Posted on February 2, 2016

Not all National Parks are created equal. While each park has something unique to offer, not all can leave you with a ‘this is way too awesome my jaw just dropped’ face.

I have visited a few iconic National Parks from various parts of the world and one that made me do such face was Arches National Park in Moab, Utah.  What’s so special about Arches National Park you may ask, well it just so happen that it contains the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches. It is said to have over 2,000 arches located within the park’s 76,518 acres.  It’s MASSIVE. It also contains an astounding variety of other geological formations that my geologist friends will go gaga for. You can go wiki it for more info but I’ll let my pictures do the talking.

From LA, our tour bus traveled 550 miles and crossed 2 time zones to reach Utah.  Emma and I took a Chinese tour bus and we’re the few non-Chinese tourists aboard. The tour guide would hardly explain things to us in English which was quite frustrating but the random movies and road side views kept us entertained and sane lol.


Our roadside views

I visited the Grand Canyon the previous year so I was kinda expecting something similar, but I was still blown away with the sandstone formations.


About to start our trek in the scorching heat.



First stop, ‘The Organ’.  I always envy people that get to decide the names for these stuff.


Guess our smiles say it all. ‘Three Gossips’ photobombed.

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Photo opportunity from every angle.

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Check out the cloud formation not wanting to be outshone by the arches.


Blending in literally.


This should give you some idea of just how big these arches are.  Enough to make you feel insignificant. What an amazing earth we live in.

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Another part of Utah that we checked out was The Great Salt Lake which is said to be the fourth-largest terminal lake in the world.


Checking out The Great Salt Lake Marina


It may not look like it, but I was close to vomiting here.  The view is nice especially early morning but the smell is just foul. Unfortunately, The Great Salt lake stinks, especially in the summer.  Apparently it’s because most hyper-saline environments favor bacterial sulfate reduction and one of the byproducts is hydrogen sulphide that smells like rotten eggs. Unfortunately, I made a silly mistake of wearing nice sandals and the smell and wet sand kind of stayed and ruined them. Ah well.


Of course a visit in Utah is not complete without checking the state capital, Salt Lake City. Obviously named after the salty inland lake, the city is also known as the Mormon capital of the world.  However, according to statistics, non-Mormon population has been on a steady rise for the last decade.  We only got to explore a few popular spots, (i.e. The Tabernacle, Temple Square, LDS Conference Centre and Utah State Capitol) but from what I’ve seen, Salt Lake City is a pretty neat and peaceful place to live.


Temple Square


Hard to capture the whole building because it’s huge


Inside Utah State Capitol

We stopped by this random Chinese Restaurant in Fillmore for lunch and it’s like in the middle of nowhere so I’m surprised to find out that it used to be Utah’s state capital.

utah2 I would love to go back to Utah and explore the Mighty 5 National Parks (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion National Parks) one day, soon.  Here’s hoping.

Geri xoxo



Down South

Posted on December 4, 2015

As part of my post birthday shenanigans, I decided to go on an epic road trip Down South with my homies.  For my non Australian readers, Down South is a local term referring to the popular South West region of Western Australia (WA).  The South West region boasts one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hot spots and includes a couple of cities and shires.  Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to check out all 34 spots, but I suggested some of my favourite not-so-secret locations to my friends on top of the places that they wanted to check out as well.



Our first stop was Busselton, about three hours drive from Perth City.   The first time I went to Busselton was back in 2010 for Southbound, a famous 3 day music festival here in WA and although I’ve been back a few times since, it’s never for sight seeing.


Busselton Jetty

Like most places in the South West region, Busselton’s growth over the past decade has been centred along the shores of Geographe Bay.  For instance, the iconic Busselton Jetty was built because the shallow waters of Geographe Bay restricted ship movement and a long jetty was required so that cut timber could be transported to ships.  At 1841 metres, the Busselton Jetty is said to be the longest wooden structure in the southern hemisphere.

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Lunch at The Fire Station Bar and yes it was actively used as one until 1990

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squid and chorizo are a match made in heaven

For this trip, we chose Busselton as our base, staying at Siesta Park holiday resort.  The resort  has adventure playgrounds (such as the flying fox and tarzan swing) and normally when I travel with my girlfriends, I’m the one that has to beg them to try some crazy stuff, traveling with boys however it’s the other way around.  I posted a couple of videos on some of the things they made me do on my Instagram page, but I get to boss them around so can’t really complain.

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At Busselton City Centre with my homies


Doing a Miley, lol!

Our villa was also just a few blocks from the beach and so in the morning we’d have a quick dip in our backyard pool hehe.

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Margaret River

A South West trip is not complete without checking its most popular town, Margaret River, which is located in the valley of the eponymous Margaret River.  This little town is renowned for its surfing location and for its wine production and tourism, attracting an estimated half a million visitors annually.  Due to time constraints I decided to bring my friends to one of my favourite wineries in Margaret River, the rustic and romantic Laurance Winery.


Hard to not take a pretty picture

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Food first before wine tasting


How beautiful is this chandelier made out of wine glasses?

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One of Margaret River’s popular beaches, Surfers Point is well-loved among surfers for its big waves and mainbreak.  Beside the beach is Margaret Rivers Rivermouth.

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Rivermouth of Margaret River

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We went back the following day for some canoeing action

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Dunsborough is actually my favourite.  I have a lot of fun summer memories in this quaint little town and driving down here always makes me happy.

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My sugar levels definitely went up on this trip.


Enjoying this organic red wine at The Pour House

Cape Naturaliste

I wanted to show my friends Cape Naturaliste as well, which is a headland but took the wrong turn and ended up doing the Cape to Cape hiking track instead.  We didn’t go up the lighthouse but if you do, you’ll get breathtaking panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, Cape Naturaliste, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and the beautiful Geographe Bay coastline.

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We made a new friend, a poisonous snake I named Sam.

Bunker Bay

Decided to take them to Bunker Bay afterwards, and as expected, they went bonkers.  This beach is simply beautiful.


Our little piece of paradise for the day and the day after lol


Celebrating first day of summer in Australia, in style.


Perfect place to practice my levitation skills.

Haven’t played Pusoy Dos in almost 15 years, so when JP brought cards and suggested we play it I was quite ecstatic.  Back in my undergrad days in La Salle, my classmates and I would play Pusoy Dos in secret, because if we got caught playing/gambling on campus we will get into serious trouble.  We were grandmasters of Pusoy Dos and good to know after all these years I still know how to win.


Thanks to JP, Adam and Andy for a jam-packed short trip, the 90s Music marathon, Pusoy Dos, home cooked breakfast, Tarzan swing, snakes, getting stung by jelly fish, giving you guys mini heart attack with my driving and for having to take my gazillion pictures because I’m a crazy perfectionist.

Where to next?

My Military Diet Diary

Posted on November 13, 2015

Real talk: I gained weight.


Not Shallow Hal kind of weight gain but more like “I can’t fit in most of my clothes anymore” situation and I am quite petite so it’s quite noticeable when it happens.
I was determined to do some more exercises and ‘eat healthier’ when I stumbled upon a link on youtube (while looking at cat videos) claiming to lose 10 lbs in 3 days. I didn’t pay much attention but when the blogger mentioned that she was eating ice cream I was all eyes and ears.

Basically she was reviewing The Military Diet, and after watching the full video, I checked the official website straight away.
Now I am not a nutritionist or a dietician but apparently, all the food combo sort of work together to help with your metabolism. I liked that the meals are very easy to prepare and most of the ingredients featured are not expensive and something that you probably have at home already.

The truth is, I’ve never tried a diet regimen before, mainly because most of the diet fads are way too complicated to follow and I love food. Like I think about food all the time. There is a running joke among my friends about how much I love my food but the ice cream made me do it! Lol.

I feel that this diet is more of a quick fix. For me personally, I decided to give this a go because I do believe it would help kick start my battle with portion control, basically to program my tummy for the next 3 days to not overeat.

I forwarded the website to my other friends and relatives that might benefit from doing this diet as well and last Tuesday, I began my very first diet in my food diary history.

I bought the whole Military Diet plan for less than $50 AUD and some of the foods will definitely last you more than 3 days (not included in the picture: cheddar cheese, green tea and bread).


Day 1, breakfast.
Tea or coffee
Half grapefruit
2 tbsp peanut butter
A slice of bread (preferably wholemeal)


Thoughts: I realised I forgot to buy wholemeal bread and had to settle with white flatbread. I don’t like bread in general and I really don’t like peanut butter (I gagged half way). No coffee for me because I get heart palpitations. The grapefruit saved this meal.


Day 1, lunch.
Tea or coffee
A small tin of tuna
A slice of bread


Thoughts: I actually really enjoyed this lunch. I love tuna in olive oil blend and I got wholemeal bread with chia seeds this time that tasted quite nice. Not enough for me.

Day 1, dinner.
3 ounces of any meat
1 cup of green beans
1 apple
Half banana
A cup of vanilla ice cream

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Thoughts: I love this diet! Lol! Love green beans, hate banana (good thing I only had to eat half), yay for ice cream.

Day 2, breakfast.
1 egg (cooked however you like)
A slice of bread
Half banana


Thoughts: Banana was tolerable, enjoyed the eggs and bread.
Day 2: Lunch
5 saltine crackers
1 hardboiled egg
A cup of cottage cheese

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Thoughts: This was when I started getting all upset about the whole diet thing, especially that I had to eat with someone that was having my fave Dolsot Bibimbap and I had 5 saltine crackers, 1 boiled egg and a small cup of cottage cheese. Talk about torture. It didn’t help that I am not a fan of these three. I was having the “I never thought I’d be one of those peeps that eat crackers while other people are eating real food” monologue, but when I got a text message from my other friend telling me that he lost 1.5kg on his second day doing the diet, I calmed the hell down.

Day 2, dinner.
2 hotdogs
1 cup of broccoli
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 banana
1/2 ice cream

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Thoughts: I know hotdogs are not the healthiest but every time I have some, I’m always reminded of my childhood, it’s a staple breakfast/snack food back in my home country and I love that my plate looked really colourful.

Day 3, breakfast. (home stretch)
5 saltine crackers
a slice of cheddar cheese
1 apple


Thoughts: Not a fan of saltine crackers but realised that eating cheddar cheese and apple alternately creates an interesting taste. Lol.

Day 3, lunch.
a slice of bread
1 egg (cooked however you like)


Thoughts: Got super hungry and ate earlier than normal, was tempted to cheat but I kept telling myself, I’m almost done.

Day 3, dinner.
1 cup tuna
1/2 banana
1 cup ice cream

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Thoughts: So I kept looking at the time and by around 4 pm I was going crazy already. I was starving. I managed to wait until 5pm. I mixed 2 small tins of tuna and I devoured the lot in less than 2 minutes. As usual I got to reward myself with ice cream and survived to live the tale.


My verdict?

The Military Diet works.  I didn’t weigh myself prior to doing the diet but I did measure my waistline and I’m happy to say I lost an inch off my waist :-)

Please note that this diet is not for everyone (especially if you have allergies to some of the foods mentioned, see substitute list).

Will I do it again? I plan to do it one more time (after a four day break), in preparation for my birthday festivities.

Saying that I do believe maintaining a healthy weight is not difficult to achieve if you eat healthier, if you stay clear of processed foods, if you practice (reasonable) portion control, and if you include some form of exercises. Like I said earlier, The Military Diet is just a quick fix for me. I’m thinking of signing up to some barre classes and the other day I purchased this Mediterranean Diet Cookbook that was prepared/curated by a certified nutritionist/dietician Dr. Catherine Itsiopoulos.


I love Mediterranean food so I’ll definitely be inspired to cook the recipes featured, but that my friends will have to be a different post.




Posted on October 1, 2015

Can I let you in a little secret? Well more like a fantasy :-)

I have this dream of living in this beautiful South Western European city one day… a dream of living in the vivacious, exciting and beautiful city of Madrid.

I don’t know whether it’s due to my Spanish heritage but there’s just something about Madrid that’s so beguiling to me. I’ve been to Barcelona as well but I did not love it as much as I did the Spanish capital.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to turn this dream into a reality, but for now, browsing through my Madrid pictures will have to do.


The iconic Plaza de Cibeles

I came to Spain for these… paella and sangria,  my favourite food/drink in the world.


Found the most perfect door (well perfect for my door picture series). Surrounded by a wall full of jasmine inside this amazing not-so-secret garden.


Cactus lusting at Real Jardin Botanico de Madrid

Aside from my favourite chorizo, got hooked on eating jamon iberico, which is a staple in Madrid (and maybe whole of Spain).  Here eating this yummy jamon iberico pizza from Sol, just near our hood in Sta. Ana.



When madhatter met headless soldier.  Match made in heaven lol! He’s just one of the many creative and sometimes crazy street performers found in Plaza Mayor. Talk about charmers!


Inside one of the oldest and most beautiful markets in Madrid.  The Mercado de San Miguel.  The food here are so cheap and so yummy.


One of my best dining experience in Madrid happened in the oldest restaurant in the world. The Restaurante Sobrino De Botin.  Everything in this place was amazeballs that no wonder Hemingway loved the place.


The basement section of Restaurante Sobrino De Botin.


This would have to be the most potent sangria I’ve ever had, Emma and I were tipsy as and to this day had no recollection how we found our way back to our apartment without falling flat on our faces.


Woke up like this, literally!  After our late lunch at Botin, and finding our way back to our apartment, I fell asleep.  I woke up when I heard Emma calling from the other room suggesting we should get some fresh air and churros.  For the love of siesta.


My Spanish was put to test when we ventured into this tapas area that was recommended by a local.  The waitress will only talk to me in Spanish. Somehow I managed to order these.

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We stayed in this cute apartment in Plaza de Santa Ana area, which is like a food hub and a happening place.  There’s always fun music and delightful food aroma in every corner. I was in food and music heaven.


A glimpse of Palacio de Cristal or Crystal Palace. It was built back in the late 1800 to exhibit the flora and fauna from my home county Philippines.  Now it’s mainly used for exhibit and a place where people can read their book.

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A closer look at the beautiful and intricate, Crystal Palace.


I love that they dedicated the whole park to literature.  I’ve never seen so many book stalls in my life.  It encourages love for reading books, which I believe is the next best escape, after travel.  The fact that you get to read your favourite book inside a beautiful palace, makes it extra special.


You can’t sit with us!


I just love the idea that they sell books in the park, just genius.

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Feeding the fat kid inside in my fave, Mercado de San Miguel :-)


Espero volver a verte pronto Madrid!

Ti amo,


My Other Love

Posted on September 1, 2015

I had been meaning to post something unrelated to travel for a while now but just wasn’t sure which topic to focus on.  I thought it still has to be something I’m passionate about but at the same time, something that I don’t often talk about as well (if that makes sense).

Today I’m sharing some of the paintings and drawings I’ve done over the years. I’m not sure if I should call it my hidden talent because if you follow me on Instagram or if you’re my friend on Facebook then you’d have seen some of the stuff before.

I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I started out with just using crayons and coloured pens/pencils (very low key) and it was only around five years ago that I started painting and discovered oil and acrylic.  The reason I decided to do a painting in the first place was because I wanted to create a vivid focal point in my old apartment’s lounge area, but I didn’t want to splurge on some expensive artwork that I don’t even like so I thought ‘What if I create my own artwork instead?’.  After deciding what to paint, I got some used canvas which I covered with white primer to reuse.   It just so happen that the used canvas was rather big and aside from not having an easel, painting on a larger scale prove to be quite challenging.  But as they say Go Big or Go Home right?


Unfinished Astroboy

Because I didn’t have an easel and couldn’t be arsed to buy one, I had to paint on the floor.  Aside from suffering backaches, I had to make sure I didn’t drip oil paint all over my carpet. For three consecutive nights after work, I would stay up super late but each time getting more and more excited with the progress.


Astroboy, my very first oil painting

My blending technique was not very good then, but I was still very happy with my first oil painting.  I grew up watching Astro Boy and a few years back,  while I was holidaying in Melbourne, I went to see Osamu Tezuka’s exhibit with my friends and fell in love with the gigantic drawings of Astro Boy and I guess it stuck with me and that’s why I wanted to have a piece of Astro Boy in my own home as well. To this day, my Astro Boy painting remains one of my favourite.

After Astro Boy, I have made numerous other paintings. I have only ever sold one painting and I have only ever given one painting (which I still regret). Below are some of my old artworks. I have stayed true with my Geekiness all these years.


My Psylocke and Matsuo drawing circa 1998 (X-Men).


My Dragon Ball Z drawing circa 1997


My V for Vendetta painting (2012)


My Wonder Woman drawing (2013)

Earlier this year, I started working on my biggest painting to date. I have always been a fan of Roy Lichtenstein but since I could never afford to buy any of his painting, decided to make my own as well.


My cat checking out my initial sketch


Did the outlining in our backyard which was very therapeutic.

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My interpretation of Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Girl with Hair Ribbon’ oil painting on a 40×40 (inches) canvas. Approved by my beloved cat, Mr. Olly Meowbert.

I still plan to recreate two more Lichtenstein paintings when I am feeling inspired to paint again. Actually, I’m just waiting for the canvases to go on sale lol! Saying that, watching my artwork evolve is still great fun and very rewarding. Hoping to explore water-colour next.



16 Travel Tips I Live By

Posted on August 10, 2015


Enjoying the majestic view of the Grand Teton at Jackson Lodge in Wyoming

After visiting 30 countries, I consider myself a seasoned traveler.  I’m not the best traveler in the world (yet) but I’ve picked up little tips and secrets along the way that worked for me time and time again and might work for you too.  I decided to make a little list (only 16, to maybe over a hundred practical travel tips out there) of my best travel advice. Feel free to add/share your travel tips on the comment section so we can all perfect the art of traveling. Here we go…


I.) BE NICE. You’d be surprised at what other people are willing to do to accommodate you if you’re nice and pleasant to them

II.) ALWAYS HAVE CASH ON YOU. It’s the most reliable thing in this world, and make sure you also have a stash somewhere safe for emergency. (I should really practice what I preach).

III.) WEAR NICE CLOTHES ON THE AIRPLANE. I know sneakers and maybe loose pants are comfy but if you put a little effort, people are nicer to you or at least upgrade you.

IV.) LEARN TO WASH CLOTHES IN THE SINK. Hey, if Gwyneth Palthrow can do it, so can you.

V.) PACK FLIP FLOPS OR THONGS FOR USE IN SHOWERS. Even when I’m at home I never want my feet to touch the shower floor. That’s just gross.

Exploring the city of canals, Venice.

Exploring the city of canals, Venice.

VI.) ROLL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN PACKING. I was a rebel and didn’t believe in the rolling magic until recently. Trust me, you’ll fit more shopping if you do so.

VII.) ALWAYS PACK BABY WIPES. Or face wipes if you want to pay extra dollar. It does the same shit. It’s a lifesaver especially when you have no access to a shower or you want to freshen up on the go.

VIII.) LEARN HOW TO PACK LIGHT. I still struggle to this day but do bring clothes that you can mix and match, are lightweight, and that you can layer on. Make sure to create a checklist while you’re at it.

VIX.) BE READY TO SLEEP ANYWHERE. I’m kind of lucky that I can fall asleep anywhere, but the downside is, it’s not safe when you’re traveling alone. Still, be prepared when you end up sleeping somewhere that is not so decent. You need sleep, people are grumpy when they don’t have enough sleep. Sleep is so effing underrated. Make sure to bring eye masks or ear plugs or any items/devices that can help you sleep.

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Kayaking with Emma in La Jolla in San Diego

X.) REGISTER YOUR TRAVEL DETAILS. For Aussie travellers, there is SMARTTRAVELLER.GOV.AU. If you’re traveling to multiple places, it can be tiresome to fill this up but if something bad happens to you overseas, you’ll make it easier for the government to reach you if they know where you are. Simple. (Also, make sure you tell your parents, next of kin or close friends where you’re going, unless you purposely want to get away from them, still register anyway. Okay?)

XI.) PACK A MEDICINE KIT. I have a weak stomach, and it doesn’t help that I’ll eat all sorts of food, so aside from carrying paracetamol packs, I always have attapulgite tablets. A medicine kit will not take up a lot of space, but will save you from having headaches when you’re always on the go.

XII.) KEEP SOME EMPTY PLASTIC BAGS. For wet or dirty clothes. You wouldn’t want to contaminate your clean ones.

XIII.) LEARN A FEW PHRASES OF THE LOCAL LANGUAGE. It kinda shows the local people that you’re putting in some effort to get to know them. Also gives them a sense of pride when they hear a foreigner trying to speak their language. Winning.

Bossing this random kid to move the vine, in picturesque Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

Bossing this random kid to swing the vine, in picturesque Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

XIV.) ACTUALLY DO SOME RESEARCH. From taxi fares, to local customs, to weather, to scams, to what the local people are like in general. Knowledge is power.

XV.) BE PREPARED. For the unexpected. This does not apply to traveling alone, but life in general. Expectations versus reality. What looks good on paper doesn’t always translate in real life (dodgy hotel booking sites I’m looking at you). Sometimes flights get canceled or your transport didn’t make it on time.  Lost luggage. Shit happens, but how you deal with it, is the most important thing.

XVI.) BE GRATEFUL. Not everyone gets to travel or has the means to travel and explore. So take time to reflect, take lots of pictures, take it all in, pause, and understand the immensity of our world. Understand your insignificance and understand your absolute importance.

Monterroso Al Mare, Cinque Terre
Monterroso Al Mare, Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

Posted on June 30, 2015

Ah Cinque Terre… (pronounced tʃinkwe ˈtɛrːe in Italian) but whatever, this beautiful rugged coast was the saving grace of our almost disastrous Milan Trip.

The picturesque Cinque Terre consist of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Originally we wanted to stay for a few days but was told by friends that a day tour would suffice.  I wished we stayed at least overnight though,  I would have loved to explore all the villages on foot. We only managed to explore Monterosso Al Mare and Vernazza due to our limited time.

Emma and I we’re up early to meet our guide in Milan. We were running on one hour sleep and badly needed some fuel to kick start the day and for the long drive ahead so Italian coffee had to be in place. You know what they say, when in Rome… I mean Milan.


Our first stop was the delightful village of Portovenere located on the Ligurian Coast in the province of La Spezia.  It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes Cinque Terre.

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After our short stop at Portovenere, we boarded a boat to reach the coastal villages, wedged into rugged cliffs by the Mediterranean sea. Here we met and befriended a lovely young woman who’s aptly named, Barbie.  She was also doing the same tour and was traveling alone and clicked with us straight away. Unfortunately our tour did not include exploring Riomaggiore village so we could only admire it from afar. How very sad.


I don’t remember our boat stopping at other villages, but we were finally allowed to dock at Monterosso al Mare, the largest of the Cinque Terre’s ‘five lands’.

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We were given a few hours to explore the village but not before having lunch with the whole group.  Our guide took us to this restaurant where I had the most amazing seafood dish, very rustic and fresh, just how I like it.


I love this picture I took of Emma. The smile says it all. IMG_6099 IMG_6118


That infamous rock of Monterosso al MareIMG_6137 IMG_6145 IMG_6146 IMG_6155 IMG_6157 IMG_6158

After exploring Monterosso, we were instructed to meet our guide and the rest of the group to board a train to Vernazza, another of the Cinque Terre’s beautiful villages.

Vernazza was struck by massive flooding and mudslide in 2011 that left the town buried in over 4 metres of mud and debris.  The damaged caused a lot of money (over 100 million euro) but luckily for us, it was restored a few months later with a lot of hard work and help from people from all over the world.

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With it’s colourful, painted homes clinging to impossible cliffs, flanking a quaint harbour, Vernazza was worth preserving.  It’s by far my favourite. Oh and did i mention that they have the best gelateria (ice-cream parlor) in the world? I know it’s a sweeping declaration but if you know me, a self-proclaimed Ice cream monster, I can say with all honesty, that the gelato I had in Vernazza, was to die for.

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So after an hour or so exploring the lined cobbled street of Vernazza and taking lots and lots of shameless pictures in the scorching heat, it was time for us to rejoin our group for another scenic train ride to the town of La Spezia.  Back on our coach to head back to Milan, ending our day trip.

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In the famous words of  Douglas MacArthur, “I came through and I shall return”.  I vow to return to Cinque Terre one day and explore the rest of the villages… and for another cup of gelato too.

Much love,



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