Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Summer Internship

I realise I haven't really talked about my internship yet. If you follow other MBA bloggers you might be seeing their posts on internship progress, while I continue on and on about my travels. The reason is I haven't started it yet; I start tomorrow. I am interning with a top consulting firm in their Sydney, Australia office. The world of consulting excites me and I feel lucky to have secured an offer from my top choice firm. I am equally excited about working in Australia. I have never traveled there and continue to hear excellent thing, especially about Sydney. I first fly to a destination within US for a 3-day training and offsite, and then head down to Sydney. Its going to be a long flight!
Since I came back from Europe I haven't done much except eat, sleep, drink, watch movies and read books. Though I did take a intermediate salsa class and play a few games of tennis. All in all it was a pretty leisurely time. Now I have to change gears again to a hectic work life. I am not sure how I feel about that. I was getting used to doing absolutely nothing and living at my own pace. Well! lazy thoughts apart I am still pretty excited about Sydney and consulting work. I shall keep you posted on my progress.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Backpacking in Europe - Paris : Day 3-4

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things!

Having covered a lot in the first 2 days, the next two were less hectic but equally enjoyable. Weather wasn't the best though but the slight persistent drizzle didn't stop me from seeing what I wanted to. My disappointment was not being able to see Palace of Versailles as it was closed on Mondays. I only got to see it from outside and walk around in the gardens. However, the visit to 'Hotel des invalides' on Day 3 and Basilica of Sacre Couer, Notredame and Ste Chappelle more than made up for it!

Catching the RER train to Versailles
Palace of Versailles
Gardens in Palace of Versailles
More from the gardens
Pillars opposite to Hotel des invalides

Hotel des Invalides
Moulin Rouge in Montmartre Basillca of Sacre Couer
Inside Ste-Chappelle

Paris has way too much stuff to see in 3 or 4 days. Everything is spectacular and interesting, city is diverse, exciting and on top of all that, Romantic. I definitely think it lives up to all the hype that is created around it.

This brought and end to my 2 week backpacking trip. I felt I wanted to travel more, a lot more. There were so many places in Europe left to cover, I had to come back. I felt such incredible energy and freedom during this trip. I was doing whatever I wanted, going where ever I wanted staying as long and enjoying myself to the fullest. At the same time I learned a lot about Europe's history, art, culture and lifestyle. I felt enlightened enough to the recognise the limited extent of my knowledge and understanding. This trip certainly cleared some misgivings I had about Europe and Europeans. It came at the right time for me as I try to be more open minded and perceptive. I have always been on a quest for meaning and purpose, and this experience was another critical element of my construction and philosophy.

I leave you with a famous quote from Mark Twain

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Backpacking in Europe - Paris : Day 1-2

Paris, je t'aime! Well what else can I say. A lot has been said and written about Paris. I definitely found it to be a very romantic city; beautiful with great history and culture. At the same time I was amazed with the number of people. A huge urban sprawl wasn't one of things I expected to see in Paris and it was that neat either. This facts apart it still was a really delightful place to be in and I thoroughly enjoyed my 4 day stay. In fact there is so much too see in Paris and I took so many pictures I'll have to narrate my story in 2 posts. Here goes

Beautiful narrow streets in Latin Quarter
River seine from one of bridges

Famous Pyramid entrance to the Louvre. The museum houses over 200,000 paintings. It took me about 5 hours to cover. Most people stay for the entire day

Napoleon's dining room(Part of Napoleon's quarters) Inside the Louvre

Obelix at Placa de la concorde. You can also see Champs-Elysees and Arc de triomphe in the backgroundView of Champs-Elysees from in front of Arc De Triomphe

Arc de triomphe at the end of Champs Elysees

My first close look at Eiffel tower

Champs de Mars as seen from an Eiffel tower. A concert had just started.

Spectacular view of Paris from Eiffel tower. You could identify many landmarks. Can easily see Hotel des Invalides with golden crown, place where Napoleon is buried.

The other side from Champs de Mars. View from Eiffel tower

Eiffel tower lit upFirst two days were indeed exhausting. There is so much to see in Paris and the streets are so inviting that you could walk them endlessly. I certainly ended up doing that a lot. Next two days were quickly exciting. Stay tuned for more pictures.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Backpacking in Europe Part 2 - Barcelona

My second stop on the backpacking trip was Barcelona. I was not staying in a hostel this time around but I heard 'Kabul' is a really good one and located very close to 'La Rambalas'
I had been to Barcelona before, in March, and covered most of the popular sites. I have written all about it here

this time around I chose to enjoy the Barcelona Nightlife and cover sites around the city. I'll describe those in this post.

Sitges beach as you approach from the town
Streets of Sitges

View of Barcelona from Mirablau bar on Mt. Tibidabo

Exotic Restaraunt in midtown Barcelona. It had couhes and beds for couples to lie on and eat. Never seen that before. Barcelona has excellent variety of restaraunts with great food. Its much cheaper than other European cities. It also boasts excellent nightlife with clubs open 7 days a week, packed from atleast wednesdays to sundays and open till about 7 am in the morning. Sorry I dont have more pictures for public viewing ;)

Heading towards Monserrat on cable car

Looking down at the tram system from St. Juan

Beautiful shrine atop St. Juan

Approaching the Monastery in Monserrat

Monastery entrance

This trip to Barcelona was little bit different from my earlier one but equally if not more enjoyable. Barcelona is a beautiful city with lot of character. It boasts a variety of sites from historical, architectural splendours, musuems, palaces to gardens for recrreation to variety of restaraunts, bars and clubs for exciting night life. If you haven't been here you are really missing something!

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