Monthly Archives: February 2014

George Washington’s affair with gardens

We celebrate the Washington’s birthday to mark the day when our nation’s great President George Washington was born. Washington was a great President who shaped the glorious future of United States of America. But do any of us know about George Washington’s affair with gardens.  

George Washington at Mount Vernon

Gardens are beautiful and rosy. Gardens take us to an amazing journey. They remind us of poets who had great love for gardens. Washington was a great connoisseur of gardens. He took care of plants and flowers growing in his garden. He lived to the spirit of a great planter. He planted trees at Mount Vernon.

Washington brought many native flora to United States of America. He got beautiful shrubs and plants in the walkways around the Bowling Green. He is discussed widely for his huge passion for nature. During his time, he was one of the patron of art of gardening. His image of a great president has often dominated his love for gardens.

Garden at Mount Vernon

Washington’s letters bear the testimonies of his love for gardens. His  letters strongly revealed his love for flowers and flora. Although Washington’s expression for nature was not as loud as his policies but as a nature-lover he truly deserves the appreciation and kudos. A big cheer to this great leader for his love for flowery and colorful gardens!

Today on Washington’s birthday, when we remember George Washington as one of the greatest presidents of all time in history, we stop for a moment to look back at his love for gardens.  Although his persona as a president and leader has overshadowed his affairs with gardens, we should not forget his immense contribution to the flora of United States of America.

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The Mystery behind Changi Beach

The Changi Beach
The Changi Beach

We love listening to the ghost stories from the very childhood. But some ghost stories are not just stories. They are real. Let’s try unfolding the mystery behind the serene and tranquil, Changi Beach, Singapore. Despite being known for its share of paranormal activities, it attracts the localities and the tourists with it’s spectacular beauty of sunrise and sunset. Beauty may have a bitter truth behind, so does this beach. Just check it out!!!

The mysterious place was the killing ground of numerous Chinese people, during the Sook Ching massacre of the Second World War. Chinese were blamed for going against the Japanese and were considered as anti-Japanese, though it is a myth. They were brutally tortured and killed because of the same reason. Hence it is associated of being one of the most popular haunted places of Asia. To add on to this, the Old Changi Hospital and Changi Beach House are considered as two of the most haunted buildings in Asia.

Dreadful Event while Shooting
Dreadful Event while Shooting

During the Second World War in the year 1942, Singapore was captured by Japanese. By hook or crook, Japanese wanted to get rid of the anti-Japanese people. Poor Chinese started becoming underground and hiding themselves, they were rendered homeless and helpless. Not only Chinese, but some Britishers and Australians were also trapped in the trap. Though all the suspects were killed then and there, yet a majority of soldiers were left who were tied and taken to Changi Beach. Thousands of soldiers were tortured, beheaded and their body was cut vertically into two halves by the Japanese. The thought leaves us grief stricken!!

Old Changi Hospital
Old Changi Hospital

The beach was a kind of graveyard for thousand of innocent people who were chiefly soldiers. Let us see why:-

  • People visiting this area during dawn and dusk often complain of hearing painful cries of soldiers and sometimes women, which is a hair raising experience.

  • Blood stains are often seen on the sand, even after the waves wipes of the sand.

  • The cut heads of Chinese soldiers is often seen flying there and begging for help.

  • The headless bodies walking by the shore and sobbing have been observed.

  • People are panic stricken to see ghostly execution leaving the blood dripping along with deadly screams and shouts.

  • During the night people observe dug holes as if they were used for burying bodies.

  • In January, 2010, a group of local filmmakers began exploring the popular haunted Old Changi Hospital in Singapore. They managed to capture a lot of scary footage with shadows and figures.

There are numerous rented houses by the beach. Paranormal activities associated with Changi Beach houses are:-

  • Most of the people complain that someone is staring at them constantly. 
  • People are slapped by unknown faces while they are taking bath. 
  • Non-stop creaking noise of the old door. 
  • Possessions of the dead stained with blood
Changi Beach Park
Changi Beach Park

The grief behind the untimely death of the innocent people can never be replaced. The mystery remains unsolved even today!!!

Best Restaurants in Berlin Germany

Ganymed Brasserie: Ganymed Brasserie is one of the few riverside best restaurants in Berlin Germany. It has a terrace which provides a great view for watching boats sailing by on the Spree and spotting trains moving across the railway bridge into busy Friedrichstrasse station. The rich tradition is reflected in the brasserie-style French cuisine which is simple, regionally sourced and delicious. The menu also lays down mussels and biological salmon, Muscovy duck breast and lamb, snails and oysters, Alsatian Flammkuchen (pizza) and heartwarming sauerkraut dishes. A good wine completes the sumptuous meal.

Ganymed Brasserie
Ganymed Brasserie

Hartmanns: Hartmann serves exquisite French food in a classy white interior. The regular set menu spreads three to seven courses, includes dishes like monkfish with artichoke, cod in tomato stock, seabass and a cheese platter.  The lavish menu has mouth-watering starters and sumptuous main courses. Stefan Hartmann with reasonable prices and the cool atmosphere is one of the best choice among many restaurants in Berlin. Enjoy a romantic meal by the fireplace in winterStefan .

Lutter and Wegner: Have fine-dining experience with Lutter and Wegner! Lutter and Wegner is situated in a great historical building. The restaurant has an Austrian-inspired menu which consists of native dishes. Drop in winter to try famous mouth-watering and irresistible dishes. Warm yourself with great company and order you very favorite Wiener schnitzel!

Theodor Tucher: Theodor Tucher is located in the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. This is one of the best place to have authentic German dishes. This restaurant serves great sumptuous dishes. Enjoy some hard-resisting grilled asparagus. Also, try some great meals such as lamb shoulder and ox cheeks. Drop in summer to enjoy great meal and amazing time. Go German with Theodor Tucher!

And the race begins…

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them……”,Ernest Hemingway

The mentioned quote of Ernest Hemingway forces us to compare a cyclist with a person driving a car. Indeed, the one who travels by cycle has a greater reach towards all the corners of a city than to the latter one. An enthusiast cyclist never stops himself from treading into any course whether plain, sloppy or mountainous.

Cycling and swimming are said to be something once learnt, learnt forever. And of course, many health benefits are also associated with them. However, lets talk about how cycling helps us in growing up healthier. It’s a kind of exercise that involves the whole body. Thus, strengthens our body in a holistic manner:

  • Keeps away from heart diseases

  • Reduces  diabetes

  • Keeps the blood pressure in control

  • Strengthens body muscles, especially, leg muscles

  • You can enjoy your sweetmeats even while riding since it burns calories efficiently

However, people like to enjoy it more as a sport than as an exercise. And, it was the spirit of one’s competitiveness that brought cycling into Olympics in 1896. There are many different cycling categories in which cycle racing takes place. But before introducing these categories to you let me make it very clear that as a sport, this sweet and simple cycling is full of technicalities like track’s width, cyclist’s timing, kind of bikes, bla..bla..bla…Well, I really don’t understand these technicalities, just wanna enjoy cycling the way it is. So, let’s begin the race without dwelling much into these technicalities…

  1. Road bicycle racing – In this category, the competitive riders need to start simultaneously in order to catch up with each other’s speed. The form requires an ability to ride safely in a herd of many riders. The sport is popularly played in France, Belgium, Italy and Spain.

Catch up the speed
Catch up the speed!
  1. Individual time trialling – For the game it is said, “It doesn’t matter what time anyone else got- first and foremost, you are racing against yourself.” It’s all about racing against a competitor called “clock”. In the race, you are left with a bicycle, a thumping heart and, of course, with the tick-tack of a  clock. People from England and Wales are more devoted towards this particular race.

A race against time
A race against the time!
  1. Cyclocross racing – Well, this is the race where your cycle gets a fair chance to ride on you. Baffled! But I actually mean it. As the name suggests, ‘cyclo’ which means something to do with cycles and ‘cross’ means to cross an obstacle. In the race, the riders are provided with a course full of obstacles like steep hills, wooden trails and grass. To pass these obstacles, the cyclists need to shoulder their cycles and run. Therefore, if you are planning to participate in any such race, make sure you have a bike quite light in weight. France, Belgium and Netherlands are the place where this particular race is mostly organized.

Run shouldering it
Run shouldering it!
  1. Track cycling – It’s all about one’s speed, technique, balance and tactics since you need to ride on an oval wooden track with many riders pursuing you. Countries like Belgium, France, Germany and UK are now its main centers.

Careful! It's an oval track.
Careful! It’s an oval track.
  1. Bicycle motocross (BMX) – Here lies another obstacle full track for you, where you need to cross them all without losing your grip from your bike. If the pilled up dirt paves your way for small jumps, we have wooden ramps too where you can enjoy high jumps.

Enjoy jumping
Enjoy jumping!
  1. Mountain bike trials – Another race with too many obstacles but here lies the test of your quickness, alertness, smartness and patience. This one is different from other races since in it you can’t set your foot on ground while crossing the obstacles.

Can't set your foot on ground
Can’t set your foot on ground.
  1. Cycle speedways – The race takes place on small oval tracks with no gears and tracks to operate on. Your ‘pedal power’ works as the required fuel. Countries like England, Scotland, Wales, Poland and Australia are some nations that take special interest in this race.

"Pedal power"
“Pedal power”
  1. Mountain bike racing – As the name suggests, you are not going to have smooth and regular tracks but need to race in the lap of nature. In a single race,  you will have the experience of different tracks. Somewhere you will have slopes, then descents and many such rough natural tracks. Thus, you need to be very good with paddling on any kind of track. Australia, Canada, France are the nations that produces such daring cyclists.

Enjoy different tracks!
Enjoy different tracks!

Since we are talking about cycle racing let me break the news to you that  the tracks have been set for the UCI Track World Championships 2014. The event is going to take place in Cali, Colombia from 26th of February to 2nd of March. So, all you cyclists around get ready with your lucky bikes to win the race with. And you! The sport’s fans, don’t miss the chance to witness the most happening event of the year.

Awe-inspiring but Uninhabited Islands in the World

Imagine a morning when you wake up only to find yourself on one of the uninhabited Islands. How would you react? The way Chuck Noland, the great survivor, of Cast Away reacted or managed to come out of it or we will have another Christopher Columbus discovering a new nation? Sounds adventurous! But how on earth can there be any uninhabited place? Past few decades have seen a tremendous increase in human population occupying each and every bit of land for making it their abode.

However, our beautiful earth managed to maintain the beauty of some untouched and unexplored Islands. Everything that the nature encompasses of, has a beauty of its own and it solely depends on human eyes how they perceive it. Visiting these Uninhabited islands you can either wonder as to why people don’t find this paradise suitable to live in or you might feel uncomfortable with the different environment. Here, is a list of some awe-inspiring but uninhabited Islands:

Jaco Island-  Your trip to East Timor would be incomplete if you don’t visit its Jaco Island. The charm of the Island is such that you will be suggested to visit Jaco every now and then by whosoever you meet there. The pristine Island is considered sacred by the Timorese and this is probably the actual reason as to why it is uninhabited. People there want to maintain the sanctity of the place by keeping this untouched, free from any human intervention. However, among tourists it is known for its sandy beaches, beautiful turquoise water and different kind of beautiful fishes. The land has to be protected since it falls into East Timor’s National park named Nino konis Santana.

Jaco Island
Jaco Island

Clipperton Island- The Island is located at the South of Mexico. The coral atoll was once an inhabited island but because of the Mexican Civil war and the World war 2, the land stopped getting its basic requirements thus, was abandoned by the natives completely. The Island is now visited occasionally for mining, research and fishing but with the permission of French government. The most interesting thing about the island is that it is named after a pirate called John Clipperton who made the Island his hideout. The land is known for its freshwater and eutrophic lagoon.

clipperton Island
clipperton Island

Mu ko Aug Thang-  The Gulf of Thailand is indeed famous for its varied cuisines but apart from this, it is also famous for its “group of islands”. It’s an archipelago of more than 40 Islands of different sizes and shapes. Phaluai, Wua Talap, Mae Ko, Wua Chio, Samsao are some of its famous Islands. These islands are famous for their beautiful caves, white sand beaches, thick forests and rock formations.

Mu ko Aug Thang
Mu ko Aug Thang

Cocos Island- Valued by the Scuba divers the Island is also known for its rich marine fauna like hammerhead sharks, dolphins and also for its volcanic tunnels. Famous as a treasure hunting site the Island is located off the Costa Rican coast. But, don’t forget to take permission from the Costa Rican government before visiting the Island.

Cocos Island
Cocos Island

Phoenix Islands- Considered as world’s largest marine protected island, it is an archipelago of around eight atolls. The undisturbed ecosystem of the Islands harbor a vast population of marine fauna and flora. The healthy evolution of this population proves that it is actually the human intervention that has led to the extinction of many species of flora and fauna.

Phoenix
Phoenix

Adabra Island- World’s most giant tortoise family welcomes you on Adabra Island. The extremely isolated Island is considered as one of the largest coral atoll of the world. Because of its inaccessibility, it is still undisturbed by human interference. This World heritage site is visited mainly by naturalists and scientists. Enclosing a shallow lagoon, the whole island is surrounded by a beautiful reef. Its lack of fresh water seems to be the only reason of it being a beautiful but uninhabited place.

Aldabra
Aldabra Island

Mamanuca Island- A group of around 20 beautiful island wants to be explored by you. The volcanic archipelago has islands like Bounty, Malol and Treasure. These islands have got beautiful beaches and lagoons that make them a popular tourist place. A great number of the species of fish reign over the waters of these islands. A part of this island was starred in the movie Cast Away!

Manamuca Island
Manamuca Island

Tetepare Island- Once a land of human traverse, now the land is completely uninhabited. It is now considered for its archaeological value and also for the great species of flora and fauna that the island shelters. The pristine land is completely surrounded by rain-forest. The remnants of the extinct settlement can be found in the form of burial shrines present here. The reason as to why people deserted the land of wonder is still unknown.

Tetepare Island
Tetepare Island

The list of these islands is just an example to acknowledge that there are many such marvels in the lap of nature that are still to be explored. We should try to hunt some time out of our busy schedules and come out from under our rocks to know more about the planet we inhabit. I truly believe that there are some natural bodies that need to be entirely untouched for the sake of maintaining their beauty. However, that does not mean we should let them lie hidden instead try to glorify them in all possible manner. But heyii! You have not answered me so far how would you react if got stuck on any of these uninhabited islands??