Tags: Court of arms, London, Museum, UK, V &A, Victoria and Albert
Tags: Europe, Holly Lamar, London, Music, United Kingdom
The place we called home during our visit to London for ten days in June-July, 2011 was just north of Kensington. We had access to the living room, dining area, kitchen and garden in addition to the bedroom(s). The landlady (Holly Lamar) has tastefully done up the place to look and feel like a French Chateau.
Holly a singer, song-writer known for her big hit “Breathe” (she co-wrote the song) in 1999, won numerous honors and debuted as a solo artist in 2002 with “Unkissed”. She continued to write for others, contributing “These Are the Days” and the hit “That’s the Way” to Jo Dee Messina‘s 2000 LP Burn. Not just a fabulous singer, Holly is a very friendly and warm host, not to forget her adorable, lovable pooches – Charlie (a boxer) and Daffodil (a terrier). It undoubtedly felt like a home away from home.
Tags: England, London, UK, United Kingdom
I flew Qatar airways via Doha (the variety in terms of people from different origins and the Islamic community by itself was huge) before arriving at Heathrow, London where I was welcomed by the big sister. We took the tube to Piccadilly Circus and from there another tube to Willesden junction. A ten minute walk and we were at 181 Holland Road (place that was to be home for the next 10days). Relaxed for a bit, washed and headed to a pub called The Mason’s Arms. Quaint and old, the interior was atypical of pubs in London is what I learnt unlike the loud one’s we have back home. Guiness beer, cider and rum and coke with a bowl of chips (french fries is what we desis refer to it as) it was.
Portabello road market in the Notting Hill district was an interesting stretch to walk. Next on the agenda was Nelson’s column at Trafalgar square! The National Gallery and the 2012 official Olympic clock are also located right here at Trafalgar Square.
The remaining touristy spots were knocked out the following day: Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminister Abbey (from the outside), the house of parliament (beautiful gothic architecture). A long walk around Piccadilly circus before heading home to call it a day!
Tags: Bhadra, Chikmagalur, JLR, Jungle Lodges and Resorts, Karnataka, Kayaking, Lakkavalli, River Tern, Water Trampoline
Cross posted here
We set out from Bangalore on a 7 hour drive, breaks included to Chikmagalur losing our way thanks to the misleading Google map. NH4 and NH206 it was all the way. Oh and was my friend happy with my car’s performance . 17kms/ltr is what she gave (her first long drive).
The River Tern property situated amidst the Babudangiri hill range at Lakkavalli in the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka owned and run by Jungle Lodges and Resorts is a perfect getaway for nature lovers. The lodge is named after the River Tern bird, that congregate to breed on a nearby island. Each loghut, cottage oversees the Bhadra river. The view of the backwaters is breathtaking and mesmerizing.
The safari at the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctury was as disappointing as most other safari’s in the Western Ghats are, while the boat ride to the River Tern island was beautiful. If you are a water animal, you sure are going to love Kayaking and the Water Trampoline. I’ve been wanting to Kayak for a while now but for strange reasons never managed to (I only did learn to row a boat at Lake George, Upstate New York). I had no clue that Kayaking is child’s play and the water trampoline was more fun than one could ask.
The interior of the room is done tastefully (at least no gaudy sheets and curtains), the wash room relatively big in size and clean (ignore the few ants) and the air conditioner so helped for the humid weather and hot summers that are already here. I was dreading having forgotten to carry a mosquito repellent but to my pleasant surprise, it had no use. The three meals were decent though not brilliant.
What more, my friend fixed me a mojito the evening we arrived and on our drive back to Bangalore it was coconut water and bacardi! Concur is what my friend and I do on the happiness, fun and relaxation quotient this trip provided.
Tags: Beach, India, Karnataka, Malpe, Mangalore, St.Mary's Island, Udupi
Cross posted here
To explore more of Karnataka I set off to Mangalore with colleagues for a team member’s wedding on the evening of the 25th of January, 2011. We took a sleeper bus (from Bangalore) that was so not what was portrayed on the website but was just about decent. After a long night’s bus ride in the cold with no bed sheet (I had forgotten to carry one) and bad roads after Hassan we reached Mangalore at 7a.m on the next morning (republic day). Our colleague, the groom received us at the bus stop and took us home. His family was rather warm and welcoming – very simple yet sweet people.
The place where we stayed was calm, serene, quaint and beautiful. After a shower we explored the city as suggested by our hosts. We visited the store Parampara, that sold local handicraft articles, followed by the Phalguni Cashew Centre where we all picked up cashews of different kinds (cheese coated, honey sweet, pepper roasted) and then headed to the ‘Ideal Place‘ – the best ice cream parlor at Mangalore where we dug in on flavors like – Gudbud, Falooda, etc (weren’t as enticing as expected). Our next stop was the St.Aloysius Chapel built in 1884 and is an architectural marvel. All the walls and ceiling are painted in two techniques: Fresco (fresh lime walls are painted and the colors get embedded into the wall itself) and Oil based. Artist Anthony Moscheni from Italy takes credit for this marvelous creation. The central row of paintings on the ceiling depicts the life of Aloysius Gonzaga to whom the College and Chapel are dedicated. The floor is made up of brick that gives a 3-dimensional effect.
Next on the agenda was the Gokarnatha temple built in 1912 for the Billava community, who were not permitted to enter other temples. The area is dotted with temples of Shiva.
It was a hot and sultry afternoon and by 2p.m we were hungry and so decided to try Mangalorean food (vegetarian) at a restaurant by name Ocean Pearl. After trying the Neer Dosa, we went back to relax for a bit before leaving for the wedding at the church followed by the reception. Cake and wine in hand, all those present at the venue raised a toast to the newly wed and set off to fill their stomachs again. There was a separate counter for us vegetarians set up by Mangala caterers, fortunately.
We hit the sack by midnight and set out the next morning to St.Mary’s Islands, Malpe at Udupi in a hired SUV. En route we stopped to pack lunch at Diana (a local restaurant) and after a comfortable drive for about two hours we reached the Malpe beach and took the ferry (half an hour) to the island. Nature at it’s best once again, we had a fun time jumping the rocks (while I slipped, fell and bruised my back), playing in the water, collecting shells and screeching at the site of an approaching crab, not to forget clicking away at each other. How we all wished we had carried a change of clothes!
On our way back we stopped to visit the Krishnamata temple (the idol is dressed in diamonds from head to toe and can be viewed only through a window) at Udupi and the surrounding temples. Rafting and Canoeing had to be dropped due to time constraint. A quick adieu to the groom’s family before an even quicker bite of chaat at a local stall, just to make it in time (thanks to Allen the groom’s younger brother) for our bus back to Bangalore.
I had always wanted to go on an all-women trip with my best buddies. Though that is yet to happen, this trip with my women-colleagues was indeed pleasant and fun!
Tags: India, Karnataka, Mysore, Srirangapatna
This blog post is cross posted here at Wayfarers and Pathfinders.
Come December and I headed to Srirangapatna and Mysore with my aunt. A hot day packed with too much to see wasn’t one of the nicest of travel experiences during the peak holiday season. Nevertheless, an experience in itself! A few pictures from this visit:
Tags: Bandipur, Bear Mountain, Masinagudi, Mudumalai, Tamil Nadu
(This is an account of a weekend spent in Masinagudi in early April, 2010. Cross posted here.)
A quarter has gone by and I haven’t been able to add any new blog posts. Time that I traveled, eh? Absolutely, I so needed to get off and so I did. Three of us(two friends and I) headed to Masinagudi, located in the land where I hail from – Tamil Nadu. Situated at the foothills of the Nigliris, on the edge of the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Masinagudi is truly nature’s paradise.
We hired a cab and set out at 7.30a.m on a Saturday morning, stopped for breakfast at Hotel Kamath and covered a distance of 250 kilometers before reaching the Bear Mountain Jungle Resort, at Masinagudi. As informed by Mr.David Philip (Owner/Manager) over the telephone the previous evening, lunch was ready and so were we, all set to hog. I must admit and share that all the three meals at Bear Mountain had variety, taste, quality and were sumptuous. After a tiring journey in the heat and a heavy lunch, we relaxed in our cottage(a room with an attached bath that was big, clean with all the taps, shower and tub that were functional and a sit out with a few chairs and a hammock to laze). As the sun went down and after tea, it was time for a jeep safari, which turned out to be futile, as expected. We managed to spot only a few deers, elephants and monkeys. Around 8pm, there were a bunch of people at the bonfire but we chose to sit by the log hut instead and enjoyed the Latino music – Fresh Lime Soda/Beer combination. Dinner followed and later in the evening we sat close to a trench listening to the sounds of the jungle, breathing fresh, uncontaminated air, feeling nature and its cool breeze that naturally paved the path to a state of ’thoughtless awareness’ (meditation). ‘Bliss’ – the only word to explain this moment!
We finally hit the sack that Saturday night after a relaxing shower and the next morning set out on a trail around the resort and to bird watch in the jungle. After spending close to two hours crossing streams, checking out birds like: the Red Horn Bulbul, Myna, Woodpecker, Large Jungle Mouse, Warbler, Jungle Babbler, Parakeets and many more it was time to head back to Bangalore.
Payment done and pleasantries exchanged with the helpful and friendly staff at the resort for their warm hospitality, the plan was to stop en route, at Bandipur for the Jungle Safari (hoping luck would stand by us), but in vain. Lemurs, Peacocks and Sambar deers were the only addition to the earlier list of animals that we got to spot.
As we approached Bangalore the smoke, soot, rising levels of pollution that cause eye irritation were more than apparent, not to forget the chaotic and suffocating traffic. Masinagudi, makes me want to keep coming back given that nature can’t get better and the value for money at this resort.
Nothing better than Robert Frost‘s poem to help describe how I feel, at this moment: