Sunday Special – Thrill Seeker Edition


Travel encompasses many areas and there is no shortage of things to see, do, and experience in this wide world of ours. Sometimes you want to so something that really gets the adrenaline pumping and adds that extra zing to your travel escapades. Since we are all different the level of “extreme” will vary from person to person. While I consider ziplining fun and not scary at all, another may find this is well out of their comfort zone. To showcase much of the variety of adrenaline-inducing activities¬†I am adding the “Thrill Seeker Edition” to a few Sunday Specials now and again.

Since I mentioned ziplining that is what we’ll look at today.¬† We are going to head to South Africa where there is no shortage of aerial parks to get a different perspective on your surroundings. So where can you careen at top speed on on a pulley¬† and cable while feeling the wind in your face and view the tops of the trees below? This is what I found:

  • Canopy Tours South Africa¬†– With 7 locations across South Africa you can experience Canopy Tours throughout the country.¬† Their locations include Elgin (outside of Cape Town),¬† in the Magaliesberg Mountains (outside¬†Gauteng), and¬†¬†KZN Midlands (outside of Durban).
  • SA Forest Adventures – Offering several types of adventures to choose from you can go with the zipline and other adventures. They have 3 locations in the Western Cape: Cape Town, Hermanus, and Caledon.
  • Storm River’s Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour & Zipline – The first zip line in South Africa their lines traverse through Tsitsikamma Indigenous Forest.
  • Zip 2000 – One of the world’s longest, fastest, and highest ziplines, this one sure to get your adrenaline on high. It is located in Sun City.

If you want the to glide through the air in South Africa you have plenty of choices!

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Flying through the trees in Tsitsikamma, South Africa РPhoto credit: South African Tourism from South Africa, Canopy tree top tours, Tsitsikamma Forest, Western Cape (6253205746), CC BY 2.0

*Note/Disclaimer – The decision to participate in high risk activities is a personal choice. Always research the activities and know the risks. Wanders The World is posting only for informational purposes and is in no way responsible for the choices made by anyone reading these posts.

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My Best Meals in Hong Kong


Oh yes! I love good food! It is a true pleasure even if I don’t consider myself a foodie. Maybe because I don’t eat out that often (and I’m a finicky eater). I love finding good places to eat when I travel. I don’t have a criteria on how to find good places to eat. Sometimes I do it by seeing if a place is crowded (and checking the menu posted outside). Other times I have asked staff at my hostel or hotel. I get info from online too. And of course, I use TripAdvisor. I have heard some people say that the latter is not always an indicator of how good or authentic a place is. I disagree – especially in Hong Kong. I found one place via TripAdvisor that are known for their pineapple buns. Since it was so busy I was seated with a local couple and ended up learning a bit about life there. I had a good breakfast and even better conversation with locals. Sounds authentic to me.¬†

So where were my favourite places? Check it out:

Kai Kee NoodlesG/F., 15C Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
I wanted to try noodles for breakfast but didn’t know where in my neighbourhood to go. I had walked past one place that looked busy but the menu didn’t entirely appeal to me. So I checked Trip Advisor and this place came up. A small yet busy place with no real decor (in fact not fancy at all) though the food was good.¬† The waitress recommended the shrimp dumplings with noodles. She said it was Hong Kong style. They did not disappoint. So tasty. The serving size was good and the price was right. I also ordered hot milk tea. It was a bit bitter but manageable. I went back on my last day and tried the noodles with fried pork. It was good but the shrimp dumplings were much better.

 

TAP The Ale ProjectG/F, No. 15 Hak Po St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong, China
I found out about this place from an article by The Culture Trip naming some places to find craft beer in Hong Kong. It was a happenin’ place. I was seated at a long community table and ended up chatting with some ex-pats from Italy and Scotland. They suggested the Coriander Burger.¬† This burger was AMAZING. I like burgers but don’t love them but I loved this burger. Wanna know why? Because it was cooked medium rare or just a bit more – so juicy and flavourful! The meat was slightly pink, came on a fresh bun with cheese,¬† a garlic mayo sauce and deep fried cilantro (coriander)! Deep fried cilantro! Who’d of thought that would add to the overall experience. And add that I had a great hoppy Heroes Beer Company’s Cereusly IPA and it was one of the best meals I had in Hong Kong! I do recommend this place (if well-cooked burgers are your thing then maybe order something else or ask them to cook it longer). And the service was great. They checked in on me and made some beer suggestions too as I also had a flight of beers.¬†

One Dim SumShop 1 & 2, G/F, No. 15 Playing Field Road, Prince Edward, Hong Kong, China
After spending the morning in Mong Kok perusing the Goldfish, Bird, and Flower Markets I was hangry….uh hungry. The crowds in the street market were getting to me and I knew I needed to get some food in my belly. I didn’t know where to go so I used TripAdvisor again. The first place that popped up was One Dim Sum which I had marked previously as a place to try. It was close so I made my way there. As the reviews stated, there was a line up, however since I was dining solo I only waited about 15 minutes. I know dim sum is often a group affair but I was going for it anyway! I’m glad I did. It was so good and I was so stuffed. Even chatted a bit with the father and young son seated across from me.

Kam Wah Cafe –¬†47 Bute Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong, China
Another place I found on TripAdvisor. I was heading to Mong Kok to check out the markets mentioned above. I wanted to try another place for breakfast so I did a search and this place popped up. Many reviews suggested going here for their pineapple buns. I though might as well and made my way there. It was busy and honestly I was a bit intimidated at first. I looked around for a seat but nothing so a waitress (rather brusquely) ushered me to a corner booth with couple sitting across from me. We smiled politely and I perused the menu (which was in both English and Cantonese). I eventually asked them about the buns. They spoke English very well and they agreed that the pineapple buns were very good. They flagged down the waitress and ordered for me. We had a good conversation and I learned a bit about Hong Kong. The bun was good as was the hot milk tea.

N1 Coffee & CoShop G, No. 34 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
My first food place on this trip. Again I used TripAdvisor. It was in my neighbourhood even though I walked past it a few times since I’m horrible at directions and I was jet lagged. The decor of this place was so cute. I just loved it. Order at the counter and they bring it to you. It was later in the morning so I opted for a sandwich to go with my tea. The ingredients were fresh and the tea was good quality.

I can’t finish this post without mentioning some of the bars/pubs that had some amazing local craft beer. Both of the places below I learned about from the Culture Trip article I mention above.¬†

The Roundhouse TaproomNo. 62 Peel St, Central, Hong Kong, China
How can I not like a place that carries at local BC beer?! Actually Roundhouse has a decent variety of local and imported craft beers. This time around I tried a Japanese craft beer. 

Kowloon Taproom No. 24 – 38 Ashley Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
The bonus part of this pub is that it was only about a 5 – 10 minute walk from my hostel. In addition to have a great selection of local beers it was accessible too. I went 3 times!! I liked the atmosphere as it was rather chill. The food was standard pub fare and the service was good. I miss it.

 

All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Special – Barossa Valley, Australia


Okay, who am I kidding? Wine is on my mind and on this a blog. I have inadvertently started¬† a wine series, LOL. Today we’re off to the Barossa Valley of Australia,¬†located in South Australia, northeast of Adelaide. A friend of mine said he was heading this way so I thought I’d post about it. And as mentioned previously, my girlfriends and I are on the hunt for a wine vacation.

The Barossa Valley has a rather interesting wine history.¬† One of the oldest wine producing regions in Australia it dates back to the 1840s with mainly German settlers (and some Brits). When the Barossa Valley was settled it was realized that it was an excellent spot for grape growing. It was through trial and error of wine-making that port-style fortified wines became popular. Later into the mid 1900s when Australia’s wine production shifted towards non-fortified wines the area’s wines lost favour and were used mainly in blends. It seems that the the now popular Shiraz varietals were then considered sub-par. To add to the declining shift, various scenarios and circumstances further threatened the wine industry in the area.¬† During the 1980s, in an effort to bring about change, a number of winemakers (including Peter Lehmann) opened smaller wineries through the region. That is when the Barossa Valley wines (especially Shiraz) really took off.¬† Today the Barossa Valley is synonymous with quality wine.¬†

Reaching the Barossa Valley can be a day trip from Adelaide or you can spend several days in the area. Winery tastings and tours are a must. You can also appease your palate with an abundance of food options. Burn all that off with shopping, walking or cycling. It sounds like this area is a must for wine aficionados. 

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Grape growing in the Barossa Valley (Jacob’s Creek Winery) – Photo credit:¬†Amanda Slater,¬†Jacob’s Creek. Vines. Barossa Valley SA,¬†CC BY-SA 2.0

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Charles Melton Winery. One of many in the Barossa Valley, Australia РPhoto credit: Jeff Marquis, Charles Melton Wines, CC BY 2.0

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Grapes in abundance in the Barossa Valley, Australia РPhoto credit: Amanda Slater, Wine grapes in Barossa Valley. SA, CC BY-SA 2.0

Sunday Special – Mosel Wine Region, Germany


I’ve still got wine on my mind so today we’re going to head to a wine region of Germany that is known for its high quality Riesling varietal of wines: Mosel. This region is located in the west of Germany near the borders of Luxembourg and France, in the valley of the Mosel (Moselle) River and its tributaries of the Suur and Ruwer rivers. The steepness of the hills in this valley make mechanical grape collection near impossible so it must all be done by hand. Although the the hand-picking is seven times slower than with a machine its gentle effect on the grapes is passed through to the wine. This results in Rieslings that are world renown. Wineries are plentiful with the hardest part being how to decide on which ones to go to.

Not only is the Mosel Valley home to numerous wineries it is a beautiful region with some Roman history (it is believed it was the ancient Romans who first introduced wine-making to the area). Make your way through hiking trails that provide lookouts with incredible views and then head to storybook towns and villages lined with cobblestone streets. Relax your way through this region that takes life at much slower pace so you can unwind and relish the experience. A few of my girlfriends and I are tossing about the idea of doing a girl’s wine trip at some point. Perhaps Mosel will be on that list of choices.

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The State Wine Growing Domain in Trier, Germany – Photo is Public Domain

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Cochem, Germany in the Mosel Valley РPhoto credit: Kai Pilger, Cochem and Reichsburg, CC BY-SA 4.0

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Mosel Valley, Germany РPhoto credit: Michal Osmenda, Vineyards in Beilstein, Mosel, CC BY-SA 2.0