Tenerife – A Magical Island

Summer 2015 has finally began with a family holiday in Tenerife, Spain. As many of you might know, unlike other ‘normal’ British holidaymakers, Spain was never a top destination on my list and by this, I don’t mean any insult to the country itself (it is a rather beautiful place actually.* emphasis added*)

From above, soon after the captain’s safety announcement for landing. I was captured by the amazing landscape of the island and its stunning coastlines. On our way to the hotel, I cannot help but to admire my surroundings in the back of the taxi, especially those gigantic palm trees along side of the road, the green shaded leaves contrasting the red roof of that typical Spanish houses. So tropical and picture perfect.

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Tenerife is a wonderful island with plenty interesting sights perfect for all types of holiday makers. My family, especially my dad who loves visiting different sights, had once again, decided to rent a car to see the entire island. Although I am aware that most holidaymakers prefer chilling by the pool and making the most of their ‘all inclusive package deals’. ( I don’t blame you!). For me, I felt that the opportunity to visit various parts of the island was too good to miss. While there are excursions that you can book directly from the hotel, I would recommend hire a car for its convenience and that the map/road signs around the island were fairly straight forward.

El Teide 

One of the sites highly recommended by the locals, the lady at the hotel reception could not stress enough for us to visit. According to Wikipedia: Mount Teide is a volcano on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Its 3,718-metre summit is the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic. Although I do admit that the drive around the mountains were pretty scary and narrow, at one point it certainly felt the road to the El Teide National Park was endless and kept reminding myself not to look down. But I promise, once you reach the destination, the view was magnificent!

By the foot of El Teide, you may take a cable car which takes you to the summit. By this point, I had almost forgotten how high we climbed in the car and was curious enough to purchase a ticket to see view from El Teide. Unfortunately, me being my usual self and not wearing the appropriate footwear and clothing, being the only one wearing ballet flats and a dress amongst a bunch of hiking fanatics in their fancy hiking gears. I couldn’t do any actual climbing so I rested by the entrance area near the rocky patch and enjoyed myself there.

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El Drago

the thousand year old dragon tree, it was another hidde  treasure of the island. Located far away in a little town called Icod de los vinos. You may find great wine and lots of souvenirs at a much cheaper price compared to other parts of the island .

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possibly another breathtaking view of the cliffside near the west side of the island. By the time we reached there was at sunset and the view was magnificent! I certainly fell in love with everything on the island.
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Sunrise in the Sahara Desert

My trip to Morocco has came to an end, it was surprisingly wonderful and I had some of the most unforgettable moments of my life.

My family and I took a trip from Marrakesh to Zagora, a place close to the Sahara desert. It was an extremely long drive, we saw many interesting things during our journey: the constant change of the landscape – from forest to rocky ragged mountains, to ancient villages in the valley to sandy grounds. I definitely felt the increasing temperature as we drove closer and closer to the desert.
We arrived at the desert at sunset after an hour and half camel ride to our ‘hotel‘ of the night, that being the camps provided by the local. I’ve never been a fan of camping nor have I ever camped in my life, admittedly I was pretty wary of the idea of spending one night in the desert. To my surprise, however, the camp site was well kept, four beds were provided in each with washing facilities plus a toilet that flushes (sometimes we take these things for granted). The evening ended with a rather exceptional meal (probably much better than what you would normally expect the locals to provide in the desert), the main dish was one of Moroccans’ favourite – Beef Tajine served with Moroccan bread! ( beef stew with potatoes/pepper/courgette/olives). Then… we danced the night away around the camp fire! 

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Sunshine in Rhodes, Greece

 Just came back from the sunny Greek island that I previously mentioned, I had an amazing time and cannot wait to blog all about it!

Rhodes (Rodos) is an amazing island, very close to Turkey which explains the theme of its building and culture being somewhat different from previous island that I’ve visited. It’s full of history, having found that out in a museum I visited; rather truly amazing to see the changes of the island throughout different period! Any cultural lovers are highly recommended to visit.

OLD TOWN

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So we spent every morning wandering around old town, it’s surprisingly big and can get easily lost if you don’t have a map (which we didn’t at the time but thankfully a kind local shopkeeper gave us a map of the old town). As some might already know, one of the sites worth to see is the Grand Master’s Palace, I will post some picture of its interior design in the upcoming post.

overlooking to the Harbour
Overlooking to the Harbor

I found the locals are super welcoming, I visited this local cosmetic boutique as I wanted to buy some handmade soap. Yanni, the owner who kindly guided us to his favourite coffee shop in one of the small lanes of Rodos,  there we had the BEST Freddo Cappuccino ever!

IXIA BEACH 

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Ixia was the place where we stayed, I really liked the location as it is close to Rhodes Town (approx 8 euros by taxi and 2 euro by bus). This spot is also perfect for watersports as shown in the picture above, there were ALOT of windsurfers and during our second day, the waves were huge!! Oh, and of course, another amazing feature about Rhodes, Ixia?

THE PERFECT VIEW OF SUNSET
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the perfect ending
the perfect ending.

Magnificent isn’t it? I don’t think the pictures do the justice. My first sunset pictures, it was breathtaking! We actually ended our last day in Rhodes on the roof top of our hotel with Champagne, salmon pasta whilst over-watching the sunset, couldn’t ask for another perfect end to our holiday!  

 

Here Comes Summer

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(pictures taken at Bute Park, Cardiff)

Officially the end of the term, how time flies! I have finally completed my first year in Law school. The whole experience would be described as the most challenging, emotional, crazy & fun! As I finished packing and returned my keys back to the residence’s office, I felt an overwhelming emotion. Sad, for saying goodbye to all of the friends I made at university ( particularly it would be rather strange not seeing all of my crazy flatmates around and our weekend cookery sessions which usually turn into a disaster then a huge clean up session followed right after). Of course the freedom of living on my own! Yet again, as I should probably make another announcement, I am super excited for my upcoming trips this summer.

First destination: Rhodes Island, Greece. Great pictures and travel tips will be posted! 

Yang Shuo County – A Must Visit Place In China

It’s been a while since I did travel related post on here, for a moment I thought I ran out of ideas to write. But I realised I haven’t told you guys enough about Yang Shuo County ( where I stayed this summer for one week and perhaps, the most memorable experience of my nearly two months holiday in China!)

Here’s some geographic information about Yang Shuo; it is a county under the jurisdiction of Guilin City( South of China quite close to Vietnam), surrounded by peaks and bordered one side by the Li River. Thus, making the town popular to foreign backpackers as well as rock climbing fanatics!

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For someone like me who lived in North Eastern China for ten years, my journey to the South of China was a real eye opener. The most obvious one – a contrast in environment: the North is very industrial, big sky scrapers everywhere, very modernised. Here in Yangshuo Guilin, people’s lives are more primitive, they simply live off the land by growing rice and various crops. So, sounds a bit like time travel doesn’t it?

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Oh there are no traffic lights !!! I know it sounds pretty crazy, but surprisingly, I haven’t witnessed any traffic accidents or traffic jam at all! In Yang Shuo, most people travel by motor cycle or scooters. For tourists, it’s pretty handy to walk around if you intend to explore Yang Shuo town. Of course, there are sights worth to see outside Yang Shuo County, you can choose either to rent a bike or just do what I did, by going along with a tour ( tours can be booked in the hotel front desk). But to be fair, a lot of Westerner prefer to cycle and there is an english speaking bike rental agency in the high street called Bike Asia. SAM_5217

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What I loved about Yang Shuo is that almost every one – from market stall ladies to staffs in local shops; despite a high level of illiteracy in Southern China, however, everyone seems to be able to speak basic English. What a surprise that was, yet another contrast to the trip I took to Beijing. It is no wonder that I saw more Westerners in Yang Shuo than the North, so much more convenient being able to communicate! Oh and just another example of how Yang Shuo is loved by so many Western travellers, the high street is named Western Street; very quiet in the day ( due to the heat perhaps?) but it comes ALIVE at night, every few meters there’s a pizza place, night clubs, pubs and I kid you not there’s also German / Spanish restaurants & a London Tavern! Some of these restaurants have western managers; such as the one I’ve talked about in my previous posts – The Minority Cafe, offers English/ American styled breakfast then Chinese or Western cuisines throughout the day! It’s a really popular spot for western residents of Yangshuo or travellers to socialise.

So you might ask why is it a must visit in China? Well, personally, I think it’s an eye opener to the original lifestyle of Chinese people or may I say the Western view of China and Asia in general; living their life on land. Sadly, even though Beijing or Shanghai are the most well-known cities in the West, but personally I don’t think they are the best portrayals of China because there are hardly any natural scenery, unless of course, you are happy to visit somewhere modern for a city break. Yang Shuo as a typical old Chinese town in the South, is capable to offer both scenery and night life yet it is a friendly place for western travellers to experience China without the worries of language barriers!

There are so many near by sights worth to see:

Longji Rice Field & Long Hair Village, Bamboo rafting, Boat Ride in the Li River and Silver Caves Resort. (I will write about these events soon! stay tuned!) Of course, there is rock climbing option for those who fancy it and many more!

Summer 2013 – Best Summer Ever.

It’s been so long since I last blogged, my internet connection has been down recently. Here I am finally home getting hold of a computer and proxying through the Chinese Great Fire Wall onto WordPress. If anyone is wondering which VPN I use, I recommend Pandapow!  🙂 I’ve been having such a hectic lifestyle lately; yes, I only have 5 days left in China, therefore I need to see everyone again.

I must admit 2013 summer has been the best one so far!  First, I get to see the good and the bad of Beijing ( our ”lovely” capital city haha! 😉 …to read more about my trip to Beijing, click here )  Then, perhaps the most memorable trip of my holiday got to be my 7 days in Guilin, I loved it there, especially about its great nightlife and scenery!  Recently I travelled to Dandong which is a city in China bordering North Korea, (I plan to write about that soon. ) Oh and not to mention the endless drive to Inner Mongolia that too me a week to get back home.  Overall what can I say?! I would love to do this all over again, sunshine, exploring different culture with the people I love. What more can I ask for? 😉

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another nails day & a new adventure

Hey there! Feeling extra summery today so I went to a nail parlour with my cousin to get our nails done. We all chose this ombre effect, orange &yellow for me and blue& navy for her! Perfect for summer. 😉 We are jettimg off to Guilin tomorrow at 1pm, pretty excited ! Let the adventure begin! 

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