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Showing posts from July, 2006

Taste of India @ Swiss

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Although trip to Switzerland is over but yet we can’t stop writing about it. If you are one of those few regular visitors to our blog you must be knowing by now how much we liked our one week stay. And must be wondering what more can be there to write about.
Yes, there are always lot to write about Switzerland when we are comparing with Paris and when one is seeing through Indian eyes. Where all the pavements of the side walk are made of granite stone, all routes being well-marked, not only that you can always be sure to find toilet paper in any remote restroom and moreover clean restroom. Last but not least even public telephones are equipped with electronic phone book which can be hardly seen in Paris.

Coming to the point what made me write this post is ‘Lassi’. Yes, you heard it right. You must be wondering whatz there to say about Lassi and especially it might be nothing for Indians staying at UK. But to our outmost surprise we noticed this product on the shelf in one of the sma…

Baking Bread

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For quite a long was thinking to prepare bread at home which I would have never thought of in my wildest dream if I was in India. But staying at Paris it just clicked why not to try once on experimental basis as it is there staple food. It’s like an icon of France. This is why French people visit the local "Boulangerie" (hot bread shop) at least once a day and this shop is there at least at every street corner. Filled with delicious sensations and smells of warm, just-baked bread will definitely increase your appetite for sure while passing by these boulangeries particularly at morning and evening time. As this is the time when fresh bread along with other baked items like croissant comes out of the oven. While staying at Paris, I often see people riding bikes, mopeds or motorbikes with baguettes strapped to the back, or walking the streets with their baguette under their arm racing to get home at end of the day. So, it might be another reason for thinking of baking bread …

Green plate

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In my salad days I used to hate many green veggies and I remember when maa used to scold me for the same. Somehow I didn’t had taste for them at that point of time but gradually I developed the taste so much so that I can now survive happily on those green things (cow-food). From long time Santanu wanted to make a change on our meal as it seems we both are putting on weight. As I said in my earlier post that he tries to encroach that small part of the house mostly in weekends so he made sure atleast 2 days in week we have salad in our main course meal.

Having salad has got few plus points like less time consuming to prepare, don’t heat up a hot kitchen, very healthy especially in this hot Paris summer…..which means salad season. Besides watermelon or strawberry smoothie, salad is the perfect summer food. They're light, crisp and refreshing-- especially when paired with a dressing and they're versatile with one’s imagination can invent.
At the core of most summer salads is let…

Yum……..

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Normally Santanu has a tendency of encroaching cuisine area particularly on weekend or on his official holidays depending on his mood. In a way, it’s good as I get 2 days off.
We were just back from Switzerland and went for picnic at St.-Germain-en-Laye with few colleagues of Santanu. And Santanu promised he is going to prepare all by himself -simple vegetable-rice and Date walnut brownies.
Lately I borrowed one book on vegetarian by Nicolas Graimes from one friend which includes light meals, main courses, tarts, salads, desserts etc. The best part of this book is initial descriptions on each ingredients starting from seeds, vegetables, different types of cooking oil and what not with colourful pictures. We see certain things in the local market but do not how to prepare them. Neither we know the corresponding English names nor are they commonly available in India. So, its an excellent book for reference.

Last year he got ‘Pates de Dates’ from an Algerian store and it was sitting like…

A must list for swiss

Our trip to Switzerland has ended after all those C.B.G (châteaux, bateaux and gateaux) trips around Europe but indeed it was a different experience altogether. It is all about the greenery, mountain streams rushing along, water falls, snow clad mountains, sounds of cow-bells tickling on the alpine meadows.I am not sure if every one is happy with their first trip to a new place or not. But, I am always very happy and excited to go to new places. I always live with some desire or feeling that was not filled in that very trip. It keeps me motivated to go back to the same place once again. May be it is my way of exploring and traveling.The beauties of all those places we have been in Switzerland are so vast that I think - “I can explore them for years to come if I am there all the time”. But I know that is not going to happen (soon for sure!).Here are few things that one should not miss while traveling in Switzerland – starting with what we missed.A Video Camera a MUST along with normal …

Shhh …. Silence Please

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Normally, I and Santanu don't talk to each other on bus, train, flight or whatsoever as we are normally lost in our own world and both try to respect each others silence. We have books, newspaper, ipod for that time but this particular evening we happened to talk so much while returning to Zurich from Luzern. One of the reason maybe that by now we are kind of used to watching beautiful sceneries from train as it runs along lakes, rivers and creaking sometimes as it passes by the running hills unfolding before us. Anywayz, it was almost 20 minutes left to reach Zurich when one lady from back seat of Santanu came to us asking ----
Lady - "Do you speak English? Santanu - Yes, we do(replied enthusiastically thinking may be she overheard something and want to ask us something)Lady - I think you might not have noticed that sign (pointing to the picture showing silence compartment on opposite window) as its not there in your window. You are in silence compartment.Us – (in unison) Oo…

Golden Pass - Montreux

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Today is the last day of our trip. We had already reserved for boarding another panoramic train “Golden Express" which will take us to Lausanne where we started our journey one week ago. By now I was so used to that after waking up my first thing was to peer out the window to check weather. And like every time it was bright sunny morning at our last day of vacation. After having heavy breakfast we headed towards railway station of Interlaken with our luggage.
From our previous experience with glacier express where we missed the window seats we made sure that get the same while booking in advance.This special train is broken into two main parts. In the first part it is almost like any other Swiss railway train but it is only written “Golden Pass” on the outside.And there are no special panoramic windows; which is a blessing for the camera.

Traveling by train to Zweisimmen on the Golden Pass BSL train, offers panoramic views of the Swiss Alps, mountain slopes and valleys with p…

Relaxing Day - 24th June

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It meant to be a vacation within vacation today. As we did not have to catch any train neither any bus nor get up early for any fixed destination. Relaxingly, we had our self-made breakfast and then headed towards railway station for renting a cycle to bike. At first, we went towards the city center of Interlaken where there is a big Casino and park. From there we biked all the way towards the lake Brienz. Weather was perfect although bit hot but being on lake side it was pleasant. Major part along the lake was shady which was a big relief.

We took some time off at lake shore in shady place and listen to the Indian classical instrumental on I-Pod which was really relaxing - the sounds of water waves along with the serenity of the lake. Words are lacking to describe how we felt. A perfect escape from the life we know, a strange question was- why we need to go away so far from home to find peace.
Anywayz, we came back to the hotel for a very late lunch and Santanu wanted to take siesta…

Mount Jungfraujoch - 23rd June

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Top of Europe Today we woke up very early as to move towards our next destination Interlaken (means between two lakes). I immediately peered out the window to check out what the weather was like. I was very concerned about our trip to Mt. Jungfrau. But to me it seems to be a perfect day. Santanu was bit hesitant as it was cloudy & gloomy all the way while coming down from Mt. Rigi. He rather mentioned it appeared to be nice down at the bottom of the mountain, nothing was promised way up top. Since, the journey to Interlaken takes around 3 hours by train so we left Zurich around 7AM leaving our host still sleeping.
Anywayz, at Interlaken we already had a booking for an apartment hotel which was cheap, cozy with all kitchen amenities in the room; that means we can cook our own food if we want. So, we first went to our apartment-hotel to keep our luggage .Then headed to Mount Jungfrau- top of Europe.

In Switzerland prices are always astronomical so ticket to Jungfrau was no excepti…

Hiking Mt.Rigi - 22nd June

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Queen of Swiss Mountains From Zurich we went to Mt. Rigi via Arth-Goldau a very short train ride. From there we took the cogwheel train to the summit at Rigi-Kulm (1,800m). Incredible vistas, typical Swiss farmhouses, and hundreds of cows with bells will surprise one throughout the trip. Reward on going to top is magnificent panorama of Alpine peaks crowding around the convoluted contours of Lake Lucerne. While going up it was a nice weather but slowly & slowly it started getting dark. On a clear day it seems one can see Mount Titlis.

Perhaps the most glorious hike I’ve enjoyed in Switzerland is from Rigi Kulm to Vitznau. This trail is not listed in the guide map. But we wanted to reach Vitzanu to take ferry to Luzern. As we did not wanted to spent any more money on those special Swiss mountain cog-wheel train. The trail is well defined. I believe most people prefer to hike up but it was just opposite in our case. The first part till Rigi Kaltbad (1438m) is easy. After that, ste…

Mount Titlis - 21st June

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Staying at Sachin’s place at Zurich was just to save our 3 night’s hotel expense. After lot of discussion & surfing internet we came to final decision that on 4th day of our trip we will go to Mount Titlis via Luzern in order to make best use of our Swiss flexi pass.

On boarding the train from Luzern to Engelberg we realized that it’s more of Desi train. From train station, routes are well marked for heading towards Mount Titlis where one can see all Mr. & Mrs. Desi with family. There are few other Asian visitors also but they were well out numbered… thanks to our Hindi movie director who made our recent heroines dance in the valleys & snows of Switzerland.


There is even a small Indian take away restaurant at foot of mountain next to the ticket office. Check menu here. The number of Indian visitors has so much effect on Mount Titlis that you will find signs in Hindi along with other international languages and even there is “Indian Specialties” waiting for you at the top…

Glacier Express - 20th June

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Today we got up very early to take a quick trip of city as we did wanted to go back to snow clad beauty of Switzerland instead of its Mediterranean lake shores. But before having a heavy breakfast, we took a promenade in the park along lake shore where there are lots of open sculptors from Dada movement. After we took funicular ride to Madonna del Sasso.

We were determined to take glacier express from Andermatt to St.Moritz today. So, by 9.00 we reached station; Santanu saw a BBC program about Wilhelm Express on TV and was eager to board the same from Locarno till it connects Glacier Express. But due to train schedules we had to take an inter-regional train from Locarno to Goschenen via Bellinzona. Our compartment was vacant with two of us only. That left us to hop from one side to another in order to take photos as the train made turns to gain altitude. Being a standard train the chief advantage is the windows generally can be opened, for cool air and unobstructed views and take pic…

Rescued - 19th June

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By now, seeing the time I was discussing about hitch hiking to the next big town which was ruled out by Santanu as it seems not safe. Even I was suggesting him how about getting into a car of people who does not look that young and suddenly one car stopped and they asked if we need any lift… looking at their face we did not take a second to decide and say “YES” in unison (which came out as if instinct) with big smiling face. They really looked apostil to us. I & Santanu got squeezed at back of the small car along with our stuffs as the small trunk was already filled up.


See…my wish really came out true….taking lift from nice people with grey hairs. They were really so gentle which I can’t express by my words. The lady (Heidi) was more loquacious than her husband. They knew about India well and been there few times so we had lot to talk about. It really made it a more of a wonderful trip. But their first question was “what two Indians are doing at that bus station?” As per initial …

Post Bus - 19th June

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Till we are not sure what would be our next destination for today. The nearest attraction is Montreaux, but that being so close to Lausanne we were discussing to keep it for last day. After taking a hearty breakfast we reached railway station. We asked at the information desk about the Swiss travel pass and Post Bus. Traveling with yellow Swiss post bus system is really breath taking experience as they connect any place in Switzerland which can’t be reached by train. As we had some print out from web sites but none were close to Lausanne. One of the routes that attracted our attention was Napoleon route from Saas Fee to Locarno. But the special tourist post bus operates once a day most of the time and you need to make reservation for the same.
After buying Swiss Flexi Pass from the Railway station, boarded a train to Visp. The train journey to Visp was nice as it gave the taste of Alps and its beautiful mountain ranges. The bus trip from Visp to Saas Fee was magnificent. We initiall…

Lausanne -18th June

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Alors , trip started on Sunday morning 18th for Lausanne from Paris with out any plan for next 7-8 days to be done in Swiss. On Friday and Saturday we made few calls to our friends to get an idea about the top attractions in the Switzerland. Santanu got some print out from work MySwitzerland.com about Post Bus.

He reluctantly noted one hotel address for Interlaken and booked one B&B for Sunday night around Lausanne. The train journey from Paris was not much event full as Santanu slept most of the time and I enjoyed the French country side while listening to music. Thanks to Santanu for getting the I-Pod while he was snoring mildly.
On getting down at railway station we got all the information about top sights to be visited in Lausanne from very helpful tourist office but as it was Sunday the main Railway information center was closed so we could not plan anything for next day. Lausanne being a small city by northern part of Lake Geneva, home of Olympic Museum and Swiss court of J…

C’est fou - part II !

Finally, world cup football came to an end where France lost to Italy. For me France lost but at same time Italy neither win as they just waited for the final penalty shoot out to happen. I do not like the way Italian play football in general. They make it dull and boring. Italian and their relation to non Italian footballer are well known. And this time the whole nation is waiting for the verdict of match fixing in Italian league. Well there must be google of blogs and news on the same but I could not stop making my post. This post is not about what happened in the last 10 minutes of the final match.FIFA at least should change the rules and make it like tennis when there will be at least 2 goals difference for penalty shoot out; as just one goal difference makes it similar to toss a coin to find the winner.Well being in Paris it makes it special when France is playing the final. France is a team which had great difficulties in qualifying for the world cup with a draw against Israel…

C’est fou !

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Football - the definition for the same may be quite simple but it certainly does have lots of colors. It is a mutli-billion dollar business from sporting to TV companies. For some it is as close to their religion. People can fight or hug with a complete stranger while ignoring his family or close one when there is a match.

As we live in Europe it is very hard to escape it. You personally can like it or hate it but you can not avoid it here. The French team as they are known as “les blue” - the blue. Since their jersey is blue but ironically it is a team of blue color people. It is one the place you will find people who do not have “de” or “sharp nose” and still can be a national hero. As there are very few from the same color people in French television serial or successful business man or high civil servant or elite to say in short to be in news. Although these are my personal views and I do not have many French contacts so my observation might be wrong.

Any way, yesterday we were d…