Friday, February 8, 2019

Hokkaido - Japan: Winter Wanderlust

Our final day in Hokkaido (OTARU) began with a bitter twist. Winter had truly settled in, halting all sightseeing plans. Heavy snowflakes blanketed everything, bringing with them the news that our flight might be cancelled. Secretly, I hoped for more snow, longing for an extra day in this winter wonderland. My hopeful grin drew laughter from the group (NOBORIBETSU).

The greatest disappointment was the cancellation of our visit to the Okurayama Viewing Point, the 1972 Winter Olympic Games ski jumping venue. As someone who relishes visiting iconic spots, this news hit hard, like a sharp arrow piercing my heart. Also cancelled was the panoramic view of Sapporo city from the mountain peak and the visit to the serene Sapporo Shrine in Maruyama Park. No sightseeing at all. It felt like an explosion in my head, shattering my excitement.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Otaru: Nostalgic Winter

Totally crashed out from the previous day's whirlwind of activities and snow fun in Sapporo (SAPPORO WHAT AWAITS), I slept like a log until the alarm blared, signaling the start of another adventure-filled day (HOKKAIDO). Today, we were heading to Otaru, and despite my excitement, a wave of sentimentality hit me - only two days left before heading home. 

It's a familiar feeling that always accompanies the end of my travels, a longing for more adventures instead of returning to the grind. But reality bites; I need to work and save before planning the next holiday. Given the choice, I'd travel 365 days a year. As I showered, I mentally calculated how long it would take to save for my next trip. Once dressed, I joined the group for the buffet breakfast.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Sapporo - (Hokkaido): Discovering More of What Awaits

What an unexpected surprise! On the fourth day of our Hokkaido and Sapporo tour, the winter weather had finally mellowed. Oh boy, I was all grins as I could finally spend more time outdoors, unlike the previous day when we were constantly running for indoor shelter in Noboribetsu. 

Breakfast at Hotel Maharoba (NOBORIBETSU WINTER TIME) was a revelation. While my tour buddies raved about the dinner, I found the buffet breakfast to be an absolute delight. Those Japanese-style dishes, especially the ones featuring tofu, seaweed, fresh seafood, and a variety of vegetables, were simply amazing. And when I saw congee and bacon- my all-time favorite - my excitement soared. 

The varieties of egg dishes were equally impressive, cooked in the soft and fluffy Japanese style. And let's not forget the Japanese desserts, which were an absolute treat - soft, melt-in-your-mouth perfection that added a sweet start to my day.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Noboribetsu - Hokkaido, Japan (Winter Time)

Our stay at Hilton Niseko Village (HOKKAIDO WINTER TALES) had come to an end, and I felt a deep sense of fulfillment. Staying for two nights was indeed a luxury, albeit one that came with a price. However, the experience was worth every penny because Hilton Niseko Village truly is a star light, star bright place to stay when in Hokkaido.

With our luggage packed and loaded onto the coach after a hearty buffet breakfast, we embarked on our journey to Noboribetsu. The trip would take about four hours, with planned comfort breaks along the way, especially for the loo. After traveling for a little over an hour, we stopped at a store whose name eludes me.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Hokkaido, Japan - Winter Tales

The first night's sleep while traveling (HOKKAIDO WINTER WANDERINGS) is always restless, don't you agree? For me, as a solo traveler, it's a mix of excitement, adjusting to new surroundings, and maybe a hint of horror movie scenarios playing in my mind - haha! I hardly slept, alone in a new place, managing only about three hours before rising early to shower and layer up in winter clothes, eager for the buffet breakfast. 

The breakfast spread was a tantalizing mix of Asian, Japanese, and Western delights, offering a tempting array of salads, egg dishes, and other mouthwatering treats. I made sure to fuel up with energy-packed foods, gearing up for the adventures that awaited.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Hokkaido Japan: Winter Wanderings Begin

Winter in Hokkaido was destined to be an unforgettable experience. My travel companions had warned me about the intense cold, so I packed my luggage with the thickest winter coats and layers, including Long Johns, purchased just two weeks before our flight (COLOMBO & NUWARA ELIYA SRI LANKA). As soon as we landed at New Chitose International Airport, after transiting from Bangkok, the bone-chilling cold hit me, making me feel like I was being blown apart by the freezing wind.

New Chitose Airport, located about 50 kilometers from the central hub of Sapporo, is a marvel. It's the largest gateway to Hokkaido, handling over 20 million passengers annually with seamless access to both domestic and international destinations. Stepping into this vast, immaculate space, I understood why it was the perfect entry point for our Hokkaido adventure.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Colombo - Sri Lanka: From Dreams to Discovery

As I headed to Colombo, I felt a deep sense of love and excitement (GALLE & NUWARA ELIYA). Since childhood, Colombo was the only place in Sri Lanka I had heard about because it was always mentioned when someone spoke about the country. Consequently, it had always been in my mind. Now, the time had come to unlock those feelings and experience the city for myself. However, there was also a hint of sadness, knowing this trip would end by late evening tomorrow when I'd fly back home. While I missed my hub, the thought of returning to my responsibilities felt overwhelming.

Determined to make the most of my remaining time, we made several stops along the route from Galle to Colombo. We visited two different beaches, likely between Unawatuna Beach, Hikkaduwa Beach, Bentota Beach, Beruwala Beach, and Mount Lavinia Beach. Each beach had stunning, mesmerizing waters that left me in awe. The beauty of these beaches was truly mind-blowing.

A Taste of Burma: Masoor Dal and More Lentil Delights

Lentils and dal are essential staples in my kitchen, celebrated globally ( PERTH CULINARY EXPERIENCES ) for their versatility and nutritiona...