A European style cafe/bar, Tragos is a great place for a rainy day with children. It has a plentiful supply of board games, a community book swap, a children's menu, and child sized 'babycinos' (warm milk with marshmallows and dusted with chocolate) which our children love. Added to that, for parents there are newspapers, good coffee and tea (or alcohol) and very reasonably priced food which is excellent. It is full of character, so feels independent, but is actually part of a chain, mostly located in the Southwest of the UK. Check their website to see if there is one near you. I recommend their brunches, served all day, especially the "lounge eggs" - absolutely delicious.
A rustic rural retreat based in a castle, 40 minutes drive North of Bologna, Italy. Only accommodating 10 guests, in frescoed rooms, it is like staying in your own personal castle. No TV, no WiFi and probably no mobile phone reception (as it is in the middle of nowhere) but lots of books, music and art, along with good food and wine. Early morning balloon rides followed by breakfast anyone?
Castello di Galeazza
Via Provanone 8585
40014 Galeazza di Crevalcore (BO)
Tel +39 051 985 170
Nearest stations: Bologna or Crevalcore
Enoteca Fontana, in Parma, has to be one of the most atmospheric wine bars in Italy. You enter by a small doorway under the arches in Via Farini, and bottles of wine surround you on every side. For around £4 you can buy a glass of wine and a toasted panini (I recommend goats cheese and sun dried tomatoes) and find yourself a place on the wooden benches in the back room to eat and drink, whilst chatting to the locals.
Enoteca Fontana, Via Farini 24, Parma. Tel. 0521 286037
People go to Agra for the Taj Mahal. But do not forget to go to Fatehpur Sikri. An ill-fated city built by Emporer Akbar, it was discarded as soon as it was built, because of lack of water. Amazing architecture. Good views.
Near Agra, Uttar Pradesh
What is common in these two buildings? - Both are designed by Charles Correa, one of India's eminent archiects. Both the buildings are situated in the Connaught Place area. British Council is worth exploring.
British Council Division
British High Commission
17 Kasturba Gandhi Marg
New Delhi 110 001
Visit Lalit Kala Akademi. See all the art on the walls. Then head down to Bengali Market to sample some of the best chaat in Delhi. (Chaat is vegetarian street food.) Try either of the Bengali Sweet House or Nathu's Sweets. Both are good and are in healthy competition.
Lalit Kala Akademi
Rabindra Bhawan, Ferozshah Road,
New Delhi 110001
Bengali Market, New Delhi
Home to the Kutub Minar, this 11th century 239 ft tower still stands amidst the ruins of a crumbling fort. Mehrauli is an urban vllage with small streets and shops. An interesting place to explore.
Mehrauli - 14 kms south of Connaught Place
If you are wary of street vendors, for a taste of authentic and safe snacks and sweets, try one of Haldiram's stores. I especially recommend their Rajkachori, which is a savoury snack with chick peas, yogurt, tamarind chutney, namkeen and lentil crisps.
If you want to escape the hustle bustle of Delhi, this is a great place to go and maybe buy some artwork as well. Around 20 artists' workshops surround a central grassy courtyard with large trees and places to sit. You can watch the artists at work, or simply enjoy this enclave of peace and quiet, with a tea from the local chaiwallah.
Garhi Studios, Kala Kutir,
East of Kailash
New Delhi 110065
+91 11 2643 2225
Originally called Connaught Place, this is the centre of New Delhi. You find everything here - big shops, restaurants, art galleries, hotels and craft emporiums. More importantly, if you go to the lanes behind the main circle, you will find very good eating places. Now, with the Metro Station in the centre, you can go to the far flung parts of Delhi as well.
Underground Station of Connaught Place / Rajiv Chowk
It is a craft and food market (bazaar). Full of lovely clothes, interesting accessories and beautiful handmade crafts. Best of all, there are food stalls from almost each state of India. One could eat south Indian Dosa, east Indian Momos (dumplings) or North Indian chaat.
A microcosm of Indian crafts and tastes.
Dilli Haat, Sri Aurobindo Marg, Opp. INA Market, New Delhi, India 110023.
Phone : +91-11-4629365, 6119055
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