Beautiful Neuchatel

Neuchatel old town walk7a
Is this a cool offer or what?

Indeed the town is very beautiful. And perhaps Mel was swayed because it happened to be 25ºC weather on the day he arrived. Just in time to explore the city on a sunny and warm day. The locals were out in full force happily taking up the special offer. How can we not join them?

And good thing on this occasion he did not have to drive since the others wanted to. So he had all the time in the world to enjoy a nice, ice, cold pint. Whenever he desired. What a life!

Neuchatel is in the French part of Switzerland, and is somewhat different, not just from the normal daily language used, but also the vibe it exudes. Somehow Mel felt it to be more France! And an adventure awaits, as three men barely getting over jet lag started their little soujourn around the town that appears to be rousing with people and cheer on a sunday.

Find out more about how three men spent their afternoon here in this town that lies on the shores of a lake with the same name.

The Long Journey Q1-17

Happy New Year! It’s 2017.

Dear friends, ex-colleagues,

Can you imagine that? Barely one year ago, we started this blog. And we also begun to place our quarterly newsletter here instead of sending the PDF file out to you. What was the original intent? Well to be terribly honest, it was to drive some readership traffic to this blog in its infancy. LOL.

So what’s up?

Finally did a road trip in Thailand (driving that is). Now that was a real milestone, which means…we’ll do this all over the rest of the country as well! And a new corner of Korea has been touched – Busan! We can almost compare the two cities (Seoul & Busan) to Tokyo vs Osaka. Perhaps not a fair comparison to some, but that’s our 2 cents! And rushing out this post today, we have just returned from the biting cold of Harbin 3 days ago! Fingers still twitching…

Read our latest newsletter here: The Long Journey Q1-2017.

It’s time to make some travel resolutions for 2017. What will yours be? For us, we intend to:

  • Touch Petra, Jordan
  • Walk arond Havana, Cuba
  • Do a drive around Hua Hin

Wish us luck (please?). For now this will do, as we cannot commit too much since these are already ambitious touch points. We are looking forward to a travel filled 2017! Hope you will too!

Where else for free rooftop view in Singapore?

All that recent top of the world stunts inspired copy cats around the world. The Galleries 5What about us ‘normal’ travellers? Where can one get free access to panoramic rooftop views? In Singapore that is. For those who had read our post about ION sky, that is one way. But did you know that it is also free to access the top of the old city hall for a rooftop experience too?

Gazetted now as part of the National Gallery, access to the exhibits may not be free (for foreign visitors anyway), but anyone is free to ‘roam’ about. And that includes the rooftop garden terrace and viewing platform.

City Hall Rooftop view1On a fine day you will look over the vast expanse that is the Padang, home to the country’s national day parades for many years before it was moved to other locations.

It was originally created as a cricket playing ground and club for the colonialists. Today it hosts a variety of sports and is a great vantage to watch the speeding F1 racers circle around the city race track. Good luck to those who think they can skip buying tickets and watch the race from the terrace though…and the night race might well cease after 2018…

Yet another free experience in Singapore. Try it!

Delayed gratification

Wow.

What a day! Thought that we would be home tonight snuggling in our own bed in a toasty 28°C…but noooooo…..we are sneaking into bed in the Golden Phoenix hotel that is 10 minutes’ drive from Beijing airport. Why??? Because the bad fog in Beijing this morning delayed the originating flight into Harbin and caused our flight out of Harbin to be affected. Well, the experience that we had said we did not have thus far has FINALLY happened to us!

So much that we missed the connecting flight in Beijing!

How now brown cow?

Well, fortunately it has become law in China that carriers are mandated to put affected passengers from flight delays at hotels and ensure that they are fed and cared for until the alternate flights arrangements can be sorted out.

Dinner with Dan Dan aand family11.jpg
Blessing in disguise?

And this law came into effect on 1-Jan-2017. What luck! Thus 28 travellers trudged through the terminal with their luggage and carry-on to the biting cold for a coach ride to the 3-star hotel for the night.

Fortunately for us, this gave an opportunity to meet up with friends in Beijing, so we actually had Beijing duck for dinner…hmmmm.

So this set us thinking (as we were waiting at the airport earlier today),

  • What recourse would there be for claiming against travel insurers?
  • And for what can that be?
  • Will we still be entitled to claiming compensation given we had airline response re the above?

Do you have such experiences yourself?

Most Baroque Solothurn

Today’s the last day of the year! Perhaps you will be off to celebrations soon! For us, we are on the last day of our tour, ready to make the return flight home tomorrow morning. And shivering in the really really cold night trying to tell you we enjoyed new year’s eve…Hah! Yes this is a scheduled post.

happy-new-year-2017

We shall top off the year with this 2nd instalment of our Swiss stories. And we introduce to you a city that they call the “ambassadors’ city”, “city of elevens”, “most baroque city in Switzerland”. With quite a few for consideration, we chose the last one for the title of this post.

And indeed it is. Solothurn that is.

Like most towns in Switzerland, they all seem to have a specialization. You might have heard of Le-Locle, famed as a watchmaking center. So what is Solothurn notable for? Precision engineering and design we believe. Perhaps a Swiss reader can correct us.

Good thing though, the historic town centre retains the charms of medieval times. If one were to go back in time you might find important ambassadors from France on their carriages. So what was it that made Solothurn the city that ‘attracted’ the diplomats? Was it the beautiful setting of the town? Perhaps a round of digging into history may help!

Being here twice but on his own (Mel), Suan certainly missed out! Is there anything to do in this city? Find out more here in the latest Swiss stories from our blog.

It’s raining cats!

Photos of local fauna are figured into wherever we placed our handprints. Mel really likes cats, though he’d never let one live with him. They’d never get along! This did not stop him from taking photos of the felines wherever they can be found along our journeys.Chateau Marqueyssac10

This first one’s residing in Chateau Marqueyssac in the south of France. He seems to be blind in the left eye (perhaps in a fight with the birds?) and walks nonchalantly as if he is the lord of the mansion. We saw him try to stalk the resident peacock too!

In our journey to Turkey, we had stayed overnight in Goreme and was on the way to the underground cities when we spotted this tabby sitting in the sun. It was May and the crisp morning air was still a little chilly. So, this feline was sunbathing right where the sun fell to warm up. Actually she was rather pissed when some of us walked across and casted a shadow over her.

Japan is also known to be a land where cats are featured in religion, cultural symbols and of course the world famous – Hello Kitty! hello?Ton Chin Kan Cat2

In Tokyo near our favourite Tonkatsu restaurant, we found a pair of shy cats standing guard at the entrance to the eatery. Perhaps they were waiting to be fed. Or maybe they were just sentients watching people come and go.

Most probably they are there to wave their left paw – to draw people to the restaurant? We are sure you have heard about good luck cats. Do you know what it means for the cat to wave the right paw?

And don’t get started on all the neko (cat) cafes…

Did you also know that there are actually Cat shrines in Japan? Who said only the Egyptians deified these felines? And have you noticed how many cat photos there are on instagram? Somehow humans have been conditions to accept cats, who retain a whole lot of independence and their own mind – as gods…

Btw if you really love cats, check out this motley crew of cat lovers here at Katzenworld.