“What we are ………….” Wednesday!

We’d like to share what we are doing this Wednesday, hopefully, every Wednesday from hereon, as a way of documenting our Everyday Life. Hope you like reading such posts!

Here’s what Madhurya had to say:

Reading: I just finished Eleanor and Park and started reading my favorite, Agatha Christie`s murder mystery “Taken at the Flood”.
Watching: the weather get better slowly, the “Big bang theory series” when i need a laugh and the pictures of my nieces and nephew.
Eating: whatever possible 🙂
Making: my next crochet project. I guess I will finish it in 2 weeks.
Wishing for: a stress-free work life.
Learning: to be more patient and relaxed. And to be thankful for what I have in my life.
Thinking: about my next visit to Dubai and meeting my entire family 🙂
Listening: to the “tap tap” of my computer keypad and the “yakety yak” of my colleagues talking.
Loving: my husband, my parents, my sis and bro, my very sweet nieces and nephew, and my life 🙂
Here’s what I had to say:
Reading:“The Woman on the Orient Express”, by Lindsay Jayne Ashford on my e-reader.
Watching: Madhav looking at his baby pictures and giggling away.
Eating: A slice of eggless Banana and Chocolate cake I baked.
Making:a list of post ideas, so I can be more consistent in posting.
Wishing for:a bit more time from our busy schedule to visit a store called, Chunari, an Indian Wear store, about which I’ve heard such good things!
Learning: more about myself with each passing day, as I’ve committed to meditating and journaling every single day.
Thinking: about how my sister and I would study all the time and our mom had to ask us to stop!
Listening: to MS Subbulakshmi’s Vishnu Sahasranamam on Gaana.com
Loving:my busy, everyday life.
Love,
Madhurya & Manasa.

Chaplin’s World, Vevey

I don’t know if it was the love for his movies or the charisma he brought into the film industry or just the sheer romance for the classics (which I inherited from my dad), that when I read the news that a Charlie Chaplin Museum, “Chaplin`s World” had opened in Vevey, in the French part of Switzerland, I decided to go.

After Charlie Chaplin presented his film, “Limelight”, on a European tour, he was denied re-entry into the US because of McCarthyism. And so, he decided to settle down in Vevey, along with his fourth and last wife Oona O’Neill Chaplin and their children. The family stayed in the Manoir du Ban in Corsier. It was in this mansion, built in the neoclassical style and set in a vast park that Chaplin spent the last 25 years of his life. He died there at the age of 88 in 1977. It has now been converted into a museum.

It took us almost 2 and a half hours to reach Vevey from Winterthur by train. From the train station there is a bus which takes you directly to the Chaplin Museum.
The entrance to the Museum costs – 24CHF for adults (from 16 years) and 18CHF for children (from 6 to 15 years).

The mansion and the 14-hectare park with unobstructed views of the Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) provide insight into the everyday life of the Chaplins. An exhibition hall has been built nearby as a mock-up of a Hollywood studio focusing on Chaplin’s movie work. Apparently this museum took around 15 years of planning before it came into life.

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As you enter the mansion, a wax figure of Chaplin warmly welcomes you inside. A Family tree of the Chaplins and their lives are depicted on the walls. Visitors can walk throughout the huge mansion into the living room, dining room and library, where Chaplin used to write his autobiography and prepare scripts.

Chaplin’s World features (both inside the mansion and the studio) around 30 wax figures created by the Grevin wax museum in Paris. These include lifelike models of Chaplin, his wife Oona, actors and actresses from his films, and friends like Albert Einstein, as well as artists inspired by his work such as Michael Jackson, Woody Allen and Federico Fellini.

Out of all the rooms, I loved best the library (Ofcourse!). Big wooden shelves carried immense number of books. I could imagine myself sitting by the window with a beautiful view outside and enjoying a nice cup of coffee while reading. A second room next to the library was decorated with clippings about Chaplin`s achievements and stories from newspapers. It just seemed like the design of every room was thought through carefully and each furniture setting and the decorative item was handpicked with care. After walking around the mansion, we took a stroll into the beautiful garden soaking as much sun as we could.

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Inside the studio, we were shown a short movie about Charlie Chaplin and glimpses of scenes from his best movies. By the end of this film, the screen opened itself for us to walk through. Walking through the 16-metre-high studio, fans can learn about Chaplin’s early humble beginnings in London and his meteoric rise to become one of the biggest names in the film industry at the age of 26. With the recreated sets and embedded film screens inside the studio, visitors can experience what it was like to stroll down “Easy Street” or be in a cabin teetering on the edge of a cliff, like in Gold Rush, or sit on the barber’s chair from “The Great Dictator” or view the restaurant where he dined in “The Immigrant”.

In a narrow room resembling a Swiss bank vault, some of the iconic objects associated with Chaplin’s work are on display, including his bowler hat and cane of his Little Tramp character, the certificate signed by Queen Elizabeth II when Chaplin was knighted in 1975 and his awards.

I think this has been one of the best experiences I have had so far in Switzerland. I was so in awe the first time that I decided to bring my parents along when they visited. And guess what, they too had a great time!

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Love,

Madhurya.

30 Things to do in 2016- Final Review

Hey, It feels nice to be back! We’ve been gone, like, forever! Hopefully, we’ll be more consistent in 2017!

I decided to try 30 new things to do in my 30th year and by the end of the year, I finished only 22. Here’s what I accomplished-

1. Buy a sewing machine 
2. Learn basic stitches
3. Sew a summer dress/ skirt for Medha 
4. Paint a wall hanging for our hall

5. Scrapbook with Medha of her cousin’s visit. 

6. Make a photobook with Medha’s pictures.

7. Make a photobook with Madhav’ s pictures
8. Turn the spare room into craft/reading room
9. Post before/after pictures of craft/reading room project.
10. Bake a cake and decorate it with Medha

11. Throw a handmade birthday party at home for Medha and Madhav- 
13. Read a kannada book
14. Read the photography book Prasad gifted me
15. Complete Spark ecourse
16. Complete Onward and Upward ecourse
17. Have pictures taken with my sister for the blog
18. Write thank-you letters to the most important people in my life ( I know who they are)
19. Volunteer at Madhav’s playschool 
20. Write to a magazine/ newspaper.
21. Visit a National park
22. Learn to drape a saree beautifully
24. Add 10 new followers to the blog ( to make the count 90)
25. Change the blog’s “about” page
26. A weaving project with Medha 

27. A plush doll with Medha

28. A garland with Medha- 

29. Visit a historical monument/palace with the kids
30. 365 days of journaling

I failed to achieve all the things I set out to do. Yet again. Procrastination, as usual, is the biggest culprit; setting unrealistic goals, like journaling 365 days, is yet another; other reasons too contributed to my less than successful endeavor- inefficient time-management, horrible mind-management etc. Ugh! I failed.

Or… Did I? 22 isn’t so bad after all, is it? It is more than half the number of goals I set for myself! If I never set 30 tiny goals or pushed myself to accomplish them, I wouldn’t have tried a single novel thing- I wouldn’t have gained the courage to invest in a sewing machine nor would I have learnt to hammer nails onto a wooden board from my dad, to make my weaving loom.

I’ve learned so much about myself (I love weaving so much! Reading Kannada books- not so much!) and creativity because of this exercise. I would never have learnt that creativity comes with practice, had I not read the book, “Big Magic”, or tried my hand at sewing, even though I had never even fixed a button or stitched a tear myself.

When I announced my intention to the world, my near and dear ones came forward to help me reach it. My sister created a Pinterest board of craft room organization ideas for me. In fact she was the one who suggested I set 30 goals in the first place. She kept motivating me through the whole thing. My sister-in-law designed and bought the photobooks of my kids. My grandma taught me how to sew and weave.

Despite my higher rate of failure, I won’t stop goal-setting anytime soon. So watch out for more for the brand new year!

Love,

Manasa.

Reichenbach Falls

Being one of the biggest fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle`s fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, paying a visit to the Reichenbach Falls, was on my travel list for a long time! So when Mike took me, my parents and my mother-in-law there as a surprise on my birthday, my happiness was boundless!!

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Reichenbach falls are a series of waterfalls in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland.

Now you may wonder what is so special about this place and how it is connected to Sherlock Holmes? This is the location where Sherlock Holmes fights with his arch nemesis, Professor Moriarty at the end of “The Final Problem”, first published in 1893. By the end of the story, Holmes and Moriarty both fall to their deaths down the gorge while locked in mortal combat.

On his vacation in Switzerland, Sir Doyle visited many waterfalls in the region. Apparently Reichenbach falls made the greatest impression on him, that he decided to let his hero die there.

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(Conan Doyle meant to stop writing about his famous detective after this short story; but the pressure from fans eventually persuaded him to bring Holmes back in his next stories).

Taking a train is not the best option if you are planning to go on a day trip, as it takes at least 4 hours to get there, and you might need to change 3 trains in between. It is better to drive as it takes fewer hours to reach.

From the parking lot, the falls are made accessible by the Reichenbach fall funicular.

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At the station on the top, there is a viewing platform. The actual ledge from which Moriarty fell is on the other side of the falls from the funicular, but we decided not to walk that far.

From where we stood, we could see the narrow column of water making its plunge from high above. It wasn’t the “dreadful cauldron of swirling water and seething foam”, as the author describes the “final” moments of his protagonist, but the height of the column and imagining the scene where Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty fall to their “deaths locked in each other’s arms”, sent a chill down my spine!

(The falls are open only part of the year, May through October. The funicular runs from 9:00 until 18:00. Adult return ticket costs CHF 10 and a one-way ticket is CHF 7. For children ages 6-16, a return ticket costs CHF 8 and a one-way ticket costs CHF 6.)

On our return journey from the hike and the funicular ride, we drove to the small town of Meiringen, to have our lunch at a nice Pizzeria (Thanks to my mom-in-law for this treat!).

After lunch, we walked around the town. We spotted the Sherlock Holmes museum, located at the basement of the Anglican Church near the train station. It is dedicated to Holmes. Though we did not go inside the Museum, we enjoyed the walk around it, which has a life-size statue of the detective.

For anyone visiting Meiringen, the Aare gorge (known locally as the Aareschlucht) is not to be missed. The Haslital, one of the large valleys in the central alps, stretches from the Grimsel Pass to the Lake of Brienz. The flat valley floor of the lower Haslital is separated from the upper valley by a transverse rock formation. Over thousands of years, the Aare River eroded a path through this rock formation resulting in a gorge which is 1400 metres long and up to 200 metres deep.

Since 1889 the gorge has been open to the public and nowadays a fully accessible walkway runs along the bottom of the cliff wall. It is a one of a kind experience to walk through this gorge.

(Entry ticket for an adult costs CHF 8 and for children between 6-16 costs CHF 5. (Children below 6 years can enter freely)).

I must say this was one of my best birthdays ever. I got to spend time with my family and finally got the chance to pay my tribute to the great legends of all time. Thanks Mike!

Cheers,

Madhurya.

 

My Reading habit and Book Reviews

Most of the time, I don’t finish the book I begin reading. There… I said it! A fancy cover or a good review prompts me to pick a book, but a few pages in, I lose interest or the plot is too scary or sad or something, and I just set it aside and grab another. I seriously admire people who read all sorts of books , good or bad, and review them. Me? If I review a book, then it means I have thoroughly enjoyed the book and have been dying to get it out of my system in the form of a review!

Anyways, I read a couple of books and re-read them immediately a while ago. First time I read a book, I’m in a rush to know what will happen in the end. But the next time, I try to go slow, figuring out the missing pieces of the puzzle, untangling the knots I didn’t notice as I sped by in a race to get to the end. So you can see that in all the time that I should’ve spent writing and blogging, I was busy reading and re-reading! Of course, there were other things too- Travel, Kids’ education and being involved in a number of (mostly tiresome) activities that are needed to be done in preparation for a big wedding in the family. But really, the main reason behind my lack of posting is my reading. Reading is the easiest, most pleasant way there is. At least for me…

So… the books that hijacked my brain and left me quite dazed for a long time are-

  1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  2. Perks of Being a Wallflower

I wonder why I always end up loving books for teens or with protagonists in their teens. I think it’s because I never read such books in my adolescence. Or, because I truly feel for young adults and the anxieties and the fears that they go through as part of growing up. I think that growing up is a tough thing to do, especially in this day and age.

Now coming to the reviews-

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- I guess this book doesn’t need much reviewing. The 8th installment of the popular Harry Potter series written in the form of a play. Those of you who have followed this blog (Thanks a ton, by the way!) know how crazy my sister and I are about the Harry Potter series. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. Imagine the thrill I felt when the book landed right into my hands without even ordering the book myself! It was a gift from my sister! (Sisters are the best!). As I read this, I could imagine my favorite HP characters, Hermione, Ron and Harry (in the order mentioned!), now parents, juggling parenting and magicking (Is there a word like that?!). It was heart-breaking to read about the friction between Harry and his son and the yearning Albus feels to right the ‘wrong’ he thinks his ‘famous’ dad committed.

There’s so much magic and time-turning and transforming happening in this book, which moves at a quick pace, you (or at least someone like me!) will find it hard to grapple with the happenings in one read!

I am sure Harry Potter fans will love this book, but others, who aren’t familiar with the setting, the characters, the spells and the history might feel lost. I loved it and will be reading the whole series and the play again soon.

This kind of book makes me want to read more plays. Any recommendations, anyone?

Perks of being a wallflower- This book is not an easy read. I picked it many times before, but couldn’t muster the strength or the interest to carry on. Not because it is boring; Far from it, it is actually a very good book, but it has some disturbing aspects to it. Beautiful but disturbing, can you believe it? It is a series of letters written by this kid, Charlie, to whom is not quite clear, at least in the beginning. He begins writing before the first day of High School. He is anxious and alone. He has just lost his best friend to suicide. It is quite disturbing! But if you have the will to keep reading, it will be a book you will always remember, not just because it will introduce you to some of the best characters ever (Love you Sam and Bill!) and to new kind of music (like the ones by The Smiths or Simon and Garfunkel or Nirvana), but also because you will be rewarded with a beautiful, heartfelt ending. Like always I found myself crying by the end of the book. That’s how I want my books… Simple yet Deep. All encompassing!

I hope some of you will like it just as much as, or maybe more than, I did.

Here’s to more reading and more loving!

Love,

Manasa.

 

Lindau

lindau

It was a beautiful sunny weekend; We decided to drive to Lindau on our motorboat. Lindau is a major town and an island on the eastern side of Lake Constance, bordered by Austria and Switzerland.

We reached Lindau at noon. We decided not to dock the boat at the main harbor (which is usually occupied by the bigger boats) and instead chose the side harbor to moor. (Docking costs around €11 per night, which also includes WC/ Bath).

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After a couple of sandwiches and a salad at the local diner, we wandered around the harbor, enjoying the picturesque views of the mountains, lake, magnificent ships and boats on one side and restaurants and shops bustling with people on the other.

The entrance to the harbor is very popular and beautiful. It is guarded by a majestic statue of a Bavarian Lion (Bayerische Löwe) and the new lighthouse (Neue Leuchtturm).The six-meter high, statue of the lion (completed in 1856) overlooking the lake is the work of a Munich Professor, Johann Halbig. It is made of sandstone and weighs about 50 tons.

the-entrance

The new lighthouse is 36 meters high and measures a base circumference of 24 meters. It is one of the few buildings of its kind that has a clock on the facade.

You can enjoy the views from the lighthouse’s observation deck at the top after climbing about 139 steps. The inner walls of the tower are decorated with amusing anecdotes and detailed information about Lindau and Lake Constance. The lighthouse is open to public depending on the weather and demand. (Admission costs € 2.10 for adults, € 0.80 for children).

I highly recommend approaching Lindau using Water transport, even if it means taking a short ferry trip for this purpose! The vistas, I’m sure, will take your breath away.

The beautiful streets of Lindau invite even the least athletic visitor to explore on foot. Lindau’s market square is lined by a series of sturdy and attractive old buildings. You’ll see many shops housed in buildings built in the 15th and 16th century.

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The Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) is one of the most beautiful buildings in Lindau. This historic building took around 14 years to build and was completed in 1436. It is in Gothic style and is covered in murals on the façade. One of them depicts the time Emperor Maximilian I, held a deliberation here in 1496.

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The city library (Ehemals Reichsstädtische Bibliothek, ERB) is truly magnificent. It stores around 13,000 books that hold within its thick, leather book covers, adventurous travel stories, philosophical observations, detailed analysis of ailments and other stories of bygone generations. I was totally in awe of this library. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take any pictures inside.

The island of Lindau is connected to the mainland via a small bridge accessible to cars, bikes and pedestrians. There is also a train which travels from the mainland to the island. We strolled to the mainland while enjoying the surroundings and ended the evening on our boat, relishing a delicious Pizza from a local Kebab shop..

Next day, we had a lovely breakfast at a Hotel/ Restaurant called Hotel Bayerischer Hof. Our Breakfast included Omlette with onions and herbs, sauteed mushrooms on the side and bread with homemade butter. Every bite tasted heavenly! Ah! What an amazing way to spend a weekend!

a-heavenly-breakfastLove,

Madhurya.

Decorating my new home

I’ve always been interested in Interior Designing. If it was not for the “Engineering” or “Doctor” degree trend during the 90s, I would have chosen ID as my profession. Well, so what if I’m not an Interior designer, that doesn’t stop me from trying and using my creativity to spruce up my home. I’m always on the look-out for home décor ideas on Pinterest and implementing them in my own ways.

This is not a post about interior designing, where I tell you how to work with your space and transform it. I just wanted to share with you the things I have used (some handmade, some bought and some gifted by loved ones) to make our home extra colorful and warm.

  1. Entrance

At the entrance to our home is a simple white lantern. We call it our guardian as it stays outside, by the door. We bought it at a store called Mauch at Hilzingen (in Germany).

Entrance

  1. Hallway

In the hallway, I’ve hung 2 beautiful frames of Egyptian art on the wall. They are made of papyrus and were given to me by my mother-in-law, who purchased them in Egypt during her travels. I’ve used golden colored frames to give them an authentic look.

On the door as you enter our home, I’ve displayed a wall-hanging given by my mom that is usually found in most Indian homes.

  1. Shoe stand

I got the idea for a shoe-stand from this website. The store sells wooden boxes in different types and colors. You can make shoe stands, coffee table, book cases, showcases etc. using them. We chose rustic-brown colored boxes to make our shoe stand.

Shoe stand

  1. Guest Bedroom

For our guest bedroom, we hung these beautiful frames showing birds during different seasons, gifted by my mom. She bought them in one of the stalls at  Global Village, Dubai.

Guest Bedroom

  1. Living room 

a. Most of the furniture in our home is made of wood. We have a wooden flooring too. To make all the elements in our home more cohesive, we have chosen mostly wooden/ rustic/ golden colored items to decorate our rooms. Even our curtains are golden in color. Beside the curtains, I have hung golden hanging chains to give our living room an oriental look.

Living Room

b.Side boards: I don’t have a show-case to display the souvenirs I’ve collected during my travels. So I’ve placed them on this wooden side board in the living room. It has valuable pieces from Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Malta and India. What you see at the center that looks like a cave is called “Amethstdrusen”.

Living Room 2

c.I’ve hung family pictures, again in golden colored frames. I bought the frames at Madal Bal in Schaffhausen.

Living Room 3

d. I’ve placed statues of Lord Ganesh, on handmade Crochet mandalas on a vintage style table. I bought the table at Madal Bal.

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Living room 4

  1. Kitchen

The idea to use this closet from Ikea was inspired by my mother-in-law. As soon as I saw this in her kitchen, I was eager to buy one for our home too. But sadly I couldn’t find this in any of the Ikea shops I knew. My sweet mother-in-law drove all the way to St. Gallen to buy this for me for my birthday.

Kitchen

  1. Bathrooms

I have used handmade crochet mandalas as mats to place our toiletries..

  1. Winter Garden / Library

I bought the bookshelves online from here. I wanted strong rustic shelves with an antique look. I placed small knick-knacks from Mauch, along with the books. The Golden lantern is from Morocco, again a gift from my Mom- in-law and the black lantern is from Mauch (They really have some nice stuff for home).

Library 3

These are some of the things I have chosen to make my home a bit more vibrant. I adhered to my “shopping” budget as I went around beautifying, instead of splurging all our hard-earned money. You can do the same, by putting in some extra hours of searching (online and at local stores) and going the diy route whenever possible.

Happy making your home sweet home a tad more sweeter!

Love,

Madhurya.