London in the late November

They say, ” If a man is tired of London, he is tired of Life”, a quote I completely agree with, but made me wonder, how one could ever get tired of London? It is a city which have absolutely everything, one could love, apart of enough sunshine throughout the year perhaps.

12279141_10206351540122093_3284298002460279509_n

St. James’s Park

I chose to travel to London in the late November, not really by choice, but it was the only time off work, I could get and honestly it was a great choice – first the calendar was full of events ( as it is every other season), special exhibitions in the V & A Museum and the British Museum,  Ice Skating  with the building of the Natural History Museum or  the Somerset house or visit of the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, feeling absolutely fascinated by the Christmas decorations and lights, as soon as the evening approached; watching Londoner and visitor  gathering with friends and co-workers at the Christmas markets, filling up the Soho area or simply doing quick shopping at the Regent or Oxford street – simply amazing.

da0a45d84299c809b1bca316a736f5de

Regent street

How can one, not love London? Well, maybe for people who live or work in the city, it can look too hectic, stressful or messy, but it also one of the most diverse cities in the world. Walking on the streets, you hear the languages, you see signs, or even whole neighborhoods with people belonging to one or another culture or ethical group,but you also see all of them united in the same causes when needed. Personally, I love that diversity best seen in the many food markets, restaurants or shops. You might be thinking, why travel the world, if you can just go to London and see the whole world represented in there, but if opportunity for traveling represents, I would take it, otherwise, I would always go to London.

When traveling alone, I prefer to go to places where I actually have friends, so during the day I would enjoy my tours and I would have great company over dinner and evening entertainment after.

I would also prefer to stay in hotel,being more independent, so for the time being I stayed in a lovely hotel ( converted Victorian townhouse actually) in the Chelsea & Kensington area, just a minute walk from the Earl’s court tube station,conveniently linked with the Picadilly line going to Heathrow airport.

a37929ce96aa521d00da3804e53bb4a5

The whitewashed villas in Kensigton/Chelsea 

Ultra-chic,the Chelsea and Kensington was recommended to me, to stay over, by an insider and it was a great choice-really safe and well establish.This is where many of the London’s elite lives in beautiful,beautiful whitewashed houses and villas,shop in the many trendy boutiques, enjoy a coffee or tea in some of the chic cafes or dine at the high-end restaurants. Some of the most famous museums V&A Museum and the Natural History Museum were within less then 10 minutes walk from my hotel and Kensington palace,where I had ticket for,was just 15 minutes walk. Harrods- the famous department store, is from where I got my first gifts for family members,was something like 10 minutes longer walk then the V&A museum.

 

The morning after, started with a cup of strong coffee,followed by  a walking tour starting from just around the corner of the National Gallery at the Trafalgar square. Joining guided tours is brilliant way of exploring a place and I loved all the stories told combined with hm British humor…There was a great story about the King George Iv, spending so much, so that there were not enough funds left to golden his statue at the Trafalgar square, like it was the original plan ( not it’s all dark). I’m still smiling after hearing the one why the iconic house of 10.Downing street (The official home of the Prime Minister) is painted in black? It is because people were tired of cleaning it from outside, so they left it black. That joke was followed, by a story about the colour the The Pall Mall street. All is red,so the Queen and the Royal Family would feel like they are driving on the red carpet going to or leaving the Buckingham Palace.This and many more stories was told later on.

b367fe729629ed2a4f720ef9b75ec75c.jpg

The black facade of Downing street

The Queen is great part of people’s talks and daily life. They respect her and are proud of her. Actually,so I feel  about her and the rest of Royal Family. At this moment I was also curious if she was home or not. While watching the change of the Royal Horse Guards in front of the Whitehall, our guide told us that if the main Royal Officer was riding a white horse,that meant that the Queen was home. Also, if the Queen was at residency of the Buckingham Palace, a ” Long Guard” was performed. While performing any of the Guards, I was able to catch part of the conversation of the main officers, just before exchanging each other – believe it or not, they were talking about the football results, girls and pubs.

Next after the Whitehall, we passed through the Churchill War Rooms, followed by a walk throught the St. James’s Park and the Pall Mall street to reach the Buckingham Palace, not so crowded at this early in the morning 😉 Here is where the walking tour finished, so I hop on the Big Bus,starting a tour from the Green Park  toward the Tower of London, covering a lot of history, traditions and lifestyle throughout the way  – I remain most impressed with the stories happening in the Mayfair, as well as the stories involving the lives of Princess Diana the Beatles and other significant individuals, they wrote history about.

12308456_10206350179808086_8574888909868585950_n

Changing of the Royal Horse guards… White horse is the far background.

When reaching the Tower of London stop and spending quality time, the daylight was decreasing even though it was around 3:30pm. There was heavy traffic, so I took a boat cruise along the River Thames going back to Westminster to meet with a good friend of mine. The boat cruise is absolutely recommended, as not only I reached the Westminster pier for about 30 minutes, but there was a live commentary all the way to it.  There was a bar onboard, so I kept warm, while watching curious the sights from the river.

12294638_10206351158912563_4258470658108958635_n

The Tower Bridge in the background. 

 

My friend I met near the Trafalgar square from where we head straight to the most entertaining area in London – The Soho…

As I’m fascinated by fashion and tradition, visiting the Kensington Palace was organized, as soon as I decided to fly to London. I spend a super lovely morning, learning a lot about the fashion through the ages and different Queens ruling the country. Many of the couture dresses worn by Royal women were on display. Before leaving the Kensington Palace, I did stop at the gift shop getting myself another memento.

12295277_10206358184848207_1496045265308549083_n

Outside the Kensington Palace

From the Royals, I decided to do what else people in London do, shop, before meeting another friend of mine. Here the plan was to visit the National Gallery, I’m still sighing just by the though of the beauty hanging on the walls…Since the time was passing and we had a lot to catch up, dinner was next, followed by another favorite activity – heading to a pub 😉 It was interesting experience- first the pub was packed with people, most of them looking like coming from work, wearing the business attire. Second, there was no music as background, so it was funny – everyone talking, laughing having fun.. Third, for wine lover like myself, picking up a beer was kind of experience. Thanks to the guidance of my friend, this happen quit quick and I think I did double it ( it was so delicious with the added cranberry cream).

The British Museum is the other must-visit  while in London. Housing so much History from all continents,  this is actually the oldest museum in the country and among the largest worldwide. Here I have to admit, that I did pick several sections, which I wanted to see, otherwise, days of visit, won’t be enough to see everything.After the visit, I head the Oxford street walking down to Picadilly circus. Word is that if you spend long enough waiting in here, you will meet somebody you know. I was meeting friend anyway, so i did meet somebody 😉 The day after was supposed to be coming back- home-day…

12316472_10206370794683445_5873457796738563047_n

At the Picadilly Circus 

People write so much about London – some like it, some not much. I adore it and I often find my way with or without reason. My last visit was this summer, just at the Birthday of the Queen, where I made the impossible to stay overnight and enjoy the celebrations. The next visit is already set, spending the time between Christmas and New Year here.

See you soon London or in London!

2f966cab8d075c08b55b62d36ab9d102

The Westminster

02774e728e3e07f0fd43510bc1844d36

Harrods Shopping Center

095032b2c3a7de690251df39178726fc

11222532_10206349153582431_1055845479793480113_n

One of the window at Harrods Center

11223481_10206358210208841_4063137488015448990_n

One of the gates at Buckingham Palace

11224260_10206358206528749_7596387952155921228_n

With Trafalgar Squire in the back

551898c4fd169f1d124be0b4889b9268

Kensington Palace – ” Fashion Rules” Exhibit

12243589_10206351540722108_1932612140165026457_n

St. Paul’s Cathedral

12249626_10206358195408471_6455005527039594899_n

Inside the Kensington Palace

12274294_10206351160552604_7631852206172768648_n

12274506_10206358189848332_5488386435610121722_n

Princess’s Diana Exhibit

12295285_10206357846199741_7628489497892969962_n

12295429_10206350181768135_6262740580157242839_n

The Buckingham Palace

12299212_10206349145902239_4056191998424212544_n

The monument of Doddie and Princess Diana

12301457_10206351159672582_179252461254656330_n12311172_10206350181168120_4041491000826207559_n12308505_10206349149622332_8374772471988946001_n12311231_10206358185408221_5582330427469535162_n

12313690_10206370868005278_4364515394792379873_n

At the British Musum

12313832_10206357841399621_5948569766503781563_n12314047_10206351161072617_5138977787588930546_n

 

 

 

Eat, Dream and LOVE Bali

Ever since the book and movie “Eat, pray and Love” were released, a trip to Bali, climb very up in my “bucket-list”.

I considered myself super lucky to have incidentally landed onboard a luxury ship, visiting Italy, India and then having three days in Bali, just a week before my holiday was scheduled to begin,  from another city I already wrote about – Singapore.

I have read so much about Bali before I visited it and I felt in love with it, long before I actually did it.

My only concerns were the facts, that I planned so many activities and at the same time I wasn’t on a holiday yet, so I had to still do my duties onboard and do what I wanted to do in the little breaks given in between apart of the last day.

The ship was docked at the port of  Benoa, nearly 10 km away from the biggest city Denpassar, around 16 km from the Kuta area and 45 km from Ubud ( where the Eat, Pray, Love was filmed ;-).

2cb74803a6cda7693460563f31ebbc37

The Entrance to the Kuta Beach

During the first two days, I managed to visit the Kuta beach twice – during the day and in the evening, and even though it does has some nice sights and places to see, it didn’t impress me much. Some places did scare me to go further , so I stayed close to the really nice central area, with the many many shops, restaurants and temples build in traditional Bali style. I did visit a small Spa. Unfortunately, it was not possible to do the famous banana hair treatment, but I save this procedure for the next time, when I visit the island.

Night life in Bali was also promising with many, many restaurants, serving international and local cuisine, night clubs from the quality of those one in Ibiza, Dubai, London, New York etc.

79219da5c2361bca88f1f01a39cf2700

“Ku De Ta” Restaurant and Night bar, Bali

Another thing I love about Bali, is that this is а great fusion between cultures ( Balinese living together with the high number of  people, coming from all over the world), traditional and modern ( from modern shopping centers to temples, from high fashion stores to made it in Bali) , quit or noisy, whatever you like, Bali has it already.

The day for the private tour was set during our last one in Bali. The driver was organize with the assistance of a good friend of mine and the only way to see what was set, was to leave as early as possible from the port. The scary hour to begin the mini tour was 6:00 am sharp. Honestly, as difficult, as it is to wake up that early in the morning ( 5:00 am in order to get myself ready), the motivation and excitement kept me energized during the day and even until now.

10931240_10204300560848893_1239300989188250327_n

Puputam Square, Denpassar

When driving the way to Denpassar ( main city in Bali), where I did research, what I might be interested to see, my friend and our driver, named Ketut, did prove me wrong, so we only stop on Puputan Square to see the magnificent temple and we drove further to Ubud.

It was a pleasure having the sun just now coming up, the air outside – still so crispy and fresh, the roads were tiny but already with motorcyclist on it and the scenery varied – from volcanic hills and rice terraces, from both of the sides of the roads there were more temples and  local markets, selling everything from wooden furniture to statues for your home or garden.

 

Just before entering Ubud, Ketut, suggested to stop near the monkey forest – a sacred forest full of ravenous monkeys. Lucky us, the cheerful monkeys were more occupied in biting some fruits, they find on the street than bothering with us.

In Ubud, we were able to leave the car,right in front of the Palace of Ubud or Puri Saren, nicely located in the center of the town with the entrance of the art and craft market nearby.

ubud-palace

Ubud Palace

There was no entrance fee and no other visitors that early, so we enjoy it a lot.
Just on the right side of the Palace, situated on the main street , I saw the  The “ Lotus Café”, overlooking the lotus pond and the Pura Saraswati, where at first I meant to have our coffee, but my friend Narsi had another one in mind.

10933744_10204300622290429_2655841556523290457_n

Cafe Lotus, Ubud

After the photo session in the yeard of Lotus Cafe, Narsi took me to her favorite cafe in Ubud called – the Seniman Café. I seriously felt in love its unique decor, music, the taste of the coffee ( strong, but a bit sweet). The coffee was served in a wooden paddle with a glass of water and a small Balinese cake or sweet delight covered in banana leaf… Simply delicious. About the breakfast, I won’t even mentioning, in case some of you feeling hungry, but yes, the fresh omelette was also served in a banana leaf…

10941908_10204300630690639_927168242982456080_n

Sineman Cafe, Ubud

Next, in the list was the visit of the art and craft market, where Javier Bardem walked with Julia Roberts 🙂 I didn’t miss a chance of bringing home jewelry, a beautiful painting and a lovely Balinese dress.

Enjoying Ubud was followed by the visit of the rice terraces, passing though the artsy villages and many road galleries.

10576934_10204300655451258_5035466582340469093_n-1

The Rice Terrace in front

10933730_10204300707252553_8660131490582384539_n

Komune Resort, Ubud

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last before driving back to the port, was the visit in Komune Resort, Ubud area, an exotic designed with a magical location fronting world- class surfing breaks. Enjoying the scenery and the skills of the surfers looking like born in the ocean, one- too -many cocktails and lovely lunch near the swimming pool, it almost felt like being on a holiday.

Driving back to the port of Benoa, I was thinking about, how happy the inhabitants of the island were looking like, thanks to all – the beaches, volcanoes, terraced rice fields, forests, renowned resorts, surfing, golf and world – class dive sites, the Balinese traditions and the people dedicating in celebrating it. Somewhere I read, that “the hundreds of temples, dances, rituals and crafts linked to the ancient Hindu faith aren’t show for tourist, but a living, breathing culture in which visitors are warmly received by the Balinese, who cherish their own identities”.

10930933_10204300715252753_7270780867394573828_n

With my close Balinese Friend ( Narsi) and our driver (Ketut), just leaving the ” Komune Resort”

What is left behind my short visit, is the plan to re-visit Bali very soon again…

 

Singapore in 2 days

Founded some time in the 13th century, Singapore was once called the Sea town. Nowadays, the city has many nicknames, my favorite of which is the ” The Lion City”. Strategically located  on the southernmost tip of continental Asia, the city was soon to become one of the biggest trading hubs, financial center, a meeting point of culture and  traditions giving out that beautiful vibes to be feel while in Singapore.

Owning one of the busiest and biggest cruise terminals in the world, Singapore was set as our turnaround port for the time being in Asia. It was the port, where I was scheduled to start my vacation from the ship as well, so I have decided to spend a couple of days on my own to live in, discover and taste the city, before flying home.

1920208_10204356132158141_2072535948847422443_n

At the Arab street – one of my favourites. Even during the slight rain, there were people our shopping,  eating or looking at the local spas.

10934048_10204356131718130_7918934658681030867_n

The Sultan Mosque

I booked a hotel in the Arab district, which accordingly to my pre-research, it was described as lively neighborhood, with great hotels build in the Colonial style( which I like a lot) and with easy access to all the major sights I was planning to visit. I would say, that if  I happen to visit Singapore again, I would chose that very same hotel or neighborhood. Apart of walking on the Arab street, you could stop by at the Malay Heritage Center or take your photograph in with the Sultan Mosque in the background.

One of the facts,  I really loved about Singapore was the fact that it was so easy to walk and as for getting around – it was so easy to approach  locals and even better – they approach you with the question, whenever you need help, as soon as they see you holding map or checking on the public transportation itineraries.  Amazing really.

27322904

The Sultan Boutique Hotel  was a perfect choice to stay in while in Singapore.

Among my interests , I can list history, architecture and the influence of different cultures into the architecture in the chosen places of visit, real stories from the past, art, modern art and design, lifestyle, Arab food and street life, I picked up the places I wanted to see and the activities to do accordingly.

Once on the Arab street and when taking the  Victoria street, you will pass the shopping center of Bugis Junction ( you can find a really great shopping deals at some of the many store in Bugis), followed by the Singapore Art museum on your right and the National Library of Singapore on the left.If then turn on the Bras Basah road to the right will reach the iconic for Singapore- The Raffles Hotel. While approaching to the Raffles,  the “Element” Art Exhibition center,located just on the back of the hotel, has catched my eye and I  decided make a small detour and visit it. If you interested in the artwork of the innovative artists from the region, I would recommend.

1525259_10204356136638253_7493901762486055619_n

The Raffles Hotel, named after Sir  Raffles, which gave the beginning of modern Singapore.

Next to the “Element” Art Center,  I stop by  the Raffles Hotel – the must-see hotel, named after the person who set the beginning of modern Singapore- Sir Raffles.  Monuments of him are to be seen almost everywhere in the city. The 5 star luxury hotel is located in the heart of the business and civil district of Singapore, overlooking partly the other iconic hotel for Singapore – The Marina Bay Sands.

They say, that no visit to Raffles Hotel is completed without having the Singapore Sling cocktail in some of the bars at the hotel. I did pass on that drink this time, but during my next visit, I will sure  try it.

From the Raffles hotel, take down the North Bridge road, reaching the Downtown Core –  busy, lively and historical epicenter of Singapore, build next to the river of Singapore, around where the city expanded. In here, you will find the National Gallery, the Parliament Building of Singapore, The Victoria Theater and Concert Hall, the Asian Civilisation museum and then Fullerton Hotel Building, once post office and nowadays an upscale luxury hotel.

Once down next to river, don’t miss to visit the Clarke Quay, housing restaurants, nightclubs and a pedestrian mall, the place where people visiting and working in Singapore meet & mingle.

singapore-clarke-quay

The Clarke Quay by the river

The morning on the next day, I decided to spend it on Sentosa island, hitting to the beach and visiting the Universal Studio. Getting to Sentosa was easy and fast. I decided to take a bus to Vivo Center and then the Sentosa Express. Just click the link next to, to find out more options to get to Sentosa-  ( http://www.rt10.rspo.org/c/getting-to-sentosa/).

 

10930931_10204362922447894_1068214081942993443_n

Palawin Beach, Sentosa Island

Honestly, I was not too impress from the beach on Sentosa island due to the view to the many many ships waiting to enter the port of Singapore, but I could understand why people would choice to spend the day off’s in here. There are all kind of facilities – such as beach bars and restaurants, an yacht port with more restaurants, playground for beach sports and children. Visiting the Universal Studio was fun though, but as the time was pressing and I wanted to visit the Gardens by the Bay  ( just before sunset) and have a drink on the rooftop bar of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, I decided to head back to the hotel and get ready for the evening.

10952347_10204366604939954_3264551150746047248_n

Just entering the Gardens by the Bay

2360f864c2781f5506770d2ed9b986bd

The Super Trees by night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day after was the day, when my flight was scheduled and since the flight was late at night, I was happy to spend the morning having breakfast in the “Wild Honey” lounge, in one of the shopping district of Singapore ( Orchard boulevard) and buying the last minute memento’s for family,friends and myself.

During my 2 days in Singapore, I managed to visit a small Spa near my hotel. Something else I love about traveling to Asia is the fact that the Spa’s in the most visited towns in the entire continent are working 24\7 and are everywhere to be found, so the visit to the Spa center got me ready to explore the city of Singapore and fly back home in more relaxed look, then the one,I did left from work.

1470019_10204356133758181_4979145774868448113_n

“Derwish Restaurant” at the Arab street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aside

“Because you are exceptional”

 With a bottle of one of my favourite parfumes from Chanel and the words “Because you are exceptional”,  I would always remember my last meeting with a real- titled- Lady,who for the story,I would call Lady Margareth.

Lady Margareth was born in the United Kingdom something like 70 years ago in a family of commoners( like she said). Her title of a Lady,she recieved after marrying Sir George (name given for the short story) in the 1990’s. 

Every year,both of them would go cruising onboard a luxury yacht, every time,they would choose a different destination, but now for about 3 years, since she lost her husband, Lady Margareth would be seen traveling solo. Though, thanks to her charisma and chatty personality, she would always made great friends,who would look after her while onboard.So would do the staff onboard actually.

She became my favourite guest at all time, with her class, perfect manners, impaccable taste in clothing, hair style and way of engagging in conversations. 

It was always so loud around her, but I just love it. She has such a small body,straight and slender at the same time, but what left the impression was her hair- so heavy, long, gray and always worn tide up and always wearing little make up and Chanel,which I felt long after she left the reception desk.

She used to often stop by when I was behind desk every time with a different story or remark from the evening 😉 & every time I would have to stay longer, as I was taken away of my administrative duties, but it was  all worth it, as not every day one meet so extra-ordinary person,who have so much to offer and so much you could learn from. The kind of person that you meet twice for the period of 1 year and hope, the roads would cross again.

If this would happend, only time will show and until then I remember her and her  gesture (as she listened and knew that I also addore the brand Chanel) and the really strong words “Because you are exceptional” address to me and  said actually in the presence of my supervisor at this time…

About Me and this BLOG

HELLO dear WordPress readers!

This me, adventurous, sassy and well-traveled  girl, coming and living in Varna- a beautiful town located near the Black Sea coast and this is going to be a blog mostly about strong people I have met  during the time I spend traveling half the world and who left a great impression, places I have visited, a bit about all my passions such as fashion, architecture and design, good food and pairing wine.

Always wearing a smile on my face, sunglasses, my camera, a good cup of cappuccino in one hand and with the other hand-shopping bags or a travel guide, I was usualy the last one coming back onboard the cruise ship I was working on for the past four years,traveling and stepping foot, to write a story about, in almost every country in Asia, Middle East, Africa,the Carribean, Canada, Europe and the Arctic…

Those four years actually were among my best ones,spending time to collect beauty and meet such in the faces of the locals  or the strangers such and even though I am based ashore for the past 2 months now, my heart and mind are always near the sea…

Bon Voyage and always happy to receive your feedbacks 😉