Road Trip to Nashville

-IjYCDJRBaby A turned 4 months old this January 15th, 2016. P’s and my offices were closed for MLK Holiday on Jan 18th. We decided to fulfill our long pending road trip to Nashville. Having loaded our BMW X5 with our luggage bags, baby suitcase comprising of his clothes, diapers, wipes, toys and books; his play pen, baby rocker, stroller and other baby accessories; accompanied by some snacks for the drive, we set out on baby A’s first road trip. At 11:30 AM, we started our 3 and 1/2 hour drive via I-40 and US 79 N. Baby A was comfortably seated in his car seat facing the car’s trunk. He thoroughly enjoyed watching the trees, sky, vehicles and scenery as our car zipped by. Our first destination was Shri Ganesha Temple.

Shri Ganesha Temple: A beautifully constructed Hindu temple is housed at 527 Old Hickory Blvd, Nashville, TN 37209. This temple is maintained by Kannada community, contradictory to, the usual Telugu community as other temples in the US. We reached the temple at 3:30PM, had good darshan of Lord Ganesha along with other deities; and savored the theertha (holy water) and prasadam that was offered to all the devotees. Ambiance was serene. Despite freezing temperature and chilly wind blowing to our faces, we sat on the steps at the foot of the temple and clicked some pictures with baby A.

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Magic Kingdom

Cinderella Castle

Cinderella Castle

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida houses numerous Disney based theme parks like Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios. This is probably the biggest and oldest Disney World. Disneyland in Europe and in California are much smaller than Disney World in Orlando, Florida and they just have a single park, but the one in Walt Disney World, Orlando has 4 Disney themed parks.

Disney’s MAGIC KINGDOM is definitely a “DREAM COME TRUE” to all the WALT DISNEY fanatics! Be it a toddler, a teenager, a adolescent or an adult, it is a scintillating experience! The moment you set your foot inside this park, you will be mesmerized. Kids go bonkers.Probably it was more exciting for me because I grew up watching cartoons of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, chip and Dale, Pluto etc. “Cinderella Castle” is every girl’s dream destination!

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Road Trip to ATLANTA

photo 27/25/2014, Friday – It is always fun to load your car trunk with your baggage and hit the road, traversing through scenic landscapes, infinite blue sky, boundless highways and roads, and also witnessing sunset/sunrise over horizon. Some long drives exceeding for more than 8 hours are usually strenuous. However, a 6 hour road trip to Atlanta with two drivers alternating for three hours is absolute fun! Having returned from work at 6PM on 7/25/2014, Friday, we loaded our BMW X5’s trunk with our baggages, dinner boxes, snacks, water bottles and camera kit. Sitting in the driver’s seat, and buckling my seat belt, keying in the destination address on the car’s GPS, I turned on the ignition  to drive the first part of the destination: BIRMINGHAM. We decided to take US 78 and I 22 to Birmingham. Since Birmingham was just 3 hours drive from our hometown and en-route to ATLANTA, we decided to sleep over at Birmingham on Friday night. It was a great drive spanning the picturesque mountains, valleys, lake, outstretched blue sky, never-ending long roads, wide spread stretch of trees, and beautiful sunset. We reached Birmingham at 9:30 PM. Famished and tired, we checked-in to our hotel “Comfort Inn”. It was a spacious room with two queen size beds, including amenities like television, microwave and fridge; and was large enough to comfortably accommodate our family of four. We relished the dinner that we had brought from home. Setting the alarm for next morning, we hit the bed to get good night’s sleep before the 3 hour journey from Birmingham to Atlanta, that was ahead of us the next day.

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Hot Springs, Arkansas

View from our room

View from our room

We desired to spend a relaxing July 4th long weekend, away from our hectic work schedule and busy life- a weekend of leisure, rest and fun and zeroed in on “Hot Springs, Arkansas”.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a room for July 4th long weekend, as every lake front cabin and hotel room was booked for that weekend!

We changed our initial plan and decided to visit Hot Springs during June 28th weekend instead. Luckily, we were able to find a lake front room in “Lookout Point Lakeside Inn”. Having read some raving reviews about this inn, we booked the “Possum Grape” room with lake view. The rooms of this inn range from $262 to $500 per night, but it is totally worth your money! 🙂

If you are a BMW owner, you can also avail 25% discount for each day on the room at this inn. You need to inform them during booking and provide them with your BMW certificate when you check-in.

 

Name Address Phone # Price Website Link
Lookout Point Lakeside Inn 104 Lookout Circle
Hot Springs, AR 71913
501-525-6155 $262-$500 per night http://lookoutpointinn.com/

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New Year 2014 in New York City!

NYC Taxi

NYC Taxi

What better way to kick-start “New Year 2014” than travel to world’s most awesome city?! 😉

Having packed our luggage with plentiful winter wear, thermals, winter jackets, gloves, scarfs, caps and snow boots, we commenced our wonderful journey by landing in LaGuardia airport.

The beauty of NYC is, it has an amazing transportation systems like:

(1) Taxis – Wave your hand in the middle of the street to stop the taxi to travel to ANYWHERE in NYC! It is the quick and easy way to reach any destination. Fares are affordable too!

(2) Sight-seeing buses – double-decker buses which covers major routes.

(3) PATH (The Port Authority of NY & NJ) is a rail system which takes you to WTC, Hoboken, Newark, Journal Square, and also New Jersey.

(4) Penn Station – Amtrak service via which you can travel to and fro from New York to New Jersey.

(5) Subways – Underground train system using which you can travel to many sight seeing places in NYC.

We mostly used Taxis and PATH to visit tourist spots in NYC and trains via Penn Station to travel from NYC to NJ and back.

 

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Scintillating San Francisco!!

I was always fascinated by California. I have my childhood friends living there and have heard some great stories about few great cities and places in California. Visiting California was always lingering in my mind.  On November 16th, evening, after work, we boarded the flight to California.

November 16th, 2013, Saturday: Early morning we checked out of our hotel in San Jose after having complimentary continental breakfast. Having downloaded the uber app, registered with my credit card on my iphone, I booked a cab, which arrived in just 7 minutes! It was the first time that I used “uber” app and I will swear by it! We boarded the cab and answered “Golden Gate Bridge” when the chauffeur enquired about our destination.

Google’s self-driving “Robotic Car”

En route to “Golden gate bridge”, we spotted Google’s self-driving “Robotic car”. I was overjoyed and this is where my awesome in-built camera on iphone5s came handy!! 😉

It was an hour drive from San Jose to Golden Gate bridge. Our driver dropped us off at “south vista point” on Golden Gate bridge because, parking isn’t allowed on “north vista point”. Since “uber” is prepaid service, we thanked our chauffeur and began our wonderful San Francisco journey.

We had to visit most of the places on just Saturday, because we were departing back to our hometown via Sunday’s 12:40 pm flight. It was a very tight schedule and we had to utilize it to the optimum.

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Wonder Works, Orlando

Wonder Works

Wonder Works

September 2nd, 2013 – On our way to the airport, we decided to do a pit-stop at “Wonder Works“, an interactive science museum that has exhibits, that marvels all age groups.

An “upside down” building, that is marvelous and stunning! It houses a plethora of science models, experiments and fun rides. A place where “science” and “technology” come ALIVE!

Few attractions that you shouldn’t miss at “Wonder Works” are:

1) Zero Gravity Chamber – Experience what “Zero Gravity” feels like!

2) Earthquake Cafe – Ever experienced the “Earthquake”? You can get a demo of how it feels to experience an earthquake measuring 6.0 on Ritcher’s scale in this set up.

3) Tornado– experience a tornado in this chamber.

4) Human lightning rod – you wear a glove and touch the lightning rod to generate lightning!

4) Bed Of Nails – Got the nerve to sleep on the bed of real nails?

5) Shadow Capture – You can capture your own shadow! isn’t it freaking awesome?

6) Beheaded ! – Get beheaded (for photograph) at this chamber!

and many more such fascinating science models, experiments and chambers!

You need to visit “Wonder Works” to experience “science”!!

 

Sea World, Orlando

Sea World was on our itinerary this time, because we had missed it during our last Orlando trip in 2010.

Thanks to AirTran and Southwest merger, Southwest was offering round trip tickets for “direct flight” to Orlando at a dirt-cheap price of $190 per person ($93 one way and $97 return way). We seized this golden opportunity in time and booked our flight tickets for our 5 day vacation to Orlando from Aug 29th,2013,Thursday to September 2nd,2013, Monday (accumulating long weekend). We also booked tickets to Sea World, online for just $50.

Sea World was first on our itinerary. Our flight landed in Orlando at 3 PM and obtained the keys to our “rental car” at the airport. Having entered the address of “Sea World” on “google maps” on my iphone, I became the navigator, calling out directions. We reached “Sea World” in 20 minutes.

Shamu Stadium

Shamu Stadium

The main attraction in “Sea World” is “Shamu [whales] Show“at “Shamu Stadium“. The next show was scheduled to start at 4 PM. We reached “Shamu Stadium” on time and it was packed!! If you are a kind of person, who enjoys water being splashed by whales during the show, then, the first four rows of seats in the stadium are especially made for you! Since, we carried our digital cameras, we decided not to take that risk and seated ourselves in 5th row at the center of stadium.

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Panama City Beach!

July 4th holiday is usually an animated day, with all the fun, furor, sparkling fireworks, holiday, etc. But unfortunately, July 4th was on Thursday this year. But, this didn’t dampen our spirits, as we applied leave on Friday to enjoy the scintillating and mesmerizing Panama beach from July 4th, thursday to July 7th, Sunday.

Road Trip: We hate going on long drives due to discomfort, backache, patience and pain involved. We usually fly every time. But this time, we decided to drive along with our friend’s family. On July 4th, Thursday, at 8:30 AM CST, we started off on a road trip to Panama City.  Driving through heavy rain,the whole day, our car followed our friend’s car and vice versa through amazing scenery, villages and  fields; taking pit stops, in between to refill gas and munch on some snacks and lunch.

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