My second week in Switzerland has been good so far. Daily calls with my daughter on Skype (where the toddler is more keen on seeing the toy Swiss cow I got her!) and my mom and hubby make me feel like I am present in India.
It was Diwali last week and I have been away from home for the 2nd consecutive year. Last year my trip to Switzerland was at the same time, the biggest consolation was my daughter was with me. This year seeing the snaps of all of them celebrating Diwali made me feel sad that I am missing the fun.
But a good soul and blogger friend Nidhi who has moved recently to Zurich invited me over. A few Indian families were having a Diwali potluck and I was excited to meet new people and celebrate Diwali in Zurich.
It was great meeting Nidhi in person for the first time and her fabulous friends, I felt at home. A delicious spread was laid out complete with mithai (Indian sweets) and sparklers.
Friday night was drinks time with another good friend Nidhi (coincidentally the same name) who was visiting and her bunch of friends.
This left me tired and I wanted to spend Saturday lazing at home, I also had errands to run. But the weather forecast was bright and sunny for Saturday and a rainy day on Sunday. I decided to make the most of Saturday.
A shopping buff like me cannot come to Switzerland and leave without footing a bill on my credit card. I love branded handbags and being the smart shopper I found out about a place called “FoxTown” which has branded outlets but at prices lesser than buying them in Zurich. This is in a place called Merdisio which is close to Lugano (The Italian speaking part of Switzerland), very close to the Italy border.
Its a 3 hour ride from Zurich, I enjoyed my time immersing myself in Sophie Kinsella’s book. For a bibliophile, what more does one need?
I reached Luagno at 1- the feel of the city is different from Zurich (I now know where Lavasa has taken inspiration from, though it has lots of work to do). Its a small city and language can be a challenge, I found it tough to communicate as most dint seem to know English. Bless that kind man who was taking his 5 month old baby for a walk in the stroller, he walked me to the lake.
I then boarded the boat- it was a 2.5 hour boat ride and it was absolutely mesmerising. One could hop off the boat at one of the several stops, eat and drink on the boat as well. At one point it got very cold as we were in the middle of the lake, I was literally freezing with my hair flying crazily all over the place- but I managed some good shots.
After the boat ride, it was almost 4.45 and I had to find the factory outlet which was about half an hour of travel- I wanted to make sure that since I have come so far, I buy my stuff.
The best part was I got into a train immediately and the worst part was once I got down I got lost. Google showed me a bus that I need to take but it never stopped at the desired stop and I got down, crossed the road took another bus in the opposite direction which dint seem to stop there either. I reached the train station again and wasted a lot of time. Google can be totally unreliable sometime! Or maybe I read it wrong.
No more buses, I decided and took a train. It was just the next stop and then a brisk walk for 10 minutes. The road was deserted, it was almost 6pm, it gets dark early here. I found an eerie silence, there was no one around and for a moment I felt I have landed in the wrong place. I placed that tiny ounce of faith in google and walked on- I then saw a few shoppers with bags from “Versace”, “Gucci”, “Burberry” and I knew I am on the right path.
I reached the mall soon, I had but one hour as it closes as 7. I rushed to find the “Coach”store. I have always fancied having a “Coach” bag but its not easy to find stores in India, nor do they ship to India. There are a few sites that claim to sell the original merchandise but they all look dodgy. I bought myself a signature Coach handbag and cant wait to use it.
I then bought a Ralph Lauren Tee for my little girl, not that she cares! Michael Kors was running some fab promotions and I bought 2 sling bags for Mom and me- same style, different colours. The story goes that I bought it for her but I knew I would be temped to use it- so I thought to be fair let me buy another one for her.
I was set to leave when this pink bag from Furla caught my attention – I have a thing for pink bags. I had to pick it up!
It was 7 and the stores were closing. I was super tired with bags to lug, a jacket and hungry tummy. I managed to grab a hot chocolate as the shop lady glared at me, eager to shut down her store.
Finally I boarded the train back. I was running, panting and puffing as I saw the train from far. A kind girl held the door open and tried to delay the train- bless these kind souls you meet, they make you believe life is still good, people are nice!
I reached Zurich at 10 and the bad weather had shown its face-it was raining. I was glad I decided to make the most of this day. I still have Sunday to relax.
So the best part of the day was – no doubt I loved my shopping loot and getting them at reasonable prices but what stood apart for me was the kindness of random people like the man with the baby and the girl who held the train door. I felt an inner sense of contentment and achievement as I spent one more day, travelling, making mistakes, getting lost, finding myself again, and looking back at the memory and saying “Now that was a day well spent”
I am participating in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge.