Travel with Twinny.. Vienna…city of Romance

Hi all!It’s me Twinny …

Back from Vienna….

City of PARKS ..800 of them!

City of PALACES…Stunning!

A drive in a tram/ bus/ carriage on the Ringstrasse( the Ring) .. will leave you breathless!

Palace  Walls  dressed with  RENAISSANCE paintings….

each telling a story ..of kings ,queens, ministers… and actual events in history….all paintings  left unsigned!


an obscure image of the painter painted in!

Idea for your next Goru!

Here  are paintings of the Long reigning Marie Theresa..of the Austrian – Hungarian Empire…..The ONLY FEMALE ruler of the Habsburgs … 2017 marks 300 years of her birth centenary!
Portly …
She had 16 children! And…They all Looked ALIKE!

So also did many of the other Hapsburgs! 

Why oh why?

Simple ! The Royals liked to marry AMONGST themselves!
Uncle to niece ,Brother to first cousin , as Franz Joseph ( the longest reigning king.. 68 years) to the beautiful Elizabeth .. Sisi her pet name…

‘PHOTOSHOP ‘ must have existed in the late 18th century…  NO trace of smallpox scars on the children’s faces!

And how ever was Mozart sitting and playing on the piano… in Maria Theresa’s court ….when he wasn’t even born!

The men sported WHITE WiGS …
Why oh Why ?? Simple again!

It was in FaSHION!

Lords used white chalk to colour their hair white.. washing very rarely …

Lice/ flees a regular feature!

Royals didn’t want unnecessary smells!

For the ladies…’CHAMBER POTS’ ( tucked under the bed) were regularly used!

How to use?

Lift the layers of your flouncy skirt and do your thing … and cleaning?? Douse lavishly with perfumes!

DISPOSAL of the CONTENTS of the chamber pots …was done by servants !

And the huge 

Schoenbrunn palace had plenty …2000 precisely!

Hey you ..Amruta the art lover…have a look at the Chamber pots .. some even  Pretty!

Just like one goes from Bombay to Goa for a holiday .. the princes and princesses moved from SUMMER Palace  to  WINTER palace to ‘ IN BETWEEN ‘palace …Sisi Palace outside Budapest..and if tired of these….
out …they would go riding into the forest gardens as Princess Elzabeth often did …

To meet her lover … Yes Isabella ….she had one!

The equestrian skills of Royals and Aristocrats were honed at the brilliantly baroque
Spanish Riding School of Vienna .This school is now 450 years old!

And it is here that 

Majestic ,White Lippizaner stallions ,from the Iberian part of Spain are TRAINED to dance …To compositions by Johaan Strauss /Mozart…. played by 

the Viennese Philharmonic orchestra !

A treat to watch …..

Even their morning exercises!

Horses taught to walk with high steps, trot daintily ,canter ,leap ,even pirouette !

All in synchrony ….just like ballerinas!!

Admirable and Bewildering !

Viennese Operas !
Viennese Art galleries!

VIENNA (pet name WIEN as on river Wien) is REPLETE 

With everything !

‘The KISS ‘ painted by GUSTAV KLIMT .. is symbolic of Romantic Vienna …And seen Everywhere!

 ….on pillow covers/ plates jewellery boxes!

The ORIGINAL PAINTING of course is housed in the Belvedere Museum!

Guarded as are the ……
GLOBES in the Globe MUSEUM,

CLOCKS in the Clock MUSEUM… 

POTS in museum for Sanitary ware and FURNITURE 

Haha!Vienna has a museum for everything!

The last a revelation!

Twinny of firm opinion that the WATER CLOSET or Wc was probably the MOST DESIRED invention ever!

Thankyou George Jennings!
Universities/ SIGMUND FREUDS home / The worlds OLDEST ZOO / 
The worlds OLDEST working FERRIS wheel !(1897).. All in Vienna!

Oh my God..,😰🤔😱!
Where to go ? What to do?


START the day with coffee at a coffee house … coffee culture is a melange of everything Wien!

Have a MIDMORNING break at a cafeteria … rich chocolate Sacher torte with another round of coffee…Revive the art of conversation!
LUNCH at a sausage stand in Vienna city centre
Followed by 

raspberry torte and coffee at coffee house again!

DINNER at a rustic wine tavern………
Weiner schnitzel followed by Apple Strudel followed by coffee nightcap

The Viennese just LOVE their coffee!!!

With all this coffee…Twinny on COMPLETE COFFEE HIGH!


to dance the ..

Viennese waltz.. !
FLOW ALONG darlings!

This WALTZ is all about love, romance ,waves….



Meet you in Prague!

This episode dedicated to my beautiful kid sister Geetu and handsome brother in  law Gaurang…..

Happy Anniversary Darlings!

Life is to romance!

Love forever and ever!!!Muah ! Muahhh!
PS…..Geetu …. here’s a novel idea…..since we in Vienna and on romantic note….

How to…..

Oh no ! Twinny you better 🏃 !!! Geetu’s going to kill you !

Travels with Twinny… Hungary…. the people!

Hi all .. its me Twinny !Back from HUNGARY !

No! No ! This country …

Is NOT related to Attila the HUN

NOR is it  full of HUNGRY people!

In truth ….it is absolutely Wonderful !

3 great attributes of these great Siberian settlers … the Magyars…..with GENES ENTIRELY DIFFERENT from the rest of Europe….


Brawn ! Brawn! Brawn!

The number of Olympic medalists from this country of a paltry 10 million .. shocking !

Champion swimmers 🏊

Canoeists 🛶

FENCERS 🤺 and 🤸‍♂️ gymnasts!

Water polo specialists!
BUDAPEST , the capital…

Likely to be the seat of the 2020 olympics!

Big big ones…!

Ever wondered where the RUBIKS CUBE came from.. mystery ends in Hungary..

ERNO RUBIK invented!

Yes ..they use their second names first! Just like other Easterners… the Chinese/ Koreans!

Fellow traveller ARVIND GUPTA got whiff of this instantly….

Introduced himself as GUPTA ARVIND…

Well done Arvindji 👍!

Small things like BALLPOINT PENS and SAFETY MATCHES were discovered in Hungary …
So also large things  like  HELICOPTERS!  Wow!

Ok ok .. Leonardo Da Vinci drew the first helicopter in the 16 th century ..

but it was IGOR SIKORSKY

Who actually designed  the first SUCCESSFUL one!

And The line up of NOBEL LAUREATES …simply daunting!

Not to forget the great ”ESCAPE ARTIST” HOUDINI…he was born here .. a Hungarian! Of course he ‘escaped ‘to New York and did all his amazing stunts there..each one a test of resilience and ingenuity …!


What a combo!

Here’s a pic of a museum in his name..

Up in the ‘BUDA ‘part.. or ‘HILLY’ part of Budapest ,near the Buda castle ..

The ‘PEST ‘ part ( pronounced Paish)
Is the ‘PLAIN ‘part of Budapest… literally flat .. 3  times the size of Buda….hey …but there’s nothing ‘plain ‘about it…..

the worlds third largest PARLIAMENT building ….on the River Danube .. is a sight to behold !

As are the numerous buildings ..each beautiful, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Neoclassical ….all part of the great Austria- Hungarian Habsburg empire.
Great it WAS!

Now dimunitised from the proverbial BRAIN of EUROPE

To the Baby HEART of EUROPE!

Just look at the buildings…

Hey Twinny … are digressing!
You started with …

Hungarians are Brawny

And Brainy

….and ???

ooh lala .. hang in there Amruta ….they are


Land of FERENC LISZT the maverick composer..

Of actors ZSA ZSA Gabor , TONY CURTIS

…Of WILLIAM FOX…. founder of 20 th century Fox!

Here’s a picture of the perfect LISZT!

Brawn/ Brains / Romantics

What more could a gal want??!

Yes ! Yes!

But I have to tell you Amruta …
the MOST number of SUICIDES in this world are in Hungary !



And of the Seven bridges crossing the Danube .,

From Buda to Pest …..And vice Versa .. the Chain Bridge , the Margeret Bridge etcetc ..the one ‘MOST  CHOSEN ‘to jump from is the LIBERTY Bridge!!

Heavens ho! IRONICAL!

Why oh why Twinny??
Its something to do with Hungarian history ..Amruta …

Too often has Budapest been destroyed !

Too often has it been rebuilt !

Bombed over and over again.. by the Turks, then the Germans and finally the Russians..who came ostensibly to HELP rebuild the broken city .. but ….stayed for a long 45 years.. Hungarians finally got independence only in 1989!

They have been ravaged/ ransacked / destroyed OVER and OVER again….defused bombs unearthed every now and then…..No wonder they a depressed lot!

Even the Hungarian National  Anthem is melancholic ….it is rated the SADDEST national anthem in the whole world..!
All 2.3 mins of it.. tch tch tch!

Yet HIGH flies the Hungarian flag … bearing an uncanny resemblance with the great Indian jhanda!
Except there is ‘no wheel’. Look!

Twinny. has a good mind to stick one in..and Change the wheels of fortune!
Of this great country….


Seems impossible…

Hey Twinny….Solve ‘one ‘problem

at a time …

Start with.. …The Rubiks Cube!

Woah  Amruta…..that’s impossible!

Listen Twinny….

NOTHING  is Impossible!

Look…here it is!

In perfect alignment!!


Indulge with Isabella… Quick Mix!

Hi all !It’s me….Isabella..!

Today’s recipe is dedicated to someone EFFERVESCENT and BUBBLY … friend from overseas …SHIRIN…

Here she is …

A gynaec/ obstetrician ….she has precious little time..
To cook and conjure up culinary delights ..

So here is one SIMPLE recipe …Right up her street….

Which would make her husband Dr DARIUS MIRZA ( the worlds foremost liver specialist!)

blush with pride… 

A CHOCOLATE CAKE made in less than 10 mins!

In lO mins ?


Simple ……Assemble 

2 packets of chocolate Oreo biscuits

1/2 to 3/4 cup of milk 

And the ‘SECRET ‘ ingredient ..!’



I tsp of ENOS FRUIT SALTS is the secret ingredient??!
Are you crazy Isabella???

No no no …Twinny …

Enos has been around since 1850.

It’s 170 years old!

JAMES ENO had a patent on it ..great for indigestion, bloating ..Am I right Darius?

Safe even in pregnancy !

Used to come packaged in these large antique glass bottles…

And advertised a lot .. Look at these vintage Edwardian ads .. promoting Enos fruit salts…
Yes… Advertising was necessary even back then!

So here I am using Enos for its’ LEAVENING or RISING property !

Easy because 

Enos contains 60% soda bicarbonate 40% citric acid .. this combo could make anything rise …!

Pancakes,Khaman Dhoklas , Idlis , Dahi -Wadas, maybe even doughnuts 🍩!


Moreover it’s vegetarian……..Eggs …the other great leavening agent aren’t !
Of course one could also leaven with baking soda , baking powder , yeast , air, steam, cream of tartar…

So WHEN  do   you propose to bake this cake .. 6 mins are already up! 

You should have at least preheated the oven Isabella!!

No no Twinny ..

No need for the oven !

I am going to use the MICROWAVE…


The cake will rise, rise rise !

And hey presto .. it will be ready!



Now bring it out .. LET IT COOL! Yes cooling takes a little time…..

Then turn it upside down on a pretty plate…
Like so ..

Serve with vanilla Ice cream . ….Garnish with chocolate sauce and crunchy Bournvita!

Divine Death by Chocolate!! Yummy!

Pour yourself Baileys Irish cream ..for a job well done !
Yes yes the very same … Irish whisky and chocolate coffee cream liqueur…

Over plenty of crushed ice!!!

Dessert and nightcap ready !

Cheers SHIRIN…..!

May you forever be like ENOS….



Yes.. she truly loves the Bubbly !😊!

Loads of love …..Byeeeeee!

Enjoy ….!


Indulge with Isabella… Beat the Heat and more!

Hiiii all!It’s me … Isabella

 And it’s hot hot hot !

NEED of the HOUR …something QUICK to beat the summer heat…

 Here it is…



Take 1 1/2 cups of water.. BOIL!

Add 1 1/2 tsp tea leaves

Some lemon grass

Let’s go…

Now take a tall glass 
Fill with ice , juice of 1 juicy lemon


1 1/2 tsp sugar !

Simply pour the strained tea into the glass.

Garnish with a lemon slice and mint leaves…

Cool !Refreshing !Easy!
HARK Isabella….!

The NEED of the HOUR is NOT lemon iced tea .. 

It is …


Goodness Gracious…

Is that you Goru ??!

Or that crazy Twinny??

Long Island iced tea JUST  LOOKS the same….

BUT it’s one POTENT MiX! 
Half ounce each of (hold your breath)….

vodka ,gin ,rum ,tequila ,triple sec .. a little bit of 

sugar ,lemon and coke!!!

If you drink this …
You will soon be reeling and rolling in wild abandon in the scorching sun!!

You much safer with 


Who /What the heck is that??

Oh it’s 


Minoo knows..!

the SECOND most drunk liquid in the world..

After water!

Oh really ??!

Thought it would have been milk or beer!

Tea… the most comforting drink ever!

 Amruta …you a cool tea drinker…..
What’s in that cheery cuppa??

 Tea ☕️ Leaves 

Depending on which stage one stops the processing…at the Plucking stage, the Rolling Stage, the Withering Stage or the Oxidising Stage….the leaves, colour and properties CHANGE!!

WHITE tea is what one begins with…
And it 

Is ‘ahem ‘white!

Made from ‘JUST PLUCKED ‘leaves…. !

Has a simple pure taste..( how else to describe??) 

But promises more … prevents premature aging!

GREEN tea has been PLUCKED and ROLLED
and is readily served straight in hot water.. not much ado .. rich in catechins…which have anti -oxidant properties !

Also laxative and blood thinning!

ROLLED out is Right!

And then there is the full bodied BLACK TEA …full of energy!
Here the tea leaves are PLUCKED , ROLLED, WITHERED, OXIDISED… and strong in flavour..from Darjeeling ,Assam, the Nilgiris! Great …plain Black, or with milk and sugar…

These are the mainstay of our ‘CHAI’

Masala, Plain, Irani or Cutting!! 

We have so many varieties right from Kashmiri kahwa to South Indian double chai 

Almost as though we had a patent for 

Chai !!!

Surprisingly the oldest tea DID NOT originate in India .. it was served FIRST in CHINA… long back as 2700 BC!

From there it spread to the JAPANESE in 500 BC .. who made quite a CEREMONY of it!

And then onto 52 countries!!!

OOLONG TEA….. or Black Dragon tea …is the most popular CHINESE  tea and HARDEST  to make!

But certainly worth drinking ….OVER and OVER  again as believed to be slimming …Eureka!

FINALLY the answer to Radhas WEIGHT  LOSS woes !

So which is your HOT favourite tea Amruta??

Oh without a doubt it’s EARL GREY BLACK…Isabella!

Was introduced to it by classfellow Seema .. it is super delicious!

Served WITHOUT milk or sugar .. but definitely a cookie or two!

Very very British!

And most ART LOVERS crazy about tea,
teapots ,teacosies….!

Come on Amruta 

show us your personal collection..!

So here is a polished teak one from Hongkong..

And metal ones from Nepal…

Porcelain teapots from Japan and Thailand ..

Teapots used for other things too…!

Teacosies… keep your cuppa warm…

Great! ! And your most unusual…??
Yes .. rather unusual!

Why that oversized spout ???

Well this was an ‘Imperial teapot ‘used by CHINESE SUBJECTS to serve their EMPEROR!!

Like so…..

One had to be discreet and pour from a servile distance so as not to disturb or hear what the Emperor and his Ministers were talking about!
Amruta you not doing too well with the pouring…

Suggest you beat a 🏃hasty retreat!

The Merciless MINGS 😫may summon you for a good BEATING or their usual punishment… SERIAL SLICING!


I better sprint 🚴‍♀️off too!

Hiave gallons of lemon iced tea to prepare!!!


Indulge with Isabella….Halwa,Chana,Poorie

Hi all!Isabella back …in an unusual religious mood….Happy to perform Kanya / Kanjak Pooja…!!!

And what might this be??It is a dedication to Goddess Durga and her nine forms…

… and is the CUTEST religious festival ever!
7 or 9 young girls are invited , their feet washed, a red thread ( mauli) tied to their wrists, and fed a simple meal of Black Chana and Halwa Poorie!

Why specifically these??

Goddess Durga simply loved them!!

It is performed on the 8 th or 9 day of Navratri …
This year Kanjak Pooja fell on April4 th…

the 8 th day (Ashthami ) of the first Navratri of this year!There are Four Navratris every year .. just by the way…So if you miss now could do later!

The young girls are worshipped as embodiments of Goddess Durga.  

The festival is special… it asks all to cherish and respect the girl child … 

Indeed a very progressive 


Here is a picture of Durga Ma defeating the demon Mahashur …

So How to make the Chana , Halwa Poorie??
Let’s begin with the Halwa!

Many types ..Semolina / Flour  HALWA …..but decided to go straight for the kill .. the KADA PRASHAD  served in Gurdwaras..

Rich and delicious!!!!

And simple to make too!

I cup wheat flour

1 cup ghee 

1 cup sugar 

4 cups water…

Watch ! 

Will be ready in a trice …!

Remember to spend a little time Roasting,

 ( bhunoing) the flour before adding the sugar syrup….

And now for the KAALA CHANA..
Soak overnight 1 cup of black chana …

Boil in water with a little salt ..

And the rest is simple simple…

So here it is .. Halwa /Chana / Poorie!

Simple ! Wholesome!


Now to Serve….

Beginning with 9 year old niece SANA LAMBA….the girl with the golden voice!

 Next …..the other 8!!
Will somehow Find and Feed !!!

And then of course the Whole Family!

No choices here….

Quick ,healthy ,tasty food!!!

Try to make today!!


Indulge with Isabella…..chocolate biscuit cake

Hi … Back again am I….Isabella…..All set to churn up…….

Easy- to -do recipes…..

Which any Tom ,Dick ,Twinny or Amruta .. can manage…

Here goes!

So I took ….half a kg of butter.. Amul is excellent!
…..I box of Cadbury Cocoa

And Icing sugar (double the amount of cocoa)

And mixed ..mixed …mixed! 

Till smooth and creamy!

 Second step coming right up….

Parle – G biscuits are really fresh…something to do with the WAX PAPER they are wrapped in!
Tasty too!!

With a cup of chai .. could have endless!

No wonder the sale of Parle-G biscuit pkts crossed the 5000 crores mark by 2013!

I ALONE have used 12 in this cake!!

Yes …it’s a simple recipe with 3 SHORT steps ….
Which ahem…… take super-LONG to complete!!

Biscuits/ chocolate/ biscuits/ chocolate…….

And now the finale……

Ah finally ready !
Walnuts all the way from California… two thirds of the worlds walnuts produced there!!

These edible seeds the finishing and perhaps the ONLY HEALTHY touch to this super rich cake!!!!

That’s not fair .. chocolate and glucose in biscuits healthy too!!!

SEVEN WALNUTS a day recommended to reduce bad fat, as power food ,as brain food ,as satiety food ..

Great for a good nights sleep too!!!

And hey they even increase sperm count!!!

 Well that was unnecessary ‘info’ Isabella…!!
Ok ok Twinny !! Always criticising….


Place your chocolate biscuit cake in the fridge…

And Remember ….take it out 10 mins before serving……..
Bon Appetite!!!

NOW ….just suppose you DONT have quite the TIME and ENERGY  for a cake …
Make instead  HOT CHOCOLATE SAUCE… and pour on Amul vanilla ice cream…


This recipe was learnt from a  very handsome cousin.. Indias National Junior Golf Champion of 1983……the prolific RANJIT NANDA! Here is his picture….

And here’s his  recipe.. for quick yummy hot chocolate sauce…..

Mercy Beacoup Cousin!!!


 Art with Amruta….The Art of a Genius

Hi all!

It’s me Amruta ..back after a short break….

And wondering how the heck to present the work of an artist .. so gargantuan .. it has left the world stunned!

Yes .. the art of ANTONI GAUDI!

It is impossible to typecast or classify GAUDIS. work…. his buildings .. his art …


Quite A bit…! After all  it has ORGANIC forms in it….!


Well … Partly!


Yes and No…!

Did it have elements of GOTHIC and ISLAMIC ART….. Yes!

So JUST WHAT  WAS  it …??

Can’t say for sure … But AMAZING, ECLECTIC and ORIGINAL …..

It certainly is! Have a look…..

Born in Reus in 1826 , GAUDI moved to Barcelona in Southern Spain  to study ARCHITECTURE!
When handing over his degree his teacher said… he didn’t know whether it was being given to a MADMAN or to a GENIUS ! Only time would tell…

Time Did Tell..,! SEVEN of Gaudis buildings are WORLD HERITAGE SITES!

Gaudi felt that ART  and  ARCHITECTURE should be derived from and follow NATURE…. and as natural forms rarely have straight lines…. (quite true .. come to think of it!)…His constructions too ….full of natural CURVES, ARCHES, PARABOLAS…..!

So if  construction was to be curved and sinuous… how were rectangular symmetrical bricks going to cover the curved grids???

Stated simply .. they couldn’t!

So GAUDI developed a system called TRENCADIS…..using bits of tiles to cover nude walls in a mosaic pattern ..  arresting and ingenious !

Another outstanding feature of GAUDI Art was the use of  COLOUR …. bold , bright , strange ,even outlandish.. !!

The term GAUDY though , though it means GARISH , OSTENTATIOUS, LURID..,.,is NOT derived from GAUDI … 

Just so you know!!!

All of Gaudis projects needed tons of money…How was he to finance them??

EUSEBI GUELLE ( 1846- 1918  ) was a man who  noticed Gaudis Genius! And  GUELLE had both…… 

an EYE for DESIGN 

And  MONEY!!

There’s much to learn from the Symbiotic Friendship .. of Guelle and GAUDI  

Both respected each other……And complemented each other.. creating Magic !

Guelle commissioned GAUDI to make his home .. Palau Guelle ….

And gardens… Park Guelle…

And many other buildings , each a spectacular piece of art …….also FURNITURE … each an unusual piece… have  a look ….

As GAUDI grew older the more he introspected,  the more his food became spartan , the more his personal appearance careless …

All that mattered to him was the construction of his most beloved project…  LA SAGRADA FAMILIA …   a breathtakingly beautiful Roman Catholic Church.:, made of 18 vertical towering columns  reaching heavenwards  telling the story of Jesus.. the stories of the Bible. 

   Inside the Sagrada … there are pillars.. like trees in a forest ,branching and holding aloft the ceiling made of the strongest building materials available. The play of light and colour tantalising .. 

In his last years GAUDI would often sleep at the construction site . Alas .. in 1926 when ONLY  8 columns of the church were complete …GAUDI  tragically  died in a road accident …. 

The Master had gone… How was the Sagrada ever going to be completed???

There were NO BLUEPRINTS… but GAUDI knew  he would not be alive to see  the final construction of the tallest church in the world… So he made  PLASTER  MODELS of the extremely complicated and extraordinary design of the basilica …,. with aeronautical precision !

 To  BUILD and complete this humongous project… …It has taken THREE GENERATIONS  of architects , sculptors and artists !  

The Sagrada  is  NOW estimated  to be complete  only by 2026…. !

A  CENTURY after Gaudis death !!!

By that time … would be 130 years in its making , just short of the Great Wall of China (which took 150 years to construct)

Watch the following video and  visualise the  VISION of ‘GODS ARCHITECT’…ANTONI GAUDI !

No guesses then where Amruta will be in 2026….
Naturally ……touring with Twinny….!

Exploring Barcelona …..

Looking up  with wondrous awe …….

Suffused with the beauty of the Sagrada….  a MONUMENT devoted to the GODS…

The same Gods who created Human Miracles!

Long live GAUDI !!!