Thursday, 28 May 2009

A "Sundae" of its kind!

Lake Como, Italy 5.12PM, 24-05-2009 :
After doing a mind blowing boat criuse in lake Como,we were returning back to station to catch our train to Milan.It was too hot(23).I wanted to have my favourite orange bar but we couldnt find anywhere.So finally we(Yash and me) stopped at a shop to take "Sundae".In Italy we really faced language problem. People didnt understand English at all.Literally we used sign language to make them aware of what we want.
After struggling finally we could make the shopkeeper understand that we want normal icecream small with choclate sauce, nuts and crunhes on it.

From a vending machine white colour stuff came out. We assumed it to be vanilla icecream.Then the shopkeeper poured some choclates sauce,nuts, crunches and choco chips. Meanwhile we were busy patting at our back that we got the right thing.

Yash asked me to start first. Thinking it to be vanilla icecream, I had the first spoon.The taste was pathetic.I could get the tangy and very different taste.I started making faces.As soon as Yash saw my disgusting facial expression he burst on me.Dont be so fussy one should eat whatever u get..His non stop lecture was on.
Very softly I said Yash why dont you try once.He had. Even he found something is wrong.Then we realised its yoghurt and not icecream.The shop was of flavoured yoghurts..I galloped 1-2 spoons but Yash liked it.

From this incident i learnt 2 things:
1) Husbands with no reasons yell on their wives.
2)Make sure what you are buying.

Monday, 11 May 2009

My Trip to Heaven - ofcourse on Earth - Switzerland

Switzerland-Heaven On Earth...

After visiting Switzerland,I totally agree with this sentence..It's really "Heaven on Earth" (ofcourse after our very own Kashmir)...with amazing scenic beauty and cleanliness all around..
I visited Swiss during April 2009 with my hubby.
Switzerland is bordered by Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south and Austria to the east.So in Swiss all these coutries influences can be seen.
Mostly French and German is spoken there and they are referred as Swiss-French and Swiss-German respectively .This was the reason we had to face little difficulty as people found it a bit difficult to understand English if you speak it too fast...

We had a 5-day trip. I would like to share with my viewers my plan and expereinces during those amazing five days. Our base city was Interlaken as it was easily accessible from all the places we wanted to visit.
First Day:-

Day -1 Activities

Reached Geneva around 10:30am from London Gatwick by Easyjet. From Geneva Airport we went to Geneva Central train station by train (~3CHF). We kept our luggage in the locker in station itself which cost us around 5-8 CHF. Its all automated so you need not search for anyone to help you. We found it a bit difficult to operate it initially as after all we Indians are not used to self service.

We went around Geneva and saw water fountain, flower clock, UNO office.
Did the city tour in tour bus.

Geneva water fountain is the largest fountains in the world with 140mt high. Water jet is so strong that if you are foolish enough to stick your head into it it would be ripped off from your body.

In station we bought Swiss half price pass for 99CHF so all travelling tickets were charged at half price to us.(By doing this we saved good amount of CHF around 66 CHF per head so I did lots of shopping with it.)

We got our tickets from Geneva to Interlaken with Golden classic scenic train.
First took normal train from Geneva around 2:30pm to Montroux.
Changed in Montroux and boarded Golden Pass train to Zussimen.
Then again took normal train from Zussimen to Interlaken west. Golden Pass is a "Must Go" with great interiors and excellent view all around. What a way to start our trip! The Golden Pass classic train was a icing on the cake.

We then reached hotel which is 5 mins walk from Interlaken West Station.

Aroun 10pm after having our dinner Yash and me decided to stroll the silent city. Its quiet safe to stay out till late night.
We stayed in interlaken
* at Rugen Park, RugenPark Strasse 19, CH3800, Interlaken
+41 (0) 33 822 3661 - Contact Ursla (charges 80-100 CHF per night per double bed room)
* Rugen Park hotel has a small shared kitchen with Rice cooker, Microwave, salt, pepper, coffee, tea, plates, spoons, fork, etc)
* Ursla is very co-operative and will guide you too. Also you can buy train tickets for Joungfrau, Schiltron top from here itself.

After having breakfast in the hotel we moved to station to board train for Jungfrau.
In station I met one of my freind from Assam along with her husband (no points for guessing why they came to Switzerland). That was quiet shocking and the best part was even she was going to Jungfrau so had a gala time together..

Train to Jungfrau. ( Interlaken West - Interlaken Ost - Grindelwall - Klein Schnidegg - Jungfrau - Louterbrunen - Interlaken Ost - Interlaken West). It's a round trip covering the entire hill.
We took train from Interlaken to Grindelwall.
- From Grindelwall to Klien Schnidegg and then from Klien Schnidegg to Jungfrau on special train - purchased tickets from Rugen park hotel itself.

As we had half price pass so we paid half the price for all the tickets.
We were spell-bounded by the scenic beauty while heading towards Joungfrau- passing through the snowed mountains. Trains and tracks running through Klien Schnidegg to Jungfrau are customised as they were attached with each other with a special grip.
Jungfrau is Top of Europe(3571 mts) and highest peak in the world which is accessible for the general public and also highest place where a train can go.

In Jungfrau the temperature was around -10c and was snowing little bit.
We were three couples. Hey how can I forget the tub activity. We all took our individual tub and sat on it. From top to a specified path one by one we started sliding down on snow. And everybody lost there balance and finally all landed on each other inside snow.
The ice cave was very beautiful with various sculptures made of ice. The entire palace was made of ice - the walls, floor, ceiling everything.
Walked in the snow platue and Husky Dog ride. Many of these snow activities will open from June-September.
Visited the bollywood restaurant for Indian food (Limited vegitarian options).
Took the train to Klein Schnidegg. Change the train for Wengen/Louterbrunen from Klein Schnidegg.
We got down at Lounterbruen. From there we took a bus to Tumbellbach falls. Here we could see 10 falls all together.
Then from Lounterdruen to took a train back to Interlaken Ost-west.


After early breakfast from Interlaken West to Tuhn we took a boat cruise.It took around 1 and half hour but the ride was worth it and to top that the weather was excellent and we could sit on the deck.
I run short of words to describe the beauty. Both sides Mountains either covered with snow or greenery and we are sailing in middle of the river..very romantic...was mesmerized!!!!

In Tuhn we saw castle and meuseum. then around 2 o'clock we boarded train to Interlaken West.
In Interlaen we did shopping. Got cuckoo clock, cow bell other souvenirs and how can I forget to mention yumm swiss chocs...

Cycling in Switzerland was real fun. We hired cycles and literally whole interlaken was covered by us..Woow cycling beside the lake and was trying to overtake Yash. Best part was the Merc or BMW used to wait for us(cyclist)and give us the way. One thing which I really liked is that Swiss towns donot have traffic lights.Isnt it amazing..No chaos or mess can be seen..

Then we had dinner in a swiss restaurant "Des Alpanoes",trying some authentic swiss food. We tried Risotti, Swiss Fondue. These dishes were very tempting with lots of melting cheese ....No choice but had to satisfy my belly with these fatty stuffs..

We also had gud time in Casino "Kursaal Casino". I was gambling for the first time, so didnt rely much on my fate and didnt gamble much..

Early morning we had our breakfast and left for Schiltron top at 8am.
We took train from Interlaken to Murren (about 1.5 hours).
Enjoyed the cable car from Stechelberg to Schilthorn top (9748 ft)
Enjoyed the view at the top and had snacks at the revolving restaurant (Veg options available).It is the worlds first revolving restaurant on top.

Hats off to the engineers and the workers who dared to think about this cable car runway and at the peak to built a restaurant and that to revolving. I am glad they were successful in their mission.

From Schiltron top to Murren. In murren we had a lovely scenic village walk for an hour.
Then from Murren to Interlaken West.

We reached Interlaken around 2 pm. We had burger and chips from our permanent shop.
Rushed to Sail park to do some adventure. Trees were interconnected in various ways. Either only by string , woodeen planks, logs, rope, net etc. They taught us how to move using clipers and connectors. With mental and physical effort we had to cross all the hurdles. We were moving higher and higher with more physically challenging tasks. But it was fun. We did that for around 2.5 hrs and were dead tired. We came back to our hotel and spent the rest of the evening playing UNO.


So final day of our tour.
From Interlaken West we took a train to Zurich airport(FLN). We then kept our luggage in the locker and went to Rhine falls. The fall was very massive.

Did city tour and shopping. Saw Peter's church.
And had loads of mouth watering ice-cream....
Went to the airpot boarded flight to London Gatwick. Back to London after a wonderful trip. I was wondering the same life will start from the next day and already started missing my last 5 days in Swiss.

Switzerland trip was amazing...At every point I was appreciating God's creation and creativity and ofcourse Swiss people who maintained it to the best of their ability despite changes all around.

See you all again with my Paris Experience shortly.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Trip to Scotland

Hi all,
After posting my first blog I wanted to write my second blog. Recently I visited Scotland to celebrate my first New Year with Yash, so got the best topic to write down my experiences regarding the Scotland trip..

I reached UK on 2nd of Nov. Since that day Yash and myself were planning for our "New Year" trip. We started surfing, talking to frenzs in order to take their opinion about which place to visit in Scotland. When you have so many options you tend to get confuse.. Finally we decided to chill around in misty Scotland...
We decided to hire a tour operator as we were running short of time . So finally we booked our space with a tour operator called "Macbacpackers".
Our trip was from 28th Dec-1st Jan 09' from Edinburgh(capital of Scotland). So on 27th morning we left for Edinburgh by Coach(National Express) and reached there at around 7 pm.

I am quite afraid of Ghost and monsters..I knew Scotland is a very haunted place..So keeping that in mind I entered our Backpacker's hostel. All horror scenes were colliding in my mind but I didn't utter a word in front of Yash. I found interiors of hostel to be very clumsy which added to my fear. The receptionist gave us the keys and I barged in my room. We freshen up as we had to go for a rendezvous with all other tour mates in the pub. We came back and still I had that fear which could easily be seen on my face. Yash could make out something is wrong with me so finally he broke his silence and asked me the reason. I burst out crying and told him everything. Mixed emotions could be seen on his face -smiling at the same time was quiet annoyed with my stupidity. He made me understand and was trying to make me comfortable with the environment. I was fine, had our dinner and went to sleep......

Next morning we left by 8 o'clock in the morning. We were 29 tourists from different countries and were escorted by Mike(our driver and guide).We were going to highlands. On the way he was showing us many bridges,castles, barracks and was also enlightening us with the stories related to it. This was making the journey very exciting and adventurous..He was continuously speaking hats off to him of his ocean of knowledge and patience to speak. I bet he's the best orator I ever met. As we were approaching towards highland it was getting colder and colder..

Loch Ness:
On the way to Loch Ness it was all white with snow all around..We went to a very famous battle field where the Scottish armies won the battle. I could imagine as if nature had worn white saree with bit of colorful dots on it .By that time I was frozen and my feet was numb instead of wearing three woolen socks and a boot. There we had coffee, while having coffee i could feel that as if I am in heaven. Loch Ness is very famous for its lake monsters and now I was enjoying that monster's stories. We saw the lake but unluckily no monsters in it. And that moment we could see two guys from our group jumped into the water with no clothes on their body, no clothes mean publicly they were completely naked. Everybody was busy in clicking their snap. In my opinion they were no less than a monster. So now I am not regretting that I didn't see a monster I rather saw two....It was real fun. From Loch Ness we came to Inverness and we stayed there for a night.

Its one of the biggest city in Highlands. We saw castles and many more places. Lovely place to visit. Ya how can I forget its Morrison's shop. Till 6-7pm in evening everything gets closed. Also we are pure vegetarian so had to face much difficulty in getting food for us. So we picked some easy to cook stuff, went to our hostel and cooked for us. In the whole trip hundreds of time Yash was regretting of being a Vegetarian.

Isle of Skye:
From Inverness our trip turned towards Isle of Skye. It is a very beautiful island to visit. Before people had to go by fairy but now the govt has built a bridge. According to Mike(our guide)its the costliest per km bridge. We went over the sea (well not exactly.. a part of it). Just besides our hostel we could see the sea. So that made us feel that really we are in an island. We were freshen up to go to a pub. We reached there around 9 pm. We only drank as kitchen was closed by 8 pm. I had a mocktail and Yash had Rum followed by beer. Still he wanted to have more but seeing my face he dropped his idea to continue..We were in the pub for couple of hours enjoying with rest of people. Now we were hungry so went to hostel. By God grace we had noodles with us. We prepared noodles and ate enjoying the warmth of fire, were playing board games and a soft music was on.
Next morning we had to leave for Edinburgh. On the way we saw castles and barracks..And that time Mike realized he forgot to lock the back of our bus as a result two bags had fallen on the way. He filed a complain in police station and we got our bags back by the help of Highway maintenance officers..

Then we went to fairy highland-here people believe that fairies still exists and our wishes are fulfilled there. But there are some rules to be followed - you should not whistle, no hands in pockets and no swearing. And if by chance you commit a mistake, you have to leave a gift for the fairies. They will forgive you. From top of the hill we could see a lovely view. went to a wishing land too, tie any of your clothes with a wish it will be fulfilled. We can feel the cold. Small lakes were frozen and could see the icicles on the barracks and caves. Passing through the beautiful mountains, valleys finally we reached to Edinburgh It was real fun in the highlands

a)Edinburgh Zoo- We took a day pass. How to go to these places through which bus and after getting all these information from the tourist center firstly we went to Edinburgh Zoo. There we could see around 1800 species..Many animals I saw for the first time like Penguin, Tapir etc. The best part was I could see one horn Rhino-pride of Assam. We saw Budongo Trail, rainbow flights, penguin parade and many more..

b) Camera Obscure- Then we went to camera obscure. It was truly amazing. I was spellbound with itz 3-D effects, with a mere piece of mirror you can view the city and many more...

c) Loch Ness 3-D- Then we went to see Loch 3-D. This was also too good to see. Here many scientist were revealing the fact of Loch Ness monster. The pain they have taken to make this fact true and they have succeeded..

d)The Edinburgh Dungeons- We were in dilemma whether to visit this attraction as it was related to ghost tour. Yash was quiet excited to go. Me with full courage went inside it. We went through 3-4 phases where people with scary attire and looks and with their stories tried to scar us. At this point one thing I would like to confess that I was the one who screamed the most. Anywaz it was all together a fun and a different experience.

e)Hogomanay Street Party- We came to hostel and were getting ready for the Hogomanay party as it was 31st night. The main street Princess Street was all decked up with many stages for live performance, stalls to eat, many breathtaking rides, ghost train, and how can I forget to mention Beer stalls. Literally that day I could see people were swimming in beer ocean. Gosh how can people drink so much. We enjoyed to the fullest. And from Edinburgh castle the awesome fireworks....It was real fun to be part of the party.

f)Edinburgh castle- Next day we went to see the famous castle.

g)Scottish Parliament- A very well built Parliament to be seen..

h)Scotch Whisky Experience- Here we saw variety of whiskies. The costliest whisky I ever saw was Macallan nearly 55 years old and was costing around Rs 6-7 lacs. We bought four small bottles of Scotch as a souvenir.

i)Baked Potato- When I am listing attractions which we saw it wont be justice on my part if I don't mention the name of 'Baked Potatoes'. It is a shop where you get baked potatoes with variety of fillings of your choice. As it deals with vegan stuff so we were free to move in and have delicious potatoes. We really liked its menu. Even I didn't mind having as the potatoes were baked not fried.

j)Jan 1st night street party- On Jan 1st also there was some street party for two hours 7-9 pm . We needed fake money to go in any stalls. And we were getting those Neuros (they called the fake money as NEUROS) from cash points erected in both the ends. It was free so you can imagine how long the queue would be. We were running short of time as that night we had to catch the coach for London. I with my Indian nature jumped in between the queue ,got Neuros and enjoyed the stalls. Basically in all the stalls they were trying to give ideas related to positive thinking, spice in life, how to be happy, try to get rid of negative thoughts...

After enjoying the party we rushed to hostel,collected our luggage and caught the coach for London.

We enjoyed to the fullest...The more important thing was Yash and Me were together for couple of daz(full week)..It was a very good and enjoyable trip...
Hope to enjoy more trips like this..