NoBull Travel: Week of 20 November
As a spirited cow mooving 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 Florence, Italy
Today’s #mondaymisadventure is about thinking with your tummy and not your head! Often on travel, one has to give into sentiment at the cost of reason. Overheard examples: OMG, this place with the fairy lights looks so cute, let’s eat here”
“OMG, we would never get this extremely expensive coffee maker back home, let’s buy it” “OMG, I just love Siena, let’s change all our plans and stay here for another day!” . Not all the above scenarios have resulted in bitter endings but are mentioned to illustrate how often this transpires!
And cow about me? Well I too am susceptible to the fancies of the heart, I am only bovine after all. So pictured here is the gelato I ate on my last night in Florence. Sure it looks just apt for my #4tummies, but purchased under the emotional reasoning of “OMG its my last night in Florence, must eat gelato” I unknowingly purchased an icy, not entirely appetising, mega tub of limone gelato! Far too proud to admit my mistake when the server spent a good 5 minutes filling up this giant cup, I asked her the price to skulk on my way. 8 Euros, she said! 8 Euros for a bathtub of average ice-cream normally sold to be at 2-3 Euros!
Unable to fathom explaining to the server that I had made a cowtastrophic error, I departed with my ice-cream bucket and ate gelato till the cow walked home. An icecream headache even before cownsumption!
Mondays were meant for misadventures and as I ate my body weight in gelato on my last night in Florence, I chuckled to myself. Lesson learned on #misadventuremonday, you better check yo self before you overfeed yourself!
Tuesday: #Cowabouthat? at Florence, Italy
The best part about travelling the world is how global the experience is! You’ll never know where your next discowvery will happen or what you might learn about the world.
I stayed at some great hostels as I travelled through Europe to really soak up that global experience! At one such accowmodation (Hostel Gallo D'oro in Florence) I was intrigued by a sign for “Sunset Yoga” taking place weekly. I thought I’d check it out since my 4tummies usually ensure I constantly need to shed the weight!
I’ve practiced Yoga for a cowple of years now, certainly not an expert though I do really ace that cow pose! So I thought I’d experience it. The scene was set with hoomans and I from different corners of the world including China and the UK, in Italy taking on an Indian practice, being led by a locowl who was taught Yoga in Ireland! Woosh! Did your head just spin from the mental jet lag?
Up on the terrace of the WOW hostel (Gallo’s older sister) we laid down mats and practiced the downward facing dog while facing the Duomo! Pranayama in front of a Panorama! The warrior 2 while worrying about how cold Florence was getting! Simhasana with a view of Santa Maria Novella! (Okay one last one!) And as the sun set over the Santa Croce, we surya namaskared! Under the guise of an excellent teacher, we made our way through an hour of practice under the cool tuscan sky.
Yoga with a view! I realised that learning experiences can happen anywhere and about the most seemingly unlikely things too.
Ancient India met the italian renaissance and the results were good for the mind, body and spirit! #cowabouthat?
Wednesday: #DutyfreeforHumpDay at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi
Woah! Its still just Wednesday? Settle in for #DutyFreeforHumpDay! Something to remind you that the important things of life should be availabull without the burden of local taxes.
Pictured here is the Duty Free Store in New Delhi. Feeling a little claustrophobic? Don’t be! In New Delhi, we prepare you for crowded environments right from the DFS! I calf. The shelves are full with the sweet smells of overpriced perfume and the halls are decked with similar shades of nail polish! Placed strategically between baggage claim and immigration, this DFS gives new meaning to the Place cowmponent of the 5Ps.
As you navigate narrow lanes of the DFS with your oversized carry on, take a deep breathe! You are in the land of yoga, a little mindfulness wouldn’t hurt. Be mindful of your tolerance to floral scents and feel #bullessed
Thursday: #4TummyThursday at Toronto, Canada
Rub your tum and say “mmmm!” Its #4TummyThursday! The day I recownt all the wondrous food I send to my tummies on my travels.
What if I told you there’s magic in a roll in Istanbul? That all other rolls, durums, wraps, naan-bread-with-stuffing were quite average and that I have found the roll to rule them all? Well, if you don’t believe me, Anthony Bourdain says it too!
Now that I have your interest, let’s discuss Durums! In the wonderfully chaotic, literal fish market of Beyoglu, is a small Durum stall that doesn’t boast an extensive menu but delivers just what you need! Meet with lovely staff who will help you decide on your desired durum, then have a seat on garrish red tables and chairs and eat like a locowl!
I know what you’re thinking, a roll is really just a piece bread filled with some kind of food isn’t it? Not this one! This one is a game changer, a life alterer, a roll to make you say “I’ve had the best roll of my life” while your friends and farmily roll their eyes!
Go for the house special. Handmade soft and flavourful lavash filled with spicy tender meat and crunchy vegetables is served warm and in minutes to you. There’s a cowality and texture to this bread and meat that I haven’t encowntered before! Its tantalisingly fresh, deliciously seasoned, wonderfully colourful and is the perfect way to spend a hot afternoon in the city (Fun Fact: Istanbul means the city!) Roll your way past the ordinary and indulge in the most delectable Durum, this side of of the Bosporous strait at Durumzade.
Friday: #TheCowShed at Bangalore, India
TGIF, its time to review some accowmmodation on #Thecowshed On Friday’s we discuss the state of affairs of where the cows come home.
Today, let’s discows the hostelife, a time in everyone’s life where we don’t mind sharing a room with 5 strangers or showering in a cowmunnal bathroom! As a cow with no bulls around on my travel, I like to stay in hostels for the cowmpany! You never know who you are going to meet in the global roulette of roommates!
I stayed in Les Piaules in Paris for a few nights in rainy September. For a while there, it felt like the hipsters had stayed far away from hostels but no more. Behold the designer boutique hostel with a glorious handcrafted wooden bar for common area! I liked it! I think everyone, cows included, have baser hipster instincts!
The #NoBullTravel review featuring what I liked (The Moo) and What I didn’t (The Beef)
* Functional design with nearly everything you might need including privacy curtains, those elusive plug points, fluffy pillows and a jazz night!
* The Cowmpany is fabulous! This hostel attracts some great bros, beauties, boxers, Battlestar Galactica fans and bovines so you’ll always be in for a few laughs and discowveries
* For its price point, I think the hostel could offer more options for its denizens. A more extensive brekkie, a more regular clean up service (the bathrooms weren’t unclogging themselves!) It almost feels like you’re just paying for those fabulously designed adult bunk beds
* Location, location, location could be better. The hostel is a little far from most sites but given the awesomeness of the Paris metro, you’d hardly notice!
Final Recowmendation: Yes! If you’re in the mood to stay in a real and quirky part of Paris (Belleville) in a well designed hostel and meet other digital and organic nomads on your journey! Visit the place where I finally got over my fascination for the top bunk!
Saturday: #WeekendMilkTip at Toronto, Canada
Today’s #weekendmilktip is all about the brain. Learn something as you travel. Exercise those nuero-tic muscles and gain an understanding of something other than what’s your favourite gelato flavour (Mine’s limone, if you’re wondering)
In addition to the tours, eats and visits, try doing a course, even for a few hours. Its a great way to meet the locowls and store something away for future pretentious use. Example: “You know when I was learning leather making in Tuscany…” Make your cownterparts a little more jealous with some delicious trivia!
Pictured here is my wine tasting class in Paris. On a cold and rainy night in picturesque Paris, I made my way to a cute little wine bar, O Chateau, to learn about a few things vino. Now I’m not a complete cowvice, but I do get that slight anxiety that I will be asked for my thoughts on a wine when a new bottle is opened and I am asked for a taste! “So what do you think are the top notes?” I had to find out!
Over the course of 2 hours, I learned about Champagne and 4 other wines. How unbelievabull that only 1 region in the world can call its bubbly brew Champagne or that it was invented in the Middle Ages by Benedictine monks! As I sipped and jotted down my own top notes, out came the next few wines. I learned about sweetness, dryness, legs, tears, pairings, tannins and all things cowncerned with this French classic drink. Not only that, I understood the regions in France and how they specialise on one kind of grape. All in all, a great weekendmilktipsy, I mean weekendmilktip, which will make me unstoppabull at my next dinner party!
Be the grand few who knows Grand Cru, scour through Viator for a short little education and feed the tummy and the brain on your next journey!
Sunday: #DayofGraze at Siena, Italy
Today is the weekly #dayofgraze. A day for small enjoyments and small epiphanies. Today we day trip. Plan a tiny getaway to a tiny spot to get a tiny taste of a trip. Get an early start, jump in a car or bus and reach your destination in less than a cowple of hours. Have a small amount of time on hand to be lost, find a locowl establishment for lunch and to walk around aimlessly. Head back by sundown and finish up the day in your own cow shed.
Pictured here is me day tripping in Siena. Just about enough time to get a sense of its sensational beauty and a sense of myself. A slice of Siena, just enough to whet my travel apettite. The travel apertivo, if you will.
Keep it bite sized and light on this #sungraze