outfit
people climbing a volcano in santorini image

When you hear Santorini, you automatically think of white buildings with blue domes, sunsets, beaches, gorgeous blue sky, and the typical touristy shots of the area.
What people leave out, somehow, is the OTHER things that don't appear too often in pictures. There IS MORE to do in Santorini than watching the gorgeous sunsets and hanging out at the beach. These include wine tasting, water sports, and the most intriguing thing? Climbing a volcano!

Boats and sea from santorini
Volcanic ash and rocks island santorini
volcano near santorini, red and brown striped rocks
Image of the volcano island and sea in santorini

Before I went to Santorini, no one ever told me about a possible visit to a Volcano. I usually look to blogs for information, and none of the online website or the other blogs that i've read talked about a volcano visit. Somehow people just photograph (OOTD Galore!) in the typical areas of Fira/Oia. Maybe I haven't been looking in the right areas - oops!
So here's telling people searching out there: there is a volcano located off the main area of Santorini, and a day boat/cruise tour would bring you there and to see other islands as well!

climbing to the top of the volcano island in greece, santorini
image of the clear blue waters in greece
clear blue sea in santorini

image of the boats and sea of islands near santorini
sea urchins in the clear waters in santorini greece image
island hopping images in santorini greece

Upon arriving at the volcano, we saw tons of boats docked side by side on the small docking platform of the island. My friends and I had to walk through several boats just to hop off the one right beside the platform. At the platform, we paid a small fee, and then we were free to head up the volcano.
The climb up the volcano was suppose to be an hour long, and so we all headed up with the hoards of people. Thankfully, I was in sneakers that day. The volcano surface was so pebbly and rocky, my scuffed up converse had severe issues with getting a decent grip on the ground. I had no idea how some manage to climb all the way up in slippers!



caldera image santorini
ootd on the volcano

Top: Forever 21 | Shorts: SheIn | Shoes: Converse | Sunglasses: Accesorize | Watch: Nakedglory.com | Necklace: Primark
I was so intrigued to see the heat and steam rise up from the ground and smell the scent of sulphur. Sulphur Oxides are toxic, so breathing in too much of that isn't great, but for that couple of minutes, it was kind of interesting.
Walking along the volcano, we also got to see different devices that were anchored into the ground probably to track seismic activity. Although there were these things that look somewhat like solar panels, so perhaps they were generating some kind of electricity - then again, looking at the size of it, probably not.

measuring seismic waves on the volcano island santorini
image of people on the volcano island of santorini
santorini main island from the volcano

The nice thing about climbing this volcano in the volcano island, was the view. For the struggle to get up (no they lied, it took way more than an hour, and it was definitely more than a 2km climb!) but the view of the water around the volcano was lovely.
The volcano itself though, was pretty much just rocks upon rocks (I know, obviously, that's how volcanos are made.) Still, it was interesting to observe the red and maroon stripes on the rocks of neighbouring islands, to see all the interesting instruments on the volcano, and feel the hot air that was steaming out from various cracks and holes on the ground.

Indeed there is more to Santorini than the standard photo shot from Oia. The trip to the volcano island was pretty affordable, for a full day tour, it was only 33 Euros, it's something I'm really glad I got to experience!

The day cruise ended off back in the mainland of Oia, and just in time for tourists to witness the sunset over santorini! Here are some other interesting images from the town of Oia.




THE MOST INTERESTING BOOKSTORE EVER!








Even though the city and views from the main island of Santorini is beautiful, do take trips out to visit the smaller islands, and to climb the volcano, especially if you have never seen a volcano in real life. There is more to Santorini than beaches and sunsets ;)

Volcano Climbing | Santorini, Greece

23 November 2015 Santorini, Greece

Rowing a boat on lake bled slovenia

Row row row a boat, gently down the streammmm~
I've always wanted to sing it out loud whilst rowing a boat. Don't we all?
When we learnt this song at the age of 4 or 5 we always had accompanying actions mimicking boat rowing. Prior to this experience, I've never had the opportunity to row a boat in my 21 years of living, but in my head, boat rowing feels like it would be a calming, and therapeutic activity.

Just 2 months ago I was on my summer trip in Europe, and my friend and I got the opportunity to ROW A BOAT! We jumped at that chance, and it is now one of the most memorable times I've ever had!

Image of lake bled in slovenia in the summer

As we were walking around Lake Bled the first evening we were there, we saw people rowing boats around the lake, and so, on the 2nd morning, we got up early, had breakfast at one of the cafés around the lake and then went on to rent a boat.

I expected there to be some sort of a mini lesson, but the guy just took the 15 Euros we gave him, helped us on to the boat, untied it from the dock, told us to unhook the paddles, and shoved the boat out into the lake.
That was it. We were stranded on the boat in the middle of the lake. Our 1 hour of free-rowing time began just like that.
Of course, instead of freaking out, my friend, who offered to begin rowing first, was on it with figuring out how to work paddles.

Image of bled from the middle of lake bled in slovenia



Since my friend agreed to take on the paddles for the first half of the ride, you can tell I was very much chilling and enjoying being rowed by on the lake as she began struggling to get used to the paddles - some friend I am eh? haha! After fumbling around with the paddles for a bit, my friend got the hang of it, and we were rowing smoothly on the lake. We rowed, had our own competitions trying to row faster than other boats, stopped occasionally to watch other paddle boaters, and took a bunch of photos.
The water sparkled under that bright morning sun, it was pretty much your ideal morning!

Pictures of lake bled water while boat rowing
boat rowing and landscape of lake bled in slovenia

After about 15 to 20 minutes of rowing, we reached the Bled Island - a small island in the middle of Lake Bled. We considered attempting to dock our boat, tie it and hop out on to the island on our own. However, as we got closer and closer to the island, we chickened out. We figured, judging by how long we took to row, how inexperienced we both were with paddling boats, and more importantly how MUCH is at stake if we capsize - our camera, our bags, our... life? We decided to go around the island instead.

image of church on bled island as we rowed a boat around it
Church on bled island in lake bled, slovenia
Bigger boats that were docked on the bled island in slovenia

After going around the island, it was time for me to take on the paddles. We spent an awkward fearful couple of minutes attempting to switch positions (because one could only row the boat if they sat at that spot) and now I was the one fumbling around trying to get used to the paddles.

The thing about paddling with 2 paddles is that IT IS SO HARD TO CO-ORDINATE!
My hands were going at different speeds and just bumping into each other. After some tries, I realised I could use my body weight; I had to lean back to pull the paddles further back, and not whack my own legs, I kind of got it.

image of me rowing a boat and not quite getting it
Image from lake bled slovenia - nature scenery


What I Wore
Top: Liola
Necklace: Primark
Shorts: SheIn (or SheInside)
Shoes: Converse
Watch: Lambretta
Shades: Accessorize


Image of lake bled in the summer , bled slovenia

Eventually, I got used to paddling and began rowing faster, surprisingly, with the help of the winds, the boat moved pretty quickly, but rowing for a while, we realised we were heading back a little too quickly and we still had more time before the hour was up. Plus, at this point, my arms were kind of tired, and we just floated along the lake for a bit.

One discovery I made is that controlling the amount of energy exerted in each paddle is so important. My right arm is significantly stronger than my left, and so every time I pulled the paddles, the boat heads in the slanted direction. It was so tricky to get it to go straight!


Image of lake bled in slovenia summer

By the time it hit afternoon and the sun was radiating intense heat from above, it was time for us to head back to the boat hut. I steered the boat towards the docking point, bumped a few things along the way, and my friend and I were helped out of the boat by the same guy.

That ended our 1 hour virgin experience with boat rowing, and boy were we hungry and thirsty. We headed to a café overlooking the entire lake, and enjoyed some cocktails with a great view.

View of lake bled from a cafe above

I must say boat rowing is NOT as easy as people make it seem. Some people just do it so effortlessly. Sometimes when other boaters zoom past us, it felt as if the paddles were an extension of their arms. There was not awkward going in the wrong direction, neither was there any fumbling or bumping of arms and legs. But trust me, it isn't that easy!
Still, if I get another chance to row a boat in the future, IM TAKING IT! Perhaps I could attempt paddle boarding too - the paddle boarders looked like they were having a great time!
All in all, it was so much fun self-navigating the boat. Especially when we got to floating in the middle of the lake (and not paddling). It really is as calm and therapeutic as one would imagine!


Outfit Diary: Rowing a Boat on Lake Bled, Slovenia

14 September 2015 Lake Bled, 4260 Bled, Slovenia

Spending a day in the vatican city

The Vatican City. A place people visit in the hopes of getting a glimpse of the Pope, a country within another country, a place guarded by the best (but friendly!) of swiss guards dressed in the oddest attire. Most importantly, the place with the most beautiful church.
There was no reason to skip out on The Vatican City especially since it was my FIRST time in Rome and Italy.

During our 25-day long winter trip last winter, the final stop for Jerald and I was Rome, and as expected, we carved out a day to visit the famous Vatican City.
I've always known that the Vatican was famous for its art and the cathedral, but more so for being super crowded. Fortunately, as it was winter, Italy was generally less populated than it would be in the summer.
In order to avoid the long queuing and taking into account the various opening hours, we decided to hit up the Vatican Museum first.

swiss guards in the vatican
columns around the vatican
Vatican City Church

I cannot begin to explain how MASSIVE the museum is. From sculptures to tapestry, art, ceramics, mummies, everything, it was there. I have always though the V&A was incredibly huge, but the Vatican Museums are so overwhelming, I felt like I was in a maze and merely following the signs as to where to head next. To be honest there was just too much information for me to absorb everything in one day. Nevertheless, it provided a nice glimpse into the history and culture of the Vatican.
Not to mention, the interior is just spectacular. Extremely detailed, lots of gold plating, incredible.

sculptures in the vatican museum
interior decoration of the vatican museum

After a couple of hours in the Museum, we realised that we were spending way too much time there, and had to make it to the church, and dome (we were intending to find a remake of a photo we saw online of the vatican domes) before sun down, so we headed out to the main area and queued to get into the church - it was free!

roman columns of the vatican city
outfit whilst visiting the vatican
outfit while visiting the vatican

WHAT I WORE
Shirt: H&M
Boots: Timberland
Gloves: H&M
Jeggings/Jeans: Prim ark
Coat: Coldwear.sg
(P.S. If you've been following my winter trip, you'll probably have realised i've worn this coat to death! But i'm not anymore, because SPRING HAS SPRUNG in London, and I cannot be happier. I've missed the sun so so much! Even though the weather still gets a little cray occasionally, well, its the UK.)

the vatican city
spending  a day in the vatican
view of the centre of the vatican city
architecture of the walls of the vatican

The good thing about traveling with another person is that he/she can queue while you go round taking pictures. In this case, its always Jerald queuing and by the time we are suppose to "swap over" he would already be near the front of the line (oops!).
This is definitely one little thing that I used to overlook, but have now come to appreciate after several solo-travel trips!

Anyway, after queuing for about 20 minutes or so, we entered the church and man, was it incredible. Honestly, ROME HAS THE BEST CHURCHES. But the one in the Vatican: WOW.
There are no words to describe how HUGE and gorgeous it is. I feel every time I stepped in to a church (during our winter trip), it was one up from the previous, and since the church in the Vatican was the last of the whole lot, it definitely means something - I have yet to visit another church and be blown away ever since that day.

Church in the Vatican
The vatican city church
dome of the vatican

Honestly, I don't think my picture does it any justice. Writing it now, I have vivid pictorial memories of the place. These pictures were just ONE part of the church. Can you sense how i'm trying so desperately to convey how impressive it was with all the capitals going on?

The Sistine Chapel was another place that we visited, however it was SO crowded - unlike the other areas of the vatican - and photos weren't allowed. But trust me, the details and the artwork on the walls, the ceilings, basically everywhere in the sistine chapel, was VERY impressive.

Eventually, we manage to make it up to the dome (with a bit of running and panting - I remember nearly fainting because I sprained my ankles and I was having a fever that day) before the closing time. We were one of the last few people who made it before they stopped selling tickets up to the dome.

sunset with the vatican dome
Aerial view of rome from the vatican
aerial view of the vatican

Despite the heaving, climbing, the lack of breath, and the awkward slanted walking positions because the walls of the dome was curved, the view when we stepped out was perfect and we were treated to an amazing sunset. We manage to get a nice aerial view of the Vatican, some parts of Rome, and got to watch the sun slowly creep beneath the horizon.

sunset over the vatican
watching the sun set in the vatican
sunset in italy vatican city

sunset behind the vatican dome
Vatican domes by night

The sky was so colourful with its pinks, orange and purples. Every time I witness a beautiful sunset, i get a warm fuzzy feeling inside, and just think to myself "the world is such an incredible place, God did a wonderful job creating it!"
As expected, we were one of the last few to leave the top. We stayed as long as we could, and by along as we could, I mean until the security started chasing us down. With a sunset like this, who would want to leave?
By the time we got down from the roof (my sprained ankle meant it took a while), the sky was dark and the Vatican was lit up in warm yellow and orange lights.

sculpture at the vatican city
vatican city by night
the vatican city night lights

We arrived at the Vatican City early in the morning, and spent probably more than 10 hours in the area before heading back. Some have said that The Vatican City is underwhelming and too damn crowded, but lucky for us, there were lesser tourists in the winter, which meant that the lines are shorter and we could visit the church, the museums and the dome (with a bit of rushing around) all in that same day.

To be honest, we were not expecting to be able to see it all as we thought the lines would take forever, so our main aim was to catch the sunset over the domes of the vatican - a little unusual, but you have to agree that it does result in beautiful sunset photos - but i'm so glad time was kind to us that day.
Plus, its not everyday in winter that you get to witness a nice colourful sunset, so that was an added bonus! In spite of my sprained ankle, fever, and short of breath, it was all worth it.

A Day in the Vatican

11 May 2015 Vatican City

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