Recently I need to travel to Yavatmal from Hyderabad. We were a group of extended family including children & senior citizen grand parent.
We were exploring multiple travel options. We found the following
- Self drive – Google showed 7.5 hrs travel to Yavatmal by road.
- Sleeper bus – Starts at around 9pm and reaches by 7am.
- Train – There is a train station – Sevagram that is at around 75 kms. SC-ngr express (12771) trains mon-wed-fri in night 10 pm and takes around 9 hours. There are more trains but this train was available for our day of travel.
After deliberation, we felt the train to be better option primarily because of the following reason
- Senior citizen, children may need personal break anytime during the night.
- Personal break does require climb down/up in bus whereas in train it is comfortable. In fact, during travel my son went on his own for the breaks (in train). I did not have to accompany him.
- Movement during travel is much easier in the train.
- Travel air sickness during train travel is comparatively less during train travel.
- Car travel will have fatigue penalty to pay for the people driving the car and senior citizens.
Having done the trip, I do see train travel was comfortable for the family. It does require booking in advance. Return journey we did not get reservation for everyone & was not as comfortable as onward journey. Further it does cost extra for the car travel between Sevagram & yavatmal.
Recently I had traveled by train from Secunderabad to Sevagram (near Nagpur). I had decided to travel by MMTS local train service from lingampally to Secunderabad station. Cab takes order of hour to 1.5 hr and travel by car is painful during peak traffic hours and also cost you 1.5x to 2x on uber/ola. I thought to experiment with the MMTS local travel.
I looked at the MMTS timings online & ensured to reach in time as I was traveling with family & children. Train was delayed and not on schedule. Since I had kept 1 hour buffer in schedule, it did not cause any issue. Lingampally station has 5 platforms. The train may arrive at platform 1 or 5. We were at platform 5 when the announcement for the train arrival on platform 1 came. Traveling with senior citizens is less viable in such scenarios if they can not climb the skywalks between plafforms comfortably.
Since train starts from Lingampally, we could manage to find the seats for all of us with little push to board as soon as the train arrived on the platform. Train had lot of passengers travelling standing and got reasonable traffic especially from Borabanda, Hitec city stations. It seems to be popularly used transport in this part of the city. Away from pollution, travel did not generate any fatigue. There is congestion during morning hours on the return route (Secunderabad to Lingampally) and train has to wait for signal clearance. It adds couple of minutes on the return journey from Secunderabad to Lingampally. MMTS travel cost you INR 10 per passenger. Lingampally to your destination can cost you depending on your distance starting from INR 150+.
Overall, nice experience. but requires sufficient planned time. Train may not be on schedule. You don’t save much time but do avoid the traffic & road pollution when traveling by MMTS.
We were passing by the newly opened cycling park today morning after the breakfast. We were looking for a stroll in Botanical garden. Instead decided to do it in the newly opened cycling park right next/opposite to Botanical garden. Once we entered the park, we came to know that the park is pure cycling park & running/walking inside the park is not prohibited.
We rented two bicycles for INR 100. Cycul supports the bicycle station for the park. You can pay using Paytm. We started our ride. The track is not very long and comfortable for a new rider. You just need to know to ride a bicycle. It takes order of 10-15 minutes to take a round the park. There are few slopes but they are not very steep. The track is neat & not littered. There are signs beside the track. It is quite & part of the track is next to a water body where I could hear the bird chirping. The park is considered a reserved forest area. It has tall trees & dry leaves cover the bed giving a fill of the forest. It is too small a park though to consider it a forest area. Nevertheless, it is a savior for the urban dweller. Given the access to citizens, the park will now be protected from public encroachment. This along with botanical garden is one of the biggest green area in this part of the city.
Another school had organized a field trip for children. Children were taking the ride on the rented bicycles. Few of them could not manage the balance & were hurt when they fell down. Due caution is desired. We had gone on a Saturday late morning around 10 pm. The staff mentioned that there is more crowd on a Sunday. We did not mind the children crowd.
We did see a man parking the cycle & taking a run in the park though it is prohibited in the park. Actually prohibition to walk/run is a savior for the park. Otherwise, we would find the same nuisance that you would see in botanical gardens. Couples dwelling in corners which add to the unpleasant taste in the public gardens. The cycling park should make walk/running strictly prohibited in the park to maintain its attraction. It also saves it from littering. You cannot litter much while taking a ride!
Overall, a pleasant hour in the park. Look forward to be there again.
I have been thinking about writing my day logs for the family trip to Switzerland. Today is 4th day. Days are long & filled with activities and night is occupied with next day plan and crash. Today I have caught up some sleep in the afternoon and hence thought to start this.
Notes about Switzerland
- Day & business starts early & closes early. I was surprised to see that stores close as early as 7 pm and remain closely on Sat/Sun. They may remain open longer on big cities like Zurich but general trend is business closes early. By 10 pm, cities are asleep. roads are empty. Smaller cities like Luzern, Interlaken, Thun – it is even earlier. Restaurants take last order at 9:30 pm. Some close by 10 pm. You get the point. Day closes early. Weekends – shops are closed including the chain stores like COOP. Some outlets especially in the main railway station of the city remain open on weekend & close little late.
- I was by myself (not booking through travel agent) and moving around by self – travelerwifi.com has been the best thing that I had planned.
- google map is probably the best thing happened to mankind. I used it for walking / commuting to hotel from train station, indian restaurants close to hotel. It shows all commute options including bus, train, walk including train/bus schedule, platform details.
- Public Transport is very well organized – Trains/bus/trams are run on time & very structured. They start & leave from the specified platform on time. e.g. 8:01pm means 8:01pm
- People expect that you read & follow the instructions. Generally they are detailed and you can help yourself. They meant to be organized. I think they don’t like you asking when it is already called out clearly in the sign boards. e.g. train station subway will have clear marking how to exit towards tram station with a tram sign. similarly for the bus. Following this we could reach the bus station @ Thun, boat pier @ Interlaken West and tram station @ Bern.
- Please don’t take shortcuts e.g. Cross the road when human crossing sign is red. I made this mistake on the train track. Crossing the train track instead of taking the subway and someone showed me the sign board! It is prohibited & not break the structure of the country.
- People are helpful especially ladies. First day on airport when we struggled to open the door for the train (the green button mentioned below) and could not identify whether the train on platform is correct one – one lady standing there – came to us and clarified.
- Switzerland also is hot in summer. We found temperature reach 26-29 C in the day/evening. There is no provision for AC in most hotels. Some don’t have fan. You will need to open windows. Global warming is likely causing the cities to warm up. When you enter a hotel like this – be patient. It found it to be trend in Luzern, Interlaken, Thun.
- Hotels are costly. They will typically start @ CHF 270 per night and go up to CHF 370. They will have basic amenities only. Don’t expect room service, some won’t have room phone also, reception closes by 9-11pm. Each room occupant will get a external door key as well so that he can help himself if he comes in late!
- Bathrooms will not have health-jets for toilets. Only paper to clean self!
- Typically tap water is good to drink. but check with your hotel.
- Carry a bottle with you so that you can fill the tap water to carry.
- I bought fruits from chain stores like COOPs. This is required since you can’t go on daily restaurant food without getting stomach trouble. Eating fruits & orange juice helped. No salad. Depended on fruits.
I bought the Swiss Travel pass on the Zurich airport for CHF 376 for 8 days. One child goes free with an adult. We need to buy two of them. Whether it has been cost effective – I don’t know yet. It has been certainly convenient. Once I finish the trip – I would know whether I have made enough rail trips to make for the pass amount. Since I did not have time to plan in detail and add up cost of train travel to decide whether to purchase the pass or purchase individual tickets – I took a blind call to buy the pass.
I found that Luzern, Interlaken hotels gave me hotel card and mentioned that the local travel will be complimentary. I did not use it since I already have the travel pass.
I booked the Glacier express (reservation required) on the Zurich airport itself. I knew exact date when I wanted to make that trip. This cost additional around 120 for the 4 members. Reservation of seats is not complimentary with Swiss travel pass. I booked from Zermatt to Chur in Glacier express.
There are simple things about public transport that I did not know & experienced first time here.
- Trains door has a green lighted button like we have in lifts – to open the door. On a platform, once the train reaches – you may need to press the button to board or leave the train.
- Buses / Trams door also have the same button system.
- Some old trains may have an handle to open the door.
- Most of the trains have automatic doors & have a live schedule. Watching this on screen you would know e.g. what is the next station or how many minutes it will take to reach there?
- The platform shoes the next train/bus that is due to come along with a count down in minutes. Sometimes there is a previous train that has not cleared the platform yet. In that case – you may need to read the display on the outside of the train.
- do your google first in the hotel. That will help directly go to the platform right away.
- Bear with first 2-3 journey. You will be comfortable there after. It is very simply & structured system.
- I would not suggest to use cash. It will be too much hassle. I have seen some people using a card, some using mobile wallet for the tickets. We used swiss travel pass. Ticket checker comes and enquires in most of the trains. You can show your pass.
We packed bunch of food from home. That helped survive the breakfast & lunch. During the day – we are roaming around as well. Evenings I would go to the Indian restaurant available in the vicinity and having good rating in google. We went to these restaunts
- Kanchi @ Luzern
- Gourm India @ Luzern
- India Village @ Interlaken
- Namaste India @ Bern (Reachable by 20 minute express train from Thun)
Suggest to go early after 7 pm. Like I said – day ends early specially in not big cities.
I could buy it online for around CHF 10 per day for a 8 day visit. I could collect it at the Zurich airport. Website has step by step details about how to collect the device & reach the “Service Center” desk. Device comes charged and works out of the box right at the airport. There might be other competing devices like this. I did not get to research others.
The device works for around 4-5 hours I think. I used to put it for recharge over night. Use it during the day. By end of day or later half – it will drain. It will be great if the device can come with some more juice. There is option to buy another battery. It works out great. Carrying a powerful powerbank helps. I use it to charge my mobile. It can also recharge the device.
Day 3 has come to an end. It is nearly 10pm. It is not silent as yesterday. May be that was Sunday effect. I can hear lot of vehicular noise today in the room. I miss the pristine silence of yesterday at the same place.
I went through the similar day pattern today. I made it a point to not hurry today. Not be in a race to get a treatment early in the queue. The habit – the urban life has taught & hard to let go. Everywhere we are in race. I walked slowly to the Gents treatment section. Incidentally there was no queue today & morning mud pack over the abdomen & neck got done in less than 1/2 hr. I had a back massage treatment. It was good for the lower back issues I have. I had met doctor @ around 10am for the treatment of next 2 days. docs here seem to write treatment & diet for next two days. I shared that I am not looking for weight loss since I am almost at the optimal weight. There is colon & shirodhara lined up for next two days.
I decided to skip Physio treatment today. The walk on the track near lake was different for day. I saw I think Mr. Jindal in his car & his home. Nice name for the home – Vishram. I did not take the whole walking track today since I was in Chappals & decided to walk the track unplanned. Yog Nidra session needs special mention. It was like Kayotsarg that we practice in Jain Meditation technique. It gave relief in the tired body today. If you are into Meditation – it uses the self-suggestion based relaxation & replenishes the energy – connects to deeper self.
Food was as usual – soup, steamed vegetables & fruits. Soups I find to be not blend & reasonable here. It started raining around 8pm here when there was a session going on after Dinner – on JNI kitchen recipes. I did not get a chance to roam around in rain – I need to carefully walk mom back to room. It would be nice to listen to sounds of rain on the campus like this.
Mom had mudpack, massage and physio treatment. Seem to be going well so far. That’s all for today. Time to sleep!