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Pisa

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Pisa Pisa - the Leaning Tower There are several trains from Florence to Pisa Centrale. We took the morning train. We were at Pisa Centrale station in about a little more than an hour. Pisa station is one of the major railway junctions of Tuscany. An old station, which opened in 1871, has a beautiful exterior.  We boarded a bus from just outside the station, which took us directly to the Leaning Tower. Located at the Piazza Dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), this walled area is regarded as one of the finest architectural complexes in the world. The most astonishing monument at this UNESCO World Heritage site is a campanile (a free-standing bell tower) 186ft11inch tall on the higher side and weighing around 14.5 tonnes which started tilting during its construction in the 12th century. It went on leaning through the centuries until remedial measures were taken about 25 years back to arrest further tilt. Finally, the tilt has been reduced to about 4 degrees. The construction o

Durga Puja in Stuttgart, Germany

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Durga Puja in Germany – from Calcutta to Stuttgart Calcutta, India Only after marriage did I take interest and started delving more deeply into the insights of the timeless social phenomenon of 'The Generation Gap'. My wife belongs to a family who hails from Choto Kalia in Bangladesh. The Sen family from this small village in Bangladesh is referred to as ‘Choto Kaliya Sen Parivar’, a distinction only because of families' unbounded stint in maintaining close-knit relations generation after generation. In fact, when I first visited my wife's ancestral house Harrison Road (near College Square) in Calcutta, I was surprised to see photographs/ painted portraits of forefathers of my father-in-law decorating the walls of the living room. Another reason which brought prominence to this family is Durga Puja, which, I understand is almost 200 years old. The Kalia Sen Bari Puja shifted its venue mid-1960s and ever since continues to be held at Mitra Institu

Madrid 2

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MADRID 2 - the Mecca of  bullfighting by Biswajit Sengupta Image of Spain gravitates around football, bullfights, and flamenco. On the Iberian Peninsula and in Latin America football remain the most popular spectator sport, followed by bullfighting even despite movements by some sections to ban it. Although the largest bullfighting ring is in Mexico followed by the one in Venezuela, Madrid is regarded as the Mecca of bullfighting because of its tradition. During the early part of the twentieth century, bullfighting had picked up tremendous momentum in Madrid. In order to accommodate more spectators, a monumental bullring was built. Las Ventas bullring with a capacity of around twenty-five thousand spectators has an imposing fa├žade – the largest in Spain and third largest in the world. From Sol Seville, Las Ventas is around ten minutes commute by underground metro from Sevilla station. Trains to Cuatro Camina las Rosas stop at Ventas. The famous bullring is just ato

A Drop of Calm

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L'Oasis De L'ile at Quebec by Madhumita Chakola   We were weary, we were tired. Long hours at work hunched at the desk with minimal social interaction was taking a heavy toll on us. We needed a vacation oh so badly. Earlier in the year with the lockdowns and stay-at-home restrictions, we had thought a ‘staycation’ would be the ideal answer to all our yearnings. We would relax at home, pursue our hobbies and excel in doing absolutely nothing. At the onset of spring, just as the world exploded into different hues of green, we decided to book a whole week off for our vacation at home. In the itinerary were long walks in the trail, singing with the birds, connecting with friends and family across the globe, bingeing on Netflix, firing up the barbeque season, and of course, napping here and there. No routine, no restrictions, no structured life. On the first day of our ‘staycation’, all our dreams were blown away and scattered amidst the sprouting grass. My husb