Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Postcards from Vienna

As I sit at my grandmother's place in Lucknow, triumphing over the fluctuating net connectivity, I yearn for a strong cup of coffee and can't help but fondly reminiscence the cobbled lanes of Vienna and the elegant Kaffeehäuser (coffee houses).

Our visit to the Austrian capital is still fresh in my mind and I find myself walking once again amongst its history, Baroque architecture and the musical geniuses of Mozart and Strauss. The imposing monuments in the city's historic center grab your attention immediately, yet there is also a very relaxed vibe in the neighbourhoods fringing the city centre as youngsters laze on design lounge chairs in the Museum Quarters or stretch their legs beside the Danube canal and enjoy a pint as music fills the air.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Blog Together, Blog Better with Team #BlogBusters #Blogbuddy @blogchatter

I started blogging in 2013. After I documented my trip to Kashmir on India Mike I caught the bug of travel writing and started this blog. Till then I had no idea what I was getting myself into. When I started getting comments on my post, I was elated. Each new comment, new reader was met with a gleeful jump and that joy was incomparable.

Slowly that joy withered. I realized there was a game being out on, it was all about scratching other people's backs, visiting their blogs and commenting in order to get a comment on yours. I didn't want to be a part of this, I thought. I would have perhaps given up had I not found Write Tribe, the first blogging community I was a part of, which taught me not only the nitty-gritties of blogging, but also helped me understand what it meant to have your own blogging community. Write Tribe was were I met like minded bloggers like Richa, Corinne, Shilpa, Raj, Sid and many others who are and will forever be my tribe. Write Tribe helped me grow as a writer, equipped me with new tools, helped me reach out to different blogs and amazing bloggers, and above all taught me the importance of sharing and promoting good content.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A walk around Hampstead Heath #LondonDiaries

Overlooking the Hampstead Heath              

Curled up in the freshly trimmed greens 

My hand scribbles in rhythm to the wind 

Captures the nature naked.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Cheese Fondue, Zurich at night and Rhine Falls #SwitzerlandTravels Part 5

Read the #SwitzerlandTravels Part1, Part2, Part3 and Part4

As we boarded the train from Zermatt to Zurich, I couldn't help but feel a little heartache. Our serenade with the beautiful Swiss landscapes was about to end. This was no doubt one of the best travel experiences we had had, and we still had one more day to live it out.

We reached Zurich just in time to rush to restaurant Le Dezaley which is famous for its cheese fondue. It was just minutes before the closing time but the staff politely ushered us in and we quickly got to ordering. The cheese fondue was truly worth the hype and we also helped ourselves to one more dish and a glass of wine recommended by the staff.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Glacier Express and views of the Matterhorn #SwitzerlandTravels Part 4

Read the #SwitzerlandTravels Part1, Part2 and Part3

I have in my previous posts spoken of the efficiency and beauty of the Swiss scenic trains. The decision to thus spend a day on the classic Glacier Express, famous for being “the slowest express train in the world” (the 275 km journey takes about 8 hours) was an easy one. That unhurried summer morning we bid goodbye to the beautiful town of Lucerne, and headed to Chur to catch the Glacier Express.

The Glacier Express connects the two major mountain resorts of St. Moritz and Zermatt, passing through three high-mountain passes, 91 tunnels and over 291 bridges. As we boarded the bright red carriages, I felt like I am in the middle of a movie shoot. The huge panoramic windows instantly call out to you and tell you to sit back, relax and enjoy the views of green valleys, gorges, pristine blue river and snow peaked mountains, all from the comfort of the train.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Traveling Without a Plan and other Comedy of Errors

I am not a plotter, not in my writing and not in life. I take each day as it comes, at the most making a to do list when the list of tasks become too lengthy to compartmentalize in my head. My travel plans too, are as detailed as booking a flight and a place to stay. 

In all our travels, we do get around to seeing the major attractions and walking the tourist route. But we often sidetrack and loiter around discovering, uncovering a new city in our own time. 

Of course, not planning has its pitfalls but they come with learning, with a knowing smile directed towards the husband telling him we better not repeat this mistake the next time, and it makes for a great story! 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Enamoured with Mt. Titlis & the views of Lake Trubsee #SwitzerlandTravels Part 3

Read the #SwitzerlandTravels Part1 and Part2

We were ecstatic to wake up to a sunny day in Lucerne and a quick breakfast later headed to Engelberg, home to the famous Mt. Titlis.

On top of snow covered mountains, everything makes sense. 

As we oohed and aahed our way up to the peaks in Rotair 360 - the world's first revolving gondola, we were upbeat and ready to jump into all the snow-clad craziness Titlis had to offer. We walked on the suspension bridge past the howling winds, sledded down the slopes in animated squeals and giggles, rode the ice flyer looking down at the nature's magnanimous splendour and almost froze inside the blue lit glacier cave.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Tiny Dreams

Blisters on their feet
Sweet smiles piercing through 
They tap on the window sill
Tiny shoes in their hands,
They beg. 
For their tiny dreams to be lived. 

©Aditi Kaushiva

Day 5 of the #BarAThon Challenge. Today's prompt is 'tiny shoes'

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Love Letter

She begged him to write her a handwritten letter.  In the age where you could speak everyday, where you could run to an Internet Cafe to chat with your beloved who was miles away, she insisted on the most romantic format of communication. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fragile Lives

The sky clears of the darkness
morning rays beckon to wake
Cautiously from under the stone,
A weed braves

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Feeling Unsure

I have been trying to 'figure things out' for a while now. I see the dexterity I once believed to have failing me, and the multiple projects I have been juggling falling out of my hands.

I like variety. I like dabbling in blogging, writing, dancing and working on building a one of its kind dance community. All this, while in the background run my 9-5 job and my home. Is juggling everything together working? At the start of this year, I had chosen my word for 2016 as 'Focus', but the more I try, the more I feel I am falling behind. I have, on more than one occasions thought of quitting. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Stranger than Fiction

The sound of crackling ice...

I looked at the bedside clock. It read 5:00 am, but it was still dark outside. I closed my eyes again and listened closely to the rhythm, my heartbeat and the ice cracking, as it enveloped the empty interiors of my grandmother's wooden house.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Exploring the Picture Perfect Corners of Lucerne #SwitzerlandTravels Part 2

Read the first leg of our #SwitzerlandTravels here

Interlaken is a paradise for adventure lovers, from hiking, biking, paragliding, skiing there is a lot one can do. We had planned an early morning trek up to Harder Klum, followed by a lazy afternoon exploring the castles of Schloss Thun. However the rains had other plans for us. We waited till about noon for the skies to clear but no such luck, and although a bit disappointed we decided to continue our trip to the charismatic and charming city of Lucerne.

Views from the train

Friday, July 22, 2016

Two Hundred by @mansilausdeo @YuimiDemi #DailyChatter @blogchatter

I find writing short stories really difficult, the art of creating a punch in a few words and leaving the reader with a feeling of wanting more, is a challenge. Having tried my hand at writing 55 fiction, drabble and flash fiction, I was looking forward to reading Mansi And Yuimi's well curated and impeccably designed Two Hundred - an anthology of terribly twisted short stories.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Snow, Smiles and Living the Dream #SwitzerlandTravels Part 1

As we walked out of the airport towards the city center, the red Rathaus shined through the Basel landscape oozing history and culture. It was a wet day and we had a couple of hours in Basel before catching a train to Interlaken, so after having a deliciously hearty meal we spent our timing lazing at the banks of the river Rhine.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Through a Stranger’s Eyes @Maggielawate @blogchatter #DailyChatter

Living in London, adapting to a new country and its culture has not only made me embrace the unknown but has taught me a lot about myself and the world. When I read Maggie's 'Through a Stranger’s Eyes' which is a personal account of her life in America and how that time has shaped her personality, I couldn't help but feel an eerie connection.

Friday, July 8, 2016

'Aerogramme and other Poems' by @DivenitaEr @blogchatter

Nivedita, a fellow blogger, poetry aficionado and editor pours her heart out in 'Aerogramme and other Poems' and takes the reader on a vivid journey of memories. Memories that recapture 'everyday' moments in life. Few of them invoked a sense of nostalgia and few brought me closer to the beauty of passing moments.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Harp by Nidhi Dalmia #BookReview

I was thinking I'll have something to read on my way to work, a nice book which as the blurb promised, would take me through India, Europe and USA, and give me a peek into the lives of three young people as they engage with the cultural, sexual and student revolutions, and the music of the sixties.

A story about love, longing and coming of age - I thought I had found my perfect travel companion. The 60 minutes of reading I can sneak into my packed day, I was looking forward to it....

Oh boy, I was not expecting to be turned off, so bad, so fast.

I don't know how to start a review for a book that was so hard to read. Which didn't connect with me on any level despite of my honest efforts. Really, I did give it a try.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

#CreativePoetry Inspired by @austinkleon #NewspaperBlackout

For the last few months, I haven't been doing too well with my writing projects and blogging. With full time work, I feel exhausted by evening and after cooking dinner just feel like unwinding in front of the TV. We've been catching up on Game of Thrones and also binge watching on The Mentalist.

Trying my best to get of out of this writer's block, I have been seeking inspiration anywhere I can find. And that's when I found Austin Kleon's newsletters and discovered how to make a newspaper blackout poem

It is lots of fun and a perfect way to use my travel time. I was a bit iffy sharing these on the blog at first, but here you go. Do let me know, what you think?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

#CanterburyTales A Day trip from London #PhotoFriday

April was a busy month, and a day away from chaotic London was just what the doctor had ordered.

A day away from my 9-5 work routine, a day amidst nature, getting caught in the rain, playing hide and seek with the sun, rejuvenating and getting inspired by medieval history.

So on a wet Saturday afternoon, instead of brooding and staying in in our pyjamas, we decided to hop on to the high speed javelin trains from St Pancras and head to the city that inspired Geoffrey Chaucer’s classic book - The Canterbury Tales.

Friday, April 29, 2016

One Year Living in London

One year. Away from home. New city, new country. 18th April marked the day we left our comfortable nests in India, gathered our belongings, our hearts, and flew to the city of London. I can't believe it is one year already.

The morning after our first step in this vibrant city, I got up to new sights and smells. The spring air, the smell of freshly grounded coffee and bakes, the many heads in business suits hurrying their way into the crowd and out, the busy buskers tuned to their beloved instruments, the disheveled figures hanging on to their dreams from the night before - everything beckoned me to a new adventure. And that's what the past year has been, an adventure, a journey and on the way many lessons. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

#Cotswolds - Exploring the English Countryside #PhotoFriday

Cotswold is an area in the heart of England which is characterized by the quintessential English villages, that are famous for their antique shops, pubs, tea shops, cobbled streets and pretty cottages. The majority of the Cotswold lies in Gloucestershire but it expands to over five other counties: Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire, Warwickshire - thus making the task of exploring the entire region impossible in a single visit.

In late December we set out on a short road trip to explore the English countryside and narrowed down the list of towns that we wanted to visit to - Stow-on-the-Wold, Lower Slaughter and Upper Slaughter, Burton-on-the-Water and Chipping Camden.

If I can describe this trip in one word, it would be 'magical'. I felt as if time had stood still and we had been transported into a storybook. Peeking inside the golden-brown hued stone cottages, all I wanted to do was get in, sit with a huge mug of hot chocolate at the foot of a stool beside the fireplace and read a classic, like perhaps Wuthering Heights which describes the wild landscapes so hauntingly. Sigh!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Living with Gratitude

A lot has happened in one month. If I can gauge of what's to come by the way January has shaped up, 2016 will be a roller coaster - of emotions, opportunities and challenges. But I am grateful for it all, and that one step towards appreciation and thankfulness will help me grow.

I've been keeping a gratitude journal for the last year and a half, giving thanks for the simple pleasures of life, but at times one feels the need to share, especially when you want to let someone know how grateful you are for being in their lives.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Exploring Amsterdam on Foot #TravelDiaries #blogchatter

Putting our best foot forward in 2016, we landed in Amsterdam on a wet windy Saturday morning. It was a breezy commute from the airport to the Amsterdam Central station but who knew the 10 minutes walk from there to our houseboat would have us soaking wet! We reached Hotelboot Angeline in that haggard state, might we add hungry too, and were immediately put at ease as Daniel, our host, welcomed us in warmly to the cozy houseboat.

Staying in a houseboat in Amsterdam is an experience in itself. You can get an insight into the Dutch way of living and soak in the charming atmosphere around. Some may question this choice of accommodation, especially in winters, but let me tell you, I had the best sleep in ages on this houseboat's comfortable and snugly beds. And 24*7 hot water and heating, free Wi-Fi and a scrumptious spread of breakfast enough to keep us fuelled till late noon, made this a perfect choice for our stay. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

#SaturdayWordplay 14 - Penumbra

The leaves rustle as she turns to lie on her back, the barren trees glaring at her from above, almost threateningly. She brushes aside a strand of hair from her face, closes her eyes and breathes deeply.

Why did he have to leave me like that? Was it something that I did? The questions haunt her.

She enters a room, the darkness of it making her alert. She stands erect, holds her breath and tries to listen. Not a sound.

Where am I?

The subconscious then speaks, through her, to her, directly. She is drawn to the opaque voice, follows it as it enters another door. A room filled with memories, this one. Memories and pain that she had suppressed for so long. The grime floats around her, mockingly, hard to ignore.

Don't you remember? A voice booms.

No. It isn't true. I loved him. I was happy with him.

The voice grows louder.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A New Dawn

#FotoFriday prompt by Anindya

Humans. Such strange species. I see thousands of them passing by this temple every single day, their hands join and eyes close for a brief second before a tiny beep from their phones suck them back into their world. Always rushing, their minds churning countless thoughts per nano second - of which only very few matter and most forgotten, lost in the rush.