Fantasy Fridays: C’est Les Vacances!

“FANTASY FRIDAYS” is taking a time-out for the next two weeks as we spend time with family, pay homage to the Olympics in London before heading off to explore the arctic, rugged terrain of a country unknown to both of us. C’est les vacances!!!

Arriving at our first destination 🙂

Happy holidays everyone! 🙂

“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.”  Earl Wilson

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Fantasy Fridays: Macau, China

For the benefit of those who are reading this blog for the first time, we had earlier decided to give ourselves another reason to look forward to Fridays 🙂  A holiday every Friday! Not exactly a real vacation every Friday but more of a photo re-cap of a trip we or either one of us have taken in order to re-live our past travels and all the related memories of each trip.

FANTASY FRIDAYS!

Destination – Macau, one of the two special administrative regions of China. Getting there is easy – about an hour by ferry from Hong Kong, but leaving Asia’s gaming capital can however be difficult for some…

Temptations abound in the tiny Macau territory of 29 km² (11 sq miles). Be seduced by the variety of Chinese delicacies…

The Macanese welcome. Here’s the contingent greeting you when you get off the ferry.  All ready to whisk you off to the hotels and *casinos*…

The must-see attraction in Macau, the 16th century ruins of a Portuguese cathedral, the Cathedral of Saint Paul…

Macau was the first and last European colony in Asia and remnants of Portugal are still visible in Macau…

BollyChees goofing around in Macau. To be exact, Bolly goofing around 😉 …

One of the 35 casinos present in this “sin city”…MGM Grand…

Enticing those keen on a quick buck with bright neon lights…

Bolly has good luck and Chee doesn’t. Bolly won, Chee lost in the casinos…

We celebrated the unexpected win with a fine meal at 2 Michelin star modern and luxurious Chinese restaurant, The Eight before calling it a night. Highly recommended!No harm placing a few bets for the fun of it.  Don’t forget though, the saying “The House Always Wins” is true…

Hope you enjoyed reading this week’s edition of “Fantasy Fridays” 🙂

Fantasy Fridays: The Bay of Arcachon, France

For the benefit of those who are reading this blog for the first time, we had earlier decided to give ourselves another reason to look forward to Fridays 🙂  A holiday every Friday! Not exactly a real vacation every Friday but more of a photo re-cap of a trip we or either one of us have taken in order to re-live our past travels and all the related memories of each trip.

FANTASY FRIDAYS!

Destination, the Bay of Arcachon. Whereabouts? A bay of the Atlantic Ocean on the Southwest of France that is located about 50+ kilometres (30+ miles) from the famous vineyards in Bordeaux. The website of the Aquitaine region of France describes the Bay of Arcachon as “first of all a geomorphologic curiosity: a bay of 15000 hectares fed both by the ocean and a large number of waterways, producing an inland sea with the colours of a lagoon, bordered on one side by a blond crown of fine sand culminating at 104 metres: the Dune du Pilat. From its summit you can also see the beautiful Landes forest.”

What all that means is that the Arcachon Bay is a perfect playground for seaside/water-based activities such as swimming, fishing and sailing as well as for those keen to visit quaint fishing/oyster-fishing villages lining the perimeter of the Bay. The likes of Bolly would prefer to luxuriate in one of the resorts in the area and spend their day doing a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y. nothing whilst the likes of Chee who are keen for some adventures may wish to climb up the Dune du Pilat (Great Dune of Pyla), the largest sand dune in Europe measuring about 100 to 117 metres (328 to 340 feet) above sea level, 500 metres (1640 feet) wide and 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) long. It’s not exactly an easy climb but trust us, it’s worth the effort once you’re up there!

Feeling at home at Chez Pierre in Arcachon 🙂

Advantages of being located near to fishing/oyster-fishing villages…FRESH seafood…

Enjoying the tranquility of the Arcachon Bay…

Two ways up the Dune of Pyla…climb the dune or take the steps…

Take the steps while you can…climbing up the Dune is hard work…

Exceptional view from the top of the Dune with the Landes forest in the backdrop (and tiny tiny people)…

“The BollyChees have been here” 🙂

Bitten by the wanderlust bug yet?

🙂

(oops, publishing this slightly late on Saturday due to a technical glitch)

Fantasy Fridays: Durbuy, Belgium

For the benefit of those who are reading this blog for the first time, we had earlier decided to give ourselves another reason to look forward to Fridays 🙂 A holiday every Friday! Not exactly a real vacation every Friday but more of a photo re-cap of a trip we or either one of us have taken in order to re-live our past travels and all the related memories of each trip.

FANTASY FRIDAYS!

Today, we head to Durbuy. Wait, Durbuy, where? Durbuy is a town located in the French-speaking southern region of Belgium (otherwise known as Wallonia) about 95 kilometres (59 miles) from Brussels, the capital city of Belgium and 33 kilometres (20 miles) from Liege. Its ‘claim to fame’ is its reputation as the smallest town on earth (le plus petite ville du monde) though with a surface area of 157,5 km² and about 11,000 habitants, I think this small town’s claim is somewhat stretched. Smallest or not, this town has a special place in our hearts…read on to find out 🙂

Perched on the banks of the River Ourthe, the charming medieval town dating back to the 17th century is quaint with winding and narrow pedestrian streets lined with old stone houses. Confiturerie Saint-Amour (bottom-right of photo) is an artisanal jam factory that shows how jam is made in large copper basins…

Stop in one of the cafés for a drink while walking through the old town…

The Château d’Ursel in Durbuy which dates back to the 11th century and refurbished by the d’Ursel family who became owners of Durbuy in the 17th century…

Small as it may be, there are a number of good restaurants in and around Durbuy.  Here we are at one-Michelin star restaurant Le Cor de Chasse celebrating Valentine’s Day…which brings me to why Durbuy will always hold a special place in our hearts… Bolly proposed 🙂

I should have seen it coming. Even the town was trying to drop a hint!

Chee said yes and us BollyChees have been married for 2, coming 3 years (in 5 days’ time 😉 )…

To many more days, months and years of walking down the path of life together

🙂

Fantasy Fridays: Edinburgh, Scotland

For the benefit of those who are reading this blog for the first time, we had earlier decided to give ourselves another reason to look forward to Fridays  🙂 A holiday every Friday! Not exactly a real vacation every Friday but more of a photo re-cap of a trip we or either one of us have taken in order to re-live our past travels and all the related memories of each trip.

FANTASY FRIDAYS!

On this 4th installment, we head to Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland in August. Why August? If you, like us, are keen on soaking in a buzzing atmosphere of art performances, cultural shows, visual arts exhibitions, comedy shows and other wide-ranging events, while mingling with people from all around the world (from what we understand, the population of Edinburgh doubles from about close to 500,000 to more than a million every August) as well as experience Scottish cuisine, August is the time of the year to visit Edinburgh as the Edinburgh Festival takes stage.  The Edinburgh Festival is not just a festival but a general term for the various festivals taking place in Edinburgh in summer, especially during August. Think of it this way, the price of a flight ticket to Edinburgh gets you ‘admitted’ to the Edinburgh Art Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and a whole load of side-events taking place in the city. Talk about getting your money’s worth 😉

We’re in the land of bagpipes, kilts and tartans 🙂

The Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline of the city…Walk to discover the city as well as the numerous free street performances…

Our advice would be to book tickets early for performances you would like to watch before they sell out. No worries if you arrive without tickets though…there are plenty of choices…

Always up for new experiences, we experienced a theatre performance played out through our headphones while guided to different locations in the city…

Solemn grey buildings can be found everywhere in Edinburgh…

Not forgetting the fact that the world-famous series of Harry Potter books were created in Edinburgh by author J.K. Rowling in the cafe, the Elephant House in Edinburgh.  The George Heriot’s School below is reputed to be the inspiration for the Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Harry Potter…

Take a break and pub crawl through Edinburgh to taste Scottish ales…

What took us by surprise was how much we enjoyed Scottish cuisine. For some strange reason, we had initially anticipated rather bland cuisine but alas, the Scottish larder of quality beef, lamb, seafood and shellfish etc impressed us both and left us wanting more. Three of the restaurants we tried and highly recommend are the Castle Terrace (1 Michelin star, affordable £24 3-course lunch menu), Fishers (Make the trip out to the Fishers restaurant in Leith, the port of Edinburgh. The food and surroundings of Leith are worth the 3 mile/5km trip) and the Dogs (check out the pictures below!)…

The Edinburgh Festival was certainly an unforgettable experience for us.

If you had to choose one festival to head to in summer in Europe, this should be it! 🙂