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  • Travel

    A Painting called Shaki

    If Baku is the potpourri of the old and new and Gabala is that beauty spot hidden in the mountains of Azerbaijan, Shaki is an old painting come alive. Cobbled streets, old buildings with exposed bricks, quaint coffee shops and tiny chai khanas, Shaki has held on to the old world charm that pulsed through Azerbaijan. The final destination of our two-day tour into the interiors of the land of flames – or should I say heights – of Azerbaijan, Shaki has a history of settlements almost 2,700 years old. Historians and the guide at the local museum say the first mention of this town has been found in literature…

  • Gabala, a beauty spot on the hills, from the corner table, #fromthecornertable, #gabala, #qabala, #azerbaijan
    Travel

    Gabala, a Beauty Spot on the Hills

    For most tourists, Gabala or Qabala is a preferred winter destination considering the plethora of winter sports that can be enjoyed on the slopes of the Greater Caucasus mountain range. In fact, Mount Bazarduzu, the highest peak in the Republic of Azerbaijan is located in this region. But summer in Gabala isn’t too bad, I say! This tiny city was the first stop on our two-day ‘explore the country’ endeavour. We decided to spend a night at Gabala before heading to Shaki and then returning to Baku. Gabala is a roughly 3-hour drive from Baku but when you travelling through a picturesque landscape with a trio of women who kicked off the…

  • Travel

    Rock Etchings & Mud Volcanoes of Gobustan

    If you thought Baku is the beginning and end of Azerbaijan, and that I was done talking about my weeklong trip, you were soooooo wrong! Seven days is long enough time to tuck several experiences under your belt. And if those days are spent in a country like Azerbaijan, it is sufficient time to explore more than just the capital city. The first two days I spent in Baku made me realise that the city is the perfect canvas to showcase the wealth of a growing economy. With its sky-touching towers, modern buildings that share boundaries with structures from bygone eras, the city has a rather glitzy vibe. The vibe…

  • Travel,  Tuck In

    A Newbie’s Guide to Azeri Cuisine #Chapter2

    Did you know?# The process of making Azeri specialities dolma and flatbreads (lavash, katyrma, jupka, yufka) are inscribed in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.# Azerbaijan cuisine boasts of more than 30 types of soups.# Black caviar from the Caspian Sea is among the most sought after in the world. Azerbaijan boasts of human settlements dating back to the Stone Age, a religious history that shows a shift from Zoroastrianism to Christianity and then Islam and an enviable cultural influence initiated by travellers who passed through the Silk Route. The violent political history combined with the above, have given Azerbaijan a unique identity.This uniqueness is reflected…

  • Travel,  Tuck In

    A Newbie’s Guide to Azeri Cuisine #Chapter1

    There is a lot of food culture that goes on in the home and in the community in non-traditional ways. Food is a lot more than restaurants. – Eddie Huang (American chef, food personality) For me, home is where food becomes an expression of love, a comforting hug, a celebration, a new tradition, an experience, making it an extension of traditions that have been reshaped. So imagine my delight when I realised that a large number of my meals in Azerbaijan were to be homemade or a mix of homemade/store-bought, each meal planned with the intent of sharing more about the culture and traditions of a country and a family.…

  • Travel

    Baku, a potpourri of influences #Chapter 2

    Holy smokes! A year ago at this time, I was walking through the lanes of Athens, debating over souvlaki and gyros while ticking places off my ‘must visit’ list. With my favourite travel partners – the elder sister and brother-in-law – I was busy getting a Greek suntan. Fast forward to the summer of 2018 and I am sharing tales from my trip to the lesser-known but utterly beautiful Azerbaijan. In the week gone by, I’ve used up (hopefully!) some of your precious time to sing praises about Azerbaijan – I’ve waxed eloquent about the marvels of the Old City in Baku (read Baku, a potpourri of influences #Chapter I) and been a…

  • Travel,  Tuck In

    Chai, halva & Azeri hospitality

    One of the most beautiful memories that I have brought back from Azerbaijan has been the Azeri passion for food and the warmth they extend to those who appreciate this passion. The warmth that envelopes you as the food bearers — be it the lady of the house or the restaurant server — place the food on the table and serve it makes you feel like a king about to feast! I promise to make your mouths salivate and ensure that you dream about the wealth that is the Azerbaijani cuisine soon but before that, I do need to touch upon and introduce you to a fascinating experience that is part of…

  • Travel

    Baku, a potpourri of influences #Chapter I

    Hey there. I’m back! Hope you haven’t forgotten me! After all, it’s been a few days since I last posted ‘From The Corner Table’. I know pulling a Houdini is breaking one among the few rules of blogging and I’ve already been at the receiving end of the “you have to be regular” lecture from my parents. My sincere apologies to all of you for the vanishing act. I had my reasons – some good, some bad. But the best of them is that I was travelling! This time it was a week in Azerbaijan. Oh yes! The summer of 2018 is well on the way to strengthening a top position on my personal…

  • Travel Tips, from the corner table #fromthecornertable
    Travel

    Travel Checklist – Print, Pin, Plan

    Packing terrifies me. Meet me a week before I am to travel and you will think I am a toddler on a sugar high, the anticipation of travelling and excitement of exploring a new (or been there) place evident on my face. But two days before D-day, a manic look starts creeping into my eyes. Courtesy the re-realisation that I need to pack I need to pack light I could forget important documents I need to take money, insurance, etc I hate packing My idea of packing has always been to create a huge pile of ‘things to carry’ in one corner of my bed. That pile invariably covers the…

  • Rolling Hills, Munnar, from the corner table, #fromthecornertable
    Travel

    Tales from Munnar #2

    Brutal honesty will more often than not set you on a path that is opposing to one taken by others. On this road, you will battle anonymous adversaries, and trolls that will fight you until their last breath, ready to martyr themselves for a notion they think to be right. It could be for a subject as complex as the ‘functionality of the Prime Minister of India’ or as whimsical as ‘Should I enrol in magic school at 30.’ Heavy thoughts for a Monday morning, right? Thoughts like these have been flitting around my little brain for a few days now, especially after a conversation with a senior citizen that…