Love lives on

Lake Bled, Slovenia

“It simmers yet again,

Happiness in a crimson bubble

That we better know as heart;

With the promise of

Flattering illusions

Palpable fantasies

Love lives on … ♥️

– Shagun

Happy Valentine’s Day, all !! ♥️ 🙂

 

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Winter vacation 2018: Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore

Last year I planned to take all my annual leave at one go and travel home to India. I first thought it might be crazy, as I have never taken more than a week’s holiday at a stretch. So how could I possibly stay away from work for a month? But thanks to the support of my oh-so-wonderful colleagues! They made it much easier for me to be gone. I did enough on my holiday to pack myself up with energy and doses of sunshine, so I can now brave the dark and long tunnel of Swedish winter.

What I liked the most is that I had time to do all I wanted to do – be at home with family, meet closest friends and relatives, visit my parents-in-law, go shopping, take my dad for an excursion to Singapore, and also spend Christmas and New year exploring the vibrant Asian countries of Vietnam and Cambodia! I would have likely had to do 3 different trips to make it all happen, if I had split my journeys during the year. Not so efficient, right?

Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore – Being the tropical countries that they are, certain parts remain warm during December, and that made it a perfect winter getaway for me.  There were showers of rain on a couple of days, but not as much as to spoil the day’s plans. Keeping a pocket poncho at all times, especially in Singapore, is a wise thing to do!

More descriptive blogs on the travel will appear in your Reader soon! But I couldn’t wait to give you, my friends, a sneak peak into the rich landscape and a dreamy world these places own. So here goes a glimpse!

  • Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

What vibrant and lively cities these are. Be it the nature’s bountiful countryside, the world heritage preserved sites, the historic structures glittering in the glory of ancient architecture, or the the walking streets buzzing with party, nightlife and food, it surely has something for every visitor.

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Boat ride in the Ninh Binh province in North Vietnam, known for its scenic landscape

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  • Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Untouched by the paints of modernization, protecting it’s mythology and exuding ancient wisdom from every corner, this temple city of Angkor Wat in the Siem Reap region of Cambodia was nothing less than a gem discovered. Angkor Wat is a large temple complex, sort of an archaeological park, home to several glorious temples from the 12th century. Particularly fascinating in the area was the popular night market, pub street and the spa culture. We’re definitely going back again!

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Angkor Wat at sunrise

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  • Singapore

Who would have imagined a tiny country will become the biggest hub of commercial banking and trade, will rank one of the highest in the ease of setting up businesses, and yet be known as Garden City, thank to it’s lush greenery all around in the middle of the city. This little, yet highly developed nation, surely gives progressive goals to the rest of the world. It was not my first visit to Singapore, but it was the very first country that I visited outside India, along with my closest friends almost 10 years back. It will always remain special! 🙂

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Sentosa Island with a view of the iconic Merlion statue

Are you excited to read more about the holiday? Stay tuned 🙂

More travel stories:
How about visiting Riga, in Latvia?
For once, Blues are Beautiful! In Santorini, Greece

 

 

 

Message from the autumn leaves 🍁

It’s now time to bid adieu,
descend into the solace of winter;
holding on to a promise to revive
and come back alive,
in the best of green,
with the verve of youth,
packed with hope
and smiles of the spring.

Till we meet again,
let’s partner on this journey,
of a silent transformation
yet a throbbing resurrection;
Take a pause to reawaken, too
change things you wanted to,
always change about you.

Read my other autumn stories :

Leaves begin to fall

The breeze of autumn..

Leaves begin to fall

Woah, that was a long break. I haven’t seen my lovely readers in a little over 2 months. Caught up in such whirlwind, pointing all fingers back at myself for this disappearing act, and having gobbled up high doses of guilt tablets (honestly!) , I’m now ecstatic about getting back to the thing I love doing the most – write about my experiences and sharing them with you! And what better time to find my resurrection than while I witness this gorgeous transformation of the nature turning from emerald to gold. Earth is peeling away a layer of its brilliance and green beauty, and emanating the glow of its fire within. Every leaf is a flower, cozying up to its own warmth, and in turn presenting a sight to behold.

Autumn in Sweden is such that I always fall short of names to aptly describe the colors that so delicately and beautifully unfold. Ochre, mustard, buff, amber, sienna, crimson and scarlet are a few that I feasted my eyes on this weekend, along with the familiar tones of yellow, gold, orange, red and brown. Every step in the woods, and on the little streets drawn out as a carpet studded with jewels, gifted our hearts with precious moments of joy and pleasure.

How much I’d like you partake in this happiness!

Read also : The breeze of autumn

Happy autumn! 🙂

Swan symphony

This gorgeous swan couple had me engaged for a long time while walking along this beautiful canal in Bruges, Belgium. Their fascination for each other was so evidently palpable in their gestures and movements, that I really wanted to capture a moment between the two that I could take along with me as a happy memory.

I waited for about 15 minutes in anticipation of a sync of their long, slender and beautiful, though extremely swiftly turning necks. And finally, for a fraction of a second, I got this one. If you watch closely, the swan on the left is facing her front, while the swan on the right has his head twisted behind to pair up with his partner. But the elegance is such that it makes the difference less noticeable!

I love the symphony of elements in the image – the harmonious blend of the green landscape with the sweet exhibit of affection. It subtly stirs up feelings of being in unison with one’s partner, having a common direction of vision, hope and love. The feelings of being at peace.

Via Photo Challenge : All-time favorites

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Envious waters

The pink within

The active geyser of Iceland

The flow of water enhances the beauty of any landscape multifold. We have all seen this precious life source adding to the glory of nature in the form of swift and rapid rivers, cascading waterfalls, pristine lakes and vast oceans.

One truly wondrous and unforgettable sight for me was when I witnessed it spouting wildly from the deeper layers of the earth, like a vigorous fountain, roaring in its fury as it began to reach for the sky. Having attained its peak, it collapsed the next moment with a loud thud, only to stir up its core and rise again, and then again, every few minutes. What a spellbinding sight it was!

I was at the great Geysir, Strokkur, the famous active hot spring in Iceland that erupts about every 6-10 minutes, due to high geothermal activity in the area. It usually goes up to 30 meters of height, and before it begins to fall, it has already cast a lasting, bewildering impression on its bystanders! You can imagine people standing around it, and waiting patiently to get a perfect picture, like I attempted to get this one! 🙂

A trip to the Geysir can easily be done from Reykjavik (capital of Iceland) as part of the popular Golden Circle sightseeing route, which covers three major attractions in the range of 100-150 kms – the Þingvellir National Park where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, the spectacular double-layered waterfall of Gullfoss, and the active Geysir in the Haukadalur Valley.

Read my post about the most stunning waterfalls of Iceland

Read : These incredible waterfalls of Iceland

Blissful union

“Blessings and love resonate in the starry skies,

Radiant eyes recite the saga of a blissful union;

A secret smile revels, to welcome a new world of joy,

Turning an ordinary night into an eternal divine promise.”

A deep throwback and reminiscence to the words I composed for my wedding card five years ago today! As I read and re-read them now, I fathom the faith and strength that they carry deep in their bosom. The years gone by have indeed nothing been less than an eternal promise, and the ones knocking on the door show a promise of sacred new beginnings!