Marvel at the unspoilt magic of Montenegro

A day in Kotor, Montenegro’s prettiest town…

Honest confession. To start off, I was first drawn to Montenegro by the clever deception created by James Bond’s Casino Royale. In reality, not a single scene was shot there. Revelation. It is a thousand times more enchanting than the fantasy its name evokes. 

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Feel the irresistible allure of the Algarve

A lazy, laid-back vibe…

Moorish legends, an exotic coastal countryside, trailblazing Portuguese voyagers of yore, and a name shrouded in mystique (from Arabic al-Gharb, meaning ‘the West’). How can anyone dare to skip Algarve from their Portugal itinerary? 

We picked Portimao as our base. So much less touristy than the nightlife hub Albufeira and the golf mecca Villamoura. And perfect for its proximity to Lagos, Sagres, and Monchique…which were our other lures. Missed Tavira, but you can’t have it all, can you? Multiple queues at the coach counters on Faro airport seemed like a setback until we reminded ourselves that October is off-season. An hour-long wait for the next bus or a seventy euro taxi. Hmm…devil or the deep blue sea, we pondered, before a taxi driver offered a shared ride with three other passengers. Five minutes, coffee and bags of munchies later, we were on our way. 

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Treasure hunt for the most exquisite hidden havelis

Beauties and bounties in the bylanes of Bikaner…

“You won’t be able to find them on your own.” The hotel manager dismisses our valiant declaration of self-exploration with a mysterious smile. “I’ll arrange an auto rickshaw to guide you. The lanes are too narrow for a car.” Intrigue levels: brim high.

Our driver, Wali, nods knowingly, when I show him the google pictures in my phone. We climb into the well-padded back seat of our colourful three-wheel drive towards the oldest part of the city. At 11 am, its still a lazy morning in the marketplace. Steamy curls rising from chai cups, brooms swooshing across verandahs and biscuit-laden carts rumbling along to designated spots. The man stirring hot milk at Ramji Ghewar Wale sweet shop seems absent-minded…still not fully awake yet?  

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Why you need to take this canal cruise. Now.

Discover the jewel box city of Amsterdam: A photoblog…

Walk it, bike it, or get a languorous cruise…the ‘canal’-ity of life will inevitably  entice you in Amsterdam. Surprise, surprise. The throbbing nerve-centre of Netherlands has a predictably unoriginal name, literally meaning ‘Dam on River Amstel’. And a soul which is just the opposite….daring, independent, vivacious, lively. Over 4.5 million throng every year to admire its wonderland of 165 concentric canals, arched by 1500 graceful bridges and lined with trees and gable-crowned townhouses. And talking of surprises, try this: Venice lags far behind, with just 409 bridges.

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