The bestest memories :’)

hello lovelies!! ^^ i’m seriously drowning under this backlog of posts haha can’t decide what to post first and everything! i’m gonna do London really really soon alright! but since i just came back and everything is still fresh in my head, i just wanna talk about my top 5 favourite cities in Europe :))) it wasn’t too difficult actually, these just totally STOOD OUT in all the places i went to, and it was in these places where i got the immeasurably happy, ‘big-soppy-grin-spreading-across-my-face-uncontrollably, blissful in-a-bubble’ feel and wishing i could just stay there FOREVER :”) ranking them though, proved impossible, and so they are in no particular order :) except london maybe haha. i’m a fan ^^ 

#1: LONDON
of course! omg i really can’t wait to blog about london but at the same time dreading it cos i know it’ll take damn long >.< actually every place in UK i visited (glasgow, york and london) were beyond amazing :') where do i even start? the fact that they speak english? oh gosh, when you're in a land where everything sounds like gibberish to you, hearing a language that you understand is like the ultimate eureka moment! ^^ once i stepped on the bus in glasgow and met such a friendly bus driver, i fell in love with this country :))) the people are soooooo nice! :') 

okay, so i guess rather than london, to be fair i should put UK as a whole haha. but i guess london was my favourite FAVOURITE because of the number of things to do ^^ quite surprised and happy that i managed to cover most of the places on my go-to list! not the food though…haha. had so many recommendations and i’m super grateful for all those who recommended these places to me! ^^ but i would still go back to london! for the same places, but perhaps a different experience? maybe more time to chill, to pick my favourites (god knows how many there are haha actually it’s still a long list in the end), catch Phantom (which i didn’t get to watch this time!), visit Bricklane market (which i also missed) and eat eat and eat ^^ hehe. this photo just totally sums up my top-of-the-world feeling while in london :D yup london i<3you :))

(from here the list is in no particular order)
#2: Rome
i LOVED rome. and this silly picture is me throwing a coin into the fountain of trevi, promising that i will be back ^^ so many things to do, so many things to see! i wished i had more time in rome, and it was probably the italian city that i spent the longest in already! should have totally done exchange here instead of (BORING) milan -.- haha. sorry i’m damn biased against milan :p but i really think there’s nothing much to do there. 

standing in front of the colosseum was one of the most awe-inspiring events e.v.e.r. waltzing down the streets in the park at Villa Borghese on a sunny Sunday was simply exhilarating :) la dolce vita really :) thanks to rome, i now know what it means :) 

florence was amazing for its pretty streets and all its SHOPPING!!!! :D who says milan is the fashion & shopping capital of italy -.- why shop in milan when you have florence?! hehe. san lorenzo leather market is the best place to go for good quality italian leather goods at really reasonable prices! and don’t even let me get started on The Mall ^^ branded goods at SUPER good prices!!!!!!! 

in Europe, i understood the meaning of pretty streets :’) i would say that a similar theme of all my favourite places would be their pretty streets. i don’t really know how to describe it, but the streets of each of these places are just so characteristic of themselves! (: 

rome & florence are probably the epitome of the italian experience, so they are MUST VISITS if you go to italy! 

#4: Prague
prague was sooooo romantic :)))) both of us agreed that this baroque feel was something that we loved ^^ ah, it’s so hard to write this post actually! haha everything is really just based on the whole FEELING you get in a place :’) even though prague was so rainy and wet while we were there, its beauty still shined through. loved the artsy feel of it, like we had stepped back in time, into the world of Mozart, Bach and Tchaikovsky. it’s almost as if you can imagine them on the streets, playing for you, welcoming you to this magical city.  

#5: Vienna 
my dearest travel buddy! ^^ and a super nice host to us (: 

vienna was the first place i fell in love with in Europe :)) it could have been its food. it could have been its grand architecture (so old, yet so well maintained!). it could have been how well organized it was. it could be the fact that it was the first place we went to where the people knew how to speak english, and were willing to speak it, even though it wasn’t their native language. so many things made this such a wonderful place to be (: jiayee is so lucky to be staying there!! it was perfect. and i still haven’t done my post on it >.< yikes. haha. soon soon, as i've been saying :P 

so yepps! these were my top 5 favourite places in my 143 days, 8 countries and 24 cities :)

Magical Prague :))) – Part III

haha all these travel posts are taking an insane amount of time to finish! can’t believe i have so many more to do: south of france, cinque terre, vienna, bern, munich, glasgow, york (now) and london (soon). omggg. plus all the extra posts on random stuff that i wanted to do as well! *faints* haha i better get on with it.
soooo, like i mentioned in my other post about food in prague, there are hundreds of other restaurants with other cuisines that you can try out! czech food is really a bit too heavy to eat it on a daily basis for both lunch and dinner.
Other food in Prague

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we chanced upon Song Lam Vietnamese Noodles & Cuisine just because it was so near our hotel and we kept walking past it! finally on our last day we decided to go in and try it, and WOW, we were in Asian heaven! ^^ haha sounds damn retarded. but really miss asian food when we’re here :'( especially how light and healthy it is! quite amazed that sam actually liked this haha (considering the kind of food he normally likes to eat), but i guess the feeling of a warm bowl of soup is enough to satisfy anyone :) of course, we ordered the most popular Vietnamese dish – pho bo (105czk) which is beef noodle soup. happy happy! it wasn’t as tasty as real vietnamese cuisine obviously, but it was definitely good enough.
loved the nem cuon (65czk) as well, which is the vietnamese spring rolls, and also the mango salad (80czk)!
Song Lam
Ostrovni 23, Praha 1, 11000
Tel.: +420 224 933 537
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for a huge range of chinese food, go to Chinese Summer Palace restaurant! they have a HUGE signboard at locations outside the restaurant so it’s almost impossible to miss. i tried their duck rice in sweet & sour sauce (129czk) and i felt like i was teleported back to singapore ^^ yummyyyyy. totally miss eating this kind of food! i’m not big on duck rice in singapore actually, but the flavours here just reminded me of home :)
Chinese Summer Palace restaurant
Celetna 25, Praha 1
Tel.: +420 224 815 155
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i chanced upon this bakery on the way to the Old Town and they sell the barrel bun here, as well as a range of other pastries. nice to try it out if you’re interested (:
Remeslna pekarna Krusta
Karlova 44, Prague
Tel.: +420 607 745 948
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for the most amazing baguettes ever, check out Bageterie Boulevard!!!!! :D there are quite a number of outlets of this everywhere and we’d been wanting to try it for days. finally tried it on my last day there! (: and i was super impressed! spoilt for choice there because everything looked good. and it’s pretty affordable! kinda like subway, but bigger i think. and i suppose i just like the novelty ;) i tried the meatball flavour and it was great! MUST check it out if you ever need food on the go ;)
hehe and that’s my little doggie, Schnitzel, from vienna! ^^ darling got it for me by playing one of those carnival games haha. can’t believe he won it! (: and so i had a soft toy to accompany me for half my exchange! :) hee.

Magical Prague :))) – Part II

we loved the food in prague for all its meat after been deprived in italy for the longest time :p and not just that! prague has international cuisines from ALL OVER THE WORLD which we were completely fascinated by, and enabled us to satisfy all sorts of cravings that we had there ^^ (happy people!). shall separate my posts on czech food and “others”! i have a feeling this is gonna be a long one…too much good food! :P
Czech restaurats in Prague
when asked what Czech food is about, we were told that it was very heavy, with lots of creamy sauces and dumplings. their dumplings here are a misnomer, because they’re more like bread/potato or whatever else its made of. and yup, it’s definitely filling! so we usually didn’t finish the carbs when we ate. the meat, in comparison to vienna (omg i haven’t done a post on this yet! :O), was in smaller portions (usually they will state the weight of the meat as 120-200g? not a lot. but the flavours of the food were really interesting, and had a wide variety, with a great range from each of the three restaurants we went to. 
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most of the food we ordered was from the traditional Czech favourites section of the menu since we wanted a taste of their traditional cuisine :) at Cafe Louvre, we had the large beef goulash (169czk). as you can see, the amount of meat is pretty small. we were initially disappointed, but when you put the whole meal together, you get a pretty filling feast! the beef was soaked in a rich broth that was super fragrant ^^
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also tried the pork tenderloin (199czk).
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bulgur salad (99czk) – healthy yay! and really interesting! it had ingredients which we don’t normally have, like tempeh and pumpkin seeds.
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large cream of pumpkin and carrot (59czk) which was amazingly flavourful! love how food in prague is so affordable ^^ we usually ate a lot (this was for three people) and the bill would come up to around 8euros in general, with the max being 10euros if i remember correctly. also, service charge is not included in the bill here, so remember to leave a tip! a good estimate would be 10% of the bill.
Cafe Louvre
Národní 22, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
Tel.: +420 224 930 949
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i’d heard great reviews about Lokal being a very traditional czech restaurant that is frequented by locals. actually all the places i recommend for Czech food are really awesome, most of which were suggested by my friends from Prague! ^^ love getting foodie recommendations from the locals themselves :D Lokal has a different menu for lunch and dinner, and i’d recommend you to go for dinner to try their beef tartare!!!! i’m so sad that i missed out on trying that :( because they don’t serve it for lunch. but i heard that it’s awesome, and that was from a friend who typically does not eat anything raw! (ehh yup, beef tartare is raw :p)
sausages are a big thing in Prague, and so we ordered the variety of homemade sausages with mustard and creamy whipped horseradish (89czk). the mustard they serve here is super fresh (look at those shreds of yellow things on the sausage plate) and super shiok to eat ;) we tried the strong beef broth with homemade liver quenelles (39czk) omg. haha but it was pretty tasty! i just didn’t eat the liver and other innards. we had the boiled beef with mushroom sauce (115czk) as well. can see that they love their beef here ;)
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and MUST MUST try in prague – fried cheese (159czk)!!!! ^^ i loved it. deep fried on the outside with melty cheese within. omggg. it was so good! (: definitely share though. if you try finishing one yourself you’d probably just get suffocated in all the cheese haha. 
Lokal
Dlouhá 33, 110 00 Praha, Czech Republic
Tel.: +420 222 316 265
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last restaurant i’m recommending is near Prague Castle, so definitely visit this restaurant when you go to the castle! (: i loved the fillet of beef with cream sauce decorated with cranberry and white-bread dumplings (150czk). this totally reminded me of IKEA’s meatballs, with the kind of sauce it had, and it was SO good! ^^
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for some nice warm-your-tummy food (especially when it was raining cats and dogs outside), go for the beef bouillon with noodles, beef meat and root vegetables (50czk). totally reminded us of a light chinese soup! which has proven to be a rare find in Europe, and especially prague where most of their food tends to be so heavy! it’s a really small bowl though :( left us craving more.
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ordered the salad with arugula (170czk) as well, which turned out to be a hot favourite amongst us! it was devoured in minutes haha. consists of arugula, dried tomatoes (yummmms), cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese and finished with a delightful yoghurt and garlic dressing.
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the brussels sprouts baked in a pan with dried tomatoes (100czk) was a favourite too! and ironically this was ordered by mistake. the dried tomatoes went perfectly with the brussels sprouts, flavouring them adequately and provided a beautiful blend of tastes. 
Restaurace U Labuti
Hradcanske namEsti 11, Prague 118 00, Czech Republic
Tel.: +420 220 511 191
Other Czech food

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as i mentioned in my previous post, you must try the street food in prague!!! it looks too awesome to resist. i only tried a little, but there are so many more to explore, such as the handmade potato chips. *slurps*! Prague ham is one of the most famous! but a word of caution, at these roadside stalls, the owners tend to try to cheat tourists by stating the price as per 100g, which looks really cheap. but what they try to sell tourists if often a HUGE portion, which you don’t really want because it’s impossible to finish! tips:
1. have just ONE person to order the food
2. choose the smallest sized person, preferably a girl
3. INSIST that you want a small portion and try not to get more than 300g, unless you have a big group to feed. 
you can also order prague ham in restaurants, where they won’t cheat you. they’ll just serve you a 100g portion, but the price per 100g is slightly more expensive. worth it though, if you just want a taste and don’t want to go through the pain of being charged an exorbitant price for a huge portion that you can’t finish.
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try the barrel bun too! ^^ it’s a hollow bun, coated with sugar and it’s yummy! (:

Magical Prague :))) – Part I

at the time i’m writing this, i’m SO GLAD i escaped from prague on the day the floods started. i hope it clears up soon though! :( it’s such an amazingly beautiful place! it would be so wasted if it got destroyed :'( i loveeeed prague. utterly romantic, and irresistibly attractive and it’s almost like the city was stuck in time and never moved forward with its classic baroque architecture. an absolutely charming place :’))
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What to see in Prague
the must go-to place is definitely the old town of prague. i suppose it’s the city centre where all the activities are ongoing. take the Sandelman’s free walking tour if you’re interested (just need to give tips)! it gives a pretty comprehensive overview of the city and tells you a bit about its history too. the old town has a beautiful square bordered by little streets with hidden gems EVERYWHERE. take the time to explore it! (:
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there is this market down one of the corners of the Old Town that sells fruit, vegetables and random knick-knacks. Prague seems to be famous for puppets and you can see this everywhere in shops and also in the market. (and yes it was POURING the day i was there >.<)
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the Astronomical Clock is at the centre of the Old Town Square, and it’s famous for this puppet show that goes on every hour on the hour from 10am-9pm if i’m not wrong. haha and it’s really lame. apparently ranked the most disappointing tourist attraction after the Mona Lisa :p but hoards of tourists still gather to see it. even in the rain, and i’m guilty of that :p haha.
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the new area of prague is where Wenceslas Square is. it’s a street with lots of shopping areas (H&M and New Yorker!!!!). they accept euros too! but they’ll return you change in czech currency. anyway, there is this long food street selling all sorts of Prague specialties so do try it out if you’re interested!!!! looks absolutely delicious! (: and they have stalls selling humongous hot dogs as well, which was pretty darn awesome ^^
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so that was one side of Prague, and if you cross Charles Bridge, you’ll get to the other half of the attractions in Prague! (:
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pretty near Charles Bridge, you’ll find the John Lennon Wall. this super colour-splashed graffiti-ed wall, which i’m not entirely sure why it’s there (oops), but it was quite good for numerous photo opportunities with its quotes and song lyrics etc :)
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the Prague Castle is probably the most famous attraction on this side of the river. it’s HUGE! apparently it can fit like 50 White Houses in there or something. every day at 12pm, they have the changing of the guards parade, which attracts quite a huge crowd. only the main cathedral has free entry, while there is a fee for the rest.
oh yes, and i’ve heard raving reviews about the Petrin Hill & Tower, which you can see from the Prague Castle, and if you climb up, you’ll have a gorgeous view of the whole of Prague! (: but it’s kinda far away, and it was unfortunately raining that day, so we didn’t go there :p haha.
What else to do in Prague

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watch a ballet!!!! ^^ or opera :))) it is SO affordable here! i bought the most expensive ticket for less than €40 when this ticket would have cost me a few hundred euros in the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. you can check out their schedule for the shows here.
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go for a bar crawl! this is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you should not miss, if you drink alcohol, even if you’re not really into it. pretty fun i have to say! and since prague is known to be the city which drinks the MOST beer, it’s a good way to experience their culture a little this way ;) there are loads of companies offering this bar crawl thing, which goes on almost every night, which you can choose from. the one i went for was the clock tower bar crawl and if you book online, there is usually a discounted price. it included 2 hours of open bar, where you can have free flow of wine, beer, sangria and shots (their wine tasted a little strange, and the sangria seemed like fruit juice haha but i guess with free flow you can’t expect much), and they then bring you to 4-5 clubs after. we gave up after a couple of clubs (not really night animals :p) but if you have the stamina you can probably stay till morning ;)

Hostel Recommendation

we stayed in Equity Point Prague which is a relatively new hostel, that is quite clean and with a good location near to Charles Bridge (10min walk) and Old Town Square (15min walk)! (: breakfast is included and it cost about €12/person/night! wifi was good in the dining room and reception area, and up to the second floor of the hostel perhaps. so if your room is on any of the higher floors, you probably can’t get the wifi signal.

check it out on hostelbookers here: http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/czech-republic/prague/94094/ (tip: this website has no booking fees, whereas hostelworld does! but i think hostelworld seems easier to navigate and has a more comprehensive listing of hostels so you can check that out first before proceeding to book on hostelbookers!)

prague was gorgeous :) and fun too! it’s pretty small, so you can explore it in about 3 days comfortably. the food is great too!!!! meat fix!!!! :D wait up for the next post ;)

As long as you are here in my heart

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it’s been a crazy few days and i’m missing you already darling (: our last holiday together before my “independence” was prague. and what a wonderful choice it was! such a beautifully romantic city. i really wondered sometimes whether having such high expectations of a place (like omg i’m SO EXCITED to go to london, just fly me there already!) would end up making me disappointed. but in europe, especially after getting the hang of travelling here (to live though, is another problem altogether, and no thank you, after 4 months and this ordeal i’m going through right now, i want to live in little singapore for the rest of my life), i’ve really enjoyed so many of the cities i’ve been to. it’s really hard to decide on my favourite FAVOURITE because each of the cities i’ve loved are so special in their very own way. i do have favouriteS though, and that’s easy to decide :) 
prague was so gorgeous with its baroque architecture and uber-classically romantic feel. i realised i’m kinda mixing up all the different history periods here :p but anyway. such a fascinating place!! :) 
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and we went to watch a ballet :’))))) like finallyyyyy. so happy to have been able to do that in europe ^^