for fellow travellers

Sunday, April 26, 2009

London Paris Brussels Brugge Amsterdam Scotland

Our itinerary for the summer. A lot of planning has to be done as yet. Main areas of concern are the connections and the stays. Our group has slowly increased to 15 people.
In London we plan to see the Tower of London, British Museum, Madame Tussaud's, London Eye, London Aquarium, Changing of guard and Buckingham palace, nearby Windsor castle, Westminster Abbey. I want to go to the Hyde park, Leicester square, Trafalgar square,
With Mr & Mrs Seth at Trafalgar Sq.
Selfridges. I want to watch a play in London this time round. The list is endless. London is a travellers delight because of the metro. Take a cruise on river Thames.
Easiest and cheapest way to cross the English channel would be by Eurostar. In Paris we are still searching for apartments for our stay. Things to do in Paris are Grevin Wax museum, Louvre Museum. In our last trip we had been amazed to find out that the Glass Pyramid was actually an access from the metro. We had just by chance taken the metro station to th e Louvre and we had been quite in awe of the shops which we saw at the station as if in an expensive mall, and to top it all as we ascended the escalator we realized that we were coming out through the glass pyramid! It had been a windy day.
Louvre Pyramid, Paris
Musee de Orsay, Eiffel tower,
Eiffel Tower, Paris.
stroll on the Champs Ellyses, Versailles, Eurodisney,
Princess Parade
Notre Damme.
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.
From Paris via rail to Brussels. The Grand place, Mannequin pis and then the freshly made waffles and lovely home made chocolates which cannot be carried home because of their short shelf life.
Brugee would be a new place for us. It is a medieval city preserved in time. Belgium's most visited city. We plan to see the Town Hall. Roam about and enjoy the feel of the place. If we have time and folks are interested we'll see one or two museums.
From Brugge to Amsterdam again by train. Accomodation is tough in Amsterdam. We will enjoy a family trip to Amsterdam. The Dam Square and the Vondelpark. Anne Frank's House and a canal cruise. Some coffee and chocolate at the coffeeshops. Van Gogh museum maybe.
We are taking the night ferry to New Castle upon Tyne. Then to Edinburgh. On Divya's suggestions we'll do 2days in Edinburgh, one each in Fort Williams, Inverness, and Glasgow. Then return to London for our flight back.
Everything is in planning stage and can be altered as and when the need arises.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cheap flights -- Delhi to London return -- Etihad Airways

Any of you guys, if you have any miles in Etihad Guest, the reward programme of Etihad airways, now is the time to use them. A family of 4, three adults and 1 child can get a return tickets to London from Delhi for as little as Rs. 26000.
The tickets we purchased in May 2004 to US of A have given offsprings it seems. We thought that Etihad had a great reward programme but this beats everything.
After great deliberations and thought as to where we would be going for summer vacations. Etihad decided for us.
We had planned for

  • Australia and orNew Zealand, Shaleen was not keen on it. Singapore airlines has not given us a single frequent flyer mile!! it has a lousy reward programme. We did not much care for the planes either.
  • For America as the visa is at hand. Only thing is the enthusiasm was lacking for a repeat visit, so soon to America.
  • For Manali, Shimla, Mashobra, Dharamshala, Club Mahindra let us down. The call centre is in the habit of refusing initial requests for booking without rhyme or reason. In one day their whole resort gets booked.
  • We planned a road trip to Leh Ladakh via Srinagar. Or rather thought about it only.
Zeroed in on London, Paris and Scotland, god willing and if the passports (renewal) and visas go through, we would be on our way.
We will again stop at the doughnut shaped airport of Abu Dhabi.
From New York

We love the planes that Etihad Airways has because the screen on each of the seat is big. We truly appreciated them only after we travelled by Singapore Airlines later on, when we went to Singapore.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Caught in the Making - Club Mahindra resort at Corbett

While roaming on the streets of Paris in the summer of 2004, we had just been on top of the Eiffel tower, having arrived the same day by coach from Germany, Shaleen and I had been both dumbstruck by a large framed photograph of Eiffel tower built just half way up. It was kept in the show window of an expensive store dealing mostly in rare photographs. That particular photograph had been very heavily priced. Till then the very idea of a photograph of a half built building had seemed repulsive to me. Looking at that photo we marvelled at the uniqueness of it, frozen in time.
It was this photo which came to my mind when on 29th March while walking along the river just beyond the Wood castle resort, we came across the under construction Club Mahindra resort. The whole family got excited and we decided to go have a look inside. This resort is probably scheduled to start in May this year.

As we roamed over the place one of the staff came forward and showed us the rooms from inside as well. One fully furnished room was locked and another almost done one could be seen from the window.

I realized that our search for a good resort for future stays in Corbett ended right here. With a Club Mahindra stay a great holiday is almost a foregone conclusion.
People interested in Club Mahindra can weigh their options here.
A site selling and buying used Club Mahindra memberships

Friday, April 3, 2009

KGMC '86 Batchmeet contd

During these two trips to Corbett, so close together, I realized that it was a great place for family and or friends to spend time together esp people living in Lucknow, Delhi, Moradabad, Barielly, Rudrapur and nearby places. Its advantage being that no hilly drive is involved. A number of good resorts are there and you are away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Its close to nature and quiet. A nice place to catch up on things, meditate etc. One or two Jungle safaris would provide the excitement. Last year Bhabhi's batch had organised a meet at Woodcastle resort which was just adjoining the Corbett Riverview resort where we were staying. The previous day we had by mistake reached Corbett Riverside retreat instead and that resort was poorly maintained.
Next day, morning of 29th March 09, most of our group had gone to the jungle in a canter leaving early morning. We decided against going for a jungle safari. Just a few days back we had done the safari. We walked down instead to the river from the resort itself. It was lovely walking along the river. The resort itself was quite picturesque

Along the riverside we went across to have a look at the Woodcastle resort. It is one of the better and costlier accomadation available in Corbett. We were interested to have a look at the rooms after hearing about the open to sky, shower stalls in the rooms. To our disappointment all rooms having this feature were occupied so we were not able to see that from inside, instead they were just pointed out at from the outside.
Adjacent to Woodcastle resort there was another one coming up. We were very pleased to know who that belonged to!!
Photographs of The Woodcastle resort

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Class of '86, KGMC - countdown to the 25yrs reunion

Last weekend saw us again at Jim Corbett Park!! This time it was the reunion of the batch of 86 KGMC, my batch. Organized by Dr. Sarvesh and Dr. Rajshekhar. We thought it was a trifle expensive at Rs.6300 per couple and Rs.900 per child. But noneteless we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.
It was an, on the spur decision, to go to the batch meet, because we came to know that both the children had holidays in those days. Train reservations were not available, we had to go by road. Shaleen had to take an exam in Barielly. We started early from Lucknow, though we had planned to leave at 4:30am we left by 5:30am. We reached Barielly at 9:30 am despite getting caught in a massive 15km long jam at a railway crossing just before Barielly. Shaleen used his driving skills to the max to get out of this jam at the earliest which still took 30mnts.

We reached Barielly and were received by Dr. Gaekwad and while Shaleen and Dr. Gaekwad took exam we stayed with Dr. Gaekwad's family. His in-laws had come visiting from Pune via Mumbai. We were lucky to eat the season's first mangoes at their place, that too Alfonso mangoes, straight from Ratnagiri and strawberries from Mahabaleshwar and sea water fish got in ice box from Mumbai. Soumya had a great time playing with the children. As we were about to leave Barielly we discovered that our Qualis had a punctured tyre pointed out to us by a three yr old "Innova doctor", Dr. Gaekwad's nephew.
We left Barielly for our onward journey. We reached Corbett Riverview retreat, Corbett Park around 5pm.

After freshening up we joined the group in the conference hall in the resort. On our way to the conference hall from our cottage we saw a hot air balloon inthe sky from the neighbouring Wood Castle resort. This is the resort where Bhabhi's batchmeet will take place in the Easter holidays in the coming month of April.
Only three female counterparts had come to the batch meet including me. Kusum Gahtori now Oli from Haldwani, Usha Rawat now Bhandari married to a batch mate also settled in Haldwani.
After introductions the children did several dance numbers, songs and jokes as well, some of them were really good. The paper dance was the most enjoyable part of the evening. Food was great and the atmosphere was great also.

We retired early because we were so tired after the long drive from Lucknow. We missed out on the discussions which took place later on, and also the distribution of momentos. I really liked the momento which was given to me later on by Ratnesh in Lucknow. Next year the batch is planning to meet in Mussorie, a reunion to be organized by Ratnesh I think. I hope the girls join in greater numbers.
Lets start collecting the details of all our batchmates.

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