Category: Travel Writing

Allahabad

Final morning in Varanasi. With sorrow, I bid farewell to my new friends in the guesthouse, and to that view from the legendary Room Twelve. Soon I take a final walk along the ghats, and disappear into the smoke-wreathed city.

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Varanasi

This train feels less hospitable than the last, and someone warns me to watch my bags. There seem a lot more twitching stares than smiles, and I start to see thieves everywhere. In fact, there are almost certainly nothing of

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From Calcutta to Bodh Gaya

In Calcutta, I wake to the news that my teacher and friend Roderick West has died, tearing a hole in my heart. Yet such was the man’s intellect and spirit that he always seemed eternal, so it is not so

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Sa Pa

The promise of a rail journey fills the heart with the true spirit of travel. Flying always feels like cheating. And so it was that full of the travelling spirit I departed on a sleeper train from Hanoi to Lao

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Hanoi

After a late departure following ferocious storms, I depart for a sky trembling with turbulence in an almost empty Chinese plane. The Vietnamese scientist I befriended in the long wait in Beijing keeps me company, and worries as I become

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The Hugging Mother of Kerala

The backwaters of Kerala are beautiful, a deluxe labyrinth of canals – some cool, coconut lined and quiet, others as packed and polluted as a Bombay flyover. Depending on your tendency to worry, it is either Venice among the palms,

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Madurai

Indians love to make noise, and at times it feels as though the subcontinent is one great ululating biomass – shouting, tooting, banging, and playing loud music with an abandon bordering on the gay. At times, India is just like

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Goa

It didn’t take much convincing for me to head straight to Goa to chill out after the shock and awe of Bombay, so after the obligatory sightseeing experiences of that city, I was off to Anjuna Beach, where golden sands

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Bombay

So, I’m sitting in an aeroplane, heading to one of the great cradles of humanity, a country whose arts and sciences stretch into the grubby backwaters of Western prehistory – home of the zero and the kama sutra, chicken tikka

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Lake Como

After the sexy excesses of Milan, where could I go but up? Lake Como is the shimmering jewel of the Italian lakes district, and the Swiss Alps rise majestically on the horizon, like Claudia Cardinale reclining in a blue satin

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