Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Door County - Perfect Vacation Place

Door county Wisconsin - What a great place for Chicago wasis to visit during the summer, its the place in the farmland state of Wisconsin, around 260 miles from Chicago, surrounded by the huge, beautiful Michigan lake and staggered through various bays. It is natural, beautiful, depicts the rural America, its country side and farms makes you feel fresh and energetic. You will find various dairy farms as you drive across. We were there during recent memorial day long week end with one of my friend and stayed there in a resort called Cliff Dwellers, the location of resort and the facilities at resorts were awesome, This resort is located in the city called Sturgeon Bay, on the bank of Sturgeon Bay coming out of Michigan lake. We started around 11:30 am in the morning from our Aurora house , crossed Milwaukee at around 1 PM, the capitol of state of Wisconsin via I-43 north highway. Out of 260 miles, you are driving 113 miles on I-43 highway, as I always say you only pay toll charges in Illinois, there is no toll on I-43, but before joining I-43, you pay toll on I-88 and I-294 highways in Illinois.


After driving around 4-5 hours, we stopped at a rest area for some time so that kids could have lunch and some rest as well. Our destination was only few miles from this rest area so we spent some time relaxing, talking and eating our lunch...too late na.


We reached the resort around 5ish in the evening, our 2 bedroom flat was great, there was a sign board "welcome Tyagi family" by the resort staff, obviously it pleased us, more than that, we were pleased by a TT (table tennis) facility, Before having dinner at Pizza hut (kids favourite place) we played many games along the bay side. We planned for the next day to go for boating and to visit a state park near by for some hiking and biking fun. There are 3-4 state parks in the door county and if you are driving, get the $10 car parking sticker, so that you can park your car in any of the state park whole day, but i am sure you can not cover all state parks in a day, its always advisable to stick to a one state park and do all activities there. This links gives you the link to various state parks in Door county area -

We went to Potawatomi State Park, where we enjoyed the boating with kids and friends in the Sturgeon Bay, We enjoyed view of entire bay area from the 75 foot scenic observation tower, I could not go till end, may be due to I scare on height or I was scary because of kids, Nikunj was too happy as he was climbing through. We thought of going to some other place but as the we were along the lake, it was getting cold in the evening so we enjoyed playing TT again. We went to bed quite late as we were busy playing the cards even after the midnight. Nikunj's bike could not fit into my car, and I assumed that I can get some bike on rent for him in door county, But as we could not get a bike for him there so we did not bike there, but believe me its one of the best place for biking and hiking trails throughout the state parks.

This is good place for fishing fans, if you like fishing, this place is a must go. The best state park among others are Peninsula State Park, and Washington island, we could not go there due to shortage of time but choose them over other state parks. There are some good light houses to visit too.
Next morning we thought going to Peninsula state parks, it was around 30-40 miles from the place where we were stayed, there was a place called 'The farm' along our way, The ticket price is $8 for adults and $4 for kids, Nikunj and my friend's daughter Ashu enjoyed this place, they fed milk to baby goats and sheep (i guess you call them kid). They hugged them and enjoyed having those babies in their lap. Nikunj enjoyed sitting on tractor, it was a farm where you see all farm animals, from horse to sheep, goat, rooster, cats, farmers place, barn etc to name a few. There were trails to walk if you have time.


We were hungry again but as we were driving through there was no restaurant or gas station along, it was true village side driving where you don't see any thing but farms/lands. Luckily we found a place which we initially thought will not be a good place to have out brunch (lunch + breakfast) but they had really nice menu for breakfast, we ate there pancakes etc and then we saw Michigan lake in the back yard of that restaurant, the view was awesome, romantic and scenic. We stayed there for sometime as Nikunj and Ashu were playing with sand...But again as you are on Michigan lake, you feel what ...cold again so we thought let's move but by then we did not have energy to go to the other state park so we thought lets cover the Horse riding place and then head back to home, I wanted nikunj to sit and ride the horse for long time and when I had choice to go there, I could not stop myself, Nikunj had great fun at the place called "Kurtz Corral".

They charge $25 for 15-20 minutes for kids ride, for adult they have different charges where you can take your choice of horse to the trails/farms for an hour or an extended period. I guess you can find more information at - http://www.kurtzcorral.com/randr.htm, we took the Arena ride.

We had to head back to home but I wanted to cover some more, so we decided to visit the dairy farm where you can see cow milking and again farms, and you can eat the ice cream made from pure milk :) nothing new for me as I come from a village in India and have tasted more pure things than that, but being in America, it was fun to be there at farm. They had hundreds of cows and its matter of few minuted to milk all of them. I think at a time they can milk 30-40 cows and it took them only 10 minutes. All cows joined joined their milking station and then one guy cleaned them and put the machine which will get the milk out in few minutes, and then this batch of cow goes out and other comes in, this process is repeated until all of them. I found it inhuman, may be its sympathy or emotional feeling about our symbolic mother Cow, whatever you say !! Enjoy this place through their website - http://www.dairyview.com/
and then we headed back home and after 5-6 hours of driving reached Aurora around 9:30 PM on Sunday night.

See more photos at - http://picasaweb.google.com/ramkumartyagi/DoorCountyTrip2009?feat=directlink
Hope you enjoyed the ride to door county too !!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dusseldorf - Rhine's Love

My journey to Deutchland 'Germany' was around 4500 miles away from family was memorable for missing my family and visiting the Altstadt, I guess that is the best way to define the memories of this tour as I did not go anywhere out during the 3 weeks tour other than the bars (only once) on the bank of Rhine river in beautiful Dusseldorf city. I was on a business trip from first week of may, it was about to last for around 6 weeks, but I could not resist myself and had to cut short the trip in 2 and half weeks as I was missing my 5 yr and 8 months old kids like anything, my wife alone was struggling to manage both of them, yes I guess managing two boys is the most difficult job at home. My experience with Lufthansa Airlines was awesome, their service was more than satisfactory, for your information, i am trying to compare this with American Airlines which is having one of the worst on-flight service. I had to fly all over the Atlantic ocean to reach this European country where you rarely find a sign board in English. But one thing for sure you will find, Indian stores, yes there are some Indian Grocery stores there and even they have Indian restaurants too despite low presence of Indian community over there.
Just google "Indian restaurants in Dusseldorf Germany" and you will get 6-7 of them listed.

On a fine , sunny Saturday morning I went to one of the Saturday market where you can have lunch from movable restaurants, surprisingly there was a stall from one of the Punjabi family, the old couple was speaking fluent German but when they saw us, they started speaking Hindi and Punjabi, we enjoyed veg thali and all upon that he served us a complimentary alloooo paratha. It was really tasty, and it tasted even better as it was prepared from 'Dil Se'.

one of my colleague was telling me that you have to practice Dumb Charades before coming to Germany. Because if you got some questions then you need to act to make them understand. You know English and then know German, so Dumb charades is the only way to make the bridge :)

So my destination was one of the modern city of united Germany called Dusseldorf.


In current age of Internet I don't need to write myself as everything is available on web pages so let me copy some of the line from one of the link - "Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is an economic centre of Germany. The city is situated on the River Rhine, and is renowned for its many events and also for its fashion and trade fairs. Every July more than 4.5 million people visit the Größte Kirmes am Rhein funfair/carnival in Düsseldorf." -- Read more at - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Düsseldorf.

I am going back to Dusseldorf again soon, surely this time planning to bring my family so that I can focus on work :) . Good thing about Europe is the concept of European union, where they follow the notion of "one currency and one world". You just enter one of the country and then you can cover most of the Europe, you no need to struggle in the long queues of customs at airport or borders.

Wherever there is a river in the city, that city prosperous well as in past rivers used to be way of communication, same thing is benefiting to this city. Rhine river is one of the best attraction of the city, they have a long queue of bars on river side where on any sunny day you will find rush of people, during week ends pubs in altstadt (old town- I guess) are stuffed where finding a place even to stand up is difficult, I have seen people queuing up to go inside the pub. People are crazy there for drinking and out door fun, Every bar will have a big screen where one of the soccer match is being shown and waiter without asking you will serve you the pills or alt (kind of beer).

Dusseldorf Old Town (Altstadt), considered as the longest bar of the world, containing more than 220 catering trade enterprises. This means you will never feel bored nor alone, and it's THE stop for you to experience a wonderful Dusseldorf Nightlife. The spectrum goes from the house brewery over scene shops and earthy pub to the party "up to falling down" on Bolker Straße. Narrow lanes and old churches, quaint breweries and ancient pubs, hip bars and clubs as well as good old French fries and exquisite food. The waiters are at times a bit rough, the next Alt beer comes without ordering, a hearty meal goes with a funny story, there can be a lot of hubbub and tranquility just a few steps away. In short: if you want to really get to know this city, Dusseldorf Old Town is an absolute must. And I had been there...only there. Surely going to cover more next time with family.

I will leave you with some videos from you tube -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lakLRAx47Aw&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7axcaB-rxw&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcQh_gWIHvo&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdChXqLEzpE&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GeIUDG4gAE