Monday, October 31, 2011

Laganas Main Strip Nightlife

Dutchman and I are getting old, we have stopped doing the nightlife scene, like, really. Every time we go on holiday together especially during our yearly summer holiday where parties abound on the beaches, we tend to just shun nightlife and crawl back to our room or retreat to a quiet lounge.

Being in our 40s, parties are not anymore our thing. The noise becomes too much. The crowd unbearable. Everyone else on the dance floor looks half our age? And we can’t imagine drinking even just until midnight. You know, the list goes on...

Laganas main strip though is one healthy party place. Its where the kids who want to throw a bash here or two should go to. And it’s the place where people our age and older avoid, lol.

Anywho, we are not totally spoilsports, we did pass by the party scene and a cool very busy bar caught our attention—‘Club Zero Zante’ bar and discotheque. It was full of giddy kids wearing the same thing. It’s like the sequel to Sensation White in Laganas, Zakynthos—Greek Sensation Orange.

Club Zero Zante. Orange. Blue. White.

Anywho, I didn’t really have wild stories to report. UNFORTUNATELY. Sorry!

More blog entries about Zakynthos to come though.

Travel Period: August 2011
Destination: Zakynthos Island, Greece

Officially autumn in 2011

I was on the road today to Venlo, a city in the south of the Netherlands by the German border. On the A12 highway in Gelderland near Ede and Wageningen I saw lovely colours of autumn.


This is only a small part of the beautiful autumn colours that I saw along the highway that I was able to snatch a foto. I was not quick enough to grab my camera that is in my bag.

My skirt:


Believe me, it is actually not so bad when I stand up.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

A day on Laganas Beach, Zakynthos

Our first 2 days in Zakynthos was spent inside our hotel resort, we didn’t really do much except eat, sleep, Dutchman swimming while I relax by the pool, read magazines and Stieg Larsson’s book—‘Men who hate women’, eat again, drink some spirits and go back to sleep.

Lots of vendors on Laganas Beach selling fresh fruits. They really yell, albeit very loud, FRESH FRUIT! FRESH FRUIT! in Greek accent =)

On the beach I was reading a past issue of National Geographic that I picked up at Schiphol Airport, it was a discounted bunch of older issues (past few months) for 10 Euros.

On our third day we decided to go to Laganas Beach, the famous 9-kilometre stretch beach of Zakynthos. We’ve seen the beach on our first day at the island during a walk and our initial impression was—this is not the beach for us. We don’t like crowds, especially when its full of brawly teenagers who only want to party. But we don’t really have much of a choice since we didn’t have the rental mope yet. Our plan really is to go to the small beaches and coves and spend our time there.

With the given circumstance, i.e. not much choice, we decided to spend a day in Laganas Beach. Just one day!

The plus factor with Laganas Beach is that the beach is shallow, which is great if you come to Zakynthos with the family. You can walk away further from the shore into the deep and the water is still hanging on your waist. This is probably the main thing that I really liked with Laganas Beach and which pushed me to swim as well. In fact, I swam a couple of times! Dutchman was quite surprised haha. The beach has no pebbles and stones too, just sand which is smooth on the feet.

I may have mentioned this a few times in my blog: I am not a beach person nor I am a water person. Our summer holidays which usually revolve around sun and beach is a compromise for me. In a relationship you always compromise.

So when I am with the Dutchman summer holidaying ergo beaching, I normally just sit and lie on my sun bed under a parasol with a drink in hand. Eventually to kill time, I do some reading, sleeping a bit, people watching and taking pictures of course. Everything is done slowly. Time stands still. Relaxing I suppose. I’m not complaining.

Laganas Beach is also a protected marina (Greek National Marine Park) being the birthplace and habitat of the endagered ‘Caretta-Caretta’ sea turtles. If you come here and you swim further deep, you might get lucky and see these turtles.

Some of my people watching fotos:

My beach view on the left and on the right.

My frontal beach views.

Playing beach ping-pong.

Three musketeers with their three marias.

Here are the beach vendors:

You want some massage?

Fresh fruit vendors.

This guy is selling gadgets. Nice hat though.

In certain parts of the beach it can get rowdy with wild teenagers, especially after lunch when they have woken up from the deep slumber of hangover, only to do the same week-long vicious cycle again starting at the beach.

Because we have an all-inclusive accommodation for this holiday, we strolled back to our resort hotel to have lunch which is not too far away from the beach.

Buffet lunch, nothing spectacular really.

After lunch, we went back to our sun beds on Laganas Beach. I think we stayed on the beach until 6PM. During summer the sun in Greece goes down past 8PM (sometimes longer in June and July).

Travel Period: August 2011
Destination: Zakynthos Island, Greece

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What’s inside Zeus mini supermart?

Last August Dutchman and I went to Zakynthos Island in Greece for a week and a half. It’s our yearly summer beach holiday so basically this is a relaxing we-will-not-be-doing-a-lot holiday.

Our accommodations were all-inclusive which I think we would not do again in the near future. Hotel food is not as enjoyable as dining outside, as well as this type of accommodation does not really help the locals.

Anyway, let’s check what’s inside Zeus mini supermarket in Laganas. We went to these little Greek stores regularly to buy water, chips and other nibbles. They are basically mini hypermarts that serves the tourists on holiday. Locals do not buy here.

Zeus in Greek mythology is the king of gods and men.

Mythos lager beer.

Lays, Greek style, in olive oil naturally.

The incumbent president of the Philippines is called NoyNoy (his nickname).

Greek sweet delicacies: Baklava and Kantaifi.

Ouzo flavoured loukoumi with the famous secluded beach spot of Zakynthos on the foto, Navagio and the Caretta-Caretta endangered sea turtle.

The Greeks and the Turks, who are neighbours and who also have a tumultuous relationship with each other historically, share the same food, as well as delicacies.

Travel Period: August 2011

In Stockholm: To Arlanda Express or not, and plane views

When we travel a lot we become slack at arriving at the airport on time. I also have a typical too positive attitude and daring character wherein I take risks. So that usually ends up me running down the hallways at airports. People never learn their lesson very well, huh.


Anyway, as usual I am running late. I arrived at Stockholm Central Station and hurrying up to get to Arlanda Airport, I contemplated on taking the cab, then there is the Arlanda Express which is the high speed train connecting Stockholm and Arlanda International Airport in Uppsala. It only takes 25 minutes. I was not really sure which to take. Should I take the Arlanda Express or not? The cab? Arlanda Express? Decisions, decisions and I do not have time!

Since I took the cab from the airport to Stockholm, as well as I heard from people and the woman at the Arlanda Express ticket counter that its traffic on the highways, I took the Arlanda Express option. The woman at the ticket counter was actually berating me why I was not early. Well, we had an earlier discussion about the time schedules of the train where in she asked me what time my flight is.

‘You should be at the airport 2 hours before your flight!!!’

Ooops. Yes mom! Er, ma’am...

She was really worried about me missing the flight, lol. I told her it’s alright, I have enough time to go through security. Arlanda Airport isn’t Amsterdam Airport. Well, I don’t think I was that convincing enough to her because she was quite upset me leaving so late for the airport. Oh dear.

Anyway, I got to the airport in time. I didn’t miss my flight =)

On the plane, I read about the Tasaday hoax in the Philippines. I remember this from school, in fact there was a textbook written about them and everyone truly believed they were primitive stone-age tribesmen. The Philippine government still stands strong to this belief. No sign of humbling up and accepting the misrepresentation but I know too well the Filipino (or Asian in general) value that is an institution itself called SAVING FACE. It’s a hoax people, stop pretending.



Tasadays on the KLM on-board magazine. The whole world knows its fake except that the Philippine government denies these allegations.

Here is the Tasaday story in the musem of hoaxes website: Tasadays a hoax. There is also a wikipedia dedicated to them. Elizalde have sworn the Tasadays authenticity down to his grave. But anyone who is not dumb can clearly see the loose ends. They were indeed primitive but not as primitive as Elizalde have claimed them to be.

Anywho, I have captured some cool plane views as well when we entered Dutch air space:


Stockholm to Amsterdam and vice versa is about 2 hours.


Travel Period: August 2011
Destination: Stockholm, Sweden

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Gamla Stan, Stockholm: A meet and a Räksmörgås at Stortorgskällaren Restaurant in Stortorget Square

After my eventless search of Stockholm’s subway art and joyriding, I went shopping at the PUB which is also where my hotel is located. It’s still raining cats and dogs and cows outside and even though I have an umbrella courtesy of my hotel, I was not in the mood to walk outside. No one in their sane mind would.


Late lunch at Stortorget: Räksmörgås and going against the trend pairing it with a red.

I also went to have a quick coffee at the café corner of the building where I had a yummy delicacy—munched a tiny crunchy croissant filled goodie stuffed with lemon. It was really good! I wish I knew the name.

The rain slowed down a bit in the early afternoon when I took the metro back to Gamla Stan. I am meeting an old colleague in Stortorget. She is Swedish with South Asian roots. We used to work together at F years ago in Amsterdam. The last time I saw her was her going away party at her apartment in the centre of Amsterdam. I remember liking her apartment, quite spacious with a little balcony that overlooks down a secluded garden, however, when you step outside the front door you are welcomed by pedestrians, cyclists and vehicular traffic. Such a contrast it was.

She helped me order some Swedish stuff and told me that I should try räksmörgås, which many of us might have tried unknowingly at IKEA food/cafe. Well, I did, before. Räksmörgås is basically peeled shrimps, fresh ones.

Honestly I am not such a big fan of traditional Swedish food but I think, compared to the Netherlands, Sweden, due to its strong design background and adaptation to contemporary styles, has more inviting and trendy restaurants and eating out culture.

It was a nice close to my Stockholm weekend getaway. Nice to get in touch with an old friend and colleague.

Now it’s time to rush back to the hotel to pick up my bag. I am not sure if I will be taking the cab back to the airport or the Arlanda train express... which is quicker?


It was august with some showers, a bit cold for summer.


The terrace view from the Stortorgskällaren restaurant at the famous old square of Gamla Stan, Stortorget. 


Travel Period: August 2011
Destination: Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden

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Looking for Metro/Subway Art during a rainy Sunday in Stockholm

Stockholm is a captivating and elegant city when its graced with beautiful sunny weather, but like Amsterdam, it sucks big time when it’s raining.

My original plan for the day was quite simple, just three things that I wanted to do before I fly out early evening back to Amsterdam:

1) Climb up the Kaknästornet (Kaknas tower) to catch magnificent views of Stockholm, which will be facing the medieval island city of Gamla Stan.
2) Check out all the different types of art in the city’s metro (Tunnelbana) and train station.
3) Later in the afternoon I am meeting an old colleague in Gamla Stan, so another opportunity to try Swedish food for late lunch.

Advertisement in the subway of a leading Swedish telecommunications company. Switching heads =)

The first two things on my agenda didn’t really materialise, or well, just partly, all because of the weather. It poured. Very hard. Damn the rain.

Secondly, Stockholm didn’t really have a guide book about the art they have in their subways. The biggest showcase they have in the centre is Kungsträdgården metro station that is supposed to look like an archealogical excavation but it was closed for renovation. There was a long queue at the T-Centralen tickets and information and that instantly sent me off to the doors.

Not wanting to wait to get info, I decided to just wing it. I jumped on a line that brought me out of the busy city to the suburbs. We came out of the subway, the scenery changed, the pace became slower and it is quieter. You can say that I spent a few hours searching for subway art as well as joyriding. This is definitely NOT the Sunday in Stockholm that I expected it to be. However, it is pouring cats and dogs and cows outside so I guess for the moment the subway is then the best place to be?

This is what I am looking for: Stockholm Metro Art. My fotos below does not even come close! I will have to visit them on my next Stockholm trip.

The upside of joyriding is that I was able to see the suburbs, a bit of life outside Stockholm, a glimpse of daily normal life in Sweden. And while sitting in the metro, I was overcome by a déjà vu encounter, it was a compelling and strange familiarity that brought me back to my first few years in the Netherlands which I largely spent on buses, trams and trains. It felt really weird but nice.

Also, another mistake I made was I assumed big time that the locals, and in this case, the metro drivers would know about the subway art. Helaas, nope. I had a long chat with a metro driver who advised me to go back to T-Centralen.

Armed with that advise, I went back to town and decided to just continue shopping until it’s time to see my old colleague in Stortorget, Gamla Stan.

Me in the bathroom and my morning breakfast. I piled some bacon. I only eat pork when its (1) dried cured sausage and must be hard (2) bacon and must be crispy. Other than that pass off please.

Hotorget station that graced in Madonna’s music video Ray of Light.

Stockholm Central Station.

Orange and Green Lines.

Mosaic tile art.

Travel Period: August 2011
Destination: Stockholm, Sweden

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