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Posts Tagged ‘airline tickets’

Delhi street (sxc)

Delhi is a city for the senses, all of them. It can be overwhelming and exciting, new flavours and new sights, everything is unfamiliar and even what seems familiar also seems to be completely Indian. The streets are loud and fragrant, spices filling the streets all day long from little restaurants and street-level houses. The women pass wearing scarves of every colour of the rainbow, embroidered with silver and gold threads, little gems and beads.

This city can have an overpowering effect on travellers that have just arrived. Take it easy, take it slow. Get to know this city one district at a time. The main streets are overcrowded with donkeys, carts, cars, bicycles, rickshaws and people. Duck into a side street and you’ll be surprised at the gorgeous and glittering monuments you’ll find off the beaten tourist path. I’ve always dreamed of India, travelling through the countryside and cities picking up phrases of Hindi and Punjabi, getting by with English. It’s an extremely romantic idea I guess but there is something so intriguing about this land of spices and culture that has attracted Western travellers since the 1950s. All of the great world explorers went to India, visiting the East and coming home with stories that were more exciting than the ones in books.

Maybe one of the most attracting things about travelling to India right now are the cheap flights to Delhi. It is a great place to start a trip to India from. Delhi is a city of division, like many other capitals and it’s well worth exploring New Delhi and Old Delhi. New Delhi was built up by the British and is much more spacious than the Islamic counterpart. Take a tour of both to experience the contacts which make up this great destination. I think it’s easy for anyone to experience culture shock and a sense of time travelling once you hit the medieval-style bazaars and market places.

Curry spices (sxc)

What everyone is really raving about in Delhi though, is the food. It is the gastronomic travellers dream destination. Flavours from all over the world, thanks to global trading (or unthanks?), come together in this city to create a unique fusion of tastes and styles. You can find regional foods from all over India including delicious curries and rice paddies, influences from other cultures are welcomes, creating pizzas and Italian classics like you’ve never tasted. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I’ve even heard that McDonalds sells all of the classics, but in Indian style! It’s crazy but actually makes me curious…

You can find little bits of the entire country in this city, handcrafts included. Some even suggest saving your shopping until Delhi, where you can find it all in once place and you don’t have to worry about trekking around with it your entire trip. Sounds good to me. I’m taking a look more at some of the holiday offers in Delhi and there are so many more places I’d love to go than just Delhi: Mumbai, Goa, Bengalore, Madras…

Have you ever been to India? I’d love to hear back from you about some of your favourite places or some travel advice. Leave me a comment, I promise I’ll get back to you!

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An elephant standing guard (sxe)

The appeal of travelling to learn something new is becoming more and more popular. Many of my friends, myself included, have studied abroad, taking advantage of our university-organized programs that allow students these days to do this so easily. But many more travellers are choosing their destinations for different types of learning opportunities. A few that come to mind at the moment are yoga retreats, language courses, cooking classes (see my post about Tuscan cooking classes), surf school among more I am sure.

Why not travel to learn something new, a skill to bring back with you? I remember my mom travelled to Malaysia years ago and took some batiking classes, supporting the local women’s culture centre while she was there and being able to bring back some hand-made souvenirs at the same time. She was crazy about batiking afterward. I was recently let in on the best classes to take while travelling to Thailand, a magical escape.

Bangkok is the best place to start. Fortunately for us, tourism is huge in Thailand right now and there are many hotel deals to choose from. Finding cheap flights to Bangkok is a cinch too,  from £358 you can be in Thailand in no time. Bangkok caters to students from around the world, offering many diverse and exciting different opportunities for the foodie, the casual Buddhist, the foreign language expert and the sensual masseuse. Picking up a few tips and tricks along the way are entirely worth it, so here’s my list of the best courses to take while visiting Thailand.

Thai Language – you can take a beginner’s class in Thai language for 100B to 200B (£2-3) an hour to learn some basic phrases and get a small glimpse into the magic of Thai. Check out AAA Thai Language Centre for different classes and schedules. Grab a group of friends and get the group rate. Travelling alone? Try asking some other staying at the same hotel or hostel as you, you’ll probably make some good friends along the way.

Thai Cooking – cooking Thai food is not science, you just need a little practice and some guidance on what spices go with what and how. There are a lot of great cooking school in Bangkok, but I recommend Baipai Thai Cooking School which offers completely hands on classes. There are even 1/2 day ones available for those who really want to see all the sights in Bangkok as well as learn something special. The courses per person average around 1800B (£35).

Buddhas in a row in Bangkok (WV Jazzman via flickr)

Meditation / Massage – want to learn how to meditate from the real masters? Many Buddhist centers in Bangkok are open to Western travellers and focus on insight meditation methods called vipassana. Try Dharma Thai for different meditation courses and workshops. For massage, learn some new tricks that your friends and special friends will definitely enjoy. The best place to go first is Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage School which holds classes frequently. A 30 hour class costs around 8500B which is £165.

Muay Thai – this is a traditional style of boxing. Many foreigners head to Thailand to learn this style which is known to be rigorous and extremely strict. A real work out for your body. If you’re interested, check out Sor Vorpin which offers one-day and weekly training sessions for foreigners. Their half-day session costs 500B (£10).

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Tortilla was one of my favourite breakfasts when I stayed in Vigo, Spain. Tried to prepare it here at home many times, and never managed to achieve the flavour of the original one, but I will tell you how it should be done :).

tortilla slices

Take a large bowl, 1kg of potatoes, cut it into nice slim slices and add some salt over them. In a large frying pan heat the olive oil. When it’s already hot, start to fry the potatoes. Don’t forget to keep stirring them so that they won’t stick or get burnt.

After 5 minutes, add a half onion to the potatoes, chopped very fine. Stir it, then cover the frying pan. Take the bowl, break 8 large eggs, add a pinch of salt and beat them.

When the potatoes break easily under the touch of the stirring spoon they are ready, and you can add the potato to the beaten eggs. Mix the potato with the eggs in the bowl, meanwhile the frying pan gets very hot, but there will be no extra oil in it.

Now you can put the mixture into the frying pan, splat it down and keep the heat at medium for a few minutes.

And the best part: put a plate over the pan and try to turn over the tortilla carefully. When you put it back into the pan, press down a little the sides so that it will look like a real tortilla de patatas.

tortilla

Turn over the tortilla several times – you know that it’s ready when you put a knife into it and the knife comes out clean. Good appetite!

(If it does not turn out to be perfect for the first time, just keep practicing – or you can also look for a cheap flight ticket to Madrid, Valladolid, Vigo or Oviedo, and have a holiday dedicated to the gastronomic delights of Spain!)

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