Well, 2013 for me was completely a travel year, seeing new places, meeting new people and some wonderful memories.
I lived the luxury of Nice and Monaco, the place is lavishness personified, as an automotive consultant I have always been fascinated by cars and Monaco displayed more mean machines than what I had seen at the Geneva motor show J.
On my way from Nice to Monaco
Fun facts of Monaco/Monte Carlo:
- It’s the second smallest country, known for Monaco grand prix and the flamboyant Monte-Carlo casino complex.
- Known as Europe’s tax haven, each and every individual citizens of Monaco enjoys a tax-free lifestyle since the 1870s. For decades, Monaco lived off solely on its casinos.
- You may take the train, your helicopter or your yacht (if you have one) if you want to go to Monaco but please, no private jets (if you have one as well.) There are no airports in Monaco.
- The total population is just 32,000 out of which only 6000 have a Monaco passport, rest migrants.
- The elegant façade and panache interiors of the Monte-Carlo Casino had been a filming location of three James Bond Films namely “Casino Royal”, GoldenEye, and Never Say Never Again.” I wouldn’t be surprised if one day they choose to shoot a new James Bond film at Monte-Carlo Casino. It’s just that classy!
Fun facts of Venice/Venecia:
Venice captured the impression of a magical floating city by setting wood pilings on the 118 submerged islands in the Northern end of the Adriatic Sea. 400 foot bridges and 170 boat canals connect the city to make it easily accessible to the local populace.
- It was truly a maze where I got lost a few times and walked through the narrow alleys and foot bridges was a good walk through the day!
- Go to Venice and no Gondola ride, you haven’t seen anything then. It was a wonderful experience where I got to know only 3 to 4 Gondolier licenses are issued annually. To qualify, applicants must be able to finish an extensive training after passing a rigorous exam. There are only 400 licensed Gondolas operating in Venice today. I had just seen the movie the tourist and got me to such a déjà vu feeling. In fact Stromae, the pop singer too created music on a Gondola on a valentine’s day.
- Venice has a cursed palace known as the most eerie place. The series of unexplainable deaths which seem to affect all of its owners first started way back when the structure was built in 1847.
expression and walking dead) being handcuffed and taken away. Out of curiosity I asked the receptionist to which she promptly mentioned, “that’s a routine!” “Routine?” I looked at her puzzled. “Yes mam, he is stoned after getting high on drugs and turned the tap on the entire night and turning the entire room into a swimming pool. We do nothing in such cases and just call the police. They take him.” I had no reaction but still asked, “And? Now what?” She cooly explained, “Nothing, they take him and once he is sane, they leave him, he will sleep in the lock up now.”
Now some interesting things about Amsterdam
- There are 700,000 people and a million bikes…wonder who rides them!
- Amsterdam May Soon Disappear L. The majority of Amsterdam is below sea level. At its lowest point, it is 6.7 metres below sea level. If climate change causes even a small increase in global sea levels, Amsterdam may go the way of Atlantis.
- 86 percent of Amsterdam residents are polyglots (people who speak more than two languages), speaking English, Dutch and third language fluency. That made my life way easier.
- On average, an Amsterdam resident consumes a minimum of 140 litres of coffee per year or about 3.2 cups of coffee per day, making them the second largest coffee consumers in the world.
- The average height for a Dutch male is 184 cm, and the average height for a Dutch female is 170 cms.
- Now this is interesting, Amstie has more canals than Venice. Often called the “Venice of the North,” Amsterdam boasts over 165 canals that compose a comprehensive network throughout the entire city.
- I also saw the Gay pride parade 2013 – a fun event of music and colourful costumes, spreading a message of equity and a right of being oneself.
- Drugs are freely available in Amsterdam. The Dutch allows buying and selling of 5 grams of soft drugs to each person in over 300 of their coffee shops. I tried it two nights and had a trip will not forget for life!
- Prostitution is legal here. You can visit the red light district to see women in their skimpy clothes. And trust me, they look super. Get back guys and don’t ideas!
bonfire in the middle of the Lavo surrounded by logs of wood with reindeer skin placed over them for warmth. We sat on it, enjoying the flames that provided comfort. Trine got us dark coffee and homemade cake and I relished it a lot. We had a few rounds of viewing the lights followed by coffee before we returned.
We stood there waiting for the whales to appear. After more than a couple of hours in the ocean, the guy perched on top of the ship shouted, “I see them, 3’oclock.” All 20 heads turn right and yes, we see a black body far getting into water. The ship moves closer and we see two more. Magnanimous beings, following each other in a perfect rhythm in the water, I zoom in my camera to get a view, beauty at its best! We see more and more of them, feasting on other fish, their fins splashing water and pumping water up to 3 feet in the air. It was a trip worth it. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.Discover.” – Mark Twain.