Berlin Summer

Happy Swiss National Day everyone and greetings from Berlin! It’s great to be back in our neighbourhood, to catch up with our local friends as well as our visiting friends.

Top left and clockwise; Christoph and I joined the party on Christopher Street Day, I finally got to hoon around the city with friends in my little Hot Rod, sharing the fun of bouldering with little AG and Christoph giving AH a lift when she was visiting us with her dad, CH.

Top left and clockwise; Christoph and I joined the party on Christopher Street Day, I finally got to hoon around the city with friends in my little Hot Rod, sharing the fun of bouldering with little AG and Christoph giving AH a lift when she was visiting us with her dad, CH.

Despite the unpredictable weather, we’ve been thoroughly enjoying being outdoors, on our bikes and sharing our love of Berlin with our wonderful friends. We have another few days with our current visitor, BF, and then we’ll head north to visit Christoph’s mum.

A good friend told me a long time ago that the three keys to happiness is to have someone to love, something to do each day and something to look forward to. We try to keep that in mind whenever we make plans and I can tell you that so far, this summer has been a blast! Hope your summer (or winter, for those in the southern hemisphere) is too! Happy Days!

Feeding the Soul

We are in our last few days in Berlin and have started packing for our flight back to Shanghai this weekend. We had such a fabulous time visiting our dear friends in Switzerland. It was an epic road trip to make sure we were able to touch base with friends we haven’t seen in a long while. If we missed you, we do apologise, but it was definitely a squeeze for time. We hope to make it to you when we next have the opportunity!

We could not have asked for nicer weather, Walenstadt.

We could not have asked for nicer weather, Walenstadt.

Christoph and I soaked in the most stunning weather which allowed us to take plenty of walks through the most simply beautiful places. I’m sure almost every Swiss resident is aware of how lucky they are to be so close to such amazing nature. I love the mountains, especially when they are snow-capped. I love the green with the abundance of trees in all shapes and sizes. I love the blue with wispy clouds and then the smattering of stars in the evening sky. All these aspects of nature when living in a big city are the details we forget; that we miss them. And when we do get to see them again, we smile, like the smile we give to a long lost friend ;o) Here’s a small selection of places that made us smile on our trip.

Having a cuppa at one of our favourite spots in Lucerne.

Having a cuppa at one of our favourite spots in Lucerne.

So thank you to RR, HR, PZ, CZ, MS, JB, SS, LZ, MM, IR, MF, JF, GM, LA, OM, BT, LK, JK, YS, KB and AK for the best Easter break we’ve had in a long time! ”Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”- Marcel Proust.

Happy Easter Weekend!

Greetings from a beautiful sunny Easter day in Switzerland. We’ve been loving the time we’re having with friends and family and have definitely been indulging in good food, good wine and good conversation in each instance. With such great company each day, how could we not?!

Our neighbour saying hello. 

Our neighbour saying hello. 

We have been and are trying to counter the indulgence by talking regular walks in the fresh air.

Christoph at one of his favourite walking paths near the Zurich airport; a popular plane-spotting location. 

Christoph at one of his favourite walking paths near the Zurich airport; a popular plane-spotting location. 

We’re now half-way through our Swiss road trip with more laughs to come; see you soon!! xx

The Average Australian

It’s been a full schedule of meetings and gatherings since I’ve been in Australia. Christoph is back in the office while I’m in my final leg of this visit.

What struck Christoph and I on this trip was the fact that we are seeing so many different backgrounds and faces all mixed together. South African property agents, Pakistani taxi drivers, Sudanese Uber drivers, Indian retailers, Chinese bankers, German plumbers, Swedish waiters, Vietnamese beauticians... the list can go on and on. I’m certain we can find someone from almost every country on earth here but what is wonderful is that every one of them call Australia home :o)

Also, I finally have some photos from our time together in Perth and Sydney. Have a look in the Photo Gallery!

Western Australia’s South-West Region

Greetings from Karridale! Not a place many would know but a hint is that we’re not too far from Margaret River, WA’s premier wine region.

We’re tucked away in our forest accommodations for the next couple of days. 

We’re tucked away in our forest accommodations for the next couple of days. 

Christoph and I reunited in Perth almost a week ago and are currently down south exploring this fabulous region of Western Australia. There is a lot of beautiful coastline to see, beaches to swim at, wines to sip and coffees to enjoy. Also great hiking to be had but we’ll need to plan for that on our next extended visit.

I’ve been away from Perth most of my adult life and other than the handful of trips down south as a teenager, I haven’t had too many opportunities to fully enjoy what the area has to offer. So being here with Christoph and travelling through the area together has been magical. We plan to visit Hamelin Bay tomorrow to visit the wild stingrays... photos of our WA trip will come soon!

Home Sweet Home

Greetings from a sunny blue-sky November day in Shanghai. It’s been a travel busy few months, which of course I loved but I am also happy to be back home. I hope you all had a wonderfully sun-blissed summer as well.

While I was in Greece with Linh, Christoph was kept busy with work. The factory project, new government policies and visiting colleagues fill his days which turn into weeks. So as the October National Holidays approached, Christoph was definitely ready for a break from the grind. We met in Berlin, re-packed and went on a driving holiday with friends, UM and TM, through Scotland. We flew into Glasgow, picked up a car and headed straight for the Highlands. What a magnificent area!

The pass at Glen Coe

The pass at Glen Coe

Our itinerary was Glasgow-Glen Coe-Dornie-Inverness-Perth-Edinburgh-Glasgow. The country’s landscape is just spectacular and we hope to go back again for a longer visit in the future. The main challenge with a Scotland trip is the unpredictable weather. We had a few days of light drizzle, one day of horizontal rainfall with high winds, a few overcast days but of the 9 full days, we had 3 beautiful clear blue sky days and felt very lucky for it :o)

Some highlights from our trip were the Pass at Glen Coe (see above picture), the Eileen Donan and Urquart Castles, the Porridge Making World Championships at Carrbridge, a cool gin bar in Perth, the Royal Mile and Whisky Experience in Edinburgh and meeting many warm and friendly Scots along the way.

After Scotland, we headed to Switzerland for a very short visit as we promised Christoph’s dad last year that we would attend his Autumn Party on October 13. We were both quite travel weary by then; arriving into Zurich on October 12 and after going up and down a mountain, flew out on October 14. However fatigued we both were, it was worth the effort as we were rewarded with the most fabulous weather, views and company.

The view over the Lake of Lucerne from Stoos. 

The view over the Lake of Lucerne from Stoos. 

I miss all the beautiful landscapes and scenery we saw but it all reminds me of how extraordinary our world is and how lucky we are to be able to see and enjoy it. I’ll post photo galleries of the various trips soon :o)

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

I hope this finds you all well and enjoying the cooler or warmer upcoming weather. Our many family and friends cover both hemispheres and we think of you often so Happy Mid-Autumn Festival everyone!

Linh on Sarakiniko Beach, Milos

Linh on Sarakiniko Beach, Milos

My apologies for the absence from writing but I’ve been held captive by the beauty of my current travels. After Shanghai, I returned to Berlin to meet Linh for our next side EU trip; this time to Greece. Our itinerary is Athens-Sifnos-Milos-Athens. We have our last morning on Milos and will take the ferry back to Athens this afternoon. I will post more extensively once I have a stable internet connection again, but for now, the above photo is a glimpse of what’s been keeping me awe-inspired. And truly, no photoshop or editing required as the colours are perfectly stunning.

The Travelling Sisters Are At It Again!

Linh joined me couple of weeks ago and we began our tour through the Baltic States. Christoph and I had been there before and I really wanted to share it with my sister. We had an added bonus that a Shanghai friend of mine, VB, also happened to be in Europe this summer and joined us for the second half of the trip.

Linh and I met in Berlin and made our way to Warsaw-Vilnius-Riga-Tallinn-Helsinki. VB joined us in Riga and once we three reached Helsinki, Linh went on to London while VB and I flew back to Berlin.

Top left and clockwise: Warsaw National Opera Theatre, University of Warsaw Library rooftop garden, open-air concert in Vilnius, re-enacting the start of the Baltic Way, Vilnius.

Top left and clockwise: Warsaw National Opera Theatre, University of Warsaw Library rooftop garden, open-air concert in Vilnius, re-enacting the start of the Baltic Way, Vilnius.

Linh and I had a very pleasant train ride from Berlin to Warsaw. That evening, we went to the National Opera Theatre, a fabulous building, and saw the European Union Youth Orchestra play. We then spent the following days exploring the Old Town, the gardens at the Warsaw University Library, the Riverside and a local neighbourhood with Vietnamese markets where we ate quite good Vietnamese food.

Warsaw was followed by Vilnius, a city I loved from my last visit. We were there during the Assumption and so we visited many of the churches while services were underway. We joined a walking tour and found out that Vilnius was in its hey-day considered ‘the Jeruselam of Europe.’ They once had a population comprising of roughly 58,000 Jews and by the end of WWII, only about 2,000 Jews were left. It’s such a violent and regrettable history.

Top left and clockwise: Art Nouveau District, Riga, the interiors of the beautiful buildings, Linh at the Tallinn Old Town, the end of the Baltic Way, Tallinn. 

Top left and clockwise: Art Nouveau District, Riga, the interiors of the beautiful buildings, Linh at the Tallinn Old Town, the end of the Baltic Way, Tallinn. 

We continued our trip with a luxurious bus ride to Riga where we met VB. If you have an interest in Art Nouveau, Riga would be the place for you. It has the highest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe. Also, more and more buildings are gradually being restored each year and walking around the already beautiful district is just stunning. From Riga we again took a bus to Tallinn and soaked in the Old Town and its sights. Keep Tallinn in mind as I won’t be surprised when Tallinn, Estonia pops up to become a leading force in the culinary scene in 5 or so years. The food and beverage were sensational.

Top left and clockwise: at the Sibelius Monument, Helsinki, the amazing Temppeliaukio Church and finally back to Berlin’s East-Side Gallery.

Top left and clockwise: at the Sibelius Monument, Helsinki, the amazing Temppeliaukio Church and finally back to Berlin’s East-Side Gallery.

From Tallinn, a short ferry ride delivered us to Helsinki. The city unfortunately looks quite drab, which is most probably due to the long cold winters. But being faced with those long cold spells, the Fins became fantastic at creating cosy indoor environments. We explored the Design District, popped into many boutique stores, visited the Design Museum and Arabia Design Centre. The city blew me away with its love of all things aesthetically pleasing. An absolute highlight was the Temppeliaukio Church, or also known as the Rock Church. Designed in 1961 with construction completed in 1969, it is a church of which I have never before seen nor imagined. I am determined to re-visit Helsinki with Christoph in tow... along with an empty suitcase!