Tag Archives: travel

The Strange Wish

It has started getting cold. People say, there is not much activity to do outdoors once the winter sets in. Last year I decided to explore the city of Pittsburgh in winters. Here is my first discovery. My hometown Baroda(Vadodara) was a princely state in past. So horse carriages are not rare but I never got an opportunity to ride one. I always wondered how would it seem to roam around the downtown in a Horse Carriage with all the modern vehicles around. They say sometimes even strange wishes come true. Last year I saw a long queue at Market Square in Pittsburgh. There were families with small kids who were waiting with bated breath. It was for the Horse Carriage ride. My curiosity made me join the queue. Within few minutes the Carriage came into view. It was a beautiful sight. The lovely carriage and the well decorated horse.

Babe and the Carriage

I was quite behind in the queue. The carriage soon got filled. I was just wondering my chance would come after two or three rounds of the carriage when someone shouted “Has anyone come in a group of 2, there are 2 seats left”. Advantages of being a solo traveler, I raised my hand and was able to board the carriage well ahead of my chance. Once we boarded, we were introduced to the horse whose name was ‘Babe’. We went around the downtown with all the modern cars and buildings around us. The reality was far more exciting than what I had wondered. All through the ride, we were entertained by stories of the Horse by the carriage driver who called himself a knight. We were waved by kids who passed by us. Another enthralling sight was to see our reflection in the glass walls of downtown. All in all it was an experience one should definitely have in life.

Once in a while strange wishes come to our minds and we shove them aside. When they come true, precious memories are created which makes our lives beautiful. This year when winter comes, don’t just sit at home but venture out, you never know which strange wish would come true.

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Bridge of feelings

There are very few rare places in the world which signify commitment towards relationships. One such place is the Schenley bridge in Pittsburgh. The yellow bridge is filled with colorful locks on both sides. Its a beautiful sight. These are love locks put up by couples. There is lush greenery around the bridge. While walking over the bridge, one is reminded of those hundreds of couples who put up the locks as a mark of their commitment. Seems like it is a bridge connecting their feelings which would stay forever. This is a complete contrast to all the noise around broken relationships. As I looked on, the bridge seemed to be saying, no matter how bad the times are and how far the people are, true feelings would always remain immortal. This filled my heart with an amazing sense of positivity. A poet would have captured those words in a poem. I was able to capture the bridge in my cellphone camera.

The next time you are in Pittsburgh or when you are feeling low, just take a walk over Schenley bridge. It would fill your heart with optimism.

Introduction to Art

This weekend I had an opportunity to meet a painter Nispruha Desai. Her enthusiastic about travelling is infectious. But unlike most travelers, she shares her experiences through her paintings. Each of her paintings reflects her ability to notice exceptional things. Although all her paintings left me speechless, the ones which remained in my heart are the ones depicting monsoon. The painter had spent her childhood and youth in India. There everyone waits for monsoon. As soon as the first showers occur, everything seems to become fresh. People going around with colorful umbrellas is an amazing sight. All these memories are captured in her paintings. The colors are so vibrant that the effect is different in various volumes of lights. Her work is not only present in canvas but also on tables, lamp, etc. Her work covers both traditional and modern art. I was surprised to learn her painting exhibitions are conducted in Monroeville public library, which I visit regularly.

She simply inspired me to follow my passions. There is a huge misinterpretation of retirement. It is generally associated with following a uniform routine. But I learnt it is the time to go back to ones childhood and pursue all the hobbies which had got shelved. This meet turned out to be highly educational for me, as I learnt to look and understand modern art. Let us take some time from the daily grind of life and identify the colors of life. If possible let us express it someway. The results will help us discover ourselves. I hope to see many more works of Nispruha(Nipu) Desai. My best wishes are with her.

Cruising through City

One day while returning from grocery store, me and my friends decided to explore Pittsburgh downtown. We checked various options and finally decided on the Gateway Clipper Fleet ride. Its a cruise ride which covers the entire downtown. We had booked the 7:30 pm ride but got stuck in the traffic and were late by few minutes. So we went for the 8:30 pm ride. We spent the next 40 minutes exploring station square.

Boarding the Cruise

Boarding the Cruise

At 8:30 pm we boarded our cruise. It was a marvelous cruise. We sat at the open deck. The guide gave us details about various landmarks of the city.

Approaching a Bridge

Approaching a Bridge

It was only on this ride we realized the city has so many bridges, each having its own story. It was twilight when we started but it grew dark in a few minutes. With darkness, the lights of each landmark came up.

Night view of Pittsburgh

Night view of Pittsburgh

Night view

Night view

Distant view of Mount Washington

Distant view of Mount Washington

We were mesmerized by the night view of the city. On the way the Point State Park fountain looked amazing with lights all around it. The shining fountain water and the darkness just seemed to complement each other. The rivers continued to flow in their simple rhythm in spite of this change of time.

Point State Park Fountain at night

Point State Park Fountain at night

We also came to know about the history of the Duquesne Incline. It was 9:30 pm when we got down from the cruise.

They say whatever happens, happens for good. We were upset on missing the 7:30 pm ride but had we not missed it, we would not have seen the Magnificient night view of the city. So the next time you miss a schedule on a tour, don’t be disheartened, remember there might be something better in store for you.

Remembering the Forests

A Fairy tale entrance

A Fairy tale entrance

I came across an interesting site(http://www.visitpittsburgh.com/events-festivals/pgh200/events/) while browsing through the internet. I realized 2016 is an important year for Pittsburgh as its the 200th year of the city. One of the events on this occasion was the Butterfly Forest at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. It seemed so unique that I called up my friends and we planned to go there next Sunday. It was a hot day, still we managed to start by 11:30 am. As it was a Sunday, traffic was comparatively less.

We reached within 40 minutes. As soon as we entered we were mesmerized by the decoration of flowers and trees in different sections of the Gardens. The royal gardens made us feel regal, the tropical gardens made us sweat, the sunken garden soothed us with its fountains and hanging flowers, the Japanese courtyard garden filled us with awe by its beautiful bonsai, the desert garden reminded us of the harshness of life with its cactus and the list goes on. I had never seen so many colors in my life. We were enchanted by the flowers in the Orchid gardens. Each flower was unique but its beauty became even more prominent when it was placed with all other elements of the garden, namely the leaves, branches and trees.
image

Harshness of Life

Harshness of Life

A Chair of flowers

A Chair of flowers

Beautiful Mediterranean garden

Beautiful Mediterranean garden

As if this was not enough, we came across the Butterfly Forest. As soon as we entered, I felt as if I was in some magic land. There were so many butterflies. Each had its unique identity. One of them even opened its wings while I was taking pictures. We had to keep looking on all sides as every time a differently patterned butterfly rose from somewhere or other.

A butterfly posing for my camera

A butterfly posing for my camera

This whole trip just emphasized how important it is to maintain the forest. All this beauty will perish if we do not conserve forests. I was glad we visited the gardens in 2016. We even visited the souvenir shop which had eco friendly things for visitors. So the next time you are in Pittsburgh, make sure you visit the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

Lamp in the middle of garden

Lamp in the middle of garden

The Seven Confusion

digit7

Recently I came accross the number seven for a number of things. This reminded of an incident. I was travelling from Baroda to Mumbai in Shatabdi. I still remember my seat number was C1,40. My ticket was checked and approved a few minutes after I boarded the train. The train stops for 10 minutes in Surat which comes two hours after baroda. The snacks at Surat station are so popular that everyone gets down at the station. As surat came everyone sitting around me got down to serve their tastebuds. I returned to the seat quickly and was sitting almost alone in the bogie. At that time a mother-daughter pair came and started looking for their seat. I was a little confused at this action as the bogie (railway carriage) was full when I had boarded and everyone’s ticket was also checked. Suddently the daughter came upto me and said,

daughter: Can you get up from my seat.

I was shocked at this order and replied: I have a confirmed ticket for this seat.

daughter: I just now saw in the sheet outside. My seat has been confirmed from waiting list and its this seat.

Me: Well yours was waiting list, mine has been a confirmed one since the last 2 months.

daughter: Check your ticket, I have just verified from the list outside.

This annoyed me and I replied, “My ticket has been checked and approved by the TTE an hour ago”.

This argument continued for sometime where both of us didn’t move from our grounds. Ultimately the girl decided to verify again from outside. She asked her mother to sit on the neighboring seat. The guy on that seat had a confirmed ticket which too was verified by the TTE(Ticket Examiner).

After few minutes the guy returned and the same argument occured between the mother and the guy. Finally the TTE was called who checked the list and replied,

“I checked all the tickets here. Your seat is in C7 not C1”.

To which the girl replied “Oh is it seven? I thought it was one”. At this, the entire bogie started smilling.

The whole confusion occured because the girl had read seven as one. I don’t know about the girl but whenever I get anything with digit 7 or 1, I always doublecheck the digit. People try to avoid the seven star but I try to avoid the seven confusion.

How my boring bus ride became interesting

I was coming from Mumbai to Pune. It takes around 4-5 hours due to traffic in mumbai. Once you are out of mumbai, the mumbai-pune expressway is just too good. The bus passes through lonavala. I was as usual sitting in the bus fiddling with my cellphone which was running short of battery.

I didn’t realize we had reached lonavala. All of a sudden the bus stopped. We all looked up. After 15 minutes someone came and said, something went wrong, it is being repaired. We all got down from the bus. It was monsoon and lonavala was at its best. The clouds falling over the mountains was just mesmerising. There was a beautiful fog. I realised what a beautiful scene I was missing. Today we have become so accustomed to our gadgets that we just ignore the simple beauties of life. I gave up all the worries, kept my cellphone inside the bag and began to enjoy the ride. A little way further, the bus stopped at a restaurant. In that beautiful cloudy, foggy yet breezy weather, I had onion fries and a cup of steaming hot tea. There was a small bookshop there. As I was going through the books, my eyes fell on a book “Anything for you, mam”. I bought it and began reading. It was a cute, urban love story set in the backdrop of engineering college. The book made my ride even more enjoyable.

After coming home, I couldn’t help writing a review on that book. But I would’nt have enjoyed the ride so much had the bus not stopped. As murphy’s law states “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. We must accept this and learn to thank anything and everything that happens.