Saturday, November 30, 2013

An Evening in Bonn, Germany

The drive from Strasbourg, France to Bonn, Germany took me roughly three hours. The route via Germany from Alsace, France where I holidayed (Colmar, Alsace Wine Route) to Utrecht, the Netherlands is faster than via Belgium. I love long drives and I can be on the wheel for hours and I do not mind it at all. As long as I have good music, I am all set.

Best place to park in Bonn? Under the market square. I went to Google Maps and wrote down a few of the streets entering the market square and fed one of them to my GPS. When parking in your own country is going at 5.00 euros an hour, parking anywhere else in the world is always cheaper.


The Market Square (Markt) and Bonn City Hall and this is my souvenir picture of Bonn, inside the car in the underground parking of the Market Square =)


Bonn: Ludwig van Beethoven’s City
Websites: Bonn Tourism | Beethoven Haus

Did you know that Beethoven was born in Bonn in 1770? After his move to Vienna, the capital of classical music, sources say he remains faithful to his hometown and even wrote this, ‘I will always remember my time in Bonn as one of the happiest periods of my life.’

This is one of Beethoven’ s famous works: Symphony No. 5

Nonetheless, I wanted to see his place, the Beethoven-Haus, but I couldn’t make it earlier before the door closes for the day. It’s not very far from Utrecht so I will just come back another time. My friend, Herr Philippe, has suggested a lovely place for lunch in the city with beautiful views on the Rhine River so that is a good reason to come back as well.


Ludwig van Beethoven Statue on Munster Square (Munsterplatz).


Munsterplatz

Bonn: Previous Capital of (West) Germany

Not many people know this, except for my smart aleck nephew who wants to learn about everything. One time we were talking about the countries in Europe and one of it was Germany. He told me, ‘Bonn was the capital of (West) Germany before Berlin became one!’ Now you know why I call him the smart aleck nephew.

Bonn is also the headquarters of Deutsche Post/DHL and Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile.

Anyway, let us take a stroll around the city... shall we?


The Bonn Minster (Das Bonner Münster), a Roman Catholic Church.


 Some re-enactment of sorts.


The Star Gate (Sterntor), which is a reconstruction of how the city gate looked like during the medieval period.


I stopped at this place called Cafe Restaurant Bonngout for light dinner. I ordered a Bruschette Mista which is an appetiser.


Baguette slices with tuna, tomato and corn with olive oil and melted gorgonzola cheese. Of course, a glass of red to go with this light meal.


Back here at the Market Square and about to say goodbye to Bonn before heading to the parking garage underneath when I saw this breath taking last fringes of sunset: Bonn at Twilight

Bonn, guten abend und auf wiederhesen.

Travel Period: April 2013
Destination: Bonn (North Rhine-Westphalia), Germany

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Strasbourg: Place du Marché aux Cochons de Lait & Quai des Bateliers

Before I left Strasbourg I was lucky to have seen this beautiful part of the city, which I later found out is a highlight in the list of places to see and experience. One of the most charming little squares in medieval Strasbourg.

PLACE-DU-MARCHE-AUX-COCHONS-DE-LAIT 

And so I have learned that the exact translation of Place du Marche aux Cochons de Lait is — ‘The Suckling Pig Market Square’. You can only guess that during the medieval times suckling pigs were traded here. Other squares in Strasbourg were named in a similar fashion, i.e. Vieux-Marché-aix-Vins (The Old Wine Market), Marché-aux-Poissons (The Fish Market) and Marché-Neuf (New Market)

A lovely place to sit down in one of the cafes with a glass of wine and then people watch! This square has a small narrow alley leading to Place de la Cathedrale.


I like how the French spell the plural of sandwich. It is cute, no?


When two worlds collide, cuisine wise: French meets Deutsch.


One of the colourful side streets near the Suckling Pig Square. 

QUAI DES BATELIERS

This is the quay that will lead you to Place du Marché aux Cochons de Lait and then Place de la Cathedrale. Again, I just got lucky really that I made the decision to turn into one of the bridges in this area, drove around the cathedrale and came back on to the quay to find an available parking slot! Hallelujah.

It is a pretty part of town and very near to the Place de la Cathedrale where I was scheduled to have a traditional choucroute lunch at Maison de Kammerzell, the most striking and most important medieval building on the square, well apart from the cathedral of course.


I parked my car on this street (left side of the quay).


There are flat bottomed boats stationed here for sightseeing.


So alas, my time in the city has come to an end and I must drive further up north, into the deep of Deutschland. My next stop: Bonn.

Au Revoir for now my dear Strasbourg.

Travel Period: April 2013
Destination: Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin - Alsace), France

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Hong Kong: Central Skyscrapers and Views from the Red Bar

I really liked Hong Kong. I wish I could stay in this city for a longer period of time. I would try all different kinds of noodles and peking ducks, and visit all the high-rise lounge bars with sweeping panoramic views over Victoria Harbour.

Central Skyscrapers

The family managed to walk around a bit in Central admiring the tall buildings. Did you know that this neighbourhood in Hong Kong Island is the most expensive to live in the country? Moreover, the real estate for office letting here are in the astronomical pricing range. Hong Kong Central Business District Remains the World’s Expensive Office Market (click to read the survey). Overall occupancy cost of Hong Kong’s Central (as of 2013 rate) is US$235.23 per square foot per year, followed by London’s West End at US$222.58 and Beijing’s Finance Street at US$195.07.

The Dutchman lived here in Central very briefly as an expat and very much loved the Hong Kong life as well. Here are a few pictures I took during the day:


The mother having a little walk with her convertible to a stool chair walking stick =)


And below are the pictures in the early evening. You can also find my pictures of Hong Kong’s skyline from the Victoria Peak here: Stunning Hong Kong Skyline from the Peak


Of course, Hong Kong’s famous double decker trams. Always a lovely sight.


Red Bar Views at the IFC Mall
Websites: IFC (International Finance Centre | Red Bar + Restaurant

I also met with girlfriend Shally who was temporarily anchored in Hong Kong for work at the time. We went out for an evening in Lan Kwai Fong (will post this shortly) but we also went to this cool bar at the IFC Mall in Central, which is Hong Kong’s tallest building to date.


Shally tinkering with her phone, looking for more cool hotspots =)


View to Victoria Bay and Kowloon.


The views here are very nice! You know how I love sweeping panoramic views and everything that is glass. I would love to come back here during the day and during sunset as well.

Red Bar has views to Victoria Bay and Kowloon, and on the other side, the tall buildings of Central Business District.

Travel Period: August 2013
Destination: Central (Hong Kong Island), Hong Kong

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