What the Missus Wore: The Chennai Beach

In Chennai, the weather is exceptionally warm, even in January.  Warm and humid, I should say, as much of it borders the ocean.

My friend Deepali and I took a drive along the beach to view a new hotel property, and I wore my most favorite, and tasteful, long pink dress.  Given most of my travels to date with this dress have been by myself, I was glad to finally have some full length photos.

We stopped at a coconut stand along the way for fresh juice and coconut “meat”, and continued on towards the beach, where the wind whipped at our hair and faces.  It was so gorgeous and peaceful – I could’ve stayed there all day.

Maje Dress

DSC_5140

DSC_5141

DSC_5144

DSC_5146

Maje Dress

What the Missus Wore:  Dress by Maje (dresses here)// sandals by Chie Mihara

If only summer was every day in Switzerland….

The Missus Visits India: Goa

After Chennai, it was off to Goa, one of the main vacation destinations in India.  Goa is like paradise – there are very few places I have been where relaxation was the name of the game, and Goa was one of them.

After the 3 busy cities I had been in, Goa really slllloooooooooooowed doooooooooooown.  There weren’t nearly as many cars, and the streets weren’t crowded.  Goa is almost set up like an extremely large village so commerce and business was much more scarce.

One of the most intriguing things about Goa is how blatantly Catholic it is.  Goa was under Portuguese rule and influence from 1510 until 1987 officially.  Given how many churches I saw in Lisbon, the religious influence of the Portuguese on Goa makes sense.  All over the city were Catholic churches, and on the corners I could see makeshift Catholic temples – like a blend of Hinduism and Catholicism.  These were small structures with flowers draped over it, but instead of seeing a Hindu god inside, it would be a crucifix or statue of the Virgin Mary.

I worked in Goa for two days and then was there Saturday on my way to Mumbai.  I didn’t do too much sight seeing other than visiting a spice plantation (Tony made me promise to get him spices) and other than that I soaked up the sun.

NMS_4861 DSC_4858 DSC_4817

The plantation I visited was really interesting, though.  I went to Sahakari Spice Farm which doesn’t sound as amazing as it actually was.  It cost 400 rupees to enter which included lunch and a tour of the grounds.  At first I was disenchanted – it was unclear where to go, who was a guide, who worked there and who didn’t, when did we eat, etc.  But once the tour started, it got really interesting.

The farm cultivates some of the most expensive spices in the world.  #1 is saffron, #2 is vanilla, #3 is cardamom and #4 is cinnamon.  I couldn’t believe vanilla and cinnamon – we have that in our house!  But apparently the vanilla we use is mostly synthetic versus being the real deal.

Vanilla plant

Vanilla plant

DSC_4776

Papaya

Papaya

Like a good wife I picked up lost of spices for my hubby and specifically asked the person selling if what I had selected would “melt one’s face off” just to be sure.

My time in the sun was amazing but sadly I took my sunburn with me to Mumbai.  My oh my, what 2 hours in the sun can do.  Goa is definitely somewhere worth visiting – it’s not that expensive to get to and the beach and food make it worth the trip.

Final destination – Mumbai!

Lisbon, Portugal

Last week I was lucky enough to meet one of my best friends in Lisbon, Portugal.  Neither of us had been, and she was heading over to Braga for a work conference.  Given how close she would be to Zurich, it would have been a shame to not take her up on the invite, and we had 5 nights planned to spend in Lisbon together.

I had rented an apartment through AirBnB within Chiado, one of the more popular districts in the city.  The drive from the airport was flat until we got closer to the water – then we were up and down cobblestone streets that were paved over the hills that make up Lisbon.  The width of the street the apartment was on barely fit a Mini Cooper.  Clothing hung from lines outside apartment windows three levels up and chatter could be heard from the outdoor seating of local restaurants.

My friend and I arrived late on Thursday so we didn’t do much except walk to the local square for a bottle of wine and some snacks.  For 3 of us it was 27 Euros.  I hadn’t seen prices that cheap since I could last remember.

Friday morning found us up at a reasonable hour – mostly because there was construction right across the street!  We knew we wanted to try out a Sandeman’s walking tour in order see the city and learn a bit more about Lisbon.  It ended up being a great idea because we got a sense for the city and learned all of the fun tidbits about Lisbon to go along with it.

DSC_3443

Where the revolution happened in 1974

DSC_3438

Luiz de Camoes – famous Portuguese poet

DSC_3446

Crack in the church due to earthquake

DSC_3439 DSC_3441 DSC_3442 DSC_3445 DSC_3453

Not only did we learn some interesting tidbits, but the city is GORGEOUS.  The sun was shining and there was a cool breeze off the bay that made for the perfect weather.  The city is also extremely hilly, even more so than Zurich is, so we definitely got a workout in while we learned about Lisbon.

A few fun facts that we took away:

  • In 1755 there was a massive earthquake that triggered a tidal wave that destroyed the city.  The king at the time was so freaked out that he lived in a tent the rest of his days and commissioned his BFF to rebuild the city.
  • Chiado was the famous literary part of town.  There was an author named Fernando Pessoa who was so schizophrenic that he had 137 different characters he wrote books as.
  • The 1974 revolution was actual done in a very peaceful manner.  Only 2 shots were fired and they were both warning shots.
  • The world’s oldest still-operating book store is right in Chiado. It was a good opportunity to buy Harry Potter in Portuguese.
  • There are tons of buildings covered with tiles.  The tiles that are of geometric design stem from the Moors where they were religiously forbidden from drawing anything from nature.

DSC_3462 DSC_3467 DSC_3469 DSC_3470 DSC_3474 IMG_6532 IMG_6535 DSC_3481

 

That night found us in the youthful part of town, thanks to the recommendation of our college student tour guide.  We wandered around with our sangria, just marveling at the tile and carefully watching where we stepped – up and down cobblestone hills with some adult beverages does not always equal a safe time.

IMG_6557 IMG_6558 IMG_6559 IMG_6561 IMG_6560

Saturday we headed over to the famous flea market Feira da Ladra to do some shopping.  It was a sea of vendors, all selling really interesting things.  I was able to purchase some porcelain swallows (the bird) to hang in the house and a lovely, made in Portugal espresso cup/saucer set.  Total price?  35 euros, BOOM!

I was told by the person who sold me the swallows that they are good luck – every year they migrate from Africa to Lisbon and bring luck to the city.  Whether or not it’s true, the birds are darling and I wanted to bring some luck to my own home.

IMG_6581 IMG_6586 IMG_6588

 

The next two days were spent at the beach getting some sun – and sun we did get!  I did the most horrific job of applying sunscreen in the history of the world.  I have the weirdest white spots across my body, and the sun was incredibly powerful.

However, it was totally worth it.  We were in Cascais the first day and hung out on the main beach – the water was really cold but perfect to dip in to cool myself down.

The second day we went a bit further past Cascais to Praia do Guincho, a gorgeous beach where the wind was almost as high as the waves.  This was where the surfers came and the majority of tourists didn’t know about.  We were more secluded here, and took in some awesome kite surfing views.

IMG_6618 IMG_6629 IMG_6669

We spent our last night back in the youthful part of town, sharing our favorite stories from the trip and sipping some Rose wine.

IMG_6684 IMG_6691

I enjoyed Lisbon so much that I would jump at the chance to return.  It is such a special and unique place, well worth a second look.

Vá e divirta-se!  Obrigada!