Blog, Europe, Germany, Helpful Tips, Photography, Tour and Travel

Destination Oktoberfest | Munich, Germany

2017:  16 September – 3 October

Oktoberfest.  The one word that easily conjures up visions of dirndl and lederhosen-wearing visitors raising up massive steins of frothy beverages and singing to the top of their lungs. This is Oktoberfest, More than six million visitors attend THE world’s largest festival every year loaded with thrilling rides, fantastic fest food and, of course, beer.   If you want to experience the festive party feeling along with the German culture then this is indeed the place to visit.  Even if you’re not much of a crowd person, you should put this on your bucket list and experience the awesome fest at least once.

Oktoberfest, Munich, dirndl
Germany, Oktoberfest

The very first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 to celebrate the October 12th marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to the Saxon-Hildburghausen Princess Therese.  (October 12th also happens to be my birthday, so Oktoberfest was the perfect place for me to celebrate my birthday!)  Every year, the citizens of Munich were invited to join in the festivities which were held over a period of five days on the fields in front of the city gates. Over 40,000 people were in attendance. Today, an average of 6 million of people attend the annual celebration.

Bavaria, parade, lederhosen, festival
Bavaria lederhosen

Did you know horse races were held at the first Oktoberfest?  But by 1819 the horse races had been called off and were replaced by beer carts and the carnival-like atmosphere. Munich leaders decided that Oktoberfest would be held each year, no exceptions! Although Oktoberfest originated as a one-day celebration, it was extended to 16 days (starting in September) of revelry and heavy drinking.

travel photographer, bondgirlphotos, Oktoberfest, Octoberfest, Munich, Germany,
Beautifully adorned horses in Oktoberfest parade

Believe it or not, in the beginning, beer was not available at Oktoberfest and alcohol could only be purchased and enjoyed outside of the actual venue. Traditional beer halls (called wooden halls) only became popular when the authorities realized it would make sense to open the Oktoberfest venue to vendors.

Today, only six breweries – Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Lowenbrau, Paulaner and Spaten — are allowed to serve beer on the festival grounds.  The beers are made specifically for Oktoberfest and certain parameters must strictly be followed according to Reinheitsgebot such as it should be brewed within the boundaries of Munich and not contain more than 6% alcohol.

Once you are finished toasting with thousands of your newest friends, head on over to Marienplatz in the Munich Altstadt for traditional Bavarian-style craft beer and try one of the beer-infused dishes for dinner.

Average Festival Statistics:
Area: 103.79 acres
Festival halls: seats 100,000 (14 tents)
Visitors: 6.3 million
Beer: approx. 6.4 mln liters (that’s right, million)
Coffee, tea: 222,000 liters
Water, lemonade: 909,765 ½ liters
Chicken: 521,872 units
Pork sausages: 142,253 pairs
Oxen: 112
Calves:  48
travel photographer, bondgirlphotos, Oktoberfest, Germany, Munich, festivals
beer and chicken tickets

The most popular (legal) souvenirs are the collectors’ stone mug, hair bands with flowers, mini beer steins, and pins.  The glass mugs themselves are a hot item.  Security guards recovered approximately 112,000 from would-be souvenir hunters.  Many are not recovered; the Hofbräu tent alone averages 35,000 missing mugs each year and there is a fine for stealing them!

For all the information and full schedule of Oktoberfest events, go online at www.oktoberfest.de.  It’s recommended to learn at least one German song so you can sing along with your new best friends.  As is every year, there’s a hard competition about which song was the most popular in the beer tents. Apart from the usual hits, it was “Atemlos” by Helene Fischer, “Auf uns” by Andreas Bourani and “Brenna tuats guat” by Hubert von Goisern that made the tents go especially crazy.

Every year, more than 4,000 objects are found.  The Lost and Found office houses jackets, sweaters, passports, wallets, keys, ID cards, mobile phones, bags and rucksacks, cameras, eyeglasses, jewelry, and watches; there have also been some unusual items found, such as wedding-rings, petticoats, a dental prosthesis, a set of cymbals and a transport box for cats.  Missing kids and teenagers are taken care of by the Red Cross or municipal authorities until they are reunited.  During Oktoberfest, the Lost and Found (Wiesn-Fundbüro) service center is set up on the Theresienwiese (entrance line, underground). You can find the service center behind the Schottenhamel-Festzelt.

On Saturday, September 16th, the Schottenhamel tent is the place to be if you want to catch the official opening ceremonies. At noon, the Mayor of Munich will have the honor of tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. Once the barrel has been tapped, all visitors will then be allowed to quench their thirst. It pays to arrive early in order to experience the festivities up close and personal and it’s quite common for visitors to arrive as early as 09.00 am to secure good seats in their favorite tent.  The festival lasts until October 3rd.

 

Opening hours?
Beer Serving Hours
Opening day 12:00 noon – 11:30 pm.  Last beer serving at 10:30
Weekdays 10:00 am – 11:30 pm
Saturday, Sunday & holiday 09:00 am – 10:30 pm
Daily closing hour 11.30 pm ‘Käfers Wiesnschänke’ and ‘Weinzelt’ open until 1.00 am

The fairgrounds are open on the opening day from 12:00 to 24:00.
On Sundays and Mondays to Thursdays, the carousels run from 10:00 to 23:30.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the fairgrounds are open from 10:00 to 24:00.

Please note that it is not advisable to bring children on weekends; for example, during the weekend, especially in the huts or even at the entrance to the Festwiese, you may be denied access by a baby carriage.

The official family days are on Tuesdays until 7 pm and offer reduced prices at almost all suppliers.

Current Weather (Wetter)

 

Plan ahead:

Oktoberfest 2018
22 September to 7 October

Asia, Blog, Helpful Tips, Photography, South Korea, Tour and Travel, Wordpress

Seoul Must-Dos – Palaces, Secret Gardens and River Cruises

See the transformation of Seoul from medieval city to modern metropolis.   Here are the Seoul Must-Do’s:

Seoul Must-Dos — Ultimate City Guides.

Asia, Blog, Photography, South Korea, The Korea Observer, Tour and Travel, Wordpress

Memorial Day | Seoul National Cemetery

 

Every June 6, Korea’s Memorial Day is designated to honor fallen Soldiers and civilians of South Korea who have given their lives for their country. Ceremonies are held throughout the country with the largest ceremony being held at the Seoul National Cemetery, an impressive, immaculately landscaped and maintained cemetery and park.

Seoul National Cemetery, est. 1956, is one of two national cemeteries in South Korea. The other one is located in Daejeon.

The Seoul National Cemetery is near Dongjak Station on Subway Line 4 or Line 9 and is accessible to the public.

Asia, Asiana Airlines, Blog, South Korea, Tour and Travel

Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Jeju Island in March! | Official Korea Tourism

Korea Tourism Organization Official website provides various information on all things about Korea. Take your time to get correct guide on each.

Source: Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Jeju Island in March! | Official Korea Tourism Organization

seoul, tower, autumn, Namsan
Asia, Blog, Photography, South Korea, Tour and Travel

Spectacular Seoul

October is peak fall foliage season, which means there is plenty of beauty happening all over Seoul and the peninsula.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Animals, Asia, Blog, Europe, Helpful Tips, Mongolia, North America | U.S., Photography, Tour and Travel

Where to go in 2016: Top 16 up-and-coming destinations 

Source: Where to go in 2016: Top 16 up-and-coming destinations – CNN.com

Asia, Blog, Helpful Tips, Photography, South Korea, Tour and Travel, Wordpress

5 Reasons Why You Must Visit South Korea in February

Trazy.com

In terms of weather, the most favorable times to visit South Korea are March ~May and September~November. However, February can be a fabulous time for travelers to visit South Korea. Here are 5 great reasons why:

1. Save Your Travel Expenses

incheon-international-airport-680402_1920.jpgWant to save travel expenses? We strongly recommend you visit South Korea in February if you’re considering a budget travel because during the winter season, hotels prices and airfare drop as temperature drops! 😉

2. Awe-inspiring Winter Landscapes

allowto_freedownload_snap_1531.jpgThough the cold winter season has kicked off a little bit late than last year, you can still enjoy the amazing landscapes of snow-capped mountains and frozen rivers as well as a winter hike at beautiful national parks around South Korea. allowto_freedownload_landscape_1521For instance, Seoraksan Mountain (Seoraksan National Park), located in Sokcho, which is the eastern part of South Korea, boasts magnificent natural scenery in winter. It is where you can enjoy both winter hiking and the beautiful East Sea situated nearby.속초 (1).jpgFor free…

View original post 351 more words

Asia, Blog, China, Macao, Photography, Tour and Travel, Wordpress

The Ruins of St. Paul’s on a Rainy Day | Macau

The Ruins of St. Paul’s (also known as Sam Ba Sing Tzik) stands adjacent to the famous Mount Fortress and Macau Museum. The front façade and the grand stone staircase are the only remains of the great church.

First constructed in 1580, St. Paul’s Church caught fires in 1595 and 1601. However, reconstruction started in 1602 soon after the church was burnt down. Completed in 1637, the church became the biggest Catholic Church in East Asia at that time. Unfortunately, a violent typhoon hit Macau in 1835 and the church caught fire for the third time leaving its glory a history. According to historical materials, St Paul’s Church, built with white stones, had a grand vaulted roof and three magnificently decorated halls.

Built with granite, Sam Ba Sing Tzik has a baroque facade rich in ornamentation but with classic oriental characteristics. From the bottom up, the structure has five tiers. The first tier is comprised of ten Ionic columns with three entrances. The entrance in the middle has ‘MATER DEI’ carved into it. The two entrances on each side are decorated with bas-reliefs in the pattern of ‘HIS’. The second tier features ten Corinthian columns with three windows. A Catholic saint is enshrined in each of four tabernacles between columns. The two tiers as a whole is said to represent the Society of Jesus and the activities of missionaries.

lisabondmacau-2

The remaining three tiers are the most decorated. The statue of Madonna stands in the middle of the third tier, while the statue of Jesus stands on the fourth. The walls are covered with bas-reliefs in various patterns like devils, angels, symbols of crucifixion, a Portuguese sailing ship, etc. The triangular combination of the upper three tiers reflects the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) as well as the Blessed Virgin Mary. A cross stands at the coping of the wall.

It is worth mentioning that the stone lions at the sides of the third and fourth tiers are distinctively Chinese. There are also bas-reliefs in designs of chrysanthemum and cherry, as well as Chinese inscriptions. The surviving façade has long been acknowledged as a perfect fusion of western and eastern cultures.

The Ruins of St. Paul’s has been restored during 1990 and 1995. The Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt was also built at that time. It has exhibitions of religions artworks including paintings, sculptures and statues.

Macau’s most famous landmark, the Ruins of St. Paul’s was officially listed in 2005 as part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Historic Centre of Macau.  Restored into a museum, the façade is buttressed from behind, allowing tourists to climb up to the windows to get a closer look at the stone carvings and to enjoy a panoramic view of the city below.

The Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt was built at the bottom of the ruins and houses many religious artifacts including Sino-Portuguese crucifixes, as well as a 17thcentury painting of St. Michael Archangel – the only surviving work from the original college.

Admission to the museum is free every day between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm.

 

 

Yongma Land, carousel, Seoul
Blog, Photography, South Korea, Tour and Travel

Abandoned Yesteryear of Yongma Land | Seoul

Yongma Land in Seoul.  A closed, but not forgotten amusement park full of funny and slightly creepy abandoned rides.

Every day it’s visited by dozens of curious passersby, photographers, professional production companies and K-pop idols.

Getting to Yongma Land is simple.  A 10 minute walk from the Mangu Station, Exit #1,  you will walk until you see Yongmasan Ro #115 and turn left. Walk a short distance until you see Mangu Ro #72 and make a right. Follow this road through the neighborhood markets and keep walking.  You’ll pass a place with temple lanterns on your right and continue walking a short distance until you see a short, steep hill with parking lot and entrance sign.  Call the phone number listed at the gate and the proprietor will come to meet you. Pay the 5,000 Won entrance fee and you’re in!

If you’re in a crunch for time, hail a taxi, it’s a famous place and the taxi drivers will know where to go.

Yongma Land, fire truck, Seoul
A bright, red fire truck is one of the first things I noticed upon entering.
Yongma Land, carousel, Seoul
A classic merry-go-round is one of the highlights at Yongma Land.
Yongma Land, genie, Seoul
The big, blue genie will make you smile!
Yongma Land, octopus ride, Seoul
The aging, rusted giant octopus tentacle ride was quite creepy.
Yongma Land, piano, amusement park, Seoul
This weathered piano sits in the middle of the amusement park. Can you imagine hearing the haunting sounds of music playing?
Yongma Land, Seoul, amusement park
Michael Jackson keeps a watchful eye over the once thrilling disc spinner.
Yongma Land, amusement park, Seoul
For a great view of the amusement park and Seoul, make sure to climb on the rooftops.
Yongma Land, Seoul, amusement park
A flower, an old disco sign and a beautiful view of the mountainous skyline can be seen from the rooftop.

If you love to visit off the beaten path places or just love a great photo opportunity, then this place is a must see.  If you go in the evening, for an extra fee, the proprietor will even turn on the merry-go-round lights.

Have you been to Yongma Land?  What impression did this place leave you with?  Leave me a comment below or connect with me on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

VIETNAM, HINDU, TEMPLE, INCENSE, Seoul photographer, lisa bond photography
Asia, Blog, Photography, Tour and Travel, Vietnam

Highlighting Ho Chi Minh City | VIETNAM

untitled-24-2

Learning about the culture and customs of other people is one of the greatest experiences of travel.

On April 30, 2015, a spectacular ceremony and parade involving nearly 6,000 soldiers, militia, and civilians took place in Ho Chi Minh City and was watched by more than 10,000 spectators to mark the 40th anniversary of the liberation of southern Viet Nam and national reunification.

REUNIFICATION, PALACE, HO CHI MIN, SAIGON, VIETNAM

A visit to the Reunification Palace, formerly the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president, is a great way to learn about the history of the country.   This 60’s style building was stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975 signifying the fall of South Vietnam.  It has been preserved in its original state, and the tanks remain on display near the entrance gates.

While in HCMC, still called Saigon by many,  I had the pleasure of experiencing today’s beauty and culture of the people.  Here, I learned there are nine million residents who compete with six million motorbikes for space.  In this city of contrasts you’ll find an emerging new and modern skyline against a backdrop of traditional Hindu and Buddhist temples.  Outside you’ll find young professionals stopped at a cafe to drink coffee and chat on mobile phones, while local worshipers pray in quiet temple courtyards filled with clouds of incense.

TEMPLE, HINDU, VIETNAM, SAIGON, INCENSE

While in HCMC, take a part of your day to visit the Emperor of Jade Pagoda, the neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office.  Pass by the ornate City Hall, the old Opera House and end up at the central Ben Thanh Market, where you can barter and shop for a vast array of goods and crafts in the alleyways.

VIETNAM, CU CHI TUNNELS

Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels:  Undiscovered by American forces, these narrow underground tunnels were an important Vietcong base during the American War. Over 200km, this incredible underground network of tunnels, dug by hand, connected command posts, hospitals, shelters and weapon factories.  There are cleverly disguised hidden entrances and elaborate boobytraps on display.  If you dare, you can even venture inside the tunnels, some of which have been modified to accommodate tourists. In the Cholon (Chinatown) area you can explore the Chinese Medicine Market packed with shops and stalls selling traditional medicine, and the wholesale Binh Tay Market.  Also visit Thien Hau Pagoda built by the Cantonese congregation and dedicated to the heavenly goddess.

VIETNAM, CU CHI, TUNNELS

VIETNAM, MEKONG

The highlight of my trip was ferrying to a small island of 6,000 inhabitants, seeing the local “pets,” two of which included a python snake and a monkey, tasting delicious fruits, being entertained by Vietnamese music and singers, and taking a sanpan down the Mekong Delta River to observe the rural riverside lifestyle.  If you’re an early riser, you can observe hundreds of floating markets early in the morning hours.  My day trip along the Mekong is a day I’m not likely to forget.

From the classiest of hotels to the cheapest hostels, finest restaurants to the tastiest of Pho, choice boutiques to the night markets, HCMC is an emerging city of contrasts worth visiting.

VIETNAM GUIDE, TOURISM,

If you’re planning a visit to Vietnam and would like someone to show you around, be sure and contact Thuy at thuyphungguide@gmail.com.  She’s an outstanding English-speaking guide, gives great historical information of the country and is always prompt, courteous and friendly. She was even gracious enough to model for my photos.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.