My List of Top fun things to do in Prague


 

While I did my homework on what to do in Prague, I came across the quote that “Prague is the Paris of the 90’s . It got me curious, considering it does have a mini version of the Eiffel Tower too, I delved a bit deeper. Really the comparison was to the Paris of the 1920s that was bursting with artists, inspiration, writers and much art and beauty. Well, they got that right.

Charles

Prague has a very obvious fairy tale, old world quality about it. It has something for every kind of traveler too. I have listed the top things to do in Prague that I would recommend that you do not leave without doing.

1. Charles bridge in the morning 

You will inevitably walk on a crowded Charles Bridge several times to get to one place or another if you are in Mala Strana or old town. I however, strongly recommend a visit in the morning. The bridge is empty, you have it to yourself or are sharing it with fitness and photography enthusiasts, and there are very few so it’s a total win for you there. There is no other time that you will not be jostled on the steps I am posing on.

charles_bridge_swathi

 

charles_bridge_empty

charlesbridge_sunrise_prague

 

2. John Lennon wall

It stands as a symbol of peace and love, but the history behind it is interesting. It began with a tribute to the singer post his death, and the young people of the city covered it with more graffiti and messages, as the czech regime at the time had banned lot of pop music and entertainment. The wall that is owned by the Knights of Malta was whitewashed several times, but was always found repainted with graffiti and Lennon tributes, that they gave up.

lennonwall_prague_swathi

This is a visually striking wall, and makes for superb instagram pictures, which in today’s times translates to a lot of crowd. I cannot reiterate this enough – but go early to beat the crowds ūüôā

3. Kafka in Prague

Whether you have read Kafka or not, you may have used the term “kafkaesque” to simply denote something dark, illogical, nightmarish or uncomfortable imagery. A visit to the museum is recommended simply because you understand the struggles of a man with a tough childhood, who was perhaps unlucky in love, bogged down by the tussle of going to work and simply wanting to pursue his passion.

kafka_Piss_prague

The museum tour is a self guided one, but easily one of the most engaging, interesting museums I have ever been to. They played with light,  the placement, An Audio Visual element, narrow paths Рthe works. It took you into his world, and his mind. Whether you read Kafka or not this is a museum visit that will remain with you.

 

4. Prague’s own Eiffel…oops Petrin Tower¬†

Built as a look out tower and a transmission tower, Petrin looks very similar to the Eiffel Tower. 299 steps will take you to the top and the height it is said is similar to that of the Eiffel Tower In Paris.

petrin tower_prague

You can take the Funicular up to Petrin Hill. Find a good spot, you can see all of Prague as you go up to the foot. You land in a garden, which is landscaped beautifully. You can climb the observation tower. There are two decks. I climbed up to just one, because the height did me in. However, if you are one, who is not afraid of heights, you can climb on. And if you did, do share pictures with me. ūüôā

petrinview_prague

 

5. The World’s most Beautiful Library

I would recommend planning a visit to the Strahov Monsatery along with Petrin tower. A short scenis walk will take you to the monastery. There are a couple of cafes where you can sit back and enjoy a meal in the outdoors or simply have a drink while you soak a different angle of Prague.

strahov library

Why you must visit? To see two of the world’s most beautiful libraries. That is not an exaggeration, but the Strahov Monastery library has made it to a few lists. Unfortunately you cannot enter the halls, but you can see both the majestic libraries. Artistic frescoes, and 1000’s of manuscripts that go back to the 12th Century.

Cernys_Babies (3)

6. World war 2 tour

Like Most of Europe, even Prague has a World War history. It was taken over by the Nazis, with the government having fled to France and Britain. There are a few tours that take you through the history of the capture, the cruelty of the Nazi regime and the underground movement.

IMG-3858

It is a 2 hour walking tour and takes you to through the streets of old Prague and even the Underground cellars, under the astronomical clock that served as a hospital during the war, and a hideout for the rebels.

IMG-3859

Whether you are a history buff or not, this is a very informative tour and you surely come out knowing  a little bit more than you did earlier.

 

7. Sculptures around the City 

In addition to being a beautiful city, Prague has sculptures that are world famous. They are memorable and disturbing.

In the old town, only difficult to miss because there is always a crowd looking up is a statue of the hanging man, Freud debating whether to hold on to the rod or let go. This is designed by David Cerny and a representation of the psychoanalysts constant struggles

Hanging_man_freud

 

The Kafka monument, is a representation of a Mini Kafka on the shoulders of a headless suit. This is located in the Jewish Quarter where he spent most of his life.

Kafka_monument

 

The memorial to the victims of communism is a representation of the seven stages of living in a totalitarian state. It really represents the degeneration of man in the society and is a sad sight, especially because it hits the reality of how the generation truly believed that their life was going to change for the better and that promise simply degenerated.

Communist_Monument_prague

We could’nt make it to see Cerny’s Babies on the Zizkov Tower, but caught three of them guarding the Kampa museum. We saw a Manolo Blahnik exhibition there, you may want to check what is up while you are there.

Cernys_Babies (1)

8. Views For Days 

Prague has many parks, and open spaces where you can make your own little picnic. Walking is most fun, a lot of these places are a climb up but totally worth it for the view.

Letna Park has a beer garden, and if you time it right, you can get a lovely table at the edge and have a view of the city.

letnapark_view_prague

Vyserhad is a lovely park as well, it has a church but more importantly it has a huge park and various spots where you can set up a picnic, play with your dog or simply drink in the view.

vlatva_vyserhad_prague

vyserhad_prague

The Prague Castle is also something that you are most likely to do whilst you are there. My favorite part about it was the View, which you see below. The castle has a lot to offer, especially the St.Vitus cathedral which is synonymous with the skyline. I also enjoyed a military exhibit they had, since over the years it also served as a base especially during the war.

prague castle

I have only covered my favorite things to do in Prague, the city of course is a culinary delight and has a plethora of options for every kind of traveler. Since, it has a rich history even in the post modern era it really is a delightful combination of modern and classic. One can choose the kind of experience they want. I firmly believe after each travel you take a bit of the city back with you for eternity and we have surely taken a large part of Prague back with us.

I would love to hear what you liked about the city, so we can compare notes. ūüôā

Lip Smacking Prague…Here’s what to eat!


Prague is a beautiful city, It has a magical, fairy tale like quality to it. It really comes from the identical¬† sloping red roofs, powder towers and the spires. It is really easy to get lost in its beauty, when you don’t see that many tourists around, but let’s accept it every princess has to eat. Finding local food to eat is definitely high on my list of things to do on a holiday and being vegetarian I need to do my home work a little bit more thoroughly.

 

prague_castle_view

Here is my list of favorite lip smacking Prague food.

Kulajda

Kulajda (Pronounced ku-ly-da) is potato soup. This however is unlike any potato soup that I have eaten. It is thick, but not as thick as pureed potato that passes off as soup. A generous dose of dill, mushroom and a poached egg on the top. There is something easy about the soup, without the overwhelming starchiness of most potato dishes. I had this whenever I could get the opportunity, since I was certain that I wasn’t going to find this on menus anywhere. The best ones I had were at TriSoleti and Guston

kulajda_prague_guston

Palacinky

Palacinky is a czech speciality and to keep it simple, is essentially a crepe. I had my favorite one at the Lokal Inn. Lokal is one of Prague’s best restaurants for authentic czech food. I had one with Curd cheese baked with eggs and I would definitely add it to my list of favorite foods. You do get crepes in several places with different kinds of fillings, this one at lokal was surely my favorite.

prague lokal dessert

Cafe Savoy

Cafe Savoy is listed on every Prague food list and it is easy to understand why. I would recommend reservations here. We had to go back the the next day, since they were full and had about 90 mins waiting. Firstly the grandeur of the coffee shop has a wonderful old world charm about it. You really feel like you are part of something historical and luxurious. However, the food matches up to the hype. We enjoyed an utterly delectable Half boiled egg in a cup, with generous shavings of parmesan. This really evoked childhood memories for me. Half boiled eggs were a ritual and I loved the drama of the half boiled egg cup, it was more fun than eating an omelette.

 

half boiled

 

Cafe Savoy is also very famous for its desserts. Their section is drool worthy, but alas the stomach can only stomach that much. Thankfully they do mini portions. We tried the Karamelovy veternik another czech dessert. It has a hard pastry like shell with a creamy caramel filling in the centre. I hope you have the opportunity to try more. Do tell me what you liked, so that I can take notes for next time.

caramel vetrinik cafe savoy

 

Guston Burger

This was one place where we saw no tourists. Just the kind of place that locals would visit. It is Zizkov which is the modern part of the city. This place is famous for it’s burgers. As a vegetarian I find burgers very unappetizing, but this was really wholesome. It had a chunk of roasted tofu, aubergine, lettuce, tomatoes. The super interesting part is that they also do a “lettuce” version of the burger. The burger is massive, and honestly I could not finish it. The waiter did tell me later that a lot of “girls” like the lettuce version and I should have gone for that. I must really prove my carb love to him another time.

Guston_prague_burger

Ice Cream

 

No one ever looked sad eating ice cream, but the struggle to eat something so exquisite is real. Amorino in Mala Strana in Prague churns out Gelato Flowers. At the end of  an exhausting walk around old town Amorino is the perfect place to treat at least two of your senses. You can choose as many flavours as you want, and they make your own personalized flower. You just have to choose the size

Amorino Gelato Prague

 

Fresh Fruit

You will always find me where the berries are. Fresh fruit is found in abundance and I love to snack on fresh produces. So do yourself a favour, find em berries and I find them great as a snack or even to quench your thirst or battle that tiredness because of the walking. We found several fresh fruit stalls across the city

Prague_frui

prague_fruit

Tredlnik

What will fire your curiosity is the cylindrical, bread like item that everyone is eating around the tourist part of the city. Some eat it plain, and with ice cream or whipped cream. Honestly, since we went to Budapest after, I ate the better tasting Tredlnik there. However, if you are planning to eat it then have the one at Good Food Bakery. It does have the comfort of sweet, carb loaded bread.

 

good_food_tredlnik

 

 

This is just some of the yummy food I ate there. Do share with me what you ate when you went there, or if my blog helped you. I do hope you enjoyed reading this.

Cotswolds, making the most of it in a day


The Cotswolds is every Jane Austen Village, Bronte Sisters novel, Downton Abbey, episode come to life. While Oxford was the city we were visiting, we were just too close to the Cotswolds and more importantly to a slice of Downton Abbey therefore we decided to make a day of it.  While when we had planned out holiday Highclere Castle was not open for a visit, but a lot of the show has been shot in a lot of villages in the Cotswolds. One such village was Swinbrook.

swinbrook 4

 

 

If offbeat, and unique things to do is high on your list then do read on. We made our way to Burford which is regarded often as the gateway to the Cotswolds. We took a bus from Oxford to Burford. The medieval village is beautiful, retains a lot of old world charm, the stone houses, the river and the shopping. The little village had some interesting vintage stores, where one could buy wool, books and even cheese.

IMG_3579 (Edited)

burford 2

My favorite however was Huffkins. Their speciality is the Lardy Cake. I still dream of it, and I have tasted nothing like it. Enjoyed with a hot cup of tea, the lardy cake is is an English Tea Bread, that is generously enriched  with dry fruit, sugar and of course the key ingredient lard. While it sounds like a blob of fat settled on  your hips, this is one of those dishes where the calories are worth it.

huffkins

huffkins lardy cake

While this was a pitstop our final destination was to be Swinbrook and more specifically Swan Inn. This was where lady Sybil’s elopement with Branson was shot. Therefore the Downton Abbey connection. Also the gorgeous inn has a world class restaurant which we wanted to visit. Our plan was to take a cab from Burford and back. Well these ambitious cab plans were laughed off, by the tourist office who said that we must Walk down. Yes – Walk down since the village has no cabs. So be prepared for this when you visit the Cotswold. It would have been a lovely idea, except it was a cold windy day in the Cotswolds. 6 degrees!

IMG_3709

We decided to do what any self respecting heroine in a Jane Austen novel would do – and walked. Best decision we ever made and one of the most unforgettable experiences in my life. We did not see a soul for miles, well we heard some hunting dogs bark (that was scary) . But I am going to let these pictures do the talking. It is a 2.4 Mile walk each way and honestly I would not have enjoyed it as much any other way.

crossroads

fields

 

farmlands

burford village

Swinbrook

Well the village was less commercial and a lot more quaint than Burford. This was the epitome of a sleepy village. We had reached around lunch time, and we did not see any one in the village at all, till we reached what seemed like the centre of the buzz. Some snippets of the village below, so that you get an idea of the pristine gorgeousness I speak of.

Village home

 

Swinbrook lake

Swan Inn and Lunch

Swan Inn

Swan Inn, had a fabulous vibe to it. Very elite, everyone was talking quietly and it seemed like the noisiest thing in the restaurant was the clinking of wine glasses. Worked for me, we shared a wholesome meal. Arjun had steak, while I enjoyed a Quinoa salad, fresh veggies with feta and a red onion and orange dressing. The piece de resistance for me was the dessert which was the Yorkshire Rhubarb and berry compote, fool sable breton. Not a chocolate aficionado when it comes to dessert, I loved the difference in flavour and texture with this one.

IMG_3678

IMG_3649

IMG_3668

All in all, our trip to the Cotswolds was barely a teaser of what glory a full fledged holiday there can be. This is the most that we  could fit in, in one day but it has certainly whet our appetite for a longer haul Рhopefully sooner rather than later.

queens bench

And of course – some tribute to the Queen will greet you even in the wild

I spy with my London Eye – London Things To Do


I love visiting cities on holiday, but I am constantly torn between ticking off touristy things off my list and simply observing way of life or doing things that people in that city do when they take time off. Three days in London, and I had to sample a little bit of different experiences because only that much immersion is possible in 3 .

IMG_3417

Being A Tourist

I feel all major cities have a similar vibe – people rushing to work, lots of buzz but when a city has hundreds of years of history like London does, it pretty much screams at you from every corner. The architecture, the people, the memories of books that you have read, movies that you have seen that come rushing to you at almost every corner bear a sense of familiarity and comfort.

Our trip was organized by Mercury Travels, and right from the time we landed to the time we left parts of our trip were planned to our convenience. Firstly the location where we were staying was perfect. We stayed at the Best Western Plus in Kensington Place, which is a great location to explore London. the 24 hour bus No 10 I think passes  right outside the hotel so you can always get back as late as you would like. A comfortable walking distance to the Kensington Gardens and Royal Albert Hall, we were thrilled with the location and the hotel.

 

Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall

Kensington

Be a Tourist

Hop on and Hop Off

I did my first ever Hop and Hop off tour, and I must say that it was a lot of fun, especially because the guides have a penchant for typical English humour which I find extremely entertaining. It is also a great way to see the city and the convenience of being able to, as the name suggests hop on and hop off is welcome.

Trafalgar

Trafalgar Square

 

Queens Theatre

Dunamis London

Dunamis РBy  ArtistBushra Fakhoury

Prince Albert

St James Park

The River Thames Cruise

We decided to do the River Thames Cruise, but even though it was spring in typical London style the skies were grey and it was cold. While the London Eye is also really exciting, we decided to give it a miss as we had very little time. The cruise is enjoyable, but you must be prepared for the rains or the cold, but however sit back and enjoy the ride. The guide on this tour also was extremely witty and had interesting anecdotes to share about the royal family.

 

thames tour

The London Eye

 

London Bridge

The London Bridge

St. Pauls Cathedral

An iconic building in London, and the second largest church in UK, prompted us to add it on our list. The clincher for us was the climb up to the whispering gallery. I cannot put my finger on it, but there is something really adventurous about climbing up towers and churches from paths that people did from hundreds of years ago. I always think to myself how inconvenient the passage would have been for someone who was overweight. They do not allow pictures inside and you can’t really climb up to the dome with views of the city, so do not go expecting that. The baroque architecture however is incentive enough to climb up and worth spending time at.

 

St Pauls Cathedral

St.Pauls Cathedral behind me – See the dome?

Catch a Show at West End

We watched an American in Paris at the Dominion Theatre  Рa broadway musical it was an extravagant production. While it had all the classic charm, it had a superb modern vibe to it as well. A Tony award winner, it left us mesmerised. The poster however was reminiscent of La La Land.

An American in Paris

Hang Out at Notting Hill

Let’s just call this the perfect neighborhood. Candy Doors, Manicured Gardens, Immaculate creepers framing doors and houses. I found that the neighborhood had a unique combination of contemporary designs and old world charm. Of course I can only imagine how painful it must be for residents who have pictures of their homes taken constantly. Well, I was guilty of that too! Lots of shopping, a flea market – my personal favorite was definitely the very Lewis Carollish Biscuit Shop called Biscuiteers. They also serve Hot chocolate and coffee while their specialty is essentially icing workshops and very exclusive icing on biscuits.

 

IMG_3122

Nottin g Hill 1

 

Biscuiteers

IMG_3096

Some Non Touristy Things to Do

Drink Tea, Have a Pint, Sip on Gin and Find some Hipster Coffee Like Locals do.

While Tea is a tradition, and very honestly I completely get the English obsession with tea. In the weather it is magically refreshing and it is a delight to make a ritual of it.

Whittard of Chelsea – we discovered this place in Covent Garden, and I had a chilli tea, which was really different from anything that I had before. They serve over 100 types of tea and some sinful cakes to go with it. I ordered the carrot cake and was very very satisfied

 

Whiitard of Chelsea

Chill at a Pub

London has many Pubs, and when it rains its the perfect place to take shelter and even when it doesn’t it’s a cool place to people watch. Interestingly many pubs don’t even bother with serving food, so be very clear about your eating plans, if like me meals are critical for you. The pubs worked perfectly as the country is obsessed with ale and gin, essentially something for him and her respectively.

IMG_2865

George prwell Dog and Duck

London Pub

Admiral Dubcan

Coffee…

No trip of mine is complete without sampling coffee, I make a decent effort to read up on the good ones. While my attempts were rubbished since UK is essentially a tea drinking nation, if there are lines for coffee before the coffee shop opens then definitely its caught on. I managed to sample a few places and lets just say I was not dissapointed. I visited “FucKoffee” and Kaffeine. I had a lot more on my list but they were shut on May 1st

Fuckofee

 

Picnic in a Park.

I had been keen on eating at Ottolenghi’s restaurant, but the restaurant was packed and when on holiday you do not have the luxury of a long wait so we made a picnic of it. They had really nice tables where we sat down for a meal, at some point it started to drizzle as well. This impromptu picnic was one of our best meals. Ottolenghi’s food is the kind you cannot stop thinking of, and the sheer simplicity of sitting at a park is an experience to cherish.

Notting Hill Picnic

 

IMG_3125

 

Unwind at Covent Garden.

Covent Garden really seemed like the place where almost all of London came to bring the weekend in, and its a great place for you to do the same as well. Again a lot of choices, many things to do and just hang out.

 

Covent Garden

 

IMG_2532

Walk A Lot

The best way to discover a city is to walk as much as you can, the city is busy and it’s not that easy a walk but it is definitely the most enchanting way to drink in the city. It’s a good idea because if you tire there is always a pub to chill in.

Sunny Day

Oxford street

An Empty Oxford street

IMG_2823

Just London

I am going to end my blog with a few things to keep in mind when you travel to London, which honestly I wish I knew before I went.

  1. The Oyster Card is super convenient and allows you to use the Tube and the Bus, so my advice would be to take it
  2. Shopping closes early during the weekend, 5pm is when they shut.
  3. Also check if its a national holiday when you are there, we were there on May 1st and a lot of  pubs and coffee shops that we wanted to visit were shut for the day
  4. Uber is easy to use, and you get some really cool data deals from India so it is a very viable option, though we never got around to using it.
  5. Stay on the right side of the escalator when shopping or at the metro station, you send a clear signal that you are not a local if you don’t
  6. You must book in advance if you want to eat at a good Michelin Star restaurant (No Shit Sherlock) also since I am vegetarian we really had a limited choice since several menus are pre-set.

 

I would love to hear what you thought of this, do hit me with feedback and also suggestions on what to do when I am there next.

 

 

Lake District – Five Reasons to go


The Lake District in England is spectacular. The best time to visit is perhaps Spring or Summer. I would be more partial to Spring, because the landscape is filled with gorgeous flowers and it is a fact that flowers make everything prettier. The Lake district is also home to the “Lake Poets” and the famous “Daffodils” was inspired in these lands.

 

We were there about a month ago, and I can say that there isn’t a day that I have not thought about the beauty of that place. The pace of life, the calm, the people – they all leave an indelible mark on you. The experience becomes a part of you, that you never want to let go of.

5 reasons why I can’t let go

The landscape

Green, till the eyes can see. Sheep grazing almost telling you that it’s okay to slow down and just be. The English Countryside, thanks to our colonial education always brings a rush of memories. Famous Five, Anne of Green Gables and even Wordsworth. To see all of it come alive and in touching distance is an experience all right.

Grasmere (2)

Sheep

Lake district 1

 

IMG_4356

Lake Windermere

This is England’s Largest Lake and where we stayed had the most divine views of the Lake. Since “Lady Windermere’s Fan” was one of my favorite plays in college we began our relationship on a partial note.¬† We stayed in Bowness on Windermere, and the Lake itself was about 25 minutes downhill. From Panoramic views of the lake, to a fabulous Boat Ride and simply just absorbing the beauty of the lake, we managed to do it all. Lake Windermere has some of the most luxurious homes around it and you can actually go from one village to the other taking ferries.

Lake_Windermere

 

Lake_Windermere 1

Visit to Grasmere

If You love Wordsworth as I do, and enjoyed his poetry a visit to the Dove Cottage where he spent a good many years of his life is a must do. The village of Grasmere is well connected by Bus and the bus practically drops you off right opposite his house. You can buy a day pass for about 12 pounds and go up and down and from village to village as you please.

A visit to Sarah Nelson’s historic Grasmere GingerBread is also a must do. Invented by her in 1854 you are literally indulging in a slice of history. You can walk down to her store that retains all it’s vintage charm. While the Ginger Bread is tops, what we really loved and were happy we bought was the Rum Butter. Do not miss either

 

Hipster Wordsworth

Wordsworth’s glasses and top hat

Dove Cottage

Dove Cottage

Grasmere GingerbreadHouse

IMG_4399

Bridge House

This Bridge House stands unassumingly in Ambleside which is between Grasmere and Windermere and the good bus stops close too. The 17th Century survivor was part of a big manor, and since then even became an apple shop. Today it is one of the main attractions simply because this is one of the few Bridge Houses in the World

House On the Bridge

Kendal

Kendal was a slightly bigger town than the others, and while we did not have enough time to go to the bigger castle, we went to the ruins of the Kendal Castle in the City. Fletcher Park had some of the most amazing views of Kendal and was an ideal place for a picnic or to do just about nothing but gaze and absorb every minute detail and breath of fresh air.

Kendal 1

Kendal Fletcher Park

I have to make special mention of the beautiful place that we stayed in. Linthwhaite House. While the location was remarkable we experienced old school british hospitality. We have stayed in a few five star hotels but the personal attention and experience here was simply different. All the perks of luxury, served with a dash of non chalant comfort, it’s evident that the service bar has been set very high.

Linthwhaite House

Linthwhaite_House 1

And one cannot leave without a scrumptious indulgence of Sticky Toffee Pudding. Let me tell you that the description of the dish  does no justice to the taste. However my sneaky belief is that it is the butter.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sitting on my couch, I will end this blog with lines from Wordsworth that pretty much encapsulate what the lake District leaves you feeling.

…I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils

 

 

Strawberry Picking in Mahableshwar


Strawberries! I never met a person who said that they did not like strawberries. I look forward to the season every year and through the season we always have strawberries at home. This year we decided to make the 5 hour trek to Mahableshwar to OD on strawberries and bring back some.

IMG_9598

The drive to Mahableshwar is about 5 hours from Mumbai, and it is Strawberry Heaven for sure. The way they sell bananas and chai in every nook and corner in the city, in Mahableshwar you can find strawberries. There are several strawberry farms as well, where you can go and buy them by the kilo.

We did some scouting and discovered “Laxmi Strawberry Farm” . This farm that is owned by the Bhilare Family, lets you pick strawberries and even other vegetables and you can buy what you pick. That seemed like a really fun thing to do. You can call them¬†https://www.facebook.com/mahabaleshwarStrawberry ¬†and check when they will be available. We found them on google maps and landed up there.

IMG_9564

The farm had strawberries which were surprisingly easy to pluck. They are nestled in, but the red luscious beauties are easy to spot and plucking them almost zero effort, but supremely satisfying to see a basket full of them.

They also had cabbage, tomatoes and green chillies, which we picked and brought back. Advocating Farm to Plate

Cabbage Farm

The family lives there, they have a few farms in the city, we went to the one near Marathi Medium School. The farm may seem underwhelming, it is quite a small patch of land, but between the two of us , we did not even comb one row and we still had two kilos of strawberries.

Farm Village India

Strawberry Mahableshwar

This was defenitely more fun, than buying a kilo off the street or a shop. You literally enjoy the fruits of your labour. I would defenitely recommend this as a thing to do in Mahableshwar. It sure is an experience and a memory that will stay with us for a while. And as always, I cannot help but think of the Nancy Sinatra duet, when I think of strawberries, because it rings so true.

IMG_9597

Strawberries, cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring
My summer wine is really made from all these things
I walked in town on silver spurs that jingled to
A song that I had only sang to just a few
She saw my silver spurs and said let’s pass some time
And I will give to you summer wine
Oh, oh summer wine

Siolim House in Goa – vintage and history


Finding a place to stay in Goa is a long deliberate struggle. The husband thinks, I give it too much attention, but I am glad I do. On our last visit to goa we discovered “Siolim House” . It is easy to make me swoon if you use words like vintage, historical , back in time – I am quite the sucker for old world charm and the descriptions of Siolim House had me intrigued.

 

IMG_8224

Casa Palacio Siolim House is 350 years old. An old manor house, it retains all its vintage charm. The team at the home is warm and inviting. We reached at 7.30 am which is quite early by Goa standards, but there were people who welcomed us, and our room was ready. We were also served some excellent coffee. You are greeted with the most charming , happy sign at the entrance.

IMG_8041

The Charming Message At The Entrance 

 

You walk -in to a lovely area to relax followed by the common verandah. Honestly if you ask me, it is difficult to decide where you want to while your morning away. We chose the outdoors, if you are curious ūüôā

 

IMG_8093

The Sitting Room 

IMG_8220

Verandah 

The Swimming  Pool is inviting and casual. It is not too deep, but serves the purpose of wallowing in the sun, or working up an appetitie for wholesome goan fare. They conduct a morning Yoga class at 7.30 am by the pool. Honestly, that Yoga Class may just spoil your hipster Yoga Class in the City.

IMG_8287

The Swimming Pool 

 

The Rooms are spacious and our window looked out into the well ¬†near the common courtyard and had a charming sit out as well. But the piece de ¬†resistance was “the throne” , which you will see a picture of as you scroll. I normally refrain from sharing pictures of the pot, but this one just screams share! Honestly the bathroom was the size of both our bedrooms in our Bandra Home. The rooms as you can see are very spacious. Gorgeous wooden furniture, and

IMG_8294

Sit Out Outside Our Room 

IMG_8032

The Bedroom 

 

unnamed.jpg

View From Our Room 

IMG_8040

The Throne 

Around the Property 

The Property has around 7 rooms, and has a certain intimacy to it. There are some charming spots that you can walk around in and simply enjoy your book or a cup of tea. They have a TV room, that houses some enchanting Coffee Table Books, and games so that you can choose to sit in and do nothing at the property that requires effort or planning.

 

IMG_8077

Around The Property

IMG_8079

A Bench To Relax 

IMG_8330

Steps Leading Up to the TV Room 

The Steps you see above lead up to the TV room and Suites. The most interesting feature that we noticed was that there was a door that would become a floor as you climb up. And Prayshwi the really helpful receptionist told us that there were holes in the door, which would help people see who is at the door and in case they had to shoot attackers in the days of yore they would.

We spent only two days there, but as a location it is ideal. It is a stone’s throw away from Siolim Church. A 15 -20 minute drive will take you to Vagator or Anjuna and Ashwem is about half an hour away . That is super ideal in my book. As a policy you pay for your stay in advance, as we made a last minute booking, very honestly I did not read the fine print on that.

This ranks high in my preference of places to stay in Goa.  We missed having any meals at Siolim House, because Goa has so many choices when it comes to eating out and favorites, but that is defintely something I would love to go back for  and stay for a longer time.