We stayed at Indeco Swamimalai when we were exploring the Tamil heartland, and had the most delightful stay. Check out what made it so, and some pictures I got.
Dan Brown can hardly be called the most inspired or the most inspiring of authors. However, his books are my guilty pleasure (Angels and Demons are in my top ten list. Yes. I am not ashamed to admit it.), and Inferno’s Florence parts were so well written, Vidya and I knew we had to go and see it for ourselves. Our time in Florence, therefore, was for all intents and purposes, in the amazing Dante Alighieri’s footsteps, inspired by Dan Brown’s Inferno.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
We stayed in the historic town centre of Florence in a b&b that was within shouting distance of the Florence Cathedral, ordinarily called Il Duomo, the sprawling medieval building that dominates the town. The historic centre of Florence itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and represents the best of Renaissance architecture. The Duomo sits, huge and sprawling and beautiful and majestic and dominating, in the centre of Florence. There is no escaping it – wherever you go, there is some part of the Duomo you see. Even when you are facing completely away from it, the reflections of the Duomo look back at you mockingly. So you don’t try to escape it, Instead you learn, very quickly, to accept it and revel in its massive benign presence. You make a game of it – trying to spot it from wherever you are.
Darasuram - one time part of the capital of the mighty Chola empire - is home to the imposing and living Airavateswara temple, categorized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. After being on our wish list for a decade and a half, it finally got ticked off last January. Here's an account of the trip, as well as a bunch of pictures. Bonus: a quick visit to a silk weaver's workshop-home!
Kolkata, as no doubt every single piece written about the city repeats, is full of tasty food, on the street and off it. Here are ten places we ate at, and our impressions of the experience. Overall, be prepared to add a few places to your "definitely to visit in this lifetime" list.
I take a group of bloggers on a heritage walk around the Charminar. We discover a bunch of stuff about the iconic Charminar and its heritage, as well as some yummy food, the chef's ancient but still-working communications system, and of course, lots of stories!
Last week, Vidya and I discovered a coffee shop in Secunderabad. What’s so great about that, you might ask. Prepare for a longish tale. Get a cup of coffee if you want!
We both love a cup of filter coffee to start off the day. When we first set up house in Chennai, we went through a phase of experimentation with different types of coffee until we settled on our own blend – Peaberry and Plantation A, half and half, without any chicory. This is a pure coffee, as opposed to traditional filter coffee, which has a significant amount of chicory added to it. Chicory gives a bitter edge to the taste, which we don’t like. Our blend has a full-bodied taste and a heady aroma, though it is quite lacking in colour.
Saw this guy at Kukatpally a few days ago and asked him if I could take his picture. He was ready, and took out his pipe from his bag and posed along with his bull. He also started talking to me rapidly in Telugu, the dialect of which he spoke was so totally incomprehensible to me that I couldn’t get even a single word of what he was saying. He was also going on in a very sing-song way – so there was no help even in terms of inflection or accompanying facial expression or gesture.