Latvian flatmate. This year, when I was planning my big Lithuanian run (see Running in Lithuania – My First Half Marathon Abroad), I couldn’t imagine not visiting my friend, Alise, who lived in the country right above Lithuania.

Riga did pop up once in a Bollywood movie (Agent Vinod), and I watched it at the theatre just to have a look at Riga. But that movie did no justice to the lovely capital city that Riga really is.

Groupfie in lowlight!

Groupfie in lowlight!

It was an emotional moment for both of us to meet after such a long time. Neither of us had really believed our paths would cross again in due course of time. We ate our dinners with a shot of Latvian balsam (a really strong spirit) and some pale ale from Bauskas alus, a brewery in the southern town of Bauskas. Then, my friend gave me the most beautiful parting gift by taking us on a walking tour of the city at night.

Dimly lit alleyways - perfect for romantic walks in the night

Dimly lit alleyways – perfect for romantic walks in the night

Riga at Night

Riga gets a makeover as the sun sets. From its colourful, cheerful self in the daylight, it transforms into a seductive, mysterious character. Depending on which part of the old town you are in, you will either find yourself amidst rows of nightclubs that play booming music and have a lot of partygoers celebrating loudly on the streets, or you will be able to escape into a quiet corner with not a soul in sight.

My love affair with Riga reached its crescendo when I found myself in this deserted cafe tucked inside the patio of an old building whose paint had chipped off to reveal the blood red bricks beneath.

The most romantic cafe in Old Town

The most romantic cafe in Old Town

I sat there looking up at the cloudless sky for a while before I decided to head back to my room.

Saying Goodbye

I woke up next morning excited for a new day of unplanned adventure, but I was sad to have to leave Riga. I stood by my window for a long time, taking in that unforgettable picture of the Old Town until I could remember it with my eyes closed. I left Riga at dawn, and our story would have to end there, like most romances that always have to end. They just cannot be perfect otherwise. That final image of the historic centre swathed in grey, before the sun fills it up with colour, will stay with me forever.

The silhouette of Riga as I last saw it

The silhouette of Riga as I last saw it

Have you ever been to a place and fallen instantly in love with it? Or did your love grow over time? Share your travel-love-story with me!