• Goa

    St. Anne Church, Olaulim, Goa

    St. Anne church is a hidden gem in the quiet Olaulim village. We found it while riding around Pomburpa village, during our stay at the Loja. In the evening, churchgoers gather here for mass. The rest of the day, the Church stands quietly. Witnessing life passing by for the last 266 years or so. The gentle sway of trees, the white of the church, and the slightly overgrown and abandoned feel of the garden in front of it … something wild and peaceful.  Saint Anne was the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus. She is the patron of housewives, women in labor, cabinet makers and miners. Her emblem is a door (I tried…

  • 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

    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 thin narrow strip of land, like Kerala – so it made sense to do a cross-country trip. We chose…

  • 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…

  • India,  Karnataka,  South India,  Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal,  Urban Sketching,  Visual Journal

    Cantonment Railway Station – An Illustrated Travel Story

    Urban Sketching At Cantonment Railway Station Last weekend, our Urban Sketchers meet was at the Cantonment Railway Station, Bangalore (BNC). While most of us were geared up to sketch amidst the bustle and chaos of a typical Indian railway station, what we found was a place of astonishing stillness. The arched walls and green rooftops look as though they simply stood still and refused to move to make way for Bengaluru! A group of Railways employees was conducting a Swachh Bharat survey. They asked us a few questions and moved on to complete their round of the station. A train with a vivid red engine stood by the platform the entire time…

  • 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…

  • India,  Karnataka,  Travel,  Urban Sketching

    Urban Sketching: Siddhaih Road, Bangalore

    The Urban Sketchers Bengaluru meet in the first week of August was all about automobile repair shops. We met across  Urvashi Theater. A relic from the single screen theater era, this theater was famous for its great sound system. K. C. Nanjunde Gowda, a film producer and prominent businessman of Karnataka, constructed it during the 1970s. Before multiplexes became popular, this was a hep place where college students would hang-out. We walked along the Siddhaih Road and found a nook where we could gather and sketch. The turnout was very good with some newcomers and a guest from Portugal. We also had a few goats who ambled around quite comfortable being sketched! I…

  • South India,  Uncategorized,  Urban Sketching,  Visual Journal

    Dust, Noise, and Colors – Urban Sketching at Russell Market

    Russell Market was an assault on the senses – there was movement everywhere, a cacophony of colors and shapes, making it impossible to decide what to sketch. I was walking around the Russell Market area in mid-July with my fellow urban sketchers. A cool breeze kept us company, as we walked around looking for sketching points. We met at the auto stand, opposite St. Mary’s Basilica. And walked up to Russel Market. An old, peach-colored building, with Indo-Islamic style turrets and arched windows, greeted us. As I walked in, abundant flower and fruit shops greeted me. The market building also offers pet shops, gardening equipment, dry fruits, toys, groceries, and many other…

  • India,  Kerala,  Travel

    Zoned Out at Pepper House

    Pepper House is a hub for arts, with posters of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014 still adorning the notice boards. One side of the building faces the canals. I remember seeing the magical view of the waterfront with ships passing through, providing an ideal photo op for lover of this specific setting- maritime, colonial structures, the retro feeling and the leisurely elegance of having a coffee amidst such historical ramparts.