Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thank you

Many thanks to all of you who read and posted a comment on my blog of our travels. I hope you enjoyed seeing where we went and what we did. We had a wonderful trip and will treasure all the memories of it and those we met on it.
Cheers, Jenni and John

Hong Kong's hidden gem......

This was our third visit to Hong Kong. I googled to see what else we hadn't done on our previous visits.
Up came the Chi Lin Nunnery and Gardens in Kowloon. The night we flew home, checked out of the hotel early and caught the train, approx a 30 minute ride. As you walk out of the train station, exit C2 at Diamond Hill station, it is across the road. You walk under a very noisy freeway and through a very busy shopping plaza.
The gardens were beautiful, peaceful and soft Buddhist chantings are heard on the overhead speakers.
Japanese coy swim in the lake, waterlilies adorn the surfaces of the Nunnery ponds, the trees are shaped as topiary and the overall silence surrounds you.
It is very deceiving as we thought it was a tiny garden, but around every corner there was something else to see like the Japanese Garden and Bridge. Walking up the steps above the Japanese Garden brings you to the large Nunnery where there are 7 gigantic Buddhas, Altars and prayer sessions can be taken.
The front entrance. As we walked out of the gardens, it was then we noticed the noise of the traffic. You don't hear it within the Nunnery or garden. We were pleased we went there, if you ever go to Hong Kong, it is a must.

Hong Kong

We flew from London to Hong Kong for 4 nights. After the crispness and coolness of Europe the weather was very humid. The next day the temp dropped to 23 and the Hong Kong locals were out and about in coats, scarves and beanies. We took a day tour to Macau because on our previous visits hadn't been there. The opulence of the casinos, the locals sitting there mesmerized by the flashing lights and the large exchanges of cash, was a little scary.
The things you see!!! I gather it was advertising for a seafood restaurant. If not, it must have fallen from the sky and landed on the taxi.
We caught the Hop On Hop Off bus and did the 3 different tours around Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Hadn't been to the Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen since 1981, can honestly say it hasn't changed.
Hong Kong by night from the top of the bus. The Christmas lights were on all the skyscrapers and it was only early November.
This elderly gentleman was happily fishing off his little polystyrene pontoon in Aberdeen Harbour. Our hop on hop off ticket gave us a Sanpam ride and I noticed him as we went past.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Monet's Garden

Claude Monet. This photo adorned the wall of the ladies restroom. Had to take a snap of it.
Monet's home. The kitchen was covered floor to ceiling in blue and white tiles, gave me the impression of a Dutch home. The geraniums were flowering and the ivy leaves were a glorious red and burgundy.
The famous lily pond. This area is very deceiving, it is not as big as you think. Unfortunately there were people everywhere trying to photograph it. The trees were glorious in Autumn foliage.
The famous japanese bridge over the lily pond, it must be very strong with the amount of people on it. A reproduction of this area was hanging in the shop and at a distance, it was lovely. Up close I realised that his brush strokes were very long and very simple. I hadn't studied his work up close before.
Our visit was an Autumn one. Majority of the flowers had withered and died. It was the last day of the season and the garden and home was to be closed for winter. I had always wanted to see this and I am pleased I did. I am an Autumn toned person and the trees were spectacular in colour. Only comment from John, was, "where's the veggie garden?"


We caught the high speed train to Dijon, capital of the Provence of Burgundy, for the day. Arriving at the station, out first thoughts were, not exactly the place we envisioned. Walked to the Tourist Info Centre and were told to walk the 2hr Walking Trail. WOW!!! what a beautiful village. Many alleyways, old buildings and churches.
The Symbol of the Walking Track are these little brass plates with owls on them. It was great following them and all of a sudden, come around a corner to the the most amazing sight.The Notre Dame Cathedral in Dijon, has a stone owl, and to bring you back to the city, you must rub the statue.
Typical French architecture and stone work. Cobbled streets, cafes and of course many a shop selling Dijon Mustard's.
The high speed trains we travelled on. It took approx. 2 1/2 hours from Paris to Dijon. We decided to catch the slow regional train back, approx 3 3/4 hours as it went on a different track and we saw different scenery. People watching at train stations is interesting.
We enjoyed the train trips. You only have to be there approx 45 minutes prior to departure, you have your seat already allocated and all train stations are in the heart of each city.
A shop in Dijon, apart from the traditional mustard's they also sold many gingerbread in all shapes and sizes. John bought a gingerbread mustard and a blueberry mustard.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Paris by day.

Notre Dame
River Seine
I found this Quilt shop at Montmartre around the corner from Sacre Coeur. I bought some fat 1/4's for a quilt. It was a lovely shop and could have spent a lot more money in there. The wool that was being sold was beautiful, it wasn't till after we left Paris that I thought, why didn't I buy any?
We arrived at the Eiffel Tower approx and the ques were so long. It would have been at least a 2 hour wait to go up there. So we decided not to. Walked along the Seine instead and enjoyed the views from the river.
After visiting Notre Dame we walked to find the Quilt shop nearby. Didn't find it, we realised after we were one street out. Came across this bridge covered in padlocks. I didn't have one but found a safety pin in my bag to attach. Perhaps I could have started a new trend!!!

Paris by night

The last night of our stay in Paris we went on a tour of Night Illuminations along the Seine and then to dinner beside the Arch de Triumph. This Ferris Wheel was beside the Eiffel Tower.
On the hour for 5 minutes the Eiffel Tower is lit by thousands of sparkling twinkling fairy lights.
One night we stopped for dinner at a seafood restaurant and noticed this fountain across the street.
Moulin Rouge, enjoyed the night show. John sat beside a young boy of about 10, who was mesmerized by the dancers- I wonder why!!!! After a while the young boy dozed off.
Arch de Triumph on a very wet night.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


We bought a 1st class 4 country, 10 day Eurail pass, which gave us the freedom to explore. Would recommend it to all. Majority of the trains we traveled on very high speed, 230kph but still smooth enough to take photos of the scenery. This one was a double decker with extremely comfortable seating. A rail employer comes along with a trolley selling beverages, food etc.
We caught the train to Interlarken from Zurich, approx 2 1/2 hours. The Alps were amazing and the air crisp and clean. I saw this little hut and I thought of one of my favourite movies, Shirley Temple in Heidi.
Picture postcard homes along the Interlaken river. The town is at the end of a massive lake, with the water the colour of aqua.
In the centre of the town was the communal Japanese Garden, not what I expected for an Alpine Village, the Japanese Maples were lovely.
We caught the village train up to the top of the Alps. The peak in the distance is called "the Top of Europe". John spent time there 2 years ago and told me there is an Ice cave carved into the side of it. I loved Switzerland and would love to return there one day. The next day we caught the train to Paris.


Rapperswill is a medieval village at the end of the Zurichsee, which can be reached by ferry and train. We spent an afternoon on the 2 hour ferry trip calling into all the ports along the way. This home was decorated by gold leaf and mosaics, beautiful. Returned back to Zurich by train.
A fortress wall surrounds the town.
Beautiful homes and vineyards line the fortress wall.
Arriving by ferry at Rapperswill. Underneath the trees along the foreshore are giant chess sets, where the locals spend time playing.
Throughout Europe, I became fascinated with these intricate ways of displaying a shop's name and wares. Would you believe this one was outside McDonalds!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


We caught the high speed train to Lucerne for the day. Beautiful old town. Did the self walking tour and noticed this medicine shop, thought of Harry Potter.
Lucerne from the Wall surrounding the city. I didn't walk up the tower, that's what your other half is for, to take the photos for you.
The Lucerne Covered Bridge was burnt down many years ago and rebuilt, didn't realise it was a lot shorter than the old one.
Beautiful geraniums covered the walkway. Visited this bridge 30 odd years ago, first time I had seen flowers on it.
Dream on old boy!!! You have to lift it before you can enjoy it. Didn't mind the Swiss beer and local wines. Certainly goes well with their cheeses.

Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich was picture postcard. A little overcast and cool. There are 2 sides to Zurich, on the other side of the river is the old town side. Beautiful old architecture, alleyways and lots of little cafes.
Dotted throughout the alleyways were drinking fountains of every size and shape. There is a constant stream of drinking water, and I kept thinking, water restrictions, turn off the tap.
Switzerland is known for it's clocks and on every tower and church steeple there were the most intricate clock faces. Also every second shop was a watch shop.
Chocolates, chocolate and more chocolate.... by the end of 4 days this was how I was feeling. This sculpture was suspended from the ceiling of Hauptbahnhoff train station. The foyer is also a food market with stalls of amazing arrays of cheeses, cold meats, pastries, cakes and of course....chocolate.
The Limmat River running through the heart of Zurich