Archive for the ‘Travel Experience’ Category

Optical illusion on Lake Geneva

Friday, January 25th, 2008

This is the world famous fountain jet on lake Geneva. After I clicked this photo in Oct 2007 at Geneva, I realized that it also offers an optical illusion.

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If you have not already found it, then let me guide you through. Just before the water falls back on the lake, look at the circular area that the water forms. Do you see a shadow or shape of a standing person in there with both hands up on the left hand side as if dancing or about to hit golf shot. Isn’t it amazing to see how nature plays with you sometimes?

Do share your views and experience using the comments link below this post (on the right hand side, the link would say ‘No comments’ or ‘x comments’).

Travel to Switzerland

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Since childhood Switzerland has been one of my dream holiday destination and in Oct 2007, I happen to go for a 4 day holiday with my wife. Needless to say that the place is amazing and full of natural beauty. Although you can spend even 3 to 4 weeks at Switzerland, I have put together this 5 day itinerary based on my experience and the experience of a few friends of mine.

This itinerary is suitable for a couple with no kids. If you have kids or elderly people travelling with you then you need to provide extra time and adjust the plan accordingly to make it a 6 or 7 day trip. We had made Interlaken our base location as it is centrally located and well connected but you can also opt for Lucerne or Bern as suitable to you.

This itinerary covers the main attractions of Switzerland as we have experienced it. You may find other options which are more suitable to you based on your taste and past experiences. I would suggest not engaging a travel agent to plan your trip; they offer limited options and always come with fine prints.

I hope this is useful to all of you who want to plan a trip to Switzerland. Click here and download the itinerary.

Do share your views and experience using the comments link below this post (on the right hand side, the link would say ‘No comments’ or ‘x comments’).

Life in UK – the good, the bad and the ugly

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

The Good:
1. Medical services are free and are of good quality. Normally for small sickness you would visit the nurse and NOT a doctor. You can walk-in into any hospital and get free medical consultation.

2. Public transport is good, efficient and timely. The network of trains and buses are efficient. Till now I have not felt the need to own a car.

3. Great natural beauty with Scotland in the vicinity. Summer months (April to September) are the ideal time to be in UK.

4. Free membership to the Libraries with good collections of books. If you like reading then this is probably heaven for you.

5. If you are on Work Permit (not business visa) in the UK then you do not need any visa to visit Switzerland.

6. Many places to see like Isle of Weight, London, Brighton, Snowdonia, Birmingham and many more.

7. A good mix of people from Asia and Europe. Lots of Indians (mostly Gujrati) and people from Bangladesh and Pakistan.

8. For a vegetarian Hindu like me, there are options for restaurant as well as grocery, however, if you are searching for a pure vegetarian restaurant then you will have a tough time.

9. You can see latest Bollywood movies (limited show timings on cinemas. E.g. 2 shows in a week).

10. You can get Schengen visa stamped in UK to go to other parts of Europe for a holiday.
 

The Bad:
1. Everything is expensive when compared to USA and VERY expensive when compared to India. You are better off buying electronics from US then purchasing it in UK.

2. You pay a lot on tax from your salary. Apart from taxes on salary you also pay council tax which is additional to house rent.

3. Probably the only place on earth where you pay a TV license fee to the government to see TV at your home (approximately £11 to £12 per month).

4. If you want broadband then you would have to sign a contract for 12 months at least. You cannot get a broadband for 1 or 2 months.
 

The Ugly:
1. The culture is very different from India and hard to believe. Yet to find a married couple. Mostly I find people who are single parents or staying with a partner. The whole idea of marriage and committing yourself to one person does not seem to exist.

2. The winters are truly boring with 7 to 8 hours of daylight and nothing much to do in the chilling weather outside. Most of Midlands (where I stay) is wet with rains and fog. The days are cloudy and dull.

The views expressed above are based on my stay here in the UK over the past few months. Do share your views and experience with others using the comments link below this post (on the right hand side, the link would say ‘No comments’ or ‘x comments’).

Visit to Rameshwaram

Monday, March 19th, 2007

This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Rameshwaram with my parents. Overall the place is amazing. In case you plan to visit then this write-up should be of help to you.

There is no airport at Rameshwaram and rail track is under construction, so we took a 40 minutes flight from Chennai to Madurai.

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Madurai as a place is well known for the huge Meenakshi temple and is located 175 kilometers away from Rameshwaram.

We reached Madurai in the evening from Chennai and checked-in into the Hotel. I was suggested to stay at Park Plaza by a friend of mine at Chennai. Next day we covered 175 KM to Rameshwaram in 3 hours, the bridge on the ocean on the way is a visual delight!! The key is to have your ‘Panda’ identified before you even think about visiting the temple. In my case, dad already had the information and we had called him from Madurai itself before reaching Rameshwaram. ‘Panda’ had already made all the arrangements and bookings in the temple.

The grand finale starts with ‘Samudra snan’ (Ocean bath) where you go to a small beach near to the temple and take a holy bath there. This is followed by ’22 kund snan’ (bath in 22 wells). The temple has a well organized system. You enter the temple and pay Rs 51 per person for the 22 kund snan so that a person is appointed to you who would pull water from the kund (well). Taking bath 22 times with a bucket full of water is quite an experience. The guy pours water on your head 22 times!!

After the bath you need to change your dress and be ready for the Pooja. We did Abhishek of Lord Shiva with milk and ganga jal. For this you need to pay Rs. 651 in the temple and all the arrangements are made for you. Total time taken is around 2 hours inside the temple if you have everything organized through the ‘Panda’.

After the visit to the temple there is not much to do in that place, so we decided to take some rest and then started our return journey to Madurai.

One of the most important religious destinations of Hindus, the Rameshwaram temple is simply HUGE and has 108 shivling inside in the corridor. The temple is one of the dham (other dhams are Badrinathji, Jagganathpuri and Dwarkaji) and also one of the 12 jyotirlings.

Next day we visited the HUGE Meenakshi temple which was also a visual delight and returned back to Chennai in the evening.