[travel] Barcelona: Gaudí and beyond

I have asked a few people of what they think about firstly when it comes to Barcelona. The answer is either Camp Nou or Gaudí. For a soccer dummy like me, Camp Nou is obviously off the table. And Gaudí… you just cannot avoid Gaudí in Barcelona.
Apart from the iconic Sagrada Família, Gaudí has an indelible mark on Barcelona’s architecture and style. The city itself also resembles its most famous artist’s creations, Barcelona is anything but boring and conventional.

But beyond Gaudí, the capital city of Catalonia has so much more to offer. I came to Barcelona mainly to see with my own eyes Gaudí’s legacy, yet the non-Gaudí side turned out to leave me quite impressed.

Continue reading

[travel] One day in Tarragona

After Zaragoza, the bf and I again took a (long) morning train to the Mediterranean city of Tarragona. We stayed in this city for a day before heading to Barcelona–our final destination in Spain. Famous for its mediaeval alleys and impressive Roman ruins, especially the iconic Amphitheater overlooking the sea, Tarragona is a beautiful port town that deserves at least a day trip from its bigger and better-known neighbor city.

Continue reading

[travel] The colorful village of Cassis

After the hike of our life (well…) in Calanque de Port Miou, we ventured back into the village to catch our bus back to Marseille. Little did I know that Cassis’ beauty would again strike me with awe, as we happily spent 3+ hours wandering in the tiny village, marveled at colorful houses and basked in the glorious sunset

Continue reading

[travel] Hiking Calanque de Port Miou in Cassis, France

As my long-time readers probably know, I truly enjoy hiking. The last time I did it was in Jeju with the bf and boy do I miss it. Convinced that no trip is complete without some good hiking, on our second day in Marseille, we hopped on the bus to Cassis–a picturesque community east of Marseille. It is famous for its incredible cliffs and sheltered inlets called calanques. The village is also a gem in itself, with colorful houses and cobbled streets.

Continue reading

[travel] Weekend trip to Ameland Island, the Netherlands

Ameland–one of the West Frisian Islands off the north coast of the Netherlands–was my next Dutch destination in my “Travel to a new place every 2 weeks” mission. I joined an Ameland tour organized by ESN Leuwaarden after hearing about it via my friend. It was a relatively costly trip to me (roundtrip train ticket from Utrecht to Leuwaarden was 45euro; the tour package was 65euro), the weather was fairly bad, but I was glad to set  foot on an island (I have an obsession for islands…), to see the sea again, and the joy of being in a new place is always worth all the trouble and effort.

Continue reading

[travel] A hike to Trio Beach @ Sai Kung, Hong Kong

Sai Kung has to be my favorite town in Hong Kong. It has the sea, the mountain, the food. It has everything. I wrote about Hiking Tai Long Wan in Hong Kong some time ago. It was wonderful and everyone visiting Hong Kong should do that, I believe. However, if you do not have much time and are afraid that 15 km might be too much, a relatively short hike to Trio beach in Sai Kung would be a nice exercise with the rewarding view of a beautiful beach.

Continue reading

[travel] Tai Long Wan hike — hiking in Hong Kong

I’m just back from a long hike in Tai Long Wan, Hong Kong.  The hike was about 15km and filled with gorgeous sceneries.  I can’t emphasize enough how I love Hong Kong — the city has everything — from skyscrapers to modest farm houses, from humongous shopping malls at every single subway stop to mesmerizing unscathed natural beauty.

We set off at 6:30am and took the subway to Ma On Shan.  After getting off, we caught bus 299 outside Ma On Shan Mall to Sai Kung town (gorgeous fishing town).  The ride took about 30 minutes.  From Sai Kung, we took a local bus called R29 at 8am.  Half an hour later, we got off the Sai Wan Pavilion and started our hike.  The road was pretty straightforward (literally), no sun (luckily) and the trees were dense.  We basically followed this route, but at Sai Wan, after checking out the beach, we followed the river flow to trace back to its root — a lovely natural pond.  And at Ham Tin Wan we headed to another secluded beach (Tai Long beach & an unnamed beach) for more eyecandy before returning to the main trail.
Continue reading