Search This Blog

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Getting to know and around

Sooo, a couple of weeks are over now. Time is flying, the apartment is furnished. Basic things needed for normal life, at least. The couch is perfect for having some visitors coming over ;) All in all, it offers plenty of space.

My racing machine is locked, down in the basement - I am well equipped. Sauna is available as well, kind of different to the one I know from back home. I hardly can stay longer than, let's say, 7 minutes. I am not quite sure, might be less :)

The city centre itself offers some attractions. The cathedral with its market place is one of them. There are a few churches, lots of parks and hundreds of islands surrounded by brownish water. Everything is easy to reach, almost in walking distance, and biking pretty common too. The harbour market is perfect for fresh and local delights - unfortunately, I am missing the opening hours all the time, but the smoked fish (siika) is absolutely delicious.

Unexpectedly, it's pretty good weather over here. Sun is shining almost every day. Time to dig out shorts and T-Shirts, unfortunately, I've just brought a few. There was some rains as well - but if I sum it all up, it was definitely less than one day. Instead, I've installed a sauna thermometer in my living room :D It has reached a maximum of 27°C today.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Pääskylänrinne, the street to be in Helsinki

Apartment's window front view with lots of IKEA furniture

The first week is over. I made myself at home in Helsinki, having an apartment in a street called Pääskylänrinne in the 8th floor, i.e. a south side lookout is included. Meanwhile, everything is set up and I've got a first impression of the city.

French Fries and mussels, Belgium beer and plenty of chocolate...

… in f***ing Bruges. Before I had to go to Finland, Antje and me had a little road trip to Belgium. We had a stopover in Lüttich (Liège). The city itself didn’t have so much to offer and we sauntered though it pretty fast. If you like stairways go and explore the Montagne de Bueren with its 374 steps. That was fun. Well, at least for me. Antje was, more or less, just crouching them up, finishing them with a little “yeah”. The Belgium meatballs served with an ice cold Trappistes Rochefort 12 was perfect.

Time to leave this city and the next destination was not far away. A one hour drive, and here we are, in Bruges. And it looks exactly as shown in the movies. Old redbrick houses, askew and crooked. Narrow and tiny streets everywhere, chocolatiers and lots of tourists. The best thing: Belgium mussels boiled in a creamy sauce. Delicious! Unfortunately, we lost crème brûlée out of our sight. But it was cool, somehow. It’s just so much different to what we know from home.

On the way back we stopped and stayed at a friends place in Duisburg, and had a rainy walk around tour in Düsseldorf on Tuesday.

Jump around in Munich

It was time to visit Kathl and Chris in Munich again. After a little shopping tour (K1X shop, yeah), the sight visit and climb of the Sankt Peter Church and a good dinner, we did lot’s of those the following morning :D

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Speed-seeing in Singapore

It was already past 1 am when I stepped outta the aircraft in Singapore.  I am always impressed by the dimensions of this Changi International Airport. Walking on carpet for kilometres (pretty strange and uncommon to equip an airport with it) and following the signs leading me to the exit. Public transport was not running anymore – I took the taxi. The driver was cool, telling me his whole life story with a lot of joy.

My hotel was just a few streets away from where I was couchsurfing the last time. I recognized the area which was making it easier the next morning walking in around in Little India before meeting Alessandra and Fabio in Chinatown.

Some Indian and Chinese temples later we had lunch in a hooker stall, adding some fresh juices and shakes to it. Dragon fruit, star fruit, mango, pineapple, … whatever comes to your mind. We walked a bit further on, through the “historical” centre or what’s left of it and had a 30 Dollar cocktail in the roof top bar (55th floor or something) of Marina Bay Hotel with a stunning view over the city – laser show included.

Monday, May 20, 2013

It took a dinner, one movie and a little sleep...

… well ok, and a little more, like stopping over in Amsterdam, as well as taking a regional bus to change the airport to the domestic one in Kuala Lumpur – and I reached Manila International Airport, Philippines. Tobi was picking me up before we entered the city centre. He had chosen a hotel right in the middle of the party district and we started the stay with some beers in a few bars and clubs. Staying in Manila for one day is more than enough, we’ve seen more than everything, that’s was my impression, and we tried to find a way outta the city.

Next destination: Lake Taal – some kind of active volcanic territory. But if you ask me: a bit overestimated. That meant being back in Manila the next day, again! I already had enough of this stinky and totally chaotic city.

The only way out: booking the night bus to Banaue, sitting in the isle on a plastic camper chair for 9 hours, giving my head a rest on my neighbour’s seat a few times. I arrived with the sun rising, and having some Philippinos around trying to drag me into one of their hotels. I’ve already made my choice. A couple of hours later, I walked though the jungle. Batad, rural and indigenous, and its rice terraces are supposed to be the eight world wonder. And it really was impressive.

Due to running out of time, I had to skip Sagada and the hanging graves. I’d rather took the flight to Legazpi and heading to Donsol, Bicol half island. The reason: diving with the massive whale sharks that can be 15 m of length. But during those days I was there, hundreds of boats were not spotting a single one. “Just” some dolphins ;)

Next hightlight: Mount Mayon, a volcano with a perfect shape. Unfortunately, no tour was available; I mean no hiking tour to the summit. The only thing being available: Quad Tour with a little bit of hiking to get closer, somehow. Well, better than nothing.

Absolutely famous for that half island and part of the country: the Bicol Express! I wanted to give it a try, picked up directly from a local pop up restaurant on the street. So here we go, delicious food to eat out of a few plastic bags. And sweeter than sweet mangos as desert.

Some days were still left before flying back to Singapore and I decided to lean back at the beach somewhere. I took the flight to Cebu City, a taxi and a bus to Moalboal, and a motorcycle to White Beach. The apartment was excellent, the coral reef right in front of the door. A perfect spot to snorkel around, just the jelly fish tentacles were a bit itchy and painful. The under water world, however, was stunning. I spent half the day in there, surrounded by hundreds of colourful fish and seeing corals, turtles and fire fish – a perfect finish.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Family trip to Melchsee Frutt

Prospect of the Melchsee Frutt at 2000 m

It was Friday evening – start of the 2013 skiing event in Swiss. After having done some monster shopping actions, we were ready for take of the following morning, Anne & Gregor, Antje and me. We got through the traffic quit well, arriving in Stöckalp on time to take one of the last gondola.

Metres of snow and fog makes some cottages almost disappear

The apartment was nice and cosy, as usual, football table, table tennis, indoor soccer field and sauna ready to use. So we did. Karl joined us for a while, advising to step on the skis the next day already. The weather will not getting better during the week. The 4 of us had an excellent day, and the Jagertee was having its part as well.

Having a little rest besides the snow shoe path

Monday was chosen to be a ski free day. Instead, a snow shoe hiking path wanted to be discovered – just without any snow shoes. Sort of adventurous. Madeline and Rinkes arrived that evening – thus, group was complete.

Standing pretty close to the edge

The weather was, yeah, let’s say a mix of almost everything that’s possible in the mountains: a bit of sun, clouds, storm, snow, fog. But cool, indeed! Three enjoyable days with relaxing around in the 2000 m high mountains.

Weather conditions getting better and better

Karl wasn’t able to show up once again, so we had to try making cheese fondue by ourselves. Absolutely delicious, but only eatable once a year :D Three days passed by quickly and we had to head back to home on Friday the following day.

Having a tremendous lookout