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Photo Essay – Day 5 – Driving from Stavanger to Bergen, Norway

5 Feb

With somewhat sore and slightly painful feet (after our hike to Pulpit Rock the previous day) we left Stavanger early in the morning for our long drive to Bergen.

Driving from Stavanger to Bergen, Norway

Driving from Stavanger to Bergen, Norway

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Photo Essay – Day 3 – Driving from Kristiansand to Stavanger, Norway

26 Dec

Bidding goodbye to our host at Villa Baneheia, we left Kristiansand early in the morning and joined E39 again to drive towards Stavanger. Our plan was to reach Stavanger in the evening with one brief stop in between. We had quite a few options for this stopover but ultimately decided to visit the southernmost point in Norway at Lindesnes to see the lighthouse here i.e. the Lindesnes Fyr.

The Norwegian countryside, Norway

The Norwegian countryside, Norway

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Photo Essay – Day 2 – Driving from Oslo to Kristiansand, Norway

24 Dec

Morning of our second day in Oslo was cold and cloudy and the streets empty when, armed with our backpacks, we left our hotel to pick up our rental car. On this trip we wanted to spend a lot more time in the countryside and were to drive south from Oslo along the coastline to Stavanger and eventually Bergen. We were super excited as this was our first driving holiday in Europe and we couldn’t wait to be on the way.

Early morning at Oslo Central Station, Oslo, Norway

Early morning at Oslo Central Station, Oslo, Norway

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Photo Essay: walking around Oslo

4 Dec

When the pilot announced we had started our descent I kept the book I was reading aside and looked out of the window to get my first glimpse of Oslo, the starting point of our two-week vacation in Norway and Sweden. I was expecting to see the suburbs of a big city but my first sight of Oslo was a complete surprise and something that grew to be so familiar with every place we visited in Norway – hilly landscapes, meandering water bodies, lush green fields and colorful houses.

Aerial view on descent into Oslo Airport, Oslo, Norway

Aerial view on descent into Oslo Airport, Oslo, Norway

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Norway and Sweden – Our Travel and Itinerary

19 Nov

Dramatic landscapes, mountains with stunning fjords, lakes mirroring colorful wooden houses and to top it all the stunning aurora borealis. Norway and Sweden were full of these beautiful surprises literally everywhere and as far as the eye could see. But when asked how I would describe these places – I was somehow always at a loss for words to describe the beauty. The normal words of such as “beautiful”, “stunning”, “gorgeous” and the likes are somehow insufficient to describe what you feel for this landscape. Traveling here we finally understood why these countries and its people are repeatedly voted as the happiest countries and people in the world.

Aurora Borealis in the outskirts of Tromso, Norway

Aurora Borealis in the outskirts of Tromso, Norway

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A different side of Venice – Staying in the Venetian countryside

5 Sep

Venice – about 3 years ago I found myself in this city at a really short notice of 2 days. While looking for a place to stay online,  I realized that last minute trips to Venice is not a good idea as all places that I liked and within my budget were full. After a lot of research I  ultimately stayed at the Faronhof B&B, a small bed and breakfast in Oriago di Mira (about 15 kms from Venice). Though I would have loved to stay in Venice; it all worked out much better in the end as this B&B gave me an opportunity to get a glimpse of the Venetian countryside.

The Venetian countryside, near Venice, Italy

The Venetian countryside, near Venice, Italy

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Photo Essay: Venice through my camera lens

20 Aug

Venice. About 3 years ago I found myself in this city at a really short notice of 2 days. With no time to research or read on it, I was quite unprepared as to what to expect or the unique things to see and do here. So I just spent all my time just walking around and exploring the nooks and corners of this unique city.

Venice in one pic - Gondolas, Cupolas and Lamps

Venice in one pic – Gondolas, Cupolas and Lamps

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Albania – Broken April by Ismail Kadare

16 Jul

After completing the two selected books on Afghanistan, the next country on my reading list was Albania. Researching for books on Albania was quite interesting as I realized that I don’t know anything about this country at all. As a quick background – geographically located in Southeast Europe between Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece, Albania has an interesting political history. Albania was ruled by the Ottoman Empire till 1912 (when it declared its independence), but was conquered by Italy in 1939 and then by Germany in 1943. In 1944, it became a Socialist State and the Party of Labor and Enver Hoxha took control of the country till the early 1990s. During the communist era, Albania experienced many social and political changes, as well as isolation from the international community. In 1991, the Socialist Republic was dissolved and the democratic Republic of Albania was established. With it’s nearly five centuries of Ottoman rule and the subsequent communist regime, Albania has a unique and distinct culture from other European countries.

Broken April by Ismail Kadare

Broken April by Ismail Kadare

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Afghanistan – The Places In Between by Rory Stewart

3 Jul

I started my travel reading project with the first country on the list – Afghanistan. Originally I had decided to read one travel related book on each country written by a local author. But an initial research online yielded quite a few interesting book suggestions, and I couldn’t make up my mind. Finally my sisters’ Afghan colleagues’ came to my rescue and based on her recommendation I decided to read – Earth and Ashes by Atiq Rahimi and The Places In Between by Rory Stewart.

The Places in Between by Rory Stewart. Pic courtesy - Amazon

The Places in Between by Rory Stewart. Pic courtesy – Amazon

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The Majestic Ruins of the Heidelberg Castle

30 Jun

Originally my Heidelberg trip was to start with a walking tour of the town, for which I had actually taken an earlier train from Frankfurt. I reached my hotel alright and then got badly lost and missed the walking tour. I am sure anyone who has been to Heidelberg will wonder how I managed such an impressive feat in such a small town! Well in my defense I was holding the map upside down. #Faceplam I know. So once I missed my walking tour, I decided to start my trip with a visit to the most imposing structure in Heidelberg – The Heidelberg Castle.

The Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg

The Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg

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