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Visit to China

Great wall of China during winter!”, this is what my dad said. My brother looked at me with a sly smile. You don’t know how risky and whiskey we were. We informed Roger, Jane and Peter that the tickets were confirmed. We packed our bags and five of us landed at the Capital Airport of Beijing, for visit to China on 24th December 2013 in the evening.  A weeks trip!

After having a large traditional Chinese platter, we slept like dead people after the journey. We had to stay in a nominal lodge, as we girls had to save a lot for shopping else visit to China would be incomplete.

Great Wall Of China
Great Wall Of China
  • Since the next day was Christmas, our first destination was Beijing Chaoyang Church, a newly built modern Protestant church. As soon as we entered the church for carols, it started hailing. It seemed that Jesus had himself come down to shower his blessing in form of snow. While most of the people were rushing home, we started playing with the ice and teasing each other.

  • Beijing Capital Museum – Our next destination was the Beijing Capital Museum. The snowfall would not affect us since we had to be indoors. Ancient Calligraphy, magnificent paintings, Jade Art, Ceramics Art, selected work of ancient bronze art especially Lord Buddha’s masterpieces, were center of attraction for the tourists. For dinner we had luscious street food at Night Market.

Beijing Capital Museum
Beijing Capital Museum
  • Beijing Zoo – The very next day we planned visiting Chinese national treasure, the giant pandas. We loved to see pandas playing, eating bamboos and sleeping. They were so cute and i really wanted to take them home. Varieties of invertebrates added to our Facebook album.

  • Forbidden City (the Imperial Palace) – Since the day was sunny, paying a visit to the Imperial Palace was brilliant idea. The palace was burnt, rebuilt, sacked and renovated a number of times and well depicts the 18th century in the Qing Dynasty. After the walk over 250 acres, we decided to refresh ourselves at Starbucks with hot coffee.

  • Tiananmen Square – Lying in the heart of the city, Tiananmen Square is the place for massive parades and performances. We enjoyed the colorful dance and also participated and this doubled the fun. Roger exclaimed, “this is real fun, real China’. And how true it was. Any place’s culture and heritage is reflected with its music and dance.

  • Ming Tombs – The days were passing so fast all blending with our laughter and joyful cries. Ming Tombs denotes the burial place of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. It was the ruling dynasty of China from the year 1368 to 1644. Only two tombs, Dingling Tomb and Changling Tomb are open for the visitors. It was so peaceful sitting in the lush green grass nearby.

  • Temple of Heaven (Tiantan) – This temple, built chiefly for the emperors to worship heaven is nevertheless highlight of Beijing. This is considered as a large sacrificing place uniting Heaven, Earth, Sun and Moon. The unique old Chinese trees draws lot of attention for the tourists as well.

Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven
  • Hutong Pedicab Tour (Shichahai Area) – “Wanna have the all new-exciting experience of man-driving Pedicab?” said Jane. Yes!! we all replied. The narrow lanes of the old Beijing hutong areas, took us through the the Drum Tower, courtyard neighborhoods and Prince Gong’s Building. Pipe Tobacco Alley is the most interesting features that will take you to the old Beijing.

  • Lama Temple (Yonghegong) – We had read a lot about this temple in childhood, history. I still remember my history teacher was so strict. The religious building consists of five huge halls and numerous galleries. The reddish-orangey color of the walls was very appealing. The sacred place was initially a palace under a king, who after winning the throne offered it to Tibetan Buddhists. It was a sacred place ever after that. The center of attraction is the biggest Buddha statue carved from a single tree.

Lama Temple
Lama Temple
  • The Great Wall of China – The next destination was The Great Wall of China. It consists of a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth and wood. One whole day was occupied for covering the wall only. With the sport shoes and overcoats, we loved to see the wall covered all over with ice. We had to walk a hell lot. I looked at my brother with a rage and he kept saying “a little more to walk”, throughout the way with an unusual smiling face. I remembered how i use to cling on to his back like a monkey, while i was a kid and also knew how much he loved me. Now our visit to China was a success.

  • Electrifying Nightlife – On 31st December we had planned a luminous party. We took complete rest in the morning and afternoon after the visiting “The Great Wall of China.” For the electrifying nightlife, we decided to pay a visit to JJ Bar. The great tsingtao beer and the latest mandarin pop music definitely added mood to the party animals like us. We had dumplings, manchurian and soup-based noodles.

Traditional Chinese Food
Traditional Chinese Food
  • Chang’an Street – The New Year had started, the sky had never been so illuminating with the firework ever before. We took a stroll along Chang’an Street to Tian’anmen Square, very much recommended for the young people. The clubs, dance and music was so very fascinating. I was a bit over drunk as i was also wishing strangers “Happy New Year”, told my friend Jane. But after all it was New Year’s eve and hangover is good sometimes.

The trip was definitely a memorable one especially with great plans and great pals. We were welcomed at home by Mom and Dad, who after seeing our smiling faces forgot their anger and wished us “Happy New Year”. What a beginning!!

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Romantic Rich Herzlich Zurich Trip

Rich Zurich Trip
Rich Zurich Trip

My friend betrayed and cancelled the last minute plan. But it was comfortable traveling alone. Finally I boarded on a fine coach for Zurich, the cosmopolitan yet cultural city. My seat was adjacent to a hunk. OMG! We exchanged names and soon realized the fact that we could only use gestures and smiles. Roger did not know English and i was poor at German. Going through my android smartphone and came to know about a language learning app that made things easy. I downloaded the app and looked in for German language translator. Greeting Roger in his language surprised him.

I showed him the amazing app and he downloaded it too. We could now exchange at least basic stuff. Roger told me that he had come to pay a visit to his uncle’s place and thought of exploring Zurich. Roger was more than excited when he came to know that i was also there for the same purpose. Not to a surprise, we decided to have fun together. Attraction was natural. We decided to visit five places.

Beautiful Zurich Heart
Beautiful Zurich Heart

Rietberg Museum

The Rietberg Museum is a paramount cultural institution in Zurich. Rietberg Museum comprised of Non-European art. I was just about to trip off the train, when Roger yelled, “achten”. According to the app it meant careful. And i replied, “I am fine”. He too scrolled his phone screen and gave a little smile. It was a sweet beginning of a yet sugary journey.

Zoo

With over 3,000 specimens, zoo is a great place in the city for education and fun. We clicked a number of photographs and also shared our Facebook accounts. Snake section was very fascinating. He exclaimed “schön” which means beautiful.

Fraumünster

The old church had exotic glass design work by Marc Chagall, reflecting the rich heritage of the city. We silently prayed and then went for lunch. The menu was in English. Using the help of lingual app, he decided to have pizza. We enjoyed pizza and pasta with cocktail.

Lake Promenade

Zurich has a lake and lush green scenery galore. All of a sudden Roger told, “kann ich deine Hand halten?”, it means can i hold your hand? We took a walk hand in hand by the lake. The feeling was enticing . It seemed as if butterflies were flying in my stomach.

Lindenhof

It was the time of dusk and the romance was oozing. Our last destination was Lindenhof. Lindenhof is the historic home of a Roman castle and fortress. It consists of a hill and section of old Zurich.

Love in Zurich
Love in Zurich

My flight was at 2:00 A.M. We would part after that, not willing to tell goodbye. He dropped me to the airport. Boarding on the plane, i saw the last message on my cell, it was Roger’s. It said, “ich liebe dich”. Our short love story had begun through apps, shortly i replied, “ich liebe dich auch”. Understand the emotions, it does not require any language translator.

My Trip With Mummy

The pictures were really fascinating and I was fantasising. I was not willing to shutdown my laptop. “We’ll definitely pay a visit if you clear your SAT exams”, that is what my father told. And there i was with the flying colors. I beat the score and emerged out to be a winner of the competition i had been thriving hard since last year. With coaching and apps, i had finally made it. My reward from Dad was the trip to Egypt, grand holidays. I had made the itinerary planner with help of top travel apps. A week later I and my family directly landed in the heart of Egypt. We put up in one of the best hotels. With the help of travel apps, we first started the journey through the Farafra, white desert or Sahara el Beyda.

  • The Sahara desert is the third largest desert in the world. The desert engulfs most of North Africa. It’s white, creamy color fascinates the crew of Expedition. The climate undergoes enormous variations between wet and dry, frequently accompanied by sandstorms and dust devils. The highest peak of sand is the Emi Koussi. Talking about flora and fauna, there is scarcity of water and vegetation to sustain life in most part of the desert. The screwhorn antelope is the Sahara’s largest indigenous mammal. We clicked numerous pics with varieties of camels and have also uploaded the camel ride video on the facebook.

Pyramids

  • Hold your breath, the next destination was “mummies”. I was overexcited. The worth seeing mummies are from the Eighteenth through the Twentieth Dynasties of the New Kingdom. Mummification is the process of bandaging the dead body along with the rituals and removing the internal organs except the heart.  It takes about 70 days to completely mummify a dead body. We also visited Egyptian Museum or Museum of Cairo to understand history in a better way and make the trip a complete edutainment trip.

  • After the dry, hot days, we made our way for some scuba diving and other water activities. Besides ancient allure, Egypt attracts lot many beach vacationers. It has seven beach zones namely The Gulf of Suez, The Beach at Stella Di Mari, The Mainland Coast Along the Red Sea, The Eastern Sinai along the Gulf of Aqaba and its Southern region in the Red Sea etc.  Windsurfing and skiing is very popular along the mainland Gulf of Suez Zone. We were auto guided by travel and leisure app.

Since we had planned trip for a week, we covered almost all the famous places like Mosque of Ibn Tulun, Dahab, Siwa Oasis, Abu Simbel, River Nile Cruise, Red Sea Reef, Karnak, Giza Necropolis and of course The Mummy. I did not lag behind in shopping either and got some antique golden clothing, small decor mummy, miniature pyramid. Each one of us did loads of shopping according to the taste.

The more I was into the shopping stuff, my brother only craved for food, fatso. He is not a shopaholic. We enjoyed the traditional as well as contemporary food like Baghrir, Berber, Keneffa, Briouat,Charmoula, Ghriyyaba with amazing cocktails. The mesmerising memories are well trapped in my smartphone. Finally the exotic trip was over and we landed on the New York International Airport.