Posts Tagged With: Photography

{From the archives} Budapest

The moment we enter Budapest, I know why it is known as one of the most beautiful cities of Europe. This place IS beautiful. Nice roads, beautiful stone buildings, statues and castles and bridges. The normal buildings around the city area also look like historic buildings. The weather is pleasant – not nippy and cold.

In the morning, we have left at around 8 am from Prague by bus. The view isn’t very scenic; its just lots of fields and land. I pass my time by listening to music and chatting with A. We stop for lunch at a boat restaurant (a botel) in Bratislava, Slovakia. The food is greasy but the view and the weather is amazing. We walk along the river watching cyclists, joggers and people sitting at cafes enjoying beer (do these people ever drink water?). We cross over the Futuristic bridge and touch the highway again.


We have to take ‘comfort stops’ in between because it is compulsory for driver to take rest after every 4 hours. There’s a tacometer fitted in all buses which keeps track of the time the bus has been continuously driven and how many breaks have been taken. Breaks in between are a must; so is the 11 hours rest per day.

We reach Budapest at 4.15 pm. Our hotel is located on Buda side of the city. I have a nice view of houses and churches, which are slightly uphill, from my room. We have half an hour before we go for a cruise over Danube.

On way to the cruise, we cross a tunnel, beautiful buildings and the grand Chain Bridge. Chain Bridge and many other bridges over the river Danube connect Buda with Pest. Chain bridge is a lovely piece of art. The walls of the bridge are mesmerizing and lion pillars greet on-comers on both sides of the bridge. We immediately decide to come back here to have a better look.

Its nice and sunny when we board the top most deck of our small cruise ship. On the Pest side of the river bank, are huge buildings of Intercontinental hotel and Mariott hotel and some other office buildings and educational institutions. As we begin the audio tour on the cruise, the temperature dips suddenly and I am shivering soon. The cruise takes us till the equally beautiful Elizabeth bridge, crossing many other pretty bridges. We go under them and wave out to pedestrians walking by. I can’t concentrate on the commentary because I am so busy looking at all the beautiful structures and clicking snaps.





After clicking each other’s snaps, trying to handle our bags and stuff and the headphones and after the waiter accidently drops lots of beer/champagne/wine on me, I think I’ve had enough confusion to last for the coming 2 days and I ditch the audio commentary and sit back to enjoy the view and get lost in my thoughts. My 12 mp point-and-shoot camera can in no way do justice to the amazing scenery and I drop clicking snaps too. We cross the spectacular parliament building and it takes my breath away. It can easily be mistaken to be a king’s palace. We are later told that the expenditure that goes in maintaining the parliament is enough to build up an entire new city!


I’ve had a glass of red wine (I don’t drink but thought I should try it out) and I feel dizzy and sleepy. Or I THINK that I feel dizzy. It was just a glass after all and it tasted horrible!

We have dinner in an Indian restaurant called Salaam Bombay. I feel really tired and cold but I still agree to walk back to the hotel with A and S instead of taking the bus. I don’t know what most of these buildings are but all of them are a piece of art. Each one out does the other. All of them have grey or beige stone walls, carved wrought iron balconies, doors and windows and statues put up on the top corners.




The Chain Bridge and the river side looks dreamy at night with all the lighting. We click whatever photos our simple cameras will permit and cross several Japanese tourists to reach Buda. By the time we reach the tunnel, I’m half frozen by the cold. My nose is blocked and hands are ice cold. I’m dying to run into the warm blankets of the hotel. Roads in Buda are almost totally deserted barring a cafe-cum-bar with red lighting which has a couple of occupied tables. The church opposite it, which had looked so pretty in the morning, looks eerie during this time.

Its good that we have free Wi-Fi in rooms; gives me chance to connect with my friends in free time. Not that we have much free time, anyway, because we use up all the free time loitering in the streets, wherever we are!

I wonder how Budapest will look like during the day. Excited about touring the city tomorrow!

To sum up, I’ve had breakfast in Czech, lunch in Slovakia and dinner in Hungary. Not bad. Not bad at all!

(Written in Sept 2011)

Categories: Europe, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Granville Island Public Market, Vancouver

Did you know that the city of Vancouver was once known as Granville?

Later, when the city was renamed, the name Granville Island was given to an industrial area that spanned across a small inlet. It used to house lots of sawmills, factories and plants. After the Great Depression, Pear Harbor bombing and other events of the Forties, businesses started closing down. Government then decided to look at rehabilitation of the area and then converted it into a ‘people friendly’ place.

Granville Island is now a major family entertainment district and a popular tourist destination. It houses colleges, hotels, theatres, shops and restaurants. I had the opportunity of visiting there when I was in Canada two months back. Except for the rain, it was a wonderful experience. Rains prevented us from walking around outside. So we ended up spending a couple of hours inside the public market.

Not a bad idea at all!

We looked wide-eyed at all the food items and wonderful variety of fresh farm foods. The interiors are very industrial – high wooden ceiling, metal chains and pulleys, chunky lights are some typical elements. The place was swarming with tourists and regulars stuffing bags with fresh produce. Seafood, fruits, spices, cheese, flowers, coffee, meat, honey, breads – you name it and it was there.

Sigh, I wish I was a local and could shop my heart out there!

For now, I just look at the million pictures I took there and feel the delight inside my heart.

Here are some for you.

 granville island 7

granville island 8

granville island 1

granville island 2

granville island 3

granville island 4

granville island 5

granville island 6

granville island 9

Categories: Canada, Photography, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Boats Through My Lens

I came across this picture recently when I was going through my photo collection looking for a photo to submit to a contest. And I realized, I had so many pictures of boats!

Surat, India

Taken on one early Sunday morning on ONGC bridge, Surat. The full post here.

The picture above and the one below were the first pictures of boats I took (with a simple point and shoot camera. In fact, they were one of the first pictures I ever took for the purpose of blogging). I used to look at these boats everyday while going to and coming back from work. They captivated me. Somehow. I thought they looked lonely, desolate and sad floating all by themselves.

2 red boats tapi river

Two very red boats tied on Tapi River, Surat

Over the years, I clicked a lot of boats. I have no particular attachment to boats or the ocean or boating. It’s just that they make good photography subjects.

So let me show off my boat collection.

These ones were taken at Allepey, Kerala. Allepey was all about boats. There were houseboats, of course. And then there were these fishermen boats that would silently, confidently stroll by the huge houseboats, totally oblivious to their own littleness.

Allepey backwaters

fishermen allepey kerala

One place I have visited a lot in the last one year is Monterey Bay. Monterey is a merry place where families pour in on weekends and feed on clam chowder soup and crab. I have been there several times and am never bored of that place. It is a coastal place and there are all kinds of boats all around. The first picture is my favourite. It is currently my screen wallpaper.

Boat at Monterey

Monterey bay

Yacht parking Monterey

Another coastal place I visit a lot is San Francisco. SFO is always cold and windy. Like Monterey, SFO’s Pier 39 is flocked by families for clam chowder, chips (pigeons flock here for the same reason), street shows and boat rides. The boat in this picture is probably nothing special but the background is. The pier has a lot of history like the rest of SFO. From the pier, one can see (on a clear day) the Alcatraz Jail island and the Golden Gate bridge. This pier is one of the old retained buildings of the city.

SFO pier

My first experience of being surrounded by boats was during Christmas of 2012, 10 days after I landed in the US. This was at Two Harbours, Catalina (near Los Angeles). It is a beautiful, sparsely crowded island with just 1 restaurant and a couple of lodges. It is an adorable place. I should be writing about it soon.

Catalina Island

The next 3 pictures have been taken in Tulum, Mexico. Mexico… ah. Pure ecstasy! The tropical climate soothed my senses and allowed me to take a dip in all its offerings – exotic fruit juices, summer clothes and beautiful blue beaches. I gasped when I had got the first glance of Tulum beach. Its waters are in the prettiest of blues. Take a look yourself.

boat and a man mexico

Boat at Tulum beach

Neon boat mexico

I loved the color combination of this one. I wish I had better zoom lenses.

And this last one was taken at Hume Lake in Sequoia National Park. The lake enthralled me completely. 4th of July long break crowds were all over the place – swimming, jumping off rocks, picnicking – and yet the lake made the atmosphere look so serene. i could have sat there for hours watching the calm waters and people frolicking around.

Hume lake boating

After looking at the effect of this picture, I am happy for once that I do not have high zoom lenses. The enormousness of the mountains and minuteness of the boats would not have been so apparent.

If you look through your archives, you may discover that you take too many pictures of a particular subject like food or flowers. Or clocks, maybe?!

Share with me!

Categories: Bay Area, California, India, Mexico, Photography, South India, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Berlin – II

(Written in Sept 2011)

Breakfast is probably the best thing that could have happened to me on this tour. There’s salami and bacon and different breads, jams, spreads, salads, fruits, croissants and cereals. I couldn’t decide what to take. I want to try out everything. For today, I chose brown bread, scrambled eggs, sausage, tomatoes and coffee. I spend good 30 minutes devouring the contents of my plate sitting by the window. I am one of the first few people to come down for breakfast. Breakfast starts at 6 30 am and I was there by 6 40 am. Reason being? I got up at 6 30 am Istanbul time (oh fish!) which is one hour ahead of Berlin time. Anyway, it was good in a way because I could eat peacefully, spend some time on the net and go out for a walk.


Berlin 1_effected

Berlin 2_effected

I walked around the peaceful locality of our hotel in the chill. The streets are quite deserted and I pass only a few passers by going for work. I walk around fascinated and muster up enough courage to ask a pretty girl, standing by the road, to click a picture of me and she happily did so. One thing I have already fallen in love with is the cobblestone path. Europe has them everywhere. Different texture and pattern of cobblestone roads.

By the time I came back, the group had started assembling near the reception area and I saw everyone interacting with everyone else. Looks like people had got friendly with one another! I joined them.

We get into the coach and begin our city tour at 9 am. We met our German guide, Walter who took us to our first stop Charlottenburg Palace. It was a replica, of course. I loved the wrought iron gates and the carvings.

Berlin charlottenburg palace

Berlin 4_effected

We drive around Berlin and see the various important buildings like embassies, stock exchange, theatres and shopping complexes. We get too much of information by our German guide and I have difficulty retaining the things he tells us. Anyway, I let the feel and aura of the place sink in. We take some quick stops at the Holocaust Memorial, the World clock, Check point Charlie, where I buy a Berlin souvenir bag, Deutscher Dom, Konzerthaus and the the Berlin wall (the sight I was so badly waiting for). The paintings on the wall leave me gaping. Some paintings are dark and some are pleasant but all of them have messages written on them which reveal the painters’ frustration, bitterness and often, hope.

Berlin holocaust memorial_1_effected

Berlin holocaust memorial_effected

Berlin East side gallery_effected

Berlin wall 1_effected

Berlin wall_effected

Berlin konzerthaus

One thing that had troubled me before the tour was getting my pictures captured. Who would click my pictures? And for this reason, I had carried a light, cheap tripod along with me. I left it in my bag when we left for the city tour. Every time we got off at a locale, everyone got busy with their families clicking each other’s snaps and I was left feeling awkward. Bengali Aunty did offer to click me and I agreed but it was still awkward and formal.

This is the day the Pope is in the city and there’s police everywhere. We manage to see the Brandenberg gate and Reinstag minutes before the police sealed the area and moved 100s of tourists away. It’s cloudy and cold and the wind makes moving around a bit difficult. Brandenburg is right opposite Hotel Avalon, which is the most expensive hotel of the city and is the hotel from whose room MJ had dangled a kid from the balcony.

After a quick lunch, we leave for Potsdam to see the palace there. This small town is an hour away from Berlin and we drive down there. Potsdam has all the original palaces unlike Berlin which only has replicas. This town was destroyed in the Second World War when there was bombing over it and most people died because of the heat. It was later restored. Several original palaces are based here. The kings has made palace for various purposes of leisure – for self, for guests, for plants and for different seasons. Looks like they had a lot of money and time and resources to spare. I look around enthralled at the old walls with creepers, sidewalk cafes and small historical buildings. We visited the New Palace. There are several other beautiful palaces in Sanssouci Park and several of them were going through restoration work. I feel glad and impressed that the country takes so much care of their historical monuments.




We return to Berlin and spend an hour in the shopping area in Kudamm amidst brands like Gucci, Porche, Benetton, Louis Vittion, Merc and Armani. I still can’t stop looking at all the well dressed people around me, whose aim in life seems to be sitting in cafes or roaming around the streets looking chic. We walk through cigarette smoke among the beautiful people feeling really content in this fantastic city.

I could hardly afford to buy anything, obviously – one of the disadvantages of coming from an under developed country. But yes, it was fun being a part of this crowd.

I have finally befriended the young guy (his correct age is 26) and 2 others in their twenties/thirties. This is going to be my gang for the next 10 days. We walk together into the lanes of Berlin after dinner till late night. We look at store displays and sigh that we are unable to buy anything. We pass stripping bars and beer bars and my guy companions look doe eyed at them. Fast cars pass us narrowly missing each other, the discipline and traffic rules totally forgotten.

Ah. This is how I have always wanted to travel. I’m loving each moment I’m spending on this part of Europe!

Categories: Europe, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Travel Begins In Your Backyard–Travel Quotes

A big obsessive travel fanatic that I am, I am always looking for an excuse to travel. I explore my surroundings very intimately and make sure I do not leave out even the tiniest speck unseen. And once I am convinced that I have seen everything, I am dying to go beyond the limited borders.

I love quotes. I am always on a lookout for simple, specific quotes that reinforce my belief in life and its philosophies.

I came across this beautifully presented travel quotes and I couldn’t help but put them in one place. I believe in each one of them.



PS: All pictures are from the net. Except the last one which has been created by me.

Categories: Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Marina Bay Sands–The Glory of Singapore

On the bright Friday afternoon, we went to Somerset to check out a couple of stores and then visited Vivocity, where we walked along the Sentosa Walk. The walk and the travellators were totally deserted. It was quite sunny and hot and no wonder no one wanted to walk along these at that point of time. Nonetheless, the way was beautiful and I enjoyed the walking. I am sure come evening the water facing restaurants will be jam packed with shoppers and localites celebrating the beginning of the weekend.






We took the bus from Vivocity to MBS. Because of the heavy traffic, we reached MBS when it was dark (so much for our plans of watching the sunset there).

When you stand opposite MBS, you will feel small. MBS is not only huge in its dimensions, it also comes across as an intimidating, majestic structure (that can eat you up any time?). MBS, which is basically a resort hotel having more than 2500 rooms, is made up of 3 towers. Outsiders are allowed entry on Tower 3 deck (known as Skypark) through a SGD 20 ticket. The major highlight of the rooftop is actually the infinity pool. Alas, I turned out to be the only unfortunate person in my family not to see it (the rest of my family has seen it before). A few months back, people were allowed to see the amazingly made infinity pool. But the guests complained of visitors staring at them and invading their privacy. Now, they allow a 15 minutes conducted tour to the pool in batches for which you have to book online a day before! So, I missed it this time. Another item on the To-See list for the next Singapore trip.




The lift takes you up to the 56th floor in a few seconds. You will find vacuum developing in your ears as you reach height. When you come out onto the deck and are engulfed by the magnificent view, you will quite forget everything else.




The lights of the high-rises, landmarks, the golf course and the flyer (which incidentally looks very tiny from here) and ships in the ocean beyond dazzle up at you from down there. You can also see the Supertrees that are in the process of completion. Undoubtedly, this place has to be visited at night.


There are no places to sit there; so you can just sit on the floor. And, oh yes, it’s better to carry your own food there because the tiny shop up there is very expensive. So we had the pleasure of having a Chocolate Cupcake from Awfully chocolate at that heavenly (well, almost) height.



I was told that it is quite windy up there but on this day there wasn’t much breeze. It was pleasant all the same.

On the opposite side of the road, is The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. This mall is full of designer shops llike Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Coach, etc and celebrity restaurants. This also houses the well known, huge casino and which is why Sis had advised me to be very careful of my things – theft and snatching is common here. A canal runs through the mall till the hotel on the opposite end for guests and shoppers. Gondola style boats are used to take people to & fro.







Tired after lots of walking, we had dinner at the noisy food court, which was the only bad food experience I had! I bravely ordered for Chicken Bao dimsum (I quite like dimsums) but I could hardly swallow it! The filling was sweet and the cover was thick and sticky.


We briefly had a look at the Arts & Science Museum from outside and walked a bit on the Helix Bridge.








I felt remorse when we were departing from MBS. I did realize that this was THE last thing I was doing in Singapore. My trip was ending. The next day late night we were leaving back for India. So the day will only comprise of last minute shopping and packing. I was finishing my third trip to Singapore. Am I bored of it? Do I still have things to see / do here? Hell, I do! I haven’t tried Breadtalk yet. I haven’t shopped like I do usually. I want to try the Spicy Chicken Steak at Pizza Hut. Won’t I want to come back?

Can already la.

Categories: Photography, Singapore | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Magic Of Doors & Windows

I have realized just a few months ago on my second trip to Laxmi Vilas Palace (Baroda) and the recent trip to Calcutta, that doors, windows & railings – all with delicate, artistic designs or rustic look, fascinate me. When I was roaming around Calcutta, I couldn’t stop gaping and going all ‘wowwww’ over the various balconies of old houses and the doors/windows of my friend’s old ancestral home.


Laxmi Vilas Palace


Laxmi Vilas Palace

The older, the better. The more bucolic, the better. The more Victorian, the better.


Laxmi Vilas Palace

On one side are elaborate beautiful motifs which take your breath away and makes you marvel at the artisans’ patience and skill, and on the other side are old, historical doors which speak hundreds of years of history and memoirs.


Some old walls of the Gaikwad kingdom laid across Baroda.

A door invites a guest to a home even before the hosts do. A door is the face of the people living in the house. A door reflects a person’s personality.


An abandoned house, Baroda

I look at old houses and wonder how many generations have lived in it. How many old eyes have sat for hours on a chair waiting for their sons and daughters to come to them. How many little feet have run on the floors. I often feel sad looking at abandoned houses. Who lived here? What happened to them? A tragedy? Do they miss the house?


Laxmi Vilas Palace premises

Laxmi Vilas Palace (Baroda) is a beautiful palace – perhaps the most beautiful one I have seen till date. It combines Mughal and Rajasthani architecture and has delicately carved arches, pillars and ceilings.


Laxmi Vilas Palace


Laxmi Vilas Palace

I had been to Calcutta some days back and it felt like an ideal travel tour for me. I could get in touch with the old India, its history and could connect with the roots.


An ancestral home, Calcutta


An ancestral home, Calcutta

Windows are our outlet to the world. I have spent many hours in front of the window during my exams when I was trapped inside, forced to study, and kept looking out at the bungalow opposite to ours to see what was happening there. Right now, my bed is right beside the window and I totally love it.


An ancestral home, Calcutta


An ancestral home, Calcutta

In the past, I had visited a village near Surat and seen some quaint, old doors there.



I don’t know why I am attracted to doors and windows but I am! Do share your pics too Smile


Sun streaming in through the sheer curtains. My cousin’s home, Bombay.

Categories: Calcutta, India, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Oh…. Calcutta…

It’s just 6 pm and it’s so dark outside that it feels like 8 pm. We are in a kurta shop called Prapti and it is so so peaceful here. The pounding inside my head has almost stopped. This place gives no hint of the rush, traffic, noise and chaos happening outside in the G market area. While E’s Mum is getting chicken rolls for us from Bedwin and Boudwin, the oldest and world famous rolls, we rushed through the narrow footpaths, which are selling 2nd hand books, earrings, plastic stuff, katha work blouse pieces and jute bags. I wish I hadn’t shopped so much previously this year; I could have got worthy, cheap stuff here. How much ever dirty, congested and poor this city may look to be, I am falling in love with it. In fact, I had fallen in love with the idea of Calcutta even before landing here.

So why is my head pounding, you may ask? Because I fell sick in the morning. And this happened because of excess consumption, no excess hogging of sandes yesterday. I ate and ate and ate like there’s no tomorrow; like I’m never going to get sandes ever again in my life. I must have had, like, 7 pieces in a span of 4 hours.

When I got up in the morning today, I felt my stomach doing weird things inside. Usual stomach problem because of too much food, I thought. But when I went for a bath and I felt dizzy, sick and wanted to puke, I panicked. This is exactly what had happened to me a couple of years ago. I was puking for 2 days. It was something to do with acidity. Looked like the same thing.

I felt weak; very weak and could barely walk, sit or sleep or so anything, for that matter. E’s Mum called up a Doctor relative of hers and gave me medicines. I don’t remember if I went off to sleep and how I must have looked like because E’s family looked quite amused. Of course, they took real good care of me and I knew I would be ok because I am in good hands. And when I felt better I realized our whole plan for the day had been destroyed. Marble palace, Flurry’s, Book Street, Kookie Jar, walking around the city – all down the drain. I can’t express how muh I regretted not being able to see the city the way I wanted to and also missing on all the gorgeous food. E pointed out on an optimistic note that this just gives me an opportunity to come back here once again. Sure, I will!



We left from home at around 1, after lunch, and head straight to New Market. Though I feel fine in a sense that I do not feel pukey and stomach feels ok too but I feel very very weak. I am barely able to walk and don’t feel like eating or talking at all. I lag behind E and her Mum and want to sit down at every opportunity available. We go to Khadim’s where cheap leather goods are available. It is very crowded; Durga Pooja shopping seems to be happening in full spirit! I look around at the colourful chappals but don’t feel like buying anything. We go further into the narrow lanes holding shops selling everything from bed sheets, plastic and glass ware, cosmetics, electronics to crockery. We buy hair clips, dress materials and glass ware and stop over at a Parsi bakery which happens to be one of the oldest bakeries of Calcutta for some snacks. I take a fish cutlet. It is too salty (again) for my taste and it doesn’t taste like fish too. But anyway, I wouldn’t have left without trying something from there.





We head towards a sari shop where I buy saris for Mum. I am left impressed by all beautiful silk saris. Suddenly, my taste in saris has changed. Good bye, Clinging Crepes and Georgettes. Hello Silk. These printed silk saris will look brilliant with wooden / dull metal beads and other forms of chunky / vintage jewellery (no gold, please). Well, someday. Till then, I can always wear the saris I gift Mum!

We also buy beaded jewellery worth dirt cheap from the footpath outside. And, oh yes, we also stop at Wills Lifestyle and I buy a shirt and a cotton capris (I think my health became perfectly ok after this!).

Before it gets dark, E’s Mum wants her to meet their Swamiji (they follow Ramkrishna Mission) and I decide to wait in the car to preserve energy. I use that time to make a few phone calls and what do I notice in a while? E’s Mum and E are walking towards the car with Swamiji himself! When he was told that I am waiting in the car and am not well, he came down himself to give me prasad, some books and his blessings for me to get well soon. I was so touched and overwhelmed!



So, here I am, devouring the chicken and egg roll from B & B and I must thank E’s Mum for giving me effective medicines so that I am perfect shape to eat these heavenly rolls. Non veg, finally! Real Calcutta food, finally!

We start packing up as we have to leave tomorrow morning. It’s cool and winds are blowing outside. There is a slight drizzle. I get up and rush to the balcony to close the door. E’s Mum shares a light laugh with E. (I have been sneezing and shivering at the slightest drop of temperature. Everyone, though troubled by this, has been highly co-operative in this regard). I know I have missed quite a lot of Calcutta but I have enjoyed each moment I have spent here, with all the people. This was an ideal vacation and I wish it had been longer.

Categories: Calcutta, India, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bali Says Hello.

My family returned from a trip to Bali a week ago and brought these lovely souvenirs. Since I like almost anything that is colourful, I took to them instantly and went around the house clicking them in various locations, bending myself in odd angles.


Bali turns out to be the right place to spend some time in soul searching and connecting with self or the unseen power.


Temples, deities, religious ceremonies, beaches, volcanoes, good food, hair braiding, surfing – All make up this heavenly land called Bali.







Don’t forget to carry a diary to record your inner thoughts!



So, when are you going to Bali?

Categories: Photography, Travel | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at