Sunday, August 19, 2018

Breakfast at Le Café Pouchkine in Paris

Bonjour, Bonsoir everyone =)


Le Cafe Pouchkine.

One of the places in Paris that I have been wanting to visit is the aristocratically designed Café Pouchkine. The café on Place de la Madeleine is grand and oozing with old world charm. The interior design and furnishings will bring you back to the time when Faberge eggs were still produced for the happy few.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Night on Champs Elysees, Paris: Le Deauville Dinner and Lido Cabaret Show


Waiting for the curtain to open for the Cabaret Show at Lido Paris.

I have been to Paris many times and but have never been to a Parisian Cabaret Show so when girlfriend Pinpin invited me to go to Paris with her, I said yes under the condition that we will do a side trip to Versailles and attend a Cabaret Show. Or something like that =)

Well, knowing Pinpin, she was more eager and excited than me!


Champs Elysees at night.

This isn’t my first time to a cabaret show though. I went to a tropically themed cabaret show in Havana, Cuba with Blondine many years back. That too, was quite entertaining.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Greece: Cruisin to Kalamos Island, Fallen Asleep on the Beach and Dolphins Sightseeing

Hello! Kalimera!


So this is the second part of the day cruise tour we took during our summer holiday in Lefkada 2 years ago (2016). Yup, a very delayed post. You can find the link to the first part here: Greece - Cruisin to Cave Papanikolis, Kastos Island, and a Swimming Dip

Dutchman and I always grab the chance to visit smaller islands during our Greek Island summer holidays. We either take a boat cruise tour or just hop on a local ferry (with our rental scooter or car) and visit the nearest island, like we did last year and the years before that.

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Greece: Cruisin' to Cave Papanikolis, Kastos Island and a Swimming Dip


Sailing trip and this is Kastos Island.

So this is a bit of a very delayed Greek holiday post going back to our summer holiday in Lefkada (Lefkas) in the Ionian Islands in 2016.

In Lefkada, we joined a cruise (boat tour) called "The Forgotten Islands Tour" by the Nikolaos boat. We sailed off in Nydri harbour, where most of the trips start. It was a whole day affair and for the sake of this blog post and the so many pictures I took, I will divide my report into 2 parts.

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

My Daily Life in the Netherlands #008

Welcome again to my life =)

Well, at least the life you see here on the blog. It's time to once again update what I did in June and July this year. Quite a lot I think, although it felt like ages ago already and to think that we've just started the month of August.

Life moves on so fast, it's hard to keep up even when looking back. Am I glad I have this blog!


The lake beach near our new house in Utrecht. Can you imagine this is just around the corner from our new house? I mean, seriously, its just about 100 meters away?! Of course it is not always busy like this because the weather in the Netherlands is another story.


Moi during the Gay Pride Canal Parade in Utrecht.

The main highlight of June and July was the yearly summer holiday in the Greek Isles. This time we went to Karpathos, a new island for us in our growing list of visited Greek Islands. We went for 2 full weeks.

Another thing to highlight is my work, although I can't and won't go into detail. It's somewhat taken over my sanity but luckily I am managing well, haha. There is just so much going on right now, it's mindboggling. I cannot lie that I am sometimes anxious about what will happen. #stayingpositive

My car got broken into for the THIRD time! This time they took my tail lights. Strange. Sometimes I wish I have a simpler and cheaper car, which I do have privately though. The Audi is a lease car from work and I have no choice, although I have to admit that I love the comfort it offers and the style.

My mother in law's cat Lucy got lost during the time we were holidaying in Greece. She missed having a cat in the house so she adopted a new one. Her name is Puka. But after 4 weeks, someone spotted Lucy somewhere and the family quickly acted and went to check on the address in the middle of the night. After 45 minutes of searching the family found Lucy! What a miracle. So now, the mother in law has 2 cats =)

What else? We have been busy with the house.... we have finally decided on the floor. We are taking a ceramic floor in wood finish. We have floor heating so we can't have real wood or laminates. I have begun making sketches for the garden as well. I am excited, the garden will be an extension of the house, a hangout, like a patio. A second living and dining room.

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Picnic at the Beach of Henschotermeer in Utrecht, Netherlands

We were actually not planning on going here... but fate has its own ways.


We have been to the Henschotermeer before. It's a big man-made lake that is a beach with white sand and surrounded by a forest with lovely fresh smelling trees. In the center of the lake is a little island that can be reached by a wooden footbridge, or a swim, if you are feeling bold enough.

Henschotermeer is located in the middle of Utrecht province so it's not very far from where we live. I remember having my birthday celebration here many years back. It is a popular place for many locals and for people who know it from nearby provinces.

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Utrecht, NL: Chilling at Rivers Marnemoende in IJsselstein


A restaurant with a view.

So I met up for coffee and some more drinks with the sister in law at this lovely place in IJsselstein, Restaurant Rivers Marnemoende which is located on the water, just beside the yacht haven with an open view of the water and the flat green countryside of Utrecht.

This is hands down, a beautiful place to meet, talk, hang out and just chill out.

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Thursday, August 09, 2018

The Netherlands From Above

This was taken last April while the plane was flying low above the Netherlands...


The Netherlands is flat.
The Netherlands is as low as can be.
The Netherlands is so linear. Can you see those slender lines?

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Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Going Chinese and a Bratwurst on a Rainy Dresden


Altmarkt Galerie is a shopping mall with a food center in the basement.


When you travel in early spring there is always a big chance that some days will be caught in the rain. Especially in Europe.

In Dresden, we got rained down for the whole loooong day, until in the evening. What can you do when nature conspires against your travel and sightseeing plans? Well, adjust and stay indoors =)

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Saturday, August 04, 2018

Visit to the Dresden Castle Museum (Dresdner Residenzschloss) on a rainy day


The city of Dresden has a number of museums and one of the famous ones is the Dresden Castle Museum or the Dresdner Residenzschloss (Dresdner Schloss). It is one of the oldest buildings in the city going back to the 16th century. It started construction in 1533 and was completed in 1899. That's a loooong wait to finish! 3+ centuries!

The building is designed in Neo-Renaissance and Baroque style and is an impressive building that one will notice in the city. It is now a Musem and we visited it.


The entrance of the castle museum and the inner court open lobby.

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Friday, August 03, 2018

Massive Crispy Pork Knuckle German Lunch at the Altmarkt Keller Dresdner Bierhaus

When in Germany, one should not only drink beer like the Germans do, but eat as well like the Germans do!


The big German-style crispy pork knuckle with sauerkraut and fries.


The underground / cellar restaurant in Dresden.

Introducing, the all-time favourite by tourists to try, haha – the ‘Pork Knuckle’ rather the crispy pork knuckle. Well, I am sure as well that the locals love this meaty and fatty dish because the traditional fare wouldn’t have stayed long on the menu if people are not ordering anyway.

Germany is a meat country, and I love my vegetables you know.... but if you can't beat em, join em =)

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Thursday, August 02, 2018

Dresden: Breakfast at Schwarzmarkt Cafe and Visit to Neustadler Market Hall


The market building originally opened in 1899.

In Dresden, I stayed in the Innere Neustadt (Inner newer part of the city) which is across the River from the Old City. You can easily walk to the city center in minutes.

My friend and I didn't take the breakfast at the hotel which in my opinion anyway is always a bit boring. I mean I do not get pumped up with hotel breakfasts unless it is a stunning boutique hotel in a lovely extraordinaire setting. But chain hotels? Nah.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Consenvoye German War Military Cemetery in France

The Dutchman has been very fascinated about the World War I and II battlefields in Europe, so I have agreed and promised that I will go with him and visit these places again, but one place at a time.


Last year in spring was our first visit together, in the northeastern part of France where the Battle of Verdun and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive took place during World War I. He has been to these places with his late father and I guess that funneled the interest and up to some degree a sort of fascination about wartime history in the past.

Dutchman told me that we should look out for the German cemeteries because they are different. So while driving around the battlefields, well, we were actually en route to Argonne, we passed by this low key cemetery on the road. Dutchman was quick to comment that it is a German cemetery, so we have to stop.

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Visiting the WWI Ruins of Fort Vaux in Verdun, France


This is Fort Vaux World War I ruins in Verdun, France.

In the spring of last year (2017), Dutchman and I went to visit the battlegrounds of the First World War in France.

One of the places we visited, and in fact we have used as our base, is the city of Verdun in the Meuse valley in the department of Lorraine. For this short extended weekend history trip (4 days), we picked a few important places to revisit and one of them is Fort Vaux, located on the outskirts of Verdun.


I actually found it strange to be sitting on top of a bunker and taking a picture of it when people have died on this spot a hundred years ago. Is this what they say desensitised because of time? Shall I say that time indeed heals all wounds?

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Netherlands: Den Dolder Forest Walk

One of the forest walks we did last year was in Den Dolder.


The village of Den Dolder is part of the Zeist municipality in Utrecht province. Dutchman and I try to check out a different forest every time we do our walks, but there are days when we just go spontaneously. I think this was one of those days. If I remember it correctly, it was a Sunday and we just checked Google Maps and saw that there is a sizable green lush in Den Dolder so we decided to go there.

That's just to give you an idea how we make use of Google Maps, haha.

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Amsterdam Light Festival 2017-2018, Maritime Museum and Dinner at Spingaren

Last winter season, sometime in December (2017), I think between Christmas and New Years, Dutchman and I went to visit good old Amsterdam. We wanted to check out the yearly Light Festival.


Amsterdam Light Festival 2017-2018.


Dinner at  Spingaren.

We have been to an Amsterdam Light Festival a few years ago and that went down really good for us, hence this second visit, after which we planned to have dinner at this restaurant located on the main canals of Amsterdam Centrum. We call this the grachtengordel where the majority of the 17th-century gable buildings are located.

So we went to Amsterdam with the car and parked it outside the city center at the P&R Zeeburg in IJburg, a relatively new neighbourhood in the Northeast of the city. Parking fees in Amsterdam Centrum are crazily outrageous, it is going now at 7.50 Euros per hour (!!!), and thanks to the P&R parking, it is by far the most cost-effective and efficient way to travel by car to the city at 8 Euros only for 24 hours (price may change in time). From the P&R in Zeeburg, we took the tram to Amsterdam Centraal Station which was less than 10 minutes. Not bad at all.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Ben Tre Mekong Delta Day Tour: Houses, Vietnamese Lunch and the Chicken Situation

So we have come to our most awaited part of the day trip.... the lunch. Yummy!


Lunch at this open-air restaurant in the middle of a network of moats and the bushes.

Although we had some snacks at the coconut candy and fruit cafe earlier, I was actually dying to eat lunch. Hungry! We were promised of course a local Vietnamese lunch, and Vietnamese is one of my favourite cuisines in the whole world, so I am very much looking forward. I cannot wait.

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Ben Tre Mekong Delta Day Tour: Village Walk, Traditional Weaving and Trike Ride

Our third stop of the Ben Tre Mekong Delta Tour is a combination of sorts...


Walking on the streets of a village in Ben Tre to the weaving place.


Ah, an exciting trike ride! =)


This is the boat ride from the candy/fruit cafe to the village where we got off.

We were picked up by the motorised sampan boat in the candy and fruit cafe in the middle of nowhere Mekong Delta marshland and were dropped off at this village (I have no idea of the name). The village reminds me of the villages in the countryside of the Philippines, however, they were different. You know, similar yet very different.

We had a little walk and saw some of the daily life scenes in Ben Tre.

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Ben Tre Mekong Delta Day Tour: Coconut Candy Workshop and Tropical Fruits Cafe


Tropical fruits treat in Mekong Delta.


Our second stop for the Ben Tre Day Tour is a little coconut candy workshop and fresh fruits cafe located in the middle of nowhere marshland in Mekong Delta, Vietnam.

It was actually a very nice surprise to visit this lovely and secluded place. You are one with nature here and there are no direct neighbours. We travelled by motorised sampan boat from the Brick Kiln factory and arrived here in 20 minutes. Taking the boat is the only way to reach this candy workshop and cafe, and that's quite special I think.

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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Ben Tre Day Tour: Brick Kiln Factory and Entering Mekong Delta River

During my visit to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam together with family members a year and a half ago, we were able to take part in a day tour to Ben Tre province.


Brick production is part of Ben Tre's thriving small scale economies.


The Mekong Delta life.

Ben Tre is approximately 2.5+ hours away from Ho Chi Minh City and the province is home to the famous Vietnamese river called Mekong Delta. Like many others, we are curious tourists who want to get away from the city for a day and see Vietnam's lush countryside. We were also looking forward to doing the Mekong Delta riverboat cruise thing.

It is a whole day promised activity with hopefully interesting stops and places to see!

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