So I visited Japan for the Cherry blossoms earlier this year. While I was there, i bought so-net’s Prepaid LTE Data Sim card. Unlike b-mobile which needs to be pre-ordered and shipped to the airport, so-net’s prepaid data sim are sold either via a vending machine or a shop inside the Airport. Which is of course, extremely useful for people who decide to splurge on a data sim card in the last minute. Not to mention the data plans are the cheapest by far.
Official website: http://www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/en/index.html
If you are here looking for information about crossing the UB from UU, then check out this other website and spare yourself my emotional roller coaster.
The horror of staying close to 24 hours on the train coupled with the high price, made me decide to take a bus over instead. With the help of my Ulan Ude Hostel owner, I was able to get my hands on a Ticket to Ulan Bator for 1500 rubles (no commission, nothing).
The plan was to stay 2 nights in Ulan Ude and then catch the 730am bus to Ulan Bator. Anna from the hostel indicated to me roughly where I should go to board the bus and I also went down personally (on the first day) to check the boarding station and route out.
Composer Mozart Amadeus Wolfgang was born in 27th January 1756 in Salzburg, Austria. The young talent first performed for the King of Austria when he was 6. He soon went on to compose many of the classical scores we now adore.
I took a long train from Prague to Salzburg, changing at Linz. I didnt reserve any seats on the train and finding an empty seat in Czech was harder than i thought. The wagon I happened to board was packed to the brim. Thankfully I met an American girl who's mom had gone ahead to recce and she told us that he wagons ahead were all empty. There's just a lot of people standing around the corridors of the wagon we were in and blocking everyone else. Running up and down the platforms, I was glad my luggage was able to give me mobility. The mission for my next trip is to pack even lighter!
I found an empty seat in a compartment of 6. There were 3 german girls and an American couple. The american couples were going to Salzburg too so the 3 of us got out at Linz together and then found a seat on our next train together. None of us knew what we were doing and just winged it. Along with another Hong Kong girl, we had a very nice chat from Linz to Salzburg.
|There were a lot of korean travellers in Prague|
One of the train staff while checking our tickets, fined the American lady €70 because her feet was on the seats and the fees was for cleaning it @_@; While dirtying the seats isn't good, fining someone for something they didn't explicitly say not to, felt very unfair to me.
Anyway, I'm just glad Melanie and Mark took the incident very well and didn't let that affect their mood at all. Maybe it's because of their stronger currency but man , I would be so miffed if they fined me €70!
I arrived pretty late in Salzburg. Took some time to find my hostel and stock up groceries at the nearby supermarket. By the time I went out it was probably 7pm already.
But I'm sure you wouldn't have known if I didn't tell you because the sky is still beaming!
The hostel I stayed at was superbly located, it's beside the river and was walking distance from the Mirabell Garden. Check out my review of the hostel by clicking here if you want
First attraction I went to; Mirabell garden. Entrance is free and this is where a scene of the Sound of Music is filmed. The part where Maria taught the children to sing "Do Re Me".
I then met 3 Finnish girls. So promptly dressed and waiting expectently at the gates, it doesn't take a genius to guess they are huge fans of the movie waiting to take a picture with the gate. I approached them for a photo and even helped them film a short video reenactment of the movie hahah. Such fun!
This is one of the statue that was in the movie. I cannot remember which statue exactly but it was one of these gnomes LOL
I think this terrace was in the movie too! But I might be wrong LOL.
Beautiful roses were in full bloom when I was there. They were beautiful!
I explored the garden a little more and decided to head back for dinner which is half a pizza, tiramisu and some berries. Bought everything from the Supermarket nearby and it cost me just €5.80!
I didn't spend a lot of time in Salzburg itself because I took a day trip to Hallstatt and was left stranded there. The rest of my Salzburg trip was spent just walking around and taking in the sights.
These are the photos of the Old Town.
The Old Towns here reminded me very much of Prague albeit on a much smaller scale. And not as bustling as Prague.
The looming clouds in the background really gives it a dynamic vibe.
|Europe has some of the nicest Mac Donald buildings/stores!|
Salzburg is a nice little area that can be reached on foot everywhere. That said, when I was there and armed with the map from the Hostel, I found it hard to find the Hellbrunn Palace and did not eventually find it.
The vibe of the old town is nice, peaceful and reassuring. However it is hard not to notice the influx of tourists (I am one too LOL) and overwhelming amount of luxury shops. That made everything felt a tad bit touristy. Nevertheless, Salzburg remains a worthwhile stopover; especially for fans of Mozart and Sound of Music.
Name: Schützenbach Backpackers & Camping / HostelAddress: Schützenbach, 3822 Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Tel: +41338551268website: https://www.facebook.com/Schutzenbachbackpackers/timeline
Price: €33.5 (price varies depending on season & room types)
Name: Garni Wolf
Address: Street Plan de Gralba 25, 39048 Selva Gardena Valley (BZ)
Tel: 0039 0471 795035
Fax: 0039 0471 794359
Price: €40 - 70 (price varies depending on season)
I went to Manila (Philippines ) last month for some dental treatment. Many people were curious why I went to Philippines and whenever I told them I was going there to fix my teeth , I got the exact same reply "What?! All the way there?!".
Seriously guys, you guys must have superbly blessed teeth to not understand the extend of damage and COST dental works can jack up.
So a couple of months back, a big filling from one of my molar teeth fell off and I was left with a gapping hole in my molar teeth; the teeth at the back that does most of the chewing. I went to 2 dentist in Singapore and both suggested doing root canal treatment to save the teeth. As it seemed like the nerve of the teeth was already affected, the only way to save the teeth was to do root canal. The other alternative was to yank it out completely and then install a fake tooth in. I'm not sure about you but at my age, root canal seemed like the best solution. I bring age into the equation because your body health plays a part in the resistance of your teeth and how long it can last. That's why most elder people go for dentures instead while younger people would do root canals.
Anyway I digressed.
So I inquired about the cost of a root canal treatment and was bewildered to find out how much they cost. Left with no choice and a gapping hole in my teeth, I turned to the Internet and found DentalWorld Manila. Dental world Manila is spearheaded by Dr Malony L. Santos of St Luke’s Medical Center. St Luke’s Medical Center is Philippine’s foremost hospital. Dental World Manila’s website informs me about their expertise and specialisation in Dental treatments and best of all, they can cater to foreign travellers who are travelling just for dental! Dental World Manila
Dental World Manila: http://www.dentalworld.com.ph/
Dental World Manila currently has 5 branches situated in prime landmark areas in Manila. They are located in Mall of Asia, Glorietta, St Luke’s Medical Center and SM North EDSA. A branch at Centuria Medical Makati will be opening soon. Check out their website for address of the branches.
Name: Sommerhostel Salzburg
Address: Strubergasse 1, Lehen, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Check in: 14:00 - 16:00 hoursCheck out: 14:00 - 16:00 hours
I am a photo enthusiast who currently owns a Canon 700d along with 2 other canon Point and shoot cameras (Canon g12 & Canon ixus 1000). I am nothing near a good photographer but I have been trying to learn and has gotten some progress with my canon 700d. However for my 5 weeks Europe trotting trip, I've come to the conclusion that lugging a dslr around is not only extra bulky but also extra dangerous since i will mostly be staying in dormitory hostels.
Here is my simple /non - technical review of the Sony alpha 5000 after lugging it around for 5 weeks. I am writing based on my experience as a simple user who wants nice photos easily and not as a hardcore photographer .
Model: Sony Alpha A5000 (White coloured)
Kit Lens: 16mm - 50mm
Free gift: Sony 8gb SD card (15mb/s)
Price: SGD$364 (*Price fluctuates) + SGD18 (shipping)
Bought from: Qoo10
- 1. Lightweight. Compared to a dslr, this thing is extremely compact and lightweight. At the time of its release, it is also the lightest camera with interchangeable lens.
2. Easy to use. It's basically a point and shoot with a very smart Artificial Intelligence program that automatically tunes and edit the colours in your photos.
- 3. Kit lens is 16mm - 50mm which is a good range. Wide angle is really useful for travel photography where you mainly take landscapes and architectural pictures.
- 4. Seperate movie recording button. Makes it easy for you to jump from photo to video easily.
- 5. The Superior Auto mode gives very sharp and vibrant photographs. It sometimes automatically detects that the subject is in backlight and does a special "HDR 3 exposure combine into 1" photo to give you the best result.
- 6. It is cheap. The new sony a6000 has just launched and the price of the a5000 has plummeted to less than sgd500. If you buy it online from South Korea like I did, you can even get it for less than sgd400 inclusive of shipping!
- 7. Can be charged with the common charging cable. The sony a5000 does not come with a seperate battery charger and instead requires you to charge through the camera (you plug the wire into the camera). The best thing about this set up is you can forgo the original sony charging adaptor and just use the charging cable and adaptor for your smartphone as Sony A5000 uses the very common Micro USB port.
- 8. Performs very well in Low Light situations. The post processing done to compensate for the poor amount of light is impressive.
Salzwelten Salt Mine in Hallstatt. Light show with the salt crystals.
Prague Square in Czech Republic.
- 1. The user interface is confusing and troublesome to navigate. Jumping modes requires you to press the middle button and then either rotate the dial or press up and down to move around. Because it's software base, it can be hard to move fast with precision.
- 2. Jumping between Auto & Manual Focus is ridiculously troublesome. I initially thought it wasn't possible to focus manually but turns out it is possible, albeit very troublesome. You have to go into the settings to change the focusing from ‘Auto Focus’ to ‘ Manual Focus’. Then you focus by turning the rim around the lens. I find this highly ineffective and troublesome. More often than not, it delays the picture by a few minutes. Not to mention the trouble of resetting it back to auto focus afterwards.
- 3. Annoying fake shutter sound. Since it is a mirrorless machine, there should be no shutter closing sound but there is and you can't turn it off. Not sure if it's a privacy protection scheme installed in the software or what but it’s annoying.
4. The countdown timer flickers the same throughout. This is a negligible con really and only slightly important to people like me who likes taking floating selfies. Because the light does not indicate when the camera will snap, it becomes a guessing game.
- 5. Kit lens cap is prone to dropping. Like a dslr, the lens cap is an extra body by itself. Which can be troublesome to take off everytime you whip the camera out to snap a moment.
- 6. The articulating screen is only 180 degree in 1 angle. This really inhibits the range of use. Like if I lift the camera above my head , i wouldn't be able to see what I'm doing.
- 7. The lack of a seperate charging adaptor means the camera cannot be used when a battery is charging.
- 8. The System tends to lag some times. It is also prone to delays and hiccups that stops the camera from starting or shows a black screen. The only solution is to turn it off and then patiently turn it on again. The delays are rarely more than 5 seconds…which is still too long to snap a fleeting moment haha. Sometimes preview is lagged too when you want to quickly preview your photo after snapping.
Train down from JungfrauJoch. Highest peak in Europe
Overall, despite the cons above, I am still pleasantly surprised with how well this little camera functions. It is lightweight and takes excellent landscape and architectural photographs with little effort. The inbuilt image processor creates very appealing HDR images which reduces the need to photoshop/edit afterwards; mighty useful for travel photography where you have hundreds of photos to go through.
For someone like me who just wants a travel camera, the sony a5000 is perfect. If you wait patiently at qoo10, you might find amazing promotions for this. I bought my extra battery from another seller for just $25.
None of the photographs here have been post processed, they are straight from the camera with only resizing and watermarking done.
Hope you found this simple review useful! Please leave me a comment and tell me what you think about this camera !
If you are not familiar with Megabus, it is an intercity Bus service that is pretty famous for their low fares. Their wikipedia description attached below.
Megabus website: http://uk.megabus.com
" Megabus, branded as megabus.com, is an intercity bus service of Coach USA/Coach Canada and DATTCO (a non Stagecoach company, under contract) providing discount travel services since 2006, operating throughout the eastern,southern, midwestern, and western United States and in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Megabus is notable for using curbside bus stops instead of traditional stations, low fares starting at $1, and in recent years, operating a point-to-point network of routes with buses making few stops en route to their destination. "
I took the Megabus for the following routes; Paris to Cologne. From Rome to Venice. From Venice to Milan and from Milan to Paris.
I think the only reason I had Prague on the itinerary was because I started from Paris and had to go a loop back to Paris after a few weeks, so Prague seemed like the most appropriate far east for me.
3 nights in Prague and here's my photo journey to share!
I sat through 11 hours of over night train from Cologne to Prague. I bought my tickets too late and had missed the sleeper couchettes I so much wanted. Needless to say, i was a little grumpy when I reached Prague. Didn't help either that I forgot to research the directions to my hostel and was feeling pretty stranded without internet.
But thank goodness the Praha Hl.n Station being a main station , was well equipped with everything to assist tourists. Food, water, toilets, information counters and Money changer were all available. However, I implore you to take caution when changing currency. Many Money Changer in Prague charges exorbitant commissions for their service and at 20% of commission, I'd say you're better off paying with Euros until you find a Money Changer that doesn't take commission. I changed SGD $270 and was charged 700 krons of commission, I got back only 3061 krons. Go do your research and you'll feel my heartache ($sgd50 ommagardddd!!). The station also has Tourist Information counter at the basement where you can literally tell the staff your hotel and he will search the route for you. The staff then took a Metro & Tram map and circled the stops I should drop, very helpful indeed!
I stayed at the lovely Penzion & Sofi hostel (read my review by clicking here). I arrived 9:22am but by the time made it to the Hostel, checked in and bathed (hadn’t bathed since 2 nights ago!), it was already near 2pm! So the only place I could visit was the places without paid entrance. So a bit of panic research with the hostel wifi and off to the Old Town I go!
The moment I stepped out of the Metro was the moment it daunted upon me how beautiful Prague is. I admit, after visiting Paris and Cologne, I was wondering if Prague will even do anything for me. Yes yes, I’ve heard all about Prague being the best hidden gem in Europe and the blahblahblah but like I mentioned above, I just didn’t have much expectations. To be fair, I think every city has it’s own style and flair but Prague’s architectural style was very over the top. Colourful, flamboyant and intricacy all rolled into one atmospheric city of festival. I call it a city of festival because after 3 days in the tourist attractions, it’s not hard to tell how much the city caters to tourists and how hard some of them party haha.
First landmark worthy of mention is the prague municipal house. You will walk pass it en-route to the Old Town Square.
The famous Old Town Square!
My first day in Prague was spent wide eyed in amazement. I especially loved the Old Town Square. Sandwiched between the Church of our Lady before Tyn and the Astronomical Clock Tower, the square with it’s beautiful houses all around it is the centre of it all. And I finally understood why this area was always mentioned in travel guidebooks and promo posters. This place is truly beautiful. I never thought a place/landscape could be capable of being better looking at it is in photographs. It looked like a pretty normal place in the pictures but in real life, the whole vibe just springs right at you!
I’m going to shut up and let the photos do the talking now … oh wait, they failed to do that for me. But let’s see them try this time!
The Church of our Lady before Tyn is free admission and is not very big, so definitely check it out .
You can get to the church via a CD shop.
The Astronomical Clock tower famous throughout the world. The clock looked really beautiful and at every hour, it chimes. The 12 apostles look out from the top window in rotation. To be honest, the chime was not as amazing as I expected but since I’m around, might as well wait for it.
The old Town Square has a very enlivening hype that is both exciting and peaceful. There are all sorts of performers there such as bands and street buskers.
I got myself a small cone of Mojito Gelato for 45 Krons! It tasted really good and was refreshing on a hot day .
I spent the rest of the day just walking and walking and walking around the Old Town. Exploring the different shops and ended my day with a Goulash Dinner in a small restaurant slightly out of the main square.
The Goulash was okay, I’m not really a beef person. But the soup was really salty and the wifi doesn’t work :( The Czech concept of Dumplings are very different from Asians though hahhaa