Tag Archive: travel


Euro 2016

The itch to travel can never be cured.. I might not be a nomad but I definitely need my timely breaks and my love for Europe just keeps growing every year. Therefore, it was no surprise when I decided to hit France, Switzerland and Italy for a much-needed holiday and what best time to do it than in the festive season. Also for a change, this time was all about fun and I was totally game.

Paris:

Lucky me.. I was ensconced in a home away from home. I had my ever-loving Sr. S to pamper the hell outta me and Sr. M was so much fun to hang out with. Sr. L tried to keep the Indian in me happy and Sr. F was adorable on her own (It’s much easier to refer to code words than calling out Sisters randomly). Those days with them meant so much to me and I am grateful for that.

 

 

A visit to Versailles was a mandate and trust me you would need a whole day to do justice to it. If its in your cards, just be ready for a lot of walking.. You can always eat yummy Parisian food out there so it was a win-win for me..

 

 

Next on the cards was the beautiful Montmartre. I sat through a wonderful service and had a splendid view of the city later. The quaintness will definitely hit you here. Then it was a whirlwind with the regulars like Notre Dame, The Louvre, Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees. The happy spot was the Christmas market… the colors and games with delectable French food.. Ooh la la…

 

 

The city’s charm rubs on me pretty quickly and I felt dejected to leave it. Also I realized that there is more to see and explore. So until next time..

Switzerland:

The second leg was my favorite destination and the first thing I hit in Swiss was Gruyeres.. For the love of cheese.. 😛

 

 

Then the next stop was Wilderswil in Jungfrau region and I was in love instantly. The view I had from my room was amazing and it just raised my expectations for my trip to Jungfraujoch (Top of Europe). It was a long time pending one on my list and I happily ticked it off.

 

 

The next one that I was excitedly waiting for was a stay in an igloo atop the Alps near Zermatt.. I would happily suggest it to everyone. I had so much fun and the exhilarating feeling is so surreal.. To watch the snow-clad mountain peaks in such proximity and feel in one with the wilderness cannot be explained.. Cheese fondue.. Snowshoe walk at night.. Stargazing.. Open Jacuzzi.. Skiing.. I was living a dream.. A wonderful dream indeed.. 😀

 

 

Italy:

After a lot of contemplation skipped Milan and hit Venice. It was pretty cold and foggy but serene on its own way. Just a lot of walking around and munching on. Yummy Ravioli and Gelato made my day..

 

 

Suddenly I am at the end of my trip with just a day to spare in Rome.. I had a lot of walking and quick planning to do.. Pretty much covered everything I wanted to see along with a visit to Vatican.. Not bad at all.. I hope the coin I threw in Trevi will bring me back to the eternal city once again..

 

 

It was very different to travel on my own without fixed plans or schedules. It gave me better perspectives and made me feel liberated as well. There was so much to watch and so much to learn.. It was a happy sign-off to 2016!

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K2K – A trek to remember!!

Sometimes you just need to leave the cacophony of the city life to enjoy the pristine beauty and bounty of Mother Earth… The Kumbakkarai to Kodai trek via Vellagavi on Feb 18 &19 was one such occasion..!! It was CTC’s 4th birthday and I felt I had to be part of the celebration!! And hence after a lot of contemplation (obviously with so many treks to choose from) & work issues it was decided that Kodai trek it will be..

So much of checking and cross checking happened on things to be taken, weather forecast, food to be taken & timings.. And finally Kaushi (my partner in crime) & me were at Koyambedu by 9 only to find the bus being late by an hour.. So much for punctuality.. Uff.. but yeah we know things sometimes doesn’t go as planned.. so we literally waited out the whole time & was happy to get into the bus which had smiling faces welcoming us!! It was amazing to be a part of a group where people of various work backgrounds join together just to enjoy one thing that had us bound.. The journey started with us becoming friends with one another as our bus weaved out of Chennai.. After some time of talking, snacking, singing and sleeping..Dindigul was our first stop.. It was our pick-up point for the trekkers joining from Bangalore (which included my bro & Sudhir) as well as our breakfast & lunch!! So once everything was in place we set off to Kumbakkarai which we reached by 10.30 or so..

The food packets were distributed to all.. Our breakfast was idli, vada.. Once our tummies were filled we started towards the sliding pool of the Kumbakarai waterfalls with Chikki bars, Corn, oranges, chocolates jostling for space in our bags.. The sliding pool was in a different direction from the path that we had to take.. It looked quite calm and the guys were all set for the fun.. Somersaults, gentle dips and slides were happening simultaneously while few of us chose to be the spectators alone!! As much as I enjoy water, I was just too worried about trekking in wet clothes.. so just skipped the tempting slide!!

At one point when we realized that we might be too late.. we started towards the trek path.. It was nearly around 12 when we started the hike.. Not a happy thought I accept as the sun was merciless..!! We trudged happily with lots of talk.. At some point I really started wondering how bad my fitness was!! Thanks to my knapsack which was adding to the agony ..!! Luckily for me, Shiv & Sudhir took the burden (Thank you soooo much guys!!).. We kept on trudging and I was seriously wondering whether we will really reach somewhere or not..

Around an hour or two later we decided to lunch.. by when most of us were split in groups depending on our pace.. I skipped the biryani knowing well that my walk would be worse than what it was.. We came across a small temple on the way where we re-energized ourselves with Chikki bars and water.. Then again we started our walk.. we even saw some of the Vellagavi villagers walking in complete ease with so much load (Gosh!! So much for the sophistication in the city, I was literally worn out.. Embarrassing indeed!!) Thanks to Jayanthan who kept on convincing me that we were almost near the village!! Alas!! the whole group reached the village by 4:30 in the evening.. I was truly amazed at the way the people lived there with no mode of transportation..!!  Either people walk all the way up to Kodai or all the way down to Kumbakarai..!!  

 

After a brief rest and a lovely coffee (courtesy of the villagers), the guys were ready to have a game of Volleyball with the villagers.. You got to give it to them.. the villagers were exceptional in the game and got our guys hands down!! The volleyball court was located in a picturesque place where it was just surrounded by the view of the mountains.. The trek had just two other ladies other than Kaush and me.. All four of us played the role of a spectator while the guys got pummeled.. Then it was soup time.. The chillness started to envelope us.. The guys were trying to make use of so many physics concept before they got the soup done.. Thanks to the villagers the vegetable rice was ready by then!! After a lovely dinner, it was time to sleep.. Eventually day 1 came to an end!!

 

DAY 2:

I was happy to wake up around eight because the much needed sleep seemed to have done the magic of rejuvenating the tired muscles.. and I was looking forward to the hike again.. Had a lovely warm bath, the villagers way.. and it was time for some warm milk & chocos along with protein mix… Wonderful I say.. Whereas some folks were literally early and enjoyed the sunrise along with a game of volleyball.. Again we were all split in groups as some decided to hang around in the village for some more time while some wanted to hit it early before the heat started scorching us!! So few of us started around 10..

 

The walk was pretty ok.. We were literally traversing from one hillock to the other.. and we were also picking up altitude.. The sun was literally on us.. Trust me, even at that height, the weather was at its worst.. It was tiring us quickly.. but thanks to the spirit that prevailed amongst us.. we kept on joking about something or other and pushed ourselves.. By the time we reached Dolphin Nose we were just too happy tired I would say..!! We all reached the road by 2… and a sense of accomplishment was felt (still a guilty thought reminded me that the Vellagavi villagers did this as their routine!!).. Then to add to it we found that we had to walk further down the road as the bus couldn’t make it to the point…. (Arghhh!!!)

 

We strolled all the way till the main road then and were just happy to settle in the bus.. All of us were looking forward to the yummy lunch in Kodai.. Once near the lake, everybody took to the food joint of their choice.. It was one happy meal I would say.. after which we set off in search of yummy snacks from Pastry Corner…but to our dismay, the stocks were sold long time ago.. Bad!! Then after getting some local chocolates.. it was time to hit back to Chennai.. We bid adieu to the Bangaloreans and started the descent.. We were talking happily about the trek and it was fun to watch the pics!!

We had dinner somewhere on the bye-pass road since we did not want to waste time by entering Dindigul.. Once the dinner was done, all of us were pretty quiet as we wanted to rest well before the hectic workday… We reached Chennai by 6.30 with happy memories and good friends.. knowing well that the road towards reality beckons!!

எத்தனையோ முறை நாம் ரயிலில் பயணிக்கிறோம்.. ஒவ்வொரு முறையும் நம்முடைய பயண நோக்கம் போலவே நமது எண்ணங்களும் மாறிட தான் செய்கிறது… அது நமக்கு மட்டும் அல்ல நம்முடன் பயணம் செய்யும் பலருக்கும் அவ்வாறே இருக்கும்.. ஆனால் தற்பொழுதைய காலக்கட்டத்தில் நகரங்களில் வசிக்கும் பலருக்கு மின் தொடர் வண்டி பயணம் வாழ்வின் ஒரு அங்கமாகவே ஆகிவிட்டது..  அதனோடு ஏற்படும் பந்தம் பிரிக்கமுடியாத ஒன்றாய் மாறுகிறது.. அந்த பயணம் எனக்கும் அமையும் சில நேரங்களில்.. அந்த மாதிரி ஒரு முறை பயணிக்கும்பொழுது நான் நினைத்தது.. அதை பதிவு செய்ய வேண்டுமென்று…

அந்த இருபது நிமிட பயணத்தில் எத்தனை விதமான மனிதர்களை சந்திக்க நேருகிறது… மனித உணர்வுகளை உணர முடிகிறது.. ஒவ்வொருவர் முகத்திலும் தென்படுகிறது  வேற்றுமை.. சிலர் முகத்தில் பொலிவு.. சிலர் முகத்திலோ கவலை.. அதுவே மாணவர்கள் முகத்தில் மகிழ்ச்சி.. சிலருக்கோ ஒரு படபடப்பு.. சிலர் ஏதோ சிந்தனையில் பயணிக்க.. சிலர் காதல் வயப்பட்ட இனம் புரியாத ஆனந்தத்தில்…  ஒருப்புறம் ஒரு பெண் அவளுடைய காலை உணவை விரைவாக சாப்பிடுகிறாள் அதுவே மறுப்புறம் இன்னொருதியோ ஒரு புத்தகத்தை  பொறுமையாக புரட்டுகிறாள்.. சந்தோஷம்.. துயரம்.. துடிப்பு.. மிரட்சி.. வறுமை.. அருவருப்பு என்று எத்தனையோ எண்ணற்ற எண்ணங்கள் சூழ்ந்து இருக்கும் நிலையில் கதவோரமாக அமர்ந்து இருக்கும் பெண்மணிக்கோ உறக்கம் அதன் ஆசை வலையை விரிக்கிறது… எல்லோரும் கூண்டில் அடைத்தாற்போல் பயணிக்கும் அந்த நேரத்தில் ஒரு ஒற்றுமையை கூட உணர முடியும்.. என்னதான் அடுத்து நிற்கும் இடத்தில் இந்த பயணம் முடிந்தாலும் எண்ணங்கள் முடிவதில்லை..

வேகமாக ஓடுகின்ற வாழ்க்கையில் இறுதியாக எதைத்தான் ரசிக்கிறோம் என்று தோனுகிறது சில நேரம்.. பயணிக்கும் இருபது நிமிடங்களில் நம் மனதில் எண்ணற்ற சிந்தனைகள்.. அதே நேரத்தில் பல முறை  கைக்கடிகாரத்தை பார்த்துகொள்கிறோம்… எப்பொழுது இதில் அமைதி கிடைக்கும்??..  ஒரு முறை பயணிக்கும்பொழுது உங்கள் தனிப்பட்ட எண்ணங்களை ஒதுக்கி வைத்து உங்களை சுற்றி இருப்பவர்களை கவனியுங்கள்.. ஒவ்வொருவரின் முகமும் பல கதைகள் கூறும்.. அதன் பிறகு அதை சிந்திக்கையில் சிறு புன்னகை பிறக்கும்…