Friday, December 19, 2014

Blog's 1st Anniversary. The Day. For an Age !

This post is to commemorate the first anniversary of the blog.

What a remarkable journey this has been !! Culminating with a great sense of satisfaction.

So, before it appears more of a farewell speech, I reassure the readers that it is the beginning of a great story.

Your ideas, and feedback are more valuable than anything else.

The Accolades page contains some posts that did well for contests.

Few avenues where I look forward to your affection, are popularizing and promoting the blog's social media page (as in link below:):

Facebook

There is a follower's tab too, in case you donot want to miss on any of the post.

Hope the learning continues !

Simply Travel.

Travel for Soul

Monday, December 15, 2014

Safe Roads can lead to Safe India - Perspective


"Vroom...... Now here I go past that car...FIRST !!! ", I boasted triumphly !!

"Stop that here and NOW !!. Do you get that ". A voice came from no where.

"Who's that ? " Surprised, Amused and confessedly horrified, I slowed my car.

A snook on the left, a snook on the right and realized that it was the panel !

A SPEAKING AUDIO PANEL ??? 


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Charles Bridge, Prague - A Blissful Evening

Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge has a Life of its own


For minutes, being at the Charles Bridge, the view was unbelievable. Wow !! A manifestation of magnificence, eclecticism and romanticism lay ahead me!!  Simply Spectacular and Surreal. As the evening sun sailed slowly to float in another hemisphere, river Vltava beneath jostled across the reflections.Over and within.Charles Bridge is a single reason enough to visit Prague. Small boats ornate the river, hustling and bustling under its splendour. Statues on the walls stand guard to the grandeur of the past. Though it is learnt that most of the original pieces now lay safe in the precincts of the museums.

Life moves at the Charles Bridge
Divine Setting of the Landscape

If for some reasons, if you were thinking to paint the moments’ memory, then astute painters line the Bridge, with the boards and finished memoirs. At some places, the quality of the sketch is excellent, and you'd soon find they aren't all amateurs with mediocre finishes. Apart from the excellent sketches, one of the reasons people throng to these artists is for spotting and getting a steal from budding Picaso. So that, some day when these painters become famous, they could make a fortune of the art forms. Perhaps they get sketched multiple times, because for the same reason. The verve of the travellers on the Charles bridge make it even more special.

Energy of Travelers - Charles Bridge
The Energy of Travelers - Making it more special

There is a history of the Bridge and the events surrounding it as well. Gory, Glory and the Glamour. Gaze the dusk and the eclectic markets around the bridge, that makes it as adorable as it is.

You travel across the Charles Bridge, you don’t walk on it! The evening Charles Bridge has a life of its own.


Life at Charles Bridge
Travel on the Bridge, You don't just walk on it!!
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Please drop your comments below. Would love to hear from you.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wheels - A Short Story

The sparrow on the window pane seemed to be the only commonality between the high rise and the slum, thought Manas in his air-conditioned chamber.

He remembered that some fifteen years back, this high rise too was a flowing neat river.

Several cities and educational degrees later, the time had canonized him back to this direction.

It was a difficult decision for his family and him to move their belongings in their bullock cart from the village, that now was a bustling city.

They did, and so did their lives, like the wheels of the cart that rainy night.

Wheels of Time
Wheels of Time

This post is author's entry to Five Sentence Fiction.

Please leave your feedback below. I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Grief - A Short Story

The hour hand of the grey clock on the white wall was rushing every second.

On one side, the forlorn newspaper was waiting for its daily ordeal, on the other, the medicine strip shouted effrontarily for discipline.

Meera was cursing her decision to send her only daughter, Bhakti away on a 'revelation' tour around the world.

Then, Bhakti was in grief, having contested her mother's autocratic diktat, she had to accept it reluctantly later.

Meera changed her side on the bed, and so had the grief.

Grief due to Travel
Grief - No borders, No Sides

This post is author's entry to Five Sentence Fiction.

Please leave your feedback below. I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

5 Things To Do At Dwarka, Gujarat


Most of the people visit the auspicious Dwarka city for the visit to the Jagatmandir. There's lot more to do when you are at Dwarka. (For a detailed Information, read the post 'Trip to Somnath,Gir Nageshwar and Dwarka' on my blog.)


  1. Book yourself a ticket in the Municipal Bus for the 'Chaar Dhaam Yatra'. The bus leaves by 1400 hrs., so book Early ! The service is cheaper and better than the private players. So Don't miss it because of time.
  2. Make your advance arrangements for accommodation.You could be taken by surprise for the rush at times, given only a few good stay options available.
  3. If planning to leave Dwarka for Ahmedabad overnight, Book your tickets early. The only overnight options are private buses, and the seats fill fast.
  4. Spare ample time for Bet Dwarka. The trip is worth few hours for sure.
  5. Shop in the market near JagatMandir. If planning to shop for 'Pooja' at home, Do check out the market here. It's better than Nathdwara, Udaipur.

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Did you like my post ? Did I miss out on an important detail ? Would you like to add more 'Things to Do' to the above. Please give your feedback. I'd love to see your comments below.
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Darkness - A Short Story

The 12th and 13th floors of 'Sunlights' used to be lit for the entire night.

This opaque trend used to amuse both Meera and Krish alike.

Both used to pity their fate of being alone, while envying the next door happiness of a complete family.

Their continual silent ordeal was witnessed just by their loneliness.

The morning after, they used to steal routine glances through the panes, little to realize that the bond between them was not of the morning Sun , but that of a .... Darkness Inside.

dark-darkness-girl-light-lost-Favim.com-118417

This post is author's entry to Five Sentence Fiction.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Texperience UniverCell Sync - It's FUN, It's EASY, It's YOURS

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[The post is a submission towards the author's experience on an invited visit on August 23, 2014 , at the UniverCell Sync store (Cecil Store, Colaba) at Mumbai, an event conducted in coordination with Indiblogger.] 

The post is about the author’s experience at the store, and to some extent its review too.

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Saturday Afternoon and an Electronic Store for a review. The eclectic combination would not have appealed to me had I not visited one of the fabulous stores of UniverCell Sync in Chennai, the store's native town. In fact,  I was quite keen to visit them in amchi Mumbai. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Trip to Zwolferhorn, Salzkammergut


“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will."

These words from Patrick Suskind were indeed the reflection of my thoughts during the first visit to Zwolferhorn mountain in Salzkammergut, Austria, last September. I'm sure you too would have been in the similar situation in life, when the choice is between good and equally good ! And then, how we all wish that something could help us in our decision. For me, it was decided by a lovely Fragrance of the flowers on the Alpine mountain. It was only because of that evocative fragrance, that I decided to go uphill the mountain, yet again. Rightfully the fragrance inspired the travel.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Masirah Island, Oman - The Beauty's Eternal Address

If you have been thinking to post the cards of your memories to beauty, and wondered where it should go. Go no further, than Masirah Islands of the Sultanate of Oman !
Masirah Islands
Masirah, Oman :The Eternal address of beauty !

While Oman can capture your senses through its remarkable destinations, however, what would be your best reason of visiting Masirah, is that it indeed is the eternal address of the beauty. If you have lived with the doubts, about what could deserve your time and senses : Soaking in the quaint charm of the desert or being mesmerized by the umpteen lives of the sea. At Masirah, you'd get best of both the worlds, rather all the worlds when you'd realize that this 'desert island' manifests beauty through its uniquely rugged landscape, virile turtle nesting beaches, rustic villages, kitesurfing, water sports, desert camping and phew if there's a list of dreams, that has to be at Masirah!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fenced - A Short Story

Manas would not witness the heaps of white paper flying across the fenced Desert Dunes on his routine trip.

Yet, for some strange reason, this time he took out his Binoculars hurriedly, rattling the water bottle and story book in the backpack on its way.

With a longer vision and a shorter breath, he could catch hold of one of the many letters and a glimpse of the old man in streaking dead white and a crown of red turban over.

‘For the bread and the barter, my owed loans against the daughter;
There is an oasis so deep, in my heart when I weep;
If you could forgive me hence, and just for once travel across the fence;
The eyes die to see you flesh, and relieve the fenced soul of this mesh;
Your father is an old man now, suddenly life can betray, you know how;
My moustache no more black, but your doll still on the rack;
Stubborn I wouldn’t die in this life, for won’t forever live in death’s strife;
If you could Travel for my soul, and boundaries with no role;
To see the tears that roll often and the wrinkles that they soften;
Had this front not been  fenced, my death would not be chanced; 
Being sand, to become the sand, the body’s matter till its end,
Can’t the sand of its portion, flow me across and live this notion;
Pity our sights that share the glance, but am jealous for this air with no fence;  
For the men they apart, there are souls that cannot depart,  
For the men they apart, there are a few souls that could not depart.... ’,

as Manas read this through the white paper, he glanced that Hasrat, a young woman, perhaps the daughter, was on her knees and in tears on the other side of fence.


There were men, and well..... there are fences, Manas thought.



This post has been written and shared for the series 'Five Sentence Fiction'.


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Looking forward to your comments and feedback.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Trip to Prague Castle that is Surprisingly Splendid

The sight across the cliff of the Prague Castle rightly summed up our visit to Czech. Surprisingly Splendid !

Been to quite some number of castles/forts in Rajasthan, India, what I thought would lay ahead at Prague's Castle area would be predictable. By all means, it was not.
Prague Castle Area

Prague Castle area - Splendid !
While we had a remarkable Road Trip to Prague and an equally incredible day spent at the Old Town of Prague, yet  we weren't sure that what would lay ahead us, would be as special as it was. Prague's Castle area is refreshingly different !

 ** Prague is Refreshing, Prague is different ! **

First things first. Prague Castle area is not just about a single monument (the Castle). It's about several grandiose buildings, lush green gardens, well kept monastery, bustling square and last but not the least, the Castle.

Take Tram 22 for the Castle area. While Trams are indeed the best way to commute, it is important to be aware that, it is better to start uphill for the Castle area and Lesser Town. Because, if you do so, you'd save some precious time and energy that you'd love to have by your side to soak in the mesmerizing beauty of Prague! So start early for the Day, and head straight to the point up north to the stop Prohorlec. Then across the splendid panorama of Strathov Monastery you can spend an hour or two gazing its architecture and around. Be sure though, about the timings of the Monastery, else you could miss the splendor inside! There are some options around to spend your time in its convent and library. There's a decent restaurant also, good for some snacks on the go. You'd definitely realize that Prague is refreshing and is quite different. In some sense, your perception about Prague would change.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Vacation for Mango Tree - A Short Story

Yagyesh lazed his hands to the photo frame that glazed off the bright 'Indian Summer' afternoon.

The glass, the frame, the room was part of his abode, where he breathes and lives everyday, yet today the Sun was avenging its challenge, he rued thoughtfully.

Some 10 years back, his friend Maruti had visited and then how mischievously they had planted the seed of the mango 'fruit' that they had eaten or rather didn't eat and gleefully pasted the king's kingdom all over their faces.

Yagyesh thought whether many miles away, would Maruti still remember the fruit and its offspring, and imagine the shade and the silhouette of the tree that is created of its mammoth, today challenges the mighty and allows the odd ray in, suggestively to let the Sun be or not be.

The mango seed that they both had savoured and quenched privately, was now abode to several birds and men alike on their routine migratory vacations, every year, year after year, after the year they both spent their only vacations together.

Vacation - Travel for Soul
Image Courtseyhttp://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/7c/fd/43/7cfd43dbe2c1c402cf316b62bbdbd8a3.jpg
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This post has been written and shared for the series 'Five Sentence Fiction'.


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Looking forward to your comments and feedback.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Prague - The magic of 'Old Town'

After a tired road journey to Prague, we felt completely rejuvenated in our apartment. The morning dawn sneaked in and out, through the curtain panes, suggestively of a peek-a-boo game ahead. The magic of the 'Old Town' of Prague that followed that day, lives and resonates ever since our stay.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

As Close As We Are Far

As close, as we are far

My heart just skips, the beat for you dove,
She grimaced, I faced, our worlds that had raced

Contours that were drawn, our nuptials and beyond,
And the shapes they took, for the wise and the crook

The happiness beyond, the guest and the horn,
The bond that we share, for remorse and the fair

Days may look routine, but life is still full of sheen,
Look at shine of photo frame, still worth its fame.

She looked, as she cooked, with a snook half way,
The clouds I admired, that feeling no more wired

Te'me how far would you go, to empathize my woe,
To get closer to the love, can we fly the sky above ?

Then the tale began, while holding her hand,
The world apart, flew vignette on that land

Of the dream we sew, through our love sinew,
Can still hold your hands, while I run the errands

Through the wheels I move, my heart just grew,
To tell my feelings, will you move these ceilings

Then cut ajar, that rainbow ain't far,
Just see through the dust, for the pelmet you must

There's a world that's dear, as far as it's near,
That tap when it flows, there are mornings that it glows

The box that I take, it's a life full of cake,
The noon in that hall, your delicacies enthrall

The call that I make, for the rail and the rake,
Let's run along the rhyme, to close the time

The guest when he rings, my heart then sings,
The tea that will come will make us hum

In the jousts and hurdles, in the worlds that we lived,
Did we forget to just cuddle, and the fun that we killed ?

If that would be so, for not the desert and the snow,
My heart, let's travel, for the hearts to unravel

Look, there is a world along the ‘Thames’,
Let's pack our bags, on its bank for the games

To discover our life, forget dough and the knife,
Just run along, to listen to the song

Song that chimes, in the background of our times,
Just mute the world, and its pebbles that are hurled

The music is still dear, sounds of the stream still clear,
The twists that it takes, the nature that it makes

Learn from its form, to mix along,
yet remain a stream, for this London theme

Let's fly 'British', for skit and the skittish,
Our love would rejoice, find back its voice

Our travel for the soul, alike  for the diamond and the coal,
As close as we are far, my queen I’m and will be, your Czar


This poem won a prize in the contest - Details here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Trip to Barcelona . The Modern Ancient Paradise.

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The following post is my entry for 'Traveling smart with Skyscanner' in participation with Indiblogger.

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Isn't it wonderful to travel to a city that virtually gives you best of literally all the worlds. Barcelona , the city I'd love to travel in 2014, is in a league of its own when it comes to city-spirit and vibrancy. Rich history, modern infrastructure, fabulous food, sports, outdoor shopping markets and......wow that heavenly serene beach !

Barcelona personifies every traveler's dream, by its unlimited options to explore and re-explore.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Trip to Somnath, Gir, Nageshwar and Dwarka

The moment the idea of the trip to the three Kathiawari cities cropped up into conversation, everybody in the family got excited. Undoubtedly, the places Somnath, Nageshwar and Dwarka are as scenic, as they are religious.

The famed coastal road, connecting Somnath and Dwarka with its undulating curves and clear blue Arabian sea water can simply take the breath away. The ferry ride across to Bet Dwarka in a high tide creek, can be equally amazing, and so can a temple run in Somnath.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Road Trip to Prague

The overcast city of Vienna couldn't have invited the sun, as merrily as it did invite us. My wife and I were heading for our second trip to Europe covering Czech, Austria and Germany. The trip was supposed to be more adventurous, the stakes even higher. We wanted to take our confidence from our past Italy trip to another level this time.

Many firsts this time. More of road travel, All of apartments, lesser reserves of Euros and an altogether divine world to explore. But, it all began from that road trip to Prague from Vienna.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ache - A Short Story

The sudden jerk of the train made Meera wake up from her dreams to realize that the coach was  completely empty.

The path she had traveled was not often tread, the route of her travel not often taken, the feelings that drained in her heart, not often felt.

For the first time, since she had begun her journey for souls, she would meet Heena, her confidante, amid the stalking overcast sky and thudding winter chill.

She stepped out, her heart beats missing aloud, the engine whistling rather suggestively, of the ashes that were left behind from the coal, burnt or alive, or rather both, the smoke that existed there within the coal, albeit in the latent form in the same black coal.

Heena was standing there, right there, Meera wanted to meet her eye to eye, through form to form, by matter to matter, Heena had no eyes and  Meera had a heart attache.





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This post has been written and shared for the series 'Five Sentence Fiction'.

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Looking forward to your comments.

Trip to Italy

There was a lot of restlessness in the choice of the destination for our perfect holiday. After some research and decisiveness of weather coming into play, we decided to head Italy. The Northern European countries, like France, Germany, Austria were expected to be quite cold in January.here. The chronicle of the Italian trip is what follows:


We aren't skiing or snow enthusiasts in particular, so Italy being already high on our list (right from the beginning) , the idea just got substantiated. Its Mediterranean climate, large coastline that annulled the cold continental wind , divine food, and shopping opportunities, all were simply too good to be missed out. Next on the task, distributing our time in magnificent country. And should say, we were spoiled for the choice. While our Trip map lays here, the chronicle of the trip, that made the contours of the map is as follows.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Travel For Soul - Poem

Travel For Soul .... by Dr. Komal Joshi Mishra

For the journey is within,

Mesmerized by 'your' creations,

Speechless seeing the colors' you' painted,

Let my spirit go on,

Bless me to just' be',

When all the noises die out,

 and silence within, 

From senses to soul,

Keep me travelling,

For the journey is within.......


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The poem is contributed by the guest, Dr. Komal Joshi Mishra. Her interests varies from Literature, Spirituality to meeting new people, apart from her profession, medicine.
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Looking forward to your contributions on the guest posts.
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Send across contributions to travelforsoulblog@gmail.com

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Frozen - Short Story

The places I had traveled vignetted in front of my eyes, frame by frame, those streams, those mountains, that street I'd love to get lost again in, that mystery girl, those eyes that hold me even today.

The dark clouds that I had seen silhouetting the clear skies, I want to see them rain; The village just behind that river, I want to ferry in that last boat I missed that day; those words that were broken because of an airport announcement, I want them to be complete, I want to listen; the food that I could not taste that day I want to have it for the old lady, for her love on the platter.

For the miles I had covered, my shoe strings are still strong, my sole(soul) still not weathered enough, some space still in my image folder, some things yet to learn, some travels yet for soul.

My backpack, the lens, my memory card, my map, that power nap, they lay as frozen as me.

The flowers I loved so much, today I cannot touch, for I was not myself, for I was not traveling, for Alas, I was NOT alive, I am not, for I am frozen.

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This post has been written and shared for the series 'Five Sentence Fiction'.


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Looking forward to your comments.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Trip to Milan. A Mileu.

Milan was the last of the Italian cities in our trip, as also the city we were flying out from Italy. There was an early morning train from Venice to reach Milan. The timing of our train was awkwardly early being 5 in the morning. Not sure about Vaporetti services, we had to rely on our feet. The morning Venice was as calm, as we had left it in the night. Odd students crossed our way, as also some enthusiast morning walkers. It was quite cold and with our hustle and bustle, we reached our station well...earlier than we thought we would.

There weren't many travelers for that time of the day. An interesting story took place, that day on the station(I'll post that later). We almost lost our train. Thankfully, to  be in Milan, we boarded. Then some snores ahead we reached a rather bitterly cold Milan. Cold winds blazed ferociously across the channel of walls on the 'Milano Centrale' station. The chill took us by surprise without an exaggeration. thankfully, it didn't snow as we were expecting so through news in Venice.
Milan
Milano Centrali -  http://blog.kenkaminesky.com

We kept our bags at 'Luggage room' situated on the station. This gave us some time to be at the Historical Center. Milan is as cosmopolitan as fashionable. Italians prefer to associate it of being more European too than Italian. Milan is a major financial center in Europe. The morning office goers bustle was quite different from its Italian siblings(cities). Swanky cars and an array of traffic lights dotted Milan everywhere. High rise skyscrapers and meticulously executed town planning gives Milan a distinct flavor of its own. And yes, how can we forget the traditional historical center of an Italian city. Men and women alike, all are dressed elegantly and perfectly.None is in 'out' of fashion.  Also, evidently, it's very much a global city. English is widely spoken in Milan.

After roaming around for a bit, we caught a bus to the Malpensa airport. The expressway joining the city was excellent, with tempting 'Geneva' posts overhead. It wasn't congested but it may get so sometimes. So it's safer to keep that additional margin of time. Malpensa airport is quite picturesque with beautiful snow capped mountains in the background.
Snow capped mountains, Malpensa
Snow Capped Mountains silhouetting the Blue sky - http://www.i-enry-aviation.it/guidamxp.htm

I just so wish, that had we got an additional day, we would have had sufficient time to explore the city. Alas, (for consolation in this case), there is always a next time. If going only for travel, a day and a half would be ideal for Milan.
We caught our return flight via Cairo to reach back Mumbai.

Phewww, Italy was some trip!!!

Travel Facts
  • Stayed : In Milan for 1/2 a day .
  • Stayed at : Didn't have to stay in a hotel. 
  • Traveled with my better half .
  • Traveled in TrenItallia from Venice in January 2013.
  • Traveled to : Mumbai via Cairo in Egypt Air

You've been to Milan? Do you want to travel to Milan? Feedback for my post(s) ? Look forward to your comments !

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Trip to Venice, Through the Night.

Gazing the evening sun setting itself across the undulating waves on the lagoon water of Venice, for a moment we felt as if the sun also wanted to stay a bit longer. It seemed the sun wanted some time more, to soak in the mesmerizing beauty of Venice. Or perhaps sail across the moon and stars in the night. Venice at night manifests romanticism. The rising waters across the land, the winter quiet, and the clear sky calm, it’s a rare combination we never ever witnessed again in our many European trips. Venice, the only pedestrian city in the world, is special, frame after frame, moment after moment. Without an exaggeration, Venice’s beauty builds, stays and conquers your senses.

Gondola
One of the several canals, donned by Gondolas

 If our evening had been eternal, our night was even more magical. The spurt drizzle made the city dew fresh. The bustle was back on the wet cobbled streets and the neatly parked gondolas and the sweet music aboard were flowing back around Venice.

Venice
St. Mark's Square
Venice
St. Mark's Square
We came back to Ponte De Rialto (Rialto bridge) across The Grand Canal to begin our journey and reached Bell tower of St. Mark. The square outside is fabulous to say the least and offers some exquisite views. Finally we reached Basilica di San Marco.

Basilica di San Marino
Basilica di San Marino
 The magnificence of Basilica is unbelievable, and more so the thing that make it special is the serene setting. The lagoon water brace the basilica steps with reverence and the moon light stands guard of its grandeur.

The historical center can hold you forever. The monuments look fabulous beneath the night sky. They are all appropriately lit with a lot of importance to the finer details.

The Venice charm is best explored in getting lost without a map. Identify a part of Venice, put your map deep inside your pocket and get happily lost in the street and views of Venice. Open the map back, and happily discover the places you have just covered. Most, almost all the places can easily be covered on feet, without the use of any Vaporetti or taxi.
Venice
Vignette outside a Shop on our journey of getting lost
There are some islands around Venice that happen to be of a great tourist interest. Burano and Murano are worth being on itineary. They are popular for the Glass work, a popular souvenir choice, albeit a lot expensive. However my choice would go for being in Venice for 2 days and see the colored and picturesque Burano for another day.

For all reasons and sometimes none, Venice, in day and night alike, is synonymous with magic.

The magic stayed with me in the dreams that night, and continues to stay with me even today. We left for Milan early morning next day.

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In the first part of the posts Venice, Through the Day, you'd find the regular features, Shop What, Travel Facts and Bottom Line. 
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day Trip to Venice

I tried really hard for placing an appropriate adjective along with the title of the post. Only to conclude that it would be an understatement for the magic that Venice holds. Every corner and every moment in Venice is like a picture postcard. It's one of those places that you just so wish was real. It is. There are no vehicles, no roads. Exquisite pontes(bridges) connect one island on the lagoon with the other. One has to either take a water bus(Vaporetti) or water taxi or the best of all, be yourself on your feet. The remarkable thing about Venice is, that despite all the visitors and tourists, it still is successful in preserving its charm.
Venice
Venice through Vaporetti
Done with an early breakfast , we left for our journey from Florence to reach Venice in TrenItalia pre-noon. The journey was comfortable and quite relaxed. Both of us caught some sleep on board, which was later followed by some cups of coffee from the train pantry. Yet again, as always in Italy, we cut across through some of the breathtaking landscapes. The train journey was comfortable and most of the people who traveled were not tourists. Perhaps it had more to do with the timing of our train, than anything else. 

There is a tourist center that is located at a convenient location on the station Venezia Saint Lucia. There was a ritual exchange of maps, ideas on the division of time, and how to reach our hotel. We step outside the station to soak in simply amazing beauty of Venice. Every sight, every nook of Venice would for sure, stay with you forever

The sunshine floated through the waves of the lagoon, and in our Vaporetti we could simply not believe the breathtaking views that passed by. We lazed our way to reach our Hotel as we were carrying lot of luggage. Few bridges aside, we reached our hotel through bustling tourist streets.
Venice
Ponte showcasing the upcoming Venice festival
We caught up with our lunch and then took a ride of the magic of Venice in the water bus and saw the sun setting somewhere in Venice.

That was the best evening of my Life.

(Travel across Venice through night on the post 'Venice, Through the Night'.)

Shop What
  • Souvenirs
  • Glass based artifacts
  • Personae
Bottom Line
  • Gondola rides are highly overrated. These rides are simply not worth the price you pay.
  • Sometimes it may be difficult to find places. As a thumb rule, begin with some idea of your destination in Venice from the tourist center.
  • Free Maps were not available at the Tourist Center but you could find them at your Hotel.
  • Venice is expensive.
  • Public transportation is best on the Vaporetti, especially on Single day or 3 day passes. Highly recommended.
  • Hotel, at times can be far off from the Vaporetti stops which necessarily have to be covered on feet. Travel light or stay in hotels that are close to Vaporetti stops.
  • Venice is more European than other Italian cities with majority of people speaking English.
  • Best time to visit is during fall or winters.
Travel Facts
  • Stayed : 1 day .
  • Stayed at : Hotel , Scandinavia - OK, Choose better 'value for money' hotels close to Vaporetti stops.
  • Traveled with my better half .
  • Traveled in TrenItallia from Florence in January 2013.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Trip to Pisa, Italy

My wife and I were feeling a child like excitement, the moment we stepped out from our hotel to catch the regional train from Florence (Firenze Santa Maria Novella) to Pisa. We were sure it was going to be a visual treat to be a witness of the architecture marvel, one of the seven wonders, the Leaning tower of Pisa. We hurriedly bought tickets from the Tabak shop on the train station and rushed towards the train. With some breaths up and some down, we boarded the train. There was a bunch of daily travelers who largely alighted before Pisa. The comfortable (odd hour) journey cut us through from some really beautiful rural landscapes.

Pisa greeted us with a bright sunshine, a rather welcome change from the overcast Florence that we had left behind.
Pisa
Fountain outside the Pisa Centrali station

There is a beautiful fountain just outside the station which turned out to be a popular snapshot point. Few meters away, we could spot a skating surface quite popular among the locals.
Pisa
Skating surface quite popular among locals

The streets that led us to the 'Leaning Tower of Pisa' were largely commercial in nature. The famed Arno and lovely ponte across it leads to the 'Historical Center' that finally leads to the complex. Along side this street there are some popular brands and restaurants dotting both the sides. Though one has to admit that Pisa could still manage to preserve its town-like feeling. Apart from the main commercial street, there are few other streets, worth visiting in the town.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Clear blue sky in the backdrop
We finally reached Piaza dei Miracloi, the main tourist complex of Pisa, which apart from the Leaning tower, also houses other monuments like Duomo Di Pisa and the Bapistry(Battistero). Against the popular misconception, the compound has multiple monuments around the Leaning tower of Pisa and all of them are worth visiting. Leaning nature of the tower is attributed to the marshy nature of the land that was the base of the tower during construction.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa

There is a convenient tourist center located within the complex that can provide useful guidance on how to divide time (and money) among the monuments. On most clear days, one can view scenic mountains behind the Leaning Tower. The  front gardens are quite appealing and clinically maintained. One can easily spend 3-4 hours in the monument complex.
Pisa
Front gardens outside the Leaning Tower

We left for mesmerizing Venice, the next day, a trip that'll never ever be forgotten.

Shop What
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa Souveniers
  • If you must, T-shirts.
Bottom Line
  • Pisa is a relaxed one day trip from Florence.
  • If travelling with less luggage, you can go from Florence to Pisa and then from Pisa to Venice.
Travel Facts
  • Stayed : One Day Trip from Florence.
  • Stayed at : Hotel Embassy, Florence - Yes, highly recommended.
  • Traveled with my better half on a single Day trip 
  • Traveled in regional Train from Florence in January 2013.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Trip to Florence

Phew... It took us no time to reach Florence (Firenze Santa Maria Novella) from Naples.There was a sea change in the two cities. Not only the sea, but everything else was also, quite different. A far smaller city than Naples, it's more European (than Italian) too. One could easily touch the prosperity here. Unlike its southern cousin Naples, there is a herculean meticulousness that is associated with Florence. Not only does Michelangelo live here through his eternal creations, but also its heritage, physical infrastructure of Firenze, the cleanliness, upkeep of the monuments etc. can hold your senses. Florence is the cradle for modern day Opera, a breeding ground for a unique architecture style of its own, and definitively the renaissance. By all means Florence is a different city at day, and yes an altogether a different city at night.

Duomo Florence
Historical Center, Florence
Hotel Embassy where we stayed was near to the station, and should say, it was fantastic. The room was comfortable, staff helpful, and the breakfast was good with a lot of variety.

The beautiful squares or piazzas that compellingly invites the white pigeons to throng for feed, compliment the artistic architecture that can take your breath away. On our way, we found many academicians on their study tours with local guides. Step after step, the beauty of the city sinks in deep, with the heritage the city carries with itself. At times, the entire city looks like an art gallery minus the formal settings plus the shining overhead sun. All the tourist places can easily be covering by walking around (Yes, walking is highly recommended).
Florence
Light Drizzle add to the Florence magic

Within few feet, we could reach the restaurant that was a few blocks away to gulp our favorite Cappuccino. Within our sight, we had the famed church of Santa Maria Novella. Its grandeur spoke loud about its emphatic class. We began our trip by taking small walk to reach the historical center through Piazza Del Signora, Piazza Del Giovanni among others. We finally reached Duomo. The grand Duomo and its surroundings can hold forever by their charm and magnificence, and as stars lit the sky, the city of Florence adores a totally different look altogether. It drizzled in the evening and by eight at night, everything was 'morning dew' fresh.
Arno
Arno at Night

The lights across the tourist places in the city were optimal and sufficient.The beautiful ponte or bridges that dot river Arno makes the picturesque landscape even more special. There were a lot of bicycle riders in the city.

We left our Hotel to catch a regional train to Pisa so that we were in time to reach back to Florence, the very same evening.

Florence is indeed a feast of culture and can come in courses that would,for sure, stay with you forever.

Shop What
  • Avoid shopping in Florence, if travelling on a Budget trip. You'll find some good bargains in Pisa.
Bottom Line
  • Yes, Many people speak English and the happy trend continues as we go further north in Italy.
  • Food is expensive and make your choice judiciously about the restaurant. Historical center is a better place for meals.
  • Walk your way through.
  • You could save on your lodging if you choose a Hotel bit far, because being a smaller city, that 'bit' will never be too far.
Travel Facts
  • Stayed : 2 days.
  • Stayed at : Hotel Embassy - Definite Yes, Recommended.
  • Traveled with my better half and the journey could be easily divided in two parts Florence at Day and at Night. 
  • Traveled in TrenItalia from Naples in January 2013.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Travel Tips for Sorrento, Italy

Of  what we had heard about Sorrento, we had planned a day trip from Naples to Sorrento, even before we had began our trip to Italy. When in Naples though we had to choose between Amalfi Coast and Sorrento or Capri Islands.

The weather decided for us. It was overcast, and most of the people advised us against taking a littoral trip. We did, and so gladly I say, we did. We had to stunt the Amalfi coast from the itinerary. Our excursion to Sorrento from Naples began from the port of Moro Beverello. After a sumptuous lunch, we took a Hydrofoil around noon and reached Sorrento in less than an hour.

Naples to Sorrento
Moro Beverello
The journey s a story itself. Snow crowned mountains, breezy sea, and a deck seat. Well we couldn't had much beyond. It was cold and a cup of coffee did wonders to our spirit. We stayed for an hour around the port and enjoyed and marveled its exquisite beauty.
Sorrento
Quaint Charm of Sorrento
There is a quiet charm about the place and the weather complimented that charm all the more. We climbed a top of steep stairs to reach the town and some of the views during our ascent were equally mesmerizing. The town had a piazza that had its characteristic statue, and a leading market street. We shopped a bit to realize that it turned out to be one of the cheaper of the Italian places. On our train trip in Circumvesuviana back to Napoli Centrali (read Naples), we met a bunch of Korean youngsters who had some zealous experiences of Amalfi Coast to share.
Clouds building along the sea

We enjoyed every bit of our stay at Sorrento!

Sorrento
Sorrento-Surreal Beauty!

PS:  Ideally a trip from Naples early morning could give you a chance to explore Amalfi Coast and Sorrento same day.

We hurriedly packed our baggage that night, as we had to leave for Florence next day.

Shop What
  • Better places to shop for winter wear.
  • Being Town, most of the things are comparatively cheaper.

Bottom Line 
  • Sorrento can give make your trip to Italy really really special. Do visit it for sure. 
  • My choice between Naples City and Sorrento would be with Sorrento. 
  • Plan properly and you can easily cover Amalfi Coast in a Single day. These places are amazing!
  • Capri Islands deserves at least a day trip.
Travel facts
  • Stayed : One Day Trip from Naples.
  • Stayed at : Hotel Ideal, Naples - No, not recommended.
  • Traveled with my better half on a single Day trip 
  • Traveled in Hydrofoil/Local Train from Naples in January 2013.