Thursday, March 26, 2015

Krioneri Beach Scenes in Parga, Greece

Ah, Dutchman and I cannot wait to go back to the Greek Islands this summer!


The first picture above was taken from the top of the castle ruins.

So for now we can only look back to our last year’s pictures... and drool (ugh).

Parga however is not an island. It is a coastal town in mainland Greece facing the Ionian Sea. We came here with the boat from Corfu Island, sailing from the capital, Kerkyra via Paxos. This was a very nice day trip with the boat.

Krioneri (or Piso Krioneri) Beach is the main beach of Parga which is located just beside the harbour and centrum. It is facing the popular Virgin Mary Island that you can swim to from the shore. You can also take a pedal boat if swimming is not your forte.

Nevertheless, a very busy beach but great as well for people watching =)


Have no idea what this is, but could be used for some game or sport exercise (swimming lanes).


The beach was quite full that day, and very hot!


There is always a place on the beach for everyone. Just bring your own beach mat, towel and hopefully parasol.


Nice open cafes and restaurants on the beach boulevard.


That is the Virgin Mary Island with a little white church in front of the beach.


The view of Krioneri Beach (not the back of that man, haha) from the other end of the bay.


Travel Period: July 2014
Destination: Parga, Preveza (Epirus), Greece

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The International Train Work Commute and Women Managers

I am beginning to like my weekly work commute to Germany because it is during this commute that I can truly work in peace for a few hours.


ICE train from Utrecht, Netherlands to Cologne, Germany
March 2015

TIP: Book early and you will get better prices. Get the Bahn 25 card also from the Bahn website for a 25% discount which is valid for 3 months.

Speaking about work, here is an interesting read from the International Labour Organisation (ILO): Women in Business and Management | Gaining Momentum

On page 19 about women with management experience/management positions, the Philippines ranked 4th whilst the Netherlands ranked 61st. What does that say about the respective countries?

Well, here‘s my own personal observations:

I think in the Philippines there is so much focus and pride instilled in work, mainly because work provides the only form of security for many families. There is also the desire, rather, the ambition to achieve a title at work (climb the corporate ladder so to speak) which is part of the culture. And due to the Philippines being a developing country, everyone wants to become the next manager. This is seen as one of the very few ways out to having better security in life, earning more money and achieving social respect. Because of the hard reality of life in a developing country, the motivation is quite high to become a manager.

Whereas in highly developed Netherlands, the women here do not really worry about security. Many are not driven for that extra money in lieu for more responsibility which would translate to more work hours (+headache). They would prefer to have quality time with their loved ones and for themselves, such as staying at home with the kids, playing tennis or having cafe time with friends. The really ambitious and would go-the-extra-mile ones are few and far between. Because the basic things in life are well taken cared of (better standard of living, very generous social programs and benefits, higher income wage, etc.), the motivation to become a manager is quite low. So yeah, why run the extra mile?

But isn't it strange that most of the countries in the Top 10 or even Top 20 come from the Latino background/culture (including the Philippines)? And it also begs the question: What happened to the men in these countries?

If you want to discuss with me, come over to Facebook!

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Corfu: An American Burger, BBQ Chicken Wings & Mexican Chili Con Carne Dinner at 3 Monkeys in Gouvia Resort

We normally go for a 2-week summer beach holiday in Greece. It’s been a tradition in effect for several years already as we have fallen in love with the Greek Isles.


3 Mexican Kitchen & Bar, Monkeys in Gouvia Resort.

Because the islands are still quite traditional, in terms of the laid back atmosphere, the unspoilt landscape, Greek architecture, the island life, the livelihood of the locals, as well as the dining scene which are made widely popular by Greek tavernas with kitchens run by old Greek ladies cooking traditional Greek cuisine, there are not a lot of non-Greek options available. Greek food is great but not when you eat it every single day.

So you can’t really blame us for escaping one evening to nearby Gouvia Resort for a greasy American Burger and a sinful Mexican Chili Con Carne. Life is short to be eating the same type of dinner every single night of a 2-week holiday. We are thankful the 3 Monkeys Kitchen & Bar came to our rescue!

And you guessed it right, the burger is for the Dutchman whilst the chili con carne is for moi.


The view from our table: A very cool bike.


Some nachos and tomato-jalapeno salsa are always good to start with.


My Chili con Carne. This was quite nice. The yoghurt helped bring out the flavour of the dish.


Barbecue chicken wings with ranch sauce.


American cheeseburger with the real cheddar cheese. Dutchman is not complaining.


The Monkey's Mexican Kitchen & Bar.

After dinner we had coffee at the corner café of the main street where a gigantic resident dog was guarding the house beside it.


Our coffee fix after dinner.


This dog is as big as me!


Travel Period: June-July 2014
Destination: Gouvia, Kerkyra (Corfu – Ionian Islands), Greece

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lunch in Bristol: Smoked Cauliflower Soup, Bulgur Wheat Bread & Ginger Beer at the No. 1 Harbourside

I arrived in Bristol Airport in the morning which allowed me enough time to visit the city centre and also an opportunity to have lunch here before proceeding to Bath. From the airport I took the £7 bus to the centre and asked the driver which part of the city centre would be best to walk around for a few hours. He looked at me seriously and said,

‘You do not want to shop right? Then you better go to the Harbourside where there’s lots of bars and restaurants.’

Ah, this bus driver is a genius. He read my mind! =)


I was hoping that the weather would improve, after all if I want to sit outside on the harbour, I would love some vitamin E shining on my face as well. The weather wasn’t really that bad though but it’s nothing to celebrate about. Manageable nevertheless, with a slight glimpse of the sun seen in the later part of the afternoon.

So my lunch in Bristol was spent on the harbour at a bistro and bar that could not have been better called, the ‘No. 1 Harbourside’. The café, bar and restaurant is located just across the jetty where Bristol’s passenger ferry is moored.

There is a hip and earthy feel to this bistro and bar. I saw a good number of young people working on their laptops inside the restaurant as there is free wifi. The interior decoration is casual and down-to earth, yet trendy with a touch of industrial.

The restaurant’s food choices promotes the sustainable restaurant model. They source their ingredients within the region, adapt renewable energy and proper waste disposal policies. Moreover, the menu offers a lot of vegetarian options.

So I was curious about what a Smoked Cauliflower would taste like so I ordered this soup. My stomach is longing for some warmth and the good old soup regimen would quickly cure it. The soup came with a Bulgur Wheat Bread. Let us just say that this bread is heavy!

I quite enjoyed the soup and I paired this with the Beef Jerky I bought earlier. I always love a jerky you know.

It was nice to sit on the harbour and see the ferries come and go, the ducks and swans swimming along and people watch everyone really that enters my range of vision =). It is my ideal way of relaxing in a new city. Sitting on a terrace and just watching the daily life of the city go by.


Inside the No. 1 Harbourside bistro and bar.


 This is Ginger Beer with lemon, English style and the flag for my order.


My lunch: Smoked Cauliflower Soup, Bulgur Wheat Bread + Butter and some Beef Jerky.


The outdoor terrace of the bistro and bar. Those 2 guys giving the peace sign, I bumped into them later part of the day and they recognised me, hehe.


The bistro bar is just on this corner.

Travel Period: March 2015
Destination: Bristol (South West -  England), United Kingdom

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The Palace Hotel and the Hanging Gardens in Lillafüred, Hungary

Not very far from Miskolc and Debrecen in the eastern part of Hungary is this mountain resort in the Bukk Mountains—Lillafured. Click on the link to learn more what you can do here.

I stayed in Debrecen near the border to Romania and Slovakia and did side trips to nearby cities such as Miskolc and Eger (Hungary), Kosice (Slovakia) and Oradea (Romania). Because I have a lot of city-town trips for this holiday, I wanted to see something different, like nature. I read about Lillafured, the mountain resort not very far from Miskolc. I read about the Palace Hotel, the Hanging Gardens and the multifaceted nature landscape of water, mountains and caves.


The Palace Hotel (Hunguest Hotel Palota).

Quick History Facts: Hungary’s minister of agriculture, Count Andras Bethlen built a holiday resort near Lake Hamori in 1890. The resort was named after his niece, Erzsebet who is nicknamed ‘Lilla’, thus the name of the town Lillafured came to life.

So I decided to use an afternoon in Lillafured to catch up for a cup of coffee at the neo-Renaissance Palace Hotel whilst exploring the Hanging Gardens and the area a bit. The Palace Hotel was beautiful inside, the interior exudes elegance and old glory, but I preferred to have my cup of coffee outside on the garden terrace facing the pine trees and the colourful flowers of spring.

The Hanging Gardens on the other hand was not what I have expected. I guess I have been spoiled rotten with regards to the definition of a garden. This is what happens when you live in a horticultural country (Netherlands) where gardens are overflowing with flowers. Here at the Hanging Gardens of the Palace Hotel in Lillafured, the gardens are more like a green garden park, with pathways and caves which reminded me a bit of the Quinta da Regaleira Palace in Sintra, Portugal. The terraced gardens are layered on the cliff below the hotel.

There is a 20-metre waterfalls, the longest by the way in Hungary, however artificial. The garden is designed with walking trails leading to 9 educational thematic stops. To learn more about this, go here: Hanging Gardens Lillafured Thematic Stops

It felt like I was on a terraced forest park here than in a garden. Hope you like my pictures.


The Hanging Gardens below the Palace Hotel is free for everyone to enter and enjoy. Nice!


The Lillafured waterfalls, the highest waterfalls in the country.


The Hanging Gardens are a set of gardens on a layered terrace. There are 9 thematic stops here.


It would have been nicer if there are more flowers. Colour adds more life.


This is the back terrace of the Palace Hotel. Very pretty.


The interior of the lobby of the Palace Hotel is wood-panelled and are filled with period furniture . Above the doors to the back garden I spotted 3 beautiful stained glass art work.


I decided to sit outside because this view is much more inviting and relaxing. Don't you agree?


Best decision to sit outside on the terrace for my cup of coffee.

 

The Palace Hotel and Hanging Gardens are a popular place as well for wedding photo shoots. When I was there I saw 3 couples and managed to take a picture of the 2 couples =)


This is right below the Palace Hotel, the limestone caves (Anna Cave I believe) in the Hanging Gardens.


I personally have nothing with weddings. I did not have one and will never have one... but I just find these photo shoots cute =)


Travel Period: May 2014
Destination: Lillafured (Miskolc - Northern Hungary), Hungary

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