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Melbourne Hotspots

Melbourne is not really my favorite City in Australia but it brings good memories to me.  It is a beautiful city nevertheless.  The last time we came to visit was when my son was a little boy! (7 years ago) now he is a big boy, time flies! Most of these places where just being developed and seeing how it looks like now is just having a feeling of nostalgia.

Here below are the places we went to last July.  We only have 2 days to explore as we only went for a stopover before going back home to Auckland, New Zealand.

The Docklands

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The Docklands, vinneve

Sea Life  

St. Kilda Beach

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St.Kilda Beach, vinneve

Luna Park

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Luna Park, vinneve

National Gallery of Victoria

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Natl Gallery of Victoria, vinneve

Queen Victoria Gardens

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Queen Victoria Gardens, vinneve

Melbourne Museum

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Melbourne Museum, vinneve

World Heritage Site

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World Heritage Site, vinneve

Carlton Gardens

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Carlton Garden, vinneve

I don’t know when we can go back here to visit but surely if we continue to go back and forth to Abu Dhabi and using Australia for our connecting flights then surely we can visit one more time!

Next time please wait for my Auckland post, Parks and places here to go to.  Cheers!

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Dessert Museum, A unique way to sweeten your day!

SUGAR? No thanks, I’m sweet enough!” anonymous 

What is the best way to sweeten your day? Go ahead to Dessert Museum.  Yes! you heard me right.  Though it’s not really a Museum in the true sense of the word but it shows to appreciate what makes this appealing to kids and when there are kids there are families in tow… and in the Philippines, the family is a big deal.

 

 

It is located beside MOA, Pasay City (a part of metropolitan Manila) which is true a City within a City.  Another tourist attraction is LAKBAY MUSEO which is just beside it inside the S Maison mall which is connected to MOA or Mall of Asia as per the previous post. Click this LINK.

Anyway, this Instagram-able place is a bit pricey for most Filipinos especially if you have 2 or more kids which are normal in the Philippines.  Nevertheless, they even have a time they’re fully booked.  It is better to buy tickets from KLOOK as I realized too late as it’s cheaper online. Also, my father’s ticket is free because he’s celebrating his birthday this October. So a better plan, when there are 1 or 2 people in the family, has a birthday coming.  FYI… at least you will be getting some sweets 5-6 pcs per person in every room that has a treat (though not all the rooms have it).  Of course, kids love it!

We spent two hours I think inside as the kids explore other activities while eating their sweets, and the adults posing selfies, two-fies or the whole family!  So you see this is the only Museum (sort of) where you are allowed to eat your sweets! At the end of the day… one happy kid is all that matters!  Soon he may not truly enjoy this kind of thing so I might as well savor the moment with him.

Thanks for checking my blog or this new post, truly appreciate your time.  A LIKE, FOLLOW and/or comment will be good too.  Enjoy LIFE while we can!

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Heydar Aliyev Museum, Azerbaijan

Finally!! I know some fellow bloggers have been waiting for this. Sorry, it took me longer to have time to write as some of you know… I have my own business now to take care of. If you be kind to browse LIKE and share my website I will truly appreciate your support. www.evemerchstore.com

Alright, back to blogging 😂.  For some of you know where we’ve been last July school holiday, Azerbaijan was a nice surprise for us and I have 2 posts before this so please check them out if you haven’t done yet.

Heydar Aliyev Museum is a beautiful, very clean and spacious museum with full of things to discover and yes lot’s of photo ops so be ready always with selfies or two-fies with your loved ones. The architect of this building was the famous woman ZAHA HADID who also built the Abu Dhabi famous bridge – Sheikh Zayed Bridge, among other things and places around the World.  As per The Guardian of London, she was the “Queen of the Curve”.  Her biography is also a great thing to read about. Just click the link on these names and it will bring you to another tab to read for later because you have to finish my blog first haha!

You perhaps can now sense why she’s the “Queen of the Curve” isn’t it obvious as shown in the photos above? 

The Museum is fascinating! I guarantee that you will learn a lot! things that you never heard before or known things before this. For example like they have so many dolls there as below.  Some are weird and some are really interesting!  I remember I did recognize a few dolls there that perhaps I have seen either in books or a movie?

Below are the places that we didn’t get the chance to visit in Azerbaijan.  This is just a miniature what more if you see the real-life size of these buildings?!  I cannot put it all here so there are some more in my album that I cannot share here, sorry.

If you are going as per the hop on hop off tour bus better make sure you ask the driver for the arrival schedule at the museum.  Have 2-time options as it can take more than an hour to see it all plus they have a nice garden coffee shop on the ground floor but I don’t recommend if you are really hungry.  Only little snacks and coffee.

It’s best you see this for yourself one day.  They are really worth the trip when you are in Baku, Azerbaijan.  I hope you like this post for all those who love museums like me.  Thanks for your time, like and the comment will be much appreciated. Cheers!

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My business and leisure

“Our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”  by Walt Disney

It’s been my dream since I was a little girl to be successful in life.  At a very young age, I already have a goal in life, thinking ahead and hoping my dreams will come true!

After I resigned at the peak of my career in favor of family togetherness, I have experienced a lot of things in life, but mostly the ups and downs of emotional struggles about who I am back then compared to who I am now.  Comparing life living in different countries, different cultures and how to fit in.  

Fast forward, God is very good to me.  All my hardships in life paid off.  When there’s a struggle there is prevail in the end.  There are some good and yes there are some bad too but hey, life is like that.  Nothing is perfect in this world.  There is a famous line here in New Zealand that we Kiwis love to say… “If life throws you a lemon, make a lemonade!”  and rightly so… I am making lemonade and trying to sweeten it with my courage and ambition in life as well as trying to do what is best for our family.

So now I am presenting to you the fruit of my labor.  The fruition of my dream since I left my career to wonder and wandering around in favor of family life.  With this, I can still feed my hunger for being creative while doing mommy duties & occasional travel.

I am asking all of you, my dear readers, to help and support me spread the word about my online shopping business and I hope you may try one or two products, that would be great!!  Get online to: https://evemerchstore.com/

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FYI.  Please check my Affiliate Program if you want to join and earn!

 

See you all there!!  Thank You very much.

 

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Surprisingly! Azerbaijan

Not many people know this Country, they called “The Land of Fire”  unless you’re aware or good in history or geography like Mr. Hubby. Anyway, it’s never in our plan but yes surprisingly this place is AMAZING. So many things to discover!  If you for some reason can’t go to Europe, this is an affordable & nearest destination to be coming from the Middle East or Asia and AustralAsia or for us… we ticked all these boxes!

This is one of the best option when it comes to budget and travel time as it’s only 3 hours flight from Abu Dhabi.  Yes we came back just for a visit (school holidays) as hubby still working here.  It didn’t dissapoint us as this is our quick family bonding since March.

Azerbaijan is in Central Asia actually but the feeling when doing sightseeing is like you are in Europe! Amazingly I can see some similarities of every cobbled alleys to Italy and Switzerland. Their strip of boutique stores & hotels are similar to Paris as well as their hilly leafy side roads. Their building structures are both European and Russian influences as this Country used to be part of USSR. There’s more that surprises me is that majority is Muslims but they’re more open as if you are in Europe itself (within reason, no short shorts of course!) Sure, there are some women in their abayas but mostly they come from the neighboring Arab Countries and they also love to visit Baku according to some.  Their money is called Manat while in the UAE is Dirhams. So we always convert whatever we buy into dirhams to differentiate each and we found that some items like foods are a little cheaper in Baku than Abu Dhabi. Taxis are also cheaper but it’s not metered you need to haggle (just like in some parts of Asia!) or better ask the hotel reception or a local how much is the usual fare to and fro and agree with the driver before you enter their quaint cute violet cab or a converted normal car to a taxi. There’s Uber of course but we won’t be staying longer so if within 3-5 days we are ok to go and pay the usual taxis everywhere. They are either stationed outside hotels or tourist spots otherwise you can easily hail them anywhere. If you are planning to stay longer than 10 days asked the hotel or anybody to help you register otherwise you will be banned to come back here. I find that some tourist go Countries hopping because Azerbaijan is in the middle bordering Georgia, Armenia & Kazakhstan.

Baku City is surprisingly beautiful both old & modern architectural design adorned the City. Lot’s of historical sites within the City as well as the developed huge Milli Park where locals and tourist like us enjoyed strolling by day and night as there’s a huge modern mall and some themed Park fun activities for kids to enjoy! They have a very  long stretch of  bayside to stroll.  At night the Park becomes vibrant and lively with full of different colorful lights and landscapes and yes it’s relatively safe as long as you have your wits with you! It is interesting to discover Azerbaijan particularly Baku City. You must come to experience this yourself. Do not be afraid to explore other Countries you never heard before. Besides, there’s a blogger always there to discover it first so better check any information so you’re not totally ignorant about it.  I did, but I’m still surprised about this beautiful place, not to mention the Summer weather is so good. I can tolerate the peak hours heat and when the night falls it’s cooler that you may need a scarf or shawl otherwise it may be too cold for comfort especially strolling along the bay facing the Caspian Sea.  It can get very windy!

Stay tuned for more information on my next posts. I will feature every spots we went to and their significance. Thanks for the likes and comments if you have done so. Please click the FOLLOW button if you want to know more of our adventure Life as an expats, repats & travel addicts!

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Destination: Queenstown, Nz

On top QTWN, vinnevefoto

This is one of my fave City here in New Zealand. Even before we left in 2015 to be an expats in Abu Dhabi, we often travel to this awesome City every year since I started flying domestic. It’s stunning sceneries is something special plus there’s a lot of outdoor activities for families & single people too!

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On the way to Queenstown, vinneve

Queenstown is known as the “Adventure capital of the World” there’s a lot of activities here for adrenaline junkies, all types of indoor & outdoor activities & wholesome family adventure too for somebody like us whose not into “too much” thrill coz we have a child to take care of while we’re having fun!

Here are just a few activities that we either partake in or passing by for a snapshot opportunity.  Please note there are some more activities not on this list.

1. Playground just around the hotel.

near Queenstown Park, vinnevefoto

2. Visit Queenstown Park fronting the lake.

Maori carving, vinnevefoto

3. Join the gold diggers literally speaking! 😂 it’s in Arrowtown. If any luck you will get a wee bit of flakes and to let you know this is the same water that Gollum in LOTR had been seen fishing.

Arrowtown river, vinnevefoto

4. Visiting Arrowtown Lake District Museum. It may be smaller than any other museums you are used to but it’s full of “goldmine” history etc. and you can soak up the village history after just a few minutes walk.

ArrowtownMiningtown, vinnevefoto

5. Bungy Jumping actually originated in Vanuatu as part of their ritual perhaps thousands of years ago, but Nz is the Country who made it famous. AJ Hackett established the very first bungy site in Queenstown.

BungeeJumpingNZ, vinnevefoto

6. Gondolas & Luge. Families favorite! Rugged biking as well are held on top of this mountain.

Gondolas&Luge, vinnevefoto

7. Skydiving (indoor & outdoor) & Paragliding. If you’re afraid to do it alone there’s always a tandem guide to help or be with you!

ParaglidingNZ, vinnevefoto

8. Going through the Park showing kiwi birds & other reptiles.

KiwiBirdlifePark, vinnevefoto

9. Jetboat, Million Dollar Cruise and the oldest Steamship are on this waters. 

Jetboattours, vinnevefoto

10. Or if you aren’t tired enough, there’s always this stairs to make a play who comes first on top! Just like what my men did! 🙂

Around townQTWN, vinnevefoto

Be sure to pack yourselves a comfy shoe, a jacket (depends on the season) & water bottle for some fun and long walks as I may not include a waterfall hiking track on this as we don’t have enough time but it is just a walking distance from all these activities.  Just ask the locals where to find it as I just stumbled on it a few years back with my 6yrs old son and a 67-year-old father!  

I hope I give you some tips that you can use when you travel in stunning Queenstown!  Please comment if you have been here already and tell your story!  Cheers, and wait for my another post… Thanks!

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Going back home to Aotearoa

“The thrill of coming home has never change” … by Guy Pearce

Perhaps some of you who is new to my blog are wondering where is this destination?  Is it a Country, a City or a Town?  AOTEAROA is a Maori name for NEW ZEALAND.  Nope NZ is not in Europe!! Some people asked me before where in Europe haha!  It is actually closer to Asia than in Europe hence a part of Oceania. It is a part of Australiasia where Australia is included.  But never ever say we belong to Australia or inside Australia.  There you go!

I have done my research as I heard that being a repats anywhere in the World will never be the same as coming back home after a long absence, rather it is the same feeling as being an expat in your own Country.  Anyway… my experience is so far it’s good the only complain I can say is all my friends are too busy since they are mostly working mom’s (as I used to before).  I miss the rush and being busy as it’s a different life here in NZ compared to the lavish mom’s of leisure that we can afford to in Abu Dhabi.

Here the reality now in Auckland you may be interested to know just in case you are wanting to relocate here or also like me as a repats.  It’s a mix of good and bad.

  1. The housing prices have gone up so high!! More demand less supply, unfortunately from an average $500K before 4-5yrs ago it is now $650- to a million $$$ based on average but good location and yes a brand new car is expensive too because of the taxes.
  2. Strictly zoning for schools as the population is getting bigger thanks to BREXIT and TRUMP.  I am sure you can figure it out.
  3. Schools are very RELAXED here for Primaries compared to other Countries.
  4. You don’t know your neighbors anymore as some are gone or sold their houses and those who stays have a boarder to afford the mortgage payments overcrowding the street now with cars parked off street that cannot fit in their garage or driveway.
  5. Road works everywhere.  When I left it in June 2015 they started to do the road widening and some sort of beautifying if you can call it that.  Then the Waterview TUNNEL to airport came into fruition last July 2017.
  6. The City looked less of a beauty with so much road works and reconstruction of some buildings.  Main train station was already beautiful before but now half closed for reconstruction.  I even got lost 2x walking around because I am looking for the Westfield Mall with a nice bench area outside for people on the go having a quick lunch or a chat with their mates.  It’s all closed for public and looked like a big mess!  Same with my own town, though more improvements and new establishments around.
  7. Speed cameras and from 50kmph for the main roads they are thinking to implement 30kmph in the City Centres and around which is ridiculous! (Motorway 100kmph). You don’t want to be caught up speeding in there haha! It can cost you your day salary.  Coming from the “fast and the furious City of Abu Dhabi”  which is a normal 80kmph for the main roads and from 120-140kmph for the motorway, it is harder to get adjusted to but necessary to learn how to be SLOW around NZ. (BTW… we drive on the left side of the road here, pls take note!).
  8. Some grocery food items gone up and some remain the same or even surprisingly cheaper because of competition.  If you are in the foodcourt BK can cost from $5 and that’s already a combo (didn’t change) to some food stores with rice meals with a drink costing from $16 combo which was $14 before.  BTW… some tourists says that our beef here is so much better and you can taste the difference in BK or McDo.  But you will be happy to find that SUSHI and other Japanese foods are cheaper compared to the UAE.  Thanks to some Japanese immigrants who established their restaurants and food stalls in the mall.
  9. Unfortunately, finding a job won’t be as easy as before.
  10. Some law changes and rubbish collections which we now have to buy a ticket per bin which is cheaper if you don’t have enough rubbish (you can wait to 2 weeks to fill up) and to those with large families, the bin may never be enough.

There you are…  so far this is what I realized coming back home. But hey, anywhere you go you will encounter bad politics, problems and inconveniences… at least here in NZ for sure this is the reality… RELAXED LIFESTYLES!!!

Queenstown, NZ; vinnevefoto

But if you can live simply and try to be content with what you have… NZ is a great place to live especially raising your children.  If you love sports there are some for you and your whole family to join.  Nature is at it’s best here so you will not be dissapointed how beautiful it is here better than a poster card.  Parks are everywhere in every town and Cities and yes it is free.  Hiking or trekking is of minimal fees just be sensible when doing it for the first time as some trails is not that easy especially if it’s damp.

Arrowtown, NZ; vinnevefoto

I live in the WEST so as what they say… West is BEST.  We are just  less than an hour away from the beach or the open sea as well as the Mountains.  We both have it all here.

WesternSpringPark, vinnevefoto

Nevertheless… I won’t discredit my life in Abu Dhabi as it was the most convenient and luxurious life I ever have in my life!  Though it’s a desert and it can get to 50 degree heat plus some limitations, still anywhere you go there is no perfect place.  There’s always something not to your liking.  I say I am happy to have experienced both Worlds.

AucklandZoo, vinnevefoto

I leave you now with Thanks for reading and let me know some thoughts that would be great to read your comments RE your experiences as a repats or as an expats.  Soon (I hope) I will post our brief holiday in QUEENSTOWN.  Please hang on.  Cheers!!

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Rush and a very busy days of March in Abu Dhabi.

 

As some of you may know that we are moving back to our home country New Zealand but are retaining our residency in Abu Dhabi just in case we need to move back to be whole again with the family.  

Anyway… life became so very busy last March and it seems everyday is a blur because of so many things to do and many people to meet to say goodbyes to before we leave temporarily.  I say temporary because I realized since becoming an expats the only thing constant is CHANGE.

So here are the ones you would like to try out for yourself when you get to Abu Dhabi.  We definitely did all these things before leaving.  Oh, and we left at the right time as I heard it is now getting hot, early for Summertime!

  1.  Meet with some old or new friends and do BRUNCHING.  This is sort of like the normal thing expats do once in weekdays if you have time but mostly over the weekends.  You will be amazed how can you be greedy with foods and will love taking photos of it as they are so pretty for FB or Instagram not to post.
  2. If not brunching, when meeting friends or family in the coffee shops and they are tons of them around in and out of the Island.  FYI, in our area, we have a mom’s group that meets once every week and it actually enjoys talking to each of them and seeing how they are after a week or two of challenging days if any!
  3. Attend some Women’s group or any other types of group as what they say “nobody will be left out alone!” it is easier to get depressed in the Summer heat of the desert and being with new people and mingling around would definitely HELP.  Of course, you will get to find your long-time friend even as an expat and you know what? I even stayed with one of them in Germany for a holiday!  See my old post.
  4. Go and buy yourself all the FUN things to do like Theme Parks in Abu Dhabi.  There are 3 to choose from:  Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, and Warner Brothers.
  5. Go for a walk yes after the heat is gone in the late afternoon but when we did it was wintertime.  Lots of parks in Abu Dhabi especially family parks like the Mushrif Park as per its old name or now it’s called Umm Al Emarat Park.
  6. Enjoy all the pristine waters of Abu Dhabi beaches or if you prefer a swimming pool as every hotel offers some family/ friends packages that include food and a pool or other services.
  7. GLAMPING – this one we did in Ras Al Khaimah or better known as RAK for short.  It is one of the Emirates and also a beautiful place to enjoy beach resorts, water sports, hiking, and camping or much better GLAMPING as per my previous post please click the link on the highlighted word.
  8. Sporting events there are abundant of this prior to Summer and you can actually join in even as a visitor.  Here is the photo from Al Hudayriat Island.  
  9. And of course, SHOPPING for your last-minute things to buy because it is double or triple the cost in your home country!
  10. Do not forget the Cultural haven in Sadiyaat Island Louvre Abu Dhabi.  Please check my previous post about this as per the highlighted link.  This is not the only museum in the City so please do check them wherever you may be.
  11. I almost forgot … LADIES NIGHT!! Yep, it’s awesome for us women as we get FREE drinks and in some places, there’s also a FREE food.  Two of my favorite bars/places to go are ECLIPSE inside Four Seasons Hotel they offer 3 free drinks and a plate of sushi!! and LOCA an award-winning Mexican restaurant and bar offering 5 free margarita flavored drinks!! Well, the foods are great and you can share with your friends and have fun!  We all are momshies and our husbands were good boys enough to take care of our children.  Good eh? Cheers to that! 😉
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Destination: Louvre Abu Dhabi, beautiful architectural Museum

 

img_4978.jpgMy son and I went to Louvre in Paris when he was just 5 years old. He’s my travel buddy ever since and we both love the same things except shopping of course haha!  You may wonder what is the meaning of Louvre anyway?  Here as per Google meaning “overlapping strips in a window (to let in air but keep out rain)” first recorded 1550s. The form has been influenced by apparently unrelated FrenchLouvre , the name of the palace in Paris, which is said to be so named because its builder, Philip Augustus, intended it as a wolf kennel”.

Our love for Museum keep us together in every Country we have visited through the years. He is now 10 years old and this time it’s a must to go and see another LOUVRE but here in Abu Dhabi where we currently live as an expatriate and before we go home to NZ.  According to Google, Louvre Abu Dhabi is a beautiful architectural “Museum for arts and civilization”.  See below some beautiful arts and paintings.img_5064

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And some bizarre ones below… 

And that was ME,vinnevefoto

Beautiful scenery outside restaurant and coffee shop. There’s a lot to see actually in and out of the building. We thought we have seen it all but was surprised to enter another side of the building and saw another collections. If you have a kid with you there’s also a Children’s Museum and some extra activities for them to do. If you are an AD residents it’s better to buy an annual pass. They usually change some arts and crafts as well as featuring special arts or paintings from another Country every 3 months or so.  For Museum enthusiasts you can easily spend the whole day here.  Lovely calming scenery outside, to sit down at the stairs /benches with someone or just be by yourself facing the sea or even touching the water below.  Children must be supervised.

Cheers!

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Destination: RAK Glamping by the beach

 

RAK stands for Ras Al Khaimah. It’s one of the 7 Emirates of the UAE 🇦🇪. DUBAI is the most known Emirates but actually the capital is Abu Dhabi. RAK is one of a kind destination that perhaps not many of you know what or where it is.  Here is the LINK for you to browse about this part of the Emirates.

I had an older post on this LINK at our first time to this place, so please check this out to know more. For now… it’s about our last escapades outside Abu Dhabi before we go back home to New Zealand 🇳🇿 after living here for more than 3 long years without going on holiday back to our home Country.

We bought a family “glamping” package thru a Groupon website as mentioned by our family friend and seeing they cater to your needs complete with mattresses and other necessities inside of your chosen type of tent, we didn’t hesitate though hubby worry a bit about his back (he got some extra pillows though).  This is our first time being in a tent considering we live in Nz famous for hiking, beach and yes camping.  It’s a long story why. Anyway, the staffs we’re all attentive and glad that it surprised us that we didn’t have any problem or complaint at all throughout the 2 days we we’re there. We just enjoyed our family bonding with friends and used their facilities and free activities for kids.

 

Dining tables as per guest number, vinneve foto

 

Dinner (cooked meats & grilled seafoods) and breakfast with unlimited drinks were included and yes free alcoholic drinks from 7-10pm. Some people are so happy about it. We are a casual drinker so we don’t have to binged. We appreciated that we don’t have to worry about our kid asking for sweets or even popcorn as it’s also provided at the open air cinema as well as marshmallows for the many bonfires provided whether for everyone to use or for relaxing sitting beside with your friends or family chatting what to do in the morning.  My boy went crab hunting and swimming at the beach. He can do kayaking or paddle boarding but in a lake or around mangroves not in an open sea though there’s some lifeguard there… still I’m a bit protective alright. Adults were the ones eager to use it including jet skiing and so much more.

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Above water obstacle course should be on the water but because it’s a bit windy so it’s safer that the kids play on this on the land.

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They have petting zoo as well as per schedule only. Swimming pool is fun for kiddos especially the small ones.  They have another pool for all to enjoy.

RAK Longbeach campground is really a good place for family who want to experience catered camping.  We leave with good memories.  Cheers!!

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W.O.T.D. – Expectation & Worth

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Here I go again… 

It’s been hard for me to write this post as I seemed lost for words and it takes time to tell you dear readers… I will finally coming back HOME.  I sure hope it is still “my home” though as I am a bit afraid after about being an expat for more than 3 years without even visiting the place unlike many other expats.  I have been to anywhere except holidaying in my home Country isn’t it weird?  It’s because of the tedious flying time of 18 hours straight or cut it in two to Australia 14 hours + Auckland 4 hours = 18 hours. Which is better?  Even going back to my birth Country for a holiday is more or less 9 hours away from where we are at the moment (Abu Dhabi) which is really in the middle of  Europe and Asia.  So going to Australasia down under so to say… feels like so far far away!!

WOTD Expectation

What to expect?  I am freaking out actually.  I heard so many stories about expats coming back home realizing it’s NOT the same as before or perhaps WE ARE NOT THE SAME AS BEFORE?.  Even the roads will not be the same as when we left New Zealand in 2015 there are a lot of road works going on and adding some lanes and a tunnel etc.  I’ve read that the almost rural place we go to for Farmers Market are now in demand and becoming a posh suburbs that we cannot even afford to buy a small land. Auckland is now one of the most expensive Cities in the World.  Though our place is farther away from the City it is still ridiculously expensive!  Good thing we have a house to come home to.  There’s a scarcity in the housing market.  A big problem indeed.

I think it’s better NO EXPECTATION.  It can save me from whatever fear facing the future.

WOTD Worth

One thing for sure we will try to make this worth it.  My son is growing and need more stability as for the past 3 years or more he has been to 3 different schools.  Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye again.  I cannot say No to being an expat again if this is the only way our family can stay together.  Depends on the next contract of hubby.  Just hoping he will also come home to us for good, that would be great! though not financially.

Now that I finally adjusted to the life here, I will miss a lot of brunches, friends parties, events and celebrations around here.  I surrounded my life with many groups of mom’s like me in school, in our place, my closes friends and even acquaintances. FYI, I am one of those they call “trailing spouse” so yes I choose not to work (after working almost my whole life in 3 different Countries) so I am the nanny of my own child but unlike with nannies, I have a much better social network. It took me two long years to finally adjusted and accepted the life here and now we have to go for personal reason that cannot wait.

Life is easy here and less stress (except when driving haha!!) and I get used to this somehow that having to begin a new life in NZ seems a bit scary though exciting too to be honest.  So many things to do and see places perhaps seeing it as an expat.  We have to be re-acquainted to the Country.  I am hoping we can adjust quickly… hopefully!

Anyway… I often read some advice and hopefully I can be able to apply on it.  Here’s the LINK1 and LINK2 if you are curious and have time to read.

Are you an expats who came back home after years of life overseas?  Please tell me your stories and perhaps I can learn from those.  Feel free to give me an advice.  Thanks!

Any expats coming home to New Zealand like me?  Let me know or you can PM me.

Thanks for reading and cheers to the next journey!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Places to Wander & Wonder in Switzerland

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So true!!  I think I don’t need to explain further on this one as most of you dear readers are traveloholic like me. 

To all my followers, you probably know by now that Switzerland is my favorite destination and it shows on how many posts I posted in the past.  I also like to go where the locals go so it is something new for some people who wanted to travel there and wanting to avoid crowds but still enjoying Zurich and around.  Here below are some of the places and try to visit these when you get there.  It is awesome and still full of nature.

In the City.

Zurich town, vinneve foto

Stroll around the City.  This was taken at the bridge.  Discover some alleys and around the lake you will be amazed that in even an unsuspecting alley tourists are there but sometimes not too crowded, enjoying a cup of coffee, ice cream or lunches. Awesome old architectural building around. You will know more of the places once you go walking or try to join a walking tour if you like that. 

Alley in Zurich township, vinneve foto

Discover other towns by ferry, you can do short or long journey at Bellevue station/ferry.  You can reach here by tram, bus or train depends where you are.  Please check my older post about cruising leisurely around Lake Zurich.  It’s not that expensive.  We hopped off to Kilchberg Station where you can walk to Lindt chocolate factory.  But mind you, you cannot enter the factory itself.  Just a discount store as low as 50% if you are right on time and they have a sale.

 

Parks, restaurants & other lakes.

Went for a walk at the Park located at Zurich-Hongg then enjoy their cafe house inside named Jagerhaus Waidberg Restaurant as below picture. They have a beautiful garden and yes you can bring your dog for a walk and a treat too!

 

The nature is abundant of berries but be careful there is a red berries that is a poison it is only for birds.  Locals know so if you are not familiar with it do not put it into your mouth.

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blackberries, vinneve foto

Lake Turlersee.  As you can see it is very pristine.  I say it is a rural located in Affoltern, a canton of Zurich.  There is a fee of SF5 only to enter and there is a restaurant inside and a food stand with sausages and ice creams for kids.

Lake Turlersee, vinneve foto

Falsenegg Restaurant LINK.   Again our families love to walk so we go to the Park again and a wonderful restaurant with a good view of Zurich was ahead of us.  Honestly, though perhaps some people come with their car or with a cable car, we went up hiking or sort of just to eat here and have a breather after, besides we are just a few minutes away from this place and also the Turlersee lake.

Falsenegg restaurant, vinneve foto

Triibhuus Restaurant, LINK .  It is a huge greenhouse restaurant.  As you can see full of plants everywhere.  It is for families, friends or couples on a date.  At the time we were there, there is a live Mexican/ Spanish duo singers entertaining the guests.  They also make you laugh and you can join in the dancing too!

Eglisau.  It is located in the district of Bulach, canton of Zurich.  It sits on the banks of the Rhine and yes another side of the famous Rhine river.  Be careful this river runs fast so not for average swimmer.  It can get you to Swiss-German border and to Netherlands and it empties into the North Sea.  There is a cruise ship that you can buy tickets to.  We just had a picnic and swim party here for birthday celebration and hired boats to go to a safer side for a swim.  We have children with us.

Eglisau, River rhine, vinneve foto

It can be a foodies haven! You will learn to appreciate salads as it’s so filling & delicious. Swiss people eat healthy foods. Not a lot of fast food around and if you see one the prices can be very expensive than eating in nearby cafes restaurants or food stalls around.  HINT:  Manor restaurant inside the mall offers good quality food and drink at an affordable prices around SF15-20 approx. for 1 adult and 1 child and you can still include a cake or pie but depends on your hunger.

Manor restaurant, vinneve foto

Alright, perhaps these are enough to make you hungry?  remember, Switzerland can be very expensive but if you know where to buy or eat out you can still enjoy all their foods and please don’t hesitate to ask some locals as they can speak english especially the younger generations.  Also more information at the Haupthbanhoff station.  You can buy tickets for trains and other tours and services.  Museums are nearby and as well as lots of branded shops around.  Do not forget to get a “Zurich in your pocket” brochure located at the train stations.  They have all the maps and information you will need.  Enjoy!  Tschuss!!

 

 

 

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Hotel review: Sheraton Creekside Dubai

 

 

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It’s been awhile since I did a hotel review because we usually go to the same hotel and did a review before so it’s a redundant to do again.

Sheraton is under SPG but it happens that Marriott group merge with this group as well as the Ritz Carlton so yes 3 in 1 big group program are better than one. More diversity and our membership can go a long way.

This hotel has a nice view considering it’s along the Creekside and it’s actually a tourist spot and nice to walk along the promenade and enjoy the multicolored lights around from the walkway to the ferries plying the waters. You can easily spot some touristy places to go just nearby hotel by looking at the view from hotel windows. They have a very small opening for smokers but I guess it’s part of balcony in the old days but now renovated to make the room bigger.

One tip though, try to avoid congested area around Deira if you could as though Sheraton location is good for tourists, unfortunately for drivers it’s a nightmare as you can get stuck in heavy traffic so better to have a GPS with you to navigate you out of the situation otherwise you may end up stress before you even begin enjoying your day or night out.  If you are not familiar with Dubai roads & motorways you may end up getting lost without a map.

When it comes to accommodations the hotel may be established in the 70’s but it has been refurbished as it looks modern now and clean with good polite staffs everywhere. The foods for breakfast varies and cater from Western, Asian and Arabs. I am very satisfied so to say except for the swimming pool which is a bit ordinary and small but it’s ok since we don’t stay just for that.

Fortunately hubby’s platinum membership get us some perks by having free upgrades so our room is located on the Club lounge on 11th floor, along with free fruit basket and can enjoy free access to the Lounge at level L with free drinks & nibbles but happy hour evening to 8:30pm children are not allowed because of alcoholic drinks.

I recommend this hotel for people who want to discover the past and for people who loves to walk around day or night. Experiencing Dhow cruises and Arabic foods. It’s one of the safest Cities compared to other famous Countries. Of course, having a wit with you is a must anywhere in the World you go!

There’s a lot to discover so try and come to UAE and visit all 7 Emirates you will return home with full of insights about this desert Country.  I bid you goodbye and till next post! Happy Holidays!!  A like and a comment will be appreciated. Thanks 💗

 

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Warmer Christmas 🎄 & a Chilly New Year!

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from readers digest

Yes that’s what we have around here in the land of the desert 🌵 the land of opportunity and multicultural society!

My first time to stay home in Abu Dhabi for Christmas and New Year my current City for the past 3 years but minus some months as I live in and out of the Country for personal reason. Some of you can only guess but maybe my loyal followers can understand. If you’re curious why don’t you read my recent post it’s a hint. I’m sure some can relate in every situation.

Christmas is the time of family celebration and here in my City it’s full of events! Most hotels have free events like X’mas lighting and if you’re lucky your kid can get free gift and parents can enjoy some nibbles & drinks. I’m sure some will agree going there before eating dinner. Consider it having an appetizers for free with shows etc. The malls have their free fun events for kids to enjoy like joining to make a gingerbread cookie and photo session with the famous man Santa 🎅 Yes, Abu Dhabi is a generous City! Even in the Parks lot’s of free fun things to do, including picnic at night with friends and family. Fireworks to gaze up in the sky and jugglers, magicians and even Alice in Wonderland grace the City.

free musical and dancing shows & other activities for kids.vinneve

Galleria mall outside.vinneve

X’mas Lighting @WestinAD.vinneve

You may be wondering how come a Muslim Country allows all these? It’s because UAE is a tolerant blessed Country. Where all religions can be practiced without any issues. In fact Pope Francis is coming next year in February to conduct a public mass! Imagine a Mosque side by side by a Catholic Church! One time I was inside a church having a mass and in time for singing you can also hear a song coming from the nearby Mosque. That is what called HARMONY!! isn’t it pun?!

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Corniche road, AD. vinneve

I wish you all a blessed Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!!   Peace on Earth. 

 

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Journey from the past to the present.

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Truly, I already started practicing what the quote is all about just late this year … 3 years later!  For sure, I am not the only one and I did try my best.

Another blogger that I am following gave me an inspiration and insight about my topic today. He gives good advises & can explain better than me about what a topic is about… his name is Drew and here is his LINKEnjoy reading!

His post about “Navigating Life” and I can’t help but to answer in my mind the questions asked in his seminar at work that he put in his blog and explained.

Here’s the thought:

  1.  The most important thing is where you are right now.  I now realized that I was focused on  the “the life I had before”  that it’s hard for me to let go and accept what are the good things staring in front of me… yes where I am right now.  I keep comparing but the reality is, it is not fair to compare “a kiwi to a date!”  if you get my meaning.  Where I am right now is with my family and hope to stay that way.
  2.  Appreciating what you have I started to see and appreciate what life has to offer for us in our current situation.  Nowhere else we will feel these “benefits” and gain more insights about the World and having an “expats (extra-ordinary) life”  if we stay put in our comfort zone.
  3.  It’s better to have plans and if one is a failure then you have many other options in place.  I often think that after we finished our journey here, that I for one, will be back in my hometown, home Country.  I guess now it’s different.  I am now open to possibility of saying… “it may not be, yet…”  OR “will see what other opportunities out there” OR  “we can always go back anytime”  as I cannot decide just for myself since having a family, it’s all for one and one for all!  Plan A, B, C’s are the best way for us to go ahead.  Life’s journey is never easy but somehow we will decide what’s best for our family one contract at a time!

I leave you with another quote and maybe some of you readers can also relate to my post.  Feel free to comment and I will truly appreciate it.  Thank You for your time.

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Wondering & keep wandering!

It’s been a very long time since I post about what’s going on in my brain haha!  Every one of us are wondering what the future brings and what to do in life that will make us a better person or be successful and get what we want in life.

Being an expat is not that easy.  I keep on missing the old life and my home Country but come to think of it, I may not have this chances if we stay in our comfort zone.  Sure, it’s not an easy road but hey, I came back to where I belong I guess.  I will keep on wondering and wandering as both keeps my brain going.

So much for my riddles.  Allow me this time to show you some but not all, of the places that I have seen and experienced in my life and how beautiful our World can be.  I can never experience this if I don’t come and follow my heart.  Life for sure will be more different. More important is, I am with people who matters most and that is my FAMILY.

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Fronalpstock, Switzerland

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Venice, Italy

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Paris, France

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Frankfurt, Germany

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Miracle Garden, DUBAI, UAE

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Dead Sea, JORDAN

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Rotorua, New Zealand

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Bali, Indonesia

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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St.Mary’s Church, Sydney, Australia

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Piha, West Auckland, New Zealand

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Milan, Italy

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Stilts in Calatagan, Batangas Philippines

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Las Casas @Bataan, Philippines

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Day out in Luzern and it’s Castle on the hill

TIME spent with family is worth every second… by anonymous

LIFE is all about having a good time! … by Miley Cyrus

I make it a point to have a good time with my only son always! whether it be around our place or overseas.  Luzern / Lucerne is a good place for a day out and just only an hour away from Zurich where we are having our long holiday with the grandparents.  We have been here many times but those times it seems it passed by, perhaps it because my son was so young to remember it all.  Now that he is ten he will definitely remembers this. 

And what more to remember is to climb so many stairs up the hill that we cannot count anymore, to reach the top of Gutsch Castle which is now a hotel and restaurant.  I wasn’t aware that there is a funicular on the other side street to go up and for some reason people who I talked to about this Castle told me in the past that we need to go up to climbing stairs and I say it’s really a big task for both of us in the middle of the afternoon heat.  So now you know and so, will not have the same mistake as I, unless you really wanted to be fit and must be done in the morning instead… but it’s worth it isn’t it? Most of the sights you cannot see if you take a funicular though.  Look at the photos below and you can see lots of beautiful views only at the top and if you take the hard way of climbing the stairs up!

AROUND LUZERN 

People of Luzern loves music and that day we enjoyed having a free concerts and lot’s of sausage sizzles, beers and other foods whatever your budget.  They even have something for kids to play on while the parents can enjoy having their bratwurst or cervela and beer while listening to concerts which I believe are conducted by University students.  Of course one day is not enough so plan your day well to see as many sights and events you can do for your day out. 

We both love musuems but we only can go to one which is my son’s choice and will post next time, please wait for it.  For now please enjoy the photos, LIKE and do comment that would be great!!  Tshuss!

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Traveling to Fronalpstock & Einsiedeln, Switzerland 🇨🇭

Fronalpstock cross1, vinneve foto

I am fortunate to be included in this family escapades from a new friend that I’ve met 2 years ago on a Swiss National Day. We kept in touch and now I’m back in Zurich.

Fronalpstock is under the region of Stoos-Muotatal, SCHWYZ.

The journey only took us just more than an hour and though the weather didn’t cooperate it was still a success for us getting where we want to be, had fun and getting to know more about each other.

Fronalpstock playground, vinneve foto

Farmhouse down below gondola to Fronalpstock, vinneve foot

Fronalpstock view, vinneve foto

As you can see, the beauty of nature is unmistakable. Fortunately, the weather cleared a bit for a few hours while our children played and after a while had our picnic lunch eaten. One thing I can’t do was to reach the top of the mountain with another cross planted on it while you can enjoy the view. I have a fear of heights! At first I wasn’t aware while busy taking photos then I was suddenly cannot walk anymore seeing how steep it was and you can roll your way down the mountain side! So yes, I retreated and just checked our kids that was in the playground.

After awhile, having our fill of natural wonders, we went back to the cable car or gondola and a funicular to descend from the mountain. It’s a bit expensive 75Sf for my son & I but yes it’s worth it.

Then on the way back home we went to visit the place Einsiedeln under its own region name EINSIEDELN-YBRIG-ZURICHSEE where the famous and beautiful monastery Benedictine Einsiedeln Abbey was built/ established in the 10th century.

Benedictine Einsiedeln Abbey, vinneve foto

Einsiedeln monastery, vinneve foto

Benectine Abbey, vinneve foto

Wishing water fountains, Einsiedeln, vinneve foto

It was a great day trip for all of us despite of the weather (on and off rain). If you are happened to be here somewhere in Switzerland or Zürich, I do recommend these places that the whole family can enjoy and of course even singles too!

I hope you enjoy my post and more to come while I’m still here. Please click the FOLLOW button so you can have an update from me going around the beautiful Switzerland 🇨🇭 . Tschuss!!

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Cruising in Lake Zürich & stop at Kilchberg for chocolates!

It’s the time of the year again that we go back to Switzerland 🇨🇭 for our annual family holiday.

For the past 10 months, I hibernate on and off in the blogosphere. Some followers are gone and some remained loyal. Thanks so much for all those who stayed & waited for me to post wherever in the World I/we may be. Life oftentimes is like a cruise 🚢. Cruising from place to place. Whether it’s good or bad I always take the good part.

So now part of my life travels is to go and visit families (husband side) and friends in Switzerland. I will post some in here for sure and will try to give you good information and beautiful photos!

Zurich birds, vinneve photo

The word “See” pronounce as Seh means Lake. FYI.

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If you are staying for a month or even less its better to buy a monthly pass ticket in Zurich either in the main HB for more info or any ticketing machine. For adults, it’s SF97 (Swiss Francs) and for a child it’s SF30 only and you get a lot more from it from a bus, tram or train transport to cruising from Bürkliplatz to Rapperswil (long trip 2hrs) or to Bürkliplatz to Zurichhorn a total of 9 stops (short trip 1.5hrs).  What’s more, in some places you could also get a discount from a restaurant to a museum. Yes, it’s worth it. Transportation in Switzerland is one of the best in the World.

This was our 2nd time to cruise on Lake Zurich so we decided to stop at Kilchberg to visit Lindt Chocolate shop. Actually, to be honest, we thought we could visit the factory itself as they always mentioned a “chocolate factory ” and not just a shop. Though yes, of course, you will pass by the many buildings and factories where you can smell the chocolates from the outside air! But our first and last experienced visiting a real chocolate factory was in the Cadbury‭‬ chocolate factory (Dunedin) in our home country New Zealand. Unfortunately, Cadbury just closed its door! (click the link for info).

Inside the shop, you can taste some handful of chocolate samples plus eat their yummy gelato then, of course, you will feel like no more room for dessert later. They have lots of products on sale and yes cheaper than buying in regular chocolate stores in the City.

Once you are finished filling up your tummy with sweet samples and perhaps over buying gifts for your friends and families back home then you have an option to continue your short or long trip back to the ferry station OR go back to Burkliplatz where you have started. You can also take bus 165 just across the road near the factory.

If you want to know more about Rapperswil please check my older post last year on this LINK. This is for a long trip. You can also go to this place via train which is much quicker.

There’s a Tourist Information inside the main HB where you can ask more questions and recommendations and buy tickets. The customer service speaks several languages so don’t worry.

I leave you for now and please wait for my next blog and adventure! We are still here in Switzerland and we’re often away exploring so bear with me.  Tschuss!!

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Chilling @ Lake Turlersee, Zurich

This is for Tuesday Photo Prompt: Chill out as per this LINK.

Both human & birds get to enjoy the sun, nature & water.

It’s fun and chilling to spend time with your family in this beautiful lake just outside Zurich City. It’s only perhaps half an hour away from the busy life of the City so why not enjoy! It’s still school holiday here in Switzerland and from where we came from.

Paddle boarding is much in demand nowadays.

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Heritage Houses in Bataan, Philippines

LAS CASAS FILIPINAS DE ACUZAR see this LINK for more info.

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Las Casas waterfront view, vinneve foto

One of the best places I have been in the Philippines.  It tells of what happened in the past in each heritage houses and every walls hides some secrets, passions and sacrifices in the Spanish era (history link). It may look serene, but people in this era experienced a lot of hardships and inhumanity from Spaniards.  This is the history of the Philippines that you may learn to know once you walk and admired each houses in this heritage site.

First, going there from Manila takes 3-4 hours of traveling by bus or by car depends on the traffic. From Manila to Balanga, then Balanga to Bagac.  A town where you can find Las Casas.  Be prepared for some rough roads but your hardships will be worthwhile.

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Las Casas road to the entrance, vinneve foto

 

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Hotel de Oriente, vinneve foto

 

Each house had some stories to tell.  Some you will laugh and be intrigued. But all of them are such a sight to behold especially when you get inside and see how they live in the past. You can see the rich culture and some I can still remember in my younger days playing outside where there are no gadgets to focus or get addicted to.

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Playground, vinneve foto

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Outside with Kalesa waiting, vinneve foto

 

 

Come night-time you can still admire these houses though it may look like hunted but never fear as there are so many people walking at night and enjoying the breeze outside after dinner. Yes, some houses you can rent but it will cost you, be prepared.

 

You will be amazed that this heritage site has a beachfront with a beautiful sunset too!

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LasCasas sunset, vinneve foto

After our stay in Las Casas, we went back to the capital province of Bataan which is Balanga.  It is also a nice place to go around on or before going to Mt. Samat.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to go to the mountain to see a more touristy spot.

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Balanga, Bataan PH, vinneve foto

We had a great time and enjoyed some rich history of this province named Bataan. If you are coming for a visit to the Philippines make sure you include this on your trip. It is a bit pricey but it is worth it.

Now I leave you with the famous quote of JOSE RIZAL, Philippine National Hero.

“Youth is the HOPE of our FUTURE… ” 

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Destination: Turin/Torino, Italy

Now finally! I bring you again to Italy for the second time thru my blog.  If you want to check my older post last year about Italy please see one of this LINK1 & LINK2 or you can just go to category My DestinYations.  Obviously, I like Italy (particularly Milan as my base) so much that I keep coming back for the 3rd time and soon again to my 4th this coming Summer!

I better do this and finally finish some of my travel backlogs story.  Sorry for some people who are expecting this for quite some time now as I have promised I will do it as soon as possible but you probably know as well that we sometimes cannot just produce something if not in the mood, right?  though I have the materials (photography etc.) on my log book and laptop… still we need to be in the right mood to make it happen and publish it whenever we like and able to.  As I said before, sometimes life gets in the way.

I decided to make a short 2 days tour in Turin or Torino, Italy so I get to know more of a different City.  I find this place fascinating too, as I explore every alleys of the place by just walking around the area of where my hotel is … BEST WESTERN LUXOR.

These are the places I visited and you must have a map at least just so you know where you are if you get lost.  TIP: I always go to either 1-2 streets and explore it and come back the same way as I don’t want to get lost in so many alleys like the last time I was in Milan haha!  OR take a photo of the place where you get started, you never know, you may need it to show to people going back to your hotel, there you go!

  1. Egyptian Museum / Museo Egizio – A museum dedicated solely to Egyptian Art and Culture aside from Cairo Museum. To know more here is the link of the site.
  2. Chiese di San Carlo e Santa Cristina (Twin Churches) facing Piazza San Carlo.
  3. Piazza Carignano – when you exit from Egyptian Museum.  Houses Museo Nationale del Risorgimento/ History Museum.
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Egyptian Museum, vinneve

 

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Torino Twin Churches, vinneve

 

I came from Zürich every time I go to MILAN, Italy so I use the SBB train as per this LINK.  It’s 4 hours by train and you will get to see a lot of beautiful sights within Switzerland going to the South of the border of Italy particularly in Milan as this is my base as I have relatives there. I promised myself I will visit some of those places I have seen while on the train.  I am sure you will do the same thing.  This part of the WORLD is such a beauty that you must explore and be adventurous!

Thanks for reading and checking my site.  FOLLOW ME thru my blog living a LIFE and to my TRAVEL adventures.

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A dream… a premonition.

This is for the Daily Post: PREMONITION

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Everybody dreams.  

I have a dream a long time ago, in fact a decade ago perhaps… even before my son came into our lives.  It was a feeling of happiness, wonder and then all of a sudden a feeling of losing something.  In my dream… it was a greyish cloudiest day or night. Me and hubby was checking out some beautiful houses and the road was not easy to navigate as it has a steep hill… up and down slope just like in some Auckland roads and streets.  Found “the one” and I believed I told hubby to stop looking for others as I have found the one I want us to live.  Unfortunately, he didn’t share the idea and told me we better check out other houses though the one that I liked was really “the one” for me.  It was a very vivid dream as if it’s real and up to this day I can still remember it and strange but true… I can still feel what I was feeling that time.  A feeling of disappointment and wonder.

And yes, it was a PREMONITION, alright of what was to come in the future!

NEW ZEALAND

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Auckland Ferry, vinneve

From our beautiful Auckland City, in the WEST particularly we headed to a BIG adventure of a lifetime in the …

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, Abu Dhabi – as an expats.

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Abu Dhabi Skyline, vinneve

To live temporarily in my birth Country THE PHILIPPINES, Manila – to try to see the other side of the World and talking about my old childhood to my son which was great but unfortunately, it’s not the same as I thought it would be. Lot’s of things changed.

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MOA bridge, vinneve

And now going back again to Abu Dhabi and God knows where we going to stay for good this time!  Had talks about living in Switzerland and Australia.  Both we have the right to live and be happy.  But it seems the premonition lingers up till now.  I guess you better stay tuned and follow me what part of the World we’re going to end up!  Besides, wherever we will be … there will always be some TRAVELLING and ADVENTURE.

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There is always a reason to travel. 

 

 

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Summer Fun – Beach time!

DESTINATION:  Calatagan, Batangas PHILIPPINES 

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My birthday present to myself… is coming back to my birth Country of course you must experience THE BEACH.

Looks like Maldives but nope, this is from my province but the place is near my cousin where she settled for life after getting married.  I bet you will spend a lot less money here compared to Maldives!

BEACH 1:  STILTS

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Stilts PH, vinneve foto

One thing I learned from coming back.  I am fortunate.  I must give thanks.

Philippines is not known for doing tourist commercial ads on TV, unlike other Asian neighboring Country.  Actually, most tourists come flocking here just by the word of mouth.  No need to spend millions for tv ads.  I also say, do not judge until you get there and experience it yourself.  The beauty of nature, of people so warm and friendly.

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STILTS front beach, vinneve

The beauty of nature continues to amaze me wherever in the World I may be.  I say it is better you get out of your comfort zone so you know where will you be most happy and decide from there.  Otherwise… you will only see a little of this World. ENJOY!!!

BEACH 2:  LAGO DE ORO

We choose to spent our sunsets in this beach resort just a few minutes walking distance to my cousin’s house.  Beautiful isn’t it?  You can find it anywhere here in the Philippines.  You can also enjoy wakeboarding, banana boat & diving here!

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LagodeOrosunset, vinneve

Beautiful… and I am proud of my province BATANGAS, PHILIPPINES.

Until next trip!  See U all.  Cheers, PAALAM!!

 

 

 

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Destination: Metro-Manila

Very well said.

Some tourist cannot appreciate Manila that much because of what they perceived as chaotic but it is the same in Bangkok, and yes, I have been there myself many times.  So if you could understand the quote above then you will know what I mean.

Manila is the capital of the Philippines.  Having said that… when you arrived at the main airport which is now called NAIA whether terminal 1, 2, 3 or 4 they are actually within the border of City of Paranaque and Pasay City.  Manila actually is approximately 7 kilometers away from these airports. 

Metro-Manila is what you called the Cities and other municipalities around Manila. Yes, Manila is that big! so perhaps some tourist should not take for granted what it can offer.  It is more than just shopping, foods and night life destination.  Here are the places we have been to recently and hope you can appreciate it, I wish to visit Manila and it’s heritage place in Intramuros “the walled City” (my last visit was more than a decade ago!) one day and will post it here for sure, so watch this space.

ANTIPOLO City – East of Manila, Catholic pilgrimage site

MAKATI City – North West of Manila, financial and shopping hub

PASAY City – South of Manila

*Mall of Asia and it’s Bayside

 

*Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel

DAANG HARI & EVIA – Southern part of Manila between Cities of Las Piñas, Muntinlupa and Cavite or as LAMUCAR road.  It’s length is 15.1 kilometer

By the way, in case you don’t know yet, here in the Philippines, people put Christmas decorations as early as September.  That’s why we call it the “BER months”.  Weather starting to get a bit cooler especially at night and so the “X’mas spirit” is already in the air so they say when September comes.

Now you know a little bit of Metro Manila not just about Manila.  I recommend the blog site below if you want to know more about Manila and surrounding Cities.  She has been to a lot of places already living somewhere around Manila for sometime now as an American expat along with her family.  Check out her site you will learn more! 

https://www.amommabroad.com/

Thanks for reading and waiting for your comments!  Cheers!!

 

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Holidays!! More fun with your love ones!

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I am here.  Where? in  The Philippines.

Christmas season is very much a big deal to all Filipinos and even half Pinoy wherever in the World they may be.  I am fortunate to often experienced it right here!  Families and yes extended families and more friends.  I like the excitement and events everywhere.  I like it that yes this is the season to be JOLLY.

Decorations everywhere….

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Moa2,vinneve foto

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Enchanting places….

Happiness overload especially having fun with your loved ones!

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Moa ride, vinneve foto

BUT never forget… 

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Zurich and it’s wonderful places out of town!

I just compiled all the places that we’ve been to since July and August this year.  Our  German trip is now available to read HERE and part of Zurich  HERE.  Please check it out, it is much better to go to the main site CLICK HERE so it is easier to browse all topics and places.

Sorry, it takes me ages to start blogging again my past travels and yes I have a lot of backlogs!  Sometimes life gets in the way haha!  More on that once I finished my story about Switzerland and the next is Italy then perhaps a little about Turkey so hope you can wait for that, dear readers.

For Family with Kids… here are the places you must go that doesn’t cost you much. Plus you get to enjoy the playground and the sights rain or shine! Mind you both July and August it was often raining, unfortunately, but this doesn’t hinder to wander around.  Switzerland is the same with New Zealand.  Both beautiful inside and out and more of the outdoors rain or shine!  😉

These places can be for everybody too depends on your mood.

Please click each photo to enlarge it so you will appreciate it.

If you are keen to know more about Switzerland.  Please go to http://www.myswitzerland.com and for the trains go to http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html 

Zurich Zoo, you can get here by train depends on where you are, just ask the customer service or staff at the train station counter.  There’s also a person on standby for people who needs help about going around at the main train station or at each platform.  Do not be afraid to ask, they can speak English and yes friendly! 🙂

Wildnispark Zurich is where you can find Sihlwald forest, “a nature of discovery park of national importance” and also Langenberg Park. They also have a souvenir shop. Wild animals here are free to roam but there’s a barrier so people can also roam free haha! As you can see, bears lived on top of the hill and down below is a restaurant cum coffee shop where you can relax while you can view the bears going down playing down the water, if you are lucky like us this year!  The park itself is so huge and you need comfortable shoes to walk even just half of this place. Good thing… it is actually free!  You just have to pay for your car parking that cost only Chf10 for the whole day! The best way for kids and yes adult jogging with the dog but on a leash to blow off their steam and release some energy so you all go home happy and yes… tired and sleepy!

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Wildnispark Langnau am Albis, vinneve foto

Uetliberg is a Zurich mountain, elevation of 870m approximately.  We are lucky that it is near where we stayed at in Zurich.  Because of its tower, this is the best way for you to locate where you are or where is home.  The best way to go here is by train as there is a limitation on where your car can go, hence, you still need to park the car and walk up the mountain.  It is worth it, you get to exercise and see the beauty of Zurich on top!

Circus Royal, it’s held every year and near the City Centre. I am not sure if it’s in the same place. You can also ask around the main train station about some events.  We are fortunate to be near these animals, even the tiger is just an arm away!  Beautiful creatures indeed!

Landes Museum can be found just across the main train station Hauptbahnhof even the location is already picture perfect it is near the lake!

Swiss National Day is every August 1st to come and enjoy with the locals, everybody is welcome and you get to choose which venue to go to as every canton they have their own get together with some food stalls and live music with of course fireworks!  As you can see lot’s of children (FYI… refugees were here too!) around and they are waiting for the BIG BANG in the middle of the night.  Every district you can see how they tried to compete with how big and beautiful their fireworks, most of it is done on top of each hill or on a higher ground, taking care of nature around by putting a barrier or a safe place where to do the bonfires and fireworks!

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aug1night,vinneve foto

Restaurant Die Waid or simply Waid Restaurant.  It’s near Zurich City and aside from this Swiss and Asian inspired restaurant, they have one of the best views of Zurich on top!  They are near the forest for walking the dog and for hikers or day-trippers, nature lovers.

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On top of Zurich City

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View of Zurich on top of Waid Restaurant

Guggi Butterfly Garden.  It is actually a simple Garden Centre somewhere near Stallikon.  There is a coffee shop inside too.  Getting inside the mini butterfly garden is free and you will be amazed how tamed they are.  Just be careful when walking as often they are on the floor not moving and we have to “wake them up” so they can fly up to their safe nest or just above you.

 

OUT OF TOWN just 30mins to an hour away bus/train or drive from the City of Zurich.

Turlesee Restaurant and the See (Lake).  Located at Hausen am Albis.  Good affordable foods, great sight, and swimming!  You can get here by hopping to bus 235 from the Triemli bus station.  It is just across Triemli Hospital or better known as Triemlispital.  If you are coming from the City Centre or Hauptbahnhof get to platform nos.#14 to go to Triemli station.

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Turlersee1,vinneve

Wurenlos.  District of Baden in the canton of Aargau.  It is a small quiet town but full of nice sceneries. My husband hometown when he was growing up. It happened that the “Doggie Party” was held here and it was not just for dogs to have fun but for all dog lovers with or without a dog can attend here.  Lot’s of foods to choose from and of course an opportunity to all to meet new friends coming from other places around Switzerland or even other Country like me!

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Wurenlos1,vinneve foto

Saurier Museum in Aathal or better known as Dinosaur Museum in English.  In the municipality of Seegraben in the canton of Zurich. You will actually pass this place at the back if you are going to Rapperswil via train.

Rapperswil- Jona.  Under the canton of St. Gallen.  Located at the upper end of Lake Zurich. Perhaps you didn’t know that the famous views here on top of the Castle, can be viewed on some postcards and not actually in Zurich City itself though it is not that far.

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Knies KinderZoo.  This is also located in Rapperswil so it’s really for the whole family and friends to go to. As the name suggests, it is a zoo for small children but even for big kids and adults can enjoy here.  FYI, some of the animals here were just retired from Circus and gets to this haven to be happy or even raise their family too as some new naughty baby elephants around.  They even have a Seal Show schedules so please check it out first before you wander around.  Plus a very nice Thai restaurant (Himmapan Lodge) was inside this place with a view to behold especially at night like a “date night”.

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Swiss Science Center Technorama it is in the municipality of Winterthur in the canton of Zurich.  For two years in a row, we’ve been here since my son favorite subject is Science.  He gets to do something in the lab and be a scientist for a few minutes. This is a huge center so it can be a whole day being here.  Don’t worry they have restaurants and some vendo machines inside plus a park to play once the children want some break.

These are just a few places in and around Zurich where you can spend your holidays or time with your loved ones.  Go explore and do not be shy asking around or if you get lost.  I am sure even in the City itself you will get lost in the abbeys of their many alleys!  So many fine dining restaurants some are expensive so beware but some are also affordable so better ask the locals.  Of course, shopping is endless fun as well in the City, especially chocolates and other sweets like these below.  So now I hope you get to see some part of Switzerland from my point of view.  I leave you now and thank you for liking or commenting!  TSCHUSS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Childlike wonder in Zurich!

Finally got the chance to do blogging, yey!  It’s been a long time, I know but I hope it will be worth the wait.  The same feeling with us especially my son waiting for another year just to see his beloved grandpa, relatives, and friends.

OK here are the places for you to know or go to in and around Zürich.  Places that we went to as per locals do and not as a tourist.  It is truly a wonder that this City is surrounded by so much nature and beauty plus a big event that you must come together with a local friend or relatives.

  1. August 1st is the Swiss National Day! – children loved the firecrackers and waited for the FINAL fireworks at midnight. It is like New Year in comparison but of course being in Switzerland it must be systematic and organized. 🙂  Other ages like me can enjoy the live music, foods especially the sausages and people watching!

 

2.  Uetliberg – yes, it is near the place where we stayed at every time. A must see for people who want to see the whole Zurich on top!  Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk as there’s more to see by walking. Berries are ripe for the picking and it’s free from mother nature.  I see some people wearing high heels though, incredible!

3.  Guggi Butterfly Garden – It is out of the Zurich City.  Actually a normal garden center with a coffee shop inside.  It is good for meet-ups with friends, or with kids.  I will feature this next time so please watch this space.  For the meantime, here are a few shots of it.  Enjoy!

 

 

4.  Kinderzoo – This is located in Rapperswil in the canton of St. Gallen. Yes out of Zürich already but not too far away.  It only took us more than an hour by a regional train. One more thing… most of the animals here are now retired from Circus industry.  I will also feature this next time as there is more to see here than just animals. A date night? yes!

5.  Rapperswil town – It is two in one when you go to this town as you get the kids to enjoy the zoo on the other side of the town and afterward stroll around the area to glimpse a small castle up the hill, yes by foot! What a sight! see below photos. I cannot help myself clicking my camera.  I will feature this next time so you can see more photos. Lots of restaurants nearby so do not worry if you get thirsty or hungry and before I forget every fountain you see you can fill up your bottle with fresh water and it is drinkable unless it stated NOT.

6.  Landes Museum – Back in Zürich… went to visit this alone as my son decided to be with his grandpa which is fine with me as this is their time together to bond.  It only happens every holiday only, unfortunately.  I have paid 10Fr for this and it is worth it.

7.  Turlersee – This is out of Zürich but still you never get that far from the City.  There is always a smart, always on time bus coming your way to drop you off to this place.  Just hop on bus 235 (free wifi) either from the Tremli train station or get any tram that goes to Tremli from Hauptbahnhof.  You can enjoy camping, walking the dog, swimming in the lake (see) and of course nice restaurants around the corner.

8.  Wurenlos – A place where hubby also grew up when he was a kid.  Don’t get me wrong this is not just good for photo ops.  They have a small town and occasionally they have some events going on to make this place lively!

And here are some random photos in and around Zurich!

That’s it for now.  I hope you saw some photos that you don’t normally see as my aim is to be different.  I try to show you some sights from local perspectives.  If I live there, if ever, I would like to go to some places tourist doesn’t always go to.  I do not like the crowded area but sometimes you have to bear with it if it’s your first time or you have to go to a certain place.

Thanks, dear readers, and followers! I hope to see you again soon.  You may check my other post that would be great!  It would be nice for you to drop some nice comments too.  Have a great day!  Enjoy traveling… NOW! Cheers!

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Destination: Germany – Frankfurt & Cologne

To all my followers… sorry it took me a long while to post my European journeys.  I am just so busy with some personal matters that I need to attend to since school is about to start and perhaps there will be a new adventure ahead… so watch out this space!

Just more than a month ago we had the pleasure to finally meet again our friends that we’ve met as expats in Abu Dhabi more than 2 years ago. We had similar stories like every expat have. Share the ups & downs of being an expat and how to live outside your comfort zone. And yes… this is one of the perks to make the friendship alive even after the contract ends. You get to visit them in their home country which is, in this case, is in Germany. I got lucky as we tour somewhere in Frankfurt & Cologne but out of the City.

 

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Schloss (Castle), vinneve foto

 

It helped a lot when somebody you care about is also with you to join and tour around, it makes the journey exciting! And yes we have boarded a train with 2 young boys in tow but one still in his stroller… her boy aged 2.  Have paid 16 euro for a group of 5.  Not bad.

We first visited this place that consists of several tourist spots in one area. Schloss / Castle and its beautiful views around it.

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So yes I hope the photo above can help you find some spots to go while near Frankfurt City. There’s also a tourist info center beside the Castle.

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This garden is another tourist spot just near the Schloss and it housed another place in their history. See the photos below. We admired the grounds around it and thought it’s meant for people to relax or have meaningful thoughts to say to one another.  😉  

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Greeneries near Frankfurt. vinneve foto

Such greeneries, just 30 minutes away from Frankfurt airport. The kids can play and run around. Not short of fresh berries around you can just pick anywhere for free as it is in the wild.  

Now we go to COLOGNE. We didn’t really tour much around but spent quality time with our friends. Peace & Quiet. After living for 2 years in a desert I truly missed our home in New Zealand. So a similar scenery is much welcome and appreciated.

I had a nice dinner at the nearest restaurant nearby and met new friends!

20170718_124247I now leave you to imagine and see for yourself a bit of Germany from my photos. I hope I gave you an insight into living out of the City of both Frankfurt & Cologne. Believe me, it’s near the town center & train station just a few minutes’ drives.

Tschuss! 

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EID Holidays on top!

A celebration after Ramadan… it is known as EID (Eid al-Fitr).

 

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JWMM lobby, vinneve

 

We went for a staycation holidays away from home.  This is not the first time though.  JW Marriott Marquis (tallest hotel in the World) is one of our favorite 5-star hotels and it doesn’t disappoint.  Here I will show you why and aside from the lavish foods and many restaurants choices inside it is also very near other attractions and tourist spots.  No wonder when we arrived lots of foreign tourists, not just UAE residents come flocking the reception.  My tip is, it is better you have a membership for this hotel so wherever Marriott hotels you go, you can have a priority service and of course an upgrade if available (mostly they have).

 

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JWMM floor lobby, vinneve foto

 

In and around JW Marriott Marquis, Dubai

 

 

The room 

 

The view outside the room on the balcony

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JWMM room view, vinneve

Executive Lounge – Tip: Better to include this to your room booking if you can’t have an upgrade as you can also save money by coming here to eat for breakfast, snacks and pre-dinner which is good enough for dinner and lots of drinks to choose from. They also have business lounge beside it for people who don’t want to be disturbed by some guests with children.  

 

 

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JWMM Exec.lounge view, vinneve foto

As you can see there are still some spaces to be filled up.  Never ending developments in Dubai.  More coming bigger and better as years go by.

 

The pool and the view

 

 

Had a great family bonding this Eid. Whether you wanted to relax or escape away from the comfort of your home, there is a place like this to consider.  This is my personal review of this hotel and I hope you like it.  Try it for yourself… soon!

To all my followers and new readers… I will have my BIG Europe Holidays soon and will surely post it.  Please watch this space!  Let’s live and have fun 🙂 Thank You!

 

 

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Destination: Heritage Village, Abu Dhabi

In response to the Weekly Photo Challenge:  HERITAGE

We attended a free Science show for kids and their families in Abu Dhabi Theater earlier this year.  I was glad to see that the HERITAGE VILLAGE is just nearby!

I have been here for almost 2 yrs and unfortunately, I haven’t visited this site yet so I didn’t waste the chance to finally visit the place and it didn’t disappoint us. 

Here are some photos and in case you are around visiting the Capital of UAE which is Abu Dhabi and not Dubai, mind you 🙂  I have other posts that you can also browse or read if you are keen and see for yourself how beautiful it is here too!

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Heritage Village1, vinneve foto

I would like to think the liquid pouring in this clay pot is the “black gold” meaning Oil from the desert as Abu Dhabi is an oil-rich City. 

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The view of seashore inside HVAD, vinneve foto

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Abu Dhabi City Skyline, vinneve foto

And some resident inside the Heritage Village as below photos.

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Restaurant inside HVAD picnic rugs, vinneve foto

As you can see, you can have a nice time with your friends and family here.  A quiet time to be by yourself too if you like and some local foods to savor while waiting for the sunsets.  It is a beautiful sight to see, better than the photos here.  I have so many photos but I cannot share it all here otherwise I will run out of space.  So come and visit our beloved Abu Dhabi City now!  🙂  

Thanks for visiting my blog and enjoy some more post here by checking the links below or browse and like as per categories.  Shukran!  

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Beautiful Basel, Switzerland

Here’s my continuation of our traveling around Switzerland with or without relatives. For my long-time followers, you can say this can be my last trip before going back to Zurich then eventually back to the land of the desert where we stay as expats.  For the new readers, welcome to my blog and I hope you will be interested browsing, reading the rest of my adventures around the Globe and some events too!

Basel is just an hour away to/from Zurich and so we had a day out for a change since our going to Frankfurt was canceled because of the unfortunate incident of my friend’s. So what better way to make it up is to plan and book train tickets to Basel. 

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Basel train station, vinneve photo

I just show you around (by foot) through my photos and it is easy to get around just make sure you don’t forget the landmarks going back to the train station.  Tip: Make a photo of some landmark that you will be passing so you will remember the streets, buildings or statues etc. that’s how I do it in unfamiliar places.  😉

This church reminds me of Paris Louvre pyramid.

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Red & Gold bldg around marketplatz, vinneve

The Beautiful bridge over the river Rhine that connects to 6 Countries in Europe.  This is the same river (Rhinefalls) that we are trying to locate when we got lost in the German border.  See this LINK to read my previous post about it and ending into another town in Switzerland you probably never heard of.

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Famous River Rhine, Basel Switzerland, vinneve foto