• Blog,  Europe,  Switzerland,  Travelogue

    Cell # 205

    Many years ago, my travel friend and I, on a quick tour of Europe with Contiki, landed in Lucerne late in the evening. And as the whole aim of traveling with Contiki was for a unique experience, our accommodation for that night sure lived up to the whole ‘unique experience’ feel. Inside Cell # 205 Barabas Jail Hotel was an actual prison in the heart of Lucerne. It was purpose-built in 1862 and was a functioning prison until it was decommissioned in 1998. It had 60 cells, including five for women. Before that, convicts were usually rounded up and locked away in monasteries or towers. When the authorities closed the…

  • The cool dudes
    Blog,  Croatia,  Europe,  Stories,  Travelogue

    Just chilling

    Zagreb in Croatia, like plenty other cities in that part of Europe, is relatively small. Depending on how much time you have, it’s doable in about three days, at a leisurely pace. A low shot of the streets of Zagreb On one of those days, when I’d done all there is to do and seen all there is to see, I started to google to try and see if there were any shops or toy stores that had a sizeable collection of die-cast collectible cars. A quick scan confirmed Arena Centar, a shopping mall on the outskirts of Zagreb, in the Lanište neighborhood of Novi Zagreb. I didn’t know it…

  • Pilsner Urquell
    Blog,  Czech Republic,  Europe,  Resources,  Reviews,  Stories,  Travelogue

    What’s in a beer?

    Plenty, it seems. A lot of times, people from around the world have a reason to visit a destination. For some, it is a chance to reconnect with their past including family and friends. For others, it is to relive a magical moment from a long time ago. Plenty others visit to experience the sights and sounds of a city or country, one they haven’t been to before.  View of Pilsen town As for me, all I wanted to have was a pint of beer. Specifically, a Pilsner Urquell beer. To be more specific, a pint of Pilsner Urquell beer at the Pilsner Urquell brewery, in Pilsen. There, you have…

  • Fischer Bowling Club
    America,  Blog,  Travelogue,  USA

    Step back in time

    It helps when you have a local showing you the sights and sounds in and around Austin, Texas. You get to stop by at towns and places that you didn’t know existed, until you walked in and had a crash course in history. Like Fischer Historical District. Walking around Fischer Texas wasn’t what I expected it to be. Sure, I had seen plenty of movies and read enough to mentally paint a picture of this state, its cities and towns. But what I didn’t expect was to immerse myself into the history of some of these innocuous sounding towns. Straight roads for miles on end A few years ago, I…

  • The famed Nine Arch Bridge
    Asia,  Blog,  Sri Lanka,  Travelogue

    A bridge that was nearly far

    There are bridges, and then there are some more. There are bridges that have been immortalised in countless classic movies; The Bridge on the River Kwai instantly comes to mind. There are bridges that connect countries and people, like the Oresund Bridge that links Sweden with Denmark. And then there are bridges, that, in this age of social media, have shot into the limelight. One such bridge is the Nine Arch Bridge. A train passes along on the bridge Also called the Bridge in the Sky, the Nine Arch Bridge lies between the small-town stations of Ella and Demodara in Sri Lanka. For those who continue their train journey on…

  • The blue train from Kandy to Ella
    Asia,  Blog,  Sri Lanka,  Stories,  Travelogue

    The blue train from Kandy to Ella

    This train journey is today, a rite of passage for any traveller who visits Sri Lanka. As it chugs along on its approximately seven-hour long journey across paddy fields and through tunnels, you get a door-side view of the high hills and lush green tea plantations. Welcome aboard the blue train from Kandy to Ella. View of Kandy station It wasn’t always so though. It was originally built when the British to transport tea from the hills of Kandy to the capital. What initially started out as a 50 odd kms rail line in 1864, has, today, expanded to over 1,500 kms that runs through hills, along the coasts and…

  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress from Pidurangala Rock
    Asia,  Blog,  Sri Lanka,  Stories,  Travelogue

    Scaling a rock to see another rock

    It provides a cost advantage that is hard to resist. It is tougher to scale. And offers you a spectacular 360° view of the surroundings down below and further afield. If you haven’t scaled Pidurangala Rock, then let this be your motivation to do so the next time you visit Sri Lanka. The views of the countryside from the top of Pidurangala Around 46km from Kandy is a town that that has been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Besides being among the best examples of ancient urban planning, it also has a rock towering at close to 200m called Sigiriya Rock Fortress, or Lion’s Rock. One of…

  • A reclining Buddha inside one of the caves
    Asia,  Blog,  Sri Lanka,  Travelogue

    Sri Lanka’s famed Dambulla cave temples

    Sitting atop a rock close to Dambulla, at a height of approximately 160m, is a temple so unique that UNESCO has included it as part of its World Heritage sites – the famed Dambulla cave temples, perhaps Sri Lanka’s best-preserved temple complex. Dambulla cave temples When I was planning my trip to Sri Lanka, I was sure there would be no beachside retreat, unlike my previous visits to this beautiful island. After researching on places to visit, the central part of the country seems the most alluring. From the cultural capital – Kandy, to perhaps one of the most beautiful train journeys anywhere in the world. And then there was…

  • Miss Wong
    Asia,  Blog,  Cambodia,  Resources,  Reviews,  Travelogue

    Welcome to the People’s Socialist Party of Wong

    Step back in time and have a drink or three in a setting that takes you to the 1920s. Step into Miss Wong in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The interiors are a tasteful nod to its history Sure, a pint of beer at 50 cents is ridiculously cheap on Pub Street in Siem Reap. And that means, a few pints and hours later, you are still sitting on the same seat, in the same bar you have chosen to make your preferred spot for the day, or evening. A pint doesn’t get any cheaper But it’s not every evening that you can tolerate doing the same thing, only changing the bar…

  • Rush hour on Park Street at night
    Asia,  Blog,  India,  Travelogue

    Oh Calcutta

    It’s a city that elicits various responses. Some swear by it, while others swear at it. This is Kolkata. A smile can brighten up anyone’s day I had first visited Kolkata in October of 2011, having just finished a week’s stay in Shillong. The idea was to meet with a friend, have a few drinks, and try see a city I’d wanted to visit for many years. As luck would have it, it was pouring. There were parts of the city that were no-go zones, including where my friend lived. So my time was spent at another friend’s home, close to the airport, on Park Street, which is as close…