Daily Archives: 25.02.2014

Varied and Vibrant: Vancouver, Canada



Varied and Vibrant: Vancouver, Canada

City of Vancouver in Canada from the perspective of tourism is extremely varied. The city has different set of sites to different kinds of travelers. For those looking to explore the cultural heritage of this city and elsewhere, there are museums and theaters galore. The numerous bridges in Vancouver are popular tourist attractions as they are all architectural achievements. The Capilano Suspension Bridge for instance is a Vancouver landmark. Various parks, beaches, mountains, and the rain-forests provide with places that have stunning natural beauty. Vancouver then has a synchronization of history, of culture and nature in the various tourist attractions that the city has to offer.

Theaters and Museums

Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Famous theaters in Vancouver include the Vogue Theater and the Queen Elizabeth Theater. Places like Museum of Anthropology, Beaty Biodiversity Museum, and Museum of Vancouver are several museums that are worth visiting. Vancouver Aquarium is also famous, as it contains around 70,000 aquatic species from all sorts of topography. For art lovers and those who appreciate modern art, there is the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Vancouver Art Gallery

 

For truly interested visitors it is an amazing place, and an entire day can be devoted to see the paintings on display. Satellite Visitor Center within the gallery is useful source in terms of information etc. The museum boasts of an impressive collection of contemporary art, both national and international.

Bridges

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Pattulle, Port Mann, Lions Gate, Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge are some of the remarkable bridges around the city. Built in 1899, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the most famous tourist spots in Vancouver. The 137 m long bridge sways some 70 m above the Capilano River. Walking over the bridge is an adventure in itself. In addition to this are also the Capilano Suspension Park, and also Treetops Adventure and the Cliffwalk. The Park has a collection of totem poles, and it is heeded as the largest private collection worldwide. Many events like Canyon Lights, Raptors Ridge etc are organized on a seasonal basis in the park. From a cultural and ecological point of view too, this park is a valued destination. The entertainers in the park are costumed in those dating back to the time of the bridge’s inception. Similarly many guided nature tours are available.

Cliffwalk

In the Cliffwalk, a series of slender bridges form a maze of sorts and follow the Capilano River. These bridges and stairs provide a passage into and a chance to explore the neighboring sections of the rain-forests. Treetops Adventure also consist of suspension bridges, total of seven in number, they are some 100 feet high and joined to the older and sturdier trees. It also gives a chance to explore the rain-forests at a close range. Walking on these bridges surrounded by the spectacular scenery is memorable in itself.

Parks

Bridge, Stanley Park

Vancouver is an architecturally advanced city, with modern bridges and concrete structures everywhere. But that does not imply that the city has no green cover. Many parks within the city’s hustle and bustle provide a peaceful haven. Lynn Canyon Park, Hastings Park, Queen Elizabeth Park are some of the major parks in the city of Vancouver. Stanley Park is one of the most famous parks as well as tourist attraction. Horse-Drawn Tours are organized in the Stanley Park and is very famous among outsiders as well as local visitors.

Horse Drawn Tours

This one hour guided tour on carriages designed in the old styles gives one the sense of stepping back in time a bit. Dr Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden is another popular site. Its importance is due to the fact that outside of China, this is said to be the first bona fide Chinese Garden built anywhere in the world. The lawns here are exceptionally well maintained. The peace within the walls of the garden, the harmonious coming together of different elements, the architectural specimens, rocks and fountains all create a beautiful aura.

Chinese Garden

Beaches and Island

Jericho and Kitsilano are two of the most prominent and beautiful beaches. Kitsilano beach is more popularly called the Kits Beach. Besides the usual beach activities of sunbathing and swimming, you can also indulge in playing beach side volleyball or tennis. Various adventure water sports are also organized here; these beaches are particularly suitable for windsurfing and skim boarding. The seawall near Kits Beach is another scenic tourist destination. Running parallel to city’s waterfront, this charming pathway provides spectacular views of the city of Vancouver.

Granville Bridge

Granville Island is another unique tourist attraction. A visit to this island provides one with a sense of visiting a carnival or a town straight out of the old times. The Public Market on the island is a treat for all food lovers. From fresh ingredients to Italian, Greek and Japanese delicacies all are available within the narrow alleys of this island.

Market, Granville Island

Street music is another feature that adds a different dimension to Granville. The island also hosts the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. Besides this many other festivals are organized here, and the place during the festive seasons is a visual delight. The island also houses many artisans, making the shops here very colorful and distinctive. Granville Island is an extremely photogenic island which has something to offer to visitors of all ages.

Mountains

Grouse Mountain Skyride

The Most famous mountain, which also is popular among tourists, is the Grouse Mountain. The Grouse Mountain Skyride is very famous owing to the fact that it is the largest aerial tram system within North America. The ride takes you to an elevation of 3700 feet, and the views of the surrounding picturesque landscape and of the bustling city in the distance are truly spectacular. There is a Wildlife Refuge atop Mount Grouse.  A large wind turbine, called the Eye of the Wind, provides one with a chance to get atop a twenty storey high tower. The entire city of Vancouver, the mountain range at a distance, and the sea all are visible from this incredible height. The views from here are absolutely amazing and breathtaking.

Skiing, Vancouver

In winters many sports activities are made available here, these include skiing, ice skating, snowboarding among others. There are also panoramic hiking trails like the Grouse Grind, and the trekking trail around Blue Grouse Lake. The surrounding natural beauty makes this a must visit place in Vancouver.

View from Grouse Mountain

City of Vancouver has a lively and vibrant commingling of nature and culture. The various tourist attractions here display abundantly a city that is truly alive and animated.

To Live On Sea – Superstar Virgo



To Live On Sea – Superstar Virgo

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Vacations…the thought calls for a relaxed week or two of entertainment, serenity, luxury or even adventure, with our most near and dear ones. The juggle is forever between road trips, a trip abroad or a quiet experience out in the sea. Well, if you consider the option of a cruise liner, set out for the alternative of the sea. Put simply, feel the experience of living on the warm waters of the sea on board the Superstar Virgo.

As far as the history of the luxury liner goes, Superstar Virgo is one of the Leo class cruise ship, belonging to the Star Cruises. It was built in 1999 by the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Like few other cruise ships of Star Cruises such as the Superstar Leo, Superstar Virgo was built with the objective of particularly building it for the Asian segment of the cruise world. The cruise liner was drifted out of the dry dock on 23 December 1998. The service of the Superstar Virgo began from Singapore on the 10th of October 1999. In 2004, Superstar Virgo became the only megaship and the only purpose built ship, in the fleet of Star Cruises, when Superstar Leo was transferred to the fleet of Star Cruises’ subsidiary, Norwegian Cruise Line.

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There are a whole lot of decks and the most amazing facilities aboard the cruise liner, Virgo.
Deck 4 has the Medical Centre.
Deck 5 has outside and inside cabins
Deck 6 has the main dining room, Chinese restaurant (The Pavilion room), and outside and inside cabins.
Deck 7 has casino, cafeteria, karaoke bar, reception, Chinese and Italian restaurants, showroom and the promenade deck.
Deck 8 has meeting rooms, cinema, shops, Japanese and Indian restaurants, and showroom.
Deck 9 has suites, and outside and inside cabins.
Deck 10 has the children’s center, games arcade, sun deck, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, suites, and outside and inside cabins.
Deck 12 has the observation lounge/nightclub, card room, mahjong room, library, activity center, beauty salon, saunas, gym, sundeck, swimming pool, and buffet restaurant.

 

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The cruise liner offers so much more than first class dining and entertainment. It takes one to places where the sun, sea, people and culture blend colorfully well. Every deck on the ship offers its passenger with infinite opportunities of enjoyment, activities, entertainment and unforgettable moments of happiness. Taking its passengers to most loved parts of Asia, Superstar Virgo is like a floating five star resort in itself. It has more than 25 outlets of food and beverage, entertainment and recreation which leave every passenger aboard the cruise liner, in awe of the facility. Moreover, it is the only cruise liner that has an authentic restaurant for the Indian cuisine on board.

No journey is enjoyable without delectable food. Likewise Superstar Virgo has a variety of options and cuisines for it passengers to savour. One can enjoy continental cuisine at the Bella Vista restaurant, or one can savour delicious champagne at the Belini. With the Samurai restaurant for the Japanese cuisine lovers, the Taj is available for the lovers of the scrumptious Indian cuisine. With mouth-watering food, the cruise ship also has on board entertainment for its travelers. Some of the most loved world-class performances are in store at the various entertainment outlets. It is possible to dance the night away at the celebrity disco or join in for a game of Bingo at the Galaxy of the Stars. Karaoke is available at the Out of Africa outlet. And live music, dance and cocktail are available at the Galaxy of the Stars.

For those worried about staying in shape after munching on the irresistible food at the restaurants, keeping fit can come with being fun. There is a comprehensive set of facilities that make working out a lot of fun. The Apollo Spa and Fitness centre will help relax and rejuvenate with the range of spa treatments it offers. There are the options of Amphitheatre, Universal Gymnasium, Parthenon Pool, and Star Track. Moreover, the ship management realizes that business cannot wait. If there is any emergency to attend to a business need, the cruise ship has a business centre which is equipped with state of art telecommunication systems to help stay in touch with friends and business associates.

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As far as the destinations go, the Superstar Virgo takes its passengers to lands of varied culture, traditions and lifestyles. One can enjoy the shopping at Thailand or the adventure sports at Malaysia. There is so much history to be explored. Without fail, friendly smiles of the locals will greet every passenger aboard the cruise liner. Some of the best bargains in shopping can be gotten in this part of the world. There is so much to see and so much to discover. Best yet, the local delicacies of the land will draw passengers time and again to experience the holiday again.

Enhance your vacation experience. Experience the warm waters of the Asia Pacific. Explore the land. Feel the tropical sun, local delicacies, native smiles and non-stop entertainment. For all this, simply, experience the Superstar Virgo.

 

Street Food Of India



Street Food Of India

India… a secular land of varied states, a beautiful blend of colours, race, cast and creed, a country which is famously known for the beauty of its originality, and for the beauty of it simplicity. This magnificent country, not only promises a unity of culture, with this blend, comes the varied beliefs of her people, their varied tastes and of course their varied cuisines. So, for every food lover, you are welcome to try what every state of India humbly offers, the street food of India.

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A question arises as to what is the street food of India? Well, when it comes to answering that question, it is simply impossible to pick a choice. India is a big country that is rich in all kinds of street food. Each region has its own specialties. There are street foods sold by hawkers peddling their goods on bicycles or carts. And then, there are shops on the streets which sell the most delectable local delicacies. So, wherever in the country you may be, be sure to succumb to this simple, food fashion. The rate card will definitely bring an additional smile to the customer’s face.

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Let’s start with the different regions of the country and what they have to put forward. Firstly, let’s capture the land of the Marathas, Maharashtra. There are many street offerings in the state of Maharashtra. Here are some of them. What is the Indian version for a burger?  It is the Vada pav. Vada pav originated in Mumbai. The most loved and almost a staple food for many of Maharashtra’s residents, Vada pav is a simple offering with bread and a vada of potato filling. The delicious snack is best enjoyed with spicy masala and green chutney. In Mumbai, lip-smacking Vada pavs can be found near colleges, in restaurants, and even in the stalls of the beaches. Other popular offering in Mumbai are, Pav bhaji and Missal pav. Pune’s street food culture includes, Vada pav, Sabudana vada, Pani puri, Ragda pav, Dabeli, Sev puri, and Dahi puri.

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Next is the capital of India, New Delhi. The capital has numerous varieties of street food. The food is highly influenced by its neighbors, Punjab and Haryana. Moreover, Mughlai cuisine is also a central part of the street food served in Delhi. Street foods are generally sold in streets, public areas like the market or even fairs. They are ready to eat or drink. The best food Delhi has to present is Chole Bhature. It is a popular North Indian dish. Also other mouth watering dishes like rajma chawal, and parantha are served. Dahi bhalla and Chaats are other well-liked food varieties found in Delhi. Chandni Chawk is frequently visited to get a feel of the local flavor of Delhi and its scrumptious street food. The Chaats of Delhi are so delectable that people all across the country call caterers from Delhi for the Chaat stalls at weddings and parties.

If you want to eat the food fit for the royalty, don’t forget to visit savour the street food of Rajasthan. Rajasthan, a land rich in culture, a land rich in its food, has plenty to offer to food lovers. It has all the street food from spicy and flavorsome Kachoris, Pakodas, to Dal churma and Mawa. The land of the nawabs, Lucknow, also has its favorite street food to offer, namely the Aloo tikki. Galauti kebab is another offering, a dish one of its kind, which is considered the royal cuisine of the Lucknowis.

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When visiting Kolkata, don’t forget to try the Pani puri or what the locals famously call it, Gol gappe. Another popular street variety is the egg rolls. Wrapped inside a parantha, fried egg is served with chutney and sauces. Also, how can one overlook Gujarat, and the incredible Dabelis of Ahemdabad! A spicy snack made by boiled potatoes and dabeli spice put inside a pav, it is found in almost every street and shop.

Regional Indian food

Lastly, when it comes to the south, the Akki roti of Banglore is a delicious street offering. Spicy bread made from rice flour and served with coconut chutney, it is the most savored dish of the region. Other popular dishes are Dosa and Rasam. These also quite make the tiffins of any residents of the region.

The major concern is of public health as regards to consuming street food. People form a prejudice that eating street food may cause them some health disorder. But fortunately, it is not the case any more in India. Hygiene is considered a primary control point and is maintained in majority of the street shops and stalls. There is increasing hygiene, cleanliness, and freshness maintained so as to encourage people to eat street food. Mineral water is used for Pani puris. Gloves are worn by the vendors and hawkers while servicing the customers. Therefore, enjoy the street food, but consume it at a limit.

Rich, poor, health conscious or not, just everyone in India is proud of the local street delicacy their region offers. Miss the grand hotels if you have to, but do not miss out on the simple reality of Indian food, the tasty yet affordable street option of India.

Shimla – The Queen of Hills



Shimla – The Queen of Hills

For the Britons, it was the summer capital. For Indians, Shimla is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, and one of the top hill-stations in terms of tourism. Shimla is the capital of the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, and its scenic beauty has attracted tourists for decades and will continue to do so.

Shimla at Night

Shimla is the quintessential hill-station. It is accessible, quaint, chilly, green, pretty and always throbbing with tourists, no matter what the season or the month. It doesn’t seem to have heard of the concept of off-season, because tourists throng it throughout the year! Shimla is accessible by a wide, well-paved road. It is an 8 hour drive from New Delhi and a 4-5 hours drive from Chandigarh. There are lots of hotels, restaurants and petrol-pumps along the route, and the drive itself is freshened up by the cool breeze with its fragrance of pine trees and hilly chill! Another way of reaching Shimla is by the lovely little toy-train! It starts from Kalka and takes around 5 hours to reach the little station of Shimla. It moves at a leisurely pace, chugging through more than a 100 tunnels! It is deservedly an engineering feat of its time!

Shimla has a lot to offer! Whether or not one has visited Shimla, every single person has heard of the famous Mall Road! It is the nervous system of Shimla because it is by far the most popular tourist destination the city offers, made memorable by the countless songs and movies shot there! The two recent ones include Jab We Met and 3 Idiots! Mall Road is basically a long stretch of road, lined by shops and excellent view-points to admire the nearby greenery and hills. Families, backpackers, couples on their honeymoon, weekend crowd…it is all there, everywhere! Mixing with them are the local Himachalis. They are simple, hard-working people and are noticeable with their colourful Himachali topis (or hats). Each region of Himachal has a different coloured topi. It is one of the most common cultural badge of this state.

You can buy a cup of corn or steaming hot coffee from one of the vendors and stroll hand-in-hand with your better-half! Or shriek in delight as your cold ice-cream numbs your lips! Or eat the spicy chana from the chanawallah under the tree who won’t fail to tell you he was in a scene in3 Idiots! The Trishul Bakery offers excellent chocolate pastries! The Mall hosts countless restaurants, hotels and cafes, many of them offering excellent views of the valleys around. There is a place available for every kind of budget. The Town Hall, the State Library, the famous Gaiety Theatre, post-office, municipal and fire-services offices and the Kali Bari Temple dedicated to Goddess Kali are all either on the Mall or in its vicinity.

And you can’t really be alone, you know! Because if the thousands are tourists aren’t enough sufficient company, there are monkeys and LOTS of them everywhere on the Mall. Infact, everywhere in Shimla!

The Mall Road converges with another prominent landmark called The Ridge at a place called ‘Scandal Point’! Quite a scandalous rendezvous of the roads, named so after the elopement of the Maharaja of Patiala with the daughter of the Viceroy! The Ridge is right above the Mall Road. On one end, it leads to the Lakkad Bazaar, lakkad being the term for wood. From wood being sold for construction to tiny souvenirs, the bazaar is a must-visit place for all tourists. Walk in the narrow street, and soak in the lovely aroma of fresh or polished wood, and thousands of works of craftsmen. The other side of the Ridge is infinitely more famous as it is home to the Christ Church, a beautiful old church made by the British somewhere in the 1850s. It is open to all for the Christmas Mass every year. Its prominent silhouette is visible for miles around, and it is safe to say it is the defining image of Shimla to the country and the world.

Christ Church at Night

Other places of interest in Shimla include the Jakhu Hill, which is home to a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, and has his statue which is 108 feet tall! For the pious, this temple along with the Tara Devi shrine barely 12 kilometres away would rightly constitute a scenic pilgrimage! The towns of Kufri and Chail are a short drive away. While the former is famous for its yaks and the local winter-sports center, the latter boasts of the highest cricket pitch in the world!

Shimla also leads to other areas in Himachal and beyond like Kullu, Manali, Dalhousie, Spiti and Ladakh.

The summers are pleasant in Shimla, and the winters quite biting. In the past couple of years, it has snowed every winter, much to the delight of tourists and the chagrin of the locals, as heavy snowfall brings the town to a complete standstill. But it is a magnet for tourists, and business booms! It is advisable to carry a change of clothes and shoes during winters just in case one gets caught in the snow!

Shimla is every tourist’s delight. Do visit it and lose yourself in old-world charm, with all the modern-day comforts!

 

The Ridge