budapest & vienna

our first foray into multi-city reading week trips, which i am now inspired to replicate for all my future travels! we spent two days in budapest, hungary, and one in vienna, austria. our itinerary is at the bottom of the post!

day 1: london – budapest
visited dohány street synagogue on the way to our airbnb / had lunch at vakvarjú restaurant / coffee break at the blue bird cafe, an independent roastery / visited st. stephen’s basilica, the largest church in the capital / snacked on a chimney cake (kürtőskalács) from a roadside stall / took a cruise along the danube river, on which we spotted the hungarian parliament building among other attractions / had dinner at menza étterem és kávéház, where we got to try the traditional hungarian dishes such as fried bread (lángos) with garlic cream soup, savoury meat pancakes (hortobágyi palacsinta), pork medallions (szűzérme) and tyrolean apple strudel (which is native to austria).

day 2: budapest
woke up early to get a panoramic view of the city from fisherman’s bastion, where we also hung around the buda castle, st. stephen’s statue, havas boldogasszony church and matthias church / got coffee from coffee stand kazinczy specialty coffeeshop, of which there are a few scattered across budapest. such good coffee for a little more than a pound! / walked a disproportionately long distance to see the chief warm mini statue by kolodko along the banks of the danube / had brunch at central market hall, where we tried many traditional hungarian dishes such as chicken paprikash (csirke paprikás), dumplings (nokedli) and stuffed cabbage leaves (töltött káposzta) / walked across the liberty bridge / window-shopped at vörösmarty tér / afternoon tea at the grand new york café / spotted the shoes on the danube bank / dinner at mazel tov, a gorgeous garden-themed restaurant serving israeli or mediterranean fare / dessert at karavan food market.

day 3: budapest – vienna
took a three-hour long train ride to austria because we’re insane / visited the belvedere palace / walked to karlskirche / got some snacks at naschmarkt, an outdoor market. we got bratwurst with sauerkraut from george am / had lunch at the famous griechenbeisl, where we tried several traditional austrian dishes such as viennese boiled beef (wiener tafelspitz) and roast pig leg (stelze vom jungschwein) / coffee break at fenster cafe, one of the top 50 cafes in the world and a unique coffee-in-a-cone offering (fensterccino) / travelled to schönbrunn palace / went back to the city centre where we walked past attractions such as the kunsthistorisches museum, rathaus, volksgarten and the hofburg / travelled to st. stephen’s cathedral / visited kleines café, where before sunrise was filmed / travelled back to hungary and had dinner at the michelin-featured stand 25 bistro.

day 4: budapest
had breakfast at à table and did some souvenir shopping.

lake district, uk

took a weekend off to drive up to the famed lake district—a great reset button on life i needed.
our itinerary is listed at the bottom of the post!

day 1: (london – cambridge – windermere)
rode to ealing to collect our car / drove to cambridge for lunch at baan thai, where pardeep claims serves the best green curry / got some ice cream and hot chocolate from jack’s gelato / we drove until we reached windermere, cumbria, at night / had a huge dinner at cafe italia and turned in early.

day 2: (bowness – ullswater – keswick – ambleside)
drove up to the lakeside at rayrigg meadow where we walked down a long wooden deck / had breakfast at the magic roundabout in bowness / took a cruise on the windermere lake from bowness pier / drove through the mountains via kirkstone pass and stopped by a few times to roam around the hilly grass patches along the highway / stopped by ullswater lake to skip a couple of stones / we continued our drive to the town of keswick where we enjoyed nice tapas dishes and pizza at the square orange cafe and bought chocolates from friars / drove down to ambleside and watched a football match at ambleside tavern / had another italian dinner at dodds restaurant.

day 3: (orrest head – bowness – kendal)
woke up at 6am to hike up orrest head where we watched the sunrise / left our airbnb and ate a really good brunch at homeground coffee / drove to bowness again where we visited the world of beatrix potter, a museum featuring the world of peter rabbit, after which we had an amazing cup of hot chocolate and churros from choccobar / we ended our lake district tour by visiting holehird gardens and levens hall in kendal / our last dinner was in cambridge at yim wah.

road trip in france

here are some snippets of my week-long road trip with my family in paris and northwestern france! our full itinerary is included at the bottom of this post.

day 1 (london – paris):
arrived on the eurostar / had lunch at bouillon chartier, a casual and authentic eatery recommended by our french neighbour in singapore / visited the palais garnier, a famous opera house / went to the louvre museum mainly to see mona lisa / strolled along the seine across pont du carrousel and pont des arts. lots of street shops selling vintage posters / took a cruise down the seine and spotted notre dame, louvre palace, pavillon de flore, the conciergerie, and the pont des arts / had supper at cafe le brebant

day 2 (paris)
breakfast at le valentin jouffroy / hopped onto big bus paris / made a stop at the champs-elysées and the iconic arc de triomphe / lunch at l’alsace where i had a humongous serving of beef tartare / walked to the petit palais / rode on the bus to trocadero square and walked through the trocadero gardens / crossed the bridge to the eiffel tower and relaxed at the champ de mars / shopped at the galeries lafayette, a grand department store

day 3 (paris – versailles – giverny – rouen – caen)
breakfast at au cadet de gascogne in the hilly neighbourhood of montmartre, where one can catch a panoramic view of the city / entered the sacré-cœur basilica / drove to the palace of versailles and went on a guided tour of the palace and its gardens / drove to the house of claude monet in giverny, the source of many of his paintings / drove to rouen, the capital of normandy / spotted the cathédrale notre-dame de rouen / had dinner at le reverbere, a restaurant in this year’s michelin guide / spent the night in caen

day 4 (caen – bayeux – mont saint-michel – saint-malo – rennes)
breakfast at cafe henri, followed by a boulangerie run at talemelerie guillaume / walked around the city and spotted st peter’s catholic church, st peter’s gate and caen castle / drove to bayeux / visited the museum of the battle of normandy / drove to omaha beach to see the memorials / visited the normandy american cemetery, the burial site of fallen american soldies in ww2 / travelled beyond the coast to the famous tidal island of mont saint-michel. we went during the low tide, so we were able to walk around the commune / drove to the port city of saint-malo / had really good seafood dishes for dinner at l’ancrage, a friendly and cosy restaurant featured in the michelin guide 2019 / drove to rennes, the capital city of brittany, to spend the night.

day 5 (rennes – chenonceaux – amboise)
breakfast at boulangerie ange / spent a few hours at château de chenonceau, a 16th-century castle / went for wine tasting at the caves of pere auguste, where we ended up buying nine bottles of wine / classic french dinner at chez bruno in amboise / spent the night in château des arpentis, a 12th-century chateau repurposed as a hotel.

day 6 (amboise – la vallee)
spent the whole day shopping at la vallee outlet mall. i was mostly just reading at pret for hours on end as my family shopped… / had dinner at italian queen

day 7 (paris – le havre):
hopped on a bus to visit my friends in sciences po at the le havre campus / bought a quiche from de saint nicolas bakery / had dinner at grace’s

day 8 (le havre):
rode on a lime scooter to the sciences po campus / browsed books at la galerne / walked around le volcan / went inside st joseph’s church / bought some chorizo bread from boulangerie au fournil de pascal / walked down the le havre beach / bought some art magazines from les yeux d’elsa, a vintage shop

bali, indonesia

full itinerary is at the bottom of this post!

day 1 (ubud):
went white water rafting in ayung river, ubud with red paddle bali adventures, where lunch was provided after our 2-hour ride / went to aloha ubud to go on multiple bali swings / drove to ubud palace / explored the ubud market where we bought a few crochet tops / had an indonesian dinner at ibu rai / clubbed at la favela

day 2 (kuta – uluwatu):
ordered breakfast from mannaka bali (i loved the charcoal latte), which we ate on a beach chair in kuta beach / visited garuda wisnu kencana cultural park / had lunch at single fin, a cliffside bar popular among surfers / visited the uluwatu temple in the evening / had dinner at finn’s beach club

day 3 (mount batur – canggu):
woke up at 1am to hike up mount batur / watched the sunrise from the summit and had breakfast afterwards (a banana sandwich and eggs) / took an afternoon nap before having lunch at potato head / strolled along the beach / had a japanese buffet dinner at shishi / clubbed at motel mexicola

hampton court, uk

our trip to grenoble got cancelled because of a surge of omicron cases in the uk, so we decided to take a trip down to the historical town of hampton court, where the majestic hampton court palace stands. acquired and developed by king henry viii in the 1500s, the palace and its surroundings still carry the regal aura of his reign.

all pictures were taken with an olympus om-d e-m5 mark iii, and edited with my own lightroom presets.

first film roll

Not too long ago, I bought my first film camera (Pentax IQZoom 90MC) online from artofcam on Carousell (the only reason why I’m giving him a shoutout is because I could tell he was very passionate about film and actually spent an hour giving me a tutorial about film 101).

Some of these shots are out of focus, others taken with the wrong settings, but I guess it’s all part of the learning experience!! Film is something I’ve wanted to try out for a long time now and I’m so glad I finally stopped making excuses and went for it. There’s a certain beauty about the wait—nowadays, pictures can be reviewed instantly upon taking them but film incites a sort of anticipation that compels you to appreciate and be excited about the little things, even just a configuration of pixels on a screen.

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

Key events: Commendation Day, last day of school, Euphoria

Camera: Pentax IQZoom 90MC

Film: Kodak Colorplus 200

Continue reading “first film roll”