It was a morning of a date which is quite unclear in my memory. I woke up to the rising sound of traffic and the fluttering of pigeons eternally stuck in the window railings. I picked up my toothbrush, squeezed the last remains of the toothpaste, and tucked the brush into my mouth. I needed some company before sitting on the toilet seat, so I walked towards the door and pushed it open. Lying there was my roll of newspapers, with colorful bunch of pamphlets. But along with it was an envelope addressed for me.
For an outsider flipping guidebooks (swiping in our case) and capturing countless images, the Andalucían city of Seville is a perfect destination. It offers the visitor traditional grammar of conflicts, chronicles of rise and fall, and images of an eventful past. A city which balances romanticism with rationalization, it has the frantic pace of a Flamenco performance, and the soothing influence of a symphony orchestra. But above all it has some of Spain’s most innovative tapas, served with a distinctive Sevillan flair.
We walked towards one of our favourite pubs in Bangalore, belting past the street vendors, groups of Bangalore college students, and recognizable bunches of software workers. Crossing Brigade Road was a routine affair on weekends, often accompanied by meeting a long lost friend, an unwanted encounter, or an unusual one (like meeting a person and not remembering his/her name). The lane on the right (while turning in from MG Road) was crowded as always, and the place had usual business sense one can associate with a Sunday afternoon.
I have learned over the years that when I make up my mind on something, it is very difficult to change it. It is extremely tough for me to displace deep rooted perceptions, especially when it comes to things I am enthusiastic about, such as politics, people, cricket, and food. But I know it is not impossible.
Consider bananas. As a kid I detested them. I remember having them once, and then getting into the vicious circle of vomiting everytime I consumed bananas. The fear of bananas would dominate the rest of my childhood and teenage years, with me skipping the coconut oil smelling wafers from Kerala, or the refreshing banana milk shakes made at home.
In addition to the ticket price one of the key factors which made me book a Turkish Airlines flight to Spain was the Tour Istanbul- a free day tour offered by the airlines to all its transit passengers (subject to some conditions related to transit time). And I can happily say, it was the right decision. I don’t think there could have been a better way of experiencing Istanbul, in such limited time.
After landing at the Istanbul airport, we were guided towards Passport Control, where after a simple police verification of Passport we were granted a Tourist Visa (USD 20 or EURO 15). All Indian citizens having an active Schengen / US visa can apply for a visa on arrival. We then walked towards the meeting point, where the Airlines staff wrote down our names and asked us to wait for the tour start time.