Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Travel plans

          2010 was a  'hopping year'. An eventful year with UK, India and US travels. Packing bags (read relocation) was always with mixed feelings - The anticipation of new, the nostalgia, those last days in the town which has been you home for sometime, the present, past and future. The packing, unpacking, repacking, throwing-away-stuff, praying the travel goddess to make your baggage weigh less, and not to mention the resolution to live light and travel light.

2010 gave some biggest misses as well - Hawaii and Scotland! Grrrr.... Visa goddess was unhappy for the first and the Weather god for the second. While the 2010 stories and photos are still awaiting to be published, the 2011 has began with grand travel plans. Wishing everyone a joyous, travel filled 2011.

The Lone Cypress Tree, Pebble Beach, CA

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Halloween 2010

The Pumpkin patch visits starts early in October. We were done with Pumpkin patch visit and Pumpkin collection event. But, what for actual Halloween? After looking up for events around, it narrowed down to the Folsom fest.

'Historic Folsom Night of 1000 Pumpkins' is what the event said. 1000! that was a lot. The week flew by and it was finally the the day.

@ Sutter Street, Historic Folsom, CA

Folsom is a city in Sacramento county of CA. Well known for the Folsom Prison, Folsom Lake, hydro-electric dam and the Fall Fest. The venue - historic Sutter street was a street similar to the old Sac street.

The finest carving...

Trick or Treat...

A lantern depicting the effects of smoking and the one on the right, showing the aftermath.

With the Sun going down at 5ish the timing was right. By 6, the entire street looked so amazing with the lit-up Jack-o'lanterns. We were amazed at the myriad subjects that was chosen to carve the lantern. People continued to walk-in to drop off their Pumpkin lanterns. Halloween costumes, Spot lantern carvings just added to the festivities.

Along with the Jack-o'lanterns, the yummy pumpkin pastry and the pumpkin bread is what I'll remember.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A typical day in UK

Every-time I stepped out, even to check the mail box or to bid a quick 'bye', I had to greedily grab the woolens and furs, without which I would have turned into a Snow-woman. But, this was after years of yearning to live in a snowing country. I felt how much lucky we are in India, and how much the glorious sunlight was taken for granted. It gets dark by 4p.m and the lack of sunlight so much saps out the energy in you. For someone like me, who would want thermals even for a UK summer, the severe winter was unexplainable. Fellow Indians braving the cold to make the most of the magical destination was a common sight. The shops are closed at 5! Only a few shops open in the mall (i am thinking they are open extra hours, wanting to meet targets before year ending) all play the song, 'Let it Snow, Let it Snow' continuously, as if the Snow outside is not enough!

The funny phenomenon - The year 2009, southern England in general witnessed the highest snowfall in the last 2 decades. Being from the tropics I always were praying for a Snow experience - read Snow fall. But, it came in as an Ocean of Snow! People responded to initial occurrences without much preparation. But, later on even when there was a hint of bad weather, everyone in the city/community rushed to the food store to stock up on milk, bread, fruit, veggies etc. It is a funny phenomena! There were days, where we saw stores with empty racks. People had cleaned the shelves. But soon, we too started living life like that of a Chipmunk, which stores food for the worst weather. Looking up for Yahoo and BBC weather, rushing to Tesco/Sainbury's and pushing home cart loads of food was a regular ordeal, as driving in those conditions was next to impossible.

I am craving for those sunny days again....

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Bread Store

Veggie Sandwich anyone??....No, I love their wall art better.

Location - Sacramento, CA

Go Greek....

On this cold December evening we wanted to go out for a walk. December came with temperature in single digit and the sun calling it a day at Five in the evening! The hubby's all time favorite place is the downtown. Down-towns being area full of activity and non monotonous like the freeways, are perfect for visits anytime of the day. Walking down random streets, in no time we were walking down in the restaurant street or the culinary corridor, I should say. As we walked down, this Greek place was the most enticing of all.

The choice of Veggie food was 15% of  menu card (most times its b/w 0 and 10!). Elated, we settled in for the, 'Mediterranean Pikilia' - A Vegetarian platter.

There it came - tyropita, spanakopita, vegetable souvlaki, dolmades, feta cheese and Greek Olives, Rice Pilaf, tzatziki sauce and pita bread. We loved the food, specially the Greek Olives and the delicious Dolmades aka stuffed vegetables in grape vine leaves. The rest being heavy on Cheese was a real feast too. It ended as, a meal to remember.

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