Sunday, August 17, 2014


Once upon a time I dreamed about seeing vastness of ocean. When visit to Mumbai fulfilled my that dream, I wanted to travel seven seas which was almost like impossible considering my educational level and not many chances of going out of my small town. And suddenly one day got chance to cross couple of ocean and I was thrilled with my life. First thought came to mind once I crossed ocean was that now I can live and die one place for rest of my life. But life never ends are ambitions of seeing new places never vanished later got chance to see Atlantic, Arabic, pacific, Indian, Gulf of Thailand,

Great Australian Bright. Now not much craze to see all  ocean since ultimately they are part of one big ocean and shore line more or less similar to what I have seen.

Whenever you go to sea shore, ocean has it's own mood. Early in the morning, start of new beginning, freshness of start. As sun rises from Peaceful amber color to busy hot yellow color of surrounding is reflected. Evening darkness engulfing everything and ocean also get into somber mood. But this happens in normal peaceful day. But when storm or rainy days arrives things changes drastically, once placid and quite sea just turns into ravaging anything in it's way. Our generation who witnessed greatest tsunami on Dec 2004, shown us how destructive natural forces can be especially witch has connection with ocean. In one clean sweep more than 2.3 laths people vanished. Once forces resided ocean was back to it's normal self. But with it's vastness and our tininess, humans has managed to conquered this vastness. If we go back few centuries crossing big oceans like Atlantic, pacific almost seams impossible target. With human trump we got dark side of humans destruction-- disturbing vital ecosystem of ocean, causing death to many sea borne creatures. This "development" of humans finally completes it's full circle when destruction causes more harm to humans. Ocean has it's own way of rectifying things, to the matter it's part of nature. It never try to preserve or destruct, it just adopt. It doesn't mind extincting million year old species.

But inside that vastness there is something serene and powerful.Ocean always feels like sage. Holding cradle of life for millions of years which later on sprung -- mammals and eventually human beings. When we discuss about short history of human being at the same time you can't deny how well it has mastered this vast oceans! In front of sea we might look tiny and dwarf but making of various boats from ancient time to submarines feet of humans is also not very small.
In fact it's sea voyage that caused major discoveries of various places and setting of humans across all far reaching places.

I had impression that ocean is always have large depth, in my imagination it was 3 km! Later on realized that it is not 3 km all over but varies greatly and from 0-10 km. It has mountain ranges/valleys similar to surface. Some places depth is so much that whole mount Everest can be submerged.

In 2011, I got chance to circle the world starting from Melbourne to Mumbai then to London, Boston, Los Angeles and back to London.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Highland -- Day trip to Inverness

Reaching to unknown and to the boundary is a such human desire. After landing to Edinburgh, first desire I had was reaching to the uppermost location of scotland. So out of 3 weeks, I had I decided at least spend one weekend to northern side of country.

I lost one week find residential place to stay, so I had to plan it for next week .

After searching various tours available decide to go by grayline  day tour. Benefit  of using grayline tour was that they have free pick up. So it was best choice to go early in the morning. In the morning, I missed my breakfast and also bus was late but I got front seat so was happy. From front seat, I got complete view of similar to driver.
He picked up another 40-50 passengers in next half an hour and we finally started our tour approximately at 9:00 AM.
Our first stop was Forth Bridge .. I mean not actual stop but just going through places.. since it was a one day trip and it was around 400 km round trip journey. So there won't be actual stop as such but mostly sight seeing from the bus. While going we can clearly see Forth Bridge. I did visit day before to see mechanical structure.

On the way we watched Stirling castle. One thing I liked about Scottland was amount of castle it has. You just go anywhere you will find castles. Even hostle I stayed have one castle in it.

On the way we saw two enormous horse heads known as Kelpies. Both horse heads are around 30 m in height.The Kelpies name reflected the mythological transforming beasts possessing the strength and endurance of 10 horses.

In same vicinity in Falkirk  there is rotating boat lift called 'Falkirk Wheel'. It is engineering marvel but I didn't get a chance to visit this place. Next time, I will try to visit this place.

On the route, we visited small town called Callander. There we had our first coffee break and also paid for our trip.

Next stop was Loch Earn. It is a freshwater loch  (lake or sea inlet ) in the central highlands of Scotland, in the districts of Perth and Kinross and Stirling. The name is thought to mean "Loch of Ireland".

Next village on this picturesque journey was Crianlarich village. Crianlarich means low pass and it was used from medieval time to connect north and west Scotland.

Next we visited place called Glen Coe. Famous for MacDonald massacre. Early in the morning of 13 February 1692, in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution and the Jacobite uprising of 1689 led by John Graham of Claverhouse, a massacre took place in Glen Coe, in the Highlands of Scotland.  Thirty-eight MacDonalds from the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by the guests who had accepted their hospitality, on the grounds that the MacDonalds had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs, William and Mary. Another forty women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned.

After passing village spean bridge and Loch lochy we reached Fort Augustus.We had 1 hour shop and I tried to reach one of mountains considering it will be worth visit rather than going on cruise. But I walked so much that I could't reach back to bus stop in time and I was the last one to reach.
After running for 1 hour, I was tired decided to just seat and watch rest of journey. Later most of the journey was on the bank of Loch Ness. It is very large and deep lake. But this lake is famous for finding of monster but it later turned out to be just toy picture.

On the way visited Urquhart Castle The castle is on the A82 road, 21 kilometres (13 mi) south-west of Inverness and 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) east of the village of Drumnadrochit.

Final stop was inverness, biggest city on north side. It is also regarded as capital of highland. Invern means mouth of river. Although it was historic city couldn't see much because of rain and heavy traffic.

Return journey was quick with one stop to Pitlochry where we had coffee. It is also famous for distillery. On the way we also saw Blair castle. It has 800 years of Scottish history.
Finally we saw Dunkeld -- small town before reaching our final stop of Edinburgh.

Forthbrige , stirling , Callander, Loch Earn ,Crianlarich, Glen coe, Fort William, Loch lochy
spean bridge, Fort Augustus , loch ness,  inverness ,  Pitlochry , Blair castle, dunkeld

Saturday, August 2, 2014


I was not sure about visiting this city considering short stay and already spending saturday to Highlands. But commonwealth game and adding one more city to view list took precedence. Also hostel where I was staying had Indian hockey team in first few days. I also interacted with them so it was logical to visit Glasgow commonwealth village.

So I took Scott train from Waverly station and reached Glasgow with in 1 hour since there were only 4 station in between. I felt glad took decision to come to Glasgow since it was not far. After getting down, I got the map of city and roam around city center, watched commonwealth game shop and 3 D logo.

With help of map walked towards river clyde and then walked bank of river towards science center. On the way watched millennium bridge, Clyde Arc. It has innovative curved design and the way that it crosses the river at an angle.

After walking for fifteen minutes reached science center and BBC scotland. Many games were played so that young student can enjoy science and show business.

 While returning took picture of beatiful Clyde Auditorium, Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre .  Although entry was restricted because of commonwealth game.After returning thought of going home because of tiredness but after entering huge departmental stores that tiredness vanished for shopping.


Someone has said, you always go to places where you dreamt about. Edinburgh is one of such a city! When I was young and used to read travel dairy of people and always wonder about greatness of people who can travel around world. I never thought I will ever travel out of my state, forget about country.

One of great writer in Marathi literature, P.L Deshpande visited this magnificent city for Edinburgh International Art Festival and he wrote his visit detail in his book Aparvai - means astounding.
I imagine the city who can host international art festival as art and literature loving. Years passed and I almost forgot about it. And one day because of work, I got chance to visit this city.
Watching city while landing itself tells story how marvelous city is! Located  southern shore of the Firth (long narrow inlet) of Forth (river). Sea near to Edinburgh is called as North Sea. It is marginal sea of Atlantic ocean.

My imagination of most literate city came true when I leant following facts about Edinburgh

In 2004 Edinburgh became first UNESCO city of Literature because of it's literature heritage. Even on of station is named based on Literature. Waverley sation is named after Sir Walter Sctt's Waverley novels.
Also there is Scott Monument to him. The tower is 200 feet 6 inches (61.11 m) high.

Natioanl Geographic recently named Edinburgh as the most literate city in the world.

This is also birth palce of imaginary characters Harry Potter. J.K Rowling wrote the earlier books of the Harry Potter series sat in a coffe shop if George IV Bridge.
Robert Louis Stevenson, most famous for his gothic tale -'The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' was born in this city. Conan Doyle used the medical training he received at the University of Edinburgh to great effect when composing stories of his famous creation- Sherloch Holmes.

Way to Arthur's Seat
There are 7 hills --  Calton Hill, Corstorphine Hill, Craiglockhart Hill, Braid Hill, Blackford Hill, Arthur's Seat
and the Castle Rock. I got chance to go on Arthur's seat and calton hill first day it self and got chance to view wonderful panoramic view of the city. It was long walk but very pleasing because of nice clean atmosphere. Arther's Seat  is large dormant volcano close to city center.

4 Universities and UoE has oldest English Literature department in the world.

 It is home to largest arts festival in the world, Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It was set up in opposition to Edinburgh International Festival. Over the years fringe f the festival has outgrown its formal rival.

Arthur's Seat

Calton Hill

After few days of work, visited Royal Mile-- which successive road in old town. On weekend visited Edinburgh castle and Camera obscura. Camera Obscura has many interesting physics related experiments related to mirror, lightning, optical illusion.

Another interesting mechanical structure in Edinburgh is Bridge--
Forth Rail Bridge is first steel structure in UK, build in 1890. It is cantilever construction and unprecedented at the time of construction.

Some great people born here. Sean Connery.
Few movies are also shot around Edinburgh
1. Ken Loach's 2012 The Angels' Share
2. Danny Boylee's Shallow Grave 1994
3. The Illusionist 2010
4. Chariots of Fire 1981

Edinburh also nicknamed Auld Reekie means Old smelly. It is because of unique yesty musk because of city's breweries. It also nicknamed as 'the Athens of the North', Edina, Dunedin.

It also famous for Hogmanay Celebration.  Hogmanay  is the Scot word for the last day of the year.