SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

July 25, 2010

The Dutch made cycling look so cool

Filed under: Europe,Netherlands,Travel — Alex @ 6:40 am

While I was in Italy, I went to visit a friend in Amsterdam. Since I am already in Europe, why not take the opportunity to visit another EU country. There are quite a number of budget airlines in Europe. Tickets are really affordable if you happen to buy at a certain time. Even though last minute purchase are not that bad. I think if I can remember it correctly, it cost me $80 to fly to Amsterdam direct. I forgot which airlines I used and I will make sure in the future I will make a note about all this. This will make visiting my blog a little more worth while if I can provide useful information. So for now, just bear with my nonsense ramblings.

Bicycles parked near the canal

Most of us always have an image of a country we haven’t visited in our head. In my case, take Amsterdam for example. In my head is all about wooden clogs, tulips and windmill. These images are partly contributed from some pictures on a calender eons away as a kid. So whenever I touched down in the airport of a country that I am visiting the first time, I am always very excited to step out from the airport. Most of the time, my mental images always represent a really small part of the countries. Pictures or tv programs can only contribute as much, but being there real life is the best way to see the country.

Cycling around the city is common

I enjoyed my trip in Amsterdam as the people are pretty friendly and helpful. Almost everybody speaks in English and asking for directions is not a problem at all. Walking around Amsterdam city is fun for me as the weather was cool and the scene is new to me. It makes me more observant of my surroundings and it made me think, we always take for granted in the place that we are accustomed to.

Jason was not as excited as I am while walking the streets of Amsterdam as he sees it everyday. In fact he kept asking me about Asia and think is really nice that Asian weather is always sunny and hot. I just smile in my mind as I heard many of my Filipino friends always complain how MAINIT ( hot ) is the weather when summer hits Pinas.

Even the young and the hip cycles too and the man that is balding is hip too

One thing that I found really awesome is that the Dutch made cycling on an old bike look so cool. When I was a kid, a family friend of ours works in a grocery store and he has this old black bike where he used it to deliver stuff. The thought of cycling that bike to school instead of my BMX kinda frightens me. But in Amsterdam, people dressed in suit are cycling all these bikes. So many pretty Dutch girls were cycling this bikes too while dressed up very stylishly.

As for food, I am very happy with Amsterdam as there are so many choices. They have good Indonesian restaurant as Indonesia was part of the Dutch colonies long time ago. So you can see many authentic Indonesian restaurant. Another restaurant that I love is Cafe De Klos. Is a kind of pub and restaurant serving great food. It is always packed and the menu is printed on the waiters’ tee shirts. I find that very cool and refreshing. I ordered the pork ribs and it tasted really good. It is not dry and even they serve it without any gravy, it tasted very good. For once I don’t need my BBQ meat with the help of Maggi Chili Sauce. It just never occurred to me to take pictures of the menu on the waiter’s t-shirt and my meal. Next time, next time…I promise.

Here are some pictures that I took when I was in Amsterdam. As usual, I have no idea what made me take all these pictures but I think is cool to let these pictures be seen rather than rotting in my hard drive.

An expensive hotel which I did not stay at, just took this picture cause the building looks pretty nice

My tiny hotel room that cost me 80 EUR a night. Of course with that price you get a really nice hotel in Asia. But I like the room as I always drink my coffee and smoke near the window.

Hope to live in one of this boathouse one day

Enjoying coffee by the canal with your friends, simple but really cool activity

Nice restaurant by the canal

People crossing the bridge in one of the canal. There are a lot of bridges that looks the same and always very confusing to me.

The famous wax museum that I did not enter. Looking at famous personalities made of wax wasn’t my cup of tea.

Father and son on a really cool bike passing by the entrance of Madame Tussaud.

Another mode of transportation, the tram.

Dutch version of tricycle

July 18, 2010

My visit to Italy year 2008

Filed under: Europe,Italy,Travel — Alex @ 2:45 pm

I think I’ve mentioned before that I was not into blogging a few years ago. Another thing that I am not really into is taking pictures. Especially pictures of myself standing or sitting ALONE and posing like a movie star wannabe. Camera never really liked me since I was a kid. So many countries that I’ve visited, I never really bothered to take pictures. I kinda regret it now because the pictures would be great for making my blog to look more interesting. I will start to take more pictures in the future, especially food and scenery. Solo posing pictures of myself is still very much out of the question.

I will share with you some random pictures that I took from my previous trips. It might not be that awesome but is still pictures that are worth sharing I guess. Is not an attempt to “show off” to visitors of my blogs on how many countries that I’ve been to. Just want to share with you some of the pictures that was taken during my visits.

Here are some of the pictures while I was in Vicenza Italy.

Vicenza town with some cool old buildings and cobble stone roads that I only see in movies before my visit.

Enjoying coffee at a side walk cafe with your friends on a sunny cool afternoon. This one thing folks in Asia will never experience but is still not stopping the trendy folks in Asia trying to look cool in the local Starbucks under the hot sun.

We decided to have some coffee at this stall.

Kids getting excited to see assortment of snacks

This is how to look cool even without trying

Typical Saturday afternoon in Vicenza town center

When I saw this old man on this narrow pavement, I suddenly  felt like I have the skills of a  National Geographic photographer, I snapped the picture but sadly the results proves that sometimes your feelings might not necessary be right all the time.

I have no idea why I took this picture but I guess I can blame it on the “National Geographic photographer feelings” again.

More pictures to come in future post, so stay tune.

June 21, 2010

Visiting my Godsister in Italy

Filed under: Europe,Italy,Travel — Alex @ 12:26 pm

I visited my Godsister in Italy in year 2008. She lives in Vicenza, Italy with her boyfriend. The boyfriend is really a cool dude and he offered me to stay in his lovely house. At the time of my visit, I have no knowledge on how to blog nor was I really interested in blogging. Now that I’ve been bitten by the blogging bug, I think would be cool to feature them in my blog as a way to show my appreciation for their hospitality. It also allows me to share some of the pictures that I’ve taken with my family, friends and of course the visitors of my blog.

Was really a cool experience to be living in an Italian home and I got to be an Italian for a few weeks. To most people, I am the most boring tourist on earth. I hate visiting tourist spots and I am contented just to be visiting restaurant, pubs ( love getting buzzed and beer sampling ) and just watching the local TV stations. I believe in order to experience the country that you visit, best way is to stay with the locals. Staying in hotels and going to tourist spots is not really experiencing the country to the fullest.

Vicenza is just 20 km away from Venice and I have no idea why I declined the offer to go visit when Edo ( Godsister’s boyfriend ) offered to drive me there and show me around. I never regretted my decision as I was happier to be invited to have coffee with Edo’s parents during my stay. Seeing a typical Italian home and enjoying their company is all I ask. I had a good time with Edo’s dad talking mainly about our own country in general and mostly about food. The Italian are really stylish people, their poise and the way they drink coffee and fold their legs is really classy. I can’t help but to have the image of Al Pacino in the Godfather movie as I observed my Italian friends movement and gestures. I think is really cool and only an Italian can make drinking coffee looked so cool. No Asian or Chinaman in particular can pull that off. So if you are Asian, quit trying to look cool in Starbuck when you drinking your coffee.

Here are some pictures of Edo’s home :-

House Entrance


Living Room

Fire Place


Stylish Italian Man

Kitchen Stove

Study Room

My Room

Very nice toilet

So I think you would agree with me that this is better than staying in the hotel ya. I will post more pictures of my past travels in the future updates of my blog. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Edo and my Godsister for having me while I was in Italy. See you guys again soon.

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