Discovering Croatia

After almost 5 years of not having to do business travel, this year will be quite different.  In addition to the routine work trip to Bucharest, I’m glad that I’ve finally visited a new country AND learning new part of the business.

Recently I went to Croatia twice in the period of 4 weeks.  The first trip was to Zagreb and stayed for 3 days to close an Audit.  That means I didn’t get to see the city much except trying out some local food in the city centre.  So it’s quite uneventful.

For my second trip, I had to travel 2 hours by car to a small town named Virovitica.  The town is quite near to the Hungarian border, in the middle of no where.  The “hotel” is an old castle, 10 mins drive from office and only serve breakfast.  Luckily we had a rented car which means we were able to spend weekend in other parts of the country.

We managed to spend the weekend in Plitviče Lakes National Park, known for a chain of 16 terraced lakes, joined by waterfalls, that extend into a limestone canyon.  The park was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979.  It was an amazing site and due to ‘winter’ timing, we only managed to visit part of the lakes.

Breathtaking beauty.  Highly recommended.  #waterfall #croatia #unescoheritagesite
Great view of the terraced lakes

Big waterfall #croatia #unescoheritage #waterfall Big waterfall

There’s lots of walkways and hiking trails wind around and across the water, and an electric boat links the 12 upper and 4 lower lakes.  There’s also bus service that brings you to different parts of the lakes if you’re not keen to hike.

Besides the National Parks, Croatia is also famous for it’s Adriatic coasts and not forgetting Dubrovnik (GoT – Kings Landing).  A few locals recommended a road trip along the coast to enjoy the beach and lagoons.

I will definitely go back with David to discover the country.

 

Nell Gwynn

We were a bit apprehensive after leaving the theatre in the interval of Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds 2 weeks ago.  It was so strange and just not our type of show I guess.

But this one was a hit !!  The play is about how Nell Gwynn became the mistress of King Charles II and it won the best comedy in Olivier Awards this year. I would highly recommend this play to everyone.

4 stars.

Discovering our local public library

Dav and I are quite an avid reader.  We always have some form of reader with us when we’re commuting to work or going on holiday.  We have collected quite a lot of physical books over the years and that slowly transform into digital books when Kindle was introduced.  I’m even on my second Kindle (due to an accident – screen cracked).

So needless to say we spent quite a lot of money on this hobby.  When a friend told us about her frequent visits to the local library I thought it was quite an interesting thing to do especially if it helps reduced our monthly expenses.  But at that time, our local library was quite a distance away so we never did make it.

Now after moving to the current place we discovered the local library is only 5 mins walk away.  So last weekend we decided to check it out and we were quite surprised by the services available.

So besides the usual borrowing of books, they also provide the following:

  • audio books
  • e-books
  • music CDs
  • DVDs
  • children’s library
  • computers for public use with internet access
  • free WiFi
  • newspapers and magazines
  • IT tuition
  • adult reading group
  • children’s reading group
  • faxing and photocopying
  • printing and scanning
  • reference room

I was so excited, we ended up borrowing 2 DVDs (minimal cost and fairly new titles too!) and a few books.  I definitely want to try to borrow books rather than buying ebooks.

Facebook Detox

I did it!  No Facebook for one month.  It was quite an interesting time.  Looking back I spent the most time on Facebook during the following times:

  • After I wake up, just before I get ready.
  • During my commute to work, i.e. when I’m on the train, bus or tube.
  • After dinner.
  • Just before bed.

So, it does looks like I spend quite a far bit of time on it.

During the one month detox, I read 3 books and felt left out as I couldn’t see what my FB friends were up to.  After the second week, those feelings were gone.  I felt like I didn’t miss much.  If there’s anything important that I should know, somehow my friends will eventually tell me or I’ll ask them what’s going on.

Will I go back to spending the same amount of time on FB? I don’t think so…. but I won’t stop checking either.  I still find that there’s interesting things that people post which is worth reading.

Have you try reducing the amount of time you spend on FB?

Happy New Year !!

Time for reflection.

Things I have neglected in 2013

  • this blog.  Other project (Project Life) and more convenient apps (Facebook, Instagram, Day One) took over.
  • knitting.  Haven’t knitted a single thing.
  • exercise.  The only form of exercise I did was the occasional walking Dav forced me to do. Needless to say I didnt lose any weight.
  • reading.  I hardly read any books!

Highlights

  • vow renewal in Vegas.
  • road trips we took (Snowdonia, USA, Liverpool, walk for 25 miles!).
  • time spent with family & friends.
  • making our house homely (finally putting up the many photo frames!)

2013 also became the year we worked very hard.  Not sure if it’s a good thing.  Sometimes it feels rewarding, sometimes it is depressing.

Am hoping 2014 is as eventful if not more than 2013.

Why is it still freezing in April?

That’s the common complain from everyone in UK.  It is quite strange that it snowed in March and the temperature is still hovering around the low single digit when by right it is already Spring.  Hopefully we won’t have to endure this for too long.  I really miss the sun.  Especially since my holiday in Asia just ended recently.  A quick update on what’s been going on….

Piano Lessons

I’ve since learnt 2 more Bach pieces.  I’m really enjoying the lesson.  I find it quite therapeutic.  Although initially I wanted to push myself harder by aiming to sit for the exam, I don’t see a need for it now.  I’m taking it easy, at my pace.  There are weeks which I have a lot of spare time to practice and there are weeks where I”m swarmed with work and have no time at all to practice.  My piano teacher is understanding and always support me.  I guess in a way I’m paying for it.

Anyway here’s a sample of the 2 pieces I”m talking about.  What do you think?

Holiday in Asia

I decided to head back to KL on my own after being convinced by my family.  It was indeed a fun trip.  I decided to try Singapore Airline and stay over in Singapore for a few days to hangout with friends and visit all the new places.  I had a very good time eating and generally seeing the new Singapore.  So much has changed since my last trip there for work in 2006.

After Singapore, I went to Taipei with my parents, younger sis and baby old nephew.  I was the designated baby helper, that means carrying the baby pram and baby as and when it is required.  I have to say it was quite fun and not too tiring.  Initially I was worried about not being able to sleep at night since the baby needs to be fed at night but I didnt hear much.  We ate a lot in Taipei and bought a lot of snacks too.  I think my parents enjoyed it.

I didnt have many days left after Taipei and Singapore but still managed to meet up with a few close friends and generally just spent time with my parents.  Luckily the Star Trek exhibition was still on, so I went with my youngest sis.  It’s nothing spectacular.  The display items looked old and not well kept.  At least I got to see the ‘bridge’ and the ‘transporter’.  I was hoping that the parliament will be dissolved and that the general election will take place during my time in KL.  Well I had already registered for postal vote so it didnt really matter.

When one gets too tired to walk any further, take a pic of Gardens by the Bay from MBS.

Easter Break

As usual, at the last minute we decided to rent a car and head to Snowdonia, North Wales.  This would be our second trip to Snowdonia.  This time we asked Cec and Charles to join us and the weather is not as ‘friendly’.  On top of that, the week leading to Easter there were several reports of people being rescued from Snowdon due to snow and ice.  So everyone in office was constantly giving us advice.

While it was freezing, we managed to do one 2 hrs hike and drove around the North Wales coast.  While the train has not been build leading to the summit, due to severe weather, snow and ice, it was unfortunately closed.  Looks like we’ll have to attempt a 3rd trip to get ourself up to the summit.  There is no way I’m going to hike. hehehehehe

Can't believe what a good view AND weather we experienced today.

On a 2 hrs hike before heading back to London. Good exercise.