Month: July 2018

The Block Arcade, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

The Block Arcade is a beautiful testament to historical architecture and Victoria’s efforts to preserve traditional buildings. It has boutique stores and a quaint café scene. The arcade is a great place to explore when arcade hopping through Melbourne. Look for details, in the tiles on the floor and the window facades. Look for the spiral staircases and the nutcrackers. It’s a perfect photo opportunity for vintage aesthetics and the perfect place to get lost in.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

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Citronella Café, Hoi An, VIETNAM

The Citronella Café in Hoi An sits overlooks the river. Jump on the free wifi and sip on unique cocktails as you watch the night pass you by. It’s a perfect vantage point to see lights float through the water, gondolas pole past and the lanterns twinkle from the markets across the way.

I’d go back, just for the terrace ambience. I definitely appreciated the respite from the buzzing energy of Hoi An nightlife.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Oaks Club Resort, Queenstown, New Zealand

I had a strange stay here. There were several really positive experiences and a few negative ones.

We stayed for about a week at Oaks Club in Queenstown.

The hotel offers a shuttle service to the city Centre, however we didn’t make as much use of it as we would have liked to is it came on the hour, didn’t run through the middle of the day and was often fully booked.

We also had a day tour booked (through an external agency) who tried to contact us that there were complications. The resort did not leave any messages on our room phone, no notes under the door- nothing to notify us of this. So, we sat in the foyer for over an hour waiting for the tour pick-up, and the receptionist said nothing to us. A simple conversation would have saved a lot of grief.

Our last concern is that it’s so far removed from the city centre that dinner is an issue for late international arrivals. There was no one to greet us when we checked in, and we had a lot of trouble trying to find dinner after a long day of travel. The partner restaurant, Shores, had closed for the evening and we didn’t have our bearings yet, so we had to figure out how to order a pizza. Thank goodness for delivery!

On a lighter note, the room was spectacular. The views were really special, the living area was spacious and the beds heated. There’s a lovely walk along the lake that takes you to the city and is absolutely worth the stroll. The vista from our balcony was truly breathtaking. Waking up to views of Lake Wakitipu every morning really made up for all our woes. Autumn is the best time to go. Golden leaves pepper the waterline and the Remarkables are lightly dusted with snow.

I don’t think you should be scared by our stories- by no means are our accounts ‘traveler horror stories’. Just a reflection of the undertraining of a transient staff, an issue I hear occurs often in Queenstown.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Mongkok, HONG KONG

Mongkok is vibrant energy! It’s the Hong Kong that I pictured in my head, it’s the sounds of life and the smells of old. Martial Arts movie stars could swing through shop windows at any moment. A little girl darts across the street. Sugar cane is pressed. Roast ducks hang in the windows.

Situated in Kowloon Bay, Mongkok is opposite Hong Kong Island and can be accessed by ferry or subway. It’s less western than Hong Kong Island and maintains a strong Asian flavour.

In Mongkok you’ll find cheap Hong Kong street food, sneaker street, goldfish street and the Ladies Markets. The streets are a labyrinth that snake above and below ground. The area has an erratic pulse that moves through the laneway shadows and the thundering trucks.

Go in the late afternoon. Grab a bargain. See the lights buzz and flicker on. A neon wonderland.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Brunetti’s, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Brunetti’s is an Italian dessert paradise. There’s a store located in Lygon Street and in Bourke Street. If you find it, this shop could tide you over through breakfast, brunch, lunch and afternoon tea.

If anything, go see the desserts in the display windows; they are decadent. They are to die for. Small and shareable treats, there’s something for everyone’s palette. Fruity, savoury and butty rich and chocolatey, light custard; whatever you want, they have it. And they make it with full-bodied Italian flair. Do yourself a favour and spend the afternoon here over a coffee. What a scrumptious delight!

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Speights Alehouse, Queenstown, NEW ZEALAND

Speights Alehouse is modern gourmet pub food for the discerning customer. We were drawn in by the lunch specials and the tantalising menu. They offer information about providence, where the lamb came from, how the fish was caught, sustainable farming, gate to plate produce.

And the food tasted good. Really good. Tender, succulent, rich, simple. We ate here several times through our week in Queenstown and discovered that you should come early in the evening as it becomes quite popular later on. It’s a family venue celebrating history all over its walls. (And free wifi-!)

Bangers and mash, catch of the day, roast lamb and potatoes. Treat yourself to a hearty, locally sourced meal.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China 

Tiananmen Square is such an interesting place. Harsh, brutalist buildings enclose a vast empty space right before Chairman Mao. It’s true grandeur.

We made a couple of rookie mistakes purely because we had no idea what we were doing and we couldn’t speak a word of Mandarin. We alighted the subway at Tiananmen Square and planned to see it and the Forbidden City in one venture. When we reached street level, we saw enormous queues and security check points cutting off any direction remotely leading toward where we wanted to go. We couldn’t check if we were in the right place or where to go, or why there was security because we couldn’t speak the language, so we walked around. We walked a full length of the Forbidden City, through a local community until we reached the side entrance and entered there. It took us some time to figure this out.

When we came back to Tiananmen Square, it was sundown and the queues were less, so we went through the security check point. Lo and behold, both the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square are right there before you.

Moral: follow the crowd.

In a serendipitous coincidence, dusk was the perfect time to be here. The major road was blocked off for a slow of military might as the army marched in to lower the flag. Be there for that if you can.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.