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Entries about water

Isla de Capri

"There was a magical timelessness to Capri. A special atmosphere, and a sense of history." ~ Kitty Pilgrim

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Capri is the summer destination of the rich and famous of Italian society, with celebrities such as Sophia Loren and Giorgio Armani all flocking here during the warmer months. Benito Mussolini also had a house here during his tyrannical reign of Italy. It is currently standing empty and proves to be a hard sell.

To get to the island, take a ferry from Sorrento's harbour. It only takes about 25 minutes. The island is quite small, only about 10km, but the beautiful blue water and small town atmosphere truly makes for a relaxing afternoon.


The ferry from Sorrento takes you to Marina Grande. This is the main harbour of Capri, as the name suggests. Taking a boat ride around the island will show you the sights, such as Marina Piccola, the Blue Grotto and the Love Rock. Marina Piccolo is where all the celebrities have houses and you can see mansions blending into the cliff side. The Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzura), is only accessible during low tide. The sunlight and seawater work together in this cave to create an luminous blue cave roof. As we were there during high tide, we could unfortunately not enter.


Punta Carena Lighthouse

The bluest blue water of Capri

Marina Piccola

The Love Rock: It is said that when the boat passes underneath the Love Rock that couples must kiss and this will ensure that they will stay together forever.


Capri's most famous square is the Piazza Umberto I, more famously known as Piazetta. The islanders call it Piazza. From Marina Grande, the funicular takes passengers to the Piazetta. It takes approximately 3 minutes with the funicular, 20 minutes by bus and 40 minutes by foot, to reach the top. From above you can see the whole harbour and town.

The funicular and the piazza at the top

The view from above

Posted by Anja Fourie 11:50 Archived in Italy Tagged water boat travel italy island amalfi capri Comments (0)

Venezia, The Floating City

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

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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)

Manila, Philippines

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

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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)

Deokjeokdo, South Korea

Exploring a Korean island

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Buddha's birthday is on the 28th of May, conveniently falling on a Monday this year, giving us all a lovely long weekend. For this long weekend we decided to visit one of the numerous islands populating the Korean coast. One of these islands, Deokjeok Island, or Deokjeokdo (do meaning island in Korean), is the largest island of the Deokjeok-myeon islands. It is located in Ongjin County which falls under the jurisdiction of the bigger Incheon Metropolitan. Living in the Dongincheon area, we are very closely situated to Yeon'an Pier, which is Incheon's ferry port. Deokjeokdo is aproximately 75kms from the port and the ferry takes about 1 hour to the island.

1. Map

2. Waiting at the Ferry Terminal

3. Fun on the ferry

We left the ferry at approximately 10am on Saturday morning. Arriving at the island, numerous ladies are cleaning and drying small Rays. This I have tried and it is very hard and chewy and not nice at all. It comes to your table resembling squid, but then suprises you with its wet cardboard taste. Passing the ladies with their Rays, we walk up the pier and wait for the busses from our different pensions to come pick us up. Pensions are Korean style guesthouses. They look like small apartment building with maybe three floors. Bedding is provided, but this is Korean style. You sleep on the floor.

4. Partying in our pension room

At night, some bands were playing on the beach. Apparently it is also Deokjeokdo weekend custom, for the English teachers that is, to go in their animal onesies. I went as a panda.

5. Animals at Night

6. Animals at Day

After a nice long weekend away, we return to the port to catch the ferry back to reality. On the way back, we don't race for the outside of the ferry, but rather a nice chair inside, where we can all fall asleep on the way back home, to Incheon.

Posted by Anja Fourie 02:48 Archived in South Korea Tagged water beach island south_korea ferry pension deokjeokdo deokjeok Comments (1)

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