Delhi Jodhpur Road Review

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Roads till Beawar are in reasonable condition; wide and smooth. There are two issues here, though. First, there are at least three (if I remember correctly) railway crossings which tend to create bottlenecks and hold up the infinite traffic when the gates are closed (and also when gates are open! thanks to long, narrow passages leading into and away from the railway phatak). Second, this stretch passes through industrialised areas including the marble quarries of Kishangarh.

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Monsoon trip to Kasauli – I

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Nestled in the Shivalik ranges of Lesser Himalayas, Kasauli is a popular destination among weekenders ex-Delhi (and of course, Chandigarh). At a relatively short distance, it offers bounties of a Himalayan destination – the curvedly drives, unpolluted environs, hill views and co-habitation with Pahari folks.

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BRO Board

Rohtang Pass And Manali – Rohtang road review

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A plate of Maggi for 50 bucks and a chai at 20 bucks may be a bit steep, but so is the place. Admittedly, the rampant crowd, jostling vehicles, hordes of animals, irrepressible mob of shilajeet sellers and such other elements do rob the place of exclusivity befitting a Himalayan pass at 3900+ mtrs – but that is how it comes,

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Self-drive in Central Europe/ Alps – III ( Driving on the wrong side)

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Fuel
The fuel cost is about INR 100/- per litre which varies slightly depending on the country, location (ones nearer the airport are costlier than others), etc. Most of the petrol stations are self service types – you park the car, fill up the tank and then go to the counter to make the payment.

Now, some other issues about driving. Honking is uncivilised, so it’s best avoided, except in emergencies. Similarly, it is illegal to flash/ beam headlight either frontally or from behind, onto another car. German rule considers flashing of headlight on other vehicle a coercive act. Driving on the right lane, keeping the left ones free for overtaking, is followed as a rule. After overtaking, the car promptly shifts rightwards. Overtaking from the wrong side, irrespective of how many empty lanes are there, is a strict no-no.

Overtaking – there are defined portions on the road, where this act can be performed. For starters, the continuous yellow/ white line dividing a two-way road is not be crossed over randomly.

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Self-drive in Central Europe/ Alps – II (Itinerary & Car rental)

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The rule says that Schengen Visa should be sought from the country which you visit for the main business. Rule of thumb is, the country where you plan to stay for maximum period of time should be the one to issue you the Schengen. Maximum number of days rule, however, may not hold good in some cases, e.g. if you intent to spend max time in the country which is not of your main business.

In our case, we approached Czech Embassy for the visa, since we were to spend maximum period (about 6 days) there.

Schengen Visa regime has also altered the procedure for entry into EU zone. For instance, since we took a FINNAIR flight, we changed flight at Helsinki. Now, after landing at Helsinki Airport, we shifted into ‘EU Zone’ part of the terminal. So, it was here in Helsinki that we underwent immigration/custom checks. Thereafter, once in EU part, all flights within EU were like domestic flights, despite flying from one country to the next.

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Self-drive in Central Europe/ Alps – I (Intro)

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Now that we are back home, having left European sojourn far (probably unattainably so) behind us, whenever there is any discussion about left v/s right, we remember Mr Alexander and his grandiose centrist vision.

In the course of our travel, we stayed in variety of accommodations, including pensions (an equivalent of guest-houses in Europe, usually family-run affairs), home-stays (where family would rent out a portion of their house while occupying the rest of it), tent (tipi, as it is called locally, located in the midst of Slovak wilderness where Sharmi heard scratching noise on the outside in the middle of night) and an apartment, which was vacated by the occupant for our stay. In many places, we had kitchens to ourselves.

We also had this experience of dealing in more than one currency, viz. Euro, Czech Kroner (CZK), Swiss Francs (CHF) and Hungarian Forint (HUF). All this, believe me, adds to the excitement. At least twice, we were pointed out for paying in the wrong currency. It is more confusing when you deal in coins, for obvious reasons.

In terms of languages, we dealt with Czech (CR), German (Germany, Switzerland, Austria), Italian, Hungarian (Magyar), Slovak and Finnish. English is not in the list here, and that is not an error!!!

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Ghumakkar Insights – Wandering thoughts (To leave or ‘no’ to leave)

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Some colleagues are well-wishers who try to show him light:

“Where to, this time, G?”

G – “Anjuna.”

“Anything special there?”

G – “Yeah. Great beach and sea food.”

“Didn’t you go to a beach last time and had great sea food as well?”

G – “True. But that was Andaman.”

“ I see. Isn’t a beach, after all, a beach with sand and sea food?”

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Self-Drive trip across Thailand (7 days, 2000 kms) : Part 6 – Chiang Mai

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We also spend some time in a fantastic session called ‘Chat with Monks’. This particular wat, which is also a training facility for the young monks, offers tourists an opportunity to interact informally with the monks. There is a common area where the tourist group is met by one of the waiting monks. You can sit with him and discuss anything related to Monks/ Buddhism/ Thailand or any other topic of interest. Well, to answer the ‘why’ of it – such interactions enable the monks to practise spoken English as also widening their knowledge base and the tourists, of course gather valuable insight.

A good & handy source of drinking water is the vending machines placed at common areas. Though bottled water is available across Thailand costing B15 – B30 or more depending on when and where you buy them; these vending machines (working on coin system) offer you potable water @ B1 (one bhat) for a litre.

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