Sunday, May 10, 2020

Pre-Summer Preview at Home in Utrecht

We've had great weather this weekend except for today's Sunday. It is 16C outside with grey skies, periodic scattered rain showers, and there is a very strong wind blowing. There's a little windstorm going on.

Friday and Saturday were great pre-summer preview days for us. Especially yesterday Saturday when temperatures reached 25C.


We marked the occasion with our first bubbles for the year to celebrate good weather and a warm day to chill in our own garden terrace. We are very much looking forward to having more of this in the coming days and weeks.

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Thursday, May 07, 2020

Coronavirus aka Covid19 update

There is a new saying that is going around in the corporate world, "Stay safe and stay sane!" Perhaps you can relate?


Our lake at home where we stroll after working hours. This grey weather truly epitomizes the real Dutch weather as well.

We have a semi-lockdown here in the Netherlands. Our Prime Minister calls it an intelligent lockdown in a democratic society. Basically, we were given the chance if we want to go out and not. There's not much to do anyway as most places are closed. Only the essential shops are open, but later, I realised that a few home and general merchandise stores were open, however, implementing the 1.5-meter social distancing and disinfection of shopping carts.

Then one weekend it got so terribly busy in the parks and lakes, partially to be blamed due to good weather, that the government sent an SMS-alert nationwide reminding everyone to adhere to the 1.5-meter social distancing and to stay at home if not feeling well. This was followed the next day by a press conference pleading people to comply and to stay at home as much as possible. New rules were added such as no more than 2 people congregating and stiff measures in the form of fines were implemented.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

New Zealand Roadtrip: Downtown Wellington - Lunch - Cuba Street, Cuba Quarter

Wellington
North Island, New Zealand
Travel Period: May 2018


Cuba Street in downtown Wellington.


Welcome lunch in Wellington.


We finally arrived in the capital of New Zealand! And the first thing we did after finding parking in the city center was to look for a place to have our lunch. What better way to find eating establishments by checking out the main street of the city. We did some quick googling and found Cuba Street in Cuba Quarter to be the best place.

Armed with my sister's smartphone and Google maps, we followed the directions to Cuba Street.

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Saturday, April 18, 2020

New Zealand Roadtrip: Henley Lake and Victorian Houses in Wellington

Henley Park, Masterton
Wellington Region, North Island, New Zealand
Travel Period: May 2018


We saw Henley Lake Park as we reach Masterton and thought we would do a quick stop to stretch our legs. We are on our way to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

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Saturday, March 14, 2020

New Zealand Roadtrip: Castlepoint Adventure

Castlepoint, Wellington Region
North Island, New Zealand
Travel Period: May 2018

This part of the road trip was probably the lowest point we've had due to a long and tasking drive, although it ended up nicely, well unexpectedly lovely actually.


We camped in Castlepoint, a very scenic place on the southeastern coast in the Wellington region. Going here was not an easy feat at all, but very much worth it in the end.

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Friday, March 13, 2020

New Zealand Road Trip: Thermal Explorer Highway Scenes and Picnic at Bluff Hill in Napier

Bluff Hill, Napier
Hawkes Bay Region, New Zealand
Travel Period: May 2018


As we continue on our road trip, the journey took us from Auckland to Rotorua where we visited the Whakarewarewa living Maori village, we checked out the Night Market in town and went for a lovely mud bath spa. We camped the night in Lake Okareka and were greeted with a stunning view of the lake for our morning breakfast. Then we travelled to Lake Taupo but decided not to stay there longer.

So we are back on the road. Our goal is to reach Napier where we will have our very late lunch. We will probably picnic somewhere as we do not have time to go to a restaurant. We are pressed with time here as we need to reach Castlepoint for our next camp base.


Our late picnic lunch in Napier.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

New Zealand Roadtrip: Waking up in Lake Okareka and Travelling to LakeTaupo

Lake Okareka
Rotorua, Bay of Plenty Region
North Island, New Zealand
Travel Period: May 2018

In Rotorua, we camped the night in Lake Okareka DOC campsite and this is our view the next day early in the morning. Isn't it beautiful?


The natural beauty in these pictures is the reason why I wanted to visit New Zealand. The countryside is raw, pristine and stunning.

This place was one of the best places I have woken up to in the New Zealand road trip. I couldn't get enough of the natural beauty and serenity. It made my heart swell with joy and contentment. That's what nature does to your whole system.

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Sunday, March 08, 2020

New Zealand Roadtrip: Night Market in Rotorua and Evening Mud Spa in Hell's Gate

Rotorua, Bay of Plenty Region
North Island, New Zealand
Travel Period: May 2018

Rotorua is the heart of the North Island and is famous for its geothermal activity. There are hot springs and hot mud pools here. It is a spa paradise!


Moi covered in healing mud.


We also visited a night market showcasing many food stalls covering cuisine around the world. We were quite lucky to be in Rotorua when this happened as they only do the event once a week.

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Friday, March 06, 2020

New Zealand Roadtrip: Auckland to Rotorua and Visiting Whakarewarewa, a Maori Village

Whakarewarewa "Maori" Village
Rotorua, Bay of Plenty Region, North Island, New Zealand
Travel Period: May 2018


In Maori culture, sticking out the tongue means showing your strength, but really, I cannot help but laugh, haha.

I did my NZ road trip together with my sister and Myrhh. We rented one of those green juicy campers for a 6-day road trip on North Island and the northern part of South Island. We started in Auckland where my sister lives and drove all the way to Christchurch, In Christchurch, we took the plane back to Auckland.


The Whakarewarewa village is a geothermal spot.

So this is the first leg of our road trip journey, going to Rotorua. We have a very open and spontaneous agenda but a must-have for us on this Rotorua stop is a visit to a Maori village.

We did some googling of course and the Whakarewarewa village came on the first spot. The name was a bit of a tongue-twisting exercise at first but then it gets to you and you know where the tone needs to stay. Basically you say it Whaka-rewa-rewa.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Dublin: Powerscourt Lunch and Sleeping at the Airport

Dublin, Ireland
Travel Period: September 2019

After the business meeting in the morning, which went pretty well, by the way, I made my way to the Powerscourt Centre.


The view from the balcony stairs of the Powerscourt Centre.

I have read about the Powerscourt Centre ahead of this travel, which is an elegant indoor shopping mall inside a heritage Georgian house. I wouldn't call it a house really, instead, I would call it a mansion, or simply a big historical building!

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Saturday, February 22, 2020

September Evening in Dublin

Dublin, Ireland
Travel Period: September 2019


It was nice to visit Dublin again. A rather quick visit though as I was here for a business meeting. Because it's work travel I did not have any specifics in the plan but wanted to make use of the free time to see the city a bit again.


This is the lively Temple Bar district, the night hangout of the city locals and many tourists. After dinner, I managed to visit the famous bar of the same name (see the building in red on the corner in full lights glory) and watched some live show, albeit very short as it was a raucous place. sadly, I am not built for these kinds of places anymore.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

French Alps: Skiing in La Norma

La Norma, Modane
Saint Jean de Maurienne in the Savoie Region of the French Alps
Travel Period: January 2019

This is our first time to visit and experience La Norma. The ski resort is small, compact and inconspicuous. It has 65 kilometers of easy to moderately advanced slopes and a maximum elevation of 2,750 meters.


Our first impressions were quite good. It wasn't busy at all. The weather was perfect. We very much enjoyed taking on the wide terrain almost to ourselves. What a luxury!

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Friday, February 14, 2020

Visiting Bonneval-sur-Arc, a pretty village in the French Alps

Bonneval-sur-Arc, Lanslebourg-Mont Cenis
Saint Jean de Maurienne in the Savoie Region of the French Alps
Travel Period: January 2019


Bonneval-sur-Arc village in the French Alps.

A year ago, Dutchman and I were in our usual winter sports holiday spot, the French Alps. We stayed in Val Cenis for a week and we managed to explore the nearby ski resorts which I will blog about in my next topics. This was our second time staying in Val Cenis.

On this holiday I was also able to visit a pretty characteristic village called Bonneval-sur-Arc. The Dutchman was not in the mood to visit villages, well never actually, so I went on my own.


The drive to Bonneval-sur-Arc.

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Sunday, January 05, 2020

Greek Holiday: Boat Trip to Skopelos Island

Skopelos Island (Sporades), Greece
Travel Period: June 2017

Back in the summer of 2017, Dutchman and I holidayed in Skiathos which is part of the Sporades group of islands in the Greek Aegean Sea. We mostly spent our holiday in Skiathos but also did little trips to the nearby islands.


One of the trips we did is a boat excursion to Skopelos and Alonissos Islands.

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Saturday, January 04, 2020

One Night in Rome

Rome, Italy
Travel Period: December 2018

What would you do if you have one night to spend in Rome?


Bernini's Barcaccia fountain on Piazza di Spagna.

Hmm, it would be difficult to choose because there are so many great places to see in the city...

I was in Rome for work and was planning to have dinner in the nearby suburb or at the hotel I was staying in. However, the hotel's restaurant was exclusively booked for an event. I also learned that they have a shuttle bus that goes to the city center which includes a re-tour ticket of the metro. Things seemed to have fallen into its place for me that night. So I bought the shuttle ride and in half an hour I was on the way to the ancient city.

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