Wakey Wakey in Lake District, England, UK

Feeling great, bit cold with runny nose, sore eyes due to chilly winds and lots of nature around me.
Took me a while to get on to the top but was worth a walk all the way to the top. Looking at all the three lakes in the distance.

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Paris : An Experience – Part III

To begin with, I must say that I am really sorry that I do not want to cut this experience short due to lack of time and lack of unavailability. I know I will have my cappuccino waiting for me somewhere once I finish this Paris experience. It sure is a little bit of a work but I hope this justifies to keep you coming back. I promise to finish it quickly once I have more time to myself.

Special thanks to a special friend, for the Cappuccino and the chocolate 🙂 experience.

Continuing from where we left in our last experience of Paris – Part II

Back in Paris from one station to next – the journey is a bit of fun in Metro. Just like other cities in Europe the fastest connection between the two ends is Tube(underground) and being a non speaking french person – my ability to pronounce any of the names is just about crap. Don’t either expect it to be anything else other than crap because I cannot – just cannot say the french names correctly – blame it all on the default language (english). So from the last hop on the train I was about to do few more hops.

Concorde – Not a plane, just a destination.

This journey is a beginning to the underworld of Paris – the world which has its own pace, defined through the past years in the way it takes people from A to B and B to D or anywhere of those destinations. So my journey from Concorde has started and finished in a corner called Abbesses. Sounds like a pretty horror place. Apologies but I cant stop thinking of darkness  – as is Abyss.

Metro in Paris – Underworld

And, to notice it is not very different to any other huge technological garage – people stuck on their screens – the slaves of modern age and life. There is no doubt we the humans are slaves of technology and it is not far that we will soon be idiots without our little screens as we pledge to lose our knowledge and identity in being virtualised – may be all should be codes on the Virtual clouds, jumping from one to another program. Who knows, but I am very angry to see how our lives are shaped by technology – becoming too much finger’y all the time.

Dark Abyss in ABBESSES

Not that is all but even the walls of our modern day existence reflects the mode of our moods. All tarnished and abandoned by the masterpieces of modern day advertisements. Ah, seriously who needs billboards or posters these days – we enjoy the visual experiences. Hence, to prove it all we frame to frame them for seriously nothing in it.

Frames of modern day framing.

Not all is lost yet, the age old architecture and hundred years old staircases still survives away from the technology. At least there are few things untouched and still preserved which make you feel like – may be there is a hope that something will be left for future generations to observe.  I think I am too old in this body to complaint so much but this all that I see – I can’t stop writing about it. Some of it does seems like parody but it actually isn’t – it is my heart felt apologies to say – we will soon be lost in our existence.

Sortie

On choosing my “Sortie” / Exit – I landed to find something quite interesting. The wall art of Paris. Something I really admired to see – that someone was creative here to explicitly agree to display something very interesting and artsy.

Walls of Spiral staircases

It does take more than few seconds to really see and understand art. It may sometimes be as simple as it seems and simply meaningless – you just need to enjoy it.

Takes time to see it with an artist eye.

It does becomes interesting but you need to put more than a quick look. It has something behind it – the feel of Paris – that rush and the busy streets and the same staircase which has no place to stand or shoot once it is in full rush.

For all is not lost yet.

I noticed a lot in this last one than other two but it is indeed very creative of someone. Unaware that more than half of city dwellers never have an eye on what lies in the city just like what happens with me when I am so engrossed in my daily routine of life. I still try sometimes 😉 there are even hidden corners in my City too 🙂 that I notice now.

Montmarte

Out of this little underworld, the life outside suddenly springs to life. It seems like a little ghost town down under. Have you really noticed how quiet it is indeed – wow – quite unlike any other rush and work day. I do love this silence and quiet feeling but then it does not fits for Paris. I was bit lost for the direction of where I was headed but I know the human radar of my real navigation is quite good with directions. The sense of direction and outside crowd makes me quickly figure out my directions. I was headed to the Basilic of Sacred Heart, Paris.

Before I reach there I have a direction hunt to do. Well, it is quite interesting that life is still active – mostly tourists and mostly couples.

Windows of Paris.

I like to see these windows, which are almost outdated but still stay in use across most older cities and towns of Europe. Observing how our life has little things we don’t notice.

Lonely Heart

Someone lonely left his or her heart here for me to capture and bring it to all of you. Enjoy the night life with the colours and Purple and greens. It is all that is there to life – little things that we miss as we grow old … or older or.. simply busier.

Hangout lane

If only I had spare time but I was on a mission with a timeline before it starts raining again and gets too late that I have no train left to go back – I must hunt Basilic. Something with a very special value to christianity -the firm belief of all those who live by its authority.

Pole Hugging

Atleast there is always something interesting to see from a different perspective “Pole Hugging” for motorheads. It is a good obsession to have keen interest in motorcycles otherwise you won’t know what a “Pole Hugging” would mean. My one generally doesn’t do it because she is kept away from poles.

Stairs to Basilic

It suddenly becomes quite crazy this place is full of people and lots of them “Americans” – The french suddenly disappears and no one really is keen on speaking french. All the way the stairs to the Basilic is uphill steep climb. As I walk along the stairs, the conversations of people become quite interesting around me. Most of the women – generally girls in groups – hmm… I better not wanna share it all. For some of the things must be left for diary notes only.

Night view of Basilic, Paris

After all this uphill climb and interesting conversations – the life springs back to England (Just joking), it springs to America – there is no one french up here. The rain is still falling in drizzle but the crowd up here is seriously in party mode. It is a first day of Wine tasting on the Basilic. A huge party and celebration feeling which I was completely unaware of till I climbed all the stairs. It appears now – where all the Paris is hidden. Busy Busy Busy…  wow…. and it has started to rain as we enjoy the views.

City views in night from the top of Basilic

It does makes it all looks so different from the top. Indeed, I am starting to enjoy it but not for long as the rain drops starts to come down heavy and the I must not forget to check in the times for my last train. But before, I go – there is a time for a night pano stitch shot still.

Busy night at Basilic, Paris

Something I quite like – making huge, huge stitch shots. Love it in the full resolution but for all this is just an idea of what it looks with your vision of eyes. I had to make my way down back to the train station and it won’t be easy since the rain started to push most of the crowd down from here.

A night view of Basilic from streets

This was seriously quite a challenge to make my way through the streets full of crowd. Something that happened for the first time since I have been in Paris. Also, not to forget that please take caution with your wallets, expensive phones and shining jewellery. In such places things don’t take long for them to disappear. Most of it was quite interesting and I was finally in a german speaking crowd where I could use my 2bits of basic understanding. Feels more like a known turf down here.

METRO in Paris

Time never really stops and I must also not stop unless I want to end myself on the streets of cold, wet and rainy Paris. I have found myself a train station and trains to tread back into my night shelter. Citylife wears a totally different colour in night as we can see it now.

Magenta – RER E line – Station.

Ah, I am not really going to stop this huge big wide views of Magenta. I am tired, bit cold and want to go get some sleep. Waiting for trains is really annoying ….

Finally, Train is here.. Pink Line.

Finally, the train is here and I am heading to my bed.  This brings an end of my first day(washed out in rain), and remaining evening in selected above few shots.

With much anxious return, I shall bring you the “Sunday” experience of Paris too. A very dull, rainy, cold and dark day washed in rain. I still managed to step out, shoot Notre Dame, capture the girls of Paris, the Paris Autoshow and finally the last of the goodbyes from Paris.

More in next part….Part IV

Paris : An experience : Part I

For travelers, Paris is just another historic exotic city that has its own charm attached to it. It for no matter should not be confused with anything else you see or come across in other cities. Life is vivid all across from architecture, history, colours and people that make this city. Lot of changes in the last century has changed the way this place actually must have been one time. For a minute – let’s give it a polished note before I write more about it in further details.

London to Paris

Paris – A city of love, A city of attraction, A city of architecture, A city of unending long queues, A city full of tourists, A city with crazy traffic, A city with oldest Metro in the world, A city with most expensive shopping stores, A city with youth kissing, A city with couples looking for excuse to uncork their wine bottle, A city with pebble streets, A city with oldest Renault cars, A city with endless list to do things, A city with history and the list is endless.

Pen and its lovers

There are things which do not tell what else this city has which I shall also not tell but should offer enough for you all to figure it out yourself. My journey was smooth and to say it this way that Eurostar operates on precise minute to minute service in terms of both arrivals and departures so do not expect anything less than a great service from Eurostar. Nothing on this front to offer besides you may get a good neighbor or a couple sitting opposite your seat who will either be indulged in their phone screens or two hours of cuddle sessions to keep you either shy or totally entertained – the choice is yours to make. I had a reason to choose the middle seat with the table so I can play a movie to keep myself engaged. Found that I had a boring selection of the movie with Scarlett Johansson playing in Girl with a Pearl Earring

Almost with darkness surrounding there was nothing to view out of the window. Getting off at Gare Du Nord, Paris was quite rush like everyone trying to leave and run away but why not – it is  Friday evening. Everyone had a reason as the train seem to be full with usual weekly commuters doing London – Paris regular weekly routine dressed in their business casuals. I had to take a RER E (Pink – girly line) to get into Zone5 where I was to spend my next few days(/nights).  Gare du Nord had a old classic look which somewhere reminds me of the renaissance roof from Frankfurt railway station. A bit of modern extension but still quite classic in its own way. I managed to get my ticket for RER on the counter after a long queue where some Japanese students had a bulk tickets to buy. The guy on the counter understood my english quite clearly and without any delays I was on my way to find RER E line. For my dismal shock it smelled like a smell of piss as soon as I crossed some of these blocks and alleys going down to the platform 53. I couldn’t believe for my sake that it can be anywhere like this outside India and somewhere in Europe – that too it in a capital city of France. Well, that was my first shock to be surprised with – how can Paris especially Gare du Nord be so stinky and carelessly un-kept. Anyways, it was the first time in Paris via train so I was bit in a surprise. Last time I visited Paris was on  a motorcycle so it does appear to be a shock. Getting down to the Magenta station where I can take the Pink line the train was in general words quite the same I would come across in England. Not much of a difference except it was the first time on a double decker train which is not so common or rather I have not at all seen in UK at all.


Interesting enough it is Friday evening and the city seems so quiet and all dull. Am I sure this is still Paris or am I just too lost in this illusion of comparison or expectations. Ignore my words if you cannot take the criticism but this is how it all is – may be you should read Lonely Planet guide for polished words. Train was largely empty at 2100hrs more like a ghost train running from Paris. I reached Émerainville – Pontault-Combault and just another two minutes walk from there I was in friend’s house.

The significance of religion.

Size-wise Paris is a bigger geography compared to that of London and its english counterparts. I let the rest of the evening watching TV and being a couch potato with my friend’s daughter. Kids really get me to nerves especially when all they wanna tell me is – “Patoush” – A word that went down my vocabulary list quiet well which means “Don’t Touch”.  Kids needs a lot of energy to deal with – one is 3 and the other one 6 – so both gave me hard time but it was fun besides there was another third one who was a part of the house crash party. Three kids and one soul to handle the hassles of three children. I am sure parenting would be a challenge when it happens but I hope that it would be in a language where I can deal better.

I was well sure I am going to be a bed crasher this night and will not be willing to wake up anytime soon. Beside the next morning it is one of the girl’s birthday so there was a certain feeling of happy birthday around this home. kids and Birthdays are I suppose the biggest thing for them in the year so.. a lot of Balloons filling and decoration and helping them set it up for the big thing. I am always at home when it comes celebrating with kids – just become one of them and forget the age of how time has made me grow older – time never stops.


Going back to my trip, the weather is really horrible. Heavy rain and it feels drastically chilly for this time. I had no mood stepping out but to wait till this rain would eventually settle down – would it settle or would it not – I think it possibly will not but I should still step out. For most of the way I would be in train (RER),  and Metro so it should be just about fine.


I decided I wanted the Louvre in this weather. Rain had settled down but not completely stopped. From Gare du Nord, I hopped onto Metro to get off at Palais Royal – Musee de Louvre. As the name suggest Louvre – it was good to point me in my direction. Metro has a very well connected like a web network across most of the major cities in the world. Stepping out at the Palais Royal – it lands you into this shopping mall where you see the inverse Louvre with the hanging base tip of it and people just do not want to leave it 🙂 something quite interesting for tourists to be at this spot.

A bit further as my excitement to shoot the louvre was getting a bit bigger. I step out to find myself on the right side of the mini Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. Splendid views with Eiffel in a distance and a mild drizzle. At first I would think – oh come one, it is just a drizzle then I forgot it all very soon as I started to indulge myself in the pictures and made the rain soon a thing of the past. Wooh – rain is not a big pain 🙂 I have a weather sealed kit – what for – abuse it. Yeah so  here for your eye candy some of the louvre shots. I really feel sorry for people who think photography is everyman cuppa tea but how can you use a flash for something like louvre from 80mtrs away. I think I need to share some more on that account but on the next blog post may be.

& here comes my master piece of a picture.
I call it real emotions – for some it is just a shot but for those who have eyes will look into the details of this makes it to my faves of the shots. This shot has what it calls for – emotions, love, solitude, music, expressions, hugs, kisses and above all the views from beyond inside but even outside.

Paris by Mani Babbar Photography

Reverse or Inverse Louvre.

Finally.. all that I was waiting for !

Great Louvre of Paris

More shall follow in the Part II …

Something for first time – Eislaufen

Life is a game that never goes on smooth but to keep the challenges smooth we must keep ourselves going ahead with the changes. Well for the first time in life I must do something new. So this something new was to happen today somewhere in Carinthia region of Austria.
Waking out of the darkness into the the sharp bright wonderful sunny light of morning sunshine. Here we go, driving farther away from the darkness to the light of bright new beginning.

It is not same as the years before that the winter was ever so warm that I could relate to it in terms that I have spent my last few christmas winters in Austria. Snow is not to be seen on the low lying areas at all. The only peaks that are above 800mtrs seems to have got their bit white gift this year.

The sun seems to have lit up bright and the skies blue. The proof of beautiful landscape in Austria is hard to be missed when you want to save it for your wonderful memories for coming years or endless sharing to the world.

Not trying to keep it a more of a secret but we are talking about something new for the first time in life. Ah, this is almost same as losing a virginity but that was long last but this is all about “Eislaufen”. Now for those who dont know the word – Eislaufen is made out of two words “Eis” for Ice and “laufen” for running or in this reference plain skating. First look into the wide vast lake that has been opened today for the public for first time. Its going to get busy and just carefullz noticing the natural beauty that nature offers us in so many ways.

Skating on the ice something that is never been thought by me that I would step on or would plan to do. Huh, oh yeah there is always a time for something new. At first, the thought is quite provoking well inspiring as well.

I can see the small children and so the adults but these are the people who all grew up doing all this from their younger years of learning to walk and stand up.
At first stepping on ice and walking needed a little care but actually it was not that bad as I thought about it. It is quite easy to walk on the frozen water. Well, atleast I had enough grip to feel the floor under me as I would feel when I walk on the grass.

My teacher for today is going to show me few tricks but she is rather an expert in her area of eislauf. I was not willing to step right into the shoes but took a little slower approach and lot of confidence from myself that I wont like to see myself broken over these holidays.

At first looking the way she made her way on the ice was more and more inviting to get going but I still was in the decisive moments of my calculations. Shall I be stepping on it now or shall I rather just wait for a little more.

More than my fear it was the challenge of falling on the ice and leaving myself in pains. Ah, whatever I am not going to think about it too much and I finally was getting ready to give in.

Given in, the challenge has started no more second thoughts. Either stand tall or break my back. At first I was simply amazed at how the balance was so much easier than just being on the skates. Absolutely remember my lessons from the roller skating days. I never even managed to learn the roller skates but this seems much more easier than on the wheels. The balance just came into the play by itself.

After my first round at the frozen lake I seem to have learned a little more of easier tricks to balance my ice skates. In the first 30minutes of learning and no fall ensured that I was not giving up on it as yet.

Taking breaks and getting started simply took no time to get back into the mode of faster and faster skating. I am enjoying these moments of feeling fresh energy through something new today in life.

Learning is more a part our life rather than believing in ourself as a master of all that we do.

Lastly, thanking the nature for giving us such wonderful gifts that we humankind can enjoy without ruining the peace of nature.

Not sure of what comes next as a part of my holidays in Alps. Skiing dream looks quite far away from what I can think and imagine of. The wait for skiing seems to be on hold unless the weather god throws a blanket of ice even still, the slopes wont be ready in the last remaining days of my break.

Thank you to all my friends and people who read here and hope you enjoyed a little bit of nature and its surroundings in the pictures.