Thursday, 31 May 2012

Travelogue: Trip to Greece - Exploring Athens Part 1

Greece is an amazing place to visit, whether if you are a history buff, you will be spoilt for choice here with the vast length of history that Greece was part of. It is the birthplace of Western civilisation. Perhaps no nation in Europe can boast of a more ancient history than Greece. Greece's antiquity dates back to 3000 BC when the powerful Cycladic, Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations flourished here. The evolution of powerful city-states, especially Athens and Sparta, between 800 and 500BC produced the classical age of Athens which was the high point of the Grecian civilization.

The Acropolis 

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Travelogue: Trip to the East Coast USA for Fall Foliage - Quechee Gorge in Vermont

Day 4 in Vermont started with us driving towards Quechee Gorge near Hartford. The falls is known as "Vermont's Little Grand Canyon. After visiting the falls, you can always check out the quaint little town of Hartford.

Quechee Gorge 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Travelogue: Trip to Siem Reap - Day 1

Last year for our 10th Wedding Anniversary, we planned quite a few celebratory trips since we love travelling. Rather than spending it on gifts and such, we decided to go for a few trips during the year. So in the end we went to Italy, Siem Reap, Greece and East Coast of USA. Quite a bit of travelling around the world. I was a happy happy bunny :)

Angkok Wat is one of those places I have on my must visit list. It took quite a bit of convincing on my part to get the husband to go with me to Siem Reap. He doesn't really like visiting what you call the Third World countries. He is more at home in developed countries and also remember that he only thrives in temperate countries due to his narrow zone of temperature range where he will not melt. When I finally managed to get him to agree to go to Siem Reap, I immediately went ahead to book our tickets during the week of our Anniversary.

Angkor Wat 

Friday, 25 May 2012

Exploring Singapore for dog-friendly places: Pet Movers at Pasir Ris Farmway

When we first moved to Singapore, we weren't sure where to bring the dogs for a run. I have heard of Pet Movers, as they were one of those Pet moving company we came across when we were moving the dogs from Hong Kong to Singapore. Anyway, we knew they have a pet shop, even a wading pool (only open at the weekends) and a little dog run. Since we were at that time, living in the North, we thought a trip with the dogs there would be fun.

Pet Movers is located at 4 Pasir Ris Farmway 2. These are their opening hours: Pet Shop & Office: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Weekdays) 9.30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Weekend/Public Holidays) Pet Megamart, Dog Run & Dog Wading Pool: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Weekdays) 9.30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Weekend/Public Holiday ).

There are plenty of parking there, but the annoying thing is at their office, they do live animals sales. The moment you get out of your car, you are overcome by strong smells of stale urine. Luckily by the time you walked to the dog run area, the smell is reduced. The run is sufficient. There is even some agility equipment located at the far end of the run. There is a covered walkway but no sitting area. Walking to the end of the walkway, you will find the gate leading out to the pet mega mart, a sitting area, washing up area and the wading pool which is only opened on weekends and can get rather crowded on the weekends since it is free to use. Not sure how clean the water is since we have never brought the dogs to swim there, so I cannot comment on it. The pet shop has a good range of products and if you are a member of pet movers, you get some sort of discount too.

Here are some photos of the doggies at the run. Maybe you can bring your dogs there for a look.

The hubby with the doggies

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Travelogue: Trip to Italy Part 2a - Pompeii & Herculaneum - Herculaneum the other Pompeii

Sorrento is a town that features beautiful architecture and beautiful landscape. Another great thing about Sorrento is one can use it as a base to visit the other surrounding attractions. As it is on the Circumvesuviana rail system it is easily reached from Naples and an ideal base for visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum. Ferries regularly commute between Sorrento for Capri, making Sorrento an ideal base for exploring that island as well.

So the next day, we took the rail to see the famous Pompeii, not to be mistaken for the modern Italian of Pompei. Pompeii,  UNESCO World Heritage Site, was destroyed and buried under ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Pompeii remained preserved and undiscovered till 1749 after being lost for nearly 1700 years. Since then, Pompeii, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy, has fascinated 2.5 million visitors every year. This time capsule provides amazing details and insight into life in the city back in AD 79, is a must visit if you are in the area.

Warning: Photo heavy post


Monday, 21 May 2012

Travelogue: Trip to Greece - Overview

Our trip to Greece was a last minute decision as I spotted an irrefusable bargain on Qatar Airways. This trip was squeezed in between on the other trips we planned last year for our 10th Wedding Anniversay Year. We went to Siem Reap in early May, a week later I went to Tokyo when the husband went on his business trip, followed by the trip to Greece in late May. Not forgetting we went to Italy for a 2 week trip in late feb/early march. I was a happy bunny with all those travelling :)

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Travelogue: Trip to Prague, Czech Republic - Part 2

We started our second day in Prague visiting the Prague Castle. Be warned that this will be a photo heavy blog post.

Prague Castle

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Mother's Day Lunch at Seafood International Buffet

Interesting factoid: Do you know that in the UK, Mother's day is celebrated on a different day than in Singapore? I only realised during my first year there, when a friend exclaimed she has forgotten to get something for her mother. So I hastily rang my mum up on the particular sunday in March, and my mum went - Huh? Mother's day not till May. Oops, my bad, bye mum. Did you also know that different countries celebrate Mother's day on different days as in the UK. The second sunday of the month is the most popular amongst countries. Some of them are Singapore for one, Canada and USA to name a few. Norway celebrates Mother's day on the 2nd sunday in February while UK and Ireland celebrates on the 4th sunday in Lent. What is Lent? Lent is a Christian Festival. In the past it was a long, strict religious fast when people gave up all rich food. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and lasts for six and a half weeks and is moveable which means every year, the date for Mother's day is different. It tends to fall around February or March. In 2011, it was on the 9th of March and in 2012, it fell on the 22nd of February.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Travelogue: Trip to Perth Part 2 - Whale Watching in Augusta

Imagine being within feet of some of the most graceful, rare mammals in the world. We had the chance to do some whale watching while we were in Perth. From early June to September you can see humpback and southern right whales cavorting in Flinders Bay Augusta as they head for warm waters to mate and breed. Augusta is 320km south of Perth, and takes under 4 hours drive. The drive is scenic as you pass through Margaret River. We were based in Bunbury which is midway to Augusta from Perth.

The company we went with was called Naturaliste Charter. The whale watching trip runs every June to September, departing from Whale Memorial, Davies Road in Augusta at 10:00 am daily. The cost is $80 for adult and $50 for children ages 4 to 17 years old. They use a 55 ft purpose built whale watching vessel. A word of warning: it can get quite bumpy out in the water. I took some ginger pills, followed by Phenergen for motion sickness and was still got seasick and was throwing up almost 3/4 of the time we were out on the water.

Credit: Naturaliste Charters

Monday, 14 May 2012

Doggies outing to Botanical Gardens on Mother's Day

My cousin recently got a little miniature Poodle puppy from a pet shop as he has been there for more than 5 mths and nobody wanted him. I am against buying pets from pet shops especially when you do not know the specifics of where the pet comes from. It may be a product of a puppy mill :( etc. The last thing you want is to support a trade that makes money from the suffering of animals. Anyway I am not here to judge, but doing a favour for my cousin. It was an impromptu purchase and she was going away for a holiday. She already has another poodle who will be looked after at home by my cousin brother, while Koro, the new pup will come and stay with us along with Quinton & Reegan.

Koro, the miniature Poodle Puppy

Friday, 11 May 2012

Travelogue: Trip to Italy Part 1 - Sorrento

Our 2 week Italy holiday started with us flying into Rome. We had bought Italy rail passes for the both of us. We went with the Italy Flexi pass for 2 First class saver adults for 7 days which cost us 460 Euros. For their intercity trains, you always have to make a seat reservation prior to your trip which is free of charge. You can find machines in any major train stations and do it from there.

Warning: Photo heavy post

Coastline in Sorrento

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Travelogue: Trip to the East Coast USA for Fall Foliage - Day 3 in Vermont

We started Day 3 of our East Coast Road trip leaving our overnight stop at North Conway and headed towards the White Mountain National Park. Originally, we had wanted to hear to Mount Washington and Crawford Notch National Park. However, earlier in the month, the area was hit by Hurricane Irene which resulted in storm damage. Thus some roads were closed, and we ended up going to the White Mountain Area heading towards Vermont. The autumn foliage scenery along the way was spectacular. The colours of the trees ranged from light yellow to deep orange. Truly breathtaking.

On the road in White Mountains National Park

Monday, 7 May 2012

Travelogue: Dogsledding in Tromso, Norway

We had five days in Tromso, one of which we went to the Polar Zoo. Check out the blog entry. And another day, we went to do dog sledding. It is a great winter activity that you cannot miss when you are in a winter wonderland. Despite the high costs, it would be a wasted trip if we didn't go on it. 

Dog Sledding

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Eating out: Our wedding anniversary lunch out at Laurent Bernard's at Portsdown Road

It was our 11th Wedding Anniversary weekend. After watching the Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo on saturday, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice lunch out. The hubby being French, of course missed French food. After reading on some of the popular food blogs, Laurent Bernard at Portsdown have a good french menu, so we went down today for lunch. Check out of the photos of the place from their restaurant's blog.

Lovely ambience at the restaurant. Source: Laurent Bernard

Travelogue: Trip to Italy - An Overview

Last year, the husband and I decided to take a 2 week long trip to Italy. The last time we were in Italy, was in Venice back in 2007. It was also the first country we took a trip to as a couple, so it was definitely time to return to country famous for their food, wine, great art, Gelato, culture and history, the list is endless.

We have been to Italy a few times before. First was when we rented a lovely villa in Tuscany for a week and drove around to explore the area. The next was a short weekend trip to Venice. We thought this trip, we would explore more in depth. We selected all the places that Italy is famous for and then checked if we could fit them all in 2 weeks.

Images of Italy

Friday, 4 May 2012

Travelogue: Off the beaten track in Tokyo - Mount Takao

Tokyo - a city of neon lights, endless metropolis and packed with citygoers. After your fifth visit, maybe you are tired of the bright city lights and grey concrete, you will be surprised to find that once you venture outside the well-trodden paths of the city center, you will find loads of natural scenery and beauty that Japan has to offer. Most importantly, you do not need to travel too far. That was what the hubby and I did on our one of our visits to Tokyo. We wanted to go off the beaten path and check out somewhere new that we had not been to. 

The place we checked out is Mount Takao 高尾山. It is a mountain located within metropolitan Tokyo, in city of Hachiōji. Therefore it is within easy reach of Tokyo using the Chuo line from either Tokyo or Shinjuku station. It takes only 50 minutes to reach to Takao station before changing to Keio line to Takaosanguchi, the closest station to Mount Takao.


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

My Cats - Part 2: Yuki

Since Tom arrived into our family, we  enjoyed all of our time with him. He is very affectionate and you cannot tell that from his look as he looks like a proper tough Tom cat living on the rough streets of Glasgow and he has the scars to prove that. He loves nothing much then sleep next to you at night and purr super loud. We were living happily together for a year when I took him to the vets for his annual booster shots and that was when the vet asked if I was interested to see some kittens he had from one of his clients. Would I want to see some kittens??? Of course :p. How could anyone turned that proposal down? Lo and behold I came face to face with 3 beautiful kittens, 2 were white and one was a tabby. Then came the one million dollar question, would you like to have one? I said yes so fast you would have thought that someone had given me a million pounds. Anyway, the vet went on to say that another client had been given dips to which kitten she wanted (by the way, she wanted two), so which ever kitten was left, that one would be mine. I was too happy to have a kitten so I was not fussy, no one would say no to a kitten.

A week later, I was asked to return to the vet's to pick the kitten up. There she was, a pretty little white thing. She was so skinny, scared and super adorable. The amazing thing was when I got home, Tom totally embraced and took in this skinny little kitten as his own. He was like a daddy to her, sometimes pinning her down to groom her. They got along like house on fire. I named her 'Yuki' which is Japanese for snow, since it was obvious she is as white as snow :).  Everyone who meets her only asked if she is blind and/or deaf. Apparently a lot of white kittens are, but luck has it, she is neither. If you noticed from the photos, she has a little black tuft of fur on her head which disappeared as she grew older. Only cute thing is when you take a picture of her with flash, you will see that she has bi-coloured eyes - one red and one green :). You can read more about bi-coloured eye cats or odd-eyed cats here.

Beautiful Yuki