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Look for spicy dishes flavoured with tamarind and coconut in Kochi, and don’t be surprised if your dinner is served up on a banana leaf. The region is a major banana-growing area, and traditional Kochi cuisine employs the fruit in many dishes, both sweet and savoury. Coconut water provides a refreshing and sweet contrast to the piquant food.
East meets West in this sun-soaked state, where Indian culture intertwines with Portuguese influences left over from a 500-year occupation. The beaches have long served as a magnet for serene hedonists. To the north, the tourist-centric scene is prevalent, with an international flair that is now skewing more hip than hippie. Travel south for stretches of unspoiled sand and an escape from large resorts. Temples, mosques and wildlife sanctuaries provide diversions from the beach.
Candolim is just north of the Mandovi river and is home to Goa's most popular and well known resort and holiday village. As such, it's not a typical backpackers destination. The Candolim beach itself does not have much to offer when compared to its livelier neighbor, Calangute. However, if sunbathing and take the occasional dip is your thing then Candolim will offer you the perfect experience. One of the more interesting sights from Candolim beach is the bulk carrier ""River Princess"" which ran aground 100 metres offshore. While at the Candolim beach do not miss out the Aguada Fort. The fort was built by the Portuguese way back in 1912 for defense against the Dutch and the Maratha invaders. Candolim is aslo a very popular evening destination as it has a number of very good resteraunts and night clubs.
Udaipur, known as the Venice of the East, boasts several sparkling lakes against a backdrop of the Aravail hills. Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir, islands in Fateh Sagar Lake, are the site of Udaipur Solar Observatory and Nehru Garden. Famous palaces include the magical Lake Palace, now a luxurious five-star hotel, and the massive City Palace on Pichola’s east bank, featuring epic courtyards and stunning paintings.
Vietnam's bustling largest city sets the cultural and economic pace for the country. The former Saigon boasts charming French colonial architecture and wide boulevards, usually thronged and choked with traffic. Taxis are an option for seeing the sprawling city. The War Remnants Museum shows the Vietnam War through Vietnamese eyes. Don't miss the impressive Jade Emperor Pagoda. Go to the frenetic Ben Thanh Market for food, flowers or frogs. Tour through the Mekong Delta, past rice paddies and houseboats.
Over the centuries, many cultures have added their mark to this prized piece of land. Today, you can experience those influences firsthand by exploring Istanbul’s mahalles (neighbourhoods). From the holy sites of Sultanahmet and the 19th-century European elegance of Beyoğlu to the high fashion of Nişantaşı, the vibrant café society of Kadıköy and the football-loving streets of Beşiktaş, it’s easy to see why travellers say that Istanbul isn’t just one city, but many cities within one.
Catania has been a prize of many empires over the centuries, from Greeks to Romans to Arabs to Normans to Spaniards (to name a few). But its citizens have a more dangerous enemy right in their backyard—Mount Etna, Europe's largest and most active volcano, which destroyed the city with earthquakes and lava flows in 1693. Look closely at the baroque buildings dating from after the eruption—you'll notice a creative use of lava.
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