Showing posts with label Travels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travels. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Hanami




This spring, I finally got the chance to visit Japan for Hanami (Cherryblossom Viewing). I went with my family to Kyoto, Lake Kawaguchiko and Tokyo. This is my second time to Japan but it's my first time to see Mt. Fuji in all its magnificence right in front of our lake-side hotel.

Details of my trip on escapecapades.com.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

My Awkward Experience at the Sumo Stable in Tokyo



Sumo Wrestling has always been one of the interesting things about Japanese culture that I have always wanted to see and experience in person. And so, when I recently came back to Japan with my family this month I tried to book for a ticket to watch an actual match, but it was fully booked for the month. But then, I found out I could instead book for a Sumo Practice Viewing at the sumo stable.

I tried to book via Viator (a company owned by TripAdvisor) for three people... but I found out kids are not allowed. And that I could only book for one person on the dates that I prefer. So what I did was book for myself on one date and book for my husband on another date.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Siquijor

Bewitching, bewildering beautiful beaches of Siquijor up on escapecapades.com







Visit escapecapades.com for more...

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Old Town and Around Prague

Up on escapadecapades, my visit to the beautiful city of Praha and some hotel, bars and restaurants review:

The old city bathed in golden early morning light

Thanks for dropping by and have a lovely weekend! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Jose Rizal Travels: Litomerice

Up on escapecapades.com: A trip to the cozy little town of Litomerice, a few kilometers off Prague, one of the places in Europe where Jose Rizal lived. This is also where he met his life-long friend, Ferdinand Blumentritt. Click on the link for the full story.


View of the town square from the Tourist Information Center's viewing tower

 Enjoy the time travel, and thanks for stopping by! :)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A la ferme

One of the highlights of our first week in France was at a farm called Ducazaux. It was a good place for our daughter to see some farm animals, walk in their mini-forest trails where you can see some fox holes and birds nests. They also have some play areas and a small café and souvenir shop.

The entrance to the farm

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

St. Jean de Luz and Biarritz, France

Up on escapecapades.com: this year's visit to the Pays Basque in France ...


with an added review on a Michelin starred restaurant.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday Mood: The Sunny Sunflowers

We chanced upon some sunflowers growing in the wild on the road side. My mother-in-law made a bouquet with a bunch of other wild flowers. It's so pretty.

We have just arrived in France this weekend. On the road from Toulouse to my in-laws' place, we were greeted by the smiliest, sunniest blooms of rows and never-ending rows of sunflowers. Scroll down for your viewing pleasure...


Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Great Wall at Jinshaling

Up on escapecapades.com: the full story of my Great Wall Trek


The start of the 5-km trek on the authentic and unrestored portions of the Great Wall at Jinshaling, Chengde

Cheers and have a good weekend! :)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Beijing Experience

Up on escapecapades: My recent trip to Beijing, trying some craft beer, their famous Peking Duck and of course, visiting the Forbidden City. I have also included some tips and reviews at the bottom of the page.

Sitting pretty inside the Forbidden City

Cheers, and have a good weekend! :)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

In and Around Melbourne


New post on escapecapades.com, featuring my recent trip to Melbourne:

In my more recent travel posts (starting from this post about Melbourne), I shall be including short reviews of restaurants and hotels I've been to, to make my travel journals more useful to readers and followers.

Fun graffitis everywhere
From now on, I shall be posting all my travel blogs on escapecapades.com. See you there!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

New Zealand Trip, Part 4: Rotorua


From Hobbiton Movie Set in MataMata, we drove farther down South for about a couple of hours to reach Rotorua. We arrived late in the afternoon, so we only had time for dinner. We just had dinner at one of the not-so-interesting restaurants in this area at the city center called, Eat Street. And then it was a bit cold and rainy. We had a nice relaxing restful sleep at the motel after a tiring day from Hobbiton.

I went back the next day, a bit before sunset to take some long exposure, wide angle shots with my big camera. My shots didn't really turn out any nicer than the filtered iPhone ones that I posted on Instagram, though.

The next day, we visited Kuirau Hot Pools Park, which is in the middle of the city center. At first, I was not so impressed about it. But then I immediately figured out it's a huge park and we started in the less interesting parts. Later on, we found a place where we can soak our feet in a hot pool. My daughter and I enjoyed it very much. And then at the end, there was a huge, smoky, hot water lake filled with various shades of yellow, red, amber and greenish shades of mineral deposits.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

New Zealand Trip, Part 2: Waiheke

On our second day in New Zealand, we decided to head out into one of the closer islands from Auckland to join a half-day bus tour in the morning, and then do our own improvised walking tour in the afternoon. This island we visited called Waiheke reminds me so much of the pear pie that I would always buy at Marché (the Swiss bakery/restaurant that has branches here in Singapore). I did not know before until then that it's the name of an island in New Zealand! Such an interesting coincidence.


This is a view of Palm Beach

Saturday, January 23, 2016

New Zealand Trip, Part 3: Hobbiton

From Auckland, we set out early morning on our third day in New Zealand to the Hobbiton Lord of the Rings Movie Set tour. We took the South Motorway, the big highway, so the view was not very scenic at all. I was a tiny bit disappointed. But we went inside the small towns on the way back to Auckland from Rotorua, and the roads were definitely a lot more scenic, albeit, longer than usual. I noted that we did not pay any toll fees at all.

I booked the tickets online, more than a month in advance. There are three pick-up sites for the tour, one in Rotorua, where we are actually heading after the tour, one in Hamilton and another one in MataMata itself, where the movie set is located. I chose the MataMata site since it's the shortest drive from Auckland, and also offered the cheapest tickets because of the proximity to the Shire.


This is the i-Site, at the MataMata city center 
The i-Site is located at Broadway Street, which is right at the city center, conveniently littered with restaurants and bars and lots of parking lots. There is also a souvenir shop inside the i-Site. I bought a few more postcards to send to myself and my relatives because they have such beautiful postcards and stamps. And they conveniently have a post box outside of the shop.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

New Zealand Trip, Part 1: Auckland

During the holiday season, we decided to take a trip down south. We visited the North Island of New Zealand and roamed in and around Auckland and Rotorua. We arrived on the 26th of December and we were blessed with warm sunny weather. Thankfully, it is summer in December in the Southern Hemisphere because I am not so much of a sweater weather person and I don't buy into that White Christmas crap because I have already experienced how much of a bitch the cold and bitter white winter can get.

The view of Auckland from our boat on the way to Waiheke Island
Our hotel was just right at the top of Queen Street. It's a famous street with all the shops and restaurants. Right at the bottom of Queen Street, you'll find the pier, where you can book all sorts of island trips.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Driving Around Iceland, Part 5: Reykjavik to Jokulsarlón

(please refrain from using my photos without permission)

As I have mentioned in my first three posts, I am writing about my trip to Iceland in reverse chronological order. And so in this last part of my series of blogs about Iceland, I shall be talking about the first part of the trip.

We were actually coming from Toulouse on the way to Iceland. And from Toulouse, we had to change planes in Amsterdam. We took Iceland Air from there. The flight was quite nice. We had some free snacks on board and there was an entertainment console on each seat, but you'd have to buy the ear phones, which I found weird.



Some slow shutter, moody shot of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lake, taken with an ND filter
We arrived around midnight and so were greeted by the midnight sunset above the Icelandic skies a few minutes before touchdown to Keflavik Airport. Everything was bathed in blood-red outside. It was otherworldly. I’ve never really seen the sunset from the plane before, much less, a midnight one! It was splendid... like a portent of things to come.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Driving Around Iceland, Part 4: Akureyri and the North

(please refrain from using my pictures without permission)

continuing from my last installment, we were in Borgarnes (the west). from there, we headed up North towards Akureyri, which was about four and half hours' drive. as usual, we drove along the coastal areas. the paths were long and winding. the clouds hovering low over the cliffs, still. there were times when the roads were really zigzagging and steep. it would get all foggy and cold one moment, and then all sunny and clear and warmer the next.

the small city of Akureyri in the North -- apparently, the second biggest in Iceland, next to Reykjavik

Friday, September 11, 2015

Driving Around Iceland, Part 3: Borgarnes and a Bit of the West

(please refrain from using my photos without permission)

First of all, I would like to say that I fell in-love with our hotel in Borgarnes called, Ensku husín. The name of the hotel translates to "English House". Just look at how charming it is from inside and out:


This is the view from the restaurant

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Driving Around Iceland, Part 2: A Day in Reykjavik

(please do not use my photos without permission)

I’m actually starting this series of blogs in reverse chronological order because I want to save the best for last.

Our last day in Iceland was spent walking around Reykjavik (the capital city) with my Icelandic friend giving us a free tour and bringing us to a very nice and famous restaurant. It's a welcome respite to just take a relaxing walk around the city on our last day of touring around Iceland as we had been driving all over the country for the past days, all the while hurrying to see places few and far between.


First on our list was Hallgrimskirkja.  Like most Icelandic words, the pronunciation is entirely different from how it is spelled. I didn't understand which place my friend was referring to at first when she mentioned it, until she explained how certain letter combinations are pronounced a certain way, totally unlike the spelling.

Those linear columns are reminiscent of the spectacular basalt rock formations at the Reynisfjara (more about this later on)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Driving Around Iceland, Part 1: Teaser Post

To the uninitiated, Iceland frightfully sounds a lot like some piece of land filled with a lot of ice. Well, it's not true at all. There are actually more ice in Greenland (its neighbor country, a bit higher in latitude) than in Iceland. Although, it is true that I specifically went there to see the ice, I went during the summer so I only had the chance to see them on mountaintops and cliffs, and melting on glacial lagoons, thankfully. Yes, glacial lagoon, you read that right! More about that later! :)

I shall be posting about the Ice in Iceland lastly in this series of posts because it is the part of my trip that is the most amazing of all. And I really like saving the best for last. For now, I just want to present the itinerary of our crazy driving trip back and forth Reykjavik (the capital city) -- going down South towards the Southeast (Jokulsarlon) and back again towards the West (Borgarnes) and then the North (Akureyri) and finally back again in Reykjavik. I have to admit, we didn't plan this trip well enough. We did not do a lot of research and just followed the suggested itinerary of our Travel Agency blindly.

You can see our crazy itinerary on the left side, and our driving path in blue on the map. We have actually spent almost 18 hours on the road, according to Google maps. It didn't feel like that at all because we had plenty of stopovers at gorgeous sights along the way! :)

But it was not such a bad trip at all. Contrarily, I would say it was my best trip of all, to date. Iceland is just Amazing with a capital A. It has landscapes that boggle the mind and make you feel like you are in another planet. I mentioned this to my Icelandic friend, whom I visited while I was there, and she said in fact that the landscapes are more amazing in the highlands. Regretfully, we only visited the coastal areas, which have paved roads. We didn't get a proper vehicle for rough roads and the highlands, unfortunately. She said the landscapes there are quite like the ones on the moon that there are actually astronauts training up there to get a feel of what it would be like on the moon. Is that Amazing or not?!

So I leave you hanging for the meantime, awaiting my series of posts featuring one of the most magical sights you will ever see in this world... Ciao for now! :)