Leaving China

It was not so easy to find a way out of China, there were no direct flights from Guilin to Hanoi so I had to think about where I want to stay a day. In the end I decided on Guangzhou and this was were I was going on my last day in China.

A taxi picked me up at 6:30 and without breakfast I was on the way to the airport. One last toll stationIMG_3384 and I was at the airport. The flight itself then was only for about an hour but we were still served breakfast. Really European airlines can learn something here!

Yeah, and then at shortly after 9am I arrived in Guangzhou. Not really an interesting city. But I had looked up on the internet on what was there to see. I took the metro to the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall which was on all sites the no. 1 thing to do. Upon arrival there I know why. It included also a folk arts museum with lots of little shops. The ancestry hall was beautiful though.IMG_3385IMG_3387IMG_3388IMG_3389IMG_3394IMG_3396

Of course the hall had been renovated by the Chinese so there was no telling what was original and what not.IMG_3398IMG_3399IMG_3400IMG_3402

The craft working of ivory was very beautiful and looked amazing but of course one cannot support it by buying anything. I have noticed in most of the big cities large ad campaigns against which included Prince William for e.g.

When I left I saw a really cute police car in front of the metro station.IMG_3407

I took the metro again and the next station was already the Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street an area that had lots of craft shops, there was a street for jade work, and one for furniture, silver, fabric and so on. Really quite interesting but I was not sure what to buy since I cannot take fake jade from real one. So what is the point of getting a bracelet for a lot of money?

I needed first of all in the shopping mall right next to the pedestrian zone to get some lunch and for my last day in China I settled on Japanese.IMG_3409IMG_3410

After lunch I walked through the pedestrian zone, circled it from one end to the next. But there was really not so much to see, the heat and the humidity were awful and I didn’t really know what else to do since the shopping center was small and had no coffee shops. So I decided I would try to see the next point on the to do list, the Tian He Sports Center which is probably a sports center but when you get out of the metro you basically were surrounded by shopping malls. In this weather heavenly bliss!IMG_3411IMG_3412

I ended up walking around the underground malls for hours until it was time for another snack. Here I enjoyed a really great fruit yoghurt.

Finally it was time to go to the airport and although my flight was delayed I was happy that I had arrived early. The leaving procedure took as long as the entering one. And that was it with China. Yours, Pollybert

Last day in Berlin

When you have fun, time flies. Our Berlin vacation weekend was almost at an end. Just one more breakfast and that was basically it. Of course we started the day late, it was the weekend after all and everyone needed their beauty sleep. Late in this case meant by 11am since we had to check out from the Lindemann’s which was the perfect hotel for this trip except for the fire alarm the first day.

I think I didn’t tell you about that one. Why? Maybe I still had to come to terms how I reacted to it. It took me ages to realize that there was actually a fire alarm. And not a car gone haywire outside. Once I recognized the sound was coming from the hotel, I deliberated if I should get up. By that time the alarm had gone already for a couple of minutes. When I finally got up I checked first the hall if there was any smoke or smell. Since I couldn’t detect any, I deliberated a bit more and eventually decided to go downstairs. All the while the alarm kept ringing. Of course the moment I had my jeans on the alarm stopped.

Great, back to bed. What to do when you are already awake? You check your phone for new messages. While doing so the alarm started again. Urgh, finally called Christoph to ask him if he wanted to go downstairs. Together we decided to do so and that I would pick him up on the way down. When I took my handbag it was more important for me to check if I had my passport, my book and my kindle then saving myself by rushing downstairs. I even searched for the book since it was not in my bag. When I finally got outside my room the alarm had been easily ringing for 10 minutes. Eventually we met a guy on top of the staircase who told us it was a false alarm and we went back to our rooms. But I am still astonished about my laid-back reaction to the whole alarm thing. I really need to work on my priority skills! Survival first!

Anyway, I digress. I wanted to tell you about our last morning in Berlin. We stayed again in Schöneberg for breakfast but went to a French bistro/shop called La Cantine d’Augusta this time.IMG_9851
The name apparently came from the owner’s grandmother who was also on the cover of the menu.IMG_0106
Breakfast here was different; no eggs but instead olives, sun-dried tomatoes and a fruit salad were served with ham, salami and a variety of cheeses.IMG_0115
It was once again excellent and a great choice for our last morning. I really loved the shop, there was so much great food from France available. In a way I am glad I don’t live around the corner from it, could be the death of all good resolutions.

Sadly there was no time to linger over coffee. Just a bit later and we were taking the metro to get to the airport. As said before, public transport in Berlin is amazing. Just one metro ride and one change onto a bus was all it took to get us to the airport. Not more than 35-40 minutes tops. In no time we had to say good-bye. So very hard to do after our lovely weekend. But you know what? We will do it again!
Yours, Pollybert

Sunshine in Dublin

On our last day in Dublin the sun was out in full and you couldn’t have asked for a better picture weather. We started by visiting Christ Church, the cathedral right next to our hotel. The cathedral boasts in its catacombs a mummified cat and rat, aka “Tom and Jerry” which were found when the organ was cleaned on the occasion of Händel’s (Handel) performance of Messiah in Dublin.
Good plan but bad execution since the church had its Sunday service and didn’t let anybody in until 12:30. A time where we should get the airport bus. So that was that with the churches in Ireland, only saw the one in Howth.

With a lot of time at our hands what were we to do? We started by touring the grounds of Dublin Castle again, this time in full sunshine instead of rain.IMG_8591IMG_8593See the colors on these houses? Looks almost sponsored by Google.

And then hunger was guiding us back to Dame Street where we came across the Queen of Tarts.IMG_8648The place inside was super small and packed with all kinds of knickknacks.IMG_8595IMG_8596IMG_8599
We ordered tea, which came in a big old pot, salmon for Andrea and vegetarian breakfast for me. Franz abstained from anything but coffee.IMG_8598IMG_8600IMG_8601IMG_8602
Everything was great but the red pepper relish was so delicious that we each bought a jar to bring home, along with some scones! Here they were the real deal and came with butter and jam.

Thus invigorated we set out for another round of walking through the city. We had set our sights on the Merrion Square the heart of Georgian Dublin. The square consists of a park around which artist were selling their paintings and beautiful Georgian buildings. While looking through my pictures just now I noticed that I got apparently so distracted by the paintings that I never took a picture of the buildings. Never mind I found you a robin, something for the bird lovers again.
First stop though was the statue of Molly Malone on the way to the square.IMG_8606IMG_8616IMG_8621IMG_8610IMG_8615

As said before Dublin really takes care of its tourists and this shows in the little details. Since Ireland drives on the other side than Europe mainland all street crossings have these road markers.IMG_8627IMG_8628 For all the ones who wanted to take the other left it even has an arrow.

Since we had to take the airport link at around 12:30 we were on a tight schedule especially in the light that we still wanted to go to the Book of Kells shop at Trinity College to buy some things. The store and the museum opened at noon sharp so we had to time our arrival well. There was only so much to see at the Merrion Square that after a round in the park and watching the houses surrounding it, we decided we needed to warm up somewhere. So while walking back to the college we found the National Gallery of Ireland. With free admission, an inviting looking coffee place and a museum shop it looked like a great choice. While drinking coffee we noticed that it appeared to have an older building incorporated.


And then it was time for our last stop, Trinity College. Doesn’t the place look great in sunshine? I almost wished being a student again, just to get a chance to spend a semester there. But only almost.IMG_8633IMG_8637IMG_8638

After a quick purchase of a college cup with the names of all its great students on it and a book about the Battle of Clontarf (you cannot own too many books about history) we rushed back to the hotel. Our vacation was almost at an end. Some more pictures from along the way to the hotel.IMG_8640IMG_8644IMG_8645

Then on to the bus and off to the airport. Sitting on top in the first row I could take some last pictures of this beautiful city. I still can’t get my mind around that they have palm trees in the streets (ok, so maybe not trees but similar plants associated with southern climate).IMG_8655IMG_8658IMG_8665IMG_8666IMG_8669IMG_8670IMG_8671

We left Dublin with a little delay but got so the chance to shop some more. Some more cheese and salmon for home. The cheese then got almost attacked by an overzealous German security guy at the layover in Cologne. He had to make sure it was not too soft and in his enthusiasm to check this, he left a thumb print in it. What an end to a perfect weekend.
Yours, Pollybert

Good girls go to Paradisi

Not much new in Paradisi. Spent the whole day at the beach in Paradisi and played around with the camera app from Hipstamatic. This is the result.




20130626-231727.jpgHavaianas from Brazil!



That was basically it for the day. In the evening we walked into Paradisi again. Before dinner we tried the local pharmacy to look for Korres products. We found quite a bit and also got a super cute beach bag each (honestly, we only bought a few products).

And when we left, we heard ‘Bye girls!’

For dinner we tried the BBQ place at the main square.

20130626-232030.jpg Shared delicious Souflaki and Greek salad, washed down with Mythos.

A last beer at our usual hang-out where we were greeted like the lost daughters (we didn’t go there yesterday). Got invited again for a beer, this time by the BBQ guy. And were called ‘good girls’ by our friend from the beach. I really think we are the main attraction in Paradisi at the moment (still no other tourists in the airport village). They really are charming these Greek men!
Yours, Pollbert

To Russia with love

What a lazy start of my holiday. I slept in until 9am, then enjoyed a breakfast at home while finishing the last 20 pages of ‘A clash of kings’. Still on the last page my friend Tici called. My pick-up service had arrived and they were already outside.
I had 10 minutes left until the agreed time, so finished the book (one has to set priorities) and then closed my suitcase and the apartment. One last look out the window

and off we went.
Mandy came with us to the airport to say goodbye.

And while Tici was keeping her company on the backseat, I had to update her husband’s iPhone.

We are flying with Transaero, a Russian airline. There is a first time for everything.

We are currently waiting to board our plane. Will let you know if Russian hospitality already starts on the plane.
Yours, Pollybert