Of poets and pints: a literary pub crawl in Dublin

Let me start this story with a couple of “bet you didn’t know” bits of trivia: author and playwright Oscar Wilde played boxing for his alma mater, Trinity College. And Oliver Goldsmith, of The Vicar of Wakefield fame, also wrote the popular nursery rhymes Jack & Jill and Hickory Dickory Dock. I know these interesting…

We’ll always have Paris

“Suddenly a train appeared. Women cried out with terror. Men threw themselves to one side to avoid being run over. It was panic.” This is not a sensational newspaper report of a train accident; this is the reaction to the first ever motion picture screening by the Lumiere Brothers, as described by an astute observer….

Exploring Agra with Padhaaro

A few months ago, I was invited by the people at Padhaaro to enjoy a local experience with them in any of the cities they offer their travel experiences in. Padhaaro is an interesting enterprise, offering customised and offbeat tours in different cities, seen through the eyes of a local (expert). This way, you get…

This winter, take a walk

This winter, discover India on foot: lose yourself in its narrow lanes, bargain at local markets, drink chai at street stalls and talk to locals. Customised walking tours are now a major attraction in many big cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Varanasi and Bengaluru. And, these are no random strolls around the old town…

The hidden heart of Hyderabad

Novelist Doris Lessing felt pearls mean tears. In Hyderabad, it meant the laughter and glory of the Nizams. From the time they welcomed pearl merchants from the Arabian markets, Hyderabad has been the Pearl City. However, more interesting and lesser known is the story of the diamonds that light up the city’s history. Take the…

Roman banquet

My food walk in Rome begins with a near death-by-dessert experience. It is a balmy summer morning and our small group has met in front of a bar in Testaccio. Our guide Domenico is talking to a British couple, waving his hands volubly in what I have come to think of as the Italian Sweep….

Down Underdog

Riverside walks? Check. Masterchef quality dining? Check. Charming downtown area? Check. Cosmopolitan vibe? Check. Friendly people? Check. Melbourne today seems to effortlessly tick all the right boxes. It wasn’t always this way. Founded nearly a century after Sydney, Melbourne thrived on the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s and ‘60s. When the gold fever abated…

The hills are alive

In Salzburg, there are two kinds of people; those who love the movie and those who absolutely abhor it. And oh yes, there is a third type: those who make a living from it. Like the guys at Panorama Tours with whom I am all set to take a Sound of Music tour around the…