Monthly Archives: July 2014

What I Learned From This Sojourn: Paris Layover Edition

1. When I was 20 years old, I climbed the 422 steps to the bell tower of the Notre Dame and was drafted by our eccentric elderly guide to “ring”the biggest bell. He had me stand under the massive dome, placed the clapper in my hand, and guided me in gently rubbing it along the […]

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Tales of Beheaded Bishops and Despondent Divas in Montmartre

Montmartre is probably best known for its magnificent Sacre Coeur Basilica, and for good reason. It’s gorgeous inside and out, and it affords pilgrims worldwide an absolutely breathtaking view of the city. What I found out today, though is that Montmartrois (residents of Montmartre) really can’t stand the place. Long story, but suffice it to […]

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Bonjour, Paris!

After the exhilarating intensity of India, Paris welcomed us for our four-day layover with serenity and seventy-degree weather. Everything was easy, from the overnight nine-hour plane ride, to the train from Charles de Gaulle, to the faithful Hotel St. Andre-des-Arts, to which I’ve returned after a 26 year absence. Of course, with the building having […]

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What I Learned from this Sojourn: A Relatively Random Top 10 List

1. I write my observations humbly, knowing that I’ve only seen a tiny portion of this huge subcontinent and its myriad cultures and traditions. 2. Eating vegetarian while in India is great idea, and not difficult to do. 3. When in doubt, choose to pack the Imodium. 4. Arranged marriages are no longer uniformly de […]

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Oasis in Udaipur

The view from the jharokha (window seat) in our room at Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel on Lake Picchola is indescribable, so I’ll let the picture speak for itself. Udaipur, nicknamed “The Lake City”, or “The White City”, or “The Venice of India” is all of the above. As my title suggests, it is remarkably clean […]

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Travel Advisory

As we wrap up our stay in Jodhpur, and head to Udaipur, the final leg of our journey, I think I’ve spent enough time here to reflect on some things that make traveling to and through India not for the faint of heart: 1. The heat. I know, I know. I chose to come here […]

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Jaywalking in Jaipur: Some Final Thoughts on the Pink City

1. We rode our first ( and last) elephant uphill to the maharajah’s amazing hilltop Amber Fort. The elephant was a baby, at just 26 y.o. The engineering that went into building this place 600 years ago is astounding. Let’s just say they lived VERY comfortably, using water strategically to cool the palace in the […]

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Mosques, Monkeys, and Mansions

We set off on another long (five hour) ride with Ashok from Agra to Jaipur yesterday morning, with a couple of scheduled stops: Fatehpur Sikri and The Monkey Temple just outside of Jaipur. These drives are almost indescribably surreal, and it’s hard to overstate the eye-popping sights on Indian roads. For example, we saw a […]

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Vinnie, Vidi, Vici: Agra and the Taj Mahal

Our day in Agra began with a four hour car trip through India’s spectacular traffic. Cars, buses, motorbikes, tuk-tuks, camel carts, water buffalo. You name it, it’s on the move and on the road in India. Traffic lanes appear to be optional, and the occasional cop directing traffic is like the title character in Where’s […]

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Why Delhi Isn’t Smelly and Other Interesting Stuff

Humuyan’s Tomb[/caption] After breakfast today, we set out on our day tour of Old and New Delhi.  The difference?  The former is literally the old city, while the latter is the hundred year old legacy of British Colonial India. The contrasts are stark.  Our guide today was Vivek, who was OK, but not great.  He […]

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