A family on the road to self discovery
 

Clogs and the Tulip Connection

After enjoying the tranquil surroundings of the windmill and letting our camera snap prolifically, we board another tram to reach “Bloemenmarkt” – the flower market. This floating flower market is situated around a section of Singel Canal (the oldest canal of Amsterdam). It is unique as it is world’s only floating flower market”. Don’t expect to see floating flowers there (it’s not a floating-flower, market); in-fact the complete market is floating (it’s a floating, flower-market). The glass covered shops are built on barges and docks.

This is my second visit to the flower market of Amsterdam. Last time when I visited, I was disappointed. I was expecting varieties of Tulips on sale and found none. Therefore, this time I had subdued expectations. Au-contraire, I am enjoying this visit. It might be due to my lowered expectations or perhaps due to Jaishree who gives me different perspectives to look at the same things.

I have lived in this world just long enough to look carefully the second time into things that I am most certain of the first time. -Josh Billings, columnist and humorist (1818-1885)

Yash Chopra imprinted the image of the Netherlands as a Tulip nation in Indian minds with the unforgettable, and visually rich song of Hindi movie “Silsila”. Tulips, to me, thus became synonymous with the Netherlands, so when I learnt that this beautiful flower is not a native of this country, I was surprised.


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The Dutch and the Windmills

Amsterdam is the bicycle capital of Europe , but some tourists realize early that bouncing over cobbled streets on a well-worn bone shaker is not their preferred choice to explore the city. For them Amsterdam is essentially a walking city and I too believe it is the best way to discover its charm.

We decided to explore the city with a mix of walking and tram-hopping. Traveling in trams is anyway inevitable. Rachit loves traveling in all possible modes of transport and on our arrival at Amsterdam centraal station, as soon as he sighted a tram, a promise of several tram rides is taken from us.

When I think about the Amsterdam, windmills are among the first few things that come to my mind. In my opinion, a trip to the Netherlands is incomplete without a visit to windmill. No-one in the world has harnessed wind-power as much as the Dutch have done. After the canal cruise, I enquired at a tourist reception centre about the possibility of visiting a wind-mill through a tram connection. On their suggestion, we boarded tram number ten from “Centraal Station” and stopped at Funenkade 7, Northeast of Artis Zoo, near an old brewery. This old brewery is today an elegant private house.

The old brewery, Amsterdam

The old brewery, Amsterdam


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A six year old remembers his trip to Kerala

This is Hotel Excellency. It is in Kochi. The hotel is good. Its rooms are superstar. The menu is not interesting so we go out and eat Dosa. We will stay here only for one night. I am having fun with my brother. He wants to drink water but I laugh and he also laughs. We laugh more and my brother can not drink water. He goes outside to drink water because I am laughing and he is also laughing.

Bamboo Villa in Trikkaipatta

Bamboo Villa in Trikkaipatta


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The Dutch Love-story of Pedalling

“Klootzak!”
The leggy blonde who just banged her bicycle onto me was certainly not asking for a polite forgiveness. She was neither sympathizing at my sorry state. After all, it was me who dared ignore her frantic “Tring” “Tring”. Later, I realized that I was not walking on the privileged pedestrian track, but encroaching upon a bike track.

Welcome to Amsterdam – A Pedalling Power-station.

Amsterdam - the bike city

Amsterdam – the bike city

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Tal Chhapar Sanctuary

Tal Chappar Entrance

Tal Chappar Entrance

“Hey it’s here! No, No, there!” We all were shouting as Menaka a female Black Buck was moving around the car to get biscuits. Sometimes she came in front of the car and we were not able to drive, sometimes she came towards the sides and we were not able to open the doors. She normally roams near the sanctuary gates waiting for the generous supply of biscuits from the Jungle Staff or the Tourists.
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The Canals of Amsterdam and the Dutch Tricolor

The seventeenth century is considered golden age in the turbulent history of Amsterdam. Soon after getting freedom from the Iberian rule, the Dutch established the first United East-India company in 1602. It was the first company to issue common stocks and grew into the first true multinational. The Dutch were ruled by the rich merchant families at that time and soon they (the Dutch) joined the race of European Imperialism. Along with the mercantile eagerness for explorations, they were also helped by the better qualities of their maps, thanks to Gerardus Mercator, the father of Dutch Cartography and the first person to use the word Atlas for collection of maps, and Abraham Ortelius who published the first modern Atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum in 1570, the most expensive book of its time. The period starting from 1550-1675 is also known as the Golden Age of Dutch Cartography.

Gerardus Mercator

Gerardus Mercator


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