Sausalito – Biking the Golden Gate Bridge | Part (III)

Took a snapshot at this lovely residential estate cum diner by the bay! Loving how the baby blues of the house were in perfect pastel harmony with the cloud-streaked blues of the skies and crystal clear turquoise of the sea. We were finally in Sausalito, after biking from the pier, then across the Golden Gate Bridge!

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Insanely steep downhills, narrow roads and strange sudden curves were characteristic of bike paths on Sausalito. The whole wind-whipping-in-face and look-ma-no-hands! as we careened (at times uncontrollably) down the slopes into Sausalito’s town center, felt sooo good! I had my fingers curled around the brakes, all ready to slam it, but we never stopped at the downhills which were the best parts!

This statue of a Marines soldier stands at the gateway into Sausalito, just before the bike trail hits the endlessly steep highways downtown. If you see him, you’re on the right way!

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Sausalito took my breath away, not just from the sheer exertion of biking!! This San Francisco Bay Area city in California stands at an elevation of 13 feet. With a small population of slightly more than 7000, it was once was home to an indigenous settlement known as Liwanelowa before the site was invaded by the Europeans.

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Basking in the afternoon sunshine! That said, the temptation of taking a dip in (the shallow end of) the ocean had to be greatly resisted.

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The whole town was really quiet, except for us biking stragglers who, having reached our intended destination, had our vehicles docked in the bike-parking lots as we settled down for celebratory lunch. At Sausalito, there were a couple of novelty stores and vintage souvenir houses which looked pretty amazing.

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Early dinner at Le Garage Bistro Sausalito, overlooking the bay! We dined to the sounds of lapping waves and seagulls flapping above our heads.

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Some pasta and smoked salmon crepes, anybody? I guess cycling left me famished, I ate in record time.

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Though it’s a tiny town, Sausalito has a myriad of public attractions: the Cazneau Playground, Cloud View Park, Martin Luther King Park Langendorf Park and so many more, as well as  Schoonmaker Beach, Swede’s Beach and Tiffany Beach.

FYI Sausalito is currently home to Darren Hayes (singer-songwriter, and former lead of the awesome band Savage Garden), Amy Tan (novelist who brought us The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter’s Daughter), as well as Ken Pontac ( author of the sadistic internet series Happy Tree Friends).

After a really short, yet very refreshing and memorable afternoon at Sausalito, we booked a ferry ticket to take us, along with our bikes, across the bay to San Francisco. Was glad for the biking journey to be over, but sad, as that meant we were about to leave Sausalito and San Francisco behind.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

The Love Lockdown

Eiserner Steg Frankfurt Love Bridge

Eiserner Steg Frankfurt

Eiserner Steg Frankfurt 2

Couples lock down their vows over the Eiserner Steg in Germany, which stands proud over River Main linking Frankfurt’s city centre to the district of Sachsenhausen. Another lover’s bridge marked with everlasting passion symbolized by the act of locking with a sense of resilient security and firm, unyielding permanence. The irony of these very metal locks surviving way past expiry of its owners’ heartfelt promises, we may never know.

Eiserner Steg 1

Once you look beyond the riveted steel truss, everything else can be forgotten. The scene of River Main from the centre of the bridge took my heart and mind away, just for a little while.

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Eiserner Steg Frankfurt 4

Eiserner Steg Frankfurt 5

Eiserner Steg
Mainkai, 60311 Frankfurt,
Germany

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Harbouring Intentions

Sydney Harbour Bridge Landscape

Sydney Harbour Bridge Bloggers

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Strangers of all levels are friends you’ve never met. At the idea of meeting new people I used to panic and worry about letting them come into my life, and for the past year, despite abundances of travel buddies, there are times I’d choose to explore new places alone. However I’ve come to be a bit less anal and picky of friendships. Fleeting memories with anybody are accumulative. I hold true to viewing life as much too short to make enemies, or to foul up your heart with plotting to manipulate or deceive. Be it in the workplace or out in the streets, surrendering your truest intents clears your path toward disarming the most guarded strangers. In short, hold up those white flags and declare yourself harmless. Lately, I’ve been surprised by amazing things that have happened to me.

Sydney Harbour on a Monday morning: the paths boomed with street artists, food vendors, school-kids on excursions, friendly Australians and camera-bearing, furiously-snapping tourists. City-hopping – the nomad meets metropolitan – has come to be my favourite past-time. We caught a bus from our hotel at Hilton George Street to Opera Quays, and enjoyed a long walk to Opera House, the bridge, and back. From the Circular Quays we boarded a ferry to Dahling Harbour, where the Maritime Museum was booming with people climbing aboard a war-time naval ship. Despite the really short stay in Sydney, we caught the city bug. I love the vibrance, the pulsating energy, the drive that makes people wanna come back.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Sydney Harbour Bridge So Blue

[THAILAND] o12.Does Nature Imitate Art?

Legend has it: a boat carrying Ta Kreng (Grandpa Kreng) and Yai Riem (Grandma Riem) capsized at Ko Samui, killing the old couple who, for their son’s sake, were sailing to Prachuap Khiri Khan to ask for the hand of their in-law’s daughter. The locals believed then that their organs turned into the rock formations which are now widely known as the Grandpa and Grandma rocks (Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks). No prize for guessing which body parts they came from!!

Samui Grandpa Grandma Rocks 1

Ake drove us all to this south coast; the rocks are located between Hua Thanon and Lamai Beach, roughly 17 kilometres from the airport. How did these rocks come about?

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It’s a puzzlement as to how these rocks came about, in such close proximity, if we choose not to believe in the folklores of the local community. Nature’s imitation of Art (artistic ribaldry) continues to amuse and baffle us beings. Seriously, mortal art will never match up to the art of nature.

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Grandma rock was partially submerged due to the high tides and the area was cordoned off because a tourist had slipped and fallen to his/her death a couple of weeks ago. This is what the Hin Yai Rock looks like!
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I know right.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] o10.Lamai Beach Samui

Samui Asian Girls Beach

Ever taken a day from work to stroll all morning along the calmest beach on Koh Samui? I love how my traveling job makes it all easy to find myself on an entirely different city from day to day. Yet it makes me appreciative of nature’s beauty on a minuscule scale. I’m all excitement and “let’s take more pictures!”, even when all that’s truly picture-worthy are a row of colourful beach houses, or teeny-tiny pretty sea shell on the beach. Hell, if you’re not noticing these little things, you’re missing out on a whole lot in life.

Lamai Beach Samui

Lamai Beach Samui

Lamai Beach Samui

Lamai Beach Samui

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] oo9.Leaving on a Jet-Ski

Eight of us embarked on 4-hour jet-ski safari that took us on a tour of 7 of Thailand’s offshore islands. While Josephine maneuvered the ride for the journey to the snorkeling island, I drove both of us back to Koh Samui. We had aching arms for days after the ride. Jet-skiing is such amazing fun once you get the hang of it…the way you handle the waves, rising tides and getting soaked from top to toe…it’s all about taking the plunge and just trying. I never thought I would like jetskiing but I’ve seriously fallen in love with the sport!!

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet-Ski Koh Samui

Jet Skiing Koh Samui

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet Ski Koh Samui Girls

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet Ski Koh Samui

Jet Ski Thailand

Jet Ski Thailand Island

Jet Ski Thailand Samui

Life Vest Girls

Girls Island

Jet Ski Thailand

Jet Ski Thailand Sun

Sun sand sea jetski

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For a list of island water activities – such as kitesurfing, paddle-boarding and scuba diving – visit Water Edge Sports!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] oo8.CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

Day beds, bean bags, egg chairs, shishas and the island’s most varied selection of cocktails on the beachfront: there’s nothing not to love about CoCo Tam’s Bar. The music was sooo good we had to ask the bartenders for their playlist! Ideal for after-dinner chillout drinks, we took a short walk here from H Bistro @ Hansar, and watched the sunset on Koh Samui whilst chilling out on our beanbags with cocktails. A jug of Samui Sling, anybody?

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

CoCo Tam’s Bar Samui

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Thailand

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

Beach Koh Samui

Living the Life CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

Sea CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui Girls

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

Viktoria Jean Thailand CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

Couple CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

Coco Tams Bar Samui

Shisha CoCo Tam's Bar Samui

Cocotails CoCo Tam's Bar Samui

Cocotails CoCo Tam's Bar Samui

Girls CoCo Tam's Bar Samui

Girls CoCo Tam's Bar Samui

Girls CoCo Tam's Bar Samui

Girls CoCo Tam's Bar Samui

Girls CoCo Tam's Bar Samui

Sunset Girls CoCo Tam's Bar Samui

Girls CoCo Tam's Bar Samui

Girls CoCo Tam's Bar Samui

CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

Couple CoCo Tam’s Bar, Koh Samui

Worth a second trip down here when we come back for Koh Samui’s Full Moon Party in the future!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

99/1 Moo 1, Bophut
Koh Samui 84320, Thailand

[THAILAND] oo5.H Bistro @ Hansar Samui

I’m hella fortunate to have Thai friends who know all the best hideouts and dining places. While waiting for a couple more friends to touchdown in Koh Samui, we dined at the beachfront H Bistro at Hansar Resort. Its French Mediterranean menu boasts the likes of grilled Hokkaido Scallops, pan-roasted Miyazaki sirloin, smoked duck prosciutto, white asparagus soup with langoustine and white truffle. oil. Best of all, it’s amazing close to Samui’s open-air international airport, so it’s a great place to hangout before catching your flight or for filling your tummies upon touching down.

H Bistro at Hansar Samui

H Bistro is directly adjacent to Hansar’s indoor pool, whicb faces the ocean and Koh Samui’s Bophut Beach. The post-monsoon winds were crazy, we chose to sit indoors instead.

H Bistro at Hansar Samui

H Bistro at Hansar Samui Beach

H Bistro at Hansar Samui Pool

H Bistro at Hansar Samui

H Bistro at Hansar Samui

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H Bistro at Hansar Samui

H Bistro at Hansar Samui

H Bistro at Hansar Samui

H Bistro at Hansar Samui

H Bistro at Hansar Samui

H Bistro at Hansar Samui

H Bistro at Hansar Samui

Spinach Ravioli with Pork:
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Calamari Rings and Crabmeat Patty:
H Bistro at Hansar Samui

H Bistro at Hansar Samui

Asian Gyoza:
H Bistro at Hansar Samui

Assorted Bruschetta:
H Bistro at Hansar Samui

H Bistro at Hansar Samui

Caesar Salad:
H Bistro at Hansar Samui

Smoked Salmon Tartine, my favourite!:
H Bistro at Hansar Samui

H Bistro at Hansar Samui

Bophut Beach is lined with restaurants after restaurants targeted at tourists, offering a major selection of fusion and seafood-centred cuisines. Loved the ambience at H Bistro! Plus it’s so near to the sea, we took a good long stroll after our meal before we set off to pick up our friends. Its lunch a la carte differs from its dinner menu, which boasts more main courses than its usual lunch set! 5 days seriously isn’t enough to try everything on Ko Samui!!

101/28 Moo1, Bophut
Koh Samui, Suratthani
Thailand 84320

[THAILAND] oo4.Beyond The Sea, Siamese Brasserie

BEYOND THE SEA, Siamese Brasserie

The entire week spent in Koh Samui, we basically feasted all day long on authentic Thai food and fresh-from-the-ocean seafood. The high tides plus bad weather made it nearly impossible for water-sports, so we cancelled our initial plans to take the open-sea scuba-diving license exams. On our first morning we drove to ShaSa Resort for the best mango sticky rice on the island. The resort’s incredibly enticing infinity pool is the first sight that greets all diners and guests, followed by a crazy bird’s eye view of the ocean and beach. The restaurant serves a fusion of Thai, Siamese and Western cuisines but they are best known for Kaw Neaw Ma Muang (mango stickies). I particularly enjoyed the island mojito and the incredibly warmth service from the ever-smiley hosts.

BEYOND THE SEA, Siamese Brasserie

BEYOND THE SEA, Siamese Brasserie

BEYOND THE SEA, Siamese Brasserie

BEYOND THE SEA, Siamese Brasserie

BEYOND THE SEA, Siamese Brasserie

BEYOND THE SEA, Siamese Brasserie

BEYOND THE SEA, Siamese Brasserie Menu

Loving it BEYOND THE SEA, Siamese Brasserie

BEYOND THE SEA, Siamese Brasserie

Mojito BEYOND THE SEA, Siamese Brasserie

Mango Sticky Rice Bangkok Thailand

BEYOND THE SEA, Siamese Brasserie

Mango Sticky Rice Koh Samui

Selfie BEYOND THE SEA, Siamese Brasserie

BEYOND THE SEA, Siamese Brasserie

The thing I love most about resorts on islands is that every single square feet is photo-worthy. If you’re tired of swimming in sodium-laden ocean water, the pool’s great at ShaSa! With an insane view to boost 🙂 It’s no secret, I LOVE THAILAND!!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Maret, Laem Set
Koh Samui 84310, Thailand

[THAILAND] oo2.Island Lovin’

Headed for Thailand’s Koh Samui with my favourite travel pals in exactly 3 days’!! ❤
So stoked about scuba-diving, and living the island life in my friends’ resort. Also can’t wait to start partying at the local hotspots on Chaweng Beach.

Koh Samet Thailand

On our last trip to Koh Samet, another offshore party island in the Gulf of Thailand, we spent our afternoons snorkelling, swimming, speed-boating, tanning, scuba-diving, Thai-massaging, getting our asses bruised from bumpy rides on the island lorry and eating the freshest seafood the island has to offer.

Though we won’t be in time for Koh Samui’s famous full-moon parties, my local Thai friends insist that the island’s year round nightlife is insane. I’ll believe when I see it!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Sunset at Swan River

Swan River Waterfront

Swan River bay

Swan RIver Sunset

Slow and romantically lone walk along the Swan River waterfront overlooking South Perth.  Sea breeze and its accompanying calm did wonders for the incessant noise in my head, as did the pull of my heart in various messy directions. Loving the bright blue skies, crystal seas and its zen. This is nature at its best; beauty speaking the loudest as it is silent.

Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love & Fiberglass

I received this book from Beating Windward Press in exchange for an honest review, and here it is!
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Published October 1st 2012 by Beating Windward Press LLC

MY REVIEW:
Melanie Neale’s memoir evokes a scenic memory of the Bahamas and Florida – an elusive beginning to a heartbreaking story of growing-up and falling apart in more ways than one.

Each memory from her growing up years are detailed with the dates and year, giving us a complete picture of family whose lives revolved around living in a confined 47-foot sailboat cruising between the US East Coast and the Bahamas. The rocky lifestyle shapes the person Melanie gradually became. Her way of thinking, behaving and even eating.

“Part of it was a feminist streak and the other part of it was the ultimate in antifeminism: a deeply rooted need in me to be accepted by my dad and by other men. If I could do the same things as them, I would be accepted into their world.”

The author is a tough cookie who believes that women can rise in a man’s world despite the obstacles in her path. Acceptance became a huge part of her psyche and drives her will to make it out there on her own – Melanie’s own boat and Melanie’s rules.

This is definitely an unusual contemporary memoir that shifts between telling the full story of what actually happened, to what the current Melanie Neale hopes could have happened – a brilliant psychological mapping of a girl who simply wants her own life…with or without the boat. Has the boat become part of her life or has she been simply dictated by it? Definitely insightful if you wish to understand a nomadic life on the rocky seas!

SYNOPSIS
“Boat Girl” is the heart-breaking memoir of growing up aboard a sailboat. Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, Melanie’s family lived aboard a 47-foot sailboat, spending their summers along the US East Coast and their winters in the Bahamas. But the cruising life was not all fun in the sun. The family had to work hard to pay for their way of life. They dodged hurricanes, overzealous federal agents and bullying land-kids. And they endured a boatload of family drama. As her father published articles about how living on a boat brings families together, Melanie secretly struggled with an eating disorder, the alienation of being a boat kid, and confusion over her developing sexuality. As an adult, she lived aboard her own 28-foot sailboat and had several relationships trying to find someone who wasn’t intimidated by her stubborn independence and free-spirited lifestyle. “Boat Girl” weaves all this together into a story about a girl who, once all is said and done, simply wants her own boat and her own life. Melanie paints a vivid picture of the trials and tribulations of family life aboard a sailboat without drowning the reader in the technical details of sailing. “Boat Girl” strikes a perfect balance between a coming of age story and a sea tale, enjoyable for boaters and land-lovers alike.

3 Obvious Reasons to Visit Maldives

1. Sun, Sand, Sea
As we approach winter months, basking on the beach has never been more appealing.
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2. Maldives is Instagram-Worthy
P.S. Do not judge my failed jumpshots please.
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3. Snorkeling and other water activities are practically free on most island resorts.
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Some resorts even provide the equipment and instructors to guide newbies along.

Having extremely fair skin makes me prone to sunburns.
Nothing can stop me from enjoying the outdoors on Kurumba Island, though.
I slapped on more sunblock and chugged skin vitamins.
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Fun Fact: Maldives consists of 1,192 coral islands spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres, making this one of the world’s most dispersed countries.
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Also, inhaling salty sea breeze and getting sand stuck in your Havaianas is the best way to clear your head of a lot of things.
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Fun fact: Maldives is the smallest Asian country in both population and land area. Also the planet’s lowest country, with an average ground level of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, forecasts of inundation is a great concern.
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Waking up to nature’s beauty is enough reasons to make your way here for a golden getaway, don’t you think?
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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?

Writing Prompt: Mint

Describe the taste of mint, without using the words blue, green, cool or fresh.
No, you can’t use “minty” either. — Sarah Selecky

You place it gently at the tip of your tongue, slowly wrapping it in a fold, delivering it into the moist cave between your lips as you clench your teeth shut. You close your eyes to savor the first burst of sharp flavor and here comes your first thought – it tastes like the sea on the cusp of summer’s noon.
Its circular body is flipped through and through, crashing against the banks of your teeth like a pebble in restless tides, chipping away each time it hits the shores. Alongside the summer heat, it glows with a force. It is a piece of invitation – come to the sea where it is cold, and I will melt the heat away.

At its peak, it throbs with torridity, fighting with a fervor to be scorchingly cold.

At the close of the day it is chipped to its core, releasing feeble spurt of tangy tremor as the setting sun retreats.
Its purpose dutifully served, it fades to nothingness.

xoxo viktoriajean

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Photo-diary: Island Life, Maldives

The beauty of Maldives never fails to take my breath away
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Honestly would love to stay on this island and work for peanuts,
if it means that I get to see this every day of my life.
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Also, Kurumba Maldives is a crazy good place for getaways! It has 2 outdoor freshwater pools, 3 tennis courts, a yoga pavillion, spa and a fitness centre. Snorkeling was insanely fun, because you don’t even need to be a good swimmer – the crystal clear water in the lagoon sort of buoys you up naturally.
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Kurumba Island
Vihamanafushi
08340, Maldives