Saturday, February 14, 2009
Country of the week: Taiwan, Yilan
Yilan County is located in Northeastern Taiwan. Its name comes from the aboriginal Kavalan tribe. From Taipei International Airport, it took us about 2 hours by cab to reach there. We stayed at the Forte DongShan Villa which is a state-owned traditional art center. Nestling Dongshan River channel, this rustic villa is delicately decorated with wooden sliding door, partition window, elevated houses and super-positioned ladders. As far as the eye can see, pleasant and cozy beauty will be all within your view.
Traditional art activities centered on diversified themes are often programmed and held in the villa. Traditional refection streets, state banquet and gourmet food theme halls as well as starbucks are also available.
From Yilan, we took day trips to Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, and Hua Lien to visit one of Taiwan's premier scenic attractions, Taroko Gorge. Certainly, this natural marvel is one of Asia's most spectacular sights and we were blessed to be immersed in its astounding beauty.
1. We may not speak their language but they make you feel like one of them. And if you do make the slightest effort to converse with them in their language, they would place you on a pedestal. I'm glad I did.
2. I was a bit apprehensive before I left for Taiwan cause an Austrian friend of ours who has been working there for sometime told us how racists the Taiwanese were. On the contrary, they were far away from that. They are beautiful souls who live simply and think highly.
3. I may sound shallow but in the past Taiwan was not one of the countries I ever wanted to visit because of their dog eating custom. Being a dog lover I couldn't digest that fact and in my eyes, the Taiwanese were seen as brutal beasts who preyed on innocent beautiful animals just to satisfy their overly curious palates. But before we left, we heard that Taiwan has passed a law which forbids dogs from being eaten. Kudos to them and the dog kingdom.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
-- Mark Twain
At the tender age of 16, travelling became one of my passions or shall I say obsession. Ever since, the world has been perceived as my classroom where many wise lessons have been imparted. As I cruise along, I will share my myriad of experiences in those countries that I have been to. The countries will be blogged weekly in no particular order.
Country of the week: France, Provence Côte d'Azur
My hubby and I arrived at Nice airport and took a coach ride to St Raphael railway station. From there, we hopped into a cab(which we had to wait two hours for) to get to our destination, Cap Esterel. This holiday village, bordering the Mediterranean sea, is simply scenic and picturesque. Perched on a lovely hillside position, this charming resort offers stunning panoramic views over the Mediterranean, from Cannes to St Raphael. You could take a nice stroll along the white sandy beach, which is right below the village. The restaurants, shops, bars and boutiques in Cap Esterel are easily accessible by bus 11...our legs. They do offer frequent tram rides around this holiday village due to its vastness. With a wide range of evening entertainment, one can never feel bored or confined despite its remoteness. This tranquil countryside is definitely for you if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
View from the Roof-Top
HOWEVER, (here comes the big however), if you are a vegetarian like me, then you would have a hard time finding a variety of dishes. My dinners throughout the entire stay were nothing else but (drum roll please)........ FORMAGGI PIZZZZZZZAAAAA. That was the only vegetarian dish I could ever find. I have nothing against this deliciously sinful pizza but to have that every night??? Let's say I started to keep away from pizzas for sometime after. Oh did I also mention that I was counting points diligently then? Go figure! Lunch was just as predictable (but we got away with a bit of creativity). It came in the form of a baguette. We made our own 'gourmet' sandwiches with the vegetables we bought at the resort supermarket. For all you carnivores like my beloved, dont fret. This is your ultimate food paradise. You will be so spoilt for choices.
Next, I will impart the wise lesson that was learnt in France. Be careful when you order a cup of warm lemon tea. When my order arrived, the waiter placed a pot of boiling water to my left, the tea cup right infront of me (with a piece of sliced lemon on the saucer) and the main ingredient, the tea, which came in the form of a tea bag, was specially brought to me by another waiter on another saucer. What a royal treatment...lol. I'm supposed to have a blast by putting my tea 'together' I reckon!!!!! French Lemon Tea anyone????? That incident still tickles me to this day. Guess that summarises my entire trip but hang onnnnnn........
The highlight of this trip took place at Nice airport. As we checked in for our departure, we bumped into the entire squad of AC Milan players. Suddenly, I felt like I was in heaven surrounded by greek gods. Boy did those hunkies make my day and needless to say... my trip. Notice how I say 'my' instead of 'we' here? ;)
View of the Villa We Stayed In