NoBull Travel: Week of 16 October
As a spirited cow moving through this chaotic world, I decided to take livestock of myself and go on a grand journey around the world. A journey that would take me to places old and new, a journey to discover and most importantly a journey without any bull(s) In this weekly humour travelogue, expect to see travel tips, misadventures, chewing of cud, food recommendations and reflections as this lone cow navigates her life outside the proverbial cow shed.
Monday: #MondayMisadventure at Rome, Italy
Oh dear me! Its #misadventuremonday, the day things go comically wrong!
On travel, while it is cowstomary to check reviews, some days you want to live a little and be spontaneous! So you walk into a restaurant basing your assessment on the number of people in the establishment. Assuming that those at the other tables are perhaps regular patrons, true cownosseurs of the food on offer. But alas! Some days even the best intentions can work against you! Here I was, on my pasta pilgrimage in the holy land itself! My #4tummysdelighted with the prospect of carbs for every meal!
Having just had roman classics like the carbonara and the Amatriciana, I was ready for another pleasing meal. As my cowmpany and I sat down with glee and ordered our pastas with great gusto, there was only one way for this to end! Spaghetti with smoked ham, cheese and courgette cream! Sounds delightful doesn’t it?
Horror of horrors! From the looks of it itself, my tummy shuddered. Almost as bad as the shoddy watery fair that gets peddled in every Italian restaurant around the world! This was inauthentic in Italy! Surely nothing can be as unforgivable. Unseasoned and hardly as cowmforting as I am used to! Grudgingly I made my way through 80% of this sight-for-rested-eyes before throwing in the towel. Even good cowmpany can't save bad food! The only thing that could salvage this was the yummy gelato had to undo this pasta tragedy!
Lesson learned on #misadventuremonday, always rely on the wisdom of the cowds. Check those reviews before stepping into that restaurant.
Tuesday: #Cowabouthat? at Istanbul, Turkey
This week’s unbellievabull fact comes from irresistibull Istanbul. Often on your travels, you totally luck out and stay at interesting cownversation starters!
Today’s #cowabouthat is about the Pera Palace in Istanbul. It’s one thing to hobnob with the A-list at a hotel, a whole other when the A-listers are in the afterlife!
The Afterlife A-lister is the murder mystery magnifico Agatha Christie. We shared a floor and as I stayed only a few metres from room 414, I could feel that literary cownspiration! (Well it got me to write this didn’t it!) As the jovial Pera Palace staff will tell you, you can still hear Agatha’s ghost typing away, editing and reediting murder on the orient express (Okay I made up that last one) but hey ghosts are a good way to intrigue your guests!
If literary spirits and typewriting apparitions aren’t your thing, the hotel also has other wordly aspects but you’ll have to wait for Friday’s #Cowshed review for that!
Solve the murder of your boredom and be enchanted by a hotel frozen in time and grand carpets? #Cowabouthat
Wednesday: #DutyfreeforHumpDay at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France
Here we are, staring at the face of Wednesday again! Keep the groans to a minimum because its #DutyfreeforHumpDay
Something to remind you that the important things of life should be availabull without the burden of local taxes.
Here we are in the city of dazzling Eiffel Tower Lights, Paris! You’ll know that this is Paris because of the martini that substitutes a Y and the Eiffel tower that substitutes the A in the sign. The sign assumes we need to be reminded of where we are since the French food and announcements aren’t enough of a giveaway!
Bask in the natural lighting, the perfume stores to remind you of your last shower and the unmistakable feeling that your gate isn’t anywhere in sight!
There’s a two bottle limit with your boarding pass! Pay up and feel #bullessed!
Thursday: #4TummyThursday at Istanbul, Turkey
Today’s #4TummyThursdayis an ode to that other Turkish delight.
Baklava was made for Tummy#3, my tummy exclusively for desserts and sweets! This pastry will make you wish you had more tummies too.
I know what you’re thinking. You’ve had Baklava before - a friend brought it over, maybe its even available at your local middle-eastern grocery, what’s the big deal? Well my cownterparts, I’m here to tell you that you’ve been having regular baklava! For the HD version of the holy pastry, you must make your way down to Istanbul!
Upon the advice of a locowl, I headed over to the best baklaverie in town, Gulloglu, which sounds like that sound you make while you’re trying to breathe underwater, is a pastry shop out of your sweet dreams. Warm embracing smells of sweet and sugar meet you at the door! Make your way around the shop once before deciding on your cheat! I ordered a box of 5 freshly made Baklava and learned that fistik in Turkish means pistachio (More on the Turkish love for pistachio later!) and that 5 is too small a number of Baklava!
I wouldn’t consider myself a greedy cow, but a few minutes out of the store, my mind was racing with pastry mania! Maybe just one bite? And so there on that warm, balmy afternoon on a busy street in Karakoy, I released the baklava from its plastic prison and took one giant bite for cowkind. Prepare for sensory explosion! The first taste is butter. Soft buttery filo pastry sheets dissolve in your mouth as a sweetness envelops everything you know! Soon, a crunchy hit of pistachio and a smack of rich honey! Finally as if you could take any more, more buttery pastry is available to wash it down. My knees almost buckled with the excitement and all I was seeing was yellow! I understand now why you don’t see people walking around eating Baklava! You must cowncentrate!
Visit the birthplace of this divine sweet and you'll be baklavin' in no time!
Friday: #TheCowShed at Istanbul, Turkey
Today we discuss where I like to park for the evening when I’m on the road! This is #Thecowshed where we review accowmmodation
Today’s review is about a hip little joint in the hippest new part of Istanbul, Karakoy! Welcome to 10 Karakoy, where the address is in the name and the location couldn’t get better! I stayed here for a few nights in Sunny September.
The #NoBullTravel review featuring what I liked (The Moo) and What I didn’t (The Beef)
1. Location, Location, Location: What a spot between hipster (Karakoy) and historical (Old Istanbul). Walk to one of thousands of coffee shops and little bars in Karakoy and feel your cool quotient skyrocketing! Or if you’re in the mood for some stunning architecture, 30 minutes over the bridge will take you to the Sultanahmet Mosque and Hagia Sofia!
2. Clean Lines, cleaner sheets: The design is minimal but pleasing with a great use of space and light. Putting the Boo in boutique, I loved the attention to detail, the terrace bar and strong design aesthetic
1. Checkin Times: The thing that really gets my cow is the checkin time drama at Hotels. Waiting in the lobby is hardly a way to start a vacay! If your guest writes to you for an early check in, accowmodate would you? I waited 30 mins to get to my room!
2. Feedback: You can always tell new hotels from old ones as the new ones are just dying for your feedback! But knocking on your door in the middle of the day to check on service or a 20 page post-stay feedback form? No way! Keep it unnecessarily simple. Why not spend some valuable checkout time in a quick cownversation instead?
Final Recowmendation: Definitely stay here if you’re in the moood for a great time in Istanbul!
Saturday: #WeekendMilkTip at Rome, Italy
Greetings Cowlings! For this #weekendmilktip we travel to the city of buttery croissants, Paris! Today we learn that when in Rome, do as the romans or in this case Parisians do! Take a cue from the locowls, shift your gaze outward and observe the city all around you! I think one thing all us animals can agree on is the enjoyment of al-fresco dining. “Is there space outside? On the Patio?” often asked hopefully by restaurant revellers! Don’t we all just love that feeling of eating in the sun, laughing with cownterparts and chewing on a bail of fresh hay?
All over the world, the chairs outside face each other. In Paris, the chairs face the street! So my favourite thing to do in Paris is to settle into a chair and watch life go by, as the Parisians do! Observe the world around you first, cowuite the philosophy eh? After you order your un cafe, settle in for primetime people viewing. The best way to really feel the pulse of a place is to watch its inhabitants go about their daily tasks! And so watch these Parisians buy their one large baguette, stylishly sip their espresso, argue over politics, smoke their cigarettes, judge the tourists and appreciate their ways! Observe them observe you too! And in all this people viewing, there is something to be learned about how a city breathes, lives, argues and eats!
Sunday: #DayofGraze at Istanbul, Turkey
Today’s #Dayofgraze is about being cownnected while being dicownnected! While on the road, nothing quite like a Sunday to spend catching up on the past and planning for the future. Fire up that laptop/phone/tablet, find a nook in your accowmodation to call your own or step outside, catchup on the news, your friend’s shenanigans, that meme, drink a few chai lattes (if they existed!) and plan your next adventure!
In today’s digital times, best to be a nomad, wandering around the world with only your power chord and a decent wi-fi connection to keep you going! Enjoy the feeling of a Facebook login from Istanbul or Florence or Rome or Milan! Read the international news while being international! Apply for the next visa while still on the current one!
Take it slow, revel in the information, cownsume a hot beverage and ready yourself for the week ahead! That’s the best part of the #sungraze