Showing posts from April, 2018

Z - Zurich (A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2018)

Zurich will always always hold a very special part in my heart. On my first trip overseas, the first city I landed into was Zurich. Switzerland was my window into the world of wanderlust and made me fall in love with travelling. Even today it remains my first love and one of my best trips. 

Bollywood and Switzerland go way back. They celebrated 50 years of a Golden partnership in 2014. Though Sangam was one of the first films to be shot in Switzerland it was Yash Chopra, who through his movies has single-handedly promoted Switzerland to wider audiences of cinema lovers across India. Soon, Switzerland became a destination for the romantics, honeymooners and for nature travellers. 
Yash Chopra was honoured for his role by being nominated as the Ambassador for Interlaken and a statue of him holding his camera was unveiled there in 2016, having a lake (Lauenensee) named after him, Yash Chopra Lake and having a Jungfrau Railways train named after him.
Since then, there has been a steady flow …

Y - Yuletide in New York City (A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2018)

The holidays are always a magical time of the year, but there is something extra special about spending Christmas in  NewYork City. All around, the best of NewYork attractions turn into illuminated winter wonderlands decked out with Christmas trees, holiday windows and Christmas lights. It is no wonder that NewYork City has been featured in countless holiday movies and TV shows.

My dream of spending Christmas in NewYork fact a White Christmas in NewYork City came true in December 2010. Hubby and I spent a glorious month living in Manhattan at his sister's apartment. One month of pure bliss and snow and piping hot chocolate. We'd bundle up every morning (another exciting thing for me to be able to dawn winter wear from boots to beanies to mittens......something unheard of in our part of the world, the ever so hot, Mumbai) and walk almost 10 - 12 hours a day enjoying the Christmas sites, sounds, smells and shopping.

The brilliant window displays at the famously holid…

X - Xmas in Mumbai (A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2018)

The earliest memories I have of Christmas are of attending Christmas parties at The Leela Kempinski in the late 80s. The popcorn, chips, cake, games, elephant rides, Santa and gifts were something we looked forward to all year long! Christmas was never a big deal while we were growing up. We enjoyed the 10 days of holidays, a Christmas party or two if we weren’t traveling and that was it.
In 2010, a year and a half after our marriage, my husband and I made our second trip to the US, this time to experience Christmas in NYC. My sister in law lived in Manhattan at that point and we stayed with her for a month. It was one of my best trips till day and the greatest experience ever. Hot chocolate has never tasted as good as it did then, sipping it with quivering lips, cold hands and the snow falling over us! Experiencing a white Christmas in NYC was a dream come true. It was a winter wonderland, complete with grand decorations, Christmas carols, gigantic beautifully decorated Christmas tree…

W - Washington D.C. (A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2018)

Part deux of our honeymoon was to the United States of America! Soon after the wedding, Hubby and I took a short 5 day trip to Langkawi. 4 months after our wedding we took a month long trip to the US. It was my first trip to the US and I wanted to see as much as I could. Our base during the trip was New Jersey, at my sister in law's place.

The first weekend there, we took a road trip to Washington DC, the capital of the US and a city rich in history. We spent an entire day at Washington DC and saw the whole place by opting for the hop on - hop off bus tour. We saw The Lincoln Memorial, The White House, The United States Capitol, National Mall, Smithsonian Institution, Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial.
Few cities in the country have as many free, family-friendly and fun museums as Washington D.C. does. The District is home to some seriously prestigious works of art (including the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in the Western Hemisphere, at the National Gallery of Art) …

V - Venice (A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2018)

It is hard to be original when it comes to Venice. Every aspects of the city has been painted, photographed and described a hundred times before by some of the greatest minds. They have captured the contrasts between beauty and the decay, vision and reality, silence and music in an ideal city that is part fairytale and part dystopia.

Our trip to the City of Love in 1999 took us to all the usual tourist spots
St. Mark's SquareSt. Mark's BasilicaPalazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace) and Bridge of SighCanale Grande (Grand Canal)Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) and San PoloMurano and Burano
But here I'd like to tell you all about the beautiful art of glass blowing. If you have ever visited or simply searched Venice online, there’s probably little doubt you’ve seen the famous Venetian glass masterpieces that fill store fronts, vendors’ carts, and decorate various homes and hotels. 

Venetian glass blowing dates as far back as the 8th century when Romans used the knowledge of molded glas…

Shhh....Don't Tell the Kids - The Tooth Fairy Story

Losing a baby tooth and getting an adult one in its place is a milestone celebrated by children and parents all around the world. We are getting to that point with the older one soon turning 6 and waiting for his baby teeth to start falling off and trying to catch the tooth fairy in action when she visits him (yes we still believe in her, though with some doubts). There are notes being compared everyday about kids in school who have started losing their teeth already. Oh the excitement! It's so much fun being a kid!

According to tooth fairy lore, when a child loses a baby tooth, he should place it under his pillow when he goes to bed that night. While he sleeps, the tooth fairy comes to collect it and leaves money or a small gift in exchange. The legend of the Tooth Fairy started to spread in America in connection with the modern living culture – in the old days, people used to throw their lost teeth on the furnace, but in new houses without furnaces it was no longer possible.


U - UAE : Dubai (A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2018)

I have been to UAE - Dubai thrice. The first in 2011, then with my 1 year old son in 2013 and then the latest trip in 2017 with the hubby and both kids. I had blogged about the latest trip soon after coming back. Below is the original blog post in its entirety.

When the hubby suggested an overseas holiday with 2 preschoolers, I laughed at him until I had tears streaming down my face. Was he really serious? The 2 of us alone with the 2 of them for 8 long days. Maybe he had been working too long and too hard. Did he forget that our house looked like a hurricane had hit every weekend!

Maybe it was too early in the morning and he was sleep talking. A cup of coffee later, a picture of the many possible disastrous outcomes of this idea were painted but he stood his ground. Then like a typical Indian "Ma" I used the last resort I could, to change his mind....."what will I feed them there!?"

But as days went by, swayed by the phoren shopping promises and all that we could…

World Book Day - My book reading challenge progress

At the start of 2018, I pledged to read atleast 30 books this year. I honestly didn't think I could do it but nonetheless decided to go ahead and challenge myself. 
Its been going well so far. Not only have I ended up buying more books - paper and ebooks, I have also resubscribed to the library and have been diligently picking up books from there. 
This year I discovered Sudha Murthy's books for kids. I read The Magic of the Lost Temple and enjoyed it thoroughly. You can read my review for the book here.
I rediscovered Roald Dahl. My son who turns 6 later this year started with chapter books and after a few Horrid Henry's and the likes, I picked up a Roald Dahl from the library. His first was The Magic Finger which had us both in splits and we ended up rereading it before returning it. The second one we read was George's Marvellous Medicine which we both loved. I also read The Witches by Roald Dahl which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The House for Mr. Misra by Jaishree Misra was a…

T - Thailand (A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2018)

When I traveled to Thailand in 2002 as a part of my Far East Tour, I was a little taken aback with a animal tourism there. But to be honest, I didn't think much of it while I was there and did what all tourists do...... I posed with the animals and actually enjoyed the animal shows. It is only when I came back, the thought kept nagging at me and I did a little bit of reading up and was shocked at what I found. 

I have been meaning to write about it, but unfortunately haven't done so and now what better an opportunity than this! I would like to dedicate this post to the cruelty and inhumanity towards the animals in the name of animal tourism in Thailand. This is my personal take on the subject and I don't mean to ruffle any feathers (or maybe I do)!

There is a plethora of animal attractions that offer everything from "selfies" with tigers to elephant massages and rides and orangutan boxing offered to tourists in Thailand. It may seem like an exciting opportunity to …

S - Singapore : on board Superstar Virgo (A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2018)

I have been to Singapore twice. Coincidentally, twice in the same year 2002! There is so much to see and do in Singapore. Infact there is something to do for all age groups and hence Singapore remains one of the popular destinations for families travelling with kids. 
But there's a first time for everything! On my first trip to Singapore, we took a 2 day cruise on the Super Star Virgo. It was my first experience on a cruise and I had no idea what to expect. To be honest, it surpassed my expectations. 
Here I cover what to expect aboard The Superstar Virgo for first time Cruisers like me.

Boarding :
In many ways, the process is similar to that at the airport. You still need valid travel documents, check in your baggage, and pass through an immigration inspection and security checks before boarding.Each passenger is allowed only one piece of check-in luggage free-of-charge. Anything more will incur additional fees.You will be given an access card. It’s the most important item as soon as…