Halong Bay Sunset

Vietnam – Halong Bay

I know another tiny picture – but it is a Panorama. Look at it do you think you could get a sense for this place with a regular shot? I don’t think so.

After climbing up to “Tippy Top” I felt like Mount Everest would be a cake walk. There were many that turned back, to faint hearted to make the climb to the top. But fear not, this roving reporter will go to great lengths to let you know what is going on and what is worth the effort.

Even with a panorama shot this place really isn’t shown like it should be. What a pretty place it is to see.

Yes the elements were endured to stay up on top to give you a view of the sunset. I think it was worth it too.

Enuf said 🙂

You need a visa BEFORE you an travel to Vietnam – its easy to do this ahead of time. I found this place http://www.myvietnamvisa.com/ for visa on arrival. Quick and fast – but make sure you have it done before you leave.

Bangkok Hotel Review – Lebau

Link: Lebau

Not sure how to describe our stay…and I so do mean that in the best of ways too. Let me give you a quick sketch of our experience…

Lebau employees met us at the airport and took our bags to a waiting car. The car was a new Mercedes sedan, top of the line, and the driver gave us refrigerated towels to cool ourselves with and cold bottles of water. For those that have been to Bangkok, you know how much that was appreciated, for those that haven’t been yet, trust us, you will want it no matter what time of day it is after flying there.

When we arrived at the hotel a team of people opened the doors and by the time we got out of the car all of our bags had been removed and they handed us a receipt.

We were escorted into the lobby and provided a comfortable seat. We were asked for our passports and less than 90 seconds later a Thai lady was in front of us with the passports and kneeled down in front of us and checked us in. She then escorted us to our room, and by the way, they upgraded our room. She walked us around the room explaining things and letting us know how things worked.

We had a front room with table and couch; it was a large seating / dining area, a kitchen with a 2 burner stove and full fridge stocked with soft drinks and water, at no charge. We could have had a water party in the bathroom either with the walk in shower or the oversized tub. Then into the bedroom, king sized bed and what you would expect, that is until you walked out onto the balcony…We stayed on the 57th floor, with a river view. If you saw the picture on the main part of the blog from when we arrived you saw the view, if you didn’t, go look, it is amazing. While we were there we spent time out there looking and found ourselves smiling no matter what time of day it was.

Ok, so you are thinking, cool it was a great room but what about the dining…Since you asked…

The breakfast was buffet, but what a buffet! It consisted of European, Asian, American, sushi, eggs/ omelets to order, 5 or 6 kinds of juices. What more could you want? Don’t think it was the normal buffet, because it wasn’t. The food was excellent and far better than what you run into in a buffet. The staff was very attentive and there weren’t mountains of food on the buffet, it was small quantities that they refilled it very often.

Other meals were top notch too. We had dinner at the Breeze while we were there. We had a table with a view of half of Bangkok I think. The food, the service, the view, everything was wonderful. The only criticism was with one dish, and they made that right when we told them about it. The dish was my weakness, abalone, it was a whole one from Australia I believe, braised, and was over cooked. To be fair it was slightly over done when it arrived, so I enjoyed a bite, but turned to rubber shortly thereafter. Abalone is tricky to cook, I have cooked more than my fair share and know that a few seconds to long you can use it as a tire and get more miles out of it than you can a high end Goodyear tire. This was the case for what I was served. They apologized and took it off of our bill when I pointed it out. Having said that they should have taken more off as it really put a bad note on the whole meal and left me without a main course. But that was their call and I am letting you know what was done.

Except for that one dish, this was a wonderful stay at a hotel. Now remember it is a 5 star hotel and one should expect 5 star results. But don’t forget 5 star prices too. Compared to 5 star hotels in Europe and the states it was excellent overall, price wise, but none the less pricey. So shop around and look for deals to stay if you can find them, we did
Bottom line is I don’t think you would be disappointed staying at this hotel, based on our experience. Let us know what you think of your stay when you are there.

Getting Ready for Spring in October – Bulb Lasagna

I love the spring and I love bulbs – so now is the time to plant them.

Gardening expert Marianne Binetti shows the best ways to store and plant bulbs to ensure a beautiful spring bloom. She also shows how warm weather areas can “fool ” their bulbs into winter for great spring flowers.
* Note: Chill your bulbs throughout the winter.
Bulb Lasagna
In cold climates follow these steps to make bulb lasagna:

  1. Start with a layer of soil in a deep pot and plant a layer of tulip bulbs, which bloom last.
  2. Add more soil and a layer of daffodil bulbs that bloom in mid-spring.
  3. Add more soil and a layer of early blooming crocuses.
  4. Top it off with some winter pansies that are already in bloom. They will survive in a milder winter climate.
  5. Leave the pot outside to take advantage of the winter’s chill.
  6. If planted in this way, you’ll enjoy three months of blooms from layers of bulbs.

* Note: In a warmer climate, where the outdoors are not able to provide your bulbs with the proper chill, simply store them in your refrigerator in a clearly marked brown paper bag for six weeks. Afterward, layer them in a pot–bulb lasagna style.

Dublin Resturant Review – La Cuvee

Link: La Cuvee

Like Patrice said in the main part of the blog. We had a rocky start getting to the restaurant – to no fault of the restaurant. We just had bad directions and then a huge rain storm to deal with. But we are tough Seattle rain people with web feet and made our way through it all with ease.

Once at the restaurant we were greeted warmly and taken to the Eno wine bar. We get a 20 Euro card that fits into a machine that has about 20 bottles of wine and hit the button and it gives you the wine you want to taste. There are I think 3 of these machines there and they must have 300 wines in the store at least. I am sure I understated the number of wines. While there we met a couple of guys, Irish lads (Ronan & Colm), doing the same thing as we were, tasting wine. It didn’t take long before we were sharing about wine and tasting what each other thought was great. It would be a great place to have a wine tasting party we all thought.

After tasting so many great wines we went upstairs to the restaurant and had our dinner. The plating was excellent, the food was amazing and the staff was so good that they made it a perfect evening. We did not ask or want for anything. They were either right there or had just taken care of what we wanted before we asked.

Bottom line is we would HIGHLY recommend taking a visit and enjoying a meal when you are in Dublin.
The only downside is we stayed much later than we thought we would and as a result slept in a bit later than we normally do. But we will take that downside any time. Now if we lived closer and could enjoy them more often and perhaps throw a couple of parties in the wine store it would be great!