60,000 km, Six Countries Travelled in 2015 – Part 2

This is Part 2 of my 60,000 km travels in 2015.

In Germany, I visited Nurnberg. A beautiful albeit quiet city.

My German visit also coincided with Oktoberfest in Munich, which I never have visited, so it was time for a trip. I went there early afternoon, but still the beer halls were crowded. However, I still could not get a good photo of what would have been one of my favourite shots: a dirndl-wearing waitress carrying many, many mugs of beer. But I watched another tradition: men challenging each other to finish a whole mug in one shot. Cheers went up as they completed their task. I also visited Nurnberg, which is a lovely albeit a quieter city.

ONE TIP: if you are going there this year, please don’t take backpacks or anything similar. I heard that they don’t like big bags because of security concerns.

Oslo

Oslo was another personal trip, to attend a birthday bash. I took a day off to spend some time with a friend of mine, visiting the Mathallen Food Market, and then walking along the Aker Brygge before hitting a bar for a few drinks and then a restaurant for more drinks and dinner.

Hong Kong-Ho Chi Minh City

Obviously, this was the Trip of the Trips for 2015 and I was so looking forward to it. First of all, I was flying Business Class on Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong.  It was almost a 15-hour Flight to Hong Kong, preceded and followed by Lounge access, so it was something to look forward to. Second, it was to be my first trip to these two countries

It was an exciting flight, with great food, entertainment and service. Still, I would say the best business class flight so far has been the 2014 flight from Toronto to Taipei on Eva Air.

I had ten days in East Asia and did not want to spend the entire time in just Hong Kong. So, after much deliberations, chose Ho Chi Minh as the second city to visit. I had thought about Taiwan but then wanted to enjoy some hot, steamy weather.

Ho Chi Minh City is a city of motorbikes. It is a great sight to see when the traffic turns green and the onslaught of motorcycles begins. After reading and being warned about crime rates in the city, I was paranoid but as it is usually the case, the general precautions – don’t flash around and carry just the necessary valuables – ensured I was never harmed. Besides enjoying great food, I had also had a couple of great massages and took a trip to the Mekong Delta.

I also visited the Cu Chi Tunnels. It is a scary experience, to see that people had lived for years in total darkness. I freaked out just a few minutes into a tunnel.

Back in Hong Kong, I visited a mini ‘walled city’, the Lantau Island and did some shopping. Hong Kong is an expensive place for sure. In a way, Hong Kong is also a city-state of contradictions – one can pass a high-end mall and then enter a shoddy building with rundown stores. And just past the high-rises one sees vast greenery.

But I have never seen such expensive types of alcohol so publicly displayed for sale – for example, a bottle Louis XIII Cognac selling for HK$ 228,000, which is about 41,000 CAD, was so openly on display at the alcohol store at the airport.

The year ended with a trip to Halifax and Sydney.

I will be writing up more about some of my trips of 2015.

And I am hoping 2016 will be another great year of travel for me.

 

 

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