a curious glance

(little bit of what I see)

Tag: Photography

Goa, A Gang Of Girls And Pictures Galore

Remember, I mentioned in my very first post of this site, that I have been pestering my friends for a trip to GOA?? Let me quote from that post, “Trip, trip, trip, my soul sister had been chiming continuously since the beginning of year. Well, I very well knew the hidden meaning – Goa, Goa, Goa…. I have pestered my other friends for a year now, taken desperate planning initiatives, but could not land in Goa. Work, Marriage, Budget Constraints, are a few reasons out of the many, that Goa seems a farfetched idea for us. The timing is just never right. Well, we will make it happen together is the pact.”

I decided to quit my job to explore other career options, and my last days would coincide with my soul sister’s 30th birthday.. How could we have not taken this opportunity to reinstate our Goa plans…. Perfect timing it was! I could no longer wait to land in Goa with all my friends together.. Anyway, one of my friends already broke the pact earlier this year! We would someday go together, but in between, whoever gets to go, shall go. I guess this is the new unsaid pact….

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Anjuna

We were a group of five girls:

  • Soul sister’s sister from the same mother
  • Her best friend, who is ever ready for a trip and wanted to celebrate her best friend’s 30th Birthday
  • The first person I befriended in my Ex-organisation. You will understand our friendship when I say, she flew from Mumbai for a weekend to be part of my happiness
  • Soul sister
  • I

Gang of girls and Goa was fun and safe. What is the most important aspect when it involves a group of girls and a trip? Safety, right? We rented a car and drove around Goa and thus we were not dependent on anyone. Thanks to Google maps, we could reach any of the destinations with ease.

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And what do you want to do in GOA??? Party, hit the casino and laze around in the shacks on the beaches… Some may want to do adventure sports, it was not on our list..

Let me begin with partying, we went to Club Cabana, and were so amazed by the ambiance and the feel of the club. It is a Must go place! Open air, on a hill, so close to the stars, economical entry for girls, stags not allowed and unlimited drinks is the short description of the place. Dance if you want or just sit at the poolside, talk and stare at the stars. This was our first night, and we would not happen to see crowd better than this in any of the upcoming days in Goa.

We hit Anjuna beach the next afternoon and spent time at Curley’s, the ever famous shack.. They had a slow service as it was crowded, however their chocolate muffins are to die for (not many would try them when in Goa 😉 ) We wanted to go to Casino, but all of us were contemplating a minimum expenditure of 4k on a casino. 4k was the minimum entry fee at Deltin Royale, there are other low-priced casinos as well. We checked a few out, and settled on Deltin Jaqk, as the entry was 1K cheaper. Moreover, it was the only one that looked decent apart from Royale. We spent 15k on Roulette. All of us played roulette. We did win in between, in fact I had recovered my entry fee but then the greed and fun got better of us and we finally came out with only 500 bucks! Actually, 15k included unlimited drinks and food, but we did not like their service and the food was average. Casino turned out to be good for experience sake and we got to use probability after ages. At least some Math taught in school turned out to be usable 😀 The friend from Mumbai (she prefers to call herself a Mumbaikar now, huh!?) has been to Royale earlier and says it is way better.

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We spent the next afternoon in a shack on Candolim beach. There is only one licensed to operate on this beach currently, otherwise adventure sports stole the show on this beach. We ate lunch at Inferno; their Chicken Chettinad and fish curry was scrumptious. The day before we ate lunch at Fisherman’s cove, their food was tasteful too. Mumbaikar had a flight to catch in early evening and we thought we would drop her and cover some part of South Goa as well. We were staying at an apartment in Candolim, North Goa, booked through Airbnb. But damn it, Goa is vast and the roads in North Goa are so small that once you are stuck in traffic because someone parked a car or even worse, a bus on that one lane road, the only option is to take a u-turn (thank god for no dividers) and follow some other route.. We had to do so thrice during our stay. After we dropped her, we could cover only one beach of South Goa. The sunset was mesmerising and peaceful.

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Candolim

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Colva, South Goa

In the evening, after lazing in our apartment for a little while, we went to Baga beach. The shacks are open until late in the night and there are tables with candle light, spread on the sand, only a few steps away from the water… The entire aura was pleasant and untroubled. I would have stayed there forever staring at the moon with the harmonious sound of waves in my ears, if Mr. Special or shall I say, “Future Husband” had accompanied me. However, with the group of friends, we chatted, played dumb charades and then called it a night…

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Baga

More Pictures-

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Brugge: Canals And Beyond….

Brugge (Bruges), the little city in Belgium that touched my heart. It offers warmth and comfort in abundance. I spent only a few hours in the city but as a souvenir, got memories for a lifetime. I would some other time talk about the different cities I visited in Europe. Today, let me present to you the place that left an everlasting impact on me…

We (my brother, his wife and I) reached Brugge from Brussels via train. It is about an hour and a fifteen minutes ride from Brussels. The air of Brugge is unalike; we experienced pleasantness with the very first step into the city.  The best way to explore the city is to walk, cycle or take boat rides in the canals. Having already cycled (well I could not cycle is another story, funny for others and sad/embarrassing for me) and cruised canals in Amsterdam, we decided to tour Brugge on foot.

The towering church, Church of Our Lady, became visible on the other side of the road, a little further down the station. We followed the path that leads to the church. My brother and sister-in-law are good with maps. Well, they had to be, they spent more than a month in Europe. Thanks to their tour, I could spend a few days in Europe too. (I do not like to read maps, I would prefer someone else do it for me.) Let me talk more about the church, at a height of about 122 meters, it is the tallest building in Brugge and considered one of the tallest brick tower in the world. It dates back to the 13th century and it took at least 200 years for its construction to complete.

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From the church, we decided to move on to the Centre of Brugge, which houses another ancient building, Belfry of Bruges (clock tower). The Markt (Market Square) also lies in the heart of the city and serves variety of European food with Italian as a specialty. The pizza we ordered was delicious but the pasta was a little bland for my Indian taste buds. The city centre also gives you an opportunity to talk to the fellow travellers and share your experiences.

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Some say, Brugge is the Venice of North Western Europe. As one walks along the city, the alluring canals wind their way to greet you. I could not get my eyes off the beautiful sights in my vicinity. Probably, these canals had the power to hypnotize me and make me fall in love with the city. I did not take many pictures of the canals, I was too overwhelmed with the entire feel and wanted to absorb the peace completely.

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Towards the south of the city is another hidden wonder of Brugge, Minnewater Lake. While we were eating our meal at the Central, a friendly old man from England suggested that, we must visit the lake. We followed his advice. It is full of greens to the extent that the water appears of the same colour too. It is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the landscape. The lake also known as the “Lake of Love” is considered one of the romantic getaways in the city.

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I can spend hours and hours at the lakeside with coffee and a novel on my side. The sky changed its colour too often from the brightness of blues to the dullness until it rained. We did not have much time in our hand, we had to return to Brussels and then catch an early morning fight to Barcelona. It was time to bid adieu to the magical land. Also, as you stroll through the city, do not miss to observe the quaint houses and shops.

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Do I want to be a new citizen of Brugge???

Oh yes, oh yes, definitely yes:

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Let me summarize it for you:

Canals gliding through the lanes

Mesmerizing the visitors on promenades

Architecture, medieval yet appealing

Part of UNESCO’s World Heritage listing

Minnewater lake, the true love’s portrayal

Couples cross the bridge, making it eternal

A city with perfect blend of art and nature

        Congeniality suffices Brugge’s character….

(Pictures captured by me and my sister-in-law)

PS: If you like my posts, please do not hesitate to like my page on FB.  Check my FB page’s glimpse at the bottom of the page and press the like button (you do not have to specially log in to FB).  Do give me that encouragement to keep writing….


Almora: Wild and Serene

Trip, trip, trip, my soul sister had been chiming continuously since the beginning of year. Well, I very well knew the hidden meaning – Goa, Goa, Goa…. I have pestered my other friends for a year now, taken desperate planning initiatives, but could not land in Goa. Work, Marriage, Budget Constraints, are a few reasons out of the many, that Goa seems a far fetched idea for us. The timing is just never right. Well, we will make it happen together is the pact.

I have itchy feet, and the holiday list from office showed a long weekend in March that coincided with my birthday. I could not let it pass like a casual weekend. I knew the chiming friend would be game while other friends will find some excuses. The travel bug has not bitten them yet. I had to abide by my pact, so Goa was out of the list.

Party was not on our mind, relaxation was. Escaping the city life was the criteria.

“Where do you want to go?”

“I want a combination of greenery, hills, river, I want to walk in a forest and maybe bird watching”

“When did you become so demanding?”

“Well, it is my birthday”

(A jaunt to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary has been in our minds, so bird watching unfolded from our previous discussion)

Thus, began the research to find such a place. Almora/Binsar met the above criteria and appealed to us. Our priority was simple, book a luxurious property to stay but to cut down on travel expenses. Pack as little as possible to make it easy for the bus rides uphill. We booked our train tickets and hotel a month in advance. And then eagerly waited for the getaway…

A month later:

Shatabdi made us reach Kathgodam by 11:40 in the morning. Discussion on our way:

“Let us take the cab, it will be more convenient”

“We decided we will backpack and try to save money on the commute”

“Yeah, but state transport, are you sure?”

“Yes, I have never done it, and it will be fun and a new experience”

I already knew this discussion will pop up, my friend has never been a believer of economical trips. Not to take away the fact, she has travelled more in buses for her journeys to her hometown.

Bus it was, and it was not bad, just bumpy, speedy and overcrowded. Maybe when I say that 2 days later we booked a cab for our downhill journey, you will understand me better.

Let me present to you Almora and Binsar:

 

Breeze so Fresh and fullness of green

Breathing in the environment unusually serene

The overbridge casts an alluring spell

Pristine views adding to the charm of hotel

 

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                           View of Almora from our resort, Imperial Heights

 

View from the balcony

               View from the balcony

 

Tiny bridge over a tiny pond in our resort

                 Tiny bridge over a tiny pond in our resort

 

Stroll in Binsar with wilderness around

Chirpiness and tweet, a never-ending sound

Trust your ears and get clicks on your side

You’ll need luck to sight animals in the wild

 

In Binsar Sanctuary

             In Binsar Sanctuary

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Spot the Bird

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There lies a jungle resort near the zero point

Fairyland that turns scary in the night?

Losing track in quest to reach the crest

Chilly winds too dampen the interest

 

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As we descend towards Almora

Highlight is the colourful flora

The valley leaves us spellbind

A definite rejuvenation of mind

 

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Scribe your wish on a paper, tie it with a bell

Then be a strong believer, your prayers will fulfil

 

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                       Golu Devta Temple

 

As the sun makes mountain its blanket

The sky gradually blushes in scarlet

The peaceful days culminate, the calm remains

With the glimpse of stream, we approach the plains

 

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Kosi River, lower in the hills

                   Kosi River, lower in the hills

 

Believe me, it was a perfect getaway from city’s hush hush life. Life in these 3 days seemed unperturbed. When the hills are calling, be assured Almora will not disappoint you as a destination.



Hotel and Food Details

The room rent was INR 3900 a day for a valley facing package (without breakfast). The best price was available through cleartrip app.  The views and the entire look of the resort justify the price. It could improve upon its services a bit, like providing barbecue facility even if the occupancy rate is not 100%. The food served in the hotel is more than satisfactory. One could also visit  Kasar Rainbow restaurant for more economical yet delicious meals. You can read books or play chess while savouring the food here.


Costs of Travel

As I mentioned in the beginning, we hired a cab for our return to Kathgodam.  If you book your own taxi, it will cost you INR 1000-1200 bucks (one way).  Be careful, and do not pay for a two-way ride as these taxi drivers make a constant up and down journey with passengers. Do not be misled into paying INR 2500 for your one-way ride. There is also an option of sharing your ride with other travelers. It will cost you around INR 250 per person. The bus rides costs INR 125 per person to Almora. To reach Binsar, you can again share your rides or book your own taxi.  Expenses on train ticket will be INR 700 for one way.

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