A look back at favourite travel memories of 2014

Joy is…

… Happy memories!

 

As 2014 rolls to a close, allow me a bit of self-indulgence…

To sit back and turn the pages of memory,

And recall some of my favorites this year.

Being mesmerized by the Taj Mahal

Despite having visited it before (albeit over two decades ago). Despite the hype created by lyrical descriptions of this icon, that abound in travel literature. Despite the high expectations generated by unbelievably gorgeous photographs that litter the internet. On a fine summer morning, the Taj Mahal still left me completely enchanted by its magic.

Risking a Delhi-belly

Without a doubt, the one thing I look forward to most when I go back to my childhood hometown, is mom’s cooking. And next to that, it’s all about venturing out to old haunts and stuffing myself silly with samosas, jalebis, gol gappas, etc. And the fun is multiplied even more when these treats are shared with other, equally enthusiastic, family members…while you bask in the realization that “foodieness” can actually run in your genes.

Giving in to silly traditions in Paris

To celebrate eternal love; take a padlock, inscribe your initials on it, attach it to the railings of a bridge, and throw away the key. What a load of bollocks, huh?

“Crawling for pintxos” in San Sebastian

A charming old town. Gorgeous sun-kissed beaches. And hilltops boasting stunning vistas. San Sebastian has a lot to offer. But for me, its rich gastronomic tradition will remain its primary allure. Not just the fabulous fine-dining restaurants, but the celebration of cuisine and camaraderie that flowed through the pintxo bars dotting its streets.

Finding calmness at Wat Pho, Bangkok

After a particularly frustrating day with touts and fraudsters, and a less than pleasant “river cruise” on Chao Praya, I was ready to spend the rest of the trip in the luxurious confines of our hotel. Till I decided to make a brief stop at Wat Pho. An epitome of calm in the midst of chaos.

Feeling at home in London

There’s something to be said for a place that feels like home, even though you’ve never lived in it. The fact that it is home to many good friends, may have something to do with it. Or perhaps it is something simpler, like having the luxury of getting pretty good Indian food, anywhere, anytime and at any price point. Or may be it’s just the familiarity created over several visits. All of the above, I reckon.

Being amused by the quirky street signs of Dublin

The beer was fresh. The sights were vibrant. The atmosphere was buzzing. Add to that, a whole load of humour peppered all across the city, and it was impossible to not walk around with a silly smile on my face.

Re-discovering Mumbai

How well do you really know a city? Wake up at a different hour, choose a different mode of transportation and sample it at a different pace. It’s a fascinating experience.

Getting nostalgic in Singapore

Boring. Sterile. Too artificial. I’ve read these descriptions of Singapore several times, and on occasion been guilty of using them myself. But it is also –  Clean. Safe. Efficient. Convenient. And an incredibly easy place to live in (speaking from personal experience). And while I’ve firmly been in the Hong Kong camp (Which do you prefer, Hong Kong or Singapore, is a question I’m often asked) for the last year; while walking down the atmospheric Robertson Quay and reminiscing about old times, I was tempted to change sides.

Falling in love with the sounds of sunset in Udaipur

Come evening and the sky would be filled by the noisy chatter of birds. And pitter-patter, the corn kernels they accidentally dropped on the marble floors. And plip-plop, as some dove into the silvery waters of Lake Pichola. There would be a discernable nip in the breeze. The sun would transform into a glowing orange ball, slowly descending over the Aravallis. It would grow quiet. The sky would transform, first yellow, then orange, then pink, blue and indigo… And the lake would transform with it. Then, the beats of a drum, the deep baritone of a Rajasthani singer’s voice and the energetic rhythm of a dancer’s anklets would fill the corridors. In the distance, the city would light up. And falling in love with a place, would take on a whole new meaning.

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Thanks for joining me on this little trip down memory lane.

And now head on over to Richmond to be inspired by my lovely blogger friend, Yvette.

And then on to Jo’s to take a look at her amazing Christmas tree.

Wish you all a fantastic 2015!