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

….

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 …..

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. ..

The German affair…in Delhi!

Recently, I got an opportunity to do something new – attend the press preview of a high profile event in Delhi. You’d ask how. Another perks of being a decent enough blogger! Ah, the spoils πŸ˜‰

And so, I got this email from the PR team managing the

Indo German Urban Mela 2012

in New Delhi. At first, I thought this was just a spam email and was about to delete it, but then something just struck and I decided to give it a read. And Thank God for that. It was an email from the PR team asking me to attend the press preview of this week long affair that was to begin on Oct 27 and carry on till Nov 4. A day prior to the inauguration i.e Oct 26 was the press preview.

H

was sweet enough to come along and give this a shot!

And so we reached the venue a modest half hour late (thanks to the traffic) and didn’t think much of it, since these kind of events hardly start on time. Oh! But it was a face-palm moment. We were ushered in quickly as the event had already started and we quickly joined the rest of the team. But before I tell you what we did or what the agenda was for the day, let me tell you something that was the high point of the day for me (apart from the consideration that I got for being invited to the event exclusively). It was the Press ID card that was issued to us. *Collars up* Call me a show off but it did feel special to be at an event venue a day before it opened for the general public and being briefed about the entire thing.

That’s Me flaunting the Press Card! (Click on the photo to view the enlarged version)

The Indo German Urban Mela is being held in Delhi to commemorate 60 years of diplomatic relations between India and Germany. Its being held in the Indraprastha Millenium Park, near Sarai Kale Khan. Its a unique blend of technology, science, culture and entertainment. The huge park is divided a into number of pavilions which are basically partitions or areas allotted to each company that are participating there. A lot of big names like Volkswagen, Deutsche Back, BASF, Bosch, Airbus 380 etc are present. What we got to do was something really interesting. Apart from the sneak peek that we got into the cultural events that would happen at the mela, we were given a personalized tour of the mela by the installation artist and designer Markus Heinsdorff himself. There were beautifully designed tents which give a different appearance depending on the time of the day.

 

That’s a night view of two pavilions!

We were then taken inside these pavilions to get an idea of what was to follow in the coming days. The companies had some really great ideas on how to make urban lives easier while safeguarding the environment. BASF has designed a special car which has solar panels on the top and runs on sunlight, while the Deutsche bank is supporting a research that has apparently built an aircraft which runs entirely on solar energy. They have even tested a prototype that could survive 2 hours in the air, from Switzerland to France and are trying to find a break through to make it more viable for long distance flights too. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research had a lot of information on the various German universities that you can apply to and for job opportunities. It has a whole lot of information out there for you to grab, understand and make use of.

A glimpse inside the pavilions!

While I say that, its not all serious stuff. The week long mela has a series of cultural events lined up for you to enjoy like dance and theater workshops and book reading sessions by famous novelists on the last day. We were also invited to participate in the food-tasting ceremony, basically German delicacies  that would be available for the general public after the inaugural the next day. And while I am still gloating, let me also state that the food is managed by none other than Vivanta by Taj. We got to meet their Food Manager as well as their Head Chef! A lot of firsts for me πŸ™‚

It was great fun to be there and very informative too. If you are in Delhi, you MUST visit this. Its a great place to get a lot of ideas and learn, and if nothing else, enjoy German dishes, the Beer Garden, the Rock events and the dance workshops happening live. You seriously got nothing to loose!