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HOBBITON – A walk through life of the Hobbits

@PINOYSWISS ABROAD YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Before leaving New Zealand in mid 2015 I always thought of going here in Hobbiton. Who wouldn’t? most people and tourists have already been here EXCEPT us. Unfortunately, the year has kept me in a very busy status so we couldn’t go until we came back to Auckland, NZ just before the covid messed up the entire world.

We became fortunate that NZ experienced covid free in the community for such a long time that we decided a few months ago to finally come here to Hobbiton. Driving to Matamata which is ranging from 2-3 hours away depending where the GPS told you to go. Well my GPS told me to go the back way and the last hour I was a bit freaking out already as I only see is just cows, sheeps, hills and full of greeneries with one or two cars passed me by. So it pays that you have a reliable car! You wouldn’t want your car to break down in the middle of nowhere!

Finally, I can say going here is worth the trip! I hope you will agree with me. You can check other travel videos (covid free) on PinoySwiss abroad website the link on the video above just choose to watch it on YT. More Hobbiton travel series on it too starting from driving to Matamata.

Thank You to all who are still here supporting me. Let’s enjoy life but stay safe!

COPYRIGHT

The photos and articles on this blog are a property of the blogger EveWanderer11 unless otherwise stated. None of them should be used without her permission. Snippets and links could only be used on one condition: full credit is given to Evewanderer11 and the site, “Wanderlust, A new chapter”.

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Destination: Napier, Art Deco capital

Hawkes Bay , NAPIER @PinoySwissabroad

This marked as another school holiday back in April 2021. For some of you who are not aware New Zealand is enjoying freedom of being covid free in the community. This region of Hawke’s Bay is covid free since last year of May 2020 where every countries in the world are already freaking out with regards to pandemic. Why is that? it’s because Auckland City the largest city of New Zealand is the one taking care most of the residents and citizens who came back to the country for safety (most of the facilities are here) and unfortunately some of them brought the covid-19 with them and inevitably Auckland is the most affected hence, we are the ones having the lockdowns often to control the virus from spreading. FYI

Going back to the topic which is NAPIER. This little city is known for its renowed wine-producing region in Hawke’s Bay. It has been rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake for which most of the city was destroyed and now boasting with the unique concentration of Art Deco Architecture in the world. There are a lot of things to see and do to this small city and most of it you will feel relax and amaze of the beauty of the nature plus activities for the whole family to enjoy!

Please feel free to browse all my related videos on YOUTUBE and it would be great too if you could LIKE and SUBSCRIBE as well as here in WordPress. I have more travel videos to share here in WP please watch this space.

Thank You and your comment will be much appreciated.

COPYRIGHT

The photos and articles on this blog are a property of the blogger EveWanderer11 (Vinneve) and PinoySwiss Abroad of Youtube, unless otherwise stated. None of them should be used without her permission. Snippets and links could only be used on one condition: full credit is given to Evewanderer11 and the site, “Wanderlust, A new chapter”.

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MATARIKI Festival in Auckland

Photo by Marco Milanesi on Pexels.com

MATARIKI festival started from June 19th to July 11th of 2021. This is the Maori New Year that signifies celebrations in New Zealand that begins with the rising of the “Matariki” star cluster. FYI, a star cluster is not a constellation. According to the Te Papa Museum “A cluster is a group of stars that are near each other in space. When seen from earth, the stars from the constellation appear to be closer together in a pattern, but they might actually be far from each other. There are about 500 stars in the Matariki cluster, but only six or seven are visible without a telescope”. Here is the link if you want to know more > https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/discover-collections/read-watch-play/maori/matariki-maori-new-year/whare-tapere/matariki-star-facts

With this celebration the Auckland Transport has given us the whole day of FREE transport last Saturday July 3rd on all buses, ferries (with a few exceptions) and trains to enjoy the event without worrying about parking. We parked in the designated train station parking lot and we are good to go enjoying the day up till night.

Please feel free to watch this YOUTUBE video and if you could LIKE and SUBSCRIBE that would be great too! Otherwise please do comment here and let me know your thoughts. More videos of our travels in PINOYSWISS ABROAD.

MATARIKI FESTIVAL, PinoySwiss abroad

Thank You for being here and will try to visit you all when I can. Soon we will be on another travel and will post it as soon as I can. Please note we travel responsibly and the fact that we are COVID FREE in the community here in NZ makes it easier and safer!

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Destination: PARNELL, Auckland

Parnell, AKLNZ, Vinneve

PARNELL is just a few minutes drive away from Auckland CBD. One of the most “affluent” and oldest suburb in Auckland that dates as far as 1841. So many things to see and do here, from boutique shoppings, cafes, chocolateir, bistros and some French restaurants. Auckland Domain is also in Parnell which is a huge park and housed inside it is the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Auckland Wintergardens. Auckland Hospital is also around the corner.

To summarize it all it is worth the trip either by train (coming from different places in Auckland), bus or you driving around but best to do it by walking so you can see more and admire those oldest building around and some new ones too! Come and watch this video from PINOYSWISS ABROAD. Please do comment LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to this blog and/or to our Youtube channel.

@PinoySwissabroad

Thank You ALL for reading, watching and liking this. Please do comment and I will reply when I am online next time!

COPYRIGHT

The photos and articles on this blog are a property of the blogger EveWanderer11 unless otherwise stated. None of them should be used without her permission. Snippets and links could only be used on one condition: full credit is given to Evewanderer11 and the site, “Wanderlust, A new chapter”.

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My Abu Dhabi Life. Throwback

AL REEM ISLAND, Abu Dhabi UAE, PINOYSWISS ABROAD

There are times in our lives that we are reminiscing the past. Time flies, 2 years to be exact since we left United Arab Emirates for good and at that time I was a bit heart broken. Not knowing that this decision will keep us SAFE here in New Zealand – The land of the long white cloud as we are having more COVID FREE-DOM than being on a lockdown. Just a few countries in the world can say the same thing! We are finally back HOME. Still, I cannot help but to wonder how things changed over there in the UAE. I have this feeling of attachment to every place and countries that I started to love. I still have some friends left in Abu Dhabi and come to think of it… still having my UAE phone number still active up to now. Some businesses that I went to still trying to contact me thru emails or phone. Sending their felicitations and sales promotion not knowing I am not there anymore. Though I cannot say forever since The UAE is the nearest stop over to Switzerland which we also have a strong ties. So perhaps I will say NRAKUM MARATAN ‘UKHRAA.

COPYRIGHT

The photos and articles on this blog are a property of the blogger EveWanderer11 unless otherwise stated. None of them should be used without her permission. Snippets and links could only be used on one condition: full credit is given to Evewanderer11 and the site, “Wanderlust, A new chapter”.

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Destination: Waihi Beach in New Zealand

Waihi Beach, Vinneve

WHERE IS WAIHI? According to Wikipedia.. Waihi is a town in Hauraki District in the North Island of New Zealand, especially notable for its history as a gold mine town. The town is at the foot of the Coromandel Peninsula, close to the western end of the Bay of Plenty

And yes I will be touring you in Waihi Beach. A beautiful place with crystal clear waters and good for surfing. We travelled here with some friends, eight families to be exact last January 2021 just after celebrating the New Year. This event happened because we are COVID FREE in the community. Yes we are proud that we have this freedom and very lucky indeed in these times of pandemic. But to let you know we also experienced having a hard lockdowns and we all survived it. NO PAIN NO GAIN.

Please watch the Youtube video below for more breathtaking sceneries and simple pleasures in life.

@PinoySwiss abroad Youtube Channel

COPYRIGHT

The photos and articles on this blog are a property of the blogger EveWanderer11 unless otherwise stated. None of them should be used without her permission. Snippets and links could only be used on one condition: full credit is given to Evewanderer11 and the site, “Wanderlust, A new chapter”.

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Best Sailing Team in the World

Maritime Museum to Wynyard Quarter Auckland City. NZ photo by Vinneve

We are so proud to announce that New Zealand best sailing team EMIRATES TEAM NEW ZEALAND has won the America’s Cup (once again!) so you can say it’s New Zealand Cup. This sailing competition started in 1851 making it as the OLDEST TROPHY in the international sport. See link for HISTORY.

Just to let you know here in New Zealand we are COVID FREE in the community. This is why this event made it to FINALS and eventually we won the America’s Cup. Yes, we are FORTUNATE. Of course, as what the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said many times before “BE KIND” and it takes a TEAM OF 5 MILLION to make this happen. Please check out the Youtube video below to see this event. You can also watch it on Youtube channel by clicking the link below that says “watch on Youtube”. I hope you will like this video and if you could please do LIKE, COMMENTS, SHARE AND SUBSCRIBE. Once again thank you for being here with me!

@PinoySwiss abroad Youtube channel

COPYRIGHT

The photos and articles on this blog are a property of the blogger EveWanderer11 unless otherwise stated. None of them should be used without her permission. Snippets and links could only be used on one condition: full credit is given to Evewanderer11 and the site, “Wanderlust, A new chapter”.

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ROTORUA, New Zealand

ROTORUA, New Zealand. Come here if you love outdoors and adventures. There’s more to this town than meets the eye. My photos are not enough to express what you can see and do here. Obviously, it is also a beautiful place but is there any place in NZ that aren’t beautiful? It’s full of natures wonder. It’s up to you to discover it once the world heals.

Here are the videos that attached from PinoySwiss abroad Youtube channel. Please feel free to browse or save it to watch later. I would be grateful for the LIKES and COMMENTS and if you SUBSCRIBE to both here in WP and YT that would make me very happy too! I hope this can gives you an inspiration for the future. Thank You.

@PinoySwiss abroad YT channel
@PinoySwiss abroad YT channel

COPYRIGHT

The photos and articles on this blog are a property of the blogger EveWanderer11 unless otherwise stated. None of them should be used without her permission. Snippets and links could only be used on one condition: full credit is given to Evewanderer11 and the site, “Wanderlust, A new chapter”.

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Goodbye 2020…Hello 2021

Wellington @TePapa,Vinneve photo

“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by discomforts.”

Arnold Bennett

So here we are in the New Year of 2021. Somehow my emotions overruled and I started my new year blog with sort of negativity, though I can say I don’t regret it but it’s just wrong timing or perhaps I just want to justify my absence or lack of motivation for writing in WordPress these past months though I had one blog per month, still I cannot ignore the fact that writing is still my first love than any other social media means. That nobody can steal away from me. It is my own thoughts and my own ideas what’s in here as the real author of this blog under evewanderer Wanderlust – A new chapter. It is a new chapter again indeed.

I can say we are pretty lucky to get away with 2 hard lockdowns in Auckland particularly as most of New Zealand’s other region and cities only had it once. The citizens and residents who wants to come home from overseas (@Akl Quarantine facilities) who are unfortunately had the virus in them created so much havoc into our lives here when lockdowns came. Yes we finally overcame it and I thanked everyone for cooperating and also the government on deciding what is right for their people and acted promptly though it can be better but yes we have to be happy with the outcome nevertheless.

We are one of the few countries in the world who are experiencing some sort of FREEDOM last year up till now and can travel the whole country. For us personally, we started traveling again last September 2020 after our 2nd lockdown in August as you can see from my post last year. So without any further ado here are some happy travels around New Zealand since September. Please check >> Pinoy Swiss abroad Youtube channel to watch some more.

@PinoySwiss abroad
@PinoySwiss abroad
@PinoySwiss abroad

There’s more video over YT channel so please check them out.

I hope you are all well and let’s hope for a better tomorrow this 2021.

Thank You very much to all who stayed with me and will check your blog too ASAP.

COPYRIGHT

The photos and articles on this blog are a property of the blogger EveWanderer11 (Vinneve) unless otherwise stated. None of them should be used without her permission. Snippets and links could only be used on one condition: full credit is given to Evewanderer11 and the site, “Wanderlust, A new chapter”.

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Christchurch, New Zealand natural landscape

HagleyPark, vinneve

It was our first ever domestic travel after our second lockdown in Auckland last August. After getting cancelled three times and a changed of flight schedules finally we went to Christchurch in late September. It was the first of the many after being on a hard lockdown in March and August. It was worth it. We all behaved well and we get what we deserved. FREEDOM. For how long you say? We do not know. As we cannot prevent citizens and residents coming home from overseas you see. As of this time there are approximately 70,000 expats came home for safety and hoping for the best. It is not easy you see for most of us who are already here long before the pandemic. Unemployment rate is so high than before because of that and so many people on benefits that the government financial health is stretching to the limit. Anyway… so much for that. We all deserve a break! More photos and information on this video. You can watch this video from Youtube > PinoySwiss abroad.

ChristchurchTravelS2, @PinoySwiss abroad

Please feel free to browse some videos on that channel or fully watch it all when you have the chance. Thank you for reading and watching. I will try to post more blogs next time. I will check on all of you ASAP. Cheers!

COPYRIGHT

The photos and articles on this blog are a property of the blogger EveWanderer11 unless otherwise stated. None of them should be used without her permission. Snippets and links could only be used on one condition: full credit is given to Evewanderer11 and the site, “Wanderlust, A new chapter”.

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Christchurch: Gardens & Avon River

Avon RiverCH, vinneve foto

We are delighted and excited that we finally can travel again (by plane) last September and enjoy the sceneries outside of our own hometown and City of Auckland for a change! We have been in two lockdowns in March & August and yes the second time around the people aren’t happy about it. So this is quite a relief and people are driving crazy to go around the country and spend their little savings to help the community to get up and going again. Since the borders are still closed and I believe though it is harder for the economy… at least we are safer like this. Mind you, those lockdowns are brought by the overseas travellers and citizens. So in respect to those who departed because of this we must protect ourselves and best to close the borders until we are really sure of the practical measures will be in place when accepting tourist again into New Zealand.

Here are the beautiful sceneries of the Botanical Gardens and Hagley Park. I cannot get enough of them but unfortunately I can only choose a few to post it here. If you want some more best to save money and when all things get better next year please come and tour my beautiful country!

I hope these photos will give you an inspirations to come here in the future when all is safe and make sure you don’t bring the virus with you! 🙂 unlike others… we in NZ are afraid of getting sick and I for one believe that this nasty covid-19 is REAL as real as your hunger for freedom! So keep safe and obey the rules to irradicate this pesky virus!

Thanks for reading! Appreciated all your kind comments and valuable thoughts below. More travel blog to come! Cheers!

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DestinationNZ: Christchurch

Christchurch: Punting on the Avon river, vinneve

Yes we are very lucky here in New Zealand to finally survived the 2nd lockdown last month (Auckland only as the rest of the region are on level 1 and the South Island are covid free!) after some SILLY people who came home for their own safety sabotage our peace and safety here inside the country! I am so annoyed at them. Who wouldn’t? being on a lockdown is not that fun for the 2nd time around. We follow the rules here but those people acted the way as if they are in another country who they don’t care much about. Anyway, thanks for everyone who cooperated and the government for acting quickly (though there’s an inside story about this which is part of their fault) so now we are back to ALMOST back to normal. Aside from wearing face mask, social distancing and sanitizing like an OCD we are fine and can travel anywhere in the country now that we are in level 2. Soon this coming Thursday we will be back to level 1 which is great more freedom!! but yes do not be complacent and they suggested to still wear a face mask when on public transportation including airplanes!

Please watch this video below and if you could SUBSCRIBE to PinoySwiss abroad channel on Youtube that would be great for more videos!

Come & join us!

PINOYSWISS ABROAD

Thanks for reading and watching! Cheers!

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Back in Mission Bay, AKL

Mission Bay, AucklandNZ, vinneve

It has been 6-7 years I think since the last time we were here. So it’s time to visit this place while students are still having a school and the parents are still earning money to save for the coming holidays. Hurray!! It is best to visit when it’s off peak hours like early morning (9-11am) so you can have all the best seat in the restaurants and even on the parking grounds. FYI Auckland is still on the alert level 2.5 it means you must wear a face mask on all public transportations and establishments. But unfortunately some are lacking and freely walking to a store without wearing one. Anyway, we have the least cases compared to other countries and so we are having much more freedom. Other regions in NZ are on level 1 which is great! It means “almost back to normal”. No case of covid.

The Mission Bay Parade, vinneve

See the pink building there? It is the Fontein Belgian beer cafe restaurant. We have eaten brunch in there using a GrabOne coupon $20 to get $40 in return. It is a good deal and I only pay $5 just for the service charge. Since Auckland can be very expensive so it pays to buy a coupon. FYI.

Cheeky Black back Seagulls, vinneve

They’re double the size of the regular seagulls that you have seen somewhere but they are many living here being cheeky at times waiting for you to turn your back on your food so they can steal it and fly away! Mind you they can be very near you and doesn’t shy away. Their favorite meal to steal is the “fish and chips” and no they are not even cheap! Beware! haha!

SPRING BREAK TRAVELS SOON, PinoySwiss Abroad

Please check out this video from PinoySwiss Abroad as per this LINK. LIKE SHARE AND SUBSCRIBE. Thank You!!

Foreign vloggers lockdown stories in the Philippines

Early Christmas pre-covid times in the Philippines

If you do not know yet, The Philippines usually starts to prepare and celebrate early Christmas when it’s BER months which is now… in September. This is NOT the topic though, sorry. I will cover it next time.

Since we cannot travel outside our own country or territories for most of the people around the world, may I show you what these foreign vloggers that are stranded in the Philippines (that I featured before as per this > LINK) are doing right now with the on and off lockdown GCQ, MCQ, ECQ (sigh!) Check them out again and you will be amazed how they coped being on a lockdown with so many varieties of quarantines. FYI, some parts of the country are covid-free! So don’t just trust the media. Search for truth!

Check out their adventures while living/stranded in the Philippines and some actually wants to stay for good.

The Island of PALAWAN – voted as the best island in the world 2020. Especially now that no other tourists around but mostly locals and some stranded foreigners, the nature is much more awesome!

@Jumping Places

SIARGAO – the surfing capital , island hopping etc.

@Martin Solhaugen + Eight Miles from Home

CEBU – the second capital of the country (sort of).

@Finn Snow

DAVAO – is in Mindanao. The President Duterte’s turf. You will change your mind about this region Mindanao. This vlogger bought a land here partnering with his best mate. It helps that they can speak the language there. Check them out.

@Becoming Filipino

MANILA – the capital of the Philippines. These are their updated vlog about INTRAMUROS (The walled city) and their life while living in Makati & BGC respectively. These 2 couples decided to live in the country.

@Making it Happen
@The Juicy vlog

There are some more vloggers but these are my favorite ones that I always watch on Youtube. Since our travel plans was shelved last April. We cannot go and visit the Philippines. It’s really disappointing because I have a very important mission to do there not just for leisure. But yes, it’s better to wait and be safe than sorry. So many restrictions on both countries NZ and PH anyway. So I am just watching these vloggers to feel like I am there.

Thanks for reading and watching these vlogs. You will not regret it and knowledge is POWER!

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Destination: West Auckland

French Bay, Titirangi

I am glad that we finally went here last week before we get into lockdown again this week after having freedom for more than 100 days covid-free! Why? same issues like what other countries are facing eversince. Now we are back to lockdown level 3 for 2 weeks then we’ll see what’s next.

ARATAKI VISITOR CENTER (above) it is just 40 minutes drive away from our place. Narrow winding roads, bush walks everywhere.

Trust Stadium

This is where I go for exercise and do some repetition of walking before the gym. In this tough times we need to be mentally healthy and fresh air plus a dose of sun helps a lot to boost your endorphins!

Auckland Zoo

Our zoo is also naturally beautiful. It serves like a mini paradise for all the animals living inside. So many natural landscape that you cannot help but to take some photos.

Friend’s house, Party time!

The moment we’ve always been waiting for! After missing all my friends for 3 months of lockdown / quarantine level 4-2 we had our “thanksgiving party” that we are all safe and healthy! Only now we will miss them again.

Hobsonville Point Walkway

This is just 30 minutes away from home. This also serve as a ferry terminal and every week end there is a Farmers market nearby and lot’s of homemade products to buy and dine in to. It is for the whole family plus this walkway is long enough for you and your dog to walk on and enjoy the view.

Riverhead Tavern (lowtide)

Brunching before cruising is nice for a week end away with the family (above) NZ oldest riverside tavern.

There are a lot of places whether hiking, horse riding, hunting, camping or beaches we had it all in the West. Wild West indeed. The featured image above is in Titirangi Village. They are housing 2 art galeries here and some restaurants with a wonderful view of nature.

These are some famous places that I have been in the past (bold) and some would like to visit. Check them out here below:

  • Piha beach and the Lion rock
  • Bethells beach
  • Waitakere ranges – for bush walking
  • Kumue wine country
  • Muriwai beach – on top of the cliffs hundreds of gannet birds nesting here
  • Crystal Mountain
  • Skydiving in Parakai or if you’re a PRO then any cliffs will do
  • Paraki Springs
  • Extreme edge rock climbing in Glen Eden
  • Kiwi Valley Farm Park
  • Tree Adventures
  • Hollywood Cinema – the oldest in NZ since 1915
  • West Lynn Flower and Butterfly house
  • Riverhead Cruise
  • MOTAT
  • Western Springs
  • Helensville Railway Station
  • And many more like this vlog as below from PinoySwiss abroad (Youtube) please watch, like, share and subscribe! 🙂
@PinoySwiss abroad Youtube channel

So many things to do and see plus so many old and new restaurants, coffee shops and malls to choose from. West is developing alright as the population in Auckland soars! Until next time. Thanks for reading.

Expat life in Abu Dhabi pre-covid-19

So true it’s not always sweet and rosy on the other side of the fence but if you are lucky you will have often taste the sweet life than the lemon sour on your taste buds. Definitely the UAE particularly Abu Dhabi gave us a huge opportunity and a different kind of life that we didn’t experienced in our own backyard.

It is now finished and just reminiscing the good life we had while we are there pre-covid times. Unfortunately for those newcomers in times of pandemic they may find it very hard nowadays to even feel the life unless of course you want to risk getting sick if you do the way people do before the pandemic. There’s a lot of job losses and businesses closing here and there. On and off lockdown and non stop quarantining of people.

Let’s face the reality… I may not be able to see these places above. Travelling is banned overseas (well for us NZr’s & most countries) and it may take a year or so before we even get back to normal outside of our boundary. We definitely do not want to risk it.

No more lavish buffets, eat all you can and shop till you drop when there’s a big sale which is almost every public holiday or special events! End of those days we are so feeling carefree. FYI, foods (restaurants & hotels) and branded products are so much cheaper in the UAE or some part of Middle East and yes including Saudi Arabia… and may I add even GOLD. Even now they introduced 5% vat in the UAE for all goods and services, it’s still cheap as compared to prices in the West, South and most part of Europe. Correct me if I am wrong!

Seafoods galore & Hotpot nonstop

No more ladies night (50% are mom’s like me who sometimes enjoy the night out and the hubbies are the ones taking care of the children for once! Fact, most hotel bars are decent and caters to all women with free sushi and drinks to lure them). No more beautiful events to be held in the posh hotels and parks (Fact, you can even get 50% discount to these posh hotels by buying in groupon and other discount coupons!)

What I am saying is… I truly treasured the times we were in Abu Dhabi as an expat family. I will never forget the high and lows. These were good memories that will last a lifetime as we may never have this again.

Now back to our home country New Zealand, facing the reality now of having the pandemic all over the world and the market crashing down… I can also say we are lucky just in time to be HOME. NZ is still not open for other countries which I approve of to minimize the risk though on the other end our economy is suffering… but ALL countries are anyway so we just have to bear with it and try to be patient. Health is wealth!

Take care everyone!

COPYRIGHT

The photos and articles on this blog are a property of the blogger unless otherwise stated. None of them should be used without his/her permission. Snippets and links could only be used on one condition: full credit is given to Evewanderer11 and the site, “Wanderlust, A new chapter”.

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Frosty Wonderland

“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.”

by John Burroughs

In response to the Word of the Day Challenge – Giddy. I am not sure if I will be giddy to know about how cold it is down there today! But I do agree it is breathtakingly beautiful. Will you agree with me?

See photos below. Please click to zoom it to size. Credit goes to One News TV. I cannot help not to post this. It is on State Highway 8, a southern scenic regions of the Mackenzie Basin and Central Otago in South Island, New Zealand. Major cities are: Lake Tekapo, Omarama, Fairlie, Twizel, Roxburgh, Lawrence, Alexandra & Cromwell. FYI, just in case you want to visit next year.

Switzerland has a white swan while here in New Zealand we have a black swan. The lake got frozen so the swan must walk instead. Cheers!

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Auckland Day Out

“Necessity is blind until it becomes conscious. FREEDOM is the consciousness of necessity.” by Karl Marx

It seems we are now in a hurry to make the most of our covid free days since the country open up the border to it’s residents and citizens who were based or/and stranded abroad. We can basically say we are covid-free since June as we do not have a community transmission but we can never know since the last mishaps of some irresponsible people coming back and physically jumping out of the barriers of their hotel isolation recently (they have been caught up and going to be charged with their follies!) which is by the way the taxpayers are paying for them though it’s those people wanting to come home and be safe… ironically they are the one bringing the fear and unsafety back to the country or community by disobeying the law and safety. I wonder if we should close up the border now or continue to accept these people with covid-19 back into the country? So now is the right time to go and about on our own backyard asap while we still can!

The City, the tower, the wharf and street. Some photos for you to see this month of July. Life is good while we can still have the freedom to enjoy it!

Auckland War Museum. We have so many museums in the City and this is just a few minutes drive away from the city centre. It is inside the Domain Park which is also a huge park and full of beautiful nature that you will love to stroll or do some exercise since it is near residential places.

Mt.Rangitoto, active volcano AKL, vinneve
AklWarMuseum, vinneve

The food & drinks at the bar & restaurants, coffee shops, foodcourts at the mall, food trucks, farmers market etc. Yes we’ve been deprived of these while on lockdown. All open now to our hearts (& mouth) content.

Alleyway@AKL, vinneve

Auckland Zoo. The nature and their animals are such a wonderful sights to see. Families and friends came back to visit this wholesome activity and it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or drizzling people comes in hundreds and yes back to normal no social distancing and enjoying the life!

Arataki Visitor Centre. Located in West Auckland. Bush walkways. View of the Waitakere ranges. Sub-tropical rainforest. Flora and fauna. FREE entry.

@PinoySwiss abroad

I hope you enjoyed my post today and these are current photos here in NZ. We are now in the mood to travel. Our last week of school holiday. Thanks for your time!

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Birds of the same feather

CambridgeParkNZ, vinneve

In response to the Bird weekly – photo challenge.

If you have been here in New Zealand you will know that most birds of any feather are mostly tamed and people friendly. They can walk with you while strolling in the park or they can persistently ask you for some bread crumbs. Life is good for these birds as they are loved by many people who always bring foods for them and yes they can be cheeky at times.

Magpie birds @homeWestAKL, vinneve

King penguin.

Native of NZ.

Info link here.

geese, ducks, pukekos & seagulls @d park, vinneve

There are more to see and discover around New Zealand with all types of birds whether capable of flying or not. Some birds are natives here. If you are a bird lover/watcher NZ is your happy place! Cheers!

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Domestic travels in New Zealand while on level 1

Auckland City waterfront, vinneve

I am happy to announce that we are covid free now here in New Zealand!! This is also in response to WOTD: Victory We are now on level 1 and it may stay like this for awhile, restrictions still in place. Personally, I prefer it this way to protect our safety so I am not keen of opening the border, although there are some citizens and residents (repatriation) coming home from overseas and they may bring the virus with them so they are required for a 14 day quarantine. It took 5 million people, a big team effort to do this as when we were on lockdown we cooperated and only going out to buy essentials like food. Though of course anywhere in the world there may be some silly people (not a lot here) still goes out that time to do silly things but they are being apprehended by the police and given a penalty depends on their situation/alibis. FUN FACT. Normal police officers here in NZ doesn’t carry any firearms. They carry confidence, kindness and diplomacy.

Since we are now on level 1 the government is pushing domestic travels to help our economy and communities. Buy NZ Made. Buy local products which mostly people are doing right now including me. Both Jetstar and Air New Zealand are having their sale these past couple of weeks and it has been sold out faster! I use our voucher/coupon to redeem and bought tickets to Christchurch finally! Looking forward to it. So for now we are talking about domestic travels and here’s the following information thru personal experiences from other bloggers who went here in NZ before the pandemic. Please click their link, and they have some amazing photos to show you while traveling around New Zealand.

Before you travel to any country or even if you were stranded here in New Zealand it is a MUST for your own sake to have your own travel insurance. Though our healthcare system helped this young tourist as per this link >> “How NZ generous healthcare system saved my ass”

Birds eyeview Queenstown in gondola, vinneve

No pain no gain. So yes there was a time that New Zealand looks more like this. Here is the link for “When Paradise in New Zealand becomes a ghost town”.

Auckland Sky Tower, vinneve

Here above is the response for the June Photo of the Day: REFLECTIONS.

For sure people are now thinking of reuniting / partying with their friends and families more than a group of ten since it is now permitted. It may not be the same as before but this new normal surely will stay for quite awhile. So we better adapt to it and accept all the challenges in life. Stay safe peeps!

UPDATE: We suddenly not a covid free country anymore (just of today’s news June 16th) because of 2 female citizens/residents coming from the UK and testing positive for covid but for some reason was given a COMPASSIONATE GROUNDS to drive to Wellington (from Auckland) to attend a funeral of their parents. Shall we understand this or not?!! For goodness sake! we suffered in lockdowns and up to level 3 to becoming covid free for 3 weeks and the communities all over the country cooperated and because of this hindsight WE ARE AGAIN IN TROUBLE. Why? simple. Driving from Auckland to Wellington is 8 long hours Non Stop! I do not believe they didn’t even stop to pee, eat or put on gas that is simply lying. Those people who doesn’t know that they served these women are now at risk even their loved ones! So is this harmless? NO. I cannot understand why there is compassionate grounds at all since those people who died because of covid-19 didn’t even had the chance to see their loved ones. I am so annoyed with this news. It is unbelievable and I put the blame on the health department who didn’t think twice about this compassionate grounds. That is plain stupidity if I may say so! Sorry for the outburst but we will know within this week or so if there are people at risk now because of this. Our sacrifices (life, jobs, businesses, etc) and cooperations are now put in the drain.

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Foreign vloggers stranded in the Philippines amidst COVID-19

While on lockdown in New Zealand I must admit that I was hooked up into watching vloggers (up to now actually) traveling the world especially traveling to my birth country THE PHILIPPINES.  We supposed to travel there last April but of course, it has been canceled.  It amazed me that these foreign vloggers begin to love the country and what it can offer even in these tough times.  While traveling they learned about cultures, values, and learned to appreciate the Filipino people who helped them and make them feel at home.  Check their vlogs and you will see some beautiful places and their roller-coaster experiences while on lockdown and up to a current situation which is the General Quarantine (GCQ).  You may find some useful information about the country and their real image as shown by the vloggers as per their real experiences. Please click their name as I linked their sites and their travel experiences before the pandemic.

Prepare to be amazed.

  1.  MAKE IT HAPPEN VLOG  an Austrian couple who always keeps coming back to the Philippines and finally decided to call Manila home and now stranded in SIARGAO (while on holiday) as per this link & another vlog as per this LINK. An extra info from Meljean Solon20 things to do in Siargao” as per this LINK.

2.  THE JUICY VLOG  a couple from the UK traveling around the Philippines who got stranded in their own home base in Manila.  “11 Ways the Philippines is better than the UK” on this LINK.

3.  MARTIN SOLHAUGEN  a Norwegian travel vlogger who is now engaged to another travel vlogger named AVELOVINIT and traveling the Philippines when they got stranded in Siargao as well.  You will see his latest vlog about “Top 10 places you must visit in the Philippines.”

4.  EIGHT MILES FROM HOME  a couple from the UK with a child named Story and her nan also stranded in Siargao.  They have traveled around Asia and lived in Portugal and now thinking of living in the Philippines even after the lockdown.

5.  JUMPING PLACES  a couple both from different countries decided to do full-time vlogging and currently stranded in the beautiful island of EL NIDO PALAWAN.  Here is their current quarantine experience “A Day in El Nido Quarantined” check their other travel to another side of the island >> CORON.

There are some more foreign vloggers and tourists stranded all over the Philippines.  You can easily check them out on Youtube. These are just 5 of my favorite foreign vloggers telling their own experiences and love of travel.  Since we all cannot travel to any country aside from our own so it’s best to show you what I know and why I keep coming back to my birth country the Philippines.  Family. Friends. Values. Nature.  I hope once you have checked them out you will agree with me.

Please also check this site out:  Mom & Son expats (NZ after lockdown) 

Enjoy watching!  Cheers!

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Be patient in this new world

“We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world”  by Hellen Keller

This is in response to the WOTD: Patient

The quote is so true isn’t it?

We learn from our mistakes.  If there’s a will there’s a way.  No pain no gain and so many other sayings.  This pandemic teaches us so many things in our lives.  How to be strong in these tough times.  How some of us become like a master chef or baker in our household without relying too much upon in takeaways or fast foods?  How to pray for our beloved safety and well being.  How to be kind to one another.  How to be tolerant about things we cannot control and accepted how it is.  Otherwise, you will only be miserable if you cannot accept defeat.  Life is in constant change.  We are facing a new life.  Be patient.

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There is always a reason for everything and yes there are some positive outcomes of this world problem.  We learn how to be more hygienic or overdoing it at times just to protect our loved ones.  Our world started to heal from the pollution and the birds and other animals profited from it too.  If you love traveling like me, another positive outcome is you are now seatmate free as the seat in the middle will now be vacant for each passengers safety.  New Zealand is now on alert level 2 which means “almost” back to normal (apart from social distancing, proper good hygiene, and “being kind” as what the PM always telling on her media interviews. The tourism industry is now being pushed forward after being dormant for so long.  We just have to support and discover our own backyard deepest corners.  Besides, we have a beautiful country!

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We hope of a safer tomorrow.  Wishing a covid-19 free world sooner than later.  Let’s be patient. It will come.

PS:  Please also support my other blog site as per this link >> Life and Wonders.  I have transferred some of my older posts in there as it was the first chapter of my new life being an ex-pat in the Middle East (The UAE).  There you can see how it was living in that world and you will be surprised.  Nevertheless, you can still see some of the remaining post here dated from mid-2015 up to early 2019.  FYI.  Thank You!

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Destination: Rheinfall, Switzerland

“TRAVITUDE = When you start to feel grumpy and sassy cause you miss travelling.”   anonymous

“TRIPOPHOBIA” = The fear of not having any travel trips currently booked.”  anonymous

Just for fun but it still makes your soul happy to reminisce the past travels while we have some restrictions in place.  It is much safer at least so enjoy the ride and check out below photos surrounding the beauty of Rhinefall.  Just an hour away by train from Zurich HB.  We were there last January 2020 before people all over the world become aware and fearful of the COVID-19.

This is also in response to Cee’s Photo Challenges “Fan of (partially blue skies) Challenge“.  If you want to join and create your own virtual travels just click the link.

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Rheinfall, vinneve

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Schlossamrheinfall, vinneve

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UpSchloss, vinneve

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restaurant.rheinfall, vinneve

Let’s travel to Switzerland again once this pandemic is over but in the meantime I am looking forward to seeing more of my home country New Zealand.  Cheers!

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Philippines virtual travels

“Travel does the heart good”  anonymous.

Since we all are on lockdown or some sort of isolation then I hope these photos can cheer you up and perhaps reminisce your past travel and bring good memories.  Remember you are not alone!  We all are contributing to make each other safe by staying home.  I am proud to say that there is a report that NZ is the 3rd safest country in the world right now amid this COVID-19 pandemic.  Here is the LINK if you’d like to read.

We suppose to travel today to the Philippines but unfortunately, it’s impossible and everybody knows why.  So I thought of bringing you with me in my daydreaming as I reminiscing the past travels that a few I forgot to post here and would like to come and visit again next time… whenever that may be!

Bonifacio Global City – famously known as BGC.  It is the newest modern city around Metro-Manila (condo resort style of living) and much preferred by balikbayans (like me) and foreigners as they can have a luxurious time here and very convenient but more affordable than other major cities in the world.  There is a Mind Museum that you and your family can enjoy plus hundreds of shops and restaurants to choose from within walking distance.   

Venice Grand Canal Mall – sorry not to be confused with a similar name in Italy.  Here is the INFO about this lifestyle mall developed by Megaworld and you may check my older post about this on this LINK.

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VGC@BGC2, vinneve

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan – It was a beautiful and painful history of the past living from the 1600’s -1800’s century under the Spanish rule.  See LINK.

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RIZAL SHRINE, Calamba Laguna – we just went here on impulse and we love it! Finally seeing with my own eyes the house of Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal and some of its surrounding place that seems to stay that way since the 1800’s under Spanish rule.

 

Calambamudpot, vinneve

RizalhouseLaguna, vinneve

Calambachurch, vinneve

I would like to revisit them again next time once this problem all over the world is finished.  Surely, there are more places I need to see aside from these.  The world is full of wonders so don’t stop wandering!  For now, let us be safe and stay at home.  Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

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Focus Terra, Zurich

 

Allow me to post one of our travel backlogs last January 2020 while in Zurich, Switzerland.  Since my son and I love to go to a museum and we already been to the Swiss National Museum or also known as Landes Museum click the LINK (to read my older post about it)… I decided to see a smaller museum and it’s FREE to enter where some people don’t know that it exists, and yes harder to find if you are not familiar with the location. We got lost looking for a particular street on the map. So I make it easy by showing some photos below on what landmark to look from.

Here below is the Terra Focus, a museum about volcanoes, fossils, rocks, minerals, etc. Going there by public transport you have to take either Tram #9 or Tram #11, near the main train station Hauptbahnhof and tram stop @UniversitatSpital (University Hospital).  FYI.

Crystal @focusterra.zurich, vinneve

FocusTerra signage, vinneve

ETHZurich, vinneve

The brochures above are located inside the museum as it doubles as a University. See this LINK for more information if you happen to be interested in these subjects and wanted to study in Zurich.  ETH Zurich is one of the most prestigious universities in the world.  The location of Focus Terra is within the university belt and there’s a beautiful park nearby.  I will post some photos of the beautiful surrounding on my next blog. Please wait for it.  Tschuss!

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Canton Schwyz, Ibergeregg pass

Winter wonderland?! Where else but in Switzerland 🇨🇭

We came just after Christmas to be with my son’s grandparents & relatives. Spent the New Year with them. Yes, beautiful sunny weather up in the mountains!

The one in between mountains is not snow but clouds or thick fogs. 2nd of January and people trying to get all the last day of holiday as some will go back to work the next day or so.

It’s dry winter here so it’s not as cold as you think compared to New Zealand humid winter weather if you happen to be in Nz from July – August winter. Of course, the temperature is much lower here in Zurich compared to Auckland. It can get -1 or 0 zero degrees or much less. The air is crisp but fresh. Inside the house is a lot warmer & can wear one layer of normal clothes compared to Nz houses you have to double up the layer of clothes as it’s not properly insulated (unless you turn up the heating that you get a shock when receiving the power bill) unfortunately compared to Switzerland houses (underfloor heating) which is mostly run by gas or oil for heating so it’s more energy efficient.

We’re in the Canton of Schwyz with the link connecting to famous Einsiedeln where we went last year with friends (see older post) and went to Ibergeregg pass mountain overlooking the famous Rigi mountain. Beautiful sceneries and long winding road. Lot’s of cabin style restaurants overlooking the mountains. It’s worth the trip more or less 1 hour from Zurich.

Passing towns are interesting and you may stop and see what they offer. Lot’s of tourists and locals either biking around or walking as they have to park from far away distance as parking nearby is impossible in peak hours or important days so be prepared. Get comfy warm reliable shoes for walking from roadside to snow. Don’t worry even seniors do it.

I’m writing this via my iPhone. More places and pictures to come. So FOLLOW ME while we travel around ZURICH and nearby towns, villages and other Cantons in Switzerland. Tschuss!!

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Destination: Azerbaijan 🇦🇿

“I wish travel therapy was covered by my health insurance!”  by anonymous

Sightseeing, discovering other culture, taste their foods are always our agenda every time we go travel. But we’re surprised to know so little of this country.

Azerbaijan was under USSR and like other neighboring Countries they became independent.  So many places to discover and here I show you some.

Baku Airport(HeydarAliyev), vinneve foto

Discovering around the City of Baku

  1. The Flame Tower

2. The Maiden Tower.  Discover what’s inside.

3.  Discover the old world inside their medieval walled inner City.  Every alleys speak of history.  You will be amazed there are some similarities in Europe!

 4. Around Fountain Square.  Yes so many fountains around though I don’t show it here but I save those for later.

5.  The View on top  6.  Heydar Aliyev Museum. More of this awesome structure on my next post as it deserves it’s own limelight. Please wait for it.  Cheers!

7.  Milli Park at night is full of people with friends & families enjoying the sights and foods with so many restaurants around catering to locals & tourists.

8.  The Carpet MuseumYou will see this inside Milli Park. Beautiful architecture!   9.  And these are the places we haven’t got the time to explore, sad to say.

10.  The foods are mixed with some Asian and Arab spices.  Although mostly a Muslim Country, you can order some alcohol even in some restaurants inside the Park.  Surprisingly, they also produce their own wine!  They had a thriving wine industry dated back in the old days, second millenium BC.  Unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to taste it but I read from one blogger that it has a sweet taste and she likes it very much!

Will I go back to Azerbaijan?  I would love to!!  But for all those who knows my “life story” so far I cannot say when, as our life seems in constant change!  Be it fortunate or not it depends on the person reading all my posts.  For now… I am grateful to be a wanderer.  My love for travels cannot keep me in one place only.  FOLLOW me and you will see some of my adventures ahead.  Thanks for all the follows and the casual checking from other bloggers.  I do appreciate it.

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Another home away from home!

Going back to Abu Dhabi after being away for more than 3 months makes me realized that I am actually missing my good life here as a mom and as a person. It took me awhile to adjust (not that easy) but I did and I started to be happy! I was busy with lot’s of things going on around me. School events, volunteering, watching my son doing his sports, meet ups with 3 groups of friends, family time, even errands I find it good as it’s my me time to be alone and do some houseworks and I do love cooking, little luxuries in life  (that we cannot do in NZ) like some brunching (in 5*hotels) with friends and family, theme parks, fine dining and more travels.

The lifestyle here that I became adjusted to really makes me wonder why life keeps giving us a crack after I finally settled in.  So yes, we’re back to New Zealand and so many things had happened while we were away for 4 years!! Life is not the same anymore or perhaps I am not the same anymore. (Sigh!)

Coming back here in AD for a quick visit so our family can be together again.  Life sometimes sucks being an expats but it also gives you a lot of opportunities and new perspective in life that we didn’t know before.

So shall we go back for longer period in the land of the desert and opportunity?  I don’t know.  Guess I just leave it for the fate to pick us up and go with the flow. It happened before so I won’t be surprised if it happened again.  So far all I know is… this is another home away from home!

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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 are 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 re-pats 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 ex-pat in your own Country.  Anyway… my experience is so far it’s good the only complaint I can say is all my friends are too busy since they are mostly working moms (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 moms of leisure that we can afford to in Abu Dhabi.

Here are the reality now in Auckland that you may be interested to know just in case you are wanting to relocate here or also like me as a repat.  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 stay 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. There are 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 the airport came to fruition last July 2017.
  6. The City looked less of its beauty before with so many 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 there are 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. So do not be fooled.
  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, just check out within your community centre, local papers or FB events. Nature is at it’s best here so you will not be disappointed 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 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. Do be careful with the back roads (winding roads).

WesternSpringPark, vinnevefoto

Nevertheless… I won’t discredit my life in Abu Dhabi as it was the most convenient and luxurious life I ever had 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 repats or as an ex-pat.  Soon (I hope) I will post our brief holiday in QUEENSTOWN.  Please hang on.  Cheers!!

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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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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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Where to congregate when in/near Manila?

While we are still here… we might as well enjoy and bank on the memories with the family and friends that we left here when I migrated in New Zealand and now as ex-pats in Abu Dhabi and at the moment staying in the Philippines. I say I am lucky to experience different “World”  for a longer period.

Come with me and enjoy the sites here around Manila and I hope you will appreciate it the way we do.  Please click the photos to enlarge.

THE FAMOUS VGC @ BGC – This is where most ex-pats and tourists stay for a longer period.  VGC stands for Venice Grand Canal @ BGC means Bonifacio Global City and someone told me that this is the 2nd place in the world who is allowed to copy the famous Venice Canal in Italy which we also visited last year August and hope to post about Italy after completing some backlogs.  Update: Click the link Venice to go there.

AYALA MUSEUM in Makati – I always passed this place every time we go shop or explore Makati by foot, and this time we really plan to come here and spent half of the day here.  Actually, we didn’t finish checking about history unfortunately and it’s near 7pm when we departed this place and we go hunt for some food to eat.

SOFITEL HOTEL & RESORTS, MANILA – We spent our wedding anniversary and Christmas here.  It’s a relaxing place and looked luxuriously homey when you sit with those many comfort sofas around the bar and the piano.  It’s also a resort so the whole family can enjoy.  Just check the photos!

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Sofitel Manila, vinneve

NUVALI PARK @ Nuvali Sta.Rosa, Laguna – It’s only 1 hour and a half away from Makati or Manila and depends on the traffic and highways or shortcut you’re in you can make it within an hour if you are lucky by car otherwise going here by public transport it’s best to get to Alabang and just 30-45mins you are already there using a white van at the side terminal before you reach the South Station. Just ask around no worries! It only cost P50 pesos per person.  Very affordable.

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There are some more places to go to around Manila for sure and some I already covered in my previous posts aside from added photos that I shared here.  If you are looking for some nightlife… yes Manila has it all but sorry I don’t cover it.  If you are looking for some shopping destinations, Manila has hundreds of big malls everywhere you go and lot’s of restaurants that are affordable too and some pop-ups food stalls.

Thanks for reading and hope you could check my older post in other parts of the World.

Safe travels!

The Daily Post: CONGREGATE 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Wonderful Maze of Abu Dhabi Sights

via The Daily Post: MAZE

Hello my dear readers;

Just some collections of photos in Abu Dhabi.  A maze of sceneries, fun, and adventures that we have experienced being an expat here.  For people who are curious what could be in store for them when transiting, stop over or visiting the capital of UAE.

Please click the photos to enlarge to finally enjoy the view! 

For me… Life is like a maze… it’s you who decide where to go whether left or right. Wherever you go make the best out of it and try to win NOT to lose hope finding your way. 

Thank you readers, and come back for more or check my older posts.

 

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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

Do not underestimate this river as it moves very fast! The current is very strong that can power up the little cruise ship above!  If you think you are a good swimmer and wants to experienced how a strong current feels like, then you can rent a floater beneath the bridge.  Swimmers lining up to dry under the sun after the swim.

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Below photos near the river, went to a Park for our son enjoyment and going back we have seen some religious sect dancing and inviting people to join or to donate and a mini Toy Museum and another Museum (History) that unfortunately, we are too late.

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All Blacks Flag NZ, vinneve

Then by accident, as we looked up we saw the NZ All Blacks flag (rugby sport) in one of the apartments in the City Centre going back to the train station. For sure some Kiwis are living there! KIA ORA mate! 🙂

It was a very good family day out!!!

I hope you enjoy reading or browsing as some may do haha!  Thanks and come back for more!  Tschuss!!

via: The Weekly Photo Challenge:  WANDERLUST

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Was it luck or fate? You choose.

In response to the Daily Post: LUCK

In response to the Daily Post: VIVID

In response to the Daily Post: WISH 

WOTD Challenge – GUESS

Related link to this post if you have time to check: COINCIDENCE OR FATE?

Luck is where opportunity meets preparation. - Seneca

There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed. - Napoleon Bonaparte

January 2015 – My hubby just resigned from his job in Australia about to go back home to New Zealand and in about 2 days before the landline being deactivated… an important surprise call came that changed our lives. An offer. A once in a lifetime opportunity not to be missed, however, changes we need to rearrange our plans.

February 2015 – Back in NZ and celebrating the Chinese New Year Lantern Festival in Auckland.  A wish came true (after throwing a piece of paper with wishes on it on top of the tree) or was it just LUCK or fate destined to happen?.  

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Wishing tree, AKL NZ CNY 2015

Showing some VIVID images from Auckland Chinese NY Lantern Festival.  The last one we have attended in New Zealand.  It was fun and a good memory to cherish.

Cheers! 🙂  

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Glitters in Black Gold

This is in response to the Daily Post: GLITTER

Fortune is like glass - the brighter the glitter, the more easily broken. - Publilius Syrus

True.  Be careful what you wish for, for it may come true… it depends on who you are or who you will become to be when you get what you want in life.  Some become greedy and want more.  Some are just practical and just taking the opportunity as it comes and some just think that their life will never change be it good or “best” here in the land of opportunities.  Come to think of it… this is not permanent.

Life as an expat here in the desert with full of black gold (Oil) can come as a fairy tale to many.  From having lavish brunches, villas that look like a mansion, fast cars & so many benefits that included in salary package that you never had before back home.

Fame and fortune never stays for long. Beware… life is like a roller coaster, a Ferris wheel that goes up and down.  Not all that glitters are gold as what the old saying goes.

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Global village, Dubai. vinneve photo

Perhaps it is best to save some for rainy days.

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Destination: Zurich, another home.

 

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Zurich old town

Now may I continue my blog about our mid-year holiday (sorry backlog) from my husband’s turf this time.  From the south of Switzerland, see this for LUGANO and LOCARNO for the past blog. We head back to our base which is in north central of Switzerland famously known for as Zurich.  Just a few hours near the border to Germany.  Obviously, they speak German here but their dialect is Swiss German which has a softer tone and every City like Bern (Capital of Switzerland) also have their own. I have been to both but will focus about Zurich for now.  Our holiday was not about being a tourist.  We came because we have families and friends there so I will show you around as what the locals usually do and where they usually go.

We came back just in time for Swiss National Day (August 1st) and it became very festive late afternoon to midnight.  The feeling is similar to New Year Eve’s party! so yes there was some food stalls, overflowing of beers, live bands, dancing and fireworks and Swiss lanterns for children to hold on to.  We went to 2 different locations and the one below are the place we have stayed until midnight.  It was a different feeling as I am the only one in the family who is not a Swiss… yet.

 

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bonfires for Swiss Nat’l Day, vinneve photo

Lots of parks around Zurich and this one is just 10-15 minutes away from our place near Uetliberg (famous mountain and park with a panoramic view of the entire city of Zurich and the lake). 

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Wildnispark Langenberg, vinneve photo

 Wildnispark Zurich Langenberg is huge and good for people who loves to walk plus there is a mini zoo everywhere and perhaps judging by the looks of the photo below you now understand why “wildnispark“?  The wild deer freely roaming the other side of the mountain and just a short fence that separating them to us while walking.  Even the bears are just a few metres away from us.  We got lucky they came out from the forest (as last time 3yrs+ ago we didn’t see any of them) and now the mama bear have some baby bears to show off!  😉

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Wild deer on the way to the other side of the park, vinneve photo

Now since I mentioned about Uetliberg, here are some photos from our previous travel. Photos may not do justice to it as I have an old simple digital camera on hand.  Please click this LINK so you will know more about it from their official website.

I have a fear of heights so I didn’t dare to go up on this tower.  My brave son and his grandpa did though although I may say it is hard on the knee for an old man to go up this high using just a stairs… it shows how much his love for his grandson to please him.  Below pics are some of the beautiful sights even on the ground if you don’t want to try going up in the tower.

Do not worry as there are some restaurants from the bottom of the hill as well as up there.  You can either go by train or by car to go to this place.  

It is really better to travel around Switzerland with some locals so you will enjoy some tourist spot but not crowded and something that is not usually on the tourist priority list.  Come and follow me as I still have some more to post about Zurich, Basel and Zug.

For the meantime, why don’t you check and click the link to my other post around Switzerland on this LINK1, LINK2 & LINK3.  Thanks and see you again next time.

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Random views around Zurich

As per my recent post about our last trip in the South of Switzerland in this LINK, here I show you some views around Zürich.  It may not represent a lot about the City but I hope it will get you more curious until my next post.  I am short of time as these past months I become so busy with so many happenings and events we attended but I assure you I will post it here as soon as I can.  Watch this space. 🙂

One thing I am amazed about Zürich is… it is a City surrounded with mountains and very nice view indeed!  We stayed somewhere up the hill and I love it.  Only a few minutes and you are already down the town.  I will show you around next time, promise!

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 near the City Centre, vinneve photo

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The Lake Zurich, vinneve photo

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The bridge to go over the other side of Old Zurich, vinneve photo

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Somewhere near Zurich via train, vinneve photo

 

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The beautiful lake of Zurich, vinneve photo

 

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Somewhere in Zurich, vinneve photo

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Somewhere at the back road we went for a drive, vinneve photo

These are just a teaser.  Hope to see you next time when I have more time to spare!  In the meantime why don’t you check my other post about South Switzerland or other travel destinations under Categories or go check monthly posts if you have more time, I will truly appreciate it,  Thanks!

Tschuss!

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Falcon: More than just a local

This is in response to the Daily Post Photo Challenge: LOCAL.

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pinterest.com

These are the locals here in UAE aside from the Emiratis of course.  They love their Falcon bird that they even have a hospital for them, LINK here for further info. The largest falcon hospital in the World. Would you believe they even have passports?  read here. By the way.. their eyes are covered so they keep calm amid the noises and movements inside the exhibition halls. FYI.

The Saluki dog even have their own Beauty Pageant! please check my previous post here, about the ADNEC hunting exhibition from last year.  We went to this year event again just a few weeks ago and will post this once ready so hope you can check it out it too, next time!

And the Houbara bustard bird… see the LINK  here for more info.  I think it is better to be better informed… knowledge is POWER. 🙂

Cheers!! See you next time.

 

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Shopping destination: Milan, Italy

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II, vinneve photo

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Exterior of the “Galleria”

Oh, MILAN !! What are you thinking when uttering this words?  Yes, shopping!

It’s a shopper’s delight, a fun and exciting place to go to especially in the month of July-August as I happened to find out by chance.  I always pay a visit (brief holiday) to my cousins living in Milan while I am in Europe, but it turned out it’s a strike two!  Yahoo!   🙂

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Yes, Indeed!!  from pinterest.com

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II.  A 18th Century structure, and yes! expensive restaurants and famous stores are inside.  It is easy to get to this place because of the METRO (Red/Green/Yellow lines subway) and so cheap compared to Switzerland, but of course, depends on where you are staying. Also, it is near the Duomo.  For me, I have to board a bus first then go to the Red Line. It will cost you as little as 1.50 euro for a day if you use it within 2 hours then you can even return home for just that single ticket including the bus, just don’t forget to scan it on first boarding.  For me as I have to go several times it’s best to buy a 24hrs which cost 4.50 euro for 24hrs. Like Switzerland, Milan Metro is also reliable and fast.

Of course, expect heaps of people around you and so this is not for weak heart or people who get dizzy easily because even in the early morning it tends to be overcrowded.  Also the fact that it is so hot at times!  You must have a bottle of water with you before you embarked yourself into a shopping spree.  It was up to 70% SALE on most items of all branded clothes in all department stores as far as your eyes can see.  So you can get a bargain from 3-8 euro only for basic shirts and blouses for most of Ladies & Men’s clothing etc.  This is a good bargain and the best gifts for X’mas for your loved ones.  Actually, buying clothes in a souvenir shop around are more expensive!

There is one sadness of it all, though… for every 5-10 steps, there are some beggars around asking for help.  Some are young and I wonder are they trapped and cannot go home?  Or is it just another stint and after dark, they are partying? haha!  Sorry can’t help to be cynical sometimes as it can happen you know.  Seriously, I cannot control my heart for feeling sorry for them (Oldies) and the last-minute I see I almost got drained of coins (I got heaps of them! Feel guilty of shopping without giving you know!) which are very important to have when traveling in a foreign Country not having English as their first language.  I happened to be a victim of not having a coin when I arrived the last time and yes, a handsome Italian student came to the rescue!  Otherwise, I will be in trouble bursting my bladder.  There you go for a tip.  🙂

Of course… Milan is not only for shopping.  Lots of architectural building and Museums and a Castle to see plus the Parks and yes foods!  Family in Switzerland loves Italian food by the way.  They are very grateful that Italian came to migrate and bring their dishes.

Before I go I’ll leave you another funny picture quote!  

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picturequotes.com

Next stop, Sightseeing around Milan on my next post.  Then back to Switzerland in Locarno so hope you stick around and wait for those.  

Grazie!

Photo Challenge: Edge. Sasso.

via Photo Challenge: Edge.  Sasso.

Madonna del Sasso.  Located in South Switzerland Orselina above Locarno, in the region of TICINO.  A famous place for pilgrimage, where in the year 1480 the Virgin Mary had appeared to the vision of Brother Bartolomeo d’ I vrea and was built 7years after that.

For more story behind this church,  please click this LINK  sitting at the edge of this sacred rock mountain.  Sasso means rock.  

 

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Madonna del Sasso-Orselina, vinneve photo

 

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Mt. San Salvatore, Lugano Switzerland

There is a cable train nearby to go up the mountain just a walking distance to Novotel Lugano where we have stayed before moving on to our holiday house with the whole families (mother in-law’s side).  You can click this LINK  from the previous post to know more.

Some men preferred to go UP by this cable train “Funicolare” one way and descend either with their mountain bike or by foot.    They must know what they are up to so Goodluck as it is really steep!  I do admire their strength and bravery!

To know more about going to this place please click this LINK.  There are some mountains you can also visit but we prefer this one at the time thinking we have our little boy with us.  

 

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On top, it’s worth it! vinneve photo

 

THE STREET VIEW ON TOP, LUGANO

 

Next stop… LOCARNO another beautiful place in South Switzerland Region of TICINO. See you again next time!  Ciao!

 

 

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Destination: Lugano, Switzerland

LUGANO is the largest town in the region of TICINO.  It’s in South Switzerland.

It is well loved by Italians who works and holidaying in this region.  It is a little more than an hour away from Milan via fast train.  You can check my previous post as you can view in this LINK about the hotel review closer to this town.  We finally went on our way to our final destination (holiday house you can rent but need to book early)  which is a beautiful house located on top of the mountain overlooking the gorgeous lake and spent weeks in bliss.  For more info please click this LINK.  I hope you too can discover the beauty of Lugano and you will not be disappointed.  

The photos speak for itself.  Enjoy!

Strolling along the pavement  towards the middle of the town, viewing the lake.

It is better to ride this little train to make a quick tour around so you know your whereabouts and decide where to get off.  We board it just across Novotel Lugano.

More to see and admire around the town and the Park nearby.

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View from the holiday house

It rained for a few days and we have seen a beautiful rainbow even doubles!

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Lugano, vinneve foto

Perhaps you can say… this is the “Lake house” 

 

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vinneve foto @lakehouse

 

There are some shops of course for shopaholics out there!  as well as many restaurants around town and even on top of the hill.  The alleys on top of the hills are similar to Italy (very narrow) and it takes a good driver to maneuver around the steep hill and zig zag roads so please be aware.

Next post will be about some FUN  in Lugano for all types of travelers!  

So see you again next time,  Tschuss! 😉

The Door’s Castle

This is in response to The Daily Post:  The Story Behind a Door.

 

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Larnach Castle, Dunedin New Zealand

We were here in June 2014.  Just me and my small buddy which is my son.  Had a great tour around the grounds and the castle but yes in every castle there is a story behind a closed door.  So much history and it’s up to you which version of the story you prefer.

If you like Paranormal then click this LINK to know about what is happening in this beautiful small Castle in  a breathtaking surrounding.

If you just want a normal/ regular tour and history then click this LINK.  Surely you will not be disappointed and perhaps if New Zealand is on your bucket list then you would not want to miss this chance to go to Dunedin and  see for yourself the famous castle.  The more the merrier so you can also enjoy strolling around the grounds with your friends or loved ones. I tell you, there are so many photo ops in this location. Ehem! Peter Jackson? 

If you just want information or other FACTS then click this LINK.  What else? but my favorite Wikipedia.

At the end of the tour… stroll around the garden (top hill) and appreciate the simple beauty outside.

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At the hill, garden, Larnach Castle Dunedin, NZ

 

Thanks for your time!  Until next time 🙂