A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Anja Fourie

Rome, The Eternal City

"Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning." ~ Giotto di Bondone

rain 16 °C
View Italy and Paris April 2015 on Anja Fourie's travel map.

Where did we stay? Hotel Giotto

Read about my previous visit to Rome here: When in Rome....

The rolling hills and the beautiful villas of the Italian countryside pave the way towards Rome. Centuries ago the views on the road towards the Eternal City wouldn't have looked that much different than the one we are seeing now. The great Roman capital, seen as the Capital of the World in ancient Roman culture, has a history dating back to over 2,500 years and is seen by many as frozen in time.


The best way to see Rome? Buy a ticket to one of the many Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Companies. Rome is a big city and these buses stop at all the major sightseeing destinations which makes it really easy to navigate Rome.

We explored Rome by bus as well as by foot.
Here are some of the famous sights of Rome that we saw:


"In Rome, I particularly love the history, churches, sculptures and architecture and the fact that you can walk along a tiny cobbled street and turn the corner to find the Trevi Fountain." ~ Philip Treacy

The Trevi Fountain is truly hidden between buildings and along narrow, cobbled streets. The one moment you are walking along rows of restaurants and shops and the next the narrow street suddenly opens up into the big square hosting the Trevi Fountain. The marble sculptures are beautifully white even in the dreary, rainy Rome. During this visit, the Trevi Fountain was under construction and all the water was emptied, but it gave us a unique close up of the fountain. A ramp was built across the fountain and you could truly see the sculptures up close.

Throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder. If you do this, legend says that you will return to Rome. This may just be a legend, but for me it came true as I have returned to Rome. The fountain is emptied every night and the money is used for charity.



"Rome will exist as long as the Colosseum does; when the Colosseum falls, so will Rome; when Rome falls, so will the world." - Venerable Bede

The largest amphitheatre ever built and 2000 years old, the Colosseum is seen as the iconic symbol of Rome. On the first Sunday of the month, entry into the Colosseum is free. You can also stand in the queue to buy a ticket to enter the Colosseum. If you do not want to wait in line, there are plenty of people selling tickets to group tours. The Colosseum is located just off the Roman Forum. The Arch of Constantine is also located here. It marks the victory of Constantine over Maxentius.



The Pantheon is one of the best preserved ancient buildings of Rome and still remains the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. It is the best preserved of all the ancient Roman buildings, as it is the only building that has been in continuous use over its history. It used to be a temple and today it is used as a Catholic Church.
The first king of the Kingdom of Italy, Victor Emmanual II, is buried here. The Il Vittoriano was built in his honour.


Built in honour of the first king of the unified Italy, this monument is jokingly called the "Wedding Cake" by locals. It has been controversial since its beginning as a large part of medieval Rome was destroyed for it to be built. The glaring white marble on the exterior makes it stand out, and not in a good way, compared to all the other buildings with their brownish colour.


Also under construction on our visit here, the Spanish steps is a popular place for tourists to sit on and relax. Eating on any of the 135 steps is unfortunately illegal, as the state would like to keep the steps clean. The Spanish steps leads up from the Piazza di Spagna to the Trinita dei Monti Church at the top. The steps got their name from the Spanish Embassy which was hosted in the piazza at the base, but it should actually be named the French Steps. The building was funded by French diplomats in 1723, and the church at the top as well as the surrounding area is the responsibility of the French state. The steps also contan the French Fleur symbol.


This ancient square in Rome hosts four ancient Roman temples as well as the remains of Pompey's Theatre.

Julius Caesar's Assassination
It is right in the middle of Pompey's theatre where it is believed Julies Caesar was assasinated. Compare the remains of the theatre and the columns still standing on the left, to this depiction of the assassination by artist Jean-Leon Gerome. It is not very hard to imagine Caesar being stabbed right here on the steps of the theatre.


Roman Cats
According to legend, Caesar brought cats to Rome from Egypt. On this spot where he met his final demise, the stray cats of Rome live. The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary is right opposite the square. They care for all the stray cats here and run a neuter programme. You can visit the cat shop for some goodies or make a donation.


The Piazza del Popolo is a large square in Rome. The name translates to the "People's Square". There are street musicians performing here and the square is wide and open. To get here you can follow the Via Del Corso, the central road of Rome, all the way to the end. Before the age of railroads, this square was the traveller's first view of Rome. Public executions also took place in this square until 1826.

A view of Rome

The best part of the square is that you can access the Pincio. As you enter the square from the Via Del Corso, you will see an outlook to the right of the square. Follow the path up to the Pincio for great views of Rome as well as the dome of the Vatican in the distance.



1. DO GET A MAP: Rome is a really easy city to navigate if you have a map.
2. DO ASK ABOUT THE SEATING FEE: As everywhere in Italy, some restaurants charge a seating fee to simply sit at a table and drink a glass of wine. That glass of wine can become expensive very quickly.
3. DO GET A TICKET TO A HOP-ON HOP-OFF BUS: In a big city like Rome, the ticket for this type of bus is definitely well worth the money.
4. DO BEWARE OF PICK POCKETS: A very busy city and notorious for pick pockets. Hold your bag close to you.
5. DO VISIT THE POPOLO: The view from above here will give you stunning views of the city.


Posted by Anja Fourie 02:09 Archived in Italy Tagged italy cats rome colosseum trevi caesar assassination popolo Comments (1)

Venezia, The Floating City

"If you read a lot, nothing is ever as good as you imagined. Venice is -- Venice is better." ~ Fran Lebowitz

overcast 20 °C
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Where did we stay? Hotel Venezia

The City of Water is old and beautiful. Walking down the narrow alleys and over the hundreds of bridges, 400 bridges to be precise, the magical feeling of Venice is lost to none. Once known as the Republic of Venice, the city is now part of Italy. The rich history of Venice can be felt everywhere, and the charm of this beautiful city takes your breathe away.


We stayed on the mainland of Venice, known as Mestre. In the past, the islands of Venice was only accessible by boat. Today, a 4km bus connects the mainland with Venice. As no cars are allowed inside Venice, all busses, trains and cars park in a big parking lot after they cross the bridge and everyone walks from there. In Venice everyone walks everywhere and walking is definitely the best way to explore this collection of 118 little islands.

Street names with Venetian corrections
Venetians have their own dialect, which is different from the Italian spoken in the rest of Italy. Venetians also used to know their way around the city without needing any street signs. Street signs have been put up by the Italian government. These do not use the Venetian dialect of not using double letters in their spelling and the Venetians have rebelled by painting over the letters on most of the signs in the city.

Signs directing you to the main areas in Venice
During the day, tourists and the general population crowd the streets. During the night, Venice gets quiet. The streets are less crowded and the narrow alleyways, some requiring single file are easier to navigate. Getting lost in Venice is the best way to explore the city, but luckily you are never really lost as there are signs everywhere pointing you towards the three main areas.

These main areas are: Piazzale Roma, Rialto and San Marco.


This is the square right at the entrance of Venice and no vehicles are allowed past this point. There are many shops here where you can buy souveniers. If you are in Venice and you want to get back to the main square or the entrance bridge, just follow the signs to Piazzale Roma.



Alleys of Venice


Exploring Venice, you will eventually come across the Grand Canal. You will recognise the canal immediately. It is the widest canal in Venice as well as the busiests canal. There are many vaporetti's (water buses), as well as gondolas and water taxis on this canal. The Rialto bridge connects the markets, which is the economic side of of Venice, to San Marco, the political side of Venice. The shops on this bridge were put here to pay for the construction of the bridge. The market was one of the busiest areas of Venice and one of the big gathering points of Venice.

"What news on the Rialto?" - Merchant of Venice (William Shakespeare)

The Grand Canal

Rialto Bridge

The Grand Canal at Night


After you cross the Rialto Bridge, follow the signs and you will eventually get to San Marco's Square. San Marco hosts many of Venice's famous sights such as the the Doge's Palace, the Basilica as well as the Bell Tower. These are not political buildings anymore, but are now public buildings and museums. This square is also featured in several video games such as Tekken and Assassins Creed.

San Marco Square
The San Marco square is famous for its flooding. The holes which were designed to collect rainwater is also what floods the square. Podiums are built across the square for people to walk on. Venice sinks by 12cm a year. Venice has started building layers on top of their current floors to counteract the sinking. As a result of this, the pillars on the Doge's Palace is now much shorter than it was when the palace was built. Many lower floors of buildings are now also boarded up and unused as a result of the rising water.

Campanile di San Marco (The Campanile / Bell Tower of San Marco)
A must see in the San Marco square is the Bell Tower. For 8€, you take a lift up to the top of the tower and from here you will see a 360° view of Venice. Standing in the queue to go up the tower is well worth the wait. The views from above are beautiful and you definitely get a sense of the many canals and alleys of Venice.


San Giorgio Island from the Bell Tower

Gondola Ride
From San Marco, you can take a gondola ride through Venice. The ride will be approximately 30 minutes long and will take you through the small canals of Venice. You will see places only accessible by boat and experience the quiet, peaceful areas of Venice. A gondola ride will be 80€ and can take up to 6 people. Look for any of the areas where people are getting onto gondolas and wait in line.



1. DO GET LOST: There is no better way to explore Venice than getting lost in the narrow alleys and streets. Just follow the signs to the main areas if you feel lost.
2. DO ASK ABOUT THE SEATING FEE: As everywhere in Italy, some restaurants charge a seating fee to simply sit at a table and drink a glass of wine. That glass of wine can become expensive very quickly, especially if you are at a popular restaurant with a nice view.
3. DO GO UP HIGH: The best view of Venice is from the Bell Tower. Standing in the queue will ensure you a 360 degree view.
4. DO TAKE A MOMENT TO TAKE IT ALL IN: Buy a bottle of wine and some plastic cups and sit next to the canal. Take in the people, the gondolas, the water, the movement of Venice.


Posted by Anja Fourie 10:03 Archived in Italy Tagged water venice tower italy rialto san_marco mestre grand_canal san_polo Comments (3)

Dubai, The Desert City

"It is 'the Vegas of the Middle East' or 'the Venice of the Middle East' or 'the Disney World of the Middle East', if Disney World were the size of San Francisco and out in a desert." ~ George Saunders

sunny 37 °C


My first day in Dubai, I walk from the hotel to the train station. My first experience of the Dubai sun left a white line on my shoulder of where my handbag strap was. A perfect white line, surrounded by red itchiness, reminds me: You're in the desert now.

Everything in Dubai is bigger and better. Even the sun is hotter here. Dubai is always growing, always improving and expanding. If you can build it, Dubai will build it bigger and much better. Landing in Dubai, the heat gets to you immediately. It is early in the morning and still dark outside, but a temperature of well in the 30s is already burning down on the desert city.

The United Arab Emirates, consists of 7 different emirates. The earliest mention of Dubai is in 1095 AD, but the earliest recorded settlement was only in 1799. By 1833, the Sheikhdom of Dubai was established when Sheikh Maktoum in Butti A-Maktoum took 800 of his tribesmen to the Dubai Creek. The area around the Creek was where Dubai really started growing. The area around here is the older part of Dubai and dusty streets and older mosques can be observed in this neighbourhood. Most of the 53% of the Indian population of Dubai, also seem to reside here and exploring this part of Dubai, makes you feel like you just stepped straight into India.

1. The old neighbourhood of Dubai


Dubai built their economy on oil, after it was discovered there in 1966. Dubai is a global city with such a diverse population. Local Arab Emirati’s only make up about 17% of the population, which means that they do get first pick when it comes to jobs. The rest of the population consists of about 53% Indians, 16% Pakistani, 9% Bangladesh and 3% Filipinos.

Indians and Pakistani’s all seem to be taxi drivers or construction workers. Shop workers, cashiers and waiters all seem to be Filipinos. It is my guess, that the very rich children of the Emirati are not going to work as a cashier or shop girl, as they don’t need to. As most local Emirati seem to hold the wealth in Dubai, who will do these jobs for them? The thousands of foreigners, of course.

Today Dubai has moved away from being an oil economy, as the quantities of oil found in Dubai would not have been efficient to establish this city. It has moved to a Western type economy and gets its wealth from tourism, real estate and financial services. It is also famous for its skyline with some of the highest buildings in the world.

2. Difference between Dubai today and in 1990

With just 20 years of development, Dubai has change into a massive cosmopolitan city. With the main road of Dubai being just a single road a few years back, it is now a wide highway, with no signs of a desert in sight.


3. The Burj Khalifa

Burj means tower in Arabic, so The Burj Khalifa is thus the Khalifa Tower. Khalifa was the name of the president who bailed the tower out in the time of economic crisis. At 829,8m (2,722 ft), the Burj Khalifa really towers out over the Dubai skyline. It can almost be seen from everywhere in the city. This massive beacon of Dubai engineering, with 163 floors, dominates your view every day. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest man-made structure in the world. The Burj includes residential space, office space, restaurants, bars, clubs and the world’s second highest swimming pool which is located on the 76th floor.


4. The Dubai Lake Musical Fountain

Right outside the Dubai Mall, which is the world’s largest mall, is the Dubai Musical Fountain. The Musical Fountain is also situated at the bottom of the Burj Khalifa. It is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. It is set inside the manmade Burj Khalifa lake. 6,600 lights are used with water that can shoot up 275m. It is accompanied by a range of music. Performance times are 1pm and 1:30pm, and then every 30 minutes from 6pm until 10pm, and on weekends from 6pm until 11pm. Each show is different and lasts about 3 minutes.


5. JW Marriot Marquis Hotel

The tallest hotel in the world, is the magnificent JW Marriot Marquis Hotel in Dubai. The hotel is a 77 storey twin tower, skyscraper complex. It features a magnitude of restaurants, bars, business centers, conference halls, as well as massive 3,700 m2 spa and health club. The hotel is 355 meters high.


6. Dubai Marina

The Dubai Marina is a district in Dubai which is situated along a 3km artificial canal. Along the canal, there are residential buildings and villas, as well as many restaurants and shops. This is a quiet neighbourhood with residents jogging along the canal, people dining and watching the water, and dinner cruises taking place on the canal with brightly coloured boats.


7. Dubai Bars and Clubs


As Dubai is an Islamic state, pubs and bars that you would normally see in a Western country is not the norm here. A bar or a club must be connected to a hotel to serve alcohol. Thus, the prices for drinks in Dubai are skyhigh, just like its famous skyline. Here are some of the nice bars I visited while in Dubai.

Connected to the Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort, is the Barasti Beach Bar. A wooden deck extends onto the beach, which some soft beds located on the sand. The bar is very small though and drinks may take a while to order when it is very busy.

We also visited The Irish Village, a massive pub which is connected to the Tennis Stadium. It is located in the commercial area of Al Garhoud, a residential and commercial district. The Irish Village was built with Irish craftsmanship and with building materials shipped from Ireland. The venue is outdoors with live music creating a great vibe.

On my second last night, I went to the Armani Prive Club situated in the Burj Khalifa. The bottom 39 floors of the Burj Khalifa house the Armani hotel. The club is very expensive and to get in our names were put on the list by a friend. A lot of girls, and a lot of prostitutes are dancing around in small dresses. The music was really good and dancing the night away was fun here. The club only starts to get packed at about 1am, which is strange as it closes again at 3am.


8. Jumeirah Park Beach


Located in the Jumeirah district of Dubai, this white sand beach stretches along the south coast of Dubai. There are many resorts and hotels located along the beach. The Palm Jumeirah is also located along this stretch of sand. For everyday beach-goers you can go to Jumeirah Park, pay 5 dirhams, and walk onto the beach through there. Here you will find a small wooden deck built on the beach where you can buy take-away food including burgers, sandwiches and salads. There is also a juice bar. We rented a big umbrella and three deck chairs, all for the price of about 60 dirhams, which seems very cheap. The water is nice, with ’n big waves and you can swim comfortable. The water isn’t packed. There are signs up that ask beach-goers to please support customs and wear swimming clothes that cover more the thighs, for men, and a one piece swimsuit, for ladies. This is of course ignored as all the girls are in bikinis. The mix of the Middle Eastern and Western worlds in Dubai can be seen on the beach, with girls in bikinis providing a stark contrast to women fully clothed in their black abaya and burqa.


9. Dubai Records

Dubai is a record breaking place everything being higher, bigger and better than the rest of the world. This is remarkable if you take into account that a few years ago this was all mostly desert. A total of 110 Guinness World Records are held in the Emriates. Here are some of the records currently held by Dubai:

1. Burj Khalifa: This building, standing 829m high, holds a few records on its own, including Tallest Building in the World, Highest Residential Apartments, Most Floors in a Building and many more.
2. Largest Shopping Centre: The Dubai Mall spans 548 127 m² and can house about 1200 shops.
3. Longest Driverless Metro Line: The longest fully automated metro network at a length of 75km.
4. Tallest Residential Building: Princess Tower at 413.4 m high.
5. Tallest Hotel: The JW Marriot Marquis with its 77 floor twin buildings and at a height of 355m.
6. Largest Indoor Ski Resort: With a total area of 22,500 m² covered in 6000 tons of snow, Ski Dubai offers 5 ski runs, including 1 advanced run, and a 3000 m² Snow Park for tobogganing and sledding.
7. Largest Automated Parking Facility: This parking facility located at the Emirates Financial Towers spans over 27,606 m². It is completely automated and can support 360 cars/hr. at a maximum speed of 1.25 m/sec.
8. World's only 7 star Hotel: The Burj Al Arab, formerly also the world's tallest hotel. The cheapest rate for one night in this hotel is 1800 dollars.
9. Largest Artificial Island: The Palm Jumeirah is a group of artificial islands built of the coast of Dubai which houses hotels, condos and resorts.
10. Dubai Fountain: The biggest fountain that can shoot water the highest at a height of 275m.

Posted by Anja Fourie 09:08 Archived in United Arab Emirates Tagged beach subway sheikh dubai uae emirates heat burj_khalifa jumeirah jw_marriott burqa abaya emirati Comments (1)

The New 7 Wonders of Nature: Jeju Island, South Korea

semi-overcast 25 °C
View Jeju Island Trip on Anja Fourie's travel map.

August in Korea brings the wonderful gift of Chuseok to us. A short little 5 day holiday gives us enough time to leave Incheon and do some exploring.

Chuseok is a major harvest festival and celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month on the lunar calender. This means somewhere between September and October . This year it fell on 30 September. Koreans celebrate the good harvest by visiting their hometowns and sharing traditional feasts with their families. It can be seen as Korean Thanksgiving.

Our destination for Chuseok: Jejudo. The island of Jeju, located about 100kms Southwest to the South point of mainland Korea, is the biggest Korean island and also one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.


As this was Chuseok weekend, the busiest Korean holiday for travel, no flights were available. We had no other choice, but to take the ferry. The ferry ride consisted of 13 hours of slight seasickness, sleeping on the floor and old Korean men snoring in your ear. We drank Soju to fend off the cold and danced to English songs we only recognised from the music. The lyrics were slightly mangled by the Korean singer on deck. Fireworks went off at midnight and more Soju followed.

The sun started rising as our enthusiasm for Soju, as a means of keeping warm, started to fall. The clouds made way for our first sight of Jeju.




We stayed in Jeju City, in a hostel called HK Jeju. A basic room with two bunk beds, a little fridge and bathroom was plenty for us three girls. We were just eager to explore the Jeju Special Autonomous Province, the only self-governing South Korean province.

The island is a dominated by Hallasan, the highest mountain in South Korea. It has an elevation of 1,950m. All roads, cities and towns are built around the base of the oval shaped island, with the massive Hallasan in the center loomng out over everything. Koreans love functional public transport and Jeju Island also boasts with a well-oiled public transport machine operating there. On Jeju, life moves slower than in the big cities of South Korea. Roads are wider with occasional palm trees lining them. People are less rushed and friendlier. This relaxed island atmosphere could be why Jeju is one of the main honeymoon and holiday attractions for South Koreans.

1. Love Land
Our first stop, the much anticipated Love Land. During the 1980's, Korea became a popular honeymoon destination. This was because of the warmer climate of the island. During this time, many couples were arranged marriages. To help the newlyweds relax, hotel performers would put on shows containing erotic elements. This is where Jeju got its reputation for being an island of sex education.

Love Land was opened in 2004. It features about 140 different sculptures, centered around the theme of sex and love. Some are innocent, with others less so.

The bathroom door handle at Love Land is a massive penis, while the men have to grab two breasts to open their bathroom door.

For this reason, no underage kids are allowed inside the park. The sculptures were made by students from Hongik University in Hongdae, Seoul. Walking through the park, people can constantly be heard giggling as they round a corner and see yet another sculpture in a strange position. The park is a fun place and should not be entered with prudes by your side.

One of the tamer sculptures at Love Land

2. Jeju Mokgwana
The former Government Office of Jeju and where administrative affairs of Jeju were handled here from 1392 until 1910, when WW1 broke out. Mokgwana is also home to Gwandeokjeong, the oldest remaining building in South Korea. It was built in 1448. Restoration on the Mokgwana grounds started in 1991 and by 2002 the project was finished. Extensive excavations were done and old documents studied to find the exact locations of the previous buildings. Most were burnt down during the Japanese colonial period from 1910 - 1945.


3. Dragon Head Rock (Yong Duam)
To the North of Jeju City, lies Yong Duam, the Dragon's Head Rock. Legend has it that a dragon tried to steal precious Jade from Hallasan and was shot down over the sea. Here he fell and he turned into stone. Today he is still looking up at the sky in his rocky formation. The famous Haenyeo women divers dive for seafood here and they are prepared fresh for the customers. The divers are world famous as they free dive without the use of breathing apparatus.


4. Black Sandy Beach of Samyang
Samyang Black Sand Beach is a beach with healing properties. The minerals in the sand, which causes the sand to be black, will apparently help with pain and other problems like obesity. The beach is located in a very remote part of town. After visiting the beach, we didn't even spot one car or person pass us. We had to walk to a nearby store and ask the lady to call a taxi for us. We played a little in the shallow waves and the water was very warm.

The contrast between the black sand and the normal sand washing in from the ocean, can very easily be seen when the waves pull back.




The southern side of Jeju, is governed by Seogwipo City. The population down south is about a quarter of the population up North. We took a bus from Jeju City south to Seogwipo and it took us about an hour to get there. The bus was only about 5,000won. We then took a taxi to the Jungmun Complex. It is located by the beach and has all the big hotels, casinos and museums located around it. Seogwipo is even more laid back than Jeju City. A few other Westerners were spotted, which made us less of a spectacle than usual. It seems Jeju is much more used to Western tourists than Incheon.

The wide, open roads and palm trees of Seogwipo are so different from what we are used to in our big, polluted Korean city.

The minimal amount of air pollution and the surprisingly exceptional level of English from some, was a real breath of fresh air.

Wider, open roads lined with palm trees almost creates the illusion of being in a whole different part of the world.

We visited Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum, the Teddy Bear Museum and Chocolate Land. The Teddy Bear Museum is adorable and well worth the visit, just for the cute factor. They recreated famous paintings such as the Mona Lisa, as well as famous events or people, like the Moon Landing, the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe, all with bears. The other two museums were less eventful.

9. Seogwipo Sights

Ater four days in Jeju, we got back on the ferry, took our seasick pills and slept the night away. We woke up to the magnificent sight of Incheon Bridge welcoming us home.



1. DO BOOK A FLIGHT: As we went during Chuseok, the busiests traveling weekend in Korea, most flights were booked and the rest were ridiculously expensive. The flights are normally quite cheap and travel time is about one hour compared to the 13 hour ferry ride.
2. DO STAY IN ONE PLACE: We just booked our stay in one hostel in Jeju City. The bus down to Seogwipo, the southern city, takes about one hour, and is very cheap. It is just easier on yourself leaving all your things in one place.
3. DO YOUR HOMEWORK: There are so many things to do and see on Jeju Island. Some are worth it and some are not and if you only have a limited time, plan ahead what you want to do.
4. DO GET THE NAMES FOR THINGS IN ROMANIZED HANGEUL: English is still a foreign concept in Korea, so make sure you at least write down the romanized words for the hangeul equivalent. For example: Saying to a cab driver, I want to go to the Dragon Head Rock, will get you nowhere. Saying 용두암 (Yong-du-am) will get you there for sure. The romanized Korean names are all easily found on the internet (cough cough Wikipedia)
5. DO ENJOY JEJU ISLAND!: With less people, and the typical atmosphere of an island, Jeju is quite tranquil and calm. People are friendlier and more eager to help. A lot of giggles are still received from staff at restaurants, who are terribly embarresed to speak English. Jeju is cheaper and cleaner and the idea place for a very refreshing break from the mainland.

Posted by Anja Fourie 04:54 Archived in South Korea Tagged chocolate flight island love korea ferry jeju hangul love_land sex_park dragon_head_rock yongduam seogwipo jeju_city Comments (2)

Manila, Philippines

"Cause in Manila, we all the same, everybody's waiting for things to change." ~ Amber Davis (Manila)

rain 20 °C
View Philippines Trip on Anja Fourie's travel map.

Our last stop was Manila. During this time, some extreme floods were sweeping the city. Going from Boracay to Palawan, we had to fly via Manila. We also entered the country through Manila. The times that we were there just to catch another flight, it was raining so badly that there were fears that the plain would not take off. Flying in over Manila, the devestation of the floods could be witnessed.

1. Extreme Flooding Over Manila

Manila is the capital of the Philippines. With a population of approximately 1,652,171 and only an area of about 40 squared km, it is the most densely populated city in the world. In 1571, Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, founded the city of Manila as it is known today. Before that, the area was used by the Sultan of Brunei and the Ming Dynasty of Chinas as part of the trade route.

While, in Manila, we didn't venture much farther than our hotel. We stayed in the Greenhills Elan Hotel Modern. It is located in Greenhills neighbourhood and right across from the massive Greenhills Shopping Centre. This shopping centre has everything your usual mall has like movie theatres and restaurants. But then it also has an underground bargaining area. Millions of shop owners try to sell you bags and clothes from famous brand names, for a quarter of the price. This means of course, this is a basement of knockoff. Although they do look very real. The chaos inside this place is quite crazy as people grab you and ladyboys scream in your face to try and sell their good to you.

Mostly, we just stayed in our hotel, ordered room service and watched television. It was raining constantly and after a week and a half of swimming, tanning, partying, not sleeping a lot, we were exhausted and welcomed the nice rooms and beds.

2. View of Manila by Day

3. View of Manila by Night

After two wonderful weeks on sunny islands of the Philippines, we are returning to our second home, South Korea. Flying in over the Incheon Bridge with the bright lights of Incheon ahead, we feel refreshed and ready for another semester of teaching ahead of us.

4. Bored at Manila airport, sharing a coffee with the little money we had left

Check out this commemorative video, made by a friend, showing our time in the Philippines: Team Philippines '12.

Posted by Anja Fourie 18:18 Archived in Philippines Tagged rain water shopping philippines manila floods greenhills greenhills_elan Comments (0)

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