May 19, 2017

Radisson Blu Hotel in Brunei

When my husband visited Brunei for the very first time, he stayed in Radisson Blu. It is one of the most recommended hotels if you will visit Brunei. Then for the past business trips in Brunei, he stayed in a different hotel which is near his office. 

But he prefers Radisson Blu so last week, he stayed in this hotel during his 3 days business trip. It is located in Bandar Seri Begawan, which is the capital of Brunei. This hotel is just 15 minutes away from Brunei International Airport

Radisson Blu is a good choice for both business and leisure travelers because it is located in the city and near popular tourist spots such as Royal Regalia Museum, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, and Water Village Kampong Ayer

This is the room, their room is bigger compared to the room in Radisson Blu Trondheim Norway

Read: Radisson Blu Hotel in Trondheim Norway

They have complimentary sweets.

Complimentary breakfast at Tasek Brasserie. The buffet spread is also limited but they have more choices compared to Radisson Blu Trondheim. Food is just okay. 

They have a small gym and swimming pool too. If you are eating at the restaurant, you will see the swimming pool. 

Some of the staff are Filipinos too. My husband likes Radisson Blu because they allow late check-out for free and this is very important to him because his flight is always at the evening, yun lang meron ang Royal Brunei airline.

Read: Pasalubong from Brunei
Royal Brunei Yacht Club
Badi'ah Hotel

May 18, 2017

17th of May Celebration in Norway

I won’t deny that traveling is expensive but there are so many things that traveling can give you in return. It is an investment in yourself because it makes you smarter. As they always say, “Travel makes you realize that no matter how much you know there’s always more to learn” Yes, there are so many things to discover, explore, and experience in the world.

When we’re planning for our summer vacation in Norway, I make sure that we will be here on 17th of May. I experienced that during our first visit to Norway so I also want my son to witness how Norwegians celebrate their National Day. 

May 17 is a holiday in Norway, it is their National Day or Norwegian Constitution Day. It is also known as Grunnlovsdagen (Constitution Day) Nasjonaldagen (The National Day) or the most common is syttende mai (17th of May).

This is a big celebration in Norway so I guess this is the reason why they don’t celebrate Mother’s Day in the month of May. They have so many celebrations every May and National Day is very significant to them.

In fact, you will see a lot of stuff in the market for the 17th of May celebration. People put flags in their own houses, decorate their houses, prepare food and even go out of the house to join or watch children's parades. Norway is the only country in the world that has children's parades during National Day. 

Even though I’m a Filipino, I enjoyed watching their National Day celebration. I’m so amazed because they really celebrate this day, not only in Norway but around the world. Norwegians all over the world, make their own effort to celebrate the 17th of May in their own little way, whether they are a big or small group. 

Norwegians wear traditional outfits called bunad or they wear something red, white, or blue. They wear ribbons, bring flags and shout Hurra! Hurra! Hurra! Each city, kommune or place has its own parade. Children from different schools and other local organizations in the community gather together to parade. We watched the parade in Ørland, watch the video here

It was a short parade so we were able to go home early for our lunch. The longest parade is in Oslo, the capital of Norway. I saw the Royal Family waving hands on the balcony of Royal Palace. 

When it comes to food, they only serve a few dishes. Unlike sa Pinas na parang buffet lagi pag may handaan. My mom prepared baked salmon, coleslaw, boiled potatoes and carrots, hollandaise sauce, and pavlova. Pavlova is always present every 17th of May because the colors of this dessert symbolize the color of the flag of Norway.

Read: Pavlova for 17th of May 

I’m thankful for the experience and I just hope that we have this kind of celebration in our country. Filipinos will also go out and celebrate our national holiday, especially Independence Day, sana hindi lang puro rally, or people power lumalabas ang tao.

 “One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things” - Henry Miller

Pavlova for 17th of May

When I first visited Norway, I noticed that they love cakes. There are so many cakes at every event that I’ve attended and whenever we visit a house, they always serve ice cream or cake. 

My mom always bakes a cake so aside from the World’s Best Cake, I asked her to bake Pavlova. She said, the taste is like the world’s best cake but still I want to taste this cake since I haven’t seen this cake in the Philippines.

She said that I could bake this cake because there is already Pavlova mix that I can buy at the market but she changed her mind because she hasn’t tried the instant mix yet. I’m thankful to my sister who volunteered to bake the meringue. I love my family because they love to bake and I love to eat sweets. Anyway, my only contribution is, that I mixed the 1 tbsp sugar, whipping cream, and vanilla sauce. My mom sliced the fruits.

I don’t know how my sister made this meringue but my mom showed me this recipe book. This is one of the group projects of my sister in school where they collected different recipes in Fosen. They were able to sell 500+ of this recipe book six years ago. My sister is on the cover too. (she’s holding the egg beater). 

As my mom said, it is almost the same as the World’s Best Cake because the base is meringue. But I think this is easier to make because you just need to bake the meringue, mix the cream, and sliced the fruits. You assemble everything before serving. 

Even if you are eating this sweet dessert, you feel less guilty because you are also eating fresh fruits. Hehehe! There are blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and kiwi. So even though my son is telling me that I’m getting fatter every day, I can’t say no to the yummy desserts. Saka na ko magdiet pag tapos na bakasyon. 

Speaking of the 17th of May, Pavlova is a very popular dessert every National Day. You can already see the colors of the Norway flag on this cake, there is white, blue, and red so it is like a National Cake too.

You can create your own version of Pavlova, some people make two layers, one layer, or even a mini version of Pavlova. We visited my aunt last May 18 and she served mini Pavlova. 

Read: 17th of May Celebration in Norway

May 16, 2017

Where to Stay in Norway: Radisson Blu Trondheim Airport Hotel in Norway

One disadvantage of living in Ørland Kommune is, that you always have to take a ferry boat if you are going to the city, big hospital, popular tourist spots, and even the airport. So it is one of my dilemmas when I was looking for cheap airfare to Norway because I also need to consider the schedule of the ferry boat.

Unfortunately, the only available flight on our way back to the Philippines is 8AM so we have no choice but to book a hotel in Trondheim. I searched for the nearest hotel in Trondheim Airport and I found Radisson Blu. I told my mom about it and she said, she already stayed in that hotel too.

Luckily, my stepdad has enough points on his SAS membership card so he was able to book a room for my husband. Yey, for free hotel accommodation. The day before my husband's flight, off we went to Trondheim. We had a quick tour around the city then we went to the bus station. We just accompanied my husband to the bus station because it is not practical na sumama pa kami sa hotel. Bus fare is not cheap and we need to catch the Ferry boat back to Ørland. 

Ørland to Trondheim boat NOK250/person 
Trondheim Bus Station to Trondheim Værnes Airport NOK150/person 

Read: Day Trip in Trondheim Norway

The bus express is straight to the airport, more or less 30 minutes travel time. From the bus stop, my husband walked to the hotel. The staff still asked for a credit card for the room deposit. 

My husband likes their fireplace.

This is the room, this was the first time that my husband stayed in a hotel in Europe so he finds the room and bathroom small compared to the hotel rooms in Asia. He stayed in Radisson Blu in Brunei before.

The room offers basic accommodation and basic toiletries like soap and shampoo. No complimentary toothpaste and toothbrush. No complimentary water because tap water is potable. The room provided complimentary coffee and tea. My husband forgot his universal adapter so he tried to borrow it from the hotel but they don’t have any. 

The following day, my husband ate his complimentary breakfast at Longhorn Restaurant and Bar. Good thing that the restaurant is open as early as 5AM. The buffet spread is very limited so no rice meals which is very understandable because their usual breakfast in Norway is bread and they have a lot of choices of bread. There are cold cuts, cheese, and cereals too. 

After breakfast, my husband checked out, and the hotel staff was asking for payment. My husband was shocked because he did not eat at the restaurant and he told the staff na hindi yun ang signature niya. We don't know kung may tao talaga na nagcharge ng bill sa room niya or nagkamali ng sulat ng room number. The staff said that they will just check on that so he did not pay anything but I was still worried na baka macharge kami sa credit card since nacharged na rin sila ng room deposit. I hope they were able to find the real person who ate in their restaurant. 

Update: Thank God, no charge on our credit card, and the room deposit was canceled too. 

He walked to the airport. Yes, the airport is just a few steps away from the hotel. 

So if you have an early or late flight and you are looking for a hotel that is near Trondheim Værnes Airport, this is a good choice. 

Read: Glimpse of Trondheim Airport
Radisson Blu Hotel In Trondheim

Radisson Blu 
Lufthavnsveien 30  
7502 Trondheim Norway 

May 15, 2017

Angel of Peace in Vallersund Norway

When we started walking in Bruholmen and hiking in Lerberen mountain, my son kept on saying, “I’m tired” and my mom will just say, “madali lang ito, aakyat pa nga tayo sa Angel of Peace and Kopparen”.

She even set a date for that, if you remember my previous post, I mentioned that on day 10, the weather forecast is rainy so my mom said that we will just visit Vallersund Gård but don’t forget to bring the overall.

So after doing our groceries in Bjugn Sentrum, we went straight to Vallersund Gård. At the parking lot, I put on my overall because my mom told me so, mahangin daw at lalamigin ako. Then we visited Vallersund Farm.

Then on our way back to the parking lot, my mom said, “Akyat na tayo sa Angel of Peace”, nandito na rin lang naman tayo and hindi pa umuulan”

Me: What! Baka abutan tayo ng ulan.
Mom: Hindi, saglit lang yun mga 15 minutes hike lang.

As if we have a choice noh? Hehehe! So off we went to see the Angel of Peace on top of this mountain in Vallersund.

The first several minutes, okay pa ang paglalakad, picture picture pa. But the time came, that I was complaining already.

Me: Malayo pa ba? sabi mo 15 minutes lang. Kanina pa tayo umaakyat.
Mom: Malapit na.

Surprisingly, my son was not complaining and he was enjoying the hike. I’m the one who kept on saying, Ethan, wait for us. Dahan-dahan lang at baka mahulog ka. And in my mind, wag niyo ko iwan. hehehe!

My mom even waited for me because I was really dragging myself to go up. I’m not a very active person and college pa yung last hike ko so hirap na hirap talaga ko. In addition, I’m afraid of heights tapos ang hangin-hangin pa, takot na nga ko, nilalamig pa ko. Lol

Buti pa anak ko, feel na feel pa ang "I'm on the top of the world"

After 48 years of crawling, (yes, gumagapang talaga sa takot) hehehe! I was able to see the Angel of Peace. The Unite Hope Angel was created by Lehna Edwall and it was given to the people of Vallersund in the year 2009.

The angel sculpture was part of a worldwide art project to spread love, light, and hope to all. You can also see Angel of Peace sculptures in Vanuatu, Australia, Mali, Canada, Peru, Hawaii, and Russia. So even, though I was so exhausted, I still feel proud to see one of the Angel of Peace in the world.

We wrote our names in the logbook and am happy to say that I conquered this small mountain in Vallersund. But I told my mom, last na ito ha, ayaw ko na umakyat ng bundok. Pang Lerberen mountain lang ako.

We place our stones here because my mom told me so. After this, we went down the mountian, kung pwede lang na gumulong na lang ko pababa sa pagod.

On our way to the parking lot, it started to rain. I was thankful to God because we already finished the hike before it rained.

Me: Sabi mo, 15 minutes hike lang but it took us more than 1 hour, (round trip).
Mom: Mabagal kasi tayo pero 15 minutes lang yan.

Waah! I felt deceived. After our hike, my body was in pain and on our way home, nakatulog talaga ko sa pagod. Then after we ate, I slept again. My family was laughing at me. I said that it will be my last mountain, quota na ko.

After few days, my mom brought up the Kopparen hike because her friends were inviting her to hike. I immediately said no. She was convincing me na kahit half lang daw akyatin namin but I said "Ma, hindi ko pumunta ng Norway, para umakyat ng bundok." hehehe! Now I realized that I’m getting old and I need to have an active lifestyle. My mom is more active than me.

Watch the video here.