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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Images that linger- Lending a Helping hand

Lending a helping hand

Its really all about the images that stay on your mind.As also the ones that pop up in that same mind time and time again.

Of late, I've made the effort to revisit  many of the photographs I've taken over the last couple of years and pulled out a few that I think about every now and then.

This photograph of a father and daughter taken sometime back in Muscat certainly qualifies as one such.I think I was very lucky to have clicked this shot and even luckier that it was on a bright morning.

Look closely and you will see that the essence of a parent child relationship comes through in this one- the readiness with which this father lends a helping hand and the ease and trust with which this child grasps it.

My quest  for more such meaningful photographs will continue and hope this inspires you to pull out some of your treasured ones too. 

Remember, every picture really and truly, does tell its own story..You just have to be able to understand what it says...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Norway-The country that has always fascinated and intrigued me and the umpteen reasons why I want to visit it

One of life's greatest pleasures is to be able to see and experience new places, understand different cultures and appreciate all that the rest of the world has to offer.  Which is exactly  why travelling is such a pleasurable experience for me and with the passage of time, this itch to travel and see more of the world seems to be growing stronger. So when I came across this opportunity to participate in this competition

Skyscanner Title

I just couldn't wait to put on my thinking cap and get on with it!  

To go back to where my love for it all began, I decided to  revisit this very blog and locate an entry dated Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011. 

"I lay curled up in a corner of the den, book in hand, with just one table lamp on.Nothing else mattered except finishing that particular book-If I could help it, all in one go! Completely lost in another world- one of fantasy where goblins, trolls, fairies, The Famous Five, Secret Seven and so many other fascinating characters resided.This is what comes to mind when I think of myself -as far back in time as I can reach into the inner recesses of my mind.

Did I learn something, did I grow as an individual, did I feel better about myself? All these were things that didn't seem to matter then. But with the wisdom of passing time and years, I know the answer.

YES I DID- to all of them....

Reading is undoubtedly a key factor in shaping one's mind and overall personality. So, all I can say is -encourage the younger generation to read, and you will be doing the right thing for them.Forever ...


Re reading it, I note that goblins, trolls and fairies featured right on top of that list and this is the point where I would like to bring in my life long fascination for Norway. One of my all time favourite books as a child was 'Norwegian Fairy tales' by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen  and Jørgen Moe and by now I'm sure you wouldn't be surprised if I told you that I still have it. Even though I'm an adult now, whenever I think of Norway, I can very easily go back to being that same little girl, who loved the Norwegian fairy tales and everything else about Norway. 

My dream destination, Beautiful Norway

(Image courtesy- One big )
Moving on to a more recent story, I signed up for Instagram as sometime back and one of my earliest and most active 'followers' is a lady called  Waree Lyngstaed ( Wareean) from Norway, who lives in Eidalsosen. I promptly followed her back and that is where I get to see the stunning photographs of Norway that she puts up. Whenever  I 'like' or comment on them, she always asks me when I plan to visit Norway and get to meet her as well as see these beautiful sights. 

My answer to her is always, ' One day.... soon"...

Wareean  with her flowers

The name 'Norway' means 'Path to the North'. With a geography of over 240, 000 islands and a coastline which stretches over 64, 000 miles, there is absolutely no possibility of not having enough to see or do.To top that, its one of the wealthiest as well as the most peaceful countries in the world according to the Global peace Index.Already  many good reasons and counting..

So in addition to hunting for trolls in Trolltunga when I go hiking up those mountains, 
What if I actually came face to face with one?

The  epic Trolltunga or Troll's tongue
( Pic courtesy Open Minded )

and meeting Waareean,  I would like to:
Watch the Midnight sun in all its glory -also leaving me all day to fill up with exciting things to do.

Imagine the thought of a 24 hour day filled with things to do, see and experience!

Climb right on top of at least one lighthouse.

Compare versions of 'The Scream'by Edward Munch  (among the world's most iconic paintings) at the Norway's National Gallery in Oslo, with the one at the Munich museum, later in my travels.

Climb the Stairway to Heaven, the world's longest stairway.

Gasp in wonder at the fascinating Northern Lights. 

The Northern Lights -Unforgettable 
 As an eye witness account described it, "Experiencing them is a jaw-dropping moment. It reminds me of a night rainbow, with clear bands of vivid green streaked across the sky with light hues of pink and violet at the edges.Even if you need just one reason to go the Norway, this is it! 
So since, seeing is believing, I would love to see them and then describe them in my own words.

Find the perfect bouquet in Oslo's flower market.

Ride a helicopter through the fjords.

Enjoy the food and drink and write about in in my other blog,  
Food For Thought- .

This is a blog where a blog where I post tidbits combining my love for food, travel, writing, photography and art.  And sometimes, real 'Food For Thought"

So I plan to start my first day with 'brunost' and toast for breakfast and move on to other typically Norwegian food treats later in the day. Brunost is a brown cheese with a sweet, yet somewhat sharp flavour with notes of caramel which is traditionally cut into wafer thin slices with a cheeseslicer and eaten on bread, toast or crisp bread. This cheese is also used in sauces to go with game and venison, giving such sauces a more subtle, caramel taste.

Lunch would probably be a grilled version of fabulous local fish like Salmon, reiker and haddock.

I would then try out the fabulous Norwegian dessert called 'Mulketrem', which is a combination of Cloudberries with whipped cream, then 
Delicious Mulketrem

top it up with the very potent, national drink, Aquavit.

Drive through the world's longest tunnel, Laredestain tunnelen,which is 25 kms long.

See the Royal Palace,the  Ibsen Museum, Viking ship museum and visit the Adventure Parx's Theme Park.

Incomparable beauty and that cabin!
Check out the adorable fishermen's cabins which are everywhere and try to spend some time in one  of them.

This post is a part of Skyscanner travel wizard activity at


I could go on and on, but will now move on to the more practical side of things- Travel, ticketing and accomodation will be the largest chunk and based on that,  I can decide how much exactly I will need to spend on my food, tours etc.

This is exactly where a magical aid, Skyscanner comes in to my rescue-Skyscanner Title

I am very aware of the fact that I only have Rs 1 lakh to spend so I plan to make the best possible use of that money. Since I plan to travel from Muscat where I am based,  I looked up all possible options on Skyscanner. 

Looking for the most economical option, I came up with this combination in August. 

My flight plan from Muscat to Oslo

Sadly, there are no direct flights from Muscat to Oslo but that really isn't a problem as far as I'm concerned. I chose an Air Berlin flight partly operated by Air Eithad  with two stops at TXL and AUH -(Abu Dhabi and Berlin)

The cost for this Return ticket is 572 Euros which is about 46, 00 INR.

Travel planning over, now I looked for  a hotel. 

Deciding to stay in a centrally located , comfortable place, (ideally with breakfast included )and good value for money, I  chose the Rica Travel hotel.

Skyscanner came to the rescue once again and by comparing prices and looking for the best deal, I was very pleased to find this option for 4 nights including taxes and fees. Best of all, it has a complimentary breakfast as well.

The very special deal that I managed, thanks to my magical aid Skyscanner, is RO 231 for 4 nights. 

That would mean INR 36, 036 taking up my total expenditure to :

INR 82, 036.

My choice- The centrally located Rica Travel Hotel 

This hotel has got some excellent reviews and scrolling through them, I could see the word 'excellent' popping up a couple of times as well. 

Did that make me feel happy? I'd say a loud, YES!

The beautifully done up room for 4 nights

With travel and hotel expenses that leaves me 
with INR 17, 694 in my kitty.


From this point, I've decided to simplify it for myself.

I plan to use those INR 17, 694 to cover my transportation costs and will arrange to buy the tickets for museums, galleries, food, hiking and anything over and above the allocated amount of Rs.1 lakh on my own.

As I come to the end of this blog post, I would like to say a big 'Thank you' to Blogadda as well as Skyscanner. I really couldn't have done this piece without the huge inspirational incentive provided by both of you in making me take that 'one step' further towards  my cherished life long trip to Norway.