Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Europe Trip: Shopping Madness

Europe trip to me is not just about sightseeing, a good amount of the moolah is spent on you-know-what. I have to admit that Europe has good shopping.

Those who know me, I would add, really well, will know that I am an extravagant shopper. Despite telling myself to buy only one (item of each), I will often end up buying A FEW.

However, if you want me to point out a regret in this trip, it will definitely be the fact that I have no luck with Birkin or Kelly. I was hoping for a number 2!

Back to my shopping spree, a trip to the LaDuree restaurant is de rigueur. Kevin and I had brunch there and we did not forget to bring some back to my colleagues. Alas, I was told that we could only keep the macaroons for three days, so, I had finished up all eight of them!

We bought lots of chocolates, mainly from Switzerland. These chocolates come with free sore throat.

Bought Bally belts for my dad, in-law and Kevin from Italy. I didn't even use my wallet for the first few days in Italy and it was downright depressing! This was the only thing that I bought for the first few days. I couldn't wait to splurge!

Had crazy shopping at the Paris warehouse and Milan. Don't even want to brood on my encounter with the hunks at Abercrombie & Fitch in Milan.

Here comes our hefty purchases...
- 4 pairs of Ferragamo (each of us got 2)
- 1 Goyard bag
- 1 Hermes bag
- 1 Hermes bangle (My Vday Gift from Kev)
- 3 Panerai watches

These days, I am not so much into bags, because I had too many and at one point of time, I thought it was quite pointless because I usually stick to a few bags and the rest were often kept in the shelf. So for a while, I shifted the focus to shoes. And since last year, I bought a pair of Ferragamo, two pairs of Prada (and still intact). With the new addition of two more pairs of Ferragamo to the S family, I think I had enough.

I tell myself I need to alter my collection a bit, to be an "all-rounder" (for the wrong reason). Hereby, I am going to abolish the two bags per year target and amend it to two watches per year. That's my new hobby, which I share with Kevin.

Anyway, after this trip, I fulfilled both, two bags and two watches. All thanks to implusiveness. I was so out of control.

I love my Goyard bag. Because this is something not available in SG.

Kevin and I bought three panerais during this trip. And that means we have four in our collection. We prefer stealth luxury for watches, nothing too eye-catchy, showy, nothing too bling. The PAM 329, which uses the Panerai inhouse movement, was a perfect bday gift from Kevin because he knows that I have to deal with my colleagues in US and the GMT feature certainly comes in handy for me. Thanks to his generosity - the most pricey watch among the three. By the way, Panerai produced only 500 pcs of PAM 329 this year, so well, that explains the hefty price tag. Well, of course, price is not the key concern, even if it is a Swatch, it will still be priceless to me, since it is a gift from Kevin.

I liked my PAM 112 because I have a soft spot for simple watch. I liked the fact that no one can tell that it is an expensive watch, so that I can wear it on almost all occasions and won't feel "over wear" or "under wear". In addition, I love men watch. Despite having a very small wrist, I find watches with huge dial irresistible. Also, Panerai (unlike some of the other popular brands) is not a brand where you can walk to a shop and ask for a model and you will have it. Because some of the models are limited in production, hence, Singapore may not be allocated with the particular model that you are looking for. So, if you ever see a Panerai that you really like, you have to buy it. Serious, this is not an excuse for buying three watches, really.

My PAM 329 comes in metal strap and it was so chunky and cumbersome that I had to go and customize a strap when I returned to SG.

So that was about all of what I purchased during the trip.

At the end of the trip, on the plane, I tell myself that I am going to have bread and water for the rest of the year. And thanks to E, who gave me a Starbucks prepaid card so at least, I am going to enjoy better bread and coffee. Perhaps I should grow some sweet potato on my roof terrace, so at least I can have a change in the bread diet.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Europe Trip: France - Paris

I visited Paris about 1.5 years ago. And to me, nothing seemed to change. I didn't go to the tourist or popular landmark because I went through them the other time. Took a few pictures in Paris.

What a great way to spend Saint Valentine's Day in Paris. The most romantic city and the most romantic day of the year. And guess what did we do? The most unromantic man, Kevin and I drank wine and had tiramisu at one of the restaurants that faces the Eiffel Tower.

We explored mainly the outskirt of Paris, had brunch at LaDuree, and also other authentic French cuisine recommended by friends that tantalize our taste buds. It is impossible to diet in Paris, because if you ever skip a visit to the bakery, that would be tres triste!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Europe Trip: Swizterland - Zermatt, Bern, Geneva

The city of Bern is the fourth most populous city in Switzerland. Despite that it is a city in Switzerland, the official language of Bern is German. In 1983 the historic old town in the center of Bern became a UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Bern is ranked among the world’s top ten cities for the best quality of life.

What is so special about Bern? Since the 16th century, the city has had a bear pit. The extended and renewed pit off the far end of the Nydeggbrücke actually contains four bears, including two young. And we saw one of the bigger bears, I supposed.

I saw there were names on the ground, not sure what is that for, but interesting.

On our way to Zermatt, we drove past Marche, where we had lunch. It was a lunch with great view. Unlike in Singapore, when we said great view, it often means, city view or urban view. In fact, right in front of the restaurant, we enjoyed panoramic view of the river, the mountain and blue sky. Having stay in a city for my entire life, I yearned for a tranquil one, imagine this, sipping aromatic coffee, far away from the hustle bustle of city life. If you want me to name a place that is close to the description of heaven, I bet this will be the place.

We had horse meat, rosti, soup and blackforest cake.

The ticket to Zermatt. Zermatt is a municipality in the district of Visp in the German-speaking section of the canton of Valais in Switzerland. It is also a car-free city, to prevent air pollution which could obscure the town's view of the Matterhorn. The entire town is a combustion-engine car-free zone.

To me, Zermatt is more of a tourist spot. There are many places selling branded watches.

The tip of Matterhorn - an isolated mountain. It looks like an Egypt Pyramid.

We also visited the Castle Chateau Chillon. The Château de Chillon (Chillon Castle) is located on the shore of Lake Léman in the commune of Veytaux, at the eastern end of the lake, 3 km from Montreux, Switzerland. No words can explain the beauty of this place.

We drove to Geneva and visited the Broken Chair, Palais desk Nations, which is the European headquarters of the United Nations. The Flower Clock that reflects Geneva's heritage and undisputed leadership in watch making. We didn't have much to do except to sit around and drink coffee, because all the shops were closed on Sunday.

Next up, rounding up the trip with Paris and hefty cum sinful purchases.