Porto Trip – Part 4 (A Tribute To My Beloved Grandparents)

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The moment I saw this elderly couple at the winery, I couldn’t help it but to think of my grandparents. They always wanted travel together, but they never had a chance to do so. My grandfather spent more than half of his life on earning money to raise his family. By the time he earned enough to retire, his health started to deteriorate unable to travel. I know I can’t turn back the hands of time and make him alive to travel with grandma, but I would like to dedicate this post to them.

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They could hardly sleep last night as they were too excited to visit winery. By the time they arrived the winery, they acted as if it was their first school trip. Their vast curiosity encouraged them to keep looking around and touching whatever it was around them.

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Their inner active child had never stopped until it was the time for wine tasting. They sat patiently and waited to be served with the wine. Both of them coincidentally took a small sniff of the wine and swirled it before tasting.  When each sip of the wine slowly evaporated in their mouth, they started remembering the first wine they had together at their wedding.

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All good memories kept flashing in their head. Then, he looked at the window when hugging her from behind.  ‘Remember what I promised you when little princess was born?’, he asked. She looked down and nodded with a smile on her face.

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I was surprised to find out the promise he made was to have a boat trip with us. What made me even more surprised was he already started channeling my travel desire on the day I was born. The mesmerizing picture of peaceful Douro River, colorful Porto boats and magnificent Dom Luís I Bridge altogether was the main reason why I wanted to travel to Porto 2 years ago.

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They asked me to sit in between them and held my hands tightly when enjoying an amazing view of Douro River. I almost felt bad to be in this position until I saw how satisfied they were. I guess it just reminded them of the wonderful time they had when I was very little. Although they seemed to be living in their good old memories, they never forgot to teach me a life lesson as usual. “Never be afraid of all the challenging bridges you may face in your life because they will always teach you something valuable”, they pointed at the bridges we saw during our trip and said.

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As I saw how much they enjoyed teaching me a life lesson, I somehow felt like teaching them how to say “hi” in English. They were shy to say it at first, but eventually took the courage to say it aloud to the travelers on another boat “hhh…Hi”.  However, our trip was about to end. They both obviously seemed a bit upset about it, so I offered them a cable car ride to cheer them up.

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Luckily, they accepted my offer with full of excitement. He gently held our hands when we first entered the cable car. He even asked grandma to lean on his chest if she ever felt scared of the ride. I knew she wasn’t scared at all, but she still pretended to be just to make him feel good.

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I thought it would be awesome to capture the moment when she leaned on his chest, but they stopped me doing it immediately. They took a picture of me instead. It was sweet to see him using his left hand to hold half of my camera while she used her right hand to hold the other half of it. “It feels good to see you’re all grown up now”, they looked at me with tears in their eyes and said. What they said completely melted my heart and made me promise to myself to be the best granddaughter as I could be.

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I never made empty promises and therefore I took them to Miradouro da Serra do Pilar to make them even happier after the cable car ride. It was a place where they could enjoy a panoramic view of Porto. They were speechless to see how breathtaking it looked and asked me to pinch their face to ensure what they saw was real. I knew It was the time for them to spend some quality time with each other.

I sat aside soaking up the sun to be grateful for having them as my grandparents. All they did for me was more than just memories. I believe it will make me a better person.

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Time flies when you’re having fun. I couldn’t believe the sun started to set. All boats decided to rest after working hard for a whole day. Threads of yellow and orange lights in the sky slowly prepared us for a romantic night. Clouds kept rolling in to cover Porto with darkness gradually.

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When the city was covered by a complete darkness, city lights glistened as twinkling stars in the sky.  It became much more romantic than usual to allure them coming closer to the river. He wrapped her in his arms as a gentle breeze brushed up their face. ‘You will always be the woman of my life’, he looked at her with sparks in his eyes and said.  She couldn’t react, but to be deeply intoxicated by his love.

 

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Porto Trip – Part 2

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Waking up in the morning, the first thing I think about usually not my breakfast but lunch. (weird right? lol 😛 ) I’m not a big breakfast person, but I’m a dinosaur when it comes to lunch 😀 .  Being in a western country can be a bit challenging to me sometimes because some smaller restaurants/ cafes only serve sandwiches or burgers. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the taste of sandwiches and burgers. However, I prefer to have either rice or noodles for lunch as I personally find it much more filling.

Being the only girl in a group of gentlemen I worked with, I had the privilege to decide where I wanted to go and eat. Obviously, I took the advantage to choose what I wanted to eat to satisfy my stomach. When I saw rice on the menu, I didn’t even think twice and instantly ordered Portuguese seafood rice. Honestly, I had no idea what Portuguese seafood rice looked like. The portion of it came out way bigger than I imagined. It was soupy, but in a good way. The rice had well absorbed the seafood flavour and I really enjoyed it.

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Apart from the rice, we also ordered octopus to share. In fact, we didn’t plan to order one but couldn’t resistant the temptation by seeing how much others enjoyed their grilled octopus around us. Seriously, it was a simple dish but tasted divine. The chef didn’t season the octopus much, but the freshness of the octopus was the magical element to make it delicious.

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I’m not going to lie…I was already full after having the rice and octopus, but I still wanted to have something sweet to satisfy my greedy stomach. What to do when I didn’t want to order a heavy dessert to put on a few extra pounds just to satisfy my greedy stomach 😛 ? Aha there I found a fresh fruit salad on the menu. (What a perfect solution to accomplish my mission lol!!! 😀 )

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I was truly a lucky one not only having an awesome opportunity to work with a group of gentlemen, but also being able to enjoy beautiful sunny days throughout my entire trip. Look at that gorgeous blue sky! It made everything look picture perfect.

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Although the clear blue sky was beautiful, Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto) was actually the main attraction we would like to visit on that day. I don’t know about you, but I rarely have a chance to visit Cathedrals in Hong Kong. Cathedrals in Hong Kong aren’t usually opened for sightseeing purpose and therefore I was thrilled to visit the one in Porto.

Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto) was a twin-towered cathedral with Romanesque roots built in 12th century. It has undergone numerous architectural and design changes overtime, but it didn’t stop visitors from visiting this historic landmark.

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Sorry for the bright lighting! This is the best my Canon Powershot S90 can do :(
Sorry for the bright lighting! This is the best my Canon Powershot S90 can do 😦

A sense of solemnity came in mind when I stepped into the Cathedral. Whatever it was on my mind seemed to fade away, I was simply fascinated by the sophisticated interior and stories behind the Cathedral. Although the Cathedral was too stunning to capture, all I wanted to do was to respect the Cathedral itself and its religious followers by not taking too many photos.

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If you have a chance to visit Porto Cathedral, please make sure not to miss its Gothic cloister. It was covered with blue and white azulejos tiles built in 14th century.  To be honest, I saw how it looked like on the internet even before travelling to Porto. However, the feelings it gave was complete different when seeing it in person. You probably don’t believe me, but seriously you don’t need exceptional photography skills to make your pictures perfect. It was already beautiful enough to make it picture-perfect for you.

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The Gothic cloister wasn’t the only part worth visiting. When you keep walking along the cloister, you will find there are different small entrances led you to different small rooms where they display various religious items.

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Remember I made a promise to take tons of pictures for you guys before travelling to Porto (hehe i found a photo to prove I did take my promise seriously 😉 )

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I couldn’t believe my visit to Porto Cathedral almost came to the end. All I could do was to gaze back and keep this mesmerizing picture in my heart.

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Just came out from the Cathedral, there I found a veranda allowed me to get some suntan while enjoying a gorgeous view from the top.

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Wasn’t it too amazing to see all those orange roofs right underneath you?

Travel Throwback Series – Amsterdam Part 2

Many people asked me why Amsterdam is one of the places I like the most. As cliche as it sounds, the reasons why I love Amsterdam so much simply because of its delicious food, wonderful people and how beautiful it is.

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Meeting a cute furry friend was a big surprise of my trip – honestly,  not all cats are friendly to strangers but I was fortunate enough to meet this cutie pie. He acted like we’ve been friends forever allowing me to massage him, play with him, take pictures with him…He was happy with whatever I did. 🙂

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Although cats have always been the love of my life, delicious food definitely holds a special place in my heart. How can you resist the temptation when they are trying to seduce you? lol 😛

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Wandering around the city, I realized the charm Amsterdam has isn’t only its beauty but also how much it can change. At some busy spots, you will see people busy running errands. At the touristy areas, you will see people are busy striking a pose for photos. What I found amusing the most was the time when walking pass “I amsterdam” letters, people went crazy climbing up and down the letters just to show how cool they looked in photos.

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After having seen the busy side of Amsterdam, I didn’t expect it to become all quiet and serene just few blocks down the road. With the scene of serene and light breeze, I immediately closed my eyes to enjoy the moment. That peaceful moment sat deep in my heart gently wiping all my worries away.

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With peace of mind, I continued to wander. There I found a rapid change in Amsterdam again. From it was all quiet and serene to a vibrant city. Hot pink roses were at full bloom while green leaves turned luscious green. Flags of different countries were not only hung to show respect, but also revealed the vibrancy of each country.

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After exploring the city continuously, the sun started to set. It was the time when the romantic vibes started to emerge as well.

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The true romance emerged in the dark with beautiful lights being reflected in the river.

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Under the romantic atmosphere and with the help of cupid, the couple couldn’t care less about the thoughts of others…kissing passionately…Me as a witness could only be a jealous girl with the wish of same wonder happened on me. Unfortunately, nothing happened. 😦

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Without the help of cupid, I could only treat myself to have some ice-cream 😛 I was having the ice-cream with my heart and soul just to take my bitterness away.

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Voila! Instantly became a happy Khloe (you can never underestimate the magic of dessert) lol 😀

I had so much fun doing Amsterdam throwback series, but sadly the series have already come to the end. However, I’ll do another travel throwback series so stay tuned for that! Enjoy your day my lovely friends! 🙂

Travel Throwback Series – Amsterdam Part 1

JK and I decided to have breakfast to start off our day before heading to see Dutch windmills.

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My oh my! We both didn’t expect the breakfast to be this ginormaous, but glad we managed to finish it at the end 😀

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Right after having breakfast, we quickly took the train to Zaanse Schans. It is a windmill village (some think it is an open-air museum) perfect for tourists to spend a half-day trip exploring everything traditionally Dutch with iconic windmills, a traditional wooden shoe workshop, a cheese farm and so much more. It only took us 20 minutes to reach there. However, there was something really embarrassing happened  right before we got off the train. We got used to Hong Kong metro system with door open automatically at each stop, but the train in Amsterdam wasn’t the same at all. We happily prepared ourselves to get off the train once it arrived Zaanse Schans, but we couldn’t figure out why the door didn’t open for us. We just kept staring at the door and wondering why. The time when we found out there was a door opening button, we already missed the stop. How stupid we were!!! We had to get off at the following stop and take the train back eventually 😛

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Who cares we had such an embarrassing experience? At least we learnt something new, right? 😀 It was well worth it once we saw the first windmill before entering the village. 🙂

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Once we entered the village, the statue already started playing trumpet for us. How welcoming it was!!! lol 😛

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Tourists needed to do touristy stuff, right? Of course, we headed to see how cheeses are made. It was very interesting for us especially we Chinese have no idea how cheeses are made 😀

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I totally admired the wooden shoe maker spending a massive amount of time into making each shoe. ❤ I could imagine how satisfied he was when finishing each shoe.

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I was acting like a child playing peekaboo to break up the serious shoe making atmosphere 😛 I have always been this silly…refuse to grow up lol 😀

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Being indoor for a while, we had to go out to see some greenery and this scenic place. It was extremely sunny and stunning there, but sadly my camera didn’t do it justice to show the real beauty of Zaanse Schans. 😦

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Look what we found when we wandered the village! How adorable this ice-cream car was! ❤ I was tempted to drive instead of having their ice-cream, but I don’t even have a driver’s license 😛

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Please excuse my messy hair! It was too windy there, but I just had to ask JK to take a picture of me and windmills together to keep it as a wonderful memory. 🙂

*Thank you Phil  for suggesting me to post some more photos from my Amsterdam trip! ❤ I seriously wasn’t planning to post it as I didn’t take a lot of photos and JK was busy taking pictures of me. I didn’t want to post pictures of myself only, but I guess it would be fun to share some of it.

Have a beautiful day all my beloved fellow bloggers! 🙂

Day 5 – 5 Day Black & White/ Monochrome Photo Challenge

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Ever since I started blogging here on WordPress, I noticed that my life has gone more vibrant than what it is. I got to see different parts of the world through all the gorgeous pictures captured by all of you brilliant photographers. It took me on a trip after trip with full of surprises and excitements. I got to see all the amazing art pieces created by all of you creative artists. It took me on a ride through one of the most incredible art galleries I’ve ever seen. I got to read all the wonderful stories and poems written by all of you talented writers. It allowed me to live in a world of fantasy. I got to try out all the delicious recipes posted by all of you amazing chefs. It sensationalized all the food I tried out from your lovely recipes. Most importantly, I got to be surrounded by a pool of talents who put all your heart and soul to do what you love inspired me to do the same. I’m thankful for having all of you as my dear friends who inspire and support me each and every day. I’m even more thankful for having JK as my lovely friend who took this picture of me and also the one who noticed the artistic side of me. You motivated me to create artworks and take pictures when there was no one believed I could do it. You were the one who took many pictures of me and initiated the idea of making digital art pieces with me out of the pictures we took in Amsterdam. What you did to inspire me was definitely the motive which encouraged me to open a WordPress account initially to share whatever I’ve experienced with the world. Without what you did to me, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to meet all my talented friends here. I truly am blessed to have all of you as a part of life ❤  Billion thanks to you and JK! 🙂