Saturday, December 20, 2014

Zumba OCD

I'm OCD about things. Like going to seven Zumba/Bokwa classes a week. Or  staying up past 2.30 am to type this post about a normal Saturday. But it was a good one and if I don't blog now, it will be a lost memory. 

 At this hour I might not be able to garner your full interest about my day. If you choose to read on, you may need to indulge me.

It's 10.50am and I arrive into my Zumba class 5 minutes late with my jacket, handbag and backpack. They should be put into a locker first but I don't want to lose more class time.

I love Zumba but my achilles tendons are screaming at me to stop. The tendonitis is painful and annoying. I chalk it down to the latter and keep going because I'm basically obsessed. It's the perfect dancing activity because I don't have the discipline to learn choreography but I can mimic well. 

In the next class Bokwa, we had to do the move "C" and my instructor shouts: "follow these two!" She was pointing a me and another girl. I was chuffed. Individual praise in a gym class is rare so I took that as validation that I was doing something right.

After class I stretched my tendons and laid in the steam room. I overdid it and come out with red blotches. Not nice as I had to meet a friend for lunch.

We had bratwurst from the Christmas markets and coffee and cheesecake at Pain De Quotidien. I left the Wharf at 4.30pm and decided to visit my girlfriend Kim. I hadn't seen her in ages.

Came home at 11pm and listened to Zumba songs. My tendons are aching. Realised I can dance with my arms while lying down. A new Zumba OCD symptom.

Now it's 3.45 am. Tomorrow's another busy day.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Royal Observatory's Meridian Line

We went to the Royal Observatory today to see the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibit and a film at the Planetarium. Our screening was the last of the day and when it finished, the Observatory had closed. 

It was cold and the sky was dark as night. But we got to see a laser projected along from the Meridian line. It goes all the way towards the o2.

There were a two Paddington bears at the observatory. This was outside the Planetarium. 

 And this one was floating above the reception. So cute!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Christmas Badger Is On The Tree

Silly season has started and next week is going to be a merry go round of eating and drinking. On Saturday I came back from a day in Paris and went straight to a party at a friend's house.

I slept in until nearly midday and didn't have a hangover. Perhaps it's true what they say about drinking champagne. I hadn't slept in for so long and felt pretty good aside from my shoulders after lugging four bottles of champagne on one arm and the rest of my shopping on the other.

Feeling a cold coming on, I needed pomegranate. The best place for fruit and vegetables is in Tuffnel Park. I went all the way there and bought six huge pomegranates for 79p each, that's almost half the price that my local supermarket charges. Who said you needed to pay a premium for good produce in London? You just need dedication to travel for it.

With the shopping done, I retreated home and by then it was dark. I ate goodies from Paris and put up the Christmas lights and decorations. And most importantly, finally got to blog again!

Oyster Season In Paris

It's early December and I'm back in Paris for a day. 

Being in Paris on a Saturday meant that I miss the Richard Lenoir market but now I've found its Saturday counterpart. Avenue de Saxe is my new favourite market!

Avenue de Saxe is big, busy and enjoys a superb view of the Effiel Tower. The closest metro is Segur. Aside from the cornucopia of meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables, there is rotisserie chicken, bbq ribs, and confit potatoes bubbling in butter. I salivated over the aroma of Moroccan dishes. Each stall has a vast range seasonal food. There were also homemade preserves, prepared escargot, and any kind of French cheese imaginable. 

Where else will you find live prawns, skipping around in their basket? Or game birds, truffles and a stall selling nothing but the oysters of France?

I saw crates piled high with oysters of all shapes and sizes from 6 EUR a dozen. Customers buy to shuck at home but the stall keeper can do it if you can't resist them on the spot. 

I waited patiently to be served, watching mainly older customers buy oysters and missing my turn because I was a bit shy of the language barrier. Finally I made eye contact with the stall keeper who happened to speak good English. She said I needed to wait 5 minutes to serve a few more customers before she could shuck oysters. 

There were two gentlemen eating oysters and they brought white wine with them. They poured a cup for the stall keeper who took sips between customers. When it was my turn to be served she placed a crate lid down and scattered seaweed on top. With greedy eyes, I choose the largest oysters. 

They were delicious but not as creamy as I prefer. Perhaps I should have chosen the smaller oysters.

The gentlemen even offered me and my friend wine. I love the French kindness I often see when eating. The actual enjoyment of eating is paramount to the French. And that apparently means offering to help fellow diners enjoy their meal too! 

I bought girolle and chanterelle mushrooms, live prawns (expensive and not worth it unless you're keeping them as pets), sea urchins, and oranges. As with the other foods, good oranges are hard to find in London.

Throughout the day I noticed restaurants in Paris selling oysters from several regions in France. They were advertised on chalkboard menu signs and window posters. 

We walked to St Germain and stopped randomly at Les Mouchettes for lunch. There were locals inside and it was so busy we had to wait 10 minutes for a table. The service was abrupt but efficient. We had entrecote steak with kir chardonnay. The cut of meat was excellent and was expertly cooked.

The next stop was Rue Moufettard. As quaint as it is, I might not go there anymore because the shops and restaurants are overpriced. There is however there's a patisserie at the Les Goblins end of the street where I always buy a slice of flan. It's custardy with the right thinness in the crust-I could eat it all day!

We get to the shopping mall at Place d'Italie and I picked up more Bioderma skincare and went mental buying cheese and champagne at Carrefour. I shouted to my friend before we separated to shop: "find me at the booze!" Embarrassingly un-French.

There were champagnes that were 2 for 1. Malard NV was less than 15 EUR a bottle so I grabbed four. It's cheaper than any champagne you can buy in supermarkets at home and this was Malard! 

Then my friend and I played cat and mouse trying to find each other. There was "booze" placed in all parts of the store.

I didn't bring a suitcase for my French haul. So i had to carry four bottles on one shoulder and everything else on the other arm. After going to Belleville for Vietnamese dinner and back to Gare Du Nord, I thought my arms were going to drop off.

The day after I opened the sea urchins and served crackers with this young raw goats cheese and Tasmanian honey. The cheese had a thin rind and was creamy soft. It will be hard not to eat the whole pack by the end of the week.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Farewell To The Beast

It looks like the end of the day but Grant and I were on our way out to lunch when I took this picture. It captures the last sunshine of the day. Soon it will be like night even though it's late afternoon.

I love how the sunlight is hazy, golden and casts shadows through the trees. 

Remember I got a bike two years ago? I had high hopes but it never made it outside Hampstead. It's heavy, clunky and too big. Hence the nickname, The Beast. Grant refuses to let me store it in our tiny flat. 

It's neglected in the bike shelter. Two summers have passed and I've not taken it out. The last time I saw it, it was rusty and covered in leaves.

I realised its no use to me anymore. There are plenty of people wanting bikes on Freecycle so I decided to put my bike up for adoption. Many people answered, even with "address please" only in the message but when I warned them that they might not ride away with it because of the tires, their interest died. Except for one lady who I'm so glad to have given the bike to her. 

She was friendly and appreciative. It seemed like a match made in heaven because she had also done bike repair course. I even gave her the lock and chain. 

It was a good to start my Sunday. The sun was out and I finally gave away my bike to a person who needed it. 

It's Thanksgiving 2014-Turkey In A Primark Bag

If there ever was the right way to celebrate Thanksgiving in London, I think it happened this year. Thanks to my American friends, the celebration was done the way they do at home in the US. 

To help bring the tradition home, my friends projected live football on a screen that nearly fit entire wall of their living room. 

My girlfriend cooked up a sumptuous feast for 6 with plenty of leftovers. She had been cooking since the afternoon and by 8.30pm, the turkey was ready. 

The turkey was coated in butter and seasonings, put into a Primark shopping bag and roasted for 5 hours. There was heavenly garlic mashed potato, (or should I say a stick of butter mashed with potato!), cajun corn and oven roasted beans.

And last but not least-the stuffing! In Australia, roast chickens from the supermarket are stuffed and so delicious I could eat just the stuffing alone. Roasting a stuffed turkey takes forever so to save time you can use boxed stuffing. It looks like seasoned croutons but mixed with hot water and melted butter, it is unbelievably tasty. 
I was so full, my stomach ached until the next morning. I was still too full to have breakfast!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Winter Is Here

I've been to six countries in the past three months, almost counting Tasmania!

With three weeks of not going away, I'm staying put in London. The sun won't be showing its face here anytime soon. Going out tonight? Forget it. The idea of staying warm at home thrills me. How much has changed from years ago!

I have my trusty laptop, green tea and central heating to while away winter. There are so many travelling adventures I need catch up on here so stay tuned.

How To Feel Like An Idiot For 12 Hours

It was a rushed morning when I flew out of Korea. I only had a hour to shop and it was a sensory overload. So many dazzlingly cute shops and not enough time to visit them all.

I got into a cab and my driver spoke a little English. He said his daughter was studying university in Sydney. When we got to the station, he claimed he had no change for my 10k WON note and he would get it from road side stall. I instantly seized up. The fare was 4.5k, how unreasonable was it to not have change? 

Things happened so fast. He got out and took my note and bought 2 red bean snacks. They handed him a bunch of notes. He counted 4.5k WON and gave it to me and for some reason, judging by the stack of remaining notes in his hand, I thought he had 8k which he was going to pocket. 

He could keep the snack but I said "hang on" and snatched the money out of his hands. Counted out HIS 4.5k and gave it to him. He was stunned. I walked off adamant that he tried ripping me off. How dare he!

I got my train and it took ages to get through security at the airport. I got there an hour before my flight and my heart sank as I saw massive queues to get through security. Even though I already had my boarding pass I was cutting it fine. 

Half an hour before flight departure, I only got to the end of passport control queue. The priority counter checked me through after being grumbled at for not getting to the airport earlier.

I raced to my boarding gate with vital minutes to spare. I triumphantly posted about my "taxi rip off" experience on Facebook, went to the bathroom and boarded the plane. It wasn't until I was in my seat, the penny dropped. 

The snack probably cost 1k so handing me back 4.5k was reasonable. And there was I being stupidly righteous, accusing a man who was only making an honest living. (Although he did get a bonus snack.)

It was too late to retract my Facebook post. The flight attendants wouldn't let back into the terminal to "send an important message". And I asked them very very nicely.

I watched the plane slowly pull away feeling like a monumental idiot. I imagined friends reading my post and inevitably question my ability to do simple maths. Quite rightly so.

The flight time to London is 12 hours. So lesson learned. Don't post anything on Facebook which you could later regret especially if you don't have the chance to delete it for a long time!

Street Dining in Seoul

After I checked into my hotel in Namdaemun, I walked around for supper. There was a street nearby full of bars (the karaoke type) and Korean BBQ restaurants. 

There were also a few tarpaulin enclosed marquees on the street. When I peeked in, they were food stalls with seating and the owners cook fresh seafood and meats. As I walked past an empty stall, I received an exuberant greeting from a female owner.

I kept walking but remembered my previous experience buying food from a street vendor. It was nearly impossible to get someone's attention. Even after standing patiently with cash in hand, I felt like they were too embarrassed by the language barrier. That's why I decided to give this lady a chance and take on a new experience eating on the street.

When I returned the lady who greeted me had a new customer and his date. I asked if he spoke English, he said yes and translated for me. After perusing the ingredients on display (some not recognisable) I picked a large clam and sat back to watch the lady cook.

She gave me bowl of complimentary soup and cucumber and onions with chili paste. She prised open my clam and cut it up in small pieces. On a sheet of foil, she grilled it with sauces and spices. I guess there was no access to running water. 

As I waited for my food, I noticed the whole dining area and cookspace was on a car trailer. And there were packets of spicy Shin Ramyun noodles available to go with your meal.

Paper napkin dispenser above your head for convenience.

I also ordered what I thought were chicken liver skewers but I think it was actually beef. It was really tasty.

When I got up to pay I asked the guy to ask her how much I owed. 

At first he said 3,000 WON and then he did a double take and said "30,000!" like he was shocked. 13,000 would have sounded right but the equivalent of 17 GBP by street food standards was expensive. (A bowl of noodle soup with meal and vegetables is 6,000 WON.)

I just gave her the money and there was a stony silence as everyone watched me take the cash out of my purse. 

Parched as I did'nt have a drink, I bought a can of Calpis for 1,000 WON from a convenience store. Either I ordered the most expensive food choices or I was ripped off because I was a tourist. My fault for not asking how much everything was from the beginning. I know it's not a lot of money but since being scammed EUR 50 in Rome once, I have been hell bent against being ripped off. 

I walked down the street and saw men just standing around for seemingly no reason. There were a few drunks so I left the street and walked around Namedaenum. It was after 10pm, freezing and I noticed an old lady pulling an empty trolley, similar one my Mum takes grocery shopping. She jaywalked across the multi laned road and a bus driver at the red light pointed at her in disbelief.

When I crossed the street, I approached her and gave her my empty can. She was going through the rubbish bins for recyclables. In this cold weather in the night and alone. She just smiled and said thank you in Korean.

And after my expensive street meal, I've never felt so humbled in this country.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

How To Spend 19 Hours In Seoul-Namdaemun

This is my second stopover in Seoul. The first time Asiana Airlines paid for the transit, meals and hotel room in Myeong-dong, aka shopping central. But this time on my dirt cheap fare to Sydney, I had 19 hours in Korea on my own devices.

I was concerned about getting around in Korea since most people do not speak English. It turned out to be fairly easy although it helps to come prepared. Read up on the public transport system and print a copy of your hotel confirmation with the name, address in Korean. 

I booked a hotel in the center of Seoul and took a train from the airport. There are two choices for trains, an Airport Express and an "all stops". The Airport Express goes straight to Seoul train station and costs nearly three times as much as the all stops train. However it departs every 20 minutes whereas the all stops is every 10 minutes and it makes 10 stops. The travelling time between the two trains is roughly 13 mins. 

It might be faster to use the all stops train and even the lady at the Airport Express counter suggested it to me. I bought a ticket from the vending machine and got on the all stops train. The train was ready to leave by the time I got to the platform. There are English, Chinese and Japanese announcements so you will be told the stops in advance. 

The train was clean, uncrowded and very cheap, 4500 WON including a 500 deposit which you get back when you return the ticket into a refund machine at the train stations. Just make sure not to leave anything on the seat next to you because the seats will fill up.

It took about 50 minutes to arrive to Seoul. The station is huge and I took the first exit I saw. As soon as I walked out I was hit by the cold. It was almost zero degrees and I didn't have warm enough clothes. I tried to find my own way to the hotel but after 10 minutes of walking, I realised it wasn't worth the effort. The streets were huge, there were not many people around and it was freezing.

I walked back to the cab rank at the train station. My cab driver spoke no English so I turned on my Ipad to show him the hotel booking confirmation. He did'nt seem to understand the Korean words I showed him (I thought it was the name of the hotel). So I just said "Namdaemun" and he started drive off with my leg hanging out of the door.  

I got in the cab fully and watched the multilane streets roll by. It would have been atleast a 25 minute walk to the hotel. Although had I got out at the right exit at the station, it would have been fine to walk.

We approached Namdaemun Gate (Sungnyemun Gate) and I knew we were close. The cab driver pointed and said: "Fraser Place". He understood my booking confirmation after all. The cab fare was only 3000 WON, which is only £1.72! 

I checked into the hotel and was glad to call this room home for the next 14 hours. This was exactly what I needed after being couped up on a plane. A king sized bed with an ensuite and electronic toilet. All the mod cons and clean. Bliss!

I went downstairs for a walk. It lacked the busyness and excitement of Myeong-dong late at night but there were some shops still open past 9am. And there was an eat street around the corner from the hotel. I had supper from a street vendor, went for a walk around the Namdaemun markets which was closed and then retreated back to my warm and spacious hotel room.

Namdaemun Gate, a minute walk from the hotel, is majestic and was only restored in early 2013 after an arson attack in 2008. The Gate was first built in 1395.

Although the room is double occupancy, it only includes breakfast for one person. That was fine by me. After breakfast I went back to my king size bed and watched TV. 

The mountain view from the room. Abseilers were cleaning windows on a Sunday morning.

I checked out just before 11am. That's when I thought the shops opened in Myeong-dong but was told they opened at 10am. A hour of shopping wasted! Let that be a lesson for the next time I'm in Seoul. It took only 10 minutes to get to the heart of Myeong-dong by foot.

And I got another dose of sensory overload when I got to the skincare shops. There are so many in Korea that they make their stores super pretty and tempting to come inside.

And this is the reason why I came from Incheon to Seoul for my stopover. The shopping! It was rushed because I only had an hour but I bought a stash of products.

When my hour was up, I walked to the hotel I stayed previously-the Royal Seoul Hotel, to look for a cab. There were fancy black ones waiting outside and I was quoted 6,000 WON to get to Seoul train station. Then a standard yellow cab came by and I took that. The fare was only 4,500 WON. So cheap-I will be taking cabs more often in Korea!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Reflective Lakes Of Melchsee Frutt

In a space of 12 hours we went market shopping, paddle boarding, cooking and rushed house to house for RudiRockt. Then it's hiking in Melchsee Frutt early the next morning.

With a lack of sleep, I was struggling to get up. It was Sunday, our last day together in Europe. I had to go back to London and Mel was off to Amsterdam. The incentive to get up early was to have a spectacular time in the mountains. 

As Mel says, the three of us don't have that much in common but the one thing that brings us together is our love for nature.

Thanks to Fab's superb planning and navigational skills, we arrived in Melchsee Frutt without fuss. It was a quick and easy train ride to Sarnen and a bus to Stockalp. We took a gondola to the top where it was much colder. 

I wasn't well prepared, shivering in my shirt and contemplated spending a small fortune on a piece of warm clothing. Instead we stopped in cosy restaurant for a coffee and set off on our hike. 

I saw this and it took the proverbial breath away. 

Melchsee, the lake is gobsmackingly beautiful in summer. (And winter too, when it freezes and you ski across it.) I hadn't expected to see anything like this. It was like being slapped in the face. The lake is huge and reflective, like a mirror for the sky.

My iphone pics doesn't do it justice.

We jumped off that bench ten times to get it right. 

More majestical views along the way to Tannensee lake.

In the disbelieving eyes of other walkers, Mel and I went into Tannensee. The water was clear and many fish can be seen from the edge. Being a popular place for fishing, I was worried about stepping on a fish hook underwater. But the last prospect of swimming in natural waters was too tempting.


Stockalp was the final destination of the hike. It was a 900m descent, something like 10 km in distance.  (My rear end was sore days after.) The views were particularly enjoyed by the alpine cows that roamed free. Fab has a fear of cows and took a difficult detour away from them. 

Mel and I continued along the trail and took a cow selfie.

After a celebratory beer in Stockalp, we returned to Luzern. Mel caught her train to Basel. I had a drink with Fabs by Lake Luzern before going to Zurich airport.

What a whirlwind trip and one of the best in Luzern so far. Although they are all special times :)

RudiRockt Luzern - Running Dinner and A Whole Lot Of Fun

Our visit to Luzern coincided with RudiRockt which translated is Running Dinner. Fabs wanted to do it and formed a team for us. The idea is that groups of 2-3 prepare a course to entertain two other teams. Then your team visits the homes of two others for the other courses. Prepare one course, meet people, get two courses and meet more people. How cool is that? 

The city of Luzern is perfect for Rudirockt because it's big enough to make lots of teams and small enough to get from one place to another in time. In this city it's easy to make friends or at least get to know to know more of your fellow citizens.

Our team was assigned starters and coincidentally Fab's flatmate and boyfriend was the same. This meant we had up to 12 guests to entertain in our small flat. Since the weather was lovely, we decided to host drinks and canapes up on the roof terrace of Fab's building. 

Fab's English boyfriend is a craft beermaker and kindly donated some ale for the cause. We also served freshly squeezed apple cider and Fabienne's flatmate served champagne punch. Our team made bruschetta, prawn cocktail and grilled stuffed mushrooms. 

I have to admit I was a little nervous at the beginning of the night. Mel and I don't speak German and with so many guests, we didn't know what to expect. But everyone we met were really friendly and speaking English was no problem. 

The sun set and our course finished. Everyone left for the next, either to prepare or visit another person's house. We took a bus to the next place where we were warmly greeted by two girls who served chicken mee goreng and Swiss white wine. 

This time the hostesses and guests mainly spoke German so Mel and I chatted amongst ourselves. There were moments when I'd look around and could not believe that these people hadn't met before. There were so many laughs and smiles around the table. It was amazing how quickly people get to know each other in Luzern.

Dessert was my favourite course of the night. We were served a sumptuous course with Moscato, the first fizzy sweet wine I've had. The flat of our hostesses was modern and huge, rather the place I wish I could live in someday!

When they were told that two of us only spoke English, they were delighted because in their team, there was a Spanish girl, Julene who was also the same. 

Julene baked the most spectacular flourless chocolate cake. Weightless yet rich and dressed beautifully with fruit salad. The experience was more to the likes of a Michelin starred restaurant. When I heard there was chocolate cake I foolishly said I was really full and only wanted half a slice. After one bite, I was like-did I say half a slice? I meant half a cake!!!

Julene also made a valenciano cocktail with cointreau, orange juice and icecream. Delicious!

The dessert crowd. Wonderful people, beautiful homes and a gastronomic evening!

Third Time and Lucky In Switzerland This Year

It's officially autumn and with my bestie from Oz visiting, guess where we went to? Luzern! Its the third time this year for me. It's like I'm visiting at every change of the season. I was there in winter, summer (will post later) and it turns out it three really is a lucky number.

We took flights out of Stansted to Basel on a Friday evening. Traffic was horrendous and both Mel and I had delays on different routes getting to the airport. I dashed off the bus, straight to the Ryanair check in desk. Thankfully there was no queue but I was still running late. 

It turned out our flight was delayed 20 minutes which would have been good except we bought Supersaver train tickets to Luzern. They are half price but if we're not on the train booked, the tickets got to waste. We also needed to make that train because it was the last direct one from Basel to Luzern.

Our flight was an hour late from departing and by the time we landed at Basel, we only had 15 mins to make our connecting bus to the train station. Everything runs precisely on time in Switzerland so there was no chance of a convenient delay. We ran to passport control and eagerly watched the luggage carousel for Mel's checked in luggage. 

Minutes passed and the carousel was not moving. I thought we're going to miss the bus for sure. Suddenly Mel's bag was one of the first to come through. Before she could pick it up, I went off like a rocket, telling her to follow me of course. We were going to make this bus after all!

Then I learned that it REALLY does matter which of the two exits you take out of the airport. You have a choice of France/Germany or Switzerland. I though it was all connected so I took the first exit I saw but then I realised that on the French/German side, you're blocked from accessing the Swiss side. You have to go back into the terminal, go through a hallway where you pass customs. Doh! Our hopes were dashed. 

We ran through as no one was at customs. We made our bus with 30 seconds to spare and we made our train too. We finally got to breathe easy to the start of our weekend.

We inadvertedly got on the kids carriage on the train. When Mel and I first went to Switzerland together back in 2006, we were awestruck by the concept.  Swiss trains are the best in the world. At 11pm we get to "play" in this cool carriage without kids around!

The second lucky thing was that I found a Longchamp cross body bag at Caritas, the charity shop near Fabienne's flat. It could be an A+ fake but at CHF 4 (USD 4.28) I didn't care. I gave it a good check before buying and it's convincingly real. I later looked for the design and it's a Quadri-retailing at £175. 

The third lucky thing was the weather. Fabienne said the summer had been disappointing with few days of sunny weather. When we showed up, the sky was beautiful and clear. The weather was balmy and hot in the day to go swimming and paddleboarding in Lake Luzern. I've always relished the idea of bathing in the lake. The water comes from the mountains and its super clean (and cold!). Mel and I have a thing about swimming in natural places as we call them "fountains of youth".

We went to one of the town beaches and it was lovely and peaceful. We did'nt go into the water until we took out paddleboards from the local rowing club. It was my first time and although I was wobbly, I got the hang of it after learning the golden rule: keep looking straight ahead and not at your feet!

Pushing off and trying to remember capsize exercises from my kayaking training. Thankfully there was no falls into the water.

We went to the nearby beach and I really wanted to get into the water. It was cold but oh so invigorating. Here I am standing up. An even more enjoyable experience is when you're lying on your stomach and paddling with your arms. When face level with the water, gliding over the surface like the birds and boats, you feel like you're flying!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pico Island And It's Unique Landscape

Its the fourth and last day of my trip to the Azores. We took a ferry to the nearby island of Pico, only  twenty minutes away and was greeted by our tour guide. 

We started off by visiting the historical settlement villages and tasted local wine and liquors. My favorite liquor was blackberry so I bought a bottle-it was so cheap! Less than EUR 6 for 500ml and when I saw the same ones at the supermarket later, they were double the price.

A stone houses in traditional style by the sea. Even new buildings in the area had to comply with this stone design. Each front door is either dark green or red. (It used to be for indicating if you were poor or wealthy.) It was so peaceful on the island and all throughout the day I contemplated of buying a house in Pico by the sea. 

We stopped for lunch in Lajes De Pico. There was plenty of fresh seafood on the menu. This beach next to our restaurant was the breeding grounds for the shellfish I had for lunch!

An old whaling factory to extract oil and flour from whales. Whaling and winemaking were the main sources of income for the island. The factory closed down in the early 1980s and is now a museum for marine life. 

We came across an abandoned vineyard where I declared as "mine". Here I am tending my grapes.

My shack by the be!

Passing the many vineyards which are unique, only to Pico island. They are built perpendicular and parallel to the coastline, made with stacked lava rocks for protection from the sea water and wind. Believe it or not, the vines grow from rock and are unsupported. The grapes are warmed by the heat of the rocks in summer.

The vineyards of Pico are a UNESCO world heritage site. These allotments of vineyards are passed down from generation to generation. We later visited a huge co-operative that produces wine from the harvests.

Farewell Pico island!