I travel, I shoot

Hongkong | Around the city in 2 days

Less than a year living in Sweden and we were on our way again to visit the Philippines! We could have went all the way straight but we thought that it could be fun to visit at least one Asian county before Cebu so we decided to stay in Hongkong for 3 nights. Travel time wise there was not much of a difference, we still had to endure 20+ hours of flying and waiting to get to Hongkong from Sweden. When we arrived, we immediately bought the octopus card for it is apparently very useful in Hongkong and the remaining balance can be refunded after the trip for a fee of 9%. We took A21 bus from the airport going to our hotel and we were told by the driver that our stop has passed when we asked so we went down and started walking with our luggage. Along the way, a lot of foreign people (non Chinese) were offering us a room to stay and they were everywhere in Nathan road. After going through what felt like a maze, we finally reached our hotel.

What we did:

We played lost tourists as usual. We had 2 full days in Hongkong and as always we do not have a detailed itinerary of the trip. We set 1 or 2 places to visit and we are done, the main goal is always just to get a feel of the city we are visiting, try local food and not be stressed with a piece of paper.

“It is in getting lost that we sometimes see the beautiful unknowns.” – #thegumbschstravel

The first day was wet. It was raining and not just raindrops but it was as if somebody was pouring buckets of water from the sky. We went out for breakfast and was a bit disappointed because of the heavy rain but to make the most out of the situation we thought we do indoor activities instead. After breakfast we bought a tram card day pass and headed to the Central. We were walking around the mall called Landmark and were feeling poor with all the branded and expensive boutiques we passed by. We checked the window and noticed that the rain has stopped. Since the tram peak was walking distance (everything is if you have the time) from where we were we took the chance.

  1. Took the tram to Victoria Peak – We were lining like everyone else to the ticket counter to buy the ticket only to be told to go directly to the entrance because we had the octopus card. We proceeded to the entrance, tapped the card and took the tram all the way up. Half of our view was covered by fog though, I bet it looks a lot better on a sunny day.  

  2. Walked to the Avenue of the Stars – Our hotel was not too far from the Avenue of the stars so it was easier to visit. We managed to be here before and during the dark sky. 

  3. Rode the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car – I am scared of heights, just looking at the cable car and imagining myself in there makes my heart beat faster and my knees shake. I was not so convinced of the idea but the assurance from my ex boyfriend that it will be fine because the cars are from an Austrian company (yes this is true) helped me get over the fear by an inch. We took a one way ticket just in case I chicken out after the first ride. It was not bad, not at all. In fact, I enjoyed the cable car I can ride it again!  

  4. Climbed 268 steps to get up close and personal with the Big Buddha – It was not too high but I still had to take a few stops to catch my breath. After the Big Buddha, we took the bus going to the tram station and it was fun to try another route going back. 

     

  5. Shopped for my new iPad – I have always wanted to buy a newer one for my 2nd hand iPad mini before was getting slower for my games and it only had 16GB of memory. I have checked out stores in Sweden and was only aiming for a 32GB because it was affordable for me but decided to buy it when we are back from the holiday. When I checked the apple store in Hongkong, the amount it costs to buy a 128GB iPad is the same as that of a 32GB in Sweden so of course I took the chance. Apparently, it is tax free there that’s why it was a lot cheaperIMG_5684
  6. Wandered around the streets of Hongkong and got lot lost a few times – This is why we do not have an itinerary, we end up getting lost anyway :P.
    Hongkongs skyscrapers are fun at the same time scary to look at for someone who has fear of heights like me. It seemed like there is always a tall building everywhere we looked.
     

Where we stayed:

We stayed at Butterfly on Prat for 3 reasons:

  1. Good reviews online.
  2. Reasonable rate.
  3. Location.

Review: We love the hotel. Should we decide to go back we will stay here again. They did not have the breakfast option but it is not much of a deal for they are located to where a lot of food shops are.

Butterfly on Prat has:

  • Friendly staff.
  • Beautiful, clean rooms.
  • Close proximity to a lot of restaurants and small eateries.
  • Close proximity to the tram stop.
  • Close proximity to the bus stop going to the airport.
  • A mobile phone with internet for their guests to use in going around the city.

 

Where we ate:

In this trip, never in a fancy restaurant. Food in Hongkong can be expensive but it can also be affordable if you aim for the cheaper places like we did. We loved our food and we did not have to pay too much. Dimsum is heaven!

 

I eat, I review

Gothenburg Coffee Shop | Baka Cafe & Bistro

Part of the Hisingen visit was to have fika at one of the coffee shops where we have the Enjoy discount. The shop is called Baka.

Location: A few meters away from the Eriksberg crane. It is easy to find.

Place: Average size for a coffee shop I would say. They have wooden tables and chairs inside which is quite cool for me.

Food: The shrimp sandwich was amazing! Homemade sandwich with really fresh shrimps and tastes great. We would come back here again just for the sandwich.

Service: Good, we only had a sandwich and cold drinks so we did not have to wait too long.

Price: Since we only paid half of what we ate, it was cheap for the quality of the sandwich we got. It is still affordable though if you do not have the discount.

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I travel, I shoot

Gothenburg | A bit of Hisingen

Hisingen is one of Sweden’s biggest islands and it is connected to Gothenburg centrum by a bridge. The closest I have ever been to the island was when I went to Backaplan, an area with quite a lot of shops and I was there to shop of course. I have never explored it that much for it has always been out of way for me when going home, so one sunny yet windy Saturday I dragged my husband to get to see a bit of Hisingen.

Take the boat!

Instead of taking the tram or bus we decided to take the boat that stops at Lilla Bommen. The boat ticket is the same cost as the tram and it is like a DIY hop on hop off only that we only hopped off twice. The good thing about being in the boat is you get to see the side of Gothenburg city from the ocean, a different yet beautiful perspective. I suggest going to the boat’s open area normally on top so you get a good view and take better pictures. You can also take your bike to the island if you want, the boats have a place for them.

Walk around!

Since it is an island, there are pedestrian lanes by the ocean and there is nothing better than exploring the area by foot. You feel the wind and smell the ocean while walking around and you can stop anytime and maybe sit down and worship the sun or just relax.

If you have not been in this part, it will be a good idea to do so. Something to explore on a free day.

Jag kommer tillbaka här snart! (I will come back here soon!)

I travel, I shoot

Gothenburg | Saltholmen

Sunny day on a red day Thursday so we decided to head over to Saltholmen to be a little close to the ocean, to smell the salty air and enjoy the warmth of the sun. Saltholmen is tram 11’s end stop and you can take it from the central station. As expected, the tram is packed and we were standing for a good 30 minutes from Järntorget. It is also the gateway to the different islands in Gothenburg, there are boats going to the archipelagos where people have their summer houses as well so you can imagine it can be really tight and warm inside tram 11 on a sunny day. Saltholmen can also be reached by bike because there is a bike lane all the way through, this is probably something I can do with friends during summer.

When we reached the Saltholmen tram stop we did take a boat to the islands for it was not part of the plan and we have to meet our friend for lunch. We only explored the area and relaxed a bit by the ocean. We walked around passing by the different docked yachts and drooled over them. We stayed there for maybe 90 minutes just walking around, relaxing and of course taking pictures. Saltholmen is easy to go to and cheap, you only need a tram ticket to get there.

Väl värt ett besök! (Well worth a visit!)

I live, I share

Gothenburg | Bike, Bike Lanes, Bike Stands

Spring was fast approaching by then and I had my mind locked on the idea of owning a bike. There was no important reason behind it actually, I just wanted to own one and use one when I feel for it. I started discussing it with my better half and he asked 2 questions that almost convinced me that I should not have one. First question: When will I use the bike? Second question: It is almost always windy in Sweden and pretty sure that it will be cold, so back to the first question, when will I use the bike? He nailed it of course like always but I already told myself that I will have one so to meet halfway and not to feel too bad if I don’t get to use it, I bought a cheap but working second hand bike. The bike costed me only 200kr but the accessories was around 350kr. Not ideal I know but I soon realized that my head is a lot more important than the bike, thus, the helmet.

Bicycle Requirements

I looked up bike rules and requirements right after I shopped for one and found a site that details such. Here is the link but it is in Swedish so let me summarize what it says in English.

  • A bicycle should have working brakes
  • A bicycle should have a working bell.

When driving at night, the bike should have reflectors and lights as shown in the below picture taken from the same website above. This would be a lot easier to show than to write.

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Helmet Requirements

Anyone below 15 years old are required to wear a helmet when biking even in a fenced area. Anyone 15 or above has the option not to wear one but it is always safe to do so.

Bicycle Rules

Gothenburg has bike lanes, a lot of them, almost everywhere. It also has bicycle traffic lights that are almost always automatic, no need to press the button when you need to cross but be mindful, some are manual still. When making a left turn, you wave your left arm so bikers behind you will know. The same thing goes when you make a right turn, you have to wave your right arm. The bike lanes have arrows that inform whether it is one way or 2 way. When in doubt, get off and walk instead on the pedestrian lane until you figure out what you need to do or where to drive. I do this a lot of time to get myself out of trouble most especially if I am new in the area.

Bicycle Stands

Just like bicycle lanes, bicycle stands are also quite common. They are mostly in places close to tram/train/bus stops. Schools, buildings, supermarkets also have bicycle stands close them. When you own a bike, own a bike lock! It is good to secure your bike when you plan to leave it in a bike stand.

 

Are you a bicycle owner in Gothenburg? Ska vi cykla tillsammans? (Shall we bike together?)

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Bicycle stands
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Bicycle lane
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Bicycle stop lights
I live, I share, I travel, I shoot

Gothenburg | Cherry Blossoms

When I hear cherry blossoms I think of Japan mainly because when I see pictures of this beautiful tree it is always taken in Japan. This association has then changed when I first laid my eyes on a cherry blossom tree close to where we live and was told by my father in law that there are a lot more in Järntorget! What a relief, I don’t have to go to Japan! 😛

If you live in Gothenburg don’t miss the cherry blossom trees at Järntorget, they are beautiful!

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I travel, I shoot

Halland | Fjärås Bräcka + Tjolöholm

‘Staycation’ is probably the perfect term to use every time I stay over my in-laws place for it does feel like a vacation. Both cook restaurant like food, looks good and tastes even better. Jättegott! I sleep as long as I want, I get fika and when the weather is not so bad my father-in-law drives me around the county for me to explore and take photographs. I am their favorite daughter-in-law, they only have one son.

This Easter, I decided to have another staycation since my husband works anyway. Kungsbacka is about 30 minutes train ride from Gothenburg city so it isn’t that far actually. I arrived on a Friday and as always I was greeted with delicious food on the table. This time around, both of them only speak Swedish to me for they assumed that I already have the skills. I was focusing too much and trying to understand what they say.  I have never been too exhausted since I arrived in Sweden but it helped build the confidence!

On Saturday, we drove to Fjärås Bräcka to see if the flowers called Backsippa (Pasque flower) have bloomed yet. Unfortunately they have not. It is maybe because the weather is still cold and not spring like. Close to the area lies the biggest lake in Halland county called Lygnern. This is the largest lake in the Halland Country and serves as source of drinking water for Kungsbacka.

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Lygnern lake

This road by the lake is closed for cars.DSCF5935

Ponds of drinking water. The water here is pumped from the lake and filtered with pipes underground. From the ponds the water sinks down through and when the filtering process is done it is then pumped up to the households.

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Ponds of drinking water

142 steps down. This was used in the old times by travelling people, there used to be a railway station below the long staircase.

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The Kolera Cemetery. Residents of Fjärås who died during an epidemic in 1834 are buried here.

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Kolera cemetery

Li grave-field is Halland’s largest grave field.

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Li Grave field

After Fjärås, we drove to Tjolöholm to see more of the area other than the castle.

 

The Tjolöholm church was built in 1903-04. It has been unused for 40 years and was reopened in 1994.

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Tjolöholm church

The workers village are filled with red houses, a typical Swedish house in the old times. Today, these are available for rent.

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The workers village

A cottage located beside the castle’s former main gates.

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Fairy tale cottage – The gate house
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The gate

I am missing the red leaves on the wall, they did not survive the winter.

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The castle

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There were quite a lot of people at Tjolöholm slott because of Easter so after going around we drove back home and guess what was waiting for me? A delicious lunch! #spoileddaugherinlaw