Thursday, April 27, 2006

Paris trip - March, 2006

Bon Jour.. Mesdames et Messieurs..
I am just very lazy when it comes to new posts and this sorto post takes quite sometime to put together... Finally, I have logged my trip to paris a month back...

Timeline: March 4th week, 2006

I had a great time this week. Last time when I came to attend a training, I had very little time to explore this wonderful city. But this time around, I had plenty of time to walk around and see some of the famous monuments in Paris and just roam the streets of Paris, hop on and hop off the Metros and RER's(Fast trains) from Point A to Point B. It was just fascinating, that you can go anywhere with very little difficulty with just the help of a map. Its like a dream come true, though I really never dreamed so much of visiting Paris, dunno why and pls. dont ask me, why not. Def. Heard from friends and read in a few books, but being there and seeing it, was totally a different experience.

Veni, Vidi, Felix Sum... (rough translated as I came, I saw and I am happy).. Blame google, if this translation is wrong :-o)

Let me try to summarize my visit in Chronological order...

Read on....

Check out for more photos HERE

Thursday, April 20, 2006

My Best Friend's Wedding

Well... this is not about my best friend(s) or his/her wedding. This is about the movie which goes by the same name. Again this is not a review or critic. The movie had two gorgeous women (Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts) which basically tempted me to watch the entire movie flipping the channel between the Champions League game between Aresenal and Villareal. I started focussing more on the movie after it was clear that Arsenal were going to Win.
I thought it was pretty interesting movie. Two women going for the same man kind of story. Just in case if you havent watched it, Julia and the guy were going together in the past but then remained closest friends. Then the guy falls in love with Cameron Diaz and they both decide to get married. But Julia after a long gap suddenly finds her in a position that her best friend is being stolen away from her and she also realises that she actually loves him. So she is making desperate attempts to stop the wedding at any cost, but in the end just gives up and lives with the fact that she was just too late to realise that she actually fell in love with him.
Now comes the point of my blogging about this. I agree it was more hollywood and dramatical, but in reality do people realise that they actually love something only when they lose it/him/her the most(I know this cannot be generalized)?? Like in this case the women had the guy all ga-ga over her in the past, but she was just happy to be his friend and nothing more. In a casual conversation with a friend of mine, he was saying that women, when they date guys dont want to commit, but want to keep their options open, sort of like window shopping. Maybe there is a better guy outthere. Some I heard even handle 2 or 3 guys at the same time, by calling them friends. It was his opinion from his personal experiences perhaps. But interesting thing is, when the same woman finds the guy taken away from her, then she realises how badly she likes him and how much she wants him. There is another point of view that most Indian women always start things with guys as good friends. They somehow find this very comfortable to start with. But does this phenomenon lead to a stage that they actually become close friends and then suddenly something tells her that how can u go for a guy who is your closest friend. Ofcourse I have seen the cases where 2 very good friends have ended up being together and things have worked out too. So I am not trying to generalize, but merely trying to see what other people think about this situation.
What I am wondering is that, is it human nature which common to both men and women or is it more feminine charecteristic?? I know its kinda silly post to even talk about this. But consider this as a Tea-time or Coffee table talk over a coffee table with your friends and post your opinions or comments about the same. You could go anonymous if you want to share personal experience and dont want to be public with it. I would def. love to hear the opinions from the fairer sex on this.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My trip to Luxembourg

After so much of confusion and indecision, I finally made the decision of buying the train tickets to Brussels from Paris upon my friend's insistance. He was nice enough to offer me a ride in his car from Brussels to Luxembourg and back to Brussels, in time, so I can catch my train back to paris. After lot of considerations, what if my plane gets delayed, what if there are strikes in France (which is so common these days!) and lots of other what ifs, I booked my tickets in Thalys for the TGV train from Paris airport to Brussels.
I was quite excited to make this trip. I was traveling in a TGV and average speed of that train is about 250 kmph which is almost double the speed limit in most highways except Autobahn in Germany where there is no speedlimit . I know I sound like a small kid out of rural village saying 'oh. thats a train. I would like to go on one of those'. That was precisely my feeling back then about TGV. I realised the high speed only after we zooming past a few cars in the adjacent freeway or motorway(however u call it).
After reaching brussels, I went and parked at my Friend's colleague's place for the night. Just went out for a couple of hours in Brussels city late in the evening, but did not get enough time to see the city properly. Old and typical European buildings, Some palaces and Museums in the city center are the main attractions. It was quite amazing that they have about 3 languages spoken there and most official business is done in 2 or 3 languages (French, German and Dutch). Just had enough time to walk the streets for an hour or so and headed back.
Next day, we started early to Luxembourg. Having lost the way initially and losing some time enroute, we finally reached luxembourg. As lonely planet describes, it is a tiny country on the map with not enough space to contain the letters of its name. Considering the size, you can easily travel north to south or east to west of the country in about 2 hours time. As expected it was a very beautiful city. We took the map and started making our way through the streets, full of fellow tourists. We went to a old Fortress which consisted of 2-3 levels and long corridor which was mainly a hiding place and a bomb shelter during the WW2 from the German attack. We then walked the market place and saw the Grand palace from outside and a few old cathedrals.
We were then told that there was a beautiful old Castle in a place called 'Vianden', an hour's drive from Luxembourg city. The drive through the country side was the most fascinating part. Those Valleys and Lushgreen countryside was very picturesque. Maybe it seemed even more so, bcos I was just starving for a change from snow. However the Castle trip didn't let us down. It was a very beautiful Medieval Castle with lots of old artifacts and armours, swords etc etc. We went inside and on to the top and got a good view of the entire areas surrounding it. They also lots of Wineyards nearby that area. Thanks to my friend, we were back to Brussels intime for me to catch my train back to Paris.
Click HERE for more Photos

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Home of Cricket

I assume it must be every cricketer`s dream to play for his country and to play at Lord`s Cricket Ground some day. Just for the same reason, it must be every cricket fan`s fantasy to watch his team win at Lord`s. Well I got pretty close, except that noone was playing and tt was open for Public Viewing.
Yes... I went to Lord`s Cricket Ground and..My god.. It was a great feeling to be Up Close and Personal with the Lord`s Lushgreen Outfield where many a great cricketing heroes have stamped their authority. Well this is how my trip goes...

As an ardent cricket fan I had to make a trip to the two of the great cricket grounds in London city, the Lord`s and the Kennington Oval. I couldn`t get a sneakpeak of Oval ground bcos the security wouldn't allow me inside. But I found out that they have a Guided Tour of Lord`s ground in the Off-season. Its an hour and half and it covers almost all the parts of the ground. Off I went and bought a ticket to catch a glimpse of Cricket History and enter my name in the guestbook of the Lord`s.

First we were taken to the Pavilion and into the Visiting team`s Changing room. It is the same room where the visiting team uses when they play any game against England or the Host team(if its a World cup game), however the case maybe. It was just great feeling to be in that room. There were couple of boards which carried the names of Visiting team Batsmen who scored centuries at Lord`s and Bowlers who took 5`s and 10`s. Saw some of the familiar names on that board. The room led us to the Visiting team balcony. It was a Grand view of the ground from there. Its the same balcony where Kapil`s Devils celebrated their 83` World Cup Victory and where Saurav did his Famous Strip tease and thumped his barechest after beating England to clinch the Natwest trophy in 2001. Many a great cricketing moments come to my mind right now related this same balcony.
After taking a couple of snaps, we were taken to the Museum of Lord`s where the Prudential World Cup, Famous Ashes Urn and the Recently won Ashes Crystal cup and also the Diana Memorial Cup are preserved. I also saw framed photographs of some of the great moments of Cricket like Kapil Dev's Famous 4 sixes against England to avoid follow-on, Brian Lara's Wagon Wheel when he scored Record 375, Original Scoresheet of Indian's Victory against West Indies in the World Cup '83 and several others.

Then we were taken to the side stands to get a closer look at the ground.

Later we went to the Media center end and got a closer look at the outfield from there and then we went upto the top of the Media center. There were 2 levels, one for the Journalists and other for the Commentators. It was much like the Media Center at Aggie Football stadium at Texas A&M with many small rooms for different channels(Closest I can think of in Comparison - then again not trying to compare these 2 gounds. That would be a sin). We were breifed about the Design and planning of this Odd Space ship like structure. Infact it is just an inverted Hull of a ship which was actually contsructed by a shipyard company in England. So many times we have seen the view of the ground from this center on TV, but it was a different feeling to be there to see it. Then we came down and we were shown the practise ground where players usually practise before the start of the game. Finally before we left, I signed the Guestbook, the same book where the 'Pigeon'- Glenn Mcgrath had also signed.

For More photos Click HERE

Some Tips: Nearest Undergrounds: St. John's Wood or Baker Street. I suggest Go to baker Street and take a Bus.
Timings for Guided tours:

Monday, April 03, 2006

March Madness ... !!! :-o)

If you are an ardent basketball fan and expected to read about NCAA basketball I am terribly sorry :-o). I just borrowed the term as it sounds cool. Anyways this March has been totally crazy for me. First I moved into my new apartment and had to settle down with all my stuff in my not so big but centrally located apartment in the City of Oslo. Needless to say, that my House is a total mess right now. I still need to do tons of work cleaning up and arranging and re-arranging stuff which I haven't gotten around to, yet.
Then comes the best part.. I had a couple of training programs to attend. Guess where?? One in Paris and One near London :) My last week to Paris was so hectic that I barely got a chance to go around the beautiful city of Paris. This time around I had lots of time and an excellent company to tour paris(You wouldnt believe if I said We had people from pretty much from each continent except Australia and that in a small group of 10 or so). I had 2 weekends and the weekdays in between. 4 days went off for training, but we still got the evenings to ourselves and the Friday off-work. So thats a lot of time to see paris.

First weekend I went to Brussels upon my friends invitation and from there he took me to
Beautiful Country/City of Luxembourg. Tiny as it may seem on a map, it was really picturesque. The city had lot of history and also the country has some of the oldest castles. We also visited one of those. I didnt have much time to go around Brussels though.

Then back in Paris, I was able to visit almost all of the main tourist attractions and enjoy the most beautiful and romantic city in leisure using the Metro trains and buses and ofcourse 'with a little help from my friends'. I will blog about each of these trips seperately with some pictures taken later.

Following week I had to attend another training program in Milton Keynes, an hour or so from London city. Very calm and nice place, it was. Come weekend, I went to London and stayed right in the dead center of city, Piccadily circus. I found out later that it is the most happening place on a saturday night in London where all night clubs and famous pubs are located. Got lucky I guess, but at a high price(Had to shell out close to 50 pounds for a room/night with shared failities and it was the cheapest I could find.. ridiculus maximus!!). Got to see many a famous places incl. the Lord's Cricket ground (which was on top of my list), 221 Baker street (which actually doesn't exist !), Former house of H.G.Wells on Baker Street, palace, Big Ben and all that. But couldnt find time to knock on 10 Downing street or to see the Famous London Tower Bridge(I feel like an ass for having missed out on this). Also did the Famous Open top London Bus tour(which I feel is very overrated and not cost effective). I felt more comfortable taking a map and using the underground to go different places. Anyways Will Blog in detail later. Never thought touring is so easy in such big cities esp. when you are single.

I am still on a floating high from the last 3 weekends. I am not sure if it was from the sheer thrill of seeing these places or just excessive French Wines and Warm English Beer from London(Asterix takes a dig at British for drinking their beer warm:-). After such a hectic touring (or should I say official touring!), I am back in Oslo in the middle of an extended never ending winter which is just not giving away to Spring. I miss the wonderful and Sunny weather from Paris and London :(. But snow is slowly melting now and thats a welcome sight for me. Spring is coming.. yee..haw.... Watch for more travelogs..