Wednesday 30 April 2014

Z for Zakynthos

The last letter, Z, is here. The challenge is coming to an end, and it feels like saying goodbye to a friend. A friend who has stayed for a month, but who you are sad is leaving (and yet you are also a tiny bit relieved). Hmm. I could play the Norwegian card... - because our alphabet doesn't end with Z. After Z comes the letters Æ, Ø and Å ..So if I want, I can keep the party going for 3 more days. But what's the fun in partying alone...?

No, let us do the farewell party together. And you know, to my own surprise I discovered that I have yet to take you to one of my top favorite places on earth: the Greek islands - the perfect place for a party, even a farewell party. Conveniently enough, one of the island, (and a beautiful one) starts with Z, so today I am taking you to the white beaches of Zakynthos. What do you say dear reader? Are you in?

Greece has over 3000 islands, and the Greek islands is a concept itself. Hoards of tourists are every year attracted to the crystal clear blue waters, the white beaches, the food, the culture and history of Greece. And most of them go to one of the islands.

Zakynthos is in the Ionian sea and is the third largest of the Ionian islands. It is an island with green hills, gorgeous beaches and villages packed with atmosphere. It has its name after Zakynthos, the son of a legendary Archadian chief Dardanus. Zakynthos' nickname is To fioro tou Levante meaning The flower of the East, given by the Venetians.
So, lets gather at one of the beaches, stretch out in the white sand, and just be.. Hearing the waves coming in, feeling the soft sand between our toes..And - look: there is someone joining us with a bouzouki  - and warm music fills the air .. At sunset we can do barbecue, get some refreshing drinks, dance and the night is still young under the stars on the beach of Zakynthos......

And you can stay here for a while, if you like, dear reader? You can jump with parachute, or just relax and rest a bit. We do need it. Our grande world tour of 26 dream destinations in 26 days has come to an end. I am feeling a bit melancholic. But this doesn't have to be Goodbye... I am going to head back to Mumbai now, and you are so very welcome to join me and follow my tales from there. I hope you will.

So, sitting on that beach with sand between my toes and with a chilled glass in my hand, I am signing off atoz 2014. But what is a party without music? I give you a favorite of mine, a song of Giannis Ploutarchos: To Fonazo. ( = I scream it: my love). With love to you dear reader who came along to all my dream destinations. I hope you will enjoy:

And always remember: Chase the dreams wherever they may lead, and live today. Enjoy your moment. Be blessed and happy.

Bye bye dear fellow travel companion - my humble thank you - for coming along!

1-30 April I participate in the A to Z blogger challenge, and this post is written as a part of that challenge. Check out some amazing participating blogs hereMy theme for the challenge is Dream Destinations. I hope you had fun coming along. 

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Y for Yatra

One of the first fellow bloggers I discovered was Arti's My Yatra Diary. The way she took me along on her travels and made it more than just travel - went straight to my heart. Arti brings you right there. She captures those valuable small moments of life, and is one of the most awesome bloggers I know. Kind, humble and she puts her heart out. Therefor I am thrilled to present a guestpost by her today. Thank you so much dear friend Arti for saying yes. And dear reader: I am sure you will be as blown away by her writings as I was. Buckle up for Arti's Y for Yatra:


Let’s explore the letter Y today,
 “Y” … Y is for Yatra
But, what is a yatra?

Yatra is a journey;
Picture & Caption: Magh Mela Yatra
I was nervous as I had seldom seen crowds of such huge intensity, let alone be a part of it. But I was mentally prepared for the battle, if ever there was one and my gut feeling told me this was going to be deep and exciting. And thus, began a journey, on the auspicious occasion of Hindu festival Makar Sankranti, to the sacred confluence of the Triveni Sangam in Allahabad. A journey of me, with people – one in belief, one in faith, one in yatra.

Yatra is having experiences;

Picture & Caption: River Ganga in Himalayas
I sat rooted on the cold boulder, staring into infinity, mesmerized. From somewhere beyond, she seemed to rush forth in delight, dancing to the wind, tumbling over rocks, and singing to the mountains, even opening my senses to an exquisite experience. I witnessed all this in a small hamlet in the Himalayas when I touched her with my hand. She responded by softly comforting it back with hers. I was with mother, not mine but of the entire humanity that has ever been in existence. She was River Ganga, an enigma, so beautiful and pure, all set to take me along her own little journey of sharing, caring and loving since times immemorial.

Yatra is learning;

Picture & Caption:  Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi
Vishnu Kaka circled his oars up and down, patiently explaining the significance of each ghat as we crossed them. Until here, where as if in a silent tribute, he rested his oars down. Close the lens of your camera, he motioned to me and began explaining the significance of the place. Far in the distance, I could see fire leaping out towards the skies while a strange decaying odor billowed in the atmosphere. I was taking a boat ride in Varanasi, the land of salvation, and this was the Manikarnika Ghat, a place bustling with death… death here, I learnt, was not the end but a new beginning.

Yatra is a dream; alive and breathing,

Picture & Caption:  Mount Fuji, Japan
I had stood there on the airport with my passport in hand, wondering if this was indeed happening for real. Even before I could gather any answers, I felt a strong rush of emotions running down within me. My first visit to a land outside India, the land of the rising sun, Japan and little did I know then, that those 6 days, of a dream I had never seen, would make cherished memories of a lifetime.

What is a ‘Yatra’ … ?
Yatra, is a journey,
… of learning, experiences, moments and dreams …

Picture Collage & Caption: My Yatra diaries.

My journey, where I am getting lost, each day…

A journey where I will find myself… someday…


I hope you enjoyed our yatra destination today, I sooo did. You can follow her travels at MyYatraDiary. Thanks again dear Arti:-)

So, we are almost at the end of our 26 dream destinations in 26 days challenge, dear reader. We have been a bit dreamy the last few days, so it's about time that we finish our world tour with a real rocking farewell party, I think! So please; gather your party gear, dancing shoes, dress up and let' me take you away to the amazing Z.........

1-30 April I participate in the A to Z blogger challenge, and this post is written as a part of that challenge. Check out some amazing participating blogs hereMy theme for the challenge is Dream Destinations. I hope you had fun coming along? Please stay tuned for a new destination tomorrow, and that will be our last one for AtoZ - 2014. 

Monday 28 April 2014

X for Xenos

Once we leave our home country we turn into a foreigner.. Isn't that so? We can be a tourist, traveler, visitor, guest, explorer - but we are still a foreigner, a non-native..

Some people are more concerned with the term foreigner than others. I am not one of those people. For me, the chemistry with - and personality of - the person I meet on my path will always overshadow where the person is from. And let's face it: we are each and one of us a foreigner somewhere....

The word xenos in Greek means foreigner, but it can be interpreted as (the more hostileenemy/stranger but also as guest friend ... and that takes us to:

Xenia - which is the ancient Greek concept of hospitality: the generosity and kindness shown to those who are far from home. You remember our Greek gods right? Well, people back then believed that the gods mingled among them, so a foreigner could be a god or a goddesses in disguise. That is why they were always kind and respectful to a stranger, because if he/she was a god, they could be blessed by him/her (and if they were not, there was a risk of incurring the wrath of the god in disguise as a humble xenos). Even though the origin of xenia was around the gods, it became common practice with the Greeks to incorporate xenia into their customs and manners in their everyday life.

Xenia consists of two basic rules: The respect from host to guest. The host must be hospitable to the guest and provide him/her with food, drink, bath, shelter and protection if required. The respect from guest to host: The guest must be courteous to the host and not be a burden.

So, where does my dream destination come into this, dear reader? Well you see, for me, some of the best destinations has been the places where I have met new people. New friends. Foreigners, like we all are really. Wherever I go. Whether it is on a beach, on a mountain top, on a plane or at my local supermarket. That meeting between people, regardless of background, home-country, faith or beliefs, that makes it just my favorite place to be. There and then. That moment. With that xenos. 

So, I let myself inspire of the ancient Greeks: treat every foreigner with kindness and respect, because you never know if it is a god or a godess in disguise... 

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.
― Robert Louis Stevenson, The Silverado Squatters

I am a foreigner, but I like to hide the fact. I'd rather people be prejudiced against my personality. 
― Bauvard, The Prince Of Plungers

But I don’t think of myself as a foreigner or a Frenchman! I just think of myself as a director. Whether I’m French or Australian or whatever, it’s really not important.
— Michel Hazanavicius

In Paris, one is always reminded of being a foreigner. If you park your car wrong, it is not the fact that it’s on the sidewalk that matters, but the fact that you speak with an accent.
Roman Polanski

So, as an expat I feel the foreigner concept can be even more confusing. Norway will always be my home country, but living so many years in Greece makes it my home too. And now India, my dear "adopted country" - it also feels like home... And when you live so many years abroad... can it also be that you may feel a bit foreign in your original country? I'm just asking...

A post on the philosophical side today dear reader. Only two more days to go, and I am sooooo excited about taking you to Y.... tomorrow. For me it will be one of the big highlights on this world tour, and I am pretty sure you will enjoy it immensely.

See you soon, guest-friend:-)

Have a relaxed afternoon:-) 

1-30 April I participate in the A to Z blogger challenge, and this post is written as a part of that challenge. Check out some amazing participating blogs hereMy theme for the challenge is Dream Destinations. I hope you had fun coming along? Please stay tuned for a new destination tomorrow. 

Saturday 26 April 2014

W for Window

He is watching the rain trickle down the window in his room. It is dark and misty outside. The window is dewy on the inside. He stretches out his finger and touch the surface. Slowly he draws a face on the dew. A sad face. He sighs and looks up at the poster on the wall. Thierry Henry. The best. The one and only. 

It doesn't hurt so much today. The new medicine helps. He closes his eyes and picture himself running on the football field. Dribbling, tackling, hearing the cheers of the fans, focusing and then shooting: Goal! He smiles with his eyes closed. 

The door opens and dad comes in. He looks exciting, waiving with an envelope. He sits down on the edge of the bed and reads the letter to him. He feels the tight hug of his dad and hear his voice whispering in his ear: You got it son. The foundation granted you your wish. You are going to Wembley! A VIP dream day. You will meet the whole team. Arsenal.

His eyes wander off to the window again. He is trying to prevent the tears from running. He stretch out his finger and touch the sad face, slowly making the sad mouth into a smiling one. He is going to Wembley.
Wembley - the home of Arsenal football club. Pic from:
She is sitting at the kitchen table watching her grand-kids run around in the sun on the green grass out there. Through the open window she can hear them giggle as they chase each other. A honey bee is trapped inside, and she gives it a gentle push out the window opening and watches it fly off and land on her rose bushes. Her hands tremble again as she looks down at the ticket. A gift from her son. 

She had always said she wanted to go back, and here it was. The opportunity. She takes off her glasses and presses the palms of her hands on her eyes - to stop the flow of tears pouring down her wrinkled chins. Her birth city. Her beloved Warzaw which was bombed to ruins. Totally destroyed. Her home gone. Her town that was occupied and where the enemy had put up that awful camp. The camp which stole her loved ones. Killed them. Only she survived. But just like her dear phoenix city she rose from the ruins. 

She had walked away and never looked back. But then the dream. The dream about seeing it again. Night after night, and at daytime too. Sitting by the kitchen window, looking outside and seeing only her: Warzawa. Her city. Her home. She wanted to go back didn't she?

Slowly she gets up and with the ticket in her hand she walks out in the garden. She sits down at the bench by the roses, and the bright sun feels warm on her face. The kids' laughter fade away. She smiles and closes her eyes. 
Facts: Warzaw, Poland was almost completely destroyed after the World War II. The city dates back to the 12th century, but the whole city was reconstructed after the war. You can find more info here. 

Dreams....  -  are they always where we expect them to be? A different take on my theme today, dear reader. I hope you came along and that you found my www: Window-Wembley-Warzaw enjoyable or interesting? What else is there to say but: Chase your dream and live today.

So, another AtoZ week is coming to an end, dear reader. This week we started off in Rosendal and then headed off to Sydney, Table Mountain (with a detour for those Indian mangoes), majestic Udaipur and then lovely Venice. On Monday we are traveling off again - the last 3 dream destinations are coming up. And this should be interesting, because X for x.....?

1-30 April I participate in the A to Z blogger challenge, and this post is written as a part of that challenge. Check out some amazing participating blogs hereMy theme for the challenge is Dream Destinations. I hope you had fun coming along? Tomorrow Sunday we have a challenge-free day, but please stay tuned for a new destination on Monday. 

Friday 25 April 2014

V for Venice

When I was living in Athens (many years ago) some friends and I decided to do a road trip to Italy. We took the ferry from Patras and arrived Brindisi early morning. The sun was just up and as we hit the roads and the landscape opened up in front of us I got this intense feeling of...  belonging. You know, one of these places on earth where you just feel like home the moment you arrive. Italy was that kind of place.

We visited Bologna, Florence and the mini state of San Marino on our trip, but the highlight for me was the one and only magic city of Venice.

Venice consists of 18 island and the whole city is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The city is unique because of the canals going in between the houses. It is often threatened by flood tides pushing in from the Adriatic Ocean. Six hundred years ago, Venetians protected themselves from land-based attacks by diverting all the major rivers flowing into the lagoon and thus preventing sediment from filling the area around the city. This created an ever-deeper lagoon environment.

What I love about Venice ( and get ready for this one:) - is that it is the world's only pedestrian city. So No. Cars. Anywhere (!), something that makes strolling around sooo enjoyable. If you want to get around quicker, you can take the vaporettis (water buses) or the water taxis. If you go to Venice on a romantic trip or honeymoon (we were in neither categories), going for a gondola ride on the canals is a must. (but not advisable if you are an impatient non-romantic soul wanting to get from A to B as soon as possible)

When we went, we stayed close to Piazzo San Marco. I was enjoying the strolls in the narrow alleyways, and over the picturesque bridges crossing the canals, the art work and just sitting for a coffee at the large open squares (though really expensive coffee)  - watching the doves fly up. It was early spring, the weather was beautiful, and I was thinking to myself: yes, this feels right. This could be home.

Masks - the big carnival in Venice is in February. 

But just as I left Udaipur behind yesterday, the time to leave Venice behind, caught up with me back then also. I did leave.

And as sad as it may be, now it is our time to fly away from lovely Venice - our dream destination for the day. What? You don't want to leave? Come on, dear reader, I will take you with me to another place which I think you will find interesting.. Trust me. Pack your bags and get ready for W...

1-30 April I participate in the A to Z blogger challenge, and this post is written as a part of that challenge. Check out some amazing participating blogs hereMy theme for the challenge is Dream Destinations. I hope you had fun coming along? Please stay tuned for a new destination tomorrow. 

Thursday 24 April 2014

U for Udaipur

Have you ever dreamed of getting into a rickshaw with James Bond and drive like a maniac through narrow lanes and market places while a bunch of bad guys is chasing you (in another rickshaw) and exited crowds of people are cheering you on (or cursing you)??
Yes? No? If yes, you are a very adventurous person, and today's destination might be your dream come true. If no, then please still come with us for the ride, because I guarantee you - this place has a lot to offer.

You see, last year we went to the Indian state of Rajasthan. We visited Jaipur but then we chose to travel east - to Taj Mahal. No regrets - it was an amazing trip, but aaahhh - it left me with this a-yet-to-visit-dream-destination... Because I had wanted to visit that City of Lakes, Venice of the East in Rajasthan - the city of Udaipur...

Udaipur is known for the many lakes, like Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake, Udai Sagar and Swaroop Sagar. It used to be the historical capital of the kingdom of Mewar. And in addition to its history, culture, and scenic locations, it is also known for its Rajput-era palaces. The Lake Palace, for example, covers an entire island in the Pichola Lake. Many of the palaces have been turned in to luxury hotels.

Lake Palace

So, let us bring back mister James Bond to our story. You see, most of the film Octopussy (from 1983) was shot right here in Udaipur. If you go to Udaipur and want to walk in mister Bond's footsteps, you can for example visit the Monsson Palace (Kamal Khan's house in the film), Lake Palace and Jag Mandir Palace (both as the home of Octopussy herself ) and Shiv Niwas Palace (Bond's hotel).

Aha. Are you still thinking about that rickshaw drive with James Bond? I know you do.. Well, here is your chance, dear reader. Enjooooy!

Did you have a good time? Well, I hope so, and that - whether you enjoyed the rickshaw - drive or not, you found Udaipur as fascinating as I have. And I am dreaming about going there one day, to indulge in history, palaces, culture and those shimmering silver lakes at sunset....

You can check out Rajasthantourism for more info.

So, just as we managed to leave Table Mountain behind yesterday, we will have to bid farewell to Udaipur also, whether we like it or not. But do not despair, dear reader, I promise I will take you somewhere exciting tomorrow when we fly off to V....

1-30 April I participate in the A to Z blogger challenge, and this post is written as a part of that challenge. Check out some amazing participating blogs hereMy theme for the challenge is Dream Destinations. I hope you had fun coming along? Please stay tuned for a new destination tomorrow. 

Wednesday 23 April 2014

T for Table Mountain

I need some energy. This traveling is getting exhausting. So forgive me dear reader, for taking you on a small detour to secure provisions before take off. Please come with me to the busy market streets of Santa Cruz here in Mumbai. I can sense a new scent in the air now...  A sweet tempting perfume that makes me smile: Mangoes! Ah, those Indian mangoes... Gotta be the best in the world. So juice and tasty - perfect nutrition for that extra mile on our world tour. It is Mango season now, so I am stockpiling. After all, we are flying off to a distant destination....

So, with the taste of mango still on my lips, we left Sydney and Mumbai behind and our journey has now taken us to far away. And I did promise you a high up destination, so prepare to be Queen or King on the top of the world (again) as we land at Table Mountain, Cape Town, South-Africa.

Ya ya, I do like that Queen of the world feeling, - remember Lofoten, Olympus and the lost city of the Incas? And this mountain is no exception.

Table Mountain is overlooking Cape Town city. It is an important tourist attraction, and you can go up with the cableway or by hiking (- or fly in on a magic carpet like we did). As we are on the level plateau (which is about 3 km from side to side), we see the peaks Devil's Peak to the east and Lion's Head to the west. We see Cape Town down below us and we see the ocean, and far out there we can spot Robben Island.

Ok, let us get down from that mountain now, dear reader. Let us explore Cape Town city. Let us visit some beaches and stroll at some vineyards. Let us take in the cosmopolitan culture and then dine at a local restaurant. And let us visit Robben Island. As an admirer of Nelson Mandela, that is an integrated part of my Table Mountain dream. Robben Island where Mandela spent so many years imprisoned. Mandela who uttered one of my favorite quotes:

Tread softly. Breathe peacefully. Laugh hysterically. 

Well, I sure hope to visit Cape Town one day... I hope you enjoyed today's destination, dear reader? But even if you did, do not believe for a minute that I am going to let you stay here. No, no. We are moving on, and I think you will enjoy the fairy- tale - like U.... that awaits us tomorrow... :-)

1-30 April I participate in the A to Z blogger challenge, and this post is written as a part of that challenge. Check out some amazing participating blogs hereMy theme for the challenge is Dream Destinations. I hope you had fun coming along? Please stay tuned for a new destination tomorrow. 

Tuesday 22 April 2014

S for Sydney

When I started my new (and improved) life as a Blogger, along came some new friends. One of the first was Amelia and her lovely blog Chai- A cup of Life. I now need my frequent dose of her "Living. Growing. Learning" , and truly appreciate her happy and humble posts on life and love, travel, food, wellness and just being... I enjoy my cup of life Chai -, and I am pretty sure you will enjoy her writings too. And I was thrilled when she said yes to bring us to her dream destination! Amelia, take us away please!   


As I hear the flight attendant announce we are descending over Sydney and landing is in approximately 20 minutes, I get butterflies in my stomach. This is not from the questionable aeroplane food I just ate, but the sheer excitement I feel about landing and reuniting with the place I call home. The city of Sydney is a dream; it is still my dream destination and ultimately remains my favourite city in the world.

When Eli asked me to write about the place I hold closest to my heart, I was so excited to take part of the challenge and it was obvious to me that Sydney would be it. So why is Sydney a dream destination? Sydney boasts a spread out and vibrant city centre with a harbour, nightlife, beautiful and popular tourist beaches, an excellent public transport system and more. However, this is what I love and adore in this city I hold close to my heart:
Darling Harbour
As beautiful as the name sounds, it really is. So picturesque, you can just go for a stroll around or if you want to do activities it has everything! It has gorgeous cafes and bars and is so central and close to China Town. It is also the place I used to work and walk across this beautiful Pyrmont Bridge on the way to work just as the sun was rising. 

Queen Victoria Building. Pic credit
Also known as QVB, the Queen Victoria Building is architecturally exquisite. It was built in the late 1800’s by craftsmen and later on restored. It is well known for its dome shape and Romanesque appearance. If has everything here from high tea, chocolate shops and cafes. 

Curl Curl Beach
It wouldn’t be a post about an Australian city without mentioning it’s beautiful beaches. After travelling around Australia and many countries, I still have to say the beaches in Sydney are the best in the world. Curl Curl is a little further North of Sydney. It is not a typical commercial beach like Bondi but what I believe is the most beautiful. A quieter side of Sydney and more of a great surfing spot if you prefer les people and commotion. My friend and I lived there for a year while we were both doing our Masters degrees off campus. We figured that we may never be able to live somewhere so beautiful and make the most of it.

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Probably the most iconic image and representation of Sydney, this bridge is beautiful to see up close but even better to drive across it. Let me just say if you ever get to Sydney and have a car without a rooftop, drive on the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the night. Then look up. The feeling you get is amazing. I am also a proud grand daughter as my grandfather was one of the builders of this bridge. Sydney also hosts one of the best fireworks display in the world on New Year’s right at the Sydney harbour bridge. It is quite spectacular to see up close!

Hyde Park
Hyde Park is an open, large park in the middle of Sydney city. It is a gorgeous place to sit and relax, eat your lunch during work break or just to walk through. Many times I would find myself reading a book or walking through just because it is beautiful. So here I will leave you with Amir Khan and Preity Zinta in Dil chahta hai which was taken in Sydney itself and you will see parts of Hyde Park in it. 

Thank you Eli for having me and best of luck with T to Z!

Thank you so much Amelia for taking us to your Sydney! I so enjoyed it, and it is very tempting to stick around for a while - to check out that bridge, beaches and those cafes along the harbour... Awesome...

But I managed to leave Rosendal yesterday, so I must make myself strong and persistent and so must you dear reader, because wherever I go, I take you with me... We have more places to visit, and tomorrow please get ready for a high up destination when we travel off to T....

1-30 April I participate in the A to Z blogger challenge, and this post is written as a part of that challenge. Check out some amazing participating blogs hereMy theme for the challenge is Dream Destinations. I hope you had fun coming along? Please stay tuned for a new destination tomorrow. 

Monday 21 April 2014

R for Rosendal

We grew up together, my friend and I. She lived right next door, and we ran in and out of each others homes like they were our own. We walked to school together, played, hang out and shared our deepest secrets. She was - and still is like a sister to me, this life long friend who you know will always be there, because she is family. Today you will hear her voice on my blog. My dear friend Torill will take us to her beloved dream destination. Thank you for saying yes, Torill  - and get ready dear reader. I think you will enjoy this: 


It's that feeling from the childhood summers: Norwegian nature, peace and quiet, birds chirping and blooming apple trees. Sun over tall snowy peaks, the river from the mountains, green meadows, and the feeling that time does not move. A fairy-tale landscape.

It is in my soul - in my identity.

Rosendal  (= the valley of the roses) is for me the very pulse of Norway. A treasure at the Hardanger Fjord that reminds me of folk music and folk songs. Those powerful impressions from the nature fills me up with new energy. I can understand how the artists Grieg, Bull and Sæverud found inspiration for their music in the Norwegian nature.

The Hardanger Fjord in both rain and fog and sparkling like silver in the spring sunshine. It always brightens in the horizon as we approach Rosendal. The hope. There is always hope when there is light in the horizon.

Rosendal also balances the exotic abroad with Norwegian cultural heritage through the little castle: The Barony. This jewel of a property from the 1600s. A touch of middle-European decadence in between all the Norwegian - it makes Rosendal an integrated part of a larger world .
The garden of the Barony castle. 
The Art Gallery of Gudal. An intriguing element where the eye and mind can rest in art pictures and beautiful pottery and glass art.

The Hospitality.

Coffee and milk cake.

A slice of bread with cheese and jam from home - picked raspberries.

Sun in the front yard.

Here I come again and again to find balance, harmony and energy.

My Rosendal.


Aaahhh - only one word comes to my mind now: harmony. Thanks again dear friend for sharing your paradise with us. After sliding down those icy slopes in Quebec on Saturday, this was yet another type of a dreamy destination. And we are moving on... Another dream destination is waiting for us tomorrow and - guess what? It starts with an S....

1-30 April I participate in the A to Z blogger challenge, and this post is written as a part of that challenge. Check out some amazing participating blogs hereMy theme for the challenge is Dream Destinations. I hope you had fun coming along? Please stay tuned for a new destination tomorrow. 

Saturday 19 April 2014

Q for Quebec

I miss Mumbai (even though I am right here). I miss taking you around in my adopted city. I miss writing about my life here and now. My vivid travel around the world in 26 days has caught up with me. Full stop. At Q. How convenient (not). I'm sitting here staring blank out the window. What do I do now? And Q? Where on earth do we have a dream destination starting with a Q?

Well, in Mumbai we have Queen's Necklace, a wonderful promenade along the sea shore. Good for walks and to see and be seen:-) It's getting hot here now, and every evening people are gathering at the beaches and sea shores - to cool off a bit... Or you can cool off in Snow World in a mall. You put on a jacket and boots and are inside a fake snowy cold room. I found it hilarious, but then one day my son told me that he has friends who have never seen snow in their life. It was exotic to them. I shut my mouth. I love the climate in Mumbai, but imagine I lived somewhere extremely hot - maybe my idea of a dream destination would be to go somewhere extremely cold?

And then it hit me. I could see my Q coming sliding towards me, on an icy slope... Yes, this city I had wanted to travel to, and it was in a country I had wanted to visit for so long (not at least after having a Canadian as my best friend in Greece a long time ago). 

You see, the Canadian city Quebec is known for winter carnivals and ice sculptures, and that sure seems like a tempting destination on a hot Mumbai day. What makes it also interesting is that it is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one to have French as its only provincial language. The Quebec Act of 1774 was an act that provided the inhabitants their first charter of rights and made way for the official recognition of French language and culture. I always indulged in these wars of the British and the French, it pops up anywhere in the world, doesn't it? Quebec is therefor rightly called the center of French-speaking culture in North America. It's culture is a mix of historic roots with aboriginal heritage and the contributions of recent immigrants, but also with influence from the English-speaking North America.

Quebec looks appealing and so does the nature surrounding it. My main attraction today though are those giant ice sculptures... How cool and cooling are they?Every year in the end of January / beg of February - the big winter carnival is on! Snow sculptures, dog sled rides, ice skating... So, sitting here sweating in India, I can just picture the freshness of walking around on snowy roads, feeling the cold crisp air, having my cheeks get red - refreshing!

And those sculptures look pretty awesome, don't you think?:

And the ice castle.. I cool off just by looking at it..
So, are we like that? - always dreaming of going somewhere opposite of where we are? Today Quebec seemed like a refreshing choice, at least for a quick visit.... And I needed a cool ending of a busy week. Because it really has been... Monday we started home in Lofoten, and we strolled a bit down Memory Lane, before flying off to Farah's New Zealand, partying with the Olympic Gods at Olympus before ending the week in peaceful Pondicherry.

Tomorrow we have a travel-free day, so re-load your luggage  and take some deep breaths, dear reader, because on Monday I will take you to a jewel of a place... R... will charm you, I am sure:-)

1-30 April I participate in the A to Z blogger challenge, and this post is written as a part of that challenge. Check out some amazing participating blogs hereMy theme for the challenge is Dream Destinations. I hope you had fun coming along? Please stay tuned for a new destination on Monday.