Ice Caves in Austria

Eisriesenwelt Werfen – The world’s largest ice cave.
In 1879,Anton Posselt, a natural scientist from Salzburg, pushed 200 metres into the darkness of the caves and officially “discoverd” the Eisriesenwelt. The cross inside the cave almost at the beginning is the mark he made exactly where he discovered the cave.

From 1924, for about 25 years, the only way to reach the caves was on foot. It is a steep uphill climb.Our guide, Sandra, showed us the path which people used to climb on. Thank god for the developments, i definetly wouldn’t have made it to the caves. From 1953 it was possible to drive up the Eisriesenweltstraße in a single lane.In 1955 the cable-car provided an alternative to the steepest part of the climb, reducing the time taken from one and a half hours to a matter of minutes.

From the parking area, everbody has to walk for about 20minutes to reach the cable car. After descending the cable car, another 20 minutes of walk brings you to the foot of the cave.

As soon as you step into the cave, a blast of cold air hits you. For a second i thought i would freeze right there. But its only for a second. We are handed with small lamps to light the way through the cave and while climbing the steps.
It is zero to minus one inside the cave and the warm clothes saved us from being frozen inside the cave.

The caves are formed naturally. The snow from the alps melts throuh the creeks and starts collecting inside the caves and the wind blowing shapes them. I also witnessed what i read in school – Stalactites and Stagmatites.
Walking through the caves, climbing the steps was a nerving experience.

Mother Nature is indeed spectacular. The ice caves are a must-see in everyone’s list.Walking down the caves, it was difficult to quieten the rush of excitement.
The sights, the caves and the ice are still slide showing in my mind. 🙂

Destiantion Belgium PART II

Next in line was the GRAND PLACE.
It is necessary to view the grand place at night. It is breathtaking. The four sides are so massive and towering down on you, all you do is look up in awe and admire the work of the hundreds of sculptors. It is the most beautiful medival squares of Europe.

We visited the Grand place twice. Once around the evening and once close to midnight.
You need to sit down and admire the guildhalls and drink the spectacular sight. It is truly relishing.

We had breakfast and strolled around to figure out where to buy passes for teh day’s tour. While on our way we hit the St.Michaels Cathedral. It around 300 years to bild this incredible Gothic cathedral.
We had to hit our head in our stupidity for not brining our cameras along. Never ever do that.

We further strolled along to visit the Belgium Center for Comic Strip Art. This is dedicated to Herge the creator of Tintin. You will se miniatures of tintin, tom and jerry sold as souveneirs. The museum itself is decorated very innovatively and has information about how cartoons are made from start to finish. Teh sketches, motion pictures and the script. Very interesting place to visit.

We then went Lock, stock and barrel to visit the other sights in Brussels.
Atomium is a wonder to visit.

It was built in 1958 for the International Exhibition. It is a model of nine atoms of an iron molecule magnified 160 billion times. You can climb four of these items with high speed escalators and ofcourse the stairs. The highest atom offers a panoramic view of the city.

Right next to the Atomium is the Mini-Europe.
Here all the important monuments and structures throughout the europe are scaled down and if you cant visit the entire Europe this would a quick finish. While the Eiffel Tower model is a poor representation, the Big ben is scaled down to the minute detail. Definetly worth a stroll.

There ends our trip to Belgium. It was a good time spent with Good company amidst breathtaking sights.

Destination Belgium

Last weekend i was in Belgium – land of chocolates and beers.
Belgium is situated between Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg and France.

I went directly to the capital city – Brussels – administrative capital of the EU.
Many had told us that there was nothing picturesque to visit in brussels but this trip proved them wrong.
Usually, when we go travelling we always have a list of places to visit and then the time-lines and we hop on and off the buses.
This trip was different. We dint have a plan. We knew the important places to visit but we dint know where they were located. In all, we stranded in the streets of Brussels. And to add more excitement, very few people in Belgium can talk English. Merci and Bon Jour the only french i knew wouldn’t help either.

We were five in all. Alex a chinese, who was lost in his thoughts but never failed to notice his bretheren. Sumeet the when-in-doubt-ask guy, who always loses his way, we found the secret story though. Billu the man, who needs a top view to find his way or he needs a formula to compute the distance between tha place we are and where the car was parked. Bina with volatile memory and an ever evaporating sense of direction and me – i was the one with all the information which can be credited as useless 🙂

So we set sail.

From German to Brussels, it takes approximately 4 hr and 30mintes. Traffic is relatively slower on the Belgium bahn. But its a picturesque drive, if u dont doze off. We were drinking in the country side and adoring the cars that zipped past us. With indian music in Germany we were in love with EUROPE.
(If you dont have navigation in your car, map24 would be useful)

The first of the places we saw was the BELLEVUE Museum. There is an entrace fee of about 3 euros and when we went inside, we were wondering why we ever came here. When you dont read your history books properly this museum was a wrong place to be in. I found it totally boring until i saw the old style telephone and a radiophone.
Outside the museum, one can see the entire palace of the king. I wont say anything about the flags. (see previous post). It is a nice cobblestone pathway and the palace looks huge and mammothical. Make up your mind before you step in 🙂

We decided that we wanted to see the Mannekan Pis. This is a really small statue of a boy pissing. I was shocked to see so many tourists looking at this boy. We even joked that the next time people would come around seeing a dog peeing in the lamppost. Anyways, there is some story behind it all. Apparently the belgians beleive this boy has saved their country from being plundered or ravaged by fire. Its a good luck sign to them. The road signs are really tiny and by the time we got there we all were mighty tired.

If there is one thing that leaves me on a perpetual high, its CHOCOLATES. When i saw the chocolate fountain in one of the shops in Belgium, i even forgot to close my mouth.We tasted some of their handmade chocolates and ummmm.. they were yummy. So i grabbed a few for moi.
(To be Continued…)

Belgium Vs Germany

While in Belgium do not get worried about why the German flag is flying so high.
It is easy to get confused.
While we were wandering in Brussels, we stopped at the king’s palace and were wondering why the German flag was placed there.
We stopped a lady and asked her if it was a german king. She must have thought that we had sub-zero levels of history knowledge, ‘cos she laughed and said – ‘Thats the Belgium flag’.
Whoever said, when in doubt ask 😦

Willkommen nach Deutschland

I landed in Germany amidst frenzied football crowd.
I still haven’t got sight of Ronaldinho but havent given up yet 😀

I stay in Walldorf, a quiet village so to say.
But with Worldcup in Germany, not a single place is sparred.
Yesterday at 12.00 in the night we heard a vroom of cars with flags and fans screaming. France and Korea – 1 -1.

The sun doesnt set here until past ten and its a little weird to retire for the day when its so bright outside. I hear the europeans like this. There are times in winter when the sun never comes out (like in Sweden). So they look forward to the summer. And once summer comes they rent caravans and set out for a vacation to the beaches and the like where there’s plenty of sun. How much i take the sun for granted and curse it 😀

I have also realized the Germans are pretty good at driving. On the Autobahn, you can drive the fastest in Germany. People change lanes depending on their speed and the speed of the car behind to leave way. Its amazing. Also when you cross the border to a neighbouring country you will know the difference.

Germans are also more organized and meticulous about their lifestyles. There is no commotion and everthing is almost always in order. Being in a foreign land open your eyes to a plethora of things. My first lesson here has been time is precious so dont take it for granted.