Tag Archives: Travel

Travelog: Orlando and Bahamas, Day 0

Summer is coming

Oncoming spring of 2019 sprouted fresh buds of desires for long travel after prolonged dormant winter here in Indianapolis. It was easy choice when you think of fleeing the cold; east coast or west coast. As west coast was partially ( very much partially, in fact) touch-based in winter of 2017, choice has befallen on east coast this time. And destination was Orlando, Florida.

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There was lot to do and act upon when you sit down with intension of finalizing itinerary for Orlando which will result in less hectic and more relaxing travel plan. In fact, I realized that “relaxing” was not an option when covering Orlando with single-minded objective of vacationing. As if all theme parks of Disneyland and Universal Studio are not enough, you have Sea world, Miami, Key west and other attractions on your plate considering vicinity of the Tempa and Miami to Orlando. I had already planned to avail 6-7 days for the trip. Also I was aware of the fact that covering everything without any rest day would mean unnecessary exhaustion of monetary aspect as well as of vacation itself. Hence I settled down with below itinerary for my 7 day excursion to Orlando, Florida.

Day 1: Flying to Sanford from Indianapolis. Boarding the cruise for Bahamas from port Canaveral.

Cruise was primary factor of my whole Orlando visit. I chose 4 nights Bahamas Carnival cruise. More on that in next travelogue.

Day 2: Fun day on the ship.

Day 3: Visiting Nassau, capital of Bahamas.

Day 4: Port of call, Freeport. Another Bahamas island.

Day 5: Landing back to port Canaveral, Orlando. Visit to Kennedy space center.

Day 6: Visiting one park of Universal studio. Island of Adventure in my case.

Day 7: Visiting one park of Disneyland. Magical Kingdom in my case.

I’ll try to separate each day into travel blog each, encompassing various aspects such as prerequisites, to-do-list, not-to-do-list, expenses, things to carry, how, what and why of whatever I can think of along with lots of photos.

Your mileage and stretch can wary. So adopt whatever feel like doable for you if you are referring to my travelogue. Else enjoy the read.

PS: In the process, I will try to answer one of the universally fundamental question which was bothering humankind from day immemorial; which theme park is better, Disneyland or Universal studio ? I might not be in best position but I had my enough fill of rituals to move towards enlightenment. I will surely attain complete truth after more visits.

Little wanderings

As onset of summer has kicked the mercury into 80s and 90s like a solid front going for full attack, however lucrative it sound to stay at home, it was equally improbable to not utilize the hot weather after freezing winter in Indianapolis. No longer trips in sight, I have to settle with little wanderings to nearby places in and around Indiana. Each doesn’t deserve full length writing but at the same time doesn’t qualify for complete ignorance. Hence, presenting collage of short trips in one delectable blog as below.

1. Marengo cave

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There are 4 show caves in Indiana. Marengo is one of them. Its situated in Crawford county, about 2.5 hours drive from Indianapolis city. There were multiple variation in circulation for the discovery of Marengo cave and all are equally enticing. But eventually all agree to point that cave has been discovered accidentally by two Hiestand children while playing in the woods.

First sensible effect of entering the cave was drastic temperature drop, especially in hot summer. Our tour guide said that cave was maintaining constant temperature no matter outside atmosphere. Dimly lit corridors and large areas were covered from long years of stalactites and stalagmites formation from floor to ceiling. At some locations, they were so bizarre and oddly formed that whole scene was looked like part of HP Lovecraft’s Chulthu mythos and bizarre imagination from H. R. Giger’s paintings. Human mind will always try to attach some shape and semblance of meaning to chaos and hence you might see with guide’s directional observation the likes of great wall of China (in miniature format), Elephant heads, swinging girls in shadows of torchlight and whatever your mind can comprehend (chulthu older ones for me).

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2. Indiana Dunes

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It is basically shoreline of lake Michigan. Beaches dotted along the line don’t have the seashore level playfulness of waves and spread, but still vastness of lake won’t allow your mind to latch onto such thoughts either. So basically you have few sandy trails where you climb and trudge through send hills and after that, cool off at nearby beach. Hotter the day, double the fun. Don’t forget your tanning apparatus and good camera. As late evening summer sunset over lake might present wonderful vista of red spectrum colors with usually beautiful scattering effect found in northern hemisphere.

3. Chicago (again)

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Next Chicago tour was more of architectural. We had river tour of famous Chicago architectures along with ample dose of its history mostly centered around destruction of Chicago in great fire of 1871 and its Phoenix-esq rise from the ashes.

 

Travelog: Niagara Falls

Just arriving to the land of abundant traveling spots and having 4th of July falling on Tuesday with Monday happily sacrificed in the name of long weekend had its merits in the name of prospects of long travel as well as demerits of stressful selection of the traveling destination. Though I didn’t have to go through such painful ordeal as group of colleagues were already looking for couple of companions to join their travel “crusade” to Niagara Falls. And hence when presented with proposal, I delightfully accepted the invitation.

So the 3 day plan was laid out like this: Start from Indianapolis early towards Buffalo (Where we secured the night out option), have brief on-the-fly visit of Cleveland, OH in transit to Buffalo, Visit the massive water fall in the morning for a day, visit Putin bay island while returning back (With one more night stay somewhere nearby) and get back to routine again next day. Plan was good and workable. And we almost stuck to it exhaustively except few pleasant changes of the visiting locations.

So here’s breezy travel commentary day by day.

Day 1

(Positive take away: First long travel within USA, Niagara at night)

(Negative put down: “Early in the morning” has most varied interpretation. That’s why humankind introduced numbers and clock)

Most of the day was spent travelling by rented car which was grand caravan by Dodge. It was comfortable and smooth on road. Apart from meagre coffee breaks, we managed to have our prolonged break only while reached Cleveland.

Plan was to have glimpse of Cleveland downtown which we did. Spent some time to skim through Cleveland civil war memorial towards fountain of eternal life. Had a glimpse of NASA science center from afar resting at Cleveland’s beautiful shoreline which is formed by Lake Erie.

From Cleveland to Buffalo was almost 190 miles run (around 3 hours). We reached there somewhere during late evening. It was ripe time to experience Niagara at night. So after having hefty Indian dinner we went to Niagara fall. Cacophony of the massive water body (flow rate: 2400m3/s) falling 50m was more of a guiding star without any directional instruction. Vista at night was more profound. Rainbow lights illuminating the fall, enhanced by equally intimidating roar was sight to behold; showing the tantamount power of nature while mocking the meagre existence of human life trying to capture the sight in ridiculous digital still frames and puny videos to post on cyber world.

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Day 2

(Positive take away: Niagara at Day, Maid of the Mist)

(Negative put down: With long summer weekend, comes longer waiting queues)

Amidst disappointing quantity of massive human gathering and long queues, sole relieving factor was to get through them and experience Niagara in its utmost proximity by means of the Maid of the Mist. Droplets of water floating like mist due to sheer force of falling water and wind had created dual rainbows across falls’ wide chasm where the secondary mirroring the primary in color pattern. It was like venturing in some Disney-world. And when you get near the Horseshoe Fall then only you would realize the propensity of madness which had caused those adventures to cross Niagara in name of stunts.

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As for other attractions, not much was as impressive enough as Maid of the Mist. Cave of Winds allows you to get wet in icy cold Niagara water, but nothing special apart from crowing of seagulls and their stinking nests with adorable chicks hanging out besides walking path.

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There were not much time left once we done with Niagara. And hence left in late evening on returning path.

Day 3

(Positive take away: Watkins Glen State Park)

(Negative put down: No time left for Putin Bay)

We changed plan to visit Watkins Glen state park on the third day of our trip. We experienced beautiful glens, lush greenery, pockets of brooks, intermittent canopy churning the sunlight creating golden shafts, slippery, wet stones carved by water having rippling design permanently imprinted upon and wooden bridges to complete the natural setup on our long walking trails.

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In the evening we had brief informative visit to Corning Glass Museum.

Exhausted and satiated to the full; only thing left was to mull over beautiful memories and publish the memoirs like this.

Till next time.

 

Versailles: Grand goodbye to Paris

“Let them eat cake.”

Once very famous (though without evidence) quote from the mouth of majestic kingdom queen would be appropriate paradoxical start to this blog. You may not understand the serious gravity of such ignorance from Queen Marie Antoinette and hence of French Monarchy when one of the most violent revolution brimming to burst out until you witness true majestic grandeur of French empire at Palace of Versailles.

Last day of my Paris visit had a clash between Versailles and Notre Dame. I had to choose only one as either of them having charm of eating away whole of your day in an instant. There was no particular reason I remember in opting Palace of Versailles apart from very eye-catching glimpses special created to get the attention of travelers of Palace of Versailles; all bathed in golden glory and royal interiors spilling out with grandeur (Specially Hall of Mirror). By the way, Palace of Versailles is huge sprawling mansion not only containing main king palace but entire area covered to the brim with absolutely breathtaking gardens, fountains, sculptures, mazes, lakes, ponds and also Queen’s expensive and carefully crafted Petit Hameau, a Utopian hamlet. Big, massive, sprawling, stupendous all these words had to feel shame on their meaning in not justifying the real size and nature of palace of Versailles. So pathetic the feeling was to capture all in still images of limited size, but still I tried my best to express the grandeur of one of the most iconic place in history. Enjoy following tiny slice of what I captured; be the royal guest of having tiny slice of the “Cake”.

Gold encrusted royal entrance to palace
Gold encrusted royal entrance to palace
Amalgamation of grandeur and art : Hall of Mirror
Amalgamation of grandeur and art : Hall of Mirror
Hall of Mirror is cramped with artistic arches, large vaulted windows, chandeliers, gilded sculptures and impressionistic art covered ceiling through entire 240 ft. length
Hall of Mirror is cramped with artistic arches, large vaulted windows, chandeliers, gilded sculptures and impressionistic art covered ceiling through entire 240 ft. length
Palace's garden facing part is adorned with large fountain area with sculptures situated around it.
Palace’s garden facing part is adorned with large fountain area with sculptures situated around it.
One of the small beautiful design aesthetic of large maze.
One of the small beautiful design aesthetic of large maze.
Versailles Palace from front
Versailles Palace from front
This is just the glimpse of sprawling walk you need to take from Queen's chalet to the Palace with cramped gardens and fountains and statues sprinkled in most artistic way for you to find out through massive four quadrant garden maze.
This is just the glimpse of sprawling walk you need to take from Queen’s hemlet to the Palace with cramped gardens and fountains and statues sprinkled in most artistic way for you to find out through massive four quadrant garden maze.
Sprawling walk view once reached to palace from queen chalet.
Sprawling walk view once reached to palace from queen hamlet.
Art oozing  out of every nook and cranny. One of the statue in massive courtyard of palace.
Art oozing out of every nook and cranny. One of the statue in massive courtyard of palace.