[Trip] Netherlands – Museum of Prostitution

When we were at the Red light district, we visited 2 museums, one was Erotic museum and the other one was Museum of Prostitution. They both locate quite near to each other as they are on the main street of Red light district. Both museums do require admission fee to enter inside. First we went to erotic museum, it is a museum with sexual artwork and reference. It has 5 levels inside of the museum, all the levels are quite small, similar size to London small apartment. We spent about 20 minutes inside the museum. In our opinion, it is worth a skip.

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However Museum of Prostitution is quite different, you get to see what the typical of the girls live in. You can see their rooms and bathroom, it is quite small. In the museum, there is a video of a typical day for the girls. It was quite interesting to see what they do everyday from the morning to the night. There are a lot of stories from the girls why they chose the paths, some are really tragic and feel really sorry for them. Others chose this path as it is something that they want to do and felt proud of their job. Although this is smaller than Erotic museum, but it is really interesting. We spent about 30 minutes going through the museum.

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[Trip] Netherlands – Anne Frank Museum

Unfortunately the first time when I went to Amsterdam, I didn’t have a chance to go to Anne Frank museum. This time I had slightly more time and more prepared. I didn’t know much about Anne Frank before coming to Europe. But going to different places and learning about the history, I found a whole new view about our past. Anne Frank museum is quite small, this is the place where she hid during the Nazi time. The reason why she is famous is because of the diary she kept during the Hitler times. The diary was given to her as a birthday present, she kept a journal of her life during that difficult times. Unfortunately she died in the concentration camp, but her dad wanted to publish her diary as her legacy.

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The best way to avoid the queue is to book online, but they sold their tickets quite fast. The queue can get quite long in the morning, especially most tour group will go there. We went there at late afternoon about 4pm, we were in the line for 30 minutes before getting our tickets. To get to the Anne Frank museum, you can take hop on hop off boats, one of the stops are outside of the museum. Or you can walk through Amsterdam, there are signs which direct you to the museum. The museum itself is basically a house with hidden compartments, where Anne and her family hid from the Nazi army. You can walk through the house, there are things to read about the tragic events. You can also see the original Anne’s diary at the end.

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[Trip] Netherlands – Albert Cuyp Market

Albert Cypt market is a market which I visit in my 2nd time of visiting the city. It is located quite near to Heinken experience, I’m surprised that we missed it last time. The market reminds me of Broadway market in London where it sells food, fresh produce, clothing, other random things. It opens during the weekend, like all markets, beware of the pickpockets. It was quite packed when we got there, a lot of tourists and locals go to the market. The market goes through a whole street with booths in the middle and stores on the sides. There are quite a lot to see

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What we love about this market is the chicken store, basically they sell poultry and also cooked food. The boy read blogs which most recommend to try the chicken wings in the market. We came across this store where the saleman shows his love towards the chicken. He was yelling ‘chicken made with love, it is simple to make’. It got the boy’s attention and try it. Boy, it was good, had a lot of flavours in the chicken. The boy can feel the love while he was eating his chicken. That store was the cheapest in the market. We also had herring in the market, we had herring in Iceland, but they were prickled. This time we had the fresh herring. Boy, they taste so totally different to the ones we had in Iceland. The herring were so much fresher and you can taste the meat. It takes the herring to another level. The herring is still a bit chewy comparing to other fishes. It was so good that we made a repeat purchase.

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[Tips] Night in the museum

At the last Friday of each month, the museums will close later than the usual time. It closes at 10pm, normally museums close at 6pm. We were interested to see what it is like to go through a museum at night. We have seen the museum during their normal opening hours. But seeing it at night was a different experience, when you enter the museum, there was music and alcohol served. So different to what we normally see in Sydney and Hong Kong.

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People were allowed to bring their drink and at the same time they are able to enjoy the artifacts in the museum. I quite like it, as there isn’t too many kids around the museum. During the night, there are alot of events such as designing your building with texters or getting free gifts from the sponsor. So it isn’t just music and alcohol. We have been to Victoria and Albert museum, National Portrait museum and National History museum. I quite like the National History museum, as it reminds me of Night of the museum movies.

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I’ve been to V&A museum at South Kensington during Friday late, we only spent about 30 minutes inside the museum. The boy isn’t too keen on design and art type of museum. At the time when we went, there was a catwalk show inside V&A just specifically for Friday night. I thought it was quite interesting to see a fashion show inside a museum. It is a clever idea to promote fashion. We also have been to National Portrait museum on Friday late, there wasn’t any specific or special events. It was quite boring, as you can see the same thing during their opening hours. National History museum is what we both quite liked. They have drinks and food stalls at the entrance of the museum, which you can wander around with. I think that is nice for the museum, we have seen some which no food or drinks allowed. I quite like the fact that there isn’t too many children in the museum at night, we made our experience more pleasant than other times during normal opening hours.

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[Food] Porters

So we went to this pub one day when we were wandering around Covent Garden area. We were looking for food but didn’t feel like anything in particular. So we decided to go to this pub. Unlike other pubs, it has a table service. At the time when we went, it wasn’t peak meal time period but it was slight packed so we needed to wait about 15 minutes before getting a table. We were allowed to wait at the pub, which they will give you a bar tab to charge on your bills.

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The food itself is quite good, the portion is quite big. So if you aren’t too hungry, you may want to consider sharing a plate with your friends. We had burger and pasta, it was pretty good, as they aren’t specialised in specific type of food. I thought it was quite good if I’m comparing to the other food in pubs. The plates and food were hot, came straight out of the kitchen. The drinks are your typical pub drinks, which includes beer, wine and soft drinks. The speed of the service is alright, but they can be quite sloppy. We asked for a bill several times before getting it. The atmosphere reminds me more of a diner concept than a pub. In general it is more cleaner than the other pubs I’ve been to.

For more information, please visit their website: http://www.porters.uk.com
Address: 17 Henrietta St, London WC2E 8QH

[Food] Zedel

Zedel is a French brasseries which offers affordable and value French food. It is located at Piccadilly circus, it is about 5 minutes walk from the station. You know when you get there, as there is a doorman which opens the door for you. Once you go inside, you will find its café. Normally it is for customers who want to have a cup of tea/coffee and cakes, more for afternoon tea. When you go downstairs, there is a brasseries, a bar and a jazz club. For jazz club, you will need to book your tickets in advance to see it. Unfortunately we still haven’t been to there yet. The bar is where it serves American type of food, and also a place where you can wait for your table at the brasserie. The bar offers bar snacks and drinks, we have seen from the outside but haven’t been inside of the bar.

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The review which I’ll be doing is for the brasserie, the place where we have visited. It can get packed during early evening, as there are a lot of theatres around the area, which customers like to eat before heading to the theatres. Normally the staff will ask you whether you are going to theatre or not. If you do, they will quickly serve your food and as well as opening up the table for the late comers who are not going to theatres. Normally you can book in advance to secure a table, however they also offer walk-in, walk-in is basically a chance of luck. Sometimes you will get a table straight away or sometimes you will need to wait for a while. The brasserie structure do remind you of authentic French restaurant, it is grand and beautiful.
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When you get a table, you will be given a menu in French, you have to ask for an English menu if you don’t understand French. The speed of the service is quite quick as the turnover rate of the tables are quite high. The waiters are really nice and helpful, they will explain the dishes if you don’t understand. The food itself is delicious, the presentation is quite nice. It opens up your appetite. This place is definitely worth its value, it is quite cheap for the experience and atmosphere you received. I do recommend to try this place at least once. Like me, I did my return visit recently and still find the experience the same as the first time I visited.

For more information, please visit their website: http://www.brasseriezedel.com/
Address: 20 Sherwood St, London W1F 7ED

[Food] Red Dog Saloon

Red Dog Saloon is a place which the boy took me to there. It is an American type of diner, why did we chose to go there? 1. It was close to the boy’s office 2. It is their hot wing challenge. We both like our spicy food, but this challenge is way way advance than our standard of chilli. I think they use the hot is quite misleading. Anyway, there is chilli index, they use the chilli which is the 3rd highest spiceness of chilli in the index. This place is located at Hoxton Square, it is quite near Shoreditch and Liverpool St. To get there, you can catch a Tube to Liverpool St or Overground to Shoreditch High Street.

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This place can get quite packed during weeknight and weekend. Even if you get there early evening, you may not get a seat. Sometimes, it is a 5 minutes wait or it can get up to 1 hour of waiting time. The main focus of the menu is mainly meat. Basically it is like s steakhouse with burgers and ribs. The speed of the service varies at times, some days it is fast and some days it can be quite daunting. The waiters are really nice and helpful. The food is quite good, I do recommended to order the 12 wings taster, which you can taste 3 different sauces they offer. I quite like the mustard sauce, the chill one in the taste is not as chilli but it gives a spicy kick to it. The mains are quite good, the portion is pretty decent. We tried to hot wing challenge once, we didn’t want to try the challenge but we want to see how spicy the wings are. To give you some perspective, I had 3 bites of the wings and the boy ate the whole wing. Basically we couldn’t talk for 15 minutes straight, we were drinking milkshake, milk and eating salad. We were crying and our hairs were sticking up. It didn’t help too much, by the time we left the restaurant, our stomachs were still burning. We couldn’t sleep that night.

A note to ourselves, they do charge for a glass of milk

For more information, please visit their website: http://www.reddogsaloon.co.uk
Address: 37 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NN

[Trip] Vatican City – St. Peter’s Basilica

when you go to Vatican City, one of the things you should go and check it out is St Peter’s Basilica. Basically it is the building which you see from the main street leading up to Vatican City. If you go and visit during the morning, it can take up to 2 hours of waiting time. However if you visit 2-3 hours before closing time, your waiting time is a lot shorter. In our case, we waited for 5 minutes before visiting. You will need to go through a security check before entering in.

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Inside the Basilica, it is a wow factor. You won’t think it is huge, but it is HUGE and quite overwhelming. It is nothing comparing to other churches or cathedrals we have been to. It made me look really small when I’m inside. You can fit a statue of Liberty inside the Basilica, that is how tall the building is. Inside there are a lot of Biblical scene in stained glasses, prayer area. We got there just 2 hours before it closes, so we spent about 45 minutes inside. We went through the Basilica quite quick, so may have missed some of the things. If you pay extra, you can visit the dome (basically climb to the top of the Basilica and have an awesome view of Rome and Vatican city). Unfortunately it was closed by the time when we got inside the Basilica.

[Trip] Vatican City – Vatican Museum

One of the things the boy wants to do at Vatican City is to visit the museum. A tip for people who wants to go is to purchase the ticket online. At the time when we went there, the queue was from the museum entrance to St Peter’s Square. I estimated that it might be about 3-4 hours of wait in the queue. The museum itself is quite big, there are a lot of artworks to see and as well as Biblical paintings in the museum.

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A place to visit inside the museum is the Sistine chapel where the famous Biblical scene are painted on the roof. In there, you have to be quiet and enjoy the paintings. You will know when you get to the chapel is because everyone is looking up to the roof. It is quite a scene when you first walked in. The museum itself can accommodate a lot of people, which means there are always bottleneck in the doorway. This frustrate us because we want to self tour and look and enjoy the paintings. However there are tour groups just walk in front of you or talking really loud around the area. There is no quiet times in the museum, it is always busy especially in the morning. If you do want to see it, book online or try to get there in the afternoon (Avoid the tour group).

[Trip] Vatican City – General Audience with the Pope

The reason why we went to Rome is because the boy wants to see the Pope in person during General Audience with the Pope at Vatican City. This takes place every Wednesday unless Pope has a special event that he needs to attend. To participate this event, you will need to get tickets from the Swiss Guard. Only the Swiss guard near the road hands out the ticket, it is between the St Peter’s square and the Vatican museum. The event itself is free (beware of people trying to sell the tickets). The events take place at St Peter’s Square at 10:30am. It goes for about 1.5-2 hours. There are numbers of seats, but you have to get there super early.

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In our case, we got to St Peter’s Square at 8:30am and it was already packed. Luckily we were able to stand close to the fence. Around 10:30am, the pope goes around the audience in his car. He stopped and blessed all the babies before heading to the stage. The preach is done in Italian with about 9 different languages translations by other priests. It ends with the Pope blessing everyone. It was quite interesting especially when the Pope was around the audience. You can get quite close to him. If you do go to Rome during weekday, I do recommended to go there and experience the pilgrimage.

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