A Quick Visit to Cork

Cozy Cork is Ireland’s second city, but it’s often over-shadowed by big brother Dublin and stunning Galway. As a result of sheer luck and “why not let’s do it” attitude, Anne and I ended up in Cork for a day in November. But, 24 hours is enough to fall in love with this city.

We share some moments from our trip in this short video.

We are already planning a trip back to beautiful Ireland and accepting tips on where we should go next!

A glimpse of MONA

The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania is the largest privately funded museum in Australia. It houses art and antiques from the private collection of David Walsh, a Tasmanian who has made a fortune by being a professional gambler. Walsh has described the museum as a “subversive adult Disneyland,” and rightly so. MONA is attracting an unprecedented number of tourists to Hobart, like myself.

But if you want to fully enjoy everything MONA has to offer, here’s a tip: go there with an open mind and an empty stomach.

Enjoy this short video I made, using the beat of my favourite installation, a water fountain spitting out words, and I think it represents the flood of information we are exposed to in our every days lives.

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Befriending our bikes

One of the first things I did when I moved to Aarhus, Denmark was get myself a bike. For the first few days of school, I’d bike alone (read: I’d walk my bike uphill and pedal some of the way) and then eventually my housemates got themselves adorable bicycles too. Thus, started a quest to find bike lights, baskets, fix tires, find seat covers and familiarize ourselves with the best routes. It took some time, but we slowly became really good friends with our bikes (and each other).

Here is a glimpse of one of our mornings as we set off to enjoy Aarhus (or go to school, more likely).

Featuring my pro biker babes: Fanny (France), Sonja (Serbia) and Nina (Canada? Germany? Malawi? I don’t even know!)

A Native Tune

After soaking up three days of Panamanian city life, culture, food and vibe, it was a great experience to drive an hour out of the city (on a very rough road) to enter the Chagres National Park. This preserved area is crucial for Panamanian economy because it supplies 80 per cent of water needed for the Panama Canal to function.

Not to mention, it attracts hoards of tourists. Like us.

Mom, Dad and I piled into a motorized canoe with two other families and started gliding down the Chagres River. A small ride lead us to Lake Alajuela. Settled on a dam at this lake is the indigenous community of the Embera people.

Fellow travel junkies and The Amazing Race fans might recall this village tribe from season 19’s semi final. If you were too busy rooting for the snowboarders (like myself) and missed out on some information, here is a little bit of a background: The Embera people are originally from the Darien province neighbouring the northern border or Columbia. Due to guerrilla wars and drug trafficking, that area started becoming dangerous for the Embera families so they relocated to the Chagres River in 1975.

Not only did this new location give the Emberas a more secure home, but also gave them more accessibility to medical facilities located just an hour away in Panama City.

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The Trümmelbach Falls

One of the Lauterbrunnen falls

In Switzerland, we camped in a small town at the base of the Jungfrau mountain called Lauterbrunnen, also known as the valley of 72 waterfalls. You can walk the entire length of this town in roughly 20 minutes (and that includes the uphill trek through ‘downtown’). But Lauterbrunnen has everything you ask of a small Swiss town: photogenic scenery everywhere you look; a magnificent waterfall across from the campsite; boutique stores that sell authentic Swiss army knives and cow bells; and a cozy pub (the slogan of the Lauterbrunnen pub is “The best pub in town… because it’s the only one!“)

This valley is also home to many adventure sports and outdoor activities. There is always one brave soul paragliding in the vicinity, many rock climbers, and some rafters who are willing to battle to the freezing water tickling down from the Alps. Lauterbrunnen also serves as the base for a day trip up to the Jungfrau mountain where you can see snow 365 days a year. Being Canadian, now that’s not something that particularly excites me. What does excite me is that a small hike in any direction will lead you to an exciting waterfall. My Aussie mate, Chris and I decided to make our way to Trummelbach underground falls. Continue reading

The Beautiful Bay

Pick up your camera. Point it any direction. Take a photo.

There is a 97 per cent chance that if you are in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, your photo will turn out to be amazing.

Ha Long Bay is hands-down the most visually pleasing work of nature I have ever seen. Jagged limestone formations sticking out of a pearly green bay. Roughly 2,000 islets (exact number varies from source to source) spread over 1,553 square kilometres, emerge out of the water, peaking at different heights.

This place has seen 500 million years of climate and geographical changes and evolved as a tropical green biosystem which is home to 14 endemic floral specials and 60 faunal species.

But along with all the flora and fauna, it is also home to about 1,300 Vietnamese fishermen, some of whom have never stepped foot on dry land and call this bay home. This bay was also home to us for just over 24 hours and that gave us a pretty good idea as to why these people never want to leave.

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