Sunday, May 27, 2018

Dragons of Slovenia

Slovenia might be a tiny country in the European continent but its rich in folklore and local legends. The confirmation of that can be seen in the fact that the dragon statue can be found atop a number of buildings,bridges ,coats of arms in the capital city of Slovenia i.e., Ljubljana. The local legend has that ,Slovenia was terrorised by a Dragon ,who had made the place inhabitable because if his atrocities. A brave man from Greece,Jason, who was passing thru Slovenia killed this dragon by stuffing his nostrils with bones of people he had killed and chaining his mouth so that he could not bellow out his hot breath. The dragon was in a drowsy state when Jason did this to him and on awakening he was distraught on feeling suffocated  and not being able to blow out the his breath.
He then flew up in the sky and the hot fire inside of him made him blow up. This is supposed to be the first show of fireworks witnessed by people of Slovenia.

The landmark point of Slovenia is the dragon bridge. Which has dragon statues on either side of the bridge.the legend goes that when a virgin crosses the bridge,the dragons wag their tales.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Day 3 in Australia : Cairns

After spending the first 2 days in Australia in the beautiful city of Sydney, we took a flight to a pretty small little tropical town called Cairns. We got to Cairns after a 2 hour flight from Sydney and moved into our beautiful seaside Holiday Inn resort.
In front of our hotel in Cairns 

Cairns is small seaside town, gets abundant rain throughout the year and is surrounded by tropical forrests.

Walking on the beautiful streets of Cairns lined by Gulmohar trees

The fact that the tropical forrests can be viewed in all their glory from a ropeway that starts from Cairns and goes all the way up to a town called Kuranda which rests on top of a surrounding mountain and also the fact that the Great Barrier reef can be reached by a 2 hour boat trip from Cairns, makes it a big tourist attraction.

Another spot of tourist attraction at Cairns is the Aborigine center called TJapukai. Here the aborigines hold shows to depict their history and lifestyle. 

We had all this on the itinerary for the trip to Cairns. 

Beautiful mountains in the backdrop our seaside hotel

The first evening at Cairns was spent at Tjapukai. The aborigines dressed up in theor traditional attire put up a great show that evening showing us the origins of all thier rituals and culture. The insides of the complex had multiple halls and an amphitheatre.  In the amphitheatre,   the aborigines depicted their Ancient rituals, hunting practices, dances etc  and encouraged the audience to join in with them in a show.

Dancing with the aborigines on stage

Aborigines in their traditional costumes

Next morning we took a cable car to mountain top town called Kuranda . Highlight of the cable car trip was the birds eulye view of the tropical forrests down below. Some of the trees in the forrests are hundreds of years old.

Cable car to Kuranda
View from the cable car

We made a few stops during the cable car journey and finally reached Kuranda 

Kuranda has a bearticulate buterfly park , Koala park and various restraunts , cafes and shopping center.

On our way back we took the train back to Cairns.

On a train back to Cairns
That evening we went around the central shopping center of Cairns called the Esplanade. It was buzzing with life and had a number of options for shopping and eating.

We then headed to a night club called Gilligans. Luckily they had a special ladies night at the club that day and free champagne was being offered to all the ladies in the club.

Next day was the highlight of the trip for me as we headed to the Great Barrier reef. We took a boat cruise to the reef. The boat docked at the reef and all passengers were allowed to snorkel or scuba dive in the pacific sea to see the beautiful corals in the  reef.

The great barrier reef is only living thing which is visible from space. It is one of the top 10 natural wonders ofor the world and it was a pleasure to be there.

Getting on the boat cruise to get to Great Barrier reef 
Getting ready to snorkel in the barrier reef

Snorkeling in the reef

On the boat


Day 2 at Sydney : Featherdale Wildlife Park, Blue Mountains and Pitt street

After spending a fulfilling day sightseeing around Sydney, the next day we headed a little towards the outskirts of the city to this wild life park called Featherdale Wildlife Park. The park has a number of animals and birds indigenous to Australia especially Koala bears and Paddymelons. I was very hopeful to see Kangaroos in the park however i was disapointed to know that the park does not have any.

After a one hour ride from the Sydney central business district, we arrived at the park. After collecting the entry tickets, we went around observing and feeding the animals.

At the Featherdale park with a smaller version of a Kangaroo : Paddymelon 
My wishlist for Australia included cuddling a Koala and it partially came true on visiting the park. I was allowed to feel the soft fur of a Koala called Monty and get a photograph clicked with it.

Some interesting facts about Koala bears are that they are indigenous to Australia,  they remain awake during the night and sleep in day time. They love eating eucalyptus leaves. Also, they have very weak hearts, so one has to be very careful around them.

With a Koala named Monty

After a satisfying morning spent in Featherdale Wildlife Park,  we headed a little more farther from the city to range of mountains called the Blue Mountains.
The mountains are called Blue Mountains as blue mist envelopes this area and if these mountains are viewed from far they give a blue hue.

On driving up into the mountains, it started to pour and it became foggy and misty giving a real hills action eel to the area.

Resort in blue mountains

At a resort in blue mountains

After spending a few hours in the mountains exploring quaint lanes of the quiet hilly town, we headed back to Sydney city.

On arriving back, we decided to explore the plush market Street of Sydney called the Pitts Street. 
The street is replete with big brands and offers a great shopping experience to every shopping junkie.

I especially indulged in silver shopping from the famous Pandora store, getting myself a beautiful bracket with a Sydney Opera house pendant and friendship charms. 

After an exhausting day of beautiful experiences , it was time to relax and enjoy a fun evening.

With that intent, we headed to towards Sydney Opera house. On reaching the area, we chose a nice riverside restaurant to sip a little wine and enjoy the evening view of the harbour.

Sydney Opera house: Harbour Bridge in the backdrop 

Music from a concert which was ongoing in the Sydney Opera house engulfed the evening around the harbour and the whole place was buzzing with life. It was indeed the perfect end to yet another day weLloyd spent in Australia. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Down under experience -Sydney (Day 1)

I planned a trip to Australia this November to visit a few of the beautiful cities on the east coast of this gorgeous country in the most favourable of its seasons. While rest of the world is getting ready to usher in winters in November , it's summertime in  Australia .
The cities on my itinerary were Sydney, Cairns and Melbourne.
My flight from New Delhi to Sydney had a layover in Malaysia where I was to change planes. In total it was a 15 hour flight and upon reaching Sydney , the hour clock was 5 hours ahead of India time.
Sydney greeted me with a slight drizzle on the night that I reached there. The clock showed 9 pm as my flight landed at the airport. Interesting facts about sydney airport is that it does not allow in any flights after 10pm and that they very stringent laws on the food items a person can carry into the country on an international flight.
As I finished my immigration formalities and took a cab to my hotel which located at a very central location in the city, near central station in central business district, rain dotted the windows of the cab as rays of street lighting filtered in thru. November has temperatures touching 22 degrees on sunny days bit a light showers and breeze can make the day a bit chilli in Sydney.
As I zipped through the streets of sydney towards my hotel after a long day of traveling through continents, I made a mental note to sleep in early so that I could get up as early as 6 to explore the city in the wee hours of the morning on foot. Early morning walks are my thing on vacation.

QUAY Street in Sydney 

University of Technology,  Sydney on Quay Street
 My hotel was located on Quay Street and the very next morning as promised to myself I was up at 6 and decided to walk down Quay Street to as far as I could. To my delight the walk down Quay Street led me to the beautiful sydney habour with 29 minutes of walk.



Maritime meuseum 

Early morning cyclists on Quay Street 

The habour area was lined by cafes and restaurants,  a maritime meuseum,  a giant wheel and a number of boats and ships on the dock.

I loved the morning walk to the habour as I crossed a number of fitness concerned sydneysiders either out on a jog or cycling. It was a Sunday.
The rest of the day was to be spent with my travel group exploring the Sydney city,  so I reached back my hotel to grab a scrumptious breakfast with included baked beans and blueberry  yoghurt.First stop with the group was to Mrs Macquarie's Chair which is the best spot in Sydney to get a glimpse of both Sydney Opera house and Harbour Bridge. 
View from Mrs Macquarie's Chair

Sipping coffee at Bondi beach
At Bondi beach
At Bondi beach
After spending some quality time at Bondi beach where under the hot sun the ocean water was chill, we headed for a boat cruise into the Pacific ocean where scrumptious lunch was served to us.

Boat cruise

Getting ready to get on the boat

Crossing the habour bridge on the boat

On the boat deck

Seated for a scrumptious lunchanged in the boat

Next,  we headed to habour bridge where the aim was to walk up the bridge to get a birds eye view of the we hado sometime on hand we decided to explore this Sunday market which had been put up very close to the entrance of the habour bridge walk.

Sunday Market

Sunday market

Sunday Market

After walking up the habour bridge, next we headed to the Sydney opera house for a tour inside the Opera house.  The insides of the Opera house were exquisite and we were taken through different theatres in the house while details of the seating capacity, history of development of the building,  the type of plays ,concerts, other  events that take place there and people who work there was told to us.

Walking up Habour bridge

View of  sydney opera house atop habour bridge 

Habour bridge 

Inside the Opera house

On finishing the Opera house tour which was almost towards evening of our first day at Sydney, we decided to spend the evening exploring the Sydney Harbour side restaurants and nightlife.Finished the day with a scrumptious meal at a middleeastern restraunt which served excellent mothe watering food. Most of the restaurantsecurity shut off early in Sydney near about 9.30 . However the habourside was bustling late into the night.
Sydney habour