Lisbon, That Mysterious Girl in Class

At first I hated her.  Her dimples were lopsided on one cheek to another, she had a capricious mood where she would shed quiet tears from time to time and then be happy again, she was an inch taller than me, and her eyes were grey.

But the more you become familiar with her, the more you start to find her romantic and magical.

Her imperfections make her seem raw and wanting to be loved, a vulnerability.  She’s mysterious, and wants somebody to explore her, somebody who loves her more and more because that somebody finds her edges and imperfections so… perfect.

And the more you spend time with her, the more she opens up to you.  She uncovers what you always loved – food, restaurants, energy, atmosphere, gorgeous skies, nightlife, districts, exotic languages, and her elegant body.

Her name was Lisbon, or Lisboa for what her friends called her.  She offered everything, from lust to everlasting. Continue reading Lisbon, That Mysterious Girl in Class

An “Importoant” Place called Porto

My final stop for my recent Europe trip was in Porto, a somewhat heavenly location in Portugal.  Located about a little more than 3 hours north of Lisbon, Porto was evidently colder and coincidentally greyer during the weekend I was there.  That said, one of my favorite areas of the entire trip was Bairro da Ribeiro and Cais da Ribeira.  Bars and restaurants line adjacent with one another, all of them overlooking the magnificent Douro River that looks as if it’s been sleeping for a thousand years.  I remember just sitting at Cafe do Cais and lazily observing the sunset, and thinking to myself what a surreal and delightful place this Porto was.

Continue reading An “Importoant” Place called Porto

The Matadors in Seville

When you think of the culture of Spain, one might imagine passion, royalty, and excitement.  Seville embodies these traits perfectly, and its passionate heat was felt throughout my time there; it was hot enough to wear t-shirts during the day whereas in Barcelona it was already cold.

Seville

Seville is notable for its bullfighting events and its flamenco dancing.  I was unable to witness either of them, although I did watch some flamenco dancing that was on the streets.

In a way, Seville reminded me of Nice (you can read my blog about Cote d’Azur here), where everything was spacious, a tram ran through the city center, it was the whole vibe and atmosphere that was very similar… I guess both cities being part of the Southern part of their respective countries lends itself to create such an atmosphere.

Continue reading The Matadors in Seville

Nonstop Eating in Taipei

You know you’re really getting a sense and vibe of a city once you start exploring the outer parts of the city.  For example, in Tokyo the first few times I would stick around the areas of Shibuya, Shinjuku, Roppongi… you know, all the main districts you have to first go as a tourist in Tokyo.  Then once you’ve been there multiple times, you will want to start to explore other less popular areas.  This usually happens with me around the 4th to 5th time I visit a city.  Taipei was no exception – this time, besides just being around Taipei 101, I managed to go to Jiufen Old Street, Keelung, Tamsui, and Houtong Cat Village.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this in my previous blog posts, probably did, but I tend to be attracted to places closer to the seaside.  That’s why some of my top favourite cities in the world that I’ve been to include Barcelona, Cape Town, Gold Coast, pretty much everywhere in Japan, the French Riviera etc.  That’s why I would say that I actually enjoyed going to places like Keelung and Tamsui, where I was treated to beautiful, stunning sunsets that left an indelible memory for me (I realised how much of a sucker I am for sunsets, especially the sunsets that morphs the skies from your typical sky blue to delicious colors like pink, purple, gold that occur on a sporadical basis).

For this blog post, I will start off by naming the things I did in Taipei and breaking down by the usual sections – accommodations, foods, things to do, nightlife etc. then I will do each section by each area that I covered.  I will share what I did, my opinions, fun anecdotes etc.

Edit: After writing this post, I realised just covering the main part of Taipei itself was way too long, so the upcoming/next post will focus on the outer skirts of Taipei like Keelung, Tamsui, Jiufen, Houtong, and Ruifang district.  It’s out!  Read more at Outskirts of Taipei.

Continue reading Nonstop Eating in Taipei

Portland, the Quirky City of Roses

Tattoos, nose rings, murals, trees, food carts.  These are all characteristics that make Portland so quirky and fun at the same time.

I knew nothing about Portland before arriving here, except the fact that this was where Nike was born.  From my blog post in Athens, we learn that the name Nike belongs to the Greek goddess, the goddess of Victory.

Prior to travelling here, I researched more about this city – about what to do, what to eat, where things are located, and more.  One key interesting fact is that Portland is one of the more ‘active’ cities in United States – currently for those who commute, the current percentage of people who bicycle to work is 7%.  The state’s target is to aim as high as 21%, and that means making infrastructure so that it becomes more cyclists’ friendly.  A second fact is that it tends to rain a lot… lucky for me though, I experienced only an afternoon of light rain and that was it. Continue reading Portland, the Quirky City of Roses

Okinawa aka All You Can Eat Agu Pork

Just like you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge a travel destination by its pictures.  I’ve been to places where the photos are prettier than the location, but Okinawa is the opposite – just when you think the island is just about the beaches and the sea (like Kenting), Okinawa provides a lot more than water activities and tanning.

Even though American military (navy) is based on this island, don’t think that you can speak English anywhere.  In fact, treat it as if you were at anywhere else in Japan – they couldn’t speak English most of the time!  Body and hand signals are vital if you don’t know how to speak Japanese! Continue reading Okinawa aka All You Can Eat Agu Pork

Cote D’Azur with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Yachts, and Bastille Attack

You see all these pictures of the French Riviera and think this area cannot be that nice right?  Right?  When I arrived in Nice, it was everything I expected and more.

I was based mainly in Nice for the week I was at Cote D’Azur… Nice is ideal if you’re traveling to places like Monaco, Antibes, Eze, and Saint Tropez.  Actually, I would recommend staying one night at Saint Tropez as there is no public transportation to go there (well very inconvenient), so usually people either take the boat or drive there themselves.  Besides Saint Tropez (spent a night there), all of my other trips were day trips.  I didn’t go to Marseille, but from what I’ve looked at you will probably need more than a day there plus it is a bit farther.  However, you can definitely go there by public transportation, ideally the SNCF train. Continue reading Cote D’Azur with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Yachts, and Bastille Attack

Shop, Shop, Shop in Paris

My trip to France was split into two parts – one was a few days in Paris at the beginning and one day at the end, and in the middle was my trip to Cote d’Azur.  If you’ve seen my older posts before, you will know that I’ve been to Paris once… although it was just for a two day weekend trying to cramp all the tourist attractions possible.  So if you’re looking for more info on Eiffel Tower, Sacred Coeur, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, the love lock bridge etc., I suggest you read my post C’est Paris!.  The purpose of my visit for Paris this time around is to act a little less touristy. Continue reading Shop, Shop, Shop in Paris

Luxurious Airbnb Places Around The World

Got a bit of dough to throw around?  Want to impress your girlfriend/boyfriend?  Want some motivation in your life?  Look no further.  I’ve provided ten accommodations from Airbnb from around the world that will guarantee to make your wallet thinner.  I selected these accommodations based on pricing, uniqueness, and feel… some of the accommodations I saw, as expensive as they were, didn’t seem very “luxurious” and felt too “homey” for me.  I set out to find accommodations that define luxury. Continue reading Luxurious Airbnb Places Around The World

A Stranger In Kyoto

Kyoto is a mixture of both culture and urbanisation.  It retains history while integrating beauty and city elements within it.  It has everything that makes it the perfect place to visit in the world – amazing food, rich culture, cleanliness, friendliness, serenity, hustle, and more.  If there’s one thing that it’s lacking, it’s an airport.

Aside from that, I am thoroughly impressed by Kyoto.  I find myself immersed in everything about it.  It’s romantic, it’s leisure, it’s dreamy.  No wonder why Lonely Planet has it ranked #2 in Best in Travel 2016.

It is a big regret that I spent only 4 short days in Kyoto… I felt a great belonging there.  Kyoto is one of those places where it’s yearning to be explored.  Being Japan’s old capital before, the city contains hundreds of temples. Continue reading A Stranger In Kyoto