A Travellerspoint blog

Mumbai - Tuesday,18 February 2014

sunny 35 °C

Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai
Had a lovely sleep last night on our pre ordered goose down pillows! Phil snored all night as he has a bit of a cold. This place is even lovelier in the day light. Oh, the towels in the bathroom are scented!

We had a leisurely late breakfast then took some photos around the hotel and then wandered over to the India Gate.



We walked around the block near the hotel and I bought two pieces of Indian jewellery to add to my collection of costume jewellery bought from places all around the world to remind me of them and how much we enjoyed them. Also bought two silk tops which look very nice and I will be able to wear them at home quite well. I have found over the years of travelling that when you buy clothes overseas, they look fine when you try them on but when you wear them at home they look stupid.


Went to La Patisserie and bought a chicken pie and a beef and kidney pie for lunch and relaxed in our lovely room until 5.00 pm when we joined a tour of the hotel. The tour was conducted by Viren A. D'Sa and he was fabulous. He was very, very entertaining. He knew his stuff and the time just flew. His official title is Manager, Experiences! Isn't that so cool?


I have never stayed in a hotel where there are so many people taking photos of the interior and of course you have to be a guest to be in here.

We went to the Souk Restaurant for dinner. It is located right on top of the tower which is a new addition to the Taj hotel and they serve great Mediterranean food. We felt like we were in Istanbul.


I went shopping today and bought two silk tops and some jewels!!


The India Gate at night.


Into bed now as we have a very early rise tomorrow. We are leaving for the airport at 5.45 am! Eeeeek! Flying to Singapore. Goodbye India.
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Posted by gaddingabout 08:41 Archived in India Tagged mumbai Comments (0)

Goa to Mumbai - Monday, 17 February 2014

Today we are travelling from Goa to Mumbai on the 4.35 pm flight. Had a late breakfast and then came back to the room to pack. We have been given a late checkout at 1.30pm and are being picked up at 2.00 pm to go to the airport.

The wedding guests are all meeting for a late breakfast at 10.30am. Apparently they partied until 6am.


The morning after ...

We went for a last walk along the beach.


A lovely farewell message from the Dining Room staff.


The usual chaos reigned at Goa Airport because it is so small and very busy. The female security checking line was much shorter than the men's and I got through in no time and had to wait a long time for Phil. We met this family who were waiting for their flight to Bangalore. The father was a surgeon in Mysore.


Our flight was an hour late leaving Goa and arrived in Mumbai at 6.30 pm. It then took us an hour to collect our luggage. It was so slow. Then we hired a prepaid taxi to take us to our hotel. It took an hour and a half to get here, but it was all worth it. This is the most beautiful hotel I have ever seen. Tune in to tomorrow's blog for day time photos. I promise they will be stunning. Here are some photos of our room and the view from our window is the harbour and the India Gate.


Had a late night snack in one of the lovely restaurants and am now going to sleep on our pre ordered goose down pillows!!

I'm in heaven!

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Posted by gaddingabout 10:22 Archived in India Comments (0)

Goa - Sunday, 16 February 2014

Slept in and woke up to the sound of whistles blowing and people yelling and clapping. There is a triathlon being conducted on the beach in front of us so the hotel had warned us yesterday that there might be a bit of noise coming from the beach today.

We have been eating our breakfast on the terrace, next to a pool and while we were both inside this morning getting our breakfast, a bird flew down down and pinched a piece of rock melon from my plate and another bird took a butter pat! Cheeky little buggers.

Went down to reception at 1.30 ish to say goodbye to Diane and Lorraine. That will be us tomorrow.

Then lunch by the pool


Finally, after three days of celebrations, balls and parties, the wedding ceremony will take place this evening at 6.00 pm. Many hands make light work.


All the flowers you can see are fresh. The perfume is magnificent.

At 6.00 pm we went down to the lawn to have a look at the wedding. As luck would have it, we were standing right near the room where the bride came from. She was dressed in a beautiful wedding sari in gold and red. As she came out of her room, about eight men from her family lifted a canopy covered with beautiful fresh flowers over her head and escorted her to the platform where her husband was sitting. They exchanged flower garlands and seemed to fiddle around for about 30 minutes with nothing much happening. Some guests were sitting on the chairs but others had wandered over to the food tables and were snacking. Actually no one seemed to be very interested in what the bride and groom were doing.


There were bunches and bunches of white balloons and without much ceremony, the staff released them without any acknowledgement from the guests or the bride and groom. Very weird.


We went back to our room and had room service and all of a sudden, the tranquility of the evening was shattered by fireworks from the wedding. It must be nice to have so much money!


Posted by gaddingabout 09:30 Archived in India Comments (0)

Goa - Saturday, 15 February 2014

sunny 33 °C

We had a good night's sleep and wandered down for a leisurely breakfast and sat outside near a pool.  It was lovely.

Came back to our room and spent a bit of time on the loo (!) so decided to take it easy, so we watched a movie.  At lunch time we went for a walk in the grounds and down onto the beach.


It is warm but quite bearable.  Not much humidity.  The wedding guests are having a luncheon function in the grounds so we wandered through that taking photos.   The actual wedding is tomorrow afternoon. Apparently there are only 400 guests, which is very small for Indian weddings, especially as no expense has been spared for this one.


These guys are Bollywood performers from Mumbai, hired to perform at the wedding. Their costumes were so colourful.


Back in the room, relaxing watching the cricket, Australia versus South Africa.

We have had a very lazy day and both had a little snooze this afternoon. We even had room service for dinner as we couldn't be bothered getting changed to go out.

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Posted by gaddingabout 08:33 Archived in India Comments (0)

Goa - Friday, 14 February 2014

Happy Valentine's Day.  Had a beautiful sleep in a fabulous bed with fabulous pillows. The temperature was perfect; in fact everything about this hotel is perfect.  It is just lovely.

10.30 am start this morning for our guided tour of Goa so we had a late relaxed breakfast.  I had a lassi, fresh fruit, bircher muesli,  a well cooked omelette and marsala tea.  Perfect!

Lorraine and Diane and Phil and I met our guide at 10.30 am and proceeded on our tour of Goa.  Our guide's name is: Francis Xavier Santa Maria Pedro Fernandez!!  He has a  very loud voice and perfect English.  We can all understand him very well.

We drove to Panaji, the capital of Goa and visited the magnificent world heritage listed colonial churches, the Basilica de Bom Jesus, built in 1594 by the Jesuits.  This Baroque style building is revered the world over by Roman Catholics as it houses the remains of Goa's Patron Saint, Francis Xavier.


These dogs guard the church at night and sleep during the day.


This is a carob tree.


And Se Cathedral with its outstanding gold leaf altar.  They were both amazing and we are so glad we have come to Goa.  We think the rest of our group who are now on their way home (or already there), have definitely missed something very special.


A fresco of Adam and Eve.


The leaning tree of Goa!


Then we visited a local spice farm and I was very excited to discover that I could have an elephant ride, which I did.


We walked across a bridge over a lagoon and were welcomed to the spice farm with a flower garland and the dot on the forehead.


We were then introduced to Juliet who guided us around the spice farm.  She was very easy to understand too and was very knowledgeable about the different spices.  I should say here that we have been having great difficulty understanding the locals in southern India.  We didn't seem to have much trouble in the north last year but I think it is because the southerners speak a lot faster.


The spice farm is owned by four brothers and covers 180 hectares and is totally organic.  No fertilizers or pesticides are used.  The demonstration farm has only been open for 20 years.


We watched this guy climb up a beetle nut tree and jump from one to the other demonstrating how to pick beetle nuts and then slide down very quickly.


We tasted Feni, which is an alcoholic drink made from cashew nuts.  It is 40% proof and tasted a bit like weak scotch.  Our guide told us not to smell it first because it smells awful, but just skoll the whole thing down in one go.  It was okay.


We had lunch at the spice farm of rice, dahl etc and crumbed and fried prawns and fish. It was nice too.


On the way back to the hotel, Francis took us into Panaji, as about a week ago one of the nose pads disappeared off my glasses.  The optician's shop was still closed for siesta, but we saw the beautiful Church of the Immaculate Conception.  Stunning against the blue sky.  Apparently it is one of only three in the world,  the others in Lisbon and Rio de Janerio.


We arrived back at the hotel at about 3.30 pm and wandered around the grounds taking photos.  There is a wedding here tomorrow night an as usual, the preparations are over the top.  The bride and groom are coming from Dubai.


This guy was following us around the grounds and wanted to have his photo taken with me.  Why, for goodness sake?


We enquired about a hotel car to take us back into the city to get my glasses fixed but their quote was a bit much so we walked out the front gate and negotiated a price with a local taxi driver.  He took us into Panaji via the old highway which was a lot narrower but more picturesque than the main highway we took this morning.  The optician was open and two new nose pads for my glasses would cost 30 or 60 rupees.  We decided to blow the budget and go for the expensive ones - $1.10 Australian!

Phil bought some tonic water, some beer and a bottle of local gin and it was a third of the price that you would pay any where else in India.

Arrived safely back at the hotel after our adventure and now having a relaxing pre dinner drink before our Valentine's buffet dinner.

Have just returned from the Valentine's buffet dinner.  OMG! The choice of food was fantastic. And the dessert table was amazing.  I really made a little piggy of myself tonight.  It was all I could do to control myself and not stick my whole head in the pink chocolate fondue fountain.


The waiters are very attentive and notice everything so when our cappuccinos arrived, they had a pink chocolate heart on them!  Attention to detail is first class here.



On the way back to our room, we came across the bride and groom being photographed prior to attending their pre wedding ball. As I mentioned before, they are from Dubai and it is obviously a love match, not arranged.  They are two of the beautiful people - check out the diamond ring.  They are going to Melbourne and Sydney for their honeymoon. 


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Posted by gaddingabout 08:23 Archived in India Comments (0)

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