Mar 30, 2015

Holy Trinity Monastery, Meteora, Greece

Holy Trinity (Agia Triada) Monastery is the most difficult one to access and therefore records the least number of tourists. There is a long pathway which takes to the base of this peak; from there you have to climb 140 steps approx carved to the sides of the peak to reach the monastery. The views are mesmerizing! The monastery existed since 1362, mentioned in scriptures and inscriptions. There is a mention somewhere that it took 70 years to carry up the building materials to the top of the peak.

This is the third oldest among all the religious houses of Meteora. The main cathedral on the peak was constructed in the 15th century. It was decorated with frescoes in 1741 by two monks. The wall-paintings surviving today are the work of the hagiographers Antonios the priest and his brother Nicolaos. A trivia connected with this monastery is: Part of it was used as the setting for the final scenes of the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.

The effort to reach the top was worth it. Lovely setting; understandable why this was chosen as a film location. The view below and around is terrific. It is a small monastery, the tour inside gets over very fast but we whiled away some more time soaking in the peace of the place. 


I paused to look back and was amazed at the distance I covered.
The view exactly below, they looked like tiny giant mountains.

Our World Tuesday

Headphone with Mic, a Short Guide

For music lovers and serious business dealers, for google hangouts and for gaming the requirement of quality headphones with mic is always a priority. If you have participated in multiplayer games you would have definitely felt the need to listen to your teammates without any compromise on background music and ambient sounds. The headset should have good audio features and also at the same time deliver your voice clearly to receivers at the other end. Good audio features here imply head phones with good music quality and good call quality. You can well imagine why the term ‘skullcandy’ was coined for their product by one company! Headphones that fit snugly on your ears providing sweet music!

Competing companies have flooded the market with hundreds of great options of headphone with mic, without compromising on any of the required features. You may tend to get lost with various features and types. Head phones are no more a stay at home things; they have slimmed down a lot and inject the music directly into your eardrums. So from these slimmed down models you need to decide whether you require ‘in-ear headphones’ or ‘over-ear headphones’. The usage of headphones, the purpose of it can help you narrow down your choice.

If you are the kind who doesn’t like over the ear, the headband style you can check out these in-ear phones. A good variety of ear buds ranging from sponge ear buds to silicon ones is available. Usually the simple models come as freebie with portable players; these get replaced by high-performance buds. You will be amazed how the sonics offered by these tiny things are good competition full-size models! Wireless headphones are portable and handy, go for them if you are keen to have hands-free phone calls. The plus points for these are they are ultra compact and lightweight compared to all models.

Over the ear headphones come in such funky designs and classy colors. There are modest ones for office environment and high end home models too. Comparatively they are more comfortable than the in-ear headphones and don’t overheat fast. They come with extra features like microphones and track navigation controls on the wire.

Then there are the full size headphones, also known as earcup headphones. In these, the earcups fully enclose the ear. The acoustic isolation is good, but being slightly large they are preferred for indoor usage. For women they can interfere with fashion accessories like ear rings.

Yet another variety is the wireless headphones. No more carrying around messy and tangled wires. Just keep track of the battery usage that will ensure uninterrupted entertainment!

Before you purchase one the safest bet will be to go through the reviews and ratings. You will get headphone models and brands that work better and offer more functionality for a lesser price if not same.

Boutique and Mid-segment Hotels, Bangalore

Continuing my series on hotels of Bangalore, this post is on boutique hotels and mid segment hotels in Bangalore. There was a time in 2007-08 when accommodation prices rose up to Rs20,000 a night. There was a severe scarcity of good hotels and accommodation facilities in the just emerging high tech city Bangalore then. Industrial sector had slowed down a bit, but the rush to city for new business ventures never slowed. Add to that there is tremendous increase in quality of specialized fields in treatment of ailments. Hotel industry of Bangalore has judged this requirement well and has done well to utilize this opportunity to expand its wings.

Hotel operators are expanding their business and developing new concepts to compete and thrive in this field. One new concept that is gaining popularity and demand is the boutique hotels in Bangalore that exude quality. These are exclusive property both in the heart of the city as well as in the peripherals that cater to different budget segments of client. They offer exceptional level of services at premium rates. There is a good combination of affordable luxury and home comfort and also combining state-of-the-art business and recreational facilities in a boutique hotel setting. Boutique hotels in Bangalore, I find are unique in character. They are distinctively charming, while some are quirky, cutting-edge, and some trendy, some others funky or classic; all characteristics cater to different interests of travelers. The hospitality industry sector of Bangalore has raised its standards just has the customers have varied their interests while traveling.

There has been a spurt in the number of branded mid segment hotels in Bangalore. For the past one year this sector has seen a significant growth partly due to the Centre extending the 'Tourist Visa on Arrival' scheme to Bangalore airport to foreigners arriving from 11 countries. So there is a good demand of good hotel rooms due to increase in inflow of tourists to the city. Multiple brands have mushroomed suiting different budgets of the travelers. Cost of rooms could be Rs.4000 to 8000 per night. Each hotel is distinct, meaning each offer different facility catering to different affordability level of the customer. The market which was earlier ruled and dominated by 5 star and luxury hotels is slowly giving way to mid segment hotels. The mid range hotels are as good as the luxury ones, only they differ in terms of size. A full fledged mid range hotel will have only 40 to 50 rooms compared to 300 to 400 rooms in luxury hotel. They take care to offer their uniqueness especially to the foreign business travelers and tourists so that brand loyalty remains and they return back again and again to only them.

Hotel bookings in Bangalore is now easy and pleasant experience. Whichever the hotel, one factor is common, they ensure your stay is relaxing and indulged with leisure, so that you emerge invigorated after your holiday or work related stay!

Mar 28, 2015

Faces of India - 206

Exams over, fun time now! His smile says it all. “Move aunty, else I may bang into you!" He was laughing away.

Faces of India, a series through which I intend to portray the various characters of my country whom I met during my travels. See more here.

Mar 26, 2015

A Morning in Meteora, Greece

Again a photo essay! I have taken so many pictures there and I want to share them with you here. I hope you are not bored with monastery photographs.

The morning of 29th Dec 2014 was spent clicking the glorious sights of Meteora. The sky exhibited huge contrasts in terms of color and brightness. At the east end it was blue and bright but the other end was dark and grey. Whatever the weather the Monasteries seemed to rule perched on the peaks! Photographers who did not want to miss the magic moment, the sunrise positioned themselves well at various locations.

(You can click on the pics to enlarge them.)

The westward sky that day, grey clouds threatening to rain any moment. St. Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery.

The dead end? Motor-able road ended here  but there was a way for the trekkers.

This picture has 4 of the 6 monasteries. To your left bottom is the Roussanou Monastery, the one slightly above it with red roof is the St. Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery, the topmost one is the Great Meteoron Monastery and the one to you right is the Varlaam Monastery.

SkyWatch Friday