Year: 2016

Recent Trip to India – My take on Annoying Stereotypes

I came back from India yesterday after a 3 week trip and an overload of festivity, food and socializing. I had a fabulous time, barring the toxic Delhi air, which was unbearable. Since this visit came nearly after a year, I was totally pumped about catching up with friends and family. And while I tried to restrict socializing to my closest circle (which is quite a mammoth task in India), I invariably ended up meeting some people that I could have very well avoided :-D. The good part is, my interactions gave me some interesting fodder and I decided to do a post on the most absurd things people said to me which had me laughing. P.S. This is intended to be a fun, humorous post. You must be thinking “Oh My Gawd, so much pollution” Not only me you idiot, but everybody in Delhi was thinking the same. Anybody who had a choice was trying to get out of the city for a few days or stay indoors to the extent possible, schools were shut, people were …

Explore Scottish Highlands – A day out at the Glen Ord distillery + Robertson’s farm

As a whisky lover, one of the things that I truly looked forward to in Scotland was visiting a distillery. If you didn’t already know, Scotland is one of the major whisky producing countries in the world, with the main regions in the country being The Lowlands, The Highlands, Islay, Campbeltown and Speyside. Hence, it would be fair to say that if you don’t visit a distillery while in Scotland, you are really missing out on something! And even if you don’t drink alcohol or whisky, this is a fascinating experience that I would truly suggest you don’t skip. If you look online, you can find a lot of whisky trail tours stretching over days, however if you don’t have enough time for that, you could just go for the one that is most convenient and make a direct reservation. We visited the Glen Ord distillery which is a 30 minute drive west of Inverness and is situated on the edge of the Black Isle in the Highlands. It was founded in 1838, making it one …

That night in a Scottish pub in Balloch

Follow my blog with Bloglovin We knew as soon as we entered the door that we were the odd ones out – a dimly lit room, with a huge bar running along its length, filled with tables and chairs and people and dogs and beer and conversation. And a strong air of intimacy, like you just entered someone’s living room while they were discussing things only meant for their ears. We hesitated, the six of us to take a step forward. Till one of us decided to go to the bar and request for a table, and was told that this room was reserved for locals, most of whom met every day to catch up over a drink, and the main bar was out front for all guests. As we took a step in that direction, the bartender laughed and said “No no, don’t go, of course you can sit here. You guys are more than welcome, everyone is”. We looked at each other for affirmation to stay on. And thus began this night in …

The Tree House at the Berlin Wall

B erlin is a city with history at every turn. And for me, one of the most intriguing aspects of this vibrant’s city’s past was the Berlin Wall. Not only because I could actually see a part of the wall still standing, but because it seemed incredulous that this wall stood  tall and mighty till less than three decades back, dividing a city and it’s people. Everyone I met had been a part of this piece of history, having lived it themselves. It made it seem so real and close and tangible, not like a textbook chapter on a moment begone. There was one story in particular that I especially loved, that of Osman Kalin. “Osman Kalin who?” you ask. A commoner, like you I, but there is something very special about his story. Read on. Osman Kalin was a Turkish immigrant living in Kreuzberg district in West Berlin when the wall was erected in 1961, cutting off the West and the East. Due to a bend on the border, a small patch of land which belonged to …

Love, Equality and Freedom – At Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade,2016

In it’s 20th year, and playing host to EuroPride 2016, it was natural to expect the Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade to be bigger and better this time. And while I was stunned(second year in a row) with the eclectic boats, the carnival-esque vibe and colors, what truly stands out about this event for me is its spirit – of love, equality, freedom and respect, not only for others but for your own self. We live in a world that is becoming increasingly intolerant on so many issues, a fact that is disturbing as it is unfortunate. Witnessing this parade is heartwarming for me, while many of course come to enjoy the party, there are as many that come to show their support and acceptance for the LGBT community. It makes me want to believe that there is still hope, that a lot of the world will stand for freedom of choice as long as it does not harm anyone, that we believe in the power of love, no matter it’s orientation and that we are willing …

A Weekend in Bruges

You know those wonderlands we all read about in books as children, of cobbled streets, beautiful houses, flowery window sills, blue skies and music floating in the air, Bruges is that place in flesh and blood. Bruges isn’t really a secret anymore so you can well expect thronging crowds especially in the center. But walk down a side alley and it feels like a different world. There is a certain romance and charm to this city that I find tough to put into words – it’s like a fairy tale in motion right before your eyes, every tiny piece of it perfection, a place fitting enough for happily ever afters, dreamy and unreal. Where I stayed Hotel Aragon – On a quiet street just 5 min walk from the markt, this is a pretty good hotel with a decent breakfast. We could get a room for 3 which was great. Good places to eat The Olive Tree – A family run Greek restaurant with super friendly staff and scrumptious food. Gran Kaffee De Passage – An old fashioned art deco style …

A Southern Italy itinerary : Part 2 – Nocelle and Naples

Continued from A Southern Italy itinerary : Part 1 -Atrani, Ravello and Amalfi Day 4 – Nocelle Morning A typical Italian breakfast of breads, spreads, canned orange juice and coffee was served in the cozy dining room at Casa Cuccuro. On a sunny day, you can eat on the terrace with stunning views of the coast. Dina and Peppe  also serve some extras which are charged for, such as boiled eggs, fresh orange juice etc. The personal attention which they give to each guest is immense. One of the things you must try and do in Amalfi is the “Path of Gods” trek, which offers amazing views of the coast and is set in scenic natural beauty. The trek runs from Nocelle to Boomerano, and you can start it at multiple points, depending on where you are stationed. Luckily for us, it started right at our doorstep! Consider three hours one way at least (a bit more if you stop in between), most people do it one way and catch the bus back. If you have a …

A Southern Italy itinerary : Part 1 -Atrani, Ravello and Amalfi

The mister and I recently spent 6 days in Southern Italy, out of which four days were at the Amalfi Coast and two days in Naples. We used Naples as a base, you can use Rome too as both cities are well connected to the coast. Below is a day wise itinerary, including where we stayed and ate, and an indication of the budget. Highlights Food, food and more food – you probably know by now that food is a very important part of travelling for me. And even if it’s not the same for you, Italy is one place that WILL convert you. The quality of food is pretty high, no matter where you eat and the variety is immense. A trip to Southern Italy is incomplete without trying Limocello – traditionally had as an after dinner digestive liquor, I loved it as a cocktail with loads of ice. Another favorite was the Limoncello sorbet which tastes wonderful on a sunny day. The Path of God’s trek offers spectacular views of the coast (plus it’s …

5 tips to Travel Amalfi Coast Cheaper

Whoever said that the good things in life are for free obviously hasn’t been to Amalfi coast ;-). To be honest, Amalfi was never on my agenda, what with it’s reputation of being ultra-expensive, and supremely glossy. But as I started researching to put together my itinerary, I realized that there is more to Amalfi than meets the eye. And there IS a way to experience this spectacular coastline in Southern Italy without making a big dent in your bank.Below are my top 5 tips, to enhance your experience and save a few bucks – Timing – Summer may not really be the best time Timing is everything when it comes to Amalfi. It will have a tremendous impact of your experience, and your wallet. July-August is peak season so expect soaring prices and a LOT of people. We visited the coast during Easter holiday, and the bigger towns of Amalfi and Positano were really busy, presumably with local tourists but the smaller towns were nice and quiet, which made for a very personal experience. …

Amalfi, you Beauty! In-Photos

With it’s gravity defying cliff’s, sparkling blue waters and endless lemon groves, Amalfi coast is a spectacular part of the world where every turn is exciting, every nook is beautiful. And what’s most intriguing is that it’s a changing world every few miles. Beyond the glitz and glamour of the bigger towns are the rustic, sleepy villages. Almost around the corner but so far removed in spirit, you wouldn’t imagine two such worlds can exist in this close a proximity. What remains constant though is the dramatic beauty, of a world almost suspended between earth and sky. In photos, Amalfi coast (unedited)….. I spent 4 days in Amalfi coast and will be sharing more details on places to stay, eat and see. Stay tuned!