Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Visiting Dublin

Dublin is the capital city of the Republic of Ireland. Located to the west of  UK, Dublin can be connected via air, and sea.

I took a Ryanair to Dublin from Manchester which cost me only 20 sterling pounds (return). It is only one-hour flight.From the Dublin airport, I took a Dublin bus to the city centre with Euro 3 per person. The bus has a wifi.

Upon reaching the apartment at Iveagh Court  that I booked earlier, I walked to the city centre passing the city park (St Stephen's Green), O'Connell Bridge until I reach the post office. Other place that I visited are Temple Bar area, castle, bachelor's quay and a few institute of higher learning.

Dame Street and the Grafton Street are lively place to visit.Dame Street and Temple Bar are lively at night. These areas offer wine, dine and entertainments.

Dublin is well served with buses and trams. However, if you want to explore, walking is the best option.

Here are a few pictures that I took during my visit to Dublin.

St Stephen Green
An accommodation at Bachelor's Quay
Liffey River and the Bachelor's Quay
O'Connell St
Tram near Iveagh Court
A pedestrian mall, Grafton St
Kebab outlet at Dame Street.
A restaurant at Dame Street
Dinner at Dame St
Dublin at night
Wicklow Streeet
Whiskey Museum
You can book your tour here
A good street map and sign direction board
Fridge magnets sold at Carrollls
O'Connell Bridge
Iveagh Court, has both residential and offices.
The Spire of Dublin. a stainless steel, pin-like monument (121 metre high), O'Connell St. 

A Dublin Mosque, South Circular Road.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Eating Place in Manchester, England

I had the opportunity to visit this city, a city that is not too big but famous for its football clubs i.e Manchester United. Manchester has a lot of higher institutions that attracts students globally. Its population is rather mix ethnic. I found some are from the Indo-Pakistan and Chinese origins.

The city centre is centrally located and Piccadilly is right in the city centre. The city is served by inter-city trains (which has big stations like Piccadilly and Victoria), inter-city buses (Shudehill station), trams, buses and of course taxi. I found Piccadilly Gardens attracts most tourist with its Manchester Wheel.

As a traveller visiting Manchester, I found  a lot of halal food and restaurant located along the road around Rusholme. Major Muslim cuisine are available here at Wimslow Road, Manchester. If you want to satisfy your hunger, come to Rusholme and enjoy your meal.

There are many  restaurants at Wimslow Road. One of them is Al Jazeera. You can taste Arab cuisine at Al Jazeera.If you come at night, this area is well lit with colorful lights and looks vibrant.

Cosy atmosphere at upper stair of Al Jazeera

Rice and grilled chicken at Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
Wing Yip supermarket offers oriental food.
For those who like to cook Asian food themselves, you can buy raw materials like chilly sauce, wantan mee, prawn paste, fish essence (budu), and other oriental food from a Chinese supermarket in the city, This Chinese supermarket offers large variety of oriental food imported from Malaysia, Thailand, India, Pakistan, China and Hong Kong.

Makan Cafe, Portobello, London

I had an opportunity to visit a restaurant by the name of Makan Cafe, in the heart of Portobello Street in London (Portobello is famous for its antique market in London).

Makan Cafe offers Malaysian cuisine at affordable price and is well-like by its patrons. Streams of patrons comes in and out from this Cafe. Patrons are both locals and those visiting London. It offers breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner. That includes noodles, chicken dishes, lamb curry, seafood, drinks, desserts, vegetable dishes, rice, all day breakfast,  Open at 9.00 am and close at 9.00 pm, this Cafe offers authentic Malaysian dishes !

This Cafe belongs to a Malaysian who operate it years ago. It started from one shop, later as it is successful, it expanded to the next shop. So, now adjoining shop combine with the original shop to make it a better dining environment and spacious too.

I talked to the owner, Madam Hairani who hails from Terengganu, Malaysia. She is a nice  charming lady in her early fifties. Her strong will and commitment paves her way to success.

The entrance to Makan Cafe
One side of the restaurant

Variety of food are being served

Affordable price



T-shirt sold in Makan Cafe

A visitor and the owner (black blouse)

The owner (blue blouse) and the patrons.
This Cafe seems to be  a good meeting point for locals and visitors to London especially Malaysians as it offers many delicacy and Malaysian dishes and desserts.

During my recent visit, I found many Malaysian students who come all the way from Germany. They came in group purposely to taste the food here while visiting friends in London.

Malaysian students happy enough to pose for this picture
So next time you are in London, do visit Makan Cafe. It is located at 270, Portobello Road, London W10 5TY (Tel +44 208960 5169). For details, visit The nearest tube station to Makan Cafe is Ladbroke Grove in Zone 2. Happy travelling.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Visiting Paris

I had a chance to visit the most visited cities of the world, Paris. It is a city which attracts many people due to her physical charm (historical buildings, museums, boulevards, Eiffel tower, River Seine etc), her transportation, boutique shops and fashion, and of course the food that caters for different type of people.

I took a low cost carrier Ryanair from Manchester, England to Beauvais Airport, 50 km north of Paris. This airport is very small by international standard surrounded by a large agricultural land. However, many airlines operate from  here with destination all over Europe.

After passing the immigration counter, I took a bus from here to Paris, Porto Maillot with  cost of Euro 17.00 per pax. The travel time to Paris took 1 hr and 15 minutes.

Porto Maillot Bus Station, Paris.

At Porto Maillot bus station, passengers are connected with other modes of transport. A walking distance only, you can take a train, bus or Metro to your destination. For Metro, which is very convenient to me, you can take at Porto Maillot station with a ticket from the vending machine which cost only Euro 1.80 to your destination.

Porto Maillot Metro Station.

Paris has a number of must visit places such Eiffel Tower, Seine River Cruise, Cafes, Arc De Triomphe, Champs Ellysees, Musium, Notre Dame Cathedral, Grand Mosque of Paris, shopping streets of La Fayette etc.

Below are places that I visited and wish to share with the readers.

Eiffel Tower is the landmark of Paris where you can not miss.Actually if you have enough time, it is advisable to visit Eiffel tower both during the day and at night. I found it is  a very different atmosphere.
Eiffel Tower at night with laser light beaming to various directions. The tower has glittering lights at times.

Fun games at the tower vicinity.

Metro, subway train is one of the options you can take in order to bring you around Paris. It is fast and efficient too. Paris has many Metro lines. You must learn to read Metro maps in order to guide you to your favourite destinations.

Buses are good too. With buses, you can see Parisian buildings and activities while sitting on the bus. But, it moves at slower pace compare to Metro trains.

Buildings in Paris 
 Venturing or exploring Paris is best on foot where you learn about streets and people. However, if you are tired, just relax at benches nearby or sip coffee at many street cafes.

Building in Paris

Happy tourists posing for my camera

I found Paris offers many types of  food which caters for  " international taste ". Turn left you see turkish or moroccan kebab or labanese rice,  turn right, you see all sorts of ice-cream, breads, pastry, chocolate and cafes. So, you do not go hungry in Paris. Just spare some Euros will do.....

Pastry and bakery shop

Chocolate shop
 One of the places that I visited certainly is Pompidou Centre, which has a funny and peculiar design.
It is just a walking distance from the apartment that I rented at Rue De Clery. In front of this building, there are many souvenir shops (that sold many patented  t-shirts, key chains, fridge magnets), restaurants and boutique shops. If you follow your map, you can not go wrong......Nowadays, you can use google map application from your hand phone to show your location.

Pompidou Centre
 Besides looking at buildings and souvenirs shop, I  accidentally met small kids going back from school. What a lovely day! There is life in Paris.
School kids are being escorted by their teachers and parents.
 As I walked long enough, I stopped at the corner shop and ate this food. It is easy going exploring Paris on foot. Relax your feet.....
Food  that I bought to give me energy for walking......
 One of the cycles that crossed my path was this try-cycle, manned by a young man. There are other similar tri-cycles in different design which functions to carry goods.
This try-cycle attracted me. it was used as goods carrier. it is easier to move around and do not use petrol.
Tri-cycle that carry people.

The halal food are everywhere in Paris especially near the city centre, where many in-migrants from North Africa stay. It is also found near mosques.

Restaurant that offers Turkish dishes and delicacy.

Rented bicycles 
 If you are tired walking, you can rent this bicycle for an hour or so. Just pay and follow instruction,  you are free to move around at faster speed using this bicycle. But you have to be careful to park this bicycle at other designated destination after using it. Many world cities have this kind of facilities too.

Paris city centre

River Seine

While exploring Paris, you can hop on the river cruise at Euro 17.00 . You can see Paris from different view. Seine river cruise is also available at night.

Notre Dame  Cathedral
 Notre Dame Cathedal is one of the major attractions in Paris. It is located on small island in the middle of Seine River. This gothic building offers such a detailed architecture. You can go inside if you wish, however the queue is long especially on Sunday.

Benches are provided  near the Cathedal for visitors to sit.
 Vehicle operators are creative here. This blue coaches are meant to bring tourists around the city. You need to pay.

Coach for tourists

If you use the car which runs on battery power, you can re-charge your car battery for a fee here.There are kiosks here.

Car charging kiosk
 As I walk past the Cathedral, I moved south east to visit the Grand Mosque of Paris. This mosque has many gardens inside its compound,  Many North African people use this mosque as their praying place. Non Muslims can enter its premise. Some were given briefings by the mosque officers.

Grand Mosque

Green spaces or court yard within the mosque compound

After completed my visit to the mosque, I took  a Metro ride from Place Monge to George V metro station after  a change/transfer at Chatelet station.It was a very smooth ride. I noticed Line 1 has most beautiful stations.

As I came out of George V station, I entered the Louis Vutton which is located along Champs Ellysees. This outlet to me is not for the ordinary people as the products sold are meant for rich people.

Boutique shop in Paris

Champ  Ellysees
As I walk along this Champs Ellysees, I came across a concrete arch called Arc de Thriompe, which attract tourist all over the world to come and see this spectacular monument. Twelve avenues radiate from this Arc.

Arc De Thriompe , along Champs  Ellysees
Paris is pedestrian safe as the road and streets are equipped with traffic lights and even an infirm lady is seen free roaming the city on wheel chair without guide.
Paris lady on the electric wheel chair

Petrol Kiosk along the street
For buying the souvenirs, you can buy at the shop, kiosk or from the vendors that come to you. You can bargain the price with the vendors. I found products sold by vendors are cheaper than the kiosks.
Souvenirs kiosk

Parisian building
One's visit is not complete if she or he does not visit Galeries La Fayette oulet. It is located next to Metro La Fayette station, Boulevard Hausmann.The building has multiple storeys which houses branded products from watches, clothes, bags, perfumes to belts and purses.  You can claim tax rebate when you leave France. Do not forget your passport when you buy products if you intent to claim tax rebate at the airport. Only CDG and Orly airports have the tax rebate facilities. If you exit via Beauvais like me, there is no facilities.

Galeries Lafayette
Longchomp lady's handbags on display

La Fayette Metro Station, along Boulevard Hausmann

Boulevard Haussmann
If you want to go home via Beauvais airport, it is advisable to depart Porte Maillot 4 hours before your designated departure time. Traffic congestion in Paris suburban can be tricky.

Porte Maillot bus station

Development around Porte Maillot