Its an old railway station built in 1900’s in Paris, which now has been converted into a art and sculpture museum, boasting the largest collection of impressionist masterpieces.
On my first trip to Paris, I missed visiting this museum. So I made it a point to do so on my second trip last weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed some of the impressive life-sized realist paintings. But I was far more intrigued by the building, its history and architecture and also the crowd and surrounding ambience. Here are some photos
The museum was buzzing with people patiently waiting in long queues
I could not comprehend the fact that the interiors were so beautifully designed and built, all for a railway station that saw less than 40 years of service.
The view of River Seine was dream like
The way the the museum disappears and the residential buildings begin is just beautiful
Travelling on trains in India, makes for a wondrous journey filled with amazing sights of towns, villages and other dwelling places and a mesmerising view of hundreds of thousands of acres of farmlands, draped in a blanket of early morning fog, or fresh crops bathing in sunshine and morning due, or forests filled with freshest of waters, or just simple people trying to get by their lives.
The country is so big, that it sometimes takes upto 3 days to go from one corner of the country to another. Consequently the country also has one of the largest railway networks in the world employing over 1.5 million people to serve over 25 million passengers travelling on 15,000 trains – every single day.
Visiting India and taking a 5 day trip to the mountains while using only trains as means of transport, after staying abroad and being used to high speed trains and urban-ness for a long stretch of an year made me realise how amazing India is, and how even more amazing the Indian Railways is. Serving 7 billion passengers annually, despite the bad reservation system and incompetent management, running a network of that scale in a developing nation is no small feat by any means.
I decided, every time I visit India, I will explore the country, travelling to the remotest parts (that are safe) while using trains as my primary means of transport.
Here is a glimpse of my experience..
Train stations tickle all your senses with the amazing variety of smells from foods stalls and sweet stands, mixed with the bad ones from the ill-maintained tracks and places – while you are simultaneously doused in the clamouring sounds of hawkers and vendors; beggars and coolies; and bustling sounds of people just trying to reach their destinations in their own busy lives.
Here is a short video I shot while hanging off the doors, along with dozen others, of a moving train that is about to come to a halt at a station …
Oblivious to the world above ground, is another world, hidden below the ground, which is the Paris underground metro. The first time I came across underground metros, it was in Hong Kong and I thought it was as complex as it could get, but boy was I wrong. I have never ever seen anything like this before in my life. Entire city of Paris sprawls with underground stations, situated at several underground levels, below historic monuments, beside rivers, inside hills, below buildings, basically everywhere. The rail lines pass through the city from one end to another, in several levels, never intersecting, going under every possible imaginable structures and water bodies.
Some of the metro stations themselves are so large, that for an outsider it would take an easy 15-30 minutes just to get to the right platform, that is after you have figured out the entrance to the underground, most of which inconspicuously blend into the streets, sometimes with the only indication being a staircase leading into the ground, in places where they strangely appear to have no business of being there. Trying to use connecting trains to get from one place to another is an entirely different deal altogether. In my 5 day stay, I would have walked almost 5-10 miles just underground, while trying to get to the right platform.
What I can neither understand nor comprehend is that many of these rail tunnels that are still in use, were built almost a century ago in the early 1900s, for electric locomotives – talk about having vision! Few routes are now completely automated and are devoid of any human intervention. That for me represents the culmination of old meets new.
Enough words. Here are some pictures…
Not knowing that the french word ‘Sortie’ meant ‘Exit’ in english, caused quite a bit of confusion the first 2 days, when I tried to find my way out, until I realised it can’t be possible to get to a station named ‘Sortie’ from every corner of the city.