City of the Arts and Sciences: Valencia

My journey from freezing Madrid, where the weather forecast kept predicting snow, to warm, sunny Valencia took exactly two hours, but it was like going to another country altogether. The skies in Valencia resolutely remained fiercely blue, orange trees lined every street; one end of the city was bound by a beach, along which ran…

Guns in the Garden of the Sufis

The middle-aged gentleman in the seat next to me on the plane to Srinagar was waxing eloquent about a single line in a song in Mission Kashmir. “Do you know,” he boomed in a voice that easily outdid the roar of the aircraft we were in, “that rind poshmal gindini drai lo lo is taken…

Lesser Known Spots of Kashmir

Every destination acquires its own tourist treadmill and Kashmir is no different. Touristic clichés are a wonderful thing in most cases: when you are pressed for time, a quick drive through all of them, and you can safely tick the boxes. While it would be rather eccentric to miss out on quintessential Kashmir via Mughal…

Ahhh Praaague

When my son (now in his 20s) was tiny, he had gone to see a film with his best friend’s family. I never did get to learn the name of the movie, but it had a scene in it, which, described by a 4 year old, consisted of a cupboard with a door. You walked…

Pit Stop: Madrid

Why do I love Madrid so much? I guess it is the energy. After Northern Europe, the Spanish are effusive, loud and full of joie de vivre. In fact, if you’re visiting Madrid over the weekend and like your nights early, take my advice and pack ear-plugs. The early birds in the city and the…

Cinnamon Hotels

I am always asked what my first impressions are in any destination that I visit. My most recent visit to Sri Lanka was my third visit, so I can only say what my “third impression” is: the teardrop shaped island in the Indian Ocean is poised on the brink of a huge tidal wave. It…