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The Titanic: Tell Me 10 Tantalising Facts

Although the Titanic lies in 13,000 feet of water, the tragic story still captures minds and hearts throughout the world.  1st September 2015, marked the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the Titanic, when a team led by American oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard and French diving engineer Jean-Louis Michel discovered the ship’s final resting place.


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Here are 10 things you may not know about the Titanic and its home – Titanic Belfast, Northern Ireland:

  1. Titanic’s design was conceived over a glass of wine and fine food! Lord Pirrie and J. Bruce Ismay decided speed would be balanced with quality of accommodation. It is rumoured that when Pirrie enquired as to the length of the ship, Ismay replied, glass of wine in hand, “build me a stable ship that will not disturb the sediment in these fine wines.”

2. The ship had three wheels for steering. Titanic’s funnels were wide enough to drive a train through!

3. Due to the size of the Olympic-class ships, of which the Titanic was one of three, the shipyard, Harland and Wolff in Belfast had to prepare for two years to be able to build them!

Titan Belfast, Northern Ireland (Image By- Nitin Gopal Srivastva)
Titan Belfast, Northern Ireland
(Image By- Nitin Gopal Srivastva)

4. The famous staircase, which was among the most luxurious appointments on the ship, was inspired by the staircase at Belfast City Hall, which can still be visited today.

5. Titanic was stocked with literally tons of food and drink – including 40,000 eggs and 15,000 bottles of ale!

6. At Titanic Belfast, visitors can view Dr Ballard’s high definition footage of what Titanic looks like today and can learn more about individual items in the wreckage using the interactive pods.


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7. The building can hold over 3,547 visitors at any one time, the same number as the capacity of Titanic. Titanic Belfast’s overall shape represents the bow of the ship. The hulls are also the same height of Titanic from keel to Boat Deck!

8. The last letter ever to be written on board the Titanic by Essex-born Esther Hart and her seven-year-old daughter Eva just eight hours before the ship hit an iceberg and sank in April 1912 is on display. It recently sold at auction for a world record sum of £119,000.

9. At Titanic Belfast, guests are now transported onto life size plan Titanic’s deck promenade as part of the experience. Guests can walk on deck, look out to sea, hear the ocean, hold onto the railings and feel the ships engines rumbling as if they were on the ship itself.

(Image By- Nitin Gopal Srivastava)

10. It’s not only the galleries that tell the story of the Titanic but the surrounding buildings. On the plaza surrounding the Titanic Belfast is one of the largest maps of the Northern Hemisphere at 10,000 m2 and follows the route of the Titanic from Belfast.

Titanic Belfast is an iconic six-floor building featuring nine interpretive and interactive galleries. Explore the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Titanic, as well as the City and people which made her. It is the world’s largest Titanic exhibition!

Info courtesy: Tourism Ireland

Input researched by: Khushboo Tiwari

Hand Me Some Useful Street Photography Tips

Take these tips from ace street photographer Arindam Mukherjee, and shoot!

If you stand at a broad way crossing from morning to evening you will find how the emotional landscape changes. Every city has its own character at different times of the day. So shoot both during day and night.

A woman working at Grover Vineyard in Bangalore
A woman working at Grover Vineyard in Bangalore

While travelling, carry light equipment. High speed lenses are important for low light situations. Set your camera according to the light of the day before you start walking—you don’t want to miss great moments.

Indian people celebrating Holi at Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan. Holi is the Hindu festival of colours. Every year at the begining of spring this festival takes place throughout India.The biggest celebration takes place in Banke Bihari temple Vrindavan.
Indian people celebrating Holi at Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan. Holi is the Hindu festival of colours. Every year at the begining of spring this festival takes place throughout India.The biggest celebration takes place in Banke Bihari temple Vrindavan.


Walk slowly, rather wander, it allows you to observe.

Strap all your stuff with your backpack so you don’t lose anything.

Experience new things, meet new people. Try to trigger a conversation with the locals that will give you knowledge, it adds context in your picture. I listen to them; try to understand their point of view which helps me bring layers in my picture stories.

A Bhutanese man in western outfit surfs his mobile at Ura valley, Bumthang. Effect of globalisation is now getting strong hold in rural Bhutan as well.  Arindam Mukherjee
A Bhutanese man in western outfit surfs his mobile at Ura valley, Bumthang. Effect of globalisation is now getting strong hold in rural Bhutan as well. Arindam Mukherjee

Monochromatic pictures focus on the emotive part of photography. I feel comfortable with black and white as too much of colour surrounding the main subject may distract the viewer.

It is very important that a photographer should know what he/she wants to make their viewer “FEEL”. Monochrome and colour photography need different ways of looking at the same subject. Practice seeing things in black and white when you shoot.

A sadhu (Indian Holy Man) changes his clothes at a ghat in Varanasi.
A sadhu (Indian Holy Man) changes his clothes at a ghat in Varanasi.

A tip I always share is to be safe when it comes to copyrights and illegal photography. Do not shoot private places without prior permission. You can shoot anything and everything in public place without hurting anybody’s sentiment. Don’t forget to look for “Photography Prohibited” boards around you. And do not under estimate common people’s knowledge.

A kashmiri lady prays at Jama Mosque in Srinagar.
A kashmiri lady prays at Jama Mosque in Srinagar.

Go with the flow and enjoy clicking pictures rather than making it an assignment.



Based in Kolkata, this renowned freelance photojournalist started his career as an advertising photographer where he worked with advertising agencies, fashion designers, graphic designers and NGOs. But he always loved street photography and photojournalism. Apart from hosting several exhibitions, he has written and photographed a book called ‘The Wave that Shook the World’, produced by Hope Foundation.

All pix in this post courtesy Arindam Mukherjee.

Input: Travel Secrets Intern Aarohi Roy

Tying the Knot Among the Clouds? Why Not?!

 This sweet love story began somewhere among the clouds. Serbian actress Vjera Mujović and Stefan Preis, a doctor from Germany, sat next to each other on a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul to Mongolia. . En route, cupid struck.

A year later, the couple sealed their love onboard another Turkish Airlines flight. Delighted co-passengers watched the couple exchange wedding vows. The ceremony starred rose petals, music, a wedding cake—and wedding rings engraved with 05B and 05C, their seat numbers from the flight where it all began!

A plane affair turned very special, indeed.

How Not to Eat in Florence, Italy

Posted By Travel Secrets Editor Shubhra Krishan

As someone who believes in stumbling upon great places, I decided to ditch the guide books/blogs/local advice, and plunged straight into Florence.

Big mistake.

Stepping out of the magnificent Santa Maria Novella Railway Station…


I wended my way through the crowded streets of the city…


asking for directions to  The Gallery Hotel Art


Along the way, hunger pangs hit. Hard. And since I was in Italy, the fragrance of herbs and the aroma of baked bread was everywhere. Honestly, I could hardly wait to drop my bags at the hotel and get back on the streets for a bite.


Strung along a pipe-thin lane, I spotted a string of eateries that promised big meals at incredible deals. Smiling restaurant staff stood outside their outlets, handing out colourful pamphlets that promised a free drink with pizza and seemingly endless menus.

Photo: Used here for representational purposes only


I succumbed.

And regretted it minutes later. The pizza was cold and leathery, with about 3 olives that tasted as if they had been glued atop the bread a month ago. Sure, it cost me “just 4 euros” for pizza and coke, but I would rather have spent a few bucks more to get a better bite.


I am sure the giant plastic chef standing outside the restaurant, holding that huge menu card, giggled a little when I walked in.

Moral of the story: do your research when you are going to Florence. Read helpful advice such as this. And this.

Bon Appetit!


What’s it like to be a globe-trotting airhostess?

Morning tea in Paris and evening coffee in Rome!  Truly, madly exciting, isn’t it? Well, that is the life 29-year-old Prachi Bhalla leads. Beautiful, bubbly, blessed. But hey, as they say there are no free lunches in the world, and Prachi pays her price too. Geetanjali Prasad grills her, and feels the adrenaline rush.



Cabin crew for the last five years with a renowned international Middle East airline, Prachi says life on the go is thrilling. She loves the luxury of sometimes flying to two countries in a single day. The idea of a 9-to-5 desk job is alien to her.

Having said that, her own profession comes with its share of exasperating ‘now that’s enough’ moments. Flying can be physically exhausting: cabin pressure and erratic work hours take their toll. Studies show that frequent changes in time zone can make you lose touch with reality, causing mood swings and even depression. Airhostesses often suffer from menstrual problems because of their erratic work cycle.

Prachi is a cosmopolitan girl from a liberal Delhi family, but lives and works in conservative Saudi Arabia. “Saudi Arabia is a chess board,” she says. “Men wear white thobe and women, black abaya, even if the outside temperature is 50 degrees.  It’s a huge culture shock as women here do not have the right to work, travel or even to drive a car. Thankfully my job allows me to fly away often.”

Despite these over the top rules and restrictions, Prachi says she has forged an unsaid bond with the Arab world. She loves their mouthwatering delicacies like kabsa (rice and chicken), fool (mashed beans) and a myriad other mystic recipes.



So does she not miss the comfort of home and family? Prachi’s reply to that is refreshingly cool. “I do miss my folks on festivals and special occasions, but I get enough free tickets to fly home and see them as frequently as once a month for about 5 days. But yes, I really miss home cooked food. It’s difficult to get that authentic taste at any Indian restaurant located abroad.”

She has come to terms with the fact that soon she will have to choose between starting her own family and her lucrative job. “Every take off and landing takes you further away from a stable life. Lack of time and the lust for travel are not conducive to the institution of marriage. It is difficult to find a partner who can put up with the uncertainty with which you live. That’s why most of the cockpit and cabin crew are either separated or single.”

Be that as it may, those on an aircraft have enough company to keep them entertained. “Sometimes language barriers can toss up hilarious encounters,” says Prachi. “One Japanese passenger made sounds of all possible animals to know what is being served, so he went ‘may-may’ for goat and ‘prick prick’ for chicken. Another one on a China-bound flight insisted on meeting the captain. As a policy, no visitors are allowed in the cockpit. So he started banging the cockpit door, forcing the captain to switch to hijack-alert mode. Later, we found that the eager passenger just wanted to get a picture clicked with him!”


Then there are those who come with their own unique character traits. Arab men have a peculiar way to greet each other, for instance. “Men kiss men by touching nose to nose and lips to lips in public. Whereas men in Italy are lovers by nature and their appreciation for female beauty borders on eve teasing. Words like ‘Bella’ and ‘Kareena’ which means beautiful and lovable fall easily off their lips,” says Prachi.

One of Prachi’s most thrilling mid-flight moments happened on a Jeddah-Manila flight. A pregnant lady went into labour when we were cruising above the sea, so an emergency landing was out of the question. We asked her to lie down on the floor and arranged blankets all around her. Being trained in conducting deliveries, we set to work and soon, her daughter was born! We named her Sabah, after the crew member who had cut her umbilical cord.” The lucky baby now enjoys a lifetime of free travel with the airline she was born in. Some people are just born to fly!

For more air hostess stories, check out:

Mandy’s blog – Confessions of an Air hostess.



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