Saturday, December 08, 2018

Last Hours on Gulangyu Island: Mansions, Market, Seafood Peanut Soup Dinner and Xiamen Skyline


Seafood soup with peanut base for dinner at a street-side stall.


The skyline view of Siming District at night from Gulangyu Island.

I realised that with my pace of travelling, which is I stop and look and smell the flowers, 1 day on Gulangyu Island is not enough to visit all the sights of interest. There were more places I wanted to see but the sunset was fast approaching.

This blog post will mostly be pictures of my last few hours on the island. I highly recommend hopping the boat over from Siming to here if visiting Xiamen. The island is so rich in history and it's a beautiful place.

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Sunday, December 02, 2018

Xiamen, China: The Beach and Shuzhuang Gardens (& Piano Museum) in Gulangyu Island

Xiamen is not one of those "Bucket List" or "Tick-the-Box" types of travel destination for non-Chinese tourists. To be honest, I am liking the idea that I have been here because of this, hehe.


The Forty-four Bridge facing the sea.


I am a rebel sometimes. I go against the flow. I support the underdog. Like going to less popular towns and cities. Just try something different really. It is refreshing in my opinion.

So I have been to 56 countries (and independent states) so far and I am almost reaching the ceiling of countries and places I want to visit. I do not ambition however to visit all countries but I want to travel to unique, exotic and off-the-beaten places. Where mass tourism hasn't had a foot in the door.

Anyway, in Xiamen, I highly recommend visiting Gulangyu Island. What a beautiful place, with so much international history and architecture.

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Climbing the Sunlight Rock in Gulangyu Island, Xiamen (China)


The highest peak of Gulangyu Island is the Sunlight Rock.


The Sunlight Rock (aka Ri Guang Yan 日光岩) is a Buddhist Temple built on Gulangyu Island (Xiamen) during the Ming dynasty circa the early 1500s. The temple worships Guanyin, the goddess of mercy.

The boulder lookout point has 2 huge rocks and when I climbed on top of it I was rewarded with sweeping panoramic views of Xiamen downtown (Siming district) and the coastline stretch, the red rooftops of Gulangyu Island and even caught a glimpse of the Kinmen Islands.

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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Scape Skydeck Dinner in Mactan, Cebu, Philippines

This is a bit of a very late post. This dinner was my last dinner in Cebu, just after Christmas.


Scape Skydeck view in Mactan Island, Cebu.


We are Asians - Filipinos, so it's all about sharing the food.

The family is going to Vietnam, well my parents, my sister and I are flying to Ho Chi Minh City later on the same evening, so we decided to have dinner not too far away from the airport.

I heard about this restaurant and its rooftop so we quickly made arrangements to eat here.

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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Valletta, Malta Postcards

I was in Malta last week for a short holiday.


The view from our hotel room at Phoenicia is the Valletta fortified city, the Grand Harbour, and the Three Cities. The view above is Valletta fortified city. It's just surreal to wake up to this view every day.


Malta's iconic architectural feature, its window balconies.

Just a quickie one to recharge me from the rigours of work and daily life. Sometimes its good to set aside these things once in a while to pursue the discovery of a new country, new culture and new food.

These are just a few of the almost 1,000 pictures I took of Malta. In particular, these pictures are of Valletta, the capital of Malta.

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Goodbye Views of Sarajevo!

Ah, our last day in Sarajevo!


View of the city of Sarajevo from the hills near the fortress.


Well, we didn't do much on our last day in the city.

We had breakfast at the hotel, then we checked out and dragged our suitcases down to the ground floor and piled them at the back of the car. We were set to leave the city for the south. We were going to Mostar!

I think it was best to say that Bubbles and I were ready for a new place to explore.

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

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Srebrenica (Massacre) Exhibition in Sarajevo

Have you heard of the Bosnian War and Genocide in the 1990's? For the young generations and for those living outside of Europe, perhaps you have not.


I believe this is the missing person wall. I did not take this picture though. I got this from the website of the Srebrenica Exhibition: Gallerija 11/07/1995. I stopped taking pictures when I entered the exhibition room


The exhibition is a documentary about the war and the genocide that happened in Bosnia & Hercegovina in the mid-1990's. There were, in fact, many genocide cases that happened in the country, however,  this exhibition is focused on the biggest genocide that took place in the east, the Srebrenica Massacre.

There is a missing person wall, short films, a detailed genocide map, audio stories, confronting portraits of survivors and the deceased and moving biographies of the victims. It's a heartbreaking and emotional place. It's not for the faint at heart to come here.

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

Friday, November 09, 2018

Bosnian Easter Sunday Mass in Sarajevo

First things first, I am not a religious person. I do not believe in any god or deity of some sort. I used to though. But that was a looooong time ago. Like, some 20+ years ago.


Easter Sunday mass service at the Sacred Heart Cathedral of Sarajevo.


Treat after the mass service.

However, I can perhaps say I have an open soul. I respect all religions and beliefs and do not mind partaking in any service, as long as nobody is trying to proselyte me into joining the church or whatever it is called. I like being an observer and in fact, I enjoy being in the background, watching and appreciating cultures and all people in different walks of life. Religion, you know is culture.

Anyway, Bubbles and I realised that we will be spending Easter Sunday in Sarajevo. Bubbles being a Roman Catholic requested that we go to church and attend Easter Sunday Mass. I am all for it, after all, it’s been decades since I have attended one. I am also curious what an Easter Sunday Mass is like in Sarajevo.

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

Monday, November 05, 2018

Sarajevo: Dinner at Restaurant Kibe Mahala in the Hills


The beautiful ambiance and views at the top of the restaurant.


Restoran Kibe Mahala in Sarajevo.

I have to say that Restaurant Kibe Mahala, is hands down, the best restaurant in Sarajevo when it comes to ambiance and views.

This upscale restaurant in the hills is difficult to beat. If someone asks me where they should eat for dinner in Sarajevo, I will gladly recommend this place. It’s just a unique restaurant in a stunning setting, plus the food is local cuisine and quite good.

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

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Stari Grad, Sarajevo: Ferhadija Pedestrian Street

Stari Grad is the old town center of Sarajevo and within Stari Grad you will find Baščaršija, the inner old town, the remaining vestiges of the Ottoman Empire in Bosnia & Hercegovina. This blog post, however, is about the other part of Stari Grad.


The busy Ferhadija (pedestrian) Street in Sarajevo.


They say that Sarajevo is the ‘Damascus of the North’ and the ‘European Jerusalem’. I couldn't agree more. In the same neighbourhood and within just a few hundred meters from each other, we found a mosque, a synagogue, a Catholic Church and an Orthodox Church. We didn't get to visit a mosque and a synagogue here but we were able to check out the Old Orthodox Church and even attended a mass at the Catholic Cathedral.

Connecting Baščaršija in the east to Stari Grad and Center, which is the newer part of Sarajevo, is the busy pedestrian promenade, Ferhadija Street.

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Baščaršija, Sarajevo: Morica Han, Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque and Bazaar

The Old Town of Sarajevo or Baščaršija as it is called was built in the 15th century by Isa-Beg Isakovic, an Ottoman general of Bosnian origin.


The Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque in Baščaršija, Sarajevo.


Baščaršija is a Turkish word which means “main bazaar or market”. The area was largely influenced by the Turks/Ottoman Empire who controlled this part of Eastern Europe for 400 years.

Baščaršija has many notable buildings from the Ottoman period and although it is not as big as it used to be before, the old town is nicely preserved. It’s not a large place but there are lots to see and I am very much digging the lively, open-air and exotic atmosphere.

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Monday, October 22, 2018

Val Cenis, French Alps: Strolling Lovely Lanslevillard during a Blizzard Snowstorm

On our 5th day in Val Cenis, which was a Wednesday, a massive snowstorm fell. It was our first time to experience an official snowstorm in the Alps.


Walking in the snowstorm.

We've had our fair share of heavy snowfall and mini-blizzards in the past, but this was the first time we experienced that the whole Val Cenis ski resort and I guess the whole Haut-Maurienne mountain region, was closed down because of adverse weather. We saw on the news many stranded holidaymakers not being able to get into and out of the ski mountain resorts north of us.

Dutchman and I were slightly worried that the snowstorm will continue to Saturday when we leave. Luckily it didn't but we lost one (1) full day of skiing to the bad weather. It was howling outside and the winds were so strong. Snow was not only falling down, but it was also whirling around and falling sideways!

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Val Cenis: Diehard Skiing and Boarding in Mini-Blizzard Conditions

Our third day of skiing is probably the most epic we’ve had in this Val Cenis winter sports holiday in the French Alps.


This the beginning of the Flambeau slope.


The Girarde chairlift in Termignon.

There was a warning of a mini blizzard and non-stop snowing. Some of the lifts were closed and we were already thinking of just calling it off but decided to research on which lifts were open. Indeed, there were a number of lifts open in the mountains, so we decided to pick a route that would be safe for us.

We chose the route from Les Champs to Lanslebourg via the Ramasse chairlift and then to Termignon via the Turra and Sources chairlifts. We got lucky that they were open despite the weather warning. And I just love this skiing from village to village. It thrills me about the idea that I am visiting a village in the alpine mountains on my skis! Let's go!

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Saturday, October 20, 2018

French Alps: Val Cenis Skiing on a Sunny Day

Seriously, last winter, we only had one (1) single day of sunny day skiing! We weren’t that lucky.


That's moi there, about to take the Solert red slope.

But even though we’ve only had one day of sunshine and blue skies, it was the winter sports holiday that I have enjoyed very much. It was that skiing holiday that I can say to myself that I have become a full-pledged skier and have truly liked and enjoyed the sport after a decade and a half, haha.

I am not a sporty gal by nature, so for me saying this and admitting to really liking and enjoy it, is something. This is outside of my usual league you know. Me, sporty? Nah. But I can ski! And I enjoy it! #thumbsup

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Val Cenis Vanoise Ski Resort Village in the French Alps

I have been having these wintersport pangs in the last weeks. Winter is coming and I miss the snowy mountains. I miss skiing.


The ski resort apartment complex where we stayed at in Les Champs, Val Cenis last winter.

From a once tropical gal, missing the snow and skiing is, how shall I say this, a huge step (into sports westernisation perhaps)? I mean, for sure there are many people born in the tropics who can ski and who love the winter and the cold snowy mountains, but I am at this point where wintersport has truly become a tradition in my life that I have fully embraced. I am really enjoying skiing now! That is far different more than a decade and a half ago when I was just starting with the sport.

Last winter, Dutchman and I went to Val Cenis Vanoise ski resort in the French Alps. We usually go in January when its low season, meaning low prices, less traffic on the road and on the slopes. We drove from the Netherlands very early in the morning (around 02:00 am) and arrived around 16:00 I believe. Just enough time to check in to our chalet apartment, get my skis and boots and settle down a bit to the alpine surroundings. I really need to buy my own skiing stuff soon because it is cheaper to own!

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

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