Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Repubblica Italiana

When people keep harping on how Rome wasn't built in a day, they really aren't kidding, are they!?! If it wasn't built in a day, can you even fathom how much of a miracle is required to be able to see it in a day!?! Well, we did pull off a tiny miracle of sorts, because unfortunately, that's all the time we had in that wonderful haven of a city! There is so much to see and imbibe in that place that it soaks you up and keeps you eternally in its clutches! Having landed quite early in the morning, we set off to explore this city of cities with eyes filled with awe and a spring in our step. We weren't the least bit disappointed.

Vatican City (a separate country within the city of Rome) is an absolute stunner. I'm now not surprised that it is one of the richest countries in the world. Not discounting the expansiveness of the "little" country, the sheer exuberance and architecture of the place left us all salivating for more. After having spent a good part of the morning and some of the afternoon in Vatican City, our hunger for all things beautiful had grown manifold. Rome satiated us beyond all measure. As we wound our way through the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Piazza Novona and many other such dreamy places, we understood the magnificence that is Rome!

With the Arno river ever faithfully by its side, Florence is a picturesque, little town, to state the obvious. Particularly known for being the abode of Michelangelo's David, Florence acted as the soothing balm to the thumping excitement of Rome. Needless to say, beautiful churches and cathedrals dot the whole landscape of Italy, and Florence was no less fortunate. However, the river captivated me like no other. We spent a good amount of time on a couple of its lovely, old bridges and watched the sun bid us a cheery goodbye.

Pisa; quaint is the first word that comes to mind whenever I think of this curious, little town. Seeing the leaning tower peeking out from behind the famed baptistery, is a memory that has been etched into my mind forever more. The souvenir shops that line one side of the street/lawn leading up to the tower do brisk business and are themselves quite a delight to observe! Haggling over the prices, smiling, friendly faces, the continuous murmur of voices, all make up the wonder that is Pisa!

On my way to the hotel from the airport in Rome, the first thing that struck me is the glaring and apparent similarities between India and Italy. The houses were structured in a similar manner, the people were as friendly and forthcoming as we're used to back home and the reverberation of life and bonhomie in the air was truly reminiscent of dear, old homeland.

Not to mention, both countries are home to some amazing culinary delights!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Poor Paul and Naughty Mia

This is Mia: waiting to bark at her next victim!

This is Paul: all happy and waggy before the big fight!

Paul and Mia: After the fight, trying to get them to walk using the same leash.

Poor Polly, safely ensconced and very subdued...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'd Like to Thank...

Yay! An award for me! Thanks, Ani!

The rules of the award:
Link the person who tagged you.

Copy the image above, the rules and the questionnaire in this post.
Post this in one or all of your blogs.
Answer the four questions following these Rules.
Recruit at least seven (7) friends on your Blog Roll by sharing this with them.
Come back to BLoGGiSTa iNFo CoRNeR (PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE THIS LINK) at and leave the URL of your Post in order for you/your Blog to be added to the Master List.

The questions:
The person(s) who tagged you: Ani
His/her site’s title and url: Silent Expressions -
Date(s) when you were tagged: 18/07/09

Persons you tagged:
Unfortunately, some of the people whose blogs I love have stopped blogging for a bit! I do hope they come back soon! I don't have 7 names to pass on this award to, but I really value and enjoy the writing and friendhsip of the people I've listed (below) and would like to award them for the same:

(In random order)
@voskenslaan (mº¿ºsh, brecht and nora):
Muse Cruise (Shankari di):
Thru My Eyes (Sri):
My Family Bluez (Idah):

Friday, July 17, 2009


I have a date with Michelangelo, Pavarotti, Leonardo, Donatello, Dante and Joey! ...all in the greatest pizzeria in the world!

Ciao till Tuesday!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Paris Remnants

One of the monuments that I'd definitely go back to Paris for, is the Panthéon. Formerly meant to be a church, it is now known as a famous burial place. Isn't it amazing that a nation thinks about having all her greats buried in a single place!?!

The Arc de Triomphe honours all those who've fought for France, especially during the Napoleonic wars. Similar to the Amar Jawan Jyoti, the Arc de Triomphe also pays homage to the tomb of the unknown soldier.

The Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris and houses the obelisk known as Cleopatra's Needle. It is an ancient Egyptian obelisk, but has no connection whatsoever with Cleopatra!

The Galeries Lafayette is a huge, French department store, not unlike many malls in other parts of the world.

The Sacré-Cœur Basilica is a famous Roman Catholic Basilica and is a landmark in the city. It is situated at the highest point in the city and we trudged up many a stairs to get to its sacred heart! It was well worth it, may I add!

The Catacombs of Paris are an underground ossuary, which resulted out of the overwhelming congestion of the city's many cemeteries! The walk through the ossuary was extremely eerie, to say the least! Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of bones seemed to cover every available speck of space, each carefully and neatly arranged to fit into the whole geometry of skulls and more bones!

Les Invalides is most well known for being the burial place of some of France's war heroes, especially Napoleon Bonaparte. More broadly, it is a collection of museums and monuments that document France's military history. Originally, it was meant to only be a retirement home and hospital for France's war veterans.

Centre Georges Pompidou is a curiously designed complex that is home to a library and a museum, in addition to a few other things.

Finally, a glimpse of some Parisian food:

French Onion Soup

Coq au Vin (Chicken in Wine)

Salmon Something!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Books Are a Girl's Best Friend

Taking up Shankari's tag, here are the 15 books I came up with:

1. The Third Twin - Ken Follett

2. Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier

3. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

4. Elephants Can Remember - Agatha Christie

5. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

6. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank

7. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

8. Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy

9. The Princess Trilogy - Jean Sasson

10. Rumpelstiltskin - Brothers Grimm

11. The Glass Menagerie - Tennessee Williams

12. Mysteries of the Universe - Colin Wilson

13. Malory Towers (series) - Enid Blyton

14. The Guide - R. K. Narayan

15. The Day of the Jackal - Frederick Forsyth

I'd love to read your lists too! You just need to write down 15 books that come to your mind (under 15 minutes).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Weekend Escapades

With our social life being kicked into super-high gear, the weekends have been a happy blur of bonhomie and fun. Yes, the hectic weekends continue. Not that that makes the weeks between them any easier or faster! I still wait for the next hectic weekend to rear its beautiful head and engulf me in its being.
At the cost of sounding repetitive, the weekend that just went by was no exception. Having a friend or even a friend of a friend visiting sure makes for a marvellous time! Saturday saw about half a dozen of us making our way through the sights and sounds of Frankfurt. The weather Gods kept playing truant, what with the sun making its appearance felt one minute, only to be displaced by a light shower the next! We took a ride on the Ebbelwei (Apple Wine: Frankfurt is known for its apple wine) Express, clicked tonnes of pictures, ate lots; in short, a merry time was had by all. Walking down the coffee shops laden streets of Frankfurt like tourists and seeing all the architecture and monuments in the city which is now our home, was quite a lovely experience. Seeing them all again made them seem that much more charming! Evening had us indulge in a good game of pool and bowling. Considering that dusk during summer in Europe is only around 10 in the night, which makes it pointless to wait for the sun to set, we (the half dozen had by then become about a dozen) made our way to an Irish pub, and slowly, but steadily, proceeded to bring the house down with our raucous laughter and joviality. We downed some drinks, played the fool and returned to our houses just after midnight. Midnight (early by our current standards), only because we had an impending trip the next day!
Mainz; pretty, little Mainz...
This town, located on the west bank of the Rhine river, was our Sunday destination. After 2 in the group missing the train by just a few seconds and after countless explanations and directions over the phone, the 9 of us and 2 dogs managed to be united just in time for some lunch!
Mainz itself is a delightful place. The first thing that caught our attention was a very uniquely structured fountain, with various figurines etched onto it and water spouting out of various outlets. Like almost every place in Europe, Mainz also boasts of some beautiful churches, a lovely river, an old part of the town and some fantastic bridges. The castle that we came across was quite a letdown, though, especially after the Heidelberg one. We even made time to play some beach (artificial) throw ball and loosen up those muscles a bit!
The only blip on this beautiful day was the fight that Paul got into. Paul; poor, little, excitable Paul! Paul and Mia were the 2 dogs who were part of our group. Beautiful babies, both of them, but so easily and stupidly excitable! Mia would start (and I guess, still does) barking like crazy on spotting even the tip of the tail of any other dog, and that would excite Paul so much that off he'd go galloping like a horse! He learnt his lesson fast enough and how! The simpleton that he is, on seeing Mia bark at a couple of huge dogs (one looked like an Alsatian, the other, a Rottweiler), off he went as was his wont and before any of us could do anything, there was poor Polly being roughly manhandled and being reduced to pulp by those horrible beasts! The police came a running and finally we managed to extricate him from their vicious holds. The poor boy was in such a state of shock that we couldn't get him to eat anything even after a few hours! Thankfully, nothing worse happened. After some infuriating moments with the police detaining the owner of the 2 hounds and getting all the details about Polly, we continued on our sojourn, albeit a little morosely and leadenly. We found a nice perambulator abandoned on a sidewalk and made Paul comfortable in it. He didn't bark at a thing after that horrific trauma he'd been through. Mia, on the other hand, was Mia through and through! Barking at everything with a tail, she brought us girls to shame, I say! So much so that I called her Naughty Mia and Paul, Poor Polly, the rest of the day...
P.S. Pictures to follow; they were in 2 different cameras and a phone, at the last count!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Meme Time

Ani tagged me to list down 10 things I dreamt of accomplishing (in life) during my tweenage years. Here goes:

1. Travelling the world; every corner of it
2. Becoming a medical doctor/actor/air hostess
3. Being the proud owner of the biggest ever library in the world
4. Never running out of potatoes (dishes made using potatoes as at least one of the main ingredients)!
5. Holding my own exhibitions (sketches, paintings and the like)
6. Learning to play the piano and guitar
7. Eating Phuchkas at least once a week!
8. Mastering most dance forms

9. Writing a book (or ten)! :-D
10. Keeping in touch with all my friends (always)

Thanks for getting me to do this, Ani...

I don't want to forcibly tag anyone! Please do take it up if you'd like to do it; I'd love reading your lists too! :-)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Our Lady of Paris

Notre Dame de Paris. Stained glass windows. Swooooooooon!