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About

Hi, I am based in Singapore and do quite a bit of travel for both business and pleasure.

Travel has greatly enriched my life, and the life of my family. It's something which I love dearly, and try to do as often as I can.

By sharing my travels, I hope to take some of the mystery and anxiety out of visiting one of these locations.  So I hope that this blog can help spark 'tripping' into those who read it into taking journeys into distant lands and experiencing new and wonderful cultures.

Keep tripping!

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Mercado de San Miguel

Dining in Spain is intimidating to visitors. How on earth do you order anything or know what you're even eating if you can't speak the local language? What if you make a mistake and come across as rude?

During my first visit to Spain 2 years ago, I stumbled upon this fantastic food market while wandering around at night.

Mercado de San Miguel is a tapas market, and serves a huge variety of Spanish tapas under one roof.

It is an ideal place for visitors to Spain to discover the various  local gastronomic delights in a safe environment.





No visit to Spain in complete without a taste of Jamon Iberica - this is ham from the cured leg of Iberian pigs. The taste is out of this world. Either eat it directly or on a slice of bread.




Spanish wine is amazing. I think they guzzle most it themselves and that's why nothing gets exported to our shores. Simply head to any bar serving wine, and get a glass. Then you can walk around with the glass in hand while sampling other tapas.



Paella …

Daytrip to Cuenca, A Secret Town in Castile La Mancha

For my next daytrip out of Madrid, I wanted to do something different.

Cuenca is a 'secret' town in Castile La Mancha, the place renowned for being the home of the fictional Don Quixote de La Mancha.

The locals pronounce it as "Wen-ka" not "Choo-en-cha".

I decide to visit for the following reasons
Barely any tourists know about it (it's off the grid)It features the famous (to locals) Casas Colgadas or "Hanging Houses". Cuenca can be reached by high-speed rail in slightly under an hour so train tickets were purchased online for the grand price of EUR56.30 for a return trip for Saturday 29 July at 8.40am.



The Atocha train station is a bit confusing, but it hardly has a fraction of the traffic that Tokyo station has.


 After you pass through a security screening (bags only), it's off to the boarding gates.


The Renfe trains are super modern machines!



Cuenca is on the way to Valencia. The train departed exactly on time. I'm impressed.


I must…

Madrid World Pride Day 2017

This is a true story.

Shortly after I landed in Madrid, it turned out that the only person I knew from home was my gay colleague. Now we got along very well, and he asked me if I knew that Madrid was celebrating "Orgullo 2017" which is their annual LGBTI pride parade also known as "World Pride Day".

Of course I had no idea so he invited me to join him as he knew I would be slightly uncomfortable!


At around 6pm, I made my way to Atocha station which was to be the starting point of the parade. However, there was a sea of people, and I simply couldn't cross the road to the station. Luckily, my friend met me in the middle, and we used references such as "I'm near 2 shirtless men, one of which is pretending to be Thor" which worked like a charm.

Now the parade was supposed to start at 5pm, and we got there around 6.15pm but the event only took off around 8pm. Nobody was surprised about this however, and people simply shrugged their shoulders and said,…

The Lavapies Neighbourhood

The closest metro to where I live at the moment is Anton Martin which is a 5 min walk away. The area around this station is quite interesting as there are plenty of shops and people. So on Saturday morning, I woke up around 10am and went out looking for breakfast.





As I walked around, I noticed that there is plenty of fresh food for sale. Like crazy numbers of shop selling fresh everything.





As I was looking at an 'interesting' poster, I suddenly realized that there was a hidden Mercado or Market here.


A Mercado is an indoor market. I had found the famous Mercado Anton Martin which the locals depend on for their supply of fresh produce.








Daytrip to Avila

Avila is a town in the nearby Castile and Leon region, and can be easily done as a daytrip from Madrid. It is pronounced Ah-bee-lah as the 'V' becomes a 'B'.


My colleague from Bangkok wanted to visit Avila, and asked if I would like to come along. I thought that was a swell idea so she booked bus tickets to Avila using www.busbud.com costing about EUR 8 per person.

The strange thing was that although you could buy tickets online - they insist on having you print them out - flashing the ticket on your smartphone won't cut it.


So on Sunday morning, I made my way down to the Estacion Sur (bus station) and the bus arrived promptly at 9am at platform 9 despite the tickets saying we should wait at platform 1. Thank goodness we were paying attention to the various TV screens showing the departures of the buses.



After a brief bus ride lasting 1 hour and 20 mins, we arrived at Avila precisely on schedule. The Avila bus station was bit deserted, and the guy at the tourist i…

Visiting The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid is part of the "Golden Triangle of Art" which includes also the Prado, Reina Sofia. It houses a private collection of art. The locals here call it the tee-sun.

The easiest way to visit is to take the metro to Banco de Espana station, and then walk 400m towards the south.




These are the gates of the museum.



There is a lovely courtyard that leads to the ticket counter.



Tickets cost EUR 12 for an adult, and an additional (optional) EUR7 for an audio-guide.

Here are some of the masterworks that stood out.


Vittore Carpaccio, Young Knight in a Landscape - a masterwork that hides a story in its various motifs.


Les Vessenots in Auvers by Van Gogh

Dream, Caused by the Flight of a Bee (Around a Pomegranate, a Second Before Waking Up) by Salvador Dali.


Woman in Bath by Roy Lichtenstein
There is also the excellent Las Terrazas cafe which serves great food after a long trudge through the art collection.




I had a quick ham and tomato sandwich with a dou…

El Rastro Weekend Market

El Rastro is a weird flea market that is only held on Sundays or Public Holidays. Here, you can buy almost anything and you are expected to haggle.



This flea market is huge, and spans several blocks. Each 'section' of the market covers a different variety of goods. There is a section selling antique furniture, and another 2nd hand comics. If you can imagine it, it's probably sold here.




The best time to go is around 9am, because the tourist buses and the churchgoers will descend upon the market around 11ish and there will be too many people around for you to enjoy El Rastro.


The best way to enjoy this market, is to arrive early and stroll. Every now and then, duck into a bar or a cafeteria to enjoy a drink and a tapas or two.

Be careful though. I'm usually paranoid when I'm here, as pickpockets are rife. I understand they dress like teenagers and prey on anybody that looks like a mark.

Getting There
As this market is rather large, there are a few ways to get here. M…

Moving Into Barrio de las Letras

Knowing that I was a bit of a cultural buff, my company rented an apartment in the Barrio de las Letras (Literary Neighbourhood), on Calle Lope de Vega.


Imagine my shock, when I got out of the taxi with my suitcase, on a narrow cobblestone street with ancient buildings all around me.

That's my apartment door on the right. It's above a popular vegan restaurant that I have never been able to try out because it's always packed with customers when I am home.


More importantly, not only is this apartment is strategically located in an area with plenty of excellent gourmet restaurants, eclectic stores but it is also:


just a walk away from the Art Triangle of "The Prado, The Reina Sofia and The Thysssen Bornemiszawithin walking distance of the Huerta Quarter, which is filled with restaurants and barswithin walking distance of Puerto Sol, the center of the city which has plenty of shopping.


Walking west, we would see the following sights