Croatia & Slovenia – Eastern Europe

Yep, I am having tangible withdrawal effects from Croatia and Slovenia. The men are terribly gorgeous – after you’ve seen and talked to them, you would be immune/ indifferent to local men. I remember this impossibly hot waiter from a Ljubljana cafe, Robba, helping us with menu choices. His features were so gorgeous; he was tall, well-built with a high nose and a 5 o’clock shadow.  I would have been content gazing into his dark brown eyes for a minute.

On the plane back home, some British guy winked and nudged at me. Thought that was pretty cute zomg!!

Flirting aside, I was truly mesmerized by nature and scenery that Eastern Europe had to offer. Old Yugoslavia is quaint, charming and one-of-a-kind. You see the imprints of Communist rule and Western occupation in their architecture, infrastructure and food. Weather during spring is beautiful and crisp; the temperate breezes made walking on the street worth relishing. Colorful blooms were everywhere; by the streets, in bouquets in a lady’s arms, at farmers’ markets. The Postojna Caves in Slovenia were completely breathtaking in every sense of the word. Magnificent rock formations from many years of limestone erosion- through rainwater and lakewater – created artfully-shaped spikes in all shapes and sizes throughout the cave. Reddish hues of iron oxide and grey touches of manganese covered those half-a-million-year-old stalagmites and stalactites. Chemistry never felt so meaningful to me before.

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The Piltvice National Park in Croatia was just as magical- mighty waterfalls gushed endlessly. Ducks were seen waddling around in pairs, presumably in their mating season. I have not seen a prettier shade of aquamarine and turquoise as the sun shone into the waters, creating temporary diamonds dancing across the rivers.

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Temperatures were on the chilly side, but all that stood out was the immaculate scenery laid out before my eyes; almost sacred to behold. These two attractions overshadowed the many cathedrals and castles that I had visited in this trip. Baroque architecture and their history is charming in its own right, like Zagreb Cathedral and Bled Castle, but nothing beats the beauty of Mother Nature.

Kids in Europe looked happier than Singaporean ones. I saw them running around uninhibited, cheeks red and chubby, their peals of laughter embellishing the night air. Women and men looked gorgeous; as if they had just steeped out from some runway catalog.

Why Lord why? The proportion of handsome men are simply unfairly distributed. 24 hours ago, the land I stepped on had men that looked like they had just descended from some celestial realm. Hot men were everywhere. Sexy sexy ones.

It has always been a dream of mine to work overseas and settle there for good. Preferably to marry some German or Austrian, or even Slovenian or Brit. To make gorgeous mixed-race babies and live happily ever after. To study in an European university.

While entertaining these grandiose fantasies and walking through the arrival hall, reality hit as a wave of warm air tingled by skin. Silly Singlish accents, faces buried in their phones posting away on Instagram, long immigration queues were all around me.

Well, fairy tales eventually have an epilogue. As I end of this post reflecting on my trip to old Yugoslavia, I tuck these precious travel memories into a secret pocket in my heart. Where would 2017 bring me to? Holy Land? Germany?

I would want to look forward to better things in life, more opportunities, open doors, friends, vacations and exhilaration. Travelling has enlarged my heart so much, and therefore that extra room has to be filled with more purpose and focus, such that I can keep on giving and going.

3 Days in Bangkok

As a Singaporean, Bangkok remains a place that charms in terms of cuisine, culture, lifestyle and price point. While prices for designer labels in upscale malls like (Terminal 21) are similar worldwide, the crowd-drawers are the night markets.

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Inside terminal 21!
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At Ratchada Night Market

steph at ratchanda

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Ain’t my manicure pretty heh

I am indeed fascinated my their modes of transportation. A tuk tuk ride costs more than a cab/grabcar ride. However, it’s worth noting that vehicular transport is inefficient as their jams are legendary. The subway is a better way to get to your destination on time. We had almost missed our flight due to a jam on the road, and thankfully managed to catch the check-in time by the skin of our teeth. Singaporeans may view Changi Airport as another mall in the east, but after stopping by foreign airports, I do appreciate the poshness and organisation of Changi. On the same point of transportation, while Singapore has only recently embarked on bikeshare as a complimentary mode of transport to walking, Bangkok already has an established bikeshare network. Also, people there get around via boats that stop at regular stops just like buses.

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En route Ratchanda Night Market via boat, we passed by rows of attap houses and element-worn parapets coated with graffiti. It was an interesting insight into a different way of life, one that metropolitan city dwellers are unfamiliar with. Pollution tends to be evident with the skyline sometimes muted with a hint of grey. Trees are sparse as well.

Street food stalls packed with locals are a must-try –  an authentic taste of local Thai fare like salt-grilled tilapia and Chang beer, which was rather palatable due to its subtle malt taste that does not overpower the senses, from a perspective of someone who does not fancy beer.

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Street Food!

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And more..

When I visit a foreign land, I always make it a point to source for ethnic garments that compliment my style. I managed to get a Thai print maroon wrap skirt, and I find the silk finishing so enchanting to look at. A very classy and artistic piece of fabric that offers my wardrobe some variation. I also got myself and my mum a jade-coloured cashmere shawl with gold threading. I thought the intricate patterns looked really regal and expensive, like something worn by royalty. I even had a chance to haggle prices with the ladyboys peddling these wholesale goods. Just a random thought; there are people out there who so badly want to be a woman. Perhaps I should embrace the beauty of being born as one, instead of secretly lamenting and gender favoritism that exists in today’s world?

All in all, it was an interesting eye opener. I don’t expect myself to visit Thailand in the next 5 years, but the hospitality of the people had genuinely warmed my heart. Good morals and consideration for the sphere beyond self are not entities that can be engineered by textbook education or instructions. I believe it comes from an observant, reflective and restful heart, which understands the beauty of enjoying the present and appreciating everything in life as a gift from above. This insight is the most valuable thing I have brought back home, an experience that surpasses manicures, massages, shopping or feasting.

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So long bkk