Thursday, July 27, 2017

Copenhagen Revisited

Nyhavn
Copenhagen has been named one of the most livable cities in the world by the Mercer Quality of Living index. Among the factors considered for this index were infrastructure, transportation, economic and political environment, health and education among others. Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, the happiest country in the world from 2014 through 2016 according to the World Happiness Report. There's much to learn from Copenhagen about how to live a happy and satisfying life.

Colorful Nyhavn was a quiet fishing village in the not so distant past. Today it is abuzz with restaurants and outdoor cafés. Even the pedestrian bridge has not been spared of love locks by tourists intent on leaving a trail of their romantic commitments.

DR Koncerthuset

The DR Koncerthuset was designed by Jean Nouvel, a French architect and 2008 Pritzer Prize winner. It was inaugurated in 2009 after six years of construction. There are four concert halls in the complex, the largest of which seats 1800 people. The Koncerthuset was named in 2012 as one of ten greatest concert halls of the new millennium by British magazine, Gramophone.

Amaliehaven

There's a quiet garden with fountains and benches between Amalienborg Palace and the harbourfront. This is a nice rest stop on Larsens Plads if you're continuing on to the Little Mermaid.
Violets
These violets are grown in a huge planter. Caught sight of them on my way to see the Little Mermaid. Had to stop and admire the flowers.

Little Mermaid
"But the mermaid has no tears. Therefore she suffers so much more." Hans Christian Andersen

This mermaid certainly has suffered! Since it was installed on this rock in 1913, the Little Mermaid has been vandalized several times. It was decapitated twice and the head had to be replaced in 1964. It's arm was sawed off, it was blasted off its base and just a week before I took this picture in June 2017, she was doused in red paint by some group protesting whaling in the Faroe Islands (which is an autonomous country of the Kingdom of Denmark). Two weeks later, it was bathe in blue and white paint and a message was left stating "Befri Abdulle", Free Abdulle. 

It's amusing to watch all the people who want to have their picture taken with the Little Mermaid. They do as much damage to the statue with the way they hang on to her. I witnessed a guy taking his turn for the camera and as much as he tried to avoid getting wet in the water, he missed his foothold and got his sneakers and jeans all wet. What these people may not be aware of is that the Little Mermaid is an exact copy of the original which is with the heirs of the sculptor, Edvard Ericksen.

Castle Island with Stock Exchange and Christiansborg Palace
The skyline of Copenhagen is studded with spires. I had to stop several times to marvel at the rope-like wrap around some spires which reminded me of the sugar covered rope-shaped pastries I used to eat as a child. 

"If Copenhagen were a person, that person would be generous, beautiful, elderly but with a flair. A human being that has certain propensities for quarreling, filled with imagination and appetite for the new and respect for the old - somebody who takes good care of things and of people." Connie Nielsen, actress

Where to stay:
The Strand Hotel
Havnegade 37
Copenhagen
www.copenhagenstrand.dk

Where to eat:
Fishmarket
Hovedvavtsgade 2
www.fishmarket.dk
Open from 11 am to 2 am daily
Near Kongens Nytorv

How to get around:
From the airport to city center: take the M2 train from Terminal 3. The Kongens Nytorv station is closest to Nyhavn, Stroget shopping, and Castle Island. Ticket machines at the airport accept coins and credit card. See map and ticket information here: http://intl.m.dk/#!/

The S train and Metro are convenient ways of getting around the city and suburbs.

For rail journeys to Sweden and other regions in Denmark, catch the train from Copenhagen Central Station which is located across from the Tivoli Gardens on Bernstorffsgade.

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Salzburg

"Framed by mountains, crowned by the Hohensalzburg Fortress and divided by the turquoise Salzach River, the Salzburg landscape is pure drama.” Frommers
This view

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

It's a beautiful evening

It's a beauteous evening, calm and free
The holy time is quiet as a nun
Breathless with adoration, the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquility
The gentleness of heaven broods o'er sea
Excerpt from It's a beauteous evening by William Wordsworth

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Let's go to Mantalinga Island

Mantalinga Island or Good Luck Island beckons from across the sea. Just under 20 minutes from Baybay beach in Roxas City, it's rocky shores, tidal pools and sweeping view of Baybay are enough reasons to make the short crossing. 

   Mantalinga Island

Friday, March 31, 2017

A strong U.S. dollar can stretch your travel budget

Pack your bags and travel now while the U. S. dollar is soaring in value against foreign currencies. This Frommers' article discusses the strength of the USD vs. the euro, the English pound, the Japanese yen, the Mexican peso and the Chinese yuan.

In this article from Mashable, it seems the U.S. dollar is the preferred currency even in the afterlife.
http://mashable.com/2017/03/30/usd-hellnotes-malaysia/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link#km0F8n1Nmaqf


Monday, March 27, 2017

Mararison Island Getaway

There has been a lot of buzz lately about Mararison Island. For good reasons. How can one not rave about the crystal clear waters around the island and the long stretch of beach with nary a soul? Or the opportunity to take a hike up the hills for a panoramic view of the "land where the mountains meet the sea"? 

We docked by the pile of ginormous jackstones which serve as breakwater for the island. Someday these will be properly redistributed so the beach will be well protected and halt the sea's reclamation of the beachfront. 



















The sea was calm in February when we visited Mararison. It didn't rain though the sky was heavy. And as it was low tide, the curving sandbar, Kawit, was visible from our open cottage on the beach. The hut rental was P300.

After leaving our things in our cottage, we went in search for grub. We found fish and vegetables for sale just a short distance from the beach. And we were pointed to a woman who cooked our meal for us. She grilled the fishes and made some fish soup and rice for five people, all for P350. She also provided the utensils. Our meal was ready when we returned from our circle island tour. We bought our drinks from the mini convenience store nearby. (As an option, we could have bought fish at the public market in Culasi which is conveniently located behind the municipal hall.)

Colorful outriggers dot the shoreline. I found this pink lady trapped between the blue sea and sky.

Culasi, Antique is an easy drive from Roxas City on a paved highway. We left early in the morning and stopped for breakfast in Kalibo before continuing our journey to Culasi. Prior to embarking on our trip to Mararison, we paid the environmental fee of P20 and terminal fee of P10 at the Tourism Office behind the municipal hall. Senior citizens are exempt from paying these fees. 

There are a number of motorized outriggers waiting at the jetty outside the Office. We hired one for the 20-minute crossing to Mararison. The cost of a roundtrip is P750.00 for a maximum of five passengers. This included a circle island tour. It was all fast and simple to set up. We left our car at the parking lot in front of the Office. Our pumpboat waited for us until we were ready to return to Culasi. If you are traveling alone, you may join a group and share the cost. 

Frequent bus services from Iloilo, Kalibo and Caticlan stop in Culasi. The bus from Iloilo leaves from the Molo Terminal and it takes approximately three hours to reach Culasi. The Caticlan and Kalibo buses bound for Iloilo also stop in Culasi. See the schedule here: http://kalibo.org/bus-schedule-ceres/.

Homestays provide basic accommodations and there are also a couple of resorts on the island. Overnight stays can easily be arranged through the Culasi Tourism Office or you can shop around for a room when you arrive in Mararison but not during the summer season when the island welcomes a flood of visitors. If you plan to see more towns in Antique, I would suggest staying at Pandan Beach Resort in Pandan (30 minutes north of Culasi) which is on the beach and close to Bugang River (a popular destination for river rafting) and the town of Sebaste with its waterfalls. Check this link for more information about Pandan Beach Resort, 

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie


Friday, March 24, 2017

Pictures from Verona

"Pleasant Verona! With its beautiful old palaces, and charming country in the distance, seen from terrace walks, and stately, balustraded galleries. With its Roman gates, still spanning the fair street, and casting, on the sunlight of to-day, the shade of fifteen hundred years ago. With its marble-fitted churches, lofty towers, rich architecture, and quaint old quiet thoroughfares, where shouts of Montagues and Capulets once resounded....." Pictures from Italy, Charles Dickens, Chapter 8
The walls of Verona

Saturday, March 04, 2017

European Parliament votes to end visa-free travel for U.S. citizens

The European Parliament has voted to end visa-free travel for U.S. citizens after the U.S. failed to agree to allow visa-free entry to five members of the European Union namely, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Poland and Romania under a visa-free reciprocity agreement. "The vote urges the revocation of the visa-free scheme within two months."

The European Commission has been given two months to take legal steps to require visas for U.S. citizens entering the EU. The Commission, for its part, advocates "continued engagement and patient diplomatic contacts". 

How would this affect travel plans to Europe if the visa requirement is imposed? It will certainly add an extra inconvenience, acquiring a visa. How easy would it be to get one? How much will it cost? What is the duration of the visa? So many questions yet to be answered. If you're planning on traveling this summer to EU countries, you might want to hold off getting your ticket until the visa issue has been resolved. 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/europe-visa-free-travel-americans-european-parliament-vote-a7609406.html


Monday, February 27, 2017

5 Fun Things to Do in Pan-ay, Capiz

1. Visit Santa Monica Parish Church, a National Historical Landmark.
2. Try "puso", a specialty of Holy Grounds Coffee Shop located in front of the Church.
3. Go to Buntod Beach which has a commanding view of Olotayan Island.
4. Visit a heritage house, Balay ni Nanay Lording, and try their choriwich with thick hot chocolate.
5. Order pica-pica at Dante's Taberna on Friday and Saturday nights then dance the night away.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year 2017


Thank you 2016 for a rip-roaring year. Welcome 2017 and wishing all of you memorable travels in the new year.

******

Image by TravelswithCharie