Tag Archives: Travel

Villa d’Este, Rome off the beaten path


Apart from the topmost things to do, I’m always looking for hidden gems (off the tourist map) when we visit a new country. I’m glad we found Villa d’Este in Italy, which is about an hour drive from Rome.

It is an Italian Villa nestled in the countryside with sweeping views of Rome. There are many gardens, hundreds of fountains, cascades and the grottoes.

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A Little Tour of Italy


France and Italy are the two countries in Europe that I had always wanted to visit. Since we checked off France in 2011, Italy was next on the list. Rome, Florence and Venice were the cities on our itinerary. But due to sudden hospitalization of my father, we visited only Rome. I guess that gives another reason to visit Italy again. 🙂 Rome took me by surprise; I expected it to have usual big city issues like traffic, smoke, crowds etc. But surprisingly it is a very clean city with elegance, so much of history and diverse architecture.

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Thailand – The Land of Smiles, Buddhism and Good Food

It was about time to experience another country and a different culture. The warm weather and a reasonable flight time were the main criteria.

As we’re based in India now, I scanned through many countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Maldives, Mauritius. We even considered Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Each one of these offers a unique experience but this time around we decided on Thailand.

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Reminiscence of our stay in Paris

Paris was the only disappointment, out of all European cities that we visited last year. I guess because the expectations were high. We had heard so much about Paris. The Maharajas (and other elites from India) are known for their love affair with the French designers for centuries. Even now, the city remains a magnet for the most.

As our train approached Paris, it reminded me of Delhi. The old and not so tall buildings, some of the avenues and streets are just like what we see in Connaught Place, New Delhi.

After doing all the research, we narrowed down to only a few landmarks: Luxembourg Gardens, Palace of Versailles, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral and Eiffel Tower (of course). I will start with the most favorite first:

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A Day at the Customs

Our shipment (furniture and household items from the US) arrived about a month back at Nhava Sheva Port, Mumbai. The shipping company advised us to be present at the time of Clearing (though not mandatory). So we planned in such a way that we would be in Mumbai at the time of shipment arrival.

It was a door to door move; from Atlanta, US to Pune, India. We had about half a container full of household items and furniture. It took us over a year to scale down from a 3000 sq ft house to a moderate 2-3 bedroom apt. Why did we do it? It is a topic for some other day. 🙂

The customs department (like many Govt bodies) in India has a reputation for not letting anybody go without a bribe. We spoke to some friends and relatives that had connections. All advised and agreed that it would be better to bribe for a hassle free experience. Brinda and I were not very keen on the same. So we decided that we would personally visit the port and meet the customs dept. This also gave us an opportunity to inspect and make sure we received all of our items.

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