Friday, October 12, 2018

Leersum Nature Walk in Utrecht, Netherlands


 A government forest management office in Leersum.


Dutchman and I love our forest walks in the weekends. Our go-to place is the Utrechtseheuvelrug forest which is not too far away and for this particular walk, we picked the area of Leersum.

We are actually looking into giving more variety on our walks so we are currently exploring other places in the Netherlands, as well as outside the country. When you have been in the same area so many times you realise you want some variety after all. I mean, don't most of us want that, right.

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Monday, October 08, 2018

Pancake Dinner at the Theehuijs Rhijnauwen in Bunnik, Utrecht

This is another favourite of the family!


Pancakes at our favourite go-to pancake restaurant in Utrecht and the whole of Netherlands. At the Theehuijs Rhijnauwen in Bunnik. I cannot count with my fingers and toes included how many times I have been to this restaurant. Fact is, we are going here (again) this week!

I brought Bubbles here after our visit to the Castle de Haar and we had pancake dinner together with the Dutchman and the Dutch mother. I am not sure if Bubbles enjoyed the pancake dinner but it sure is a different type of pancake that she knows.

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Sunday, October 07, 2018

Another Visit to Castle De Haar in Utrecht

I cannot remember how many times I have been to this castle anymore but every time I go, this castle never fails to always take my breath away. She is that stunning and out of this world!


Table and flower arrangement of the dinner table. Lovely!


This castle is really the best example of a fairytale castle.

So last April, I went to visit Castle de Haar (Kasteel de Haar) in Haarzuilens, Utrecht together with Bubbles, my girlfriend from Canada. When a friend is visiting town, I always felt obliged to show them this castle because this is the most beautiful, the most enchanting and the biggest in the Netherlands. Moreover, it's just around the corner from where I live, well just a few minutes drive really, or bike, if you don't mind.

Bubbles was up for it so we sneaked the castle visit into her, rather our, travel agenda.

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Saturday, October 06, 2018

Dinner in Rotterdam at Ceviche y Maas (Peruvian Cuisine)

This is my first time trying Peruvian Cuisine, and thanks to Pat of the Ceviche y Maas (Peruvian Restaurant) in Rotterdam.


A gourmet-esque version of the Peruvian ceviche.


I knew Pat some 16 years ago, back in the days when I was very new in the Netherlands. We met in the Integration Program (Inburgering) in Utrecht for newly immigrated persons through family reunification. It has been such a long time now, and the people I have met there, those that didn't leave or go back to their home country, have all carved out a life of their own in the Netherlands.

You know, life moves on and eventually, we find our own place in the society.

Pat enjoyed a successful career in finance in the Netherlands and she is now into her second career being a restaurateur pioneering Peruvian cuisine in the country. She is very passionate about the restaurant and Peruvian cuisine, and you definitely are when you relish and talk with pride about your roots. It's personal.

Ah, I wish I am on my second career too...

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Friday, October 05, 2018

Hike Back from Zell to Bullay via the Mosel River


The Mosel River.


The view of the vineyard terraces from the river path.

Our hike from Zell back to Bullay was a far shorter one because we didn't go back through the Mosselsteig, the terraced vineyards trail. We went back by following the walking path that runs alongside the river. There are walking and biking paths here linking the villages in the Mosel, and this particular one was pretty easy to follow.

The river trail also offered different scenery, and we were quite happy with that. To our right, we could still see the verdant Riesling vineyards hills rising behind the fields, and to our left is the Mosel river. We see different kinds of boats pass by, we glance at the village houses along the trail, some of which are pretty nice, and catch the views across the river.

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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Zell Wine Village in Mosel, Germany

Before this trip, I did not know much about Zell. I have been to the Mosel River before but didn't really pay any attention to the small (wine) villages. It's usually on our second and third visits that we would go farther out the beaten path and explore the less popular ones.


The Boos von Waldeckhof is a popular historical landmark in Zell. It sits across the river where the church and the tourist office are located.


Our afternoon break or late lunch in Zell.

But having said that, I found Zell a very attractive and quaint place.

We arrived in Zell in the afternoon on our 2nd day in the Mosel River Valley. Dutchman and I hiked from Bullay where we stayed in this lovely B&B on the river. The hike took approximately 3 hours because we followed the wine trail that goes through the vineyards and a small forest. This hiking route is called the Moselsteig, but we only picked the Bullay to Zell trail, which is a fraction of the 375-kilometer total trail.

We also took a few stops to enjoy the scenery, inspect the vines and the grapes and took lots of souvenir pictures. This has got to be the most beautiful hike we've both had by far.

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Friday, September 28, 2018

Hike from Bullay to Zell through the Vineyards in Mosel, Germany

Around this time of the year (September), Dutchman and I went on an extended 3-day weekend getaway in the Mosel River area in Germany.


The village, Merl, between Bullay and Zell.


It is my second time in the Mosel.

Dutchman and I stayed in the idyllic village on the river valley called "Bullay". We really wanted to stay on the Mosel River, so we picked this village because it was the only one with an available accommodation right off the river. This was a priority for us, a non-negotiable requirement for the trip, so we were so happy to have found this Bed & Breakfast.

When we arrived here, we also found out that Bullay, was in fact, a great base area for hiking. It even has a very scenic route that goes through the vineyards and is very well recommended by many hikers. We were happy campers and felt really lucky because we booked this accommodation fairly late.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Best Panoramic Dinner View in Skiathos: Olive Thea Restaurant and the Burlesque Toilet and Full Moon

This has got to be THE BEST DINNER WITH A VIEW ever on our summer holiday last year on Skiathos Island, Greece.


Simply gorgeous...

The best ever that I have decided to make the view as my blog's banner! Introducing, the Olive Thea Restaurant in Skiathos.

I mean, just look at that view. It's so beautiful and amazing. We were literally speechless when we arrived and saw this spectacular restaurant setting with the perfect and best view on the island. I was a happy camper that evening.

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Plane Spotting at Amaretto Cafe in Skiathos, Greece

One of the things that are really cool about the Greek Islands is being able to plane spot up close.


How cool is this? Planespotting from a cafe?


Dutchman and I have plane spotted in many islands in Greece and our favourite (well, at least mine) so far was our experience in Corfu in the Ionian Islands. We stood on this water dike behind the airport which is used as a pathway as well to connect the basin. The planes fly above it as they land. From the dike, we could see the belly of the plane up close when it flies above us.

Here in Skiathos, the experience is quite similar, although the planes fly much lower (low landing) because the airport runway is just across the road from the Amaretto Cafe where people stand on the parking area to plane spot. The airport runway is literally just behind the cafe, like 100-200 meters.

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Skiathos, Greece: Dinner and Views at Sofia's Family Restaurant

One of the really nice dinners we've had in Skiathos, in terms of stunning views, was at Sofia's Family Restaurant, Café & Bar.


Sofia's Family Restaurant from the Church's hilltop square.


We saw the restaurant from the working new harbour where the large public ferries dock. It sits on top of the hill just behind the Agios Nikolaos Church and Clock Tower. It has a very huge, but not a really sophisticated signage. I can’t say which caught my eye right away; if it was the worn-out too simple signage or the outdoor terrace where I saw people dining on. Perhaps both?

I always love a good view while dining so I told the Dutchman that we are going there for dinner one evening. He agreed with me.

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Skiathos, Greece: European Beach Culture Ruminations and Megali Amnos Beach


Paralia Megali Ammos (Megali Amnos Beach) is the main beach near the town center of Skiathos.


The Megali Amnos Beach (also called Paralia Megali Ammos in Greek) was the nearest beach from our holiday apartment, approximately an 8-minute walk and we can even see the beach’s bay from our apartment’s balcony, which we enjoy every single morning during breakfast. Ah, it was a beautiful sight to wake up to each day.

And very typical for the Dutchman and I is to search farther away located beaches before checking out the nearest one. We always reason out that it’s just there anyway and we can go there anytime. Do you do that as well? I mean, why do we always have to look far away when there’s something near? Um, I guess that’s being human, huh.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Skiathos, Greece: "Foodporn" and the Fast Food with "No Name"


"No Name" Gyros fast food.


Foodporn burger fast food joint.

We had 2 evenings on Skiathos Island where we ate fast food, one of which was at a trendy burger joint and the other at a local Greek gyros place.

Eating out every night during a summer holiday can get a bit wee old. There are nights when you just want a quick grab and then go somewhere else to hang out or have a drink. Fast foods are also cheaper which relieves the stress our wallets experience during the holidays. The cost difference from a sit-down meal and a fast food is not even half! And the fast food in the Greek Islands are not bad at all as well.

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Auckland, New Zealand: Living in the countryside with nature

After a busy day out with Dahl, she finally brought me to her part of the world, to her safe homestead, far away from the hectic civilization of Auckland City.


Yup, we are in the countryside!

I knew that Dahl lived on a farm. She had always talked about her agrarian life on the farm before, especially during the years when she and her late husband were still running it.

However, the farms that I know and I am a bit familiar with are the farms in the Netherlands. They are flat and are usually rectangular in shape. You will see this symmetrical tapestry of farms when you are on the airplane, flying low and looking down on the country (such as this: The Netherlands from Above). Lush rectangle polders, some of them dotted with cows and surrounded by water.

The farms in New Zealand are far different from these though...

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Auckland Day Out: Lunch at Soljans Winery, Buying Macadamia’s, Plucking Blueberries and Shelly Beach

My second day in Auckland was spent with Dahl, a lovely friend who I met a many moons ago.


Our lunch at Soljans Estate Winery. I am feeling lucky with my fish n chips.


Shelly Beach on the Kaipara Harbour in North Auckland.

The last time Dahl and I met was more than 10 years ago, perhaps 12 years even, in Gouda, Netherlands. I cannot anymore recall the exact year and month. It's been that long. I think it was the time before I started blogging, which was 2004. Or perhaps it was on this year. Oh dear, I cannot believe I am still blogging after all these years, haha.

I did assure Dahl that I will visit her someday and that I will pop up on her side of the world and she can show me her place. Well, life has its own twists of fate. Who would have known that my sister will move to New Zealand? Not in a thousand years I guess. It only made my visit, even more, faster than planned!

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Saturday, September 08, 2018

Auckland, New Zealand: Dinner at Ostro Brasserie & Bar


Chic and trendy Ostro Bar & Restaurant in Auckland CBD.


Ah, my first-night dinner in Auckland!

Well, I saved SisterJ and Myrhh from cooking and washing the dishes by inviting them to dinner with me at Ostro Brasserie and Bar in Britomart or CBD (Auckland's central business district). SisterJ has been here before at the restaurant's deck terrace during a company cocktail event evening so she told me that it's an upscale a bit trendy restaurant with views of the Waitemata waterfront harbour. Now, I kind of like that.

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