I call my blog ‘Further Afield’ because I like to think it covers a good spread of topics and that I take the wider picture into account.  The title has been literal in a geographical sense over the last five weeks, though I haven’t had the chance to blog: leaving the UK winter several thousand miles behind me, I have been travelling in India.

It was my second visit to the land where the unexpected is expected. As before, there were no shortage of sights and happenings to pique my interest.

In this, my first posting since my return, I thought I’d put down a few words on the city of Visakhapatnam.

Located in north east Andhra Pradesh, it is India’s fourth largest port and home to a major shipbuilding industry. ‘Vizag’, as those in the know call it, is growing fast. I’ve a feeling it will one day be almost as familiar a name as Kolkata and Chennai, the two eastern seaboard cities between which it is strategically placed.

Vizag is not all about industry. There are beaches and decent hotels, a destination for pleasure as well as work. The title of its What’s On magazine, ‘Yo! Vizag’ points to its youthful vibrancy, or perhaps the direction it wants to take.

At the same time, many residents are pleased it has retained the friendliness of a provincial town. To me, while the area around the main bus stand was typically hectic, many roads looked generously wide, creating a sense of space which contrasted with the cramped pavements of other cities I’d experienced in my previous stops.

It’s also conveniently placed for an inland expedition to the beautiful Araku Valley.

street scene, Vizag

A street in Visakhapatnam at dusk