Archive of ‘Travel’ category

A Taste of Belgium

While exploring Belgium, we stayed at Hotel Amigo which is conveniently around the corner from the Grand Place, the beautiful central square of Brussels that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  With its looming grand-scale structures (which I could not fully capture with a 50 mm lens, sadly), gilded ornate spires and intricate architectural details, the square was truly a sight to behold. BrusselsBrusselsNightly, a light show commenced that illuminated each towering spire set to a surreal instrumental melody that echoed around the square, much to all the revelers’ delight. BrusselsBrusselsAs soon as we arrived, we started sampling the world renowned Belgian chocolates. Asking locals about their favorite chocolate was akin to asking whether they had a favorite child for each chocolatier has his own specialty, working with distinct flavors, textures, and styles.  Competition is quite fierce even among top chocolatiers. Popular shops had lines out the door and at Pierre Marcolini‘s bustling shop, Pierre himself was on the floor greeting customers.Pierre Marcolini, BrusselsFrom Brussels, we took the train over to Bruges, which happened to be the most charming place I have been in recent memory.Bruges
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Highlights from Amsterdam

As some of you know, we spent the holidays zipping through the Netherlands, Belgium and France by train {a most preferable way to travel} and since this post is a few months delayed with my memory beginning to fade, taking time to peruse the pictures has given me renewed appreciation of all that we encountered for even in the dead of winter, Amsterdam was perfectly picturesque.  Enjoy.

Have you noticed that some buildings lean forward ever so slightly? Apparently, it’s so one can use a pulley system to bring large items up and through the windows.  The canal district is unbelievably charming, and as for all the bicycles, there is nearly one for every person living in Amsterdam.Andaz HotelAndaz HotelWe stayed at Andaz, a boutique hotel designed by Marcel Wanders that is brimming with beautiful and whimsical eye-catching details.  You can see more photos of the hotel here.  Andaz HotelThe things you come across while traveling that make you smile: This adorable little peanut truck navigating the narrow canal roads, bumping up and down along the cobblestone.Then there was Mrs. Santa Clause paddling along the canal.  She gave me a little wave and a nod, but I failed to capture it since I was too busy waving back.Amsterdam (more…)

Tokyo {Part III}

The trouble with visiting a place with so much to see and do is that you return with hundreds of pictures to edit and too many details to share.  This combined with a hectic summer at the day job amounted to a long absence from this blog.  Now a few trips and more than a few posts behind, I will endeavor to catch up.  But before leaving the subject of Tokyo, a few more scenes to share of the ever bustling Shibuya at night, dining at Yokota {a one Michelin star tempura restaurant}, wandering in search of Harajuku girls, eating the best tonkatsu at Maisen, and of course, finishing off our culinary tour with a delicious bowl of ramen from a favorite chain Ippudo {not having to wait in line made Andy a happy man}.

Nighttime in Tokyo, JapanShibuya, Tokyo, JapanMaisen, Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan

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Visiting Kyoto, Japan {Day 1}

Over the weekend, we hopped on the shinkansen (bullet train) over to Kyoto, but before we did so, we grabbed a bowl of the most delicious dipping ramen at Tokyo Station’s ramen street.  I highly recommend Rokurinsha, but do allow extra time for the line can be long.  Wandering the Gion district of Kyoto, we marveled at the city’s high regard for tradition and on certain streets it seemed as if time stood still, and the quaint wooden homes and shops had remained untouched by time.  A crane perched along the creekside gazing at its own reflection while a newlywed couple swathed in beautiful traditional silk hurried by, trailed by an entourage of family and friends.

Gion district, Kyoto, JapanWedding, Gion district, Kyoto, JapanGion district, Kyoto, Japan

We spotted a gathering of students and tourists waiting for a glimpse of the geishas, who were expected to appear soon, all dressed for an evening out.  We waited with them, of course, and when the ladies finally appeared, they quickly walked – no glided – ever so gracefully and ducked into a waiting car.

Gion district, Kyoto, Japan, geishaGeisha, Kyoto, Japan

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