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! πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ™‚

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

Guest Post : The Two and a Half Travellers!

Continued from

here

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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 πŸ˜› 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 πŸ˜›

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 Β½ 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 πŸ˜‰

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 Β½ 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 πŸ˜›

 To be continued…..

Guest post : Fellowship of travelling!

I have missing in action for almost a month now. And I am not liking it AT ALL! There have been so many things to tell, half of my Euro tales still untold, and the exciting travel back home. But the office has been super hectic post vacation and combined with the festivals, it has left with no time to write.

 

So, the other day, I jokingly told the husband to ghost write my blog for me since I don’t have the time to do it these days. Also, considering that he, being the travel junkie that he is, has been on a Euro trip for almost 7 months now, he has SO much to tell. And so he agreed to do a guest post for my blog. This is the first post of a three part series of the husband’s Europe travel experience. He is as excited about seeing this in words as much as he’s been on the trips πŸ™‚
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I love the Quote from the movie β€œ UP(2009) ” which goes #Let the wilderness be explored , and I got a fair chance to apply this quote on my first onsite assignment . Modesty be damned,  I made sure no weekends got wasted in the comfy service apartment.

We all know how onsite assignments come our way. It is combination of being at right place at the right time and most importantly saying the right thing ! And voila, my company decided to send me to Germany , Dusseldorf in the month of April for strictly 30 days.

I landed in Dusseldorf on Saturday and so obviously, Sunday was wisely used πŸ˜‰ The nearest happening city is Koln(Cologne)- city from where EAU DE COLOGNE originated. I can go writing about my crazy experiences but I will keep it short to 1 special thing I liked about each of the destinations and may be about their food and beer.

Koln is all about Churches – they are magnificent and I have a lasting impression of all the churches I visited.It is also famous for Kolsch beer. I could tell it was different from the ones I had before . It had to be good. After all its coming from Germany, the land of beer! πŸ˜›

 

Koln’s oldest church….still under construction. Irony?

Amsterdam <Holland>– Heineken brewery experience – Being a beer fan I could relate to Darwin’s theory of origin. Food is about big French fries called Pommes Frites . In the chilly summer it was a perfect snack. I’d prefer to write about the (in)famous Amsterdam nightlife in an anonymous blog πŸ˜€

The Heinken brewery in Amsterdam!
Brussels <Belgium> Autoworld – Most comprehensive and live models of cars from 1800 . I could relate to most of models as I have played them in NFS and midtown madness video games. “When in Belgium, do the chocolate”, and so that’s the first thing I had when I landed there – Chocolate waffle beside Mannekan Piss. That boy was pissing and I was gorging hot Belgium chocolate πŸ˜‰
With THE cars!
 
Hamburg<Germany> – 1 hour ferry ride by Hamburg docking station. Amazing view of gigantic ships,city and sunset on far side of the river. 
 
 
Dusseldorf <Germany>– Visiting the Alstadt old town and Uerige brewery which over 150 years old .And ordering food by the Rhine river marks the day complete. Been staying in this city for 6 months now, and there is nothing much to do except have beer with locals and admire Germany’s weather and their perfection of trains, metro and clean roads. 
 
Snack served with the local beer- a piece of meat, loaf of bread, onion rings and spicy mustard sauce!
And that’s how a month got over – sweating it out in office 5 days and wandering endlessly on weekends. I returned to India with chocolates for colleagues and stories for family. My assignment got extended for next 3 months and I flew back to Germany again in May .This time determined to explore more than the natives have done. 

To be continued …..

Travelling with the baby!

The little one is quite an enthusiastic traveller. Now this comes as no surprise to our close ones who know our love for travel. I knew S had a penchant for the outdoors as she really enjoyed her evening outing to the park when she was in India. But that happened only once a day. So we were not quite sure how she would like it outdoors for whole days when we would be on vacation.

But this girl surpassed our expectations. She loved the days when we would be out the whole day. She wouldn’t feel hungry or tired. We just kept feeding her at her mealtimes and changing the diapers when needed. She would be happy looking at her surroundings and soaking in the new world. She has also become quite a social bird here. She insists on talking to everyone in her sight range in her baby language. Most of the people are kind enough to indulge her. The ones who ignore are shouted at by her, which means they are forced to look at her and smile and talk to her. Quite an attention seeker she has become  πŸ˜€

Also, she insists on standing, and not sitting in her pram :- now who can drive a pram with a 9 month old standing ? She looks quite daring like aamir Khan in dhoom 3 ;-D
But that means we have had to carry her in our arms all day long. She could only be put down when she was sleeping. So all day long, one of us would carry her and the other person would push the empty pram around. That got us all the more tired than we should have been.

But in totality,she has been a great sport. A fitting addition to our travel happy feet. People love her all smiles and all happy nature and we have been congratulated for such a lovely baby at all the places we have visited. Quite proud a parent I sound, no? πŸ˜‰

And…..arrived!

I have been away for a while.  That this post is being written from a quiet cafe by the Rhine river in Germany should explain that. Yes,  I have reached here finally.  I say finally because the journey quite followed Murphy’s rule. If anything can go wrong,  it most probably will.  And so things did go wrong as much as they could.  I will write about it as soon as I have settled down a bit!

About the current scene! We are staying in a apartment just 100m away from the Rhine riverside in Dusseldorf. It’s a small city and our neighbourhood is quite peaceful.  Today, almost a week after having arrived,  I have seen the sun. Needless to say, there are so many people out for the first time today πŸ™‚

The city is quiet and beautiful. The roads are lined with coffee shops and bars. There are trams and metro running everywhere.  One seriously can do without owning a vehicle here. And most importantly,  the roads are smooth and friendly for kids in strollers and people in wheelchairs.

So far I am loving the European summer, even though I could do with a little more sun πŸ™‚

The Rhine riverside! 

 

To be cont’d. ..