Cricket and Travel is a mouth-watering combination! Something as special as a Sachin straight drive or a Wasim Akram yorker. Given all the time we spend on Cricinfo at work and how major a role cricket plays in our lives, we thought a topic combining cricket and travel makes for an interesting blog.
Of all the cricket holiday destinations out there, there are a few places that really stand out as they have given us some lasting memories.
With the majestic Galle Fort in the backdrop, the Galle International Stadium is an enchanting place for playing cricket. The entire fort area is teeming with cricket and you can even find children playing the game in some of the open areas of the fort. An ideal day would begin by a leisurely morning walk on the sea facing fort followed by some cricket action in the day and a night of good food and music in the many eateries in this area.
We spent two wonderful days there at a beautiful little homestay facing the ocean. That was my introduction to renting homely rooms in Asia and we were not disappointed. With a nice little terrace garden to have your breakfast while watching the kids run behind waves and a tortoise underneath your chair, the whole place had an ancient Dutch charm.
One of the recent additions to the increasing list of world-class cricket grounds in India, the Dharamshala Cricket Ground is a visual treat. Home to the Dalai Lama, Dharamshala possesses a certain infectious tranquility and provides a unique atmosphere for cricket.
As a holiday destination, Dharamshala has some great treks, however the trek to Triund stands out. The trek offers breathtaking views of mountains being engulfed by the clouds, transporting you to a world only seen in the Lord of the Rings movies.
This is a must do and one of the most uncrowded treks you will find. On the more crowded trek to the Bhagsunag Falls, Shiva’s Café provides a nice detour.
Dharamshala has hosted two ODIs and as connectivity increases in the future, one can expect a cricket world cup match being held soon in this spiritual town.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Moving to the actual shooting locations of Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy, the town of Queenstown must be an essential part of any itinerary that includes a visit to the south island of New Zealand. The Queenstown Events cricket stadium has an airstrip right next to it and provides amazing views of planes taking off as batsmen take guard. The ground is surrounded by the aptly named Remarkables Mountain range and the lush green spectator lawns make for a perfect picnic spot.
With Queenstown as base, the St. Franz Josef Glacier and Milford Sound can be visited. Both guided and unguided walks can be taken upon the St Franz Josef Glacier. The glacier sadly is receding owing to global warming and if you have plans to visit New Zealand, you should expedite them to witness this beautiful glacier in its glory.
Waterfalls, a cruise ship, snow-capped mountains and dolphins are just few words one would associate with Milford Sound. It has been some time now that I visited this scenic place; it was a time when Kodak cameras were still popular. I also did consequently manage to misplace the 36 shot film on which I captured this wonder land. Well, that gives me a good reason to go back!
To globalize the beautiful game of cricket and make it more inclusive, it is imperative to provide support and encouragement to the associate nations. Cricket will only be enriched if played in a charming city such as Edinburgh. The Grange Cricket Club in Edinburgh has hosted several ODI’s, the last one being between Scotland and Australia.
Edinburgh can be used as base to travel to the scenic northern parts of Scotland. A trip to Lochness in search of the Lochness monster popularly known as Nessie in local folklore must be on the agenda. Moving further north, one can visit Inverness and the battlefields that were part of the movie Braveheart. Travel by road and experience the beautiful Scottish countryside; keep a lookout for all the magnificent castles along the way.
Finally no trip to Scotland would be complete without tasting some Scotch whiskey. The Scotch Whiskey Experience on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh offers some great tours complete with tastings and a sort of amusement ride that takes you through the entire whiskey making process.
By no means is the above list exhaustive and there are many more fantastic cricket holiday destinations such as Johannesburg, Sydney and London. And we are sure that as the sport grows and spreads across the world, many more will come up!
** This blog was written as a part of the Harsha Bhogle Blogger Dream Team