Posts

Showing posts from 2017

2017: In a nutshell!

Two Thousand Seventeen was one helluva year!

Although certain things I'd loved to have happened didn't, but a whole lot of surprises happened!

The year 2017 saw me flying out of India for the first time - a trip to the United States of America! Spending 40 days in the US, making the most of my first trip out of India! A visit to NY, and then to DC!

The year saw me taking 18 flights, covering almost 22K miles! There wasn't a lot of traveling in the year - except the visit to the US. I was lucky to even travel in buses in the US - a completely different experience in itself! I could even try an Amtrak journey in the US!

A whole lot of train journeys, even more bus journeys as well in the country!

Personally, the year was a mixed bag - some good things, some bad things in the life. All said, I still loved every bit of the year! I've been living my life to the fullest, and hope to continue doing that in the years to come!

Lets turn pages for a whole new year!

Wishing all m…

Mangalore to Bangalore on KSRTC Airavat Diamond Class

Image
December 10, 2017:
As I completed the examination paperwork, I logged on to the KSRTC website and looked for the next available bus to Bengaluru, and zeroed in on the 1400 departure - this was an Airavat Diamond Class (Scania 13.7M), operating on the Mangalore-Bangalore-Tirupati route. I completed the examination work, and set out to the bus station. I requested the driver to drop me at New Taj Mahal Cafe, since I had to pickup some sweets and other snacks to take back to Bangalore.

I got to the bus station by about 1300hrs - the bus was yet to be brought from the depot. The bus was brought in by around 1330hrs - the crew did not take the bus to the platform until about 1340hrs. Meanwhile, I received an SMS confirming the bus number. Boarding commenced a while past 1345hrs - most of the seats were prereserved, while the crew managed to get passengers for the remaining seats.

The bus pulled out of the bus station at 1402hrs - with more or less all the seats occupied, except those with …

Bangalore to Mangalore on the new KSRTC Volvo B11R 13.8M

Image
Exams are always a reason to travel. Being a travel freak, I love to use every opportunity I get to travel. The exam duty at Mangalore was seen as a badly needed opportunity to travel! I really wanted a break from work, and this was the chance. The exam was on a Sunday - getting a ticket to come back was a little difficult, but I had to take some chances here, since I wanted to return early. I booked my outbound in a KSRTC Airavat Club Class. I made a calculated guess, and booked the Bangalore-Manipal service hoping it would get a new Volvo B11R!

December 09, 2017:
I started from home around 2015hrs towards Yeshwantpur - I took a bus to Dasarahalli station, and then a Metro towards Yeshwantpur. I headed off to the nearby Hallimane restaurant for a sumptuous dinner. I ate slowly to reduce my waiting time at the pickup point, the nearby Govardhan Theatre. I still got there by 2145hrs - with more than 25 minutes to go for pick-up time. I had received a message from KSRTC already by then,…

Ernakulam to Bengaluru: KSRTC Garuda King Class Volvo B9R

Image
Travelling without a return ticket is getting a very bad regular misadventure for me. This trip was no different. I had a plethora of options to choose from for my return trip - but like my outbound, convenience took precedence. Kerala State RTC's Volvo B9R aka Garuda King Class gave a very big convenience that it would drop me near my home - rather just 6 kms away from home, at Peenya Satellite bus station. I booked my ticket about a week before travel - and I was quite shocked that they were charging end-to-end fares for the bus, and almost half the bus was already sold out. I picked up a seat in the rear half of the bus, and, quite interestingly, booked an end-to-end ticket. I planned to change my boarding point to Thrissur, if needed on the day of my journey.

October 21, 2017:
Towards noon on my day of journey, I decided to board the bus at Ernakulam itself. Leaving home after a long stay is surely a heart-wrenching moment. I hate waiting for the bus at Thrissur - the bus stat…

Trivandrum to Ernakulam: by KSRTC's Garuda Maharaja

Image
I hadn't realised that I was stuck in Trivandrum, until I saw the crowd at the bus station! I hadn't really realised that I was traveling a day before a long long weekend - a Second Saturday, Sunday, followed by Kerala's "national" festival aka Hartal on Monday, an opportunity to 'fall sick' on Tuesday and Diwali holiday on Wednesday! Essentially a five day, extended weekend! Buses were sold out, while the unreserved ones had people ready to pounce the moment the door opened! I had no option but to stay over that night, and try my luck with early morning buses. Intuitively, I headed to the reservation website and found that the Scania bus to Coimbatore, leaving Trivandrum at 0400hrs, had 7 seats available - the last two rows! I grabbed one of them quickly - seat #41 was chosen.

October 14, 2017:
My phone woke me up at an unearthly 0245hrs! I remained groggy for a while, before darting out of my bed and getting ready. I checked out of the hotel at 0315hrs,…

Bengaluru to Thrissur: KSRTC Garuda King Class Volvo B9R - a repeat!

Image
Call it coincidence, call it a repeat - I was all set to head home for a vacation, and I booked on the Bangalore-Ernakulam Volvo service of Kerala RTC once again! And like the last time, it was convenience that weighed over anything else. I had to delay my booking until the last minute, since I was really not sure if I'd be able to travel. My journey was confirmed only by around 1700hrs - I logged on to the website to see most forward half seats occupied. I quickly selected one in the rear half - #29 it was.

October 09, 2017:
Since it was vacation time, my colleague was also traveling to the bus station. So we decided to share a cab - the Ola cab came in about 5 minutes from booking - the guy got us to the satellite bus station in Peenya by about 1755hrs. While I was in the cab, I received a call from the bus conductor to confirm if I was boarding from Peenya itself - this was important since Peenya happens to be the default boarding point, and a lot of passengers forget to change…

Bangalore to Thrissur: Garuda King Class Volvo of KSRTC

Image
This was a pre-vacation trip home. I hadn't planned this trip, until a few weeks before I actually travelled. I was to return from home with my brother - and hence, I only had to take care of one way reservations. My travel was coinciding with a four day long weekend in Bengaluru - which means, every migrant in the city travels out. I decided to leave a few days earlier, using the compensatory offs I had accumulated at work. Leaving a couple of days earlier meant I was traveling on a weekday, and I had plenty of options to choose from. A slightly expensive but convenient Kerala State RTC Volvo or a cheaper Karnataka State RTC Scania! I chose the former since it starts from a bus station very close to my residence, and I am saved of all the inconvenience of having to travel to Shantinagar. 
September 26, 2017: After a tiring day at work, I hurried with my dinner - at 5pm! I hired an ola cab a little past 1715hrs, and rushed to Basaveshwara Bus Station - the satellite bus station lo…

Thrissur to Bengaluru on Airavat Diamond Class

Image
Getting a ticket to return from Kerala on weekends is not a joke - the fact that it was also during Onam celebrations compounded my miseries. Onam was on Monday, and I initially planned to return on Monday night - but there were no tickets. I checked for tickets from Coimbatore, which also seemed sold out. It dawned on me later that I would be travelling with lots of baggage, and there was no way I could do a split journey. I had to travel through in a single bus - then began the hunt for buses from Thrissur. I decided to travel a day earlier (which turned out to be a good decision) - and checked for tickets for Sunday night. Although this meant I had to spend the festive day at work, getting an affordable ticket was more important to me. 
I quickly checked Kerala RTC, which was sold out. My next stop was Karnataka RTC, which luckily had a couple of seats vacant for the 2133hrs Thrissur-Bangalore Airavat Diamond Class. And one of those empty seats was a window! I grabbed it without m…

Bangalore to Thrissur: On a Holiday special train!

Image
An innocuous message on our colleagues WhatsApp group informed me about a one-off special train on September 01, 2017 from Yeswantpur to Kochuveli. I had no intentions to go home for Onam till this message popped up - in fact, I had planned to spend the weekend with my colleagues. I had just shifted my home to a location closer to office, and I had my colleagues and students all around. The lure of traveling home for Onam was much stronger - I fired the IRCTC Connect App, and it showed that the special train had some 13 seats more in Three tier AC. I made a split second decision and grabbed one seat in 3A - I got one Side Upper Berth. Then began the hunt for the return ticket - more on that later!

A little later my colleague informed she was in S18 - "Sleeper Coach 18?", was the first question in my mind. The answer for my question came the next morning - as I spotted a special rake with 19 sleeper coaches, 2 AC 3-Tier coaches and 2 Luggage-cum-brake vans in the consist. I …

Kozhikode to Bengaluru: KSRTC Airavat Diamond Class

Image
July 25, 2017: 
This was a journey that was booked at the last moment. I had to rush home for an emergency - I took a flight to go home (a ticket booked for a cheap price, at the last minute - I decided to enjoy that flight, and did not make note of the timeline at all). After my work at my home down was over, I headed out to Kodungallur town. A new bus service was being launched from my hometown to the temple town of Kollur (Mookambika) in Karnataka. I decided to attend the program - which went on till evening. I also decided to make a journey on the first trip - I was to travel to Kozhikode. Being the inaugural trip, the service was delayed, and I did not want to risk reserving my tickets to travel from Kozhikode to Bengaluru.

It was really hot out there, plus I was exhausted from the long hot day. I dozed off for a while, but the heat wasn't helping matters. I am not a fan of non-ac buses (especially for long rides) and the heat made things really bad for me. To add to my miser…

Kochi to Bengaluru on RedKnite's VT-CCU

Image
Whats up with the title, eh? RedKnite is the call sign of AirAsia India!

This flight was part of my (rather, our) return from Trivandrum. We had to book a flight from Kochi, instead of Trivandrum since flights out of TRV were very expensive (more than twice the rates out of Kochi). We hadn't opted for onboard meals, and hadn't web checked in either - since AirAsia has the habit of charging for seat selection even during check-in - very counter productive when it comes to the penny wise (pound foolish, as well) Indian public!

July 09, 2017:
We had traveled from Trivandrum to Ernakulam by train (Jan Shatabdi Express - read about that here), and then headed for a sumptuous breakfast at Hotel Dwaraka. Dwaraka is an old property, and has a fairly good vegetarian restaurant - that serves delicious dosas! After the breakfast, we hired an Ola to head to the airport - the 37 kilometre ride to the airport from MG road took a little over an hour. We reached the airport a little past 1210…

Trivandrum to Ernakulam: Jan Shatabdi Express

Image
Our return trip from Trivandrum to Bangalore was very interesting. Direct modes of transport were unviable. We were not very confident of being able to return in the evening from Trivandrum - so we had to return on Sunday. But then, we wanted to be back in Bangalore by Sunday evening - we checked flights, which were too expensive. I quickly checked for tickets from Kochi - and, bingo! The afternoon flight from Kochi had lots of tickets, and they weren't expensive either! Tickets for the flight were booked first. Then began the hunt for tickets to travel to Kochi from Trivandrum. We decided to take the Jan Shatabdi Express from Trivandrum in the morning.

July 09, 2017:
With the train set to depart at 0600hrs, we had to leave our hotel by around 0530hrs. We were not sure if it would be possible to get transportation to the railway station that early in the morning on a Sunday. We managed to get an auto - and the driver agreed to ferry all the five of us in his vehicle. It was exciti…

Bangalore to Trivandrum: Orange AC Sleeper

Image
An urgent need to travel to Trivandrum came out of the blue. The trip was decided with just a few days to go, and the travel was on a Friday from Bengaluru! Since my brother and his family was traveling along, we had to travel by a Sleeper bus. It had to be an AC bus as well. A quick search on Redbus revealed a lot of options to pick from. We went by the ratings on redbus, and some enquiries through my friend network. I finally selected Orange Travels. Tickets weren't very cheap, and they were fairly expensive after the taxes were added.

July 07, 2017:
I reached home around 1700hrs, after a fairly tiring day at work. I had been receiving messages from Orange Travels with details of my bus from morning. We had to leave home by around 1830hrs in order to finish our dinner, and then board the bus that departs at 2015hrs. After hurrying with packing, we set off in an Uber towards Madiwala. The first task to finish our dinner - we picked Swaadam Veg Restaurant for dinner - delicious La…