However, my first impression of Kiel lasted only one night. I went out the next day, I couldn’t believe that there were no smokers on the streets, and then it dawned on me that there were no people on the streets. I could literally count the number of people walking on the streets on the fingers of one hand, perhaps two but not more for sure.
Durbar Square before earthquake reminded me of Florence, it had a tinge of red, yellow, orange, blue and green to it and the place came alive with tourists and locals alike. The temple domes with clear blue sky and snow-capped mountain for a backdrop was its specialty.
Walking through the ubiquitous Rosa Rugosa shrubs aka Sylt Rose to reach the Wadden Sea boarded by Sea Grass buried in Sand Dunes was nothing short of divine.
I always thought of Ooty as a place only fit for honeymooners: cold, hilly and romantic. “Ooty and me? no way,” used to be my usual response.
When we reached Ooty, I noticed horses thronged this place as much as the tourists. I was convinced that I was not going to regret the trip. I gave all the must visit tourist spots especially the suicide points a miss for another time I might feel suicidal and explored the not so touristy and suicidal side of Ooty.
When I talk about trekking in the Himalayas, sometimes people ask me, “What is the point in walking or climbing aimlessly from one point to another, in rugged climate and terrain at that.” I was never able to answer that question. In fact I gave into the idea that it was pointless. During my recent trip to the Himalayas I realized why I was lost for words. Even if I tried, it would be a futile exercise. To express what it feels like to be surrounded by the Himalayas is beyond language.
I think Sheep and Goats are two of the most photogenic animals. No matter where I see them, I am drawn to them perhaps like nomads to Sheep and Goats. 😉 I find the mountain Sheep and Goats even prettier and their association with Nomads of various parts of India make them all the more interesting. I could spend hours just watching them graze relentlessly, bleat to warn and communicate and poop like nobody’s business and graze again. At the end of the session I come away feeling as if I have done hours of meditation.
With a few morsels dangling around the mouth and a lot of it melting inside it we go out and proudly, spraying the morsels that had difficulty melting, announce to the world that we are fasting and thus, fulfil our duty as responsible children. All the kids fasting in new clothes gather and talk elaborately about how we didn’t eat for 2 long hours and exchange Peanut, Rava and Besan laddus made especially for the fasting day for extra energy.
I say this at every opportunity, “not for nothing people associate The Himalayas with renunciation of the material world.” If you spend enough time in the mighty mountains, renunciation becomes a natural process. When you are up there, in the lyrics of Metallica, nothing else matters.
As a kid the very sound of market excited me, because of its association with the pleasant prospect of shopping, much to my father’s dismay. The sound of shopping still excites me and the reason remains the same. However, now that I have to pay my own bills, I reluctantly learnt to sidetrack myself by means of a camera. Hail street photography!
From one campsite to another, Annapurna Circuit is replete with tea houses. They are multi cuisine tea houses offering delectable array of menu choices. Best part of the menu and something I enjoyed the most during the trails is, a warm cup of lemon tea. For one I can thaw my hands while sipping on the tea. And for another, it was refreshing. Unlike the other trails, end of a grueling trek I retired to a cozy bed. I literally buried myself under layers of quilts and read a book, while the mighty glaciers, sometimes bordered by rustling streams, busied themselves providing a stunning view.