Writing #7

Benelux 2022!!!

This trip to Europe! Was long overdue!
Not because it was another trip to Europe.
But, because of the countries, we were visiting. We have been planning this route for the last 3 years as I remember. Two years of travel were taken away by corona and the only thing we missed was travelling.
So, before we could plan a trip to any other European country. This had to be struck off my bucket list.
This trip was very unlike the trips we have taken before.
Starting with Antwerp we had a friend, Ambassador, An Artist and our local tour guide that was added into his profile as the day concluded since the way he showcased Antwerp. The cobbled streets, the Parks, the cafés and visiting Caffenation. Caffeination is a speciality coffee pioneer in Belgium.
Jeff Vervellen a barista from Caffenation has won the world championship a couple of times.
by giving us insights into the landmarks we were passing by walking around towards the centre of Antwerp by the end of the day our legs were crushed walking 30K steps on the 1st Day of our trip!
Little did we know it was just the beginning of the warm hospitality from the locals we were going to be meeting ahead of our trip.
Bruges & Gent felt light on the feet.
Exploring the canals and small stores while we walked around to get a feel of the place.
Bruges was beautiful the free shuttle service from the station to the centre of the city is another way of looking around the city before you start to explore on your own.
While gent had interesting graffiti street art and cafés it also had an interesting book store. Booze & Books! With some of the finest alcohol and Designer bottles, you wouldn’t have come across until you visited the store. It was also good to notice Paul John a whiskey from India that has gained an international recognition.
Gent & Bruges reminded me a lot about Scotland a lot with so many castles around.
One looked like the younger side of Scotland while the other seemed like the older side of Scotland.
Brussels on Sunday! Was zooming in with the Ferrari which was on display at the central square for the start of a perfect Sunday!
Sun & Ferraris!
Meeting the local person who we have known for a decade now and for someone who we make sure to visit Brussels. It was nice walking around the Sunday markets, Eating Belgium fries, and having Coffee & Waffles at the Galleria from Aksum Coffee house. Had some local Belgium food.
Luxembourg! We had initially planned to stay here for two days! But ended up doing a day trip from Antwerp.
Luxembourg’s view of the bridge from the centre was breathtaking. Two days would have been more than enough to enjoy the country.
The Netherlands journey began with a lot of delays & going in the wrong direction for us because of a train accident on the other tracks. So, we did explore Delft a small town in the Netherlands close to Antwerp & Amsterdam and known for its blue pottery. And tasted a lot of handmade cheese from the Netherlands while we explored Utrecht too on the same day having hot chocolate from Hop & Stork a popular Chocolate cafe in the Netherlands.
The next destination was Amsterdam!
We had a few local guides here! Giving us a tour of the city!
While we explored one thing with each of the guides!
One day! We took the canal cruise from Amsterdam central with one local guide,
Amsterdam is known as the North of Venice. As the water connects you to the other side of the city too. Quite a few people have started renting out boats since there isn’t enough housing space available.
And had local Dutch food in a restaurant while this day it had poured all day long.
With the other guide, we explored the Straat Museum. It’s a street art museum showcasing about 150 artists from the world and Europe.
We also visited Tony’s chocolate cafe a chocolate brand that’s popular in Amsterdam. While the United States have Hershey’s, Germany has Riter Sport, the UK has Cadbury’s. Amsterdam has Tony’s. Chocolate flowing on the taps at the cafés, chandelier made is tony chocolate wrappers and a store, where you can see the process of chocolate making, this was the sugar rush we needed with the variety of homemade fries we had on our trip! We were the typical tourist!
While walking the streets to get some coffee beans from screaming beans one of the popular speciality coffee that is gaining popularity across the globe!
While purchasing my beans I had an interesting conversation with James who was preparing a cup of V60 of the Guatemala beans I was planning to purchase. While the coffee was being brewed James was speaking about the backpacking trip 14 years ago to India! And the places he visited in India one city that he mentioned! I just couldn’t get over it! Nashik! Part of his cities Of Kumbh Mela! Since I am too from Nashik!
Oh! Wait!
The last local guide we met were schoolmates & classmates with whom we walked around the red light street of Amsterdam and caught up with life in the Netherlands.
While the bicycles were all over the Netherlands. We explored most of our cities by foot and trains to get there. Since with Europe, it’s all about the centre of the city, which can be covered by foot.

Travel to Brussels, Gent & Bruges from Antwerp one-way journey.

Antwerp to Brussels : 45 Min

Antwerp to Bruges: 90 Min

Antwerp to Ghent: 1 Hr.

Antwerp to Luxembourg: 4 Hrs.

Antwerp to Hague :45 Min

Antwerp to Amsterdam: 1 Hr 50 Min

Stay:

Artotel Amasterdam

NH Hotel Antwerp

Cafés:
screamingbeans
tonyschocolonely_nl
joeandthejuice

LoetjeCentraal

Waffles :
vanwonderenstroopwafels

Fries :
houseoffries
mannekenfriet

Chocolate:
tonyschocolonely
puccinibomboni_amsterdam

Bookstore:
waterstones

Visit:
straatmuseum

Experience:
Canalcruise
Bloemenmarkt: World’s only floating flower market

Belgium:
Cities to Visit: #Antwerp #Bruges #Gent #brussels

Travelling to these cities by @eurarail is easy.

Antwerp:

Sightseeing :

AntwerpRailwayStation
Grote Market
City Hall
Het Steen

Cafés:

caffenation_coffee

Gent:
Sightseeing
gravensteencastle
graffartistreet

Cafe:
waycoffeeroasters

mokabongent

Bookstore:
bookznboozegent

Bruges : * Free Shuttle Service available from the station to the Market every 10-15 minutes.

Sightseeing :

FriesMuseum
Belfrytower
Market Square
Groeninge Museum

Cafe:
ilovecoffeebrugge

Luxembourg:
Sightseeing

ViewfromOberstadt

Cafe:
knopescoffee

Open Book By Kubbra Sait – Book Review

I rarely pick up and read books written by celebrities from India. Because you read so much about them in the media.That you feel you know them.

But, the open book was something that I was inclined toward because it’s written by an entertainer who became an overnight success post the release of India’s First global series Sacred Games and played a challenging character for her first performance. Yes! Cuckoo! From Sacred Games has written a book.

It’s about the obstacles she faced growing up as an individual, introvert and a girl who was mostly a misfit until she found herself.

Kubbra Sait is completely unfiltered and honest in this open Book.

The Book has twenty-odd chapters each describing a phase of her growing years.

Thank You! For handing over a signed copy of the open book

Sharing here the book in brief chapter wise.

Chapter 1: A brief introduction to Kubbra Sait.

Chapter 2: The Change in her Personality The self-doubt one goes through during the schooling years

Chapter 3: Being open and comfortable With who you are as an individual by speaking about your inner feeling without being hesitant and shy about being honest about visiting a therapist

Chapter 4: I Don’t have daddy issue.

This is about her relationship with her father. And how she has learnt to let go.

Chapter 5: I called him my Uncle.

A chapter where she shares one of her darkest secrets. Sexual abuse by her uncle when she was in her late teens and why she kept quiet until she thought to escape…

Chapter 6:living Many lives in a lifetime.

Changing colleges, Jobs and accident-prone Sait! Microsoft, RJ and Emcee

Chapter 7: Paid To Talk

An interesting way of positioning herself as an emcee #PaidtoTalk

Chapter 8: It’s cool to not look the same.

The opportunities and making the most of everything that was coming her way!

Chapter 9: Love Actually

Relationships & Breakups and challenges that she fell in love with.

Chapter 10: I have dated Many Many Nice Men

And shares some encounters with men who became lifelong friends.

Chapter 11: City Of Dreams.

Was I even “ready” for it?

Landing the gig of her first Bollywood film and too as an actor in a Salman Khan movie Ready playing the role of a Maid.

And sharing anecdotes of her experience.

Chapter 12: In With the In-Crowd

Conversations and being part of a group and slowly finding an identity

Chapter 13: This is Hard Business

Chances and the game changer

Chapter 14: You gave us Gold

First day on the sets of Scared Games and how Cuckoo was born.

Chapter 15: When Exactly have you truly arrived?

A chapter on the success of Scared Games and how things can shift suddenly in your life.

Chapter 16: Dear Mem, Are you Youself Male, Female or Both?

The Trolling behind Cuckoo!

Chapter 17: Sibling Rivalry

A fun chapter on the relationship between Danish and her brother who is in the same profession.

Chapter 18: Cat Person

How the relationship between her Cat & her we and the celebrations of one of her Cat’s Birthday.

Chapter 19: Not Ready to be Mother Yet!

A chapter on her Diving experience and how and when he realised she was pregnant but not ready.

Chapter 20: Heaven & Hell

A chapter on her mother’s past that set Kubra’s future.

Chapter 21:I Was born to play Phara

The international debut for Apple TV series the Foundation was based on a science fiction novel by writer Isaac Asimov.

Chapter 22: Faith Takes You that Extra Mile

An experience in search of and finding oneself.

Chapter 23: searching for a Rainbow inside my Heart

The pandemic and how things weren’t the same as earlier.

Chapter 24: Why Write a Book?

Share a journey and revisit how far you have come.

The Modern Jaipur!

Rajasthan! A side of India! That makes you feel Royal and Rich! A state that has the best Indian food and every hotel is a palace in its on way having an Modern or an old-world charm. This was a trip to Jaipur after a decade. And while the city did not seem to have changed much. The City surprising had quite a few cafes and restaurants opened up. The Patrika Gate, The Palace and the Hawa Mahal we’re so royal. The hotels we stayed at Raas Rajmahal were a modern luxury palace with interiors and architecture just like a palace.
While on our Visit we visited some of the cafes & restaurants that had their specialities.
Spice Court was our only stop for Laal Maas. Steam at Rambagh was an experience. Seated on a first-class coach in a train-shaped restaurant. The Indian platter were very good. They are also known for their pizzas.
We visited The Johri at the Johri Bazaar. They are a pure Veg restaurant with amazing food and interiors. They are also a boutique hotel with about five Suites rooms each named after a gem stone.

Manak (ruby) is hues of pink, Moti (pearl) is white, Sona (gold) is yellow, Neelam (sapphire) is light blue, and Panna (emerald) is pale greenThe Johri is managed by Honawar Hospitality group that has cafes like Pantry & woodside inn that are popular in Mumbai.
We also visited Bar Palladio & Shikaar Bagh restaurant & Bar that’s part of Naraian Niwas Palace an Instagramable destination and in recent times has gained popularity through web series. The interiors have been done up by Dutch designer Marie-Anne Oudejans has kept the essence of Rajasthan and Jaipur in the interiors. The space also has a few interesting designer stores in them that have a lot of Rajasthani elements to it.

Cafes that we enjoyed on our visit were The Curious Life Roasters, Half light Coffee Roaster and Town Coffee. Town Coffee also had a nice gourmet store to satisfy and to experience your home chefs skills.

Curious breakfast and coffee experience was something totally unexpected for Jaipur. Over the next two days we realised Coffee & cafe culture

Is huge here! Something that isn’t read or spoken about so much when you think about Jaipur! 

Another thing that was good to observe was the cafes & restaurants had plenty of books on their shelves to read Curious life Roaster by the owner has an interesting story Neeraj Sheoran the owner & roster While working in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was introduced to coffee roasting and in 2015 began the Curious life Roaster in Jaipur. Half light by is a family-run neighbourhood coffee shop in Jaipur that has been there for the last couple of years..

Some more of my Writing #6

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