Paris – Luxembourg

Namaste,

Yes, finally I am writing about my one more exciting trip!

I visited a Modern art museum in Luxembourg city center. Trust me this was my first experience to visit an exclusive modern art museum. Later in my immediate next travel I visited another modern art museum. Seriously, either you need to have basic understanding and liking of art. Else please do not visit such places. It feels like insulting the artists. This was huge museum with entry fees of 5 euros. Some of the arts were amazing. Now with the explosion of world of graphics art we really fail to connect as we don’t understand how and what was the artist thinking when they could create such a marvelous piece of art. How their minds and thoughts traveled in the time and create something beautiful. That is beyond understanding of common people. I felt other than curators I was only one who was observing the museum very keenly as there were not many people inside. What I felt was less of art pieces were displayed in huge space. I have pictures of few art pieces that I liked and have posted on my Facebook page “Vari- The divine Journey” which are open for public to view. As I was admiring all the artworks and watching everything carefully, I forgot I am on this HIHO bus. The last time for this bus was 18:00 hours. I exited museum at around 17:47 hours. I was confused whether the bus is going to come or not. I was in the middle of no where. I will share you a small video of this place it was absolutely empty place where no one would pass by. Luckily after long wait around 18:10 a bus cam and I stopped all stupid calculation in my mind to reach my hotel room. I had taken international roaming in my mobile which the guy mentioned me that it will give me 60 minutes talk time. Post returning he said no its only messaging service. He cheated me with wrong information. Who uses messaging service SMS at the time of emergency and lost? Even if I use the SMS service to send emergency message, no one is going to check that message. Somehow I was using free Wi-Fi and registering with creating fake ids and messaging my relatives that I am not yet lost! Mostly the HIHO bus should have had Wi-Fi service but it was not working. Some how I finished my day here. In the end I walked 19k footsteps. No wonder I was singing I don’t have legs…this is my song when I walk a lot. A terrible long walk! I did not have lunch, I had some snack bars and dry fruits in my bag and water bottle. I had started my day around 10:00 in the morning.

This was a quick trip to Schengen countries and officially my 4th country to travel. I had two full days to explore Luxembourg as a solo traveler. Here you can visit this country on quick trip. It is pretty expensive country, it is know for all wealthy people staying here. The infrastructure looked really posh, well maintained neat and clean. Most of the people live in the neighboring countries like France, Belgium and Germany borders connecting with Luxembourg travel here, daily for work. While looking at boards I felt it was written in German or Dutch language along with French. Out of which I read none. It was local Luxemburgish language but most of the places, shops, restaurants, and other places people speak good English. My visit was during end of the May 2019, bit cold bit warm. It was perfect spring time. I would recommend you, if you are visiting European countries then best time is Spring or Autumn season. All the pictures will be beautiful and have different shades in pictures. Summer in European countries is becoming really hot. I got the perfect timing which you can see is very evident from my photos and videos those will be coming soon. There is a HIHO(hop in hop off bus) that is now a days available in all the touristic places around the world. This bus keeps circling in the same route. It covers all the points that are in the city and with some historical importance and so on. This bus ride is roughly 1 hour to 45 minutes. Once you have bought a ticket just for this HIHO bus sit and listen to the commentary which you can listen with the earphones provided and select language out of 15 languages. The information commentary of the spots. This is my first solo trip done internationally. At places I really felt myself acting dumb and lost. Once you finish a loop and you are at the same starting point you can continue the ride and now decide at which point to get down and what all to do. Supposed you want to visit 2 museums and a park on the way. Get down at one spot see the museum or park come back to same point where bus dropped you. Get in to the HIHO bus and get down to the next location of your wish. Like this you can finish all the stops on this route. The ticket of bus journey is either valid for 1 day or may be more as per mentioned with respect to the cost paid. So in this entire one day you can keep getting on and of the bus and cover all the locations. Mostly entrance fees at museum or park is not covered in this cost. Unless mentioned in the package that you have taken.

From here next day I had no plan nothing. I just checked for some natural museum and started walking along the path which I connected from hotel mobile. Just for your information. If you give point A and point B and start routing when you had internet service. Later you just need to use GPS ON in your mobile. It shows where you are and all without internet. Just some extra knowledge, Do not close the map window in mobile in case if you are not having internet service available you can just minimise it or say switch between apps. All you need to do is switch OFF GPS from icons. This I learnt during my Geology field work days, why GPS drains out your mobile battery as it is not connecting to any local tower and feeding you live location of your device, but it is directly giving you real time data connecting with satellite. Mostly it connects to multiple satellite, if it is giving you accurate data. SO you can just click on icon wait to fetch your location and then continue. Keep an optional power bank ready with you just in case if your mobile battery drains. You have an option of downloading local map offline but yet to explore that trick. It needs space on your device though. It is interesting trick, if you know and mess when you climb steep slope for 20 minutes and then you realize you took a wrong turn. So, I walked and walked and walked! My legs were already in bad state. I was really feeling bored to walk alone , but the views along the bridge were enchanting. Another mistake I did was I did not empty my device to click pictures and was running short of space in three mobiles. I hope all my readers are learning from my blogs or my mistakes, some tricks and tips for solo travel. As I was walking I came across a beautiful valley and the views were really breathtaking. You can definitely se those in my videos. Please follow me on Instagram. I will update you if and when my videos are posted. On the way to museum I found this toy train kind of stuff. As I was walking along the uphill, I could see the meal railings here, it had locks tied on it. Mostly metallic ones. I remember my husband wanted to see this locks on one bridge in Paris, named Pont des Arts. The concept is a couple puts or ties the lock on the bridge railing and throw its key in water body near by. So, you remain locked together for life time. There is also name of a couple mentioned on these lock. I have made a video of beautiful locks but it is in Luxembourg. The entire hill has this locks on it and slowly it will be having more and more. If you take a walk you would remember my blog and definitely see these locks all over it. I was thinking is this going to be OK to spend money or euros in this toy train or just waste of money. Somehow I made up my mind as my legs were totally gone. I took this train ride. Trust me over HIHO bus I would recommend you to take this train ride. It takes you through beautiful locations goes down the valley slowly and then shows you some beautiful views. If you still do not trust me. Here is my video on YouTube.

I never thought this historic places can be so well maintained and such beautiful paths and amazing parks and greenery. Some how I like places devoid of too many tourists. This is not a toy train but it is good for all age groups. It has a multiple language commentary for which they provide you ear phones.

Later when the train finished the loop I walked again to search the natural museum. Finally I could find it. It is beautifully located on river banks. A very peaceful setup. There is a glass door at the entrance which I tried to push/ pull or slide and knock to open. I was upset if the museum is closed today. I saw working hours and just while I was about to return I managed to some how open the heavy door and make innocent face like Mr. Bean. He was fiction’s character and I am its real version. Some how this museum was also empty with only 2 ladies around and curators. I really loved this museum. It shows life and its evolution from fossils to all animals real but stuffed one. It has so many things at display. If you are nature lover you must visit this place. The museum is located in an amazing beautiful setup of nature. Its located in urbanised beautiful valley. It has all different stuffed animals at display. Lots of fossils. Semi precious stones. Display of volcanoes. Good collection of fish fossils from the valley. Some video visuals. Lots of birds and insects from large to tiny varieties. Can have some written information in English along with French. Entry fees is 5€ in may 2019. Museum is closed on Monday. Nice display of biotic and abiotic world. The display is of 3 floors building. 3 floor has amazing interactive creative display. It talks about our senses. Also how animal interaction works. It smells ancient wood there. Lighting highlights only on display so taking pictures is bit tricky. I like to see museum when it is empty. Which I was lucky here. Peaceful time to see all the displays. I have clicked lots of photos here. You can see them on my Facebook travel page of Geo-Tourism Vari The Divine Journey. All nature enthusiasts must visit. You will love to see this place. There is a cafeteria at ground floor entrance. With by the riverside peaceful view and not to miss amazing display of a plant and its flying pollen. There is lift. Rest room good for kids. Also one more thing. There is a nice information on sleep and dreams on last floor. Person like me spent 3 hours to see it. Could have gone more slow and admired nature at its best evolution traces. Later I finished museum and just walked uphill. Had a lentil soup, got fresh then ate a lots of food and was dead tired for that day.

Next day was my yet another new day. I was going to travel in a double decked European fast train TVG in first class boggy from Luxembourg to Paris. This was my first trip to France, till now I have just seen it in Hollywood movies and hear that this is very beautiful place. Thanks to my husband! There was all new mess on our way to the train. Post hotel checkout a taxi came to pick and the driver was a lady in mid 50s. I had not bought much bags just one sag and one cabin bag. The lady quickly came and loaded my bag in the taxi. I was impressed as she was no where hesitant to pick baggage for being women. We had kept print out of the train station or Gare. So that there should not be any mistake in the name of place. As per guided we started to walking to enter the train there were roughly 20 minutes left. As we were informed, train comes only few minutes before the boarding time near platform. This was terminal station. Since we had reservation we were cool till now. Later we were informed after inquiry take a bus to go some xyz station your train will be going form that place. Oh my goodness! We were now trying to reconfirm and check if the information is correct or what is happening. Some how we went to information desk. He wrote a bus number and station name and said your train is going to be on that station. We started asking where to take bus ticket he just said go there. We got into bus and some how we reached to station just 5 minutes let for train to leave. We rushed and then got the platform where the train was yet to come. The display said Gare de l’Est coming on the same platform. The train with display Gare de l’Est finally arrived on the platform. We went inside. There is special place to stow your bags. We settled in excitement which lasted for next few minutes. We were only 2 sitting in the train now with some train staff around. I was still not realizing this fact. I was just happy. Now the train will move. Then someone mentioned that this is not right train. Get down. We felt totally lost now on what is happening today. All the passages were stranded on platform with all the bags. The empty train then had gone and then came our train. SO, finally we went and sat on our place. It was so exciting to travel with this TVG fast train. Like any other tourist, I clicked some nice pictures inside. Seat in front of us was empty. An elderly couple came and shifted their seat with us. Entire journey we saw green pastures around the track. Weather was beautiful. Entire train is air conditioned. A TC comes and check all the tickets. There was a pantry boggy inside this train. I was excited to explore what all I can have to eat here. Just some tea, coffee with cold drinks and cookies, biscuits and chips. Here I remembered Chef Gordon Ramsey’s episode on YouTube. He was travelling in India and he took an opportunity to cook in Indian railways. Here he appreciated the food that is available on board in Indian railways . Freshly cooked and served in huge quantity and made in difficult conditions. I just bought some hot chocolate and homemade cookies. Just my Indian apatite needs warm food in bulk quantity always.

Here comes the next drama. I was now in my 5th country, France! I was so excited and happy. We had booked a hotel Holiday Inn, just near the station as all the touristic places are in this area. We reached at reception counter and I realized something. I had forgotten my sag in train which was kept up. In excitement to reach Paris I just forgot it. Now the entire universe started revolving in front of both our eyes. I made a quick decision. I said I am going back to station, if the train is still on platform I would have chance to find my bag, I will return here at hotel. I had my passport in it and 3 mobile devices with some euros. Some how I ran like I have to win gold medal in Olympics. The station was exactly like CST station in Mumbai. I did not know which platform our train came. I went to gate station master who asked me what happened? I said with my dumb face, I forgot my bag with passport in it in the train. He allowed me to check and go inside where all the passengers were exiting. I tried to ask few people but they avoided talking to me and walked off. Some where I found Indian family and asked them do you know the train that came from Luxembourg to Paris? I checked it and that was not my train. I went back to station master, he asked me which train I came from I mentioned Luxembourg. Since the station had changed I did not remember the name of starting station. He then went through a print copy and asked what time did your train arrive? Again dumb face said 10 minutes ago. I had no mobile phone to check time. He showed me the copy and I could spot the name of train station that we came from. Finally I found the train. Luckily it was still on the same platform. As I was running the cleaning people looked at me and asked are you looking for bag (in French which I don’t know)? I remembered my bogie number and we went and my bag was at same place where I had kept it, untouched! Everything inside my bag. I realized the moment was different. This was the moment where my mind was with joy with all the people around me. This was my connection to experience French people. I showed my bag to station master. He was happy to see me happy. This was also moment where I remembered Morgan Freeman’s expression, he do not act, he has real expressions to play. I would like my readers to tell me in comments, just in case you are in such a scenario where you have lost your passport currency and credit card, what steps you will do? It was Thursday. SO you have 2 working days for making new passport application. I had photograph of my passport in my mobile but not of Schengen visa. Here I do not speak local language as well. All your suggestions would be helpful for other readers to remember steps when caught in such a situation.

Now comes exploring Paris! It is one of the crowded touristic place. Same day we had food and then planned to visit Louvre Museum. We had booked our tickets online. I am still wondering with this online reservation availability there were people waiting outside with kids and full family to buy tickets. In most of the blogs or review about places, they mentioned about this long waiting ques and tour companies that take you to see the museum without being stranded in que. No body is going to pay surprise visit to the museum. Those who have not gone to this museum and are planning to visit, let me tell you few facts. You can book your personal ticket online. You can keep the e-copy handy in your device. The museum is huge like a university building. If you are big fan of visiting museums, plan and go. Entire one day will be less to see the museum properly. You need to walk a lot. If you are tired there are huge stairs where you can sit for while. 80 to 90 % of crowd is pulled by only Mona Lisa painting. I had it, as one of the reason to visit and see what Leonardo da Vinci was fine finishing it for 14 years. With several stories of this Mona Lisa painting one it was stolen and brought back, not found for 2 years and then after returning back to museum, painting attracted more and more visitors. At the same time there are certain stories as Leonardo da Vinci who has painted this art work was missing for 4 years and post returning he kept working on this trader’s wife’s painting for 14 years. As it is said that he went into Time Travel in those four years and and coded some secrets in his few of the paintings after returning. While other reason to visit this museum was seeing Egyptian antiquities. If you have visited any of the Indian temples during any festival. It is same experience in the chamber where The Mona Lisa is hanging. The huge hall is fully crowded. You have to move ahead in a crowd, take a darshan then quick selfie and move out from rush. Feel happy I have a proof of me seeing the painting. Beyond the barricade the painting is kept so far that we can’t even see it properly. Also I have a picture in my Facebook page Vari The Divine Journey. In this you can see. The space for actual frame is bigger than what existing painting is. So I really feel actual Mona Lisa is hanging somewhere else. Why would the wall where once upon a time Mona Lisa was hanging, before even it was stolen will be so big? Have a look at the picture and do let me know what do you feel about my observation?

There is building map with colors and numbers guiding you which artifact is kept in which place. It was nice admiring all the place. As you enter the museum from pyramidal structure, there is washroom and information desk available. We started to see from the archeological section. SO as we walked we realized there is no signs of Mona Lisa as we completed almost 40 % of the museum. As the building is huge and has multiple floors. It is difficult to find we are on which floor. It was a puzzle and treasure hunt we too a picture of map and traced out The Mona Lisa painting hall. Post finishing our museum visit we wished to have some food and exit. SO finding that restaurant exit was also a treasure hunt kind of a work. Post having snacks we saw some Hop-In-Hop-Off(HIHO) bus here. As we were tired we skipped this bus. There are many of these buses that take you circle the city. Then we headed to Eiffel Tower. We were walking. In Paris you will find lots of this App scooters and bicycles, that you can pay online and use it. It is really convenient and a cost effective option. In Paris everything is in nearby areas, but you really have to walk a lot. This was my 3rd consecutive day to walk. We already finished 17k footsteps. Then we visited Eiffel tower premises. While walking on the way we had planned to walk from the bridge named Pont des Art. This is bridge I just near to the Louvre museum. For its locks all over it. To our surprise when we reached here all the locks are removed. Except for the few remaining here and there. This tradition is hazardous for bridge and hence in 2014, they removed all the locks and put glass railings instead. Now anyone who is traveling to these places knows where to find railings of bridge with locks. Then we took a baggie and reached Eiffel tower. It says X amount to reach Eiffel tower in the print. The moment you reach, you find it written X amount per person. After all it is Paris, everyone here is smart and knows Paris is expensive place. SO to make money you will be tricked.

As we reached nearing to Eiffel tower it was looking enormously big and beautiful. Magnificent piece of steel art work. Heavily crowded. You can stand in a queue and take tickets to take a Otis lift and ride up to see views of Parisian beauty. We just admired the beauty from ground. There are also steps that go till top and of course come down! If you are sitting on the lawns beside and clicking pictures you have lots of champagne or beer sellers, souvenir sellers who are trying to sell all the stuff. As mentioned you need to be really careful about your stuff. People like me  they even forget bags and go while still in a moment. The places was heavily crowded. I am not comfortable with so much of crowd around. You have family crowd with children. You have couple doing all non sense stuff in public areas and most of the people are like us. Trying to click nice pictures with Eiffel tower backdrop. You can actually sit on the lawn and admire the huge Eiffel tower and also the boom of social media either to virtually Check In “I am at Eiffel Tower” Feeling blessed, Feeling happy, Feeling excited and make some trick photography to go viral. It worth watching. This places is full of tourists. After relaxing for a while we then walked on the other side of river towards National Marine Museum. You can click more better pictures on the way going in this direction. Which you can see on my Facebook page “Vari The divine Journey” or Instagram #03kanchan.

In Paris there are lot and lots of things to do and explore. You can just try and find on internet and you will see lots of places that you can visit. Museums, parks, zoo and many more things. One funny thing is I always think why do Indian tourists try to find Indian restaurants wherever they go. As an Indian we always cook Indian food at home. SO, why do we need to eat Indian food when we step out of our comfort zone? As  tourist we need to eat local food that country has. I believe food is the only thing that connects you with its culture. You get to know or learn more about any places and its culture with the food. Why not when it is French food! We did try different typical French restaurants and also Macrons! It was fun doing this. One more thing past 5 years I am living out of India. I am living in Turkey. Unlike other parts of world like UK, US, European country  or any Asian country as well , in Turkey there is no Indian grocery store. In Turkey you have Indian restaurants but they make and sell only north Indian food. It has same one gravy and different foods made out of that same gravy. Which is not even authentic north Indian food. As a food lover, we were informed that there are south Indian restaurants here. SO we definitely took this opportunity and behaved like an Indian tourist and ate Masala dosa, Uthappam, Idly of course with smabar and chutney with it. We also found typical south Indian Filter Coffee, it is served in typical dabra. Two metallic bowls locked in each other and Once you open it you mix the coffee forming foam out of it and have it. I always enjoy tea or coffee while eating my breakfast or meal. Not after finishing meal. In south Indian restaurant you do not ask for filter coffee you need to say Filter Kapi. To my surprise, they were selling Indian jasmine garland, that we traditionally put in our hair. I am from Maharashtra whose capital is Mumbai but most of the Indian women have this tradition of wearing flower garland in hair. I just love the jasmine fragrance and to wear flower garland. My husband just got me this mogra gajra. It was cherry on the cake for the day. Visit all the beautiful places from your wish list and have heavenly food and get a flower garland for yourself. I kept this garland preserved with me in through my journey with me and also got it home. Even though the flowers in the garland gets dried the fragrance still remains. As we walked back to our hotel along with lots of Indian restaurants we saw lots and lots of Indian grocery stores, Indian hair cutting salons with Indian film industry actors posters, boutique shops selling Indian wedding costumes for both bride and groom,  jewellery shops and also god idols of copper, bronze with all puja material for sale which was very surprising for me. Entire long stretch of the road was like a Indian street.  In some corner we also saw this yellow vest crowd. I remember our first plan that we made to visit Paris was the exact day this protest started. SO, we had to cancel our visit and did take a trip to some other location. I was really surprised to see lots of Indian tourists in my entire Paris trip.

That’s all from my this trip. Hope you enjoyed reading my blog. Please do read other blogs from other trips and some different topic category as well. At the same time do not forget to view my photos that are already posted on the Instagram and Facebook. Soon I will post some nice informative and comedy fun videos of my travel. See you again in next Travel Blog or Vlog. Till then Sayonara!

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