Recapping a Holiday: Venice

December 8, 2014

Travel

It’s been nearly a year and a half since we visited Italy on our honeymoon, but it’s been on the top of my mind for the last few weeks. I’ve been seeing some gorgeous images of Tuscan villages on my IG feed, and I’m fighting hard to control the itch to head back to Italy again.

Seeing all those beautiful Italian sights on my IG feed prompted me to revisit photographs from our own trip. Pouring over those pictures made me feel as if our trip was not 1.5 years ago, more like just a couple of months ago!

I don’t know why we selected Italy as our honeymoon destination. Neither of us are art or history buffs, but somehow Italy always remained on our destination consideration list, along with Croatia and Paris (oh Paris, how long do I have to wait before I devour you!). After much deliberation, we decided on Italy. We didn’t end up regretting the choice even once!

We chose Venice as our point of entry. I remembered reading somewhere that the aerial views as you descend on a tiny strip of land all surrounded by water were just fabulous. And we were not disappointed.

Venice

Commuting by water taxi was a first, and I really had to keep pinching myself that we were finally there, really, just the two of us, finally on a holiday, far from the madness of the wedding.

Oh, and that journey between the airport and the hotel in the water taxi sealed one decision – there was absolutely NO WAY I was getting into one of the gondolas. The water was DIRTY! I would not have been able to handle such close contact with the water. So yes, on our honeymoon in Venice, we didn’t do what is touted as one of the most romantic things to do in the world!

Venice, Gondolas

An “adventure” awaited us once we reached our hotel. I had picked up the wrong bag at the airport. Yes, that happened. Well, in my defense, it was the same make, (almost) the same colour (in my excitedness I thought black = deep, dark blue!!! True story), and the same lock! What are the odds, really! Anyway, a major disaster was averted when we called the airport authorities the next day, and manage to locate my actual bag. Thank God! What that meant was some lost hours in travelling to the airport and back!

Correct luggage duly retrieved, we got around to truly enjoying our holiday. We started by indulging in some wine, chips, pizza and beer in the numerous cafes that dotted the Grand Canal.

Grand Canal, VeniceVenice

It started pouring that evening, and caught in the rains, we decided to head up the Campanile (the Bell Tower). Super bad and super awesome decision, all at once. Super bad because it was crazy windy and chilly up there. Super awesome because the sights were gorgeous.

Rainy EveningVenice

We rounded up our second day in Venice by a dinner at La Caravella… We were looking for a different Michelin starred restaurant, but after some aimless meandering, ended up at La Caravella. We had a fabulous dinner, and they were helpful enough to make a vegetarian dish for Ankur as well. It was our first time in a Michelin starred restaurant and we had a blast. Of course, much of our fun came from the fact that we were pretending how the waiters would react if we start spewing out the shit that we request for in many Indian restaurants (“Can you split the soup 1X2?”, “Can you please pack up the leftovers?” etc etc!).

La Caravella, VeniceWine

The next day was all about St Mark’s Piazza, St Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, the Murano-Burano-Torcello tour and Hard Rock Cafe. We really couldn’t get enough of the awesomeness of the Piazza and the buildings that surrounded yet. If you ignored the crowds, you would feel transported into a different era, with all the intricate architecture that surrounded you. And to think that these buildings have stood the test of time, and continue to be as glorious today.

VeniceVeniceVenice

The M-B-T tour was well, interesting… The glass blowing demonstration at Murano was superb. It was the first time we were seeing something like that, and it was supremely fascinating. And some of the glass works we saw were unbelievable. Our next stop was Torcello. It’s a slow, sleepy town. It used to be a busy, commercial place a couple of centuries ago, but with time, most residents were driven away to nearby Venice as business activities came to a near standstill. The town was eerily quiet. Barring a couple of people who were on the vaporetto with us, the place looked nearly deserted.

Torcello, VeniceTorcello, Venice

Compared to the quiet of Torcello, Burano’s colourful houses seemed to be shouting in the wind by themselves! Every house is painted a different colour, and we were told that the house keepers have to take permission from the Town Council before they paint their houses – the Town Council will not permit two houses with the same colour next to each other. And we had the best gelato in this one small store in Burano – I wish I could remember the name. On a side note, on the whole trip, I think I OD’d on the amaretto gelato!Burano, VeniceBurano Windows

Our last night in Venice, we indulged in some comfort food, music and drinks at Hard Rock Cafe and aimlessly walked around the Piazza and the Grand Canal.Hard Rock ComfortGondolas

Before we caught our train to Florence the next afternoon, we managed to do a quick walkabout of St Mark’s Basilica. It was grand and the frescos were gorgeous.

Venice

All in all, Venice was a charming city but didn’t wow me over completely. A movie that we saw before leaving for our honeymoon likened Venice to the “Dharavi of Europe”. (FYI, Dharavi is the largest slum settlement in Asia, not a proud moniker by any stretch of imagination!) And while the dirty waters really threw me off at first, once we get over that initial visual, we did have a great time in Venice. And if I was to visit Venice a second time, I would probably just park myself on the numerous cafes along the Piazza or on the waterfront and just observe people and life pass me by.

Insta Love #3

December 4, 2014

Design & Inspiration

During this blog break, the one social media platform that totally had me hooked was Instagram! I cannot even begin to tell you how much I am in awe of the visual inspiration that it provides. There are some super talented people on that space, and it inspires me at so many levels… live better, travel more, seek joy & beauty in the ordinary, reach for the stars and the stuff.

Even on my busiest days, I usually try to find a minute or two (more like 10) to scroll through my IG feed. It’s like a sheer explosion of awesomeness! :)

These are some of the lovely people I’ve been following on IG…maybe you would like to take a peek at their galleries and get inspired yourself!

Instagram

Eric Johnson / Rishabh Malik / Summer Harms / Emily Filler

Who are your IG favourites? You can find me at @theeverydayandbeyond.

Our New Home

December 2, 2014

Homes & Spaces

Living Room CornerReflection of the dining table

It’s been a little over 4 months since we moved into the new house. It’s been an interesting few months, settling into the new space, trying to build new routines and make the space work for us as a family.

It took some time (okay, a lot of time) to organise things. We’ve all pared down our stuff to make them fit into this space. Amongst other things, I’ve given up nearly three-fourths of my book collection and kept back only the most treasured and most loved ones.

It took some time for Floppie to adjust to this new house. The first few nights he used to wander around all the rooms, trying to find his place to sleep. He even managed to lock himself out of the house one day and was looking at the door with the most forlorn expression in his eyes (my heart just squeezes even as I remember that moment). In those first few nights and days, our bed became his go-to-curl-up space.

This house has already witnessed scenes of happiness, laughter, anger, frustration, arguments and resolutions.

This house has a beautiful mandir. Unconventional, but beautiful. Not a serene white, but a dramatic, bold red.

This house is still some bits away from “complete”. There are some empty spaces, some blank empty walls. It will take time (and money), but we’ll fill them up. With art, with furniture, with accent pieces, with pieces of us.

As the house grows, I want it to become a welcoming space. I want this house to embrace our friends and family, to provide them with love and / or respite, or whatever else they may need.

As the house grows, I want to forget about the callousness of the builders and their general apathy. I want to forget that in most parts of this country, the builder stands supreme, despite their many wrongs, despite their sheer lack of professionalism.

As the house grows, I want it to be filled with echoes of acceptance, togetherness, friendship, love, laughter and happiness.

As the house grows, I know we will too.

PS – The house has been lovingly (and beautifully) designed by my sister-in-law. I wish I had more, and better, pictures to share of the various rooms, but we’ve not gotten around to that yet. Some day soon, I would love to post a full-fledged house tour here.

Life, Currently

December 1, 2014

Life, etc.

Currently

Yes, I know. This post almost seems totally out of the blue.

This long blogging break (and a near break from social media as well) started out rather unintentionally and as days rolled into weeks, I couldn’t find it my heart (or my schedule) to venture back into blogging. Things have been crazy on the work + home front, and well, life just took over.

I’ve thought about the blog often during this time off, and I found myself wondering what I want to do with this space. Truth be told, I still don’t have all the answers, but I am eager to develop this little blog of mine a bit. I don’t have a grand agenda for the blog (yet), but I am willing to stick it out and see how it all shapes up. And hopefully, you will join me for the ride.

Since it’s been a while, I thought I would start off by giving you all an update about what life looks like currently for me. And maybe you could tell me what’s happening with you all.

Currently, I am super excited that we are in December. I love Decembers. The weather here starts to cool off, the work load lightens up a bit, and it’s just a great time for contemplation and reflection. A new year is just around the corner and I can’t help but be excited about the opportunities it brings along with itself.

Currently, I’m reading multiple things. New York Times and Financial Times + The Woman I Wanted to Be (DVF) + Playing It My Way (Sachin Tendulkar) + Dark Places (Gillian Flynn). I’ve already got a whole lot of books purchased on my Kindle (app), and I am super excited to plough through that list.

Currently, I am thinking of holiday locations for the next year. There are just sooooo many places I want to travel to that I cannot seem to make up my mind. At the very top of the list I currently have New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Bali, Instanbul, Italy (yes, again), Australia, Kerala, Pondicherry, and Lakshwadeep. Like I said, too many places.

Currently, I am looking forward to a mid-month break to Delhi. Despite what people say, it is one of my favouritest (I know it’s not a word) cities in the country. And as I write this, I also realise that I really have so many places to still explore within India.

Currently, I am super excited about my calligraphy inks. For the longest time, I was using regular ink, which only resulted in blotched writing and seepage through the pages. I bought a couple of Winston and Newton ink pots, and while I still see some feathering in the writing, it’s so much better than regular ink.

Currently, I am serious about what I am calling “December Streak”. Last Sunday night, I just couldn’t fall asleep and kept tossing and turning. I don’t know what got into me, but I reached for my phone and bought the Jillian Michaels app on the App Store. Next morning, BAM! first workout in ages, done! I managed to get in 5 days of exercise last week. Fitness is again one of those areas in my life which I think about a lot, but don’t do much about. I am hoping to convert this random bout of seriousness into something meaningful. Hence the “December Streak”. It’s rather simple. 30 minutes of exercise for 5 days a week. I really don’t like going to the gym to exercise, so I’ve got the Jillian Michaels app, a bunch of home exercise DVDs and a subscription to Barre3 online classes to help me along. Hopefully, I will have a different story to tell at the end of the month.

Currently, I am trying to learn Photoshop. I recently purchased the “Photoshop for Bloggers” e-course from ABM, and it’s seriously good. I have a basic working knowledge of Photoshop, but I definitely want to get better and smarter at it.

Currently, I am working through my 30 Before 30 list. I’ve already started on some of the items on the list and I will be sharing it soon on the blog.

Currently, I am catching up on my Project Life album.

Currently, I am thinking through my plans for the blog. But then, I already told you that.

Currently, I am happy to be back here.

Image via Death to the Stock Photo. Edit & type by me.

Insta Love # 2

June 10, 2014

Design & Inspiration

Oh dear Instagram, aren’t you just full of the best visual inspiration???

Seriously, it’s just so awesome to scroll through one’s IG feed and come across picture after picture which just blow your mind away. For this week’s roundup of some of my current favourite Instagrammers, I ended up being drawn to a lot of brown…and there are 2 wedding photographers in the mix as well. Go figure!

Insta Love

01 // The beachArielle Vey: Sun and sand, what more can one want?

02 // Joshua Tree ElopementLogan Cole Photo: Can I get married all over again?

03 // Wedding DressSidney Morgan Photo: See #02 above.

04 // Wooden Spoon + ShavingsAriele Alasko: The most amazing wood worker!

Whose pictures on Instagram have you been drooling over lately?

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