Sep 15, 2014

Jand Hanuman, monkeys and makai ki roti in the jungles of Gujarat!

Deep jungle, temples, millions of monkeys and a woman cooking food! Well, Yes! I was visiting a temple dedicated to Hanumaan in the deep jungles of Gujarat. Just within 80KM from the city of Vadodara this temple sits in the middle of Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary. The fun is neither in visiting the temple nor the wildlife which is always elusive, but in driving a Mahindra Bolero on the riverbed! Well, there is no particular road to the temple other than a dirt rocky road which is sometimes the riverbed too!

Aug 15, 2014

Colorful Skies- Sunset at Hampi

I was at Hampi few months ago. Me, my sister and my niece were sitting on the very popular Mahanavami Dibba, a huge and high platform used by the royals of Vijayanagara Empire to watch the festive processions in the medieval years. We watched this colorful sunset. The sun looked like a burning cannonball sinking behind the horizon while the silhouette of the watching trees said good night!

Aug 13, 2014

Trevi Fountain in Rome

Trevi Fountain Rome Italy

On the last day in Italy I went to Trevi fountain in Rome. Just before that We had a dinner with opera singers entertaining us. Lots of pasta, wine and tiramisu. A ride in Rome during the night was fantastic. The basilica in Vatican city was decorated with lights. It was breathtakingly beautiful! I wished my visa was valid for few more days that I could wander around on my own.

Aug 11, 2014

Music box from Sorrento

Music Box from Sorrento Italy

You must have heard the song Torna a Surriento which means Come Back to Sorrento ... is a popular song that made the comune of Sorrento popular! Well, I was there in Sorrento ... for few hours. Just to wander around the market. Our guide had arranged a touristy visit to a furniture shop. Initially, I was annoyed but then I liked the furniture there! I just got to know how expensive were those furniture in my sister's house which I was abusing for almost a decade! I really didn't have any idea about the price!

Aug 8, 2014

Capri at night!

Night in Capri Italy

In my earlier post I did mention that Capri is a resort island. The nightlife is quite interesting here. From a restaurant I got the view of the marina and it was beautiful! And it is here for you to enjoy ...

Aug 4, 2014

Grotta Azzurra or Blue Grotto in Capri- Amazing sea cave!

Grotta Azzurra or Blue Grotto Capri Italy
That small opening is the entrance of Blue Grotto

Do you see that blue?! The picture is not edited for color saturation! It is real! In the earlier post I mentioned that I had taken a boat ride around the Island of Capri, it included a peek into the popular Blue Grotto for few extra euros. And it was worth all the money! Sea caves are not new to me, I had rowed into few sea caves earlier in my life, but this one was wonderful! The blue color is due to the underwater light source, essentially an underwater sea cave!

Aug 1, 2014

Capri, the resort island

Capri view Italy
View from Monte Solaro

After getting fried under the hot sun and surrounded by the volcanic devastation I was at Capri, the resort island! Capri- plenty of natural beauty, history, pleasant climate and posh restaurants makes Capri a favorite destination for the tourists! Normally the islands are volcanic in origin but, interestingly Capri is formed of sedimentary rock. Well, it was a very relaxing long stay (2-nights) at Capri compared to other places.

Jul 14, 2014

Pompei, a city that was buried under volcanic ash!

Temple of Jupiter Pompeii Italy
Ruins of Temple of Jupiter and Mt Vesuvius in the backdrop

9KM from the busy city of Naples stands high is the Mt Vesuvius volcano! The most popular to have buried the Roman city of Pompeii in AD 79. It seems it spewed 1.5 milion tons of volcanish ash and molten rock per second releasing unthinkable amount of thermal energy killing 16,000 people! Well, even now it is considered to be one of the most dangerous volcano looking at the busy city Naples in the shadow it.

Jul 11, 2014

Assisi- Feel the peace here!

Panorama Assisi Comune Italy
Assisi comune

Well, another destination in Italy ... After 8 hectic days I reached Assisi in the afternoon and was amazed to feel the peace. It felt like in a soundproof town with plenty of fresh air. Assisi is a medieval sacred town in central Italy, around 90 miles north of Rome. It is the birthplace of St Francis and is popular for the Basilica of San Francesco.

Jun 30, 2014

Venice, The Queen of Adriatic

Piazza di San Marco and St Mark's Basilica Venice Italy
St Mark's Basilica

Historic city of Venice is described by many as Queen of the Ardiatic, City os Islands, City of masks, Floating city, City of bridges and City of canals ... and when you visit Venice everything seems right! For me it looked like a unique city with so many bridges across those islands!  It seems there are more than a hundred islands separated by more than hundred canals and  they are connected by around 400 bridges! With the unique cityscapes, art and cultural heritage tourism is a major part of livelihood for venetians. The tour of Venice was fun though everything I saw was touristy! Venice is considered to be a living museum and IMO it is also a tourist trap! 

Jun 17, 2014

Video- Working with glass in Murano!

Well, package tours have some advantages. Our guide took us to some places where we could have demos on how it is made etc ... In Florence, a leather shop gave us an elaborate display of all their products and also a fashion show with some of our package-mates being models! In Venice, at glass factory of Murano we had a demo on how the glass artifacts are made. I liked it very much and took a video of the same! Have a look you will be amazed!

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Related articles-
Duomo di Orvieto- A medieval architectural splendor!
Rome- A photo tour
Musei Vaticani
The Grandeur of St Peter's Basiclica
Postcards from Italy

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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Jun 15, 2014

Florence, The cradle of renaissance

River Arno Florence Italy
River Arno and the city of Florence

Capital city of Tuscany now, popular those days as "Athens of Middle Ages" Florence or Firenze or Florentine is one fascinating city! The birthplace of renaissance, Florence has few world famous museums and IMO the Piazza della Signoria itself is an open air museum! The full-size replica of Michelangelo's David in its original position attracts the visitors most. The river Arno passes through Florence and flows into Tyrrhenian sea.

Jun 12, 2014

Leaning tower of Pisa

Leaning tower of Pisa Italy
Our guide started our day with- Today we are going to a place where thousands of tourists go everyday to make sure the tower is still leaning! Yes, to Leaning tower of Pisa! Ture! It is still leaning!

It is a freestanding bell tower behind cathedral in Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) which started leaning durning its construction itself due to the soft ground on one side. It tilted more during the 196 years of its construction until it was stabilized and then the tilt was corrected to some extent during later centuries! Its initial world popular tilt was more than 5 degrees it seems now it is corrected up to little less than 4 degrees. It has around 300 steps to reach the top floor from where one could get a sweeping views of the surroundings.

The Piazza del Duomo or popularly nick named as Piazza dei Miracoli, was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987. The square includes the cathedral, a baptistry, the bell tower and the cathedral. The three structures whiter than white those days stand majestically on the green grass. The tower is one of the seven medieval wonders of the world! There were thousands of tourists even early in the morning. I saw many youngsters  trying for that touristy picture of "supporting the leaning tower" :) 

Jun 8, 2014

Duomo di Orvieto, A medieval architectural splendor!

Facade Orvieto CathedralItaly
Massive structure with gothic facade, walls depicting the stories from testaments, decoration by glittering mosaics and massive bronze doors, is the Duomo di Orvieto, construction which continued for three centuries! The cathedral dedicated to Assumption of Mary was designed by many master designers over the centuries changing it from Romanesque to Gothic structure. The gothic facade of the duomo is one of the masterpieces of the time while the side walls are very plain with no art work.

Well, after a hectic a day at Rome I visited this peaceful place of cathedral and cutlery! Do you believe the Comune di Orvieto is located on a hill top and that hill actually is an ancient volcano? And the cathedral stands right atop a volcanic plug? Amazing facts huh?

I took the funicolare for the first time here to reach the hilltop! Funicolare is a short electrically run cable railway or cliff railway! Two tram like vehicles on rails are connected to a cable which move up and down the steep slope. I have used cable cars in India but cable railway was first experience!

Jun 6, 2014

Photo Tour- Rome, As I saw it!

Roman Colosseum Rome Italy

As I said in the earlier post on Rome- it is an eternal city! There is so much to see and know. The guide provided by the package tour was quite good enough to open as many windows to the city of Rome in that short time, I mean a day and a half, that includes Vatican City too. Well, I do not have some glamourous night shots of this fancy city! I visited during the bright day light though I have seen the city in the night with some monuments decorated with lights, well from a moving bus!

Jun 1, 2014

Rome- The eternal city!

Colosseum Rome Italy
Roman Colosseum

The capital city of Italy today and the capital city of Roman empire then ... Rome was considered an empire without end! It is one of the largest cities then known to the world. With the package tour schedule and anxiety I did scratch a bit of the surface of the destination- Rome! I was amazed to see that ancient city buried underground, partly exposed and another part waiting to be excavated! The still standing monuments are the symbols of wealth and power of Imperial Rome!

May 22, 2014

Musei Vaticani in Vatican City

Gorgeous ceiling Vatican Museum
Gallery of Maps- Vatican Museum

In the previous post I had mentioned about grandeur of the St Peter's Basilica. Next to the basilica is the Museum. Well, I remember saying "my neck hurts" many times! You know why? Ceilings are more grand and artistic than whatever is displayed on the walls and statues! The paintings, the gilding work, the frames and so on ... just breathtaking ...

May 21, 2014

Experiences and Thoughts on Package Tours

The whole theme of my blog is about traveling SOLO to venture out the world alone and a sense of adventure. But, few times when traveling with family I have tried personalized package tours in Rajasthan where everything was arranged for us by a tour operator per our taste. We didn't have to do a single thing! When I visited Italy I took a first class package tour. I was tired of driving long distances, camping, budget accommodation and simple food. And thought of enjoying some luxury of a first class trip.

May 19, 2014

Vatican City- The grandeur of St Peter's Basilica

St Peter's Basilica Vatican City
St Peter's Basilica Vatican City

Vatican City is one interesting place. There are many things we do not know about this place with the architectural wonders of the world! Did you know Vatican City is the smallest country in the world and ruled by the Bishop of Rome?! I was surprised to know that the postage stamp of Italy is invalid here in this church complex! And its post box is painted Yellow! This independent state comprises of St Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum. This article is all about the awe inspiring grandeur of the Basilica!

May 15, 2014

Postcards from Italy- A photo essay!

Musei Vaticani Vatican City
Feasting on art in Vatican City

I had been to Italy some time ago and never got a chance to write about the trip at all! The lingering taste of the place, art and food never seems to fade away! Thought of putting together all my dearest memories of Italy for you in pictures. I will post about each place in detail soon. I was tired of backpacking and thought of taking a first class package tour for 11 days to cover most of the popular places in Italia. The tour was good for an introduction to Italy!