Sunday, October 07, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
So finally after years of visiting Prien I finally made it to the two islands across the Chiemsee from Prien – peculiarly named the “Herren Insel” (Men’s island) and the “Frauen Insel” (Women’s island). Actually the Frauen Insel was the hideout of the nuns who inhabited the Benedictine convent whereas the Herren Insel is known for its monastery founded in 782 by the Duke of Bavaria. Going around the Frauen Insel we bumped into a group of little old nuns clad in black habits who happily pointed in our direction and stood still for us to take photos. Angela and I figured that they’re probably trotted out every now and then for people to photograph though by far the biggest attraction on the island are the beer bars and cafes, many of which have a brilliant lake view. We had lunch at one of them. I've got to the stage when I feel constrained to order "senior citizen portions" (they call them "senioren portionen) which to me seem just about as much as I can handle. But at least I can still handle the beer.
Small church on the island
One of the numerous restaurants on the island
Friday, March 02, 2012
-->Sabine turns up in Mumbai about a year after she was actually meant to. The workshop we had organized for her last year went for a six, as all those who had registered for it, will know. The night she's supposed to fly out from Thailand, I’m giving last minute instructions to our driver who is supposed to meet her at the airport when the phone rings. It’s the lady with the golden voice, calling from Bangkok airport. She sounds devastated.
“They wont let me fly,” she says. “I didn’t realize I needed a visa for India!” All our attempts to somehow smuggle her in, flop. The sad truth is, for now she’ll have to forego her visit. Makes you think how lucky bugs, viruses and amoeba are, in comparison with human beings and other larger species, that they can travel free to any country in the world, without a visa!
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
An unexpected beginning and an equally startling end marked our recent three week trip to Turkey and Europe. The training group had been preparing for this adventure for at least a year and a half, if not more, so although our departure was scheduled at the unearthly hour of 5 am, sleep was the last thing on our minds. Half past one at night. (Or you could say early in the morning). George and I await the driver Murugan who is supposed to help us get the luggage downstairs and reach us to the airport. Not only does he not appear at the appointed hour but several phone calls only confirm that his mobile phone has been switched off and that he is most unlikely to make an appearance in the next few minutes. We’re already marginally delayed, so George and I call for a cab and dash off. It’s only a couple of days later that we discover the reason for Murugan’s absence. The Enfant Terrible who has been working for us for a bit over a year, and seems like a somewhat older Indianised version of Denis the Menace, had apparently decided to take a sleeping tablet to help him relax a bit. Good thing he didn’t answer the phone, George said when we got the news in Cappadocia. What would have happened, if he had turned up and fallen asleep at the wheel!
Luckily the rest of the journey, in spite of some hiccups at Istanbul airport on account of a few people in our group having decided to get their visas on arrival, unfolded quite smoothly. The eight hour wait at the airport to catch our flight to Nevesehir in Cappadocia, was less harrowing than I expected though by the end of the day I have to confess I was half dead and felt that way most of the next day as well.
Waiting at Istanbul airport
But the magnificent scenery which greeted us on the bus ride from the airport kind of made up for everything and when we landed at our hotel and found ourselves surrounded by our Turkish friends, ready to show us up to our rooms, it felt like a real home coming.
Dilek, Uma, Ayse, Selva at the barbecue on our last evening at Cappadocia
The meals were splendid and I always looked forward to the breakfasts – hot coffee which Ayse or one of the others would bring up for me, shortly before a tray arrived filled with freshly baked bread, different kinds of cheeses, olives, wedges of tomato and cucumber, and an occasional slice of sausage or piece of omelet. It was so hard to stop eating, and the result is several extra kilos which have made my tummy their home which I am now trying hard to send back where they came from.
The bus journey through Cappadocia was spectacular – the weird natural rock formations in the shape of cones and ridges had all of us gaping most of the time.
The "camel" of Cappadocia
A ten hour bus ride from Nevsehir brought us to Izmir which was our next halt, and where about seven of us crashed Indian style at Aysegul’s two bedroom apartment. The day after we arrived we looked through the colourful market at Izmir, stopped at a roadside eatery for plates heaped with the most mouth watering kababs, shopped around, stopped once again, this time for coffee and ended the evening at a café on the seaside boulevard, where we relaxed with glasses of Raki, a bagful of mussels which Ful had bought at the market which was now passed around, along with an apple flavoured hookah.
Coffee stop with Aysegul, Venky, Sudha
Our last riotous evening in Turkey was spent at an outdoor restaurant which our Turkish friends had especially chosen for us, with Turkish folk music and dancing. Once the evening got underway nobody wanted to leave and maybe we would have stayed there till morning had it not been for the flight we had to catch to Zurich early the next day.
Farewell Izmir and Turkey
Switzerland was more peaceful and meditative in comparison, providing us with enough opportunity to truly chill, surrounded by green fields, gently mooing cows and the tinkle of cow bells. The workshop which we attended is something we wont forget in a hurry, once again serving to bond us with the Swiss and German people who attended it.
Chandran receives his certificate
Last afternoon in Solothurn
Three weeks later we found ourselves on our way back, tired, happy, full of memories but looking forward to the noise and filth of home. At Istanbul airport where we once again had to wait a few hours we lounged around an internet café, assuming that in a few hours time we would be able to crawl into bed and catch up on some sleep.
The THUD with which the Turkish airlines plane landed took us by surprise. Even when I heard it I presumed we had just landed a bit badly though realizing that the plane had come to a complete stop instead of taxiing forward to the gate, made me wonder. It was only three quarters of an hour later that we were officially told that we had made an emergency landing, that the plane had buried a part of itself in a patch of mud on the runway and that we would have to leave the aircraft from the exit at the back via a chute. And no bags allowed please, the airhostess waggled her finger at us.
So saying goodbye to all my precious belongings including an Ipod, an Ipad, my camera (a temporary goodbye as it luckily turned out) I got ready to whoosh down the chute and was mighty relieved at the end of it, to find myself in the arms of a burly, comforting member of the airport staff who saved me from sliding down into a puddle of wet mud and helped me into the bus waiting for us nearby.
Four hours later we were home surrounded by exclamations of relief. It had been fun. A fitting end to our trip, it seemed to me in retrospect.
For more photos: Facebook Pics
Sunday, July 17, 2011
In Bombay (or should I say in India) gray skies have a different connotation than in Europe. Just as the sun in London, or in Frankfurt or Paris makes your heart sing after a spell of wet and cloudy weather, in Bombay gray skies in the wake of the sweltering heat bring a huge sense of relief. The whole of the last week it's been raining, hopefully the lakes are filling up (and not only our potholed roads) and we wont find ourselves in the agonising throes of a waterless existence, as the newspapers had been predicting just a couple of weeks back.
Rupert and Brigitte came and went, and the Bodywork workshop we had planned for months also went by in a flash. S was in great spirits throughout and on the last day had the entire group giggling hysterically for no particular reason other than the sound of her maniacal giggle and laughter. I told her maybe it was her mission in life to start a laughter club in Bombay.
Following the workshop, Sid, S, Jyotsna and I landed up in Xanadu where we caught up with various friends. Ravi P from Vizag joined us too and together we visited the 7 acres of land which we've jointly bought between us, in order to put up a centre for workshops and which will serve as a retreat.
Luckily it didn't pour during our stay at our retreat in A.P. It rained or rather drizzled just enough to cool down the place and we were able to go out quite a bit. Got quite a lot of work done, regarding what has now come to be known as the "Neu Anfang" project (in German this means New Beginning).
And one of the highlights was the fact that it was S's first plane ride. She was bursting with excitement throughout and has now concluded that she will travel with me only if I take her by plane.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Last Sunday we concluded our three year training course with a week long stint in Deolali. The atmosphere though festive was unavoidably tinged with sadness at the thought of three years of togetherness seasoned with occasional bouts of verbal sparring, pretty much the way a bunch of older querulous siblings is prone to do, three intense years of learning from and with each other, slowly drew to an end.
The first couple of days of Deepak's culinary efforts (the young cook who had been hired this time round) left us a bit depressed at the thought of having to battle our way for seven days, through food drowned in masala, chilli and oily gravy. Until we could no longer stomach his fare, and protested by more or less by going on a hunger strike. Sudha then diplomatically got him to cook with less oil and spices, though the very thought made him cringe. However the delighted look on our faces and extravagant compliments he received, at what he labelled "tasteless food" seemed to compensate for this sacrilege.
Maruti, our Man Friday in charge of the guest house, was his usual warm, calm, helpful self, perpetually bustling around getting things done and tending to our needs.
Evenings we would pile into the two cars we'd brought along and drive up to Temple Hill where we spent a pleasant hour gazing at the hills and the sky before returning for dinner.
Now we're all back home, hopefully geared to transform the world.
Free up blocked avenues, clear the route for self expression and generally help each other to enjoy life