Sunsets from all around the world

Sunsets are magical time of the day when the evening sky shines in the most amazing colours. I witnessed many stunning sunsets, but was able to capture just a few of them on my photos. Here are some of those photos:

Strunjan, Slovenia

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Japan. Day 7: Hiroshima & Miyajima: Museums & Shrines

On our second day in Hiroshima my boyfriend and I left our hotel to get some breakfast. We found lovely Danish bakery Andersen. We bought some pastries and sandwiches and took them with to the Peace Memorial Park. We found a bench with a view to the A-bomb Dome and ate our breakfast there. With our bellies full, we moved towards the Peace Memorial Museum. On our way there two Japanese students approached us and asked us to help them fulfil their English class assignment. They had to approach the tourists and ask them some questions in order to practice their English skills. We agreed to help them. We answered their questions and took photos with the them, then we bid goodbye and continue our walk towards the Peace Memorial Museum.

The flame of peace, cenotaph and Peace Memorial Museum

The Peace Memorial Museum is a museum dedicated to the WW2 atomic bombing of Hiroshima. After paying the symbolic admission fee of 50 JPY per person, we’ve entered the exhibition area. Continue reading

Day 6: From Hakone to Hiroshima

As you might read one of my previous posts, my boyfriend and I spent a night at the Japanese inn in Hakone region. After the morning soak in the onsen, we’ve attended the Japanese breakfast. They served us fish, egg boiled in onsen, rice, miso soup and a bunch of different vegetable in tiny bowls. We tried the dishes, but we didn’t ate much. For our stomachs adapted to western diet was this Japanese breakfast just too heavy .

At shikansen to Hiroshima

We returned to our room, packed our things and checked out. The kind receptionist ordered us a lift to the train station and in half an hour, we were sitting on the train to Odawara. There we caught the shikansen to Hiroshima. The time at this super-fast train flew by and soon we arrived to our destination. Upon arrival, we stopped at the tourist office and grab some maps. Kind lady at the information desk who spoke perfect English also explained us hot to get to our hotel. With her instructions and a map, we found it without any problems. This time, the we didn’t have to wait for our room, it was already prepared for us. We left our luggage there and went out exploring. Continue reading

Japan. Day 5: Mt Fuji and ryokan experience in Hakone

On the fifth day of our trip to Japan my boyfriend and I left bustling Tokyo for peaceful Hakone, a mountainous area west of Tokyo famous for hot springs and Mt Fuji views.

Lake Ashi & Mt Fuji

In the morning, we bid farewell to Asakusa and successfully navigate our suitcases through the morning rush. At the Tokyo station we’ve boarded shinkansen Kodama to Odawara. There we’ve change super-fast and comfortable shikansen for slow local Hakone-Tozan Line to Hakone Yumoto. We’ve just missed the bus that would take us to our ryokan (Japanese inn) in Tonosawa. Because we would have to wait for another one for quite some time, we decided to take the taxi. After a short ride, we arrived to our accommodation. Again, we arrived too early to check in and our room wasn’t ready yet. We left our luggage in the lobby and went out to explore the area. Continue reading

Top 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites I’ve visited (up to date)

Every year UNESCO World Heritage Committee gather to discuss the world heritage. One of their tasks is to discuss cultural and natural sites of outstanding universal value submitted by the state parties. If those sites meet one or more of 10 criteria they can be included on the World Heritage List. This year UNESCO World Heritage met for its 39th session in Bonn, Germany. Out of the 36 sites that were examined this year, 24 sites from Mexico, Italy, Korea, Jordan, France, Denmark, Iran, Turkey, Uruguay, Mongolia, Israel, Norway, Saudi Arabia, USA, Singapore, Japan, Germany, UK, China and Jamaica were granted world heritage status, increasing the total number of world heritage sites to 1,031. Up to date, I had a chance to visit 41 of them. Here is my pick of 10 sites (in random order) I liked the best:   Continue reading

Japan. Day 4: Cat Cafe & Baseball in Tokyo

The fourth day of our trip to Japan was dedicated to two things my boyfriend and I are passionate about: sports and cats.

Petting time at the Calico cat cafe

My boyfriend is a sports enthusiast. We often visit sports venues and events on our travels. Our trip to Japan wouldn’t be the same without some sports-related activity. Our first pick was to attend sumo, a Japanese wrestling sport. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the tournament, so we had to settle for the plan B: the baseball. Continue reading

Japan. Day 3: Hanging-out with Snow Monkeys

On our third day in Japan, we left Tokyo for a day trip to Jigokudani Monkey Park, a home of the famous snow monkeys. It is located in valley of Yokoyu river in the Japanese Alps, near Nagano. This trip to one of the limited places in Japan where you can observe wild Japanese Macaques (nicknamed Snow Monkeys) in their natural habitat was at my bucket list since I first saw documentary about them years ago. Therefore, Jigokudani was simply a must stop on our trip to Japan.

Jigokudani Monkey

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Japan. Day 2: Exploring Tokyo

Day 2 of our Japan adventure started early in the morning. In Japan sun rises earlier than in Switzerland – already around 4.30 am. The night before we’ve admired the amazing view from our window and we forgot to shut the curtains. Our room was facing east and first rays of sunshine woke us soon after the sunrise. Still a bit jet-lagged, we couldn’t fall asleep anymore. We woke up, got dressed and went to the breakfast. As we expected, hotel offered a broad variety of Japanese and Western dishes. We were not yet ready to try Japanese breakfast, so we’ve grabbed some coffee, bread, croissants, butter, marmalade and some fruits. With our bellies full, we were ready to get out and explore Tokyo.

Night view from our room

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Japan. Day 1: It’s a long way from Zürich to Tokyo

The long-awaited day of our departure to Japan had arrived. Our flight was scheduled at 7:40 so we woke up early in the morning, after just few hours of sleep. We drove to the Zürich airport, where we went through all the airport procedures and stop by at the Lindt store/bar for delicious Lindt hot chocolate. If ever at the Zürich airport and you’re sweet-tooth as I am, you should try it!

Our boarding passes

With our bellies filled, we’ve boarded the plane to Istanbul. The flight was calm and we were pleasantly surprised by Turkish Airlines services. Nice comfortable seats, clean aircraft, friendly cabin crew and a good food. Used of getting just a small snack or a sandwich on our flights across the Europe, we were pleasantly surprised when they served us a warm meal with the proper cutlery and offered us freshly squeezed lemonade and orange juice. Perfect start of our travel! Continue reading

Counting the days till Japan trip

When?

From 23rd May to 6th June 2015

Why Japan?

This year my boyfriend and I decided to spend our holidays overseas. We were open for different destinations and have pretty flexible timeframe. We’ve browsed the offers from different airlines. When we found Turkish Airlines would take us to Tokyo for 462,9 CHF, we both agreed Japan could be our destination. After some research, we didn’t hesitate much before booking the trip. Reasons?

  • Unique Japanese culture
  • Interesting history
  • Castles
  • Temples, gardens & shrines
  • Dark heritage of WW2
  • Mt Fuji
  • Sumo
  • Cat cafes
  • Hachikō the dog
  • Snow monkeys
  • Festivals
  • 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Excellent public transport
  • Food
  • Okinawa beaches
  • Onsens
  • Safety
  • Cleanliness

Japan has a lot to offer. More we read about it, more difficult it is to decide on how to spend our 14 days there. At this point I would like to ask YOU my dear readers, who already visited Japan, for some assistance. What are your favourite places in Japan? What attractions are must see? What restaurants have the best food? What hotels/ryokans would you recommend?

Any tip would be highly appreciated!