"On Melbourne summer mornings the green trams go rolling in stately progress down tunnels thick with leaves: the bright air carries along the avenue their patient chime, the chattering of their wheels." Helen Garner

Overnight flights give hotels an opportunity to make your day.
A chance to rise to the top of favorite hotel lists.
So, when we arrived at QT Melbourne...
and a smiling person grabbed our bags
 and escorted us into the festive lobby,
we were already feeling revitalized. 

The morning continued to improve... 
when they led us to our room hours before stated check-in time, 
for a quick freshening up before our first adventure.

Since it was American Thanksgiving,
we decided to board the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant...
for a cruise through the city to get our bearings, 
while eating a surprisingly tasty meal served by a crew who aimed to please.

Once our Thanksgiving meal was complete 
my internal Christmas timing barometer kicked in...
and it was a respectable time to enjoy Melbourne's Christmas cheer.
Shopping at my new favorite store, David Jones...
was complete with live music...
and even the trees offer cozy reminders
 of what Christmas is all about.
Most of the museums in Melbourne are free...
  and the National Gallery of Victoria...
is filled with an eclectic... 
mixture of art mediums...
where visitors are free to snap away. 
Our quick visit limited us to only one museum,
but there are many to choose from.

The walkability of Melbourne... 
makes a stroll along the Yarra River...
an enjoyable way to see much of the city.
The newest park in Melbourne...
Birrarung Marr, was built
on traditional land of the Wurundjeri people. 
 A walk along the river also allows you...
to cross over the river multiple times...
for an up close and personal...
look at the unique bridges...
for foot passages only.
Some bridges even offer a rest area...
with refreshments!
Other river crossings are complete with frisky animals...
and mastheads.
As night fell,
the buildings put on a show...
and crowds paused to peer,
where they have been peering for 62 years, 
into the infamous Myer Department store windows.

With some excellent tips from the concierge at the hotel...
we managed to locate...
a few interesting cocktail bars.
Of course, one of them pretentiously did not allow photos. Ha!
We were ignorant of that rule when this was taken!

Meanwhile...
the beautiful Christmas tree...
is sitting pretty at the base of the Petronas Towers here in KL.



  




"Between the imperial gardens, a skyline that delicately balances ancient temples and modern skyscrapers, and a buzzing street food scene matched only by an impressive variety of upscale restaurants, China’s second-largest city belongs at the top of your bucket list." ~ Travel + Leisure

As the capital,
 Beijing was the perfect choice for my first visit to China.
It's the perfect launching pad for the Great Wall...
amazing Xian and the nearby Terra Cotta Warriors.

Beijing has its own story to tell
throughout its 16 districts...
from the bookstore serving Beijing for 50 years...
to the paparazzi waiting to snap photos
 of those hoping to be spotted in the newer Sanlitun Villages.  
These people were all about being photographed. 

And then there are the night vibes to fit any preference. 
Ours was of the slower pace...
but has been providing live jazz since 2006.

Meanwhile, here are five strong reasons to visit Beijing.
(in no particular order because they are all amazing)
#1  A day of moseying around the 798 Art Zone.
#2  Half day without a tour, longer for a tour of the Forbidden City
#3  Live like a local in a Hutong
#4  Walk the grounds of the Summer Palace.
April sprinkled the paths with smells and colors of Spring.
#5  And did we mention the food.

Beijing has so much more to see and explore, however our time was limited.
For example, we didn't make it to the Olympic Village...
 but it's on the list for our next visit.


“These were the dumplings that became our road map to Beijing. The dumplings and noodle soup and baozi and the plum sauce we spread on the roasted duck…these were how we were able to translate China.” ― Susan Conley, Unsavory Elements: Stories of Foreigners on the Loose in China

As luck would have it...
my birthday celebration provided a few restaurant splurges,
and Capital M kicked it all off with its views overlooking Tienanmen Square
 and equally delightful food.
Ren Man's colleagues made up for his having to work and all...
by treating me to a bountiful lunch of the infamous Peking Duck...
and a table full of pure yummyness at Da Dong.
We even found a quirky Mexican take on Chinese at Migas 
where we must return for the rooftop bar.
JK on the gluttony tax.  I asked!
We found an amazing small Japanese, Suzuki Kitchen, near our hutong area,
and trust me...it is worth the wait.

We would be remiss if we did not mention Toast
the small restaurant at The Orchid...
where the creative names of its breakfast choices
 are equally as creative in the taste department.
They serve food all day long so check it out.
Another reason why we LOVE The Orchid.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...