The Masterpiece – a second book of short stories

Blogging is a latest passion of mine, but my love of the written word began with books at an impressionable age and continues to remain so. Story-telling has been a weakness, the need to get beyond mere outward appearances, to delve into the soul of a passer-by and think and feel his emotions is more a wont than a need. My stories are born of imagination, when I’ve seen a story happen and a seemingly hidden drama unfold. My collection of short stories ‘Whispers at Twilight’(first published in 2008) and ‘The Masterpiece’(published in 2016) , and everything else I’ve written or will be writing, are all born of such situations. Stories from every day life intrigue and inspire me.

My ‘the Masterpiece’ is the latest addition to my published works besides my first book and stories and poems that have appeared in various anthologies.

Do read it and kindly leave behind your feedback so that I’ll know how you liked it. Thanks!

The Masterpiece – by Mini Menon available on Amazon Kindle

The Master piece-01

Short stories are brief and entertaining narratives of a certain world or people. However, this collection of short stories by Mini Menon is not just a narrative but also a journey into the variety of day-to-day situations and events that have shaped the author’s life and thinking.

Be it a story of how an artist shocks her never-ceasing-to-denounce-her sister into complete silence, a story about a young prince whose toys were inspiration to a war winning strategy, or the story of a film buff’s strange interaction with a fellow movie-goer, one thing is for certain. Nothing will be as expected.

A Masterpiece is what awaits you….



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Anandpur Sahib, an insight – Day 4 – Kullu to Anandpur Sahib

So we bid adieu to the beautiful birds, the lovely cottage which made us cosy and comfortable for three days and nights, and the melodious gurgling of River Beas. We were on our way to Chandigarh and en route we planned a short halt at Anandpur Sahib to visit the famous Gurudwara and a museum dedicated to the history of Sikhism. We left at 7 but unfortunately hit a huge traffic hurdle on the narrow road as commercial vehicles had lined up for some annual paper work. It must have delayed us by at least two hours. Once we cleared that patch and with our plan thrown out of gear, we drove past peaks and valleys, little towns silhouetted against  rocky backgrounds and the River Baes accompanying us as it etched its way through the valley below. The weather changed from cool to sultry in no time.


Temple on the mountain


By afternoon we had reached our first stop. It’s a first for all of us – a visit to the Gurudwara and Langar (the food cooked and served by volunteers for any number of devotees that  visit the Gurudwara). Visitors to the Gurudwara need to cover their head and wash hands and feet before entering. We visited the main shrine and paid obeisance. Then we had a simple but hearty ‘Langar’  of rice, roti (flat bread), vegetable, dal (pulses) and raita.


Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara


Several elaborate visuals like this depict the life and times of Sikh people


The symbol

Our next stop was the Virasat-E-Khalsa. This sprawling spacious tribute to Sikhism will take one through the history of the faith and the life and times of its founders and followers. Gurus and achievers vie for attention on murals and life like wax figures. Rare visuals from the time of the freedom struggle and partition can be viewed at regular intervals. These are heart-rending and awe inspiring at one and the same time. The audio guide turned  out to be very useful. The pride that Sikhs have for their legacy is palpable and was especially evident when an elderly Sikh visitor stood still and closed his eyes for several minutes, overwhelmed by a sudden surge of pride and respect.


On the trail of the Sutlej River

We were headed straight for Chandigarh after that. The icy blue Sutlej kept us company as far as the outskirts of the Union Territory. And there ends another memorable holiday.

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White River Adventure – Day 3 – Kullu

We had plans to take our sons aged 18 and 14 for paragliding. These sessions start early in the day and end by mid-day, we were told. To have an early start, we were ready by seven or so. But making our way towards the entrance to the resort where our taxi would be waiting, the manager informed us that the paragliding sessions for the day were cancelled due to bad weather. Tough luck for the boys as this isn’t the first time they wanted to do it and couldn’t.


Next on the agenda was white river rafting. We had a hearty breakfast and set out for the starting point. Depending on how long you want the ride to last (from a few minutes to 20 minutes and an hour or so), your starting point varies. As we entered the raft, our boatman doled out a set of instructions including  what one was to do if one were to fall off the boat. The boatman will also offer to take still and live video of your adventure. These HD visuals are shot through a camera fixed on his helmet. We were helped into our life jackets and shepherded into an inflatable boat. We were told where to sit to balance out the weight and probably keeping age and agility in mind. Once the raft was out in the river, we held tightly onto ropes for support and onto our dear lives as well even as we encountered our first rapid, one in a series of many more that were to follow for close to half an hour.


Does a little bit of adventure make one hungry? A scrumptious lunch was awaiting us and it didn’t matter if we were indeed hungry or not. And it wasn’t icing but fried ice cream that came to top a fine lunch. We had the whole day, our last one, to loiter and potter around in the bungalow or outdoors. Most of the other guests were out on excursions or picnics so we had the place pretty much to ourselves. So we watched the birds, walked around the resort, found a lovely tree house, a swing and a little vegetable patch where a few vegetables including salad greens were growing.


IMG_20170529_111211_HDRIMG_20170529_185104_HDRIMG_20170529_185330_HDRDinner that evening,for us, was preceded by a live barbecue and bonfire by the riverside with the river gushing by at close quarters. As the fire lit up the surroundings with an orange glow, we sat on stone benches and conveniently placed logs and indulged in some yummy starters. If amazing moments came with a ‘recall button’ then this was definitely one of them. We’ve been warned though. The dinner menu is a not-to-miss. We didn’t forget to save space in our tummies for the grand fare, the best meal we had (and that is saying a lot) at the resort. Wood oven pizzas were served hot and loaded with deliciousness. Needless to say, we all had a hearty dinner with a dessert to follow.


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Apple Orchards and more – Day 2 – Kullu

Did I tell you about the amazing creatures that dwell in and around the resort? There is a crazy sparrow that fights with its own reflection (that’s what I concluded eventually) on the window pane. Every few minutes it arrives to flap its wings and chirp aggressively. Birds there were aplenty – what we thought was the whistling school boy who was vacationing in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh until such time that the Monsoons didn’t arrive in the hills of the south, seemed quite blase and brave venturing onto the lawn right before our bungalow and even swooping by close to our heads because we happened to be in the path of its flight. Mynahs there were aplenty and other birds too including a king fisher and what we think maybe the red-billed blue magpie.  Of course expect the in house wildlife enthusiast to discover a giant lizard and his bashful partner that dashed in and out of the roof of our cottage.


The black bird that sang like the Malabar Whistling Thrush


After two days of waking up early, we decided to take it easy that morning. So instead of going for paragliding (the children were keen on it) we decided to take the trek to the orchard. The apple orchard belongs to the couple who run the Niralaya resort. The two of them along with a very helpful and friendly staff did everything to ensure that our stay was amazing. They even personally suggested what we could do over the three days we were there. So trek it was that day.


The breakfast area after service time


Cherries waiting for us in the room

After breakfast we set out, a little too late, for our trek up the hill. The orchard was about forty five minutes away from the resort. We were going to spend the day there, climbing up and having a sumptuous lunch packed specially for us, something we had hopefully earned after an hour long trek. Meanwhile our lunch hamper was hauled up via a pulley from the ground to the top. This is also how the apples are transported from the farms on higher slopes to the waiting trucks below. My 18 and 14 year old happily trod away and we would meet them, looking confused, only where the path bifurcated into two or more. A young girl walked past me as I huffed and puffed my way up. (About 45 minutes later we found the same girl in the farm house). As on previous occasions, I reminded myself that I need to get fitter before my next break. Sadly I slowed even the better half and a couple of people who were guiding us up. But the climb was worth it and even as we arrived red faced and huffing at the farm house, a little calf, a sheep and its two baby lambs eyed us curiously. After catching our breath, we looked around the farm with its apple trees. The lambs were temporarily separated from the mother so that we could pet them. Of course we didn’t miss the aggressive stance the Mama Sheep took when we went there later to look at the kids again. We had our lunch and after contemplating going further up and driving down from there instead of climbing down the steep slopes, we finally decided to climb down. As most expert and on-off(like me) trekkers would know, the climb down is always tougher than the upward one.



As rustic as it gets


A little temple on the way up to the orchard



This pulley is used to lower the apples and other things into the valley

The sun which had been out and blazing until then suddenly disappeared behind clouds that began to arrive out of nowhere. We could hear thunder rumbling from afar even as we were halfway. It seemed like our downhill trek would never end and when it did eventually, it had began to drizzle. We waited until the now-empty hamper was brought down via the pulley. And then it hit us – it wasn’t just raining rain drops. This was a hail storm like we had not seen in a long time. [In 1980, my parents, sibling and I were in the midst of a hailstorm as we drove from our home in Sharq to Salmiya to meet my uncles and their families as expatriates living in Kuwait] Fortunately we had made it in the nick of time. It was pelting like no one’s business most of the way from the orchard to our resort and we even had to stop the car several times.



Clouds looming in the distance


After cherry picking

We were back well in time for a cuppa chai with the perfect weather for it. The hailstorm had not hit the resort we were told although it had affected several other areas. Hailstorms can adversely affect the apple harvest, we were told. Dinner as usual was the icing to a perfectly beautiful day.


Fruity pathways …




PS: Stay hydrated and cover your head from sunlight while trekking. Start as early as possible.

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Riverside Haven – Day 1 – Kullu

On an earlier visit to Himachal Pradesh, we went to these places – Chail, Narkanda, Kalpa and Sangla Valley.  The Niralaya Resort in Kullu situated by the River Beas that we visited this time though has been on our bucket list for a while.

We arrived at Delhi a day earlier, once again with hardly any time to shop or sight-see (and not the best time to do it in either what with the soaring summer temperatures). In fact we had just about  enough time to visit a friend for tea.

Our flight the next morning from New Delhi to Bhuntar airport was about an hour long. An alternative to flying there is to drive down but it takes over ten hours to get there.  At present, they have one flight from New Delhi that flies in and out of  Bhuntar early in the morning. Chances of the flight being cancelled are as high as the weather thereabouts being unpredictable. A few minutes before the flight resumed its descent, my younger son pointed out towards the sky. In an absolute first for us, the Himalayan mountain ranges could be seen above the clouds. The airplane weaves its way through a pathway between the hills and lands right next to a range of verdant hillocks. We had our fingers crossed the whole way and were lucky to enjoy the spectacular descent into one of the cutest airports I’ve ever seen in my life. There aren’t any pictures although I should have taken a cue from fellow passengers who were happily posing against a backdrop of hillocks looming not far in the distance and clicking away.Even as we stepped out of the small aircraft, it felt pretty much like we were walking into the courtyard of someone’s home. Within half  an hour, we were on our way to the resort.


One of two dogs that are permanent residents at the resort … this chap adopted us for the day


A little peek into our cottage

Over forty minutes later, we arrived to a warm welcome at the Niralaya resort. We were shown to our spacious yet cosy cottage which was situated right by the river side. We took a few minutes to freshen up and then join the other guests for breakfast alongside the river Beas. With the river gushing within close quarters, we indulged in a sumptuous brekkie of eggs to order, cold cuts, fresh fruit juices, some Indian fare or the other, and most importantly fruits picked from the surrounding trees or local orchards.





River Beas


After breakfast, we took a walk around exploring the property. A pathway leads one close to the river. Flowers line the cottages and you are as close to paradise as can be.

In the evening, we decided to explore the nearby town. Our first stop was an a place that hires out ATV for several minutes to an hour or so. My younger one did a round of the shorter trail which took about ten minutes. Hour long rides on monster vehicles are available for customers who are older.


Instructions to be followed on the ATV (All Terrain Vehicle)

After that we visited the town of Naggar. Naggar is famous for its temple, the Naggar castle and a museum dedicated to the famous Russian landscape artist Nicholas Roerich who made Naggar his home. His son Svetoslav , also an artist, married the beautiful Indian actress Devika Rani.  On display in the erstwhile home of Roerich are splendid art work done by both the father and  son apart from old photographs of the family with their celebrity friends . If you peek in through the windows into rooms that are beyond bounds for visitors, you can see how the artist and his family once lived, how they dined and spent their leisure time. The Naggar castle, we were told, was given away by the then ruler, in exchange for a gun. The magnificent structure built in typical Himachal style of architecture has a little temple within the premises and rooms to let as well.


The Roerich residence … photography is prohibited within the house itself as well the studio



The Naggar Castle



Temple within the premises


After that we returned to the resort. There was a buffet dinner that had among many other things, Thai curry with rice, awaiting us.That was  followed by  the piece de resistance,  a blueberry cheesecake.A perfect ending to a perfect day.

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My Inimitable ‘Bai’s

There are many women who have enabled me to become who I am today. Topping the list is my mother. Then my friends who have often motivated me when I was down, given me reasons to smile for when there were none and kept me going when I would have given up. The fine line between relative and friend has often disappeared until a friend became family, and a cousin or sister-in-law became a bestie.

Then there is the ‘bai’, be she your old-time nine-yard sari donning maid-servant or otherwise – yup, she be the one! Whether you are a hard-working office-going mother-of-two, a busy soccer mum or someone who works part-time, juggling home and a job, for an average woman who dwells in India, this person is as necessary a part of the household as the pressure cooker or the refrigerator. Your ‘bai’ may come for a few hours every day, or maybe an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, or she may be in your house the whole day. But one thing is certain, she would have made your life so much easier in that time.

Blessed be this breed, and it is a fast disappearing one, of women! They rise early because before they cook and clean other people’s homes, they have to do the same in their own. Then they catch buses and trains to reach the homes of their employers. People trust them with keys to their houses. I’ve trusted a few in my time and it was a relief to know that the food would be cooked, the house would be cleaned, even when I was away on some important work, or perhaps having lunch with friends. In fact there were times when I’ve had to travel alone, leaving the family behind, knowing the house would be taken care of, even in my absence.

Whenever I sit to paint or write, I remember to thank these women. In all probability, I would have still dedicated some time to these two passions of mine, but it wouldn’t have been this easy. When I was a new wife, when my children were smaller – these women have been my support. If they were older, I have even turned to them for advice. Like a series of images from a movie reel, their faces run through my mind, even as I remember them – the middle-aged bai in her nine-yard saree who was akin to a family member, the cook who was so good with my children that there was a time when she knew better than me what they liked to eat, the person my husband nick-named ‘tornado’ because she arrived, did her work and left with that kind of speed.

These women do other people’s housework because they are financially weak. Yet they carry themselves with grace and dignity. They have difficult situations at home. They have minimal support for their efforts. Yet they brought up sons and daughters equally , educated them and tried to ensure that they had better jobs and better lives.

So thank you, dear ‘bai’, for being the person who made it easy for me to pursue my dreams!


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Cambodia, 1997

Not counting the trips I made to Kuwait as an Non-resident Indian, a round trip made by my husband and me to Bangkok, Phnom Penn, Siem Reap, Singapore, Kulim and Hong Kong was my first trip abroad as a tourist. The excitement of course was palpable. I had never been to these places. I had basically never seen any place beyond a few destinations in India, and of course Kuwait, having lived there as an expatriate. Siem Reap was an afterthought. The holiday plan had been chalked out by  a friend who was a travel agent, but the idea to visit Angkor Wat had happened quite by accident. It was while looking at the map that my husband noticed how ridiculously close it was to Bangkok. And of course, if it wasn’t for Rip Kirby*, we’d probably not even have considered a visit to Cambodia.


A view of the town


Like with all such reliefs, the engravings depict the life and times of the people those days


I know now that my spouse is very spontaneous. Our decision to visit Siem Reap was of that nature, sudden and unexpected. It also means we weren’t wholly prepared to visit the place. We had no clue where we were going to stay. As the whim garnered intensity, we knew we would fly to Phnom Penn and from there we would take another flight to Siem Reap. Suddenly the rest of our holiday itinerary didn’t seem as exciting anymore. And Cambodia those days wasn’t exactly a tourist hotspot, neither was it considered the safest of places.



The damage that time has wrought

Eventually the travel plan was tweaked, our days in Bangkok were shortened to include two days in Cambodia. One morning in the middle of sightseeing and window shopping in Bangkok, we took off  to the comparatively laid back town of Phohm Penn. At the airport we were approached by this young Cambodian man who insisted on helping us plan our visit to Siem Reap. He said his brother would help us find a place to stay and also get someone to show us around the important landmarks. We decided to trust our instincts and this stranger.


When the treasury began to run dry, the ruler was forced to abort the construction of temples like this one…



Sights like these are common, where whole trees have grown around little shrines…

The aircraft that took us from Phnom Penn to Siem Reap was small, it shook a lot because of the altitude and I had my first sinus-related headache that made me think my head was going to burst.  The man from the airport had been true to his word. His ‘brother’ was waiting for us and had been probably given a description. He approached us with a wide smile. He took us to a not-so-fancy hotel. Our room, large enough to fit a bed with a television fixed high up on a corner stand on the wall and an attached bathroom just about managed to meet our bare necessities. Food could be ordered in an open restaurant on the ground level. An amusing anecdote we love to recount is when the waiter misunderstood us when we asked for ‘snacks’ with our tea.

‘No snacks,’ he said, shaking his head vigorously and probably taking a step back.

How can the people there not have any special snacks, we wondered and rephrased our question making the waiter even more anxious. That until my husband realised that the waiter thought we were asking for ‘snakes’. I think we did finally manage to get some ‘snakes’ with our tea, and if I recollect correctly they were ripe banana fritters.


Guarded by the divine…



These giant Buddha sculptures  at Bayon are believed to be made in the likeness of the then ruler

Meanwhile our guide, an erstwhile Red Cross worker, arrived to take us around, revealing to us the marvel that was Angkor Wat. Without getting into the details which you will find enough of on online portals on tourism and blogs of more recent visitors, the sights that met our eyes just took our breath away. Amusing as it was to hear words like ‘Apsara’, ‘Hamuman’ and ‘Garuda’, the sculptures and carvings left us in open-mouthed wonder and absolutely spell bound. You could also see huge trees growing off walls, or standing tall and proud atop shrines that still bravely withstood the weight of a whole full grown tree.

But what was even more beautiful were the little children who would come crowding to you, selling memorablia and such other trinkets. At one particular point where these frightfully steep steps led up to a certain attraction, a little boy accosted tourists to buy a bottle of water from him. Since we didn’t feel the need to drink any water just then, we refused him politely. He communicated to us that he was willing to follow us up the steps so that we could buy the water bottle on reaching the top. Impressive salesmanship we thought from a salesman who was barely  a couple of feet off the ground.


When we asked the children who sell trinkets and memorabilia to pose for a picture, most of them turned shy and moved away, while these two obliged us…

Red Cross trucks still plied the roads while we were visiting Angkor Wat. Mines that still lay hidden were a huge threat and as tourists we were warned against leaving the oft-trodden path. All in all, it was an amazing experience, a trip I’m glad we made. A few months after we visited, there was some turmoil and we were once again reminded of the risky decision we had taken. Needless to say Siem Reap and Angkor Watt is a popular destination these days. But for us, it was a risk taken that had worked in our favour.

*The eponymous Rip Kirby from a popular comic series by Alex Raymond is a private detective and in one of his many fictitious adventures, he visits  the ruins of Angkor Wat. This is how my husband first heard about the place…

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Ten Destinations that are worth a revisit

These specific blog posts have been hand-picked and put together as personal favourites, but there have been other beautiful locations I’ve visited too before I started blogging. I hope one day I will be able to sit down, remember the events of the journey as they happened and write them down. While putting together the ten destinations, I have left out our visit to Wynaad and Binsar although these places were also fabulous.

  1. This was our second visit to Kabini. The earlier one as well as this were made during road trips and needless to say, both were enjoyable. In recent years though, the place has changed drastically. For one, Kabini as a destination has become more popular. So more people, means possibility of being stuck with holiday makers and not wild life aficionados during the safari. On this particular trip, we were lucky to see leopards, dancing peacocks and even wild dogs making a kill. Summer is a better time to visit if you are indeed hoping to sight more wildlife.

Stories from the Jungle


  1. Coorg has always been a favourite destination. Inevitably while booking via time share, we mostly end up getting days there. And we are always happy to go back to Coorg. The laid back hills, the different species of birds, the coffee plantations…and ahhhh, the coffee itself – there is nothing not to like about this gorgeous place.

It isn’t just about the Coorg coffee

Recovered Autosave1

  1. Trichur, my home town, is the cultural capital of the southern state of Kerala. Apart from art and music, the busy town abounds in temples. In fact, the name Trichur itself is a corrupted version of ‘Trishivaperur’, the town with three Shiva temples. The latter half of the narrative delves on the Isha Ashram in Coimbatore. For the ultimate experience in spirituality and mysticism, this is where we choose to go. Founded by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, the place offers ways to rejuvenate and energise the body, mind and spirit.

Two destinations – my hometown in Trichur & the Isha Ashram in Coimbatore

Panchavadyam - local percussionists

  1. I still look upon our visit to Aanavilasam as a dream-come-true. To live amidst green cardamom fields, being pampered with good food and all good things that make living life a luxury, even if it is for a short while – I’ve never felt closer to Nature like I did on this trip.

Abode of the Elephants

  1. It is common knowledge that the backwaters of Kerala are one of the hottest holiday destinations among tourists, both Indians and non-Indians. A ride down the Vembanaad Lake in a boat was enough to prove why.

Backwaters of the South

The rains didn't keep people at home as you can see

  1. Half a day exploring Kochi was just not enough. I’ve always loved the busy town, when as a child, I used to visit my cousins who lived there. The perfect place to shop, eat, sight-see, Kochi has everything. On my bucket-list, three to four days spent in doing all these things.

Quaint Kochi


The shops in Jew Town

  1. Apart from a disastrous trip to New Delhi many years ago, I had never been to the north before this. My first trip, therefore, to Himachal Pradesh just took my breath away. Not only are the mountains breath-takingly beautiful, but the people here are gentle and kind. I would give every place we visited in HP a ten out of ten. But our visit to Kalpa was the best yet.

Heaven in Himachal Pradesh


Sky show

  1. Sangla Valley was the second best, and that too by a teeny tiny margin. The powder blue waters of the lake, the golden mountains at dawn, the clouds floating by close to the ground – there is definitely something magical about the mountains.

Sangla Valley


Sutlej River

  1. I’m glad we visited Kashmir when we did. I wish peace is restored there soon and that the beautiful people of the valley live normal lives. When we were chalking out the itinerary, someone told us to spend a day in Pahalgam instead of making a day trip. I am glad we listened.

Lullaby on the River Lidder


  1. A mind-blowing experience of staying along the Dal Lake, taking rides in shikaras and imbibing the beauty in huge handfuls, Kashmir to this day is as stunning as it is exotic.

Evening on the Dal Lake


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When in Spain – Day 10 -All good things have to end


In our quest to see a little more than the old town, we decided to step out and look around for places of interest nearby. We first had coffee and croissants in a quaint looking cafe on our way. There are plenty of shops on the way to the Amphitheatre which we were eager to explore. When we finally arrived at the Amphitheatre, we were a little disappointed. It is mostly a commercial space and the part that belonged to the original structure is just a little section of a much larger newer structure. So this was where condemned men were publicly executed.


Section of the Amphitheatre which we believe is the original structure


However on our way to the Amphitheatre, we passed what looked like ancient temple ruins.  After that we hurried back to our room and began to pack so that we could leave our luggage with the hotel concierge and step out for a quick bite. We were back at Victoria Mercado where we stopped by our favourite Crazy Potatoes.


Ruins of an old temple



Another old structure amidst newer buildings


An arty shop in the old town

We took taxis to the station and boarded our trains. Arriving at Madrid, we were told by another tourist, an American, that if we had a Renfe ticket then we were eligible to free tickets to the airport. All we had to do was scan our tickets from Cordoba to Madrid on the machine. We were very excited to hear this. After we bid our friends good-bye as they would be staying back for a few days in Madrid, we took a train to the Airport.


Sights from the train


Later shopping at the duty free shop and waiting in the departure lounge having grabbed a coffee and sandwiches at a Starbucks outlet, there was a sense of deja vu. It seemed  like just the other day when we arrived, excited about seeing a whole new place. Our moments in this great country had been outstanding, remarkable and spell-binding. There were times when we had to put up with a little rude and patronizing attitude to mar an otherwise perfect holiday and we felt it best to ignore that.  But, yes – Spain had given us one of our best holidays ever.


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When in Spain – Day 9 – Temples and Shrines

We took a train, Renfe, travelling from Seville to Cordoba that morning. Arriving at the hotel before check-in time, we left the luggage at the hotel and went to explore the old city. The old city was just across the place we were staying at. The fortified citadel is straight out of a fairy tale book. There are few vehicles plying the tiny streets that  is lined with quaint little shops and eateries. The roads are a maze and you can easily get lost going round in circles even though the area is small. We finally arrived at the Mezquita Cathedral and was struck by the magnificence.


The magnificent Mosque-Cathedral from the outside



The Organ and the Organ Man

Within the cathedral is the mind-blowing story of how two cultures met and combined to form a beautiful temple for two different faiths. The cathedral within the mezquita is outstanding and two different worlds blend and combine beautifully. We were lucky enough to be able to listen to the organ being played. We took a short break from exploring, sitting before the altar and drinking in the moment, the organ playing dramatically in the background. These are the kind of awesome memories you like to carry back from a holiday.


Ceiling it with cupids



Lunch was a very passable paella at a nearby eatery. Our experiments with vegetarian versions of Spanish food was done with that.


It was 6.30 by the time we stepped out again. For the four of us, our trip would be over the next day while our friends would carry forward to see Madrid. An amazing holiday was pretty much over but not finished yet. The better-half and I went to see the Roman Bridge and Puerta del Puenta as the group broke up, with some even choosing to remain in the room while the rest did some shopping.

A little away from our hotel was the Victoria market, a bustling food court where you can eat most anything. We located a place called Crazy Potatoes and went all crazy about the made-to-order potatoes.


Oranges for the taking



Officially it was our last night in this country of bull-fighters, flamenco dancers and amazing artists.

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When in Spain – Day 8 – Ole!!!

During our walking tour the previous morning we had walked past the river and seen the bridge towards Triana and had included it in our agenda of must-explore. So the next morning, after a sleep in and  late breakfast, we set out for a leisurely walk upto the river. By the banks of the river, my friend and I even got silly dressing up as Senoritas and then having our pictures taken.


Following lunch we visited the Cathedral and climbed up La Giralda, the Bell Tower that is over 340 feet in height. It’s  a steep climb but worth every effort as you get an awesome bird’s eye view of Seville.



Pic : the Better Half

Tomb of Christopher Columbus

Pic Courtesy : the Better HalfPic Courtesy : the Better Half


View from above


Within the Bell Tower


We were booked to watch a Flamenco performance for late afternoon. Coming down the tower (and as they say, the climb downhill is always more tricky), we managed to arrive at the venue during the introduction. A mind blowing show – feet a-tapping accompanied by the soulful rendering of the guitarist and the female vocalist while two Flamenco dancers  swayed and sashayed across the floor-  an hour went by and we didn’t even realise it had been that long!

Pic Courtesy : the Better HalfIMG_4684

In the evening, we crossed over to  Triana and explored the area. The flea market was  closed unfortunately, and as we realised a little late in the day, because it was Sunday. Thereafter we returned  to Seville. There always seems to be something happening around Seville and a group of skateboarders were trying to outdo each other on the sidewalk. We stood by and watched them for a while.


IMG_20160516_241141839The day had turned out to be better than the previous one. We were off to Cordoba the next morning. But we still had the evening to walk around Seville, having dinner in the outdoors, sipping on Sangria and enjoying it one last time.



We made a good decision to watch the Flamenco dance in Seville at Museo del Baile Flamenco (The Flamenco Museum). It was an outstanding performance and worth every second.

During the conducted walking tour, we also went past the Plaza de Toros where you can take tours and catch a bull fight if interested.

Do enquire with the hotel staff for tips and advice on shows and tickets. We were able to skip the long line outside the Cathedral only because we were told where to collect passes from another location. Also we had done advance booking for the Flamenco show through the hotel. So although we did get slightly delayed, we all found seats in separate corners. Hence it may make sense to be there a few minutes early.


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