beingdesh

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Category: Travel (page 1 of 6)

Tapas Tales from Seville

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.

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Istanbul Day Tour: A Small Bite of Turkish Delight

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.

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Kerala: Backwaters and Beyond

It was the first week of monsoons in Kerala. The distinctive muddy scent of first rain had faded and given way to an  imagery of vivid greens all around, which had started dominating my tired senses. Already 20 days into my travel, I was exhausted and a bit disappointed. But I ended up jaunting across the beautiful backwaters of Kerala. I was a bit frugal, a bit naughty, and a bit too easy on time. But in the end I was refreshed and ready for what lay ahead.

I was hosted at Kochi by my friend from college. After an evening which involved engaging conversations on Krishnadevraya and Southern dynasties over a few beers and banana wafers, I packed my bags and accompanied him next morning on his sales field visit to Kottayam. I had tweaked my itinerary a bit, as I had a sudden urge to revisit the backwaters of Kumarakom and Alleppy.

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Episode II: What to eat in Varanasi or Story of Italian Food in Varanasi

Continued from Episode I: What to eat in Varanasi? where I touched upon a range of desi delicacies. In this part I will cover a bit of what I learned about what Varanasi learnt, from its foreign visitors. And yes, the title does remind me of the Stanley Kubrick classic, but I can safely assume that a city like Varanasi and its food will surely survive a doomsday scenario too.

Varanasi houses a number of European eateries, not only as a direct response to the influx of foreign tourists, but also due to blending of foreign nationals with the local population. A blending which has been facilitated through common interests, strong friendships, and in many cases, marriage with a Varanasi Local.

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Recalling Indian Coffee House

I am a frequent visitor to the multiple coffee shops in Mumbai. During these visits I have developed a special affection for the filter coffee joints at Matunga, and a growing admiration for the multiple homegrown and international brands setting shop in the city. But for me, and many more like me, coffee had humble beginnings. Sometime it was the whisked, often cardamom-flavored home made Nescafe, or the shake-shake-shake blue plastic shaker mixed cold coffee, or the tongue-tingling espresso served at weddings. But none of the experiences have left a deeper impression on my memory than the turban-clad waiters of the Indian Coffee House. And more than the Coffee, this note is about the institution which will always remind me of the word Coffee.

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