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Showing posts from May, 2005

Lost Pictures Recovered

After discovering that one of the SmartMedia Card from my Camera not working at Seville we were really very heart broken and anxious. It had pictures from our first three days of our trip. And in those first three days we traveled from Madrid to Granada. We had captured lots of evening pictures in Madrid and sunset view of Alhambra at Granada. But we kept our nerve cool and continued with other media cards and tried our best not to remember about the same. Getting home and after finishing lots of house hold chores at late evening we started trying Google for an answer. And quickly it became clear that we were not the only one with this problem. The commercial solutions offered were OK but bit pricy($40) for one time use. Since those pictures were precious to us, so I tried to buy the same over internet and my credit card got declined.But today my luck was better as I found a better web site with lot of good links(shareware) for the same. Check out, if you happen to have same problem i…

Hotel Train Lisbon to Madrid

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We were at the very last phase of our vacation. We took train back to Madrid tonight as from there we had our flight back to Paris.
We booked the train ticket long back; I went in-person to get the same from Spanish Railway ticket office based in Paris. The office is kind of hidden by all the stores near to Boulevard Haussmann; ever busy shopping place. Being Indian it was a really something new although we had experienced few other different night trains in Europe. As this was a Hotel Train, there are mostly 4 kinds of tickets in this night train which connects Lisbon and Madrid. The cheapest one being the chair car, next one is four person cabins where passengers are divided according to gender. Then there is two people's cabin, there is also two kinds of the same. One being first class with attached personal shower and loo while the other one is only with personal wash basin. These cabins are maintained and operated by Accor Hotel Group, one of the largest hotel chains in cont…

Lisbon - Portugal

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Second day at Lisbon, as we had covered most of the top attractions on day one we started our day in ease, but I am sure lot of people might not agree with us ;) on easy going part. We headed towards Colombo Shopping Mall which is one of the largest shopping mall in Europe and built very recently. After being mall rats for a while we bought some and had lunch there in one fast food Mexican place. Depositing those shopping bags to hotel we went to Baixa again. We walked more in Baixa streets and then headed towards Belem. The weather in Lisbon being till far was with overcast all the time and temperature much lower than Spain, we took a long walk along the river side.

Before going back to Lisbon we entered the famous Paties House dating back to 1837. Oh! Those paties they are so good and mouth watering I feel like tasting them now as I am writing. Resturant is really big inside and with very reasonable prices. It should top the list for going to Belem.
For dinner we had some fusion …

Lisbon - Portugal

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Well the over night bus journey between Seville and Lisbon was not very long one. We had an hour long stop as soon as we entered Portugal. The road condition was good and we reached the Oriental Stop of Lisbon at very early hours and the sky was still dark. From there it took another 20 minutes or so to reach the final destination near Zoological Garden. We took a taxi and the ride was a short one to our hotel for only 6 Euros. The driver was nice and he was mentioning about the drought Portugal is facing.
The Hotel (Novotel) was under renovation but the staff was kind enough to get us a room at 4:30 in the morning although we had by mistake booked for only one adult which we came to knew then and there.

After having rest for few hours we headed out from our hotel to Lisbon downtown by metro. It was a very cloudy day. I was feeling heavy headed and wanted to get some coffee.
After walking in Rossio Square for a while we bought day pass for Lisbon Trasport. The Metro system is run b…

Seville - Spain

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Last day at Seville... After checking out from the hotel we took a bus and got down next to the Casino of Exposition. But today it is a public holiday at Seville which we did not knew, so the roads were quite empty at 9 in the morning. After getting down from the bus we walked towards Plaza de Espana. Plaza de Espana was built for 1929 world expo. Lots of Latin American countries joined that expo. The world expo was not a success as that year was marked as first financial disaster of the Great Depression as U.S. securities lost $26 billion. The famous tile work of Andalusia is at its best here. There are maps of Spain from that time; the benches, the small decorative bridges are really beautiful. We walked along the great corridors of Spanish Pavilion. From there we walked to Alcazar while we saw the university and the famous 5star hotel. The university used to be a cigarette factory before. King Pedro Castile in the 1360's with his mistress Maria de Padilla, lived in and ruled f…

Evening in Seville - Spain

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Back from Cordoba around 4PM in the afternoon to Seville. We went to buy ticket for next phase of journey that was between Seville and Lisbon. Oh! That was too hot and sweating experience to summarize in short. Back to hotel being boiled with afternoon heat we got freshen up. We started our evening stroll starting from Puente de San Telmo towards Triana around 9PM, the other side of the river a common Seville neighborhood. On our way we saw the ‘Torre del Oro’. After a while went to a tapas bar which was crowded with local people. Here the server notes down your order and price with a chalk in front of you on the desk while you have your food standing. Around midnight we left Triana as we could not find any flamenco music sounds. This is the only thing which we could not listen to in this trip of ours. We came back walking near to cathedral and took picture of the bell tower (in night mode). At this hour city was still crowded with tourists as well as locals giving a feeling that nig…

Cordoba – Spain

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When we started planning for Andalusia we did not thought of Cordoba first. But later friends who had been there suggested visiting Cordoba. We walked from our hotel on the busy morning streets of Seville to reach the train station. We bought ticket for AVE (fast train) to Cordoba. The fair is not at all expensive compared to French standard as it costs almost similar from Paris CDG airport to city center. The train service is really good and train travels in high speed.

Cordoba’s main attraction is its Mezquita(Mosque). This is a living history of Cordoba as it transforms from one culture and religion to other. It was one of the first big city that was built by Moorish rulers in Spain at 10th century. These leaders wanted to build a mosque for their religion. Earlier the mosque was small but with time as Cordoba prospered, it was extended to accommodate more people.
The double arch with red and white stripes makes a very immense effect to the visitors. These double arches are purel…

Seville - Spain

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I should have started jotting down all my memories from this beautiful city immediately after my return to Paris. But back to work and daily routine.... lots of finer moments are fading off.
We took a morning bus from Granada to Seville; we reached Seville around 11AM. The bus ride was around 2 hours and 45 minutes. From that IntercityBus stop to our hotel (again Novotel) we took again local public bus. But we got down 2 stops before the actual stop which ended up with a walk along the nice boulevard of Seville.
As we reached before afternoon there was no non-smoking room available to us. So left our luggage & went to a Mall next to our hotel.We had our lunch that day at McDonald which is really a restaurant where you don't feel like you are eating 99 cent burgers. Hmm..........money well spent for the interior decoration of this McDo, may be one of those new one where McDo is fighting back to win its market share.
We started our sightseeing around 5PM after fresh up with the …

Alhambra - Granada - Spain

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We did not book our tickets for Alhambra before coming to Granada. There can be 8,000 visitors inside Alhambra in a given day. Out of those 8,000 around 6,500 are sold over internet & phone. So for us, it meant getting up early and queuing up in the morning. As it was Monday and not peak of tourist season... we were lucky.
Alhambra has main 4 sites to visit. The main attraction is of course "Palacios Nazaries" the best preserved Moorish Palace in Europe. The palace is quite intact from all the wars that were fought between Christians and Moorish (Arab Muslim from North Africa). The war ended at 1429. I heard lots of tour guides mostly Japanese comparing this to Taj Mahal. As I have never been to Taj Mahal I can not say for certain but I am quite sure it is not that close to Taj Mahal in beauty. Still the works of Moorish artists are really very appreciable.

We spent a good amount of time in Palacios Nazaries, from there we went to Generalife via beautiful garden of roses…

Granada - Spain

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The temperature in Spain was quite hot compared to Paris. It was around 37° C when we reached Granada in the afternoon. The bus station for intercity is not at the city center but there is a good connection of public transport for the same. Our hotel was at the center - Plaza Royal.
Around 5 PM, we headed out from hotel, it was still very hot and bright. We walked towards Plaza Nueva. We entered into two churches while walking along the Darro River. They were small churches compared to the cathedral but also have nice wood work. Then we walked uphill towards St Nicolas Church in El Albaicín
It is on hill top from where you can have a great view of Alhambra at the sunset. The cobble stone roads are really narrow. There are lots of tourists at that view point in the evening so are gypsies. They were playing music and selling their art works.

As we had time before the sunset we walked down a bit and went to Sacromonte. There are gypsy caves most of which are now converted into houses. Bu…

Madrid - Spain

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We were on our way to spring break; we planned to visit Spain and Lisbon for 10 days. We started our trip with flight from Paris to Madrid on Saturday 21st May 2005.
We reached Charles de Gaulle Airport on time and the checking was smooth but after boarding the plane we were in ground for almost one hour before taking off. The cost cutting measures with European state carriers are all alike now, so there is no free snacks & drinks in the short flight. By the time we reached Madrid in the afternoon we were very hungry. We got into the Metro from Airport to our Hotel which involved dragging our luggage for 10 minutes or so. The hotel was again ‘Novotel’, this one was not that outside one like that of Vienna but not very close to the Metro like Berlin. But we found this one is quite OK with public transportation as there is a Bus stop just outside the hotel which takes to the center of Madrid – Sol.
After freshen up we headed towards Sol, after reaching there we had a very late lunc…

Vienna - Austria

We just finished uploading pictures from our Vienna trip to our site. It was a great trip. Only complain was the hotel which was really outside of city without any proper public transport. The hotel was “Novotel” and we preferred it as we got good treatment from this hotel chain for our trips to Amsterdam and Berlin. When we booked the same it was mentioned it has Metro next to it. But in real world the metro station is 5 or 6 KM away and there is a bus which runs every one or two hours between the metro station and the hotel.
The evening we reached was bit late around 11PM so I decided to take a cab from the airport to the hotel. The hotel people told me it cost around 35 euros from the Airport to the hotel. But it cost us 54 Euros so I was very angry with the Taxi driver at first for taking longer routes. But when I asked again with the hotel guy he said it is normally around 60 Euros. Well that made me feel good but not better.
Next day, Saturday, we went to Melk by train from Vienna…

Bonjour

After a long time I changed the theme of my web site; hope the color combination looks good. The two templates are 'new' and 'zen'. There are now more than 1300 pictures to checkout in the Photo Album section. Most of them come from last 3 years as that is how old my digital camera is. And a big section comes from Europe. After moving to Paris, we used this opportunity to visit maximum countries possible which are part of Schengen visa. This year we went to Germany, Austria, Spain and Portugal till far. Though, each countries and places have own attractions. But now, it looks all alike .. Chateau, Bateau, Gateau (Castle, Boat Ride, Dessert) along with Museums and Cathedrals. May be this is due to too many places we have visited in last 2 years. I recently played with Ming a cool system to play with PHP for creating Flash movies. Here is sample Ming, PHP slideshow . Also created a simple banner with typewriter (ticker) effect