Deutchland Reisebericht(Germany travelogue)

Halo!

Wie geht es Ihnen? ( Gosh! I remember from my German class)

This is another chapter from my Europe tour.If you haven’t already gone through my earlier travel posts,I will link them below.

London Diaries

Amsterdam travelogue

After an amazing Amsterdam experience,it was time for Germany.All of us have heard its famous for its beer and Oktoberfest.But there’s more to it.It is immensely strong in its technological frontiers as well.

We boarded our coach in the morning from our Amsterdam hotel to visit Cologne cathedral situated amidst bustling lanes of Cologne.

Now,I know,obviously your mind will wander off towards,” Is the Eau De Cologne invented here? “

To answer that,bear with me and go through the rest of the beauty this city has.Cologne is notable for its Gothic architecture.The familiar arches and tall cathedrals will mesmerize you for sure.

And one such cathedral is the famous Cologne cathedral.It is the most visited site in Cologne and is dear to the native people.You literally have to strain your neck to photograph it in its mighty glory.It contains the bones of 3 wise men or 3 kings which is gilded into elaborate golden sarcophagus.It is a must visit sight if you want to be spellbound.

After taking in all the wonder this cathedral has to offer,we went around  in the nearby market.Now let’s come to your question.Eau de cologne as you may have heard,was developed by the Farina family of Italy. In 1803 Wilhelm Mülhens was granted to use the Farina family name and opened a cologne shop.Later on,it was denied and then,the house no. through which the cologne was sold,was used to brand the cologne name.Any guesses? 😉 It is none other than 4711. We did buy vials and a perfume from their official store in the same market adjoining the cathedral.

Next we went for River Rhine cruise along which the city of cologne thrives.It was an hour long cruise which took us through serene waters.It was indeed a peaceful cruise.We all sat on the deck,soaking up the Sun.It has a bar as well and I tried the famous beer Kölsch. It was amazingly having a sweet tinge to it.We could see lot of castles and medieval rest houses on the hills,which is the touristy part of this cruise.

On deboarding it,our coach took us to Heidelberg to get a feel of past European life.You can easily spend a day roaming aimlessly on the streets. 😀

If you see the pictures above,  there is a mouse and a monkey.Monkey symbolizes that neither the city-dwellers nor the outsiders are better than each other and that they should look over their shoulder to remeber this while crossing the bridge.It is believed that if you touch the fingers of the Bridge Monkey it would ensure your return to Heidelberg, touch the mirror for wealth and touching the mice will ensure fertility.I didn’t touch the mice ofcourse. 😀

Next day,we drove to Black forest.I guess the tasty blackforest cake derives its origins from this part of Germany.Black forest is home to fir trees and an apt fairytale setting.Also,it is an abode to Cuckoo clocks.Worldfamous Cuckoo clocks!All of us had,atleast once in their lifetime,have possesed this clock or seen it somewhere. We watched a demonstration on how its made .We did empty our pocket as well .:-P We bought a battery operated clock as its convenient.There’s a shop called Drubba.They have 3 stores in there.The one which comes first,will fit your budget.Drubba family is the oldest family which is continuing this clock business.Hope my history is correct.

We had free time to ourselves to stroll the streets.We bought some souvenirs.Personally,I would love to visit Germany once again,as I feel I havent even touched 1 % of their things to see.

Shopping tip:When in cologne,we saw that there’s a ‘Deutch Markt’ just up ahead in the market ,which is like a drustore.They also have Eau De Cologne 4711,which is sold at cheaper prices.I feel it’s best to buy from there.We already bought our stuff from the official store,so couldn’t do much.

Thank you for reading my post. 🙂 If you like my posts,don’t forget to subscribe here by clicking on ‘follow by e-mail’ in the righthand pane . Also follow me on Instagram at @simplybful and Twitter @simplybful for crazy snippets from my life and beauty world.Find me on Pinterest @simplybful to know what I love in hair and makeup.

See you all in my next post,Take care,bye :-)

Amsterdam travelogue

Heya!

Sometime back,I shared my London travelogue with you.If you haven’t read it,click here.This travelogue follows my trip from London.

Overnight the ferry,we were treated to a luxurious dinner and bedding arrangement.We were lucky to get the port side room. Our cruise ship,named Stena line covered the journey from Harwich port to Hook of Holland .It departed from Harwich at 23:00 and reached Holland at 8 AM.You can know about its fare and details on this sitehttp://www.stenaline.co.uk/ferry-to-holland

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Ferry room-That’s our room!

Our coach was waiting for us,and drove straight to Keukenhof,the land of Tulips.On the way,the windmills greeted us.You could literally see them everywhere.Amsterdam is known for its windmills,tulips,the wooden shoes and dairy,apart from the more modern form of occupation. 😛

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Keukenhof is a synonym of paradise(according to me).Your eyes will have the opportunity to absorb varied hues of tulips ranging from canary yellow to mysterious violet.The keukenhof garden was teaming with tourists from all the countries.It has many entry points and you could easily get lost in there.The garden representatives provide you with a ticket and a map to find your way through it.The entry gate,through which we were told to go,had a fountain and a traditional Dutch musical instrument.It was playing some traditional tunes which I actually liked.It was in sync with the surroundings.

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Music instrument at the entrance of Keukenhof

We were moving forward towards the old windmill situated in the garden.It was still working!We climbed it up and saw the infinite tulip beds in red,yellow and God knows what all colors they are.We were told Tulips were being harvested since May beginning,so we might not see the grand tulip scene.Anyway,we were contented by what we saw.

 On climbing down,we found a wooden shoe and I knew,I have to get my picture taken with it. I am a child, I guess.

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The famous wooden shoe

The garden is very big,and you can easily spend a day in there.We had one hour slot with us and came back to our coach to take us to Amsterdam city.Amsterdam city is full of canals.Our canal cruise was for an hour,which took us through important canals housing important buildings.The cruise was a small boat which had inbuilt audio system .It described the history of Amsterdam and about its buildings while the cruiseboat took us through narrow canals.After the cruise ended,we were taken to Dam square.

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Various cruise boats

 Dam square– the real heart of Amsterdam, where the Royal Palace, the Nieuwe Kerk and the War Memorial overlooks the vast and bustling open space. When we were there,some sort of mini carnival was going on with electro music in the background.You know right,Amsterdam influenced lot of musicians. Adjacent to it,for an hour,we roamed the shops.I had to get my Gouda cheese which was for 8 Euros.Souvenir shops were interesting.You could literally see sex toys lined up in the aisles near the souvenirs.Imagine my horror,when my parents were buying souvenirs from there. 😀

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Dam square

I also bought Stroopwafels,Holland’s traditional biscuit/cookie. I got the caramel variant as that was devoid of any nutty factor.From there,the coach took us to Madurodam. All throughout the year, it is open,where you can see most of Holland in miniature, replicated in minute detail on a 1:25 scale.Remember the doll houses? It is like that.The entire city of Holland is built in there.

Their language,Dutch is officially spoken there,but you can easily get by if English is the foreign language.

I wish I had more time in Amsterdam.It is amazing for its nightlife as well,but looks like,I will have to come with my besties next time. 😉

Thank you for reading my post. 🙂 If you like my posts,don’t forget to subscribe here by clicking on ‘follow by e-mail’ in the righthand pane . Also follow me on Instagram at @simplybful and Twitter @simplybful for crazy snippets from my life and beauty world.Find me on Pinterest @simplybful to know what I love in hair and makeup.

See you all in my next post,Take care,bye :-)

London Diaries

Heya folks!

Just last week,I landed in New Delhi,with so much knowledge ,history and culture,I decided its worth sharing with you my travel experience.I am not that travel blogger who writes 5 ornamental words at a stretch in a sentence to describe how the food tastes like to how the place looks. 😛 I am rather a blogger who will tell what to see in a location,food to try and what to buy.Simple and straight forward!bear with me….:-D I am dividing my tour in small parts.Today I will be sharing my London tour.

I had a 18 days/17 nights Europe tour which involved visiting the prominent locations only.This was a highlight tour so if you want a detailed country tour,its best to go on your own.I traveled with my family in a group tour.All our hotel stays,coaches,air tickets and cruises alongwith food was organized by our travel company Thomas Cook.

Our flight was with Etihad Airways which is known for its hospitality and I am not complaining. 😀 After approximately 10 hours flight,London welcomed us.

Day 1– Since we reached around 3 PM in London,it was a resting day for people who are jetlagged.We decided to go for a walk after dumping our luggage in the hotel.I stay in India,so there is a drastic landscape change when we go abroad.The air we breathed,is definitely fresh and cool.It was refreshing actually.We just strolled the streets,clicked the double decker buses which is prominent in Europe and couldn’t help noticing Indians who are staying there.Yes! our people can be seen everywhere in London from the Visa desk to shopowner.

It was a wonderful evening .Families came out in the parks to relax.While in Delhi,its hot as hell but entire Europe is on the cooler side with temparatures ranging between 4-21 degree Celsius everywhere.We headed back to the hotel,from where the tour manager took us for dinner at a restaurant and then we were off to sleep in our rooms.We were staying in St. Giles,near the airport whose room rent started from 45 pounds.

Day 2-We woke up early around 6 AM as we had loads of places to cover.We had a coach for our group which took us around London and stayed with us for entire 2 days. We visited the famous Swaminarayan temple made from Italian Carrara marble.It is a Hindu temple with intricate designs done from the marble and gold.Since we were an Indian group,so we were shown that.After that we had a guided city tour covering London’s landmarks : the Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, the Big Ben,Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge, River Thames and many more.We were lucky enough to watch the changing of guards infront the Buckingham palace where the new shift and old shift of guards change their places to guard the palace for next 24 hours.The guards wore the obvious red garb which we have heard of.Trafalgar square has gone for a revamped look.Most of the old pictures or in movies,you may have seen flock of pigeons in the square but now for cleanliness and hygiene,people have been stopped from feeding them and so the pigeons have stopped coming.It is more of a square with a large fountain in the middle.

In the evening we were given some shopping time on the famous Oxford street.You can look up anywhere,and each travel book or site will tell you it’s a shopping haven.Budget shoppers can find their stuff in Primark.It is a huge store and you will see Londoners and tourists jostling for space.Very good quality stuff at cheap prices.Its a family shopping place.For women,you would be interested in Boots.I had my list with me and being a beautyblogger as well,I was bound to shop there.

Next we headed to guided tour of the world famous Wimbledon museum, a dream for every Tennis lover.It is a 1 hour tour where they show you the tennis courts,their untouchable grass (really!) and their trophies from the past.

Day 3– Who can miss the reknowned Madame Tussaud’s wax museum?Once you enter,its  like a real red carpet.Glitzy attires adorned the celebrities and you can get yourself clicked with your fav celeb.It has a taxi ride,which is an indoor ride.It takes you through various phases of London history-the great London fire,the kings and queens and so on.Lastly,they have a 4D movie with Marvel heroes.I was eagerly waiting for something else.I had come out of it earlier,and on my wishlist was the Sherlock Holmes museum.

There is a statue of him on Baker street and museum dedicated to him.I was delighted to find it as it wasn’t in our itenary and I so much longed to see it.It has a shop with souvenirs and the museum is upstairs.

We ended our Day 3 with a ride on London Eye and a 4D movie associated with it.It is a 30 min ride and is a must.It is a wonderful observatory through which you can see the entire panorama of London.On our way to catch our ferry,we had a chance with the London bridge or Kensington bridge.The iconic arch and the structure welcomed us and we couldn’t help but sing along the nursery rhymes that reminded us of London bridge.

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Kensington bridge

Our next stop was in DJ world or let’s say the XXX world of Amsterdam.We had boarded a ferry/cruise from the UK port to reach the next day.There’s more to Amsterdam seriously.To read about my journey in Amsterdam,please wait for another week.Enough for today I guess. 😛

Thank you for reading my post. 🙂 If you like my posts,don’t forget to subscribe here by clicking on ‘follow by e-mail’ in the righthand pane . Also follow me on Instagram at @simplybful and Twitter @simplybful for crazy snippets from my life and beauty world.Find me on Pinterest @simplybful to know what I love in hair and makeup.

See you all in my next post,Take care,bye :-)

PS:Click on the pictures to see the caption

Please do not reuse the pictures with / without modification without taking my permission.All these have been taken by me and my family,so kindly respect my wish.

 

Gwalior travelogue

Heya girlies!

Firstly! This is my first travelogue.So please bear with me if you find something amiss. :-\ Do share your views and healthy criticisms below for me to improve.  🙂

Last weekend,I had visited Gwalior,a historical place in Madhya Pradesh,India.It was an impromptu plan and we set foot for the unknown.Don’t worry,nothing dramatic happened. 😛

If you are an Indian,you may not have heard what this state stores for the tourists.If you are someone from abroad,I guess you may have heard. That’s what usually happens with mass media. 😀

My travelogue will have where to stay and its review,places to visit,myths about that place,transportation and weather report.We had 3 days/2 nights trip starting from Saturday .

Weather and terrain-Gwalior is more of a dry region.Rainfall is scanty here and best time to visit is from Sep-Mar.It gets hot and sunny during the day which you can see from the repeated attempts of covering myself with the stole in the pictures attached here. 😛 Summers are a big no-no to go.Even in March,it gets hot,but it is still bearable.If you are a model or a photographer,you can actually have those quirky photos where the model is wearing a long dressy something in front those rough terrains.;-) March is more of an off-season so we got discounts in our shopping and stay.

Stay-Thanks to Makemytrip.com,we found a hotel of our liking but booked through phone as the hotel people give more discounts compared to websites.We stayed at Hotel Grace,just 5 minutes away from the Railway station.It is on the main road and you can easily get autos or shared autos from there.The hotel people provide complementary pick-n-drop facility from the railway station.Also ,they provide their own taxi for your Gwalior tour which we found cheaper compared to the tourism taxis.We had opted for AC deluxe room,but got upgraded for free as the deluxe rooms were not vacant. 😀 They give complementary drinks on arrival,fruits with every breakfast and water bottle on leaving.Very humble and courteous hotel staff.They also adjusted for our last day stay of 7 hours  as our train was at 8pm and hotel checkout-checkin timing is around noon.We were shifted to normal AC room on that day ,which was also good.If you are someone who loves chic interiors,this may turn you off.But based on the rates,you can’t hope much.However,the normal AC room came with a balcony unlike the AC executive room we stayed in.The washrooms in both the rooms are small,but are neat and hygienic.Rooms are huge and kept clean.The executive room came with classy interiors and small fridge.Service is fast and to the point.Food is also good.Taste and quantity is amazing.If you have opted for room with breakfast ,then do ask for the breakfast menu,as we had forgotten to do so,and only remembered on the second day of our stay.You can tell them to add less spices according to your preference.Since there is no in-house restaurant,they provide free room food service.All the above are said according to the off-season,as I think peak seasons are best to judge a hotel’s service.They have positive ratings though everywhere on the websites.We did get discounts in the hotel room rent and the taxi we took from them was of nominal price charge.

How to reach and transportation-We stay in Delhi NCR,so we had 3 options on how to reach Gwalior.There is a direct flight from New Delhi and the buses ply from Noida to Gwalior.You can drive your car ,no worries.Based on price and time,train service is best.It takes 3 hours from New Delhi Railway station to reach Gwalior.We travelled by Shatabdi express, which is renowned for its short travels, speediness and its food service.Bhopal is the last station for this train and in between we have our Agra,the abode to the mesmerizing Taj Mahal and Mathura,Lord Krishna’s playground.Shatabdi express runs in the morning at 6 AM and in the night from Gwalior,it leaves at 7:45 PM.Breakfast served was okayish as the fries seemed like they were microwaved.The bread was raw and came with butter and cutlet.We had vegetarian dishes on the train both times.Tea served was good.Dinner on the same express was better than the breakfast.Alongwith the Indian bread,we had a mixed dal and sabzi made from cottage cheese.Rice had to be there along with our lip-smacking pickle.Curd was fresh and the ice-cream served was simple vanilla.Overall-we enjoyed the dinner more.You can opt for city tours with Madhya Pradesh Govt.run tourism department from the Gwalior station kiosk itself.We did that when we reached there.They have these open buses which take you around the city and its gems.We left in the tour bus at 11 AM and had our tour end at 4PM.

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The tour buses are cheapest but they are on first-come-first – serve basis.The tours are charged at INR 200 per head.Damn cheap!But their taxis are costly.The local autos also ply to the touring spots,but will leave you much farther away from the actual monument/fort.Best decision is to take the tour bus or private taxi.You can find all sorts of available transportation from the station.

Places to visit-Gwalior is rich in history and royalty.You may not have even heard of it,but it’s a hidden treasure.There are 10 must-see places over there which can be covered easily in a day.Out of them,7 are worth seeing.They have immense architectural designs and history.We took guides at many places to know about the spot.

  • Gwalior fort-The fort glistened during dusk and hues of blue tiles added the perfect contrast to the golden fort.At first site,it looks amazing.Remnants of the blue tiles of the forts add a different kind of beauty to the vacant fort.You can easily get lost if you are alone,so its best to take a guide with you.Mind you! You will find those couples who fight for privacy in the nook  and cranny of these monuments. 😛

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  • Sas Bahu temple- It has 2 temples and is just 5 minutes away from the Gwalior fort.In Indian terms,it means ‘Mother-in-Law and Daughter –in-Law’ literally but the name is a short form for Shastra Bahu.The temples  are actually devoted to Lord Vishnu. The temples don’t have any idols in them.Infact all the temples in Gwalior city have no idols as Aurangzeb,the Mughal ruler took away all signs of Hinduism from these temples and plundered them.He defaced the idols from the wall carvings as well .:-( If you want to see the most intricate designs possible,go there at once.Women forms at various stages of life are carved on the hard stone bringing them to life.You can literally make out story from them.The temple premises offer a panoramic view of the Gwalior city so all you shutterbugs will be pleased definitely.

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  • Gopachal Parvat- On the way to the Gwalior fort and Sas-Bahu temple,they can be seen easily on the hill sides,literally. I loved them so much that I couldn’t stop myself from taking pictures at every angle.Even though Hinduism was prominent in Gwalior,but you see the shadows of  Jainism there once you see this carved beauty.

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  • Teli ka Mandir- It is once again located near the fort.The guide described it as honeymoon temple. 😀 The kings used to wed there and spent 10 days locked up afterwards in the bedroom made in the above portion of the temple.Now,if you go,you will see an empty monument from inside.
  • Mausoleums of Mohammed Ghaus & Tansen- Tansen was the poet/singer,who can make it rain or influence Mother Nature in ways you can never imagine in your life,with nothing,but his voice and songs.His resting abode can be found in this complex.He is laid near his Guru , Mohammed Ghaus,who tutored him to become the great Tansen we know,from the Emperor Akbar’s courtyard.The Mausoleums are in state of neglect,I don’t know why,as people can be seen sleeping in the monuments and littering.

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  • Gujari Mahal Archaeological Museum-What I heard from the guide was that,the king had married a woman from Gurjar caste who couldn’t live the luxurious pompous life of the kings and queens,so she made the king build her a palace of her own liking and had a water pipeline laid,all the way from her hometown to her palace as she will drink water from that town only.That’s some attitude! You rock woman! 😉 The palace has been turned into a museum which houses artifacts and idols from the King’s era.A guide is very much needed here as only then,you can understand the history.The museum needs tickets to enter.
  • I have kept the most royal one for the last.It is Jai Vilas palace museum.The palace is the most aristocratic and houses amazing historical artifacts .It belongs to the Scindia family/Scindia dynasty.It is well maintained.The Obamas have been here.What more can I say.The Scindias do come often to stay.The palace is open to hosting marriages or functions but will cost you a bomb.What the Scindias wore,ate from,their furniture,recreation items,temple etc ,everything can be learnt from this museum.This also needs tickets and they have a souvenir shop.

The other tourist spots are Gurudwara,Surajkund,Samadhi of Rani Lakshmi Bai and Sun temple.You  will like them too,but the richness lies in the places I told you above.

  • Next day,we embarked on the tour for outskirts  of Gwalior.We took the hotel car and it took 5-6 hours to cover all the 3 places.The journey cut through villages and the roads are usually devoid of major traffic.First came Padavli.It is actually Lord Shiva’s temple,which was converted to fort later on and was destroyed by the Mughals.Only the inscriptions remain on the walls of the temple which showcases various Hindu deities and their stories.I wonder how the people made this possible at that time. :-O

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  • It was followed by Bateshwar group of Lord Shiva temples.Indeed,there are so many temples,that you will lose count.It is in the state of restoration though and the Archaeological dept. of India,has successfully brought the temples to their earlier glory.Each temple bears the Shivling .The temple complex has 1 bathing Kund( water reservoir used for bathing for sacred ceremonies thereafter) which has natural source of water , as in the water never dries up.

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  • We were looking forward to the Mitavli trip as we had heard that our Parliament building has been inspired from this very Gwalior monument.Atop the hill,we could see a cylindrical structure from a distance.We had to climb steep slopes to reach our destination and there we go.Indeed,when you enter the premises,you can grasp why the Parliament looks similar.It is also a Lord Shiva temple in cylindrical form.The periphery has small Shivlings and in the centre,one huge Shivling rests in a dome like structure.People do come to pray here even today.

Famous Gwalior items-After having a tiring first day,we ended our tour with shopping.Gwalior will attract ladies for its silk and cotton saris.Chanderi saris and Maheshwari saris are native to Gwalior.My mother bought Maheshwari sari and 2 suit sets from the govt. run store called Mrignaynee,named after the Gurjari queen.There was a sale going on due to off-season.

I read on the sites that Gwalior is amazing for leather goods.Such a disappointment.They don’t have anything special in leather goods.Infact the natives themselves told us Gwalior is known only for the saris and Gajak.I couldn’t find the famous snack/samosa wala over there as featured on Instagram accounts.I bought home a box of Gajak,a sweet biscuit like snack made from sugar,sesame seeds,nuts and other sweetening/dry fruit agent.

As I was sitting on my return train,I reminisced the stories I heard of the kings and queens and what if,I had been born at that time.

PS:Please do not reuse the pictures with / without modification without taking my permission.All these have been taken by me,so kindly respect my wish.

Hotel Grace website

Madhya Pradesh Tourism website

Thank you for reading my post. 🙂 If you like my posts,don’t forget to subscribe here by clicking on ‘follow by e-mail’ in the righthand pane . Also follow me on Instagram at @simplybful and Twitter @simplybful for crazy snippets from my life and beauty world.Find me on Pinterest @simplybful to know what I love in hair and makeup.

See you all in my next post,Take care,bye 🙂