Visited on:29th May 2004
Recently I visited a country called "Österreich" and went to its capital "Wein"! Actually these are the local names of "Austria" and "Vienna" respectively. We started for Vienna Friday morning from my place in Frankfurt (in Germany) in my friend's BMW and soon we were cruising at 200 kmph. (Germany is probably the only country without any speed limit).
First thing I did after reaching Vienna was to taste some delicious 'Huhnchen Schnitzel'. Then we visited the number one attraction of Vienna "Schönbrunn Palace" which was the summer residence of Austrian Monarchs. I had seen this palace on Discovery channel's Lonely Planet travel series and I never thought I would actually come here one day. The palace stuns you with its beauty. The rooms are decorated in white and gold colours with lots of mirrors and ceiling frescos. Each room is steeped in history and many of them have set the scene for historic events.. It was here that 6 year old Mozart gave his first live concert. Napoleon's 21 year old son died in the Napoleon's room here. Heads of US and USSR met here at the height of cold war. Not to mention the famous Vienna conference. Unfortunately for commoners like us photography is not allowed inside the palace.
In the evening we went to a place called "Ring Boulevard" at the heart of the city which was a ring of fortification in ancient times. It was a happening place with lots of shops and open air Restaurants where lots of people were enjoying the summer with a beer. It was too tempting for some of us so we decided to settle for in one of those open air restaurants overlooking a massive Gothic Church.
We stayed in a youth hostel for a night in Vienna. Next morning we were off to the historic 'First District' where there are lots of monuments. You can see a typical European historic statue at every street and corner. You can see palaces, churches and museums having a typical European architecture. To name few
-Two imposing adjacent twin buildings of Museum of Natural history and Kunshistoriches Museum
-Hoffburg palace and chapel
-Schmetterlinghaus (Butterfly House)
-Church of Teutonic Order
You are taken straight to the 16-17th century when you roaming around in this 1st district of Vienna. I also tried my hand at rock climbing at one square where a sports event was organised and any passer-by could participate.
We had to leave Vienna in the evening. Of course, we could not see the complete city in two days but it was a wonderful experience in Vienna. If you happen to be Europe, my suggestion is don't just go to Paris and Rome. Visit Vienna too.
Written By: Gajendra Shirsat
Visited on:9th Oct 2004
I have something to thank TCS for. TCS sponsored my visit to Amsterdam. I Went there for a training!
We started from "amacha" Frankfurt on Friday evening. We travelled by ICE train which moves at a speed of 200-300 kmph. We touched the land of the Dutch at 11.00pm.
A few things about Amsterdam. Its the capital of Netherlands (Holland) and was (still is) one of the major ports of the world. Its from here that Dutch explorers set out to sail around the world. Its based on banks of Amstel river and hence the name probably. Many of you must have got a glimpse of Amsterdam in Amitabh's movie Silsila in which a few songs were shot in the beautiful Tulip gardens here.
Practically everybody speaks English here, so a friendly country for English speaking people. We put up ourselves at a Hotel near Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. We left the hotel at around 8 pm to see the nightlife of Amsterdam. A place called Dam Square is located at 10 min walk from the Amsterdam Central Station and its the centre of activities in Amsterdam. There are lot of places of significance here like the War Memorial, The Palace of Dutch Royalty (Orange), Royal Church, Amsterdam Stock Exchange and Madame Tussuad's wax Museum (the only museum in Amsterdam u should see if you are short of time).
Next day we went for canal ride around Amsterdam. A canal cruise is definitely the most authentic way of seeing Amsterdam. Amsterdam city is famous for its canals which are omnipresent there (Some facts and figures, Amsterdam has 165 canals, 1281 bridges!). These canals were formed in 17th century. But many of them were filled in around the start of the 20th century, mainly for sanitary reasons. The remaining canals are still pretty filthy, but there's nothing like seeing Amsterdam by boat. While boating u have those typical houses leaning and looming on both sides of the canal, bridges arch over the canals, some of them opening for tall water traffic. The ride lasts for one hour and takes u around Amsterdam.
During the canal ride we noticed a few things about houses in Amsterdam. They hardly keep distance between two adjacent houses probably due to lack of space in the city and all houses are max 2-3 storeys with a hook at the top floor for lifting the furniture rather than carrying it on the top floors through stairs.
After lunch we visited Madame Tussaud's wax museum where Hollywood star Arnold welcomed us. (Well, not exactly, rather his wax statue). This was my first visit to Madame Tussaud's and it's mind blowing. They have a lot of celebrities and politician's statues. You'll find statues of Piece Brosnan, Sean Connery, Charlie Chaplin, Bush, Pope, Dalai Lama,Gandhiji,Nelson Mandela,Elvis,MJ,Nicholas Cage, Princess Diana etc etc.
We left Amsterdam on Sunday night by ICE. Don't miss Amsterdam if u r in Europe. If at all u have plans to visit, go between march and May because you can even see much talked about Tulip Gardens there.
Written By: Gajendra Shirsat