UK Series: daytrip to the Scottish Highlands

(Sept 29, 2015)

For the 2nd day in Edinburgh, I wanted to go outside of the city and see the landscape and nature of Scotland.

My search led me to this daytrip tour from viator which covers a small Scottish town calle Glencoe, the highlands, and the famous Loch Ness!
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It’s a beautiful drive to Loch ness with all the mountains and green fields we saw along the way.IMG_4263.jpgIMG_4060.jpgUpon arrival to Loch ness we took a cruise around the lake and heard stories of the legends around the Loch Ness monster..
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And also got to see a Scottish highland bull! 😀

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Overall I would recommend this tour to anyone who wants a taste of what the Scottish highlands has to offer.  Would be much better of course if you are able to drive around yourself to offer more flexibility on the stops and how long you want to stay.  But not a bad introduction that left me wanting to go back here to explore further!

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UK series: Scotland pitstop at Melrose

(September 27, 2015)

After a few nights in Lakes District, it was time to say goodbye (wahhh!!) and head to our next destination.

As we drove towards Edinburgh, we found this charming town called Melrose to stay for the night.. IMG_3708.jpg
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I love the peace and quiet atmosphere of this town.. Because it’s not a popular tourist place, and not easily accessible by public transportation.. it’s not crowded and we could just leisurely stroll around the town.
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The most well known attraction here is the ruins of Melrose Abbey.  Here’s some pictures of the abbey and the unique sculptures found here…
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UK series: Lake District National Park

(Sept 26-27, 2016)

After all the towns and cityscapes of England, I was ready for a nature break.  So Lake District was the perfect next stop in our roadtrip itinerary to get my fix of beautiful landscape sceneries.
IMG_3566.jpgI never heard about this place before, and it was only through a friend’s suggestion that I heard about this place.. But I instantly loved it here when after seeing all these views..
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There’s lots of walking trails available all throughout the park in varying levels of difficulty and time.. Since we only had two nights here, we were only able to pick one of the walking trails here. So all my pictures here are from that walking trail..
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UK series: Shakespeare’s birthplace Stratford-upon-Avon

(Sept 25, 2015)

From Cotswold we continued the road trip around UK with a pitstop at Stratford-upon-Avon.. a town made famous for being the birthplace of the famous English playwright Shakespeare..
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Henley street is the most popular area here in town because this is where the house of Shakespeare is located..
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Shakespeare’s home

Besides this street, there are also a number of different attractions to go to in the town. The house pass ticket allows you entry to several of these places.  For us, since we were only passing by and had a limited amount of time, we decided to just pick one place in the list so we won’t be rushing and are able to take our time exploring..

The one we ended up going to is Anne Hathaway’s cottage.  Anne Hathaway was Shakespeare’s wife and this cottage serves as a museum to the life during that time period and the love story between the two..
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UK series: small English town in Cotswold

(Sept 24-25, 2015)

After a day in Oxford, we drove further up to and looked for a place to stay the night. One of my bucket list items for England was getting to explore a honest to goodness small English town, and I found exactly what I wanted here in a town called Stow-on-the-wold in Cotswold district!
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complete with English breakfast

complete with English breakfast

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UK series: University town of Oxford

(September 24, 2015)

After London, we rented a car and started our UK roadtrip with a day exploring the university town of Oxford.

We only had a day here so we joined a walking tour to get the most out of our time here.  The tour was informative and gave us a glimpse into both the history of the universities and the life and traditions of living and studying here.

The whole place just inspires learning and education! IMG_3112.jpg
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showing one of the traditions here in Oxford of tapping the book on the student's head

showing one of the traditions here in Oxford of tapping the book on the student’s head

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UK series: London in 2 days

(Sept 22-23, 2015)

Generally I’m not a fan of big cities.. For me city buildings lack character and all look the same with their glass walls, dull grey colors, and boxy shapes.  I want places where I can explore and see colors, patterns and different architectural styles.. Something that tells me I’m in a new place outside my home.

And although London is known as a busy, commercial city.. It still keeps it’s charm by preserving landmarks and buildings that show you of a past era..

In just 2 days, here are some of the sights we covered!

Leadenhall market – this wasn’t along the way of our planned walking route… But I saw it mentioned that it was used to represent Diagon Alley and Leaky Cauldron from Harry Potter so of course the fangirl in me pushed for a quick stopover here
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After this we headed off to see the sights around the Southwark district..

Views of the Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast and Thames RiverIMG_2715.jpg
Butler’s Wharf..
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Walking along Tower Bridge
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To get to the Tower of London – must do to see the Crown jewelsA free guided tour by a “Beef Eater” – the guards for the Tower of London

I don’t know what direction we started walking, but we ended up in the Waterloo district where we saw the London Eye

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Taiwan in 4 days: Food trip!

Besides night markets, we also went to various restaurants around the city to try out the dishes these places specialized in.

These are just a few spots that we got to while here..

Hot star fried chicken – Personally I thought it was okay but not a standout (still prefer KFC), but there are consistently long queues of both locals and tourists lining up to try this.. The chicken is huge and juicy and the skin is crunchy.. But what makes them different from other fried chicken is the flavor of their seasoning sprinkled outside the skin of the chicken.. And I appreciate that unlike other fast food shops, you see them cook it on the spot as you order… This is a well known street food in Taiwan, so have this as part of your must do when here!

Yong Kang beef noodle soup – Nothing weird or fancy, just simple comfort food that gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling of home cooking..

Din Tai fung – famous for their dumplings, particularly the dumplings with soup inside called Xiao long bao.  Make sure to come here before lunch time if you want to avoid the long queues.  Din Tai Fung is already available in other Asian countries, but of course we still had to try it out from the original country it came from..

Mango snow ice from Smoothie house.. I still say nothing compares to fresh mangoes from the Philippines, but the standout is the texture of the snow ice.. It’s not chunky and was smooth and melt in your mouth..