About Carrie Kellenberger
Canadian expat Carrie Kellenberger has kept a home base with her husband in Asia since 2003. A prolific traveler, Carrie has funded her travels primarily as a writer, editor, travel blogger and photographer, but she has also worked as an educator, voice over artist, model and nightclub singer. She draws upon her 15+ years of travel experience to write about travel-related issues and the countries she has visited on her award-winning web site, My Several Worlds.
Her photography and travel articles have appeared in both print and online publications around the world, including Travel and Leisure Asia, Unearthing Asia and Hip Compass Escapes.
Latest Posts by Carrie Kellenberger
Several years ago after finishing my third year in Northeast China, we decided to embark on a three-month trip around Asia, part of which included a long train journey from Beijing to Xi’an to see the Terracotta Warriors.
I was going through travel photos recently, and stumbled upon these gems. I can honestly say in all these years of travel, they still remain one of the most impressive sights I have ever laid eyes on. They were also one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites I’ve visited, so I mean it when I say that this is a place that is close to my heart. There is no explaining the sheer magnitude of this find.
Looking to the far side of the pit, you can see there’s just one person sharing this incredible space with us. This was taken in February 2006. The photo below was taken in 2011. There were lots of people visiting that day and it has grown in popularity in just a few years.
Our journey started off in Xi’an after boarding the local mini bus to the archaeological site. We were the only foreigners on the bus; and our fellow passengers were mostly Chinese workers, who stared obviously at us while blowing smoke rings out the half cracked windows. Of course, the bus broke down out in the middle of nowhere, and we had to kill an hour waiting for the driver to fix the problem.
The Terracotta Warriors are undoubtedly one of the biggest archeological finds of the 20th century. The site is located just 1.5 kilometers easy of Emperor Qin Shi Huang‘s Mausoleum, in Lontong, Xi’an in Shaanxi Province. Qin Shi Huang became the Emperor of China in 246 BC and it took him 11 long years to finish the work on his mausoleum, which is said to contain untold treasures of historical and financial value. He ordered the construction of this massive terracotta army to accompany him into death. The site was uncovered by a group of farmers who uncovered some pottery while digging a new well bear the royal tomb in 1974.
A museum was built on site in 1975, and visitors have been flocking there in droves to see these life size figures of warriors arranged in battle formations. They are exact replicas of what the Imperial Guard wore in those days, and the mere site of them is simply magnificent. The sheer grandeur of this site will just blow your mind, especially when you stop to consider that three pits of warriors cover an area of 16,300 square meters. Altogether, there are over 7,000 soldiers standing on guard with their horses, chariots and weapons of war. It was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1987.
At the end, we spent some money on a few trinkets. It was obvious none of the vendors had made any sales that day, and they looked plain miserable in the bitterly cold wind. John bought me a beautiful Russian white fox fur hat, and we purchased a few warrior statues for gifts for our parents.
We also spent some time wandering around the Emperor’s Tomb. Although there wasn’t much to see, it was pretty neat to stand on that mound and learn about what was beneath our feet.
- Admission: Your admission covers entrance to the Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum Site as well as the Museum of Terracotta Warriors, Lishan Garden, and shuttle buses within the complex.
- CNY150 March to November
- CNY120 December to February
- From Xi’an: Tourist bus #5 (306) leaves from the east square of Xian Railway Station. Bus #307 leaves from the South Gate of Tang Paradise. The trip there takes about an hour.
- From Xi’an North Railway Station: Free shuttle buses leave from Xi’an North Railway Station. They run from 8am to 4pm and returned from the Terracotta Warriors Museum at 10:30am and 7:30pm.
- From Lintong District: Take Bus # 914, 915 or Special Line 101. The journey takes around 15 minutes.
- From Xi’an Xianyang International Airport: Take the Airport Shuttle Line 2 to Xi’an Railway Station. Tickets cost CNY25. The bus departs every hour starting at 10:15am at 1F of T2.
- By taxi: The fee is CNY200. Your driver might want to take you to see other sites, so be sure to tell him what you want to see first.
1,772 feet of fun. That’s what you can expect from Brighton Pier. A stunning seaside location in Brighton, Brighton Pier may have some stiff competition with other attractions located throughout the city, but it has still managed to hold on to its title as the top attraction in Brighton since 1823.
Brighton is one my favorite cities to visit. It’s rife with charm, it’s pretty as a postcard, and there’s a funky baseline to this city just waiting to be uncovered. Whether it’s shopping in the Lane, getting down with your bad self at Audio, enjoying some sunshine on Brighton Beach, facing the wind at Devil’s Dyke, hanging out with a Banksy or just unwinding in one of the city’s many pubs, Brighton has something for everyone.
And everyone, at some point or another, visits the iconic Brighton Pier.
It’s hard not to notice Brighton Pier as you’re driving along the beachfront. If the giant Ferris Wheel doesn’t give it away, you’ll almost certainly notice the seagulls circling the skies and the smell of popcorn in the air, that is, if you haven’t already spotted its distinctive iron and steel structure and flashing neon lights.
Back in 1823, Brighton Pier was known as Old Chain Pier, and it was mostly used as a landing stage for passenger ships sailing from France. The pier’s commercial value quickly became evident to its owners, however, and it wasn’t long before the strip was littered with souvenir kiosks, candy shops and fortune tellers. Visitors were charged $2 to enter.
Throughout the following decade, the Old Chain Pier was hammered by dozens of storms, and in 1834, a storm destroyed the pier entirely. Throughout the following decade, the pier was rebuilt only to be washed away by another raging storm, so it wasn’t until May 20th, 1899 that Brighton Pier was finally opened in a grand ceremony. On opening night, Brighton Pier was illuminated by 3,000 lights. Today, there are over 67,000 energy saving lights illuminating Brighton Pier.
Brighton Pier is probably best known for its arcade games and amusement park rides, although arcade games didn’t arrive until the 1980s. It has a reputation for being the first in England to introduce new games and rides. A concert hall was opened in 1911, and it eventually became a theater. Summer shows were held here, and the likes of Dick Emery, Doris & Elsie Waters performed on stage on the Brighton Pier. That stage is still on Brighton Pier today. You can find it in the Palm Court Fish and Chip Restaurant.
Today, you’ll find that admission to Brighton Pier is free. The owners have also provided free deck chairs, which are almost always in use. There’s nothing like taking a walk out to the sea, whether its a gorgeous sunny summer day, or a blustery winter day, Brighton Pier is always a treat.
Cable car adventures are one of my favorite things to do, no matter where I’m visiting. You’d think that would mean that I was one of the first to ride Taipei’s Maokong Gondola, which opened in Taipei’s Wenshan District in July 2007. But no, it’s now 2013 and I finally had my first cable car experience in Taipei this summer.
We avoided Maokong for a few reasons:
The line-ups are terrible. Utterly terrible. If you live or or have ever visited Taipei, you’ll get why this is a big deal for us. There are certain attractions we’ve just stayed away from simply because of the line-ups, and this is one of them. (The Flora Expo is another, but that’s a different post.)
The second reason had to do with the issues surrounding its safety. (Note my use of past tense, please. The gondola is now perfectly safe to ride.) Maokong Gondola was closed indefinitely in October 2008 because there were several mudslides in the area that rendered one of the gondola’s support pillars unable to withstand earthquakes. The pillar was relocated, while nearby pillars and the slopes supporting them were reinforced. The gondola passed a rigid set of safety inspections in March 2010, and it has been running smoothly ever since.
Anyways, we admitted this summer that we should’ve visited this gorgeous area years ago. Our fears of long line-ups went unfounded as well, although we’ve had friends who have complained about the long line-ups since we visited in August 2013.
Thankfully, there weren’t any line-ups on the day we visited. We didn’t wait for longer than 15 minutes for our Crystal Cabin cable car to take us scooting up the hill. All in all, it was a fairly smooth ride. I wasn’t prepared for the car to swing with the wind, but my attention was soon on the gorgeous views and tea plantations beneath my feet.
Moakong means “cat’s hallows”, but the area has nothing to do with cats whatsoever. This area of Taipei is known for its tea, and it was classified as a tourist tea plantation area in 1980. Since then, locals and visitors alike have been flocking to Maokong to drink tea, hike and take in the views. The area is lush with flora and fauna, with over 25% of the island’s butterfly species residing in the area. It’s also home to protected species such as the green tree frog and serpent eagle. Taiwan’s renowned Apricot Tree Garden is also a stunning attraction and best seen during the winter months of January and February.
Taipei Zoo Station and Taipei Zoo South Station
Both of these stations allow access to the Taipei Zoo. I’m not a zoo person by any means, but the Taipei Zoo is a pleasant enough experience. The animals seem well taken care of and the exhibits are quite pretty.
Zhinan Temple Station
Zhinan Temple is one of Taipei’s most beautiful temples, with three main shrines in the area. Linghsiao Shrine is the most popular of the three. On a clear day, you can see all of Wensheng, Xinyi and even Zhongzheng districts. Chunyang Shrine is the oldest shrine in Zhinan Temple. Tahsiung Shrine is the largest shrine in this temple complex, but it’s also the least popular.
Maokong Station is the most popular part of the Maokong line because of its numerous tea shops and tea plantations. It’s also the last station of the gondola. Unfortunately, there was a heavy haze over Taipei the day that we visited Maokong, so we didn’t get clear views of Taipei City. It didn’t really detract from our afternoon though. It was gorgeous and sunny out, and the air hung hot and humid. After walking for a bit, we decided to cool off at a local tea room.
Tea cultivation in Taipei started in the Muzha and Shenkeng areas of Taipei towards the end of the 18th century. Taiwan is best known for its Formosa Oolong Tea, which became an immediate success when it was first sent to New York in 1869. Today, Taiwan’s teas are known around the world, and you can have a first hand glimpse into Taiwan’s tea industry in Maokong, a district that is well known for its quality tea and local cuisine. There are over 50 teahouses and restaurants in Maokong, and the area has been divided into three excursion areas: The Red Zone, the Blue Zone, and the Yellow Zone.
The Red Zone boasts cultural and historical highlights that focus on the historical development of Taiwan’s local tea culture, with visits to attractions such as Three Stone Teapot Museum. The Blue Zone focuses on eco-tourism; visitors explore the potholes and other features of Maokong’s ecological landscape. The Yellow Zone focuses on scenic sightseeing, which include a bird’s-eye view of the Taipei Basin.
Maokong is a beautiful area to visit for anyone who is stressed out and needing a healthy injection of fresh air and nature. Maokong is a part of the Taipei Metro system, thus there is no excuse (as you’ve just learned from me!) for not visiting. The ride to the last station of the line takes around 15 minutes. During that time, you’ll enjoy approximately four kilometers of gorgeous green jungle and Taipei’s stunning skyline.
To get there: Take the MRT to Taipei Zoo MRT station, which is the last stop on the brown line. Go out Exit 2 and walk straight for around five minutes. You can board the Gondola at Taipei Zoo Station. Return tickets are NT$50. You can pay cash or use your EasyCard.
Caleb thought it would be a great idea to take a photo through the bottom of the cabin.
(Apologies for the quality of the image of this tea plantation, by the way. The Crystal Cabin panels aren’t as clear as you’d expect. No matter, though. There are plenty of photo ops at the top!)
This is the tea room we stopped at. They served us the most delicious fruit tea! It was perfect after an afternoon of hot and sweaty hiking.
Netherland’s gorgeous capital city Amsterdam is loaded with theaters, concert halls, art galleries and museums. Here are five things you can do in Amsterdam that are culturally interesting and worth exploring.
1. Visit the home of Anne Frank
Learn about the tragic history of the Jewish community in Amsterdam at the home of Anne Frank, where a young Jewish girl and her family hid for two yers during World War II at Prinsengracht 263. The home also includes a new wing, which features an exhibition about the persecution of Jews during the War.
2. Get Your Art On
Amsterdam is home to a world-class museum that has just been lavishly restored. Rijksmuseum houses the country’s largest collection of art and artifacts from the 15th century through to present day. Rembrandt’s The Night Watch and Vermeer’s Kitchen Maid are both displayed here in the opulent Gallery of Honour.
Mingle with the world’s greatest modern painters at Stedelijk Museum. The bathtub-shaped museum boasts an amazing collection of 20th and 21st century artists, including pre-war works by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall, and Cézanne.
The Van Gogh Museum holds over 200 paintings and 500 drawings, as well as Japanese paintings by his friend and one-time collaborator Gauguin.
3. Embark on a walking tour with Sandeman’s New Amsterdam Tours
What better way to see the city than on foot and for next-to-nothing? New Amsterdam Walking Tours are one of the most economical bargains in town, and there’s no better way to get up, close and personal with Amsterdam. Your three-hour tour includes the Red Light District, Anne Frank House, the Royal Palace and more. Guides work on a tip-only basis. Tours depart at 11:15am and 1:15pm from the National Monument at Dam Square.
4. Check out Amsterdam’s trendiest neighborhoods
One of Amsterdam’s most popular neighborhoods, Jordaan is not to be the area is now home to many students, young professionals and artists. Lively both day and night, Jordaan offers a great variety of trendy cafés, restaurants, shops and galleries.
9 Streets, also known as De Negen Straatjes, the nine little streets angling off from Amsterdam’s grand canals are widely regarded by locals as the Soho of Amsterdam. This charming little neighborhood is known for its specialist shops, where you can purchase anything from dolls and clothing to souvenirs and specialty cheeses for fairly reasonable prices.
5. Enjoy an authentic Dutch eating experience
For next to nothing, you can sample Amsterdam’s most famous local snack, raw herring. The best time to try herring is between May and July when new catches hit the stands. This is because you won’t require extra garnishes like onions and pickles because the fish tastes fresh and sweet. There are stalls all over town, but the best stalls are on Singel Haarlingersluis near Centraal Station.
5 Free Things To Do in Amsterdam
1. Explore Amsterdam’s Canal System
Exploring Amsterdam’s canal system is like walking around in a living museum. You might be surprised to know that Amsterdam has more canals flowing through the city than Venice. Amsterdam’s 400-year-old canals are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
2. Begijnhof: Amsterdam’s Secret Garden
This secret medieval courtyard’s main entrance is just off Gedempte Begijnensloot. Look for a plain wooden door amongst the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam’s busy city center, push it open and enter into an oasis of 14th century homes and gardens. Begijnhof is often described as a secret garden, and it was established as a convent in the 14th century. #34 is one of the oldest houses in Amsterdam. It’s also one of only two wooden houses remaining in the city. Only young women have been allowed to live in this home since its construction.
Location: Gedempte Begijnensloot
Daily 9am – 5pm
3. Check out Amsterdam’s trendy street markets
Amsterdam is home to a number of fantastic markets. The Bloemenmarkt, for example, is the world’s only floating flower market, and it has been snuggled in a city southern canal belt since 1862. Visitors can walk along the canal and enjoy the sights and sounds of this bustling Amsterdam market. Located at Singel, between Muntplein & Koningsplein, the market is comprised of 15 florists and garden shops that are set on houseboats.
Clothing, fabrics, souvenirs and household wares can be found at Albert Cuypstraat Markt in the De Pijp area of the city. One of the city’s largest markets, Albert Cuypstraat Markt dates back to 1904.
Albert Cuypstraat Markt Mon – Sat: 9.30am – 5pm
Bloemenmarkt Mon – Sat: 9am – 5.30pm, Sun: 11am – 5.30pm
4. Take in a free lunchtime concert
Take in a free 30-minute rehearsal concert at The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam’s famous classical music hall. During the city’s cultural arts season from September until June, you can spend your lunchtime sampling local music and culture as the musicians of Concertgebouw put on a free 30-minute public rehearsal for their official shows in the evening.
Performers from the opera and Dutch Philharmonic stage free lunchtime concerts at the Muziektheater once a week on Tuesdays from 12:30-1 p.m.
Concertgebouw: 12:30pm to 1pm on Wednesdays
Concertgebouwplein 2-6(off Van Baerlestraat)
Muziektheater: 12:30pm-1pm on Tuesdays
5. Take a ferry to NDSM-werf
Set sail for NDSM-werd on a free ferry from Centraal Station and explore a derelict shipyard that has transformed itself into an avant-garde arts community. Abandoned boats and trams have been left along the water’s edge, while a giant wooden tiki head watches over the more than 100 studios and theaters that are in area. Here you’ll find recycled-junk sculptures and graffiti artists roaming the streets. NDSM-werf has become a center for underground culture and events.
NDSM-werd: 11am to late
The free ferry leaves from Platform 1 behind Centraal Station from 9am to midnight. The journey takes approximately 15 minutes.
Top photo credit: wwp.greenwichmeantime. com
Last month, I was able to cross off two of my top ten bucket list destinations. It might’ve taken me a while to realize my dream of visiting Barcelona and La Sagrada Familia, but it was well worth the wait. I only wish I had gone sooner! I had to do some serious reshuffling on my “top five favorite cities ever” because I fell in love with Barcelona. There’s a stunning surprise around every corner. Plus, what’s not to like about tapas and beaches? Barcelona has everything.
La Sagrada Familia is Antoni Gaudi‘s masterpiece. A stunning example of warped Gothic architecture and a blend of everything that Gaudi had designed previously, La Sagrada Familia hasn’t been completed yet. It was started in 1882, and the story of its creation, along with the story of Gaudi’s brilliant career and subsequent downfall and death are like something out of a novel. Gaudi devoted the remaining years of his life to La Sagrada Familia. He poured his savings into the construction of it, and eventually ended up living in the cathedral. He was tragically killed in a tram accident at the age of 73.
La Sagrada Familia is a collection of religious symbolism, and it’s filled with all the characters that represent the life of Jesus. When La Sagrada Familia is complete, it will have a total of 18 towers. Each tower is dedicated to a different religious figure in history, and each tower is completely hollow to allow the placement of various types of bells.
Proceeds from tourism fund its ongoing construction, which should be finished by 2026. It’s sad that Gaudi never got to see his life’s work completed. At the time of his death, only the crypt and the Nativity tower had been built.
Geneva is a fascinating city that holds ancient history, cosmopolitan diversity and international charm and status. Switzerland’s most populous city offers beauty around each and every corner. It is consistently ranked as one of the best cities in the world in regards to quality of life, and it has long been a popular destination for expatriates. Geneva is often referred to as the world’s most compact metropolis and the world’s Peace Capital. It’s also one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Geneva is flanked by two mountain chains, the Alps and the Jura. Winters are generally mild, while summers are pleasantly warm and comfortable. The variety of tourist attractions makes Geneva a popular tourist destination, no matter the time of year. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Geneva.
Geneva for Environmentally-Green Travelers
Geneva’s Lac Léman Lakefront
Being situated on one of the most famous lakes in the world, the Lakefront is the city’s greatest landmark. t provides an exceptional view of the lake and surrounding mountains. With its colorful quays full of gorgeous flowers, it’s hard not to fall in love with this idyllic setting.
It is also home to Jet d’Eau, which is known all over the world as a symbol for Geneva. The fountain pumps water 140 meters in the air. It was once used for pressure release for a hydro-power generation on the Rhône River, but it was created as an official fountain in 1891. The fountain is best viewed at a distance since the ground is soaked from the water fountain for a half-kilometer radius.
On the right shore of the lake after crossing the Mont-Blank bridge, you’ll be able to see the 19th century Brunswick Monument. The Pâquis jetty with its lighthouse and beach in the middle of the city is beautiful any time of year. This is where Geneva’s smart set come to swim.
The Flower Clock
Geneva’s botanical flower clock has been emulated worldwide, but there’s nothing like seeing the original botanical timekeeper with your own eyes. The Flower Clock is one of the most photographed sites in Switzerland; it’s also a symbol of Switzerland’s esteemed watch industry.
This renewable living piece of art can be found at the corner of Jardin Anglais, just a few steps from Geneva Lake. The flower clock was created in 1955. Flower arrangements are changed according to the season, and at any given time there are approximately 6,500 flowers and plants planted within the arrangement.
Geneva’s Alpine Garden
Geneva’s Alpine Garden is the perfect place to enjoy nature and learn about Geneva’s plant heritage. It’s also famous for its stunning collections of living plants and unusual rock formations. The one-hectare garden holds 110 rock formations, which contain plants that are based on a geographical basis. Other rock formations are based on various themes, such as collections of various genres and Swiss-protected plants.
Bois de la Bâtie (Bâtie Woods)
A 39-acre forest set in the heart of the city, Bâtie Woods offers beautiful shaded walkways alongside the stunning river Arve. There is also a children’s playground and an animal park there, making this natural attraction a family friendly venue. Created in 1874, the park hosts various sports and leisure facilities, especially in the area of Jonction District, where the rivers Rhône and Arve connect.
Geneva offers nature in the center of the city in Bastions Park. This is where the city’s first botanical garden was created. The world-renowned Reformation Wall and can also be found here. The park offers a stunning promenade that is lined with trees and monuments. One of its most famous attractions is the giant chessboard, which attracts players and spectators alike. The winter ice rink and children’s playground are also free to use.
Geneva for Culture Vultures
A Mediterranean village set in the heart of the city, Carouge is an ancient market town that used to belong to the Kingdom of Sardinia. The village is the Genevan version of la dolce vita and it offers a distinct Italian flare. The food shops, art galleries, and boutiques that line the streets offer a lively ambience and a Bohemian flair, while the architecture is a stunning reflection of its Sardinian origins. The shaded terraces of Carouge are the perfect place to relax and unwind. It’s no wonder that Carouge is often referred to as the Greenwich Village of Geneva.
A veritable architectural jewel, Chillion Castle is just an hour outside of Geneva. This ancient castle is situated on a lake on the Swiss Rivera; the surrounding landscape provides a gorgeous natural setting for the medieval castle. If you like historic monuments, you’ll certainly want to visit this fortress, prison and royal residence. Chillion Castle will take you right back to life during the Middle Ages. Its rooms, halls, towers, ramparts and basements are all there for exploring.
The Patek Philippe Museum
The Patek Philippe Museum takes visitors through 500 years of watchmaking. Located in the heart of the Plainpalais District, the museum opened in 2001 to showcase the most beautiful creations from these world-famous watchmakers. Visitors can admire an incredible collection of watches alongside musical automata and enamel miniatures from the 16th through 19th centuries. There is also a museum library that is dedicated to horology and related subjects.
The highest point of Old Town, St Peter’s Cathedral offers a gorgeous panorama of the city. The cathedral was built in the 12th century, and it has undergone several important transformations through to the 16th century. The walls of the cathedral were started in 1160, but construction continued on them for close to a century.
Adventure seekers might consider scaling the heights of the cathedral. There are 157 stairs in the north tower. Those who climb them are rewarded with a stunning view of the city and lake. The vaults of the cathedral also house the largest archaeological site north of the Alps, with treasures that date back to Antiquity.
Getting There and Around
You can find cheap flights to Geneva at any time of year. Traveling within Europe means that you can also get to Geneva by train, car and by ferry.
In typical Swiss fashion, Geneva is very easy to navigate and visitors staying in a Geneva hotel or hostel are now entitled to a free daily travel pass for local transport. Ask your hotel concierge for more details.
If public transportation isn’t your style, don’t worry. Geneva is an extremely walkable city. The Old Town can easily be visited on foot starting anywhere around the tour boat dock on Lake Geneva.
Seeing the city by bicycle is also a great way to get around the city. The Old Town is hilly, but most of the city is fairly flat. There is also a safe, fast route to wherever you want to go. Genèveroule lends bicycles free of charge from the end of April through to the end of October. You can keep the bicycle for four hours free of charge. After that, a small fee of CHF 2 is added per hour. You must show some form of ID and leave a deposit of CHF 20 to rent your bicycle. City maps are available at all six stations.
If you think all Dublin has to offer is traditional Irish music, pints of Guinness and old-fashioned pubs then you should hop on a ferry, cross the Irish Sea and discover this modern, vibrant city.
Although today’s Dublin does retain its authentic charm, it’s also a young, cosmopolitan and cultural city. Dublin has everything you’d expect from a modern European capital, including fantastic shopping, trendy bars and a thriving nightlife.
Add to this mix the city’s large student population, friendly locals and cool, laid-back style, and you have the makings of a unique city break.
So forget any preconceptions you have about Ireland and instead see our guide to what modern Dublin has to offer:
From trendy fashion boutiques to markets, Dublin is a shopper’s paradise. Two of the city’s main shopping streets are Grafton Street and Henry Street, where locals and tourists alike can browse through well known high street stores, as well as a number of small independent shops. For those looking for something a bit different head to one of Dublin’s numerous markets. Different markets are held throughout the city and are perfect for discovering the unusual, whether you’re hunting for antiques, searching for second-hand books, or looking for cool accessories.
Restaurants and bars
Nothing demonstrates Dublin’s cosmopolitan credentials more than its vast array of restaurants specialising in cuisines from around the world. Whether you’re in the mood for Asian, Middle Eastern, American, Italian or traditional Irish dishes, there is bound to be something to get your taste buds salivating. Dublin’s eating options also cater to all price ranges, so even if you’re a hard up student, finding somewhere good to eat won’t be a problem.
When it comes to drinking, forget downing pints of Guinness and instead go to one of Dublin’s many trendy bars where you can enjoy a cocktail while mingling with the city’s young, fashionable crowd. Temple Bar is the famous, and most popular, Dublin drinking district, however if you explore further afield you’ll find many modern, cool and just as popular bars and restaurants.
Dublin’s Trinity College means that the city is full of students, which also means that it’s not short on nightclubs. The city’s clubs cater to all tastes from hard core raves to those in the mood for some salsa dancing, just click onto one of the city’s nightclub guides and you’re bound to find something that will tempt you away from a good night’s sleep. Many of the main clubs are located in the city centre and the more popular ones are known to pack out quickly, so don’t leave it too late if you’re planning to hit some of the city’s liveliest hotspots.
Comedy and culture
When it comes to comedy and culture, Dublin is a city to be reckoned with. It not only hosts the Dublin Fringe Festival and a week-long Fashion Festival, but the city also holds many smaller festivals throughout the year. Coming up at the end of October is the Bram Stoker Festival, which not only celebrates Stoker’s novel Dracula, but also all things ghoulish and supernatural.
The Irish are famed for their cheeky charm and sense of fun, so it is no wonder that Dublin holds numerous comedy nights and events, which regularly feature many of the city’s home grown talents while the occasional world-famous comedian makes an appearance. Well, at least one Irish stereotype has truth to it!
Written by Derin Clark, a writer, editor and blogger.
Top Image by Jose Hernandez
Gastronomers delight in dining out in Manila in the Philippines because the city offers a smorgasbord of international cuisines, street food, and weekend market that offer meals that are influenced by Spanish, Chinese and Malay cuisines. Here are some popular Filipino foods that you should look out for when you visit Manila.
Pork adobo is the national dish of the Philippines. Adobo is very simple to make, but every version seems different. There are three essentials ingredients to pork adobo: garlic, vinegar and soy sauce. Pork adobo has a sweet, carmelized flavor, although every version differs with whomever is cooking it.
The Filipinos are avid pork eaters and they’ve mastered the art of roasting pig. Filipino lechon is one dish that you’ll see almost everywhere in the Philippines. You’ll find streets stands roasting a whole pig on a spit. Crispy suckling pig can be quite delicious!
Barbecued isaw is also a local favorite. Otherwise known as chicken intestines or pork intestines, is also a local favorite. The intestines are washed, turned inside out and washed again. The cleaning process is repeated several times. Isaw is then grilled or grilled on sticks and then dipped in kurat. (A Filipino term for vinegar with onions, peppers, and other spices).
If you’re squeamish about blood, this next dish probably isn’t for you. Betamax consists of cubes of barbecued pig’s blood.
Adidas is a dish that consists of chicken feet or chicken heads. The feet or heads are marinated in a mixture of calamansi, spices and brown sugar. Then they’re grilled.
Balut also isn’t for the faint of heart. It consists of a 17-day-old fertilized and boiled duck embryo. Balut is often listed as one of the most unusual foods in the world. It might not look very appetizing, but it isn’t a local delicacy for nothing. This 17-day-old duck embryo is boiled, served with rock salt or spicy vinegar and is often consumed with beer.
Kwek-kwek is also a local favorite. It consists of boiled chicken or quail eggs that are deep-fried in an orange batter.
Tapa is a type of beef jerky that is commonly eaten for breakfast.
Don’t miss out on the chance to try a classic Filipino breakfast. Tapsilog consists of beef jerky, fried garlic rice, and a fried egg.
Sinanglay is a staple Filipino food. Fresh tilapia is stuffed with tomatoes and onions, then simmered in coconut milk and wrapped in pechay leaves (similar to bokchoy). The pechay leaves help to keep the fish together and lends a peppery taste to the dish.
Seafood lovers will almost certainly enjoy and order or two of Nilasing na hipon (shrimp marinated in alcohol) and ulo ng pusit (crispy squid head) are two dishes that are a must-try for fish lovers.
Shrimp sinigang delivers a tasty explosion of the tastebuds. Fresh shrimp are marinated in a taramind broth that bursts with flavor.
Manila is a hot, humid city. There’s no better way to beat the heat than with a big bowl of halo-halo. Consisting of shaved ice, boiled sweet beans and fruit toppings, halo-halo is a popular dish that is well loved by most Filipinos.
Sago Gula Melaka is a sugary concoction of sago pearls, palm sugar syrup and santan. And, don’t forget to wash it all down with an ice cold San Miguel beer.