Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Backpacking in Europe Part 1 - Madrid

Here is my travelogue on the backpacking trip in three parts. Since there is a lot to write and pictures tell a thousand words, I will make this a photo-blog, mainly narrating my travel through pictures. It so happens that this is also my 100th post and writing about my Europe trip seems an apt way to go about it. When I started this blog I never would have wondered that I would reach this milestone. Anyway, here goes. Hope you enjoy this 3 part series

First Look at Plaza Mayor. it was originally founded in 15th century
walking down calle mayor. One of the beautiful streets in central Madrid
Kids dressed up for Festival of San Isidro. The celebration marks the beginning of the bull fighting season
Traditional dance form I caught in Plaza Mayor

Cathedral Nuestra sra. de la Almudena. Right next to the the royal palace
Palacio Royal. view from the cathedral. Palace is magnificent and the luxury reflects the grandeur of Spain in medieval times
View of Madrid from the cathedral
Fuente de neptuno (Fountain of Neptune) on Paseo del Prado
Entrance to Museo del Prado. One of the most famous museums in Europe. Has a great collection from 14th century to modern times
Downstairs Bar at cats Hostel. Hostel I stayed at. It was a fun and exciting place to meet travelers from all over
Parque Del Retiro. A huge park near the center of Madrid. Houses 2 museums, a lake, rose garden and was the biggest park I have ever seen

Rose garden at the park

More from the Park

The magnificent entrance of the National Library

Goodbye Cats Hostel. I am Leaving Madrid for Barcelona

I did also manage to see Musuem Thyssen Bournemisza, Archaeological Museum and the Atocha station. Also of note is the fact that night life in Madrid goes from 12 am to 7am every night, yes 7 days a week. The flurry of tourist does help to keep it going but the lifestyle amongst city's younger population is pretty much of living life and partying. Not only did I enjoy the great sights and museums Madrid had to offer but also the exciting and energetic nightlife. I Definitely recommend a visit to anyone who hasn't been there yet.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Backpacking in Europe - Update from Barcelona

I got into Barcelona last night after a fun filled 3 days in Madrid. Madrid has a lot to offer from Mediviall streets, architecture, musuems to palaces and a great nightlife. I will give a more detailed update when I post my entire travelogue. I stayed at the Cat´s hostel which has maybe 15-20 rooms with option of male/female and mixed dorms. I met people from all over in particular lots of people from Canada, ireland, some from germany, australia, US, South Africa. I walked around sightseeing entire day and enjoyed the night life hitting bars and clubs till as late as 5 am. This was still not late enough fir the locals though. Madrid nightlife runs 7 days a week as tourist pour into the city every day. Now in Barcelona, I plan to head around to Seychelles, Baritz which is supposed to have great beaches. More updates later.
Here are some more tips I missed earlier
- carry a travel book
- carry adaptors for connecting to different power outlets
- roll up clothes into ziploc bags. they take less space
- stop at the tourist information center in the airport and get maps and guides
- ask local about things to do and places to eat. Ask your hostel
- try and pick up some spanish in spain or get familired before hand. It helps to know a few words and some grammar

Monday, May 12, 2008

Summer Travel - Backpacking in Europe

First year is over and I am off backpacking in Europe for two weeks. As some of you know I was in Barcelona earlier this year for a week on Barcelona GBE and absolutely loved the place. So I am going back for more. This time around I fly into Madrid on 14th May, travel to Barcelona and then off to Paris. I may be visiting other places in france and am also considering Munich or Amsterdam aa additional locations. Obviously I do not want to sacrifice quality for quantity.

Today I did some shopping bought backpack, travel kits, summer clothes and $1 version of all tolietaries, and printed of all travel documents. Tomorrow is the packing day and I hope I can get the stuff I need into the backpack.
Here are some backpaking travel wisdom I have gained so far
> Start by acking someone who has already done it.
> If you have time browse the travel forums for tips
> Get a travel book. They have everything from where to stay, what to see, how to get there etc
> Book hostels upfront. Try (there are others) and don't go for the cheapest. Some hostels offer great experience
> Air travel in Europe is the cheapest. If you know someone ask whats the cheapest flights are then search online.
> Get help while making a packing list. Some of the stuff i didn't know about/think about - pasport holder, backpack cover, power adaptors, wet tissues, locks, chain etc
>Get a notebook to record your personal travel journeys
>Xerox your documents and keep copies separate
> Get to and fro directions from airports if you want to avoid using cabs
if I remmember more, i'll post them

As you can imagine I am very excited about my trip. I will try and keeo you updated as I g along but if not be assured I will like always post detail travelogue of my trip!
Bye for now!
Added 10:30 pm on may 13th
I bought Mountainsmith 3930 cu in. backpack and its amazing. Worked out perfectly for me. Another tip for packing that I got from my roomate was to roll up my t-shirts and whatever else I could and compact them to fit ziplock bags. Works well I must say!
I am also taking an smaller carry bag (like a college bag) for when I travel around in the city. it pretty much has a jacket, hand towel, documents, camera, water bottle, tickets and direction.
Ok I am all set for tomorrow

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Darden Rigor

I got so many queries about the rigor of the Darden schedule during Darden days that I feel I must address some of the misconceptions. Firstly I do agree that Darden is a rigorous program, especially quarter one and two. Like our Dean says “we are a rigorous program and we do not apologise for it”. The breadth and depth of learning offered by the curriculum and additional team based learning opportunities are excellent. Looking back at my first year I am amazed not only at the number of topics we covered in the area of Finance, Accounting, Operations, Marketing, Strategy, Leadership, Organization, Decision Analysis and Communication but also at my understanding of the subject matter and its practicality. the best reference I have for the knowledge I gained is my experience interviewing for summer internships. During networking events and recruiting I got great feedback on my understanding of various business subjects and issues. Having said all this I intent of this post is to inform you about the Darden schedule. I will post my typical week during Quarter 1-2 and Quarter 3-4. In the spectrum of the Darden class I would consider myself to be somewhere in the middle in terms of effort put into class preparation and Darden related activities. So here it is for your reference

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