Year: 2012

Essential Portugal

Despite how little I knew about the place, Portugal had been calling my name for some time. The place had me dreaming of sunny hills with beautiful orange orchards maybe because Portugal sounds like the Romanian word for orange –Portocală. So Noodle and I decided to make the trip there this spring. Portugal is a small country which makes exploring it quite easy and affordable. We arrived in Lisbon and got on the airport shuttle to city centre. We were delighted that our hotel,  Residencial Alegria, was located on a quiet street overlooking a small park that even the local homeless seemed to enjoy. Without a direction in mind, we walked the streets of Lisbon and took in the city life on board Tram28. We visited Prazeres Cemetery and walked among the beautiful mausoleums that rest some of Portugal’s prominent people. We spent the next two days visiting the neighboring cities of Sintra and Cascais. The morning of our trip to Sintra, we had breakfast at a Lisbon street cafe and made sure to stock up on pasteis de nata (custard tarts) for the trip. Only 45 minutes by train from Lisbon, Sintra …

Trip to Hong Kong

I was excited to finally make it to Hong Kong. I had been to China years ago while I was teaching English in South Korea but only visited Beijing. On my second visit to China, Noodle and I decided to keep Hong Kong for the last leg of our trip. Once you arrive in Hong Kong all traces of old traditional China are gone. Hong Kong is a modern bustling city that combines beautifully the best of the East and the West. We stayed at Hotel Bonaparte by Rhombus in WanChai area, a charming boutique hotel with a tiny room of about 100 square feet. On our first day we took the tram to the top of Victoria Peak. The peak is right in the middle of the city, surrounded by beautiful parks and luscious vegetation and spectacular views of the city. We made the challenging climb down and rested on Stanley beach in the afternoon. In the evening we took the ferry from the Star Ferry Pier to Kowloon and watched Hong Kong harbor and the …