Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bem Vindo Porto! Welcome Oporto!

What can I say? I have fallen in love with Porto (Oporto in English)! I could not believe I have waited this long to discover her. She is a gem.

Transavia direct flight, Amsterdam to Porto

So I arrived here Friday night after a 2-hour flight delay. There were technical problems, something to do with the sensors of the plane and they have to be replaced. Everyone was already strapped on their seats inside the aircraft when the pilot announced the bad news. We really had no choice but to sit tight, complain and get bored.

Here in the car, Dutchman sending me off to the airport.

Flight delay, we were trapped in the aircraft for almost 2 hours. No where else to go. What to do? I ordered red wine and did FB and read BBC on my iPhone. Everyone was doing the same thing, busy with their smartphones.

Porto brand spanking new airport

I did not checked in my bag but because the plane was full and I was one of the last to board, they had no more space for me. So they took my bag and told me I will get it at the baggage belt. Not like!


I took a cab from the airport to my hotel, quick and easy. I heard that the metro is cheaper but with the flight delay, I ran out of patience figuring out how to buy a ticket and the route. I just want to get to my hotel ASAP and go out and meet Porto!

Porto postcards

Here are a few Porto postcards for you...


Tomorrow I am off to the Douro River Valley and its charming vineyards and villages.

Visit Period: March 2013
Destination: Porto (Grande Porto), Portugal

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Off to Porto!

Ola! I am going on a solo trip to Porto, Portugal... in just a few hours.

Flag and Coat of Arms of Porto.

The fiery flag of Portugal

Looking forward to spending my Easter there.

Travel Period: March 2013
Destination: Porto, Portugal

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dutch town: Wijchen in Gelderland

Wijchen is located in the eastern part of the Netherlands in the Gelderland province, just beside the city of Nijmegen and very close to the German border.

Wijchen Castle


‘Wijchen Castle’ circa 1392. The castle underwent major developments and annexation which led to the now castle in renaissance gothic architecture style. Kasteel van Wijchen (in Dutch) is now a museum and is partly being used by the city hall (i.e., renting out the castle rooms for events, parties, etcetera).

Wijchen Centrum


A quick peek into the town’s centre... a bit quiet for a late afternoon.

De Oude Molen (Windmill)


Windmill ‘De Oude Molen’ circa 1799. Like the castle, she also underwent several restorations.

Visit Period: March 2013
Destination: Wijchen (Gelderland), The Netherlands

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A no skiing day and a tour of Saint Francois Longchamp village

On our last skiing day that our ski passes are still valid, which was a Friday, it rained and to add insult to this bad weather, I had a mild migraine. So I decided not to ski and spent the morning indoors recovering from the pain. Around noon time the migraine eased up a bit and I was looking to get out for some fresh air.

The plan was to take a walk around the 1540m village all the way up to the 1650m village. I was looking forward to score a nice item or find some gourmet stuff but all these would depend on what the shops have to offer.

Now come with me for a little walk around this mountain ski resort village including a quick peek to the local gourmet shops.

Saint Francois Longchamp 1650m. The numbers of the village corresponds to the altitude of the sub villages in Saint Francois Longchamp.


On the way to the main village.

Saw a group of children by the ski school ready for a snowshoeing journey.

I was in dried sausage heaven!

The bakery-chocolaterie-gourmet shop.

The main ski lift of Saint Francois Longchamp 1650.

Saw a number of Dutch guys dressed in animal suits... here are 3 of them.

View to Saint Francois Longchamp 1540m and 1650m villages.

Our village is the one right below.

This is the slope and ski lift from our village. 

Our village, Saint Francois Longchamp 1540m.

The next day Saturday we will be leaving the Alps and drive back to the Netherlands, however, we were told that heavy snow would fall in the evening and into the morning. Dutchman and I dreaded fitting the snow chains on the car.

Travel Period: January-February 2013
Destination: Saint Francois Longchamp (Savoie – Rhone-Alpes), France

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunday walk in Mollebos and tea at Het Wapen van Rijsenburg

Officially it’s spring in the Netherlands now but we are still very much in winter conditions. Along the coast, waters have frozen into beautiful forms, the temperatures still hover under 0C by day and the omnipresent wind is making sure it feels like -10C.

But this did not stop the Dutchman and I in going out for a walk in the forest. It has been a long time since we did something like this. In fact I have been curling up at home in my chair for the past weekend’s mainly because every weekend was themed with horrible weather—grey, cold, rainy or snowy. You do not want to get out when the weather is like this, except that, I’ve had it. I’ve really had it.

It is supposed to be spring, and I don’t care if the weather is not cooperating, I’ve had enough of staying in! I am going out =)

Mollebos forest walk in Utrechtse Heuvelrug


We decided to go to Driebergen-Rijsenburg in the Utrechtse Heuvelrug because its nearby. The Utrechtse Heuvelrug is a massive national park forest in Utrecht (in central Netherlands). It is in fact a conglomeration of forests, from small forests to bigger ones. We followed the sign to Het Grote Bos but ended up going into a much smaller forest—Mollebos.

Dutchman and I walked here for an hour. Because it was a relatively small forest, we ended up going around in circles. We’ll check out the other forest—Het Grote Bos next time.


Tea and apple tart at Het Wapen van Rijsenburg

Then it’s tea time!

The ‘Het Wapen van Rijsenburg’ restaurant is probably the best place to have lunch, tea and dinner in Driebergen-Rijsenburg. It’s location is quite strategic, right on the main street of the village with the view to the old church and the village boutique shops.

We indulged in some hot tea and apple tart from the house with whipped cream. Dutchman liked the apple tart while I thought it was a bit dry.


A slow yet a very fulfilling and relaxing Sunday it was.

Visit Period: March 2013
Destination: Driebergen-Rijsenburg (Utrechtse Heuvelrug – Utrecht), The Netherlands

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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