Wandering About: Osaka 2015

wandering about

Today was time to head to Osaka! Osaka is crazy!!!! Beautiful and crazy! We went just for the day, mostly to just look around – time was of the essence here. We ended up just going to Osaka Castle and Dōtonbori, so I’ll just dump a few pics here 😉 .

I loved it!!! And I bought a couple of weirdly great things… and I saw a lot a lot of manga.

Tomorrow we’ll stay in Kyoto half the day and then we’ll make our way to Tokyo. I want to see a shrine in the morning and take a walk around the city 🙂 .

Wandering About: Kyoto 2015

wandering about

I’m in Japan!!! Wow, yesterday was crazy!!! we traveled from Seoul to Tokyo and then we got on the train to central Tokyo, so we could then catch a train to Kyoto. Everything would have gone smoothly it it wasn’t for the heavy luggage we were lagging with us. But it all worked out quite well, and we arrived at Kyoto around 10 p.m.. Needless to say that we were totally beat!

Today we had an early morning, and at 7 a.m. we were already waiting for the breakfast to open. Speaking of which, wow, amazing! Starting the day with Miso Soup and beef stew was something that I didn’t even consider until today.

We had a day tour booked, so it started with a trip to Nijō Castle. The tours are controlled to the minute… This castle is amazing, the interior panels are so gorgeous, unfortunately, we couldn’t take pictures on the inside.

Then, Kinkaku-ji, officially named Rokuon-ji, which is a Zen Buddhist temple, and home to the Golden Pavilion. This is so gorgeous.

Before lunch, we went to the Kyoto Imperial Palace, but no photos allowed 😉 .

And then we ate, and oh my… it was so freaking amazing! I don’t even know exactly what it was, but it was divine.

IMG_20151016_185343

Temples were in the afternoon route. Heian Jingu Shrine, a Shinto Shrine; Sanjūsangen-dō is a Buddhist temple,known as “Rengeō-in” or Hall of the Lotus King; and Kiyomizu-dera, officially Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera, an independent Buddhist temple.

This was my first day, tomorrow we’ll be heading to Osaka for the day 🙂 and I can’t wait.

Wandering About: Seoul 2015!

wandering about

HELLLOOOO!!!! From Seoul! Yes, I’m still in Seoul, though not for much longer – I’m leaving tomorrow to Kyoto, Japan. But I though that while I’m here, and I had a couple of hours (or I made sure I had them), that I would share with you some pictures and some thoughts about my trip.

On my first day out on town with friends, we wandered to the TrickEye Museum in Seoul, then to the Ice Museum – it was freaking cold – and to the Hello Kitty Cafe!

The TrickEye Museum… so damn fun!

I love the city. I wasn’t really expecting anything, but Seoul surprised me. The city is gorgeous, clean, super organized and the people are super super nice and so polite! The only small problem we had was that most people do not understand a word of English, so getting a cab or getting lunch was always a huge endeavor.

Let’s talk about the food people… I have such mixed feelings about it! My first experience was a bit weird, I had a business dinner with my mom and her group, and I ended up sitting in front of 3 of the hosts, and the dinner had like 30 different dishes, and they kept putting food on my plate that I couldn’t NOT EAT! So I ate it all, and while some stuff was good, other was OK, and eating Jellyfish was not ever in my life plan. But I did. And a lot of other stuff that I can’t even tell you what it was. In the end, I came to a huge conclusion: Korean food is super spicy and Soju is very ok.

But after that, I managed very well with all the Korean food, though Kimchi is still very hot for my taste. Other than the main dishes, I’m a bit in love with everything green tea related, especially green tea ice latte. And the cakes and desserts… Oh My God!!! Rice cakes with fruit? Ohhhh, heaven!

Insadong @Seoul

Gangnam @Seoul

On to some cultural stuff…

Gyeongbokgung Palace @Seoul

Cheonggyecheon Stream @Seoul

N Seoul Tower (Namsan Tower) @Seoul

And finally, some random photos of me and Seoul by night.

Oh my… so many photos! I hope you enjoy 😉 , next post will be from Japan!

Wandering About: Philippines 2009

Hello again! Wow, it has been a while since I’ve done one of these. This time, I decided to leave Europe for a while, I showed you pictures of my 2006 trips to Paris and Germany, now let’s go to the Philippines in 2009.

philippines2009

In the summer of 2009 I had just finished the practical part of my masters degree and realized that I wouldn’t be able to write it up until the following September, so while I took a year off to write and present my thesis, my older brother arranged an internship for me at his clinical analysis laboratory, doing general stuff  just to keep moving…

My mom, on her hand, had a work-related trip to the Philippines in October and had invited my older sister to go along with her (given that I go most of the times, and it was only fair that she got to go that time…). My sis was super happy, ecstatic even, until around one week before when she informed my mom that she wouldn’t be going. Now, my mom had everything paid for her, the trips, hotels, everything, so she sent me a text (at my first day of my non-paid internship) that said something like this: “Would you want to go to Manilla with me next week?”…

HELL YES! Right? Everyone at work was super cool with it, super cool, really!!! And a week later I was on my 3 stop flights to Manila with my mom’s business partner – Oh, how I wished I had gone alone… The journey was something like this: Lisbon – Madrid – Bangkok – Manila! It was so worth it!

We spent a few days in Manila, but I have to be honest, I saw little to nothing of the city. I got to the hotel – the Sofitel Hotel in Manila is, by the way, the best hotel I’ve stayed in in my whole life – bright and early in the morning, but my mom would only arrive late at night (because she was coming directly from Angola, Africa). So I checked into our room (suite, actually, because they had made her an upgrade), showered in one of our 2 bathrooms, received complementary food that I hadn’t asked for, and waited until midnight for my mother to arrive… without her suitcase!

From Manila I only saw the hotel, the shopping mall – my mom needed to buy stuff, she had no suitcase – and the house of her contact there… yep, I saw nothing more. And if you think that those pictures look a little dark, let me tell you, 2009 was bad year there, a lot of hurricanes… really bad weather… But the plan was never Manila! Actually, we were about to spend a week in paradise, and by that I mean Boracay!

The island is pretty small, the boats don’t even dock (see those pics where guys are carrying people?! Yes, that’s how we were supposed to get out of the boats, and how they transport our luggage) – I said screw it and jumped into the water, because I wasn’t about to let two man carry me anywhere…

I loved Boracay, it’s amazingly beautiful. We did nothing all day except lying on the beach, drinking watermelon juices and sleeping… The streets aren’t even wide enough for two cars to go by, so the tuc-tucs are the main form of transportation. We could go from our hotel to the shopping area by foot through the beach. We had dinner always at the same 3 places owned by the same person. It was heaven. Whenever I think of Paradise, this is it!