My wintry wandering this year took me to a city, not primarily of painters, poets or prophets but of businesses, industries, and traders. I tried to feel the pulse of the city and ended up with happy vibes brimming with the beauty of a different kind. History draped houses, canals, lakes, and a large port give this city a unique character that settles comfortably into one’s memory and steps forth like old pals at the mention of Hamburg, the Hanseatic harbor city.
Category: Europe Page 1 of 8
I tried to organize all the higgledy-piggledy thoughts in my mind and found out most of the thoughts took a retreat from the mundane daily life and escaped to a world of a fairy tale. After all, December brings Santa, snowman, snow-draped roads, reindeer along with blessings from Jesus. Even an adult can choose to become that innocent child in the holiday season and escape into a different world; an uncomplicated, unambiguous and innocent world. I chose to escape to the mountains. I boarded a train from Montreaux to Château-d’Oex, in Switzerland. It is located half-way between the beautiful Gstaad in the Bernese Oberland and the small town of Gruyères in the canton of Fribourg. In fact, the international competition in hot-air ballooning is held every January in Château-d’Oex.
Around 11 am, my jet-lagged eyes saw the October morning brimming with autumnal lights for the first time in Berlin. Summer had trickled into autumn, unlike California, from where I boarded the flight two days back. I treated myself with a cup of coffee and sat down to peep into the city from my hotel window. It almost felt like a Facebook feed because of its continuously changing scenes. Then I decided to open the window a little and instantly the city came alive. The aroma from the Pizza shop, the sound of laughter and conversations, and the people made it real and intimate, unlike the virtual world. The open streets that I could see from above have an allure that’s hard to avoid. Therefore, without wasting much time, I quickly planned to see the ongoing Festival of Lights in Berlin, Germany and walk the history-filled roads of Berlin.
While living in Switzerland, I used to go for long walks. The paths are well marked and as varied as the scenery – in fact, they quickly become an end in themselves. Switzerland has over 65 000 kilometers of waymarked trails. I walked along lakes, through vineyards, under the shadow of mountains, and along small streams. One thing which accompanied me on my walks was divine beauty; everywhere and in every corner. I enveloped all my walks and kept them secured and safe in a deposit called the heart.
I strive for an hour of silence every day. It has become an essential need like air and water for me for a mindful and conscious existence amidst a world full of noise. The constant noise from the surroundings and electronic gadgets perturbs my concentration and my time for reflection. As a result, I often spend days without writing a single sentence and this inability to write hinders my inner peace. When it happens I simply pack my bag and get lost somewhere in search of silence.
The Amsterdam Diamond Museum has a travel story to tell. About a journey which began three billion years ago, 200 km under the surface of the earth, and which ends in the ring on your finger or in the pendant on your necklace. The hero of this story is the diamond, the hardest material in the world, loveliest of all gemstones. Bon Voyage!
My journey to this fascinating museum began with those beautiful words that I read at the entrance of the Amsterdam Diamond Museum. More than diamond I have always loved the story of its becoming!
Any art form, irrespective of the medium used, if it moves you, shakes you at your core then undoubtedly that piece of art is a winner. Art is something that knocks you and makes you stand face to face with the truth. Art provokes thought especially in today’s fast-paced world, where people have a proclivity of doing anything other than observing, contemplating and reflecting! Today let me tell you a tale of one such art in the form of sculptures named Old People’s Home by Chinese artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu.
The purpose of a museum or an exhibition is not about conveying information (which is a commodity in this information age) but invoking emotion from within, make a basis for reflection and let the visitor grasp the real significance of the situation. The whole idea is to present an experience. I had one such memorable experience when I entered the permanent exhibition – Defending Human Dignity by Gringo Cardia, a Brazilian graphic designer and an artist inside the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva, Switzerland.