Rome

Rome Italy–innamorato di Roma

Second place after Budapest, Rome or what locals call it Roma was the place I visited.  Airport is far from the city Ciampino–G. B. Pastine International Airportthere are direct shuttle buses or you can take trains from Ciampino to Roma Termini which takes around 45minutes to an 1hour may be.

Hotel booked was just near Roma Termini by the name of Hotel Lirico, which was a decent one and just at walking distance. Aura of Rome  made me fall in love with it.

I couldn’t believe, we walked for straight 9 to 10 hrs and saw  many sightseeing place within Rome(thanks to the best skills of my friend with reading map 😉). and ya forgot to mention, danced on the beats of awesome street music.

Rome

Table of Contents

Colosseum

The Roman Colosseum is a testament to the architectural skills of the ancient Roman people and offers insight into the culture that celebrated the gladiator games at this huge entertainment arena. The first bloody fight ensued in A.D. 82, starting a tradition of battles between men and beasts in a public forum with crowds reaching 50,000.

Outside of the Colosseum, look out for the photo opportunity beneath the Arch of Constantine, which was built in 315 to commemorate the victory of Constantine over Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius. To avoid lengthy lines, order tickets online ahead of time — they’re good for 2 consecutive days and include admission to the nearby Forum and Palatine Hill.

Colosseum

Spanish Steps 

The Spanish Steps may be the longest and widest staircase in all of Europe, but that’s not what draws visitors to this popular tourist spot. A Barcaccia fountain bubbles at the foot of the steps while the Trinità dei Monti church rises above the crowds at the top of the steps.

But the best spot is somewhere in between the 2: take a seat in the middle of the wide staircase and watch the city go by as beautiful people hurry into the nearby high-end shops, designer boutiques and restaurants

Spanish Steps

Castel Sant’Angelo 

This fortress on the Tiber River was originally designed by the Emperor Hadrian to be used as a mausoleum for his own family. And it was certainly a resting place fit for royalty, rising above the city with glorious views.

Over the centuries, it moved beyond its original purpose and served as a military fortress in 401 and later a papal residence and even a prison. It’s now a museum where you may tour the apartments and see the statue of the archangel Michael rising above the terrace.

Castel Sant'Angelo

Capuchin Crypt 

While some may find the displays of bones and skulls a bit on the morbid side, the Capuchin Crypt located under Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins celebrates the life of the religious order of the Capuchin friars.

The friars arranged the bones of the deceased into displays and frames for Christian artwork in various spots throughout the crypt including the Crypt of the Skulls and the Crypt of the Resurrection. Not merely a macabre display, these creations tell the story of life, death and resurrection and show a unique interpretation of the church’s teachings of good, evil and eternity.

Trevi Fountain 

Travelers’ lore lists various reasons for throwing 3 coins in the fountain at the marvelous Trevi, with benefits ranging from finding love to returning to the city. Once you’ve mastered your art of coin-throwing and wished for the appropriate outcome, take some time to explore this Baroque masterpiece showing the god Neptune riding in a shell-shaped chariot led by seahorses.

And you can feel good about your charitable donation as the money (nearly $3,500 each day) collected from the fountain is used to support food programs for the city’s poor.

Trevi Fountain

Below 2, the most beautiful places and the must go, unfortunately we were not able to make those due to time limitation ☹.  But we made most of the time whatever we saw

Piazza Navona 

Rome is known for beautiful and charming squares lined with restaurants and open-air cafes. The loveliest of them all is the large public square at Piazza Navona, once the site of sporting events at Domitian’s stadium in A.D. 89.

The square contains 3 fountains, and the largest and most memorable is Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers with each of the 4 statues representing a river from different continents.

Piazza Navona 

Vatican City

Even though it’s located in Rome, Vatican City has been an independent state since 1929 with its own flag, coins and stamps. It even has its own militia, the Swiss Guard, which protects this state, the Pope and the 800 full-time citizens and visiting residents. The first impressive site is St. Peter’s Square itself designed by Bernini in the late 17th century.

As long as you’re dressed appropriately (no bare shoulders or shorts or skirts above the knee), you may enter St. Peter’s Basilica and see Michelangelo’s Pietá, a stunningly beautiful and sad sculpture. Continue up to the roof where you can take in the view of the large square and city beyond. Also contained in the Vatican’s walls, the Vatican Museums hold Italian masterpieces, including Michelangelo’s painted ceiling at the Sistine Chapel.

Vatican City

Paris

Paris(France)-  amour avec Paris

Hey Friends, here I am with another travel blog. What people call the place of Romance-Love. PARIS.

Again like any other place in Europe, the weather in March was awesome. It was so good, we could walk from morning to evening.

Anyway, flying time was 2 hours from Rome to landing at Beauvais–Tillé Airport. We had pre-booked shuttle buses from the Airport terminal to Eiffel Tower Metro Station.

Travel time is about 60 to 70 min(depending on traffic conditions- most of the driving is outside the city) & costs about 17€ (depends from where you book) there are many online booking sites(choose what is best for you). You can also pre-book cabs and all. As we wanted to explore the metro route (again thanks to my friend who is best with navigation), we were very comfortable in reaching our destination.

Hope below links are of some help:

Paris Metro Route: http://www.plandeparis.info/metro-paris/metro-paris.html

Shuttle Bus booking from Metro: https://www.aeroportparisbeauvais.com

Below are the sightseeing places which you can enjoy while on your visit to Paris:

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Eiffel Tower- Lovers destination

What would Paris be without its symbolic Eiffel Tower? Built by Gustave Eiffel to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution, it is presented at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889. 324 meters high, it is one of the most visited monuments in the world with nearly 7 million visitors a year.

The first floor houses the Eiffel Tower 58 which extends over two levels, 58 meters above the ground as its name suggests. On the second floor, the view is the best at 115 meters because you have a diving view on the ground below.

Finally on the 3rd floor at 275 meters, you can see what the office of Gustave Eiffel was. For the more adventurous one, it is possible to use the stairs and climb the steps (1,665 to the summit). landscape around the tower is green and very plush

The ascent of the Eiffel Tower is a must to enjoy the magnificent view of Paris.

Eiffel Tower

The Louvre – Art in the heart of the city

The Louvre is the most visited art museum in the world. Located in the heart of Paris, this historic building is a former royal palace, with an area of 210,000 square meters including 60,600 for the exhibitions. The museum is housed in the Louvre, originally a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II. The remains of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum.

The collection is divided into eight departments:

  • Egyptian antiquities
  • Oriental antiquities
  • Greek, Etruscan and Roman
  • Islamic Art
  • Sculptures of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Modern Times
  • Objects of art
  • Paintings
  • Graphic arts.
The Louvre

Notre Dame Cathedral

One of the most enduring symbols of Paris: Notre-Dame de Paris, also known as Notre Dame, a Roman Catholic cathedral is located on the eastern half of the Ile de la Cité. It is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in France and Europe. Begun in 1163 and completed in 1345, this cathedral is a sight with its portals surrounded by his many sculptures and gargoyles that adorn the roof.

We advise you to walk around the cathedral, then go inside and climb the 387 steps to the top of the towers. The climb to the top of the towers can be exhausting, but you will get a panoramic view of the region and see the famous gargoyles up close.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Moulin Rouge – The original cabaret house

We were lucky enough that we had a view of Moulin Rouge from the hotel window. As the birthplace of French Cancan, Moulin Rouge is a vintage and classic cabaret venue, located at the base of Montmartre highland.

Formerly a seat for courtship dance, Moulin Rouge now is a nicely decorated and extravagant cabaret house. And of course, one of the most fascinating Paris tourist places. The well illuminated building, sizzling music and romantic décor makes it one of the best places to visit in Paris at night.

Moulin Rouge

Champs Elysées / Arc of Triumph

Under the spell of ancient Roman architecture, Napoleon commissioned Jean Chalgrin the design of a triumphal arch dedicated to the glory of imperial armies. Built in the 19th century, it is the largest monument of its kind in the world.

Impressive sculptures adorn its pillars. In addition, the names of 558 generals and the great victories are engraved on the top of the arc. Under the Arc de Triomphe is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of France.

The panoramic terrace above the door offers a beautiful view of Paris. 50 meters high, 45 meters wide and 22 meters deep, the Arc de Triomphe is located on the Place de l’Etoile which leads to the Champs Elysees which is nicknamed “the most beautiful avenue in the world.” It stands on 1.9 km between Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe. There are many luxury boutiques (Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Guerlain, Montblanc …), places of entertainment (Lido, cinemas), famous cafes and restaurants (Fouquet’s).

Cruise on the Seine

Find the best way to visit the “City of Light” enjoying a cruise on the Seine, especially at night. When the sun sets, the monuments are lit slowly. You get a panoramic view to the forefront so you can enjoy the beauty of Paris: Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Pont Alexandre III and many more.

You can also enjoy a dinner cruise on the Seine aboard a boat. For about two hours, you are welcomed.

Cruise on the Seine

Disneyland Paris

I am mentioning this here(but truth is, we didn’t visited there due to time limitation :p )

Fans of Mickey can visit Disneyland Paris which is located 32 km from central Paris, with a connection to the suburban RER A.

Disneyland Paris has two theme parks: Disneyland (with Sleeping Beauty’s castle) and Walt Disney Studios. Top attractions are Space Mountain, It’s a Small World and Big Thunder Mountain.

There are some more places to see in Paris, which we indeed did see & we hardly had any energy left after all the walking, so we moved to the hotel and that was the end of our Paris journey.

Last but not least, if you want to stay near Moulin Rouge, the nearest metro station is Blanche. So you can check the metro map.

Some More Pics: Hope you like and yes enjoy the trip(if you are planning)

Paris
Paris
Paris
Kashmir

Kashmir- Forgotten but not forgotten land

Kashmir has been in the news for around the last 30years and most of the time not for happy reasons. It has always been a place who suffered a lot politically and with terrorism.

Kashmir- Land of Kashyapa. This is just a belief that Kashmir was named after Kashyap Rishi and whom we call Kashmiri Pandits are descends of Rishi Kashyapa. Though this is a story, some believe it, and some don’t. Let me now get to my travel diary and take you through the Kashmir where I went in November 2020

Kashmir is called heaven on earth & below I am penning down my trip & experience.

My travel started from Jammu with an approx 20min flight over beautiful snow-capped mountains. Was accompanied by my family. Lots of precautions amid Corona-virus outbreak.

Day1: Srinagar

 

Zeashta Devi Shrine(Zeathyar) & Shankaracharya Temple

Zeashta Devi Shrine(Zeathyar):

As our accommodation was near Srinagar, our 1st day started with local Srinagar. We visited this old Hindu shrine Zeashta Devi or what locals call it Zeathyar. It is around 9KM from main Srinagar. Zeashta Devi Shrine or Zeathyar is Hindu shrine located in Srinagar in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir established in around 1968 mainly a Kashmiri Hindus shrine. As it was an epidemic situation, there were very few people around. Weather was beautiful. Chill in the air and warmth from the Sun made it more beautiful. Here are a few pics from the place.

Map Location

 

Kashmir
Zeathyar

Shankaracharya Temple:

The Shankaracharya Temple is also known as the Jyeshteshwara Temple. It is situated on top of the Shankaracharya Hill on the Zabarwan Range in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

From Zeastha Devi temple, we drove straight towards Shankaracharya Temple via forest road which is about 18Km.

There is heavy security and you have to park your vehicles at a distance. You are not allowed to take your mobile phones/cameras. There are 243 steps leading up to the temple area and another 8-10 steps from there to the temple hall. Believe me these steps are not just ordinary steps, it will take some of your energy to walk :D.

You can view the entire Srinagar from the top of the temple. Dal lake looks amazing from the top.

Map Location

Shankaracharya Temple
Shankaracharya Temple

This ended our day1 of the Kashmir tour.

 

Day2: Srinagar

Dal Lake

Many of us might know about Dal Lake in Srinagar.  ‘Dal’ in Kashmiri means lake. The shoreline of the lake, is about 15.5 kilometres (9.6 mi), is encompassed by a boulevard lined with Mughal era gardens, parks, houseboats and hotels.

During the winter season, the temperature reaches below 0 degree Celsius resulting in freezing the lake. The floating gardens, known as “Raad” in Kashmiri, blossom with lotus flowers during July and August.

The shikaras in which you can go to the lake and take a tour. Not to forget the beautiful houseboats. Where you can book a stay for night while enjoying the beautiful view of Kashmir.

Map Location

Dal Lake
Dal Lake
Dal Lake
Dal Lake

Botanical garden

Set up in 1969 in memory of India’s first prime minister, this 80-hectare botanical garden contains many types of plants and vegetation. This garden has a collection of about 150,00 ornamental plants and a huge collection of oak varieties.

The garden has four sections – recreational garden, botanical garden, research section and plant introduction centre. There is a small lake of around 17-hectare within the garden area. You can sit & relax while kids can run around the park & enjoy.

There is an entry fee for all tourists visiting the place.

Map Location

Botanical garden
Botanical garden
Botanical garden

Day 3: Kupwara

Bhadrakali Temple

Near about 80km from Srinagar & in normal traffic/weather conditions, it takes around 2.30hrs drive to reach this very beautiful place. Surrounded by forest & on a certain height, this temple is a very sacred place for Kashmiri Hindus. It is located at Handwara in district Kupwara

As the story of the temple goes like this “”In 1891, Shriman Sarwa Bayu, a resident of Handwara had a dream wherein Maa Bhadrakali directed him to unearth her idol from a shrine located in Khanyar, Srinagar. His son, Pandit Keshavji Bayu accordingly retrieved the idol and placed it at Bhadrakali temple in village Bhadrakal. The idol was stolen in 1981 in mysterious circumstances and subsequently recovered in 1983,”

You will really enjoy the scenery around.

Map Location

Bhadrakali Temple
Bhadrakali Temple

 

Bhadrakali Temple
Bhadrakali Temple

A meditative site, Kupwara town is the unveiling of the most pristine sites of nature ever witnessed. Abode to innumerable wildlife, plant and bird species, these areas provide life among their breath-taking sights not only to humans who come to dwell in the raw serenity seeking peace and quiet.

This is how we ended our day 3.

Day 3: Gulmarg

Gulmarg, known as Gulmarag in Kashmiri, is a town, a hill station, and a popular skiing destination. The town is situated in the Pir Panjal Range in the Western Himalayas and lies within the boundaries of Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary.

Babareshi

It is named after the Sufi saint Baba Payam Uddin Reshi. It is located a few kilometres from Tangmarg and near the hill station Gulmarg

The main feature of this shrine is the grave of Baba payam-Din, covered with a sheet of cloth decorated with unique workmanship. The shrine is popular for granting the boons to its devotees. Devotees that get their boons granted, revisit this shrine, to make grateful offerings in honour to the great saint.

It is around 44km from Srinagar and took us near about 1hr30min to reach the shrine. Due to Covid restrictions, we had to undergo a test first and then were allowed to enter the shrine.

Map Location

Babareshi
Babareshi

Gulmarg

Our last destination in Kashmir was Gulmarg. With rolling green meadows carpeted by bushes of wildflowers blending into snow-clad mountains, whose peaks peep into the clouds, and mountain streams rushing by, Gulmarg is sheer poetry in nature. While this is the summer landscape of this tiny hamlet in Jammu and Kashmir, in winter, it is transformed into a white wonderland, with skiers making a beeline for its famous slopes. The scenic valley of Gulmarg is a little piece of paradise cocooned by the mighty snow-clad mountains of the Pir Panjal range. Emerald, green meadows, deep ravines and pine-forested hills make this meadow of flowers (the meaning of Gulmarg) an ethereal sight that has inspired poets and artists for centuries.

Not sure how many people visit this place; this is typically the last stop of the India boundary on this side. It is called Buta Pathri and is completely under security forces. One of the best places I have seen.

Around 20min of drive from Gulmarg, it is controlled by security forces & approval has to be taken before entering the area. Once you get in, it is all covered by forest. Tall trees and beautiful weather make this place more special.

Map Location

Buta Pathri
Buta Pathri
Gulmarg
Gulmarg
Gulmarg
Gulmarg

 

Gulmarg
Gulmarg

This ended our 3rd day in Kashmir and kind of end to our trip in Kashmir. Though we stayed for 2 more days, we just sneak peeked at the local area market in Srinagar & drove back to Jammu with a lot of memories. 😊

Some of the places which will be in my list when I visit again

  • Pahalgam
  • Sonamarg

This was a very emotional and mesmerizing experience for me. Hope you will enjoy reading this blog & plan a trip to Kashmir once everything is back to normal days after Covid.