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The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Beautiful Zurich

I'm finally sorting through my photos of our epic trip in Europe earlier this year. Still amazed that we managed to cover 12 cities and towns in 5 countries, a total of 2400km in 28 days, with 3 kids in tow! This also happened in the middle of relocating from Hong Kong to Australia, which in itself was already a huge challenge! Our first stop in Europe was Zurich, as it's the only city in Switzerland we can fly non-stop from Hong Kong. We arrived very early in the morning, and we spent the first morning walking around the town before we could check in to our accommodation. We joined a free walking tour the next day to discover more of the city. Zurich is beautiful, with plenty of gorgeous photo opportunities of the lake and the Alps. We were there only two nights before we moved on to the Swiss Alps!

The clean streets of Zurich:

I love the clean straight lines of the architecture, with St Peter's clock tower in the background. This clock tower has the largest tower clock face in Europe:

A view of Grossmunster, a Romanesque-style Protestant church:

The two towers of Grossmunster, Lake Zurich and the Alps in one view:

Even if I lived here, I would not get tired of this view of the lake and the Swiss Alps (click on image for larger view):

Fun entertainment on the streets:

Our lovely tour guide brought us to this fountain in front of a restaurant with historical significance, to inform us that all fountains in Zurich supply drinkable water. This particular fountain, on special occasions held at the restaurant, supplies wine for the guests:

The inner courtyard of the Fraumunster Church:

Beautiful wall painting at the Fraumunster:

The prominent clock tower of St Peter's is visible from many parts of downtown Zurich:

A view of the city from a high point:

Facing towards the Alps:

Stay tuned for more on Europe!

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Pretty High Tea @ Cafe Blush, Melbourne

A few Fridays ago, on my younger sister's usual day off work, she and I had to get some official business done for my mum, and hubby took a few hours off work to look after our girls and nephew so that we could do it quickly. We were grateful that we could get it done kids-free, because we experienced some hiccup and delay, which would have been even more stressful if we had three kids in tow. After that was done, my sister and I headed into the city to reward ourselves with a nice lunch at Cafe Blush, which offers an all-day high tea set. The cafe had pretty interior setting, with blush-coloured walls and hanging potted plants. We both enjoyed the dainty high tea, which my sister found wasn't substantial enough for a satisfying lunch (it is after all meant to be a tea, not a full meal), but delicious nonetheless.

The circular lamps overhead was an interesting centrepiece that contributed to the lovely aesthetics of the cafe:

Pondering the menu which had a decent selection of tea:

My sister's Match Latte with cute latte art:

Yes, we also enjoyed the optional bubbly:

Cafe Blush High Tea: (top tier) mini chocolate chiffon, yuzu meringue tart, assorted macarons; (middle) tomato bread sandwich, chipotle prawn and avocado, roasted mushroom with smoked salmon; (bottom) dulce de leche cake, jam and cream for the scones:

The other side. The yuzu meringue tart was my favourite, because it reminded me of my time in Japan, where we frequently enjoyed the bright and zesty flavours of yuzu:

I loved the presentation of the dulce de leche cake, with evaporated milk inside the tube:

Cafe Blush was perfect for a girls' date!

Blush Cafe
Level 2, Emporium Melbourne
287 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC
Tel. +61 3 9654 8882

Cafe Blush Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Blood moon and Mars conjunction

Very early on Saturday morning, Earth was treated to the longest total lunar eclipse of the century, and I was stoked to take advantage of this night sky photo opportunity without haze or constant cloud cover or high rise buildings getting in the way! Mars was also in conjunction with the moon and at opposition, making its closest approach to Earth in 15 years. I missed the first part of the eclipse, because the 2-year-old wouldn't let me leave her bedside until 5am, and I blame the unusual night wakings earlier that week on the full moon, the eclipse and Mars at opposition - it's like the moon and the planets were lined up to make my life slightly miserable that week. Ok, I'm only joking, but a small part of me does wonder if there's any scientific truth to that because on Saturday night, the toddler resumed back to sleeping through the night. I used my ancient 13-year-old DSLR - back when it cost over AU$1000 for one - and was happy to know that it still works alright.

The progression of the total lunar eclipse, with totality lasting 103 minutes, making it the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century:

Mars at opposition and in conjunction with the moon:

The moon was still in total eclipse when the sky began lightening as day began to break:

The next day, on Sunday morning, the kids were so excited and happy to see a full double rainbow in the backyard when they came downstairs for breakfast. And yes, I stood in the drizzle in the backyard to take the photo.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

"...to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land."

I can tell you that an international relocation with three kids takes a whole lot of hard work and patience, and I'm sure I would have grown many more grey hair than I did, if not for help from my mum, younger sister and bro-in-law during our first week in Melbourne. It is now about two months since we arrived in Melbourne, and it is only now that I can say that we have more or less settled into our new home. Though we often told our friends in Hong Kong that we were "moving back to Australia", Melbourne is still a new city for us to live in, and there is much to experience and explore. I would like to continue blogging, at the very least to document our epic trip to Europe where we covered 12 cities and towns in 5 countries, covering 2400km with 3 kids in 28 days - it sure took a lot of balls, guts and grit to make this trip happen! But for now, here's a shot of the kids and their dad playing in the backyard while I cooked dinner. The garden is the probably the one thing that the kids are most excited about this house, because it means they can finally have a pet dog.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Big News!

It's been a month since I last wrote in this blog, and a lot has happened in that time! For one thing, we have said goodbye to the apartment and city that we called home for the past 7.5 years. We spent two weeks packing and cleaning up (and throwing out many precious things), which was no small feat considering we also had to care for our three children. But that was eventually accomplished with many, many late nights and many, many cups of coffee drunk. It was especially difficult to say goodbye to our friends and all we had established in Hong Kong. The time we spent in HK was almost twice the time we spent in Japan, and we still miss Japan like crazy! Hong Kong will always remain a big part of our lives, especially our 9-year-old who also had to say goodbye to many of his good friends.

Our final day in Hong Kong was relatively clear with low haze and sunny weather! This shot was taken from the balcony just moments after we handed our keys to the landlord:

Right now, we are in the middle of our epic month-long Europe trip. In the past two weeks, we've spent a week in Switzerland, a few days in Munich, and currently in Austria. Loving almost every minute of it, but not enjoying the exhausting part of it that comes with travelling with three kids. I've been in photography heaven in almost every location we've stayed at, most especially the Swiss Alps! I can't wait to share the beautiful shots I've taken. Here's one taken from my phone, unfiltered and untouched.

On top of Mt Rigi, also known as the Queen of the mountains, where we had awesome view of part the Swiss Alps:

Stay tuned!