Notes from Skopje, Europe’s ‘Capital of Kitsch’

This piece was originally published in The Hindu Sunday Magazine.

The cobblestoned streets of Skopje’s Old Bazaar are lined by barbershops, grocers’ and Ottoman-era inns, offering a portal to another time. Nearby, the 6th century Kale Fortress overlooks the city, and the historical Stone Bridge connects the Old Bazaar to the main square. As you make your way across the bridge, however, authenticity becomes increasingly harder to spot, obscured by newly erected buildings with classical facades, shiny bronze statues and marble fountains. Continue reading “Notes from Skopje, Europe’s ‘Capital of Kitsch’”

Visual Diary: Visiting the Markets in Split, Croatia

Every morning, from 6.30 am, the old quarter in the Croatian city of Split is abuzz with activity. In an age where supermarkets dot nearly every street corner and stock everything from food to toiletries and cleaning supplies, it’s refreshing to see that Split’s morning markets offering fresh produce and fish remain popular among locals. The markets are located in the heart of the city, round the corner from Diocletian’s Palace.

I spent some time in Split during my travels across the Balkans last summer. At the vibrant Green Market (Pazar), vendors sell fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as an assortment of other products–nuts, cheeses and eggs, flowers, clothes, inexpensive souvenirs–and call out to passersby to slow down and take a look. Continue reading “Visual Diary: Visiting the Markets in Split, Croatia”

Notes from Mostar

This piece was originally published in The Hindu Sunday Magazine.

The bus rolls slowly into the central station in eastern Mostar, the familiar crunching sound of gravel under the tires signalling the end of the ride. The journey from Sarajevo had taken just a little over two and a half hours, and we’d got to enjoy the sight of the enticing emerald-green waters of the Neretva river along the way. Continue reading “Notes from Mostar”

Sunset in Split

Split, Croatia. April 2018.

The bus made its way from Mostar to Split, halting at a nondescript gas station on the way. I had a cappuccino that – like every other cappuccino I’ve had in the Balkans, dark and intense – was far too strong to drain.

The usual fare of coffee and impossible-to-evade secondhand smoke. Continue reading “Sunset in Split”

Life Updates: The Balkans, Mashrou’ Leila & Being on the Road

I have finally bid goodbye to Münster, the quiet little German city that everybody constantly raved about but I just couldn’t warm up to. Since the start of April, I’ve been travelling across the Balkans, soaking in the diverse culture, cuisine, hospitality and unpretentiousness of the region. Continue reading “Life Updates: The Balkans, Mashrou’ Leila & Being on the Road”