Göteborg – Sweden

The first time I heard of the port city of Göteborg , it was concerning the Volvo headquarters and the car manufacturing unit. My father, an engineer, was very interested in the place and went to Göteborg to visit that factory. Sadly, my knowledge of the place was limited to this single fact. This Nordic city is steeped in a rich heritage and history. I give you a small glimpse of the vibrant sights and sounds.

The first thing that captures your attention is the network of waterways and canals around the city. They offer tours around the place on these canals. The city’s tram service is another fascinating way to views the sights and sounds of the city.

The city hall or the Gustav Adolf’s Torg is a majestic building that houses the main government administrative offices.

Göteborg has many outdoor cafes, bistros and eat-outs where you can enjoy a lazy brunch while you appreciate the weather.

History enthusiasts have many places to visit in and around Göteborg. One of them would be, the Tjolöholms Slott, which is a magnificent castle that located is south of Göteborg. Another incredible place to visit would be the Bohus Fortress which is over 700 years old. The Gunnebo House and Gardens is an 18th-century manor. Regrettably, we were not able to snap any good photographs of the place.

I have sourced a few photographs from the website: https://www.goteborg.com/en/

There are many more hidden gems that Göteborg has to offer. Hope to visit the place to catch up on all the amazing sights that it offers. Oh!! I almost forgot to mention about the nature reserves and gardens that Göteborg has to offer. There are many beautiful gardens to visit like the Rose Gardens, Jonsered Gardens, Gothenburg Botanical Gardens and many more. If you are interested in the place, carefully plan your trip to many time for all this and more.

Chill Out Hut

Hello everyone! How are you all doing? Since my childhood, I loved food and enjoyed eating different kinds of food. I experimented with food and recipes in the kitchen but, that story is for a different day. Last week, I went to this place called ‘Chill Out Hut’. Here I am to talk about my experience.

Chill Out Hut is located on the A1 highway at Long Bay, Jamaica. It is open from 10 am to 11pm. On the menu, they have pizzas, burgers, fries, meats etc. We ordered fries with cheese and bacon, Parmesan chicken with rice and peas. The food was delicious. Since the food is not pre-cooked, it took them some time to prepare our dishes. There was a bit of waiting time after the order was placed. But the place was so beautiful that we did not mind waiting.

Chill Out Hut hosted many events like Calypso nights, Reggae nights, Karaoke nights, and even mud-wrestling. Since I visited the place at lunchtime, all we experienced was good music playing on the speakers.

The weather was pleasant and not as hot as it mostly is. The sky was overcast though there was no rain. The soft breeze made for enjoyable view and weather. The meal was delightful, and I was relaxed. Later, we took a little walk around the place to click a few snaps. I wanted to remember the place and share my memories.

This was where we were seated and here is the view from my seat:

This was another seating area a little away from ours. The view from there must have been great too. Unfortunately, I did not go up there. I walked around and took snaps in every direction.

And finally, I will leave you with the best picture (in my opinion). The sky was like a painting and the silky, deep blue waves dancing under it. You have to come here at least once to experience it.

Historic Sam Sharpe Square In Montego Bay

Nested in the centre of Down Town, Montego Bay, is the popular Sam Sharpe Square. This historic place is bustling with pedestrian and vehicular traffic. It was originally called Charles Square.

Sir Charles Knowles was the governor of Jamaica from 1752 to 1756. James Lawrence who was the custos of the parish in 1755, laid out the parade in the town of Montego Bay and named the square as “Charles Square” in honour of the governor.

Charles Square was renamed as Sam Sharpe Square in the year 1976 to honour Jamaican National Hero Samuel Sharpe. He was from Montego Bay and was executed in the market place for being the main instigator of the 1831 Slave Rebellion at Kensington Estate nearby.

Here are a few images of what the square looked like then based on the images sourced from the National Library of Jamaica .

Today, Sam Sharpe Square boasts of several historic monuments such as the Sam Sharpe Monument, the Cage, the Civic Centre and the Freedom Monument and a fountain.

The cage, a wooden structure was originally built in 1806. It was used as a jail for runaway slaves, unruly seamen and vagrants. In 1822, the Vestry replaced the wooden structure with a stone and brick structure you see in the picture above. In later years, it was used for other purposes. Today, it is a place where they sell phone cards and other things.

Sam Sharpe Monument

Kay Sullivan designed the Sam Sharpe monument and it depicts Samuel Sharpe standing with a Bible in his hand and talking to the slaves. Samuel Sharpe was instrumental in the abolition of slavery in Jamaica. He was a Baptist Preacher and a great leader. Through his religious meetings, he communicated with other slaves and encouraged political thinking.

The Montego Bay Cultural Centre formerly called as the Montego Bay Civic Centre is a majestic structure that catches your eye as soon as you reach the Sam Sharpe Square. This facility has undergone major refurbishing by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and involved a cost of $109 million. This place now houses an art gallery, a museum, space for the performing arts, a bistro, an artisan village and a gift shop.

It is a collaborative effort of the TEF, the St. James Parish Council, the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).

Originally, this building served a different and grim purpose. It was the Old Court House and was built in 1774. This is the place where many African slaves were tried. Samuel Sharpe was also tried here for his involvement in the Emancipation War on 19 April 1832 and he was sentenced to execution by hanging.

By 1959, the court offices and local government offices had become too large for the building to accommodate them and the court offices were moved to new premises on St. James Street. A fire destroyed the courthouse in 1968. In 2001, the Urban Development Corporation restored the building with funding from the Venezuelan Government through the San Jose Accord. It was reopened as the Montego Bay Civic Centre. It is a multi-faceted facility with provision for a museum, art gallery, performing arts and conferencing facilities.

The Freedom Monument was erected in 2007 to memorialize the enslaved persons who participated in 1831-32 war of emancipation.

In this picture, you can see what the Old Court House looked like in the early 1900s.

Here are a few more pictures I clicked at the square.

View of the back of the Montego Bay Cultural Center. While I was clicking these snaps, the bystanders told me that there were prisons here too.

A patty shop to snack at if you are tired or you could buy a few fruits at this pushcart.

When you visit Montego Bay, don’t miss a trip to the Sam Sharpe Square in Down Town.

Image Source: National Library of Jamaica and Jamaica National Museum. Click on the images to go to their website.

Father Bull On The Road To Falmouth

Last week we went to Falmouth, Jamaica. It wasn’t a pleasure trip, we had some work to do (my husband and me). We wanted to get over with the work by 11:30 am, however it stretched on until 2:30 in the afternoon. I was starving by then, and barely had any energy to even sit up straight. We decided to have a quick bite on the way home. I was ready to eat anything, so my husband took me to Father Bull restaurant. What a strange name for a restaurant, I thought. Anyway, all that matters is the food. It is located at Greenwood on the main road.

They are located right on the waterfront. Literally, you can walk up to the backdoor and find yourself looking at the waves crashing on to the rocks. I fell in love with the place. The cool sea breeze was heavenly. I could easily fall asleep in my chair, had it not been for the fact that I was famished. It was a great place to unwind and sit down with some hot Jamaican style pumpkin soup and meditate on the happy things in life.

This place is not a fine dining restaurant; it is a casual, informal place. The food was served in a Styrofoam container. That was one down-side; I hope they change to something healthier. The ambience is very relaxed and casual.

You can see the Caribbean Sea from every window. It is a sight for sore eyes.
The food was hot and delicious. We ordered Curry chicken. My husband used to get food home from this place several times in the past. I tried Curry Goat, Pumpkin soup and Manish water. All of them tasted great.

It was a very hot day and the cold water was a welcome relief. But if you like to try some of their alcohols, they have a tie-up with Appleton Rum. You can try some at the bar. I forgot to mention that the place is not exactly quiet. There is music playing all the time.

I wish I could have some more right now. Even looking at these pictures is making my mouth water. Their cuisine is authentic Jamaican and they have dishes like oxtail, jerk chicken etc. In fact, you can smell the jerk chicken in the air the moment you enter the premises and it’s hard to resist.
I sat by the window and clicked a few pictures. I notice that there were a lot of fishing boats on the other side.

What more can I say, it’s a good place to eat. Take a local Jamaican with you and pay in Jamaican dollars for it to work out cheaper. That way, you can avoid the tourist prices ;-). I leave you with some more pictures to enjoy.

View of the highway road.

You can see the phone charger on the black table. While you charge up, your phone can get charged too.

View from the window by my table.

The place is very well maintained and every window has a wonderful view. Even though it was 2:30 in the afternoon and very hot outside, it was pleasant and cool inside. They don’t need fans with the breeze they have.

Take one step out of the restaurant and you will be swimming with the fish in the sea. Hahaha!

I did not go out the back door. I just stuck my hand out of the window and clicked this one. There seems to be a little space to walk but I think it’s better to be safe than sorry. Not trying to scare you or anything. Just saying that I am over cautious.
That’s it, guys. Mi see yuh likkle more den (Jamaican Patois for – I’ll see you later then. I am trying to learn the language).

Kemmangundi Hills: The Hill Station Of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV

In the Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka, there is an idyllic hill station located at 1434 meters above sea level. This hill station is Kemmangundi hills or KG hills, as it is commonly called. The place is located in Terikere taluk in Chikkamagaluru district. It is close to 250 km from the capital city of Bengaluru.

There are many places to visit in Kemmangundi hills and the surrounding locales. With rolling hills, thick forest cover and the many waterfalls, KG Hills is unmissable. Here are some of the more popular spots I have visited in KG Hills:

  • Trek to Z Point
  • Trek To Gorilla Point
  • Hebbe Falls
  • Kalahatti Falls
  • Shanti Falls
  • Mullayanagiri peak
  • Baba Budangiri peak etc

The weather is also quite ideal all-round the year. The highs always stay within 30 degrees Celsius and the low goes up to 10 degrees Celsius in winters. I have included pictures of the foggy mornings and amazing view from the peaks.

Summer vacations- The fondest memories

It is summer time in India and it is the time for mangoes and summer vacations. These are the two best things from every Indian’s childhood. Though, I am sure that our parents have a different perspective on summer holidays.

Every summer, we hear parents discuss different ways to keep their kids occupied and away from mischief. Some plan to enrol their kids for coaching classes so that they are ahead in the syllabus when the schools reopen. Some others plan to take their kids out of town to have fun. Some also plan a roster for spending time with all our cousins and relatives. My mother dealt with summer differently. She enrolled us in a hobby class every summer. She said that this way we can cultivate a new hobby and find out what we are good at.

This plan of hers worked for both her and us kids. My sisters and I were busy learning and practising our hobby, while my mother got the much-needed peace and quiet. It, however, made many interesting memories as well. One summer, my sisters and I enrolled in drawing and painting classes, another summer we went for needlework and crochet classes. I also learned singing one year and craft work with clay another year. The most memorable years were when I learnt swimming and cookery.

One might think that swimming was the most natural activity for summer, right?? Well, not for me. I have aquaphobia, so I was not keen on swimming at all. However, my mom felt that I needed to overcome this fear at a young age, so she enrolled me for swimming classes. As you can guess, I did not have any fun in the pool. My swim coach did not help my case in any way. She felt that dunking me under water would bring out the natural survival instincts and teach me to paddle my hands and legs. It only made will cling onto my coach’s back more tightly. It was one embarrassing year for me. However, I did learn something. I learnt that I wasn’t scared of water as long as my feet were in solid surface. I only had a fear of drowning.

Cookery classes were a different experience altogether. I found my love for baking that year. While my sisters learnt to cook new cuisines, I had a knack for baking. I was finally able to bake a cake and eat it too. That summer, I had the most fun ever. We also learnt the combinations of flavours that didn’t go well together, by trial and error of course. I can still remember the horrible taste of the lime and banana cake.

All things notwithstanding, summer holidays were a time of self-discovery and adventure. I learnt that I like morning walks better than evening walks. I discovered I love classic rock music more than heavy metal music. I also learnt that the sun was the best compass to find your way back home. There are many more memorable and unforgettable lessons from each summer. I hope to hear some of your stories in the comments section below.

Unforgettable Vacation at Munnar

Last year in the month of July, I was finally able to take time out to visit the hill station of Munnar. It has been on my bucket list for a long time and Munnar is famous for being a beautiful and picturesque hill station that was reserved for the elite of the British Raj in colonial times. Due to the monsoon season, we expected wet and rainy weather with thunderstorms. The place kept up its promise and offered more in the form of foggy mornings that gave a chance for great photography. It felt like the best time to visit Munnar as the weather was conducive for enjoyable treks and pleasant walks.

I am sure you want to know more about this place and what we can do there. Munnar is a famous hill station in the Western Ghats. It is located in the southernmost state of Kerala in India. This hill station is famous for tea plantations, and a national park with an abundance of wildlife. The town of Munnar is located at the confluence of 3 rivers namely the Muthirappuzha River, Chanduvarai River and Kundale River. There is also the Mattupetty dam that is a concrete gravity dam and is used to produce hydroelectricity.

For all nature lovers, the Eravikulam National park is a must visit. It is home to diverse flora and fauna. Visitors can view leopards, tigers, jackals, deer, Mongoose and a wide variety of monkeys. You can also have seasonal visits from elephants at the national park.

If you are an adventurous person, you have many hiking and trekking paths and boating clubs. The Anamudi peak is located here and it is the highest peak in the Western Ghats in South India. You can also go camping at the Munnar Tent camp. I am not much of a camper, especially since I am scared of creepy crawlies in the monsoon. I, however, enjoyed my hiking trip to Pothamedu – Aanakkal viewpoint.

My trip was only for a few days and I did not get to visit all that was on offer at Munnar. But, I promised myself to come back and take another look at all that I missed here in the form of the tea museum, the spice gardens, topiary flower show and the old Roman Catholic Church. I leave you here with more of the pictures we took here.

Trip To Port Antonio (Jamaica)

Hello everybody. This is Sharda here, back again with another write up. How are all of you? Last weekend we were invited to a birthday party at Port Antonio, Jamaica. It’s such a beautiful place that I had to write about it.

My husband and I started at 9:15 am from home. We live in Montego Bay, Jamaica. It was a sunny Sunday morning and I was looking really forward to take a break from the daily routine. I was told that it a long drive and it could take at least three and a half to four hours’ drive. My friends started on Saturday evening and reached there in the night. They spent the night at a villa. I wish I had done that but I had to take care of work before relaxing. The roads were clear, not much traffic and the air was fresh. I had water and snacks packed in the car. Had my favorite music playing on the car, my dear husband was driving and we were chatting all along the way. I had such a wonderful time.

Route map from Montego Bay to Port Antonio

It is about 202 km from Montego bay. The road runs along the coast line and all through the journey I could see the shimmering waters of the Caribbean Sea. On one side was the ebb and flow of the waves and on the other side of the road was beautiful, tall trees. Up to St. Ann’s Bay it was flat road but after that the road was like a long winding ribbon running up and down hills, valleys and knolls.

Finally, after a very long drive we reached our destination and the scenery of Port Antonio was a jaw-dropping gorgeous. The birthday party was held at the majestic looking Trident Castle. It was a private estate and they rent the place for gatherings. The hours flew by as we were engrossed in the simply breath taking views and soon it was time to leave. It took us four hours to get back home. we were dead tired but totally satisfied.

More pictures from the journey:

When is the right time to enjoy life

The other day on my way back from office, I was travelling by bus. As with most public transport, you encounter different people with differing perspectives. They are sometimes weird, funny and sometimes offensive. But, mostly they are entertainment for me. This particular conversation, however, rubbed me the wrong way. It got me thinking and feeling guilty and rebellious at the same time.

 The whole discussion started between an elderly couple, who were returning from a housewarming party. From what I gathered from their conversation, a newly married couple built an independent house with all comforts and luxuries in an affluent area of the city. The elderly couple felt it was a waste of money and an unnecessary expense at such an early stage in life. They were of the opinion that the young couple should have built a commercial complex thereby earning rents and thus saving money.

As their conversation progressed, they started to include the other passengers into the fray. The conversation soon veered into stories of personal struggle and hardships faced. Each person told about the struggles of their parents to give them a comfortable life and how, one should save as much as possible. The general consensus was that since our parents braved all hardships to give us a comfortable life, we owe it to them to struggle just as much for the next generation. Most of them felt that one should not waste money on lavish homes, vacations or other leisurely activities, unless you can make money out of them.

On the face of this reasoning, it seems quite logical that one should not overspend. However, the argument that building a beautiful home that you dreamed of, going on vacations, spending money on pampering yourself is an absolute waste of money, does not sit well with me. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it is never a good time to take a vacation or pamper yourself unless you take a stand for yourself. If you don’t live life now, then you won’t have the health or the faculties to enjoy life in your old age. One can never stress enough on the importance of relaxation and stress release in the fast paced world today.

As Indians we are always taught to save first and hopefully enjoy life after retirement. But, it doesn’t work that way in reality. Do we really owe it to our parents to save more and enjoy later? Tell me your thoughts on the comments section.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these images. They are sourced from Google and Pinterest.