Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Hello everyone,

I have stopped blogging on this blog since quite some time. I now blog at http://cuckooscosmos.com.

But many of you have not yet changed to new URL address and still look forward to read my creations here.

My request to you all who have blogrolled or linked me, is that kindly update your blogrolls, feeds on your readers, change the favourites on your browsers and so on.

My new address for travel blog is http://cuckooscosmos.com/Travel

Hope to see you all there. Bring in your family and friends along.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Have Moved !

I have moved to a new place.

The new place has brought along some excitements, nervousness, surprises and some sad feelings as well. But then I had to move. Time had come to go to my own place, a place which is mine in true sense. Needless to say it comes with a price one has to pay.

Ok, long story cut short.. those who have blogrolled or linked me, kindly change the address (URL) of my new place. Change the RSS feeds on your readers, change the favourites on your browsers and so on.

My new address is http://cuckooscosmos.com

Hope to see you all there. Bring in your family and friends along. The address for travel blog is http://www.cuckooscosmos.com/Travel/

So, over to my new place.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Brussels a.k.a. Bruxelles

If I talk about the no. of my short trips abroad, I think Brussels will come on top. But as it happens in most of the cases, I don’t have many photographs to show you. Since the trips are very short (sometimes not even a week), they are always very tight scheduled and hence, most of the times I don’t carry my camera.

Not to mention, this post is mostly textual. Of course, you’ll get to see a few pictures shot by me on different occasions.

Brussels, the capital of Belgium and of the European Union, is the second international city in the world if we measure the number of headquarters of international organizations it has. About one third of its inhabitants are foreigners, mostly Islamic immigrants, business people and diplomats working for the many multinational institutions that are located here. The city is officially bilingual (French and Dutch), but almost everybody understands and speaks English. And, for your information, Belgian French is different from regular French just like Canadian French is different from it. :)

Brussels is very well connected to other parts of Europe by air, bus, high speed trains including Eurostar train via the Channel Tunnel.

Name:- The name Brussels comes from the old Dutch Brucsella or Broekzele, which means "marsh (bruc or broek) home (sella or zele)" or "home consisting of one room, in the marsh”.
Do you know besides being capital of Belgium, what Brussels (Bruxelles in French) is famous for ?

OK, here I’ll speak about only those places that I have seen.

First, it has historic market square known as Grand Place. It is said to be the most beautiful in the world. Not my views... I liked St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) of Venice more. About that, some other time. The square here is dominated by the magnificent 15th century Town Hall, with its hundreds of little statues. The most beautiful part of the Town Hall, the elegant tower, and surrounding buildings with their golden inlays. During season, the Grand Place is seen under a carpet of beautiful lavenders.
Every Sunday, the place is adorned by a picturesque flower market and during winters the central place is converted into an ice skating rink. It also is a venue for many concerts & events throughout the year.

Brussels is also famous for it's cuisine (this includes the most divine chocolates), has cafes and pubs that never close, and excellent restaurants.

Brussels has the highest concentration of restaurants in the world and a few minutes walk from the Grand Place is one street called “Petite Rue des Bouchers” (small road of butchers). It is famous for the fact that every house in this street is a restaurant. The street is closed for traffic and this allows the restaurants to exhibit some of their products especially sea-food and fish.
Belgium is also famous for best beer in the world. You can see a wide range of beer, including different fruit flavoured, which you may not have even heard of it. And mind you, they tend to be very strong (between 8 and 11.5 percent of alcohol !!).

Have you ever heard of a pee boy ? Well, before I came here for the first time, I had assumed Brussels is famous only for that !! It is a small bronze statuette of Manneken-Pis, a young boy peeing on the passersby. It is actually a fountain but it looks amusing when you stand under it to get clicked and it pees on you ! A perfect representative of the irreverent Belgian humour.

This is also situated a few steps away from the Grand-Place. The statuette is so popular that it is considered an emblem of the city. Traditionally, the Manneken-Pis is dressed for special events, and he has over 750 sets of clothes. I too have a pee boy made of the same metal, nicely standing in the showcase of our living room but luckily it doesn’t pee. ;)

Now come Japanese tower and Chinese garden.
Japanese Tower & Chinese pavilion are built to order for King Leopold II.

The Chinese Pavilion itself says a lot more about Europe in the 1930s than it does about China but contains some superb Chinese porcelain. The woodwork inside the pavilion is made by specialists from Shanghai.

The Japanese Tower is perhaps most striking from the outside but also contains some interesting decorative items. I have not gone inside this.

As always, click the photos to have an enlarged view and for more photos visit my web album.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Morning at Marine Drive

Taking a break from Geneva. Lots of pictures to be scanned and am really fed up with the quality I am getting even in 600 dpi which makes each one of them massive (over 100 MB per photo) ! Oh why have I started blogging ?

Anyways, most probably I’ll resume it in a week’s time or so. Meanwhile I thought of coming back to Indian scenario.

The other Sunday morning I just wanted to go out to a quiet secluded place. Not able to decide where to go, I took an early morning train to Churchgate. Since I am very fond of walking, started walking towards Marine Drive. Here are some pictures.

Sunrise at Marine Drive. This one is from the end of Marine Drive. One can see Colaba part in the background.

Can you guess what it is ? Does it remind you of anything ? Mumbai people, please keep quiet.

I walked the entire length of Marine Drive till the end. Because of tiling of this pathway and other construction work it was a little dusty.

It was nice to see a couple oblivious of this world spending some quiet moments. If you enlarge the picture, you can see fishing motorboats coming back after getting the day's first catch. Also, in the background one can see the Raj Bhawan area (governor's house). Banganga is very near to that place.

The lone boat trying to catch its share in the moolah. Can you see dull gray coloured quiet water ?

While coming back I clicked this. The other gate of Cricket Club of India.

Hmmm Marine Drive does look good. :)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Lac Léman – Some pictures

Here are some more pictures of Geneva Lake called Lac Léman.

You might be wondering why there are two types (scanned & digital) of pictures on my blog. The reason is very simple.
When I reached
Geneva I had a still camera with me (I am a big fan of still photography, specially B & W photography). The quality of digital pictures are no match to still ones.
However, the ease of use and expenses involved are the main advantages of having a digital one. So, after sometime I also bought my first digicam, an expensive one and used it for 3-4 months. Then a colleague borrowed it for two days and lost it ! I decided not to buy another one for at least a year. Hence back to still camera. Some places I visited twice so you’ll have mix of still & digital pictures. Enjoy !! As always click on the picture for an enlarged view.

This was a ship always standing near the bridge. I think it must have been an old ship. Every weekend it was booked by locals to host some party.. full with music and wine till wee hours. If I get I’ll show you some pictures of nightlife on this ship. I am sure I have them somewhere. We were never invited though. :((

The lake is full of these lovely swans. They are just not scared of humans and eat anything that is offered to them like bread, croissants, fruits etc. In the background you can see people going towards Jet d'eau.

The water jet. It was always fun going near it as even from a distance, the sky touching showers always make you wet. If you enlarge the picture, you can see hundreds of sail boats parked near jet area. Also, can you see buildings in the back ground ? My apartment was in one of them.
Green on the left side is a huge park.

Standing tall and alone. The light house in the lake.

Quiet wintry evenings by the lake.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dreams or Nightmares ??

On my other blog I was tagged by Sigma. I was asked to describe my three dreams / desires / nightmares or a combination of them .. whatever I want to share.

Well, I have already posted about five of my weird dreams which are actually desires and I don’t see dreams quite often. The only two dreams that I remember are coincidentally related to travel, so I thought more apt to post them here as well. Here they go..

ONE - This was also my first dream that I remember and I still remember the exact details.

I was six years old then. My father was transferred to Bharatpur (Rajasthan) and we had already moved to that tiny quiet city. But within 15 days of shifting I dreamt that we had just got down at Bharatpur railway station.

It was a wintry late night and there was no conveyance to go to our place. Fortunately my father got two rickshawallahs from somewhere and we were ready to go to our place. He made me sit in one rickshaw with all the luggage saying I was a big girl now and could take care of luggage and travel alone ! And he, my mother and younger sister sat in another with some more luggage. Being a quiet child, I didn’t say anything but was extremely scared. On top of that my rickshawala didn’t know the route so was told to follow theirs.

I was feeling very cold in a pink lacy frock. I had kept an eye to their rickshaw which was racing ahead of us in those narrow lanes. Suddenly as the luck would have it, the chain of my rickshaw got stuck and he had to stop.
According to me he took ages to correct it and by that time the other rickshaw was nowhere in sight. We went left and right in some lanes but couldn’t find them. Street lights were not proper and at a distance some dogs were barking.

I started crying very hard.. so hard that I was actually crying in my sleep ! And then my mother rushed to me and asked whether I saw a bad dream. I must have been crying for long .. my pillow was all wet. I was relieved to see her and after telling her about my nightmare I clung to her for the rest of the night.

It was very strange to have such a nightmare because of several reasons. First, we had already moved into the city. There was no need to see going there again. Second, we never had to fetch a rickshaw for transferring our luggage..lol.. it was always big trucks with many helping hands to do the needful. Third and most important, at that age my parents would have never left me alone in that rickshaw.

TWO - The next dream is quite contrast to the above one. That was of my childhood and this is just two years old. While the first one made me cry this second one left me laughing out loudly. It is about air travel and is bizarrely funny.

Here also I remember everything including my seat no. but here I’ll keep it short.

I was flying high when suddenly our airplane exploded in pieces up there in the sky. Fortunately or unfortunately at that time I was sitting intact reading a magazine with my seat belt on.

When I felt a little cold, I looked around and found myself in the clouds. I could touch them. So, I tucked my magazine securely to read later, checked my seat belts... they were jammed.

It was a scene to watch.. me sitting comfortably on my seat, all alone plummeting down but feeling and admiring the white clouds.

I had a big grin on my face and I wanted to be there forever. I never bothered about other people’s fate though I could see some burning pieces of aeroplane going down. Then a few moments later I came below the clouds and within no time I could see the sea below with no sign of land anywhere.

Instead of worrying about my life, do you know what thoughts came to my mind ?

“Oh my God ! How am I going to swim to the shore in a sitting position with this seat stuck to me ? And the article I was reading is still incomplete !”

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Geneva – Lac Léman

Without Lac Léman, Geneva is incomplete and without Jet d’Eau (Water Jet), Lac Léman is incomplete. They are both integral parts of Geneva. The city's most noted landmark, the Jet d'Eau is situated in Lake Geneva. Its 140-metre-high water column is visible from many parts of the city. This jet remains closed for three months during peak winter. Also, in year 2000, Geneva was awarded the Wakker Prize for its architectural heritage.

This freshwater lake is very big in size (more than 70 KM long) and spread to France also. A small part of it is attached to Geneva which is called Petit lac (small lake). The remaining part is attached to France. So, the ferries are another way to go lakeside French area. After a ferry ride of 10 minutes we are in France. As far as I remember the max. width of the lake is approx over 10 kms.

In this lake the main leisure activities are sailing, wind surfing, boating (including water skiing and wake boarding), rowing, fishing, scuba diving and bathing. And yes, swimming as well. There is a separate section of shallow water for children. It was always fun watching all these activities. As I said earlier, my first apartment was very near to the lake.. just 100 meters of walking distance !!

Almost all the people have their own boats which are ‘parked’ here and in weekends one can see them coming in cars, parking the cars alongside and take the boats for rides to other places to spend the weekend. I felt so jealous of them at that time. :)

You can see the parked boats and

the parked cars along the lake.

Water jet is in the back ground in both the pictures.Click on them for enlarged view.

The railway track along the lake provides a scenic beauty to long distance train travelers. More on that in some other post. :)

The path or promenade along the lake is very wide and long just like we have in Bandra bandstand or Worli sea shore in Mumbai. But compared to that, these two are very small stretches, both in width and length. People of all age group come there regularly for jogging, walking the dogs and most importantly skating. The weekends were busy with skating competitions and stunts. But the whole area becomes extremely cold during winters.

The petit lac portion is so small that we used to walk along the sides to go to the other side (crossing a bridge) where we had our favourite ice cream kiosk ! The distance is hardly 2 kms. [ Around CHF 2 for an ordinary vanilla/strawberry flavoured cone :(( ]. CHF is the Swiss currency also called the Swiss Franc in English speaking countries.

In this picture you can see all – The Jet d’Eau (water Jet), the place where I stayed and my favourite ice-cream shop.

The world famous Geneva festival (a post will describe it later) happens along the lake and on the last day there are splendid fireworks right in the middle of it.
I have at least 200 pictures of this lake alone. I can speak on and on about this lake as every weekend I used to go there for strolling and I remember every tree/corner/building of that area.
Only one thing I missed out (that remains in my wish list). To read a novel lying leisurely on a free boat on a sunny afternoon near Jet d’eau.