October 31, 2008

A Journey . . .

I stumbled upon the Hillman wonder list, and it was truly a wonder. I wanted to travel to so many of the destinations, and I in fact started to count where all I have been to till now. I did not manage to amass a great list, but the motivation to see all that which was available in India, certainly grew.

Let me go ahead and list where all I have managed to visit in a quarter of a century, and it should certainly be noted that all of it is all thanks to my parents, who are very avid travellers. Acha (Dad) has travelled far and wide, for work and also on family vacations. Amma never accompanies on official trips, but nevertheless have gone to so many places especially been partially brought up in Malaysia.

Anyhow, here is the list of all visited places till dateJerusalem Old City, Israel – I went to Jerusalem with my parents when I was 13 years old, and going from a Muslim country, did not create any shock in terms of the Muslim population their traditions and daily prayers. I was more interested in the Jews and their prayers at the Wailing Wall. It was the first time I was witnessing their swaying prayer at the Wall, and it was truly a sight to behold. I even went down to the altar where Jesus Christ was crucified; I have come to hear that this visit underground is not allowed anymore, which makes this even more special.

Colosseum of Rome, Italy – This falls part to my Europe trip after my 10th standard exams. We went on a Cosmos tour, and saw a lot in a short period of time. Looking back maybe now I would not want to do that, but I know that I am so so grateful to my parents for showing me beautiful Europe as a 15 year old! When you see it around the corner, you are so struck by the huge size and broken remains. When you walk in, ensure that you take the walkman tour, which is certainly the best as by me, informative and alone with a personal tour guide!

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City – The seat of Christianity, the home to the Pope, and a beautiful Basilica is what we see from the St. Peter’s Square. Unfortunately when I visited Vatican City, the Basilica was under renovation, and I did not see it in its true splendour. The dome designed by Michelangelo was visible and also the pillars adorning the square. I need to go back to the St. Peter’s Square to view the Basilica in its full glory.

Sistine Chapel, Vatican City – From the entrance to the exit, you crane your neck, staring at the dimly lit corridors and roof of the Sistine Chapel and marvel at the frescos strewn across the ceiling. The Last Judgement sure topped my list of must stare at items.

Louvre Museum, France – The sheer size (10 kilometres) of this museum will ensure that you spend at least 4 hours in it, and the art, like the only too famous Mona Lisa, which it contains, will ensure another 4 hours.

Eiffel Tower, France – This huge structure in the middle of the city changed from a hideous to the most loved monument in Paris over a few years. The views from the various levels are breath-taking and the best picture of the Eiffel itself can be taken from the terrace of the Trocadero Museum. Another interesting fact is that, if you send a postcard or a letter from atop the Eiffel, the stamp that you get is in the shape of the Eiffel itself. I still have a self addressed postcard from there.

Canals of Venice, Italy – Gondolas, their music, winding canals and the view of Venice are surely one of the most romantic experiences in one’s lifetime. Glass Blowing is also said to be a very refined art which is prevalent in Venice.

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy – The not toppling and the science behind it is very good to hear from the guides and the guide books. The cathedral of Pisa is also a wonderful architectural achievement, but with a leaning tower it certainly stands no chance with the typical tourists.

St. Mark’s Basilica, Italy – The dome and the bell tower are seen from square of Venice. The artisanship is seen in all the interior works of this Basilica.

Versailles Palace, France – Luxury, royalty, expanse, garden and fountains are what one can hope to see at this colossal palace and its grounds.

Petronas Twin Towers, Malaysia – A city scrapper with a sky walk for a view of the city. Malaysia has very few sky scrappers and hence at any time the view from the top always proves to be wonderful, especially with a dinner to accompany.

Golden temple, India – the most sacred spot for Sikhs is the Golden Temple at Amritsar, and this is once place I travelled with my friend and her family. The lake surrounding it, the temple and the cramped interiors show the Holy Scriptures and devotion. The langar which is the daily meal provided by the Gurudwara, is a meal for all and made by the devotees through the day. The langar preparation is also said to be a form offering.

Varanasi and Ganga, India – The ghats, worshipers, cremation pyres, sadus only add to the most holy Hindu city of Varanasi. The extremely narrow alleys which lead to the ghats, lined with small shops make this city seem to be in a frozen place in time. The sweets of Varanasi and the silk saris are a few of the city highlights not to be missed.

Image: http://www.1worldglobes.com/images/StarterGlobeFSM_2.jpg


  1. Wow! Its nice that u have seen these places. I and my parents may go to France in coming summer vacation. Lets see.

  2. Reems: France is a wonderful place. I stayed at Paris for three months during an internship.

    If you can, visit Monaco, the gambling point, F1 circuit and the small rich country within France.


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