Sunday, 16 August 2015

Post Cards From Blankenberge Belgium

A few weeks back, I got the opportunity to visit Blankenberge. Blankenberge is a coastal city in Belgium, located off The North Sea.

It takes just about an hour and 20 minutes to travel to Blankenberge from the capital Brussels on the inter city train. The weekend tickets are priced economically at 16 EUR for a return trip.

Blankenberge is the last stop on this route and just about everyone who got down from the train was headed towards a single destination :- The Beach of Blankenberge.

A small walk from the railway station, and we were at the beach.

A few days back before the visit to Blankenberge, I had read about The Low Countries. Belgium and The Netherlands majorly constitute The Low Countries, since most of the land is at sea level or below the sea level.

Have a look at the below image, courtesy Google Street View (A foolish me didn't click the image even though I was here).

Just beyond the steps is the beach of Blankenberge, making you realize that you are actually below sea level.

Blankenberge Belgium - Below Sea Level

Just after you climb the steps, you see a sea of people, all soaking in the sun in the vast expanse of the beach. Right in front of you is The North Sea.

Blankenberge - The Vast North Sea
The beach is wide and long. Even with a high tide, you do have lots of place to setup a base and enjoy the sun and the water.

A few ships were sailing in high mast.

Blankenberge North Sea

Across the far side of the beach was the pier of Blankenberge.

Pier van Blankenberge Belgium
While the tide was high, the life guards on the beach were asking the surfers and people to stay away from one particular area of the beach. As the sea moved in and low tide set in, I understood the reasons for their warnings of caution.

Blankenberge Road Into The North Sea
The steps above extended into the sea. I still wonder how deep they go into the sea.

The vast sky created many natural wonders. I managed to spot a dinosaur in making.

Dinosaur in the Sky

The beach was full of sea gulls. I managed to catch one of them in full flight.

Blankenberge Sea Gulls in Flight

As the sun made its way down into the sea, the shadows on the beach created an impressive view.

Blankenberge - Life in Shadows
It would also be worthwhile to share a few words of the strings of buildings on the beach side. They are lined across the entire beach and each of them is 20 stories tall.

They would offer a panoramic view of The North Sea. The people staying in those apartments would have witnessed high storms and calm seas. And of course, a million dreams about the life beyond the sea.

The water was a bit cold, give the windy conditions. However, the beach offers a joyous weekend for the travelers.

A tall Church too overlooks the city.

Blankenberge - Church
In all, the beach town of Blankenberge offers travelers of spending a sunny afternoon on the coast of The North Sea. Do not miss it if you are in Belgium in the summer.

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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Karlie Kloss And Coding

Super model Karlie Kloss might appeal to you as an eye candy. You would be surprised to know, she has a head over her shoulders. And a very bright one.

In a recent interview, she shared her surprising hobby - Coding.

'It’s always fascinated me, but it’s not a subject I was taught in school,' she spoke vividly about her passion for programming. 'So last year, I decided to take a coding crash course and I ended up LOVING it.' 

The super model encourages other women and girls to take up coding. She has donated a cool $20,000 to New York's Flatiron School for a scholarship to encourage women to code. The model took the course last year and wants other women to follow in her footsteps. 

She added, 'There’s a big misconception that coding is strictly mathematical; it’s actually incredibly creative. Code runs everything around us, and young women are so important to defining the future.' 

Now isn't that a bright idea !

It's the first time I have heard a super model talk about love for programming. Keep it up Karlie !!

Karlie Kloss - She Loves Coding 
P.S. What Pig Snout was for Gryffindor Tower , Karlie Kloss is for me !!

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Monday, 27 July 2015

A Year

A year to dream,
And fulfill them all.

A year to win,
Everything big and small.

A year of peace,
Happiness and calm.

A year of blessings,
And happy evenings.

A year of love,
Flights of a dove.

All this and more,
Everything else you adore.

By God's divine grace,
You are an ace.

This year, next year,
And many many years.

Pause and Think,
Think and Win.

Make this year, a souvenir,
A treasure precious and premier.

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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Postcards from Dinant Belgium

Dinant, a beautiful small city, in the south of Belgium is a visitor's delight. I had the privilege of visiting this historical city a week ago, located just 16 kilometers from the Belgian border with France, in the province of Namur.

It takes just 90 minutes to travel from the capital Brussels to Dinant. A BE (Belgium) Excursion package of 35 EUR is a good deal to visit the city. It includes to and fro travel on the inter city train, plus a visit to three interesting places in the city.

Immediately after reaching Dinant, you get to see The Collegiate Church of Our Lady. Located across the river Meuse, it has witnessed World War II.

The Collegiate Church of Our Lady

As you cross the river, you see colorful saxophones, in the backdrop of the citadel.

I did not know their significance until after I reached home and read about them on Wikipedia. Dinant was the home of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone.

Dinant - Home of Adolphe Sax

The art in the Church is brilliant.

The Collegiate Church of Our Lady Art
Just a few steps away from the Church is the Citadel of Dinant. It played an important role in the World War II. This is the first part of the travel package. 

A rope way takes you up the fortress. A mini museum in itself, it walks you through the battles witnessed by the citadel decades ago with some videos and notes. The citadel offers a beautiful view of the landscape around Dinant.

Dinant Church - View from Citadel
Dinant Landscape 
Dinant Skyline
Dinant City - From The Sky

After the soaring heights of the citadel, the next stop is the The Caves of Han. Known as the Grotte la Merveilleuse, they offer you a glimpse of history. 

Dinant - The Caves of Han
Stalactites and Stalagmites, created by The Almighty painstakingly over a million years are on display. A guided tour is included in the package, and the guide makes it a point to explain the finer details of the cave.

The below is a picture of stalagmite in making, courtesy water drops from the roof, while other neighboring stalagmites have turned dry. This is history in making.

Dinant Caves - History in Progress

Last, but not the least, is a cruise on the river Meuse. This too is included in the package. The cruise takes you across the river, towards the edges of the city and through the center. The cruise is an hour long, and offers the travelers a beautiful view of the city.

Dinant Meuse River 
Meuse River Dinant Belgium
A Room With A View - Dinant

You can also go kayaking in Dinant. This is a good option for adventure seeking tourists.

A fortress, a mountains, a river, an underground cave - all of this within a radius of 2-3 kilometers  makes Dinant an interesting place. Dinant is a city worth visiting if you are in Belgium.

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Sunday, 19 July 2015

Visit Bruge Belgium

By God's grace, I had an opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Bruge (also known as Brugge) in Belgium.

The city is located in the north west of Belgium, just off the coast of North Sea. It takes an hour to travel from the capital Brussels to Brugge on the Inter City Train. Weekend tickets are priced at an economical 15 EUR for a return ticket.

Bruge itself is a small city, easy to explore on foot. The cobbled narrow streets are a delight for wanderlust travelers.

A boat ride through the canals gives you a view of some of the quirky places in the city. Priced at 8 EUR, this trip is worth the money. The skipper is often witty and makes it a point to explain the details of the city during the 30 minutes trip. 

Bruge Canals
Relaxing by the Bruge Canals
The Belfry of Bruge or the Belfort, offers a bird's eye view of the city. The belfry allows 70 people to explore it at a time, making the waiting time to get inside a bit longer. The steps to climb the Belfry are extremely narrow, around 336 in total.

Bruge Belfry
However, the view from the top is breath taking. This is at 220 feet.

Bruge Square
And finally at 366, you get a fabulous view of the skyline of Bruge, a superb view of Church of Our Lady, and the Bruge Square down below.

Bruge Skyline 
Bruge Skyline - Church of Our Lady
Bruge Square 
London is just 230 Kilometers away.

All in all, people would love the city of Bruge , making it a place beyond belief.

Bruge - A Place Beyond Belief

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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

An Array Of Emotions

A life on the job is never so easy.

Especially when you are passionate about what you do. Many a times, emotions get the better of you.

This happened to Novak Djokovic a day ago, when he played his 4th round match at Wimbledon 2015. The top seed was under tremendous pressure to win, and he did win in style.

Not without a few raw emotions on display from him and a ball girl.

This was Frustration.

This extended to Anger. This is the moment before Despair.

This was followed by a moment of calm Sadness and Disappointment.

And a moment of Shame.

This is Guilt, pure Guilt.

The ball girl did a terrific job facing the world number 1.

This was her moment of Relief.

Followed by a moment of quiet Pride, and Satisfaction for a job well done.

P.S. Yours Truly has been in the shoes of both Djokovic and the ball girl. Believe me, it's not easy being in either shoes. 

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Idyllic Life

Need I say more.

Idyllic Dorset
Idyllic Dorset

P.S. This picture inspires wishes and dreams.

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