Top 5 Tips on preventing motion sickness

If you are cursed with the gift of feeling ill everytime you travel on the road then welcome to my world. However, I have never let this curse stop me from jumping on a bus and exploring. Whether it is through the winding roads of the Atlas mountains in Morocco, the snake path in Manchester or the narrow bends of the Amalfi coast with a steep drop next to me, I soldiered through with very near death/sickness encounters.

Dealing with this for the 24 years I have lived on this beautiful planet has allowed me to find methods that help prevent motion sickness. This is tried and tested guys! Continue reading “Top 5 Tips on preventing motion sickness”

Germany’s prettiest medieval Christmas Market

Everyone’s got their own versions of Christmas. Whether its wearing Christmas jumpers and watching Love actually or heading to church for midnight mass, there are always a few traditions that never get old. Growing up in Singapore, most of my Christmas’s were warm and spent surrounded by my large family on the 25th with a traditional roast turkey and then gambling with cards ( this is not a Singaporean tradition, but our family one). Whilst I loved those gatherings, they didn’t quite compare to the Christmas’s we occasionally had at our Grandparents'(Oma and Opa) in Germany. Being inside a warm house while its cold outside, drinking all types of home-made liquor. Eating my grandmother’s home made Christmas cookies (Weihnachtsgebäck) and listening to her talk about how long she slaved in the kitchen to make these and that if we bought them in stores they would cost 3euros for a small bag and not taste as heavenly. Continue reading “Germany’s prettiest medieval Christmas Market”

The best way to explore the Amalfi Coast

Planning your trip to the Amalfi coast can sometimes be quite stressful, especially because you want to see everything! We had 4 days in Italy and wanted to make the most of it by visiting Pompeii, Amalfi coast and Capri. It was very ambitious, but we actually did it and it all went quite smoothly. Surprisingly, most of the buses and trains we planned to get were all on time, despite the notorious stories we heard about punctuality in Italy.

We decided to base ourselves in Sorrento which lay somewhat between all our “must-sees” and if you want to avoid moving from hotel to hotel with your backpacks, I suggest you do the same thing. Continue reading “The best way to explore the Amalfi Coast”

Ravello, Villa Cimbrone – In the clouds with the Romans

Ever wondered what its like to float in the clouds? I imagine it is quite magical, just like Ravello, tucked on the edge of the cliffs of the Amalfi coast. I just got back from a wonderful break in Italy and when we did our tour around the Amalfi,the clouds were hovering low. Whilst I was hoping for sunny clear skies, the clouds and mist added to the charm of Ravello. This is where I imagine the roman god Jupiter roaming the cobbled streets.

Ravello infinity terrace

Continue reading “Ravello, Villa Cimbrone – In the clouds with the Romans”

Santiago de Compostela

Something about Spain never gets old. Wether its the delicious tapas and sangria ( my favourite tapas being the croquettas and calamares), the unique culture or the frequent appearance of the sun, I always enjoy a trip back to España.

This time, we visited a whole new region – Galicia. Our first stop, the quaint and possibly most picturesque city I have yet seen in Spain, Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia. Santiago’s main attraction is the majestic Cathedral which lies in the heart of the city and houses the shrine of one of Jesus’ apostles, St.James. The Cathedral is also the destination for the Camino de Santiago (The way of St.James), an infamous pilgrimage route.         Continue reading “Santiago de Compostela”

I lost my heart in Heidelberg

Most people think of Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne when they talk about traveling to Germany. However, there is so much more to explore in this underrated European country.

Neckar

This 367 kilometer long river Neckar flows undisturbed through many cities and towns in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg and my favourite place in Germany, Heidelberg, lies along its flowing currents. Maybe the cheesy love story of how my dad met my mom here is the reason why I find this town one of the most romantic and characterized. However, the cobbled streets and traditional buildings accompanied by the greenery of the Odenwald (Oden forest), along with the ruined Castle that stands looking onto the river, is reason enough to fall in love with Heidelberg. Even songs have been written about losing your heart in Heidelberg and that it beats by the river bed. Continue reading “I lost my heart in Heidelberg”

The journey to the Sahara – Ait Ben Haddou and Todgha Gorge

Its been nearly two months since I returned from Morocco and I cannot emphasize how pleasantly surprised I was at what this beautiful country had to offer.

My main reason for the trip was to visit the Sahara desert, however, our journey to this magical place from Marakkech was just as exciting. Tiring, but bloody exciting! When your in Marakkech there are so many tours that offer to take you to the Sahara ( usually marked as a 3 day 2 night trip to merzouga). There are also tours to Zagora, a smaller  desert with far less majestic sand dunes. So if you want to experience the desert in its full force, book the trip to Merzouga. The journey is bumpier and longer but the size of the dunes make up for it.

The tours are cheaper if you book them directly with the tour company (forget booking it online as it costs twice the price). It costs around 90euros but you can get it down to 60-70euros if you persist!

Atlas Mountains

Another thing to be aware of – the journey is not short, so be prepared to be in a van for hours driving through the winding roads into the Atlas mountains with drops of a few hundred feet. Not everyone’s idea of a pleasant journey but you get some amazing views that make up for it, if you dare to open your eyes.

There are two main attractions you see en-route to the Sahara. The first one, on day 1, is Morocco’s very own Hollywood attraction– Ait Ben Haddou

Ait Ben Haddou The Ksar (a group of modest homes made out of the combination of straw, mud and stones) of Ait Ben Haddou is a popular stop along the way to the Sahara, and rightly so. This old village in the Ourzazate province showcases the architecture of southern Morocco and has also been named a UNESCO Heritage site since 1987.

ait ben haddou IMG_9472

Whilst there use to be around 80 berber families living in this compound, only 4 families remain at present whilst the rest have been moved to more modern buildings across the river bed.

ait ben haddou

Inside the protective walls of Ait Ben Haddou you will stumble into an intricate maze of narrow alleys around the Kasbahs( the more majestic fortresses where locals leaders would live) and Ksar’s. Unfortunately you can only enter the gates of Ait Ben Haddou with a local guide ( the required tip is 20dh per person which is nothing), so getting lost in this charming village was not an option.

Although the colours of the street and walls are of a constant red-brown, my eyes never grew tired or bored. Something so simple left more of an imprint on my mind than the houses of parliament and the Big Ben. I felt like princess Jasmine waiting for her magic carpet to arrive at her feet, ready to see the rest of this alluring country.

I am not the only one who was taken away by this fascinating architecture, many film producers have used this old village and the barren, tranquil landscape that surrounds it as the set of famous films such as The Mummy, Gladiator and the Prince of Persia, just to name a few.

ait ben haddouait ben haddou

After a night in a not so amazing hotel in the Dades region, we made our way to see the next of Morocco’s underestimated natural formation –  The Todgha Gorge.

Todgha Gorge

This canyon is not just a sight for the eyes, but also an attraction for professional rock climbers. These majestic walls were carved by the Todgha and Dades rivers. The clear fresh water stream that runs through the gorge works as a gathering spot for the locals to wash their clothes and cool their hard working donkeys.

Todgha Gorge

The beauty of Morocco lies not just in the vast, majestic landscape but in their people. I always find that the poorest countries are homes to the happiest of people. The Berber people, the indigenous North Africans, are surrounded by so much culture and belief. Many of them call themselves “Amazigh” – the free and noble people and there are 6 major different dialects, with different berber families speaking different dialects.

Berber music is a large piece of their culture with rhythmic drum beats that left my feet tapping while we were being driven in our van, hearts beating with excitement for the next and final stop – The Sahara

I never thought for a second that I would arrive in Morocco and keep all my possessions with me but have my heart stolen and that is exactly what happened.

I will be back!

Hells Mouth – Surfer’s paradise, Sailors worst nightmare

I spent last weekend getting down and dirty with nature, camping in Wales. I have never been to Wales before and I did not have any expectations however, I learnt that the UK has so much to offer and you don’t have to get on a plane to see clear blue water while sitting on soft sand.

However, you probably do have to get on a plane if you want guaranteed scorching heat. That is something this Island cannot promise. We camped in a lovely, clean camping site (http://www.tyn-y-mur.co.uk/) on a hill overlooking Abersoch, a small town also known as Cheshire by the sea due to the many affluent visitors that flock here during the holidays.

The campsite wasn’t just close to the town centre, it also boasted a great view of the undulating landscape with hints of the blue irish sea.

Camping Wales

We had a lot of luck with the sun making its appearance all weekend. The wind, however, caused quite a bit of havoc while setting the tent up. One of our camp neighbours lost their tents to the wind, it literally got blown away. R.I.P

Wales Camping

My favourite part of the weekend was visiting Hells Mouth, known by the locals as Porth Neigwl. This 4 mile long stretch of stoney beach is exposed to the Atlantic and is home to waves which attract surfers from all over the world. There are many tragic fishermen’s tales of Hells Mouth and many ships which have been unfortunate enough to end up in this bay, never made it out.

Hells mouthHells Mouth

Apart from the mysterious bay of Hell’s Mouth, there are a few other things to do in and around Abersoch:

1. Have breakfast or dinner/drinks at Zinc in Abersoch’s town centre. This bar/restaurant has an open terrace that looks out to the dock and is always busy with locals and tourists.

zinc bar abersoch

2. Drive to Whistling Sands – listen to the sand whistle to the beat of your footsteps. This beach on the northern peninsula is popular for its pure, golden sand and clear waters. If it’s your lucky day, you’ll even get to see seals or dolphins. However, sadly it wasn’t my lucky day.

whistling sands

Whistling sands

3. Find the hidden beach of Abersoch and enjoy the privacy: When the tide is low you can venture further down Abersoch beach and follow the rigid bend along the cliff on the right. Behind this cliff is where you find this less-known beach with small, untouched caves. Just be aware that you head back before the tide comes back in or you’ll be featuring in your own Cast Away film.

abersoch caves

4. Climb the steep steps to the Tin Man in Llanbedrog. Beware: the walk is not for the faint at heart and the view of the coast is more impressive than the sculpture.

IMG_9361

Llanbedrog

Diolch (thank you) Wales for the beautiful views and intriguing language

XOXO

Hells MouthAbersoch

Breakfast for the soul – Top 5 ways to start your day in Southeast Asia

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and while I love a full english, it just does not compare to the more greasy, flavoursome breakfast options in Southeast Asia. You think Curry and rice are just for lunch or dinner? Think again. These are a few of my all time favourite dishes to start the day with, and many variations of these dishes can be found across Asia.

Rava ThosaiRava ThosaiRava Dosa

This wholesome meal originates from South India but is also very popular in Sri lanka, Malaysia and Singapore. Rava means semolina, which is one of the main ingredients to this vegetarian dish. Think of this as a version of savoury crepe, just with so much more flavour, as all things in Asia. The dosa is usually accompanied by a mildly spicy vegetable curry and coconut chutney.

Chee Cheong FunChee Cheong fun

This is one of the meals I tend to crave every once in awhile. It is a rice noodle roll, fun meaning rice. It originates from southern China and can also be found in Hongkong, Singapore and Malaysia. “Chee cheong” means pig intestine, however, fear not! The meal contains no intestine of any sort, it just happens to look like one.

Other variations include a piece of pork or shrimp rolled up in the rice noodle. However, Chee cheong fun has no fillings. The timzheong sauce brings the main flavour to this dish, just thinking about it makes me hungry. There is a savoury and sweet version, the one you see below is sweet, covered in the sweet black sauce (similar to hoisin sauce), accompanied by a cold glass of fresh sugar cane juice – bliss.

ApamAppam

This is one of my all time favourites and a known must have at my Grandma´s when I visit. This is a popular Sri Lankan cuisine which can also be found across Singapore (especially in little India or Changi Airport). Appam, also known as hoppers is a, is a crispy pancake with a soft and fluffy centre made of fermented rice.

Whilst, the  “hopper” can be eaten either savoury or sweet, the version I grew up on was sweet, topped of with a lot of coconut milk and sugar while being fried on the specialized pan. The rice centre soaked up the coconut milk, leaving it moist and creamy. What you usually find in shops or street stalls is the plain Appam as seen below served with a bowl of coconut milk and gula melaka ( coconut palm sugar) separately. The difference to these two variations is in the texture of the soft centre.

I can easily have 4 of these for breakfast, however, my heart tends not to agree with this calorific sin. But it is definitely something you have to try!

Tao hueySoya Bean Curd Pudding

This mildly sweet pudding is made of soya bean and is eaten either for breakfast or as a snack. It’s creamy taste and silky texture is the reason this warm pudding is so popular in Singapore and Malaysia, where it is served with a clear syrup and also known as Tau Huay. Other variations of this can be found across Southeast Asia and China with toppings such as peanut and ginger.

Tao Suan Tao Suan

Although Tao Suan is typically a dessert, I justify it as a breakfast dish. This is a green bean starchy sweet soup served with Youtiao (similar to a light fried dumpling). According to the Chinese, this soup helps with indigestion and cools the body. According to me, it soothes the soul. You can find this in most food courts in Singapore by the dessert section.

Now do you still want that english breakfast?

Sleeping Under The Sahara Desert Night Sky

Sahara Desert
I just got back from a magical week in beautiful Morocco, this country has so much more to offer than I expected. My highlight was our trip to the Sahara desert, although it was a long journey to the Sahara, it was all worth it.
I can finally tick it of my bucket list.
When we arrived in Merzouga, on the far south-eastern part of Morocco, near the Algerian border, the first step was to prepare for the hour and half long camel ride through the impressive sand dunes of Erg Chebbi (a dune field of the Sahara).
Sahara desert
I was told that camel riding isn’t glamorous but no one prepared me for the massive thigh and butt aches that were to follow. I was already dreading the ride back in the morning.
Sahara desert
However, it was hard to stay concentrated on the uncomfortable ride when I was greeted by the perfectly formed dunes with a painted rainbow across the sky.
It was such a peaceful place, stillness all around, except for the occasional camel farts.
After a long, butt aching journey, we made it to our campsite, at the foot of one of the bigger, majestic dunes.
Camping in Sahara
I needed to move my stiff legs, so we attempted to climb the dune ( the picture does not do it justice, believe me it was tough and steep).
Erg Chebbi
Lets just say I made it half way, with my heart beating out of my chest. But it was the perfect spot to take in the panoramic view.
Breathtaking.
 Sahara desert
We were suppose to stay inside the set up tents, however, after a long strategic discussion we came to the conclusion that the chances of getting a good night kiss from a scarab beetle (think Mummy returns) was far higher inside the tent than in the wild since the tent was a bigger attraction to Sahara’s locals. So we decided to move our mattresses out into the open, best decision I made.
Although paranoia first took over, every movement was a snake in my imagination, we actually had no visitors crawling up our legs or into our hair all night. Instead, I had the gentle wind on my face, occasionally bringing sand along with it, welcoming me to the Sahara.
But my favourite part of all was the shimmering night sky. I have never seen such a glow, and we were lucky to see two shooting stars as well. It was the kind of beauty you just cannot capture on camera, literally, I did try. But take my word, it made my heart smile.
 camel riding morocco
After our “sleep”, we got woken up at 4am to start our return back to Merzouga on the camel. This was hard, both me and my camel were not impressed at the early start.
But hey, I saw the most dramatic, spectacular sun rise. Now look at that!
 sunrise sahara
 sunrise sahara
In the words of Tom Hanks;

“The desert, when the sun comes up…I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the Earth began.”