E: Streets of Hanoi

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Hanoi is an undeniably beautiful city. Some people may fail to see that initially due to the noise, pollution and litter but having come face to face with those issues everyday at home meant those factors were easily to looked over.

Let me explain why Hanoi is such a great city, firstly and most importantly, crossing the street has never been more fun or dangerous anywhere else in the world. You don’t wait or follow instructions from crossing lights to cross a street in Hanoi, even looking isn’t exactly essential. Just start walking and the oncoming vehicles as if by some magic force, manoeuvre around you. Leaving you feeling a little like Moses.

Another of my favourite aspects of Hanoi is just how much time the locals spend on the street, during walks it wasn’t uncommon to pass people going about their daily business such as cooking, eating and washing themselves on the streets. It’s genuinley nice to see people spending time outdoors even if it’s not too far away from their homes. Get used to the little stools around town as they are your best and only friend when it comes to sitting down in Vietnam and are a standard features of most of the best restaurants for local street-food.

It was interesting to visit the Hoi Chi Min Mausoleum, (for those of you who don’t know what that is like me initially, it’s where the body of Hoi Chi Min (An important Vietnamese political figure) has been preserved and is stored in a glass chamber.) Another interesting cultural thing to see was the planes on display captured from the Americans by the Vietnamese. The number of planes and way they have been arranged indicated the persistence and strength of the people during the vietnam war.

The cafe culture and warm bustling streets make Hanoi one of my favourite places so far. Currently I think it has a tenancy of being overlooked due to the mass tourism funnelled into the bigger city located to the south (Hoi Chi Min City) yet I think in the future, with the right sort of growth, it could attract a lot of attention as a more ‘trendy’ type of destination, it brings so much of the Vietnamese people’s culture to surface and the city feels ‘lived in’ and ‘real’. I have no doubts I’ll be returning to Hanoi relatively soon.

Thanks again to my brilliant pen pals for guiding us almost everywhere! (Minh and Khanh)

 

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E: Just got back from HK!

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Saying the last few weeks have consisted of regular ups and downs wouldn’t quite cover it. The last few weeks have been a heavy, energy depleting and demanding test of who I think I am a person and more spiritual bullshit continued…  within this recent time period I have undergone the hardest examination weeks of my life, (thanks again to Singapore’s education system for the joy that was), witnessed some of the most beautiful landscapes I will ever have the privilege of seeing and shamelessly devoured platefuls of dirt cheap, heavenly, world class foods.

Does the stress I endured during university time equal the enjoyment from travelling afterwards? I think I can just fold that page corner and add it to my binder of all of life’s complications that I cannot, will not and will never be able to solve. Hopefully however in the near future, just like what my hopeless memory has retained of my first year of studying in York, my mind will be vacant of everything but the pictures left behind and the simply the best memories. The only problem being as time stands is, I’m doubtful as to whether I can handle another semester in this strange bubble of a campus.

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What to say now about Hong Kong? The alpha+ city which first introduced the world to the concept of east meets west? The city is a loud, vertical, Cantonese speaking mess stuck in the 80’s, that makes it a rather fun mess too. The old housing blocks have aged beautifully into these captivating towers of unevenly shaded decaying paint jobs.

The contrast between the clean business towers and the slums, homes of everyday ‘rats’ caught in this city race cannot be see in any more clarity in the places I’ve been than in Hong Kong. The bustling night markets live up to everything they appear to be in photos and videos I witnessed as a child and the skyline with its gorgeous mountainous backdrop deserves every number 1 position it continues to earn in numerous rankings within prestigious publications.

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For a Londoner who now lives in Singapore unfortunately there isn’t much new to experience as Hong Kong. To me HK feels like a mashup of  Paris, London, New York and Singapore. Every corner I turned I couldn’t escape the Chanel, Marks and Sparks, Louis Vuitton, Pret a Manger, Apple Store, McDonalds, Starbucks and I could go on. So although not an en-lighting new place for me a pleasant weekend of interesting remotely familiar sights instead. If you’ve never been to the cities listed above Hong Kong is a great place to explore, for me, for now however the weekend was enough. Met up with some friends while I was there and really enjoyed some company and good food, Hong Kong has left me with little questions about the space unfortunately. If I ever visit again I’ll try to look at the place with a fresh pair of eyes.

Keep your eyes peeled on this space, I have a ridiculous amount of posting to catch up on. I’ll schedule the posts  for the next few weeks, sorry I haven’t been posting directly which would probably have been the best thing to do but as you can probably imagine I’ve been a bit caught up in living it haha! New posts soon!
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IMG_2438Weather was miserable the whole time I was there!
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IMG_2331Rooftops

IMG_2413The Nunnery and gardens, my favourite place in HK

IMG_2398The view from the front door of my hostel building

IMG_2443Kasper, Gustav, Sharon, Joacim and Me. I will never forget the street karaoke in the rain!

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E: Harrogate

IMG_5122The last ‘House 8 Roadtrip’ (House 8 was the name of my university flat) was to Harrogate, a very posh spa town. Being a spa town means that it has Roman like baths, and was were people would be sent if they were unwell to get better supposedly due to the charm of the place. It wasn’t my favourite place we visited probably due to the nasty weather. However if driving by it’s definitely worth having a little walk around as there are some beautiful buildings. I really liked the main park with a pine forest and the gallery which changes it’s exhibition. It’s free to get into both of those.

 

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S: These Crumbling Walls

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Here’s a collection of photographs from Limassol’s old town, rugged yet beautiful.

Also the blog is now available in Greek, Swedish, French, Malay and Vietnamese direct from the sidebar –> so take a look..8 IMG_8554 2 13 IMG_8499 IMG_8664 IMG_8504 IMG_8507 IMG_8548 IMG_8679IMG_8764 IMG_8840 IMG_8844 IMG_9366 IMG_9376 IMG_9539

S: York’s Never Ending Winter

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Every chance I get to go into York on a nice day I take. Nice days are rare to come by weather wise, yet you do notice the north usually has clearer skies than the south. One of my flatmates friends came to visit and we thought we’d give a small tour and it would be a chance to use my camera. I principally wanted to film but taking photographs got a hold of me.
IMG_8112 IMG_8086The York MinsterIMG_7963The MarketplaceIMG_7972Alex taking some shots of the local produceIMG_8034That one photograph everyone in York has to take over and overIMG_8131From inside the minsterIMG_8183Beautiful detailing of the windowsIMG_8179
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E: Durham Christmas Excursion

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Last weekend I had the privilege to go see the small but very vibrant and historical town of Durham. There was some tension considering my heart now belongs with York yet I didn’t let that ruin my journey. What I found was Durham was a very charming city.

479962_10151178495163927_1262270814_nIf it makes sense, Durham feels very English. While walking through it you pass through defining moments of British architecture, modern and old. Most streets are cobbled and there are plenty of picture perfect bridges however upon wondering around it won’t be too soon before you find a signature British Iceland store tucked under some retro 60s building.

What makes Durham so special is the way the light filters through it. It’s embossed in trees and winter nature, the buildings are densely packed and this makes it incredibly difficult for the sun to illuminate small nooks and crannies. Yet I insist this doesn’t make Durham seem unfriendly at all, quite the opposite you can feel the northern charm among the bustling streets of people. The space possess a dark romantic yet comfortable vibe.

479748_10151178488428927_2067072473_n309275_10151178488163927_1135586577_n483465_10151178494363927_879336647_nAt some points it’s easy to forget your in a town. The building isolated from the city centre are shrouded in hibernating stalks. Small parts of ice flow along the rivers. The trips purpose was to go see the market which I have to say was much better than York’s own. The Christmas Decorations were suttle but brought some festive feel to the place.

A lot of the more modern building in Durham are how I would imagine some German towns for some reason. It does feel very detached from the rest of England, like a parts of history taken out of Britain’s puzzle and placed together somewhere hidden. 556675_10151178495373927_914600684_nThe Castles and Cathedral left a lasting impression on me. The architecture of the main cathedral left my jaw wide open. It was in a Gothic style much like the Notre Dame de Paris. The black soot marks gave off an even darker appearance. The inside was a complete contrast. The space seemed very well lit for such a huge space. Unfortunately no photography was allowed inside.

Although the outside may look impressive I was even more enchanted by the gigantic columns with tiny detailing and the stained glass windows. We walked in roughly at sunset and the tint caused by the lighting was phenomenal. My finger continually itched for the shutter button but I managed to pull myself together and respect the rules.
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Some more UK travelling to come perhaps? I’ve always wanted to see Edinburgh 

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