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My first website was http://www.ejji.4t.com . Reason, I was 40 years young when I made it. It was at age 40 that I also quit working/ business, (read money making!), life.
A fascinating journey of bohemian living, complimented with logic shattering decisions, life threatening journeys, and memorable liaisons, took me to age 60.
By this time, my server decided to rename the website URL. My original web site became www. ejji.mysite.com . I had no control over the name change and subsequent URL migration. This blog has very interesting topics on which I have written and opined on. I do not say that what I have said is correct. They are my views. I suppose I am allowed my own views, even if they do not gel with what you may agree with.
Then at age 60, I started my blog ejji6t.wordpress.com. Personally some of the best blogs of mine are on it. Having taken the clear and confirmed view to continue doing exactly what I have always been doing at age 40, I had quite a ball, reaching 60 on the fast lane of life. Sadly, many of my friends had in this period fallen by the wayside, some clinically dead, others dead by thought and action.
Now at age 69, (bloody hell, at one time you reach a figure that reminds you of “memorable liaisons” mentioned earlier. So 69 can be a number, noun or verb!!!), I have a follow up blog ejji7t.wordpress.com . I will touch 70 in a few days. To me age is just a number. Take a look at this blog.
The idea of visiting World Heritage sites across Europe has been on our minds since we did the India Iran Azerbaijan Russia Car Rally in 2018. After much discussions and planning, the drive materialized. Leading the planning group were Ramesh Mahapatra of Global Overlanders, Bhubaneshwar, India, (https://overlanders.in/), Vladimir Kezling of St. Petersburgh, Russia, (https://kezling.ru/) , Kasi Viswanathan of Jaihind Autosports & International Hospitality Organizers (JAIHO), St. Petersburgh & Moscow, Russia , Ejji K. Umamahesh and Bhamini Shankar of Chennai, India.
The four who joined us on the drive were Shyamala Ejji from Madras, Tamanna Dehuri from Bhuabaneshwar, Amit Srivastava and Jagjit Singh Sandhu from Delhi.
Kasi Viswanathan and Vladimir Kezling drove two cars, a Mercedes Veto and a Toyota Overlander from Moscow to Paris, and parked the cars at the hotel that has been booked for us from 26th June. Kasi took a train from Paris and joined us in London on 24 June. Vladimir stayed back in Paris. Why did we not bring the cars ton London? First, it required much paper work. Second, we all wanted to try the Chunnel Rail! A first experience for all of us!
Ejji, Shyamala and Bhamini left Chennai for London via Bahrain. These pictures are from Bahrain International Airport where we were lucky to see a McLaren 570 S Coupe on display.
THE ROUTE: UNITED KINGDOM (LONDON) – FRANCE – SWITZERLAND – ITALY – SLOVENIA – AUSTRIA – HUNGARY – SLOVAKIA – POLAND – LITHUANIA – LATVIA – ESTONIA – RUSSIA (13 countries) ROUTE MAPS:
June 22 to June 26, 2019:UNITED KINGDOM: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK or U.K.) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain the north eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. LONDON & AROUND: London is one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan cities in the world. London is the capital city of England and is located in the south east of the country. Although a country in its own right, England is also part of the United Kingdom alongside Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea. London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londonium was founded by the Romans. The program for five days was in London and around, visiting places of interest in and around London. The person in charge of our itinerary was RASIKA EJJI who has been living here for very many years.
These are the major attractions we visited: Abbey Road: Abbey Road Studios, the Temple for all Music Lovers! The iconic “zebra crossing” on Abbey Road. The world’s most famous crosswalk, which The Beatles immortalized on the album cover of the same name. But many miss out on the home of Thomas Beecham, that is a stone’s throw away from the famous Abbey Road Crossing and Studio! Sir Thomas Beecham, 2nd Baronet, CH (29 April 1879 – 8 March 1961) was an English conductor and impresario best known for his association with the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic orchestras. He was also closely associated with the Liverpool Philharmonic and Hallé orchestras. Click for more pictures of Abbey Road: https://mega.nz/folder/0QkllSwK#ilIpWIP1m2Feus-yjylqdg
Bath – Bath Cathedral: Bath: The CityofBath is a UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE . It is an historic Roman and Georgian spa city. This is 100 mi west of London and 15 miles southeast of the nearest big city, Bristtol. A unique city, Bath is famous for its hot springs, Roman period baths, Medieval heritage and stately Georgian architecture. The Bath Abbey is a parish church of England and former Benedictine monastery. Founded in the 7th century, it was reorganized in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries. The city is preserved for its Roman remains and Palladian architecture. Click for more pictures of Bath Cathedral: https://mega.nz/folder/ldFwQaSZ#EaPCLjp5fcwbFKMlNJ-06Q
Roman Baths:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE. The Roman Baths are a well-preserved thermae in the city of Bath, Somerset, England. The Roman Baths, at the heart of the City of Bath World Heritage Site, consists of the remarkably preserved remains of one of the greatest religious spas of the ancient world. The city’s unique thermal springs rise in the site and the Baths still flow with natural hot water. A temple was constructed on the site between 60-70CE in the first few decades of RomanBritain. Its presence led to the development of the small Roman urban settlement known as Aquae Sulis round the site. The Roman baths, which were used for public bathing, were used until end of Roman rule in Britain in the 5th Century CE. Click for more pictures of Roman Baths: https://mega.nz/folder/1clk0ajb#Hm2nv_5X4k2XO_TCC0KVWQ
Royal Observatory: The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, is in the Greenwich Heritage Centre, and part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. It is an observatory situated on a hill in Greenwich Park, overlooking the River Thames. It played a major role in the history of astronomy and navigation, and because the prime meridian passes through it, it gave its name to Greenwich Mean Time. As well as the presence of the first example of Palladian architecture in England, and works by Christopher Wren and Inigo Jones, the area is significant for the Royal Observatory where the understanding of astronomy and navigation were developed. Click for more pictures of Greenwich Royal Observatory: https://mega.nz/folder/Bd1wzSJT#b5bvzHayXbgknEreDrEPiw
Stonehenge:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE : Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, two miles (3 km) west of Amesbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones, each around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, seven feet (2.1 m) wide, and weighing around 25 tons. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred tumuli (burial mounds). Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The word Stone needs no explanation. But why the appendage “henge”? Henges are prehistoric British constructions, generally consisting of a round flattened area surrounded by a boundary earthwork, usually consisting of a bank and/or a ditch. Click for more pictures of Stonehenge: https://mega.nz/folder/sUNxiYJQ#9CyExolnRYvc7GfXU9M_CA
Tower of London:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: Begun by William the Conqueror in 1066 during the Norman conquest of England, the Tower of London is a symbol of power and an example of Norman military architecture that spread across England. Additions by Henry II and Edward I in the 13th century made the castle one of the most influential buildings of its kind in England. When William the Conqueror built a mighty stone tower at the center of his London fortress in the 1070s, defeated Londoners must have looked on in awe. Now nearly 1000 years later, the Tower still has the capacity to fascinate and horrify. As protector of the Crown Jewels, home of the Yeomen Warders and its legendary guardians, the pampered ravens, here, the Ceremony of the Keys and other traditions live on, as do the ghost stories and terrible tales of torture and execution. But the Tower also has a richer and more complex history, having been home to a wide array of institutions including the Royal Mint, the Royal Armories and even a zoo. Click for more pictures of Tower of London: https://mega.nz/folder/EccRGKZC#duCMe9ZAGJUUPMvE1I9d9A
Victoria & Albert Museum: The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design, as well as sculpture, housing a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Click for more pictures of Victoria & Albert Museum: https://mega.nz/folder/5UECCS6b#JdO1COPS2I1kJOYq4jsjSA
V&A Museum Tipoo’s Tiger & Dress: ‘Tipu’s Tiger’ was made for Tipu Sultan, ruler of Mysore in South India from 1782 to 1799. It is one of the V&A’s most famous and intriguing objects. The tiger, an almost life-sized wooden semi-automaton, mauls a European soldier lying on his back. Concealed inside the tiger’s body, behind a hinged flap, is an organ which can be operated by turning the handle next to it. This simultaneously makes the man’s arm lift up and down and produces noises intended to imitate his dying moans.
Tigers and tiger stripes were part of the decoration of Tipu Sultan’s possessions and anything made to proclaim his rule or personal association. Jeweled gold tiger head finials were on his throne, and tiger stripes were stamped onto his coinage, and his swords and guns incorporated tiger heads and stripes in their forms and ornamentation. Small bronze mortars made for his army were in the shape of crouching tigers, and the men who fired lethal iron-cased rockets against the British wore tunics with stripes woven into the fabric.
Windsor Castle:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: A Royal home and fortress for over 900 years, Windsor Castle, the largest occupied castle in the world, remains a working palace today. The Queen uses the Castle both as a private home, where she usually spends the weekend, and as an official Royal residence at which she undertakes certain formal duties. Click for more pictures of Windsor Castle: https://mega.nz/folder/AYsg1YAR#PoP3mcqHpjwwaQzg_x6law
Day 01: 27 June, 2019:London to Paris by Eurostar through the Chunnel! Chunnel Tunnel: The Channel Tunnel, also referred to as the Chunnel, is a 50.45-kilometre (31.35 mi) railway tunnel that connects Folkestone, Kent, Eng;land, UK with Coquelles Hauts-de-France, France, beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. It is the only fixed link between the island of Great Britain and the European mainland. At its lowest point, it is 75 m (250 ft) deep below the sea bed and 115 m (380 ft) below sea level. At 37.9 kilometres (23.5 mi), the tunnel has the longest underwater section of any tunnel in the world. The speed limit for trains through the tunnel is 160 km/h (100 mph). Eurostar: There’s only one train running directly from London to Paris: the Eurostar high-speed train. So that makes choosing the right train a bit easier! This train is seriously speedy. On average the journey takes 2 hours 28 minutes, at its fastest, 2 hours 16 minutes. On arrival at Paris, we were met by the last member to join the group Vladimir Kezling. We checked into the hotel.
Day 02: 28 June, 2019: FRANCE: Paris: Banks of the River Sienne is listed as a WORLD HERITAGE SITE: Paris, France’s capital, is a major European city and a global center for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture. Its 19th-century cityscape is crisscrossed by wide boulevards and the River Seine. Beyond such landmarks as the Eiffel Tower (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the 12th-century, Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral, (a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE), the city is known for its cafe culture and designer boutiques along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. The whole day was spent in visiting various sights in Paris and trying out the best of French cuisine. The day ended with a cruise on the Seine River, the river of France. The Banks of the Sienne is listed as a UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE. Click for more pictures of Paris: https://mega.nz/folder/gElTDB5A#DuRlrBRgJp-R2Avf-sAJwg
Day 03: 29 June, 2019: Palace of Versailles:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: The French revolution began in 1789, as the people of France pushed to overthrow the absolute monarchy of Louis XVI. There were several different causes of the revolution, but one of the most important was the economic crisis facing France at the time and the excesses of the monarchy of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The Palace of Versailles was important because, for the members of the third estate, it represented the excesses and failure of the king and queen as the French Revolution began.The Palace of Versailles was originally built by Louis XIII in 1623, as a hunting lodge. The palace was constructed out of brick and stone near the town of Versailles which was southwest of Paris. The palace saw extensive renovations and additions over the next 155 years, including major expansions during the reign of Louis XIV. For example, from 1678 to 1715, the palace saw the addition of two large wings and construction was undertaken to expand the royal apartments. In general, the palace today is fairly unchanged from 1715. The total cost of building and renovating the palace is difficult to ascertain, but recent studies have suggested that the construction of the Versailles Palace cost France over $2 billion USD in today’s value. In total, the palace has over 700 rooms, 1250 fireplaces, and is over 700,000 square feet in size. Click for more pictures of Palace of Versailles: https://mega.nz/folder/NZd3iQpZ#-NngGrf1eBE7zL4HrJuFUQ
Palace of Fontainebleau:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: From the royal charter of 1137 to the fall of the Second Empire in 1870, the Palace of Fontainebleau saw the lives of the greatest French sovereigns from day to day. The original medieval fortress was replaced by a Renaissance palace under the guiding hand of Francois I. Click for more pictures of Palace of Fontainebleau: https://mega.nz/folder/BcV1FYoa#fOgT1OtkX1d3NkfL8nF3SQ
Day 04: 30 June 2019: Bourges: Bourges is a city in central France known for its half-timbered houses. Bourges, the ancient Roman city of Avaricum, located in the Centre-Val-de-Loire region, was one of the first Christian communities of Gaul. In the hotel we stayed in Bourges, we were surprised to see a well carved door and the door jamb with Indian figures!
Château de Sully-sur-Loire:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE. The Loire Valley between Suly-sur-Loire and Chalonnes is a WorldHeritageSite. The imposing medieval architecture of the chateau de Sully has dominated the Loire for seven centuries. With its high towers, its moats still filled with water and its superb conical roofs, the château gives the impression of having seen some of the finest moments of France’s history. You can visit the residence of Maximilien de Béthune, better known by the name Duke de Sully, Henri IV’s famous minister, and discover the history of this family which owned the castle for nearly four centuries ! Click for more pictures of Château de Sully-sur-Loire: https://mega.nz/folder/pAs1FACR#5DaQT9s36LmMg83R51D9Xw
Chateau Chaumont-sur-Loire:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: The Loire Valley is a WorldHeritageSite.The fortress of Chaumont-sur-Loire was built around the year 1000 to keep watch over the border between the counties of Blois and Anjou. The Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire is a castle founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Clount of Blois. After Pierre d’Amboise rebelled against Louis XI, the king ordered the castle’s destruction. Later in the 15th century Château de Chaumont was rebuilt by Charles I d’Amboise. Protected as a historical monument since 1840, the château was given into state ownership in 1938 and is now open to the public. Click for more pictures of Chateau Chaumont-sur-Loire: https://mega.nz/folder/5J9nzC5D#ZLT4KL8Y50NJ9xpYhHSq2g
Chaumont-sur-Loire Stable: Prince Amadee de Broglie also added the remarkable stables complete with running water and electric lamps when even the grandest chateau had none. he horses must have been the best appointed residents in the Loire Valley at the time! The stables were built in 1877 by Paul-Ernest Sanson, the architect of the prince and princess de Broglie. They were considered at the end of the 19th century to be the most luxurious, most modern palace in Europe; the saddle room contains magnificent harnesses, made by Hermès. SITA & LAKME were names of two horses! Names of Indian Gods! The stables had piped water supply! Click for more pictures of Chaumont-sur-Loire Stable: https://mega.nz/folder/pU8hhCAT#AxGz7RV3avrXrrvWdy_m4g
Château de Chenonceau:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: The spectacular Château de Chenonceau is an architectural mixture of late Gothic and early Renaissance elements and, with the integral bridge over the river Cher, is one of the defining Chateau of the region. Built on the site of an old mill and surrounded by formal Renaissance gardens it is a spectacular sight and a must visit location. The first château was a medieval fortress dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, of which only the dungeon remains, the Tour des Marques. The château in its current form was built between 1513 and 1576 in three stages, by Thomas Bohier and above all his wife, Catherine Briçonnet. An architectural mix between late Gothic and early Renaissance, it is the second most visited chateau in France after Versailles. Click for more pictures of Château de Chenonceau: https://mega.nz/folder/RdElGSyL#O6frXKPHTU1gFHRaqjRvVw
Château de Chenonceau Kitchen: The popular kitchens of Chateau de Chenonceau with their collection copper ware are located within its vaulted cellars on the first and second piers of the ‘bridge’. There is a small landing platform beneath, this was where supplies would be transferred from riverboats to the servants for stocking. The 16th century chimney in the pantry is the oldest in the chateau. The kitchens today look so pristine…it would be interesting to go back to a time when the staff were busying about trying to cater for their demanding royal hosts above and see what the real conditions were like! Click for more pictures of Château de Chenonceau Kitchen: https://mega.nz/folder/AA0jUAaJ#YyGFsSlLnAp90ie9X-jv9A
Day 05: 01 July, 2019: Bourges Cathedral:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: The grand, Gothic-style Bourges Cathedral features 13th-century stained-glass windows. Notre-Dame de Paris certainly inspired archbishop Henri de Sully to build Bourges cathedral but he died in 1199 before its completion. The next archbishop, Guillaume de Dangeon, continued the work up until his death ten years later in 1209. The cathedral, which was dedicated to the first Christian martyr, Saint Etienne, occupies the site of a place of worship since the 3rd century. It is one of the great masterpieces of Gothic art, and admired for its proportions and the unity of its design. Its tympanum, sculptures and stained-glass windows are particularly striking. Apart from the beauty of its architecture, it bears witness to the power of Christianity in medieval France. Click for more pictures of Bourges Cathedral: https://mega.nz/folder/lEt3GS4K#6grPgRdRUJOHqwhn-085hg
Annecy: Annecy is an alpine town in southeastern France, where Lake Annecy feeds into the Thiou River. It’s known for its Vieille Ville (old town), with cobbled streets, winding canals and pastel-colored houses. Overlooking the city, the medieval Château d’Annecy, once home to the Counts of Geneva. Lake Annecy (in picture extreme left), is a peri Alpine lake in Haute-Savoie. It is the third largest lake in France, if the French part of lake Geneva which is shared between Switzerland and France is excluded. It is known as “Europe’s cleanest lake” because of strict environmental regulations introduced in the 1960s. The Island Fort Prison (in middle picture, is the most photographed building in Annecy. It is the Old Prison, also called – the Palace on Island. It was built in XII century by count of Geneva. The fortified Palais de l’Île was built on a natural rocky island in the 12th century and was referred to for the first time in 1325 as a prison when the feudal lord of Annecy paid Jean de Menthoux, the master of the island, to feed two prisoners. Thirty years later, the Holy Roman Germanic Emperor Charles IV granted Count Amadeus III of Geneva the right to establish a coin minting workshop in the little castle. This activity continued until the end of the 14th century. After a series of restorations throughout the 20th century, the Palais de l’Île is now accessible to the public and houses the Architecture and Heritage Interpretation Centre. Baba Rhum: I also came across Baba Rhum (in picture extreme right), is NOT a Saibaba (the Afro Hair styled fraud from India) Rum! A Rum Baba or Baba au Rhum, is a small yeast cake saturated in syrup made with hard liquor, usually RUM, and sometimes filled with whipped cream or pastry cream. It is most typically made in individual servings (about a 5 cm tall, slightly tapered cylinder) but sometimes can be made in larger forms similar to those used for Bundt cakes. The batter for Baba includes eggs, milk and butter. Click for more pictures of Annecy: https://mega.nz/folder/VB9FwLrR#dQUTcyC2HNMBLT32RxO_1A
Day 06: 02 July, 2019: Switzerland:Geneva:Geneva is a city in Switzerland that lies at the southern tip of expansive Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). Surrounded by the Alps and Jura mountains, the city has views of dramatic Mont Blanc. Headquarters of Europe’s United Nations and the Red Cross, it’s a global hub for diplomacy and banking. French influence is widespread, from the language to gastronomy and bohemian districts like Carouge. Click for more pictures of Geneva: https://mega.nz/folder/0dVRwa7Z#Ddhp0VvqyM8gD1GKZQHs8A
Jet d’Eau: This is a large fountain in Geneva, and is one of the city’s most famous landmarks, being featured on the city’s official tourism web site. Situated where Lake Geneva exits as the Rhone, it is visible throughout the city and from the air, even when flying over Geneva at an altitude of 10 kilometres (33,000 ft). Click for more pictures of Jet d’ Eau: https://mega.nz/folder/wc8QQKqC#JUfmOY4pjtncbksS6khF5w
Cathedrals in Geneva:St. PierreCathedral, was built as a Roman Catholic cathedral, but became a Reformed Protestant Church of Geneva church during the Reformation. It is known as the adopted home church of John Calvin, one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. Inside the church is a wooden chair used by Calvin. Chapel of the Maccabees or the Notre-dame collegial chapel was built in the 15th century as a tomb for Jean de Brogny and his family, a cardinal who served under Pope Clement VII. It was converted into a warehouse during the Reformation to store salt and gunpowder, but by the end of the 17th century, it was used as the venue for lectures on philosophy by the Academy, a predecessor of Geneva University. Chapel known as Portugal is a chapel in the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre in Geneva, one of the most emblematic of Switzerland, where two Portuguese princesses are found. Both were owners of the Prangins Castle, now the Swiss national museum. The fate wanted that the two both mother and daughter, had the same fate, since their marriages, fruit of a great passion, ended in separation. Emilia Nassau and Maria Belgia the mother and daughter, both Portuguese princesses are buried there. There is also an interesting museum near the cathedral. Click for more pictures of Cathedrals in Geneva: https://mega.nz/folder/EVNABI6I#5rFBcrlb-BDfcJlN3lRpmQ
CERN Lab: The European Organization for Nuclear Research (French: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire), known as CERN derived from the name Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire), is a European research organization. Physicists and engineers at CERN use the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – fundamental particles. Subatomic particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives us clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature. We want to advance the boundaries of human knowledge by delving into the smallest building blocks of our universe. The instruments used at CERN are purpose-built particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before the beams are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions. Founded in 1954, the CERN laboratory sits astride the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 23 member states. Click for more pictures of CERN Lab: https://mega.nz/folder/9AtWQAJT#yINRMflgPUzHQsQDhgJUCA
Drive Through Lavaux Vineyard Terraces: UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces stretch for about 30 km (19 mi) along the south-facing northern shores of Lake Geneva from Chillon Castle to the eastern outskirts of Lausanne in the Vaud region. The current terraces can be traced back to the 11th century, when Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries controlled the area
Day 07: 03 July, 2019: Chillon Castle: Chillon Castle is an island castle located on Lake Geneva, south of Veytaux, in the canton of Vaud. It is situated at the eastern end of the lake, on the narrow shore between Montreux and Villeneuve, which gives access to the Alpine valley of the Rhone. Chillon is among the most visited castles in Switzerland. Successively occupied by the house of Savoy then by the Bernese from 1536 until 1798, it now belongs to the State of Vaud and is classified as a Swiss Cultural property of National Significance. Click for more pictures of Chillon Castle: https://mega.nz/folder/xBE0BYBa#f8Mg4v_0vv63dDS3zeI71w
Chillon Castle Byron:The Prisoner of Chillon is a 392-line poem by Lord Byron. Written in 1816, it chronicles the imprisonment of a Genevois monk, Francois Bonivard(picture in the middle). François Bonivard was a nobleman, ecclesiastic, historian, and Geneva patriot at the time of the Republic of Geneva. His life was the inspiration for Lord Byron’s poem. He was a partisan of the Protestant Reformation, and by most accounts was a libertine, despite his vocation. In 1528, supported by the city of Geneva, he took up arms against those who had seized his ecclesiastical revenues; in 1530, however, he was imprisoned in the Castle of Chillon, chained to a pillar, where he was kept underground from 1532 until he was released in 1536. On 22 June 1816, Lord Byron and his contemporary and friend Percy Bysshe Shelley were sailing on Lake Geneva, and stopped to visit the Chateau of Chillon. After touring the castle (and walking through the dungeon in which Bonivard was imprisoned), Byron was inspired by Bonivard’s story and composed The Sonnet of Chillon. The autograph of Byron on the pillar (picture extreme left and extreme right): Louis Simond, who visited Chillon a full year after Byron, on 4 August 1817, was the first to record the presence of Byron’s autograph in the castle’s underground chamber, or dungeon, carved into the southern side of the third column, 1.45 meters from the lower edge of the shaft. The authenticity of this autograph has been a matter of controversy and criticism almost from the very beginning. Click for more pictures of Chillon and Byron: https://mega.nz/folder/ZVkVnYBD#5eFcWuprqpqO25Y7omoqvQ
Chillon Castle Wine Making: Chillon has its own vineyard and is part of the controlled designation of origin. This 12,500 m2 vineyard is spread blissfully along the shores of Lake Geneva, just 10 minutes’ walk from the castle. Each year, its grapes produce a Grand Cru known as the Clos de Chillon. The white wine is made using the chasselas variety, and the red from a blend of the gamaret, garanoir and merlot varieties. Vineyards have been in operation on the castle grounds for centuries. In 1260 Peter II, Count of Savoy, acquired a large vineyard in the Perrevuit region, part of the parish of Les Planches, which was dedicated to Saint Vincent, patron saint of winemakers. Records of Chillon’s domain in 1314 include various details on this vineyard’s expenditure. A quick glance at maps of Veytaux in the 18th century shows almost all the land between the village and the lake was already taken up by vines. Part of this was already named Clos de Chillon. The castle gallery on wine making has all machines that were used for the purpose, and paintings of the process also. Click for more pictures of Chillon Castle Wine Making: https://mega.nz/folder/YM1XVT4b#NLg4czLODF35lWEPh5aHuQ
Bern: UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: Bern, also spelled Berne, city, capital of Switzerland, and of Bern canton, in the west-central part of the country. It lies along a narrow loop of the Aare River. The Bärengraben, or Bear Pit, (picture on left), is a tourist attraction in Bern. It is a bear pit, or enclosure housing bears, situated at the eastern edge of the old city of Bern,next to the River Aar (picture in mddle). Perhaps the most famous building in Bern, the Berner Münster is also known as the Bern Cathedral or the Cathedral of St. Vincent (picture on right). The Cathedral is Switzerland’s largest church from the late Middle Ages, and played a vital role in the overall development of the city’s architecture. The old town with its six kilometres of arcades testifies to medieval urban monumental architecture. The ancient streets, with their curiosities such as the Clock Tower (Zytglogge), Prison Tower (Käfigturm) and cathedral (Münster) nestle jewel-like in a meander of the River Aare at the centre of the city of Bern. Click for more pictures of Bern: https://mega.nz/folder/sNUURQpa#K2u0uJ05Lb_AIK3DjB_-8Q
Vintage Cars in Bern: While we were going round Bern, we saw a few vintage and classic cars that were being used for a film shoot. One was a wood gasifier car, a Renault. Wood or coal can be used to power cars with ordinary internal combustion engines if a wood/coal gasifier is attached. This was quite popular during World War II in several European, African and Asian countries, because the war prevented easy and cost-effective access to oil. The first wood gasifier was apparently built by Gustav Bischof in 1839. The first vehicle powered by wood gas was built by Thomas Hugh Parker in 1901. Around 1900, many cities delivered syngas (centrally produced, typically from coal) to residences. Natural gas began to be used only in 1930.Wood gas vehicles were used during World War II as a consequence of the rationing of fossil fuels.
Einstein House: Albert Einstein lived in Bern from 1903 to 1905 and developed his Theory of Relativity here. Albert Einstein spent part of his life in Bern. He came to the Swiss capital in 1902 and took up a post at the federal patent office. In 1903, he and his wife, Mileva, moved into an apartment in the third floor of Kramgasse 49, in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is furnished in the style of Einstein’s time and documents the life of the physicist during his years in Bern. This period included 1905 – Einstein’s annus mirabilis (extraordinary year) – which was his most creative period of scientific discovery. Click to see more pictures of Einstein House: https://mega.nz/folder/dYMQiYqZ#HuKvNQ3npGfPUch1wj13Fg
Bern to Lugano (Only for overnite halt): Drive through The Alps on The GROSSGLOCKNER HIGH ALPINE ROAD: Mass tourism was decisively promoted by the scenic High Alpine Road running from Heiligenblut to Bruck in Salzburg with a branch-off to the Franz-Josefs-Höhe viewpoint. It was built across the historic Hochtor Pass of the Alpine divide between 1930 and 1935 according to plans designed by engineer Franz Wallack. The pass road, Austria’s highest, reaches 2,576 m (8,451 ft), and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country (second after Schonbrunn Palace) with about 270,000 vehicles and 900,000 visitors every year, about 50 million since its opening.
Drive through the Jungfrau-Aletsch protected area (officially Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch) is located between the cantons of Berne and Valais. It is a mountainous region in the easternmost side of the Bernese Alps, containing the northern wall of Jungfrau and Eiger, and the largest glaciated area in western Eurasia, comprising the Aletsch Glacier. The Jungfrau-Aletsch protected area is the first UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE in the Alps
Grossglockner High Alpine Road:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: The Großglockner High Alpine Road is still buried under snow just a few weeks before the road opening at the end of April, beginning of May. It is only thanks to the brave men of the Großglockner High Alpine Roads Company and their heavy rotation plows that each year it is cleaned up in time for the opening. The snow clearing work, which is somewhat dangerous, takes two to three weeks with avalanche slopes regularly having to be blown up, in order to avoid any risk for the two snow-clearing crews. These crews start in parallel from Heiligenblut on the Carinthian side and from Fusch on the Salzburg side. The crews meet at the famous “break-through” at a height of about 2,400 metres above sea level. This is the first highlight of the year and a major media event. On average, approximately 550,000 cubic metres of snow is cleared away during this work on the Großglockner High Alpine Road. Even more unimaginable is the fact that the road was still manually cleared in the first years after its opening – only in 1951 was the first rotary snow-plough in operation. Previously, the snow clearance took around 10 weeks and was carried out by 350 ‘shovellers’.
Nufenen Pass: Nufenen Pass (2478 m.) is the highest mountain pass with a paved road within Switzerland. The road is of relatively recent construction, having been opened to motor vehicle traffic only since September 1969. There is a restaurant at the pass and in the restaurant, we were surprised to see Beef Kadhai, Madras Beef and Beef Biriyani on the menu with a brief description! Click for more pictures of Nufenen Pass: https://mega.nz/folder/1UdRgIjR#ic0253v4letXxGoMfrHEeg
Day 08: July 04, 2019: ITALY: Verona:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: Verona is a city in northern Italy’s Veneto region, with a medieval old town built between the meandering Adige River. It’s famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” A 14th-century residence with a tiny balcony overlooking a courtyard is said be “Juliet’s House.” The Verona Arena is a huge 1st-century Roman amphitheater, which currently hosts concerts and large-scale opera performances. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet made Verona a household word. Verona is an historical city that preserves urban structures and architecture from 2,000 years of uninterrupted development. Click for more pictures of Verona: https://mega.nz/folder/hR1BTCpB#F4tZbuKWtGLFtP5YnqxbXg
Juliet House: The house in Verona that has been billed as Juliet’s, is on the whole fluff covered with touristic fairy dust. Shakespeare’s Juliet wasn’t based on a real person, and the house doesn’t have any relation to the story. Shakespeare set many of his plays in invented worlds that were on the border of truth and fiction. Juliet never lived here. She is a fictional character and never ‘lived’ anywhere. The house was bought from the Cappello family by the city of Verona in 1905, and the similarity of their name to Capulet (Juliet’s surname in the famous play) resulted in the city burgher’s declaring that it was ‘Juliet’s House’ and so the famous tourist attraction was created. Tiny love notes cover the courtyard walls. It is said that if you leave a declaration of your love at Juliet’s House you will be together forever. However, thanks to people sticking their notes up with chewing gum and damaging the structure of the building, if you stick a note there now you can be fined 500 euros! People still write letters to Juliet, asking for her advice in love. A team of volunteer ‘Juliet’s secretaries’ answer them. They work out of an upstairs room in the house. The house, and letters became the subject of a film ‘Letters to Juliet’ starring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave. The house does in fact date from the 14th century, and is a wonderful example of Gothic architecture. You can see the famous balcony where Juliet stood as Romeo is supposed to have serenaded her. The balcony is not however an original feature of the house, a former inn, but was cobbled together from pieces of a 17th century sarcophagus, and attached to the wall specifically to provide Juliet’s House with a balcony. The rooms are filled with authentic pieces from the time of Romeo and Juliet, allowing you to really get an idea of life in a well to do house in Verona in their lifetime. Each year, thousands of people visit Juliet’s House, and real or not, it’s a beautiful place to visit on a romantic break. Click for more pictures of Juliet House: https://mega.nz/folder/5RMXiCQK#QkEWAkGKnQsFKOOyp19J_Q
Juliet’s Breasts: If you touch the right breast of the statue of Juliet, it will bring you luck in finding your own true love. Perhaps a safer option than love notes today. It’s meant to bring luck in love, but tourists flocking to the fair city of Verona to touch the right breast of a statue of Juliet, the protagonist of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, have instead disfigured the sculpture. But what I could not understand was why the right breast alone? Juliet’s left breast should also be worthy of a touch! (Of course breast asymmetry—when breasts vary in size, shape, or position—is very common. It’s considered normal when even fully developed breasts aren’t the same size. The difference is most likely due to normal growth variations that are genetically driven.) Click to see more pictures of Juliet and her breasts: https://mega.nz/folder/hJEnASRI#uRhZ_NsdYs7CApuOtmtf8A
Venice to Lido: The Lido Island, or Venice Lido, is an 11-kilometre-long barrier island in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy; it is home to about 20,400 residents. The Venice Film Festival takes place at the Lido late August/early September. We took the cars by ferry from Venice to Lido by ferry and stayed at a lovely resort in Lido Island. The journey from Venice to Lido or Lido to Venice takes about 10-20 minutes.
Day 09: 05 July, 2019: Venice: Venice and its lagoons are UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITES: Founded in the 5th century and rising to prominence as a maritime power in the 10th century, Venice’s unique location on 118 small islands harbors a large number of architectural masterpieces and major works by some of the greatest artists. We took a bus from the resort to the ferry station, and then the vaporetto (water bus) to Venice . We returned to Lido the same way. Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare – lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. The central square, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark’s Basilica, which is tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering views of the city’s red roofs. Bridge of Sighs (picture on extreme right) is an enclosed bridge and made of white limestone. It has windows with stone bars, passes over the Rio di Palazzo, and connects the New Prison (Prigioni Nuove) to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. Click for more pictures of Venice: https://mega.nz/folder/FcsUmIIS#PrhAIQFc3NhR3w8q9ShXVA
Doge’s Palace: The Doge’s Palace is a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, and one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice in northern Italy. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Venetian Republic. It was founded in 1340, and extended and modified in the following centuries. Click for more pictures of Doge’s Palace: https://mega.nz/folder/JY9BBKwL#tu7P5spZ8_jxl6GloYT-Ww
Day 10: 06 July, 2019: Lido to Venice Ferry: The next morning, we took the cars by ferry to Venice to drive to Slovenia.
SLOVENIA: Škocjan Caves:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: Škocjan Caves is a cave system in Slovenia. Due to its exceptional significance, Škocjan Caves was entered on UNESCO’s list of natural and cultural world heritage sites in 1986. International scientific circles have thus acknowledged the importance of the caves as one of the natural treasures of planet Earth. Skocjan Caves system and surroundings that represent some of the most significant Karst topography phenomena, including one of the world’s largest known underground river canyons. The Karst area is of special importance in the history of earth sciences. Click to see more pictures of Škocjan Caves: https://mega.nz/folder/JM8HXSgB#D61Q4KZQ05cHKgutU6REog
Ljubljana: Slovenia’s capital and largest city is one of Europe’s greenest and most live-able capitals; it was the European Commission’s Green Capital of Europe in 2016. Car traffic is restricted in the center, leaving the leafy banks of the emerald-green Ljubljanica River, which flows through the city’s heart, free for pedestrians and cyclists. Click for more pictures of Ljubljana: https://mega.nz/folder/BYM2gYIA#k33_KFzGIl9FM08ox3mmqQ
Ljubljana Castle: UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: Ljubljana Castle is a castle complex standing on Castle Hill above downtown Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenie It is a key landmark of the town. You can reach the castle by a funicular railway. Originally a medieval fortress, it was probably constructed in the 11th century and rebuilt in the 12th century. It acquired its present outline with an almost complete overhaul in the 15th century, whereas the majority of the buildings date to the 16th and 17th centuries. Initially a defense structure and since the first half of the 14th century the seat of the lords of Carniola, it was since the early 19th century used for various other purposes and today is used as a major cultural venue. The courtyard has a model of the Castle with braille, so blind people can also get a feel for where they are. Funicular Railway: The idea, the desire and the need to build a funicular railway that would connect the old town center and the Ljubljana Castle did not arise at the beginning of the 21st century, but date back more than a century. The final project was taken up in 2005, and the first passengers were transported by funicular in late December 2006. Click for more pictures of Ljubljana Castle: https://mega.nz/folder/AY11gIia#gInr42Kb5rM1jdg73j6Flw
Man Powered Water Mill: A hamster wheel had been built to draw water. You can see a wooden tread wheel to one side, one of only two surviving examples of such a device, the other being in France. Into this was placed two blindfolded prisoners, who then walked like hamsters in a wheel in order to bring a 40-litre bucket of water to the surface. The prisoners then turned around and walked the other way to lower the bucket again. Why were they blindfolded? So they didn’t get dizzy.
Love Locks: The Butcher’s Bridge is a footbridge that spans the Ljubljanica River between the Central Market and Petkovsek Embankment in Ljubljana. It was built more as an art installation than anything, and features glass panels near the edges and some rather disturbing sculptures. All along the steel wire railings, couples have attached padlocks etched with their names and clasped with their love. Couples etch their names onto padlocks, lock them onto a bridge, and then throw away the key as a symbol of their love.
Day 11: 07 July, 2019: Bled Castle:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: Bled Castle is a medieval castle built on a precipice above the city of Bled in Slovenia, overlooking Lake Bled. According to written sources, it is the oldest Slovenian castle and is currently one of the most visited tourist attractions in Slovenia. The castle was first mentioned in a 22 May 1011 deed of donation issued by Emperor Henry II in favour of the Bishops of Brixen. Then located in the March of Carniola, it passed to the Austrian House of Hadsburg in 1278. Click for more pictures of Bled Castle: https://mega.nz/folder/cENB3ICL#asvB_WhRcs8FJJctbYYB5g
Lunch at Bled: Belvedere Pavilion was designed by Slovene architect Jože Plečnik as a “waiting hall” for those who were to have an audience with King Alexander of Yugoslavia. Yugoslav President, Josip Broz Tito hosted the world’s crowned heads here, presidents and celebrities of the time enjoyed tea parties with cognac and cigars.
Lake Bled cream cake:Kremna rezina is a specialty of the Slovenian Lake Bled area. It is a luscious cream cake with a golden, crispy, buttery pastry acting as its base. The base is topped with flavorful vanilla custard, whipped cream, and a layer of thin, buttery dough. A slice of art with a side of history, the famous Lake Bled cream cake is always served in a perfect square. Cream cake, characterized by delicate puff pastry atop layers of light vanilla cream and custard, is a dish that can be dated back to the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries. Almost all the countries under the Hapsburg’s former reign still have a version of the cake: Bosnians enjoy krempita, Polish love kremówka, and Slovakians dine happily on their krémeš. The Slovenian version of cream cake is kremna rezinaand, thanks to a recent granting of protected designation of origin status, it only comes from the patisseries at Lake Bled. Click for more pictures of “Villa Bled”, Belvedere Cafe and Lake Bled Cream Cake: https://mega.nz/folder/tVElyayQ#eexOVx4XFByh0rJ2i4vHAQ
Hochosterwitz Castle:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: Situated on a rock fan high above the plane below, the castle is not only a landmark of Carinthia but also one of the most imposing medieval castles in Austria due to its topographical location and its kind of structure. Moreover it can be regarded as the model of a medieval castle. A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle’s situation in the landscape. The castle mountain has been lived on since the Bronze Age. since 1571,the castle has been in the hands of the same family, in 1586 it received today’s shape and appearance. Hochosterwitz is also a historic document of Protestant rule in Carinthia, which lasted till the Counter-Reformation. A secluded land, landscape with hues of green, a hillock and a gigantic castle with 14 gates built on top of it. Located at an altitude of 664 meters above sea level, this is one of the most beautiful castles of the medieval period in Austria. A walk through the 14 gates and over 620 meters will get you to the majestic castle that has been humbly witnessing the passage of time since 1576. But now a funicular has been built to make the way a lot easier. Click for more pictures of Hochosterwitz Castle:
Tea Stop in The Alps: We stopped for tea at a wonderful location beside a huge lake surrounded by the mountains. Here we saw a very rare car in perfect condition driven by a matronly lady who allowed us to photograph the car. She spoke to us about the vehicle, a Porsche 914 2.0 . The Porsche 914 or VW-Porsche 914 is a mid-engine sports car designed, manufactured and marketed collaboratively by Volkswagen and Porsche from 1969 to 1976. It was only available as a targa-topped two-seat roadster powered by either a flat-4 or flat-6 engine. Targa top, or targa for short, is a semi-convertible car body style with a removable roof section and a full width roll bar behind the seats. The term was first used on the 1966 Porsche 911 Targa, and it remains a registered trademark of Porsche AG. A roadster (also spider, spyder) is an open two-seat car with emphasis on sporting appearance or character. Initially an American term for a two-seat car with no weather protection, usage has spread internationally and has evolved to include two-seat convertibles. (The only targa-top made in India was the Standard Herald.) Click for more pictures of Tea Stop in The Alps in Austria and The Porsche 914: https://mega.nz/folder/1Z1zSZwA#5Y1sZTSI_Y8HVkZJjs22_g
Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe Visitors Center: One of the high points (in every sense) of the Grossglockner Road, the 2369m Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe viewpoint takes its name from the Austrian emperor who stopped by in 1856. It commands astonishing ringside views of mighty Grossglockner and the snaking Pasterze Glacier. Get the inside scoop on Hohe Tauern National Park at the interactive visitor center. The scenic route crosses the Alpine Divide in a tunnel and runs southwards passing another branch-off which leads to the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe visitors’ center at 2,369 m (7,772 ft). We parked the cars at a multilevel car park and walked out on to the open area in freezing temperature and rains! Click for more pictures of Grossglockner High Alpine Road: https://mega.nz/folder/BJkBELqb#llegigoWMwUTu-_xOPBWig
Day 12: 08 July, 2019: Austria:Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine federated states, one of which is Vienna, Austria’s capital and its largest city. Historic Centre of Vienna. Vienna, the capital of the Habsburg Empire, has long been acknowledged to be the musical capital of Europe. The historic center is rich in architectural ensembles in various styles, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstrasse. Ringstrasse is a circular grand boulevard that serves as a ring road around the historic Innere Stadt district of Vienna, Austria. The road is located on sites where medieval city fortifications once stood, including high walls and the broad open field ramparts, criss-crossed by paths that lay before them. Salzburg:Historic Centre of Salzburg is a UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE. Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg played a crucial role in the interchange between Italian and German cultures, resulting in a flowering of the two cultures and a long-lasting exchange between them, which is visible especially in the Baroque architecture. Salzburg is a prime example of a European ecclesiastical city-state, resulting in many important buildings, both secular and religious, from the Gothic period to the 20th century. Salzburg’s historic center is one of the best-preserved city centers north of the Alps, with 27 churches. Salzburg, literally “Salt Fortress”, is the capital city of the State of Salzburg and fourth largest city in Austria. The city has three universities and a large population of students. Salzburg was the birthplace of the 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Because of its history, culture, and attractions, Salzburg has been labeled Austria’s “most inspiring city.” Click for more pictures of Salzburg: https://mega.nz/folder/EQMHgYIA#5_rW72SSry-d45Xjin1zyQ
Salzburg Cathedral:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: Salzburg Cathedral is the seventeenth-century Baroque cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Salzburg in the city of Salzburg, Austria, dedicated toSaint Rupert and Saint Vergillius. Saint Rupert founded the church in 774 on the remnants of a Roman town, the cathedral was rebuilt in 1181 after a fire. In the seventeenth century, the cathedral was completely rebuilt in the Baroque style under Prince-Bishop Wold Dietrich von Raitenau to its present appearance. Salzburg Cathedral still contains the baptismal font in which composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized. Click for more pictures of Salzburg Cathedral: https://mega.nz/folder/hMMDVKxL#dcjEA0B3ddmwhfsVpA1OzA
Salzburg Fortress: Hohensalzburg Fortress (Festung Hohensalzburg):UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITE: The Festungsbahn funicular takes one up to Hohensalzburg Fortress in under a minute! Hohensalzburg Fortress is enthroned on the Festungsberg, high above the rooftops of the Baroque historical district. The biggest fully preserved castle in Central Europe, this is the emblem of Salzburg. In the year 1077, archbishop Gebhard had the fortress built and thus changed the Salzburg skyline forever. In the years which followed, his successors drove ongoing development of the fortress architecture. The complex acquired the appearance we recognize today under archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach in 1500. The original purpose of the fortress was to protect the principality and the archbishops from hostile attacks. In all of these years, it has never been captured by foreign troops. Click to see more pictures of Salzburg Fortress: https://mega.nz/folder/kYNU3AgB#Y1hUJ7MN0wwxTzRAa1T6Ig
Salzburg Fortress Chapel & Museum: Highlights include the fortress’s many museums: The Fortress Museum itself shows historical exhibits focused on courtly life led by the prince archbishops; the Marionette Museum, the Altes Zeughaus as well as the Museum of the Rainer Regimentlikewise show the history of this place. Also located on the third floor of the fortress are the Princes’ Chambers, consisting of the Princes’ Hall, the Golden Chamber and the Golden Hall. The furnishings in all of these rooms are original and have remained unchanged since 1501/1502. Click to see more pictures of Salzburg Fortress Chapel & Museum: https://mega.nz/folder/1cdG1KrY#yRwrhaI9grIkprai5uhWAw
Salzburg Fortress Marionette Museum: This museum dedicated to the “World of Marionettes”, housed in the vaulted former gun deck of Hohensalzburg Fortress. One focus of this exhibition is the history of Salzburg itself: including the prince-archbishops as well as the days when the River Salzach served as a major shipping artery. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is yet another topic: Papageno and Papagena from the opera “The Magic Flute” are given a befitting stage, as is the question as to how Mozart traveled around Europe back in Marionette Museum: https://mega.nz/folder/YEEQkQSD#iOf5NAjejMGv0KH8MJiSMQ
Salzburg’s Oldest Bakery: Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter is in business since the 12th century! The first documentary evidence of the existence of Salzburg’s oldest bakery on Kapitelplatz (square) dates back to the 12th century. Back then a tunnel for the ‘Almkanal’ watercourse was knocked through Mönchsberg hill to supply the city with water. At the spot where the canal emerges from the mountain, St. Peter’s Monastery built a grain mill and established a bakery, which is still in business today. With water still drawn from the Almkanal as it was centuries ago, they continue to produce traditional, sustainable and absolutely delectable baked goods. It is fair to assume that the monks of St. Peter’s have been baking bread since the abbey was founded. Though the first documentation we have of a mill wheel in operation and grain being ground comes to us from the year 1160, making the Stiftsbackerei the oldest bakery in Salzburg. In that year, under archbishop Konrad I, engineers cut a 400 meters-long shaft – known as the “Stiftsarmstollen” – to divert the Almkanal through the mountain. Since then, it is impossible to imagine the cultural legacy of this city without the mill and abbey of St. Peter’s. That said, at one point in its history it was in serious need of help: The mill fell victim to a fire in 1455, though the abbot soon had it rebuilt. Click to view more pictures of Salzburg’s Oldest Bakery: https://mega.nz/folder/oZERWaYL#PvbGjLOHZ5kWpxw99xwQeQ
Von Trapp Villa, Salzburg: Salzburg is acknowledged as the world’s most visited movie site, and the historic Villa Trapp is the only “real gem” in the number of movie sets and composed shots of the Trapp home. It served as the centre of the Trapps family life between 1923 to 1938. The charming structure was built in 1863 by the Friulian Architect Valentin Ceconi. It is settled in a park with old trees in the district of Aigen, not far from the historic centre of Salzburg. Soon after the erection, the proprietor, Salzburg’s governor Count Hugo Lamberg, enlarged the estate. Georg von Trapp then brought the house into its final shape. The 22- room building itself, with its mansard roof and slightly yellow color, makes an elegant impression. Soon after the family’s financial situation became precarious, Maria rented out rooms for guests. A large room was converted into a chapel. It was this holy room where the historic meeting between Maria and Father Franz Wasner took place; Wasner was sent by the bishop to hold the Easter mass in 1936, not knowing that the “Trapp Family Choir” would change his live forever. Only a few steps away for the garden porch, there is the Aigen train station. From here, trains run through the middle of Europe through the Alps to the South – to freedom. In 1938, the Trapps left forever. One year later, the “Missionaries of the Precious Blood” rented the villa. Less than a year later, the Nazis occupied the site. Heinrich Himmler, Head of the SS and one of the major slaughterers of the holocaust, used it as his summer occupation. The place was surrounded with armed guards and barbed wire. Barracks for the SS were placed into the garden. One can even be seen today, serving to deliver radio messages to Berlin. In the summer of 1947, the Missionaries returned and bought the villa from the Trapp family. After a renovation in 1992, the Order moved into a nearby building, and rented the Villa to a company, which converted the villa in a hotel in 2008. For the first time in history, exactly 70 years after the Trapps left, the public is allowed to the grounds. Today, the Villa Trapp has regained its old glory. It is the only Original historic site and no film set of the Robert Wise movie. Only here, you can follow the authentic footsteps of the von Trapp Family, the real place, where it all began. While the birds are singing in the old trees of the park, close your eyes and relive it again – the first confession of love between Maria and the Baron, the laughter of a child in the large staircase, the first melodies from the lips of the Family Choir under the branches of the trees… to world stardom. Click for more pictures of Von Trapp Villa: https://mega.nz/folder/RMk3CRaK#n4FY-AjNGz6d3VSSAbOW4A
Salzwelten Salt Mines of Hallstatt:UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE: It is in the World Heritage Region of Hallstatt (Dachstein Salzkammergut). Hallstatt is a village on Lake Hallstatt’s western shore in Austria’s mountainous Salzkammergut region. Hallstatt is known for its production of salt, dating back to prehistoric times, and gave its name to the Hallstatt culture, the archaeological culture linked to Proto-Celtic and early Celtic people of the Early Iron Age in Europe, c. 800–450 BC. The ‘World Heritage View’ hovers 350 meters above the roofs of Hallstatt and offers a unique panoramic view over Lake Hallstatt and the impressive mountain scenery. Skywalk Hallstatt Viewing Platform: A funicular railway connects the Salzwelten, an ancient salt mine with a subterranean salt lake, to the Skywalk Hallstatt Viewing Platform. The main attraction is located directly below the former defense tower on the Hallstatt Salzberg (salt mountain). You are provided overalls to wear over your dress. A Tunnel Dug in 1719: You enter the salt mine and walk down a long tunnel dug in 1719. Original Miners’ Wooden Slides. To travel from one level to the next, you will slide down the first of two wooden banisters – original miner’s slides – to take you to the next lower level. These wooden slides were once used by the miners. The first is 64 metres long and is Europe’s longest wooden slide. This is a rare experience! Click for more pictures of Salzwelten Salt Mines of Hallstatt: https://mega.nz/folder/cQExWIzD#Hahhbu75BojZeWIL7I8n8w
Day 13: 09 July, 2019: Vienna: Vienna City’s Historic Center is a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE: is the national capital of Austria, its largest city, and one of nine states of Austria. The Stephansplatz is a square at the geographical centre of Vienna. It is named after its most prominent building, the Stephansdom, Vienna’s cathedral and one of the tallest churches in the world. The historic center of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks. It is classified as Vienna is Austria’s most populous city. Vienna’s history dates back to the first post-Christian century when the Romans established the military camp Vindobona. Today’s city scape is characterized by the abundance of Baroque buildings created mostly under the rule of Empress Maria Theresia (1740 – 1780) and Franz Joseph (1848 – 1916), who was largely responsible for the monumental architecture round the Ringstraße. Click for more pictures of Vienna: https://mega.nz/folder/0ddUUIBC#RFqkZwRqqbZhkhhXYy07QQ
Mozart Monument:Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791) was baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. The Mozart Monument is a monument located in the Burggarten in the Innere Stadt district of Vienna, Austria since 1953. It is dedicated to composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The sculptures are made of Laas marble from the Vinschgau, South Tyrol, whereas the steps of the foundation are made of dark diorite. The statue features componist Mozart with a music stand. The socle is adorned with ornaments, masks and wreaths and is framed within a semi-circular balustrade made of rough marble from Sterzing. The putti on the socle, which represent the power of Mozart’s music, are stylistically suggestive of Art Nouveau. The Mozart monument started life in 1896 in front of the Albertina Palace palace, where it suffered bomb damage during the last days of WWII. After repairs, it relocated to the Burggarten park in 1953. The park itself owes its existence to the deprivations of war, having been built as part of the clear up following the withdrawal of Napoleon’s troops in 1809.
Belvedere Palace & Gardens: The Belvedere is a historic building complex consisting of two Baroque palaces (the Upper and Lower Belvedere), the Orangery, and the Palace Stables. The buildings are set in a Baroque park landscape in the third district of the city, on the south-eastern edge of its center. It houses the Belvedere Museum. The grounds are set on a gentle gradient and include decorative tiered fountains and cascades, Baroque sculptures, and majestic wrought iron gates. The Baroque palace complex was built as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy. The Belvedere was built during a period of extensive construction in Vienna, which at the time was both the imperial capital and home to the ruling Habsburg dynasty. This period of prosperity followed on from the commander-in-chief Prince Eugene of Savoy’s successful conclusion of a series of wars against the Ottaman Empire. Click for more pictures of Belvedere Palace: https://mega.nz/folder/FYkX2JzY#lK7BqMenkblo2Ju7_ItzOA
Anatomy Lessons at Belvedere: Tweeking the Sphinxes Nipples: With the body of a lioness, the wings of an eagle, a serpent-headed tail and the head of a beautiful woman, the Greek Sphinx was always going to be a fierce opponent. And that’s before you get on to her vicious intellect. She used to guard the entrance to the ancient city of Thebes, only allowing passage to those who could solve her riddle: what goes on four feet in the morning, two feet at noon and three feet in the evening? If you couldn’t solve her riddle (can you by the way?), the Sphinx would eat you up. The riddle was eventually solved by a man called Oedipus. And so, Oedipus avoided being eaten up, but careered straight into a sequence of events that lead to him killing his father, marrying his mother and stabbing his own eyes out with a pin from a brooch. Apparently the Sphinx was so angry that her riddle was a riddle no more, she ate herself up. The Sphinx at Belvedere Palace is perhaps more reasonable. She’ll allow passage if you tweak her nipples. Click for more pictures of Anatomy Lessons at Belvedere: https://mega.nz/folder/tY8jkRzD#w1rQAiJhLKJEJUfJ3oFNuQ
Sigmund Freud Museum:Sigmund Freud born Sigismund Schlomo Freud (6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud Museum is a museum founded in 1971 covering Sigmund Freud’s life story. In 2003 the museum was put in the hands of the newly established Sigmund Freud Foundation, which has since received the entire building as an endowment. It also covers the history of psychoanalysis. The building was newly built in 1891 when Freud moved there. The previous building on the site, once the home of Victor Adler (Austrian politician) had been torn down. His old rooms, where he lived for 47 years and produced the majority of his writings, now house a documentary center to his life and works. The influence of psychoanalysis on art and society is displayed through a program of special exhibitions and a modern art collection. The museum consists of Freud’s former practice and a part of his old private quarters. Attached to the museum are Europe’s largest psychoanalytic research library, with 35,000 volumes, and the research institute of the Sigmund Freud Foundation. The display includes original items owned by Freud, the practice’s waiting room, and parts of Freud’s extensive antique collection. The museum contains thousands of documents, photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures, existing photos of Sigmund Freud and his family, photos of Anna Freud and photos from psychoanalytic congresses.Click for more pictures of Sigmund Freud Museum: https://mega.nz/folder/hN0RSbYJ#l_HCnG6YFi7hLQZpWNM8DQ
Day 14: 10 July, 2019: HUNGARY: Hungary is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Its capital, Budapest, is bisected by the Danube River. Its cityscape is studded with architectural landmarks from Buda’s medieval Castle Hill and grand neoclassical buildings along Pest’s Andrássy Avenue to the 19th-century Chain Bridge. Turkish and Roman influence on Hungarian culture includes the popularity of mineral spas, including at thermal Lake Hévíz. Hungary was freed from communism only in 1989! Budapest:UNICEF WORLD HERITAGE SITES: Buda Castle Quarter, Banks of the Danube, The Parliament and the Suspension Bridge. The name Budapest is a combination of two city names, Buda and Pest. It became a single city with the unification of Buda and Óbuda on the west bank of the river, and Pest on the east bank. Buda and Pest were joined to create a city fit to be the dual capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1873. The width of the not-so-blue Danube separates hilly, residential Buda from its flatter, industrial counterpart opposite, Pest. Click for more pictures of Budapest: https://mega.nz/folder/sFtliApB#MCkLp1gmVuD3LnmoZrVDxA
Soviet Memento Park: Memento Park is an open-air museum, dedicated to monumental statues and sculpted plaques from Hungary’s Communist period (1949–1989). There are statues of lenin, Marx and Engels, as well as several Hungarian Communist leaders. The park was designed by Hungarian architect Akos Eleod, who won the competition announced by the Budapest General Assembly (Fővárosi Közgyűlés) in 1991. A quote by the architect on the project: “This park is about dictatorship. And at the same time, because it can be talked about, described, built, this park is about democracy. After all, only democracy is able to give the opportunity to let us think freely about dictatorship.” Click for more pictures of Soviet Memento Park: https://mega.nz/folder/9ckRyJ7T#g95xpaPBvJGyoi_1gsVw0Q
Narrowest building in Budapest can be found hidden between buildings on the Várkert Quay, near the Buda side of the Erzsébet bridge. The only 6 meter-, 20 centimeter-wide building was first built in 1811 for Swabian glazier Kastl Gottlieb according plans drawn up by architect József Dankó.
Gul Baba Tomb: Gul Baba’s tomb, is the northernmost Islamic pilgrimage site in the world. Gul Baba was a member of the Bektás Dervish Order, who died in Ottoman Buda in 1541. Gül Baba, the author of Meftahū’l-Ghayb, was a Hurufi-Ostad of the Esoteric interpretation of the Quran. He died during the conquest of Buda, by the Ottaman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Gül Baba was declared to be the Wali or Patron Saint of the city. His tomb was built by Mehmed Paşa, beylerbeyi of Buda, between 1543 and 1548 in an octagonal shape and has a shallow dome covered with lead plates and wooden tiles. The tomb became an important Ziyarat or Pilgrimage place. Click for more pictures of Gul Baba Tomb: https://mega.nz/folder/1U8x2RDI#C9zBMYtkNbZwVIN5bUScag
Day 15: 11 July, 2019: Budapest: Hungarian Natural Thermal Spring Water:“PERFECTLY SUITS CLIMAX!!!!!”: Hungarian mineral water may not be as well known as French or Italian, but the country is blessed with water that’s high in both quantity and quality. Hungary’s location in the Carpathian Basin means that most of its mineral water comes from thermal springs (the same kind that supply the bathhouses). The high temperatures cause more minerals to be dissolved in the water, which is why Hungarian water has such a high mineral content. Mineral-rich water has been tapped from ground around Budapest, and the rest of the country, for thousands of years and has long been used for medicinal purposes (gyógyvíz), valued for its therapeutic effects. During Roman times, the area that is today’s Óbuda neighborhood was called Aquincum because of its rich supply of water. The Celts, who inhabited the area before the Romans, were also aware of the rich waters and called the area Ak-Ink, which means plentiful water. Click for more pictures of Hungarian Natural Thermal Spring Water: https://mega.nz/folder/cc0TFYSC#u0bnnLx_TGHhqLy1CUOypw
Buda Castle: UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE: Buda Castle is by far one of the most famous buildings in the world. Standing tall and proud in the city of Budapest, it was the castle and royal palace of the Hungarian Kings who used to rule the whole of Budapest. First Built in the magnificent times of 1265, this opulent and imperial castle is one of the most famous palaces, taking its place right up there along with other famous castles such as Buckingham Palace and others. Buda Castle has been converted from the residence-styled and furnished Palace it was. It now houses two of the most important things in the nation of Hungary, The Hungarian National Gallery, a collection of some of the most famous and important artwork to have come out of Hungary, and the Budapest History Museum, which is one of the most famous museums in the whole of the nation. Click for more pictures of Buda Castle: https://mega.nz/folder/wQsHmRxB#rdbwGWqn_SZKwekDc3_t-g
War Tubas- Air Defence Listening Ears: Before the invention of radar during World War II, incoming enemy warplanes were detected by listening with the aid of “sound locators” that looked more like musical instruments than tools of war. These radar forerunners, which earned the nicknames “war tubas” or “sound trumpets,” were first used during World War I by France and Britain to spot German Zeppelin airships. The purely mechanical devices were, essentially, large horns connected to a stethoscope. Aircraft engines produced unprecedented sound, so in order to hear them at a distance, the war efforts developed listening devices. Acoustic location was used from mid-WW1 to the early years of WW2 for the passive detection of aircraft by picking up the noise of the engines. Passive acoustic location involves the detection of sound or vibration created by the object being detected, which is then analyzed to determine the location of the object in question. Horns give both acoustic gain and directionality; the increased inter-horn spacing compared with human ears increases the observer’s ability to localize the direction of a sound. Acoustic techniques had the advantage that they could ‘see’ around corners and over hills, due to sound refraction. The technology was rendered obsolete before and during WW2 by the introduction of radar, which was far more effective.
Cat Cafe: The Purrrrrfect Place for Pussy Lovers!!!: Cat Café Budapest opened in 2013, not so long after the concept of cat café arrived to Europe. Cat Café Budapest offers you a comfortable place to pet, play and socialize with our lovely cats, while relaxing with a cup of coffee. It’s a “pawsome” place for cat lovers to enjoy and interact with cats. Once inside they ask you if it is your first time there and give you all the guidelines to interact with the cats. Please clean your hands before, don’t wake any of them up, don’t take pictures with flash and no kids under 8! Ernest Hemingway and Cats: Ernest Hemingway (1866-1961), Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winning author, journalist, man’s man, war correspondent, safari-taker, world traveler was a self-proclaimed cat lover. Hemingway was proud of his cat collection, often saying that he liked nothing better than the feeling of having cats underfoot. Calling them his “purr factories” and claiming that “one cat just leads to another”, (which is the motto of Cats Cafe!), the author once owned over 50 cats while living at his famous house, the Finca Vigia in Cuba. Visitors to his home would tell stories of kittens in the beds and the dinner table swarming with cats; “no animal has more liberty than the cat”, Hemingway wrote observantly in For Whom the Bell Tolls and the author certainly put this into practice as his many cats evidently enjoyed free reign over every room of the house. Initially keeping a spare bedroom as a specially designated cat room, eventually Hemingway had to cede his entire house over to his freely roaming feline companions as their population grew, feeding them generously from “cases of salmon” and drinking with them in the evenings, offering them a mixture of whiskey and milk. It was in Cuba that he began to collect polydactyl (multi-toed) cats; along with the local sailors, he considered them to be good luck.Click for more pictures of Cat Cafe: https://mega.nz/folder/oUUzha6C#pUa7MN27TAMtZUfCqG6vSQ
Magveto Book Cafe: Magvető Café is a relatively young place, belongs to a famous literary publisher house. It serves as a bookshop, bar and coffee shop, designed for literature. Nice, cosy atmosphere, great literary conversations, workshops and other events, and of course books on the selves from the bests contemporary writers and poets. All the books sold here were published by Magvető, one of Hungary’s main publishers and the operator of this café. Unfortunately, the titles are in Hungarian only. The elevated platform in the picture, is made from reclaimed wood chips (picture in middle). The cafe is in the old Jewish quarters of Budapest and the exquisite building (picture extreme right) are old Jewish buildings. Click for more pictures of Magveto Book Cafe: https://mega.nz/folder/VMlBgA6A#aEYaLBjLic5mE-nwnuBOqA
New York Cafe: New York Cafe, the most beautiful cafe in the world!. ‘There is no literature without a Café’ – stated Sándor Márai, a Hungarian writer from the 20th century, who himself frequently visited the historical building of the New York Café. New York Café (New York Kávéház) located in a 120 years old building, which is now the house of New York Palace, formerly known as Boscolo Hotel Budapest. The beating heart of the New York Palace hotel, the New York Café has preserved all the authentic decoration and flair that once made it an inspiration for the enquiring minds of Hungary’s cultural and intellectual community. The ceiling has frescoes by Gusztav Mannheimer and Ferenc Eisenhut, dating back to the mid-1800s. All around Venetian glass lamps softly illuminate the marble columns and gilded stuccoes, enveloped by this Belle Époque charm.No surprise if there’s a long queue just to sit in New York Café. We did not know about the big crowd that waits for entering this majestic cafe! We waited and then you are personally ushered by a hostess to your table when the table is free. There is a live band and every table has a dedicated service host/hostess. I personally have never seen a more beautiful interior in any cafe ever! Click to see more pictures of New York Cafe: https://mega.nz/folder/hVcnXIhZ#3teyt-yojgiwiscNBMOvIQ
Day 16: 12 July 2019: SLOVEKIA: On the drive we were suddenly surprised to see a big group of antique and classic cars! We saw that it was the Retro Prague Historic Car Rally 2019. What you see below about the rally is from their website. I saw a car with the model of a snail on the bonnet. I was intrigued as to the the significance of a snail on a vehicle. But the answer was easy to get from the net. The snail teaches you the importance of being mobile. Whether you are experiencing good or bad times, keep moving forward. Click for more pictures of the Retro Prague Historic Car Rally 2019: https://mega.nz/folder/QQ9w1aLb#MjpZW9x7eCwt7MpKjZbNJw
Snail on a car bonnet! Meaning: Snail Meaning, and Message: In general, Snail symbolism is letting you know that you need to slow down! In other words, this spirit animal is asking you; What’s the big hurry? In any event, you have been spending so much time focusing on goals that you have missed something. Thus Snail meaning says it is time to let go for a moment so that you will be able to see it. Alternatively, the Snail symbolism is letting you know that any pace is a good pace. In other words, what seems like forever is just a small moment. Consequently, you must release your beliefs about not getting things done on time. Be sure to trust your process, stay present, and chug along. Moreover, the Snail meaning insists that there is no sense in causing yourself any more stress. The Snail symbolism is also letting you know that you have to use your time wisely. However, you also have to realize that you do have time for everything. Thus, you should divide your priorities and set up a block of time each day so that there is steady progress in all of your projects. The whole process is a simple exercise in time management. In other words, Snail symbolism reminds you to stay in the present so that everything gets done.
List of cars with model, driver, navigator names!
Retro Prague Historic Car Rally 2019: This year, the Retro Prague Historic Rally is organizing the jubilee 20th year of driving historic cars to Slovakia. Most veterans will be taken to Poprad, Slovakia by train, the way back will be by road.
The event takes place in the period from 11.7. - 14.7.2019. This year, 60 historic cars take part in the trip to Slovakia, which were manufactured between 1922 and 1984. People will have the opportunity to see Bugatti, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Mercedes, Jaguar or Ferrari car brands, as well as cars of Czech pre-war Prague, or post-war Škoda. and Tatra.
The event will be attended by 60 international crews from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and the USA and a plethora of really interesting cars from the pre-war period, from cars that won big races such as 1000 Czechoslovak miles, 24 Hours of Le Mans, Targa Florio, through interesting interwar cars to a pink Cadillac driven by Elvis Presley or Fantomas' Citroen, "
The start of the Retro Prague Historic Rally will take place on July 11 at 5.30 pm in the center of Prague on the ramp of the Historical Building of the National Museum, where historic vehicles will be ceremoniously started and loaded after a short prologue across Wenceslas Square to the train. to Poprad. Veterans from Slovakia will then return to Prague on their own axis.
The way back will lead, for example, through Tatranská Lomnica, Štrbské pleso, Mala Fatra, Žilina, Zlín, Kroměříž, Boskovice, Polička and Poděbrady.
During the trip, the crews of approximately 100 municipalities and cities will pass, and in some they will build on transit checks, where spectators will be able to see them.
Vehicles will appear at the finish line on Sunday 14.7. around 5 pm at the Prague Arcades
Wooden Articular Church of Hronsek: UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE: Severe restrictions embodied in the articles of the Congress of Sopron (1681) that enabled building of Protestant, so called articular churches caused their extraordinary appearance. They must have been built within the single year, without any metal parts such as nails, and without any tower. Thus the construction of the church in Hronsek began on 23 October 1725 and was finished in the autumn of the 1726, the same year when the adjacent belfry was built as well. Church is 8m high and has a shape of the cross with arms 23 and 18m long. As there are many unusual motives from Scandinavian architecture, it is assumed that craftsmen from Norway and/or Sweden participated on the construction site. Unique is also the ordering of the benches on the choirs so that the church can accommodate 1100 worshipers through its 5 doors. The altar has 6 tables from 1771 by Master Samuel Kialovič. Carpathian Wooden Churches is the name of a UNESCO world Heritage Site that consists of nine wooden religious buildings constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries in eight different locations in Slovakia. They include two Roman Catholic, three Protestant (so-called Articular Churches in Hronsek, Lestiny & Kezmarok) and three Greek Catholic churches plus one belfry in Hronsek. In addition to these churches there are about 50 more wooden churches in the territory of present-day Slovakia mainly in the northern and eastern part of the Presov Region. Click for more pictures of Wooden Articular Church of Hronsek: https://mega.nz/folder/gQVS3aKD#Vi4ynW_jO9eCKKbrXnkLHg
Wooden Articular Church of Leštiny: UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE: is a Lutheran church situated in the village of Lestiny. Each Sunday evangelical holy masses take place in the church. The church was constructed between 1688 and 1689 on the demand de Jóba Zmeškala, captain of guards of OravaCastle. The initial building had neither a tower nor bells. The wooden church was constructed in 1688-89 by local carpenters. In the year 1770, the church was renovated and the facade was covered by wooden planks. In 1775, the interior was also renovated and the paintings created during the end of 17th century were replaced by new ones. The bell tower was erected in 1977 and then was linked with a closed stair. On the way to Poland, the border being just 6 km away, we passed by the town of Trstena with the famous Orava Castle on the top of a hill. Trstená was located in the Kingdom of Hungary of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy until the “Martin Declaration” of 1918.
THE PEACE DRIVE – CELEBRATING 150 YEARS OF THE MAHATMA is a car rally being run from India to Myanmar through Bangladesh by Global Overlanders , based in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, India. It is being conducted under the aegis of The Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India. All vehicles are supplied by Mahindra Adventure with service and technical support.
Bhargav Patel has given me a set of pictures that I have uploaded on Google Drive. Click to see Bhargav Patel Pictures
I have always written my blogs. But now, my partner in this rally, senior sports journalist Anand Philar, has written a series of posts for his Facebook page, which he has allowed me to take and share! So here I am, re-publishing Anand’s well-written posts with his professional photographs.
EJJI’S GUEST OF HONOR:
My guest of honor on the India Leg of THE PEACE RALLY- CELEBRATING 150 YEARS OF THE MAHATMA, Mr. V. Kalyanam, Personal Secretary to Mahatma Gandhi, a friend of my family and Shyamala Ejji ‘s family for many years. It was my privilege to drive him and his daughter Malini Kalyanam all over India and hear anecdotes about Gandhi from the man who perhaps knew him best.
In Kolkata to join the car Rally to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and also part of the Road Safety program organized by the Union Ministry of Transport. Curated by the Kalinga Motor Sports Club, the Rally was flagged off from Delhi on Feb 4, and will culminate in Yangon, Myanmar after passing through Bangladesh. Mahindra have provided Scorpio vehicles for the drive. Looking forward to a wonderful 10 days. Early start tomorrow!
Sunday, Feb 17, was a very long day as the car rally organized to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and also as part of Road Safety campaign, run by the Union Ministry for Road Transport and Highways, and actively supported by the Ministry for External Affairs, was flagged-off from Kolkata yesterday (Sunday). It took a while for our convoy of 10 Mahindra Adventure Scorpios to reach the border with Bangladesh at Petrapole as we battled our way through some heavy traffic and congested towns on the Asia Highway 1 or AH1 for short, that stretches from Tokyo, Japan to Europe covering 20,557 Kms (as per Wiki info). The border crossing was a piece of cake, thanks to all the spadework done by the organizers, Kalinga Motor Sports Club, and the Ministries involved. We were welcomed by the Bangladesh officials with bouquets and refreshments. After a group photo session followed by immigration clearance, we resumed our journey to our destination of the day, Dhaka. Fortunately, we had a Police escort all the way and it proved to be of immense help as the convoy was accorded the privilege of “right of way” – yes, a VIP treatment!! The road from the border to Jessore was rather bumpy with repair works in progress along the way. From Jessore, we picked up pace. Well into our journey, we searched in vain for dhabas/resorts/restaurants for a lunch halt. So, it was only much after 4 pm that we found a restaurant where we pounced ferociously on some tasty offerings like a pride of starving lions! Post-lunch, we were in for another long drive that included ferry crossing the Padma river. As we entered the outskirts of Dhaka, our pace dropped dramatically with miles of dense traffic that would make commuting in Bengaluru during peak hours a breeze!!! Thanks again to our Police escort vehicle with flashing lights on its roof that we managed to cut through the congestion by any means at our disposal. The local traffic police, alerted in advance of the convoy of a dozen vehicles, helped us through and finally, we arrived at the well-appointed Kurmitola Golf Club, our home for the next two nights. By then, midnight was fast approaching and we had just enough time for dinner (preceded by quick lubrication of thirsty throats!) and dive into a welcoming bed. Today (Monday) is a relatively light day with a reception at the Indian High Commission in the afternoon with an early flag-off tomorrow (Tuesday). All pics from my camera phone, so pls excuse the quality / resolution.
A memorable start for the week in Dhaka as we attended a splendidly organised reception at the Indian High Commission on Monday (Feb 18) afternoon, marked by a couple of speeches from the dignitaries, including the Acting High Commissioner of India Dr Adarsh Swaika, followed by rendition of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite songs by and the inmates of various Gandhi ashrams in Bangladesh. With the audience too singing along, it was highly emotional afternoon. The cultural show was followed by refreshments that included local savouries and Indian snacks. The function put us all in good heart ahead of Tuesday morning’s 150 Kms drive to Agartala where we halted for the night at the State guest house. The drive from Dhaka to Agartala was slow-paced due to heavy traffic, but again, the police escort ensured a “right of way” for the convoy of Mahindra Adventure Scorpio SUVs taking part in the rally to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary and also part of the Road Safety programme initiated by the Union Ministry for Road Transport and Highways in conjunction with the Ministry of External Affairs. The border crossing at Akhaura where we re-entered India, was quick and hassle-free, thanks to the advance work done by Kalinga Motor Sports Club, the organisers of the rally. A welcoming reception, presided by Smt Santana Chakma, Minister for SW & SE, Govt of Tripura, awaited us. We were received with bouquets and served refreshments followed by a group photo session with the Minister. It was stirring to meet some of our brave BSF personnel who obliged us by posing for photographs. The immigration and custom formalities were completed swiftly and we then drove into Agartala for a night halt ahead of the drive to Silchar tomorrow (Wednesday) on our next leg of the journey which will culminate in Yangon, Myanmar, on Feb 24.
As I was driving for much of the day, not many pics today. But first things first! If you want a very adventurous drive, then do the 286 Kms Agartala-Silchar “road” and I will guarantee, you will have a fill of everything – bad roads (to put it mildly), dust, traffic jams and what have you!! We had a 12-hour drive today, departing Agartala at 9 am with Smt Santana Chakma, Minister for SW & SE, Govt of Tripura, flagging us off and arriving in Silchar at 9.30 pm. Through all that, the resourceful Kalinga Motor Sports Club boys ensured that the convoy of 10 sturdy Mahindra Adventure Scorpios made it through safely to complete another leg of the rally to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The Union Ministry for Road Transport and Highways, and the Ministry of External Affairs deserve all the plaudits for the smooth running of the event which was flagged off at Raj Ghat, Delhi, on Feb 4 and will conclude on Feb 24th at Yangon, Myanmar. The drive itself was memorable for more reasons than just the drive itself (for those freaks like who wouldn’t mind the task of not just trying to find a bit of tarmac, but also negotiating the heavy traffic right through. Barely two hours into our drive today, we halted at Ambassa town where the local government officials received the convey and offered refreshments. Honestly, I was stumped by the hospitality that the Tripura government extended. Refreshed by the break, we proceeded and had our next halt at about 2 pm in another town where a sumptuous lunch was organised at the circuit house. We then resumed journey to Silchar, some 200 Kms away, around 3 pm, and in all my years of driving, I have never come across more treacherous road conditions, not just in terms of moon-size craters, but also traffic that simply numbed my mind. I became a bigger fan of the Scorpio that survived all that was thrown at it. Anyway, we braved all those obstacles and once, some of the participants got down from the cars to direct the convoy through a major jam, donning the role of traffic wardens!! And so, the Orbit Hotel in Silchar was a welcome sight for our tired but happy bunch. Yes of course, we did not waste much time to quench our “thirst”, within minutes of checking in. The next leg takes us to Imphal and we are geared up for another round of tough drive.
Dateline Kalewa (Mayanmar): So, finally, we arrived in Myanmar to a rousing reception on either side of the border, after traversing over 500 Kms over two days from Silchar with an overnight halt in Imphal. Our car had an issue with the clutch assembly at Silchar and so, the convoy went ahead to Imphal while I hung around the Mahindra Service Centre in Silchar for nearly six hours before the car was road worthy. After that, it was a flatout drive to Imphal, trying to catch up with the convoy. I was treated to some fancy driving along the curvy ghat roads by local ace “CK” as we arrived in Imphal around 9.30 pm, just 90 minutes behind the convoy! The Silchar-Imphal section is worth the drive with sharp curves flowing into one another besides plenty of road works on. I was totally “out” on reaching Imphal and turned in early after a quick bite and so, no FB post last night. This morning (Friday, Feb 23), we were flagged-off by Manipur CM Biren Singh and escorted to Moreh for the border crossing into Myanmar. Just before the crossing, we were treated to another sumptuous lunch by the local Tamil Sangam, complete with sambar and rasam (of course, curds too!). At Moreh crossing, the 43 Assam Rifles feted us even as the immigration and customs processes were underway simultaneously! For me, it was emotional to interact with the bravehearts like Col. Sumit Sood, the commander of the border forces. We were even treated to some music by the Assam Rifles band!! We then crossed the bride into Myanmar where another reception committee awaited us for another round of tea and snacks before rolling into Kalewa for our night halt. It took a while to get used to driving on the right hand side of the road, but with a police escort leading us along, the drive was a breeze with the convoy, as before, given the right of way through the towns. A feature of the drive was the many bridges, said to be built by the British during the World War II period that we had to negotiate as the sun dipped behind the tall mountains. A brief break for a cuppa gave us a taste of the hospitality of Myanmar people who greeted us with warmth. So, on to Mandalay tomorrow (Saturday, Feb 23) before the final push to our destination Yangon on Sunday, Feb 24. For sure, another long day awaits us on the morrow, but nobody is complaining!!!
Dateline Mandalay (Mayanmar): After another long day, we finally made it to Mandalay, one of the most historic cities in Myanmar and the country’s second largest after Yangon, the capital, where we will be heading on Sunday for the final leg of the 7,250 Kms rally which began in New Delhi on Feb 4. Saturday morning began on a splendid note as we were given a colourful send-off by local dancers at Hotel Majesty in Kalewa. Then began the drive to Mandalay that required crossing of three towering mountains. Driving on the winding ghat roads provided us some great vistas of the mountain ranges with a blueish hue that reminded me of the Nilgiris back home. We had a lunch stop and got a taste of the local cuisine, though I was a bit cautious, especially since not being a foodie. Opted for the “boring” daal-rice combo with a dash of greens. Back on the road, the weather turned warmer as we got off the mountains and into the plains made fertile by the many rivers. As we entered Mandalay, well after dark, we were treated to some spectacular scenes of a city bathed in lights with its many pagodas standing tall and proud on the banks of the famous Irrawaddy river. A word about the traffic in Myanmar – far more disciplined than in India with people patiently awaiting their turn to move and not jostling or cutting lanes as seen back home. On arrival at Hotel Magic in Mandalay, we were again received with great warmth with garlands and huge smiles, something that we witnessed all along our drive in this beautiful country. A formal dinner, hosted by the Indian Consulate, Mandalay, was a fitting finale to the day. A 6 am start for Sunday as we cover 625 Kms to Yangon where the journey, got up by the Union Ministry for Road Transport and Highways along with Ministry of External Affairs and the Kalinga Motor Sports Club, concludes with another formal reception.
Dateline Yangon (Myanmar): As they say, all good things come to an end, and so did the motor rally to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at the former capital city Yangon today. One must congratulate the Union Ministry for Road Transport and Highways, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Kalinga Motor Sports Club for organising and conducting the 7,250 Kms long Rally that lasted all of three weeks, beginning in New Delhi on Feb 4. The Rally also was an effort to spread the message of Road Safety and honestly, Myanmar does not need to be lectured on the subject. Through the long drive today, all of 625 Kms from Mandalay to Yangon, I noticed hardly any traffic violation on the expressway that alternated between four and six lanes, and straight as an arrow, much like the backroads in Australia. The local vehicles followed lane discipline, adhering to the speed limits (100 Kmph) and in the towns, the drivers exercised great patience while respecting other road users, something that Indians can learn from. En route, we did a small detour to take in the sights of Naypyidaw, the custom-built capital city of “modern Myanmar” with its massive, 10-lane (16 lanes in one section!) roads and of course the famous Uppatasanti Pagoda. Besides the Pagoda, the highlight was the “white elephant”. For me, it was a “first” to see albino elephants. Thereafter, the convoy of 10 Mahindra Adventure Scorpio vehicles maintained a good pace to arrive in Yangon in time for the “flag-in”, followed by a programme by the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Ashram, Yangon. Overall, it was a wonderful way to end the long journey even as the dignitaries stressed the need and importance of further developing the friendly relationship between India and Myanmar. Some of the participants completed the full journey that took them through Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal, Bangladesh, Assam, Manipur and Myanmar, tracing the footsteps of the Mahatma. And finally, a bit thank you to Kalinga Motor Sports Club for the excellent arrangements, especially handling the mind-numbing logistics of travel, stay and itinerary. It was an expedition that I will remember with great pleasure and take back happy memories.
Dateline Yangon (Myanmar): It seemed pre-ordained that I fall in love with Myanmar, a country of gentle people with a perpetual smile and a welcoming heart. Though the disparity between the haves and have-nots was as apparent as in any other country on this planet, you can’t miss the beauty of the country with its Pagodas, rivers and the mountains up north. Politeness is a by-word here in Myanmar and more significantly, the discipline. Yangon is a busy city and the traffic snarls can be quite frustrating. Yet, hardly anyone uses the horn and they patiently wait for one’s turn to move without jumping lanes. For me, coming from Bengaluru, with its notorious traffic and an ever-growing vehicle population, particularly the two-wheelers, it was a soothing experience to move about this morning for a brief tour of the city on my last day in Myanmar. The visit to Shwedagon Pagoda was an incredible experience and left us awestruck with its grandeur despite the fact that the main stupa was hidden behind scaffolding due to maintenance work. To quote from Wikipedia – “The Shwedagon Pagoda, officially named Shwedagon Zedi Daw and also known as the Great Dagon Pagoda and the Golden Pagoda, is a gilded stupa located in Yangon, Myanmar. The 326-foot-tall pagoda is situated on Singuttara Hill, to the west of Kandawgyi Lake, and dominates the Yangon skyline.” The hot weather finally got to me and after a hearty lunch at the Padonmar, scurried back to the cooler climes of my hotel room and prepare for the flight back home tomorrow via Bangkok. Another early start for sure!!
Here are my stories
H.R.H. SHRI JEET SINGHJI, ABCD, AT HOME:
His Royal Highness Sri Jeet Singhji, ABCD (Alcoholic Beverages Consumer Doctorate) being served by ordinary mortals in the rally, Shyamala Ejji, Bhamini Shankar and Arun Bhatia.
EXOTIC FOODS ON THE RALLY:
Fried Chicken Arse in Manipur and Myanmar!!!!!!! Yes! See the printed menu card! What we call Fried Bishop’s Nose in other places.
Fried Dog Meat and minced & spiced dog meat stuffed in dog’s intestine and fried (courtesy my friend Anjali Salai Elangbam in the India Myanmar border town Moreh, Manipur), with Smirnoff Vodka and Mandalay Rum (bottled like Johnnie Walker Red Label!) in Imphal, Manipur, with CK and Netrajit.