Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two Ends of the Spectrum

Glitzy and glamorous,
Spunky and fun,
Showy and frivolous,
All rolled into one!

All grown, each girl, each boy,
Yes, champagne; no, snaps,
Buxom women, none ever so coy,
Wonderful Cancan, loud claps!

Discovery and Frontier lands,
Lands; Adventure and Fantasy,
Colourful streamers, fluttering bands,
Pumping adrenaline and ecstasy!

Young ones and old folks,
All screaming with delight,
Thriller rides; in whose yokes,
Imagination takes flight!

To Disney Studios park, too,
Did we make our happy way,
Didn't it also us merrily woo!?!
Almost a mirror to our Disneyland stay!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Role Reversal

Busy weekends,
Make the weeks seem like a break!
Irony, isn't it!?!

So, I apparently still like haikus!

Weekends in recent life in Frankfurt are becoming increasingly busy! No, I'm not complaining; I quite like it this way. We've hosted lunches/dinners, watched movies, eaten out enough times to boost the economy (!), danced, sung, played, partied, drunk and had tremendous fun doing it all.
The weekend gone by had these and more. Not to mention some regurgitation thrown in. No, not on my part. Ugh.
It had to happen sometime!
Did I mention it quite increased the fun!?!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Musée du Louvre

With a mind that feeds on mysteries and an overactive imagination, the Louvre Museum has always held an enormous allure for me! I thought that the pyramids were every bit as spectacular as they're made out to be. When we went there the first evening in town, unfortunately, we reached past the museum closing time. This meant another visit to it and I can't say that upset me much!

The Louvre Museum, faithfully playing its part of being gigantic, like every other structure in Paris, stretches from one extreme end to another. Wait, it doesn't end there; it then stretches from that second, extreme end to a third one, and so forth, until your mind is completely warped around the immenseness of the thing. It is humanly quite impossible to cover the entire span of the museum in a couple days, let alone a few afternoon hours! So, we quite expectedly wound our way to take a look at the much hyped (and might I say, quite undeserving of it too) Mona Lisa. Selfishly occupying an entire wall by itself, the painting is really nothing to write home about. Small and pretty unimpressive, it didn't appeal at all to the artist in me. Ensconced in a glass case, it has been given a lofty status, while bigger, better paintings fight for space on the opposite wall!

I almost felt as though our camera shared the same sentiment, because it decided at that very opportune moment to allow its battery to conk out! I then had to resort to my mobile phone to take a picture. :-D

After the disappointing performance of what is arguably the most famous painting in the world, The Raft of the Medusa, didn't fail to deliver one bit! We saw many more stunning paintings and other works of art, including some beautiful sculptures, before wearily making our way out of the building.

The pyramids at night are every bit as striking and beautiful, if not more so, as during the day. Needless to say, we took in our fill of that delightful sight, coupled with the cool breeze that was slowly making its way over the numerous fountains that dot the place.

Sharing the same vicinity with the Louvre Museum, are the Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden), an expansive breadth of lush, manicured, green lawns, interspersed with interesting works of sculpture and the like. This garden had many picnickers, strollers, old and young couples, people making out, some others basking in the summer sun, and a host of other, sundry activities taking place.

Robert Langdon, I'll definitely be back for more...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Making the World Wonder...

Most monuments in Paris seemed to have the tendency to not be visible from a little afar, but then to suddenly pounce upon an unsuspecting soul just as the poor soul turns a corner or tilts the head a wee bit! After that, the awestruck soul can do nothing but jaw-droppingly stare at that which made its presence so felt! So was it with the Eiffel Tower.

Scarcely had we got out of the metro station and begun lamenting that it was nowhere to be seen, did it amazingly loom before us just as we walked a few yards. This first, proper sighting of it made me recollect what I'd felt when I saw our very own Taj Mahal for the first time. Beautiful, humungous things really do make quite an impact, don't they!?! It often makes me wonder why good things are supposed to come in small packages! :-)

As expected, the serpentine queues at the Eiffel were really just that; serpentine! After debating for a while whether to be lazy and take the elevator right up to the top or to climb up two levels and then take the elevator, we decided on the latter. I won't say it was a wise decision because a level up the Eiffel Tower is really not an ordinary level now, is it!?! Nevertheless, we made it to the top with just a little huffing and puffing! To the first level, that is! The ascent to the second level seemed to be a trifle easier; maybe because the whole train of people of which we were a part, intermittently paused together and then set off again towards the summit. I'm not a great admirer of views from atop tall buildings, but from what I could sense, everyone looked like they were agreeing about the awesomeness of the view.

Once on the second level, another wait for the elevators followed, to go up right to the top. Elevators are the only way to go up from the second level. Again, after pictures galore from the very top, we started the less arduous climb down. What interested me most were the dummy or two that had been set up in a couple spots to give the impression of construction workers fixing up something!

Although the Eiffel itself is quite impressive, it's the walk up to it that is even more so. Called the Champ de Mars, the green lawns, the fountains, the sculptures, the expanse of marbled space, all make a very breathtaking picture! Of course, this walk is infested with hawkers aplenty, all armed with miniature models of the tower and other sundry knick knacks.

It's quite amazing that a structure that was first pretty loathed by Parisians has now become the most famous symbol of their city! Like I've mentioned earlier, it didn't impress me as much as the Pantheon did, for example, but without doubt, it is quite a wonderment. More so, at night.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Let's Start at the Very Beginning...

...a very good place to start!

Considering that we'd taken a bus to Paris, we reached quite early in the morning. The bus journey itself was quite uneventful. Almost never having been able to sleep in buses, this time was no different. Half the night I was awake like an owl looking at the other passengers ensconced in their seats. Stopping at a gas station somewhere in France and buying something to munch on, did perk me up a considerable bit, though!

Hoping that we'd manage to get an early check in at the hotel, we set out to get a grasp of the public transport system and the like. Pleasantly enough, it wasn't as complicated as Amsterdam had been and we were on our way to the hotel soon enough. I must say though that the trains in Frankfurt are a lot more comfortable and passenger friendly than the Paris Metro trains; not to forget smoother rides too!

As luck would have it, the hotel had only one, tiny room available at that time. It's another story that when we did go to our originally booked room, the sheer smallness of it had us wondering how much more tiny a room could be! Anyway, having about three or so hours to kill, we entrusted our bags to the hotel personnel's care and set off to explore the neighbourhood.

We hadn't yet walked too many paces when we came upon an old church. Serene and tranquil, its lawns had many people just sitting and soaking in the elusive sun. It was quite a chilly morning, what with the sun intermittently playing hide-and-seek and a cold wind blowing right into our faces. Unfortunately, the church was closed and we didn't get to see it from the inside.

We then chanced upon the National Academy of Music. Boy oh boy, wasn't it grand! That was when the sheer magnificence and grandeur of the monuments in Paris first hit us! Beautiful in their every intricate detail, the statues and figurines adorning that monstrosity, were a treat to the eyes! I wonder why this place is not sold to tourists in the same way like the Opera near it, is!

From there, we made our way to the Galeries Lafayette, a posh shopping mall, housing almost every brand and name you can think of. Its ceilings captivated me to no end! Beautifully designed, reflecting the hundreds of lights that were on in the stores, they truly were a sight to behold.
Going right up to the terrace of the building, we managed to catch a nice view of the city, replete with impressive domes scattered around the landscape, while in the distance, the Eiffel Tower was timidly making its appearance felt.

Back at the hotel, we removed the grime of the previous night's journey and having armed ourselves with pamphlets and brochures, we headed off to our first destination.
What had seemed timid to me from afar was nowhere even close to that when clamouring to devour me, while in its proximity!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Paris has a tremendous amount of expectations riding on it. The good news is it comes close to fulfilling most of them. I think that's more than a city can hope for! I've always felt that the charm you feel on reading about a place or seeing pictures of the place, considerably lessens when you're in that place yourself. Not so, at least for the major part, with Paris.
Believed to be the Mecca of fashion, I was told to watch out for the high-heeled, stuff-strutting, always well made up women. I did see them, but I saw quite many not-so-fashionable people too. Mostly well turned up, though. Also, the city, not unlike cities in Germany, is infested with smokers. What's with Europe and this smoking extravaganza they have on! It gives me the heebie jeebies! I hate having a ton of cigarette fumes all around me; it makes it so difficult to breathe.

Ah, I digressed.

The main thing that stunned me in Paris was its awesome, jaw-dropping monuments and their architecture. Gigantic and voluminous, they are quite a spectacle. They are well worth a trip all by themselves!
Most main roads are spacious and span from one far end to the other equally far end! An abundance of huge scooters and motorbikes also dot the entire city; that sure was a refreshing change from seeing only cars and the like!
Unlike what I was expecting and had heard, quite a few people spoke English and made the use of just a smattering of French not seem that terrible! I guess it being the most visited place definitely helps in the proliferation of English!

Other than the stunning monuments, we also went to the Moulin Rouge, the palace at Versailles and the ever popular Disneyland.

More on all later!

P.S. It's a horribly expensive city!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lost and Found

Almost lost you today, didn’t I?!?
What was I thinking, I wonder aloud!
It would never ever have been the same,
Without you, my sky is but a grey cloud!

Intact in your safe cocoon, ensconced,
In happy times and sad, to thee, I bow!
My faithful companion, you always are,
A storehouse of memories, ever and now!

As the vagaries of my mind ran amok,
Extricated you out your unusual home,
Heavy steps, heavier eyes, heaviest mind,
All led you, from my hands, to roam…

Frantic searches, pitiful, scared moments,
They sure did seem to last a lifetime long!
When, rolling back to me, you happily came,
I could’ve sworn you sang a little song!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


...are you ready for me!?! :-D

Be back here in a bit, guys!
See you Monday...

Monday, June 08, 2009

You Age...

...Like Wine!
Happy happy b'day, A!

Thursday, June 04, 2009


After having put it off for eons because of myriad reasons, finally, last Saturday, we rose nice and early and set off to explore Heidelberg. This pretty, little town in the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany, is the very epitome of picturesqueness! As we walked along a bank of the Neckar, taking in the sights and sounds of the beauty that seemed to permeate everywhere, I swear I've not anytime recently felt so in love with nature! There were children running around; people lazing on the bank, soaking up all the sun (I can never understand that!); kites being flown; ducks waddling in the water; students studying; artists painting; the works!

The long walk along the bank of the river leads to the castle, for which Heidelberg is chiefly known and flocked to. The castle itself is in ruins, but one look at it reveals the magnificient and opulent structure that it once was. A huge wine cellar (housing an enormous, enormous barrel), an ancient apothecary and the castle gardens are open to the public and are worth a visit.

After having trudged all along the river bank and up a steep slope to reach the castle, we had a nice lunch at a tiny Persian place (the dishes were called Dschudsche and Sereshkpolo).
We also met up with a couple friends and decided to go on a paddle boat. We exercised those legs on the Neckar and I must say it was the best workout ever!

Although it's considered to be a very touristy town and the castle is not thought to be any great shakes, I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the whole place. The walk was definitely the best part of the trip and I'd go there again anytime, without batting an eyelid!