Sunday, June 17, 2018

Lovely Lunch Place in Sarajevo: Dveri

I am one lady who always looks for nice and cute places to eat at!

The little entrance to Dveri. Isn't this place just lovely?

In Sarajevo Old Town, we found this lovely restaurant called Dveri. The place is quite small and uniquely cool. It's actually a bit hidden from the busyness of the pedestrian street, having only a very modest gateway and a corridor leading to the restaurant.

It has a narrow entryway and had it not been because of the signage outside, we would have missed this wonderful place! I am glad we paid attention.

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Miljacka River Bank and the Sarajevo Assassination

The Miljacka River flows through the capital, dividing Sarajevo into 2 parts, the southern side and the northern side.

The Seher-Cehaja Bridge near Vijecnica.

Vijecnica and Kovaci neighbourhood.

The northern side part is the where Bascarsija, the historical old city center is located, as well as the neighbourhoods of Kovaci and Vratnik and many others. The latter is home to Sarajevo’s old city walls, stone gates, and fortress. A must visit if one is looking for panoramic views. Sarajevo is nestled in a basin and the houses on the hills have a great vantage point of the city. The southern side to the river is the suburb called Bistrik.

Miljacka river bank is joined by 11 bridges in Sarajevo and these bridges have their own distinct designs. The river is quite shallow so there is sand formation can be seen in certain parts. We strolled on here on a morning, just after we have visited Sarajevo’s City Hall aka Vijecnica. We were also in search of the famous Latin Bridge, the site of the Sarajevo Assassination. I think the river bank is a great place to walk on late in the afternoon just before twilight.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Photos of the Sarajevo City Hall and City Library aka Vijecnica

This is perhaps the piece of architecture and national monument that truly stands out in Sarajevo.

The beautiful building was built during the Austro-Hungarian empire circa 1891 by Czech architect, Karel Parik. It functioned as a city hall and after the World War II, it became the Bosnia National and University Library (Sarajevo's city library).

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The "Sebijl" and Vintage Trams in Sarajevo

Souvenir shot of the Sebijl.

The Sebijl (fountain) in Sarajevo.

Sarajevo is not for everyone, that I know for sure. It is exotic, different, and a bit on the rough edge. But I quite like the jive of the city. It is humble and unique.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

A Strange Encounter in Montenegro

Have you ever had strange encounters during your travels? Encounters that make you go, WTF? I mean, seriously.

Driving the coastal road of Montenegro in the direction of Kotor.

I mean those suspicious calling-for-trouble encounters where afterward you'd wonder what would have happened to you if you did not say no or did not pay attention at all?

Travelling does make us wiser, but there are cases when travelling have gone south (meaning have gone bad) for some people. No one really knows the future and what will happen next during our travels, that is why we always have to constantly watch our backs. Being friendly to strangers does have its perks, but skepticism and being mindful to the details still rules the day.

You can go a long way when you employ street smarts!

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

We Stayed at the Conte in Perast, Montenegro

Montenegro was one of the countries I have covered in the Balkan road trip last year. Goodness, the trip felt like ages ago already! Time fly so fast these days.

Conte Hotel & Restaurant in Perast, Montenegro.

So just a quick recap of the road trip. Bubbles and I started in Tuzla (Bosnia & Hercegovina), driving to Sarajevo, the capital of the country, after which we moved on south to Mostar and even managed to do a quick visit to Medjugorje. Then we crossed borders to Croatia in the Adriatic Coast and stayed in Dubrovnik where we hopped on a boat to the small island called Lokrum. Then it was time to cross borders again, and here we are in Perast, Montenegro.

After busy Dubrovnik in Croatia, Perast was a breath of fresh air.

The hotel has a lovely waterside terrace! Right on the Bay of Kotor.

Perast is a UNESCO world heritage town and we were very glad to have stayed in this very laid-back and serene sanctuary, which actually has a more village-like feel really. We love it.

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Friday, June 08, 2018

Surviving Sveti Stefan in Montenegro

Isn't this place stunning? Like it just stepped out of a fairy-tale book.

The magical Sveti Stefan isle in Montenegro.

If I were to sum up the whole story of this historical, magical and captivating Sveti Stefan (St. Stefan's Island) in Montenegro into one word, then it is -- SURVIVAL. The medieval island has managed to survive and exist through the years, and recently though, out of compromise.

It is called St. Stefan in dedication to the St. Stefan church in the small island, which I learned still offers mass every Sunday up to this day.

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Monday, June 04, 2018

Lost in Chinese Translation Meal in Shanghai

I have the inclination to order the wrong meal, every time, on the first day of my arrival in a new, usually non-English speaking (country) destination.

This restaurant offering Chongqing cuisine is located near the Shanghai Railway Station in Zhabei.

The last time it happened to me was last year when Dutchman and I were in Verdun, France. I ordered pig's feet because I didn't know what "Pied de Porc Roti au Four a Bois" means. Now, that's a mouthful of French!

You can read it here: Lost in French Menu Translation in Verdun: Who Wants Pig's Feet?

So it happened again, and this time in Shanghai, China. French was perhaps easier since the language is based on the Roman alphabet, but Chinese characters?

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Saturday, June 02, 2018

Shanghai Style: Meet "The Bund" and "Pudong Skyline"

If someone visiting Shanghai only has a few hours and want to quickly visit the city to experience it in a nutshell, then a stroll on the stunning Bund to view the Pudong Skyline is what I would strongly recommend.

The view of Pudong skyline from the Bund. Boat cruises ply the river back and forth during the day and especially at night when the skyline displays its colourful lights.

The Bund is an embanked quay on the western side of the Huangpu River running parallel to Zhongshan Road where many notable historical buildings stand. This area in the city is the former Shanghai International Settlement and is adjacent to the old walled city of Shanghai.

Before the Chinese civil war, the Bund was home to many financial institutions, trading houses, and consulates from western countries. When the Communist party took control of the country, the Bund was converted for government use and other purposes. However, the new China (1990's onwards) has slowly transformed the area to boost tourism. It has succeeded.

Across the Bund on the Huangpu River is the gorgeous Pudong Skyline or the Lujiazui skyscrapers.

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Friday, June 01, 2018

Shanghai’s 5-Kilometer “Nanjing Road” is World’s Longest Shopping Street

For the traveller or tourist who is keen to shop and engage in the modern Shanghainese shopping lifestyle experience, the answer is a visit to Nanjing Road. I suggest multiple visits since this shopping street is 5-kilometers long!

Shopping during travelling does not sit high up on my list. I do buy stuff but they are mostly a by-product of my travel activities. I do not travel to shop nor is it a travel activity. But I am always curious about shopping streets in large cities. I want to see what it looks like, what kind of stores they have, what products offer, perhaps there is a café on the corner street that I can sit and have a drink whilst I watch people go about with their shopping? Yup, that's more like it, my kind of game =)

Such as when I was in Copenhagen, I sat on this nice cafe restaurant on a corner of Stroget, which is the longest shopping street in Denmark and just watched people. I even managed to meet a local Dane where we had an interesting discussion about life.

Nevertheless, I was curious about the Shanghainese shopping lifestyle so I visited Nanjing Road.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cashless China's Obsession on Barcode / QR Code Payments

Paying by cash or by Chinese Yuan (RMB) money is slowly going extinct in China. This is for real.

You can see the blue and green barcode / QR codes for payment scanning.

Personally, I cannot be bothered having cash with me. I have always preferred to pay via card. Not credit card but a debit card. I believe the Netherlands is one of the major cashless societies in the world. You can say I am a perfect example of a cashless citizen. I only have cash money with me when I travel abroad, for just-in-case situations you know.

However, my experience in China proved to be in a different league. Firstly, card payment has never become mainstream in China. Instead, the country is obsessed with paying by smartphone through QR codes.

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Taking the Fastest Train in the World: Magnetic Levitation "Maglev Train" in Shanghai

China is a multifaceted country that is changing through the times and growing at breakneck speed. It is unbelievable to see the transformation of a once communist country to becoming the largest economy in the whole world.

As of 2017, there are 115 Chinese companies in the Global Fortune 500 list. 3 of the top 5 are Chinese companies. 10 years ago was a different story. Having been to China twice now, mainland China that is, and not counting Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan which I have been to as well, I can only say that the country is truly making history. Proving to the world as it charges through to an incredible phase of technological and economic advancement.

I would recommend to travellers who want to visit the country to visit now because many traditional places of interest are slowly going down the path of extinction. They are being taken down or camouflaged with modernisation. Preservation is only for what the government deemed as highly historical and of cultural value to the country.

Old wet markets, traditional shop houses, and the daily street hawking scenes are sadly slowly disappearing in most Chinese city streets. That’s what I have learned and noticed during my last visit to Shanghai.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Postcards from Kaikoura and Christchurch, New Zealand

The last leg of my road trips in New Zealand was Christchurch.

The iconic Christchurch city (tour) tram.

Christchurch hit the world headlines when an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale struck the city back in 2011. The city has never been the same again and traces of the quake aftermath can still be seen today.

We took the coastal route from Picton - Havelock - Renwick/Blenheim to Christchurch, passing through Kekerengu and Kaikoura. The coastal drive was very scenic and relaxing, although we had some delays because of the roadworks. We originally planned on taking the other route via the Nelson Lakes but the coastal highway is the fastest route from the north to Christchurch so we took heed.

Christchurch is the third most-populous city after Wellington and Auckland.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Postcards from Marlborough Wine Country: Picton and Blenheim

I must say that this is one of my favourite places in New Zealand, the Marlborough region in the South Island.

Marlborough is known in New Zealand as the wine country but it is also home to beautiful coastal waterways, peninsulas, islands, and fjords which are called "sounds" there. It is a lovely place that has bitten me.

Many people have told me that the South Island is beautiful so I was quite expecting it really and I can only agree to it. However, I have only managed to see a part of Marlborough and Canterbury and I am aching to see more of the island! I need to drag the Dutchman here in the very near future.

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Postcards from Windy Wellington (New Zealand)

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand. It is also the windiest capital or city that I have ever been to.

It can get pretty windy here in the Netherlands but nothing beats the wind in Wellington. The Northerly and Southerly winds are funneled through the passage on Cook straight slapping Wellingtonians with approximately 100 km/ph winds, which have become quite normal to the locals. Newbies faced with these winds tend to run and shelter themselves but Wellingtonians just see it as another breath of fresh air.

In the south of France, they have a name for a similar strong wind, the Mistral. In Wellington, they just call it the Northerly or the Southerly.

The city is also quite small, smaller than its northern sister, Auckland. I have earlier mentioned in my previous Auckland postcard picture entry that Auckland has a small city feel to it. Wellington, on the other hand, much smaller, has a town city feel to it.

So just a few pictures of this windy capital for now.

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

New Zealand Nature Postcards from Castlepoint, Napier and Masterton

Castlepoint on the coast in the south of North Island, New Zealand.

New Zealand's natural beauty has many faces.

Our road trip unexpectedly took a turn and brought us to a route that we did not plan at all. However, this was a route that I, personally, have enjoyed so much. We camped here at the beach and it was my best night ever. I remember the lovely sound of the waves of the sea lulling me to sleep and waking me up in the morning.

Hope you enjoy a few of the pictures. The real story of this part of the road trip will follow soon.

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More NZ Postcards from Hobbiton, Rotorua and Taupo

New Zealand is divided into 2 islands: North Island and the South Island.

One of the hobbit houses in the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, North Island.

Our road trip began in Auckland and we managed to visit many places along the way in the North Island.

In this entry are just a few pictures highlighting our road trip stops in Rotorua and Lake Taupo which were the first 2 days of the road trip. I was quite amazed to see and learn that there were just so many things to see and do. It is too bad that we do not have enough time. I mean don't we all not have any enough time?

I have added a few Hobbiton pictures here as well, which is not part of our road trip. I went here on my own after our road trip. For those who do not know what Hobbiton is, it's the Hobbit scene from the famous Lord of the Rings book/movie.

[To see the rest of the postcard pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

Friday, May 18, 2018

Kia Ora! Auckland Postcards

My visit to New Zealand was fantabulous!

Auckland city center in the Harbour area.

I only had 10 days for this visit which means I was only able to see a few places and I need to come back =)

Auckland, by the way, is NOT the capital of New Zealand. I heard it was before, but then the government elected to move it to Wellington. Auckland, however, is the most populated city and is the economic hub of the country. That said, this is where my sister lives.

So this is just a few pictures to start off the Auckland stories...

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Postcard Glimpse of Zhouzhuang, China

Trivia: Did you know that China has many water towns?

I managed to visit one of these popular water towns on the Yangtze River through a day tour I booked at my hotel. I didn't really have much choice which water town to choose from since that day I booked was a Sunday and it was a holiday in China, which means only a few tour operators were working that day.

Because of the language barrier, tour operators are heaven sent in this country.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Postcards from Suzhou, China

My visit to Suzhou was not planned at all...

On the Grand Canal in Suzhou.

It was a last minute thing that I totally did not regret. Suzhou is one of the oldest cities in China that dates back to 514 BC. It is often called as "Paradise" by the locals because of the many gardens that litter the place.

I first heard about Suzhou through the Shanghainese girl I met on the flight from Amsterdam to Shanghai. She's lived in the Netherlands about the same time as me and go home to Shanghai on a yearly basis. She told me that Hangzhou and Suzhou are my best bet if I want to spend a day outside of Shanghai. Both places are not too far away. So I took her word and chose Suzhou because the day trip I found was combined with another place that I wanted to visit.

These are just a few pictures though that I took in Suzhou...

[To see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

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