Tag Archives: travel

That Mysterious Little Door

I was walking on the side- walk briskly and excitedly. A wee bit anxious too, because I really, really did not want to miss this event and was really looking forward to it. As such what options I had now with me where limited. So I did not really want to loose what little available option I had. In spite of walking fast I was annoyingly trailing behind my family members as they all ran towards the the Royal York Crescent in the the fascinating city of Bristol. So it came really as a surprise to find that at one particular point my feet began to drag and started to become a little heavy. No, it was not fatigue, as we had driven down the road all over the Blackboy Hill, down to the Whiteladies road and finally parked the car in a residential area where we had found the parking with a bit of difficulty as it was jam packed almost every where. So there was no fatigue, yet my feet dragged as if they were pulled by some magnetic force.

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Royal York Crescent, Bristol England

Finally I paused, not by choice but almost forced to pause; and found myself standing in front of a small knob-less mahogany wooden door. It stood isolated and embedded in a slate colored stone wall. The door was small and old but exuded a lot of personality. It had a strange magnetic power and was inviting. Hesitatingly I took in the cow webs settled along the hinges and the missing doorknob. Apparently the door had not been opened for years, and I’m a curious cat. I put one foot forward and there was a rustle and a crackling sound as I stepped on the rubble of dry rust leaves and twigs embracing the entrance. I shivered with the sudden sound but notwithstanding edged closer. And then there was a heavy hand on my shoulder! Thud! With a strong jerk I shrugged my shoulders impulsively and almost screamed before looking into the amused and rather puzzled face of my husband. ” What do you think you’re doing? Trying to enter that door without permission would be called trespassing, don’t you know that? You should in fact be extra careful, considering that you are a tourist here”

I was still trying to regain my senses, when he slowly led me away from that door.”Darling if you walk at this speed you are sure going to miss that Balloon Festival you have have been looking forward to all this time. As such we are already late”. (continued)

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Famous Balloon Festival, Bristol
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Balloon festival, Bristol as seen from Royal Crescent

 

“Hmm”, I murmured weakly and followed him meekly. Should I, should I not, my mind debated with my heart. One last glance, just once I thought and turned my head to look back at the door one last time and gauge what treasures (or horrors) it held. But I saw nothing, as we had left it far behind. For an instant I felt like going back to check on that door, but then I had second thoughts. I definitely was a tourist there and ought to behave properly.

The mystery haunts me even today, long after I have returned from my trip. Maybe I lost my chance of an entry into Alice’s Wonderland or a garden of enchantment or contrarily was saved from the mistake of opening a Pandora’s box (door in this case). The mystery  continues…in my mind…

Have you ever felt anything similar. What do you think was behind that door?

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Mystery Door

 

 

Image Credits: Cover image (Mystery Door)- Clicked by author (Ritu Nanda)
Royal York Crescent image – Google images
Balloon festival – http://www.bristol.ac.uk/city/festivals.html
Balloons in flight – Clicked by author (Ritu Nanda)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Travel:Overwhelmed by Old World Beauty in Bath,England.

If you are drawn towards Gothic ( English) revival architecture, head straight towards Bath in England (UK). Most of the medieval buildings here are built using honey coloured bath stone and carved and chiseled to perfection. The city of Bath is renowned for the Roman baths, Fashion museum and Jane Austin house among other attractions. No wonder its a UNESCO world heritage site and a major travel and tourist destination.

The perpendicular Gothic architecture of the Bath Abbey leaves one truly spellbound in wonder as one stares at the ornate and complex carvings painstakingly done on the walls of the church. The picture below shows the lively atmosphere outside the Bath Abbey. Interestingly, the chaos of the tourists adds value to the symmetrical lines of the beautiful monument. The joie de vivre of the people is palpable. As a matter of sheer coincidence, there is order again in the chaos with many of the tourists in the frame wearing turquoise blue and various other shades of blue. The bright pink flowers and the bicycle boards in the foreground give the necessary pop of colour to the picture, so that I fell in love with my own creation, err.. click almost instantly!

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Bath Abbey, City of Bath, England, UK

 

The cover picture shows the famed Roman baths which are a great example of Victorian style architecture. Again the human element makes the place look chaotic, yet even more beautiful as it makes the place alive; as is rightly said by Constantin Brancusi- “Architecture is inhabited sculpture”. Do you agree?

Musings (Tanka Poetry)

Musings to think that life is not really a struggle, the ‘Tanka’ way!

Life is boring?
Add spice,be mysterious.
Rise from the mundane,
Travel,capture and conquer.
Yet strive for peace with inner-self.

 

 

A tanka poem comprises 5 lines of 5,7,5,7,7 syllables each in that order. Write and read tanka to make life unboring!

The Mighty Trummelbach falls, Switzerland

There are certain things which I always find quite imposing, towering and magnificent at the same time. These are so impactful in terms of their effect that they have the power to make one feel like a dot, a mere dot; minuscule in comparison. This is good for inflated egos at times because it puts you in your place. This the kind of feeling I get whenever I visit the mountains. Besides enjoying their majestic presence and enjoying the cool weather, when you look closely at their rugged raw strength, you realize how fragile you are. Add to that the roar of water from a gurgling waterfall and this is what you get- The mighty Trummelbach falls in Switzerland!

Located in the Lauterbrunnen valley, they are Europe’s largest subterranean water falls and are one of 72 waterfalls.The Trümmelbach Falls are the world’s only glacier waterfalls that are accessible underground by lift, galleries, tunnels, paths and platforms. They alone carry the meltwater of the glaciers from the Jungfrau down to the valley – up to 20,000 liters of water per second. The water carries with it over 20,000 tons of boulders and scree per year and causes the entire mountain to shudder and make a thundering noise.

OMG! So much water and so much force ! It has to be seen to be believed. It is one amazing experience of my Switzerland holiday that I treasure and is a joy to relive. Mind you, although a huge lift carries you up to the falls there are a number of broad, sometimes slippery and watery steps to climb to get good views. It is also a bit dark as you are actually tunneling through the falls. The Trummelbach falls are hidden in the ‘Black Monk’ mountains and are often called the ‘Cork screw’ falls due to the spiral nature of flow of the water. I hope you enjoy my pictures in this post.

Trummelbach Corkscrew falls, Switzerland
Trummelbach Corkscrew falls, Switzerland
Trummelbach Falls, Switzerland
Trummelbach Falls, Switzerland
Good luck charm! Spectrum at Trummelbach falls, Switzerland.
Good luck charm!
Spectrum at Trummelbach falls, Switzerland.

Enticing Eiffel

What is it about this Puddling Iron grid structure that is so alluring? The 300m tall structure is iconic and makes it impossible to imagine Paris (or France) without it. Paris and Eiffel are now synonymous.

When you look at the Eiffel for the first time with your own eyes, after having seen its pictures in magazines, travel brochures and movies, you just can’t help being awestruck. A sigh escapes your being at the sheer marvel that it is. Actually, perhaps one is not really prepared for the grandiose, because the key-chain models and souvenir replicas that your relatives gifted you after their exciting Paris tour are poor replicas of the actual wonder.

The 7300 tons of iron make for an intriguing study in architecture and science. The Eiffel tower is the subject that inspires thousands of painters, artists and romantics throughout the world.

Eiffel up close
Eiffel up close

This June I was fortunate to visit Paris along with my husband. Just as we were about to leave after having our fill of the beautiful monument, my eye caught something that even tour guides fail to tell you. Just below the first balcony, I saw the names of famous physicists and mathematicians engraved on the sides of the tower. The physicist in me was mighty pleased to spot the names of Malus (Malus Law), Carnot (Carnot heat engine), Ampere (Ampere circuital law) and many more! In fact there are 72 names of French scientists, engineers, chemists and mathematicians engraved on the 4 sides with 18 names on each side of the tower. Gustave Eiffel got these names engraved in recognition of their contributions to society. The picture above was clicked by my dear husband; if you zoom the picture a bit , you could spot some of the names that feature on the North East side of the tower.

Into the Eiffel- Lift view
Into the Eiffel- Lift view

But what makes this gigantic structure so romantic?

Oh yes! If I may answer my own question- Its the beautiful landscaping around the tower, its visibility from various locations particularly the river Seine, the lights, and the sparkling lights at night, that lend an almost ethereal glow to the tower itself and the whole area around, transforming it magically. And the iron grid? Doesn’t the huge iron grid structure symbolize stability? Stable enough to last more than a century and still counting. Isn’t stability a trait that we all long for in lasting relationships? The promise makes Eiffel enticing!

All the photographs in this post are original clicks by the author and her husband, Anil Nanda.

Connected By Love

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

—- Lao Tzu

True love is the purest form of human emotions. This beautiful feeling can be expressed in myriad ways. There is this eternal desire to remain connected to your loved ones in whichever part of the world you may be. On a recent trip to Amsterdam, I saw a beautiful bridge over one of the old seventeenth century canals, where people had attached several love padlocks to seal (or rather lock) their love for each other. The picture I have posted below, shows several padlocks connected together.

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Love locks on a bridge in Amsterdam

In fact it set my imagination running. Perhaps it was fixed by a loving family; with each lock representing one member of the family, and an extra one thrown in for good luck? (when it comes to family, I am a wee bit superstitious).The locks are symbolic of the bonding and commitment we have with our loved ones. Besides being connected to each other, the love locks show an amazing connection with the surroundings, becoming part and parcel of the essence of Amsterdam, adding character and more beauty to the already beautiful city.

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True wealth

Musts When You Visit London this Summer

London is most definitely one of my favourite cities in the world. There are several reasons for this love. It is clean and it is green. London is packed with history and truly a heritage city, with every building in almost every nook and corner having a story to tell. The weather may be unpredictable, but for me being an Indian, I love the English summer as it is still pleasantly cold for me as opposed to a 40 degree centigrade temperature or above in my home town in peak summers. The food and the shopping are simply irresistible! The fact that it is fairly easy to commute also deserves a mention. London boasts of one of the world’s best underground railway or ‘tube’ network. Once you have gone through the tube map and understand the working nothing can hold you back from exploring the city.

Being fortunate to be able to visit London ( and several other beautiful  places in the UK) quite often, especially during the summers, I suppose I’m in a position to be able to  share my thoughts on what one must carry along and must do  in London this summer! So here’s my list-

  1.  Comfortable walking shoes : If you really wish to explore London you must have a great pair of walking shoes. Most of the famous tourist places , especially in central London are within stone’s throw of each other. But that’s figuratively speaking. You actually have to walk to move from one tourist attraction to another. For instance if you reach Oxford Street by car or tube, you may park the car and easily walk to either the British Museum or Buckingham Palace. (I may assure you that its much better to go by tube or cab rather than your own car because parking is difficult to find and will be quite expensive. At times one may have to pay congestion charges as well.) All the famed regular tourist places like Trafalgar square, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus may easily be covered by foot, provided you’re wearing great comfortable shoes, period.
    Trafalgar Square
    Trafalgar Square
  2. Selfie Stick/ Camera and Sunscreen: Ah! The london summer is beautiful! With roses in full bloom , the boxes of  freshly picked deep crimson strawberries in street kiosks ready to be devoured; and with the sun casting an inviting golden glow all around, who wants to remain indoors? So pick up that DSLR or selfie stick to use along with your smart phone and click away to glory! After all you are creating and preserving memories that you shall cherish even long after the holiday is over. In fact I really understood the importance of the selfie stick on my recent trip. Along with my family, I was in front of the Buckingham  palace gates at sharp 11 o’clock to catch the Change of Guard ceremony. But there was this huge rush at the palace and practically nothing was visible because of this big ‘human’ wall obstructing the view. Then I noticed that some people were really smart, waving their smart phones up in the air atop the selfie sticks higher above that human wall and recording the whole event! Soon there were almost as many selfie sticks as people around.
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    Big Ben, London
  3. Go off-Beat: If it is your first visit to London, then you may tread the usual route, that is visiting the usual tourist attraction places like museums, Big Ben, Tower hill. London Eye, Madame Tussauds, etc. Fair enough! But if this is perhaps your second or third visit to this capital city or even if you have sufficient time on your first visit why not go a bit off beat?   Some suggestions would be to visit the beautiful gardens that London has to offer. Regent Park is breathtakingly fabulous with the most beautiful hyacinths, roses, and other seasonal flowers in full bloom. This time I just can’t stop going gaga over the most amazing St. James park ( one of the Royal Gardens) . a true nature lovers park, it is a sight for sore nerves, with a variety of pelicans, ducks and other water birds making it a very lively place. Another garden which i highly recommend is Kew Garden. Its sprawling, and to cover it I would need to write a separate piece. Other suggestions include going in for a tea-tasting experience , watching a play or if you are a foodie head straight to the Borough market.
    Tree walk at Kew Gardens
    Tree walk at Kew Gardens
  4. Shopping: London is a fashion capital, and by jove, Londoners are indeed quite fashionable. In london you are really spoilt for choice in terms of the variety available in clothes,shoes, handbags and cosmetics. You can also shop for world class home decor pieces and artifacts. Regent Street, Oxford Street, Bond Street and Harrods are some of the popular places which tourists often throng to shop to your hearts content. You may go offbeat here too – London has some amazing shopping outlets which offer real value for your money, like the London Designer Outlet at Wembley and McArthurGlen  which is tax free. There are some more places too, but I do like to keep some secrets with me. So this summer in London, do some homework before you go!
  5. Travel Insurance and Basic Medicines: Well this point is valid wherever in the world you may travel. Its for your own security and safety. Although some basic medicines like throat lozenges, painkillers, eye drops may be bought over the counter at times from stores like Boots. Sunscreen is a must. when you are are enjoying the summer sun, remember to be kind to your skin.

Your comments on this article are welcome. If you like this article please share some love!

All pictures are clicked by the author and her family , and may not be used without prior permission.

Surreal Scotland

This week’s Photo challenge by The Daily Post,Converge, immediately brings to my mind our amazing road trip to Scotland.The medieval style of architecture in old town Edinburgh as well as Glasgow is at once both intriguing and intimidating. In the pictures featured in this post the convergence of building, human and nature elements is clearly visible.

The first picture is on the highway to Edinburgh, Scotland.

Beautiful convergence of road, undulating hills and the clouds
Beautiful convergence of road, undulating hills and the clouds
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Human, building and metal

In the picture below, there is the amazing convergence of textures and colours of the two walls which contrast beautifully with the bright circles of light on the sign board.

At the Royal Mile
At the Royal Mile
Glasgow
Glasgow