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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.

Be patient things quotes

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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More than words

In response to the “Word of the Day Challenge” as per the words below. It summarizes the feelings we’ve felt while back in Switzerland last December to January 2020.

Updated:  I thought I better add some of these Cee’s Fun Foto ChallengeSense of Seeing and Sense of Touching.

“The words printed here are concepts.  You must go through the experiences.” by Saint Augustine

WISH 

Oberigberg1, vinneve

SURPRISE

IlluminariumZurich, vinneve

ADMIRE

Oberiberg2, vinneve

DELIGHT

MaroniDessert, vinneve

EXPLORING Unique places

Wettswil, vinneve

FOG

RickenbackSZ, vinneve

I am having a hard time publishing this and I wonder why, as this is now my 3rd attempt to publish this.  It will show as published but then the next day I cannot find it and so the viewers cannot see it too.  So I stop linking the words above as pingback.  I hope this will work this time so other readers can see this post.  If you are having a similar issue with WP please let me know by the comments below.  Thanks for checking, much appreciated.

Tschuss!!

 

 

 

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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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Life in this chaotic World

The year 2020 started with a BANG! with our personal lives, change of sceneries as we come back for good in Auckland New Zealand plus early in January the volcano in Tagaytay, Philippines (click the LINK) near my new condo unit has just erupted, fortunately, the wind blew to the other side (sorry to the other areas that have been affected) so the place only suffered minimal spewing of ashes. I was worried about my relatives’ plight as they live in the neighboring provinces, though I wasn’t that worried about my father because he lives in Metro Manila near the airport and it’s 2 hours away from the province of Tagaytay.  Nevertheless, the ashes of this small volcano spewing as far as up to Manila and surrounding cities.  It is now recovering as it’s now back to normal and thank GOD no people die but unfortunately, some animals were trapped and breathing the ashes can kill your lungs, human or animals.  According to Wikipedia, the volcanic ashes are made of some fragments of rocks, minerals, and volcanic glass and it even showed on TV how it looked like under the microscope.  It really looked like a shattered glass, particularly this Taal Volcano.

credit to CNN.PH link to read HERE

And now… it’s the coronavirus.  I think this tops it all and it’s just the beginning of the year!! Soon we will be traveling again and I am worried but hopeful that we won’t face any problems as this April travel (business trip) will be very busy indeed.  I am monitoring the news and flight schedule as it changed 3x already!

This virus shows the bad side of humanity.  If you don’t know yet, it started in December in China and yes they keep it a secret for a while (long story) and now one of my favorite tourist destinations (in Europe) shows some racial discrimination as most of them when they see an Asian they ignorantly categorized them as CHINESE.  So unfortunately for other Asians, though not Chinese they are being beaten, harassed out on the streets and being thrown outside by another commuter on the bus or train.  I was aghast that they are this mean!  But I guess it’s being human and fearful of this virus so much they forgot to think and be reasonable.  One thing for sure, I will not do that to another person!  I am sure if you are from that part of Europe you know what country I am talking about.  It’s all over social media, and perhaps it is not just there that this is happening, but all over the world.  I am aware because I have some relatives there.  If you’ve been following my blog for a long time now you know I have 2 Countries in Europe I always go to and spend some of our holidays.  Make a guess.

I leave you now with some HOPE and let’s PRAY together that this will be over soon. If that doesn’t happen then no more traveling, no more events to attend to, you won’t meet your friends or families for fear of being contaminated, no more joy in life but fear.  That is not living at all.  I believe in this saying.. “there is light at the end of the tunnel.”  I am looking forward to it.

Take care, my fellow bloggers and traveloholic people!

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Qasr Al Watan, Abu Dhabi

I told myself that we will go to this amazing palace even for my last time as you now know… We are now going back to New Zealand for good. There’s a lot of photos actually but I cannot put it here as I don’t have enough space.  I made sure that we will experience all the beautiful places in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.  FYI, as some of you get confused with the two Cities… both have their own interesting places but Abu Dhabi is more of a family-oriented place.  No traffic unlike in Dubai and more parks.  It’s a year of tolerance too!

I got a neck ache as I keep on looking up!  Even the ceilings are amazing!  So if ever you want to go in transit via Abu Dhabi make sure that you get the chance to get out.  It is so worth it.  FYI, Emirates Palace is also just a few minutes away from this place.  Though this Palace is located at the back so a van is included to bring you to Qasr Al Watan. It’s that big!  Cheers!

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Expats saying goodbye!

How can you really say goodbye to a place and people who matter to you for a long time? Who helped you coped in a new environment and lifestyle? Who became like a family as they can relate and understand what you are going through? It’s hard and I’m sure some ex-pats can relate to this.

Some of you dear readers know me for so long by following me through my journeys from Auckland to Abu Dhabi and a 10 month stay back in my birth Country Philippines then back again to Abu Dhabi and now finally going back for good in Auckland, New Zealand.

Some of you can understand that though I always bring positive travel blogs and ex-pats life, it may not be always positive and happy all the time. Yes! That’s life and sometimes life isn’t fair.

This is the time to say my last goodbyes to Abu Dhabi and to all my friends and Mom’s group as I won’t be back anymore. Though it saddens me to say my final goodbye to them, the positive side of this is I’m not hanging or feeling unbalanced anymore as I know that we’re going back home for good now in New Zealand. I can better plan our lives and we focus on what’s necessary and in my heart knowing that I will stay HOME.

Goodbye Abu Dhabi. You’ve been very good to us especially to me that I have experienced a different lifestyle that I never thought of and meeting so many people from all over the world and even learning from them. Thank you for all the experiences and opportunities.

Ma’ assalama!

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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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Back to home base in Auckland

Neststarlingeggs, vinnevefoto

After our July holiday in Abu Dhabi leaving hubby there to continue working, we went back to our daily routines including going places around Auckland to be reacquainted after long years of absence in Nz.  And yes this nest of eggs is just propped beside our house on top of an old garden mat, reminding me that this is where we started out as a family.

Western Springs – we love this Park. It brings old memories. This is just 20 minutes drive away from home with normal traffic. A big public park for everybody.  All the birds and other animals here mostly are tame and you can feed them with your leftover bread then they start to follow you that sometimes it can freak you out too haha! 

WesternSprings, vinnevefoto

Auckland Zoo – this is just beside Western Spring Park so it’s two in one either you go to the Zoo first or the Park then your whole day and night outing are full-on.  The Zoo is very big as well so wear a comfy shoes and your good spirit with or without a kid in tow.

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AKLZoo, vinneve

Auckland Art Gallery – my son and I love museums and art galleries.  For locals, it is free to enter here so I just have to show my ID. It is located in the City Center and just a walking distance from the famous Queen Street just beside Albert Park.

AKLArtGallery, vinneve

Auckland City – yes the harbor is very busy in summer months from both tourists and locals alike.  To go across another island like Waiheke or if wanting a ferry instead of driving to Devonport or Coromandel you can get to ferry easily except when you have to go on a long queue when there are some cruise ships docked at the port. Most tourists coming from cruise ships tend to go to the little islands.  Unfortunately, an incident of a sudden volcanic eruption in the White Island (NorthIsland) the cruise ship Ovation of the Seas (we were there when it was docked in AKLport) some passengers were having their tour of the volcano when it suddenly erupted. Click the link above and this  (update: 8 now dead etc.) Condolences to those families who have been affected. So sad.

AKLHarbour, vinneve

Albert Park – Just beside AKL Art Gallery.  You will be amazed that there is a park-like this in the middle of the City.  They used to celebrate CNY (Chinese New Year festival) here and we had very nice memories with the whole family before our fate changed.  

MtAlberPark, vinneve

Auckland Viaduct – Families with children love to go across this bridge. There are some free entertainment here (free movie night & playgrounds) plus the restaurants and bars lined up so you won’t get hungry!  A free library in nearby giant benches if you want some reading in your spare time while in the City or just a walk for some fresh sea air or watch some rich people sailing their expensive yachts and big boats, or perhaps if you can afford to rent it.

AKLviaduct, vinneve

There’s a lot more to visit and for sure will post it here.  Follow me as I will show more of each place in my next post.  Soon it’s another holiday and yes another travel adventure awaits!  Guess where we will be for Christmas and New Year?… wait for it or better FOLLOW ME.  A LIKE and a comment would be great.  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 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 truly 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.  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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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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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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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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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 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 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 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 beauty 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 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 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.

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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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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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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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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Taminaschlucht & it’s Village named Bad Ragaz

Went on a day trip with the grandparents! A place that’s dear to them in their younger years.

Altes Bad Pfafers – is now a spa museum but the story begins in 1240 when 2 hunters discovered a thermal spring that the nearby Monastery found the river to have a healing power. Many famous people came here to bath since then at their own risk.

Now they have some better arrangements in the village and visitors can now bath at their comfort thru this LINK . No more being lowered down into a gorge in a basket!

The water coming from these Rocky Mountains comes down to the very fast river that’s so strong it’s necessary to have fences for safety along the pathway. It can be deafening too.

The village of Bad Ragaz has an old charm of its own. It’s boasting not just a majestic Rocky Mountains but also conveniences to visitors like train station and bus station nearby some small boutique stores, cafes and restaurants.

You can choose to hike up to Taminaschluct (Tamina Gorge), by bus or by horse wagon that goes up in the mountain. It’s definitely nice to hike but beware it’s a long rough road and you have to give way to the a bus or horses. You can be rewarded with beautiful scenery along the way and the fast raging river. We chose by bus and it’s like an adventure as the road is very narrow and the rocks looming over you.  Please bring coins only 5SF per person as you need it to enter the gate to the gorge.

This place is under the Canton of St.Gallen.  It’s a special place indeed!  Wait for my St. Gallen post next time.  Tschuss!!

 

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Destination: Venice/Venezia, Italy

Venice or Venezia, ITALY.

(Like Paris)  I never thought I will visit this place.  I only see them in the movies and gushing what a beautiful place it is!  Only in my wildest dream I can see it, or so I thought… until a change of luck or fate in my life that I’m able to do all this traveling.  Thanks to GOD for all the blessings and/or blessing in disguises.

I’ve got the chance of having a day trip to Venice from Milan with my cousins (thanks to them) and my boy in tow.  I actually choose Turin/ Torino before because I like less crowd and less expenses as it will be less expensive than Venice and Florence I believe, but they told me it’s a must to see Venice and so we all go!  Here comes the whole day of walking and taking hundreds of photos of the sceneries and selfies and lot’s of CROWDS to do some photo bombing when taking your own photos.  I found some opportunities still to put into this blog for you all to enjoy.  But I must admit… Venice is not what I used to see in romantic movies old or new.  It’s a very hot sunny day and full of crowds. The water is filled with people on a boat ride (gondola) and unfortunately, the sea and it’s canals are not that clean anymore. I find their buildings and their architectures amazing though.  Beware of the expenses and try to save for your trip here so you can really enjoy touring and dining!

By Train from Milan  to S.Lucia  … this is the STOP and yes you see the crowds full of them everywhere so just get used to it especially in Summer. 

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Venize @bridgeview, vinneve     

Make sure you don’t get lost in so many alleys!!  And see below photo to where is the public toilet (3rd photo chapel turn left, CR with pay).  Please enlarge the photos and to see the captions.  I like the similarities of their architecture in Milan and Turin… only differs with history.

I have so many photos but I can only put just a few here sorry!  I will leave you with a sweet glazed chocolates in different shapes and forms! Thanks for checking!

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Venice Chocs, vinneve 

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How NOT to love you?

This is for the Daily Post:  STORY

This post meant for yesterday IF I wasn’t busy crying my heart out @11:35am.  So please allow me to have this post to remember her.

And Daily Post: FACT to help you in taking care of a bunny.

UPDATE:  WOTD: Missing,  Daily Post : SUDDENLY

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My bb Grey, vinneve

I wasn’t that keen to have you at first but I brought you into our lives for my son.

It ended up that I will be the one needing YOU.  Attention, companion and friendship.

Never thought a little bunny can easily stole my heart from day one we brought you home.  I was afraid to love again.  I might get too attached but we have good plans for you my dear Grey.  How not to love you?… You are funny and was surprised that also very affectionate aside from being so adorable!  I thought a rabbit is not that great but I was so wrong!  You are like a puppy that greeted us everytime but independent like a cat. What can I ask for? ideal pet indeed.  You are there when I need one to talk to, to cuddle.  You show your affection freely by nibbling gently my fingers or licking it and wanted to be petted.  Just like a dog or a cat indeed.

Unfortunately… before I leave you to go to another place… you left me first.  Yesterday.

I will always LOVE you forever you are in my heart.  See you in the rainbow bridge!

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Grey waiting for her meal, vinneve

Please click the LINK below for your information especially if you have a pet rabbit.

FACTS how to raise rabbits from Wikipedia

Precautions are best after rabbit dies of sudden death

13 Most Common Causes of Sudden Death in Rabbits

 

 

 

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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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Holidays, festivities and fiestas whatever you call it.. it sounds FUN!

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What makes Christmas and New Year so special?  

It is a time to celebrate with loved ones and far far away friends and to continue good memories with them.  All I know I am happy remembering my good old childhood years and celebrations like this made me go back to some happy years of my life!

You bet, I went overseas to spend again these holidays with them so please wait while I prepare some post though I have promised some backlogs trips (Switzerland) mid-year last year.  I hope you won’t be confused which one is a recent trip but, here are some teaser for this recent trip celebrating Christmas and New Year in the Philippines!  🙂

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Every mall around the country has X’mas decorations!

My favorite destination as I keep coming back to TAGAYTAY.  The 2ND summer capital of the Philippines (South).

 

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On top of People’s Park, Tagaytay. Vinneve photo

 

 

The 1st summer capital (North).

 

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Burnham Park, Baguio. Vinneve photo

And of course my good times in my own province in Batangas but most of it are private photos but I have some older post LINK here if you are curious.  Same good old feelings of my childhood.  Same people who love me even if I only see them once a year or two. This makes the occasions more festive, more fun and storing it in my son’s memory bank.  I want him to remember the other half of him… half Filipino and feel the love and unique as he can be.  

 

I wish YOU all a Happy New Year and thank GOD for all the blessings coming your way!

Cheers!

 

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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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Locarno, warmest town in South Switzerland

Finally,  I am writing this late post now from previous travels last July and August as I have been so busy the past few months and so I can only participate in some quick and easy Photo Challenges, see previous post on this LINK and this LINK and so on, if you care to know more then you will make me happy if you all like it.

LOCARNO, is located in South Switzerland under the canton / region of TICINO just like LUGANO (see the LINK 1 & LINK 2 previous post to learn more)…  It is obvious that from the name itself it sounds Italian and yes, they speak Italian on that side of the border.  It is very near Italy as I make way traveling to MILAN as per this MLINK1 & MLINK2 I hope you would like those posts too!

Since we have a very long family vacation so it is a must that we rent a house to cater big families and that means 3 families in one house! Yep, must be a big house indeed.  But unfortunately, in Locarno, it is harder to book in advance for 3 families and we only get good for 2 families.  Just us and the parents in law, cheers! 😉

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View from our veranda

And now without any further ado… here are some beautiful photos we took while there.

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Veranda view while having breakfast, lunch or dinner. Vinneve photo.

You can see another angle of this church at the edge of the rock on my other post thru this LINK.  Feel free to check on it while you are here.  Click the photos to enlarge it.

If you are in Locarno you better visit ASCONA.  It is a small town under Locarno.  Some of you will probably have seen this place if you are fond of watching movies in cinema and thinking like “I wanna go there!” just like me haha!

Look how nice the place is for tourist though I am not sure if the residents will like it since it may be too crowded for them but good for the economy!  A long time ago, my parents-in-law said that people who visit here MUST wear formal clothing for dining or just strolling beside the bay view or browsing some antique and art shops in every alley.  Good thing they have changed it now to accommodate the modern generation as you well know nowadays, some tourist are just happy to stroll around in short shorts etc.  But never fear…I am always ready for that as I know Switzerland can be unpredictable.

I hope you have enjoyed some photos and thanks for your time reading and/ or browsing! Please be with me for the next post (when I have the time) about Zurich as we finished traveling from the South to go to North of Switzerland and around the City of Zurich. You can see most of our travels from the Category: Travel and Leisure OR browse my other categories for older posts.  Come travel with me slowly but surely 🙂  Thanks heaps!  Ciao!

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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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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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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!