I have been amassing a copious amount of photographs in these two years, it’s no surprise I’ve had to spend hours filtering through terabytes of memories. My favourites are heavily biased toward those taken in Europe, especially Greece and Santorini, and oh, Belgium and Paris too. I think I take too much pride in good photos I forgot to love the bad ones. Santorini will always hold a special place in my never-ending mental scroll of picturesque sceneries.

SANTORINI GIRL OIA GREECE Breakfast at Santorini Landscape Santorini Sea P1050891

Pictures speak more than a thousand words but there are emotions that words and pictures cannot contain. At this point in time I’m just really glad for all these memories I get to keep long after this phase of my life is gone.

Though I’m gonna miss living out of a suitcase (and a blue handbag, my Longchamp tote and my cabin carry-on), I’ll not miss a lot of things tagged to the cabin crew life.
So, cheers to an exciting new path ahead!

Viktoria Jean


Sitting on the edge of Santorini’s peak, the dormant volcanoes that we can see are silent with power. The calm blue sea emanates with trillions of years of being. This sense of awe in the face of earth’s grandeur captures what each of us essentially are in the grand scheme of our universe – mere specks of inconsequential dust in space and time.


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Whilst we’re living on the edge of a fast-paced world, it’s a refreshing change to stop and admire beauty in the tranquil. I think I’ve learnt to appreciate life a whole lot more.


Viktoria Jean


For 3 days, home was Alexander’s Boutique Hotel, a resort-villa mid-waisted on the slopes along Oia’s breezy coastline. At night, Santorini’s otherwise pitch-black darkness is incandescently lit. A romantic glow permeates the scenic seaside village.

OIA Santorini P1050829

At Alexander’s we experienced how it must feel like to reside in a cave! We were checked into 2 rooms: a family suite, as well as a windmill house at the very peak of Oia. The family suite was shaped like a cave on the outside, with a cavernous hole in the ceiling that makes the living room resemble the bottom of a well. I wouldn’t use ‘spacious’ in its description. With 5 people sleeping in its premises, it was comfortable, amidst its quaint, simple furnishing. Our walls were hand carved volcanic stone mixed with marble, like most of the other resorts on the island, hence everything felt cool to the touch.

Residents of Oia are known as Apanomerites (from when Oia was still Apano Meria). From 3 days of living alongside locals, I was thrilled to discover that none of these island inhabitants were fond of locking up their doors! They really sleep with their doors wide open to the Aegean sea breeze. Tourists like us are further made conspicuous with our bolted gates and tightly sealed windows.

Hole in the ceiling
Santorini Oia
Even with all the lights on the interior is still very dark
My favourite space in the cave: the living room.

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From a high vantage point, Oia is a pretty village speckled with white and blue domed cottages, carved into the steep slope of the caldera – cauldron-like volcanic features formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption. In the day, her slopes and walls are pristinely white, and one can almost never find a single spot of dirt anywhere, not even an architectural flaw. Or a stained window. Bathed in an sea of calm that is the South Aegean sea, she’s insanely picturesque. No wonder she’s is a popular spot for wedding and anniversary photography! Please, future hubby, take me here too.

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Looking for a place to stay on the slopes of Oia? Check out MYSTIQUE, Zoe Houses, Helianthus Suites, Oia Mare Villas, or Aethrio. Villas on the island don’t come cheap, but you pay for what you get and trust me, it’s gonna be worth it.

Viktoria Jean

See also:


I began my journey to Athens in Greece.

Everyone who’s ever read a summer issue of Condé Nast Traveller dreams of the perfect Santorini sunset. Elusive is the word: sunset at Santorini isn’t about the picture-perfect moment. It is the breathtaking instance when you first catch sight, with your very own eyes, the illuminated sphere of bright fiery orange, radiating pink at its periphery.

After a gruelling Singapore to Athens flight, we further endured 3 hours on a crowded SeaJets ferry alongside hordes of locals and tourists alike. SeaJets stops by all major Greek islands – Mykonos,Paros, Ios, Sifnos, Folegandros – you name it and SeaJets is cruising right by. It is the go-to transport of choice for island-hoppers looking to crash local beach parties. And trust me, Greek island parties are the bomb diggity. But partying aside, our tired bodies weren’t ready to rock and roll as yet. Thankfully the ride was relatively bump-free from the port of Rafina in Athens to Thira at Santorini. We managed to snooze for a bit.

Things to note when tackling the long island-to-island boat ride:

1. Always dress comfortably – slip-on sandals, loose tanks or tees.

2. Have a full meal before coming onboard. The snacks bar is overpriced and does not carry anything remotely nutritious.

3. Bring eyeshades/sunglasses, earplugs and possibly an electric fan.

4. Always purchase confirmed seat tickets. Whilst cheaper tickets without a seat may sound tempting in booze-induced states of high, you’ll be subjected to constant seat changing or else endure the entire 3 hours on your feet. How these tickets works: you get to sit if there are vacant ones available. At the next island-stop, someone else may hop on and that person has purchased confirmed rights to your seat. So, ciao comfy chair.

5. Bring some form of entertainment – a book or magazines. Only the bees in the hive behind the main TV could hear what’s going on onscreen.

At last we arrived at the island. Everything is forgiven when we saw

Snapped when we were forced to stop at a bistro/villa - our car refused to go upslope.
Quintessentially overexposed snapshot from the back-patio of a grand bistro/villa.

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I admit these weren’t the most professionally taken photos in the history of Santorini sunsets. But I’m dead proud to say I took them with my baby Panasonic Lumix GF6. The best places to view sunsets are along Oia (northern tip) and Fira (short promenade along the cliff edge near the Cathedral), or you could also check out GoGreece for how to get the best sunset experiences. I took these along the Promenade of Fira, and caught sunrise at Oia the morning after whilst enjoying breakfast in the comfort of our resort-villa. Utter. Bliss.

A latin phrase sums up my experience perfectly: ad astra per aspera, meaning a rough road leads to the stars. Incidentally this was also on Launch Complex 34’s memorial plaque for the astronauts of Apollo 1. The thing is, travelling is never comfortable or easy unless you’ve hired a private jet. Be prepared to jostle in the queue for SeaJets, semi-suffocate in the crammed ferry seats, endure long walks in search of your villa with your duffle bags, but all’s good when you see the dazzling light at the edge of the horizon.

Stay tuned for more of my adventures in Santorini.

Viktoria Jean


Probably the only time you can catch the night scene outside St Peter’s Square is if you spend the night at Vatican City, or if you’re reading this as I’m about to show you a couple of my night scene captures. Outside St Peter’s Basilica on the day we arrived, there was a huge preparation for an important religious mass that would take place the day after, hence in the evening and well into the night, throngs of people gathered outside St Peter’s Square, setting up temporary food stalls and flea-market style cabins showcasing collections of costume jewellery, fine jewellery, art, tourist mementos, souvenirs, little collectibles of Vatican’s finest architecture, and flowers – from fine skinny stalks to big fluffy bouquets. As midnight approached, the crowd thinned, and melancholic street-lamps were just about the only ones creating shadows on the sidewalks. This is Vatican City at night, for you.








Viktoria Jean


Bringing to you a quick showcase of the world’s smallest independent state – all 109 acres (44 hectares) around St. Peter’s Basilica and the palace of the Vatican. In and around are beautifully preserved cultural sites, lush green gardens, and museums which feature some of the world’s most famous sculptures and paintings. Home to architectural inputs of Bramante, Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta, Maderno and Bernini, its chapels and homes distinctly echoes of Baroque and of the Renaissance.
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St. Peter’s Basilica:


Viktoria Jean


The view from the top of Vatican City’s St Peter’s Basilica was exhilarating, breathtaking, and worth the claustrophobia-inducing flight of stairs we had to take to the top. Once in your life, or perhaps through somebody else’s eyes, you should see Vatican City from its proudest heights. Here are some pictures I snapped, enjoy! P1040925 P1050009 P1050005 P1050003 P1050001 P1040990 P1040984 P1040983 P1040971 P1040966 P1040964 P1040961 P1040956 P1040950 P1040949 P1040947 P1040946 P1040944 P1040942 P1040941 P1040940 P1040939 P1040937 P1040935 P1040933 P1040932 P1040930 P1040927

Viktoria Jean


We were both blessed and unlucky to have arrived in Vatican City the day before a huge and important event for the Catholic Church. Many parts of the basilica were closed due to preparations for mass. On the upside, we got to witness the procession which arrived to prep the church up. There were massive tables, grand velvet chairs and draped upholstery.

Due to a 3GB flurry of photographs I’d taken of Vatican City, there was a need to split my posts on St Peter’s Basilica into 4 separate pieces (and more to come!).

In chronological order (previous postings):







Body of a great matyr
















Viktoria Jean


Ancient art, very much still alive today. The pure gold in reflecting sun’s rays ignites a sense of silent power that only a calm basilica would bring. Mass in this majestic interior must have been a truly empowering and significant event. Am amazed at how this Panasonic Lumix GF6 of mine was able to capture this beauty in all its stunning glory.

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Viktoria Jean

[ITALY] When in Rome…

Do as the Romans do!

We found our way to the Vatican City and it was amazing. It’s like living the Dan Brown/Robert Langdon dream! Every minute spent walking along the ancient grounds was a sacred moment for devout Catholics, and a fangirl moment for anybody who loves Dan Brown’s works.

I love Rome, enough said.

More pictures to come! I’m just too tired to write anything else. I spent 2 hours unpacking from Rome and then packing for Seoul, before getting on an evening flight into Incheon, and hence am spending the night at the airport.

Everybody needs to do crazy things in their 20s.

Viktoria Jean

Adventures in Auckland

To sum up my third Auckland experience:

1. Mediocre room service from Crowne Plaza at 2am local time. Great chips, over-fried snapper fish. But still yum-in-my-tum after 10-hours in the skies.20140608-172649-62809783.jpg

2. 15°C in the day, with the sun out. What more can you ask for?20140608-172650-62810755.jpg

3. My favourite cereals and the works – late-night snacking essentials.20140608-172651-62811620.jpg

4. Thumping the threadmill late evening before another round of fish-and-chips, kiwi-style. Definitely calls for gymming over-time.20140608-172652-62812491.jpg

5. Strawberries and Cream Frappucino! What more can I say, I love this shit. It’s ice-cream, milk, strawberries, fresh cream all in a cup.20140608-172653-62813667.jpg

6. Late-night gossip with awesome colleagues. Talking stuffs only we understand, surrounding ourselves with quizzical stares when we burst into maniacal laughter. 20140608-172654-62814403.jpg


7. Brunch is Japanese food, again! (We did Japanese the day before as well) They seem to love Japanese food down-south because these joints are everywhere in Australia and New Zealand. Katsu Chicken Curry with a lemony-twist. Loved it. 20140608-172655-62815301.jpg

The whole lot more doesn’t come with pictures. I don’t love Auckland particularly but the place definitely has its perks. Someday soon I would get ballsy enough to do that SkyTower bungee jump.

Viktoria Jean


I’m never again staying (alone) in a motel, regardless of how good the deal.

Checked out from BLU:Guesthouse Hongdae, dragged my bags through interweaving subway lines, and finally arrived at Gayang Station. First, let me take a selfie –  to commemorate the end of (the first part of) my solo-venture.


A long bumpy walk later, I found Baekje Hotel at last! Smothered by a a busy traffic lane and a long pavement filled with sleazy bars, Baekje is definitely located further from a ’10-minutes walk from Gayang Station’ as instructed on Booking.com.

Traipsing around with 2 duffel bags and a luggage, I found the mid-lower class locale at Hwagok (where Baekje is situated) friendly, laid-back and down-to-earth. Nobody bothers to hide their shit around here. Later that evening, the area around Baekje will fill up with staggering drunkards, pub-crawlers and middle-aged men with their arms around scantily-clad girls. What I’m trying to say is, their rampant nightlife ain’t behind-closed-doors, and the locals seem so totally at ease going on with their night-to-night activities. A foreigner like me can never totally blend in.


So imagine my discomfort at stepping into Baekje (M)otel which was advertised as Baekje HOTEL, thus giving the false impression. See? Ahem. Tourist con. I was too hurried in trying to get a room for the night before meeting Kris at Gimpo Airport in the morning to catch our flight to Jeju Island. Hadn’t even bothered to check what the area at Gayang is all about.

Amenities-wise there’s nothing lacking in the room. The WiFi was great, the room was spacious, the TV was ginormous and HD.. but I just didn’t feel clean. Not because I’m accustomed to 5-star hotels – I’m not that spoilt by my lifestyle. Firstly the room reeked. Of what I don’t wish to know. The bedsheets were yellow and smelt musty and unwashed. I called the reception to enquire if they were clean and they gave me their assurance. Nevertheless I was still disgusted and barely slept that night. Didn’t even cover myself with the sheets. Slept in sweater and jeans.

To the motel’s credit, the receptionist was really nice and responsible. He insisted on bringing all of my bags into my room, and waved me away when I tried to help. Later, he rang my door bell and handed me an amenities kit and their motel WiFi password. Guess what – there were 2 complimentary condoms in their welcome pack. I just threw the whole package aside and used nothing.





Don’t be fooled – tub looks amazingly gold in this picture but it’s actually browned and yellowed, with that tangy, indescribable motel smell. The floor was so dirty too.20140608-161504-58504587.jpg



At close to 70 SGD a night, the stay wasn’t cheap. Since I only booked it the night before, I guess beggars can’t be choosers.

Indulging in comfort food – my new favourite Peppero flavour: WHITE COOKIES!! It’s SO AMAZING. Although now available in Singapore and dreadfully overpriced.20140608-161507-58507880.jpg



Haven’t been writing for the longest time, caught up in day-to-day gallivanting and work, and life. Still have yet to update on the mid-spring Jeju trip I did with Kris! I’ve just booked company tickets to Seoul in July and have settled on home-stay accommodations this time. Also visiting Dia, my favourite Thai big sister, in Bangkok in July! Missed her so much. June and July means big changes for me. So excited for the upcoming months.

It’s gonna be a great summer. Have a good one, everybody.

Viktoria Jean

Cafe aA Design Museum | 카페 aA 디자인 뮤지엄

Imagine my joy when I finally found my way to Cafe aA in Hongdae!

“Seoul Design Spot” identifies 250 unique architectural creations or designer venues selected by 100 famed designers. Cafe aA Design Museum is a European-style hangout which falls under both museum and cafe categories. I was really excited to hunt for this chill-out museum.

The cafe currently occupies the ground floor of the 5-storey building, with the basement still under construction. The remaining floors showcases designer furniture, fashion, and art.


A while ago before heading to Korea, I came across these pictures and decided I just had to see this urban chic coffeehouse and view their art gallery! I’m not much of a big eater, but I snack heavily. This place provides really light bites (nuggets, pancakes, salads, risotto) and a good range of coffees for the after-work socialites, and the university kids looking for a conducive study cafe.




My dream came true in the form of Kahlua Cinnamon Ice – coffee with Kahlua topped with milk, cinnamon flavoured syrup and cinnamon flakes! At a reasonable price of 6,500 KRW, it totally made my day. 20140413-165626.jpg




According to the owners, the lowercase in ‘aA’ stands for art, architecture, and alive. The capital A is an unchanging value, that one can expect ‘the best a person can get’.20140413-165725.jpg




The interior seems pretty bright over here because I’d adjusted the colour but it’s actually pretty dark inside. The walls are a grungy mix washed-out greys and chipped tiles, which I really loved because stepping alone into Cafe aA felt a tad spooky as if I’m paying a visit to a haunted house. Various elements funkified the dark atmosphere – designer coffee-table books and artistic pamphlets.20140413-165843.jpg










Check this out: Big Bang’s TOP contributed this vintage metal bench to aA Design Museum!20140413-170031.jpg




Selfie time in the creepy basement where I was all alone.20140413-170105.jpg

Best thing about this cafe? Its sheer size. It’s impossible not to find a seat, or you could always order up, take a walk in the gallery, then come back and get yourself a table. Am totally in love with this place. 20140413-170118.jpg



aA Design Museum
서울시 마포구 서교동 408-11
Mon – Sun: 12:00 – 24:00 

Viktoria Jean

Gabae Naru | 가배나루

Hiking around Chungjeongno 충정로동 revealed many surprises about Seodaemun-Gu. First, I managed to catch the splendour of spring flowers at Dongnimmun, and was then awed by the grandeur of South Korea’s Independence Gate. Not forgetting Seodaemun’s Prison History Hall, reminding us all of mankind’s ceaseless war amongst ourselves.

Out of the blue comes this charming red cafe all white-washed walls and scruffy front yard, with a deservingly quaint name! Gabae Naru does legit hand-drip coffee, and mostly serves nine-to-fivers from neighbouring high-rise corporate offices (as far as I can observe).



After much snooping around, I discovered the Gabae Naru brand is creative brainchild of one Ham Soohyun, mastermind behind concepts of various other coffeeshops.



Mostly, the interior is peppered with keepsakes and mementos belonging to the cafe owners. Anyone can help themselves to the books on display. I especially loved the owners’ scattered polaroids of friends and customers. Goes to show that owning a cafe is indeed a personal and very sentimental affair. 20140401-133255.jpg













I love a place that can fix a good cuppa iced cappucino. The espresso is hand-dripped, blended with ice, then frothed with a layer of milk. So much work goes into making it instead of pouring pre-made coffee over hot milk, then adding ice, which is basically what the big names do. 20140401-133425.jpg



Let’s go see what’s on the upper floor shall we?20140401-133441.jpg




Basically, the second floor is dedicated space for smokers. 20140401-133514.jpg


Such a lovely hidden gem in a busy part of town, way too out of the way and underrated. This would be one of ’em cafes that locals frequent, and the occasional tourist stumbles upon.20140401-133541.jpg

Gabae Naru 가배나루
348-1 Chungjeongno 3(sam)-ga
Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

Viktoria Jean

Cafe Joenill | 카페 조에닐

20140401-125835.jpg Late night shopping at Hongdae with iced peach tea leads to planting thy ass at this comfortable hideout, tired out from endless sights, walking with wedge-heels, and very fascinated by observations I get from people watching at Cafe Joenill. Also, it had been drizzling, and I still wanted to keep my nose. 20140401-125840.jpg 20140401-125846.jpg Earpiece-plugged, this was the time I fell in love with EXO’s Peter Pan (the only song from their album I actually can’t stop listening to). I can only hope nobody in the cafe noticed my feet tapping to the beat. Nightfall sentimentalises all my favourite semi-emotional songs. xoxo, Viktoria Jean

Coffine Gurunaru | 커핀그루나루

So this is one of ’em chain coffee-stores that also offer legit mojitos and cocktails, where I tasted one of the best sweet-potato lattes I’ve ever had! Purple’s their defining colour. I’ve only so far tried one of their beverages. Everything else on their menu is the same as any of the other chain coffeehouses.





Was grabbing a hot drink before battling the cold spring weather on my way to Deoksugung at City Hall. This Hongdae franchise is the only one I’ve been to, given the amount of time I had, and usually it’s crammed up besides the other cafe giants like Caffe Bene, Coffee Bean, Starbucks and the likes, hence much neglected (by me).

On the day I decided to give this a try, it was incredibly empty at 10 am as the university kids were probably at school. Then again 10am isn’t exactly an ungodly hour, since the cafe is open 24/7. I pass this cafe every night while going back to my guesthouse and it really fills up past 10pm. Kinda reminds me of my own late-night uni days!

Viktoria Jean

Café Mamas | 카페마마스

Edged alongside local eateries in the central business district of Jung-Gu, this diner was packed during the lunch hour, with loads of people still waiting for tables when I left!  Café Mamas is amongst the popular franchised coffee houses in Seoul that offer a European brunch menu consisting of salads, paninis and soups. They serve a corporate crowd from neighbouring office towers as well as tourists and locals visiting Deoksugung and various palaces in the Sijeong City Hall area.



With a moustached coffee mug as the cafe’s icon, this place is hard to forget! You can expect wholesome all-day breakfasts, fresh juices and gourmet coffees at all their branches.20140401-131737.jpg


Kiwi juice and this potato soup looks pretty good~ 20140401-131750.jpg



Cold Chicken salad for brunch! I think I liked their bread most. The chicken was too dry – kind of tasted as if it was left overnight. I wonder if its just me or was the chicken so very tasteless? But they had so many customers that day. Probably the salad is not the best thing they have on offer, since everything else looks equally good or better. It was a decent meal though, but I guess I had higher expectations!






They also have franchises at places like Gangnam, Yeouido, Yeoksam, Garosugil and Gwanghwamun – a total of 15 stores Seoul-wide. Looking forward to try something else on their menu when I’m back ^^

Café Mamas 카페마마스
6-17 Sunhwa-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
+82 2-776-1046

Viktoria Jean