Tag Archives: Travelogue

Gateway of Arch

This must be my 10th trip to St. Louis in the last 10 years and never once I spend any time exploring the city. From the airport to the office, to the hotel and back to the airport is what I have typically done.

This time when I landed in this beautiful city of Missouri on Sunday, the plan was not any different. A big meeting on Tuesday and Monday was planned for a day-long preparation. But the good planner in me made sure we spend the day wisely to get some free time in the evening to explore the place.

St. Louis is the second-largest city in Missouri. The city has many things to reckon to, from house to the famous beer company Anheuser Busch, to be the proud owner of the most famous baseball team, the city by the banks of the Mississippi River has many historical moments to relish in yonder.

We didn’t have much time to explore the city in leisure, for we had a busy schedule the next day starting early morning. Our choice was to pick one place and we unanimously decided for the Gateway of Arch.

The Gateway of Arch is in the heart of the city. A 630-foot tall arch made up of stainless steel is the world’s tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere. It was commissioned in the year 1968 and it took 13 M US dollars (equivalent to 80 M in today’s value) to build the structure. The visit was worth by any measure. By the time we reached, the access to the Archtop was closed. I guess I would keep the view from the top description for a different day. Here are some pictures, for your lovely eyes.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

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An Evening to Remember – Carnegie Hall

The company I work for organizes once a year musical saga right in the heart of the New York City. It is a celebration of life told through the beautiful notes of melodies by some eminent personalities from the musical world.

Yesterday was once such day. The prestigious Carnegie hall was graced by the presence of Grammy nominee Ustad Amjad Ali Khan along with his two sons Ayaan and Amaan. The maestro who made Sarod a household name.

It was an mesmerizing evening and a night to reckon for lifetime. One capture for your eye only

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

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The Madras Lighthouse

This is a continuation of my visit to Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary on the outskirts of Chennai. You can read the previous post here.

So, after bird watching while on my way to the hotel the thought of visiting the Marina beach lighthouse crossed my mind. If you don’t know, Marina Beach is the world’s longest sand beach. The Madras Lighthouse stands on the east side of the beach and was built in 1796. The red and white color structure stands tall at 45.72 Meters, facing the Bay of Bengal. The view from the top was breathtaking. The entrance fees were less than a dollar and the wait time in the evening was about 15 mins.

Right on the beach, there is the famous fish market, where one can get see the fresh spread. The fishermen sail off at midnight to get their prize catches. Some pictures for our eyes only 😊

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

It was the last Sunday of my stay in Chennai. I was supposed to meet someone over lunch but the plans changed at the 11th hour. So. I made an impromptu plan to visit Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary. The place is the oldest bird sanctuary known in India with over 40,000 birds visiting every year from all over the world. The best season to visit was winter and November was the best time to do bird watching as the avian build their nest and prepare for their breeding season.

It was a couple of hours of drive from the Chennai city. The place was located in the quietude of the Kanchipuram district in Tamilnadu. Spread over 74 acres with lakes and trees. The entry fees were about 60 Rupees (less than a US dollar), including 50 Rupees for the mobile camera.

The place was an oval-shaped pathway opening to a series of lakes and shrubs with thousands of birds dwelling. It was a breathtaking sight and the fact that birds flew from all over Asia and Europe to nest, breed, and mate was fascinating to learn.

I saw species of pintail, sandpiper, wagtail, and teal to name a few. Here are some pictures for your eyes only

Date of Visit: 24-Nov-19

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

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Travel – Doyang Dam

Travel to India is always special. Besides having the pleasure to meet friends and families, the familiar territory, the food and the sudden accost of myriad cultures never cease to touch a few chords from the yore.

Middle of November I went to Chennai on an official trip and took a day to visit my mom in Assam. Instead of lazying around in the house, we decided to visit our family in a nearby borough, about 30 KMs north of my home. The neighboring state Nagaland was about another 10 KM to the east and one of my cousins enticed me enough to visit the Doyang Hydro Electric Dam.

India has over 5000 Dam and Doyang is the only fully operational Dam in Nagaland. The dam is built on the Doyang river, which is a tributary of the mighty river Brahmaputra. Interestingly the dam serves all the seven northeastern states, serving as both water reservoirs and providing electricity.

I was told the drive was going to be an hour. In reality, it took over three hours. We drove on a mountainous terrain climbing over 10,000 feet in the Wokha city of Nagaland. The drive was rough as it was mostly a dirt road with uneven paths. I always have this fetish of driving on Indian road and though a tad risky I didn’t shy away from driving on the mountains. Here are some pictures for your eyes only

Date of visit: 22-Nov-19

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

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Travel to Richmond

The fun and pain of air travel. It was drizzling the entire day. Kind of rain I like, for the mist that surrounds often during a drizzle, reminds of good times in the yonder.

It was a busy day. Dropping kids to school, heading to the gym, series of meetings, take care of a few household chores and travel to Richmond. My flight was not until 6:15 in the evening. I reached the airport around 4:30.

Something was bothering me for a while but I wasn’t sure. And then I recalled I forgot to pack my dress socks. It took me some time to found a store but luckily I remembered about the missing socks before finding it out in the morning.

I had about 50 minutes before boarding and I thought of using the lounge. And as I was about to head out to the gate, the infamous flight delay text came. I was earlier planning to have dinner at Richmond, but with the delay, I decided otherwise. While eating I got another text indicating further delay. The flight was now over two hours delayed, the reason given was weather. And I thought it to be a harmless drizzle 😊

The announcement was made to board the plane. The distance to Richmond is about an hour by plane. It is at that juncture where you don’t know if driving is a better option than hopping on a plane. With such thoughts I boarded the bus that was taking us to to the plane, and right on the bus got another update on further delays. Worse, we were cramped on the bus for over 30 minutes.

Right now I am sitting on the plane, waiting for the plane to start the engine. We are over three hours delayed. The doors just got closed and hopefully I would be leaving soon

How was your day?

PS. the image is the raindrops on my flight window.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

350 Miles Roundtrip

I love driving. Exploring new places, enjoying the landscapes and the sheer adrenaline rush I relish when I escape from the routine. While I love driving, driving in the rain is what I detest the most.

Today I made a day trip to Harrisburg. The land of Hershey’s chocolates and neighboring town to historic Gettysburg and Lancaster( a small tidbit about Lancaster. Lancaster is the house to Amish people, who live as if the time has frozen in the 1700s. No electricity, no modern technology, no access to healthcare. They are self-sufficient, weave their own cloths, grow their own food and are a closely knitted group. The best part, they are exempted from paying any taxes)

It was a 350 miles ride and guess what, it was raining all through. But surprisingly, I enjoyed the rain. And it made me think, one can’t hate something for long, provided it is relentless in its pursuit.

Here is a capture of the road somewhere near the border of Pennsylvania and NJ, the photo was taken while I was driving.

How was your day?

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Six Mile Mountain Trail

What is the most extreme thing you did recently? Something beyond the routine, out of your comfort zone. After all the running and hullabaloos, we face in our lives, there is no time or drive to execute on aberrant hobbies.

I always have a few things in my TO-DO list, things I have never done before but desire to accomplish. From time to time I relook and make it a point to execute a few.

Three years back I started mountain biking, a new hobby, which I have never experienced before. Although I biked on dirt roads, it was mostly a flat pathway. Two weeks back I biked in one go about 40 miles (64 Kilometers), but it was an esplanade. Though I always wanted to go on a terrain trail but dreaded the thought.

This Saturday, my friend Karan, who is an avid biker, invited me to join for a rugged trail ride. I didn’t think twice before saying yes. Well, my rear brakes were not working, not a good thing while going down slopes, and my bike was not lubricated enough, but the excitement drove me to go with the flow. We were three of us and started our ride at 8:00 in the morning. It was a thrilling ride, uphill, and downhill, steep turn, narrow open bridges, tree roots covered dirt paths, sudden drops, valley, and terrain, and surrounded by stunning views.

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I fell twice. Once while trying to climb a ditch after a sudden drop, and the second time while maneuvering a turn I hit a tree head-on (helmet was a savior). I lost a paddle as well. The 6 miles trail took me almost an hour. I reached home with some bruises, but I am ready to go there next week.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Detroit to NJ

Joys of travel never fail to amaze me. If you had read my earlier post, you would know I got into Detroit with a 6-hour delay flight. The good news was my meetings went well. My flight was at 7 PM and by the time I reached the airport, my flight was delayed until 9. NJ was experiencing T-Storm and I knew the chances of the flight leaving was next to none. However, I waited nurturing hope against hope. Around 8 PM the flight was canceled and I was rebooked the next day afternoon on a different airline.

I checked the weather app and the rain prediction looked bad for the next day as well. We were three of us and decide impromptu to drive home.

To give you an idea the distance to travel was 594 miles (955 KM) and we drove across four states – Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and NJ. We started at 8:30 PM and reached home around 6:30 in the morning. I drove about 340 miles and rest of the distance was covered by my friends.

Life is all about such small pleasures. When we take decisions on the fly and treasure memories for a lifetime.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Weekend Trip to Vermont

Last Friday I reached home after a hectic weeklong trip from India. I never get jet legged on my inbound journey but still take about a day to recoup. Surprisingly this time I was balmy. We had a short weekend getaway planned for a while and it helped, for I had to drive the same day to Vermont. I ran a few errands, got my car serviced and I was all ready to hit the road.

This was our first trip to Vermont, and we were looking forward to being in the green mountain state. We booked a beautiful house through Airbnb. After a 5 hours’ drive, we reached our destination. It was 10 in the night when we entered Vermont. The place was in the middle of nowhere, pitch dark pathways, cricket noises, and deserted streets. And to add to the misery, we couldn’t find our house. Our house number was 3336 but the only mailbox number we saw was 3334. We spent 30 minutes trying to figure out what to do. Tried calling the owner but he didn’t pick up. To be fair to him it was late in the night. In the US you don’t drive into people driveway, so I was hesitant but after 4 loops, my patience got the best of me and I turned into the 3334 house, only to find the way cut into two leading to our place.

The first impression of the house was not great. It appeared old, no air conditioning and had a distinct musty odor. I was tired and without much prejudice, I retired for the night.

I woke up at 5:00 to a gorgeous sight. From the window, I could see the beautiful green Mount Equinox. Birds chirping, breeze cooler, and silence golden, welcoming me to nature’s fold. What appeared as a run-down house appeared to be a gorgeous house. A sunroom with hammock, a large porch overlooking the mountain, a treehouse on the side, and acres of wood in the backyard. There was something in the air and I planned to run in the wild and it was one of the best decision I took. I have a 5k coming up so it helped the cause. I ran for 2 miles through the beautiful pathways of Sunderland.

We went to a local place for breakfast. The place was run by an old family. Great host and sumptuous food.

Vermont Trip
The breakfast place

In the afternoon we went for the Mount Equinox skyline drive. A beautiful drive, which takes you 4000 feet above the ground with many stops in between to capture the breathtaking views. The best was at the peak, for there was a serpentine natural trail down to the ground. One of the best trail I took in recent times. The trail was 3 mile each way.

Manchester downtown was nearby. An old town charm with local shops and eateries. We settled for a Mexican restaurant, by far one of the best Mexican food I ate in a while.

Please check out the following advertisement dating back to the 18th century. It was captured as a collage in one of the old town restaurants

We came back for a short siesta. The tiredness from my India trip must have hit me, for when I woke up it was the next day morning. We visited the local areas and headed back home.

It was all in all a great experience and I am going to explore this place more in the coming times.

Thank you for reading

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content