Thursday, November 27, 2014

Guest Post : Return of the Traveller

If you haven't read the first 2 parts; you can read them here and here.

I had precisely 2 months left to return to the motherland. Also, 2 days left for Oktober fest .What does one do? Yeah! Exactly my point! :)

Munich – I survived the Oktober fest  and lived to tell the tales of 1 liter beer mugs , roasted chicken plates, hurried waiters , dancing on tables, lines for entry in tents and empty pockets in the end .This one just got checked off from the bucket list.



Fussen - Neuschwanstein castle -  It is called fairy tale castle for a reason. Once I went there, I just nodded in affirmation . It is  awe inspiring, surrounded by a forest, waterfall and crystal clear blue lake. Heaven must look something like this.



Heidelberg -  Philosophenweg translated unto philosophers' walk . It is a steep hike of about 1 Km up the
mountain besides a flowing river and famous castle. It really tests your stamina .With the beer belly it was all the more tough. But I managed to conquer it and got the best landscape shots which I think I can sell for wallpapers. Yup...they are that good!



Black Forest-  I went to place which is famous for making cuckoo clocks - Neustadt Titisee.The clocks' prices start from 50 € and go up to as expensive as 1000$ . One of the craziest thing I did was to rent a cycle and drove into the black forest even as there was a mild drizzle. And I think this is the best way to discover nature if you are not time bound. I drove about 20 km inside out and had their famous alcoholic black forest pastry to end the day.



Barcelona – Hands down this beats all the beaches and sea food one can see or have in a lifetime. My
wonderful moments were the dip in the Mediterranean sea, and watching Barcelona soccer match which was completely coincidental.One of the local markets had huge crabs,lobster,sea urchins,eels, jumbo prawns and whatever lies beneath the sea! Terrifying experience to see but a wonderful one to eat them ;-)



Istanbul – It is  true that it is a melting pot of cultures . With sea, sand, majestic mosques, rich history and
bright markets covered with spices, earthen lamps, jewelry and baklavas (a Turkish sweet) this has to be a  special mention and a befitting end to my Euro trip.My favourite moments are actually more than one – a walk down the spice market , Topkapi palace tour , Hagia Sophia  and Medussa head . The food was very spicy like in India . Their local food is a must try. I had kokorech (pronounced as cockroach), which is nothing but a simple grilled meat sandwich. I also tried their Menemen (omlette cooked in onion gravy with breads).
TIP-exchange currency at spice market with best value and no commission.



Belgrade –  This was a stop over while returning to Germany from Istanbul. 10 hours was a decent time and so I visited the lesser known tourist destinations. It is one of the few countries which have their prime attractions open 24 hours and  have free entry. The first stop was Belgrade Fort . This is a huge fort with exhibitions and tanks, anti –aircraft guns, torpedos kept for display from WW-1 times. Plus it hosts a man made Jurassic park theme restaurant and kids play area. It boasts of a bohemian street – Skarlidkja . It has some overpriced restaurants but food generally tastes good even though different.



And with this, my seemingly never ending journey came to an end, and now seems like a beautiful dream.
8 countries - a total of 22 cities – pretty much sum up my Euro travel tales .Some good memories to live with – until we make the next one! :)

Thank you reading the posts . Signing off with lines from Robert frost – Miles to go before I sleep …..

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The 1 year waali feeling :)

Next week is my little one's first birthday. As easy as it sounds, it feels as unreal to me. On the outside, we are really excited and pepped up and arranging her first birthday party. But on the inside, I am just freaking out. If I may say so.

Just this time last year, we were impatiently waiting for "something to happen". Because I was already past my due date, even though  "It can happen anytime now" was what I was hearing since a month. And 1 year already to that day. And what a day it was. I have written about it here. But somehow since yesterday, I can almost feel an excitement building inside of me. Of the D-day approaching. As if something as earth shattering is going to happen again. It's not. And thank God for that! I have had an experience of labor and child birth once. And I think I am covered for life.

If you are fond of birth stories, read this one. It just reminded of all that I went through too. Minus the epidural and the c-section part ;-) I think I couldn't do as much justice to my labor story as this woman ;-)
I almost got the chills as I remembered my own time and the hours ticking away on the hospital clock during labor. But am so so glad all that amounted to something :)

This is her first milestone of the many many to come. I am excited and proud and happy and generally nervous. Of how time is just flying away. I look at her pictures when she was days old, and now. I just can't seem to place where the time went. And this I feel after having spent most of my year with her (during maternity and vacation)! Imagine what's going to happen now that I have resumed work and soon after, when she starts going to school!

Anyway, wish us luck for the party. Our first as parents :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Guest Post : The Two and a Half Travellers!

Continued from here....

Since my stay had been extended, I just relaxed for the first weeks. Also since the family was expected to visit me in a few months, I decided to save some money :P But! I didn't save all of it. I did visit a few places before the Ms. and Mrs. arrived. Talk about the wanderlust bug!

Duisberg,Wuppertal – hanging train ride in schwebebahn.  It is a beautiful ride over the river. Apart from the train ride, there is nothing much to see here. It is majorly a time kill.

Nuremberg-is mainly about forts. It has a central square and all international brands store that one can only window shop from. But I liked the forts as they made up a major chunk of the to-visit-places and was good with guided tour.


Erlangen – It is a small town near Nuremberg mainly famous for hosting mini Oktober fest in month of July. I  had to get acquainted before the real deal , so here I tried the famous 10% vol BEER :P


Mettman – It is small town an hour away from Dusseldorf .It is built on a
mountain and forest. Neanderthal museum was the highlight of this trip. Walk to the museum from metro station is WILD and unforgettable. It is almost 1 ½ KM among dense forest and directly opens to the entrance of the museum. Museum itself is a walk down the science class and shows history of man . 2 hours inside and I had existential crisis.The Neanderthals also had their own beer. But bad taste, don't buy it ;-)


Frankfurt - Senckenberg Museum – I am big fan of Jurassic park and this museum has a lot of prehistoric
era fossils of dinosaurs shown in the movie plus pretty bad ass stuff like fossils of fishes, reptiles,
animals and men. Big fan, bought a t-shirt as souvenir. And Frankfurt is famous for Applewine .A must try though I wouldn't recommend it much.


Rudeshiem/Geisenhiem - Vineyards. This region is famous for its wines. Since my client owns a wine
making machine, I got complete knowledge of wine making process ,different types of wine and also went to a local wine and cheese tasting festival. It also has round trip with walk into the forest mountain , coming down on on open chair lift and back to starting point from a cruise. The food was good and wine delicious on Drosselgasse lane. One of the less discovered places in Germany. Highly recommended.


And then my lovelies arrived and we planned our expeditions to rest of the Europe starting with Swisss.

Zurich – It definitely has to be Mt Titlis .With the little one tightly cupped in arms I climbed about 20
meters up and down in 2 feet deep snow. It was dangerous and daring – I was like SnowCrusher! But
when everybody else was trying to walk straight in the snow I did the complete round with my arms
full. I might sound arrogant but it is the craziest thing and I am proud of it. Coming to food, Swiss chocolates were to be found everywhere (no points for guessing that). I gorged on a full box of Macaroons from Luxemburgerli, one of their oldest confectioneries. And their local wine – Appenzeller is a delicacy worth tasting!

Paris – Louvre ! Louvre ! Louvre . I would like to spend a week looking at each and every painting, art, carved rocks , listening to a guide and gorging on the croissants and coffee. I spent only half a day but it
was mesmerizing .

Amsterdam (with family) – This was second visit to Amsterdam, the one with the family. Of it, I have everlasting memories of the Anne Frank house and Nemo science center. My daughter fell asleep while entering Anne Frank house and I covered the whole trip in about 2 hours carrying her in my arms. It was both emotionally and physically tiring. Nemo science center is so advanced that I felt like raising my child in that country which gives such good exposure and learning.

Berlin – Berlin has history unfolding in every corner of the city. You have to be with a guide to know and
appreciate it. It is for culture vultures. I liked The Berlin Zoo and specially feeding time for lions. We were
there at the perfect moment when a pair was fed with meat and they growled and scratched at it. They were just being defensive but we got our doubts cleared – Why they are called king of jungle.

And that’s how 45 days ended and 2 ½ travelers got richer or poorer however you want to take it.The week when my family was leaving was definitely making me home sick. And so I booked a trip which
would make me feel at home :P

 To be continued.....