Sospel & Italy…..

Sospel & Italy…..

As we decided to check out of this suite and move into another suite, we took advantage of the garden in the meantime.

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Relaxing

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Getting ready to wash the locally grown strawberries

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We then moved to the new suite named after Jean Cocteau. Jean Cocteau, (born July 5, 1889, Maisons-Laffitte, near Paris, France—died October 11, 1963, Milly-la-Forêt, near Paris), French poet, librettist, novelist, actor, film director, and painter. Some of his most important works include the poem L’Ange Heurtebise (1925; “The Angel Heurtebise”); the play Orphée (1926; Orpheus); the novels Les Enfants terribles (1929; “The Incorrigible Children”; Eng. trans. Children of the Game or The Holy Terrors) and La Machine infernale (1934; The Infernal Machine); and his surrealistic motion pictures Le Sang d’un poète (1930; The Blood of a Poet) and La Belle et la bête (1946; Beauty and the Beast).

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In France restaurants usually start service at 12 noon until 2:30pm then reopen in the evening at 6pm (varies restaurant to restaurant, but those the are general rough times)

So around 1pm we drove to Loving Hut in Menton.

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A fantastic dish, that is why you do not see a single bit of food left!

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Delicious vegan cheesecake

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On the way back to Eze, we decided to take the middle corniche road.

Three”Corniche” roads, said to be “Lower, Middle and Upper or Grand” considering their different altitudes, lie between Nice and Monaco.

The Lower one culminates 150 ft above sea level and from Nice, leads to the little fishing port of Villefranche that boasts such a beautiful bay ; after Cap Ferrat, the millionaires’ peninsula, the road enters the little resort of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, that became very chic and fashionable at the Turn of the Century. From Beaulieu through the section of “Little Africa” at the foot of very impressive cliffs, the Lower road crosses Eze on Sea, then Cap d’Ail and its crystal clear little inlet. That’s the last French town before entering the Principality of Monaco.

More recent, the Middle road, offers incredible views at all the little resorts mentioned before and leads to the “eagle nest” village of Eze culminating 1200 ft above sea level.

The Upper Road, a strategic road and the older one, offers great views as well, but doesn’t cross any city center, except the one of La Turbie, little town just above Monaco, renowned for its Roman trophy : built in 6 B.C., this monument is unique among all the world’s Roman remains presently known.

The Upper Road leads finally to the perched village of Roquebrune.
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We seemed to take a wrong turning at one point which was a blessing as we ended up on windy roads with stunning vistas and then onto a quaint windy road to Sospel.

The town dates back to the 5th century, when it served as an important staging post on the royal road from Nice to Turin. The old toll bridge used by travellers to cross the Bevera, built in the 13th century, still stands. It was bombed by the Germans during World War II to prevent contact between the French Resistance (“The Maquis”) and the Italians. Much of the town was destroyed. Renovated after World War II it now houses the tourist office. Ruins of a tower, part of a château belonging to the counts of Provence, are all that remain of the 14th century city walls.

On the way to Sospel

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We wanted to park up to view the amazing sights, it ended up being somebodies garden!

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On the way to Sospel I saw a snake crossing the road! It came as a bit of a shock.

Sospel

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People here seemed very surprised to see us, it does not seem many tourists visit this place. They were very friendly and smiled and said bonjour! It was fun to watch a game of French Boules being played by the locals in the park.

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Boules is a collective name for a wide range of games in which the objective is to throw or roll heavy balls (called boules in France, and “bocce” in Italy) as close as possible to a small target ball.

Boules-type games are traditional and popular in France, Italy and Croatia, and are also popular in some former French colonies. In those countries, boules games are often played in open spaces (town squares and parks) in villages and towns. Dedicated playing areas for boules-type games are typically large, level, rectangular courts made of flattened earth, gravel, or crushed stone, enclosed in wooden rails or back boards.

In the south of France, the word boules is also often used as a synonym for pétanque.

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As Italy is only 8km away we decided to drive there.

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An Italian village

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We drove to Italy, down to Ventimiglia on the Italian coast then back to France.

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Back to Menton

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We decided to enjoy a takeaway in our suite this evening. Previously when entering Menton we saw an Indian restaurant called Indian Moods, we walked to the restaurant, as we saw it was a halal restaurant we decided to go back to Le Taj for a takeaway. On the way we passed a nice fruit and vegetable shop where we stocked up on locally grown apples and a fruit similiar to blood-satsuma.

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We placed our takeaway order at Le Taj

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Then went for a wander, since coming to France I have been wanting to eat fresh bread, the lady at Le Taj told us where we can get some so we searched for the boulangerie (bakery.) On the way we saw a live performance by a very good local band:

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httpvh://youtu.be/CFy4-ECLvsM

httpvh://youtu.be/K8Leb1AHLx4

It was a fantastic and lively atmosphere, so good to see people dancing and enjoying themselves, without the need for drink!

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The search for my bread continues!

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Woohoo, found some.

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On the way back to the hotel we passed Carrefour.

Carrefour S.A. is a French multinational retailer headquartered in Boulogne Billancourt, France, in Greater Paris. It is one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world (with 1,452 hypermarkets at the end of 2011, the second largest retail group in the world in terms of revenue, and the third largest in profit (after Wal-Mart and Tesco). Carrefour operates mainly in Europe, Argentina, Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but also has shops in North Africa and other parts of Asia, with most stores being of smaller size than hypermarket or even supermarket. Carrefour means “crossroads” and “public square” in French. Previously the company head office was in Levallois-Perret, also in Greater Paris.

There we bought water, fruit smoothie and snacks.

Back at the hotel we ate whilst watching a movie called Short Cuts, wish I could tell you what it was about but whilst watching we felt sleepy, probably because the movie had a very slow start!

Walking…..

Walking…..

This morning I had a very informative breakfast…..in the lounge there was only the waitress and myself so we got chatting, I asked her what the Thai’s think of Indian’s. She said “they are very rude and obnoxious people also they are very dirty and leave the area a mess”. Seems like the Indians are not liked! Now it makes sense why taxi drivers did not want to pick us up. She has, in my opinion got a valid point.

Afterwards, it was time to find a laundry. Now in England most businesses are closed on January 1st. For some reason I was expecting it to be open here! I searched for a couple of hours, whilst Sangeet was relaxing at the hotel. I could not find any open, looks like it is back to hand washing the clothes.

Bangkok is not a city I enjoy. In fact I hate this place, I cannot put a finger on why I hate it so much, just has not got a good vibe.

Back at the hotel, Sangeet needed to get some contact lenses. We walked to one of the many malls in Bangkok called MBK, the walk took about an hour. MBK Center, also known as Mahboonkrong, is a large shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand. At eight stories high, the center contains around 2,000 shops, restaurants and service outlets, including the 4-story Tokyu department store.
The MBK Center management reports daily visitor numbers of more than 100,000, half of whom are young Thai people and a third foreign visitors.
The MBK Center is popular with tourists, although the majority of shoppers are Bangkok residents. Knockoff items can be found in abundance at this shopping complex, but prices are much higher than one would expect. Many stores selling authentic merchandise are also available. MBK Center is connected to the Siam Discovery and Siam Paragon shopping mall by elevated walkways, both of which are more upscale and have only authentic goods.

Walking towards the mall
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Another one of the many malls
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Bangkok sky train
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Bangkok skywalk
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Bangkok, always busy
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The skywalk is an elevated footpath or walkway which has been built under the skytrain in the areas where many of the shopping malls are close together. The Skywalk means it is very easy to walk from Central Chidlom to MBK without having to step foot on the regular pavement / sidewalk.

The Bangkok Skywalk doesn’t run the length of the Skytrain system but it is being extended gradually. The skywalk is clean, even and wide which allows for many people to walk between malls without getting jammed up or bumping into each other.

Opening Hours

It might seem strange, but the Bangkok Skywalk has opening hours:

06:00 – 24:00
These times coincide with the times of the BTS Skytrain opening hours. The other reason for an opening and closing time is to stop homeless people using it at night as a place of shelter. In fact, you will see no beggars, homeless people or hawkers on the Skywalk system. It is kept clean of all people except those walking from one place to the next. It is also a very clean area and kept spotless. It’s a sign of what Bangkok can achieve when it wants to.

Bangkok’s streets are not for use by people wishing to walk on them. Legally they are, but the law isn’t really concerned about that and so at any given time the sidewalks are occupied by motorbikes either parked or being driven, hawkers selling anything at all and food stalls / noodle shops.
Bangkok’s streets are a mess. Just take a walk along Silom road or convent road and you will soon realise that it’s faster to walk on the road than to walk on the pavements. It’s also safer.

Don’t Wear High Heels

It’s unlikely you’d wear high heels if shopping, but you’d almost certainly break your ankle if trying to walk on Bangkok’s normal sidewalks in high heels as they are the worst sidewalks of any developed city. There are holes, uneven slabs and any number of obstacles which making walking a trial.

The Skywalk is not the same. It is flat, even and very easy and comfortable to walk on, but the Skywalk doesn’t go everywhere and there might be times when you’ll have to venture onto Bangkok’s regular sidewalks.

Opening hours for skywalk are 06:00 – 00:00
Skywalk signs are clear and in English

How Far Does The Skywalk Go?

At the moment, the main Skywalk area is from Central Chidlom all the way to Siam Paragon. The Skywalk stops at Siam BTS station but you can re-join the Skywalk by walking through Siam Paragon and by going through Siam Center and Siam Discovery. The Skywalk starts again at Siam Center and goes through to MBK and National Stadium BTS station

The Skywalk covers the main shopping section of Bangkok and connects places such as Central Chidlom, Gaysorn Plaza, Amarin Plaza, Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel, Intercontinental Hotel, Central World, Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery & MBK

Other sections are being added and most department stores down the Sukhumvit road are being joined to the Skywalk or BTS Stations. However, there could come a time when the skywalk extends all the way down Sukhumvit road and this would be a very good idea.

The Bangkok Skywalk Rises Above The Fumes & The Traffic,. Stretching Off Into The Distance

For some reason, perhaps because of the pollution, heat and humidity, Bangkok just tires us out!

Jan 1, 2013 5:19 PM

Finally arriving at MBK
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Inside MBK
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Sangeet bought the contact lenses, we then went to the fifth floor where Sangeet had dinner at

Big PAPA – MBK
444 Phayathai Rd,
Mah Boon Krong,
5th floor food court,
Bangkok, Thailand
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The food is fresh and made in front of you. I was still full from a big breakfast, well people do say eat breakfast like a king!

Fifth Food Avenue has a great variety of kiosks in a spacious setting, with chefs preparing the foods in open kitchens. Options include Arabic, Vietnamese, Hainese, Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Italian. There is also a vegetarian section with a good, all-natural, MSG-free menu, called the Tamarind Cafe.

Then there’s the ‘Signature Dessert’ bar, with the most exquisitely presented delicacies. The strawberry pavlova is sensational; two layers of meringue sandwiched with whipped cream, fresh strawberry and kiwi. And so too the trio of vanilla, caramel and dark chocolate creme brulee. This is a good place to have a filling meal in an appetizing environment.

MBK Food Centre on the sixth floor is much cheaper and the food on offer ranges from pre-packaged sushi sets, to deli-style salad and noodle outlets. Here you can either sit down for a quick bite or take home a neatly-wrapped item from the bakery, or something from the fruit or dessert stall. There is a dining area called ‘Kou Asian’ with an interesting menu, which includes vegetarian fare. It differs from Fifth Food Avenue in that it is right in the hustle and bustle of the main shopping area.

Jan 1, 2013 7:05 PM

The mall is outside a sky train station, so we decided to take the sky train back to Wireless Road, where we walked to the hotel.

Jan 1, 2013 7:20 PM

McDonalds written in Thai
Jan 1, 2013 7:12 PM

Sky train station entrance
Jan 1, 2013 7:25 PM

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The sky train
Jan 1, 2013 7:53 PM

Information on Bangkok:

Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and the most populous city in the country. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep. The city occupies 1,568.7 square kilometres (605.7 sq mi) in the Chao Phraya River delta in Central Thailand, and has a population of over eight million, or 12.6 percent of the country’s population. Over fourteen million people (22.2 percent) live within the surrounding Bangkok Metropolitan Region, making Bangkok an extreme primate city, dwarfing Thailand’s other urban centres in terms of importance.
Bangkok traces its roots to a small trading post during the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 15th century, which eventually grew in size and became the site of two capital cities: Thonburi in 1768 and Rattanakosin in 1782. Bangkok was at the heart of Siam’s (as Thailand used to be known) modernization during the later nineteenth century, as the country faced pressures from the West. The city was the centre stage of Thailand’s political struggles throughout the twentieth century, as the country abolished absolute monarchy and underwent numerous coups and uprisings. The city grew rapidly during the 1960s through the 1980s and now exerts a significant impact among Thailand’s politics, economy, education, media and modern society.
The Asian investment boom in the 1980s and 1990s led many multinational corporations to locate their regional headquarters in Bangkok. The city is now a major regional force in finance and business. It is an international hub for transport and health care, and is emerging as a regional centre for the arts, fashion and entertainment. The city’s vibrant street life and cultural landmarks, as well as its notorious red-light districts, have given it an exotic appeal. The historic Grand Palace and Buddhist temples including Wat Arun and Wat Pho stand in contrast with other tourist attractions such as the nightlife scenes of Khaosan Road and Patpong. Bangkok is among the world’s top tourist destinations. It is ranked third after London and Paris in MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index, and has been named “World’s Best City” for three consecutive years by Travel + Leisure magazine.
Bangkok’s rapid growth amidst little urban planning and regulation has resulted in a haphazard cityscape and inadequate infrastructure systems. Limited roads, despite an extensive expressway network, together with substantial private car usage, have resulted in chronic and crippling traffic congestion. This in turn caused severe air pollution in the 1990s. The city has since turned to public transport in an attempt to solve this major problem. Four rapid transit lines are now in operation, with more systems under construction or planned by the national government and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

Great company…..great food…..!

Great company…..great food…..!

Today I had a huge breakfast which consisted of fruit, cooked vegetables and steamed rice. I hope that it will last me until the evening, unfortunately I am hungry again by lunchtime!! I really need to cap my eating!

After a relaxed morning where I was digesting my food, we walked into the city to find a laundry. When we did find one, the lady behind a counter/desk/pile of clothes informed us that there are no self service laundries in Georgetown!! Just means we would have to hand wash the essential clothes and dry them on the back seat of the car.
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Afterwards, we walked to

Lilys
Vegetarian Kitchen
98 Ground Floor
Noble House
Madras Lane
10400 Penang
Malaysia
W: www.lilysvegekitchen.com

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Before you say anything…..I was still full from breakfast, so Sangeet had lunch here….okay I lie, I had a little taste for review purposes! It did taste nice but not a restaurant we would go back to.

Afterwards we popped back to the hotel to hand wash the clothes. The things we have to do!

Whilst I was looking into Cambodia (Sangeet had given me the dates of where we should be and when,) Sangeet walked to the the Wadda Gurdwara, Penang

87 Jalan Gurdwara (Jalan Brick Klin)
10300 Penang,
Malaysia

Later, Sangeet came to the hotel and together we went back to the Wadda Gurdwara. On entering the Gurdwara we saw a couple of students from the camp, they were so happy to see us. They said to me “we are going to pray for you tonight” I asked “why?” They said “so you come back to camp next year!” I cannot emphasise the love given to us. The sangat of Malaysia have been fantastic.

Dec 11, 2012 7:14 PM

For email subscribers
Wadda Gurdwara, Penang

After evening prayers we went outside, it was raining very heavily. A couple who had also been at the Gurdwara offered us a lift back to the hotel which we accepted.

Later in the evening we met Gelinder, who took us out to a nice Indian restaurant in a location called Little India. We were later joined by her father and friend Shareenjit Kaur. They showed us so much love, her father said “next time you come to Penang, you are to stay at our home”. That is so nice of him to offer.

Sri Ananda Bahwah
25 Penang Street
Georgetown
Penang
Malaysia

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Gelinder’s father had to leave early. Gelinder and Shareenjit were very kind to show us around. We went to Straits Quay. Straits Quay is Penang’s first retail marina. Lapped by the waves of the Andaman and set over 12.4 acres, Straits Quay is a veritable hub of shops, boutiques and restaurants.

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We had a fantastic evening and were so glad and privileged that they all took the time out to spend with us.

Greetings from Auckland…..

We have arrived in Auckland, unfortunately there are very few free wifi spots!  We have plenty of posts and pics to upload, please bear with us!

Just looking for accommodation……..

A Packed Day…..

A Packed Day…..

Today was a packed day with hiking, shopping and food (of course.)

In the morning we went to the Gurdwara to witness the bhog of the Akhand Paath, bhog may refer to any number of situations having to do with completion, pleasurable gratification or sensual enjoyment. In Sikhism bhog may refer to the blessing or offering of food. Bhog also refers to the sublime pleasure enjoyed upon the ceremonial completion of an Akhand Paath, the continuous unbroken reading of Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism’s holy scripture and everlasting Guru.

Afterwards we came home, I had an annoying email issue, which I resolved. Turns out a application I had installed was blocking all outgoing emails!!

At 11am we have a Hollywood Hike booked with LA active adventures:

Hollywood Sign Adventure-

Tour Length: 1 hour
Pick-Up: 1700 N McCadden Pl Hollywood, CA 90028 Living Social voucher holders please follow directions sent via email.
Season: Year round
Activities: Hiking, architecture, nature viewing, city views.
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous! Difficulty 4 out of 5.
Tour Cost: $50 per Adventurer
Number of Adventurers: 2-6

Without going into too much detail and spoiling it for you! This walk is off the beaten track and worth doing. Hargobind knows his history and you may even see somebody famous, we saw Moby.

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Also found out that LA is made in India!!

13 Oct 2012 12:37

Moby’s house

13 Oct 2012 12:40

This house has just recently completed build.

13 Oct 2012 12:34

Party town!

13 Oct 2012 12:53

Classic car

13 Oct 2012 13:00

Afterwards, Hargobind, Sangeet and I went to a vegetarian Thai Restaurant:

Bulan
Thai Vegetarian Kitchen
7168 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles
California
CA 90046
USA
+1 323 857 1882
Www.bulanthai.com

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13 Oct 2012 13:34

Some dishes have egg and some dishes can be made gluten free.

I would definitely recommend the hot wings, absolutely awesome!!

13 Oct 2012 13:49

Afterwards we had to try some ice cream so went to Scoops:

Scoops
712 North Heliotrope Drive,
Los Angeles,
California
USA
+ 1 (323) 906-2649

Mon-Sat 12-10pm
Sun Closed

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Afterwards we went shopping on Larchmont and then the customary trip to Babycakes!

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After all this food we needed a walk to burn it off! So we went shopping at The Grove!

The Grove is a retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles, California, built, owned, and operated by Rick J. Caruso and his company Caruso Affiliated on parts of the historical Farmers Market.

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