Istanbul….is the new cool

 

A year ago, I ventured out to Turkey with a friend of mine. To ensure we could taste a touch of all that Turkey could offer, we remained in the country for about ten days. We were additionally joined by a decent family companion who had relocated to Turkey many years back. “Two weeks will not be sufficient to investigate Turkey,” she cautioned us. Yet, at any rate, the fourteen days gave us a feeling of all that Turkey is acclaimed for. We landed at Istanbul international airport early in the morning and went straight to the residence of our Turkish friend who had already arranged for our stay in a good and neat and clean location .Below is the picture of building where we stayed for almost 14 days.Empire based totally itself right here for centuries, battle struggle after war, struggle after battle. The name Istanbul was being utilized from the 10th century onwards. It gets its name from the Greek “eis ten polin” which means “around there.” In the 1930’s the Turkish Postal Service made a law legitimately declaring the sole name be Istanbul.Istanbul is one of the world’s amazing cities. There are so many notable motives why you ought to go to this city. Istanbul is old, relationship returned heaps of years, and with that, there are many historic locations to visit. Istanbul is gorgeous, with its assortment of mosques and their colourful tile work and dramatic architecture. Istanbul is charming; we met so many welcoming, pleasant humans here. And finally, Istanbul is domestic to the Hagia Sophia, an splendid architectural feat and one of the Wonders of the World.

 

Galata Tower

Istanbul, one of the more importantly appealing cities in the world, has got several historical buildings with comely architecture and stories. Galata Tower is one of those structures which draw travelers and tourists as it’s situated in a engaged zone interconnecting Karaköy, Eminönü, and Beyoğlu.Galata Tower is strategically located on top of a hill with an approximate altitude of 35 meters.The Galata Tower is mostly known throughout the world for “Hezerfan Ahmet Çelebi” who tried to fly across the Bosphorus with his wings composed of eagle feathers from the Galata Tower and succeeded in landing safely.

Haiga Sophia.

Hagia Sophia served as model for several of the great Turkish mosques of Constantinople.Considered as one of the world’s most prominent designs, Hagia Sophia is a social diamond. Worked as a Christian church, Hagia Sophia ultimately developed into a mosque, and afterward a gallery. Right now, the construction remains as a mosque once more; yet, vacationers are still allowed to enter and investigate it.

GRAND BAZAR.

 

Istanbul is inspiring because it has its own code of architecture, literature, poetry, music.

Consistent with its name, the Grand Bazaar is known as perhaps the biggest market on the planet. With this, it offers a wide assortment of products: under its rooftop, it covers more than 4,000 shops and invites practically a large portion of 1,000,000 clients every day! Implicit 1455, the Grand Bazaar is additionally probably the most established market; henceforth, it has become a recorded fortune of Turkey also.

 

GALTA BRIDGE.

 

Its unmistakable quality in postcards and works of expressions demonstrates that the Galata Bridge is one of the tourist spots Turkey is acclaimed for. Spreading over the Golden Horn, it makes a well known touring course for travelers in Istanbul. Just beneath it, bistros and cafés line up, permitting individuals to assemble in a quintessential Turkish way.Istanmbol carried different names during different ears.Up until the year 330 Istanbul was known as Byzantium, and then until 1453 Constantinople. Its current name of Istanbul only came into being on the 28th March 1930. Istanbul was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, and later of the Ottoman Empire.List of its name is long as produced below;

Lygos

 Byzantium

 Augusta Antonina

 New Rome

 Constantinople

 Other Byzantine names

 Kostantiniyye

 Istanbul

 Stamboul

 Islambol

 

TURKISH TEA  AND COFFEE.

 

In Turkey, offering tea is a typical standard of behavior. Regardless of whether you visit a nearby home or drop by a trinket shop, hope to be introduced a glass of tea. Commonly, Turkish tea is served in a small glass, on a curious saucer with desserts like kurabiye (rolls) or Turkish joy.The Turks have a quite certain strategy for their espresso: They just use finely ground beans, heating up the combination on a cezve (little pot) until it froths. Sugar, whenever liked, is added while bubbling.

When the readiness is finished, the espresso is filled a kahve finjanı — a small porcelain cup the size of a coffee.In the Balkans and Turkey, a most loved sit back is drinking Turkish espresso followed by having your fortune told from the extra coffee beans in the cup. Turkish espresso readings fall in the class of Tasseography, the divination strategies for deciphering designs in tea leaves, coffee beans or wine residue. Turkish espresso readings are finished by proficient psychics or between companions who have some involvement in it yet it’s anything but custom to peruse your own cup. For instance, I grew up with my grandma offering readings to her companions and the expertise of Turkish espresso readings is passed down the ages.

At the point when a perusing is mentioned, the soothsayer will do the accompanying:Set up a solid, smooth Turkish espresso Serve the espresso in little cups with a strong white inside Ask the individual drinking the espresso to drink the espresso with expectation, which means to consider their inquiries they drink. In certain nations the individual will be needed to drink the espresso in a specific number of tastes, generally 1,3, 5 At the point when they are finished drinking, they will flip around the cup over on the saucer Then, at that point, request that they bring the topsy turvy cup and saucer and keeping in mind that contemplating their goal, whirl the cup and saucer multiple times clockwise or counterclockwise, extricating the silt inside.

 

EVIL EYE.

I always wear my evil eye necklace to ward off bad karma. I always wear one to protect me.

In Turkey’s way of life, the hostile stare is regularly worn as an appeal. Individuals who wear this, ordinarily as an arm band or a pendant, accept that the appeal avoids underhanded spirits and misfortune. You can track down the well-known hostile stare in a few trinket assortments as well, for example, key chains, divider adornments, even teacups! The history of the evil eye dates back to ancient Mesopotamia, followed by Assyrians and Phoenicians, Celts, the Hellenistic Era, Roman, Jewish through to the Bible, Europe, and the modern-day world.

 

 

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WORTH SEEING OLDEST CITIES.

 

When I published my first blog in Jan 2020, I had a plan to visit few countries of eastern Europe but unfortunately due to covid-19, I could not travel. Feeling necessary to provide Good, informative, and interesting blogs to my readers, I thought it proper to write a blog about ancient cities of the world which I had the opportunity to visit in the past. From 1996 to 2012. I traveled many times to the far east and stayed a few days in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Thailand. Below is the detail of my visit to these cities as well as to some European and African cities.

 

NARA JAPAN…..To me, Old God sure was in a good mood when he made this place.

On my first visit to Nara, I genuinely couldn’t accept the obvious reality. Running uninhibitedly through the deepest sanctuary region was a huge number of tame deer. This region is called Nara Park and ought to be at the actual top of spots to visit in Nara. In Nara Prefecture, you get the extraordinary chance to dive into Japan’s generally old past. Nara was the main perpetual capital of the then still youthful Japanese realm. Some may state, it never got outperformed. Epic Buddhist sanctuaries and unpredictable Shinto sanctums endure the ages as a demonstration of its previous magnificence. Japan is known as perhaps the most seasoned country in Asia. It is a spot loaded with convention, and long periods of evading Westerners have kept their legacy rich. Nara, the most established city in the entirety of Japan, is the capital city of Nara Prefecture in the Kansai locale. This city was additionally Japan’s capital somewhere in the range of 710 and 794. A snappy look at the Nara Map will reveal to you that there are several sanctuaries and hallowed places to visit.

                                                            LANTERN TEMPLE IN NARA

 

Chŏnju South Korea. ……I visited many places, Some of the quiet, Exotic and far away.

My business friend Mr.K.M.Song arrived at my hotel early in the morning and told me that we are going to visit Chonju,(one of the oldest city of south Korea.) It was a sunny day and I enjoyed traveling along with Mr. Song by road.

It is 21 miles east of the Yellow Sea and is encircled by steep slopes with sustained strongholds, Perhaps the oldest city in Korea. the city has numerous historical structures, including Korea’s biggest leftover neighborhood of customary houses (hanok). . It is connected by rail and thruway with Seoulnorth through Taejŏn (Daejeon) and with the port urban communities of Kunsan (Gunsan) and Yŏsu (Yeosu). The city is famous for paper processing and car parts production.The city is additionally the instructive focal point of the territory, being the site of Chungbuk National University, Cheongju University, Seowon University, and the Cheongju National University of Education. An authentic printing historical center remembers Korea’s initial improvement of printing by methods for versatile sort—of which a privately created treasure, an assortment of Buddhist lessons known as the Jikji  is a prominent model.

 

Lopburi, ThailandOver the course of my life, I’ve been to lots of places.

 

The “City of Monkeys” is around three hours drive from Bangkok. It is one of the most seasoned possessed urban areas in Thailand. Lopburi was one of the urban communities of the old Angkor Empire (presently Cambodia), and it turned into the second capital of the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the sixth century A.D. Lopburi a previous capital and the second capital after Ayutthaya was set up in 1350. It was deserted subsequent to King Narai’s died in 1688, yet parts were re-established in 1856 by King Mongkut (King Rama IV) and in 1864 it was made the mid-year capital. Lopburi is known for the many crab-eating macaques that overwhelm the Old Town, particularly in the territory around Phra Prang Sam Yod and Phra Kaan Shrine. Lopburi is likewise known by different names, for example, Lavo, Luovo, and Lavapura. Isolated into old and new towns, visitors won’t be baffled as there are a lot of things to see. One feature of this antiquated city is the Phra Prang Sam Yot Temple or “Monkey Temple.” Heat can be a significant trouble, however visiting a wonderful illustration of Angkor or Khmer Empire design can be justified, despite any trouble

 

Beirut, Lebanon …… Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times.

Unearthing’s during the 1990s uncovered proof of 5,000 years of progress, dating the city, which is presently Lebanon’s capital, to around 3,000 B.C., It is said that Beirut was home of the most noticeable graduate school in the Roman Empire before it was demolished in a tremor in A.D. 551. Byblos, a port city on the bank of the Mediterranean, has been persistently possessed since in any event 5,000 B.C. As per Ancient History Encyclopedia, papyrus was one of the city’s fundamental exchange things old occasions, and therefore, the Greeks took the name of the city as their promise for book – “biblos.”

Sidon, which signifies “fishery” in Greek, is a port city around 25 miles from Beirut. It was possessed as right on time as 4,000 B.C., Sidon was one of the principal spots to produce purple color, which was so costly and extraordinary that the shading purple got representative of sovereignty. It is perhaps the most established city on the planet, occupied over 5,000 years back. The primary chronicled notice of Beirut is found in the old Egyptian Tell el Amarna letters dating from the fifteenth century BC. The Beirut River flows towards north on the east corner of the city.All above mentioned information about Beirut was provided by Mr.Bassam *(Liaison officer in Lebanon during my one week stay there. )

 

 

 

Faiyum, Egypt ……..  Traveling is almost like talking with men of other centuries.

Truly speaking I had no plan to visit Egypt and I had not arranged any visa. My flight was from New York to Frankfurt to Cairo to Karachi. Landing at Cairo airport was very jumpy, uncomfortable, and rough. Anyway thanks to God we landed safely and came to know that during landing a tyre of the plane is burst. The Crew of the plane advised that all passengers should remain seated inside plane as the management of the airline is trying to arrange a transit visa for one day because it will take many hours to arrange a new tyer. To make a long story short, we got visas and rooms in a hotel, and thus during my one-day stay in Egypt, I availed myself the opportunity to visit Faiyum, which is only two hours & twenty minutes’ drive from Cairo.On old occasions, Faiyum was a huge desert garden in Egypt known for its fruitfulness and nearness to a part of the Nile River. People were living in the locale at some point before 7,200 B.C., and its first rural local area was set up around 5,200 B.C. The district in the long run got home to a few towns and urban areas and is most popular for the Faiyum Portraits, an assortment of mummy covers. Current Faiyum sits in the Faiyum Oasis. Important sites to visit are as below:

 

 

Hawara, archeological site 27 km (17 mi) from the city. Lahun Pyramids, 4 km (2 mi) outside the city. Qaitbay Mosque, in the city, and was worked by the spouse of the Mamluk Sultan Qaitbay. Channel Elrayan or Wadi Rayan, the biggest cascades in Egypt, around 50 km (31 mi) from the city. Aqueduct Al-Hitan or Valley of whales, a paleontological site in the Al Fayyum Governorate, exactly 150 km (93 mi) southwest of Cairo.

 

 

 

Susa, Iran …  To Travel is to Live.

 

The occasion was Asian games and the venue was Tehran. I was part of My country’s sports delegate but we lost our first match(it was knock-out base) and became free for few days till the return of the entire delegate. My colleague Mr. Dawood had some knowledge of the Persian spoken language and told me that some Iranian players had a lot of praise for Susa which is the oldest city of Iran. Considering it a golden opportunity, we planned to visit this oldest city of Iran. The manager of Empire hotel was very kind to arrange transport for us thus we manage to visit this city.  After driving almost 8 hours, we reached at Susa. rambling in the southwest of present-day Iran, Susa is one of the most seasoned at this point heavenly urban areas on the planet. No compelling reason to take off of town, the advanced desert garden of Shush spreads around the base of old Susa, whose relics possess the level beat focal slope. Susa is around 708 kilometers from Tehran.

The old city of Susa, which is currently called Shush, started as a little settlement in 7,000 B.C. furthermore, transformed into a metropolitan territory in 4,200 B.C., as per the Ancient History Encyclopedia. In 324 B.C., it was the site of the Susa Weddings, where Alexander the Great organized the marriage of in excess of 10,000 Macedonians and Persians trying to join the way of life. Susa is referenced in the Ketuvim of the Hebrew Bible by the name Shushan, Nehemiah likewise lived in Susa during the Babylonian imprisonment of the sixth century BCE while Esther became sovereign there, wedded to King Ahasuerus, and saved the Jews from the massacre. A burial chamber ventured to be that of Daniel is situated in the region, known as Shush-Daniel. Notwithstanding, a huge segment of the current design is really a lot later development dated to the late nineteenth century.

 

Cologne ……   The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only one page.

 

During my one-year stay in Germany, I tried to explore many cities of Germany. I have been to Koln, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Koblenz, Humburg, Bonn, Speyer, and trier. I also visited Wuppertal, Remscheid, Gummer Bach, and Denis burg.

I also worked in a metal factory for few weeks in Radevormwald where I met a German girl. Her name was Rose merry Taut. she was secretary of chief executive of said metal factory. Very nice very polite and good-looking women. Today, Cologne is Germany’s fourth biggest city and is generally known for its noteworthy Gothic basilica, Christmas markets and Karneval festivities. An early Roman settlement established the framework for the city Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium which was established in 50 AD. A few memorable locales demonstrate the veracity of these occasions and can be seen today. Other than the remaining parts of the old city dividers and lookouts across the city, features incorporate a very much safeguarded vaulted sewage framework and the Praetorium, the previous Roman Governor’s Palace. The Romano-Germanic Museum shows a huge range of uncovering finds, including pottery, coins, weaponry and the incredibly famous Dionysus mosaic remaining parts. It is pertinent to mention here that it took 632 years to complete Konner Dom. ( Nowadays, my friend Mr.Rana Khan lives in Koln and whenever I visit Germany I am always his un-paid guest)

 

BONN….    Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.

Bonn isn’t just the origin of Ludwig van Beethoven, but at the same time is the previous capital of Germany, also home to the German UN-seat and based on establishments that are over 2,000 years of age. Over hundreds of years, the 12 BC Roman settlement Castra Bonnensia developed to be a significant city along the river Rhine. You can see the pieces of hand-painted paintings and different displays at the Haus der Geschichte, while the lasting presentation at the LVR Landesmuseum grandstands a broad assortment of the curio from the locale.

 

Koblenz …… Adventures are the best way to learn

Directly at the intersection of Germany’s most sentimental waterway and the Moselle sits Koblenz. Troops under the order of Julius Caesar perceived the essential significance of the area and raised the garrison named Castellum apud Confluences in 9 BC. Some remaining parts are as yet noticeable today, however, in the over 2,000 years of its reality, Koblenz has offered to ascend to great sights from all ages. The St Kastor basilica, the Electoral Palace, and the Deutsches Eck landmark only a couple of notoriety But the supreme features are the streetcar ride up to Ehrenbreitstein stronghold and the all-encompassing perspectives over Koblenz that sit tight for you up top and the neo-Gothic Stolzenfels Castle.

 

Trier…    Travel is my therapy

 

Trier is usually named as Germany’s most established city, going back to the main century BC. Despite the fact that the city has an interesting history, various Roman sights, and is inside simple reach from significant centers, for example, Cologne and Frankfurt, it’s as yet fairly outside of what might be expected objective. Visiting the all-around safeguarded Porta Nigra, supreme bathhouses and the amphitheater here resembles making a stride back so as to the antiquated universe of the Roman Empire. The bathhouse represents an ancient beauty parlor, swimming pool, cafe, park, or plaza. It was a place where members of the community came to socialize, enjoy a day of pampering, rejuvenation, and experience some culture.

 

Speyer …… Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.

Speyer is exactly thirty minutes drive from Heidelberg and wows with millennia of history. In 10 BC Romans raised a military camp in what is presently Speyer’s downtown area and later called the settlement Noviomagus. In the Middle Ages, the city of Speyer (formerly Spira), Germany, was home to one of the most significant Jewish communities. during Roman Empire Discoveries from that time are shown at the Historical Museum of the Palatinate, however, the city’s most noticeable milestone is the supreme Cathedral, Jewish cemetery, and a lot of other historical monuments. You can also enjoy there a menu of popular dishes of Jewish/Israeli cuisine, such as hummus, falafel, cholent, and halva parfait. (Everything is prepared according to the Jewish food regulations (kosher).

                                                                          AN OLD HOUSE IN SPEYER.

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PRAGUE…… CITY OF HUNDRED SPIRES.

Prague,the capital of Czech Republic

 

Although it was our plan to visit Prague in last summer but due to covid-19 and few other issues, we had to postpone our program.Now after buying new BMW, we decided to travel to Prague in December holidays by road.According to our calculation if going by car, the driving distance between Luxembourg and Prague is 730.4 km. If you drive your car with an average speed of 110 kilometers/hour, travel time will be 06 hours 25 minutes. However we took almost 8 hours and 40 minutes to reach Prague. Our first stop was Rhine River & then Heidelberg, then Nuremberg. Our last stop was Plzen and then we were in Czech Republic.Prague is a legendary for castle, Baroque and gothic cathedral, medieval squares, dreamy bridges, night life spots and an energetic arts scene. It is notable for its centuries of history and cultural heritage. Wherever the medieval heart of Europe will be felt in its paving stone streets.

Located in the Mala Strana in the coronary heart of the city, the Infant Jesus of Prague (also recognized as the Child of Prague) is a Roman Catholic statue of Jesus Christ as an infant. Everyday thousands of believers pay a go to to this shrine to pray, bow and make needs hoping that they will come true. The statue itself is encased in an ornate gilded shrine and whilst the beginning of the discern is unknown, it has been dated lower back to the sixteenth Century.Prague, capital town of the Czech Republic, is bisected by using the Vltava River. Nicknamed “ the City of Hundred Spires,” it is recognized for its Old Town Square, the coronary heart of its historical core, with colorful baroque buildings, Gothic church buildings and the medieval Astronomical Clock .

 

The astronomical clock in Prague is also known as the Orlog.It shows the positions of Earth,Sun.Moon and Zodiac constellations.

Shopping from modern garments to charming souvenirs, Prague is one in all the simplest destination for shopaholics in Europe.If you are looking for the most recent trends, parizska street may be well-known searching district in Praha with designer boutiques.Prague is placed on the banks of the Vitorva river and what higher thanks to expertise this river side capital than to sweep through its most historic sights. Floating on a cruise on the Czech republic longest stream enable you to see the bridges and red roofed homes of Prague from distinct perspective. This way you won’t need to vie with the crowds permanently photos of the attractions too.

                                                                                          Restaurant with medieval them

                 Must visit

  • Astronomical Clock Tower (advance tickets →)
  • Clementinum.
  • Petrin Hill & Lookout Tower.
  • Old Town Bridge Tower & Lesser Town Bridge Tower.
  • Hotel U Prince Rooftop restaurant.
  • Vyšehrad.
  • Grounds of Prague Castle.
  • Letna beer gardens.

                                                                                                   Letna Beer garden.

 

 

People of the Czech Republic drink beer more than any other country. Beer garden called Letna beer garden is situated on the top of hill and you can view most of the city locations.In Letna beer garden you will find long wooden benches line on the eastern corner of the park.During business hours there is always huge rush and you have to share a table with other visitors mostly local young guys as well as foreign tourists.

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NORMANDI…..A FANTASTIC PLACE TO VISIT.

                                                                                           Courtesy of google.

During long week end in last November, few friends of mine planned to visit Normandy. We planned to travel from Luxembourg to Normandy By train which is almost six hour journey. We took train from Luxembourg to Le Havre via Paris Est, Magenta, Haussmann Saint-Lazare, Paris St Lazare, Le Havre, and Gares .Traveling for almost six hours we all were exhausted,so after having dinner we went to hotel rooms and had a sound sleep.With its stunning, wealthy records and multifarious scenery, Normandy has a great deal to provide travelers and different visitors. The French place has one of the country’s most famous vacationer sights, Mont Saint-Michel, as nicely as extraordinary castles, fantastic churches, and scenic historic cities like Rouen.So first of all we took a taxi for Mont Saint Michel which is located at the mouth of the Couesnon river.it’s a medieval village constructed on pinnacle of a big rock, which include an abbey constructed in the eighth century. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is like you have traveled again in time. The Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel and Notre-Dame Sous Terre Chapel are simply two of the must-see locations here. Food-wise, you’ll locate many crêperies – wheat flour and buckwheat pancakes eating places – as properly as the world-famous Omelet de la Mère Poulard – a restaurant reputed to serve the satisfactory omelet in the world, however additionally one of the most steeply-priced.


 

Normandy is a rural place properly recognized for its cheeses and apple cider. Head to Livarot to pattern 1 of the four famed cheeses produced in Normandy, known as Livarot. The three others are Camembert, Pont l’Evêque and Pavé d’Auge. Accompanied with the aid of a glass of candy and crisp apple cider, the nutty and fruity style of Livarot is sublime. The excellent vicinity to pattern Livarot is at the Fromagerie Graindorge. You’ll examine how this cheese is produced and have the opportunity to pattern and buy many nearby products. Accommodations wise, there may be a variety of inns in the metropolis of Lisieux, 15 km away from Livarot and incredibly livelier.

 

 

On June sixth 1944 the Normandy landings started out the integral hostilities to supply France and Europe from the Nazis. This historical navy operation – first of its sort at such a scale – has left many memorials, monuments, museums, and cemeteries that offers you the probability to study extra about this period. Many human beings come right here to pay tribute to these who sacrificed their life. From the extraordinarily transferring Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial close to Omaha Beach to the informative D-Day Museum in Arromanche, there are many web sites devoted to these tragic occasions alongside the Norman Coast.Taking a wider view, during the Battle of Normandy over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing. This figure includes around 210,000 Allied casualties, with nearly 37,000 killed amongst the ground forces and a further 16,000 deaths amongst the Allied air forces.

                                                                               Containing more than 9300 graves,American cemetery,most visited place in Normandy.

Our trip to Normandy was very informative as lot of historic events came in to our knowledge.The very next day in the morning , we started our journey back to Luxembourg.Staying three days in Luxembourg,I took my flight for Pakistan where I had to attend a wedding ceremony.Also I  stayed one week with my elder daughter and grand kids.

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ITALY IS ITALY.

 

 

 

A person who has not visited Italy, must be suffering inferiority complex  not having seen what it is expected a man should see. Italian people add work and life on food and wine. To me, Italian people live their lives better than us. Italy is very older country and it is worth to note how they celebrate Dinner and lunch. I appreciate the simplicity, the culture, the history and seasonal ability of Italian cousin. In cooking still they follow their grandma traditions.

About Italian food is however something I can write a book about. It is amazing how with such  a few ingredients they make food that has amazing flavor. Give them some tomato, cheese and dough and they will make you the most delicious Pizza in this world. Give him mushroom, water and flour and he will make you the best Pasta you have ever taste. Italian people depends mostly on fresh, seasonal products and it is reflected in vegetable menu like Contorno” that always complements to protein entree in Italian meal. Majority of tourists rely on guide book but by asking the locals, one can find the best food place.With all the type of pasta and other dishes,pasta has grow to be a image of Italian life style.

Pasta making mama

After hours of exploring the city on foot, I decided to take the Trip Advisor recommendation for a late lunch and took the bus all way up the cliffs to have food at a restaurant namely “La Tagliata.” It was rightly placed on the top of the mountains, owned by a small Italian family – two guys and their mom. Its located on a terrace with gorgeous views, serves a 5 course meal in 30 euros – and that’s why you cannot get in without a reservation because it’s always packed. I did not have a booking but the owner was kind enough to give in to the smile I flashed at him and he set me up a table for one on the sun roof. I sat there in complete awe of the view down below me, as I lunched with the clouds floating right next to me. Home cooked food was served to me in 5 courses and I was struggling to finish the huge quantity despite it being delicious. But as the guy informed me “… and senora, for your next course, mama has made pasta with parmesano and herbs….” I lost track of what he said after “mama has made..” my heart melted and I murmured … “yes pls. bring what mama has made.” This was a dream come true for me. I was in an absolutely beautiful place, with stunning views, having Italian food that mama had cooked. I could visualize a chubby Italian mama kneading the dough and making me in that moment.homemade pasta filled with love and the amazing Italian flavors. I would have eaten whatever they served.

I was so full I couldn’t move by the time I finished the meal. I don’t think I ever have eaten that much. Thanking the family I walked out of the restaurant and decided to walk all the way down to the beach. But as the roman gods would have it, it started to rain cats and dogs. I ended up being drenched, waiting under a bus shelter waiting for the bus to take me down. In Italy making a fresh Pasta is not reserved for special occasions, it is a way of life. I feel olive oil runs through their veins as someone told me that the average Italian consumes near about 14 liters of olive oil every year. The trouble with eating Italian food is that after four or 5 days , you are hungry again. Italian people stroll in to work at 10.Lunch from 12 to 3 and leave work at 5 and this is the real living. Florence is wonderful as it seems to be like mixture of water and wine. Venice is like eating extra large box of chocolate.I noticed (this is my observation) certain thing Italian do like Pakistanis,( or you can say Pakistani do like Italian) For example  Italian people avoid to wear seat belt same as Pakistani do. Some of them throw litter out of the window of their car…same habit in Pakistanis. However there are certain more strange things I found in Italian…If you drive slow or do any mistake you’ll have a lot of Italian drivers honking and flashing their lights at you.Sorrento ,located in southern Italy is very famous spot for visitors and tourists.

 

The well-known Angel of Grief sculpture by means of William Wetmore Story (1894) is possibly the solely piece of cemetery artwork that has been replicated extra than forty times, adorning funerary monuments all over the world, and featured in different artwork varieties as well. It seems on various heavy steel and rock bands album covers, amongst which Evanescence EP by using Evanescence (1998), The Edges of Twilight by using the Canadian Rock band The Tea Party (1995), Embossed Dream in Four Acts by using the Greek heavy steel band Odes of Ecstasy (1998) and Once by using the Finnish symphonic metallic band Nightwish (2004).

 

 

 

 

 

It is their belief that  cold air hit can cause sudden death so they never go out with wet hair. They are very religious to some extent, for instance , in the car when driving by a religious spot, you’ll see them make the sign of the cross (head, chest, shoulder, shoulder) . It always comes back to food. When a friend stops by for coffee in the afternoon, invariably after a nice “hello” and “how are you doing,” they will ask you what you had for lunch. You will seldom see an Italian walking down the street with a cup of coffee. They are very strict not to eat sandwich or such anything while driving. Like so many aspects of Italian dining, coffee is taken essentially black,  without  sugar—with an attention to every element, including the quality of the beans, the grind, and the presentation.Some of the best views you can find in Italy are in its grave yards In coastal cities, these are mostly placed on hilltops overlooking the ocean, with beautiful  garden paths and lush flora. But even those underground—and a bit creepy—are worth a special visit .In spite of my best efforts I could  learn only a few Italian words such as: Buongiorno – good morning, Come va – how are you? Ti amo – I love you

 

 

 

 

Seoul…. Over crowded city of south Korea.

                                             BIG BABY…..PLASTIC SURGERY…..LOVE MOTELS…..MEN LOVE MAKEUP.

 

In 1996  I visited south Korea for the first time and then I had the opportunity to visit this country many times. Almost sun was near to set when our plane landed at Incheon air port which consistently held top position amongst best air ports of the world. It had excellent passenger terminals, very attractive shopping facilities and food options across multiple levels. It took almost one hour to get clearance from immigration desk. . As I had not booked my hotel in advance, so I went straight to tourism counter for assistance to get some good hotel at reasonable charges, where a young pretty Korean women was busy in dealing with other passengers. After waiting for more than half an hour, it was now my turn to reach to this lady who was very polite but very weak in spoken English. Upon asking regarding  availability of  room in any good hotels, she referred two hotels having some rooms available, one is Clover Tourism hotel and the other is Hotel Hawaii, charges of both hotels are the same i.e. $.150/- per night. Upon my request she managed to book a room in Clover tourism hotel, It took 20 minutes to reach there by taxi. After completing reception counter formalities,  attendant  took me to my room which had flooring beds.Main purpose of my this  visit was to participate in International trade fair which was scheduled to open next morning, so after having dinner I went to bed and it took few moments to reach me in deep sleep having  wonderful dreams of lot of visitors at my stall. Although During my participation in this trade fair I met many Korean business men. but names of two persons are worth mentioning, One of them was Mrs. Kim and the other was Mr.Song,Chang Suk. They both became my valued buyer later. On the closing day  of trade fair Mr. Song invited me for a dinner. He, very proudly told me that he was going to arrange a special dish. When I insisted to know the name of that special dish..He said  ” Gaegogi”….. I whispered  Gaegogi ? what is this,I asked. It is most energetic  dish which is made with DOG MEAT. For me it was a shocking information that Korean eat dog meat but later on I came to know that in China’s annual YULIN festival in which thousands of dogs and cats are killed and eaten.Mr.Song told me that there are more than 14000 dog meat farms nation wise and approximately 2 million dogs are butchered every year. I asked for some other Korean dish as I do not and cannot eat dog meat. He told me that I can take ” KIMCHI” . He further told me that Baechu’ Kimchi is the most popular dish which is made of rinse cabbage leaves with ginger, green onion, red pepper and garlic. However I preferred to take Kkakdugi- which is cubed reddish kimchi.

 

During and after the meal Mr. Song told me many things about his country that were really very interesting and fascinating for me. According to him,south Korean are extremely superstitious people. They believe that there are many things in the universe telling us what is correct and what is wrong. Most people clearly live through out their lives believing in these superstitious , For example people believe that number 4 is a symbol of bad luck…..writing any body’s name in red color is meant for death. Korean people generally avoid to sleep with fan on in bed room as they believe this could kill someone ,that is the reason automatic shut off on fan are seen in the market. They also believe  that whistling during night is call for ghosts and spirits. They believe that  gifting shoes to some one might cause them to run away from you .Another astonishing fact……Babies are considered to be one year old at birth.

My next two visits to Korea were just to see the entire country and some business doings. Now Mrs. Kim was with me and was kind enough to take me to several worth seeing spots,like  Changdeokgung palace, Itaewon,Gyeongju,Buckchon Hanok Village and Busan. She provided  lot of information about this wonderful country .We went  to Changdeokgung Royal Palace.Its construction was started in the year 1405 and completed in 1412.During Japanese invasion this palace was burnt and was re-constructed in 1609.

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Than we went to Itaewon, which is known as “WESTERN TOWN”.It is fantastic locale and fascination for travelers and guests. . It is a business area of Seoul situated near Yongsan Garrison of USA forces in Korea.This is outsiders inviting area notable for Restaurants, International cuisine,shops,clubs and bars that intrigue to outsiders. This region is phenomenal for a few and awful for other people. It is an accommodating environment and well worth go to. Seoul is stacked with a few areas and milestones, which incorporate Gyeongbok-guk, Changdeok-gung, Deoksu-gung, Olympic Park, Namsan Park, Yeouido Park, Jongmyo Shrine and Seoul Tower.In Itaewon,there was a Pakistani restaurant named Mughal Pakistani café.

After that we went to BUSAN. Significant ocean port of Korea is Busan which offers a powerful blend of superb mountains, tropical sea shores and old Buddhist sanctuaries, making it one of the greatest enamoring spots to visit in South Korea. What’s extra, the city has a marvelous film celebration notwithstanding delectably crisp fish. To appreciate top notch perspectives on various Korean town, climb your way up to the summit of Jangan Mountain.Following day she took me to ” ISLAND OF GOD” individuals call it right now. This is Jeju island. which is one of the most sentimental spot and best area for Honeymoon. It has lavish green view, magma tubes and awesome sea shores.Love Hotels are famous in South Korea. They include modest, themed rooms with incredible embellishments where a couple can connect for a nigh.

South Korean men love cosmetics, and spend near about 900 million dollars every year for utilization of cosmetic products. Roughly over 20 percent of the male population of Korea use cosmetics for their makeup daily. . BB cream foundation is the product of choice, but facial cleansers, anti-ageing moisturizes, and eye creams are also extremely popular. There are even TV shows dedicated to the subject. It is not so much about fashion as it is business. Korean job market is very competitive & doing makeup is all part of the game. These guys want to make up for giving good impressions in their job interviews by hiding their blemishes and looking like VIPs. It looks like in Korea, makeup really does make the man.

South Korea is the biggest market for plastic medical procedure per capita on the planet. It is assessed between 1/5 and 1/3 of the ladies in Seoul have gone under plastic medical procedure for in any event once in her life. City of Gangnam has more than 525 cosmetic surgery centre alone. Mrs. Kim told me that person who do not marry is called “BIG BABY”.Korean parents  spend in excess of 21 percent of their salary on training and instructive administrations in an offer to support their kids’ learning.

 

Majority of Korean people are in love  with shopping that is the reason  greatest shopping centers are there. A few restaurants, bars and bistros stay open till 11.30 pm. Taking a gander at the tops of houses are bended at the closures giving the presence of a grin. One of the largest departmental store is located in Busan.It is called Shinsegae. This is probably ironic since South Korea has one of the fastest Internet connections in the world, faster than that in the US. Yet, it is the only country that doesn’t provide driving or walking directions on Google Maps. Interestingly, it is also something that North Korea has but South Korea doesn’t. The North Korean leader is not known in good words. In fact, according to the law, it’s illegal to sympathize with North Korean leader and the North Korean regime. Doing so could even land you in jail.

N Seoul Tower. …

Explore the Bukchon Hanok Traditional Village. …

National Museum of Korea. …

Lotte World Tower. …

Visit the DMZ. …

Gyeongbokgung Palace. …

Seoul Museum of Art. …

Blue House.

it was the last day of my trip to KOREA after been to JEJU and Busan, I  had a relaxing final day going to the jagalchi fish market . The underground shopping is good experience as I had bought a lot of chocolate and candy for WARDA & HYRA (my two very sweet daughters)

 

 

 

 

JORDAN……lowest point of dry land in the world.

Jordan is an Arab Muslim nation located on the east bank of Jordan River. Our journey began from its capital city, Amman. Located on seven hills, Amman is a beautiful and peaceful city with good infrastructure and friendly people. We spent one day exploring the capital, from the historic Amman Citadel, the Roman Temple of Hercules, the Roman Amphitheatre (still in a good condition), the downtown area to the King Abdullah I Mosque, Amman offers a lot to see and explore. The good thing about these places is they are not located far from each other. Downtown market of Amman is a good place to shop their local cultural goods where ‘Bargain is a MUST’. Shopping malls are expensive, seriously no kidding, unless you get some good deal/sale.

 

Petra…. this word and this place have amazed me since my childhood days. I still remember the book “Wonders of the world and their secrets”, since my early teenage days; don’t remember how many times I read it. ‘Petra’ was one of the chapters in that book. I used to wonder how it was built, who used to live there and will I ever be able to see this amazing wonder of the world.I was over the moon when in August  my husband told me that he’s planning a trip to Jordan in December holidays. It was a feeling of joy and excitement that finally I will get to see one of my desired places. So our hunt for good deals regarding air tickets, hotels, tour guides etc. began. Our Jordan trip consisted of seven days. Seven days of exploring history of Amman, Umm Qays, Jerash, Mount Nebo, Petra, Wadi Rum and Dead Sea.

Our second day was spent exploring Umm Qays and Jerash ruins. Both these places are located few hours’ drive from Amman.Umm Qais or Umm Qays is a site just off the Syrian border in North Jordan and of the ancient Greco-Roman city of Gadara. The city is mentioned in the New Testament as the site where Jesus cast out demons and sent them into pigs, who then ran into the sea (Matthew 8:23-34). Umm Qays boasts impressive remains of colonnaded street, a theatre, a mausoleum and a Byzantine church. One can also sweep views over the north Jordan valley, Syria, Israel held Golan Heights and the sea of Galilee.

Jerash:

In ancient times, Jerash was known by ‘Gerasa’. Truly admiring ‘Jerash’, stands out among the crowd. A great place to wonder and wander, Jerash is also described as “Pompeii of the East”, as a series of earthquakes buried it for a thousand years under the sand. The ruins are extensive and you can see a huge city was There once.Jerash reveals paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hill top temples, theatres, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by tower and There’s a very colourful market just outside the city ruins with a variety of cultural items and souvenirs. If you are interested in buying, it’s THE place to buy as this market offers the best price as compared to the rest of Jordan.After exploring Amman and the nearby places, we headed towards Petra by road. On our way, we stopped at Mount Nebo.Mount Nebo sits 10 kilometres North West from Madaba. It is the mountain considered to be where Moses saw the Promised Land before he died. On a clear day, you can spot the historic cities of Jericho and even Jerusalem from Mt. Nebo.

Petra:

“One of the wonders of the world”

‘A Rose-Red city—half as old as time’.

We reached the town by sunset, and I couldn’t wait for the morning when I will be in front of the wonder, admiring it. So with the sunrise, we became Indiana Jones (hahaha) and headed towards the magnificent ruins of Petra. It’s a good walk of about 30 minutes through Al Siq canyon which leads you to Petra’s most elaborate ruin “Al Khazneh” (The Treasury).

I will not go into the historical details; we all know and can Google it of course.
Standing in front of ‘Al Khazneh’ was like a dream come true for me. Ah! Petra! Here I am finally, awestruck and totally mesmerized by its beauty that how skilfully the structures here were carved out of sandstone cliffs. Petra contains tombs, temples and an Amphitheatre carved into pink.sandstone cliffs. Another magnificent, iconic monument of Petra is ‘The Monastery’, also known as ‘Ad-Deir’. It’s really a tiresome walk through the cascading, steep path on the cliffs to reach ‘The Monastery’. By its name it’s clearly understandable that it was used for religious purposes. I really felt like Indiana Jones standing in front of ‘The Monastery’, with a false hope of finding some treasure. You can also find some ancient Roman ruins inside Petra. It takes a full day to explore Petra, so one should start the day early.Just a few minutes’ drive from Petra, there is ‘Little Petra’ as well. The ruins are not that extensive like Petra, but not a bad option to stop for 10 to 15 minutes to have a look at them.

Wadi Rum:

‘The Valley of the Moon’.

Wadi Rum is a vast wilderness, timeless place where the weather and winds have carved the sandstone and granite rocks with magical exquisitism. Wadi Rum is best known for its connections with the British officer T.E. Lawrence who passed through it during the Arab Freedom Movement of 1917-18. Some famous films have also been shot here, like, Transformers 2, the last days on Mars, The Martian.

Our last stop was at Dead sea resort. Visiting and taking a dip in Dead Sea is a must when in Jordan. Bordering Israel, the West Bank and Jordan, it’s the lowest point on Earth. Its hyper saline water makes floating easy. Since it was very cold, I couldn’t make myself go and enjoy a dip in Dead Sea, but somehow out of sheer excitement, my husband managed to take a dip in the salty waters with the Dead Sea’s healing mud all over his body.

 

The statue of Hazrat Loot’s wife & punished people.

As per locals: When Qaum Loot were destroyed by Almighty Allah and their city made upside down (at now under Dead sea), Hazrat Loot was told by Almighty that he or his accomplishes must not look back to what’s happening behind to unbelievers/their disobedient Qaum. The Loot’s wife, however, in defiance to Almighty’s command looked back and was turned into a statue, which is even intact today on top of the mountain on the shores of Dead sea.So our seven day trip to Jordan came to an end with beautiful memories of the friendly Jordanian people and the marvellous way they have preserved the history.

 

*Winters in Jordan are really cold, yes, I mean it. Try to visit during Autumn or Spring time.*Don’t forget to buy Dead sea minerals/mud packs. It’s a good gift for family and friends.
*Explore Petra at daytime; don’t waste money on buying tickets for ‘Petra by night’ show. Trust me, it’s not worth it.
*At Wadi Rum you can enjoy four wheeler drive and can also book your stay at the luxury camps.

 

 

 

 

 

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SWITZERLAND……Schweiz, Suisse, Svizzera, Svizra….THROUGH 5 SENSES

 

 

 

It’s time to fly back home. I am going through the same rush and chaos that I went through when I was leaving Pakistan to come to Switzerland. Cleaning up my room, paying bills, closing accounts, sending my luggage freight, packing my stuff and last minute shopping. It’s no different right now as I finish my assignment at the Nestle HQ in Vevey and head back to Nestle Lahore office. What a year it has been. I have done a fair share of traveling but this was my first time in Europe. This was not just a vacation. It was about living in Europe. I was pulled out of the life I was so used to and put in a small town an hour away from Geneva with no family or friends. When you live on a different continent it’s funny how all of your five senses are exposed to things completely unfamiliar to you.  This note is an account of some of what my five senses encountered in Europe and specifically Switzerland.

                                                                                         Comparison of Swiss and Pakistani village

Switzerland through the 5 senses.

Hearing

More than 60% of Switzerland speaks German, 20% French, 10% Italian and the rest is a mix of all other languages. Most people understand English and speak bits of it, but it’s amazing how on the day I landed here, within an hour, on my way from Geneva to Vevey, I heard atleast 5 different languages being spoken around me. As soon as I traveled out of Switzerland, within an hour the language around me would change from French to Portuguese, Italian, Dutch or the various dialects of German. Yes, There is a German-german and then there is a Swiss-german.English was spoken and understood in most cities but with some difficulty. In these few months, I have heard English being spoken in countless accents. The French bring in their nasal sounds and the rolling of the ‘Rrrrs’ and the ‘oohs’ and the ‘aahs’. It feels as if the English they speak is a dessert, the way it flows out of their lips is exactly how sweet caramel cream melts on your tongue. Italians and Greek speak it with a lot of passion and emphasis on every word. The hand gestures of course are a treat to watch. Australians and Scandinavians speak it like it is their mother tongue. Effortlessly. South Asians can’t help but give away hints of their own native accents. The British and American marvel how well the rest of the nationalities speaks a language that they thought was native only to them. Whether I was at work or outside, at any given time, I could hear multiple languages being spoken all around me and it all sounded like complete gibberish. French was the only foreign language that sounded a wee bit familiar owing to the 2 years I spent studying it in Lahore. It enabled me to read signs, product labels, make reservations, ask for directions, read menus and differentiate between pork and chicken.

Sight

Chalets, Chimneys, the Alps, Lakes are a sight of every single day. At first you marvel at it and with time you start getting used to it. So much so, that the city-scape back home starts to seem dull and without character. The rumors, however, are true. Switzerland really is heaven on earth. People who say they have seen Switzerland because they’ve been to Geneva or Zurich have no idea what they’re talking about. The real Switzerland is Appenzell, Gruyere, Zermatt, Verbier and the countless villages, towns by the lakes and valleys amidst the Alps. These are few of the most serene places on earth. The grass is the greenest green I have ever seen. The sky is the bluest blue. The clouds are the whitest white and the soft breeze is the freshest fresh. I took several walks and countless trails up and down the hills around Vevey, Montreaux, Gruyere, Zermatt and Interlaken. The one thing that I will never forget is the peaceful quiet that exists on these trails. It ranges from peaceful silence to overwhelming views. Up in the Alps the only sight you see and the only sound you hear is the rustling of the pine trees with the wind. With an occasional cowbell in the distance. Time stops up there and nothing else matters. There’s just you and breathtaking landscape God has created.Winter is magical. Switzerland transforms from a fresh, lush green field with pine trees to a pure white magical land. Everything gets covered under the clean white cover of snow. The hills that looked friendly and welcoming in summer becomes cold and scary in winter. The pine trees look as if they’ve put on new clothes for an all-dressed-in-white party. The lake changes color too. It turns grey under the grey sky and looks exactly like a clear mirror.

 

Taste

Cheese, Wine and Bread are staples. Mulled wine (hot, almost boiling) wine in winters is popular. The food mostly in Switzerland is either boiled, steamed or grilled. Beef is always rare

and chewy. Bread is always cold, untoasted and hard. Meals are almost always bland with no spices, to a Pakistanis dismay. I longed for some spice in my food – bits of zeera in my rice, garam masala in my minced meat and tarka in my lentils, a warm toast of bread,  but it is nearly impossible to find it. Swiss food is awful. Swiss cheese, however, is another story altogether. It is the best in the world. Raclettes and Fondues are eaten as a complete meal at dinner. It’s basically a pot full of melted cheese with cold bread and boiled potatoes. Yes. That’s it. Just a pot of melted cheese for dinner. I can’t really blame the waitress at Les Trois Sifflets (a popular fondue place in Vevey) when she was completely shocked when I ordered a beef steak with the cheese fondue. She thought I wouldn’t be able to finish all of it. She obviously didn’t know I am Punjabi and we don’t eat just bowls of melted cheese for dinner in my part of the world. Surely that is only meant to be an appetizer.

To satisfy my craving for Pakistani food, sometimes I frequented Indian restaurants that were my closest bet. To my disappointment they were all overpriced (well, everything in Switzerland is overpriced), and nothing close to the real Indian/Pakistani cuisine. Obvious tourist traps. I found some solace in shaan masalas, desi spices and Indian ready to eat meals from a small Indian shop. That tiny shop on Avenue Nestle saved me from all the bland Swiss food and I eventually learnt to cook my own meals at home.

Italian food, however, is something I can write a book about. It’s amazing how with such minimal ingredients they make food that has amazing flavor. Give an Italian some dough, cheese and tomato and he will make you the most delicious pizza in the world. Give him flour, water and mushrooms and he will make you the best pasta you have ever taste.  A friend very rightly said to me, “Congratulations. You have screwed up your taste buds forever. Pasta and pizza will never be the same for you again.” She was right.

 

Smell

Every morning I would dutifully wake upend look out the window to see what the weather was like, check the weather forecast on my phone for the rest of the day and then decide accordingly if I need to carry an umbrella with me or not. Yes, one tends to start their day like this living amidst the unpredictable European weather, especially when one has to walk  everyday.

As I would take my daily 15 minute walk from my apartment to the Nestle HQ on Avenue Nestle – yes, there is a street named after Nestle in Vevey – I would smell the freshly baked breads, croissants and the freshly brewed coffee. It was the most delicious scent to breathe in during that walk. I have smelled coffee in cafes in Pakistan – but the soft delicious fragrance on that road coming from the roadside bakeries and cafes was something else. I knew I was eating too many french desserts, Italian tiramisus and Swiss sweets – so I would carefully avoid visiting the patisserie. One day I decided to give in to the temptation and give the corner baker’s shop a visit. I walked in and saw a display of atleast 15 different breads and croissants, and a french woman who was not as warm as the goodies in her shop.“Oui, mademoiselle?” she seemed impatient as she caught me breathing in the scent of her shop.

The goodies tasted as good as they smelled. From that day on I made it a point to stop by and indulge every now and then. I soon discovered several areas across Europe that had distinct scents dominating the air. The scent of tulips dominated The Netherlands. In Netherlands I discovered that not all tulips have a scent. As beautiful as they look they have a very faint “green” smell, which comes mostly from their leaves. The flowers that do smell great are Lavenders. When I visited Grasse – the perfume capital of the world – and the beautiful lavender fields that surround the entire Provence region – I fell in love with the newly discovered fragrance. Travel deeper into the cities of Nice and Cannes and the Saturday markets in these towns sell the most tempting assortment of goods made from fresh lavender harvest. Lavender soaps, candles and even honey. I felt that they were expensive tourist traps but now as I pack for home, I regret not buying some. Luckily I did bring back some perfumed soaps, candles and bags from Fragonard – the biggest perfumeries in the town of Grasse.

 

Touch

Europe can be as clean as a whistle and as dirty as a gandanaala. I was shocked to see how dirty the Paris subways were. I carefully avoided leaning against the walls or sitting on the stairs in fear of catching infections. On the other hand Switzerland is picture perfect clean. It is like a picture out of a storybook. In my own country I would dare not use public toilets, stay carefully away from seats and benches in public places, feel uncomfortable sitting on a taxi seat that has stains on it – one the contrary never did I ever see any sign of dirt or stain anywhere in this country. It’s so clean you can eat off the floor.  Another friend who had lived here before me told me how bread would go bad in a day if left outside as opposed to the bread back home that stays put for almost a week.  He was right. As I was being driven back home after my last dinner in Vevey with friends, another friend remarked about how fake Switzerland was. It was so perfect that it didn’t even seem real after a while. “Our countries are not perfect like this. The rest of the world is not perfect like this.”  It left me wondering how it is possible that one part of this world is so flawless while others so imperfect. It is something I will probably never understand.

These few months in this small quiet town by Lake Geneva have changed me profoundly. For the better, I hope. Amongst the many things I have learnt about myself, one thing I know for sure-  I am coming back here again one day.

( This blog was originally drafted by my younger daughter HYRA who had the opportunity to stay in Switzerland for few months .)

 

 

 

 

 

LITTLE SWITZERLAND…..LUXEMBOURG

                                                                   Mercy Killing” and “Assisted suicide” and Schengen .

It was first week of August, 2018,When I travelled for Luxembourg.  Mine was first ever visit to this tiny country. I flew from Karachi to Munich where I Had to change flight for my final destination by Lux air line. When I reached at Munich air port, I had only 50 minutes left to check in for next flight but there was a long queue in front of immigration desk and for a moment I felt I cannot catch the flight. Then suddenly I left the queue and ran to immigration desk.I narrated my short time problem to Immigration officer who was kind enough to allow me to over pass the queue and he took only 5 minutes to check my documents and allowed me to leave. After that I ran to air line counter for boarding card and then I went for Security checking. After putting  my hand bag which was without any lock, at scanner belt, I stood stand before full body scanner  ( perhaps it is called  alternate-wavelength image) When scanning was completed, I rushed to scanner belt to take my hand bag .I was astonished  to see that my hand back was open and my Camera, My new Jacket(which I had brought for final approval of my buyer)my USB,my health insurance cover note and copy of my return ticket were missing. I asked the lady who was on duty at scanning belt as who has opened and taken my above mentioned goods but she refused to understand English. Then I contacted another German officer who was supervisor on security but he advised to lodge written complaint  with complaint office which was located  at the end of Munich air port. As the time was very short and I had only few minutes left for check in, I left the idea of lodging complaint and ran to the gate for check in. I was the last person to check in for lux air line. I stayed in Luxembourg for only 3-4 days and then by a shared car I went to  Koln(Germany) to attend IAW trade fair. The remaining 6 days I remained in Koln (Germany) with a business friend who was very kind to take me to several worth seeing places. So in the first visit I had no idea about Luxembourg.

 

In september,2019 , I along with my wife again went to Luxembourg  but now we planned to travel  from Lahore to Brussels  by Ettehad air line. At about 8.00AM our plane landed at Brussels air port where my younger daughter and her husband received us and from Belgium we travelled to Luxembourg by road. We stayed 10 days in Luxembourg  and in Paris. My this visit was very relaxing  and informative, so I thought it proper to write a blog on Luxembourg. . But before I get to the details of that, this note is for us all who know little about this tiny country. A lot of people assume it’s a city in Germany. Nope. Read on. Here  upon a time. Luxembourg lies nestled amongst  three countries – France,Belgium and Germany .below is one cool spot , it’s called Drai Lanner Eck (3 country corner) – were  Belgium ,Luxembourg  and Germany nestle together. I can start with my appreciation and awe of the beauty of “open borders” of the EU but that’s a post for another day. Luxembourg is one the smallest sovereign states in Europe. The country’s name is Luxembourg and the capital is also called Luxembourg City. It is not a city in Germany – but yes it was under Germany’s rule, once .

                                                                                                           courtesy of google.

Luxembourg is also the world’s only Grand Duchy. Duchy is a state that is governed by a Duke. The dude’s name is Henri and Duchies can also have prime ministers – that dude’s name is Xavier Bettel. He is openly gay – the world’s 3rd openly gay Prime minister. Same-sex marriage is also legal in  this country. Luxembourg is as big as Lahore and Islamabad combined. The country’s population is 5,76,000, it is so less I don’t even know what to compare it with. I presume that a single residential area in Lahore or Karachi (like DHA, for example) probably has a higher population than this country. Just to put things into context, the population of the entire city of Karachi is 24 million and that of Lahore is 10 million. Pakistan’s population is 200 million. So yes. Only 500,000 people live in Luxembourg.Of these few people, the biggest chunk lives in Luxembourg City – that’s where the civilization is. More than 50% of these people are expats like my daughter and son in law. Primarily Catholics but all religions exist. The country itself is a secular state and I also remember reading somewhere that it is illegal for the government to collect statistics on religious beliefs or practices because – well – they don’t care. Just be a good person. Follow the law and you’re good to go. Fun fact: people who live here are called “Luxembourgers”. Yeah. Burgers. There’s also a place called “Little Switzerland” in Luxembourg – that, trust me, looks nothing like Switzerland. Luxembourgers find a lot of pride and joy in boasting about this “little switzerland” of theirs and all the “lovely parks” the city has. It’s amusing. Switzerland is prettier. HOWEVER. Luxembourg is richer. The weather is not so perfect. It’s grey, gloomy, rainy and cold. Gets warmer in the summer but also brings a lot of pollen allergies with it. Half of Luxembourg is covered in forests . – So if you have pollen allergies – well – keep your inhaler with you in summer. This country was ruled by multiple states in the past. Germans, Dutch, French. All of this mayhem has contributed to the “borrowed” culture this country has from its mommy-countries. Languages, Food, Culture is largely influenced by the neighboring countries. . It’s also very common for people to live in a bordering country but work in Luxembourg. Someone told me  that during a work-week . Why do people do that? Well – open borders! All hail to the EU. Its population triples due to daily inflow from bordering countries.Someone told me  that during a work-week . Why do people do that? Well – open borders! All hail to the EU. Its population triples due to daily inflow from bordering countries.

Luxembourg is also the world’s only Grand Duchy. Duchy is a state that is governed by a Duke. The dude’s name is Henri and Duchies can also have prime ministers – that dude’s name is Xavier Bettel. He is openly gay – the world’s 3rd openly gay Prime minister. Same-sex marriage is also legal in  this country. Luxembourg is as big as Lahore and Islamabad combined. The country’s population is 5,76,000, it is so less I don’t even know what to compare it with. I presume that a single residential area in Lahore or Karachi (like DHA, for example) probably has a higher population than this country. Just to put things into context, the population of the entire city of Karachi is 24 million and that of Lahore is 10 million. Pakistan’s population is 200 million. So yes. Only 500,000 people live in Luxembourg.

Of these few people, the biggest chunk lives in Luxembourg City – that’s where the civilization is. More than 50% of these people are expats like my daughter and son in law. Primarily Catholics but all religions exist. The country itself is a secular state and I also remember reading somewhere that it is illegal for the government to collect statistics on religious beliefs or practices because – well – they don’t care. Just be a good person. Follow the law and you’re good to go. Fun fact: people who live here are called “Luxembourgers”. Yeah. Burgers. There’s also a place called “Little Switzerland” in Luxembourg – that, trust me, looks nothing like Switzerland. Luxembourgers find a lot of pride and joy in boasting about this “little switzerland” of theirs and all the “lovely parks” the city has. It’s amusing. Switzerland is prettier. HOWEVER. Luxembourg is richer. The weather is not so perfect. It’s grey, gloomy, rainy and cold. Gets warmer in the summer but also brings a lot of pollen allergies with it. Half of Luxembourg is covered in forests . – So if you have pollen allergies – well – keep your inhaler with you in summer. This country was ruled by multiple states in the past. Germans, Dutch, French. All of this mayhem has contributed to the “borrowed” culture this country has from its mommy-countries. Languages, Food, Culture is largely influenced by the neighboring countries. . It’s also very common for people to live in a bordering country but work in Luxembourg.

There are 17km of underground tunnels under Luxembourg City. So the story goes that there were two very important roman towns – during the roman civilization – one in France and the other in Germany – I think it was Metz and Trier – and there was this road between these towns called the “Spanish road”. Now why would the road between Germany and France be called Spanish road – I don’t know. Anyway, so this roman emperor dude thought, hey, this is such a long never ending road – I need to build a place where I can rest and eat and pee. And change horses (As the Luxembourgish tell the tale) – so this dude made this huge fortress / wall and that laid the foundations of Luxembourg City. This fortress is a fascinating place to visit and is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Luxembourg is the seat of the European court of Justice – the highest juridical authority in the EU. This court has 28 judges – one per EU country. The main job of this very important body is ensuring that the every EU law is interpreted and applied in the same way in all EU countries – and also ensuring that all countries follow it. Well there are 28 countries – each with its own language and infrastructure, so that’s a tough job even though I make it sound pretty simple. This court also fixes disputes between EU countries. The golden towers below are where the European Court of Justice is housed. The annual budget these towers regulations, disputes for EU. It all happens in there. use is 290 million GBP. Laws, Almost opposite these golden towers are two silver towers – which is the European Parliament. All the translators and interpreters of EU sit here (more than 1000 translators) and every European document is translated in there. These buildings house other departments of the EU parliament as well. The main job of the European parliament is to pass EU laws, decide on international agreements, democratic scrutiny of all other EU institutions, develop the EU budget and discuss monetary policies. Legend has it that the golden towers are built just to be a wee bit higher than the EU parliament towers to signify that Justice is above everything else. Walk by the parking areas around these two buildings and you will see the world’s most expensive cars parked here.

 

HEAVEN ON EARTH…….VEVEY SWITZERLAND.

 

Tired of covid-19 limitations, finally we intended to head out from Luxembourg to Vevey (Switzerland) to go through week end there. With a car in Vevey, Switzerland, you will have all of western Europe inside your grip . A portion of Vevey’s distinguished occupants and guests incorporate the Nestlé Corporation, Charlie and Oona Chaplin, who are covered close by, Anita Brookner and Henry James. The exhibition halls are fabulous, the Old Town is all around saved and flawless, and the eateries are amazing.

The most self-evident and possibly most significant medical advantage of voyaging is pressure decrease. Heading out can remove you from our day by day schedule and into new environmental factors and encounters and this can reset your body and brain. .  Travel opens your heart, expands your psyche, and fills your existence with stories to tell.  In the wake of going for over 6 hours by car, we arrived at city Lausanne and took lodging Best Western hotel  It is near Vevey where Nestle settle are. Lake Geneva and alps were freezing and hazy. There is Food gallery called Almentarium.

Travel is the lone thing you purchase that makes you more extravagant.

Directly on the lake we took a train that goes to a peak called ROCHER DE NAYE.There are ski slants and in winter come  there to ski. Somewhere far off you can see Mont Blanc,tallest mountain in Europe and other swiss alps. Individuals don’t go on outings, trips take individuals. The Swiss town’s wine celebration is however loved as it seems to be uncommon yet, from a Chaplin gallery to boat visits and chocolate paradise, an excursion need not be grape-related. Vevey (French articulation: [vəvɛ] About this soundpronunciation) is a town in Switzerland in the canton of Vaud, on the north shore of Lake Geneva, close to Lausanne. The German name Vivis is not, at this point generally utilized.

Vevey is a Swiss town on Lake Geneva. On the promenade, marked by a giant fork protruding from the lake, is the nutrition museum Alimentarium, with culinary objects and workshops. A Charlie Chaplin statue is nearby. This one-time Vevey resident is also celebrated at Chaplin’s World, on his former country estate. The Musée Jenisch is dedicated to art on paper.We descended via train again from the mountain and afterward went to see a friend who lives in Vevey.he made cheddar fondue for us.A pot liquefied cheddar with slice of bread or potatoes is Swiss forte.

With the sun setting down we headed back home in Luxembourg. If you have enjoyed my posts, I would be very grateful if you‘d help it spread by e mailing to a friend or sharing it in twitter or face book.