The marshland that is not known to many and it’s right here in Singapore.

When you think of Singapore, images of skyscrapers, tall buildings, shopping malls, Resort World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands spring to life.  What remains from the metropolis is a hidden area that is able to rejuvenate your senses.

An area of vast greenery away from a bustling city life.  A peaceful and calm environment with shrubs of bushes, leafy grasses and occasional squeaks of birds.

Welcome to Tampines Eco Green!

I have the privilege to stop by the “undiscovered” location with my trusty bicycle. Easily found alongside the PCN (Park Connector Network), my journey starts from Punggol Waterway,  continue towards Pasir Ris Park and Bedok Reservoir Park. Follow the “PCN” words marked at pavements and signs at road junctions.  From Pasir Ris Park, it takes about 20 minutes to reach Tampines Eco Green.

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I step into the marshland trail…

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The trees sways gently, filling me with optimism.

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Moving ahead.  Quiet and rustic.

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Take a break, grab a granola bar and enjoy the beauty of nature

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Path diverts out to easy jog and walk.

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A little pond that adds to life’s diversity.

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A great place for a weekend stroll. Best of all, it’s free!

Bring your mates, families and children.  Just remember to tone down your voice for the guardians of the wild watch over you. So, there you go, one of Singapore’s little marshlands, smack right into the neighborhood.

Let Tampines Eco Green amaze you.

What you can see in Bergen within 2.5 days

My overnight cruise from Alesund docked at Bergen.  I alight from the Hurtigruten and walk to the central street. “Welcome to Bergen”, as I whisper to myself.  People come alive and shops are opened for business. The city square is the main area where friends congregate and buskers perform.

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Surrounding the hustle and bustle of life sits an amazingly picturesque shoreline.

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Behind my amateur photography reveals me as a first-timer to Bergen. What makes it more interesting is the mix of nature, food and history in a destination.

I shall elaborate in details below.

One attraction that I must strongly recommend……Bryggen. A row of colourful warehouses, with narrow alleys, quirky cafes and shops that will keep you highly intrigued.

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View from far. The early merchants in the old days load and unload their spices and food such as stockfish. Now, it’s peppered with yachts.

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The narrow alleys and sidewalks provide an aura of mystery. Don’t look medieval to me for sure. I wonder what’s behind these doors.

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Most are small outlets selling souvenirs, apparel and hand-made items.

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Tired? Don’t rush. Relax and soak into the atmosphere.

Get a drink at Bryggen……especially summer, the sky is clear and seagulls flap their wings around the wharf. Sit, idle and people-watch.

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Food that you must never miss……get a decent meal at the Fish Market. It’s located at the centre of Bergen, about 5 minutes walk from Bryggen. I paid for a dish of fresh, cooked fish, potatoes and salad at NOK180.00. (SGD$32.40).

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Filled with energy, it’s time for me to explore the castle. For history buffs and the curious onlookers…… take a visit to Bergenhus Fortress.

 

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It’s home to Hakon’s Hall and Rosenkrantz Tower.  Hakon’s Hall was built between 1247 to 1261 by Hakon Hakonsson. It was the largest and most imposing building of the royal residency in the 13th century when Bergen was the political centre of Norway.  This is where the King and the royals sit, as I remember the significance.  I sign up for the free guided tour (as part of my entrance ticket) that commences at 2pm.

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Rosenkrantz Tower was built in the 1560s by the governor of Bergen Castle (Bergenhus), Eric Rosenkrantz and served as a combined residence and fortified tower.  The walls and steps signify the medieval era where cracks stood. Each step leads to a room. I shan’t divulge too much. Let your thoughts run wild.

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Smacked right behind the mountains, the beautiful, lush greenery that overlooks the houses…..Mount Floyen.  I start my journey at the entrance. The Floibanen ticketing booth is situated at the opposite end of the Fish Market, right at the junction where McDonald is. The return ticket to the top of Mount Floyen is about NOK170.00. (SGD30.60)

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Via the Floibanen Furnicular.  It takes about 7 minutes to reach the summit.

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And here it is! The top view of Bergen from Mount Floyen. Stunning, isn’t it?

 

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Can’t resist the cool climate and trees shadowing the trail.  It gives me the tranquil feeling. Thus, I decide to take a stroll around Mount Floyen.  Finally, I reach a large pond.  The water is still and clear. The leaves are green and trees jostling for sunlight, with minimal human contact and disturbances.

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Any individual who has light to medium fitness is able to take a hike since there are footpaths. However, the direction is in Norwegian language, something which I do not understand. But this does not stop me from proceeding further. I just use my own intuition.  To keep track of where I go, I mark my steps using the appearance of the trees and bushes.  At times, I will take photos using my camera phone.

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I discover a resting point.

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Including barks of trees that looks special to me.

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There is a vantage point that covers the entire Bergen.

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Back to the city – there are more areas to wander around Bergen. For example, I stop by the Domkirken Cathedral, located about 200m from the Leprosy Museum.

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All-in, I spend 2.5 days in Bergen.  I do recommend that if you visit Norway for the first time, Bergen is a “must-see” attraction during summer.  Bergen is also the docking point for several vessels that make their maiden voyage to the one of the world’s famous fjords of Norway.

A place that brings back my childhood days

Childhood memories are beautiful. In the old days, I remember the story of “Beauty & the Beast”.  I am mesmerized by the love story. How can I forget the mystical “Aladdin”, the pure “Snow White” and the lovable “Donald Duck”. Bedtime stories, movies, cartoons…..

I am reborn as a kid on Christmas day. Disneyland Paris is one of the few theme parks of the world that gives a special feeling to me.

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Once I am in the park, the animated, well-loved characters are frolicking around.

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My favorite all-time Mickey and Minnie!

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Isn’t Winnie cute?

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Hey Alice!  Are you behind the little door?

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A peek into the streets

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And back to old, wild wild west

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I find a sense of mystery inside the spooky house

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Getting myself soaked into adrenalin-pumping Hollywood action!

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Ending the day with a walk around the enchanted castle

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Disneyland Paris is an experience that’s unforgettable.  I can be immersed into different themes, from the fairy tales to the heart-wrenching rides . Young and old, kid to adult like myself is teleported to my boyhood days. I grow up with Goofy and the bunch of cutesy loonies. (forget the iPhone!)

Oh, did someone just mention about the special guest?  Well, I can’t forget my buddy:

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Disneyland Paris is easily accessible. By central subway in Paris (the train stops at La Vallee station) or one is able to take a bus directly from Charles de Gaulle Airport.

I just love my magical, kiddo days.  Happy Christmas to all!

Before you choose Iceland, read this and you know why

Iceland is a natural beauty of fire and ice. Witness the bare grounds, volcanoes, cascading waterfalls, glaciers and icebergs, cliffs, mountains, hot springs and mud pools, geothermal pools and volcanic caves.

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This is a country you must personally visit. At least once in your lifetime. You just need one good reason with this answer.

I have uploaded some images of Iceland. You can find my itinerary of Iceland here.

The Iceland trip was awesome! It’s hassle-free and I do not need to worry about transport. It’s done in a leisure pace, giving travellers like myself opportunities to admire the amazing scenery of Iceland. Insight Vacations offers a new experience to me. No huff, no puff . I thoroughly enjoyed the premium land tour service with an experienced Tour Director, who is a local Icelandic. His name is Snorri.  I learn the history and culture of Icelandic people.

Let’s get the first thing right – air ticket. The best way to get to Iceland from Singapore is to take international direct flights from Singapore to Copenhagen. The journey is about 13 hours. For comfort, you can sit SQ, Singapore Airlines. There are also other Airlines that fly to Copenhagen such as Lufthansa. From Copenhagen Airport, take the transit flight to Iceland which is another 3 hours.

My preferred transit airline is Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) They have automated ticketing machine that prints out your boarding pass in minutes!

How to travel around Iceland
If you are on a land tour like Insight Vacations, don’t worry – the driver will be here to pick you up at the Airport. If you are on free and easy, there are cars for rental. Once you exit the arrival hall at the Airport, you will see rental car companies like Hertz.

For more details, please refer to this website:
http://www.kefairport.is/English/Transportation/Car-Hire/

Don’t bother about trains, buses and bicycles. Think of obscure urban areas with almost non-existent inter-connected city infrastructure. Get a car with working GPS and a map to navigate around Iceland. You get to see things unimaginable!

The next question is, what should I prepare for my Iceland trip?

6 things you should bring to Iceland
1. Good quality rain (waterproof) jacket. Forget the thinnest type of windbreaker
2. A thick jacket for temperatures ranging from 0% to 15%. It gets chilly in the night
3. Woollen clothes or sweatshirts with hood. It’s windy. You may feel a sudden chill
4. Open mindset. Don’t bring the city-dwellers. You will see things out of the blue!

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5. Good waterproof and shockproof camera that is fits the outdoors
6. An extra pair of sturdy sports/hiking shoes. Never knows when your shoes give way

The rule of thumb is to pack light, pack smart by checking out the temperature. Mix and match your clothes. Two type of jackets are advisable as you don’t want to see walking around with a thick coat when it’s in the summer days. Certainly, you do not wish to look at old Santa lunging your stuff too.

Best time to go Iceland
Summer definitely. In the month of August where I choose to go, there is longer daylight hours, starting from about 7am to 7pm. During winter, daylight is only 3.5 hours and the rest of the time is covered in darkness.

How many days should I spend in Iceland
Plan your itinerary before you depart. As the airplane journey is long from Singapore (about 16 hours in total), it makes more sense to go for longer days. Minus away your travel days on the plane, I would say 9 to 12 days is a good start to cover the main attractions.

What type of currency to use in Iceland
Icelandic Krona (ISK), Euro or American Dollars. My recommendation is to use Icelandic Krona (ISK) . So that, you get better value when you buy food, drinks and small items using their local currency. In several stores and restaurant, the change you get back is in Icelandic Krona (ISK). If you pay in Euro, you will lose out on exchange rate currency. However, please keep a few Euro just in case. For example, if you are visiting Blue Lagoon, the entrance fee is around Euro56.00 per adult.

Where to change Icelandic Krona?
In my knowledge, there are no authorized banks and moneychangers in Singapore to change. Therefore, you have to change at Landsbanki foreign exchange teller upon arriving at Keflavik Airport, Iceland.

You will see it when you exit the arrival hall.  Please do so immediately.

For details, please refer to here:
http://landsbankinn.com/personal/services/keflavik-airport-foreign-exchange/

Can I use credit card in Iceland?
Yes, you can. However, you need to check your issuing bank credit card transaction fees. There may be a small charge for Iceland. Iceland is way ahead in technological advancement. If you head over to the nearest grocery store, you can also pay using your credit card. My best advice is, use cash whenever you can, so as to avoid any transactional fees.   If you need to withdrawal extra cash, there are Landsbanki and other ATMs/teller machines around Reykjavik, the main town and capital of Iceland. No UOB, DBS, OCBC, Standard Chartered banks!

You will also see similar ATMs (e.g. Landsbanki) in Akureyri, another town located north of Iceland. But, don’t bet on these ATMs around at walking distance!

What’s cooking?
Iceland has their unique set of bread that looks like a brown sponge cake.

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It tastes a little soft and not too hard. Out of 10, I would give it 8. Some local folks will put the bread near to the Geysir (hot spring) and within minutes, it’s fully cooked!

Try their Icelandic soup too. During lunch time, you can see small restaurants selling light meals that consist from bread and vegetable soup.

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Icelandic people love meat and fishes too. Sadly, some eat horse meat (although I feel sinful). They catch fishes and rear sheep for a living. If you feel wealthy, go for buffet styled food in small restaurants.

Cost of food and drinks?
Buffet is about 14,000 Icelandic Kronas (ISK) = SGD$145 per person. (1 ISK = 0.01032 SGD). A restaurant type of meal like fish and chips will cost you about 12,000 ISK = SGD$124. A vegetable soup and a bread with tea is priced around 8,000 ISK = SGD$83. Beer in Iceland is cheaper and popular. You will see local breweries at towns like Akureyri. It costs around 650 ISK = SGD$7 per person.

How much Icelandic Krona should I change?
It depends on your travel literary, objectives and lifestyle habits. If you are a budget traveller, probably you will just spend on normal food and drinks; which is about Icelandic Kronas (ISK) 6,000 – 8,000. (1 ISK = 0.01032 SGD based on current rate).

However, things in Iceland are not cheap.

Use your Icelandic Kronas and Euros wisely. I would suggest changing your SGD to Euro dollars as you can set aside some for large ticket items (e.g. Blue Lagoon entry fee) and convert the rest to Icelandic Kronas (ISK). Any spare Euro change, you can use them for future Europe tours.

Typically, budget Euro 150 for a day. Give yourself a 10% to 15% mark up, so that you have a buffer. Better to have more than less. Therefore, if you travel for 9 days, it will be Euro 1,350. Rounding up, the total amount is about Euro 1,550 = SGD $2,650 (rate is 1 Euro = SGD$1.71). This includes your lunches and dinners, as well as some spare cash to buy skin and facial care products from Blue Lagoon, souvenirs, Icelandic books and other collectible items. Take this as an estimate since individual needs are different.

Most importantly, don’t run out of Icelandic Krona for small items purchases.

What to buy
There are many books on Iceland that you may not find in normal bookshops but at souvenir stores in Iceland. If you pass by the town of Akureyri, there is a spacious bookstore downtown, right across the church. Get a few of these books with commentaries, especially the well-taken photo images.

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You can also buy Icelandic woollen clothing which is popular. A normal woollen sweat shirt is about SGD$250. Iceland has a history of trolls, starting from the Viking age. You may wish to get little troll figurines for your house decoration.

Don’t forget the volcanic ashes. It’s sold in small bottles.

volcanic ashes on hand

The main draw is Blue Lagoon skin and facial care products. It’s known for geothermal therapies. Key item that is hugely sellable is their Silica mud mask, 200ml tube retailed at about Euro65.00. Yes, you hear me right. It’s not cheap!

But my heart tells me to go ahead. So, I decide to get some of the Blue Mountain products such as Algae mask, Silica mud mask, bath gel and shower foam at the Blue Lagoon shop after enjoying my dip into the Blue Lagoon.

One point to note – patronize the Blue Lagoon shop at the Keflavik Airport. Because it’s tax free, thus the products are cheaper. You just need to pack your skin care products (more than 100ml) in your check-in luggage.

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Language and People
Generally, Icelandic people are friendly and warm in nature. You can have a chat with them to understand their daily lives or ask for directions. They speak and understand English. They know you are a foreigner, so converse with you in English. Icelandic language is their local way of communication. Don’t bother to memorize the Icelandic words. It’s practically impossible.

Safety
Men and women are safe to walk around the attractions without any hassle during daytime. When night falls, you can’t see anything much because there are few street lamps. I am sure you will stay in your accommodation and have your hot tea/coffee or cold beer.

In addition, the same safety rule applies to any countries – use common sense. Avoid dark alleys, dark corners. Don’t flash your “bling bling” in the open. Probably the only thing to note is drunkards in pubs at Reykjavik at the wee hours of the night. In the morning and afternoon, outside the outskirts of the main city, you will be charmed by the natural landscape that you forget where you exactly are. Just be mindful of your surroundings as I think the steep cliffs and waterfalls (you can stand in front of it! No barriers to avoid spoiling the natural beauty) are more dangerous than the folks around you. In fact, you should be more careful of the terrain around you.

I hope my personal advices will serve you well.

Enjoy!

Finally, I get to witness the crater of Mount Etna, one of Europe most active volcanoes

For the very first time, I was about to step into one of Europe most active volcanos, Mount Etna, located in Catania, Sicily. I was standing at the entrance of the crater known as “Crateri Silvestri”.

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According to Wikipedia, Mount Etna is the tallest active volcano on the European Continent, currently, 3,329m (10,922 ft) high, though this varies with summit eruptions. The ground was fertile with small rocks and black ashes. The weather was chilling. I put on my jacket and good walking shoes to explore further. I was lucky that the dark clouds did not appear.

The first sight to greet me was the steep slope.

The contours around it make me curious to discover the unknown. I suspected the round hole beneath was caused by the last eruption in mid Aug 2014, as reported by Daily Mail, a news publication in United Kingdom.

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I decided to venture ahead. Despite the low visibility, I managed to capture a shot, using my point-and-shoot camera. It might not be clear as the air was misty. From the front and far end, there was a blanket of white foam.

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So, I picked up the pieces, realizing that that was snow, covered in black ashes.

The texture was soft and smooth, running through my fingers like fine salt. The snow was not thick. Looked like the volcanic activity had been recent and temperature was cooling.

I think it could be due to the solidification process after hot lava flowed through the surrounding terrain. At least, the eruption was not as bad as Iceland’s Eyjafjallajoekull where the ash clouds halted the air traffic in Europe. Leisure and corporate travellers were grounded at airports. I could not imagine if Catania was hit by such magnitude.

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I paused for a minute and started to examine the volcanic rocks. My geography teacher used to tell me about the formation of the rocks. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not recall the process!

For my readers who would like to know more, you could find short descriptions and images here.

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I made my way around the crater. The wind and mist was blowing in my direction. At some point, I had to turn my head away. Everything was in a blur. Nonetheless, I trotted up and looked around. On my far left, there was a group of people walking. On my far right, it was emptiness.

I had to continue. It’s a new experience for me at Mount Etna.

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The vegetation added some colour.

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Just by witnessing the amazing spectacle around the crater left me speechless. If you had the chance to visit Catania, insert Mount Etna into your travel plans. For you never get an opportunity to stand in Mother’s Nature creation. Your day could start in the morning with lunch at a nearby restaurant. It’s within walking distance. Usually, you could buy pizzas, sandwiches, tea, coffee or beer. Souvenirs are sold in the restaurant too.

I did not went back empty-handed. I bought “Fichero”, the only hot-blooded liquor that’s available right in Sicily. It’s said to mimic the lava in Mount Etna. Being ambitious, I bought two small bottles, thinking what any alpha male did. After all, what’s this as compared to Absolut Vodka.

Oh my! I was wrong because the red liquid was really burning in my throat and I had to down one big bottle of cold mineral water to soothe myself.

Fichero Mt Etna

That was the final challenge for myself.

Don’t forget bottles of “Fichero”. Your friends might just love you. Completely unaware.

This is Erice. A medieval town with cobblestone streets and little shops that you can’t resist

Erice is located is a historic town, located in Trapani, Sicily, Italy. Its foundation was associated with the eponymous Greek hero Eryx.  Thus, the ancient Greek name of Erice was Eryx.  Erice was not a Greek colony but was largely Hellenized.

Let’s take a stroll into Erice.

I am at the Entrance.  There is a name and it’s called “Porta Trapani”, rebuilt in the Middle Ages. My journey starts here.

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I notice a Handicraft Shop

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with a hidden treasure trove.

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Soon, I turn into a corner. There is an awesome souvenir store.

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The winding pavement surprises me. For there are unknown stores waiting.  The paving, with its pattern of squares and “chains”, lends atmosphere to the street and enhances its sense of perspective.

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The mystery awaits me.

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Descending down…

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What will be inside the shop?

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I end up staring at the sweet treats.  Very tempting, don’t you think?

There are Sicilian bakeries and sweet pastries.

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But I prefer to sit by the café to have a hot English Breakfast tea.

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Finally when hunger strikes, I decide to try the popular fish couscous. It’s highly recommended. Fish Couscous is a “must-have” meal for first-timers like myself.  What you need to do is to put the sliced pieces of fish into the sauce and that’s it. Bon Appetite!

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I am revitalised. So, I continue my walk up to the summit. To the medieval towers where I can truly appreciate the picturesque scenery from afar.

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The view is simply astonishing. The top of the mountain commands a view over the vast plain, ringed round by the Cofano which overlooks the Tyrrhenian sea and, further off, by Mounts Monaco and Sparagio.

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My next focus is the “Torretta“, built by Count Agostino Pepoli between 1872 and 1880. It has mediaeval architecture, as well as features of local building traditions.  I heard the “Torretta” has become one of the symbols of Erice.

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A closer look of the “Torretta“.

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The Norman Castle stands on the same cliff, famous in antiquity as having been the seat of the sanctuary-fortress of the Erucina Goddess, as I learn about the legend that unfolds.

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I take a deep breath.  What I see right in front of me is truly amazing.

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Erice has certainly preserved their old mediaeval appearance. You can find several historic cathedrals. The buildings which line the paved streets show traces of 15th to 17th century architecture.  I do feel a certain character in the quiet town and the odd feeling of searching for something valuable in the quirky shops.

And so you think Sicily is a mafia unsafe country. Well, you just miss out something real important

Few months ago, I flew to Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, located in Italy.

The friendly nature of the locals, the beautiful, scenic view of the Mediterranean sea, the cobblestone streets, the little shops that dotted the winding pavements and the Greek temples mesmerize me. There are many things for me to write about Sicily. Before going further, let me put out a map of Sicily:

map of sicily

I took up Insight Vacations land tour. It’s reputable and wholly owned subsidiary of The Travel Corporation. My itinerary includes Catania, Taormina, Syracuse, Ragusa, Agrigento, Marsala, Trapani, Palermo and Messina.

Sicily is not the crowded fashion capital of Milan or the Vatican City in Rome. In fact, some sites require transport and it’s not easy to hail a cab. So, I need someone who does the logistics and the nitty-gritties, who know how to speak fluent Italian, manage and coordinate things with people they know, including the “unspoken rules” – tips, places I should go and should not, you know these sort of things that you want to worry the least. The fact that, mafia activities are known to be in Sicily but don’t worry, it’s safe for tourist like me because I figure that Insight Vacations will take charge of all.

Well, they did and provide much more than I expect! The experience I have is completely mind-blowing. Excellent service with ample time to view the attractions. What makes it special is the professionalism of the Tour Manager, premium offerings and the opportunity to meet and interact with people across Europe. Life and travel stories are shared amongst people.

Insight Vacations is the only land tour company in Singapore that offers Sicily. You can book a tour with them directly. I still have a few SGD$50.00 vouchers left, as of today that I write this article.  If you want the vouchers, please email me directly and I’ll pass to you personally.

Only available for people residing in Singapore. Specially for my readers of gowheretravel.com

In Sicily one of my favourites is Taormina. This picture is taken from my hotel room. The backdrop reveals Mt. Etna (Europe tallest active volcano)

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The ferocious carter of Mt. Etna

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The calm, blue sea:

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Shoreline that dotted the landscape:

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The old Greek Theatre at the streets of Taormina:

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Moving on to other part of Sicily, announcing Erice!

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And UNESCO World Heritage – Ragusa Ibla:

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See the Temple of Juno at Agrigento:

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There is more than you think. Let me know if you are a first-timer to Sicily. Email me (ktservices@mail2world.com) and maybe, I can help you.

More commentaries on Sicily. Stay tuned folks!

What you must know before choosing a good travel agent

A decently-priced travel package from a travel agent disappoints you. While it’s about managing your expectations, it’s also the onus of the travel agent to provide you a memorable experience. Your perception of good and poor travel agents is via word-of-mouth recommendation.

Maybe, you need to find out how to select a suitable agent that compliments you.

Most likely, your decision is based on the tone, vibe and response rate of the travel agent since itinerary can be similar. In the beginning, the counter staff sounds friendly. Whatever queries you have, he will address it readily. Here is what you do. Look at his body language. Does he sound genuine when answering? Does he exude warmth and sincerity or just gunning for your sale?

A person who tries to make small talks can break the ice. A person who just answers your question may be just doing the bare minimum of things. A person who does a mixture of both, plus going the extra effort may cast a stronger first impression. For example, when you suggest December as your choice of period to travel, apart from checking the flight availability, the travel agent is able to inform about the weather conditions. (December and weather comes hand-in-hand)

Follow on, the travel agent asks more casual questions to take a REAL interest in your type of travel -“it’s winter in December, do you like experiencing snow or are you active in winter sports such as skiing?”

Should this happens, you will have an idea about how this travel agent conducts their business in an open, free, caring mode of communication exchange.

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If you are a repeat customer, the agent should have some knowledge about where you go and what you said. Therefore, a conversation can start from here – “I remember you last went to Switzerland. What did you like about it?” A level higher up – “I remember you last went to Interlaken in Switzerland. And you said that you love the snow…..,so are you taking any winter holidays again?”

See the difference?

If you email the agency and this email response takes ages to reply, maybe you can strike this agent off. If there is a quick reply – did the travel agent take his time, put himself in your shoes and give a comprehensive answer or just top-of-the-line commentary?

You ask “looking at the itinerary of 12345, I will like to know an estimated duration that we are able to view this special attraction.”

Travel Agent A response “Due to time schedule, we do not encourage a prolonged stay.”

Now, let’s look at Travel Agent B response “We will love to encourage our valued customers to stay longer at this special attraction. It’s a beautiful sight. Due to time schedule and traffic conditions, we can’t. I know it’s a pity. I will feel the same if I am you. But we ensure you get the best experiences from other recommended sites by our professional Tour Manager.”

How does that feel to you?

Travel Agent B empathizes and assures you the quality. Sometimes, personal sharing and experiences from the travel agent adds value. Not too excessive otherwise it sounds like a sales talk.

This is why a Freelance Travel Consultant like me fills in the gaps. I provide independent advices based on my personal travel journey, collecting details that may support you travel plans. Thus, you know which questions to ask the travel agents for a better screening process.

If you prefer leaving the nuts and bolts with a travel agent, I recommend Insight Vacations, the professional and premium land tour company.

Drop me an email (ktservices@mail2world.com) anytime for further details. I am delighted to host a tea session with you.

This is one country you must visit. It’s not a dream!

Why I bet my last dollar on this country

I stare at the vast area of land in front of me. No tall buildings, no skyscrapers and no sign of Starbucks. Empty.  Bare and inhabited.

Maybe the only sign of life is the smoke far ahead.

The least I expect is a car driving up to me, asking whether this traveller is hopelessly lost.

But I am not.

I am absorbed by the work of Mother Nature. The waterfalls gush down strongly. The force of water dives into the raven below, leaving no stone unturned.

I will never forget Dettifoss…

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And that’s not all.

Seljalandsfoss, another waterfall that amazingly falls from greater heights. I can’t resist taking my camera to shoot point blank

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My favourite is Godafoss (Waterfall of the Gods). It has the right size and shape with volcanic rocks surrounding the terrain.

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The next spectacle that blows me off is the glacier lagoon, Jokulsarlon. In my younger days, I watch icebergs on television.

Never did I expect to witness them in real. I am dumbfounded.

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Something struck me hard. I realize that one is able to push life to the limit.

You don’t need to be the 100th guy joining the queue. Be different. I spend the next half hour staring at the picturesque view yearning to be like the next super mutant, creating the impossible. You may think I am crazy.

Trust me. Inspiration comes from the unexpected moment. Yes, I wish to walk the freezing waters, jump on the glaciers and do the unthinkable.

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Gradually, I let Mother Nature enter into me. She repays my faith by allowing me to enter into a volcanic realm. Not your red hot crater. (you will see my experience at Mount Etna)

My destination is the lava pillars. Piles of columns stuck firmly on the ground after years of harsh weather conditions and lava erosion.

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Driving past hard, solidified molten lava. How our planet earth evolves drastically…

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This is Iceland.

A country you never think of as your top 10 list.   I did not look back after visiting Iceland.  My mentality of things around me changed.  How to be a man of greatness, a man that impacts lives of others. Simply because the vast richness of land, untouched by civilisation, pointed to me that life is far ahead, full of wonders and surprises. I  just need to look beyond my vision. My little island called Singapore is filled with daily commercialism and wealth building that sometimes, dollars and cents is the number one priority.

So, I tell myself. My life is holistic. I will like to create my personal milestones that influences others. If you face an obstacle in life, perhaps, a dosage of calmness may spark the “aha” moment.  Iceland can be your game changer.

Iceland is easily connected. Fly to Copenhagen, Denmark.  It’s an international airport. Take a short 2.5 to 3 hours transit flight (Scandinavian Airlines SAS) from Copenhagen to Iceland.  Do make sure you get your land tour sorted out since connectivity is almost negligible. These guys manage the point of attractions, transport, meals and accommodation.

Renting a car to self-drive can be frustrating. The road signs are small.  If you are lost, that’s it mate!  I am not sure of any GPS signals.

Therefore, I suggest get a reputable land tour company that’s not touristy and leisurely-paced. In Singapore, you can book your Iceland tour via Insight Vacations.  Now, I know you may be thinking it’s expensive.  Think again.  Can you use money to quantify a once-in-a-lifetime overseas trip that could completely WOW you, or turn your mentality 360 degrees?

Visit any authorised travel agents of Insight Vacations who may offer some discounts. Use my voucher of SGD$50.00.  No terms and conditions.

Contact me with the form below and I can pass a copy to you. (while stocks last!)

Remember.  You got one opportunity. Let Iceland influences you.