I rave so much about Copenhagen and London in this blog – and rightfully so, they are my two most visited cities in Europe – that you would think I love no other cities in this beautiful continent apart from those two. But there is a third city that I have visited just as many times, and adore just as much, but have not written a single post on it in this blog.
And like I said, it’s not because I dislike Stockholm in any way – in fact, the capital of Scandinavia has always been one of my favourite cities; there is nothing not to love about its beautiful architecture, the people, the culture and gorgeous waterfront views.
Up until two months ago, the city of Bath was a huge mystery to me. Every time I mentioned I was visiting London, everyone would throw in a casual question on whether I would be visiting Bath. And whenever I said I was not going to, they would say that I should since Bath is very beautiful. Now, even though I do agree we live in a beautiful world, ‘beautiful’ to me is the most non descriptive word to describe a place. It tells nothing about how a place looks like. To me, this is what a beautiful place is like.
And so is this.
So I decided I just had to visit the place myself to see what all the ‘beautiful’ fuss is all about. It was a day when I needed a little break from London, and Bath could not have been more of a perfect place to go and clear my mind. I took the train from London Paddington and arrived slightly less than two hours later. (I missed the original train that I intended to take because I stayed on my bed a little too long). A beautiful sight greeted me. Continue reading “Why Bath is beautiful.”→
It was a cold and rather gloomy morning on my last day in London back in December 2012. I was flying to Copenhagen that night on the eve of Christmas Eve (if there is such a phrase) before the tubes stopped working, and I did not plan for any itinerary for the day (because it completely slipped my mind). I knew Little Venice was just around the corner to where I was staying at Paddington, so I decided to test my sense of direction and just explored the area by foot. Which was a really brave move considering I practically had no sense of direction and had no idea how to get to Little Venice. So I set off from my hostel shortly after breakfast, turned left instead of right as I had done all the days before this on my way to the tube, and started my little walking adventure. I walked for a distance till I reached the end of Westbourne Terrace, and I decided to look back to the street that I have been treading every single day over the past 7 days to find this.
So here is the deal: I did not go to Bali just to eat, as this post and this post seem to have suggested.
Instead, I was there to attend a wedding, a very beautiful one if I may add.
It may not have started perfectly. It rained heavily and the venue for the vows had to be moved from a beautiful spot by the beach to a sheltered open hut. (And I arrived extremely late that I missed the saying of the vows, but the bride and groom do not have to know this. For a valid reason though since my hairdresser was an hour late!). But as the afternoon and the night progressed, it just got better.
After the ceremony, there were cocktails and canapes, which were amazing. I did not even know what cocktails I had and did not bother asking, but they were really good and the appetizers tasty. Not much good picture from the first part and this was the best one that I got.
After that came my favourite part: the wedding reception. It was set in a beautiful tent with a row of 6 tables (I think), each table decorated with beautiful flower arrangement. The whole setup together with the fairy lights surrounding it created a very dreamy atmosphere.
Leave me alone with nothing planned and I will do this: eat.
On my last day travelling solo in Bali, I could not recall doing anything else apart from ensuring that my tummy was not in want. One of the highlights in my not-so-adventurous pursuit of traditional dishes was babi guling or Balinese roast pork.
Bali is probably the only place in Indonesia whereby you can taste a lot of varieties of pork, served in non Chinese style. Being a country with the largest Muslim population in the world, most of the restaurants serve halal food since it does not make much business sense to ignore the meal preference of close to 90% of the population.
Bali is different though. The majority of the population in the island is Hindu, which means that they eat pork but abstain from beef, which is perfect for me since I do not eat beef. This is why you can find blatant selling of pork and pigs being hung which will leave the people in other parts of Indonesia gasp in horror.
So anyway, back to babi guling. You can find this everywhere in Bali, but two of the more famous branches are Babi Guling Ibu Oka in Ubud and Warung Pak Malen at Kuta/Seminyak area.
Since Bali rained on me on my first day here travelling solo, I had nothing to do apart from enjoying my hotel suite. It was a classic example of a beautiful accident – I was just looking for the best deals for hotels in Agoda and not even realising that I had booked a hotel suite for myself.
So I wasn’t complaining that I had to be stuck in my room for the whole afternoon. But when night came and it was time for dinner, I grew a little restless. Since the rain had stopped, I decided to venture out for some food. I was contemplating whether to be adventurous and tried something new, but thought better of it and decided to be safe and sinful. I went for Naughty Nuri’s Warung, an amazing BBQ pork ribs restaurant that I visited during my last trip to Bali in September, and this time I was going to have a whole rack for myself!
Contrary to popular belief, I have long established myself as an introvert. In travelling terms, this explains the reason why I find so much joy in taking long plane rides alone or even take off for a solo travel.
Don’t get me wrong, I love travelling with friends. Not only is it a lot of fun, but also having friends around has a lot of benefits, one of the obvious ones being that you have someone to help you snap the cool shots, especially if you are travelling with skillful photographer friends, you will not have to worry about not having that new profile picture on Facebook (and they won’t complain if you ask them to help you snap photos because hey, after all, you are helping them practise their photography skills).
But back to the point of travelling solo. I remember there was a point some time last year that I just ended up feeling so suffocated by following everyone else’s travel demands. In the end I booked a solo trip to Copenhagen and London on impulse at the expense of end-of-year travel to Vietnam with my friends.