Thursday, January 22, 2015

Walk about in the Zaragoza Market

After a while the amount of info that a brain can handle becomes saturated and one needs to get out of conference rooms to breathe. That is what happened to a colleague and me in Zaragoza. We were invited there to cover the 2015 UN Water, Annual International Zaragoza Conference. So we hitched up our back packs and took off to the nearest bus stop. In minutes some friendly faces advised us taking bus 35 to down town Zaragoza where we could go and see the main Plaza. Costing us hardly 1.2 Euros we bought our tickets with the conductor and off we went jumping off at a spot the driver advised us to get off at.
As we walked we noticed this market in a beautiful arched building. All sorts of fresh produce were on sale as you can see in the pictures below especially my absolutely favourite garlic. e
There were beautiful green chillies and also very prettily veined cabbages -- see pictures below:
And best of all a shop with what looked like home made sausages! Obviously the Spanish love their pork and sausages!
Then once we had filled our minds with the colour and our sense of smell with the food on display off we went to see Julius Ceasars Baths and wall and marvel at the ingenuity to the Romans to come so far afield to capture parts of Zaragoza to add to their conquests.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The beauty of Zaragoza

The amazing beauty of Spain cannot be denied lies not in its large cities but in the smaller cities like Zaragoza. So when I was selected to attend the 2015 UN Water, Annual International Zaragoza Conference a shiver of excitement ran up and down my spine. Having stayed in Europe for two years while doing a Masters course in Journalism I fell in love with the beauty and history of Europe. Ofcourse we were going for a Water Conference so the whole day we were busy working in halls just swotting over water issues, but come the evening we got the time to wander around and Zaragoza is safe for women alone even at night.
Landing in Madrid we were charmed by its wonderful T4 S terminal with its very unusual roof, quite unlike any other in the world. It set the tone for our expectations of Madrid and Zaragoza. Collecting our luggage off the carousel in Madrid we headed for the railway station called Atocha. What a stunning building and all the way there we stared at the beauty of the huge fountains in Madrid.
Standing and waiting in a que for my Renfe ticket was a new experience with having to take a chit with a number and waiting for the number to get called. However rather than pay 75 Euros for my ticket if bought online like my colleagues did, I paid 55 Euros as it was one of the last tickets left to be bought.It took an hour for the speedy Renfe to get m into Zaragoza and into my rather modern Tryp Hotel. All the way the scene outside my train window showed quaint villages in very arid looking countryside.
Reaching Zaragoza finally I asked around for my hotel in the cold evening air and few knew the name. Then finally it was the cab driver who almost walked me to my hotel, people are that friendly and helpful in Spain.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Growing hanging baskets in London

Am on a visit to the UK to my older son David's home. He has a brand new home which is in dire need of the garden being done up. The first thing I was keen on was to grow hanging baskets. So off we went to a garden centre and bought a couple of baskets from there. We also bought a bag of compost, little realising that at the end of the garden there was a lot of old composted grass! Each basket needed a fair bit of soil, so I dug out some compost from the back and filled the base of the baskets. Then I poured in both baskets and equal amount of compost from the bag. It looked pretty much like ours except that it was sieved! We had bought trays of Petunias which we put down into the baskets. Both trays were identical so that we got both baskets looking pretty much the same. Take a look at the initial picture.
In no time the little plants that I put down grew double their size and began to peep out of the baskets. Have a look, its fun to make baskets but I agree you need the British summer weather to maintain them!

Friday, May 2, 2014

A visit to the Smokies!

The green had splotches of white streaked across like some giant painter had decided to show off his skills. The Dogwood were in bloom across the Smoky Mountains in Knoxville Tennessee and we were driving through to enjoy them.
Every now and then we stopped the car to admire the streams gushing down the mountains making pictures that could be framed on any formal wall. The Dogwood are pure white and looked amazing against the green of the new spring foliage of the trees. All that came out of us were gasps at the beauty of the scene. Take a look at the picture and you can see what I mean.
There were Cayote and a couple of deer and to our amazement three Black bear that everyone who visited that day were able to view.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Sandhill Cranes of Nebraska, USA

It was an amazing experience to go to the Crane Trust in Grand Island, Nebraska, to see the migration of the Sandhill Cranes. Sometimes we humans are so caught up with the pressure of life and living that we do not pay enough attention to the beauty of nature around us.
At the centre the displays of the birds were marvelous as you can see from the pictures.
Even the notes put up for us to read up on the birds were so educative.
Then we went out into the field in minus temps and actually saw the cranes. Our pics do not do justice to the birds as I had not brought my Canon SLR unfortunately. Anyway seeing them take off from the fields and into the sky was amazing.

Monday, February 3, 2014

What are those weird Black birds??

As we walked down town in Austin there were these flocks of black birds all around making the most weird sounds.They were not unpleasant sounds, but still they made us stop and stare. Andy thought it might be a squirrel as we do have squeaky squirrels that trill like these birds back in India. But I was sure they were sounds coming from the birds.
There were a more buiscuit coloured variety as well and I think they are females. Take a look--
Their droppings were all over the pavements, splattered across the old brick roads and under the avenue trees along with the rock pigeons. Apparently they are called Great Tailed Grackles and they have becom a sort of invasive pest across the state of Texas. Very interesting for me a Science and Environment journalist -- great story idea.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Food in the US cheaper than India

Look at that picture! Milk is so much cheaper here in the US. In India milk is now Rs 30 a litre and I wondered how the poor manage in our country straight away. Even chicken is way cheaper than India over here and I am really surprised. Fruit which I live on is also quite reasonable and I literally live on apples and pears. Why is food so expensive in India I wonder? It really is hard for me to understand.