Showing posts with label airport. Show all posts
Showing posts with label airport. Show all posts


Hebbal Lake

Last weekend I was in Bangalore and was checking progress on construction site. Well will this be a view if we move there; but as at work things are not yet crystal clear for the upcoming move. It is a nice view to have from kitchen they say a happy person always makes a happy meal. With new Bangalore airport going to be operational in next month this side of town is going to see lots of traffic and that is going to add more worries for already worried Bangaloreans. Only hope government takes proper steps for speedy execution of new promised public transport. But with current progress card it is still 6-7 years away.


Back from trip

Air Port trolley

Well, I am back to Bombay from my official visit after four weeks stay in Singapore. There are lots of pictures from the trip, but as I did not visit any vista-points or sight-seeing points as tourist rather which ever crossed my path got snapped. Will post them soon. Note: this picture is not from Mumbai Airport but from Kolkata(Calcutta)


Bombay International Airport

CSIA - Mumbai International Airport

Bombay International Airport is always under construction as far as my International travels are concerned. Good news is that it is getting better and the completion date is getting closer. Here, are the pictures for the same as I waited for my flight to Singapore.Though the pictures looks quite world class construction work; but on the ground it may be not …quality wise.

CSIA - Mumbai International Airport
CSIA - Mumbai International Airport


Viva Goa - Day 2

In Goa, traveling around by rented motorcycle or car is imperative if you want more than just sun, surf and sand. It gives lot of freedom but can be perilous at same time. On second day early morning we haggled at least with three owners for renting and lastly ended up with Activa for Rupees 250(it is better to rent for long durations to get good price). Another reason for renting was we wanted to go to Bicholim to visit Santanu’s maternal uncle for dinner. Normally, roads of Goa are as smooth as airport tarmacs except few parts.

After breakfast (bread, butter, jam and juice or tea) at hotel which was included in our package we rode on Calangute-Baga road and soon realised that hotel in which we are staying is at main spot at entrance of this road which leads to Baga beach.

Gujrati lamps

This road to Baga Beach from Calangute is full of handcraft items, which are lucrative to foreign tourist (but not worth the money). Just opposite to our hotel was a nice Tibetan market which offers all kinds of gems and silverwork, wooden statues of the Buddha's and Hindu deities. Besides, Calangute and Baga have been swamped by Kashmiri traders putting up Kashmiri carpets, wooden crafts, embroidery and papier-mâché boxes for sale. Famous night clubs like Tito are on this road - vivacious with tourist and locals that mean shops are open till late while other parts of Goa goes to sleep.

Kashmiri Shopkeeper with Wooden Rihno

Interesting nugget of information about the Baga beach is that there are a lot of touts asking for para-sailing, water-sports, dolphin boat-ride, and banana ride etc. hawking wares include skirts, tee-shirts, novels etc. You will be offered with cup of tea to ayurvedic massages as every one tries to sell their service or product. It means you can sip chilled beer while getting a temporary tattoo done or reading a novel. For these services you need to bargain -We were told they were offering good Indian price compared to foreign tourist .But in reality tourists are tourists and local try to milk them out as much they can - the bitter truth of vacation.

Well, we rented sun-beds at Rs 50 for few hrs took dip in the turquoise water which was really fun. Best part to see majority of Indian women clad in colourful saris stand up to their waist in the water while others wear shorts, bikinis and swimsuit. Pot-bellied Indian men in shorts or undergarments saving a buck or two for swimsuit. Though there are few smarties (women) who come prepared in Indian attire with swimsuit inside to take a dip and get quickly changed. Indian visitors flock to giggle at the tribes of dreadlocked white-skin on the vast white sandy beach.

Being famished we headed towards Plantain Leaf (only vegetarian) for udipi thali. Came back to hotel for afternoon siesta and left at evening for Bicholim After tanking up at Mapusa we rode via Fort Corjuem to Bicholim - it was a long ride but enjoyable.

Viva GOA - Preamble

Spice Jet

Trip to Goa was long due may-be you can say from 2001 when I got opportunity as a teacher with my school children. But unfortunately, I couldn’t make as I was supposed to behave as good girl. Good unmarried Indian girls don’t go anywhere without an escort. To qualify as an escort there are lots of criteria to be checked and considered like friend’s brother, acquaintance from neighborhood etc. is a BIG NO. They never go out after dark alone. They never spent night at a female friend's place, especially if the friend had a brother no matter younger or elder.

Dialogues like “I am old enough to take care of myself” never worked with my parents - you can say kind of very conservative upbringing in certain matters. And it was normal for me to argue on all such matters though consequences were known to me. So, out of anger I told my parents “you will never go to GOA without me or unless I go there first”. They kept their words though they travel extensively within India.

On Satanu’s part he visited Goa for first time with his parents in 2002 summer. They went to visit their relatives. He detested the heat and did not found Goa as an attractive tourist destination. That was the time when we first met at Bombay after his Goa trip. After moving to India whenever Goa came in our discussion as destination fear of glazing sun hunted him.

As Santanu is blessed with long weekends (Indian holidays follow strict Sun or Moon Calendar) at work this year. We booked our flight with Spice-Jet which was only no-frill flight quoting less. Initially, we did booked our hotel with Hotel Mandavi at Panjim. But later came to know from various sources that if one wants to enjoy beaches then need to make choice between north and south Goa beach. We opted for north Goa at last minute and booked with TICLO resort at Calangute.

Different people had different views on Calangute which made us bit skeptical till last but I think we did made a right choice. Normally, hotels provide with “pick-up” service at Goa. On reaching Dabolim airport we realised our hotel haven’t sent any and they requested to use “Pre-paid service” which they will reimburse on reaching and they did stick to their words.

After being ushered to our room which was quite spacious we left for exploring Calangute. We soon figured out that we were not very far from beach so walked few meters along the beach at early evening then had pomfret and chicken in our dinner.


Le vol

I am not a person who hates flying to start with as my major air-travel in recent years was visiting India on holiday from Europe. Like all other events in life this can be looked at like a coin; on one side the travel time has reduced significantly while on other side only 20 to 30 kilos of baggage allowed compared to California (65 Kilo).

As we were moving out of Paris we had lot of important things to bring along with us that we will need till our shipment arrives in next 5 weeks time. On the top of it, we added so many little things after the movers left that I became jittery with two big bags,two big suitcases and one small cabin suitcase. Luckily as we are now member of Qatar Airways we got 15 kilos extra each so 90 kilos total.

It was very difficult to carry them from Apartment to Airport with 3 nights stays at Cite universitaire campus as we handed over the keys on 31st evening to our landlord. We had our flight on 2nd September and we were left with 3 options- one to stay at friends place, second to book a hotel room & third to be at Maison de l’Inde in Cite universitaire at cheap price. We opted for 3rd option so that we don’t hassle anyone in this procedure. Anyway, on our last evening at Paris we borrowed a bathroom scale from the reception to do a last minute check and we figured out we are almost on the edge of 90 kilos. It made me really tensed and I was almost in need of counselor to release my anger, frustration with bags, travel and move. From inside I inveighed against Pamela for screwing up who was in-turn very cool as usual.

In a way, its good to drag such big luggage for last time to India. As there we normally get porter if traveling by train and in flight they don’t permit more then 15 kilos each.

Anywayz, we dragged them from Cite University to RER station (600 meters apart) in the early Saturday morning. As we were huffing and puffing some nice French gentlemen commented “Bon courage” (literally means good- luck) – but it differs depending on the context like here good luck on dragging such jumbo size suitcases. To my utter surprise the RER ride was very packed as I never saw so many people traveling early morning to Parc des Exhibition that too Saturday morning. This park is the last but one stop before on RER as we reach CDG-1.

Now, as we had our flight from terminal-1 we need to take another 7-10 minutes bus ride to the terminal. Which means one more round of dragging luggage from underground RER station to Bus stop and then arrange them inside bus as other passengers joins us.

Well as we entered the check-in counter we found a long queue infront of us. There was big group who were coming from Paris to Tibet. With the thought of our baggage might cross the limit my pulse rate started increasing and I made it clear to Pamela that I am not going to pay any extra euros per kilos at any cost. If needed we throw certain items in airport. Yes, with a very rough tone. That point of time I had no sentiments for her rather every simple words coming out of my mouth was full of anger, anxiety and tension which I ultimately took out on her uncontrollably. Weighed down by bulging bags made me tetchy.

In one little corner of my heart I wanted that she learns a lesson if baggage’s exceed the limits though till far it never happened. Always she makes it to the edge by stuffing so many things….but this time I was really waiting to happen. Even seeing a long queue I started blaming her saying that because of those heavy luggage we got late.

While standing in the queue I tried once showing our membership card for check-in via business class counter but in vain… after some 15 minutes one gentleman came to us asking if we have membership card and we were lucky enough to check- in via business class counter.
After checking passports & tickets she asked us in French:

She- vous avez combien de bagage ?(how many luggage you have)
Me : Quatre (4)
She: Votre baggage s’il vous plait indicating it to place in their scale.
As I was placing luggage one by one with the thought now I will show Pamela as soon as it exceeds the limit …..but to my utter surprise nothing as such happened rather lady at counter said – Est qu’il reste quelque chose encore (Is there anything else) with a smiling face.

Isn’t it enough….Atlast, we were to weigh our cabin luggage which was bit overweigh by 2 kilos. But she accepted it without saying a word….bit surprising you know otherwise normally they are very strict on that part.

By the time Pamela asked her how much less it was from limit…and she replied to it which I could not hear properly and it seem to me something like one kilo or so. Finally everything went on smoothly and she gave us our boarding ticket with smiling face said Bon voyage.

As we were heading towards our gate…I was trying to show my caring gestures to Pamela which she shrugged off. Trying to make my point stronger I said- look, it was only one kilo less from the limit so what it would be if it was over-weigh. Now it was her turn to show me her rotten face for which I was bit taken a back first then asked her the reason for the same. Showing the baggage ticket she said it was not one but onze kilo i.e., 11 kilos less from the limit.

Well like always I apologized to her and this is a confession publicly :D


Uddan - Flight

This time for our trip to India we chose Qatar airways. Seeing its publicity Qatar Airways, one of the fastest growing airlines in the world. Taking you more personally! every now & then on BBC encouraged us to book for the same. This airline is based in Doha, Qatar covering around 70 international destinations. Check-in at Paris was very smooth though they were very strict about luggage weight.

In-flight service was good with very comfortable seats having enough leg room; quality of the food was better than what we had before and was good with choice of films and music on demand. In short, good service for almost 7-8hrs.of long haul flight. What let the airline down was ground services at Doha airport which was awful. Too congested, with no seats, toilets overloaded. There you can see all South-Asians in blue collar jobs. Services at airport were very poorly managed.

Qatar generously gave free dinner coupon for 4 hours stop-over in the age of no-frill air lines. Finding a long queue and no place to seat we opted for a quick stroll in the small duty free section. Having all kinds of perfume from France, small souvenirs, wines, cigarettes and YES last but not least is our yellow metal (gold) shop. Where every Indian was making a pilgrimage. Truly, wherever & whatever the price of gold be India’s fascination towards it will not lessen. We too went there especially Pamela who is no less.
Now having watched Syriana few days before it looks as if few of its scenes were getting played there. Arab men in there white dress and women in their black just 4 feet behind them. And the same goes for those South-Asian working community in middle east.

It was time to board for our next flight from Doha to Delhi. Everyone was in rush to get into the flight showing their so called Indian etiquettes as if they have bought the flight; and flight was going to leave without them. Again in-flight service was good along with food menu. As the flight landed people from rear end seem to be in more hurry then those who were sitting at front. Best part was the person from back who came running to be the first to take exit from economy class was the one who was asking for help at Immigration counter as he was not able to fill it himself.

May God bless those Indians! Otherwise rest journey was peaceful.


Cordoba – Spain

 Double Arches - Cordoba
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 purely for decorative purpose but it is so unique. Later days when Christians gained their control over Cordoba this was converted to a Church with very little modification giving it a feeling of church inside the mosque.
 Patio Cordoba
The `Mihrab` traditionally had two functions in Islamic worship, first it indicated the direction of Mecca (therefore prayer) and it also amplified the words of the Imam, the prayer leader. But The Cordoba Mosque Mihrab looks south in the same way as the Damascus mosque and not south east in the direction of Mecca. This one is very beautifully decorated with Islamic arts of gold on marble.

From there we went around various streets exploring beautiful patios of Cordoba. Best time is early May to visit the same. There is a competition for most beautiful patio in Cordoba, which means lots of patios to check out in early May.

We had a light snack of fruits and juice near to Alcazar. The afternoon was scorching hot. After waiting a good amount of time for the public bus we took a taxi back to train station. The ride in the AC car was worth (4 Euros) every penny as the outside was burning at 40 C.


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 the weather was great with blue sky and warm temperature. The train ride was nice as it gives a good view of Austria’s country side. Melk has a very beautiful abbey which is known as Stift to the local. From there we took a boat ride on Danube River to Kermes. While walking from the boat stop to the train station we met a lady from Graz. She suggested us to take the train ride to her beautiful town in the Alps on any sunny morning.

That evening we came back to Vienna and walked around StephansPlatz and dined in a vegetarian place, the food was good.

Sunday we had our coffee and some tasty pastries to start the day. We walked along the ring starting from Opera, Hufburg Palace, City hall, Museum Quarter Parliament, University and the stock Market. After that we went to St. Augustine’s Church to listen the Sunday Chores. It was a very different experience the music and singing was really very soothing to ears. After lunch we went to Belvedere Palace. It was very special day as Austria was celebrating its 50 years of Freedom. There was live music, dance in different form. We really enjoyed those great outdoor performances.

On our last day we went to Schonbrunn (beautiful fountain) palace. It was summer residence of the royal. Its beautiful park really demands a good amount of time from you to explore those lavish green surroundings.

Well that brought to an end and we were back to the airport for our afternoon flight to Paris.


Rome (Sep 5th-7th)

We wanted to visit all the top attractions of Italy in one trip but due to vacation time (for Parisians) and taking off from work and with Pamela's school we could not do. So, we planned for only Rome. We flew with Alitalia from CDG this time in early morning. It was much better than Ryan Airlines in terms of access to the airport. But the initial fun started when just before checking-in we have to run 3 terminals to collect our tickets from Air Traffic office. But other than that running, every thing was smooth. Luckily, we had nothing to check-in.

We started our days visit from Colosseum - just to check if all gladiators have gone home or not. I still do not know how to express my feelings about this magnificent achievement of mankind and engineering, which dates at least 2000 years back. After having lunch we walked along Via del Corso from Colosseum to Roman Forum and all the major attractions to Fontana di Trevi which refers to the three roads. Needless to say, the famous custom-to throw a coin into the fountain over your shoulder to ensure you return to Rome. A second coin will have you falling in love with an Italian, and the third marrying him or her. But we didnot took a trial. Anywayz, on the way we got the taste of traffic rules of Rome. From there we walked towards Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna) with all the big brand designers shops around it. After strolling at Piazza del Popolo square we walked to the top of the hill towards Pincio - a nice garden to take some time off under shady trees. From here we went to Pantheon via Piazza Navona another city square with fountain of four rivers and Egyptian obelisk in the middle. WOW !!! extraordinary dome of pantheon is the largest masonry vault ever built. Its really magnificent to see that. Finally, after hectic day of walking day long we decided to move towards Metro-Colosseum for our hotel.

Second day, we planned to visit opulence of the Vatican. So, started with Vatican museum and went to Sistine Chapel. It is must if you want to see the work of Michel Angelo and Raphael the great artists of Italian Renaissance. Better start this way as museum gets closed early around 2PM. From there we went to St. Peters Basilica the main Vatican church. We went to the top; the lift takes up to 3rd floor which is quite at height and from there it is 320 stairs more for the top. The view from the top was worth with those narrow stairs.

Last day, we spent again the whole day for one more last time in ancient Rome. We went inside of Colosseum and Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Those big structures with columns still standing just as it use to be really takes you back to history. After doing a final round of walk which included a late lunch close to Pantheon and walking towards Piazza del Popolo on Sunday when most of the road is taken by pedestrians we decided to pack-up. That road is really crowded and you need to watch your belongings that time. And, thus our trip to eternal city came to an end.


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.


Moved to Paris

After basking last 4 years in Bay Area we moved to Paris. The weather was bleak cold which almost blew me off as we were getting in to the TAXI at the airport. Reached hotel without problem, had a Chinese female driver speaking English. Exhausted and tired to reach work which looked like a 5 minutes walk from hotel on map. But, got lost in concrete jungle of La Defense which is one of the unique place with concentrated modern high-rise buildings in Europe. With out realizing found La Grande Arche which was right in front of my nose. After asking several people and at last police which was no good for me to reach work that evening.

Day 3 - Rishikesh

The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we...