The Last Little Bit of Jordan


Well I am back to regular life and right in the thick of it. It is my busy time at work so that is my main focus for the next several months (gotta fund my travels). I hope to get Sunday Special back on and also a few other posts as well. Please bear with me! 🙂

After Wadi Rum we still had adventure ahead of us. Our group’s last stop before returning to Amman was in the south of Jordan, in Aqaba. Here we spent a perfect afternoon aboard a boat aptly named “Freedom” while cruisin’ the Red Sea. And for those of us who wanted (and I wanted) we could snorkel with the fish. Additionally, from this area we could see Israel & Egypt across the way. Heading a bit further we could also see Saudi Arabia. This section of the Red Sea is a confluence of nations.

Soon the group tour was coming to a close. We headed back to Amman and had our final farewell dinner (& some shisha) the next night. I still had two days so I did some sightseeing, shopping, and took a cooking class. At the cooking class (on a patio kitchen) we enjoyed our dinner and were able to see part of a Jordanian wedding ritual next door. The bride was being picked up the groom and friends where she was serenaded and celebrated. What an unexpected treat!

The Red Sea!

Our boat – Freedom

Heading out to sea.

Enjoying a Jordanian beer.

Dinner in Aqaba.

I really enjoyed the food in Jordan. These cheese stuffed appies were so tasty.

When in Amman one should visit Hashem for the best falafels!

Again, best falafels EVER!! 😋

So many spices!

Shops along the street

Our G Adventures final dinner

The Jordan group

Strawberry flavoured shisha 😋

Visiting Amman’s Citadel – history upon history as many ages have left their mark here

A number of Roman ruins

The Temple of Hercules

The Monumental Gateway / Entrance, built during the Umayyad Period (the first Muslim Dynasty)

The interior of the Monumental Gateway. I love this building.

The hand of Hercules

Next it was off to the Roman Amphitheatre.

Ms Brown taking it all in.

An interesting museum beside the Amphitheatre houses clothing & jewellery of the Bedouins.

They are everywhere. LOL

Saw a bit of the famous Rainbow St

Group cooking class at well-known Beit Sitti Cooking School & Restaurant

We prepped those!

Looks good and smells even better

Musakhan Um Azmi finished and ready to eat. So tasty it was. 😋

The dinner I helped make.

My new Pandora charm, my souvenir for the great trip!

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

Advertisements

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 – Brisbane, Australia


night_skyline_of_brisbane2c_queensland2c_australia

Brisbane at night – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned  By wirepic (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Brisbane is the capital city of the Australian state of Queensland and the third largest city by population in the country. A contemporary city that lies along the Brisbane River in southeast Queensland, it is a vibrant urban locale with plenty of activities to take part in. What can you expect in this sunny urban destination? It appears to me that there is so much to partake in that you’d have to schedule a rest day! 

Fancy a climb? How about heading up Story Bridge? Take a 2-hour climb to the top of this landmark bridge to take in amazing views of the city. After climbing and seeing the river you can go and play on it. Activities such as kayaking or standup paddle boarding are popular. You can also cross the river in a City Cat Ferry.  Should you need a break from the hot sun then head to one of the numerous museums found around town. Notable ones include Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) which happen to be located beside each other.  Another option is the Museum of Brisbane that showcases the history of Brisbane and a variety of exhibits. Meandering through South Bank will show you parks, restaurants, cafes, beaches, the Wheel of Brisbane, family-oriented fun, and cultural sights.  A day away from the city can be accomplished with a visit to Moreton Island, a large sand island that is accessible via ferry.  Rent a 4WD vehicle to traverse the sands across the island or sand toboggan down some dunes. You can take a dip in the Champagne Pools’ crystal clear waters or snorkel with marine life and see shipwrecks. Explore and see aboriginal cultural sites and World War I and II relics. Hiking, surfing,  beaches, and flora and fauna are part of the experience as well. 

I don’t doubt that Brisbane is a fun city with much to see and do. The above is only a short list of what I have found. I imagine that Brisbane is a great place to visit.

28_-_south_bank_parklands_28474116375929

South Bank and Brisbane Wheel – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By Brisbane City Council (28 – South Bank Parklands) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Story Bridge Panorama

Story Bridge, Brisbane – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By Cyron Ray Macey from Brisbane (-27.470963,153.026505), Australia (Story Bridge Panorama) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Special – Andorra


The Sunday Special will be trying out a new spin so let’s see how it goes. In the past I have done series on natural landscapes (deserts, mountains, etc). My own travels have been highlighted. And of course, bucket list worthy destinations have made it here too.  This time ’round I am going to alphabetize. Yep, I will go through the alphabet to select a place, sight, or event (and possibly even food) to showcase to you.  Let’s see the world one letter at a a time.


above_pla_de_la_cot_restaurant_-_panoramio

Ski hills of Andorra – Photo credit:  Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Michael Karavanov [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Snuggled high in the Pyrenees mountains of Europe lies the landlocked micro-nation of Andorra. The sixth smallest European nation is found between France and Spain, which means entry into it is via one of them. There are no airports or train stations so bus and car is the way to enter (or by helicopter is you have the funds). So how can one spend their days here? Here is what I found:

  • Hiking and walking for various skill levels. Being a mountainous country there are plenty of places to explore on foot in the summer months
  • Skiing. It’s the mountains so there is a bounty of ski resorts to choose from. Heli-skiing is also available. It’s a winter sports wonderland
  • Cycling – both mountain biking terrain and asphalt-lined paths
  • Activities such as zip-lining, mountain slide, horseback riding, archery, rope circuits high in the trees, camping and more
  • Shopping and good food
  • Museums

It seems to me that Andorra may be a micro-sized country yet has large-size itineraries. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

View of Andorra la Vella, capital city of Andorra – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by Tiia Monto [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

vall_del_madriu-perafita-claror_-_104

Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By Ferran Llorens (Flickr: Vall del Madriu-Perafita-Claror 63) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons