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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

    Baku, a Potpourri of Influences #Chapter I

    If you have just one day on hand to spend in Baku, then you must spend time in the Old City. Protected by a boundary wall, the most ancient part of Baku includes the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and the Maiden Tower, both of which have been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. In fact, if memory serves right, all of the Old City is marked as a World Heritage Site.

  • Travel Tips, from the corner table #fromthecornertable
    Travel

    Travel Checklist – Print, Pin, Plan

    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 whole bed leaving me a sliver of space to sleep in. And then, say half a day before I am to leave, I will start frantically dumping things into the bag, much to the exasperation of Maa who loves her things organised.

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

    Tales from Munnar #2

    On the second day of our stay in Munnar, after we checked out of a the lovely Clouds Land Home Stay, we drove up the winding roads to the Lockhart Tea Estate to understand how tea is processed.