Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Travels in India, 2016 - Bombay's Buildings & Beaches (& A Charity Shop Bargain)

If you hadn't already noticed I'm more than a bit obsessed with Mumbai, so here's the vintage sheepskin I found for a £1 in a charity shop yesterday if you're bored with the travelogue.

The heat of India seems but a dim & distant memory today, its blinking freezing!

On our third day in Mumbai we ate Achoori eggs for breakfast - a Parsi dish of scrambled eggs with chilli, coriander and green mango. So good that my toes still curl at the memory.

Armed with a page torn from an ancient Lonely Planet we took their suggested heritage walk. If you're a fan of Victorian architecture you could spend hours drooling over the (mostly) wonderfully preserved Bombay Gothic masterpieces.

Majestic House, Colaba & the Rajabai Tower (inspired by London's Big Ben)

The Police headquarters & the University of Bombay library.
The David Sassoon Reading Rooms & Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Building

(See loads more photos HERE)

If I ever come into loads of money this Marine Drive mansion (or one very similar), opposite the Gateway on India will be mine

St Thomas's Cathedral was built by the British in 1718 for employees of the East India Company.

It looks almost identical to our parish church. Strange to see something so quintessentially British so far from home.

We spent ages reading the carved stone memorials from the eras of East India Company rule and of the British Raj, many with incredibly graphic descriptions of men being "barbarously tortured to death" or "submitting to the ferocity of the sun", of entire families submitting to cholera & typhoid or of dying on the boat on their journey to start a new life. The memorial in the centre is for a former British governor of Varanasi, the carving is how he would have looked, as he'd converted to Hinduism to marry an Indian woman.

There's more to Mumbai's architectural heritage than Bombay Gothic. Mumbai is said to have more Art Deco than anywhere else in the world.

Many of these buildings were on busy roads so I risked life and limb trying to capture them!

The Lonely Planet estimated our walk would take a couple of hours but it took us five. Not many Westerners tend to wander far from their hotels and, being a bit of a novelty, we were asked to pose for loads of pictures. Over the years I think Jon & I must have appeared in thousands of Indian photo albums and Facebook pages.

There's plenty of distractions along the way, impromptu market stalls and street cats to name but a few.

On a Sunday several of the art galleries (Mumbai has a hugely popular arts scene) sell works by local artists from the pavements outside.

After a siesta we did what thousands of Mumbaikers do and headed to Chowpatty beach to watch the sunset.

We simply had to stuff our faces with Mumbai's most popular street food (and our very favourite spicy snack), bhelpuri.

Rich or poor, Chowpatty Beach is the place to be. Nobody needs money to enjoy the sunset.

Some of these children have very little, not even a pair of shoes to their name, but look at the joy on their faces.

After posing for yet more photos with friendly strangers we made our way to Marine Drive, returning to Basilico as the food the night before was just so good.

Its business as usual for us, we're trading with Judy's at Bristol on Saturday (HERE) & Cardiff on Sunday (HERE). Come and see us and I promise we'll try not to bore you with travel tales!


  1. Yet more wonderful architecture! Victorian gothic AND art deco, you're spoiling me! xxx

    Ps. I emailed you :)

  2. I'd never get bored of your travelogue, India is the most inspirational and fascinating country in the world.
    Have a good vintage weekend. We will be at Stockport xxx

  3. You're proper spoiling us with these lovely posts. What glorious architecture and I lov ethe idea of people gathering to watch the sunset...perfect.
    Keep 'em coming petal.
    See you Sunday.
    Loves ya!

  4. If you buy the mansion, can we come and visit?! It looks absolutely wonderful, I am such a sucker for architecture of that kind. I've really enjoyed these posts, you could post pictures ALL year round and I wouldn't get bored (as long as they were interspersed with dresses).

    We're steaming along with the DIY, so I won't be able to make Cardiff on Sunday sorry - we shall be spending Valentine's day getting tiny blocks of parquet to fit in tiny, tiny holes!


  5. I love how you get off the beaten track. That beach has such white sand and how great it is to see so many people enjoying the simplicity of a free sunset.

  6. Achoori eggs sound delicious. I'm always looking for new egg recipes.
    Love the new jacket.

  7. Your Bombay breakfast sounds Fruit n Fibre into a cocked hat! Thank you for risking life and limb to show us Mumbai and it's diverse architectural splendours. Love the Chowpatty Beach pics. I always found (in my travelling days) that the poorer children were, the happier they seemed to be. Thought of you last night while watching Jaipur and Varanasi on the box. Wrap up well this weekend. x

  8. Ah this is fascinating Vix. It is so funny to see all the art deco buildings!
    I'm sorry I didn't get to see you on Saturday in Bethnal Green, I had an awful headache all day which hung over from Friday morning and I was trying to pack whilst contending with that!xx

  9. Wonderful photos and such fabulous architecture!

    I love your sheepskin jacket - just what you need in this cold and getting colder weather....


  10. ImPOSSible to be bored with you! Great buy (the jacket) and looks so right on you! I'll look at any and all photos you take! What an incredible city..

  11. Aw, I love that comment you made about the kids with not even a pair of shoes to their name, yet they have huge smiles. For a lot of us in North America, we have so many material possession yet we don't smile that much.

    Anyhoo, thank you for the gorgeous Mumbai pictures. The architecture is stunning!!

    It's blinking cold here too!! But the sight of your tan sure helps warm things up!!

    happy thrifting ;)

  12. Viewing your pictures was a nice travel day (in my mind) break on a cold Wednesday. That is the thing about beaches and sunsets-equal enjoyment.

  13. I never get tired of your travelogues. People tend to forget that walking around a city is free. We had a great couple of afternoons is Athens just walking.

  14. Such a beautiful place, I'm not surprised you're obsessed with it! I love that you wander round and really immerse yourself in the local culture, I never see the point in people travelling so far to stay in a little Westernised bubble of a hotel complex they never leave, you may as well stay at home.
    I'm travelling up to Bristol on Saturday for Judy's, maybe I'll get to see you there! :)

  15. It been a while since I came over and visited your blog. Your trip to India sure sound great.
    I've talk to a few people who visited there.
    But I bet every charity shop is a little different depending on place your visiting.
    Hopeful soon I can get down to Southern Oregon to see my oldest son and his wife. I want to check out there thrift stores.

    Coffee is on

  16. They're polar opposites in style, but Victorian and Art Deco both melt my heart. That's a very clean beach! Love your relaxed look in India. You need to buy a wee house to shack up in for half the year. xx

  17. I had no idea Mumbai had so much Art Deco architecture! Isn't the art scene in Mumbai fabulous? My dad lived in a bungalow on Pali Hill in the 1950's. Love that sheepskin shrug!

  18. Hi Vix, thank you for sharing; I would never tire of your travel photos, ever!!These pics are amazing; you have shown so much beauty in that city with all the people, places, food architecture. Fabulous! :- D

  19. Beach+Sunset=Perfection.

    Thank you for sharing all these beautiful photos.

  20. so many beautiful pics!!!!
    and i love the sight of you in that red dress!

  21. I'm gonna have to sign back up to face book just to see those pics! Fabulous post today - and also the sheepskin jacket was a great find - lucky you!

  22. Not boring at all I find it fascinating and drink all the information and photo's in I think its a wonderful country and one day I will get there although John doesn't want to go he says theres to many people which is funny really as its me that struggles with crowds but there is something special and different about it in India maybe its the spiritual connection I connect with Im not sure. I have just watching watching the series The Real Marigold Hotel and oh boy I so enjoyed it and wish it had gone on for longer Jan blossomed there the spirit of the country captured her frighten spirit. Beautiful photo's Vix and I for one will never get fed up of seeing them, dee xxx

  23. I feel exactly the same about the houses and buildings opposite the gateway! If ever I come into enough money...

    Love your perspective of the old gothic/art deco heritage of Mumbai, it is exactly the same as mine! Isn't that unusual?


  24. I believe Mumbai's second to Miami for the quantity of deco buildings, but it does often surprise people how much deco it's got. And, of course, Mumbai's has its own flavour. Shanghai also has a lot of deco, and while there it merged with Confucian ideas about buildings and furniture, so you get a lot of porthole windows and gemoetric designs, in Mumbai the Indian style of buildings with lots of figures on merged with the deco style of figures, so you get places like the Lakshmi insurance building with its wonderful friezes.

    I'm now even more envious of your trip :-D

    One of my ancestors fronted the lottery to raise money to build Kolkata's first cathedral. This was before he married my scandalous half-Indian ancestress and they ended up leaving for Sumatra...

  25. Thankyou for risking life and limb for our pleasure. You are such an angel!
    Gorgeous shots and wonderful insight into the sunset watching custom.
    Do you ever get sick from eating all the local and street food?
    Xo Jazzy Jack

  26. Hi Vix! Such a lovely post and happy new year to you too! Love the pictures, it looked like such an amazing holiday and of course your jacket find is totally awesome-it looks gorgeously warm too! xx

  27. Wonderful day you had there! Amazing architecture, exotic food, friendly Mumbaikers and a romantic sunset on the beach! Feeling envious :)

  28. That sunset is amazing! How lucky you are to see it. And that new jacket is perfectly fabulous! :)

  29. I'm never bored with your travel stories! (Although, I love your new-to-you jacket)

    Mumbai certainly looks like a wonderful place to go. I mentioned that our good friend George traveled to India for the first time last year, and he's there again right now. He loves it so much that I imagine he too will be heading to India every year now. Nick and I certainly hope to join you all out there one time. It seems so interesting and beautiful. And the food sounds and looks delicious! Nommm, those eggs!

  30. Who would have known that Mubai had so many art deco buildings? I really loved seeing them...and they seem to have a lovely street art scene. How splendid!

    That cropped sheepskin jacket stole my heart...and it cost you a pound! You do have an instict, an intuition for vintage clothes... whatever it is, you always find wonderful things.

    I love those photos of you and Jon at the beach. You look so stunning in that maxi..this look is so perfect for a beach!

  31. always enjoy your winter sunshine adventures , my foot is nailed to the floor so hard by my other half that a trip of 30 miles is a bleedin adventure

  32. Great find on that coat! Such pretty architecture.

  33. You look like you managed to squeeze a bunch into your visit.

    I simply must ask this because with all the travels and all the food you are eating have you ever become sick? My husband was there for business a few times and had to be so very careful, eating only cooked vegetables and not drinking any water, brushing his teeth with the water or even shaving with it. Friends of his that live in Mumbai and have family there have become so ill upon return visits they ended up in hospital. Out of a group of 8 work colleagues my husband was the only one that wasn't horribly sick.

    Do you have stomachs of steal?

    What do you drink when you are there?


  34. Love the vicarious traveling I get to do, scrolling slowly through your India posts and oohing over the photos and descriptions of your wonderful journeyings.

  35. You never, ever bore me. The travel pics are fascinating and I love architecture!! I enjoy seeing the pics of you and Jon in the settings you're talking about too That sheepskin jacket looks cozy and as always, you wear it well!!!.


  36. What a fascinating place! You have captured it, and the wonderful people, so well :-)

  37. Great art, coat, sunset,food and photos. Love reading about your travels. Glad you managed on your suspended cash flow too.

  38. I had no idea Mumbai had such beautiful architecture, I especially love the art deco buildings - so beautiful! Sorry I couldn't make it down to Bethnal Green on Sunday, I hope you had a good day xx

  39. Mumbai has such a variety of interesting architecture - I had no idea there was so much art deco style there. I always come away from reading your posts on your India adventures feeling like I've learned something about the culture.

  40. I find it very relaxing this practice to go on the beach to watch the sunset! Your journey is always more interesting, starting with the breakfast! I want eggs so tomorrow morning !! And these monuments ?! I would have stayed there many hours with the nose up! The bell tower is very similar to Big Ben! WOW! I imagine it is a monument or a church similar to those we see every day, but away from home, it must be very strange, but it's happened to me in Corsica, find the churches of the country towns of Pisa, certainly India is much farther away to fascinating .. and these Gothic palaces are fabulous!
    That tender that little cat, so skinny that reminds me of the Sicilians cats, (called by locals "gattazzi"), while here in Tuscany cats are all too fat; (-
    fabulous your clothes and ... I feel more curious episodes of your trip!
    See you soon

  41. Never, ever bored of your travel pics and stories. The sunset party at the beach looks like heaven. And your breakfast looks so yummy, I have great sadness looking into my oatmeal bowl : <

    Thanks for showing us all this adventure. xox


  42. I would be in Art Deco heaven! fabulous fabulous building, all of them that is not just the Deco ones.

    One of my colleagues (who is quite tall) said she kept getting stopped and also people kept coming up and sort of petting and stroking her which she found a bit disconcerting!

  43. adore that jacket.

    I've so enjoyed reading all about your travels in India. You have such a wonderful eye for capturing the flavour of the places you've been and showing the real India. It's been a real treat to admire the pictures and read your tales. So much light, and colour and vibrancy - proper cheers up a dull cold cloudy day. Good luck for the Bristol trading. One time you'll be there when I'm not working and I'll be able to make it up to see you!
    Jules @bohomumma

  44. I'm learning so much from your India posts, I'm woefully ignorant about it really and no idea about all the different kinds of architecture, it looks amazing. And having been an avowed scrambled egg disliker for years I'm coming round to them now and could almost fancy that plateful!

    Saw the jacket on your Facebook, but £1? Really? Amazing!

  45. Your lovely photos of Mumbai and your charming soulful commentary just warms my heart.

  46. Oh that breakfast does look good! As does all the stunning and varied architecture of Mumbai, and please do keep showing us, I'm not sure I'll ever get there so I will enjoy it vicariously through you!
    Hope you're managing to keep warm, that fab little jacket will help. Another weekend's busy trading for you and Grumpy Trousers - hope it has been successful!
    Love you! Xxxx

  47. ooh love Mumbai love Chowpatty.... I can taste the puri...... more than a tad envious!!x

  48. The architecture is fascinating. As a huge Art Deco fan thanks for risking life and limb to share it with us! x

  49. Still diggin' the photos. Keep em coming!

  50. I don't think I'll ever get tired of your travelogues. I knew I missed one! And it's a good one too - thanks for the architectural tour, yet another side of India. And yes, sunsets, as many true and beautiful things in life, are free and available to us all.

  51. You could never ever bore me with your travelling tales! Mumbai is a veritable mix of wonderful architecture, I never knew! And the beach at sunset, beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing. I love it!

  52. I've always wanted a sheepskin jacket like that, I have two friends that have them and have always felt insanely jealous! These picture are just stunning, I love the photos on the beach and that breakfast looks amazing!

  53. I've been in bed poorly for two straight weeks, which has been EXTREMELY boring, but your travels, never. Just keep them coming, honestly. I love it all. The eggs sound heavenly and a heritage tour just sounds wonderful. Sunset on a beach with joyful people sounds like one of life's highlight moments. It must be hard to be in Walsall in February after all that xxxxx

  54. Simplesmente adorei os detalhes desta viagem linda. Parabens

  55. The architecture looks amazing, I'm surprised by the art deco buildings - another good reason for me to visit!


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