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It is not without reason that Italy is a tourist haven,
If you missed a tourist spot, you could be forgiven,
Numerous scenic eye-catching locales are so much fun,
Its as if the country exists for more hearts to be won

The toe of Italy's boot-shaped peninsula in extreme south is the region of Calabria,
Herein, perched above the Tyrrhenian Sea, is the pretty town of Tropea,
Located on a reef, Tropea has all the trappings of a rocky balcony,
That it is a most sought-after holiday destination, is not just baloney

Tropea is a mythical seaside resort, with stunning fantastic beaches aplenty,
It's coastline, known as 'Coast of the Gods', appears to stretch to eternity,
Between dramatic cliffs and golden sandy beaches & edged by translucent sea,
The glittering water with gentle waves is picture-perfect as it can possibly be

With endless cobbled streets, Tropea is a puzzle of cafes, bars & piazzas; spectacular sunsets aside,
Piazza Ercole is the central square most lively and vibrant with impressive buildings on all sides,
Corso Vittorio Emmanuale is a long street teeming with tourists enjoying beer, coffee or gelato,
People lazily wander up and down the road throughout the day, though with lack of gusto

The classic postcard shot of Tropea is the iconic Santa Maria dell'Isola monastery,
Perched atop a cliff, the church with it's pristine façade is a classic example of imagery,
Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the panoramic view of rugged coastline and beaches is breathtaking,
Endless clicking of selfies and group photos with the sanctuary backdrop, is for memoirs in the making

The Historic Center of pedestrian-only narrow winding streets and lanes is a medieval maze,
Old patrician houses and palazzi painted in pastel colors present a pleasant sight to gaze,
Restaurants, pizzerias, cafes, gelaterie, artisan shops flanking the streets add to the local mileu,
One senses adventurous excitement in the air when delving into history without much ado

Tropea is the only place in the world that produces red onions that are sweet,
Attributed to the soil and climate, the delicate mild flavor makes it a delectable treat,
Seeing them hanging at vegetable stands and stacked by the roadside makes it memorable,
From salads to jarred marmalades, local restaurants prepare them in every way imaginable

Eating tartufo in Tropea is a must-have unique experience for the traveling hedonistic epicurean,
Dual ice cream flavors molded around frozen fruit and coated with cocoa powder, make up the tasty union,
Served in frozen solid form, rich melted chocolate spills from the center when you dive in with a spoon,
A no-bake dessert recipe with numerous combinations of fruit and ice cream flavors, that makes one swoon

Vacations in Italy are never complete without the sweet tooth experience of the famed gelato,
Gelatarias abound in Tropea dishing out a variety of flavors waiting to be savored on-the-go,
Gelatos are frozen desserts of Italian origin that are sans eggs, having more milk and less cream,
From chocolatey to fruity to nutty and everything in-between, every flavor is a scream

Tropea's dramatic cliffs provide a perfect backdrop for the gorgeous sunsets in the evening,
Crowds make a beeline for the chic cafes on the town's edge to enjoy vantage viewing,
The occasional purple hue of the sea on some days makes for a great visual treat,
The sun setting over the Tyrrhenian vibrant red-orange fiery sky makes it impossible to retreat

Tropea's azure blue sea and white sand beaches are an ideal setting to relax the mind,
Cliffs, coves, grottos and dramatic rock formations dot the long coastline,
Visitors rent umbrellas, enjoy the sun and take a dip in the sparkling Caribbean-like water,
Blissfully relaxing while soaking in nature's wonder, oblivious of trivialities that don't matter

Emotions engulf you when it comes to the end of the stay,
You fervently wish that you could just stay for another day,
But the thought of other travel adventures waiting to be explored,
Makes you realize that there is seldom a moment to be bored
Italy's Capri admirably fits the bill as an enchanted island,
Nestled in the Bay of Naples, it's apt to call it wonderland,
It is famous as a coastal resort and a celebrated beauty spot,
Little wonder of it being touristy and a location often sought

The isle is seriously beautiful, sans any blemish in its splendor,
So little room for any shortcoming, chances of which are slender,
Breathtaking views from any angle makes Capri appear so scenic,
Futile to draw comparison to any other isle that is so panoramic

Capri is known as the isle of the sirens in Greek mythology,
It has very little to do though with any aspect of theology,
Long considered a preserve of celebrities and the super-rich,
The small precipitous island is a must-visit travel agent's sales pitch

Accessible only by ferry or hydrofoil from Naples and its surrounds,
The idyllic isle with sheer cliffs and dazzling seascapes visually astounds,
Steep cliffs rise majestically from an almost impossibly blue sea,
That the isle has that tangible deluxe feel, is for all to see

The island has a mythical charm with its jaw-dropping natural beauty,
Stunning landscapes from rocky caves to the horizon's edge lend to the popularity,
Shimmering sea views, secluded grottos lure visitors in droves to be on board,
Amazing cuisine, world-class shopping are bells and whistles; lest you get bored

Blue Grotto is an oceanic cave at the water's edge with an opening to the sea,
Optical effects created by sunlight bouncing on the cave walls, is a sight to see,
Water lit turquoise hues from below, by the sun, creates a magical atmosphere,
Shimmering cobalt-blue light images beckons us to a virtual optical stratosphere

Through the water on the floor of the cave, Roman remains are clearly visible,
Supposedly used as a bathing place by Emperor Tiberius, a reason nigh plausible,
This lagoon was probably a Roman villa with statues decorating the whole floor,
Other entrances to the grotto were created to improve irrigation, per Greek folklore

Capri's standout are three rocky peaks emerging from the azure blue water,
Called the Faraglioni, the limestone stacks are discernible to any spotter,
Formed by erosion, separated by water thro' collapse of solid land mass,
Emerging as steep rocks rising out of the sea, surprisingly not as a morass

La Piazzetta, aka chiazza, is a bustling diminutive square in the heart of Capri,
Table settings of the handful of cafes are meant for one to be carefree,
The colorful clock tower chimes every quarter hour throughout the day,
With thronging crowds at all times, little surprise why the place holds sway

Post ferry drop-off at Marina Grande, a road trip from Capri to Anacapri is a must,
Brace yourselves for a 3-km. stretch of hairpin bends en route in the mini bus,
On the slopes of Mount Solaro and at a higher elevation than Capri,
The more authentic side of the island and less crowded, is Anacapri

Piazza Vittoria in Anacapri town is the bustling bus stop square where one alights,
Sauntering thro' colorful bougainvillea, geranium festooned lanes is sheer delight,
Behold a mix of Neapolitan tailor shops, artisan shoemakers and souvenir shops,
Enjoy the aerial whiff of the town's lemon groves pervading everywhere, nonstop

Museum of Villa San Michele is a building articulating at various levels,
Ancient artifacts, Roman paving, marble columns are sights that revel,
An elevated garden with granite Sphinx and Greek tomb is a perfect setting,
For a sweeping view of the Bay of Naples below, that looks so enchanting

Continuing downhill, the Church of Santa Sofia is the pride of the town,
The adjoining Piazza Armando Diaz bustling with activity is a place of its own,
Locals chatting and reading newspapers presents such a wonderful sight,
Seated on hand painted majolica benches, as if conveying life is so bright

A visit to Capri is incomplete without tasting the famed Caprese salad,
The taste is so exquisite that one tends to break into a ballad,
Tomatoes, milky mozzarella, aromatic basil leaves are the sole ingredients,
A drizzle of sharply flavored olive oil does little to serve as an impediment

Restaurants abound the lanes with crowds' incessant chatter,
Panino Caprese being made in a jiffy is no laughing matter,
So popular is the salad that it can be found on every menu,
Strolling along past excited visitors, makes for the perfect milieu

It is with a heavy heart that you ferry back to mainland at the trip's end,
While enjoying the panoramic stunning views again, as if there's no end,
It is not without reason that Capri's famed "cliff beauty" is so majestic,
The only describable feeling of the experience is that it is "ecstatic"!
Travel poetry
Visitors land in Athens engulfed with a feeling of great excitement in the air,
Renowned for its rich history, it is as if Greece is waiting to lay it's soul bare,
The cab driver's effusive welcome is prelude to a magical experience in the offing,
As he regales you with the city's historic landmarks, seemingly without stopping

Made of limestone rock, the Acropolis means "high city" as it is atop a hill,
Visible from almost everywhere within the city, it is Athen's sentinel still,
Dedicated to goddess Athena, it originally showcased buildings colored lavishly,
Transformed later into a city of temples, after destruction by the Persians savagely

For inhabitants, it was a place of refuge in times of invasion due to it's location,
Women barricading themselves in the fortress in mute protest was just a distraction,
Depriving their always-at-war spouses of worldly pleasures was a way of having the last word,
Such acts of frustration were so successful, that it is practiced even in today's world

The star attraction of Acropolis is the Parthenon that stands out in majestic splendor,
The resplendent marble structure being the epicenter of religious life is no small wonder,
Columns leaning slightly inward give the illusion of true straight lines and a lifting effect,
Remaining in use for a thousand odd years despite ravages of time, shows it was bereft of defects

Awe-inspiring Parthenon is a tribute to the innovative imagination of the talented Greeks,
It was geometry at its best sans extensive calculations, inspired by passionate geeks,
To make a line look straight, it had to be tapered or curved - a tenet of site mechanics,
Fitted together like the world's heaviest jigsaw puzzle, the massive columns seem titanic

Scenes of mythical battles can be seen in sculpted marble metopes in the Parthenon,
Tribal human Lapiths combating savage half-man, half-horse Centaurs are depicted spot-on,
Stage-wise motions of horsemen getting ready for a cavalcade are convincingly conveyed,
Goddess Athena's birth from the head of her father Zeus has been beautifully portrayed

The Erechtheion sits on the most sacred site where Poseidon and Athena contested,
Athena's olive tree growth trumping Poseidon's spring gush is a fact to be digested,
As Patron of the city, Athens took it's name from the victorious Athena,
Erechtheion is still considered the real religious temple in the present-day arena

The theater of Herod Atticus below the Acropolis built by the Romans is a majestic marvel,
Chunks of aesthetically designed arched structures are fodder for the mind to unravel,
In use even today for concerts, ballets and cultural performances during the night,
It's breathtaking view from the elevated Acropolis is a photographer's delight

The rock of Areopagos that is below the Acropolis, is a picturesque location,
Panoramic views of the Plaka, Monastiraki and Athens, leave little to imagination,
Climbing the slippery steps, the vaunted locale is ideal for a glorious sunset view,
Watching the city lights at night is a great way to wrap up the day without much ado

From the northeast corner of the Acropolis, one can see Athens city stretching out endlessly below,
Viewing Plaka's ceramic-tiled rooftops, Hadrians Arch and Lysikratous street makes one want to bellow,
The giant Temple of Olympian Zeus ruins and Olympic stadium can be seen nestled in pine covered hill,
As a visually stunning island of green in a sea of concrete, the view admirably fits the bill

It is with a cocktail of emotions that one meanders back to Athens city at the end of the day,
Topped with awe at the sheer brilliance of the minds of Romans and Greeks in their heyday,
Generations will be on the learning curve while gleaning facts from the rich history,
The multifarious reasons for the Acropolis being so popular can never be a mystery
SUNDARAM SARMA May 2020
There is always an unending stream of visitors to Italy's Pompeii,
A standout aspect that can't be missed by the tourist's discerning eye,
You brace yourself for an exciting, informative tour of the site,
Whilst being aware of it's agonizing history, that is so contrite

It is like an open book on Roman civilization in medieval times,
With glimpses of their lifestyle still apparent thro' passage of time,
Tragic that the glorious town was buried by Vesuvius' volcanic ash,
Whose unique non-hard nature left the town almost intact

The sprawling impressive Amphitheater construction is nothing short of grandiose,
Aesthetically and geometrically designed, with considerable poise,
Hosting of circus shows and gladiatorial games was apparently a regular feature,
Adding to entertainment and joy for the town's populace in no small measure

That the Romans had vivid imagination in planning and construction is never a moot point,
The Amphitheater having a velarium provision is proof enough to drive home the point,
Staggered cascaded seating systems showed social classes prevalence even during those times,
While the accessways to the seats are strikingly similar to those in stadia in present times

Paved with marble blocks, the majestic Forum stands out as an architectural marvel,
Once a bustling main square with a multitude of activities for our minds to unravel,
Surrounding buildings, porticos, temples and basilicas indicate an epicenter of activity,
It is as if the pompous thoughtful design of the layout was a lesson to educate posterity

As the town's highest God, the Temple of Jupiter is a towering structure on the north side,
Flanked by the Macellum - the town's large provision market on the east side,
Justice administration and business negotiations took place in the Basilica on the south side,
The magnificent Temple of Venus made of concrete and lava stones, housed the west side

The Temple of Apollo remnants stand out in magnificent splendor,
Reportedly it was considered the town's most religious epicenter,
The fusion of Greek and Italian architecture is a virtual standout,
It's white marble altar with Latin inscriptions are a lot to rave about

The Forum Baths behind the Temple of Jupiter depict meticulous attention to designing,
Luxurious options of cold, hot and tepid baths provide glimpses of detailed planning,
Hot water circulation through imbedded pipes in wall cavities was truly ingenious,
That the Baths also incorporated a toilet, pool and gymnasium; was pure genius

Remnants of houses ranging from modest dwellings to magnificent villas were truly insightful,
The social class divide of houses of simple workmen from the elegant noble was clearly meaningful,
Varied improvements in style and layout as the middle-class evolved, was very discernible,
Thro' additional rooms replete with embellishments and decorations, making it so perceptible

Pompeii's rich pictorial heritage is a classic example of the famous Roman art,
Full of color and life, the paintings were chosen to make the rooms appear less dark,
Incremental stylistic shifts in the paintings ranged from the realistic to inspirational,
Reflecting the prosperity and tastes during those times, in no way considered fictional

Stunning mosaic ornamentation in buildings depicted battle scenes, animals and human faces,
Rich in imagination with a flair for detail in houses and even laundries, to state a few places.
Adorning floors and walls, the mosaics display considerable clarity and a sense of purpose,
As if the artists sought to portray battles and philosophical thoughts with pointed focus

Inscriptions and graffiti that abound the walls of houses are worthy of note,
Seemingly indicating electoral propaganda messages urging citizens to vote,
Graffiti correlated with scrawled caricatures, messages and jokes on disparate subjects,
That also included calculations on buying and selling of merchandise for many projects

A visit to the ruins makes one experience a kaleidoscope of emotions,
You leave with an inescapable mix of feelings of fascination and adoration,
Visitors have the opportunity to see how a medieval town was built and dwelt,
An experience that goes beyond the whole nine yards, to know how it is felt
Mar 2019 · 229
Rome - replete with history
SUNDARAM SARMA Mar 2019
When you visit Rome, it is as if history beckons,
All other thoughts are secondary to reckon,
Stunning architecture and ruins does the mind conjure,
While being tempted to look at the bigger picture

Marble sculptures adorn numerous buildings and landmarks,
Their sheer size and natural look surely leave a mark,
Said to be influenced by the ancient Greeks,
And perfected by the Romans as seen in most tweaks

Vatican is reportedly the smallest state in the world,
Christianity hails it as the holiest place in the world,
The City's museums, chapels and gardens lend a scenic splendor,
Making it an enchanted place with little to wonder

St Peter's Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world,
It's sprawling mosaic interior and impressive art is way out of this world,
The incredible Michalengalo dome will always be entrenched in one's memory,
Climbing atop the dome for a panoramic city view is anything but dreary

St Peter's Square is the vast spectacular square in the Vatican,
It is quintessential with an opulent air that no one can question,
Majestic columns and pilasters flanking the square are an architectural marvel,
That it can hold more than a quarter million people is for the mind to unravel

The Sistine Chapel is proof of Michalengelo's transformation from sculptor to painter,
Reflected in the ceiling depicting the Book of Genesis's nine episodes as you saunter,
The gallery paintings portray detailed maps of the world in the sixteenth century,
Remaining etched in visitors' memories when leaving the Vatican eventually

The iconic Flavian Amphitheatre (Colosseum) is a major landmark in Rome,
Majestic arched entrances and thoughtfully designed seating impress as you roam,
The arena and cages where gladiators combated wild animals bring painful memories,
Of a ****** sport that people flocked to witness, as if in a reverie

Trevi fountain's theatrical architectural marvel is a sight to behold,
Little wonder that visitors come in droves with so much to be told,
Coins thrown in the water portend a return visit in Rome's favor,
Group euphoria and endless clicking of selfies are memoirs to savor

Spanish Steps is famous for its elegance and unique design,
The Barcaccia Fountain at it's base adds to the scenic outline,
People relax for hours at this traditional meeting place,
The annual summer fashion show here though, is never commonplace

Rome is no exception to Italy's famed gelato,
People slurp on cones with considerable gusto,
Gelato is creamier and denser than ice cream,
Its such subtle differences that make it a scream

Rome, as the rest of Italy, is a gourmet's delight,
Trattorias, aka informal ristorantes are a common sight,
People swarm these eateries that offer great variety for a bite,
Can there be a better way to whet one's appetite?

It is a city that is always teeming with tourists,
With a colorful spontaneity that is difficult to resist,
Brings to mind literally the phrase "All roads lead to Rome",
As memories continue to linger long after one heads back home
Feb 2019 · 744
The magic of Venice
SUNDARAM SARMA Feb 2019
Can you envision a city built on a lagoon?
That's Venice, a name that always makes one swoon,
It has a reputation for canals rather than roads,
And a prime reason why one will never get bored

The famed gondola ride through the labyrinth of canals,
Is a must-have experience that is far from banal,
Gliding through serene waters with hardly a tilt,
While being serenaded by the cheerful gondolier's lilt

The epicenter of Venice is the popular St Mark's Square,
Teeming with tourists with a perennial effervescent flair,
Historic buildings and stately arcades form the periphery,
With an array of cafes and accompanying music for people to make merry

Witness the serpentine line of visitors entering St Mark's Basilica church,
Gazing at seemingly endless luminous gilded mosaics inside makes one almost lurch,
The Pala d'Oro altar of gold studded with hundreds of gems is a marvel to behold,
As are the mammoth innumerable columns that are so mind-boggling, if truth be told

The majestic Doge's Palace bears the stamp of masterpiece Gothic architecture,
Resting on a double arcade of marble columns lends solidity to the structure,
Spectacular halls and staircases adorn the interior, replete with exquisite paintings,
While ornate works of art complemented by more paintings are featured in the ceilings

The Bridge of Sighs is touted as one of the finest bridge architecture in the world,
The stylish Italian Renaissance connects the interrogation room to the prisoners' abode,
The sculptured sad or angry faces while crossing under the bridge can easily be seen,
Depicting sighs of prisoners awaiting their fate, as they mulled "what could have been"

The bustling Grand Canal is the central transport hub in picturesque Venice,
Gondolas, vaporettos and water taxis cruise up and down the canal without amiss,
Flanked by colorful buildings, iconic structures, buzzing markets and cobbled streets,
Time flies in hopping to various locations while savoring the glorious visual treat

The world famous Venetian glass has a history of its own,
Murano's glass museum visit facilitates all there is to be known,
For intricate shapes, it is a treat to watch the glass blower's skill,
Colorful designed vases and sculptures are effortlessly made at will

The lengthy arched Rialto Bridge is as old as the hills,
A crossover between San Polo and San Marco districts with hardly any frill,
It's breathtaking sunrise view receives considerable emcomium,
As a popular tourist spot, it needs no second opinion

As the bell-tower of the basilica, the Campanile is the tallest building in Venice,
The ring of each of the five bells is replete with history that one cannot miss,
The panoramic breathtaking view of Venice from the tower top,
Is one of the reasons why it is a must-experience visitors' stop

The mere mention of Venice always makes the lagoon city so exciting,
Little wonder that the annual Film Festival is a much-awaited outing,
The aura of glamor, glitz and entertainment never wanes any given year,
As folks continue to throng the city from far and near, with their near and dear
Jan 2019 · 142
Beautiful, exotic Bali
SUNDARAM SARMA Jan 2019
Landing in Bali, you are greeted by the hot and humid weather,
Tourists throng from world over, going hither and thither,
The colorful atmosphere on arrival is a prelude to fun that is in store in this haven,
As excited visitors hop into taxis and head to hotels to which they are driven

The island is famous for it's yoga and meditation retreats,
Also for the vast number of two-wheelers plying on narrow streets,
The landscape greenery is so lush and refreshing as you drive through,
That the reason it is called "paradise on earth" so easily strikes you

The multitude of handcrafts on display at roadsides is such an unique feature,
The variety of intricate stone carvings is as diverse as the mind can conjure,
You cannot but admire the skill and patience of artisans working countless hours,
Carving out majestic designs in stone, wowing buyers to say "this is ours"

At other roadsides are displayed stunning hand blown slumped glass bowls on driftwood,
Each uniquely hand crafted for the specific end use that you decide if you could,
Molten glass takes on wood, creating a wonderful terrain for flowers, floating candles and an endless wish list,
The finished products are a touch exotic, making them must-have mementos for the visiting tourist

The famed rice terraces stretching across the countryside are so ethereal,
The manner in which farmers came up with this ingenious concept appears so surreal,
Steep mountains and deep gorges that were a topographic deterrent to cultivate rice,
Circumvented through creation of gorgeous terraces for water sharing, as if in a trice

Kopi Luwak coffee is one of the most expensive coffees in the world,
It is a Bali specialty with an interesting history that one gets to be told,
Free sampling of eight teas and coffees of different unique flavors at the coffee farm is on offer,
A must-have experience with the scenic splendor of rice fields below, on which views don't differ

Batik is considered the original Indonesian textile which has a worldwide reputation,
Visiting a Batik factory to whet the curiosity requires a bit of determination,
Such is the wide array of colorful floral and geometric design motifs seen on display,
That one cannot resist the temptation to splurge on shopping, before deciding to walk away

Some of the most mystical waterfalls in the world can be seen in Bali,
Many of them are hidden in the backdrop of rice fields and mountainous valleys,
Reaching dizzy heights that seemingly merge with treetops, make the views gorgeous and enchanting,
Waterfalls vie with one other in visual splendor, making it appear that nothing is found wanting

The majority of Balinese identify themselves with the Hindu religion,
Taking pride in their identity, prevalent over centuries in the region,
Numerous Hindu temples spread across the island is therefore not surprising,
Most with a history of their own, necessitating a visit to the more enterprising

Yoga, meditation and wellness retreats are spread all over the island in natural and exotic settings,
Surrounding jungles, waterfalls and trickling waters of rivers lend an ambience that feels so settling,
Massage treatments, spas and water healing sessions also facilitate visitors' well-being,
Such programs assist in mastering the body, mind and clarify life's purpose among other mundane things
Dec 2018 · 225
Lure of London
SUNDARAM SARMA Dec 2018
A tourist's delight is London and not without reason,
If you think otherwise, you can't be forgiven,
The British culture is something in which the Britons pride,
You have no option but to take this in your stride

The famed red double-decker buses are all over the streets,
Transporting people virtually from street to street,
Their frequency is so short which is a feature to admire,
For commuters on the go, there is little reason to perspire

Systematic running of the buses is a reflection of meticulous planning,
That has been honed to near perfection for a near-perfect landing,
Hassle-free commuting is surely a plus point,
There is definitely no reason for it to be a moot point

Riding the London tube in peak hours is nothing short of a nightmare,
An experience however that tourists would surely like to dare,
Winding your way through jostling commuters in a mechanical way,
An art that can be practiced without keeping rushing fellow passengers at bay

Hordes of people keep flocking Trafalgar Square,
There is so much activity with almost nothing to spare,
The revelry is such with considerable glee,
A joy to behold and the best it ever can be

Walking by the waterfront is such a pleasure,
Whilst savoring the enchanting landscape in no small measure,
Buildings along the quay have a history of their own,
That vindicate the reasons for which they are so well renown

Boarding the Thames cruise near one of the dockyards,
Is sheer coincidence that it is opposite new Scotland Yard,
British history's glorious past as vividly narrated by the guide,
Makes for fascinating hearing with the ripples of the not-so-high adjoining tide

To see Shakespeare's first theater felt so wonderful,
That Thames river water has breached the place was equally woeful,
The adjoining new theater now hosts his masterpiece plays all year round,
A must-see theatrical show if you happen to be around

The waterfront restaurants are a haven for wining and dining,
The accompanying incessant chatter gives no cause for whining,
All one needs to do is soak in the merriment,
No way will it ever be to your detriment

The famed black cabs with their right hand driving,
Are mostly Bentleys with an unique interior setting,
The seating arrangement is something you get used to,
As you ride to your destination without further ado

Borough week-end market offers food from world over,
It would be a surprise if you are not bowled over,
The freedom to taste without any haste,
Ensures hours well spent with no guilt of waste

The variety of treats is just so amazing,
It tempts one to keep tasting instead of simply gazing,
The international flavor is also seen in the massive crowds,
That throng the market wanting to be wowed

Shopping is such pleasure that makes you shop-till-you-drop,
Spending has never been so easy without sparing a thought,
The lure of fashion is such an endless passion,
It is difficult to say there is a limit to satisfaction

Buckingham Palace change-of-guard is a popular tourist attraction,
People flock to see the daily spectacle that does merit attention,
The adjoining sprawling Hyde Park lends its own aura to the setting,
That ensures memories linger without forgetting

From Hyde Park, Piccadilly Circus is just a stone's throw,
It is famous enough for visitors to take a bow,
The hustle and bustle surrounding the place,
Makes it look hectic to keep with the pace

Poetry is inadequate to describe the charisma that London holds,
It's majestic buildings and Britain's rich history are truly a sight to behold,
You always get the feeling that there is  something more to experience,
Once you are back to base and indulge in reminiscence
Nov 2018 · 116
Picturesque Switzerland
SUNDARAM SARMA Nov 2018
It was nostalgic while landing in early October at Zurich airport,
After twenty years, the revisit meant I could have something new to report,
It's always exciting to be back in Switzerland,
A country so picturesque that you are tempted to call it Wonderland

As always the people are so helpful and friendly,
The sense of camaraderie makes you feel warm inwardly,
Cheese, chocolates and banking system make it a country of great repute,
And these are well known facts that do not merit any dispute

Swiss precision clocks are world renown,
It is something the Swiss take pride as being their very own,
This can be seen in all aspects of their everyday life,
Their work-life balance is admirable being almost devoid of strife

The Swiss Rail system is always viewed with a sense of awe,
Vindicated by our own experience of what we saw,
A lot has been invested to ensure seamless journeys for the commuter,
With no room for disgruntlement that one may even attempt to mutter

Train travel between cities is such a pleasure,
While enjoying the scenic landscape in no small measure,
The hip-hop commute feature at stations of your choice is pure fun and joy,
That people of all ages just want to experience and enjoy

The stunning beauty of the Alps is such a visual splendor,
All that one can do is to stare and wonder,
Seemingly stretching to eternity are the snow clad mountainous peaks,
One succumbs to the temptation to take out the easel and paint, making little attempt to speak

When you think of cheese, Swiss is foremost in your mind,
The several hundred variety of Swiss cheese just blows your mind,
Almost half the Swiss milk produced gets converted to cheese,
But still one does not even wish to say "no more, please!"

Ah, the mention of Swiss chocolates brings out the inevitable smile,
You just wish to savor the taste even if it means walking a mile,
Many recipes are traditional though the taste is still unique,
Made mostly by hand - surprisingly, still a basic technique

A recommended must-have tourist experience is travel in the Glacier Express,
As the train chugs along the mountainous track, a whole lot of emotions is what one is tempted to express,
So breathtakingly beautiful is the endless luscious green landscape,
That memories continue to linger long after, from which there is no escape
Nov 2018 · 152
Enchanting Edinburgh
SUNDARAM SARMA Nov 2018
Picturesque Edinburgh symbolizes Scottish regal splendor,
Which can be seen in buildings that are truly rich in decor,
The solid architectural structures are such a visual marvel,
Replete with history when one tries to unravel

Mary, Queen of Scots is a name we  remember from school history,
The palace where she was born speaks of tales that remain a sad mystery,
That she was ordained to be the Queen as soon as she was born, was destiny,
It was her mother's foresight and Providence that enabled her to survive the mutiny

The palace rooms and items therein portray her tragic life,
Their vividity saddens the visitor when seeing how full it was of strife,
The room in which she was kept in isolation by her better half,
Spoke volumes of the agony she endured at the hands of her bitter half

The Royal Castle has a whole history behind its walls,
The gusty Scottish winds in no way diminishes visitors' footfalls,
The audio tour reveals fascinating stories little heard of elsewhere,
Which we would never come to know if we had not been there

The prisoners-of-war cells and isolation wards that are centuries old,
Depict in great detail the meted treatment which was a sight to behold,
One cannot but wonder at the related stories of medieval times,
The mannerisms of people of warring nations, that was less than sublime

The difference in Scottish and English (London) accents is quite striking,
One needs to listen closely without too much jaw breaking,
Where the former is more subtle and measured and in consonance with word spelling,
The drawl and crunching emphasis of words in the latter is more telling

While walking through Princess Street Garden at leisure,
Taking in the floral beauty is such a pleasure,
The spectacular view of the castle atop the hill,
Screams for a photo shoot of your own free will

The Waverly Bridge junction is a busy thoroughfare all day,
As automobiles ply by and pedestrians wend their way,
The hustle and bustle is not too over the top,
As people seemingly find time to stop and shop

As a nation the Scots can be justifiably proud,
By nature they seem modest without being too loud,
Their common bond with the English is that they share the same Queen,
Their rivalry otherwise is perhaps latent and needs to be seen
SUNDARAM SARMA Nov 2018
Granada is a town that holds quite well its very own,
With an unique culture blend that is difficult to disown,
There is the confluence of diverse religions,
Which frankly, is nothing short of legion

Christianity and Islam pervade all aspects of daily life,
In shops, monuments and restaurants with hardly any strife,
It always feels good to see such diversity,
All the more so when there is unmistakable unity

The up and down alleys are a countless maze,
That can leave visitors in a state of daze,
There is little possibility however of losing track,
Since there is rarely ever a cul-de-sac

Restaurants and street cafes are just about everywhere,
All one needs to know is how to get there,
The variety of cuisine is as diverse as it can be,
That one just needs to ask "what will it be"?

Flamenco performers strut their talent at the wayside,
With enthusiastic onlookers egging them on side by side,
The foot tapping rhythm is pure joy to listen,
Through hours of practice, drawn from inspiration within

Crowds gather at the square for a glimpse of the sunset view,
Grabbing vantage spots for the breathtaking view,
The endless clicking of photos is inevitable as it would seem,
For those who skip it, it would probably remain in their dreams

Ice creams and sorbets come in a multitude of flavors,
Making a choice is never without a waiver,
People of all ages love savoring the cool taste,
From morning till late night, there is rarely any haste

Driving through 15 feet narrow alleys would appear to require special skills,
Not so to the locals who probably deem it a routine daily drill,
Peugeots, Renaults, Skodas and Benz can all be seen at play,
Hey, this is Europe - hence there is little surprise at the wide array!

From Granada to Cordoba is the next lap of our travel,
Wonder what mystique it is likely to unravel,
Thus far it has been totally exhilarating,
So look forward to some more poetic commentating
SUNDARAM SARMA Nov 2018
As with most Hindu festivals,
Diwali is also about good trumping evil,
It is celebrated in India and across the world with so much joy,
That you can't escape the feeling to reminisce and enjoy

Experiencing it in India is perhaps the best,
Elsewhere in the world, you don't get to see that much zest,
The one common factor is the accompanying upbeat mood,
Savoring the fun and frolic makes us all feel so good

The reverberating sound of firecrackers is always so much fun,
For the very faint-hearted however, it is a reason to turn around and run,
Seeing kids enjoying the fireworks makes one wish to turn the clock back,
Even if it is for a fleeting moment of wanting to look back

The variety of sweets draws us to a wonderful treat,
Try as you may, the temptation makes it difficult to retreat,
The festive mood is so spontaneous and  generously uplifting,
That you just soak in the revelry and enjoy the proceedings

Open display of a gamut of emotions by young and old alike on this day,
That blatantly cuts across economic disparities is not something you see everyday,
Your heart gushes with joy on seeing people open the floodgates of magnanimity,
That you wish each day could be as bright and hopeful, stretching to eternity 

Children setting an example when it comes to being generous to the less fortunate,
Is what cockles the heart as it results in joy that is so infinite,
The accompanying mood is euphoric to the point of being almost surreal,
But once it settles down, you realize that this is for real

The underlying theme of sharing special gifts on this festive occasion,
Surprising friends and family members with stuff bordering on thoughtful innovation,
Is what makes Diwali so special and sentimental that we all long for,
Not withstanding the fact that for some, their near and dear are afar

It takes awhile for all the joy to ebb after the celebrations are done,
Though you yearn for the feeling and wish that it had just begun,
Till such time as you wait for an encore in the coming year,
You cherish memories of the wonderful time experienced with near and dear
Nov 2018 · 179
Captivating Cordoba
SUNDARAM SARMA Nov 2018
Cordoba is home to the largest mosque in the world,
The Mezquita's architectural splendour is a stunning monument to behold,
It is a confluence of Jewish, Islamic and Christian trinity,
Whose influence through the ages will stretch to eternity

Swarming with tourists be it individuals or groups,
Who throng the roads through which they incessantly troop,
The multi-cultural mix is what makes the sight so appealing,
One cannot but experience the inescapable joyful feeling

As one saunters through the must- visit touristic Jewish Quarter,
The innumerable winding lanes and by-lanes really do not matter,
Rows and rows of shops have a wide range of offerings,
All that one needs to do is spend without bothering

It's a gourmet's delight at restaurants when it comes to variety,
One needs to go through the menu card in it's entirety,
The trick is to experiment with different types of food,
Hopping in and out of eateries makes you feel so good

The sweltering heat does little to dampen the enthusiasm,
People go about their work with no less dynamism,
The famed Spanish siesta can still be seen at play,
With shuttering of shops and offices just past mid-day

With tourism a major factor contributing to the economy,
It is important to underscore the need to live in harmony,
This trait among people is so blatantly on display,
An ingrained culture preserved till this very day
Oct 2018 · 200
Splendor of Spain's Seville
SUNDARAM SARMA Oct 2018
As I embark on my bucket-list travels,

There is something I wish to unravel,

To see my skills at penning poetry,

Over which currently I have no mastery



My family kept goading me,

To shed my lethargy,

And make a beginning,

Which in hindsight, was a self- awakening



It was on a fine morning in sunny Spain,

That I decided to make some meaningful gains,

In penning my first few lines,

Without allowing my mind to work overtime



While walking down the streets of Seville,

You see people wanting to do what they will,

It's a wonderful feeling of being stress-free,

Which makes me think "is this what life is meant to be"?



The street restaurants are a gourmets' delight,

That's  sheer heavenly bliss in every bite,

The menu variety is the joy of any epicurean,

And the task to choose makes it no less Herculean



Street cafes abound in no small measure,

With people flocking in droves to seek hedonistic pleasure,

The wining and dining carry on past midnight,

And makes you wonder whether the end is ever in sight



Beating the heat with a cool retreat,

Are ice creams and sorbets in an array of treats,

The flavors on display makes one spoilt for choice,

But once decided, it is a matter to rejoice



The popular flea market on Sundays,

Is a rarity not seen everyday,

Hawkers displaying their unique wares,

A sight not beholden everywhere



The ornamental antiques,

Embrace the mystique,

To the ardent art lovers' gazing eye,

There is so much stuff that money can buy



To the connoisseur philatelist,

There were no stamps that did not exist,

To the persevering numismatist,

The jingle of coins was a means to co-exist,

The rustle of currency, an erstwhile pleasure to the notaphilists,  

Such a variety of notes no longer exists



Amazing to listen to the ceaseless chatter,

The noisy banter, little did it matter,

Price haggling was no laughing matter,

Achieving the end result was all that did matter



The Triana sector famous for its ceramic ware,

Artistic glazed tiles, pottery and curios discerned just about everywhere,

Such is the craftsmanship excelling in intricate designs,

The wide variety on display just blows away your mind



Meandering through streets and alleys was a pleasure,

Whilst enjoying the local traditions in no small measure,

The staccato Spanish chatter of passers by,

Was a joy to listen- an unique experience that money can't buy



The number of cathedrals was definitely aplenty,

Each with a history extending to posterity,

The majestic domes and sprawling structures,

Bore  ample testimony to ancient and contemporary cultures



The  numerous horse carriages sauntering on the cobblestone paths,

Were a sight to behold with their inimitable trot,

The tourists and locals alike beamed as they rode by,

Responding to the constant cheers of passers-by



As the day dawned on our leaving Seville,

It was more out of compulsion than our own free will,

That with a heavy heart we had to bid adieu,

Knowing fully well that such a feeling was not anew
SUNDARAM SARMA Oct 2018
As I embark on my bucket-list travels,

There is something I wish to unravel,

To see my skills at penning poetry,

Over which currently I have no mastery



My family kept goading me,

To shed my lethargy,

And make a beginning,

Which in hindsight, was a self- awakening



It was on a fine morning in sunny Spain,

That I decided to make some meaningful gains,

In penning my first few lines,

Without allowing my mind to work overtime



While walking down the streets of Seville,

You see people wanting to do what they will,

It's a wonderful feeling of being stress-free,

Which makes me think "is this what life is meant to be"?



The street restaurants are a gourmets' delight,

That's  sheer heavenly bliss in every bite,

The menu variety is the joy of any epicurean,

And the task to choose makes it no less Herculean



Street cafes abound in no small measure,

With people flocking in droves to seek hedonistic pleasure,

The wining and dining carry on past midnight,

And makes you wonder whether the end is ever in sight



Beating the heat with a cool retreat,

Are ice creams and sorbets in an array of treats,

The flavors on display makes one spoilt for choice,

But once decided, it is a matter to rejoice



The popular flea market on Sundays,

Is a rarity not seen everyday,

Hawkers displaying their unique wares,

A sight not beholden everywhere



The ornamental antiques,

Embrace the mystique,

To the ardent art lovers' gazing eye,

There is so much stuff that money can buy



To the connoisseur philatelist,

There were no stamps that did not exist,

To the persevering numismatist,

The jingle of coins was a means to co-exist,

The rustle of currency, an erstwhile pleasure to the notaphilists,  

Such a variety of notes no longer exists



Amazing to listen to the ceaseless chatter,

The noisy banter, little did it matter,

Price haggling was no laughing matter,

Achieving the end result was all that did matter



The Triana sector famous for its ceramic ware,

Artistic glazed tiles, pottery and curios discerned just about everywhere,

Such is the craftsmanship excelling in intricate designs,

The wide variety on display just blows away your mind



Meandering through streets and alleys was a pleasure,

Whilst enjoying the local traditions in no small measure,

The staccato Spanish chatter of passers by,

Was a joy to listen- an unique experience that money can't buy



The number of cathedrals was definitely aplenty,

Each with a history extending to posterity,

The majestic domes and sprawling structures,

Bore  ample testimony to ancient and contemporary cultures



The  numerous horse carriages sauntering on the cobblestone paths,

Were a sight to behold with their inimitable trot,

The tourists and locals alike beamed as they rode by,

Responding to the constant cheers of passers-by



As the day dawned on our leaving Seville,

It was more out of compulsion than our own free will,

That with a heavy heart we had to bid adieu,

Knowing fully well that such a feeling was not anew
travel spain holiday cathedrals crafts spanish

— The End —