Stockholm (Aug 14th - 17th)

While browsing through web sites for summer travel deals I found there was a very attractive deal by Ryan Air to Stockholm.We went there middle of August when Paris was burning with summer heat. It was a great escape to Scandinavia. Stockholm was very clean and very beautiful. Although, the weather was not at its best as it rained for first two days.

We stayed in the centre of Stockholm (Drottninggatan) one side of this pedestrian street with full of shops.Our first day, highlight was Old town of Gamla Stan, Skansen and Vasa museum. We walked all day and it was a great way to get feel of Stockholm.

Second day we spent most of the time on boat seeing archipelago; it is very unique to see all those tiny islands so near by and ended with bit shopping for Sweden glass work at City center. All these glassworks are so nice but expensive too I wish, I had more money for them.

Third day the weather was all clear with very blue sky. We visited Mills garden and around - it was great!

Air tickets were only around 19 Euros. But when two of us calculated later we spend much more than that including the Shuttle and Airport Taxes. Sitting on those long shuttles it seemed like we spent more time in bus compared to flying time. But one thing for sure Ryan air was very punctual and their services were good for the price. I may fly again with all these known complain for the price.

London 5days (July 29th - Aug 3rd)

We went to London the proper Bilayet (Foreign land -as mentioned by S.Rushdie ) for five days. We stayed as guest of Sampath, at his home bit outside of London. The trip would not have been so pleasant and memorable without his help and warm hospitality.

We reached around noon at Waterloo station by Eurostar. After keeping our luggage at cloak room we went straight to London Eye. It was a nice start to see all the monuments of London from birds view. After that we crossed-river Thames and went in front of Big Ben, Parliament and West Minister abbey. We walked through St. James Park and reached Buckingham Palace. On the way back towards 10,Downing St. we walked along the Mall. After that we walked to Piccadilly Square when it started to rain. It was a nice little welcome rain of London. At the end of the day we walked back to Waterloo. It might sound a lot of walk around Central London but, we did not found this walk as too much.

After finishing some top sights, we went to Windsor Castle very next day. We spend almost the first part of our day there. Then again we returned to central London to visit Tower of London. If you are interested in seeing all those big and famous diamonds you cannot miss this especially KOHINOOR. Around 3PM we went to HMS Belfast -II a WW ship turned into a museum now. It is just across the river. The walk along the river and London Bridge was worth as you get a good view of Tower Bridge. Most people confuse that with famous London Bridge but in-fact London-Bridge is a dull one.  After that we went to London Aquarium on the way we saw St. Paul Cathedral and traveled on those double-decker bus. In the evening, we met Avijit. We were meeting after 8 years after our college days.

After two hectic days of sight seeing we slowed down and started with Madam Tussaud. Thanks again to Sampath for advance tickets as that saved at least 40 minutes of long queue. After that we went to British museum. In the evening we were guest of Purbayan's concert at Royal festival Hall. He along with Kumar Basu made a very wonderful evening of Indian classical music in Sitar & Tabla.

4th Day we were really slow we reached London quite late spend around 2 hours with Purbayan. We went to Shri Swaminarayana temple in the afternoon and then went to Tate Modern. It's a great place to be if you happen to appreciate modern Arts. I personally do not understand much unless the art is described; there are lots of collections of Picasso to Pollock.

Saturday Sampath drove us to Stonehenge and Bath. They have respectively history of 5000's and 2000's years. What makes Stonehenge so special that there is no source of such big stones around. So, how those civilization people were able to carry those big stones and place them in the way they are today -its still a mystery to modern man. Similarly, for Bath famous for its Roman bath- surrounded by seven hills, the River Avon running through the heart of the City and the towers of Bath Abbey combine to create a wonderful first impression along with its hot springs.

Sunday we had our train to Paris, but before that we went to Greenwich. The trip was not long but gives a great view of London city. That is all for now with MIND THE GAP and Chicken Tikka Masala .

Heat wave of August

Oh! summer, it reached 40 degree cel. or 100+ F this week at Paris.The global pollution is taking its effect may be? 20 years back it used to snow a lot in Paris but now it does not snow any more. The houses, metro's are not designed for this kind of hot weather which makes it more unbearable. We are surviving with Pedestal Fan but it is still far from a rain. The heat wave is going to be there for another 10 days atleast from now. Not only this, here power failure is also there.We too faced the same, one fine evening it went off around 9.30pm & came back at morning 2.30am.