Focal Point

I often am fascinated by the human body – what a marvelous work of engineering! Today am admiring the wonderful sense of sight – the eyes. It’s raining out here and I am just looking out at the scene through the glass window with a cup of coffee. With my eyes, I can see everything so clearly even outside but the camera can focus only on what’s closest to it. 

In this photo, you can see my coffee in focus and the chaos outside, even if it’s blurred. So I am very thankful for the camera because that’s possibly the only way I can capture and share the moments that I like, visually, with everyone, for lack of that kind of artistic talent which also requires time and effort to master. 

Coffee on a rainy day

For more photos about interpreting Focus, you can look here

And here is the photo of the same place after it has stopped raining.

Serendipity

There were once three princes of Serendip who were asked by their father, the King, to get out of the country. The King was not punishing them although on the face it would appear that way. Instead, his hidden motive was to make his sons learn more about the world before they ascended the throne. So the princes did go out and made interesting experiences and also discovered a lot of things by accident. Well, so is the interpretation of the western authors that those were accidents. My interpretation would be that anything seems like an accident because one doesn’t expect it but aren’t most interesting discoveries like that? And another thing is – accident in my dictionary is a bad thing while discovery is usually good. If you find what you are looking for, then probably the term discovery won’t fit!

Anyway, so back to these princes and their discoveries. An author Horace Warpol coined the term Serendipity from this story which means “making fortunate discoveries by accident”.

I often feel like those princes of Serendip when I make these kind of discoveries with no plan whatsoever. (But I was not asked by my father to leave the country..that happened just as an outcome of some work related thing). So here I am today, on a warm summer day, sitting in the middle of a lovely village, having a sundae surrounded by interesting buildings and chatter of the locals.

Sundae

And it was not planned at all. Yesterday, a very close friend of mine C and I sat down for lunch at work. She and I get to meet only every two weeks or so as she has a working schedule that gives her more time to be with her little daughter. So I was filling her in about my adventures from last weeks. Then we came on the topic of what I could do on this long weekend. And out of nowhere, we decided that I come with her to her home  – which is in a region where I had never been before. So after a long journey in which we chatted the whole time, we reached her home. She had told me that she needs to go to a nearby village for some work. I decided to come along instead of sitting at home. And it was a good decision. See for yourself.

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Church

 


I arrived at a place I would have never planned to come on my own but yet ended up at and then getting to enjoy the atmosphere with a nice big bowl of icecream on a warm summer day…

Now shouldn’t I call this Serendipity?

Charmed by Bratislava (1)

Remember the movie Hostel? If that’s the reason you have not visited Bratislava so far despite having the opportunity, then set your fears aside and take the next chance to visit this charming and intriguing city. I don’t watch the horror genre and when my friends had told me about the movie so many years ago, I had of course stopped them from telling me anything about the plot. And I am glad I didn’t know anything – because one does form an opinion about things despite being aware that something is just a work of fiction. Danger seems real if the mind is focused on seeing a snake even if it’s just a rope! Seeing the eerie picture above, one would get afraid by making the association with a fictional story one saw or heard about the city!

Coming back to my story. There I was one day, wondering what to do on a four day trip to Vienna as I was not so keen on spending all four days in Vienna despite its popularity. Then a friend suggested to go to Bratislava. That sounded good as it was only 1 hour away and I didn’t need to plan anything in advance. I could decide after being in Vienna and seeing how it went there.

It is really convenient to take a train from Vienna to Bratislava – it goes every hour or so. There is a collaboration between Vienna and Bratislava that allows you to take a return ticket from Vienna, which allows you to use the public transport also in Bratislava on the day of arrival. And you can return to Vienna two days later from Bratislava with the same ticket! Wonderful – isn’t it? It takes about an hour one way. More details here. Also possible is to go via boat on Danube or a bus or even a plane (that’s actually a joke – 10 minute flight time!).

Enough background story. In two words – I went.

When I came out of the train at Bratislava, somehow it reminded me of a station in India.

Bratislava Main Station (Hlavana Stanica)

I couldn’t figure out from the app for the public transport how to reach my hotel using the tram. So I walked as it didn’t seem too far on google maps. On the way I came across some interesting buildings – from the communist era of Slovakian history. Of course I took a picture immediately although at that time I didn’t know that it was the buidling of Slovak radio. Again this also reminded me of some office buildings in India – may be because of the color.

Building of the Slovak Radio

 

Thus stopping every few meters to click pictures because it was all so interesting, it took me more than 30 minutes to cover a distance of approximately 1.5 kms.

Finally I reached the hotel and thankfully they had the room ready for me. I was sweating profusely as it was a humid day with the sun shining (opposite of the cold and rainy day with hailstones in Vienna just 20 hours earlier). It was a lovely hotel with a lovely room and a luxurious bathroom – at less than half the price of what I paid in Vienna for a small room in a pension without a private bathroom! So I was glad to see a fan in the room which helped me relax before I got up for getting some lunch and sightseeing (in that order :)).

Bratislava Castle

So here I will end the first post. Stay tuned for the next one where I will take you further inside this lovely city.

You call it Wanderlust, I call it Life

So someone asked me where had I been recently. I asked – in mind or in body. In mind, I am going everywhere all the time but the body won’t be able to keep up with it :-).

The word of German origin “Wanderlust” means an innate strong desire to travel. Another lesser known in English but also of German origin word is “Fernweh”. This word means sickness/longing for far off places. You can decide for yourself whether your feelings match more with Wanderlust or Fernweh. For me, it is the latter.

So from my recent physical trip to a far off place, here are some pictures that I would like to share that describe the journey.

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Going for sightseeing
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The Jet to take you far away
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Tired travellers resting their feet

Inpired? Then enjoy some more thoughts on Wanderlust here.

Solitude

Somehow the word “solitude” translates to “tranquility” for me, instead of the “state of being alone”. The latter is usually associated with loneliness and has a kind of negative connotation. But I believe solitude is a very powerful thing, not because you are alone but because of what your mind is telling you when you are alone! For some that is a very scary thing and for some it is a very pleasant state of existence. Scary probably because of the social conditioning or the fear of the unknown and pleasant probably because one can be or do whatever one likes without the fear of being judged by fellow beings. Whatever it may be, I think everyone should have some time to be just with oneself. It does make you think a bit differently than usual, which I believe is a good thing. I think that is why the ancient people of India went to the forests to meditate, to be with themselves, to be with the nature, to learn something,  for all the answers are probably within us but we just don’t get to hear them in the humdrum of our mundane existence.

There is this one scene that I captured on my lens which brought on me the feeling of solitude – in the commonly understood meaning – that of being completely alone. 10275584_10153294403428217_8774058467903492262_o

For some more thoughts and interpretations of solitude from bloggers around the globe, check out this page Solitude.

On the top

In the day to day life, we are so caught up in looking forward that we don’t see what is above or below. But when you do remember to look up or down, sometimes you see interesting things. This specially happens when you travel because then you don’t have to be in a hurry to be at work, at school, at the doctor’s, at a restaurant or even to be at home. Then you want to take in all the sights of the place you are at.

So here are some scenes that I captured looking up, which the residents of those cities may find mundane.

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A man sitting at the top of the stairs at the train station in Brugge
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An owl overseeing the proceedings of busy Barcelona on a rainy day from the top
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Plane flying near the top of the tower of a building in Brussels
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The bridge connecting the top of two towers at the church in Esslingen

For more sights at the top or from the top, check out the posts here.

Magical creatures are everywhere!

Every time I see these mice at the bridge, I imagine that that one day they were scuttling away and a magician threw some star dust on them and they froze like this! What could the story be? Was there a lovely but poor maiden who had these mice as friends and one day the evil magician came and took her away or was there a town troubled by the mice and the magician was called to get rid of them? Was there a prince and his loyal friend who were turned to mice by the magician to take over the kingdom or were there two conspirators who wanted to capture the kingdom and the king’s wizard friend came along just in time? The magic is in the possibilities – isn’t it?

Tuxpi photo editor: https://www.tuxpi.com

If you’d like to know about other thoughts on magic, you can take a look here.