Kerala The Beautiful Southwest Tropical India by Richard Uzelac

kerala india

There is a great deal of diversity in Indian culture and lifestyle that I’ve discovered when I visited the country last few weeks ago. The differences are astounding: culture, religion and lifestyle are astounding, and we always learn something new when we travel to each part, but the one thing that remains the same is the food. Like in Kilimanoor, Kerala – north of Trivandrum, where we saw so many top-notch restaurants with delicacies that would cater to all tastes of an Indian Cuisine: Madhuri (sweet), lavana (salty), amala (sour), katu (pungent), tikta (bitter) and kasya (astringent).

Kerala is a state in southwestern India on the Malabar Coast. It is a state on the Malabar Coast of India in which Malayalam is the most widely spoken language, and it is also the official language of the state.

In addition to pepper and natural rubber production, the state is also a massive producer of coconuts, tea, coffee, cashews and spices. These are all important components of the agricultural sector. Between the Arabian Sea, on the one hand, and the Western Ghats, on the other hand, this state is situated.

The state also has a rich biodiversity with a large number of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, including the Periyar Tiger Reserve. This is the location of the Asian elephant’s northernmost habitat and is regarded as one of the last pristine forests in India. Kerala is a paradise and one of the most beautiful places in India. It is renowned for its picturesque beaches, backwaters and lush green landscape. It is located on the southernmost tip of the country.

Richard Uzelac Takes a Trip to These Beautiful Places in Kerala:

Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)

Trivandrum is the capital city of this state, which is known for its coconuts and coconut products. In terms of greenness, Trivandrum is considered one of the ten greenest cities in India.

Apart from the cuisine of Kerala itself, one can find some of the best dishes in the world here, like in Kilimanoor, a panchayat and town of Trivandrum. The place is well known for its seafood preparations and the boat races held in the backwaters of Kerala. Trivandrum is often used as a gateway to nearby beach resorts and has a lot to offer travellers who wish to stay for more than a few days. Kerala’s capital offers a wide range of attractions, from South Indian cuisine and sophisticated art to architectural treasures and historical landmarks:

  1. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple- As a Hindu temple in Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum (former name), the capital of Kerala, India, the Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the place where the temple is located. In Tamil and Malayalam, the name of the city translates as “The City of Lord Ananta.” – Anantha is the infinitely coiling serpent that Padmanabha or Vishnu lays on. It is one of the world’s riches temple only, and only Hindus can enter. 
  2. Kuthiramalika Palace Museum – When visitors come to the palace of horses, which is known as ‘Kuthiramalika’, they will be greeted by 122 smiling wooden horses. There is a pristine two-story palace in Thiruvananthapuram known as Kuthiramalika Palace Museum or Puthenmalika Palace Museum, which is located near the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. It has been built by Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma, who was Maharaja of the Kingdom of Travancore in British India, in the 1840s when he built it.


  1. Kovalam Beach- Located around 13 km from the city center, Kovalam is a region in the city of Trivandrum in Kerala, whose beaches are a major tourist attraction.

There is a distinct feel to the coastal south of India. India isn’t just Delhi, Mumbai and Rajasthan. The south and northeast of India are totally different. The south is warm and friendly, with a relaxed vibe. And the cuisine is incredible! Just think about it – it’s home to coconuts, curry spices, rice and tropical fruits. Fish dishes are also very popular in Kerala. Deep-fried fish served with rice, lentils, and a spicy sauce is a firm favourite.

The Beautiful Lakshadweep Islands

Although my trip was short, I would have loved to see some of the Islands of Lakshadweep. This is a group of 36 islands, well known for its exotic and sun-kissed beaches, an abode of bewitching landscapes, and an experience to dive into the underwater beauty of the sea. The island is considered to be a precious heritage of ecology and culture. Lakshadweep Islands provide a lot of opportunities for water sports over the serene blue water and pearly white beaches. It is situated in the Arabian Sea off the western coast of India. These islands are noted for their wonderful beauty and pristine beaches. The islands are an oasis of greenery, with lush emerald forests and bewitching landscapes.

Before I forget it is true that you can never go wrong when you get to their barbershops!

Top Places to Visit in Italy by Richard Uzelac

The pictures of Italy make me want to visit. The country is a magnificent one, with beautiful cities, intriguing sites, and jaw-dropping attractions that draw people from all over the world. 

The regions of Italy excites and extends my horizons. It is unquestionably worth visiting the country as every traveler will find something special in this beautiful country that will entice them to return again and again, especially for those architectural lovers like me. 

From the North to the South, Italy is full of magnificent destinations that range from stunning cultural metropolises like Rome, Florence and Venice to gorgeous cities such as Milan that are dominated by majestic cathedrals and steeped in history. 

Richard Uzelac’s Top 6 Places to See in Italy

From the North to the South, Italy is full of magnificent destinations that range from stunning cultural metropolises like Rome, Florence and Venice to gorgeous cities such as Milan that are dominated by majestic cathedrals and steeped in history. 


1) Rome – Vatican City is a tiny piece of land in Rome and it has been the pope’s residence since the year 1377. While the main area is closed to the public, there are many attractions to see such as St. Peter’s Square and Basilica which are impressive examples of Renaissance architecture. When you venture into the world of art history Vatican City would be the top list you would like to visit. 

Vatican City

Florence, Italy

2.)Florence, Italy- Something interesting I read online is Florence, Italy. It is said that any time of year is a good time to visit Florence, but summer and peak August months are not the best times. One should visit Florence between April and September when it’s warm, you can eat outside, and you can get art festival tickets all summer long. One of the must-visits in Florence, Italy, is the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – A typical Italian Gothic building, Florence’s Cathedral is dedicated to “Santa Maria del Fiore.”

Florence, Italy

 Milan, Italy

3.) Milan, Italy- There are over 1.3 million people living in Milan, which is one of the world’s most unique cities. It’s also home to Leonardo davinci’s arguably most famous work, the last supper. Milan is one of the four fashion capitals of the world, and it’s also home to the first Starbucks in Italy. When reading through the history of Campari and realizing it was invented in Novara, Italy, the West of Milan. I wanted to see the place. 

Duomo di Milano  –  All of this over 600 years in the making and to this date there are debates about who is the original architect. The Duomo is one of Italy’s most celebrated artworks and has been awarded many times for its beauty.

Montenegro Street – Located in the heart of Milan, Montenegro street is the third most expensive street in Europe. As everyone is paparazzi in Milan, I would love to ask my wife to yell out my name in the street and see how it would turn out.  

Cinque Terre

4.)  Cinque Terre-  My dream vacation would be to visit some of the most stunning places in Europe. I would like to explore beautiful villages, enjoy vibrant resorts, and discover new cultures along the way. This then would have checked my bucket list. 

Known for its beauty, the Cinque Terre has been growing grapes and olives on this rugged, steep terrain for centuries. A memorable holiday with breathtaking views of harbors far below the wild but hospitable coastline, medieval fortresses, abundant vines, and vibrant colors. The six towns that make up the Cinque Terre, nestled in the stunning Appennino hills of Italy, are justly famous for their breathtaking views and friendly communities. A classic Italian rural setting complete with medieval fortresses, extensive vineyards and pastoral views, this is a holiday that will have you ready to soak up the sun and relax.

Amalfi Coast

5.) Amalfi Coast – When you get to search around the top places to visit in Italy, I was in awe to find pictures of this beautiful coastline. I have never seen such a beautiful coastline like this. I’d make it to see this beautiful place if I got to Italy. There are fields of lavender and yellow, olive groves, lemon trees, and fig trees all along the road. The Amalfi Coast is also home to some of Italy’s most impressive hillside villas. These luxurious residences are located high on the hillside overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The views from these homes are spectacular!

Sorento and Capri Island

Sorrento- Sorrento used to be called Surrentum during Greek and Roman times. I planned on visiting this as I go along the Amalfi Coast. Why not visit it if the place has a very welcoming atmosphere. Sorrento is a small town that’s been around since Roman times. It’s known for its beautiful beaches and restaurants and is a popular spot for tourists from all over Europe who want to experience the Italian lifestyle. Greek mythology says Sorrento was home to sirens who lured passing sailors onto its rocks with their beautiful songs.

Sorrento Italy

Capri – I would love to visit Capri Island, and I’ll bet it’s worth it! It is an island of striking natural beauty surrounded by crystal-clear seas and cliffs – it is dotted with baroque villas and gothic churches with stunning views of the Mediterranean far below. You could just see how stunning the place is.

A Travel Guide to Bali, Indonesia by Richard Uzelac

Richard Uzelac in Bali

Hi, I’m Richard Uzelac. I will bring you to my latest destination trip, Bali, Indonesia. Indonesia is one of the countries in Southeast Asia. Because it is a tropical destination, remember to bring your sunscreen. There are pretty much a lot of activities you can enjoy on your trip to this country. But first, let’s get to know this lovely place. Bali is an island in Indonesia and people here are called Indonesian. Most of the population is Hindu so when you travel here in Bali, you will see many offerings laid around the sidewalks or in shops. and Bali, Indonesia, is a great choice for a budget-trip.

How to get your trip started in Bali, Indonesia? by Richard Uzelac

First, you will need to book a flight directly to Ngurah Rai International Airport, so you will not need to drop by Jakarta. However, you can always stop by if you want. You can check out google for flights going to Bali through Ngurah Rai. What’s good about going to Bali, Indonesia, is that most countries can enter and purchase a visa on arrival, which costs around 35 dollars if you’re coming from the US. And for more updated and more detailed information about the requirements for Bali, Indonesia entry you can check out their site. Moreover, you would also need to download an ehac international form, an app you will have to fill out before you depart from the airport.

The last time my wife and I visited Bali, we didn’t have to do the PCR Test anymore.. But regulations constantly change, so please check Bali’s official website and your visa travel agent.

Upon arrival, you likely want to head for a currency exchange stall, but I suggest you use the ones from outside the airport, and for the currency, 15,000 Indonesian rupiah is equivalent to 1 USD. I wouldn’t like to stress this out, but as soon as I tried one of the ATMs on the island, it sank to me that I reached my card’s withdrawal limit so I made a phone call- on the other line, “Richard Uzelac, would you verify this information and we are going to transfer you to another department and blah blah” it lasted about 30 minutes including the waiting time. So, I recommend changing the atm withdrawal limit for your cards before heading for a trip and then estimating its conversion.

temporary pic

What to bring to Indonesia?

The best time for a trip to Bali is before September, as the wet season starts in September. And as you must know, Indonesia has only two types of seasons: Wet and dry. This goes the same for any other southeast Asian country. So you won’t like packing your coats as it will be only humid and hot, otherwise rainy and wet when you arrive.Go for your summer or sexy clothing such as shorts, T-shirts, sleeveless, swimming outfits, Mountaineering outfits, and of course, super comfy clothing as it gets very humid daytime.

Research Research Research

Research is very important prior to going out for the activities like Scuba Diving, 
Kayaking, Mountaineering, as this will save you a lot of time and avoid being taken advantage of. Remember to download the offline maps from google as well to avoid getting lost, especially when you're heading to a mountain place where there's no signal. Research also for budget accommodations especially if you're looking to stay longer. Again, you can find some on google and as well as on Facebook. Make sure to check out ratings and reviews too. You can already enjoy luxury accommodation for about 50- 100 USD and this includes food; if you want to push it higher, you can spend over 100 USD, which is already super luxurious for food together with accommodation.

Top 3 Recommended Places to Visit in Bali by Richard Uzelac


If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re in a scene from Lord of the Rings, Uluwatu is the place for you. It’s about a 30-minute taxi ride from the airport. There are a lot of cultural sites around, including the Uluwatu Temple, which is high up on a cliff overlooking the beach. It’s an incredible sight to see!

Tirta Empul, Bali and Goa Gajah Temple.

If you would like to experience a cultural Balinese culture, I recommend you visit Tirta Empul, Bali and Goa Gajah Temple. These are sacred places and you will see the significance of Balinese religious culture. They’re both located in Ubud Bali Indonesia and are among the busiest tourist spots.

Tukad Cepung Waterfall

Another beautiful spot is Tukad Cepung, a marvellous waterfall pouring into a cave. It’s a short trail through the wilderness. It’s a beautiful place and picture-perfect with its beautiful shafts of sunlight

My family and I have enjoyed Bali and we highly recommend you go out and check out Bali for you next planned vacation destination. It’s one of the homes of the friendliest people on the planet and it’s not hard to fall in love with this place. I’d love to come back here someday!

Richard Uzelac’s Oahu Hawaiian North Shore Hurricane Adventure

Richard Uzelac, Haleiwa Hawaii, coast of Island

Richard Uzelac and Alexandra’s Beachfront AirBNB Condo was a Bullseye for Alaskan Hurricane

The Hurricane caught Richard Uzelac and Alexandra Uzelac off guard during their Experience on the North shore of Oahu in February of 2019.

Richard Uzelac view of Oahu with Airplane
Richard Uzelac view of Oahu with Airplane

Richard Uzelac’s Hawaiian Hurricane experience was a first! We were thrilled as usual to revisit the Hawaiian Islands. Alexandra and I had never gone to Oahu together and this trip was going to correct that discrepancy in our travels.

Landing in Honolulu brought back memories of my very first airplane ride in 1982. I had won a free trip to Oahu for being the top real estate agent on our dominating office in southern New Jersey. How could I forget the smell of the beautiful flowers after we climbed down the staircase of the L-1011 onto the tarmac. As I left the terminal with my bags I saw a guy at the light on a Harley, with no helmet smiling and gave me the ‘hang loose’ sign with his hand. I thought to myself, “How cool is that! Riding around Hawaii on a Harley with no helmet enjoying the smells and views of paradise every day.” I wanted to throw it all away and move to Hawaii and live that life. I didn’t. Maybe I should have… But I seriously digress.

We were thrilled as usual to revisit the Hawaiian Islands. Alexandra and I had never gone to Oahu together and this trip was going to correct that discrepancy in our travels.

An Auspicious Start for Richard Uzelac on Oahu in 2019.

No Harley’s or Palmyra blossom smells almost forty years later. I stupidly ordered a rental car from a no-name rental place. The ride out to the lot was very long. We arrived at a dingy used car lot/repair shop/car rental place. Our first car was a Certified Piece of S**t, seriously. It was old and the tires didn’t look that great. After I pulled out with it (after waiting at least an hour for the car), I turned around and came back it. The feeling of the car was unsteady. I went into full ‘Rich’ mode and got them to give us a much better car at no extra cost. I think they were still breathing when we left. The new car was actually quite nice and we headed out to the condo.

Haleiwa Hurricane Condo

Richard Uzelac, Haleiwa Hawaii, coast of Island Cliffs and Surf
Richard Uzelac,Hawaii, coast of Island Cliffs and Surf

Haleiwa is a cute, yet grungy little seaside town in the North Shore of Oahu. We has fun lunches and dinners at just about all the restaurants in town over the course of a week. Just north of Haleiwa is the surfer, dropout, druggie Sunset Beach. We were warned several times online and off to no leave valuables in your car in that area. We had no issue and the waves were huge, up to 60 feet!
Our condo was ocean front, I mean, really really ocean front. Our sliding glass door looked right upon the ocean about 30 feet away and 12 feet down below our ground floor unit. The first day was awesome and sunny, the second day was awesome and Hurricaney? Hurricanesque? We had a hurricane on the second day.

Richard Uzelac Mans the Sand Bags and Plywood.

Richard Uzelac and wife, Alexandra at Hawaiian Waterfall in the rain
Richard Uzelac and wife, Alexandra at Hawaiian Waterfal in the rain

Second morning clouds gave way to second morning howling winds and whipped up waves. The Alaskan Hurricane hit us head on. The slider was bending but it didn’t break. We helped to carry sandbags and plywood to bolster the slider of our unit and those of those less physically able. It was all for one and one for all and we all rallied in any way we could. Some could only provide beer, but they were very respected helpers.

Remember the ‘ocean was 12 feet down below our ground floor unit part’? Nawww. Our patio became part of the ocean. Hats off to the quality of that slider though! At times it looked, on the inside that we were looking at an aquarium with the waves crawling up the glass a few inches, but she didn’t break! That was cool. our sandbags slowed most of the water down and repelled some and the door didn’t even leak a drop! Damn impressive.

Richard Uzelac and Alexandra’s Fun Night

Richard Uzelac, Haleiwa Hawaii, coast after the storm
Richard Uzelac, Haleiwa Hawaii, coast after the storm

Well it wasn’t the fun Hawaiian night that was expected, but it was still exciting. We lay in our bed on the far side away from the slider about 20 feet back. We figured if we got up in the night and our feet were under water, we should leave. Buy all accounts from the sounds of the hurricane winds, it should have been wet and deep. The less robust side windows, with the little panes of glass you can open and close were not water tight and the areas around the window were wet but not something a couple of towels couldn’t handle below each window.

The Aftermath of Richard Uzelac’s Hawaiian Hurricane Adventure on Oahu

After two days of hard rain and winds the hurricane decided to identify as a tropical storm and we could go out and enjoy the wet wet island. My wife even swam in the ocean in the cold waters and air. She’s a Polar Bear, a tiny fit latin Polar Bear. We forgot the umbrellas as they only break in those winds and we just drove and hiked in the wet. Breakfasts and Lunches were warmer and tastier. All the patrons were kindred spirets and we recalled the Hurricane and how awesome it was.

Richard Uzelac’s Hawaiian Hurricane note: Sorry for the general low quality of the images. I will upgrade my camera soon.

Richard Uzelac’s Mount Shasta, California Experience


We Enjoyed Visiting Mount Shasta!

Recently my Wife and I decided to go to Mount Shasta for a few days. I gotta say, it was a fantastic experience full of natural beauty, fresh air and alkaline water! The little town of Mt Shasta was charming and a great walk around full of Shops and eclectic restaurants. – Richard Uzelac

Lodging Notes

Inn at Mount Shasta:

This was a nicely modernized and updated Motel located just before arriving to the main street of the town of Mt. Shasta. The people there were relaxed and helpful. The outside is rather plain but clean. The room was well above average with a designer feel to it. Nice big bed and furniture looked proper and planned. It overall had a hip clean upscale feel. Pricing was VERY reasonable.

We often walked to the town from the Inn and it was very pleasant. Overall we gave it 3.5 Stars for a nice safe clean place with style, at a great price.

Inn at Shasta Lake:

This was literally a Mom and Pop Inn with lovely grounds, a charming gathering place for the included breakfast and happy hour drinks and snacks every day. This place was three minutes to HWY 5 and five minutes to Shasta Lake and a short boatride to the Shasta Lake Caverns ( a must see).

The place reminded me of Pennsylvania with lush mountain flora and groups of deer in the woods. Much of the breakfast food is grown right on site in their large garden. We walked through there and saw a very nice selection of fruits and vegetables they use for the breakfast.

Food Notes:

Too bad they didn’t offer food because finding a good place to have dinner was not so easy. We decided to go north on the 5 Hwy and ended up eating at a dive bar on Taco Tuesday night. It was a dive but the people were fun and we actually enjoyed the evening. If you want a better plate of food, you MUST go SOUTH on the 5 freeway to Redding, California for Dinner.

Back up in the town of Mt Shasta we had some great meals. One place was the little hippy market just a short walk from our hotel. The breakfast and lunch food was great and the people, mountain people, hippies, Van-lifers, hikers, bikers and other edgy people were quite interesting to watch while enjoying a healthy meal.

We also ate at the only Indian Food restaurant in the town. The owner lives upstairs with his family and serves food in his living/dining rooms. The food was good and a nice walk to and from the hotel.

The Sights:

Loved Mt. Shasta, the monolithic white pyramid sitting on the flat lands around it like a spaceship that landed in a corn field. It feels surprising and unexpected when you first see it. We were used to the long High Sierras that tended to go on forever. But Mt. Shasta is like the pyramids of Egypt: Monoliths surrounded by relatively flat lands around it.

Mt Shasta is beautiful upon first Site. While we fought our way up to the town in a long downpour at night, we were rewarded by a beautiful snowy mountain peak the next morning, just breathtaking. Mt. Shasta reminds me how truly beautiful California is.

Fresh Snow!

We drove our car up as far as we could to the highest car park available which was about 8,000 ft above sea level. And that spot is just the base of Mt. Shasta proper. The mountain top is over 14,000 feet, almost that of Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental United States. We did a short hike to about 9,000 feet and stopped to meditate on boulders after removing some of the fresh perfect snow that sat on top of them like icing.

Peaceful Meditation

We sat in our meditation positions and listened to …nothing. I mean, NOTHING, it was sooo very quiet that I actually heard my own brain slightly humming. My ears heard the inside of my brain, it was amazing.

If you plan to hike Mt. Shasta in the snow, be fully prepared and in great shape, especially with new snow. New snow can hide dangerous drop offs and cliffs.

Overall this was a must see hike and part of my bucket-list.

Old Resort Ruins:
With a bit of work you can find the old resort from the early 1900’s where people went to take in the ‘the waters’ near Shasta. The waters happen to be a very alkaline ground water that to this day bubble up out of the ground and find their way to an old small brass pipe, and just flow right on to the ground. The water has a PH of over 11! As an Alkaline water drinker, this was heaven for me to get natural alkaline spring water. The area has some old stone walls and even an old stone soaking tub for the Resort visitors from 100 years ago. Beside the ruins is an active creek and two sets of waterfalls, one of which was quite big.

Lake Shasta Caverns:
Beautiful rock formations after a short boat ride, bus ride and steep climb.

Lake Shasta Dam:
Great museum and history behind this dam that buried three towns under 400 feet of water!

Hope you go some day! -Richard Uzelac

Welcome to Richard Uzelac’s Photography and Travel Blog

Santa Cruz Ocean Blow Hole by Richard Uzelac

Richard Uzelac’s Photography and Travel Blog Introduction

“Hi There Everyone! I’d like to welcome you to my travel and photography blog! The goal here is to offer something meaningful, insightful, beautiful, fun and thought provoking. I agree that it may just end up self-serving and trivial, so we are both going to have to take that risk! Ha ha!” – Richard Uzelac

Blog Goals by Richard Uzelac

For those that got this far… 🙂 Maybe this is why I’ve never wrote a book by now; I don’t exactly know where to begin. This travel and photography blog can be enclosed and trivial or it could be much more, it could be meaningful. It is easy to be meaningful for me. I get to pick the images, stories and adventures I present and I guess there is something wonderful, cathartic and meaningful for ME in that but how does that benefit YOU?

My goal is to make this meaningful for you as well as me, then I’ve done something ‘good’ and positive in the world. Ad Dr. Jordan Peterson says, (and I paraphrase) ” Do something meaningful with your life. It is a way to deal with the Chaos and Suffering we all experience in this world. Start by taking care of yourself, then your family and friends, and then your community, your country and the world.”

So that is my grand goal for this blog, to make it meaningful and positive in the world and provide this to the people that take the time to read it. Whether or not anyone outside of a handful of family and friends ever read this is certainly debatable. And if more read it, it is even more debatable, or better yet, improbable that they will find meaning in my writings and images.

The Photos

The photos are a key to all of this. They are a symbolic representation of my travels and life. Picking the correct ones and presenting them here is the key to this blog. Just describing the travels without photos would make the experience all the less impactful for readers. But having photos will stimulate the visual cognition of the story as it is revealed in the written word. “A photo is worth a thousand words” is certainly true here and maybe quite a bit understated. I believe the correct picture is worth a hundred thousand words of nuance and information.

Ah, but picking the correct image is turning out to be quite nerve wracking for me. I am obsessing with the decision for each and every story I am planning on. Hopefully my brain will rewire to the point where my decisions on images is light speed fast and quite accurate to a great degrees. Quality in, quality out. At least this is my photos goal.

The Stories and Observations

“Every picture tells a story,” as the saying goes. Some of those stories are mundane, but some can be truly profound, insightful, thoughtful, exciting, dynamic, and life changing. I’m going to endevour to do the later, duh.

How much time I put into each will be variable as some stories are short and targeted and others may be general and project a flood lamp on my life.

I’m so excited to be working on this little blog and seeing how this goes!


Richard Uzelac