May 22, 2015

Fascination with head paintings continue...

Exploring Maastricht in one day

May 10, 2015

After almost 2 and half hour of train journey from Amsterdam Central Station, we reached Maastricht. It was a sunny day and the city looked beautiful. We had the plan for exploring Maastricht in one day completely chalked out and the gps was there for direction. No question of wastage of time in trying to figure out which way to go....  I am a firm believer of exploring a city by walking it's streets. It is then only one can soak in the essence of a new place. Giving enough time is key and nothing good can come by rushing through sites and places. 

As you can see on the clock above it was 11:15 PM when we reached Maastricht railway station  

We started walking straight towards the famous old bridge - Sint Servaasbrug, over Maas River. A video clip taken here can depict the true spirit of this place. The soothing bells from the nearby church makes it special... catch a glimpse of the below youtube video clip - 


Sint Servaasbrug - the oldest bridge in Netehrlands View from the bridge

From here we headed towards Vrijthof - which in one way is the focal point of Maastricht. This place is like the Museumplein of Amsterdam, on a smaller scale of course. The huge Sint Servaasbasiliek can be seen here standing majestically. This dates back to 1000AD. It's worth going very near and studying the architecture in detail. Just like the Rijk Museum which is the cynosure of Museumplein in Amsterdam, Sint Servaasbasiliek is the cynosure of Vrijthof.

Also adjacent to it is the tall Sint Janskerk (14th/15th Century Gothic Church). Heard a lot about this Red Color Church and it indeed looks marvelous.

We didn't waste much time and headed straight towards Fort Sint Pieter. Below this Fort are the famous Maastricht Caves. We were targetting the 2 O' Clock English Tour to the Caves that take place here - which is quite famous. 

The guide was very charming and he made this place alive with his narrative stories of past when people used to hide in these caves. With three four hand-lanterns we started walking inside the caves with soft lime-stones. In the pics below you can see the guide explaining some of the wall paintings. It's not possible to capture the mysterious dark caves in camera and one has to experience though these guided tours. 

At one point the Guide led us to a lonely walk in absolute pitch darkness... and let me admit something here - i haven't experienced such pitch darkness in my life... its a hell of an experience to walk in such dark caves - just make sure that you have your left hand touching the wall and the right on to the shoulder of the person ahead - and then you take small baby steps forward... 

At last there was light at the end of the tunnel as the guide came to our relief with his hand lantern smiling. 

Waiting for train in Amsterdam Rai Inside Train from Amsertdam Rai to Utrecht CS

We came out of the caves thrilled and bemused and after a heavy lunch here, we proceeded again towards Vrijthof. Here there was a fare going on and we thought it would be good to entertain Romir with some of the amsuments here. 

Finally we were left with the last Church to explore - Onze Lieve Vrouwebasiliek. This was really a beautiful place. One shouldn't miss the shrine to Mary Star of the sea... very pristine, pure and peaceful is this place and spending some time in silence in this place can be really a good experience. I walked around the building to enjoy the architecture and the statues...

Related Travel Blogs from my wanderings in Netherlands - 

  1. Madurodam
  2. Exploring Maastricht in one day
  3. King's day celebration in Amsterdam
  4. Beautiful city - Utrecht
  5. Snapshots from Keukenhof
  6. A stroll around Rijk Museum and unwinding at Vondelpark
  7. A visit to Anne Frank House
  8. Dam Square, Netherlands
  9. A day in Rotterdam
  10. Scheveningen Beach
  11. Zandvoort Beach
  12. Van Gogh Museum
  13. Cycling in Netherlands

Additional information - 

If you have a prepaid kpn sim, it's a good option to get a day bundle of 100mb activated for gps navigation on your smart phone:

Bingham is the best!

May 5, 2015

The world snooker championships just ended at the crucible and the 2-day-final was a treat to watch. This has been Snooker at its very best. Bingham won it in a most dramatic final that the crucible has ever witnessed . Even the Snooker pundits had no hesitation admitting this as one of the very best they had seen in a long time. The slug fest between the heavy weights went on for a long time, and it was not the case where one broke down in the midway giving way to a rout. 
During the initial frames at the start of the match, Shaun Murphy was at his silky best... and his perfect cue movements, tactical play and positioning just at the right areas were coming off flawlessly. Bingham seemed helpless as a rabbit caught in the headlights; however he showed tremendous tenacity to just hang in there. So at the end of the 1st day's play he was only lagging by one frame with half of the game yet to be played. The break after this would have given him the baldly needed rest he needed after the emotional upheaval of playing his first ever grand final at the Crucible, and also the chance to regroup his thoughts for the remaining match. 

So the next day Bingham looked relaxed, rested and comfortable. A new day, a new beginning and shrugging off the 'ifs' and 'buts' of the initial frames, he went ahead with his job with the right frame of mind. His beaming smile was reassuring and he proceeded with breathtaking shots with consistent accuracy. This third session was the turning point of the match where at one point he won 4 back to back frames. There was no looking back after that - and Shaun Murphy was playing catching game from this time on wards.

It all went to a nail biting finish as the pendulum swung one side to the other and the audience held it's nerves at the edge of seat. At one point the scores were 15 - 15. The 31st Frame overshot the one hour mark... and the frame following that continued for 40 minutes or so...

Finally one player had to lose. And sadly, it was Murphy... It was an emphatic victory for Bingham, very rightly deserved!

Bingham stood out, in his ability to maintain composure in the ugliest pressurized situations. He maintained that innocent smile across his face every now and then and that sometimes can send a chilling message in the psyche of the opponent. Bingham's composure was also evident in the way he didn't rush through his shots. His shots came after careful observation and analysis each time. His body language radiated personal belief, confidence and supreme control over the whole situation.

It took him twenty long years to win the World Championships. Sometimes Success takes a bit longer - but one just should never stop believing in attaining the ultimate glory. As one keeps working hard and keeps aiming at the goal consistently and tirelessly, he is bound to reach the finishing line. Bingham just proved that!

Related blogs: 

When the greats have their backs to the wall, what do they do?

Tricky defensive shots from Selby help clinch is first ever World Snooker Title

King's Day Celebration in Amsterdam

April 27, 2015

King's Day is celebrated with a lot of fervor and enthusiasm in Netherlands. In order to enjoy this event people from all over the country makes a beeline to Amsterdam. The roads, canals and alleys remain packed with people dancing to the tunes of music blaring all around. It is a time to celebrate... to let go of all thoughts, worries, loss, gain and get submerged in the spirit of the occasion. As Amsterdam remains immersed in non-stop celebration - the normal commute remains impacted in some of the important points like central station. You can't rely on buses this day and it's a safe bet to avail metro or trains. Extra precaution needs to be taken while travelling with child as the buses (in lesser crowded routes) remain over crowded as well.

All buses towards Amsterdam remain completely filled and getting an opportunity to board is also remote. We reached the bus stop in Uithoorn at around 12 pm but all the buses were packed and so we had to go to wait quite long...

This is also the time when many people sell old and antique household items. They can be seen on pathways, footpaths and many other places in large numbers.  

Leaving you with some of the pics and video that we shot while exploring Asmterdam on foot- from Museumplein, via Vondel Park to Dam Square...


Related Posts - 

Snapshots from Keukenhof
A stroll around Rijk Museum and unwinding at Vondelpark
A visit to Anne Frank House
Dam Square, Netherlands
A day in Rotterdam
Scheveningen Beach
Zandvoort Beach
Beautiful city - Utrecht

One day in Utrecht

April 19, 2015

We started around 11 AM from home...

Took metro from Poortwachter to Amsterdam Station Rai - and from there headed toward Utrecht Central Station. From Utrecht CS to Janskerkhof is a 6 minute-bus-journey. One can find plenty of yellow buses just below the exit point of Utrecth CS. It took us almost 1 and a half hour to complete the whole journey, i.e from Uithoorn to Utrecht.

Waiting for train in Amsterdam Rai Inside Train from Amsertdam Rai to Utrecht CS

Got down at Janskerkhof bus stop. Lovely sunny day meant good bright pictures in store... The city has a buzz that can't be ignored. The Amsterdam hype doesn't make this place much talked about among tourist... however a visit here will reveal the uniqueness and beautiful medieval architecture and lovely scenic set-up. 

 The ageless Domtoren stands upright and tall...

The ageless tall dom tower

You can see beautiful narrow canals interspersing this vibrant place with cafe and bars all around. The boat ride is a nice way to explore Utrecht and indeed look very romantic and inviting.

Adjacent buildings near Domtoren... Here there are many eating joints, pubs and bars... we found an Indian Restaurant - Taj Mahal Lounge in one of the pathways here and after a heavy meal strolled along the canals around the tall tower. 

Pandhof van de Dom - Fifteenth Century Church and courtyard. After a long time of walking and exploring we came here to sit and get absorbed in the unlimited experience this space has witnessed over the years... people have come and disappeared but the walls and stones have remained intact...

Related Blog - 

Exploring Maastricht in one day
King's day celebration in Amsterdam
Exploring Maastricht in one day
Snapshots from Keukenhof
A stroll around Rijk Museum and unwinding at Vondelpark
A visit to Anne Frank House
Dam Square, Netherlands
A day in Rotterdam
Scheveningen Beach
Zandvoort Beach

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