A family on the road to self discovery
 

John Daniel Munro and the history of Munroe Island, Kollam, Kerala

Munroe Island is 13.54 square kilometre strip of land surrounded by the backwaters of Ashtamudi Lake and the Kallada River. It is named after John Munro, the British Resident and the Deewan of Travancore. I dig into the history to know more about John Munro and it takes me to the Travancore at the end of the eighteenth century.

Munroe Island

Munroe Island


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Munroe island once again

“kollam Kandal Illam Venda” – It is an old saying that once someone visits Kollam, he prefers to abandon his own place to settle down there. Kollam, and Munroe island in particular, is again in our itinerary in this second trip to Kerala. It is not to endorse the above belief. I am back to Kollam as I want Tanmay, my younger kid, to enjoy the idyllic settings of the quaint water-alleys of this island. I want Rachit, the elder one, to refresh the fading memories of this beautiful place that we visited when he was only three years old. And on my part, I want to meet Sujith, the DTPC guide, again.

The Munroe Island

The Munroe Island


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The canal houses of Amsterdam

After coming out of the the Bloemenmarkt, we roamed around aimlessly looking at beautiful houses along the canal. Like most of the European cities, with the help of accurate maps, Amsterdam is easy to navigate.

The houses in the Netherlands have unique architecture and it is best exemplified in canal houses of Amsterdam. Most of the Amsterdam has streets lined with these houses that are tightly packed together. Land was always precious in the Netherlands and so people squeezed themselves into every possible space and the streets are lined-up with compactly packed houses.

Compactly packed canal houses, Amsterdam

Compactly packed canal houses, Amsterdam


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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.

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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