It’s all about…Travel!

Let’s confess it straight up, we are damn excited about this blog post as today, we both will share about something that always gets us kicked… Yes, it is all about our travel-an exercise that surely gives us a high. Let us be humble enough to admit that we explore our own areas of residence with as much excitement and that is why you would find their mention here as well. Without any further delay, we share with you few of our memories which are rather special to us…

Q. One place which I toured recently and want to go back to in no time…
Shagun-Tuscany because it has green hills, brown paddy fields, mid-century small towns, over fried pizzas, Chianti wine and amazing gelato.
Sonali- Japan as I loved just everything about it.

Q. One Airport which left me amazed in the near past…
Shagun- Mmmm all the airports amaze me with their lack of simple good food. I love Delhi airport so much in that sense!
Sonali- Honestly, until recently I had not seen the Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai and have to admit it is really impressive. Some of its sections are truly splendid.

Q. Things I usually shop before I leave a place?
Shagun-
Definitely travel toiletries and travel sickness pills.
Sonali- I love checking out the Duty-free shops and as a habit, I have to pick up magnets as souvenirs. The magnets on my refrigerator have mostly been picked up from various airports I have been to recently.

magnet

Q. We love our Wine and Italian Food…my recent favourite experience…
Shagun-
In a small town in Sardinia called Oresei, there is a Pizzeria called Villa Fumosa. They have the best Ravioli and the best pizzas in the world- try Marianara!

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Sonali-
My bestie sure knows my answer. The best Ravioli I have had is at this Italian place in New Delhi called 28 Capri Italy and the icing on cake being that they serve some good wines as well. And not to miss the amazing Risotto I recently had at the Coffee shop in Park Hyatt,Chennai.

Q.The yummiest meal of recent times…
Shagun-
Ah that one is so difficult… But like I said earlier I loved Pizza Marinara in Orosei.
Sonali- I am big on Spaghetti and I still remember the yummiest one I had was at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Dubai and believe it or not but it was an in-room dining experience.
I also really enjoyed the South East Asian food at The Spice Route at The Imperial Hotel in New Delhi.

Q.The most interesting cafe/restaurant I have been to…
Shagun-
The Artist was pretty interesting in Bucharest, Romania. The food, the presentation and the staff are all brilliant and for much lesser price than what you would pay in any other European city.
Sonali- Indian Accent in New Delhi…

Q.The hotel I loved the most?
Shagun- 
Ritz Carlton, Berlin only because I stayed at the Presidential Suit and it’s amazing. The sound system was enough to impress me. Also, the Curtain Bar makes some of the best cocktails.

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Sonali-
Cinnamon Bey, Bentota for two major reasons- their buffet spread was outstanding and love it when you get done with sitting by the pool, you have the option of walking by the beach in no time.
And one hotel which I really love is Amari Orchid in Pattaya.

Q. A good budget hotel that I would recommend…
Shagun- Villa Gemella in Baja Sardinia. It’s amazing and the staff is so helpful and sweet that you could hug them and kiss their cheeks.
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Sonali-
Queenswood Cottage in Nuwara Eliya, it is cozy and clean.

Queens Cottage


Q.The most romantic place I have lately been to?
Shagun-
Again Tuscany because all we could hear was buzzing of bees, all we could see were vineyards and flower beds, there was sun and wine. It’s perfect for romancing.
Sonali- Can I share three please? Hahaha… Well I actually want to because all three places quite well sum-up the my-kind-of-place concept. So in no particular order, one of them has to be Joe’s Downstairs in Phuket, I think I went there on my last night of the trip and I am glad I did for the view and food were amazing!

Joe's Downstairs
I absolutely love Sirocco in Bangkok, the ambience is so overwhelming. Surprisingly, the third place too is in Thailand but in Pattaya and it is the Hilton Hotel, sipping a tasteful drink in its open area is truly divine.

Q.The most adventurous thing I just loved doing?
Shagun-
I can’t say adventurous but definitely a lot of fun was doing a small excursion in the Mediterranean Sea and seeing some of the most beautiful untouched beaches and coves.

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Sonali-
Lately, have tried some rather fun stuff whether it was snorkeling or tubing- I really loved it.

Q. The spa I loved the most recently?
Shagun-
Spas are the best in Asia and the last I really enjoyed was Alaya in New Delhi, in Europe I don’t really go to spas.
Sonali- One of my best spa experiences to date has been at The Oasis Spa in Bangkok.

oasis                                             Picture Courtesy: The Oasis Spa

Q. That one buy from my travel which is dear to me?
Shagun- I indulge in exotic perfumes while travelling and I bought a Lorenzo Villoresi fragrance recently from Florence. I really treasure that.

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Sonali-
One of the hottest pair of heels I picked up were from a night market in Pattaya, though inexpensive but they were so chic. Sadly, had to part ways with them sometime back…

Q. The most impressive car journey of recent times…
Shagun-
  The road journey through Mount Teidein Tenerife, Spain was really fascinating because the landscape is completely different and something that one has to experience.
Sonali- The drive around Nuwara Eliya is rather fascinating as you are exposed to one tea garden after another.

Q. A quick guide on three cool places:
Shagun-
Paris: Go beyond the luxury spark of Champs-Élysées and explore the district of Montmartre but if you spend time at the former then don’t miss Guerlain. I love their classic fragrances. Another secret is Nicolai who also descends from the Guerlain family. She has her stores at few places in Paris and offers really exotic and unadulterated fragrances. Spend time in public parks because that’s the best thing about this city. Just sit and watch the Parisian life, read a book and sip wine or do just about nothing; the symmetrical green beauty will definitely calm you. Besides, don’t go to Louvre because you must. It is huge and there is no way you can see everything in one visit. So, plan your Museum visit well and go to the galleries that you really want to see.

Amsterdam: Don’t miss apple crumble with cream at Winkel Café. It’s the best for sure! Amsterdam has some really cool vintage fashion shops if you are into that kind of stuff. I also really like the fact that you can just walk through the city along the river and through the small pretty streets. Absolutely can’t miss the typical Dutch French Fries with Mayo.

Berlin: It is extremely laid-back and that’s the beauty of it. The more rugged you dress, the more accepted you will feel. Dressy with too much make-up is a big no. I love the fact that I can walk in any restaurant and bar wearing whatever the hell I want from ripped jeans to a high slit dress. Confidence in oneself is the key to cool here. My favourite coffee places are Father Carpenter, Concierge and Bonanza.

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Berlin has some amazing shopping boutiques all though Mitte and lot and lots of vintage shops. I would definitely suggest a trip to Lunettes for some nice vintage glasses and to much more expensive Mykita for their metal optical glasses or sun reflectors. If you are here in summers then go a little on the outskirts of the city and you will hit some really scenic lakes surrounded by woods. It’s amazing to take a dip while the sun is shining or just lay next to your picnic basket. Lastly, this is something I suggest everyone- go to Das Hotel Bar in Kreuzberg for the best vibe and Moscow Mule.

Sonali-
Japan:  There are ample places to get good food so don’t worry so much. I got everything with ease whether it was Italian or Indian food and obviously I did try the local cuisine as well. Do indulge in some desserts for sure since you’ll see such variety; make sure you binge big on them! In case you have not heard of this before, then sharing for your benefit- take the train instead of the taxi as much as possible for it is relatively inexpensive.

Sri Lanka: I absolutely loved Nuwara Eliya and Bentota. Make sure you experience going to a tea factory in Nuwara Eliya and remember to take tea for your loved ones back home. The super markets have a great variety of tea brands on offer. There is a small Strawberry Farm which we visited which had strawberry as a major ingredient in each of its dishes.

pizza

Also, you have to visit The Grand Hotel, not just for the fact that it is steeped in history but you will feel so welcomed that you actually wouldn’t want to leave.  Each meal here was worthwhile. And for the beach lovers like me, Bentota would be fun. Try water sports, indulge in massages and do a lot of nothing just sitting by the beach.  Booking a cab for the entire stay turned out to be a wise decision for us.

Jaipur, India: I had to share this in some blog post or the other as I am amazed with the good food the place offers and it is not just their local cuisine but other cuisines as well. Here are few places I have eaten at lately and all of them were outstanding-  Handi has lip-smacking tandoori and Mughlai food,  Dragon House at Country Inn & Suites for amazing Chinese food and The Forresta Kitchen & Bar offers great ambience and good food.

Q.Travel tips…
Shagun- Never eat in touristy areas. Don’t be an ignorant traveler. Do your research well and be on top of things. I always read up a bit and make notes that I carry along. If there are some really nice restaurants that I want to visit then I make reservations in advance. I would also suggest spending in some good walking shoes as one ends up being on foot a lot of times and uncomfortable shoes can really kill the fun. If you are travelling in Europe then no matter what the weather be, always keep a jacket along.

Sonali- I quite agree with Shagun, I too as a habit always read up on a place before my visit. It is best to keep a stole or a jacket for the flight to ensure you are comfortable with the cool temperature.  Keep a sling bag for sure so that you are not moving around with your big-branded bag all day long. Also, not to miss wet wipes, mints and gloss- you must have easy access to them throughout. Something which helped me a great deal during a recent holiday, I kept my hand carry light so even though I had a connecting flight, it really helped control the fatigue.

So, hope you enjoyed this post as much as we did putting it together for you… And make sure you always make some time to TRAVEL for you only live once 😉

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The High of Hauz Khas Village…

We have to say that if a village can turn so funky and exciting, then let’s all turn villagers! This place has been revamped to such a degree that you wouldn’t even recognize it especially if you’re entering this space after a couple of years.

If you belong to the new school of fun-tainment, whose idea of an evening isn’t just restricted to getting squashed at an over-hyped club, then you are sure to fall head over heels in love with this place.

Simply put, this place is unconventionally good. We think of this place to fall in the category of parallel cinema as opposed to popular cinema. And we all do like some substance in our films, don’t we?

Just last evening, both of us decided to explore the by lanes of this vibrant complex. And trust us; it was as if we were unraveling some mystery. With every turn, we found something interesting.  But you need the willingness to appreciate everything that comes across as a piece of art!

There are a myriad shops selling stuff that you’ll seldom find in any of the so-called happening markets of the city. From film posters to organic fashion, this market has it all.  The highlight of this place sure has to be its cafes. And you’ll actually sense the laid-back attitude in the air only.  You would find it hard to digest that even in a city like ours, people here are in no rush; they are willing to just sit in the same position while reading a book or getting engrossed in some deep conversation.

While the relatively known spots like Kunzum, Amour, Out of the Box, Gunpowder and The Living Room are usually packed, it is some of the newer spots that’ll sure draw your attention as well.

Gun Powder

Kunzum Travel Cafe

OUT OF THE BOX

Situated in one extreme of the complex are places like The Grey Garden and NOX. After quite a walk through the whole market, we finally decided to put aside all the stress and raise a toast at NOX. This only a month old place makes you feel so much at home that you actually don’t give a damn as to who’s listening or watching! The place is simple and so-not in your face and sometimes that’s exactly what you want! And not to miss, we ladies even enjoyed the popular tracks they played as we were gorging on some Ravioli. We’ll reckon that if you’re looking for some secluded serenity, then this might just meet your requirement!

Hey, so think less and soon just drop-in to HKV and who knows you might just bump into the SOUL SISTERS 🙂

Image courtesy:

Second image (Gunpowder)- http://www.facebook.com/gunpowderkitchen

Third image (Kunzum Travel Cafe)-  Katharine Sidelnik/ http://www.theindiatube.com

Fourth Image (Out of the Box) – http://www.facebook.com/outoftheboxhauskhas

Lighthouse In The City

We definitely didn’t have a real hard time hunting this place which was in absolute tandem to our tastes and preferences. Sometimes, good things do come easy and are extremely overwhelming. Lighthouse 13 is one of those places which aren’t in your face yet provide a satisfying experience.

The place is wisely divided into two sections, for those who know us well, won’t be surprised to know that we chose the open space over the closed floor. The terrace overlooks the hustle-bustle of the heart of the city, yet the night time seems totally divine especially on Wednesday’s when soft sufi music only adds to the serenity of the whole ambience.


The food is another highlight of this restaurant as it brings together the best of national and international cuisines. We have to say that each dish would talk about the meticulous nature of the chef. The condiments which come with every dish would leave you biting your own fingers. We absolutely fancied the hummus, sun dried tomato hummus and avocado dips which came in the mezze platter.


What instantly popped out our eyeballs in the bar menu were the wine cocktails. So, we both ordered our separate share. Though, the drinks were refreshing, somehow they didn’t live up to our expectations as the flavours were quite subtle.
As we enjoyed our wine, the chef generously spared time and helped us decide on the menu for the evening. Discovering our love for cheese, he planned it accordingly. From interesting salads like Fattoush to zucchini crepes, the evening had it all that had a touch of cheese.


The menu is honestly quite glamorous with exotic offerings like oysters, prawns, salmon, and duck- all made available under one roof. The ones who’d like to turn towards the safe zone of pasta and pizza, then there are enough options.

And for all those, who like lots of chocolate to end their meal, there is nothing that would work better than a tiramisu or a chocolate mousse! It was absolutely heavenly savouring these under the skylight.

Well, we’ll be honest and admit that the thing which would actually get us back to this buzzing joint is its interesting ambience. After all, this that one important factor which we all are always desperately looking for!
So, those in search of a beautiful rooftop that can assure peace, tranquility and amazing sheesha then do visit this place and if possible make it a Wednesday for their live Sufi night. Cheers!