Day-trip to Berlin

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When the weather turns bad, what can you do? Stay at home or escape. We chose the later and drove to Berlin for a short escape. The weather was beautiful, the city full of people, and the food in our beloved Japanese noodle-bar excellent again! Every visit reveals some surprising findings:

 

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Austria

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After the stop-over in the “Franken”-Land (Germany), we’ve been heading down the road towards the Salzburger Land in Austria and visited – of course – Salzburg to take a look at Mozart’s birthplace and the astonishing, old town center (World Heritage).

We concluded the short break with alpine retreat in Kappl, Tryol.

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Germany

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Bamberg is known for its smoked beer (Rauchbier) and is hosting eight breweries. With its lovely old town, narrow allies, and surrounding nature, it is worth paying a visit. We took the chance and made stop-over for two nights on the way to Austria. Since it was a particular busy weekend, we couldn’t get a reasonable accommodation in town. Nevertheless, by chance our alternative choice turned out to be a very nice one: we spend the nights at the Gasthaus Hofmann (Schindelsee 1, 96181 Schindelsee). Upon arrival, we were noted a little sign ‘gourmet restaurant’ and shortly thereafter, we could taste why it is called like this! Dinner as well as the breakfast have been on a very high standard and …

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Italy – Winter in Tuscany

Happy New Year 2011!

For the New Year Break 2010, we decided to visit Italy: a journey through the Tuscany region by train and car with little surprises on the way. Join us:

Click to Watch Video

Special thanks to Reno Schulz, freelance flutist in San Gimignano, who saved our holiday after New Year eve when our room was double-booked and this world heritage town overloaded with visitors! You can enjoy a piece of his music when taking a look at the video above!

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Life in Singapore

Night view from Marina Barrage

My first visit to Singapore was in 1996.  I couldn’t really remember anything except a bit of Sentosa.  Never have I found this place appealing nor had I ever thought about living here.  Nevertheless the opportunity of experiencing life in Singapore did excited us.

This is the place where I picked up my favorite sport tennis again, was keen on learning more about photography and Lightroom, dreamed to be become a travel writer, and got a taste of oil/acrylic painting.   Apparently I have no gift in any of these.   Yet search is privilege, found is luck and a lot of hard work.

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Monkeying around “Cat” city

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On arrival the playful long-tailed macaque monkeys were already at the beach of Bako National Park welcoming us!  Er, no…they were indeed having crabs for breakfast.

Shortly before leaving Singapore, we spontaneously booked a flight to Kuching, East Malaysia without much planning.

Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, also known as “Cat” city from direct translation, has indeed nothing to do with cats but is a good base to make day trips to the national parks in the region.

There are altogether five national parks (Bako, Gunung Gading, Kubah, Tanjung Datu and Talang Satang), three national reserves (Wind Cave, Sama Jaya, Semenggoh), and two wildlife sanctuaries (Samunsam, Pulau Tukong).

We picked the most visited one, Bako National Park, because we wanted to see the Proboscis …

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The best soft ice-cream ever…

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We took the train to Hotaka and after walking about 30 minutes, we reached the biggest wasabi farm – Daio – in Japan and tasted the best soft ice cream ever.  I had to take two.  It retains the refreshing taste of wasabi but no burning sensation at all.  I couldn’t find it again in the rest of the trip.  They even sold wasabi beer.

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A day walk from Ochial Juku to Tsumago Juku (Nakasendo)

The start of Ochiai no Ishidatami – a road paved with cobblestones

Starting from Edo (Tokyo) and ending in Kyoto via Kiso Valley, Nakasendo was one of the oldest roads made in Japan’s Edo Period.  The section we chose is about 10 km – a good day walk – and passes two well-preserved old towns Magome and Tsumago in Kisoji.

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Through the pilgrimage in Tsuyu

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When I got to know that tsuyu, the rainy season in Japan, started on the 16th June this year, I felt similar to an anonymous writer’s thoughts on the Asahi Shimbun, “Getting wet at this time of the year is not a bad thing”, so long as it does not cause any serious damage or delay.

Rain is very important for country like Japan with so many rice fields.  Two days later we were on our way to Koyasan.  As accurate as ancient prediction, it did rain.  Except for the unpleasant damp, visiting those shrines and temples in the rain actually gives an extra mystical mood.  Describe this further.

Taking the train and later cable car from Kyoto, we arrived Koyasan at …

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