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Saturday, 8 July 2017

The Insider Travel Staples!

I like a routine on a holiday... there I said it!  Not for me the laze-all-day siesta that extends into a snooze and then a slumber. Neither for me are the watch the sea ebb and retreat (there are those moments too) frames that translate into days and nights of repeats. 
I got my Travelin' on! 
Exploration on foot, taking the back alleys and avoiding a 'tour guide' is more my thing. Largely a schedule kind of person but definitely not a package huffing and puffing and catching my breath and sightseeing in between kind of  tourist too! Of course a bhindi tourist sometimes but no trying to catch hold of the Sun, lifting the pyramid or caging the Taj Mahal in your hands kind of memories in pictures!  
Back from one such holiday in the hills and preparing for another one in the deserts I thought of mulling over what exactly do I want out of my holidays that'll help me zero in on that perfect getaway that eludes us! 
So in the long list of listicles, here's another one! My travel staples!
Greens
I mean in food as well as around me- Nature. Walking on the grass barefoot, soothing the eyes with the abundance of Pine, Cedar as we descend down to the Annadale erstwhile Polo and now the golf Course in Simla. Winding roads, music and stopping at the many fresh waterfalls- enroute is definitely my thing! Hydrangeas- deciduous or evergreen are a thing of beauty-they are rustic in shape and appeal. Not the dainty Wordsworthian Daffodils for me but the robust bunches of this flower, any day! 
A drive into the mountains!
Heritage
Now this should be topping the list, but its thereabouts though! What's behind, what's passed and the past hold an immense fascination and one that I like to peel off layer by layer. Be it the now Oberoi Cecil Hotel which was The Faletti's hotel with an atrium that looks at the stars or the Gaiety Cinema at the Mall and the Christ Church at the Piazza -The ridge, all fascinating vistas of the colonial past! 
The Grand facade of the Oberoi Cecil-Faletti's Hotel earlier
A visit to the Viceregal's lodge - built by Lord Dufferin was one such takeaway- revisiting the now IIAS (Indian Institute of Advanced Studies) and gaping at the black and white pictures and capturing their colour in mind when the all important meetings etching out India's partition modalities was a reality- is something that gives me goosebumps still! 
Lady Dufferin, was amongst the few vicereines who found the lodge lovely! 
Or catching a glimpse of the life in the seat of 'Power and pleasure'  in Kiplingspeak  was rife with scandal, soirees and strategies! especially in the 'Season'! Oscar Wilde and George Orwell amongst many other notable critics of Rudyard Kipling have pulled up the writer and journalist on many counts and accounts. However,  Kim may not be one of my favourites or for that matter the many idioms he coined 'The White man's burden' or 'East is East' but chancing upon his lines on Simla hills in the heritage property we were staying at was priceless. Whatever be his place in the literary and cultural map, Kipling caught the essence of living in the hills replete with social intrigues, physical bounds and political and military ambitions.  See for yourself! This is a nugget I say!
Wellness 
Elfie at The Taj, Chandigarh
Epicurean me absolutely loves the gorging that couples any vacation but and that's a big butt! Therefore I like the food to be healthy- read baked, roasted, parboiled, grilled and steamed! Raw would be the best, if I could! Also coupled with this I confess to being a steam, sauna junkie! Yes i did it Shimla too. In chandigarh on our way back to the sweltering plains, I made full use of the Steam and of course swimming at night at The Taj, and promptly registered a complaint on the lack of hygiene with maintenance at the facility! Hopefully it's now been rectified! Why forget health when on a holiday- what say? 
These are my pets and pet peeves on a holiday! What are yours? 
Also read my Review of the Ramgarh Heritage Palace Hotel - Now to Rajasthan!