NYC
In a NY state of mind, en route to world’s happiest city. Ever since I landed in New York City for the first time in 2011, 22 and starry-eyed, playing Alicia keys’ “concrete jungles where dreams are made of ” on a loop (corny much?), I have been re-visiting at least twice a year and falling a little more in love with each adventure in this chaotic bustling city with its dizzying skyscrapers, sprawling parks, and delicious bagels and pizzas. The first time I got here, I was here for an interview for an internship with Morgan Stanley. The interview went incredibly well; I kicked ass (Not bragging; this was my first great interview after a series of hysterically-awful ones) and, needless to say, I snagged the internship for 3 months in NYC. But along came another company with a better offer shattering my dreams and robbing me of my stay…Continue Reading
Copenhagen
Day 1 I’m not going to lie; I have high expectations from Copenhagen, the capital of the world’s happiest country and all. I have only been here for a couple of hours and I am yet to fall in love or truly connect with this city. But here are some postcards of things that caught my fancy and top 8 things about Copenhagen/Denmark. 😉 This is my Airbnb in Copenhagen, I’m staying with a Danish couple in a neighborhood called Osterbro and their charming apartment is oozing with hygge. 1) Teach me how to Hygge Hard to pronounce and even harder to describe, Danish hygge (pronounced ‘hooga’) roughly translates to coziness. If you have wondered how Danes manage to keep their spirits high through the painfully long and gloomy winters, the solution to the mystery and key to their happiness is *drum roll* hygge. In essence, hygge means creating a warm…Continue Reading
Le cafe des chats, Paris
The concept of cat café is not really novel; cat cafes have been around since 1998 in Taiwan. While Paris, Montreal, Copenhagen, NYC and other western countries opened their first cat cafés last year, Japan expanded its monkey business beyond the realm of cats and dogs. Today, Japan boasts of goat cafés (no kidding, goat cafés are a real thing), reptile cafes, rabbit cafes and what not. If you didn’t know already, I’m obsessed with cats. I spent a good chunk of my childhood in the company of many whiskered four-legged friends. I fed and befriended all the strays and pets I bumped into, and soon my apartment was swarming with cats of all tail-sizes. When word got around about this in the neighborhood, I was nominated the go-to cat whisperer and was called upon to solve any cat-a-clysms that arose. My parents put up a tough front initially but…Continue Reading
Coliseum, Rome
May 2016 Some of my closest friends and I happened to be in Rome at the same time, for a day. We made no plans whatsoever and spent most of the day aimlessly strolling in the charming neighborhood of Trastevere, laughing uncontrollably, worrying only about what our next meal would be and wondering if we would explode if we had at least one gelato every hour. The struggle was real. We started the day at the postage-stamp sized Pianostrada, where they served us the best pasta EVER and drank prosecco with some crazy fun Norwegians who sat next to us. For a short period of time when we were not stuffing our faces, we got kicked out of the Coliseum, but let’s never talk about why or how, ok? Oh, what a crazy coincidence, Audrey Hepburn wore something similar in Roman Holiday. 😛 In the night, we bought hot and fresh…Continue Reading
Croatia_cover
Croatia – Highlights April 2015 A year ago I embarked on my epic 5-week trip to Milan, Croatia and Paris. It would have an epic five-week SOLO trip to France, but my best friend decided to play “kabab-mein-haddi”/a gooseberry/third-wheel (whatever your drift is) between Paris and me. Nonetheless, the trip was fantastic and so is she, so I’ll let her transgressions slide. Why Croatia? Four weeks before my trip, I asked Sukanya if she wanted to travel with me to Europe and she called rain-check. To be precise, she said, “I don’t have time; I want to save money and focus on getting married in December, Europe doesn’t excite me that much and I would much rather visit these cities in my sixties, blah blah blah.” Me: “Bummer”. Fast-forward 1 week => disastrous yet successful Schengen visa incident. Fast-forward another week. Right after I bought my tickets, she called me…Continue Reading
Duomo
Comedy of errors in Milan March 27, 2015 In an effort to prevent millions of photos from disappearing into a black hole forever, I have decided to start a #lastyearthisday series (Today is Easter, so it’s very symbolic 🙂 ) First up, Milan. Sukanya and I flew into Malpensa airport last year around 10 in the am. Our ultimate destination was Croatia but tickets to Milan were cheaper, so we decided to fly into Milan, explore the city for two days and then hop onto an overnight bus to Zagreb. Quick tip: If you are looking for cheap tickets from North America to Europe, I suggest looking for tickets to Milano and then taking a low-cost airline/train to your intended destination… and thank me later of course. Anyway, Sukanya flew in directly from India and landed at the international terminal and I got into the domestic terminal. When she asked…Continue Reading
Atrani, Amalfi Coast, Campania, Italy-4
The sleepy and adorable village of Atrani is a hop, skip and a handful of medieval watchtowers away from Amalfi. Whether you are there for a couple of days or just an evening (like me), this button-sized village will charm your pantalonis (Italian for pants dum-dum ;)) off. I like to believe I saw a shooting start. 🙂 Don’t miss Atrani for the world and don’t tell me I didn’t warn ya 🙂 Ciao!
Amalfi beach
December 2014 Sigh! Yes, that’s more than a year ago, clearly Pomodoro is not working out for me. My friends joke that all the photos in my camera get sucked into a black hole. Not too far from the truth, I guess 😛 Winter sunsets in Italy are awfully early. (Boo!) It was 4:30 pm and we drove to Amalfi, (the entire coast is named after this town) from Minori just when the sun was setting the sky ablaze. The sight of the coast at dusk, with the twinkling lights shining from the colorful houses stacked so neatly on top of the other, the Christmas trees, the rocky landscape and the glistening water was simply.. magical. As luck would have it, our hotel was in the heart of the town. NOT. We drove into the city, through the city and kept driving past it. After about ten minutes, we discovered…Continue Reading
Styled and shot by Smruthi
I have always dreamt of being a pastry chef, being lauded for baking exquisite pastries at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, working in a Parisian kitchen dishing out éclairs, macarons, croissants, salted butter cookies, méringues, etc. Basically being surrounded by copious amounts of luscious chocolate, bread, cookie dough, and butter 24*7. Of late, I have realized I’m more into the quality testing side of things 😛 Baking is more of a fantasy and I enjoy eating pastries more than making them. Nonetheless with Christmas around the corner, I thought I’d take another stab at baking. Against all odds (choosing a recipe and buying groceries from TWO different shops) I baked my very first successful cookie -> *drumroll* the world’s best butter cookies. Truth be told, that was the title of the recipe we followed 😀 By we, I mean me and my partner-in-baking Smruthi and sous-cookie-cutters Deep and Shri. When we finished, the…Continue Reading
Sukanya_anand_naru-18
The big fat Dum Dum wedding Day 0 Touchdown Kolkata, India As soon I landed in a fog-enveloped Kolkata for the first time ever, Sukanya’s (bride and best friend) brother Jit whisked me away to their apartment in the heart of Dum Dum. A neighborhood in North Kolkata, Dum Dum was home to the British Royal artillery in the 19th century. One of the resident captains invented a new type of bullet that expanded on impact and called it Dum Dum. That’s how the area got its name and it is called so to this date. Fancy your neighborhood being named after a bullet. Pretty badass, huh? Sukanya is boisterous and animated and we often joke that she is so loud that one can hear her from the moon. She argues the same about me but really I’m no match. Needless to say, I stepped out of the elevator on the…Continue Reading
Atrani, Amalfi Coast, Campania, Italy-2
The Amalfi Coast is a beguiling stretch of coastline, stretching for 40 knows from Salerno in the west to Sorrento in the east. It is home to a smattering of beautiful little hamlets and a tangle of sun-splashed vertical towns that are peppered around its lovely pebbly coves. I spent ten blissful days last Christmas hopping from one quaint town to the other, falling hopelessly in love with this amazing country, its cappuccinos and cornettos, fresh pasta, limoncellos and its jolly lively people, their culture and traditions. Even though it’s popular mostly as a summer destination, this coastline enjoys moderate weather even in the winter. I delighted in exploring the quaint towns decked up in their festive Christmas lights and w/o the crazy crowds. Never have I eaten as well as I ate or slept as soundly as I slept, and never found myself as happy as I was. “It…Continue Reading
Pizza Margherita, Naples, Italy-2
Touchdown Napoli (Dec 2014) After a 48-hour journey (Jaipur > Taj Mahal > Delhi > Paris > Naples), my friend and I, hungry, disheveled and excited, finally landed in Naples, Italy. I have always had a penchant for Vespas and vintage Fiats and dreamt of road tripping across Italy in one of them. (Me and half the people in the planet haha) So we picked up our bags, made a beeline to the rental car center and rented a funny little Fiat. This car (luckily or unluckily not that vintage) would be our loyal companion during our escapade to the Amalfi Coast. Having watched Roman Holiday a million times growing up and being an ardent pizza lover (and pizza-snob), this trip was more than a dream come true. Our first meal was going to be authentic Neapolitan pizza, at the birthplace of pizza. HELLS YEAH! Since this was going to…Continue Reading
La Brasserie, Montmarte, Paris, France
Paris is always a good idea, even in winter when the days grow shorter & the temperatures dip even lower. You’ll have the bon chance of having much of Paris & its treasures to yourself. Less crowded museums, shorter lines & gone are the days where you had to fight tooth & nail to get the last fresh baguette at the best boulangerie in your neighborhood. You can stroll around at your snail pace, taking in the breathtaking sights of a slightly sleepy Paris, read a book or two while ensconced in a cosy corner at the Shakespeare company, pausing every now & then to take a bite of your buttery flaky croissant & catching a glimpse of outside world through frosty windows. That is jus the icing on the cake, beautiful Christmas markets & Christmas trees mushroom everywhere around mid-Nov. Not to be missed are the department stores of…Continue Reading
La creperie Saint Germain, Paris, France
The universe conspires…  On my first Sunday in Paris, my plans and backup plans to castle-hop in the outskirts of Paris, visit a park, eat breakfast at Coutume Café, etc etc tanked one after the other and I was miserable. The thing about traveling solo is that the highs are really high and lows are really low. I didn’t have a friend to laugh off the day’s debacles or a book to bury my nose in (all bookshops were closed) or phone service to talk to anyone. I roamed around the Latin Quartier trying to find an empty restaurant, away from happy groups of friends. As I walked by this small restaurant in a narrow alley, the jolly owner waved a menu and ushered me in. I peered inside for signs of people and when I saw there was nobody, I ensconced myself in a seat next to the window…Continue Reading
Christmas_in_Vienna
Vienna wasn’t built in a day, but let’s attempt to see it in two.  Viennese history in a nutshell: 1st century: Part of the Roman Empire. 9th century: The Babenberg dynasty takes control of the Roman empire, i.e future Austria. 13th century: The Babenbergs disappear and the mighty Hapsburgs enter. 1521: The Empire moves the capital to Vienna 1683: The Turks invade for the 2nd time; Invasion is thwarted leading to the BIRTH OF CROISSANT and Viennese coffee. 1857: Emperor Franz Joseph (FJ) signs a decree to tear down the medieval roman walls, expand the city, and transform it into the modern and elegant city that it is today. Make way for the Ringstrasse. Austrians collaborate with the Hungarians to form the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 1916: FJ bites the dust, and so does the Austro-Hungarian empire. Peace out Hapsburgs! 1918: Vienna is annexed by Nazi Germany and later by Allied Powers after WWII.…Continue Reading