Thursday, April 27, 2006

Backpacking Edinburgh IV

In one word, Edinburgh was beautiful.

And if in two, breathtakingly beautiful.

I must say that I was blessed, that the weather had been perfectly well for the few days I spent strolling through streets of the old and new town of Edinburgh. Everybody knew Edinburgh was famous for its very unstable weather due to its geographical location. Sunny this second, and raining the next. Fortunately when I was there, it had been clear blue skies, with little chunks of clouds scattered out.

Best of all, it was snowing on my last day there. Many would have dreaded the snow, making it wet and muddy all around. But for me, it was just perfect. Edinburgh was already beautiful just the way it was. But, the snow made it beautiful even more.

As many would know, Edinburgh has been listed as a UNESCO world heritage site since 1995. And my trip there reassured me that Edinburgh earned it. What I really loved about Edinburgh was not the castle, nor the national museum. But it was the feeling of walking through the streets of the old town. It just felt so comfortable strolling around. Perhaps it was the weather. Perhaps it was the people. Or perhaps it was just Edinburgh. But one thing for sure, it was cozy, at heart.

And because it was so compact, I didn't really had to decide where to visit today and where the next. Instead, I just left the dorm after consuming as many pieces of toast as I could, and explored the city. The viewpoints up at Calton Hill and Salisbury Crags was superb. The daily consumption of baked potatoes was tasty, even though the shopkeepers English accent was indigestible. The Childhood Museum was fun. And the haggis was an adventure.

In short, I loved it. And no doubt, I will be back. :)

Backpacking Edinburgh III - FOOD!

My first meal in Edinburgh, baked potatoes!

And my last too. hehe :)

The thing that kept me to my budget


steak & ale pie ?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Backpacking Edinburgh II - Old Town

Candles in St. Giles

Stained glasses in St. Giles

A view out the canon window, Edinburgh Castle

canon, looking out into Edinburgh below

Across my favourite baked potato store, stands two lil birdie

Writer's museum, in snow

Old town's street scene, at dusk

St. Giles at dusk

Maple leaves stuck in between

morning sun sneaking up behind Salisbury Crags
with an unkown building upfront

The Palace of Holyrood House

Holyrood Park

A view from Salisbury Crags

The Unfinished National Monument, taken from Salisbury Crags

The Edinburgh Castle, taken from Salisbury Crags

Backpacing Edinburgh - New Town

A view of New Town, taken under a bridge in Old Town

Arthur's Seat, taken from Calton Hill

The Unfinished National Monument

The Unfinished National Monument

Street scene of New Town

Sir Walter Scott's Monument in snow

New Town all white

Flowers in bitter winter, with Eidinburgh Castle far behind

Princes Street (Edinburgh's main shopping street) at sunset

Princes Street Garden at sunset

New Town at night, with Sir Walter Scott's Monument to the right

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Backpacking Hong Kong II - FOOD!

the real wantan

yong zhi gam lou (mango pomelo dessert in coconut milk)

gui ling gao (black jelly made from tortoise shell)

very milky milk tart

egg tarts, hot from the oven

sesame drink (oishii!!)

curry fishballs!

beef belly noodles

almond cookies

flower jelly (桂花糕)

stir-fry beef noodle

fried fish

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Backpacking Hong Kong

Hong Kong at night

Chung Wan

Mong Kok

Hong Kong from an older angle

typical wantan noodle shop

Hong Kong was my first stop. And it was exactly what I expected. Buildings, shopping, food, nightlife, and busy people. And I fitted in, just like that. But, fitting in was one issue, and loving it was another.

Needless to say, I loved shopping there, more than in Japan. Japan's fashion satisfies a lot of people around the world, but in many ways, not for me. And having shops closed as early as 8?!

FOOD, was of course another thing I loved. Afterall I have to admit that was one of the main reason I stopped by Hong Kong this time. Having it as a consolation prize to my poor tummy for not being able to eat any bak kut teh or roti canai for 7 months now. :p

However, the pace of life was something that I don't think I can ever compromise to. Even elevators in the city area moves twice faster than the normal ones! Even though I knew most of the places, loved the food, spoke their language, but I still somehow felt out of place and just somehow felt that it lacked humanity among people.

But of course, just the food itself (not even mentioning shopping yet!) shall bring me back visiting Hong Kong again and again! :)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sakura, 桜

sakuras, with the famous Tower of the Sun at the back

on the branches

満開, mankai

waiting to bloom

sakura trees lining the pathway

Before I start off this entry about hanami, allow me to say 'yes, I'm finally back. :)'

It has been almost 2 months now since my last entry. And no, of course I'm not giving up this blog. I've been wanting to say (or rather, type?) out a loud ただいま!tadaima! ever since I stepped my foot back into my own sweet room here in Osaka 3 weeks ago. But, I've been just too busy. And I still am! It's just that I finally made up my mind that if I want to post an entry, it's going to be now or never! So, here goes...


The blooming of sakuras is a pretty much awaited event in Japan. Perhaps because it signifies the arriving of Spring after a long, cold winter. Or, perhaps because it's just a culture of their own.

For me, it's the former. And of course, because it's just simply beautiful. And the fact that the full bloom is just merely a few days out of the 365 days a year, only makes one wants to appreciate it more. I don't know why, but just the thought of lying under the sakura trees and setting the mind free feels really nice.

So, if you have the chance, and would like to take your mind off all those workloads clogging up your mind, do take a stroll in the park where sakura trees are blooming. The stress relieving effects can be quite amazing! ;)