Friday, October 20, 2017

A Skiing Day-Off in Vaujany, French Alps

Dutchman and I normally take a week off every January for skiing and snowboarding in the Alps. It has become a much looked forward to yearly winter tradition.


I am not, however, a huge fan of skiing every single day of the whole week of the winter sports holiday. I like some variety during my vacation, and I would like to do other things as well. Such as checking out the local village, perhaps visiting a local food and artisanal market and if the village has a nice spa, why not indulge for a day? I am far from being a big spa person, but, if the place is nice and it has beautiful views, I would wing it for the day.

So in Vaujany where we stayed for the holiday, I spent a day checking out the terraces on the slopes of L'Alpette 2050 and Montfrais 1650. I just wanted to sit on a terrace and people watch.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Alpe d'Huez Grand Domain Ski Resort: This is Not High Season Yet

Did you know that there is traffic in the Alps as well?


The loooong queue to get to the top of the mountain at Le Signal lift in Alpe d'Huez. Take note, this is the 4th week of January on a Thursday, not high season yet!

And I mean long lift queues and irritating skiers and snowboarders traffic on the slopes! Not a very encouraging sight at all, believe me.

This is one of the many the reasons why Dutchman and I take our wintersport holiday during the low season, just a week or two before high season starts when school the holidays kick in. In Alpe d'Huez we witnessed these queues and it really turned us off a lot.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Alpe d’Huez, French Alps: La Plage des Neiges Bar Restaurant

It’s getting cold these days. Autumn is slowly kicking in here in the Netherlands and sooner or later it will be winter, and then it’s time to go skiing again!


Obviously, not in the Netherlands, but in the Alps.

Last winter, which was January of this year, Dutchman and I booked a chalet accommodation in a small ski village resort in the French Alps called Vaujany. The ski village has a humongous cable car that can carry more than 100 people to the L'Alpette 2050 mountain top. From here you can ski down to Oz en Oisans and take the connecting lifts to a bigger skiing terrain, the famous Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine Ski Resort.

Alpe d’Huez is also one of the cycling legs with breathtaking views of Tour de France.

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Monday, October 09, 2017

My Daily Life in the Netherlands #003

Here is another set of daily life happenings in pictures from the last 2 months.


Part of the A2 highway exiting to Utrecht Centrum. If you do not have a proper GPS, you will get lost in the highway intersections, tunnels and rings of Utrecht. This is just half of the A2.


Before summer ended, the Dutchman and I, together with the Dutch mother went for a day visit to Scheveningen Beach in The Hague. Scheveningen has many nice lounge terraces on the beach.

Life (and work) was business as usual... it has its ups and downs. The highlight was getting my brand new car from work, surveying some property development in Utrecht and a nice long weekend getaway in the vineyards of Germany with the Dutchman.

Check them out in the pictures...

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Sunday, October 08, 2017

Taipei: Raohe St. Night Market (Street Food) Photos

When I think of Taipei or Taiwan, I think of food!


Street food is HUGE in Taiwan. Everybody, from the upper to the lower echelons of the society buy food from the street vendors.

I wish I have stayed longer in Taiwan, and I mean stayed longer like lived there for a few months, then I am able to taste all the local food.

Every major neighbourhood in Taipei has its own night market. But unlike the night markets in cities such as Bangkok and Hong Kong where vendors sell items such as western brand clothing to fake Swiss army knives and Louis Vuitton’s.... in Taipei, these general merchandise goods are eclipsed by the massive street food scene. Everywhere is food! Night markets in Taipei are therefore street food night markets.

Of course, I went gaga and took lots of pictures of the different foods I saw!

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Friday, October 06, 2017

Beautiful Ciyou Temple in Songshan District, Taipei

This is one of the beautiful temples I have seen in Taiwan, the Ciyou Temple.


Ciyou Temple is a folk temple dedicated to the goddess Mazu. It is located in Songshan District, right by the gates of the Raohe Night Market, and not too far from Songshan metro station.

I actually came here in Songshan for the Raohe St. Night Market and in the process unintentionally discovered the temple.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Taipei: Evening Skyscrapers in Xinyi District and Tim Ho Wan

So I was famished after my lovely and enriching Tea Ceremony at Shi Yang Cultural Restaurant and now I am looking for a quick late lunch eat.


Xinyi at night.

My plan for the rest of the afternoon was to grab a quick eat and then go around the streets of Xinyi district. Xinyi is the financial centre of Taipei where you will see the tall modern buildings. I knew that in a matter of 2 hours it will become dark and the cityscape will change. I wanted to see the city lights of Taipei’s skyscraper district.

Although I have a soft spot for nature, the outdoors and the countryside, I will always remain a city girl at heart.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

New Taipei: Chinese Tea Ceremony at Idyllic Shi-Yang Cultural Restaurant

One of the local things I wanted to do while in Taipei was to attend a traditional tea ceremony. The online search led me to Shi-Yang Cultural Restaurant located in the mountains of Xizhi District in Xinbei (New Taipei), approximately 30-45 minutes from Taipei, depending which area you will be coming from in the city.


The restaurant and tea house in the mountains.

Shi-Yang bids a tasteful, cultural and idyllic take on Chinese dining. The restaurant is nestled in the midst of flora and fauna, far away from the busy streets of Taipei. It is being run by Buddhist monks who live, work and pray there. The design of the restaurant is open and minimalistic (Japanese style), blending in well with the natural surroundings and the values the restaurant represents.

By the way, Taipei and New Taipei are 2 different municipalities in Taiwan. The latter completely physically surrounds Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.


The cultural restaurant offers three types of services and these are:

1) Set lunch program
2) Set dinner program
3) Tea ceremony

They do not have a menu and the food served depends on the season’s produce. They have vegetarian options. The restaurant serves the set lunch and set dinner in aesthetically presented courses and you can combine this with a tea ceremony. It is not cheap to eat here.

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Taipei: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and the Changing of Guards

My brother-in-law has been to Taipei a few years ago and he told me that if ever I will be visiting the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial monument, which is a very popular attraction in Taipei, I better go and check out the changing of the guards.


My plan really is to visit the CKS memorial monument but I didn’t know about the changing of the guard's ceremony. So I did some quick research and found out that the ceremony happens on the top of the hour from 10:00 to 16:00, thus, on an hourly basis.

I have seen a couple of changing of the guard's ceremonies in other capital cities, namely the Royal Palace in Stockholm (Sweden), the Parliament Building on Syntagma Square in Athens (Greece) and the Buckingham Palace in London (United Kingdom) where I got bored waiting together with the massive crowd that I decided to leave.

I may have seen more changing of the guards in other countries but these 3 are the ones I can recollect quickly.

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Amsterdam Dinner Cruise

This is probably my eight or ninth canal cruise in Amsterdam... and the fourth dinner cruise.


The first and second dinner cruises I had were work-sponsored. If I remember it correctly, the first one was a company dinner cruise for new hires in EMEA and the second one was a Christmas dinner cruise. The third was with the Dutchman on board the Supperclub Cruise. And now this, the fourth one, also work-related =)

Cruises, as you can see, are very popular events in Amsterdam.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Lunching: Vork & Mes in Hoofddorp for the second time


For Bubbles and I, we had our last (late) lunch out for our April jaunts at this unique restaurant that is shaped, designed and located extraordinarily in the outskirts of the Haarlemmermeer forest in Hoofddorp, just a stone’s throw away from Schiphol Airport.

I have been here before many years ago as well, having had lunch with a business partner who was quite pleased when I told him we are eating here. He obviously knew the place.


A restaurant with the perfect location and view.

I just loved the tranquil surroundings of this place, the restaurant right on the water and with an abundance of nature around it, gives diners just the perfect reason to retreat in peace and enjoy the food and time spent here. It would have been better if the weather cooperated but at least it wasn’t raining when we were here. Spring in the Netherlands can be very tricky you know.

Restaurant Vork & Mes is not easy to get to with public transport. It is about 14 minutes drive (or with the cab) from Schiphol Airport and not too far away from Amsterdam.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Chasing Tulip Fields in Holland!

Trivia: Did you know that tulips originally come from Turkey?


If you visit Turkey in spring, you will find the beautiful gardens of Istanbul in a colourful carpet of tulip flowers. I was able to witness this 2 years ago. Check it out here: Sultanahmet Park in Istanbul, Turkey

Tulips these days, as synonymous to Holland aka Netherlands, were made popular around the world by the Dutch, after a professor brought the tulip bulbs to the Netherlands for further experimentation and cultivation. Who would have thought a flower can cause an economic crisis? But that's another story to tell. The Netherlands tourism website even uses the orange tulip as one of its many quintessential logos.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Antwerp: Shopping Stadsfeestzaal on the Meir

Shopping can get me tired, and I mean this seriously. Sometimes just the thought of it makes me tired already. I know, I am a party pooper.


This monumental shopping building that is once the party hall of Antwerp City Hall is easy to find on the Meir (main shopping street of Antwerp).


I tend to lean towards a masculine approach when it comes to the real chore of shopping. So I shop for a purpose and it is usually something that I plan ahead. The only time I would spontaneously shop is when I am travelling, but not all the time. At home, I just stay away from city centres and shopping places. That way I will not be tempted, haha.

But there are always exemptions!

The City of Antwerp showcases a lovely shopping centre called “Shopping Stadsfeestzaal” (Festival Hall Shopping) which really has little to do with shopping, in my opinion anyway, but more of a platform to celebrate Antwerp’s rich architecture and history. What can I say, the shopping building is a national monument! Now, that is more my cup of tea =)

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Belgium: Cathedral-like Antwerp Central Station

So I was in Antwerp, Belgium last April together with girlfriend Bubbles.


The cathedral-like train station in Antwerp, Belgium opened its doors to the public in 1905

We went on a day trip with the car and managed to park adjacent to Antwerp Central (Antwerpen Centraal) station. Which was spot on because I wanted to show Bubbles the cathedral-like railway station which is an attraction in its own right. She was very much looking forward to seeing it as well.

I have also stopped counting the number of times I have been to Antwerp. It is actually my go-to place when I am craving for steamed mussels. Lucky me it is not too far away =)

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Cebu Visit 2016 Photo Essay

So another photo essay on what I did last year during my visit to Cebu, Philippines. This is basically a part of my daily life when I was there which was documented by my camera but did not make it to a blog post =).

I guess you can call these the in-between scenes. They are as important as the posts that made into a blog post because they reflect a dose of daily reality travel life. The less glamorous part I guess?


The state of the Philippines last November 2016. This was the headline news. Duterte is still the president of the country though, so he is still very much into his term. Am I pro- or anti-Duterte? Let us just say that I both like and do not like his ways.


Pimped-up Japanese manufactured jeepneys. These ply the Naga (south) to Cebu City route and vice versa. 

Well, I actually still have 2 more blog entries for Cebu, but they can wait.

I am so backlogged with my blog entries but that is nothing new. If I were to choose between work and blogging, I think many would bet on the latter, haha. But yeah, real life kicks in and we all have to earn our living, especially these days when most that occupy my mind is retiring early. Ergo, need to work my bum off.

But in between, I travel and do my best to enjoy life.

We've got to live our lives you know. Do what we like and do our best to get what we want. Responsibly of course. Because we die only once but we can live many times.

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Moselle River: Postcards from Riesling Land

We are in Riesling land!


The village of Zell-Merl on the Moselle River. Ah, we had lovely weather!


Test-driving the hybrid Audi. We are loving the virtual cockpit. GPS screen on the driver's dashboard! Really, really cool. I can even instruct by voice where to go and which person to call (my iPhone is connected).

Just a long extended weekend in the Moselle River where the German Riesling grape grows. We are test-driving my brand new lease car from work so we picked a destination that is not too far away and not too close as well.

It is beautiful here and it is my second time here in the Moselle River Valley. These are just a few pictures and I will be posting the villages and activities we did in separate posts soon.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

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