Category Archives: travel

Zugspitze



ZugSpitze.jpg

Originally uploaded by Sur3shKr!shna

I lived in Germany during 2001 – 2005 and each and every place is so wonderful that i still cant stop thinking about these places. I as living in Stuttgart and we had to go to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and from there you could either take a cable car or go by walk.
Though i am living in USA from past 3 years, i have not seen such a beautiful place. The early morning walk with a lot of fog, beautiful green pine trees and old houses with little bit of snow and rich culture is what i miss here.
Anyway, my Saahithi is 1 month old now and i am sure that we will visit Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Swiss and France again before i retire 😉

Tips on traveling with an infant

I got this from one of my colleague and many thanks to her and colleagues who responded.
  • Carrier, Carseat and Crib:
    • Make sure your carseat is FAA approved; DO bring it, and use it in the seat on plane, if you bought the baby a ticket. Know where the FAA sticker is on the carseat, and be ready to show the flight attendant on plane when you board (they will ask). To carry carseat  in airport: I buckle the seat belt, loosen them all the way, and shoulder-strap it ; put baby in stroller. You might have to check the base, if you have that; or just use seatbelt routing in CO and leave it at home (or have family there buy an extra base).
    • Make sure that your car seat can be used on the plane (if you bought a seat for your baby).  The airline web site should have info on this.
    • We checked in the car seat the first time round and she sat on my lap through the flight. In our last trip, we rented a car seat and a stroller at our destination. The cost of checking in a car seat equaled renting one.
    • I recommend a car-seat cover/bag.  We had a Graco car seat and Graco also makes a nylon bag that zips around the car seat so that when you do check it at the door of the plane, it won’t get dirty/wet.  It is a minor annoyance to have to stop at the plane door to zip it in, but worth it to keep the seat clean.  I think we got it on-line from babysRus or somewhere
    • If possible, ask someone at your destination to arrange for a crib or pack n’ play for sleeping.
    • We took both a baby bjorn carrier for me and what is, I think, called a “Moby” carrier for my wife (its like a huge scarf that you use to “wrap” the baby against your chest…like an old-school bjorn basically but different from those baby “sling” things).  The moby was a god-send since, for our baby, that thing was basically a sleeping-pill.  In the moby, the baby slept for the ENTIRE trip from the time we left our house in Menlo Park until we arrived at the in-laws in San Diego.  But it can be tedious to get into/out-of on the plane itself, so we used the bjorn actually on the plane because my arms got too tired to walk him around without it for so long (once was over an hour).
    • When I traveled with my son when the restrictions came into effect, strollers and especially car seats did not count towards your baggage count, but I would check with your carrier to confirm.
    • If you are renting a car there, you can rent a carseat with that.
  • Entertainment:
    • Cheerios (if they can eat that), other small finger-food bites help entertain them and feed them. Otherwise, whatever small books/toys they like and can fit in diaper bag. Walk w/ them, bounce, show window… show them other kids on plane, they love to stare at each other.
    • We traveled last month and brought a Baby Einstein video that kept him occupied for 30 minutes.
    • Buy some new toys for the plane, preferably quiet ones so you don’t disturb your neighbors.
  • On the plane:
    • Bring bottle to feed baby, or a pacifier, at takeoff & landing, to pop their ears from pressure.
    • We once took seats right in the front of the plane where they usually put the bassinet and found the seating very uncomfortable as we could not lift the arm rests. This made it very difficult to feed her as she kept hitting her head against the arm rest.
    • For the plane, bring plenty of bottles, formula (if you’re not breastfeeding), diapers and a couple of changes of clothes.  You never know what delays you might experience, especially at Christmas.  A change of clothes for yourself is a good idea as well.
    • Not sure if bassinets are an option on domestic flights but, you should ask your airline right now if your baby is under 25lbs and assuming you did not buy a seat for the infant.  On international flights, bassinets that hook into the bulkhead and/or sit on the floor are provided at no additional charge (first-come basis but you can/should reserve).  This does mean you would likely get the bulkhead seats, which don’t have space to put stuff under the seat in front of you but having someplace to alternatively put the baby to sleep and/or put all your junk is a HUGE help.  Again, not sure if these are an option on domestic flights but we had them international on United.
    • We found aisle seats to be better than window so that it is easy to get up and walk the aisles with the baby to keep them from crying.
    • Good idea to pack some big ziplocs and/or small trashbags to stick poop-y baby clothes in.  Really a drag if you have no where to stick them.
    • Might want to consider some sort of hat or maybe just a blanket to cover them a bit to make it dark.  Since you don’t control the lighting, they alway seem to have the lights on bright when you least want it.
    • Don’t forget to board early.  If the baby is fussy, you may want your partner to go ahead and board with all the junk and get situated while you pace around with the baby in the waiting area until the last second so that you don’t feel trapped in the seat with screaming baby.
    • Change your baby’s diaper about 20 minutes before your flight is scheduled to depart.  This makes sure that your baby’s at least comfortable for the lift off when you have to have your seatbelt fastened.
  • Security:
    • You don’t need an ID to travel domestic and a photocopy of the birth certificate can be carried in lieu.
    • As for formula, we took the pre-made formula bottles ( 8 ounces Similac bottles) and put those in in clear plastic bags and showed it at the time of the security check.  This is easier than mixing formula on flight.
    • We also always made sure that the only thing in the diaper bag was baby stuff.  It made security check points much easier when they did have to empty and check it all.
    • We used pre-packed powder formula packets, and bought two bottles of bottled water once we were past security.  We used the water we bought for feedings when not on a flight, and then asked for water while on a flight.  (Saved space and the hassle of an extra liquid through security). If you normally pump, then if at all possible, fill bags AFTER checkpoint, rather then before.  (I have had to taste test milk at security check points, my wife so nicely pumped BEFORE, rather then later.
  • Strollers:
    • Use a light umbrella stroller thru the airport, and gate-check it at boarding (assume is free). If you have a light “docking” stroller like SnapNGo to put an infant carrier in instead, that is even better- holds both, gate-check it.
    • Ask to check your stroller at the gate.
    • We have a BOB stroller and it has a luggage bag that worked out because I checked it at the curb, and then carried the the baby through security, to the plane in the sling.  Then for the car seat, I had a large weekend bag (from lands end) that I also checked at the curb.  The way the luggage representatives check it in, you shouldn’t be charged for the extra pieces.
  • Misc and Web sites:
    • http://www.babysaway.com/
    • http://www.flyingwithkids.com/
    • I also recommend that you look-up a head of time the ped’s in the area you are traveling to, so you have their numbers and where the best place is to go if you need to hit an after-hours clinic at 11pm some night.
    • You may want to order the diapers and wipes from amazon and have them shipped to your destination before you arrive.

Water Bridge in Germany

Look at this wonder. It’s a Water bridge over river. Water Bridge in Germany…. What a feat! Six years, 500 million euros, 918 meters long…now this is engineering!

This is a channel-bridge over the River Elbe and joins the former East and West Germany, as part of the unification project. It is located in the City of Magdebur, near Berlin.

The photo was taken on the day of inauguration.

Sad demise of my Laptop :(

I am having a bad time during my year end vacation. I have planned to visit my sister in New York and Harrisburg, PA.  I was all excited to go around Time Square, Empire-state Building, Central Park and the New Year bash. I was little more excited for this holidays as i am meeting my both sisters, my parents and its the new year’s party.

The moment we landed in New York, before even we could see the city, we lost my backpack. My backpack always contained the most valuable things in my life…… the laptop. This laptop contained all my research effort from past 3 years of time and all my personal photos. As one might expect, the laptop was a very very dear one for me. The backpack also contained my Canon camera, my wife’s purse, few of my important documents, etc… We were so stunned and disturbed about this occasion that it took 3 days for us to come out of this. We did complain to the Airport police and also made numerous calls to the airport. I lost it on December 20th and today is December 31st and i have not received any encouraging messages from them. Its a monetary loss of 2000$ and more of a sentimental value.

This incident definitely taught us few things, which we would never forget in our life.

  • Miracles do happen 🙂 We never ever expected that we will loose our backpack.
  • Things do happen. How ever careful you are, sometimes fate rules YOU.
  • Move On. Bad things do happen and its necessary to move on. You can build almost everything as long as you are alive.
  • Tomorrow is a New day. However bad or worse is today, tomorrow WILL be a better day. You need to believe in this. 

And yes…..i am moving on…… 

Carmel-By-The-Sea on Route 1, CA

On October 13th we have started to see few places on Route 1 and to stay overnight there in Monterey. We stay in Fremont and its only 90 miles away from Monterey. After few weeks of time, we wanted to go out and have a great time with the California beaches. Monterey is the place we are visiting for the 3rd time and its worth many visits.

Relax

Carmel-By-The-Sea is a small city along the coast. A small left turn onto the Ocean View Ave from Route 1 after the Monterey takes you to this wonderful small city. The life here resembles me of the small villages in Germany and Swiss and i always love that kind of life style. Everyone is relaxed, lots of food, wine, shopping and a great ocean view. Wow, i can spend few days just enjoying the shopping and walking in the small streets. The best thing is to go along the Ocean View and at the end of it, you can actually park the car and there you are…. you can see the ocean and if you have a nice book to read…you have made your day. And of course its definitely a romantic place for young couples like me and my wife.

Monterey

17 Mile drive a another great drive which takes almost around half day. It totally has around 21 scenic spots and each and every spot accounts for your memories. Some of them i remember are Cyprus Point, Ghost tree. Another amazing thing on this drive are the private mansions / houses of filthy rich people. Even you can see some of the private golf courses. The greenery that you see all along the 17 mile drive is fantastic. You can imagine the ocean on right side and golf on the left side.

CarmelByTheSea  We  Bird Rock  Ghost Tree

And finally Ghosts are very famous in both Carmel-By-The-Sea and in Monterey. Each shop that you visit has hundreds of books on ghosts and their stories. Somehow we did not even dare to visit some of the haunted houses near to Monterey.

Overall it was a great and memorable experience and i recommend everyone to visit when you get a chance.

Must see places in Germany

Hummm….i am writing this and suggesting as a person who lived in Germany for almost 4 years and have traveled throughout Germany over the weekends. The first thing i like about the europe is the public transportation system. Where ever you are and where ever you want to go , there is always something that takes you there (could be trains, trams, buses). I have not seen such a punctual and well maintained system any where else. I live in USA now and you can forget abt that kind of public transportation system.

In any case if you are planning to visit germany, do take time to plan and see the most of what you can. Dont miss the opportunity. Following are some of the places that i have seen and many people did liked these. Hope this list helps if you are looking for some nice places.

One thing for sure is that there are still lots of places to watch out and Germany is Beautiful. If language was not a barrier i would have settled in Stuttgart, Germany. Anyway now i landed up in usa and life if going on.

I would definitely visit Europe when ever i get a chance. I still cant get those memories out of my mind.

Reno – The Biggest Little City in the World

Probably a 1 day trip if you are living closer to it (around 100 miles) or a 2 day trip from bay area in CA. I would not say it as a MUST visit, but a time-pass place. We started from Sacramento on a saturday afternoon and it took around 2 hours to reach Reno. Its in Nevada and the road was really cool. Its a ride on the small hills and nice scenarios to enjoy. On the way is the Lake Tahoe (very famous for Bay-Area SW Engineers :)), but we did not visit it anyway due to tome constraints. 

There are quite a number of casinos in Reno. But honestly they are all placed apart. Its difficult to have a look at them in a single shot. Of course i am comparing it to Atlantic City in East Coast. That was more organised and more colorful than Reno. At this point of time i am not comparing anything to Vegas 🙂 . 

It was a good trip definitely worth remembering. Visit it if you are some where near to this place. 

FolsomLake – Sacremanto : Awesome lake for a 1 day trip

On 26.May.2007 i visited folsomlake near Roseville, Ca. It was the lake that we found on a detour. We went to the Auburn city with full of small hills and lot of cultivation around for the berries and christmas trees. We were at a place by name SHILOH TREE FARM in Auburn and by the time we went there we were told that the farm is oipened only during the monthof december. The farm owner has kindly let us in to see and stroll the farm a little-bit. But with a little bit of caution that he killed around 2 rattle snakes in the past week and to watch carefully around. That took the party mood out of my peopld and everyone is like….when are we getting into the car and run out of this place. We barely managed to take few snaps and then we hurried to come down the hill.

But the interesting part was that from that hill, we could see the beauty of the lake at a far distance and its was beautiful. I did visit few lakes in Germany and Swiss but i am truly amazed with this one. As i hear there are 3 or 4 entry points to this lake and once you get in…. you can take your own time to move around in the car and park it in a place where you can spend some time alone. There are some places that are really crowded. You have to take your beach ware kind of stuff is you really want to enjoy. They do rent some boats.

We really enjoyed a lot and i woud definately recomment this place.

Germany-Stuttgart : A life time experience

In the initial stages of my career i was working for Robert Bosch GmbH, Germany. I was deputed to germany for almost 3.5 years. As Bosch’s head quarters is in Stuttgart, i had to stay here for all the while. This place has a decent amount of indian colleagues with some Indian and Srilankan restaurants. People who used to come on short term assignments stay at Hotel Domino, Stammheim; Hotel Feuerbach im Biburturm, Feuerbach; and so many other places. Every one used to prefer Hotel Domino as its near to Bosch in Feuerbach.

I was initially staying in the Hotel Domino for a long time and then i moved to an apartment in Nier Steiner Strasse, Gerlingen. Most of us were kind of bachelors and used to really have a radical time 🙂 . Tipical life is to get up around 7.00am in the morning and smoke, smoke, smoke, no breakfast, go to office by 9.00am, ….start work…smoke, lunch, back to work, back to home by 6.00pm and then got to jogging, dinner, pep-talk with your friends. Honestly for vegitarians, it is a hell there. But still better than USA. A lot better. Atleast you get boiled potatoes, zuchini, carrots or brokkali.

There used to be the Rosen Stein Park near Haupt Bahn Hauf and it used to be really lively and we (myself and Ramakanth) used to go for cycling. You cycle for around 2-3 hours and you feel so nice. Especially there is a beer hub in this park. We used to have a beer and used to peddle back.

There used to be a Fern Zenturm(TV Tower) and it is really nice. It used to be around 200 meters in height and by the time we go up you want to have a coffee or some hot drinks. The view if Stuttgart we get from there is awesome. We used to take trams and go there in the evenings.

Who can forget the Mercedes Benz museum. Wow its a master piece of its own. If you go in, it will take minimum of 2 hours to see all the car models. The kind of key-chains, sovereigns you get there are really cool.

Daimler Benz Stadium is a place of its own to hang out… the foot ball matches that happen there are a worth remember. The kind of cheering that goes on, beer cans smell, the crowd, the music, etc… are worth a million.

The local wine that you get there is really awesome. I gor got some of the names….but Trollinger, Lemberger are some. Neat feuerbach we used to be regular visitors of Wichtel. Its a beer place and nice pizzaaaaaaasssss…. Anyone would have to visit this place.

In the end i would like to goback to Stuttgart for a vacation. Right now i am married and my wife does not speak German. So its better for me to stick to English speaking countries 🙂