• Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal,  Uncategorized,  Vietnam

    Top Things to do in Vietnam

    “Vietnam. It grabs you and doesn’t let you go. Once you love it, you love it forever.” Anthony Bourdain Things to do in Hanoi, Vietnam The French Old Quarters is the heart of Hanoi. It feels straight out of Arabian Nights, with old buildings, temples, pagodas, and markets. Most travelers stay here. It is close by popular destinations, such as the Temple of Literature, Hanoi opera house, National Museum of Vietnamese History, and many temples and pagodas. The best way to see this area is on foot with frequent stops for iced coffee, banh mi1, and bun cha2. 1 The Vietnamese version of a sandwich made with baguette filled with a mix of meats,…

  • Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal,  Vietnam

    Awesome Two-Week Itinerary for Vietnam

    “Vietnam. It grabs you and doesn’t let you go. Once you love it, you love it forever.” Anthony Bourdain I have always wanted to visit South East Asia, and when we finally planned a 2-week trip this year my husband immediately said: “Let’s do Vietnam.” Anthony Bourdain’s enticing depiction of Vietnamese cuisine drew him to the country. For me, it was a book, called Saigon which had been on our bookshelves since I could read. When I grew up, and finally read the book, it took me to a place both familiar and exotic. The maps were pulled up on our laptops and we started planning our journey. Vietnam is a…

  • Goa,  India,  Travel,  Urban Sketching

    Office of the Post Master General of Goa, Panjim

    Weathered cities and old buildings have always captivated me. So last month, while in Goa I was delighted to come across one such city. Just out of a grueling overnight bus journey from Bangalore, I was hungry and in search of a good café. Panjim Bus Stop was overflowing with touts peddling rooms, bikes, cars, everything on rent! I needed a short break to refuel myself. And, headed away from the crowd towards the Blue Tokai Café, in the nearby Fontainhas area. A stroll led me to a lovely toy-town bridge. The low, curving bridge had pretty yellow trimmings and artistic arches. A sign elaborated its history: The Patto Bridge is…

  • Goa,  India,  Travel

    The Loja by the Water: A Genuine Goan Getaway

    Our first brush with Goan beaches was at Arambol back in 2012, which was a typical Goa holiday of beaches, beer, and buzzing party atmosphere. This year we returned to the sunshine state in search of a different experience – a quieter one – which we found at the beautiful Loja by the Water. What the Loja felt like The Loja is an intimate cabin just right for a couple or a single traveler. Slanting red tiled roof, a wall painting on one corner, and cool red-peroxide floor as you step in – I loved the earthy feel. The cabin is divided into a living area and a kitchenette with a dining…

  • Travel,  Urban Sketching,  Vietnam,  Watercolors

    Food Trails in Hanoi Old Quarter

    As we hit the streets of Hanoi Old Quarter, it was like entering a magical world. Being Indian, we found the noise and chaos quite familiar and non-threatening. Tiny food vendors on the pavements, the fragrance from each corner, the array of small seats with locals munching on sunflower seeds and sipping never-ending cups of ice tea created an atmosphere quite unique. Some of the roads were packed with backpacker abodes. Millions of things and lives coexist on these tiny lanes, enjoying the coexistence, enjoying the cacophony.   Food is an integral part of Vietnam travel. In Hanoi, like all other Vietnam cities, there are very few billboards.  What catches…

  • Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal,  Vietnam

    See You At Lily’s – Artsy Hostel in Hanoi, Old Quarter

    There is something about places with quirky names. While planning our Vietnam travel, we were looking for cheaper hostels and came across Lily’s. We instantly liked it. The high ratings helped us to go for it too. Since it was our first stop, we had a lot of questions on Hanoi, food, tours, our itinerary in general. We wrote to them and got an instant reply from Snowy, one of the staff at the hostel. She was super helpful and addressed our long queries on WhatsApp. We were reassured that Vietnam is a friendly place and a right choice. See You At Lily’s Hostel When we reached Hanoi, the driver…

  • India,  Orissa,  Travel

    Celebrating Indian Handloom Day

    The Amlan Store, of Orissa Cooperative Tasar and Silk Federation Ltd (SERIFED), has beautiful murals showcasing Orissa handloom. I have inherited my love of handlooms from an aunt, whom I have seen wearing absolutely gorgeous handloom sarees. Every trip home includes a shopping trip with my aunt and uncle to get something handloom. The best pampering! Nowadays, where ever I travel, I try to pick up something handloom as a souvenir. I feel so privileged to live in a country with an endless variety of handlooms. It’s the best cloth to wear. Draped as a saree, designed into a crisp skirt, a striking kurta or a shawl – it is…

  • India,  Karnataka,  South India,  Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal

    Benne Dosa at Gururaj Canteen, the Oldest Dosa Canteen In Davengere

    On our way to Sirsi, on a hot summer afternoon in May, we stopped at Davengere, to sample the Benne Dosas which have made this tiny city so very famous on the Karnataka map. And of course, we wanted to have it at the most authentic place possible. After some scouting around in the busy city street, typical of small towns like this, with fruit vendors, flower sellers, goli soda carts, and small eateries, we gathered that the place to be at is GURURAJ CANTEEN. We walked around, avoided the larger shops with bigger boards until we found out this hole in the wall shop. It was in a small…

  • Orissa,  Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal

    The INTACH Warrior of Orissa: Anil Dhir

    ‘Traveling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.’ – Ibn Battuta Orissa is often in the news for all the wrong reasons – a cyclone, famine, political issues. Living outside Orissa for many years, I have often found friends and colleagues clueless about the cultural and historical significance of this ancient land. So, this year I was planning to travel to Bhubaneswar for a longer duration and was keen to explore its cultural footprint. I wanted something beyond the touristy articles listing Khandagiri, Udaygiri, Puri, and Konark. I asked friends, family, and searched online for authentic travel books on Orissa.  This search led me to Mr. Anil Dhir; a…

  • Events,  North India,  Orissa

    Glimpses of Odisha Through Craft Conversations

    A Different Kind of Raja & Eid Celebration Bhubaneswar is still waiting for a respite from the grueling heat. Monsoon has still not hit the city, this year. And the Raja festival fell during a hot and humid week. However, excited townsfolk beat the heat celebrating at restaurants, fairs, Ekamra Haat, and other event venues. three-day festival where young women take a break from household work to play games and enjoy some time off. A slightly different kind of celebration, coinciding with Raja and Eid, was the two days long Craft Conversation held on 16th and 17th June at Kala Bhumi – Odisha Crafts Museum. It introduced the city to…