Friday, 2 December 2016

Book Review: Crossroads by Vinayak Mittal

Hey everyone!
Fourteen year old boy, Vinayak has written a book! These are my reviews on Crossroads. Enjoy!

Crossroads by Vinayak Mittal

Suröta clan has hopes on finding important information log lost in the Arctic. Jaden, a ten year old boy, Frank, a teenager and Jaden's best friend, Rose, A girl who can excels in stealth and Athur, the teen king of Suröta, all meet together and set off on this deadly voyage. On the way they face mythical creatures, powerful enemies, allies and much more! But can they find this information and, for Jaden alone, can he find his father? Find out in this book by Vinayak Mittal, aged 14.

I would recommend Crossroads to all fiction lovers and it also has a touch of fantasy. This is also enjoyable for comedy. It has a taste on the olden times (Katanas and swords). It has a great plot and is very enthralling for everyone out there!

Personal experience: I really liked the characters, their goof-ups, sacrifice which you will find out as you progress through the book. I have a good liking to Olden timed books, so to me, reading this was an execellent pastime. It could have had less amount of  interventions. Sometimes there are abrupt ends to important parts, but it is still relevant to the story and does not make any major changes.

I would also like to add that this book is extraordinary, if looked from the point of view that it is published when the author, my buddy Vinayak, was thirteen years old. So, hats off to you, Vinayak, for writing a splendid book of the kind. I am also awaiting the sequel Crosstimes. Wish you all the best and may your writing go a long way! 

Keep reading!
Avathanshu Bhat

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Joy of losing

Come on, who wants to lose?? After all the purpose of a game is to win. It really is terrible to walk out of the tournament hall while watching out of the corner of your eye your opponent telling all their friends about their victory. Those fake handshakes, and fake smiles on your face. No one enjoys losing!

But what I feel is while winning will get you more achievements (or maybe even fame) losing makes you wiser. It also helps in remembering your flaws more precisely than the wins.It is hard to recollect wins as easily as it is for a loss.  I remember those mini heart attacks than those winning shots!

Losing gracefully is the first step towards joy. I remember an incident where I was in Taiwan for Asian Schools and I was in a forced mate position (my opponent could mate me in the next move). I still had plenty of time left on my clock. I decided to wait there because I didn’t want to come out as an early loser. Also they were distributing chocolates at the other end and I would miss it if the game ended then. And just when I thought my plan was going to work, the arbiter came and said, “If there is nothing you can do and now, you have to make a move now.” I went red in the face and had to make my move leading to my loss. Later on, I went to the arbiter and sheepishly admitted that I was waiting till my time was about to run out and called my opponent, asking if he wanted to analyse. Voila!! What I got in return? Beautiful game analysis, pat on my back, a good friend who was my opponent few minutes back, and handful of chocolates! This is when I tasted the joy of losing for the first time. And it means a lot to me even now.

So now what does all this mean? Losses make you stronger and wiser. I have lost many games than won. Losing has its own charm. It can make you understand and retrospect mistakes occurred in past. After all losing isn’t as bad as most people think. It is soothing to hear “its okay boy! We can still try next time!” It gives you an opportunity to buck up. Sometimes it is painful, but there is nothing better than analysing with your coach who is always on your side. After all what’s a big deal in analysing an already won game?

So just enjoy the way it goes. How boring the life would be if there were only wins. No wonder chess has black and white, both equally important. Let us celebrate both. Is there anything more precious than your mama’s hug at the end of a lost game? Is there anything more pacifying than your papa’s calm voice miles away? Is there anything more soothing than having someone else to share your misery with? Is there anything more heavenly than that extra cheese pizza, or that day out at the movies after a loss? 

Losing is fun when you have lovely people around and  a free mind to accept the challenge.

Keep Playing

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The life of a young chess player

The Life of a Young Chess Player

I never imagined that chess was going to be part of my life when my mother opened a chess board gifted by somebody to me on my fourth birthday. She knew little chess and was able to teach me how to play. But that interest didn’t last for long as most of the time we ended up in messing up the place with pieces scattered all over the house. A chess sir who taught me in kindergarten told my parents that I was doing well in the game. He even gave me a CD for practice. My parents ignored it. They thought it was just a marketing trick. The CD went straight to scrap, and the chess pieces were back in their pack.
Bobby Fischer teaches Chess was the book that really got me interested in the game. My father had bought it for me and we would sit down and try to solve the book. I was so interested in it; the book only lasted for a day with all the positions worked out.
My first chess book

My mother enrolled me for a small chess club called Lighthouse where I began to learn even more about this wonderful game. Around then my mom was wondering about playing a tournament in Mulund organised by Mr. Vaze. My coach Pushkraj advised me not to play as I was still too much of a beginner. But my mom thought that it would be a great experience.

That was when I first tasted the reality of how grueling it was to be a chess player. Yes, the coach was right. The venue was jam-packed with kids running around, anxious parents peeping through the glass window to look at their kids’ game, the security guards trying to chase them away and the arbiters inside disciplining the kids and people struggling to secure the chairs. Nevertheless, when I got one of my first certificates for scoring 3.0/7, it was all that was needed to make my day. Maybe the passion for chess inside me was budding.

My mother was the first one to figure this out and she knew that it would be best to put me in an academy. She soon found some good chess players going to a training centre in Thane. It was a tough decision to enroll me there as it consumed up money, time and energy. Powai (the place where I stay) to Thane is almost 18 kilometres away from my home. But my parents decided it was worth the risk and thus began our Powai-Thane-Powai ordeal.

Those classes held under Abhijit Joshi were great fun. I think that was when I started taking chess seriously. We used to drive all the way almost every day, and I played games under dim light, mosquitos everywhere, being so hot and sweaty, with the fans sometimes not working. But I never complained. Whether it was hot, cold, raining or I was sick or I had exams, I would always be there at 6.30 p.m. sharp. Sometimes I would go to a camp in the morning, rush home, take a small break of half an hour to one hour and then immediately rush for the evening class. I would be very tired when I came back. But still I never gave up and continued going to the Thane classes for a year and a half.
In between I played State U-7(Aurangabad), Nationals U-7(Pondicherry), Sangli and Jalgaon. In simple words my chess grind had just begun!  Success was far from me, yet, I was not bothered about the outcome. I still cherish those memories. In fact, I remember some of the games, such as the first round of Nationals U-7 where I was up a queen for a rook and was completely winning. When my opponent threatened a back rank mate, I pushed my a-pawn instead of the h and got duly checkmated! What days they were!
Yay!! I got a certificate! at Pondicherry 2011

My parents thought we needed to take my passion further and then we found IM Sagar Shah. This was the turning point in my chess career. Unfortunately, Sagar thought that I would be too much of a beginner for his Saturday classes, though he did say I could go to Amruta Mokal (A WIM-elect, and a chess photographer), his fiancée at that point and now his wife. Of course, in three months’ time, I was promoted to his class!

Amruta Mokal Shah and Sagar Shah are the coolest people I know. They are not just coaches, but my family. We as a team work upon chess: we share wins, losses, miseries, victories. Staying in their house for almost six to seven hours, having lunch together, exchanging stories, cracking jokes are all the things that make the class fun.
Asian school at Taichung Taiwan 2013

Framed with India's finest young chess players at world youth chess championship ,Al ain UAE 2012
Punctuality, right mannerism, perseverance and honesty are some of the qualities that I have learned along with chess from them. And that just winning doesn’t make you a champion, being a good human being comes as a responsibility. They took me under their wings the way I am, not bothered about my flaws.

So in these five years journey with chess, what have I gained? No, I am not a state or a national champion. My name has not appeared in TV or newspaper. But I am proud to be what I am. I am exposed to a lot of realities in life probably more than many kids of my age have had. I have travelled to many places – national and international for chess. I made new friends during my trips. I have met lot of people who have devoted themselves to chess. I have tasted the bitterness of a loss and the sweetness of a win. This beautiful game has given me an identity which we have built through all these years for me and my family.
My chess family

Chess is not just a sport or a hobby to me. It has become a part of my life, my routine, my everything. Yes, I miss my father terribly when I go for tournaments (usually my mother accompanies me). I miss my school, teachers and friends.I also sometimes miss going to the lobby to play with my friends, videogames, sleepovers and birthday parties. But when I see the 64 squares in front of me I forget everything. I do not want to stop here. I love this game; I love the people around me. I can give my entire life to this no matter how much hard work goes into it. Of course I always have a beautiful family,  loving coaches and my school to support me.
My school (Podar international Powai) always supported and loved me unconditionally

Here I remember a quote from one of the movies I saw when I was younger:
“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think”
Winnie the Pooh from Winnie the Pooh movie

Sunday, 21 August 2016

How a chess player can benefit from the Olympics

Hey everyone!!

Have you ever watched the Olympic games? It is the fight between the best of the best, fastest to fastest, finest to finest and the ultimate sports event the world can ever witness. It may be swimming, athletics, badminton, hockey, football, archery or more. We may usually consider watching it for our own entertainment. But have you considered the Games, or the players, as inspiration to players interested in games not included?

 If you are a non sport person you may not even enjoy watching it. Let us take Chess as an example. It isn't included in the Olympics as it is considered as an indoor sports or may be a mental game or whatever reason would it be. But there is a lot to learn for each and every chess player. We all know the toppers such as Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Novak Djokovic. We consider all these legends as 'fine, fantastic or phenomenal" but here in Olympics they are "inspiration" to next generation!(Many people must have taken out their badminton racket lying unused in the corner of the house after seeing Sindhu!) Imagine how much hard work must have gone in for that perfection. It is not  about their wins or loses, but the effort gone into it just be there in that big battle.There were upsets, shocks, surprises and drama  in Olympics. I loved the passion,aggression, loss, win, determination focus  all here.The best was beaten by the better and the best became even better.

What I felt after watching Rio 2016 Olympics is that  there  no reason to think of what is going to happen when you are competing with someone better than you. There shouldn't be a single doubt about your capability when you are fighting it out for that big win. For all those of you watching the Rio 2016, remember the  swimming event between Joseph Schooling and Michael Phelps? Schooling was just a young boy, great fan of Micheal Phelps, who was a world champion at that time when he took a picture with him.Who would have thought that this  21- year old Singaporean would actually beat the person he admired the most? Not me for one. In the end it was he who won the gold, leaving Phelps in silver. 

Also remember how tight the match was with P V Sindhu and Carolina Marin in the badminton final? Although she lost in the end, recall how Sindhu had won the first set?  This is not only an example of "when you gain an edge you must have a tight hook on it", but also of "The game is not yet over until it is all over and there is no reason to back out. The tables can yet be turned"(here I remember Sakshi Mallik clinching that bronze in the last five seconds!). The best thing to learn from them is the humility they show. How grounded they are even after their historic victories.

All these must be utilized in other games like chess. Anyone can be up there at the top as long as you are your own mentor. Perfection does not just leap onto your lap, but has to be earned through loads of hard work and dedication. A chess player, or in that matter any player, should never be under prepared or under estimate the opponent (here I remember the game between P V Sindhu, world number 9, and Nozomi Okuhara, world number 3). It can be very dangerous and can lose you an otherwise winning match. Also, if you do win something, you must be consistent with that win. Lastly enjoy the battle just like Deepa Karmakar who finished it with that million dollar smile after coming so close to medal. It is not easy to take the defeat after reaching so close yet so far. Nevertheless, she won billions of hearts for her love for the game.

So, the next time you face an opponent stronger than you, remember to be like Schooling, Phelps, Bolt, Sakshi, Deepa and Sindhu and never back out. If you do, then you will lose the battle even before it starts. 
Here I remember a poem that I love and read over and over even in my lows by John Greenleaf Whittier:
Don't Quit
"When things go wrong, as they sometimes will;
when the road you're trudging seems all uphill;
when the funds are low and the depths are high;
and you want to smile but you have to sigh.

When all is pressing you down a bit-
rest if you must, but don't you quit.
success is failure turned inside out;
the silver tint on the clouds of doubt;
and you can never tell how close you are;
it may be near when it seems far.

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit-
it's when things go wrong that you must not quit"

Keep Playing!!

Friday, 15 July 2016

Book Review- The Hobbit

Hey everyone!
This is going to be the second book review on this blog.
This one is going to be on The Hobbit.  Enjoy!!
The Hobbit
The Hobbit is a book written by J.R.R. Tolkien and is divided into three parts: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies. This book is an award winning classic work of fiction.  
The description:  When Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, turns fifty, the wizard Gandalf, accompanied by thirteen other dwarfs, lead by Thorin Oakenshield, appear on his doorstep to take him with them on their journey to hunt and raid the treasure of  Smaug the Magnificent, a dragon who killed Thorin's father and grandfather and stole a lot of treasure. Bilbo was chosen as the burglar. But there are problems... They soon learn that an army of goblins and wargs(The wild wolves of the west) are following. Read through this exciting tale and you shall be transported to the wonderful world of Middle Earth!! 
·       All three parts of The Hobbit
·       Maps: Thror’s Map, Map of Wilderland

Recommendations: If you wish to have a taste of Old English(with words like ere, whither etc), then this is the right book for you. However, I would not recommend it to someone who likes comedy. Also if you're a fantasy lover, this is just the right thing for you.
Personal punch: I read this book when I was ten years old and I really liked its fluent language which also pushed me to reading The Lord of the Rings, the sequel, to this book(Also note that The Lord of the Rings may not be so simple to understand without reading The Hobbit first).

I also loved the characters, such as Bilbo for his timidness, yet thoughtful, Thorin for his occasional arrogance and long speeches, and Gandalf for his wisdom and mysteriousness.

That’s it for the book review of The Hobbit. Enjoy reading!

Thursday, 31 March 2016

A Day in the Life of a Dog

A Day in the Life of a Dog

Bark Bark, Woof Woof.
(Translating doggy language)
There we go! Hello friends! My name is Dog. Sorry about that. I was just trying out a barkslator to talk to you guys! I ordered it from… Petkart was it? No, it was… yeah Dogazon! I just remembered. Anyways let me show you my house.

There we go! That’s my house! Cool isn’t it? It is homely. It is actually a mansion. But it is a rat’s paradise. I think you guys call it a dump. I even have a phone and it is awesome! Anyway, let’s explore someplace else. I shall introduce you to my neighbors.

It is a long walk, so let us chat. Oh we need to cross the road! What a bother! Lights turned green… (Car whizzes by) Hey, you crazy man! Haven’t you humans learnt not to break rules?? Oh well… I guess they’ll never learn. Ooh we’ve reached my neighbors.

Hey Pussy! Hey there, Rhino! This is my new friend. Pussy is training to become a real-life artist. It means that she likes to let her imagination run wild and turn the house which she lives in topsy turvy. It is a fine sight, I must say! And her pictures move. The people scream and shriek and it is epic!
Oh, I almost forgot to introduce Rhino! Rhino’s real name is Rhino the Hamster. He likes to go around in a ball. I still remember all those play dates we used to have when I was a puppy. He dreams of becoming a Hamsterlete (or athlete is what you humans call it). Hamsterletes are supposed to roll on their ball till the finish line. These occur in the animalics (or Olympics for you).

Aaargh!! Those people are launching wireforks into the air and it hurts our ears, it does. Wish they would stop someday.

Whoa! What is going on! It is almost midnight! My fears may come true. What if… what if those animal trappers come to get me? They give me the creeps. Bye Pussy and Rhino! Bye guys! I will have to catch you some other time. Bye friends and goodnight! 

Friday, 1 January 2016

Heaven on earth-Switzerland

At first when my parents told me would be going to Swiss, I had doubted them, both for trying to fool me or for maybe leaving me with my family members in Bangalore. I have never thought or imagined that I would be going to Switzerland in near future. But it turned out that they were serious. Yes I am going to Switzerland, “The heaven on earth”, the most rated Tourist spot, the place where one must visit in his lifetime.

And finally the day arrived when we are at Chattrapati Shivaji Airport in Mumbai waiting for the plane from Swiss Air on 16th September 2015.The whole Mumbai city was decked up for the most vibrant festival “Ganesh Chatturti”. The plane trip was quite a long journey. I managed to watch just one movie and dozed off to sleep. When I woke next morning and looked out of the window I saw… nothingness.  I just saw a massive void of blue and white. I realized we are above the clouds. But a few seconds later there was an announcement telling us we were about to land at Zurich airport.

So Near So Far

Day One

The first thing we did when we landed in Zurich International airport was to board a train to the city of Basel. We did not have much time to spare as we had to be at Basel by 10 am. Even though we haven’t yet properly looked at the city, I was already awestruck by what it looks like in the station itself. It was very clean and tidy and not crowded. I had already started to like this country.

Light drizzle  kept me guessing.

The duration of the trip from Zurich to Basel is approximately one and a half hours. I was not even sitting down on my seat. I don’t exaggerate here but my face was stuck to the window most of the time. The scenery outside was just lovely. There were mighty mountains in the background, nice and small wooden houses, and a few buildings and the walls are almost covered in graffiti. And just when I was about to point out something to my dad, my view was blocked by a tunnel followed by a station: Basel SBB.

After we reached Basel SBB and head out of the station, I could not help looking more than necessary around Basel. It was just unbelievably extraordinary. We boarded a type of public transport called a tram. It is a kind of train but has tracks on road and is slow moving, which allowed me to look out of the window. What I did notice as I read the tram schedule is that the trams are spot on time and have special orders to which of the trams should arrive when. Our tram number was eleven by the way.

The house we stayed in Basel is just ENORMOUS. It was fully made out of wood and the shelves had stacks and stacks of books. Our host was a nice, young lady called Layla. There were also other inmates who we caught glimpses of. Layla said that she was doing masters in literature (that explains the bunch of books). No wonder we bonded well. She managed the entire house. Isabella, whom we met very regularly, is a Doctor, Una, who I once found while heading downstairs for lunch is an artist, and Timo, who I never met, is a musician. Layla mentioned that the house was more than hundred years old and belongs to her great grandfather.

Spacious dining room

Very Artistic Living Room

Charming Ladies Layla and Isabella and my mum

We rested for a while and then we went all the way back to Basel SBB and boarded another train to Zurich. We explored a lot there and also went for a cruise! It was just thrilling and we took around 200 photos because it is beautiful from every angle. Actually, I don’t think there are good enough words to describe how I felt during the cruise. It was a two hour journey.

My clicks

When we reached back home, Isabella and her friend were having dinner. We shared our theplas (popular Indian food)and some sweets with them in return we got some rice pudding which was delicious. We were so tired after the journey we almost hit the bed immediately.

Day Two

The next day, we headed off to a nice waterfall called Rheinfall. The train station we reached was called Schaffhausen. The duration of the trip was one hour and thirty minutes. Let me give you some more information on Rheinfall. The Rhine Falls (Rheinfall in German) is the largest plain waterfall in Europe. The falls are located on the High Rhine between the municipalities of Neuhausen and Rheinfall and Laufen-Uhwiesen, near the town of Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland, between the cantons of Schaffhausen and Zürich.


We had to first walk down a huge slope to see the Rhine Falls. We then walked through a long passageway with the falls at our left. The waterfall is awesome.
After a while my parents rested, I went to play at a nearby park. But we realized that the weather was not going to be great at noon. So instead of going for the cruise around Rhine Fall, we headed all the way back up the slope and just explored a little bit and then back home at night.
Picture perfect

                                            Day Three

In our third day in Switzerland, which was probably one of the most exciting days, we visited the beautiful city of Thun. We visited a gigantic castle which was on the North-west side from the Thun station.

The things inside the castle had lots of things that were there in my history chapters going on in school. There were tridents, shields, swords, guns, tapestries, old canons, gallows, suits of armor and many more. They also had communicative things like there would be cardboard boxes, into which you put your hand into and guess the animal (toy)inside it, and also cardboard helmets, wooden swords and wooden shields.
After the trip to the castle, we explored Thun more an we had yummy ice creams.
City of Thun

Later we visited the capital of Switzerland Bern. Bern is quite populated if you compare with other city, mostly the tourists.
Capital Bern
We also visited Albert Einstein’s house. Bern did not excite me, may be because of the crowd and I saw some litter on the road which is very rare in the spotless Switzerland.
Chess ,How can I live without you?

Day four

Last day in BaselFirst day in Luzern

Waking up the next day made me feel a little sad as we were already going to leave Basel. But when I asked my mom where we were going today she answered that we weren’t going anywhere- we were going to explore Basel. That cheered me up a bit because the thought of living in a place but not knowing it is a little weird.
After a little bit of shopping here and there in the Coop, we headed to another city- Luzern. The train trip was a pretty fun one and I cracked jokes with my dad and commented on the buildings. The hotel we stayed in was called Ibis Budget. Instead of checking-in, which took almost half an hour, we just put them in a sort of luggage room and then took a bus to a lake which is coincidentally called Lake Luzern which is what our apartment is called back home. I took control of the camera for a few minutes as my mom and dad booked the tickets to a cruise which started in half an hour. We quickly explored a few shops (which were amazing) and then sprinted all the way back to the dock and boarded the cruise ship.

Apperently I live in an apartment called Lake Lucerne

But only later did we realize that this cruise went on for almost five hours. So we got off at the upcoming dock and just prowled around waiting for it to come. After what felt like ages the cruise ship finally came. I had been told that there was a secret awaiting me.

Isn't it beautiful!

Massive Transport Museum worth a visit

We reached back to the port and go to a special monument- The Lion Monument.
It is one of the most famous monuments in Switzerland. It is a carving of a lion in a wall which is called the ‘dying lion’ and it has a small claw pierced into the back of its body. It represents the soldiers of Switzerland who died during a fire to rescue lots of people. It is the most emotional monument ever.

Look at the pain in Lion's eye

It was late in the night so we went back to Ibis budget, checked-in and entered our room with the luggage. It was pretty fancy and I liked it. My mom and dad slept on the bed below but I got to sleep on a bunker above them. We talked a little bit but then just slept.

Day five (IMP!)Mt.Jungfrau

Today I got up very early and jumped on the bed with joy- I was going to Jungfrau! I was going to the mountain peaks which meant I would finally be able to see snow! I had been waiting to see real snow since ages. It seemed like a really long time while I got dressed- layers after layers of clothes to put on- inners, t-shirts, shirts, sweaters, jackets, UV jackets and one extremely thick and fat jacket. We finally set off.

Bright Sunny day the top

We switched between two to three trains and took the route through Grindelwald and finally a separate train called Cogwheel which is one of the greatest marvels of Europe. The peak is around 3400 meters high. When I had my first look at the peaks through a viewpoint it looked no different than vanilla and chocolate ice cream.  Only it was with microorganisms because the snow on the peaks was the vanilla. The actual peaks were the chocolate. And the microorganisms, or let’s say bacteria, were us humans.
I touched the snow and let it crumble in between my hands. I sensed a movement behind me and some sixth sense made me grab a snowball and hurl it backward. It hit my dad squarely in the chest. Snowballs are a little hard like ice, but perfect to throw. I spent a little bit of time battling against my dad and mom. In the end my mom managed to throw a snowball into my face which sent me flying backwards into a snowy mountain. We then headed off to a glacier cave with sculptures carved into ice which was very slippery. I teased my parents to come catch me while I smoothly moonwalked with my face to them. But soon I actually started to shiver. I was whisked off to a restaurant type place and found that my gloves were full of snow. I took the last pair of gloves and ate a few cookies.

Yes !!! We made it!!

The second part of my day in Jungfrau was the best. Down the hill where I had been throwing snow at my parents was a slope with sledges. The best thing was that if you payed 15 francs at the start you could go sledding down the hill as many times as you want. The first time I was a little scared so my dad took a sled as well and we both raced down the hill a couple of times. I learned to race on my own as well.

Fun Unlimited

We took a few pictures down the hill, had something to eat and headed back home. But it’s only when I switched off my light at home did I realize the journey isn’t over yet.

Day six (also IMP!!)Mt.Titlis

Waking up next day followed the same routine as yesterday. I wore the same clothes, inners, jackets and gloves. We took two trains to a station and then changed three gondolas to get to Mt.Titlis. My dad had checked the forecast today and said that it was going to be snowy. We walked through a narrow passage and entered another glacier cave. It was followed by another long passage which took us into…..a rickety bridge. I took one vivid step onto it and it shook and shook. I continued walking and it was very scary for it was a 780+ feet drop below me. When we reached the end I was shaking. Maybe it wasn’t that bad.

The view from 'The Shaky Bridge'.

We went through a thing which takes you on cables called ice flyer. It is scary but less scary than the cliff walk. But the view from the flyer is just WOW!!!!The weather had already started to detoriate. Strong winds were making my body go numb. I could barely see people around as it started snowing. Well, this was my first encounter with snow fall.

Ice ice baby

Still we managed to go to top of the hill and clicked pictures. We had to rush inside and grabbed yummy hot pizza. But going out from the restaurant was just not possible. We waited for some time, enjoyed the snow fall, later headed down back in the cable car. My parents enjoyed hot samosa and chai at the foothill of Mount Titlis. We came back to the room with loads of memories from the mountain.

Day sevenLast day in Swiss

Well, this was kind of a free day. We did not have any particular plan for this day. My mother says sometimes no plans make the best plans. And that’s what happened on the last day of my Swiss tour.We chose the city Lugano, which is situated near the border of Italy. It took 2 hours to reach this hidden gem of a city. Like rest of the cities even Lugano has a beautiful lake. But the houses and the language are more inclined towards Italian. The boat trip again was just great, though it was drizzling throughout.

Swiss city Lugano with Italian touch

After exploring the city for some time we headed to a city called Bellinzona. It is a small town and it consists of castles. We had lunch and went to explore one of the castles. It was very huge but again the strong winds and rain made it impossible to be outside. We had to stop the tour midway and came back to station to catch the train back to Luzern and then Zurich. Nevertheless we managed to click some photos of Bellinzona.

Bellinzona-the city of castle

Overall I am very happy with this trip. I have learned a lot of things from this wonderful place. They are always so kind here and very rarely honk. They also trust each other so much that they would leave their whole house to someone else to look after. That’s what happened in Layla’s house- sometimes she would go out somewhere else leaving only us three in the house. They would always offer something to us or had a very good hospitality. They kept the place very neat and clean. Also in Swiss if anyone makes too much noise, like in a night-party, the police might come over and fine them. They are also very particular about the time. One example is when we were waiting for a train and my mom asked someone if the train was at 4:10 and they replied “no”. And my mom asked if it was at 4:15 and they replied “no, it is at 4:13”. And the train came at the exact same time. The only thing I didn’t like was that there were lots of smokers and drinkers, especially at night, so it was a little dangerous to go anywhere at night. But since the latter was very rare, it didn’t affect my trip at all. And what I do know is that one day, one day I am going back there to Swiss. But right now I miss my home so I am glad to be back. Thanks Appa ,Amma for this wonderful trip,which I will remember for the rest of my life.
Thanks Appa ,Amma!!

Also, as I believe,
"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page" quote by Saint Augustine