Thursday, September 03, 2020

Back from La Palma (Canary Islands), Spain

 Hola! Taken a few days ago in Puntagorda on La Palma Island.


We've just been back from our summer holiday on the Canary Island of La Palma in Spain. I guess the picture shows how well we have adapted into the new normal of holidaying. A bit surreal. Mask, 1.5-meter distance, always disinfecting and all. A bit strange, huh.

More soon about this holiday.

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

Thursday, August 20, 2020

At Home with Covid-19: Breakfast - Lunch - Snack - Dinner

Covid-19 aka Coronavirus has surely changed our life, our working habits, and our lifestyles at home!

I haven't been on holiday this year. I mean seriously, this is taking a big impact on my sanity. We were supposed to go skiing in the Alps last January but since I started with a new job, we let the holiday slip for the time being. Instead, we were planning of going somewhere far around March timeframe, like to another continent, but then the merciless Covid-19 struck, and we got helplessly stuck at home.

That's right, we have been longing to go on holiday now for months, and this Friday (tomorrow!) we will be flying down to the south of Europe! Yes, with disinfectants and masks and all, ready in our luggage.

Lunchbreak at home.

So during this working from home, the new normal of Covid-19 life, Dutchman and I, apart from the dinners we normally have together in the evenings, are cooking more during the day and are sharing plentiful of breakfasts, brunches, lunches, and snacks.

Some people say that being together 24x7 can drive each other nuts and perhaps may result in the relationship going south. Hmm, so far we are surviving. For 18 years already.

I have to say that I am getting used to staying and working from home. I also love fixing and cooking meals throughout the day. It relaxes me to get away from the computer and use my hands for something else, such as making a meal. It is a challenge though not to overeat, and this is something we are trying to work on.

Before I go on holiday, I would like to leave you with some of the dishes we've had in the last months and weeks. I am loving the home life and would like to better my food preparation, cooking, and baking skills. I am also busy with the house and would actually like to talk more about it. It's just that I have been so buried with work that it's draining my energy. You'd think that working from home will offer flexibility and nice lifestyle trade-offs. It does, but I realised that there is a thin line between work and private life. It can be very easy to work late in the evenings and even during weekends. Discipline is critical.

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Monday, August 03, 2020

Valletta: A Maltese Breakfast, Visit to the Palace Armoury, Stunning Saint John's Co-Cathedral and Upper Barrakka Gardens

Travel Period: November 2018
Destination: Valletta, Malta

I thought I have seen the most lavish and ostentatious interiors of churches in Vatican City and Bella Italia, but Malta proved me wrong in this holiday. Saint John's Co-Cathedral is the most flamboyant of them all churches. See the evidence in this post.


Our Maltese (fast food style) breakfast!


The Saluting Battery below the Upper Barrakka Gardens looking over to the Three Cities:


So we are now on our second day in Valletta, Malta.

We will be visiting a couple of touristy places in the old fortifies city of Valletta before heading over to the Three Cities with the public ferry. We will be spending the rest of the day at the Three Cities. Come join me!

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Our First Day and Evening in Valletta, Malta

Travel Period: November 2018
Destination: Malta

Malta is one of the small countries in the world, I believe it ranks the 10th! 


I have been wanting to visit Malta for some time and finally took the flight to Valletta and met with a very good friend there from Las Vegas, who I would like to call in the blog, Delphi. Delphi is an old friend from school. We have managed to be in touch after all these years and I have even visited her in Nevada many years ago. We now have become travel buddies and are eyeing some countries to visit together, hopefully after this Covid-19 crisis.

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Sunday, July 26, 2020

Oud Zuilen, Netherlands: Slot Zuylen (Zuylen Castle) + Dinner at Bistro Belle

Visit Period: March 2019
Location: Oud Zuilen, Utrecht, Netherlands

There were a few international colleagues in town and being the assigned entertainer, sometimes self-appointed because no one else will do the honours anyway, I took them out for dinner.


I have been here at Bistro Belle a while back with the Dutchman, however, it was on an afternoon. We had some tea and delicious apple pie. So I thought that it's not a bad idea at all to come back for dinner.


The restaurant is named after Belle van Zuylen, a famous writer in the 18th century who lives with her family in the castle just behind the restaurant, Slot Zuylen. 

What I love about restaurants in villages and small towns, or anything outside the city, is that parking is always easy to find. In most cases, there will be designated parking spaces and they are usually free. I parked the car right across the castle so my colleagues can enjoy the lovely architecture and the green scenery before we wander around a bit in the tiny village and have our dinner at the restaurant.

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Thursday, July 16, 2020

Officially Midlife at 50

Happy birthday to me! Right, I have turned the page and entered the midlife stage last June. I am now part of the 50 youngins :)


In observance of Covid19 and to make my life easier in preparing the food, I did a 2-day celebration for the family. Nothing fancy and big really. I tend to shy away from parties and crowds so I made this as a small, cosy and family-only event. 

Saturday was a barbecue dinner and Sunday a long lazy lunch. The weather was on our side, which was awesome, so quite happy with it as I was already ready to do a raincheck a week later if the weather acts up.


50 is a big number but I do not feel 50 at all, although, sometimes I wish I do.

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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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