Story of a Vacation (:-))
If i have to tell this story in a breath....
* Spending Quality time with Family and Friends
* Enjoying Small Pleasures (Coffee, Chai, Conversations, Christmas party, Gifts),
* Amazing Destinations (Coorg, Cauvery, Cotagiri, Coonoor, Ooty),
* Knowing more of our Heritage (Belur, Halebidu, Mysore, Srirangapatana),
* New Experiences (Home Stay, Coffee/Tea Plantations, Tea Factory, Wooden Craft Painting workshop)
* Visiting the neighbourhood (Bannerughatta National Park, Nandi Hills)
* Knowing the other citizens of this great planet (Animals, Flowers, Plants)
* Ofcourse.. Emptying the Pocket (Road trip, Shopping)
There are plenty of travelogus in this forum about these destinations, Hence i am not intending to put more focus on details of the destinations itself, but on softer aspects of the vacation as mentioned above.
As I see, there are two schools of thoughts in the forum about uploading the travelogues, first one is to upload in phases, second one in a single go (i.e within 1-2-3 posts).
I would be using the first way i.e. in phases as i would need time to re-collect the moments, structure the thoughts and messages, add details as needed like photographs etc and upload.
More over, i would be returning to work and new business year from tomorrow and it will keep me a bit busy during the early period. Hence please excuse me if you find the details not coming as fast as you want it to come.
Objective is to tell a story of a vacation....our vacation, so that we can read it when we want to in due course.
I want to thank three of my friends from the forum : Laluks, Lukeskywalker and Prince Zahed for helping me in organizing the basics, Thanks a bunch guys.
Hey Star, a superb start to your travelogue. I am eagerly waiting for the rest of your story! Don't keep me waiting too long!!!
Year end is a time to be proud of our achievements, review our short comings, celebrate success, thank our gods, stars and the people who supported us, make a plan for the new year ahead, most importantly have some fun with our beloved family. We would appreciate the end of the year if that particular year has been tough, challenging and full of thought provoking events.
Christmas reminds us of Santa Claus who bring gifts on the Xmas night. As my daughter has been a good girl, he has been visiting our home since last four years very regularly. This year also my daughter wished that he would visit and shower the gifts like previous years. She was also very excited that her winter vactions starting from 24th Dec
Winter is often referred to as season of romance, love. Cooler weather outside makes us think that things were warmer, but our hearts wish that the weather remains cooler so that we could remain cuddled with our loved ones.
One can imagine what effect all three events together bring on us. End of 2009 was one such period. We had forced vacations from 19th December till 3rd January due to the tough business situation, this has been announced as early as end of September 2009. Hence the thinking process started how to make the best use of these vacations.
Generally the options are stay at home or travel out. If we are staying ay home, we can choose to celebrate alone or invite larger family and/or friends, If we choose to travel, we can again travel as our nuclear family or travel with relatives and or friends.
What if we can have the best of both worlds spend some time with our friends and/or family at home as well as travel out to some great destinations in India ?
Immediately all of us thought of our friends family from Navi Mumbai with whom we had several short week-end holidays around Mumbai since last few years. Their two children aged 7 & 6 being friends of my 7+ year old daughter made it an iceing on the cake.
A quick call was made to my friend to exchange the idea of them
visiting us in Bangalore as well as we heading for a short trip around Bangalore and beyond. Wifey made a similar call to her counter part and
invited them to Bangalore. First response was we will let you know.
After few days and couple of follow up calls later, it was agreed that they
would visit us from Dec 24th till Jan 2nd.
So the planning started….
that first collage pic is excellent! i cant wait to see the details, are all those pics taken by you on this trip??? if yes, great work!!! PLZ HURRY!!!clap:
Several calls were made and options were discussed, eventually the broad plan was agreed as below.
Excellent introduction to your travelog StarVegabond !
First of all, let me wish you a happy new year and what a nice way to end a year and go into new year :thumbs up
What is "forced" vacation and what it has got to do with tough business situation?
TBhpians: I have come across this word "site seeing" being mentioned by many people in travelogs. I am no English pundit, but I feel sightseeing, it should be? (No offence to you Star)
StarVegabond, looking forward to rest of the travelog.
This is what in the North is called 'Sone pe Suhaga'. I return to today's posts index after checking out the "where did the optra magnum go" posted by sylvan and here is another fine looking travelogue.clap:
Excellent collage StarVegabond. Very different from the way travelogues are generally presented. Its like the trailer preceding the movie. Innovative I must say. :thumbs up
Well let us dim the lights and let show begin. I hope the interval (your phases) will not be to far apart.
Some Needs, Constraints and Dilemas prior to the trip
While working on the detailed planning, we faced the following
* Budget : My Friend placed himself at my disposal as far as budget is concerned. This freehand made me face the dilema of going for a luxurious or limited budget way of travel. Eventually after some information exchange we agreed to go for the "afforable luxury"
* Time : How much time we spend at Bangalore Vs how much we would travel out. As my friends family were coming to Bangalore for the first time, we agreed to spend 2 days in Bangalore and rest of the time 7 days in traveling out
* What all locations to visit ?. My friend wanted to visit as many as possible, where i was more inclined towards relaxed way of holidaying. Eventually we settled for a 2 nights at a location plan.
* Should we travel to already seen locations ? My family had already visited Coorg (once in 2004), Mysore (2-3 times), Belur-Halebidu (3-4 times), We were bit skeptical about visiting these places again, but then we included these locations as eventually our objective was to spend quality time together with family and friends and my friends family had not visted these places before.
* Ooty Vs Kodai vs Waynadu ?. This was a key dilema, Travelogues in Team BHP helped a lot. I had not seen any of the three, My wife had been to Kodai with her parents before. Waynadu was bit far away to travel. Swifted : Ooty travelogue from Laluks sealed the deal.
* Whether to drive or hire a vehicle ?. We were 4 adults and 3 kids, even though the younger kid can travel on the laps, we thought it is better to hire a vehicle as it would provide all kids to be together while traveling as well as myself (or my friend) would be free without the responsibility of driving and hence better enjoy the trip.
* Which Vehicle ?. Options were Toyota Innova/Qualis, Mahindra Xylo/Scorpio. I visited couple of travel agents and looked at the options, i found that Toyota offered better leg rooms. Innova was bit more expensive compated to Qualis. Eventually settled for a Qualis with a over the top luggage carrier.
* Scheduling the trip. Dilema was to go clockwise (Bangalore-Mysore-Ooty-Coorg-B&H-Bangalore) or anti clockwise (Bangalore - B&H - Coorg - Ooty-Mysore-BLR). Eventually settled for anticlockwise as Mysore was not perceived to be a year end destination and getting accomodation was easier (probably cheaper) compared to being at Coorg during year end.
* Delays in booking hotel accomodations. My friend did not confirm the Mum-BLR-MUm bookings initially as he was busy with his work. Later on in Nov. i was travelling, eventually in Dec, myself and wifey fell sick due to fever for 7-10 days. So we were starting at each other on 10th dec w/o any bookings done. Thats where Laluks, Lukeskywaker and Prince Zahed helped in securing the accomodations, once again thanks guys, without your help we would have enjoyed a lot less.
* Should we buy a new DSLR ?. Myself and wifey were very facinated by the photographs posted by Laluks in his Swifted:Ooty Travelogue. We were very much tempted to by a DSLR. We even went for a shopping, But eventually postponed the decision to 2010, and decided to continue with our Sony DSC-S700 and Sony DCR-19E (not used since last ~4 years).
* Last minute ditch by the travel agent. When i enquired in Oct and Nov, I had offered to pay the advance if needed. The travel agent told that there is no need to pay the advance money, but i need to confirm the bookings 3 days in advance. When i called him to confirm on 23rd Nov, he told that he does not have spare vehicle and i should look for other options. That made me run arround at the last minute. Eventually secured another Toyota Qualis on 24th morning.
* Last minute scare from my friend. on 22nd morning my friend calls me and tells me that he has a problem. On hearing his voice, i grew worried. He had the year end billing pressures and wanted to accompany couple of customers to Bangalore for some inspection so that billing can happen. These visits were being planned on 23rd and 24th. so he was under dilema what to do becuase his air tickets were booked for 24th evening and his family was travelling by air for the first time. Eventually after couple of calls, it was agreed that his family would be travelling on 24th evening as planned and he would come to Banaglore on 23rd to attend the business emergencies. We made a step by step instructions for his wife to follow at the airport and sent the document to them. Also i asked my friend to bring the extra luggage with him so that the his wife and kids are not unduly stressed. I picked up the luggage from my friend on 23rd while he was on his way from BLR airport to his accomodation.
So on 23rd night everything was set... The count down had already reached to 1, My daugher was eagerly waiting for the arrival of the other kids from mumbai.
I was both excited as well as stressed, hoping that all goes well. I once again went through T-BHP posts/travelogues to check about the road conditions, took the printout (some key posts) of Laluks travelogues to Ooty along with the route plan, KM chart, hotel details, some information about the locations from the internet etc.
Only person who was cool in the house was my wife who slept peacefully on 23rd where as i was busy doing last minute running arround.
Key Actors in this story
Before i proceed ahead, i thought of sharing the pen portrait of the key actors in this story.
My family inlcude my 7 year old daughter, wife and myself. I am very widely travelled both within and outside India, most of it on business. Wifey has seen key locations across North, South and Westen India. We started travelling on driving road trips since 2005 when we did our first road trip, Mumbai to Goa inlcuding entire Konkan strip over 10 days. My wife share my passion for travel, road trips and going through new experiences. But she does not share my love for food. My daughter moderately loves traveling, but takes on her mother regarding the
food choices. We are Vegetarians and always follow water discipline while travelling. Together we are a solid team :)
My Friend is couple of years younger to me, His family include wife, two kids, elder daughter aged 7 and younger son aged 6. They also share the passion for road trips, But my friend, being extreemly career oriented guy (even i was like him till 2007) has not done many family trips
together. He continues to stay at Navi Mumbai where as we moved to Mumbai during 2008 due to transfer of job. They are both vegitarians as well as meat eaters viz. Chicken, Mutton, Fish.
Over last 3-4 years, together we have done several week end trips arround Mumbai viz. Ganpatipule, Kashid, Nagaon, Raighad, Alibag and in & arround Mumbai. This was their first long family vacation including first air travel. We wanted to make it memorable for them. We made all possible efforts to make it that way and hoped for the best. They were also flexible enough to tolerate the aggressive schedules, delays and inefficiencies.
Our company decided forcefully shut down the operations for 2 weeks due to tougher business situation. This would result in saving of op-ex as well as reduce the liabilities of the employer towards employee leaves.
Hence we all enojyed forced holidays from 19th Dec till 3rd Jan.
You are right, It has to be sightseeing and not site seeing. My apologies, being a techie, i am used to the word "site" being used more offen. Gramatically as well as meaning wise site seeing is not right, it must be sight seeing.
Day 0 : Dec 24th - Christmas Eve
Whole morning went in reconfirming the hotel reservations at Coorg and Nilgiries. Enquired with few hotels in Mysore and got a response that rooms would be available on 30th and 31st on arrival. So did not make any reservations for Mysore.
Also took out the camcoder, inspected and found out that even though unused since 4 years, everything was simply okay and working. Only the battery had drained. Put the camcoder on the charging along with the batteries for the still camera. Went for shopping the snacks, fruits and other stuff needed for the travel.
After lunch, all of us completed the packing for the trip, one bag for each of us and one bag full of snacks for the trip.
My friend turned up by 6 PM after completing his emergency work. Reviewed the plan once again with him. Learnt that the Mum-BLR flight was delayed and expected time of landing in Bangalore is now changed to 11 PM. So had our dinner, left for the airport by 10:15 PM. My daughter joined myself and my friend to the airport. We reached the airport by 10:40 PM, parked the car and reached the arrival hall. The info board told us that the flight would arrive at 11:02 PM. So we went arround the shops. Soon returned to the arrival gate and found that the flight had landed. Eventually the two kids and the mother appeared, my daughter was thrilled to receive her friends. Eventually the count down has ended and the trip had begun for her.
We all reached home by 11:30. The Kids immediately started playing together with the toys. It took a lot of efforts to get them into the bed. Eventually when the lights were off it was about 1:30 AM.
Santa had a very short night to come in and leave the gifts as we had to wake up at 6 AM so that we start our day out in Bangalore.
Happy New year Star
A wonderful start, waiting for the story to evolve.
BTW nice collage - where's that white tiger from?
Day 1 : Dec 25th - Christmas, visits around Bangalore
Alarm woke us up at 5:45 AM, by 6 AM, all kids were up within minutes.
The first questions my daughter asked Did Santa visit us ? Has he left any gift for me ? Before I asnwer the questions she rushed to the balcony where our Chrismas Tree was located.
They found the gift warps at the bottom of the tree and also found the personalized note written by Santa for them in their stockings. The gifts were labled with their names on them. This year Santa was generous enough to give the gits not only for the kids, but also for the adults in the home.
Kids were very eager to open up their gifts, but my wife told them that they have to first get ready after all morning chores and then all gifts would be opened by every one at the same time. Immediately there was a rush towards the bath room.
We were all ready by 7:30 AM, dressed and ready to go. Kids were getting impatient about the gifts. Eventually they got the permission to open their gifts.
The wrappings were ripped off and the contents were revealed. Santa had given identical sacks along with tiffin boxes, watter bottles, napkins and ear plugs to all kids. The sacks were having a name tag with a Santa's image on them along with Merry Christmas message. The note typed on the Santa Clause letter head mentioned that Santa had not received the letters written by the individual kids early enough, hence he is gifting them something they can use during their trip.
Immeidately the question poped up. How did Santa know that we would be going on trip ?
but no one bothered to listen to the answers. If Santa knows that they were good kids throughout the year, he is intelligent enough to come to Bangalore to leave the gifts for the kids from Mumbai, he is is smart enough to know the kids are going on a long road trip.
Adults also thanked Santa for their gifts. This was the first time they were getting the gifts from Santa (= they were good boys/girls for the first time in their life)
We left home by 8 AM , had a sumptuous breakfast at SWATI GARDENIA on the Bellary Road. Everyone quietly ate the soft and hot idly, different types of dosas, chow-Chow bhath, coffee/tea for the adults and bournvita for the kids.
Again boarded the car by 8:50 AM and drive towards Bannerughatta National park. Reached the destination by 10 AM. There was not much rush, took the tickets for the grand safari consisting of deer, bear, tigers, lions plus visit to the zoo. Other option was only Tiger/Lion safari.
Completed the safari by 11:30 AM, everyone had a tender coconut each, then went into the zoo. I am not a great fan of the zoo at this particular national park. Eventually we came out of the zoo, got into the car and started back by 12:15 AM.
Originally we had planned to have our lunch at MTR (i had never been to MTR before). The kids were very hungry and music from the rear seat was increasing every minute. We had heard about atleast 30 minutes waiting period at MTR, so eventually decided to skip MTR and opted to have a lunch at Pai Comforts near the Jayadeva Hospital.
Again, lunch was so sumptuous, everyone started feeling sleepy. so it was decided that we would skip the lalbaug, cubbon park, vidhansoudha, Nehru planetorium visits and head back home.
By the time we reached home at 3:30 PM, kids had were already fresh after a short nap and they decided to go to the garden to play. The fathers hit the sack, while the mothers started their summit talk.
By the time I woke up it was already 5:15 PM and hot tea was waiting for us. Conversation continued till 6:30 PM, kids returned from their play in the garden followed by a quick wash and prayer.
Christmas party started at 7:15 PM. Food consists of Plum Cake, Pop Corns, Chips/Wafers, Fruit Juices. Entertainment consisted of Doraemon cartoon show followed by song/dances by the kids.
While dinner was being cooked, i gave a call to the driver of the Qualis to confirm he is indeed coming at 5 AM next day. He told me that he is at Mysore currently expected to reach Bangalore some time mid night, but he would reach by 5:30 for sure.
The Dad's went out to get the "Moolah" or the "Vitamin M" for the next 6-7 days. While the kids continued to play with thier toys while the Doraemon show continued on the TV. Mothers were continuing with their next round of summit talks.
Dinner was served by 8:30 PM, Kitchen was closed by 9:30 PM, we all re-confirmed our baggages, filled the kid sacks with snacks, water etc. Hit the sack by 10:30 PM.
That was indeed a day filled with lots of energy, excitement, food, conversations as well as some great photoghraphic moments.
Captions for Images in the order are
* Santa's gifts att he bottom of the Christmas tree
* Beeming kids with the Chrismas tree and gifts
* Kids inside the safari vehicle
* Deer staring at us
* some deers among the bisons
* a lazy Bear
* King of the jungle
* King posing for the snap
* Few Begums for the kings janana
* King's Deputy : Tiger
* Cousins not seeing each other, but want want to be together
* The White one looking at some interesting option to eat
* Kids enjoying their favourite
* Sisterly love
* Baggages ready to go, where will we load them ?
This is already becoming exhaustinglol: and we are still with the first day!!!
Good going Star. Keep it coming!!!
Very good write up and Pics!! Eagerly waiting for the rest now!
Could you please share the cost of the Grand safari?
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