2 May 2016

A walk around the colourful patios of Cordoba, Spain

In the first of the Spain series, let me take you to Andalusia in southern Spain. 

Southern Spain has lots of Moorish influences, having been invaded and ruled by Islamic armies for years. And Córdoba is no exception. The evidence is everwhere - from its architecture to its food.

In the 10th century Córdoba was said to be the most populous city in the world. However, today you'd be hard pressed to imagine it, especially if you come from a city like Mumbai! Córdoba truly caught my fancy for its quaintness and beauty - its whitewashed walls decorated with pots of flowers, its winding alleys leading to quiet courtyards, and its numerous churches of all shapes and sizes. 

10 Apr 2016

Walking with hawks at Ashford Castle, Ireland

Gah, I haven't abandoned the blog, believe you me! As I mentioned in my last post, I was whisked off by Turkish Airlines & Leading Hotels of the World to Istanbul, Salzburg & Vienna. I hope you have followed my trail on Twitter & Instagram :) I will be writing about these destinations soon. 

For now, Europe beckons once again! I'm heading to Germany this week for a travel trade fair, preceded by a beer trail around Bavaria, and followed by a few days in Berlin. Watch my social media channels for details. 

Meanwhile, I have new stories from one of my favourite destinations from last year - Ireland

This weekend a leading newspaper in India published my feature on culinary travel around Ireland. There's bread, butter, beer, blood pudding and more! Read it here

Apart from eating & drinking around the country, I also travelled along the stunning west coast, known as the Wild Atlantic Way (read my feature on 10 must-see destinations on WAW). 

At Ashford Castle in Cong (County Mayo), I met Aztec and his friends at Ireland's oldest falconry school. Read on about my hawk walk in the woodlands of Ashford Castle.

17 Mar 2016

Flying high with Turkish Airlines in Business Class

It's time to take off again! Come Sunday I head for a whole week of luxurious sojourning in Istanbul, Salzburg and Vienna :) It's my third trip to Vienna, second to Salzburg and the very first to Istanbul, a city that I have longed to see forever. 

I have transited in and out of Istanbul a couple of times - on my way back from Venice once and travelling to and from Madrid last year. But this is the first opportunity I have had of exploring the ancient city, which has been the imperial capital of several great empires - from the Roman to the Ottoman. And I am so looking forward to it! 

One of the highlights of this trip is going to be the Business Class experience on Turkish Airlines. I have had a taste of it on the Spain trip, and I was mighty impressed. Getting bumped up to Business, especially when you're used to flying Economy, is quite a treat. Having said that, the Economy experience of Turkish Airlines is also far superior than on most other airlines that operate the India-Europe sector.  

Back to the Business Class experience with Turkish Airlines.

2 Mar 2016

5 reasons to visit Gstaad, Switzerland

In the last of the Switzerland series, here's a peek at a celebrity favourite. Gstaad and Saanen are two small towns in the Bernese Oberland, and together form the pretty-as-a-picture Gstaad-Saanenland region. 

I spent a couple of days in this lovely part of Switzerland last year, and I wrote about Gstaad for National Geographic Traveller's Swiss Special issue of February 2016. Here's the unedited version of my article, plus my recommendations on where to stay and eat.

15 Feb 2016

On Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way, hiking to Dun Aengus

Spring made a quiet appearance over the weekend, and very soon it will be time for the much-awaited summer vacation! If you're wondering where to go in 2016, I'd highly recommend Ireland, and especially its gorgeous western coastline, christened the Wild Atlantic Way.

Wild Atlantic Way is the longest coastal touring route in the world - 2,500km long, running from Donegal in the north to Cork in the south. It passes through picturesque towns, medieval villages, stunning beaches, and some of Europe's highest cliffs (including the spectacular Cliffs of Moher). You can go walking, hiking, biking and kayaking, and sample some of the best produce that Ireland has to offer. 

The Aran Islands, on the Wild Atlantic Way in Galway Bay, are three islands that seem sort of stuck in time. They are positively littered with ancient sites, the most impressive of which is Dun Aengus (Dún Aonghasa), a prehistoric fort going back to the Iron Age. It's an easy hike up to the fort, and it's a fun activity suitable for all, including children. 

I travelled along a part of the Wild Atlantic Way last year, and the visit to the Aran Islands and Dun Aengus was a definite highlight. I wrote about it for The Hindu Business Line's weekend supplement, BLink. Here's an unedited version of my article.