Travel

Paris 2014 : Part 2

Paris2014#2

It was time to head back since I was running out of time. I squeezed my way through the long lines under the Eiffel bridge (which also had scaffolding), sidestepped a few hawkers and waited among a hundred people to cross the road. And that’s when I looked back and up. I stood there taking multiple pictures trying to get the symmetry right which wasn't an easy task with a 200mm non-stabilized tele-photo lens. I like this one. (^_^) I decided to walk the southern bank of the river Seine till the next crossing across just so I could walk through some different scenery while avoiding the crowds...

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Paris 2014 : Part 1

Paris2014#1

There was an opportunity to travel to France last year that went for a toss thanks to the embassy here not processing my visa on time. A few wasted tickets and 10 months later I was back in line at the visa counters. Fortunately this time I was well equipped and got the visa dealt with on time. It was a short (two nights) work trip to cover the UNESCO -Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture award ceremony which essentially gave me a meager 3 hours to wander around. Staying at the Four Seasons hotel George V inevitably meant the Arc de Triomphe was the closest tourist spot to visit. Unfortunately it was wrapped...

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SriLanka 2013 : Horton plains

Horton Plains feature

As the clouds began to wrap themselves around us; we made our way down from World's End into the plains. The temperature was rising as the summer sun had started to blaze down on us through the gaps in the clouds. The path aka the Baker's Falls road was even though easy to walk on but had also partially turned into a small stream that would eventually flow into the Belihul Oya. The grasslands were full of insects. You could hear them but it was impossible to spot them especially since they'd go quiet as soon as you approached the general area they were buzzing from. This post is all about...

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Sri Lanka 2013 : Cloud Forest & World’s End

World's-End-feature

An early start to the day was in order so that we could make our way to the Hortan Plains national park at sunrise. It was an hours drive from the hotel on well paved (unlit) roads that snaked through small villages and the neighboring hills. We reached the plains just past sunrise with our first (and only) animal sighting of the common Sambar that were grazing nearby past the main entrance. The driver dropped us off at the parking lot right next to the park office/reception that was closed for maintenance. You have to a walk a short way on the path next to it to a gate where they check you for any  polythene...

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Sri Lanka 2013 : Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya feature

Unlike Ella, Nuwara Eliya isn't a small village but a town that serves as a tourist hub for a lot of people who come to Sri Lanka. Prices are exorbitant in comparison, you get hassled by plenty of beggars (a first in Sri Lanka for us) and visiting the town at night feels awkward thanks to all those men clambering over at the local alcohol stores. So with such an influx of tourists, you'd expect the town to be up to scratch to meet those needs. Quite the opposite with the food being disappointing, the hotels were so-so and local rickshaws were a rip-off. We had booked our two night stay at a small...

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Sri Lanka 2013 : Train to Nuwara Eliya

Train to Nuwara Eliya feature

Clear blue skies welcomed us the next morning as we prepared to catch the 9:24am train to Nanu Oya; the closest station to Nuwara Eliya. After a quick breakfast of string hoppers, we made our way to the Ella train station which was about a 10 minute walk. We were travelling by the Podi Menike train which are the new Chinese-built 'Blue trains' that have better suspensions which translates into a more comfortable ride. The 1st class cabins are air conditioned and have cleaner toilets though the windows don't open wide. Most of my time was spent hanging out of the door which gave me uninhabited views...

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Sri Lanka 2013 : Stunning Ella

Ella-feature

There's one tip I'm glad I picked up before our trip to Sri Lanka which was to wake up early for a trek in the mountains. Clouds tend to roll in at around 9am so it's recommended to get to all those points with breathtaking views before that. Also since we were travelling in the month of August-September, it tends to get quite warm so an early start is highly recommended. We picked Ella with the idea of trekking around for a couple of days if not more thanks to its more or less centralized position to plenty of interesting places. It’s also seemed like a quieter place to be in. After reworking...

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Sri Lanka 2013 : Drive to Ella

Drive to Ella feature

With the wedding behind us, we made our way into the heart of the Sri Lankan hill country. Our first of two stops was a little town called Ella known for its mountain treks and plantations. Since we started our journey from Mount Lavinia that lies in south Colombo, we ended up taking a route we hadn't initially planned for. Instead of taking the Badulla road that ran along the Colombo-Badulla train track, we took the Colombo to Ratnapura route. Having taken the alternative route, we got an opportunity to see more of the country since we'd planned to take the train back which would take us through...

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Sri Lanka 2013 : Galle

Galle_featured

A trip to photograph and attend a friend's wedding got turned into an extended post marriage vacation that threaded on the touristy lonely planet trail. Being my first self-funded holiday, I went completely crazy planning every possible intricate detail. Obviously plans go for a toss, but surprisingly we managed to do 75% of the things we'd planned for while staying within budget and effectively pampering ourselves with a few added perks. I spent a good couple of months on TripAdvisor, travel blogs and forums planning and booking hotel rooms that met our photographic requirements. Every road, trail...

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Frankfurt 2013 : Part 2

Frankfurt Day 2 feature

Hopes of blogging pictures from all the trips from last year were clearly dashed. Let’s see if I can finish them all before the next trip I go on which should be a couple of months away if not more giving me enough time to clear out the backlog (hopefully). The Eiserner Steg (Love/Padlock Bridge) that I’d mentioned in the previous blog post turned out to be my go to place every time I felt like taking a walk. As evident from the photo it was raining (didn’t have an umbrella) which made the whole moment serene. A good half an hour was spent on the bridge before it got unbearably cold making...

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