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


The wealth of a river -Kullu, Manali, Kasol and Naggar

I have always felt that cities and towns which have rivers have a lot more wealth than cities and towns which do not. Wealth in terms of romantic  quotient , serenity , tranquility and history. A beautiful river gives that to a place.
I felt the magic of River Beas last year in the small little hill town of Kasol. The river goes through all of it magnifice and splendor through this sleepy town. The beauty of this river pulled me to it yet again and I explored other places through which it flowed. Mainly the hill towns of Kasol, Manali, Kullu and Naggar. These Hill stations are located in the state of Himachal Pradesh in India.
We stayed at Naggar which is about 30-40 kilometers from Manali , Kullu and Naggar. This town has a historic importance in the state as it was the capital of the ancient  rulers at one point.
We stayed at a beautiful  hotel (Heritage  Village and Spa, Naggar ) which offered comfortable  cottages in the midst of apple orchards and where the balconies  offered a panoramic  view  of the  mountain  range ie. , Dhauladhar.

Insides of the cottage , 2 room set with a kitchen and living room area.

Cottage located in the midst of apple orchards

View of the mountain  range  from the room balcony

Garden area of the hotel

Nearby village area 

Cottage from outside
Beautiful Dhauladhar Range

Our first stop in the area was at a religious shrine famous for its hot water springs. The gurudwara  at Manikaran. We reached there late in the evening which is the best time to be at the Gurudwara when the most melodies prayers are being sung.
Gurudwara (Sikh temple) at MANIKARAN
Insides of the Prayer room of the Gurudwara 

Nearby Village 

Nearby village

Nearby village 

NEarby village

Nearby village

Day 2
 The second day was spent visiting Kulu and solang valley. Solang valley  offers a number of adventure sports to indulge in . I indulged in Paragliding for the first time in my life during this trip here and loved the thrill to be airborne with a panoramic  view of the mountains and valleysee.
Paragliding at Solang Valley

Next week headed towards Nagar.  The places worth visiting  are the Royal palace of the former kings of Kangra. This Palace is a building situated at a hill top and has the beautiful wood carvings and old architecture.

Nagar Pallace

Naggar palace

Nagar Palace

After taking in the scenic beauty of the quaint Nagar palace we then headed to the Nicholas Roerich meuseum.Roerich was a Russian painter who moved base to India to settle in the Kangra valley. Most of his paintings depict the mountain range of the Kangra area.

Day 3: The 3rd day of the trip was spent exploring the Kullu valley. Visited a beautiful monastry in Kullu  , followed by some river rafting in RIVER Beas and then dinner by the river side at a beautiful river side restraunts.