While I was writing our Rajasthan itinerary, it occurred to me that many places we have visited are tourist attractions based on their colour.
Many people would probably bypass Jodhpur, in Rajasthan, were it not for a rather spectacular fort and for the citizens of one of the city's districts painting their houses a distinctive shade of blue. Other main tourist cities of Rajasthan are similarly colour-coded. It may seem like a marketing tool to some, but it takes only a tiny imagination to see why they call Jaipur is the pink city, Jaisalmer the golden and Udaipur the white.
In the cases of Jaipur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur - it is the raw building materials that give these cities their distinctive hues. Not the case with Jodhpur, where citizens themselves follow the long tradition of painting their homes blue.
Similarly colour revolutions have been quietly waged by communities elsewhere. The clever and evidently artistic people of Burano, and island near Venice in Italy, attract a sizeable chunk of Venice's hefty tourist population to their little island with nought more than the colours of their houses as the main attraction.
Of course the famous La Boca area of Buenos Aires is a tourist magnet for its bright colours. And while looking for other colourful cities I discovered the brightly painted houses of Bo Kaap, in Cape Town - both places are on the to-do list...
And although I haven't been to Tirana in Albania, it warms the cockles to see that a lick of colourful paint has brightened many of its Soviet era buildings.
While all these places no doubt make for pretty photos, maybe we are also drawn to these places as it might also say something about the communities that are prepared to colour their environment so deliberately and vividly - whether it be about tradition, about starting something new, or just to brighten things up.
I might start a movement to get my suburb painted orange, but people seem to be so attached to grey at the moment, I'm not sure how successful it's going to be!
Tea is a bit of a theme in our travels.
From the tea growing country of India to roadside chai stalls to afternoon tea time in London hotels, there is rarely a wrong time for a good cup of tea.
We have a sister blog where our family and friends offer write-ups of their visits to various far-flung and closer-to-home afternoon tea offerings. Visit the High Tea Inspectors blog for a peek.
Our top tea experiences…
If you want the source, the mother of all tea destinations has to be Darjeeling, India. When it is standing in the middle of a tea garden or taking a deep breath amid freshly plucked leaves in the Makaibari Estate’s tea processing centre – you know you’ve come to the right place for tea.
2. Afternoon tea
Nowhere does afternoon tea quite the same way as London – whether its old school posh at the Ritz or Claridges or with an edgier twist at places like the Modern Pantry – we wouldn’t travel to Blighty without a good sit down and a scone.
Of course there is no need to head to the mother country for clotted cream – the best dainty sandwiches of my life were less daintily gobbled down at the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur, and likewise I remember some pretty spectacular scones at the Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong.
3. Chinese tea houses
When the heat or shopping or just plain exhaustion has become too much when in Singapore, it is the best thing to sit down with a pot of Osmanthus tea at Tea Chapter in Chinatown. There are a number of other traditional Chinese tea houses in the vicinity and we have done a similar thing in Hong Kong, but for sheer nostalgia value (we first went to this shop many years ago) Tea Chapter is a favourite for me.
4. Green tea and sweets in Japan
Although foamy green tea might not be everyone’s idea of the perfect snack – it is the loveliest way to take stock and regroup after a visit to a garden, temple, geisha museum, hot spring – whatever. While a more elaborate tea ceremony may be an experience for another visit, it can’t better some of the memorable places we have enjoyed a bowl of brew.
On our wish list…
1. A stay at Ceylon Tea Trails in Hatton, Sri Lanka
2. Traveling tea country in China
3. Working our way through every place on this list
What about you, dear reader? Do you have a theme or something special that you search out on your travels?
Cara and Alok like planning travel itineraries. We like it a lot.