Category Archives: Discovery Journeys

Diary of A Wanderer: Germany and Austria

Sitting down to pen my thoughts on Germany did seem a tad bit difficult – simply because the country is so breathtakingly beautiful, I wasn’t sure if I could do justice with a mere blog…

The famous Cologne cathedral

Where do I start …cliched…but true…my love affair with the country started with the famous ‘Sound of Music’ movie; the rolling hills, the tolling bells, the medieval castles which painted a romantic picture; the cathedrals, the endless travel books that I had read –  about the picture perfect villages and the magical forests – and the little phrases that I picked up along the way – Auf Weirdesen et al –  so when a chance came  along for me to experience Germany as part of the German Travel Mart in Colongne –

The city of contrasts - old and new city of Salzburg

I knew it was trip of a lifetime – because from the moment I stepped foot into the country, I knew the travel books hadn’t done justice – simply because as a Wanderer, you have to live the place – see the history come alive, waltz through the fairy tale castles, smile back at the charming people and experience the underlying thread of romanticism humming a tune to the lovers… a flavor which unfolds to every traveler who comes into the country.

Leopold palace in salzburg - sound of music location


Well, luckily, for us lot – when you are a Wanderer, we follow a pretty simple thumb rule  – pack your bags and explore the offbeat. Experience the myriad layers the country has to offer and that’s exactly what I did in my sojourn.

St. Peter's church in Munich

 Freiburg, Salzburg and Munich  was on my agenda after my series of meetings at Colonge…I had to experience the city of Mozart – had to relive my Sound of Music fantasy…had to discover the city of contrasts…and along the way, discover the little towns and the cities – which I now say are stunningly pretty, friendly, traditional, easily accessible, simple to discover, and literally oozing with character. The seduction’s easily explained.

 My worry at that point – I was in love with the country…and how was I going to pack my bags and head out back home?
As I headed into Cologne, I discovered ‘serenity’ – I was staying in Mondial am Dom which was a nice little boutique hotel which had  the fantastic view of the Cologne Cathedral which is one of the UNESCO world heritage center. Having my first cuppa tea with the breathtaking view of the Cathedral is a treat to the senses…
In Freiburg, come evenings, I would be welcomed by warm smiles from the locals who still sit together on long benches, and I realized it is so easy to make new friends. Yes, language is a barrier …but we managed.

I ended up learning a few quotable quotes…thanks to the wonderful locals.

And at the end of it all, I learnt the recipe for a perfect evening – meet up with friends, add to the mix a selection of regional dishes, one or two drinks and some music!

Germans love food and it is a meat eating country – and I’ve gorged on the yummiest steaks – without a second thought to the calories – (it’s vacation and a girl’s entitled to good living) and the desserts  are decadent delights…the cheesecake in Germany, Apfelstrudel and Mozart Chocolates in Salzburg are divine and I couldn’t do justice with mere words…if you enjoy sinful decadent delights,  then you simply need to pack your bags and head out to sample these delicious delights.

But I realized, along the way, being a vegetarian is not a good option in Germany. Simply because, the choices are limited.

The ‘off’  flavor to my journey – I had packed in my woollies thinking the temperature would hit a chilly point  – but little did I realize, the glorious Indian summer would follow me into Germany. Seemingly, Mumbai’s hot summer had decided to pay a visit to Germany…so here I was, lugging my woollie laden bags around and wishing the temperature would hit a near freezing point…

The open air cafes opposite Hellbrunn palace

Salzburg was next on my agenda – with its Alpine scenery and Italianate Baroque architecture, the city is a delight even without its lovely sounds. Besides the regular touristy sojourn, on my agenda was a boat cruise to Hellbrunn in Austria  – and the vista was truly captivating – the magnificent backdrop of the City of Mozart left me feeling complete.  As a traveler, there comes a time when ‘you know this is the ‘moment for you’…and for me, it was probably in the city of Mozart – with its history and surreal beauty.

 

The Trick fountain @ Salzburg

And on the fun bit – the Trick fountains was a real blast.  To be honest, I thought much fun can fountains be? My best advice to all who go: Leave the Dolce and Gabbana at home and bring your sense of humor. Put on a jacket if you’re really worried about getting wet (you won’t get SOAKED…unless you want to that is) and protect your camera.

My day ended with the Mozart Dinner Concert in Salzburg – the baroque room that it is held in is beautiful. It was an experience to hear the lilting music played before and between courses of the meal. A small ensemble of instruments and the singers who were full of personality did add to the drama. Loved every bit of it.

A whole new chapter in my travel diary.

Bear in mind the wine is very expensive so you might want to share with someone else.

It was early to hit the bed…the music was still in the air, lovers walking along the way, Wanderers like me…drinking in the beauty of the place

Ahhh…Salzburg!!!

Munich, capital of Bavaria, brought my first experience at a Beer Hall or  Hofbrauhaus.  It was also the first time that I had ever seen a liter of beer, and so of course I had to order one. And drinking a litre of beer in one go is no mean feat! 

The famous beer mug @ Augustine Beur - they serve in litres

But it was an experience…a definite must for everyone who believes in ‘sampling and savoring every experience that comes along in your Wandering ways! 

 In between discovering the friendly faces, missing a few hop on hop off buses,  I got an opportunity to see the bells of the Glockenspiel chime. Seemingly, the bells only chime three times a day and mini robot dolls pop out to perform two pieces for the spectators below. The first is a traditional wedding piece, the second a dance once used to ward off the plague.

The mad rush of my city awaited me…but the tolling bells and the rolling hills sang their song to me. I was going back to my world where the ‘grind’ awaited me…but I knew the warm smiles, the beer, the music…had woven itself so well into me…that I just had to go back yet again to relive the magic…

And it was, at that moment, I knew my sojourn with the country wasn’t over…in fact, it was just beginning….


About Salzburg Hellbrunn Castle:

In 1612, only a few months after ascending the throne, Salzburg’s Prince Archbishop Markus Sittikus von Hohenems commissioned a country residence to be built at the foot of the well-watered Hellbrunn Mountain. Within a relatively short period of time an architectural masterpiece was created just south of the city that remains one of the most magnificent Renaissance buildings north of the Alps:  the Lustschloss (“pleasure palace”) of Hellbrunn with its spacious park and its unique Wasserspiele (trick fountains).  Hidden in the shade of bushes and trees or jetting out from unexpected hiding places – the world-famous Wasserspiele have been the main attraction at Hellbrunn for almost 400 years.


About Dina

Dina Menon is our Executive- Sales and Client Servicing for MICE. A hotel management graduate from IHM Mumbai, she loves to network with people. And give her the world map and she is already planning her next sojourn even before her bags are unpacked. Discovering the history and learning all about the local flavor comes naturally to her. She loves her Wandering ways and her hobbies include listening to music, watching movies and partying till wee hours in the morning.

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Diary of a Wanderer: Homestay at Rangiora, Christchurch-Canterbury

A home away from home…is what my stay at the quaint little home in Rangiora, Christchurch-Canterbury was all about.

A  pretty ordinary day…dotted with simple pleasures that was enough to put a smile on my lips…leave me with a warm toasty feeling. A day which leaves you with a feeling of being complete. A day which, whilst I write this blog post, makes me realize that it is indeed simple pleasures – being in the warm folds of a family, going about routine chores – that makes life a treat!

My day kick  started with a big smile from Margaret who met me at  Christchurch International Airport. A grandmotherly like figure – warm smiles and hugs, she opened her arms and welcomed me into her home and her heart with a single smile.

Forty minutes later,  we were at her lovely home in a small town called Rangiora (approx. population 11,000).

(Rangiora Township is small but has all the conveniences of a town without the crowds and traffic jams. The rest of the town is only homes and farmlands. A picture perfect little town which is every Wanderers dream destination…)

Stepping into her warm abode was a  treat to every gourmand’s senses. Freshly baked cakes and cookies welcomed me…and well, just when you think you can get away with a nibble here and there…a nibble turns into a bite…a bite turns into a big bite and before you know it – the decadent delights are polished off the table – which earns me a big smile from my hostess.

A cuppa tea later, we set out in her SUV to the milking station, and en route picked up Bob, her husband.

The milking station was nothing like I imagined it to be. Sure, it smelt like a cow stable back in India, but it was completely mechanized as far as the operations were concerned.

All the cows get herded into a staging area feeding into the rotary milking platform which holds around 50 cows at a time. The machine spins and loads/unloads cows at a pretty brisk pace. One time around is the amount of time needed to finish milking each cow. So once they reach the end, the milking cups automatically fall off and the cow steps out, heading back to a pasture. Farms have as many as 800 cows so it is a lot of planning & hard work, in spite of all the automation.

Wow…Impressive is the adjective I use for want of any better word. A world removed from the cow sheds of India!

And a little later after exploring their farm and basking  in the lush verdant beauty, we headed out to one of  their son’s homes.

Margaret & Bob have a huge family (17 grand children!) The family tree is chronicled through the many pictures Margaret has put up in their home (much like my wall at home). It was interesting to be a part of their routine and listen to the children talk about their day. At which point, it really made me realize that life is full of simple pleasures – the pitter patter of children running about, the warm hearth, the soft tinkling laughter of Margaret, the warm smiles from Bob and his son and  how, in their own way, they enveloped me so easily into their fold.

Came home to a dinner of succulent roast lamb & vegetables (beans, carrot & cauliflower) and spent some time chatting after dinner. By 7:45 pm I was ready to call it a day!

The quaint little heaven they call home is just perfect – the heater making the room warm and toasty…and my bed was inviting.

A long but lovely day that reminded me of simpler childhood holidays (Bob & Margaret are the quintessential grandparents – they pampered me to bits!)

I’ve always believed that every Wandering has its own feel – but a homestay is something that I definitely recommend  in New Zealand for those who want to experience the peace & quiet of the local life here and leave with a warm, fuzzy feeling!

More on my Wanderings soon….

Ciao, Farah

About Rangiora:

Rangiora was occupied by Maori for several hundred years before the arrival of Europeans. The beauty of the area and the potential for grazing lands inspired a Canterbury surveyor, Charles Obins Torlesse, to build the first dwelling in the town in 1851. The main industries in the area are lamb production, dairying, fruit growing and mixed farming. Southern hemisphere truffles are a new specialty crop. The town has several interesting museums and some wonderful heritage buildings, including one of Canterbury’s oldest wooden churches. The beaches of Pegasus Bay are within easy reach and the nearby rivers are popular for fishing and walking.

About Farah Bode: When she gets time from travelling (or getting people to travel), Farah enjoys music, interior designing, dancing and shopping in the bustling streets of Crawford Market, Mumbai. Some of her previous conquests include Canada, US, Philippines, Kenya, France and Italy.


Come alive…in the Arctic landscape – By Abhik Dutta

Lapland

It’s snowing…huddled in the cosy little room in the Arctic Finland (Lapland), I know the temperature is roughing out between a minus 6 to minus 18. And that is really cold.
The daylight is for approx 4 hrs only from 1030am to 2.30pm (sunrise and sunset resp). But then, surprisingly, this is the time when this region, called Lapland comes alive.

A land which holds a Narnia like appeal…a land, if you look at the map is loosely the Northern tip of Europe covering northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia most of which is within the Arctic Circle.
I spent a couple of days last week in Finnish Lapland in the small town of Saariselka, considered to be one of the Northernmost resort towns in the world.
A land where the white winter calls out like a siren to me.

Day 1: The Finnair flight from Del-Helsinki connected to another flight to Ivalo, 250kms inside the Artic Circle. A short 25min drive brought us south to Saariselka where we spent 2nights. Cold, dark and snowing, the mercury had plummeted to minus 15 deg C. We were escorted to our glass igloos in the resort village of Kakslautannen, a small resort with log cabins as well as igloos (both ice as well as the more comfortable heated glass igloos). The glass igloo had a small attached toilet (no shower) and twin beds. Small but cozy….and definitely had a warm appeal to it. What took our breath away was the glass dome, a way to ensure that in case anyone sees the Northern Lights, all you need to do is peep out of your blanket and voila!  But unfortunately, the Aurora Borealis proved elusive that night.

After unpacking, we trudged to the other side of the frozen lake (on which Kakslautannen is located), to the communal sauna. Walking on the wild side, we decided to go by the old adage, “When in Rome…do like the Romans” In this case, we followed the local Finnish custom….we went into the sauna, got suitably warmed up, then ran in the buff to take a snow roll and run back inside. After another 10 mins inside the sauna, we ran another 20mtrs to the lake, where they had carved a hole in the ice, took the ladder down to the icy waters of the lake for a dip, came out, searched for a white towel in the white landscape in a disoriented state, abandoned the search and ran back to the sauna..the towels would follow later, some day.

Boy, were we glad that Day 1 ended at all.

Day 2: In the morning, we packed our bags and walked through snow (roller suitcases/strolleys aren’t meant to be dragged through foot deep snow) to the main lodge for breakfast. Post that we drove over to a husky farm where we were first outfitted with a thick overall and snow boots and then met up with the cutest bunch of snarling huskies for a 30min ride through a frozen forest. I will not use the word frozen again. Whenever in doubt about the state of mind or body or the surroundings, rest assured it was always frozen.

And if we thought that the glass dome and the dip in the icy water was the highlight, Day 2’s husky ride was an experience, which probably, I wouldn’t be doing justice with mere words. A MUST EXPERIENCE!

By now we were hungry, so off we trudged into Holiday Club Saariselka in the heart of town – ideal for families who want to be in the middle of a small town. The resort claims to be the Northernmost spa hotel in the whole world. Its USP is the large indoor heated swimming pool complex. At plus 32C, it’s a fantastic break from the minus 15C outside.

Post lunch we returned to Kakslautannen Resort to our 2 bedroom log cabin. Equipped with a kitchenette, common bath in the living room, a children’s room with 2 bunk beds, a fireplace and the master bedroom with a private sauna;) this is ideal for a couple with 2 children. After another mandatory sauna, we left for another spectacular trip…Northern Lights hunting on snow mobiles. These 800cc bikes are easy to use and fun to ride. Once again we were outfitted with a warm outer dungaree, balaclavas and snow boots. A rudimentary lesson on snowmobiles followed. But we had all seen Mr. Bond plowing his snowmobiles all over the world in countless movies to know how to ride one. And so off we went. The 10 snowmobiles zooming off into the winter landscape in single file with headlights on. By now the snow was soft but fell relentlessly on us. We followed a forest trail sheathed in white, the trees laden with pure white snow and drooping onto our trail. Soon, we left the city lights behind us. The soft glow of white light of the Arctic sky brought out the eerie beauty of the place. We zigzagged through narrow forest trails, over a frozen river bed, revved up small mounds and zipped down the inclines. Pure adrenaline rush. After a while, we halted. The guide asked us to turn off the engines and soak in the Arctic night. Nothing prepared me for this. The stillness of the landscape punctuated by the silence of falling snow. We were on a mound with the fell below us. The soft, white light of the Polar night illuminated and embellished the landscape. There would be no sighting of the Aurora tonight. The snow was heavy. But, it didn’t really matter. We started on our journey again. A few minutes later, we reached the end of a trail. The guide asked us to switch off the snowmobiles and follow him down an incline towards a frozen stream. A small tent awaited us there. We sat around in a semi circle on reindeer skin rugs, while the guides went about their business of preparing a small fire, putting the kettle on it for some hot tea and coffee and grilled up some excellent sausages! 30mins later, we were off again, this time bound for the city lights, which would appear soon enough. But till them we would continue with the ride of our lives.

Day 3: We boarded the 9am coach from the highway bus stop. This is a daily Saariselka to Rovaniemi coach and costs Euro 42.60 per person for the journey. A very scenic drive of 3-1/2hrs with a 20min halt in a small town for a rest break. The bus eased into Rovaniemi bus station at 1230pm, from where we were picked up by our taxi. There is no train or flight between Saariselka and Rovaniemi. The road journey is excellent. In summer, the snow would disappear giving way to nature to show its true colours. After checking in at Santa Claus hotel in the town centre, we took a cab to the Arktikum (the museum), followed by a drive around town and were later dropped off to the Santa Claus Village. A fairy tale village which comes alive in winter!

And guess who was in…none other than Mr. Santa Claus – who I had the honor of meeting and just when I thought that I had seen and done it all, I had Mr. Claus tell me that he had heard good things about me! Photography is not permitted as they take their own snaps and video for you to buy. Santa Claus also has a house in Saariselka and there you can meet him in private without the rush of Rovaniemi and can take your own snaps. Needless to say, kids will love the place as will adults. Next up was the Post Office which handles hundreds of thousands of letters every year with December being the month when Santa is flooded with mails from all over the world. There are 2 boxes. If you post your letter in the red one, it gets posted immediately. If you drop it in the orange one, it will be posted during Christmas. We returned to our hotel and later were driven 10kms out of town to a reindeer farm. Here we put on the warm overalls, and went for a short, sweet ride in a reindeer sleigh. Not thrilling like the husky dog sled, but quite an interesting one. We returned to our hotel, went to the sauna for a mandatory run in and later at midnight, went to a local Karaoke bar which was packed to capacity on a Wednesday evening and stayed on till 2pm listening to drunk, middle aged Finns singing out-of-tune Finnish songs.

Day 4: Drove to Rovaniemi airport (10mins away). Flew back to Helsinki where it was a warm minus 8! The Baltic Sea was frozen as was the quaint city.

Sitting down to pen my words, I go back to every second of my stay – every experience which, I equate to being a book in my Travel Diary. The magic, the mysticism, Santa Claus, the huskies, the Northern Lights…Wandering has never seemed better! Packing my bags, but already working out my schedule to head back yet again into the white magical land of Lapland.

Wanderers’ Flavor in Lapland:
–    There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.
–    Winter tours in the Arctic in Lappish Finland till mid April. Catch the Aurora Borealis on snow mobiles, ride a husky dog sled, meet Rudolf the reindeer and be an easy rider
–    Stay in igloos or log cabins; soak in the sauna; go skinny dipping in a frozen lake
–    For the adventure buff, there’s a lot more in store for you. In winter, go cross country skiing, snow-carting, snow rallying, ice fishing, heli-skiing, multiday wildness safaris on snow mobiles or on husky sleds.
–    Experience the ice breaker Sampo
–    Learn to ski, build an igloo, go on a snow shoe trip
–    In summer, go for hikes, experience the land of the midnight sun, go fly fishing


Postcard from Cambodia-Part 1- by Abhik Dutta

Postcard from Cambodia
Part 1:
Reaching Cambodia

April 2005.
April, they say, is the worst month to travel to Cambodia because of the heat. So, I being me, against all sane advice that I downloaded from the internet, decided to go to Siem Reap from Bangkok
by road.
The journey from Bangkok started on time. 8am
to be precise. The road to the Thai border Aranyaprathet (also known as Poipet) was like a smooth runway. In 4 hrs I was there.
Shortly thereafter all hell broke loose. Our group of five was made to sit outside a small eatery on the Thai side of the border. The agent’s agent (I shall call him ‘Bon’ as a local in these parts would pronounce the International super-agent) at the border initially gave all five of us in the van the Cambodia visa forms. The other four, I learnt later, were all on a ‘visa run’, where they’d do a small ritual of crossing the Thai border, getting a Cambodia visa and then exit Cambodia immediately to re-enter Thailand. A process that takes 2 hrs and 200meters to complete. It’s generally done by those who are working for a long time in Thailand
and need to renew their visas after 30 days or 90 days.
Bon came back in a while saying contemptuously, ‘You Indian’? (The emphasis on the second word was not lost on me).
I said,’Yep’.
‘No visa for Indian at border. Okay?’
I gave him my as-nasty-as-I-can-get look (eyes narrowed down, lips curled in a snarl) and croaked  ‘And why not?’.
He looked right through me and said ‘You pay me 2700 baht. I try for you. Ok?’
I would have none of his nonsense and said (in my suddenly acquired Thai accent), ‘No ok. I go wih you to immigration. No pay more than foreigner’. (Meaning the other 4).
Bon looked at me for a very long time (that usually means bad news at the border) and said slowly, ‘then you sit heah, mistah. Ok?’ He threw my passport and visa money on the table and disappeared from the restaurant.  Half an hour passed. I gulped 2 bottles of water and some tasty fried vegetables in Oyster sauce and made some conversation with Bon’s dog (I shall call him Bon-Bon), just to show that we Indians are a friendly lot and there’s no harm in letting a dog-loving-Indian cross the border into Cambodia.  Soon Bon came back with the visas of the other 4 travellers and asked me ‘Wha hab you decided?’ I said, ‘No pay more than foreigner’.
He was disgusted with me and disappeared again. I drank a little more and made more conversation with Bon Bon.
An hour passed. Bon returned and with his hands on his hips said, ‘Ok, you follow me’. Bon, me and Bon-Bon walked single file towards the border. We went past the market and took a left turn to reach the Thai immigration counter. After a 30min wait in the queue, the Thai official issued an exit stamp and I was on my way to the Cambodia
immigration counter, 50 meters away.
A huge gate with the slogan “Welcome to the Kingdom of Cambodia” stood out like a sore thumb. I prayed that this should not be the first and last glimpse of Cambodia. Bon caught up with me at the counter and asked me for the passport and 1500baht (actual visa fee is 20US$). I duly obliged and sat for another 30mins. It was hot and humid. The gun toting border guards were smoking and chatting away. I saw Bon-Bon crossing over to Cambodia
. What a dog’s life, I thought. Strange thoughts cross one’s mind during times of border crisis. I wondered whether Bon-Bon was born Thai or Cambodian. He looked quite Indian as well. Sullen and morose. Just like me. But at least he could cross. Bon came back to me and said, ‘here your pahport. Visa ok. Ok? Now you go to immigration and wait for me on the other side.’
At the Cambodia immigration counter, there was this crazy Japanese tourist (you can make them out by the large floppy hats, knee-length shorts, the omnipresent camera with a mile-long telescopic lens dangling around the chest) hugging all the border guards one by one and shouting ‘Better than sex, better than sex’. He looked ecstatic. I wondered what could have induced a well-dressed Japanese backpacker to hug the Cambodian border guards at two in the afternoon on a hot April afternoon and think of sex.
His story unfolded. He had arrived 3 hrs earlier and realised that he had lost his passport (the ultimate nightmare for a tourist). He searched for it on the Cambodian side, on the Thai side and on No man’s land in between. He searched for it inside his backpack, inside his T-shirt and shorts, inside his pouch. Inside his camera bag. Inside Thai and Cambodian loos. Everywhere. Soon, he came to believe that he would be required to spend the rest of his miserable life in No man’s land just like Tom Hanks in The Terminal. 3 hrs later he found his passport on his head underneath his cap! I understood why that moment felt ‘better than sex’.
In another 30mins (everything in Cambodia takes at least 30mins or 1 ‘dolaar,’ I learnt later), I was giving an angelic smile at the immigration camera and thanking the officer in bowed reverence. ‘Enjoy your stay in Cambodia
‘, he said. ‘Not many Indians cross this way’.  And he stamped and handed me the passport.
It was that simple. Indians do get Cambodia
visas on arrival at the border. Later, when Bon and I became friends for five minutes, he said that his stern gaze and the act of ‘throwing’ the passport on the table usually makes ‘third-world-country-travellers’ pay up whatever he demands!
Bon and Bon-Bon were both waiting on the Cambodian side. The former on a motorcycle. I bid a fond farewell to Bon-Bon (who couldn’t care less and trotted off to Thailand). I sat behind Bon and he whizzed off. Turning, he said, ‘Wehcome to Cambodia
, Ok?’ In the same breath he asked, ‘You tip me mistah, Ok?’ He seemed to know every second person we zipped past. Five minutes later he stopped outside a small tin-roofed building and said, ‘Your bus will come here and take you to Siem Reap’.
‘Its air-con, right?’ I shouted after Bon as his small frame vanished into the dust of Cambodia
. I faintly heard two words drifting out of the red haze, ‘Yeah, yeah’.  There were fifteen of us inside the tin-shelter. All of us bound for Siem Reap. An hour ticked by.
Soon the bus came chugging along and halted outside the shelter. There was a mad scramble as we tore, kicked, stamped, gouged each other apart to get the desired seat. We Indians were raised for moments like these. Second row, left window seat. The 3rd world passengers (Thai, Cambodian and me, Lone Indian ranger) all occupied the first few seats. First world tourists brought up the rear. It was 40degrees outside. And 40 degrees inside with the Air-con on.
It took at least an hour for the bus to start. We were packed like sardines in it. It was like a boiling cauldron inside. We left at 3pm.

In half an hour, the AC stopped functioning. Within the next half hour, the road disappeared giving way to a red-coloured, dusty, potholed path, I am ashamed to call a road. In another 30minutes, the diesel finished. And it took another 30minutes for the driver and his comrades to get a barrel of diesel from the undergrowth and fill up the tank.
I settled down for the inevitable. I opened the window to let the hot air from outside cool the interiors of the bus. In the distance I heard the thunder. It looked like rain. We were all smiling.
I was en route to what has been described as one of the Wonders of the World…the temples of Angkor Wat.