[MELBOURNE] oo2. Caffe e Torta

Upon touchdown I had managed to catch a good nights’ sleep (albeit, due to time difference, it was 3am Melbourne time when I finally crashed), and even woke up for hotel breakfast early next morning. Late afternoon, I ventured into the CBD area with hopes of locating Hardware Societe which was further out past Collins Street, but to no avail! Darn Google Maps pointed me in the wrong direction; for some crazy reason, even my GPS is screwed up. But I’m glad that happened, because I stumbled upon Caffe e Torta on Little Collins, and had the most juicy and scrumptious hot apple strudel with ice cream I’ve ever had! The only other worthy contender being the Cafè Braun in Mondsee, Salzburg.

The whole ambience at Caffe e Torta was reminiscent of Italian sidewalk cafes, hence the Italian-inspired name. The baristas and waitresses were all amazingly chirpy, just as how all Australians appear to be. Didn’t get my order of flat white because I was intending to sleep some more when I got back to my hotel, regrettably, but I would regret more if I stayed up all evening from the overdose of caffeine.

As I got ready to fly home yesterday, I felt tremendously blessed and so spoilt for choices. Whilst others cafè-hop in their own countries, I get to explore quaint cafes in every city I travel to. And I get to experience cultures or practices deviant to and unlike my own. It’s scary because this nomadic lifestyle is the kind I love and could stick to forever, because seeing the world puts things back home in simultaneously greater and finer perspectives. I want to shake hands with all parts of the world everyday, forever.

Caffe e Torta Shopfront

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Caffe e Torta Interior

Caffe e Torta Stairs

Caffe e Torta Hot Apple Strudel

Caffe e Torta Menu

Caffe e Torta Exterior

314 Little Collins St,
Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
+61 434 595 885

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

5 Things I Learnt about Dubai

This weekend, I’m in Dubai, feeling so lost about the city’s roads, culture, everything.

With Harper’s Bazaar World of Fashion, Fashion Forward Season 2, Global Village 2013 – 2014 and all those exciting events going on, no doubt Dubai deserves being hailed as the regional fashion hub. There are just soooo many things I can’t get used to.

It’s a lovely lovely city, especially Downtown Dubai! People actually offer to hold your bags while you fish for your wallet at small local delis. The grocer at Robinsons hands you your change on a dish like in Japan and waves you goodbye. And everyone holds doors for everybody else.

Fascinated by this city, really. Here are 5 things that sprung to my mind.

1. There are no Cafès. Period.
Gosh. What’s their secret? How do people get their daily cuppa?

2. You get stared at, if you’re female and alone.
Then they start walking backwards with their eyes still trained on you.

3. You get stared at, if your skin colour is different.
Yes I know I’m pasty and practically translucent

4. Barricades in (some very rare) Starbucks are meant to separate  men and women
That being said, I’m darn impressed by Starbucks’ Dubai interior designers. Omg SO PRETTY
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5. Everyone walks > an arm’s distance apart.
I thought it was just me. Until I observed and realised they just don’t walk close to anyone else. Like a habit.

Also, girls can bear their skin. It’s not a sin.
Contrary to my misguided belief, it’s alright for tank tops in the sweltering heat! It is just very uncommon. The girls here are also very very pretty.
Well, seems like I’ve learnt something new!

Photo-diary: I’m in love…with Kurumba Maldives!

Unbolt your main door and this is what you see
This world is all kinds of amazing20131003-022815.jpgIt’s positively exhilarating to know that the beauty of Maldives is right at your doorstep
Complete with sea breeze and utter, remote peace.
20131003-022832.jpgI’ll always be in love with the skies and the sea.
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One of my favourite spots:
The patio to lounge around, to watch the sea from a safe distance
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Only at Kurumba, the pool comes crazily close to being as inviting as the open Maldivean sea20131003-023617.jpg

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Even the visitor lodge is so tastefully built with an air of zen.
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My room was closest to the lodge! Super safe and all, I didn’t feel scared to stay in that hugeass room at all.
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Can’t stop reiterating how much I love the Maldives.
How could anyone not fall to her charms?
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Definitely gonna be back for more.
Does anyone wanna come scuba-dive here with me?

Turn around, bright eyes

A year ago, I plucked up the courage to go for a job interview. Too much unhappiness and batshit craziness was going on, and I wanted fresh air, a change of life when I could no longer see myself carrying on in that way. I went without any expectations, knowing I wouldn’t be so hard-up even if they reject me at some point. Furthermore I was still months away from graduation and they might not accept me anyway.

Clearly I was unprepared – everyone else was all dressed up, sleek chignon or French twists – while I had my casual blazer, shorts, tights and sneakers. Plus I looked so out of place in blonde-yellow messy hair (what was I thinking?!?!)

Honestly I was exhilarated to go through round after round as people were being eliminated left right centre —  about 6 interview rounds in total for the first day, another 3 the following day and a subsequent medical check. Was able to meet new people with whom I’m still in contact and are currently flying as well.

Till now I’m still really glad I’d grabbed my certs, made the ballsy move to go alone, and left a part of myself that has kept me cocooned for a while.
Sometimes you have to make a change to realize, that the safety of comfort zone can be wearing you out.

Turnaround, every now and then
I get a little bit restless and I dream of something wild

Travel-diary: Asians in Munich

Touched down on the third largest city in Germany, the host city of the 1972 Summer Olympics, with the cutest city motto: München mag dich, which literally means Munich loves you.

On the first day, we had lunch at Dachau Station, KZ-Gedenkstätte,
in which our Döner (kebab) came in colossal proportions!

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Our stop where we touched down at Dachau, Germany’s longest running Jewish concentration camp.  photo DSCN2622_zps29146051.jpg

Heading back into the town center of Marienplatz is easy when you’ve got a Captain who’s very familiar with the topography.

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This fountain reminds me too much of Singapore’s USS!
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Having my mandatory gelato…after a long walk at Dachau. An immensely refreshing treat for the summer. Am definitely coming back for my winter gelato brainfreeze.
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Have I ever mentioned that Nuts and Baileys is my new favourite gelato flavour?

Also bought myself fresh raspberries and strawberries for supper!
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As with all European cities, I find their architecture very fascinating.
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This is the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in the heart of Marienplatz.
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Every day without fail at 11 a.m. (12 p.m. and 5 p.m. in summer) it chimes and re-enacts stories from the 16th century to crowds of tourists and locals.
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Each story lasts 12-15 minutes, and at least 500 people were gathered in the square to watch the spectacle with us.
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Munichers are famous for PORK KNUCKLES and really, it’s truly a mouthwatering treat 🙂
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The more famous pork-knuckle makers in town
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Was accumulating photographs along the way, and I’m really surprised I managed to snap so many…
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Have no idea why the Caucasian men in this one became the main focus. Naughty camera.
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This pretty much sums up our afternoon, lazy walks in the Munich summer heat, mindlessly appreciating the amazing architecture in the city.

Travel-diary: Milano (1)

Hell yeah we conquered Duomo di Milano
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With the incredible backdrop, touristy shots are absolutely pardonable
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Sad Mickey Mouse is sad… along the crowded street in the summer heat, busking in his thick costume
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My continued Gelato-Frenzy in Italy…how could anyone resist names like Nutella and Pistachio-Banana or Hazelnut Praline Cookies?
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Most incredible thing we encountered!!
but even this seemingly impossible feat can be simply explained through the hidden mechanisms under their distracting orange robes…the dude on top is probably sleeping with his eyes open
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Lunch, the Italian way
overlooking the sidewalk where everybody eats and people-watch
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Cafe Marocchino, a well-kept Milanese secret
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Ladies and gentlemen, my hugeass Mozzarella Pizza
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Keith’s Creme Pasta
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After lunch, we stumbled upon Piazza Castello by chance.
This is me being dwarfed by giant gnomes
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Awesome ride, baby
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Betcha can’t spot the Monkeys in the castle ditch
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Blossoming flowers!! The reason why summer is so beautiful.
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A slice of Copenhagen

Officially am the mad Asian girl snapping away with her iPhone,
at architecture that citizens of Denmark would have seen all their lives.

Here’s a slice of Copenhagen:
the streets of Vester Farimagsgade 9
as seen through my eyes.

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Taking shelter underneath my umbrella in the drizzle proves to be a disadvantage,
for my hands were really unstable,
and I had zero sense of angle/perspectives.

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Mad love for vintage architecture!!
Classical to be exact, but I’ve not exactly learnt how to differentiate the two.  photo IMG_9760.jpg

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Walked quite a distance considering I have 3 hours to kill between waking up and lunch with the crew. photo IMG_9749.jpg

My favorite hangout in the neighbourhood!
If I could wake up to this everyday, it would be such a blessing.
Felt so at peace with the world just by standing on the jogging path
overlooking this river.
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Beauty in the mundane —
was the first thought that came to mind when I saw these postboxes. photo IMG_9812.jpg

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The hotdog seller was giving me a strange look,
as if he found it incredulous that I was snapping a photo of his hotdog stand. photo IMG_9827.jpg

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All these within the hour and I’m still in time for lunch.
Well-worth the 12hours we took to arrive at Copenhagen!

xoxo
Jean

P.S Biggest bonus of my job: catching sunrise 35000 feet above the ground
This is such a bad shot but you can see the sliver of red that indicates the rising sun…
Upclose, it’s absolutely breathtaking.
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Maldives – Bandos Island Resort

Sun, sand, sky, sea – recipe for indulgences.
And thus the three of us decided to go chasing dolphins in the setting sun!
Maldives is indeed the perfect getaway. photo DSCN1458-1.jpg

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Self-shot with Jocelyn, Brenda and He-Cui.
My hair was especially yummy that day, with a tinge of sea-salt.
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The awesome crew! photo DSCN1499.jpg

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And thus our journey to the centre of the Maldivean Sea begins!
Because that’s where the dolphins roam. photo DSCN1504.jpg

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Can you spot their fins?! *hums the tune of Shark Attack* photo DSCN1524.jpg

Hello adorable little Dolphins!! They were soooo cute as they flipped and jumped up in the air.
The ferry captains were whistling and inviting the dolphins to show their little faces.
And each time one of the dolphins made a circus-worthy act, everyone on the speedboat cheered. photo DSCN1525.jpg

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My Malibu heaven. photo DSCN1549.jpg

Hello there, familiar face. photo DSCN1556.jpg

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Setting sun….
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The three of us were laughing so much, we almost got thrown off the tip of the speedboat when the captain swerved.
Huge rolling waves by the way…
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Loving Bandos Island on the Maldives. I can’t wait to be back! photo DSCN1603.jpg

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Fire it up, let’s go get this thing stuck

Dance-date with darling Krys Elisabeth!
Instagram sums up my precious one and only day back at home this week.

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I love you back, KEL to my VJL! 😉

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And this is why I have a regular spot at my favourite Starbucks cafe.

Somedays I wake up in a foreign bed in a hotel 1200 nautical miles away from home
and wonder where the hell am I.
Such an awesome feeling.
See you in a few hours, Copenhagen.

never underestimate your own magic

Today I started off with a very simple goal:
to be the reason behind a stranger’s smile.
All I needed to do was simple,
but the task itself could range from easy-peasy to downright impossible.
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But you know what?
I saw a whole lot of smiles today that reflected how uncomplicated
a simple gesture of goodness could be.
It’s magical to create that ripple effect
by going out of the way for somebody else
and I thought, hey,
this satisfaction was worth every effort it took to create it.

To top it of like a Maraschino cherry on a chocolate fudge sundae,
the happiness doesn’t end when my job is done for the day.
I felt good for the rest of the journey, at the hotel,
sightseeing, and the way back.
I hope everyone else gets to feel that way too.
It’s indescribable.

suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going.
And I have trained myself to love it.
Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight,
that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight.

And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to.
But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings.
You may not know where you’re going,
but you know that so long as you spread your wings,
the winds will carry you.”
― C. JoyBell C.

fly