About Me

Living in the Caribbean is probably like living anywhere else, with the same ups and downs. But it does have its own vibe and flavour and gives me a unique perspective on most things. I'm often sarcastic, mostly funny, always looking for a new adventure. I have not boxed myself into any one category of life. I love a lot of things and dislike a lot more. I write about them all.

2014 - Year of the Golden Booty!

The year of the Golden Booty.

This was my response to a Facebook comment for what was one of the most iconic photos from my year - me, booty boasting in gold hot pants. Clearly I am not going to share this image here but it was a memorable shot in time.

The year 2014 was not quite as golden but it was still precious - precious in the sense that there were more ups than downs, and somehow I made it to the end (knock wood).

It was a year of fun, revelations, trials - like any other year. Life is unpredictable and life is fragile. Today you can be on top of the mountain and tomorrow you are slipping down the slope, caught up in an avalanche. Or you can be gone forever. Not trying to be morbid but this is a reality. Too many persons lost loved ones this year - whether it was expected or unexpected. At the top of my year, I lost the second most important woman in my life after my mother - my grandmother. Even though she was in her 90s, the loss was still a hard one for the entire family as she was the anchor that kept us all grounded - the glue that kept us all together. Our lives are beautiful because she was beautiful. She was the best grandmother in the world.

The year was hectic at work and often I felt overwhelmed. Maintaining a blog is a job in itself and each year I look at my total number of blog posts for the year. Gone are the days of 2011 when I had a total of 171 posts for that year, to just 40 for all of 2014. That is not even a blog post a week!

As demanding as my job is, my mantra is to play as hard (and as well) as I work. So my vacation this year - my annual treat to myself - took me and my pink suitcase to Amsterdam, Netherlands; Bruges, Belgium; Lausanne, Switzerland; London, England; and Cardiff, Wales - complete with a side trip to Stratford-on-Avon and a silly ghost walk.

And what a lot of fun was had over the course of that trip. My very first cheese fondue in Lausanne. Chocolate penises in Bruges (yes...you can make anything with chocolate). Friendly reunions in the UK. And a lovely rendez-vous in Amsterdam. Life is unpredictable and fragile - so enjoy it. That is my motto in life.

There were other memorable moments, like seeing John Legend again for the umpteenth time (still yet to see Alicia Keys and Muse in concert - scribbling it down for 2015), staycations, friends, birthdays, Carnival, the World Cup, time with the munchkins of my life - my niece and nephew and so on. Never any regrets - just pushing forward.

I have decided to write down 5 big goals for 2015 - document them somewhere - either here or offline, and try my best to achieve them.

Cheers to 2014 and hello to 2015. I am so looking forward to it already.

These are a few of my favourite Christmas things

Sunday night - baking and singing
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens 
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens 
Brown paper packages tied up with strings 
These are a few of my favorite things.  

On Sunday night, we watched The Sound of Music.

The Sound of Music is my favourite musical of all time so I did not need the lyrics onscreen, but it was fun nonetheless. Singing along to My Favourite Things while whirring away with the hand mixer as we got the Christmas cakes going made me reflect on my favourite Christmas things.

Favourite Christmas movie
If you want the snarky version of this, as I am a snarky kind of girl, then I will say Bad Santa. But if you want warm and fuzzy, then it is hands down Love Actually. They need to show that on tv every Christmas Eve, or people need to just own it on DVD for the same purpose.

Favourite Christmas memory 
I would have to go back to childhood for this, but I loved Christmas as a child. Waking up on Christmas morning to a house that was filled with the smell of fresh bread and ham and cakes, and eager to open the presents under the tree was always my favourite part of the day. Helping mummy make the cakes was always a highlight as well and to this day, I am still the designated baker for the holidays, with my skills honed over the years in the warm kitchen.

Favourite Christmas food
Christmas is anti-diet. From the Christmas breakfast, to the huge family gatherings defined by mounds of food, to the desserts and treats, food is at the centre of it all. My one Christmas away from home was a disaster, because besides being at death’s door (okay – a slight exaggeration), the lunch of brussel sprouts and beef did not win me over.

Pastelles - a Christmas staple in Trinidad and Tobago
Photo credit: Caribbeanpot
Typically, at home, our Christmas lunch consists of veggie rice, with fresh salad, potato salad, some type of casserole – usually a Shepherd’s pie, pastelles, baked pork, stewed pork, turkey, ham and stewed pigeon peas. Not to mention, the drinks and the sweets. Good God! Just typing that made me unfasten my pants. Sharing it all with family makes the weight gain acceptable.

Favourite Christmas song
Being a shower/car pop star, I love singing Christmas songs, and it is hard to choose just one so I will choose two. O Holy Night is my favourite carol, while Lennox Gray's Around my Christmas Tree/Laughing Children - a local classic - was always my favourite Christmas song as a child. It came on in a store this weekend and I sang the entire thing without a care for who was listening, reliving my girlhood Christmases, practising that song in school for Christmas parties and class concerts. Hearing actual Christmas music during a season that is beaten down by the immense anticipation for Carnival warmed my icy heart.

What am I most looking forward to this Christmas as a cynical adult?

  • Spending time with the family, particularly the littlest members - my niece and nephew
  • Getting rest - lots of sleep ahead
  • Seeing The Hobbit on Boxing Day
  • Finish reading my latest book
  • Visiting friends
  • Eating (in moderation??)

Merry Christmas everyone. Be safe. Be well. Be blessed.

Birthday Staycation Fun

So my birthday has come and gone and so has my second annual birthday staycation.Yep - for the second year running, I have spent my birthday close to home, where I could get much needed rest but without the stress of airports, trying to pack my life into my pink suitcase and without a massive post-vacation bill.

Well, maybe that's a bit ambitious. I did manage to have my 15 minute flight to Tobago delayed by about an hour or so, the pink suitcase was still pretty heavy because packing light is not one of my many talents, and I still have a bit of post-vacation financial angst. But it was great.

With a birthday staycation buddy, from Trinidad to Tobago and back, we had such a great time. Whether we explored beaches, bars, nature parks or cultural haunts, we enjoyed the break from reality. Going back to work this week was a bit of a buzzkill after a much needed break. Happy birthday to me!

The view from the balcony of our holiday apartment near Stonehaven Tobago.
We had breakfast and dinner here every day.
Interested? Check out Hibiscus Heights.

Made local goodies for the overseas travel buddy, and that balcony...that balcony

A day out at Englishman's Bay, Tobago

Some of the brightly coloured wrap skirts on sale at Englishman's Bay

The interior of the restaurant at Englishman's Bay. We just had beers.

Flip flops and toes at Turtle Beach, Tobago

Beers for him and her at Blue Waters Inn, Speyside, Tobago

The amazing Batteaux Shrimp Salad from Blue Waters Inn - the blue cheese, pecans,
strawberries, mandarins and the shrimp gave the salad a great kick. It was amazing.

Back in Trinidad, we explored La Vega Estate by foot. It was hot, but it was worth it.

He spread the plumes but would not pose for a photo until the end when the plumes were gone again!

Ended the last day with a sunset. Sunset over the Temple in the Sea, Waterloo, Trinidad

I have been naughty, but Santa can kick rocks

If you have read this blog long enough, you would already know I love December only because it is my birthday month. Christmas is not my most fave time of the year. It has gotten better in recent times with the fun of being an aunt - Christmas is now about making the little ones happy, hearing their giggles and creating memories for them to cherish. I don't get gifts. I cannot tell you the last time I have gotten a present. And that's okay. The independent streak in me is not worried about that because I usually treat myself, not just at Christmas but all year-round.

Santa has forsaken me and so I have stopped aiming to be nice during the year. I am a permanent fixture on Fatso's Naughty List it seems.

But if I had to ask for a present, it would be...

The Nespresso Citiz for the frothy hot drink lover in me

The ever sexy Keurig.

You had to have seen this coming, right? And make sure you add a year's supply of the capsules as well.I cannot just drink hot water.

Also, I have found that a fitness tracker is really good motivation. I hate getting up at 5 in the morning on a Saturday and Sunday to workout but some days, I take my phone with me, set a target and I really am a bit more amped to get it over with. Since I love all things Samsung, and already use S-Health during my outdoor workouts, you can get me this...

And the slimmer, caffeinated me would love to walk the streets with something new from Mr Kors, like this...

Hamilton Saffiano Leather Tote from Michael Michael Kors
That's about it really. I need new clothes as well but who has that kinda time for a blog about the stuff I want?

Life is so Beautiful - Talking Health, Cancer, Dreams and Diem Brown

No matter what it is, you're going to have the bad days, but if you have hope throughout, you won, no matter what the results...Life is so beautiful. - Diem Brown

Diem Brown
Back in the day when people still watched MTV, shows like The Real World, Road Rules and the various RW/RR Challenges were popular and made seemingly spoiled kids household names.

Back in the day I used to watch these shows and do remember Diem Brown most of all because of her battle with cancer. Even when I stopped watching the shows, I kept up with Diem. She started MedGift - a website that provides support pages to those dealing with a medical crisis or illness. She beat cancer, then the cancer came back, she beat it again, it came back.

Diem lost her final battle against cancer today. She was only 32 years old.

There are two things I take away from this news story. The first is timely, as only this morning I went to get a pap smear done. No woman likes doing a pap smear. Pap smears suck. It is generally recommended that you get a pap smear every 3 years. I actually did one last year, but as part of my annual company medical I needed to do one again today. During our discussion about my personal health care management, the doctor commended me for my regular smear tests over the years. He said he speaks to his patients ad nauseum to do their pap smears and most never do. Pap smears can help doctors identify any cervical cell changes (dysplasia), treat them, thus reducing your risk for cervical cancer and the risk for abnormal cell changes (WebMD).

How many of us also do regular breast exams - whether it is self examinations or at the doctor's? While we cannot predict what happens to us most times, listening to the doctor this morning made me aware that even in the areas where we can be proactive, many women are not. This was scary to me.

Life is beautiful! Get tested! Be aware!

Secondly, the quote at the top of this post - a quote from an interview Diem did with People magazine.

Life is so beautiful.

A 32 year old woman is no longer walking this earth. She had so many dreams. She wanted to be a mother. She wanted the house, with the picket fence - all those things we dream about. She will nvere do or have those things now.

What are your dreams and are you living them, or working towards them? Are you scared of taking the next step towards that dream? It is okay to admit it because many of us are in that space or have been in that space. The tragedy is staying in that space.

Life is so beautiful.

Enjoy today and every day. The moments - simple and not so simple. The people in your life, those who love you and cherish you and vice versa. Diem Brown -

She dreamed of experiencing everyday pleasures, like apple picking in the fall, but more than anything, she said, she just wanted to live.

Selling Stones in the Ground

Stonehenge - a national treasure in England. An attraction most tourists flock to when visiting the UK. As a history buff myself, it was surely to be on my list when I trekked around England, and indeed, one day in brown traveller life, I ventured to Wiltshire to check it out.

There it was - the ring of standing stones, one of the most famous and recognisable sites in the world.  Was I willing to pay the £7.50 (the fee at the time; it is now double the amount) to go in? No. This may seem like sacrilege to many, but no...was not feeling it. Why?

Stonehenge - from beyond the fence.
I have small hands which fit through the fence nicely with my camera. lol.

1. I really was not willing to stand in the line for an hour just to see rocks in the ground
2. I could see the site just fine from where we were standing
3. When you paid the entrance fee, you did not get much closer to the site than if you stayed outside the fence
4. You had to fight up with the dozens and dozens of tourists and one lady complained bitterly later that she could barely get close to the stones
4. It did not fill me with the same sense of wonder I felt when I first laid eyes on the Eiffel Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa for example.

So no...it left me a bit deflated and disappointed, but not with any regret. I saw the site very well even from where I was standing outside the fence. I did not feel like being inside would have provided me with any real value. My photos looked pretty good, even though a wire fence separated me from the site. I even posed in front of the wire fence with a big smile on my face. And with my £7.50 still in my pocket, I was able to have a very nice meal later in the day.

Another "this is it?" moment was the tour of Kew Palace (not the gardens, which were a masterpiece, just the palace), Honolulu, and let's not forget the more recent Llandaff Ghost Walk in Cardiff, and these tours in particular have led me to believe that with the right packaging, you can sell anything to a gullible tourist.

Pigeon Point, Tobago

That being said, Trinidad and Tobago has more than its share of natural wonders and it is heartening to see that there is a lot more effort in recent times to create unique tours and experiences for visitors and locals alike. I would love to see more though. I mean, we are not lacking in entrepreneurial spirit as evidenced from the lovely people who charge you to babysit your mobile phone outside the US embassy. Nope. We can do anything we set our minds to. From the natural wonders like the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, Buccoo Reef and Nylon Pool and Asa Wright, to culinary adventures for the foodie traveller, or cultural immersion via tours and day-trips, shows and the like, we have a lot to offer. I mean people are selling spooky ghost stories and drawing pretty decent crowds. We have folklore - great folklore. We have history. We have rocks in the ground - the Growing Stone in Biche. We have amazing cuisine. Diverse and interesting cultural traditions. We have so much! We just need to be a bit more creative and outgoing in terms of how we market these wonders.

Happy Places - Those Moments that Make Everything Better

The wonderful Ray tagged me a while ago to share my Happy Places. I am also stealing her idea of adding a cute word cloud.

Happy Places - those places that are all yours - those moments that evoke warm feelings, feelings of safety, contentment.

As crazy as it sounds, and as much as I hate it - my morning workout. Every morning when that alarm goes off, I move about the house with a sense of dread. I unwillingly put on my gym clothes and lug all my baggage into the car. But once I am in the middle of the workout, my mind is clear, my music is driving me, I am emotionally cleansed - ready to start the day.

Speaking of which - music. Music takes me away from the reality of life. It is my constant companion - in traffic, at the gym, at my desk, while cooking. No matter how tedious an activity may be, or how annoying the world is around me, once my music is on, I take life to that other place - that happy place - where noone else can get in, where it is a population of one.

Coffee time. I mean, like duh. While weekday coffee time is usually punctuated by emails from someone wanting something now now now, or by meetings, real coffee time - where I can sit and leisurely sit with my cup, and maybe a biscotti, cookie or cheese puff - is happy time. It does not matter whether it is in a coffee shop setting where I am surrounded by life - by love, creativity, gossip, solitude - or on the balcony with just my tablet or my Kindle. Coffee time - where the warmth and goodness of ground beans, mixed with hot water, hot milk and honey just makes everything better.

Today's coffee time - Coffee and Toffee Crunch Biscotti - coffee time. Bliss.

My iced green tea is my new happy place as well, particularly in recent days with the intense heat.

Coming home from work and taking off the trappings of a long day. There is nothing quite like getting home after 12 hours at the office, 2 hours in traffic and just taking off all the junk that comes with that, taking a shower and slipping into my favourite plain black maxi dress. Bliss. It is truly amazing how heavy a necklace feels at the end of a work day, how tight and unbearable shoes feel, compared to just wearing a slip dress and stepping through the house with bare feet. It's indescribable really, how that feels.

Cooking also revives my spirit. Something about creating something out of nothing does that. My kitchen is like church! I worship regularly.

Aunty time. Seeing the different moods and reactions of a 4 year old and a 1 year old - extraordinary. From the 4 year old whose little eyes become wide as saucers when you say certain words like trucks, ice cream or pizza, to the 1 year old who is mastering her walking and running skills every day and is discovering new experiences daily.

These are just a few of my happy places. As I said before, maybe my life is not as exciting as others', but it is mine and I am content.

Questions and Answers

Question: Have you abandoned your blog?

This was a question posed to me by a loyal reader (one of my 1.5 loyal readers) after clicking on my blog over and over and seeing nothing new since September.

Answer: No, I have not really abandoned it. I like that it is there. I do feel like creativity has abandoned me. I always have the best of intentions and then I open up the blog app, and I am either too tired or too uninspired to fill the white space with words which make sense and which would make anyone want to read them. But I realise that not writing is also not good - it is like stifling that light inside until it is a mere flicker. So I am going to try (yet again) to not give up on the blog for too long.

Question: How come you didn't blog/tweet/Instagram this?

This was a more recent question (someone asked me this yesterday actually). I ran into a friend at a thing my mum and I were at, and later that evening, she messaged me to ask why I had not checked in or taken any photos. Ummm...cause I was just there for the experience. I mean - what did she want to see? She was there!!! lol. I don't think I need to chronicle every outing, every cough for the world. Not only that, I think I have spoken enough about not really being tied down to my phone, so I can leave it in the bag and just be somewhere without it. I must admit, I was really amused by her question - maybe people think I don't have a life because I don't tweet about every little thing I do. Granted, lately I have been sleeping a lot, but there are also birthday parties, baby showers, girls' nights out, countryside drives on the weekend, cooking adventures, property viewings, shopping trips, Mummy/daughter Saturdays, being the best aunty 2 kids can ever want. It may not always be the most exciting but it's my life - and it's mine to share or not share as I choose.

Question: So what's next?

It's Sunday. I have finished all the weekend chores. Sipping on my iced tea and soon going back to bed. Life is good.

How to Lose Weight on (the best) Vacation

As I sit typing this, I can barely walk. I resumed my regular morning workouts just last week after a 6-7 week hiatus, which included pre-vacation hustling time, a 3-week vacation and post-vacation indifference. It is always the same. Yesterday I worked legs – squats, lunges, upping the resistance on the cardio machines. Today, I am sore and miserable.

The good news is, despite the damage done by multiple “happy hours”, including pink beer in Amsterdam and coffee mojitos in Lausanne, as well the havoc wreaked by vacation foodie goodness, including Swiss cheese fondue and great pastries, I did not actually put any weight on. How is this possible? You don’t even have to pack gym clothes! This is how you do it.

One heavy suitcase. If you are on an extended vacation, and are not low maintenance, then you will still, despite your best efforts, have a heavy bag. We can talk about my success in only having ONE bag in another post. However, the limit on regular airlines like British Airways is 23kg, while on the budget airlines, I am only willing to pay for 20kg. So at the very least, you are going to be doing some weight lifting especially if it is a multi-trip itinerary. I had to hoist that bag in and out of taxis, trains, and hotels over a 3 week period, across 4 cities. That is a workout in itself, let me tell you. That pink bag is better than any weight machine.

The infamous globe trotting pink suitcase

Take the most inconvenient mode of travel. Taxis are a luxury in most any place. Taxis are also usually more expensive. The cheaper options like trains often come with their own challenges, but when viewed through the lens of weight management, one can turn challenges into freakin’ opportunities. Trains don’t drop you off in front of the hotel. Trains usually park your ass at some train station that can be as near as a 2 minute stroll or as annoying as a 20-minute huff and puff. Train stations also sometimes have stairs – no lifts, no escalators, but stairs. Tiring memories of London Victoria and Ealing Common come to mind as I hoisted my pink bag and brown self up and down multiple steps in agony. Taxis are for people who want the wonderful Italian dinner to stay on their hips. For the health conscious – take a train.

Avoid public transport and not only save money, but lose a pound or two. If your travel spot is gorgeous, as most tend to be, then why take a train, tram or bus to go everywhere? The canals of Amsterdam make for scenic walking routes and I did a lot of walking. Not always good for tired tourist feet but great for burning off the pink beer! At the end of my trip with a sore back caused by a pre-vacation fall down the stairs at home and lifting the pink bag everywhere, too much walking, particularly uphill walking as in Lausanne, was not the best option. But it still worked those glutes.

But still, take the train and be late for said train. I had forgotten about how “great” relying on public transportation can be, and even when on vacation, you can still find yourself running for trains. Don’t want to wait another 30-45 minutes in the cold at midnight in Geneva International? Run for the train, with pink bag. Don’t want to wait another hour for the train from Bournemouth to London? Run up the stairs, across the walkover, down the stairs and to the train door just as it is closing. Don’t want to be late for dinner date with friends? Run for the train! Yep…running for the train in Europe is inevitable. In the chase after the train you will probably lose necklaces (check), flip flops (check check), scarves (check) and the like. But there is nothing sweeter than losing a bit of weight (CHECK!!!).

Oh, and sit in the restaurant having cocktails while not checking your flight time and then realise you have 5 minutes to run about 100 miles from the table to the departure gate. That burns calories as well. These helpful tips should help you on future trips in managing all the goodies associated with vacation and your waistline!

*This blogger was not hurt in the pursuit of this weight loss.

Shakespeare in England and the Llandaff Ghost Walk in Cardiff

On my last full day in Cardiff, we decided we would make a girls' lime/girls' day out and we crossed the border back into England for a lovely sunny day out in Stratford-upon-Avon. For those who did not know, S-u-A is the birthplace of ole Billy Shakespeare, and what I loved about the town is the lovely quaintness of it all. From the cobblestoned streets to the old buildings - very lovely.

Beautiful day for a stroll along the River Avon

Beautiful day to sail the River Avon

William Shakespeare's House - another cliched tourist attraction

The ghost of Shakespeare? He was very amorous with me I must say.

We did partake in some modern day girls' day out activities like shopping, drinking and getting ice cream, but it was really just about some down time and taking in the scenery of the place.

Back in Cardiff, I had a quick change of clothes as we prepared ourselves for the Llandaff Ghost Walk. Now, my disclaimer is that I did not plan this outing. It was planned for me. However, we were going to approach it with a laugh and I did indeed hope for the best, not knowing quite what to expect.

The walk itself was scheduled for the eerie hour of 8.30pm, and the group of suckers adventurers met at the ancient city cross just a few steps from the Llandaff Cathedral. Now the walk started off on a bit of a promising note with the guide (will get back to him shortly) giving us a historical/plausible sounding account of the "cursed" cathedral whose spires were destroyed time and time again, until finally being blessed by some whodunit. That part was interesting.

Llandaff Cathedral just as the sun started to set at 8.30pm
- just as we set off for the Ghost Walk

The rest - well...it went downhill after that and so did we, as we made our way into the belly of the field around the cathedral and then to the cemetery. The guide was just over-the-top for me - too over-the-top. It was almost like a slumber party where someone tells bad horror stories around a flashlight in the dark bedroom. It was ridiculous. I am not going to discount the possibility of ghosts and other such supernatural beings, but the stories of men in black gliding across the field, balls of light chasing co-eds and winged women knocking at windows to steal one's soul, all told in the pitch blackness of this cemetery - well, it made me roll my eyes, yawn, stretch and dream of cider in the pub. I went back to the reviews to see if anyone else agreed with me and nope - I was alone in my skepticism. This was rated the #2 tour/attraction in Cardiff - even ahead of the lovely Cardiff Castle. Bollocks.

Still, my friends and I made the best of it, snickering in the dark and scaring each other to keep from falling asleep, but I would not recommend this if you are a rational human being. That was how the trip to Cardiff ended and that was almost the end of my vacation - which ended back in London, with friends, dinner and drinks, a free upgrade on my flight the next day and an uneventful flight back to Port of Spain.

I am already thinking - where can I go next - but then I opened my credit card statement this morning and well, I will not be going anywhere anytime soon. :-)

Hello Wales! Nice to see you again!

So then it was back to London, where I spent a few days recuperating. Yes. Recuperating. Between tourist life and running for trains, running for trains with the pink suitcase, heaving 19kg suitcase onto train platforms and up stairs (thank you London Victoria and Ealing Common for the free weight training sessions), I was happy to spend a few very anonymous days in my favourite city.

Being a loyal Hiltoner, I had some Hilton Honours points in the kitty and booked myself a 3-day stay at the newly refurbished Double Tree by Hilton in Ealing Common. Though a bit off the beaten path, the hotel itself was quite comfortable, terribly clean and just of the standard I have come to expect from the Hilton brand. Special mention goes out to the Nespresso machine in the room, which just made the stay that much sweeter. I had the best sleep of the entire trip here – with no maniacal tourist life activity keeping me in the tight clutches of exhaustion.

Hello, Nespresso!

I managed just to see a few people including the lovely Corey and the stay also included a lovely day trip to Bournemouth, to catch up with an old friend as he launched a new chapter in his life. But after a bliss-filled pitstop, I was off to Cardiff, Wales – a reunion with the city I first visited while still a poor post-grad. I love Cardiff though. While not as hectic as London, it has enough diversity, character and beauty to make it a great place to visit. My friends are also the warmest hosts ever, and there was to be no rest! Always eager to make sure her guests are properly entertained, our first adventure was to the Big Pit – and as the name suggests, it was a damn big pit.

The Big Pit National Coal Museum is an actual coal mine and the tour takes you 300 feet underground into the mine, where you get a vivid recounting of the life of the miner, including the evolution of mining, the risks, their domestic situations (wives had to put up with some smelly, dirty, gnat-infested men coming home from work) and the eventual loss of an entire way of life for the region, with the global emergence of natural gas and nuclear energy. I thoroughly enjoyed this tour, though not a fan of dark, confined spaces, and I managed to bump my head more than a few times in the low underground tunnels. But it was a highlight.

Dreary, windy Welsh day. Great day for an underground coal mine

The Big Pit in Wales

This guy is showing off some of the gear I wore on my tour

Of course after a morning in the mines, one simply has to go taste beer at the local brewery. But of course!

Nothing beats a cold beer after a few hours in the mine

I want to save the ghost walk for another entry so will end it here. That ghost walk…something special.

Caux and Montreux - Swiss Life continues

Amsterdam was always meant to be the more hectic part of the vacation, with my plans for Lausanne being really just to relax. It did not always feel like that though, but the next day, after a lot of wine, we headed towards Montreux, where we would take the funicular train up the mountain side to the small village of Caux. And it is small. But cute.

I guess a highlight of the village is the former Caux Palace Hotel, which is now a conference centre and a hotel school. But it is a beautiful building and though we were not allowed inside, I imagined the views from the grounds were stunning.

Still, we did not do too badly on the outskirts.

This funicular train experience was much better than a previous experience I had in Hastings, probably because the views were nicer, there were more people onboard (who wants to die alone?), and you could not see the incline from the base of the mountain.

With it being a warm and sunny day at last, we took the train back down and took an easy stroll along la Place du Marché in Montreux. Here, there were street vendors, boardwalk cafes and of course, the lake.

After a quick bite, we took the bus to Château de Chillon, where we would leave our friend to explore the castle on her own, but not before a few photos.

This was my last full day in Switzerland before heading back to my third favourite island after Trinidad and Tobago - Great Britain!

It's Wine O'Clock - Trip to Swiss Wine Country

After a great night out with adventures into Swiss fondue, we prepared ourselves for the next mission - to visit Lavaux - a region in the canton of Vaud, or as I like to call it, part of Swiss wine country. I was very excited for this and the weather seemed to cooperate ever so slightly as the rains abated, though the sun never really quite joined the party.

Lavaux is beautiful, framed by the gorgeous waters of the lake and with the Swiss alps nestled neatly in the background, though on this day we could barely see the peaks behind the grey of the now non-threatening clouds.

Beautiful views from the top of the vineyards

The wine villages below us 

We took the wine trail through the vineyards to the lovely town of St Saphorin, where we stopped for a bite and of course, had some wine. The trail itself takes you through the terraced vineyards which stretch for miles (and miles!), with the Chasselas grape being master (or mistress) of the vineyards.

Our lunch break was at a small, unpretentious village pub-like establishment (you know how I "love" pub-like establishments), but this was Switzerland and the dish of the day, comprised of perfectly cooked lamb, spinach and roast potatoes was fantastic.

Assiette du Jour!

With our bellies full, we took a less scenic stroll to the town of Rivas, the central town of the region and the location of the Lavaux Vinorama, where we would sample some of the best wines the region had to offer. Exciting!

After a short film about the life of the wine grower or le vigneron (during which time I unashamedly stole a few winks), we were led back upstairs to the main event - the tasting. We were actually supposed to taste 3 wines, but our dedicated host was a real gem, and between us girls, we managed to taste quite a few reds and whites - each exquisite (though there was one red which really did not make love to my palate at all!). Paired with bread and sticks of puff pastry, our afternoon wine tasting was decadent and is a must for anyone visiting this beautiful area of Lausanne.

Wines everywhere, at every turn...

Lovely whites from the Lavaux region in Switzerland

Our reds -all for us!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Life in Heels and Flip Flops © 2012 | Designed by Rumah Dijual, in collaboration with Buy Dofollow Links! =) , Lastminutes and Ambien Side Effects