Asheville photos

6 06 2007
NCSU- Asheville trip

Don’t forget to comment on the pics 🙂


A Pisa Party..

15 05 2005

After Venice,we decided to check out a world wonder while we were there. The leaning tower of Pisa seemed to fit the bill quite nicely.So we board the famous Eurostar ( running at a whopping 380 k/hr ), we get there and find we have to take another bus and travel for half an hour to get to the actual tower. Doesn’t make sense, if you ask me. If the only thing your town has to offer is a world wonder, you’d want the railway station to be as close to it as possible wouldn’t u ?

But I digress. Anyway, half an hour of travel later, we get to the famous tower. At first sight, its partly blocked by a couple other buildings, one of which is a museum and the other a prayer hall (I think. Entry fee to each building cost Rs.700 so naturally I didn’t bother going in to make sure)

Anyway, the actual tower is, well, not too impressive. Prejudiced i might be , but i would say its about 25% taller than the Anna nagar tower near my house. And i`m told the tilt is because of the ground breaking up under the foundations. Whats the big deal about a tower some architect screwed up is beyond me.

We figure the least we could do to make this trip worthwhile is at least climb on top of the tower. Entry tickets cost around 17 euros (Rs 975) per head and turns out people were only allowed in in batches. Pretty sensible, Too much people get in, climb to the top, the tower gets top heavy and more world wonder !

The earliest ticket we could get was for 2 hours later and we amused ourselves (well, stopped ourselves from drifting off to sleep through sheer boredom actually) by walking about the lush lawn all around the tower. Now that turned out to be a much better pass time than looking at a crummy old tower. Europeans everywhere seem to have a curious affinity with lawns. No sooner do they spot one than they proceed to strip off (yup, you read right), to various stages of undress and expose their nubile forms to the nourishing rays of the sun. And of course to gawking tourists, yours truly included). Maybe i should ship some of them over Chennai. My college does have a good collection of well maintained lawns. And theres no lack of willing eyes either..

Well back to the world wonder, climb up the tower we did, and it was no mean feat let me tell ya. I mean, the height and the distance weren’t really a factor. But thing is the higher you go the more the angle of inclination of the tower, so the harder it is. Some places you end up hugging the wall and moving one foot step at a time (at least i did). About 3/4ths of the climb climb is within the tower and the rest outside its circumference which was scarier or more thrilling depending on your point of view. The view from the top was worth the whole thing though. You could even spot a football match going on a in a distant stadium, and if u get a pair of high powered binoculars. So you know know where to head if u don’t get tickets to the next AC Milan game ..

Of Glass and Lace..

15 05 2005

When u look a map of Venice , it looks pretty huge.. the railway station , when we looked at it on the map seemed miles away from the hotel where we stayed..but turns out it was just a 10 min walk !.. so, if u take a long walk, u might just end up going from one of the map to another 🙂

Venice also has 3 main islands, murano, burano and isle of Maggiore..murano and burano house 2 of Italy`s speciality industries glass and lace respectively..Makes sense to have the pollutng industries away from the city.. Now we get to the interesting part..Turns out Maggiore`s the graveyard for all of Venice !! as in no matter who dies where , they`re taken ( yup, hearses are boats too ) and buried in Maggiore..Talk abt ghost towns ! :)..Wonder y horror movie directors haven`t gotten wind of that fact yet?..

Venice is Famous for two things, glass and lace..But if u think at least those two items would be cheaper there, nope think again..the glass pieces on display in the shop windows are absolutely esquisite..but also totally expensive 😦 ..but still that doesnt stop shoppers from just standing at shop windows gawking..believe it or not , the picture on the right is an actual photo of an glass article on display.. and belive it or not, i costs 15,000 !!.. but its a nice pic, so credit to the photographer, me 🙂

Who says dreams are perfect?:)

14 05 2005

But if you look closely enough, you’ll notice a few cracks in the dream. For instance, there sure weren’t this many people jostling around for elbow space in my dream! And in my dream, I could do what I wanted to without having to worry about paying for them (Technically, I still didn’t have to because dad footed the bill, but u get the drift 🙂 ). Prices in Venice, as with every other self-respecting tourist trap, tend to reach staggering proportions. You’d probably have dreamt of traveling by a gondola with your lady love draped over your shoulder for instance, but when the dream does come true, and you find that it will cost somewhere in the vicinity 1500 rupees for a half hour trip, the enthusiasm does seem to wane somewhat.

Another thing you would notice around the streets of Venice, is the huge hordes of doves. In some places they’ll be so thick that you have to really watch your step if you want to avoid quashing some of our feathered friends. Everywhere you go, you’ll find tourists queuing up to throw them food grains and soon have the doves literally eating out of their hands. (Incidentally, a medium sized packet of food grains cost about 100 rupees; Could have had meself some good veggie pizza for that amoutn.). Them doves just don’t seem to realize we’re humans, mostly carnivores, the only species on this planet which kills for fun. Maybe someone ought to tell them.
Not that those doves looked like they would need much protection. Whoever first cast doves as the ubiquitous symbol of peace apparently didn’t travel around Venice much. Doves there flock around in such large numbers that they are definitely more than a little creepy. One little girl happened to drop her packet of grains and them darn birds were all over her at once, some even perching on her head, while she screamed and cowered in terror. , horror movie directors should definitely check that scene out.

A Venetian Dream..

14 05 2005

Moving on from Milan, we sent out to romantic Venice..Though i`ve heard a lot about how romantic it is with its canals and gondolas et al, i was a bit skeptical..I thought gondolas and canals were to Venice what snake charmers and fakirs were to India..Just an ignorant tourist deception..

But that worry was dispelled as soon as we got down fron the train.. i may be exaggerating a bit, but it seemed the very sky took on a more rich,purplish tinge..and everywhere u turn, water water and more water…imagine a quaint romantic city..take away the roads and replacem with water..take away the polluting cars and replace them with boats and gondolas..voila,..Venice..

Venice is literally a city on water..they have buses and taxis and private cabs too..only difference is that all of them are different kinds of boats plying on water.. And the small two seater canoes can be equated to their version of bicycles 🙂 ..not to mention the ubiquitous , famous gondolas..

The feeling of romance is componded by the distant strummings of street musicians playing on every other corner or hard-up opera tenors singing on the sidewalk, blankets spread before them to collect the pennies, the people adorned with traditional costumes standing on the streets neither asking nor demanidng money , the paved streets with cobblestones, the number of people u see who are so plainly in love..The sign on my hotel said “Welcome to Venice..You see, it wasn`t just a dream..”… That i guess, just abt sums it up..

An artistic snap :)

13 05 2005

Just some statue.. came out good in the photo so thot i might as well put it up 🙂

Mr.Da vinci

13 05 2005

Statue of Leornado Da vinci..Of ‘Da vinci code” fame 😉 … Ironical that the mention of the name of one of the greatest artists of all time shud evoke memories of a paperback thriller than any of his works :)..or am i just speaking of myself here?