What to do in Singapore from One Runners Perspective. A weekly series of daily itineraries : Day 1

I’ve been anticipating, since my return back from Singapore, to give you all the delicious details of my 10 day South East Asian tour. You can all now release your breath, find a cozy place to take a few minutes to read on about this one delighted, runners perspective on things to do and places to see to get the most out of your sightseeing trip when in Singapore. With the plethora of information, I’ve decided to write this in a weekly series of daily itineraries. Here goes Day 1….

After a 12 hour and 30 minute red-eye flight from Luxembourg with a brief layover in Zurich, I arrived with a loss of 7 hours compared to central European time. Since it was already evening upon my arrival to Changi Airport, I wasn’t expecting to get a full day’s activity in on night one. After an easy 20 minute cab ride, I quickly learned they use Singapore dollars, that pretty much everyone speaks English or at least Singlish, and the drivers side is on the right and the roads are driven on the left. Having passed many open aired trucks on the highway, full of construction workers retiring after a day’s job, I soon discovered the concrete jungle of high rises and constant construction growth to house the 5.6 million, multi-cultural, population of this island city-state. I certainly wasn’t in Metz, France anymore. Regardless of the population, the country itself is only 719 squared km (or 278 squared miles) and actually made up of a total 62 additional smaller islands. It’s a fairly new, independent country founded in 1959, so its architecture is not full of history. In fact, the whole financial district is fairly modern, full of sky rises with evening light shows but I’ll get into that more a bit later.

For those who don’t know, I’m was visiting my college friend Katie, who was on a 3 month work stint in Singapore, allowing me to take advantage of coming in the first place. So night one was dinner together on Orchard Road, the famously long shopping avenue in downtown and then immediately making an attempt to get a full night’s rest before a busy tourist day the next day. I slept maybe 4 hours and was up by 4am, a blessing and a curse that with age I’ve found jet lag hits me harder with long travel. Reminder: I was still in training for the Paris Half Marathon scheduled the weekend of my return home. Because it’s one degree north of the equator, you’re dealing with super heat year round with incredible humidity, it’s not the ideal climate for long distance runners. But I made the most of my jet lag and hit up the hotel gym and got a 5k interval run in before 7am. After a quick breakfast and having purchased a discounted online ticket for Gardens By the Bay, that included the sky walk, I set out for my first day’s adventure by bus before 9am. By the way, public transportation is superb and incredibly affordable, something I used frequently to get to and from a lot of my adventures because it’s just too hot to run around everywhere

Gardens by The Bay


Pic 1: Supertrees, Pic 2: The Singapore Flyer, Pic 3: Marina Bay Sands Hotel


Near the marina, this eclectic garden mixed with modern day Supertree apparatuses, houses indoor and outdoor botanical beauties. Placed in between the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Singapore Flyer, you can get some great photo ops of the iconic structures. My first stop after a short walk around the outdoor gardens was to hit up the sky walk, as recommended seeing before peak day to avoid the heat from the sun. After, I made my way towards the two indoor conservatories; first, the Cloud Forest which encases a 35m (115ft) indoor waterfall and second, the Flower Dome which is the world’s largest column less and eco-friendly glasshouse.


Pic 1: Sky Walk, Pic 2: The Cloud Forest, Pic 3: The Flower Dome


Merlion Park

From the gardens, I made a brief walk over the helix bridge towards Merlion Park. Along the waterfront with another spectacular view of Marina Bay Sands, sits an impressive 8.6m mythical, half lion/half fish, water spewing statue. The landmark is the Singapore mascot.


Merlion Park


Hawker Centre Food Courts

With almost a half day spent, I was getting hungry and found myself making my way towards Chinatown with a pit stop at one of the famously known Hawker Centre Food Courts. Each court has numerous stalls housing authentic, local and nearby cuisines for mere dollars. For sure, should not be missed.


Ramen


Chinatown


Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum


33% if the Singaporean population is Chinese and Chinatown keeps authenticity close to home with its several temples, most famously Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. Amongst the magnificent 4 story temple are several, narrow, mostly pedestrian only streets that have negotiable markets for souvenirs and fruit stands where you can try a piece of the stinky Durian fruit. After 13 miles of walking, a little shopping and quenching my thirst with a couple Tiger Beers, I met back up with Katie and we made our way to the river for dinner.


Chinatown Streets


Clark Quay

A great area for specialty food and cocktails with a peaceful view is Clark Quay along the river. Clark Quay is home to several restaurants with most providing specialties of Singapore including the soft shelled crab. The crab is stir fried in either pepper or tomato based chili sauce. Paired with sticky rice and garlic spinach, this meal is as messy as it gets but a sweet memory of flavor and fun that I won’t soon forget.


Katie and I having chili crab in Clark Quay


Stay tuned for next weeks blog when I make a venture to Sentosa Island!


Sentosa Beaches


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Calling all Luxembourg Foodies!

Being a newbie to the Luxembourg area (reminder to my US followers, Luxembourg is a small country sitting on top of France and between Belgium and Germany), I have to admit I haven’t found that Luxembourg has any famously known cuisine. In fact most restaurants I’ve visited, have been borrowers of surrounding palates (like Italian and French). And on another note, I’ve not found a huge array of options for the health conscious individual.

Bearing in mind, I’m one to try to cook everyday (inside joke with my French friends but I’ll let you know the secret…I was in the middle of, what I thought, was an interesting French conversation that I thought I understood and I thought I was asked about my cooking/eating habits. I answered, “I cook everyday”. And unbeknown to me, the subject, which I can’t even remember, was not about food at all. This probably doesn’t even sound funny…guess you had to be there). But in all honesty, I do try to cook each weekday meal with my goal being that the food is fresh, local, and organic if possible, while trying to cut out processed foods. This is to try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, assist in workout performance, and help maintain my weight.

I, from first hand, know how sometimes recipes can get monotonous and buying groceries can get expensive when you are trying to plan ahead or it may even be difficult to find certain ingredients, ex: like what the heck is saithe!? It’s a fish, I had to google it. Where can we find a solution for fresh, local food, to create homemade recipes in less than 45 minutes and for as low as 7.50 euros a meal per person??

Fear no longer, as my peers in Luxembourg has created Avocado.

Avocado.lu is a food box home delivery service for all of Luxembourg. Providing fresh, bio foods and inspiring recipes that cater to your preferences whether it be low-carb, vegetarian or vegan, with the flexibility of frequency of delivery, all your anxieties on meal preparation can be taken care of. What a grand idea!

My readers even get a lucky 30% discount on their first order (new customers) if an order is placed before the 30th of August! Use this promotion code (PR16N-N-30).


City of Spires

One of the goals and aspirations with my Europe move, besides being with the love of my life, was to be able to travel to as many places as I could financially and safely. I’m pretty lucky so far because since December 2015, I have been able to visit 8 countries within the EU. This past weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Prague, Czech Republic.

To be honest, my history on Czech Republic is not up to par and had to do some research to discover that it is part the European Union and neighbors Slovakia, Germany, Poland, and Austria. Their national language is Czech and their currency is Czech koruna.

Everyone I talk to about travel says to visit Prague. It’s old and new with beautiful architecture, riverside, and an economically fun party city. Lucky for me my friend from the states, Kaitlin, whose brother lives in Prague, was flying in with family to run the Prague Marathon this past Sunday. The opportunity to visit and hit two birds with one stone was a no brainer.

Julien and I found a direct one hour flight from Luxembourg on Friday afternoon with LuxAir to Vlaclav Havel airport in Prague (about 30 minutes outside the center of the city). We ordered a car service to drop us off directly at our Airbnb in the New Town near the Mosaic House and Dancing House. We walked around a bit to get used to our surroundings and discovered most sights were within 20-30 minutes walk and with fantastic temps and clear skies, we enjoyed the fact that this was very much a walking city.


While walking around to find someplace to have traditional Czech food for dinner we came upon a cool, rotating, mirror sculpture of Franz Kafka head (a german-language writer well known in the 20th century). We then had dinner at the cute and quaint restaurant Narodni Nalevna. Big beers, big ribs and steak, Tiramisu and Absinthe to finish all for about $27 for the both of us. YES, this I can handle.


We walked a bit more after dinner and found ourselves in the midst of a happening Friday evening at Vaclavaske Namesti. Cool pedestrian strip full of casinos, girls and restaurants that was alive with several stag parties. The end of the street leads to the Narodni Museum. We made a loop and decided to have a few drinks back at the apartment.


Absinthe is 90-148 US proof and is in fact banned in US and in much of Europe. Said to have hallucinogen effects and was drank by many writers and artists like Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Edgar Allen Poe, Lord Byron, just to name a few. We figured we would be amongst creative geniuses and grabbed a bottle to sip and ponder on our balcony at our apartment and called it a night.

Saturday morning, we walked to Old Town and enjoyed a breakfast sandwich and ginger tea and Irish coffees at Cafe Ebel. Small but crafty cafe. Very busy on a Saturday morning but we were able to find seating for two. Enjoyed a couple breakfast sandwiches with delicious mango chutney. We finished off brunch with a big piece of carrot cake. Delicious but significantly slow due to only two workers. We then walked into Old Town Square and saw the Old Town Hall, Prague Orloj Medieval Astronomical Clock, Gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn, Jan Hus Memorial, and the Church of St Nicholas. We walked through the Powder Tower and met our friends staying at the Hotel Paris. We made our way to a food and beer festival along the river and was able to see the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and Petrin Lookout Tower from afar, while doing a river boat and beer garden hopping tour until dinner. I can’t remember where we ended up, yes because of beers, but had pasta with our friend to carbo load up for the 10,000 person marathon the next day.


Sunday we made our way towards the Dancing House to watch my friend make her way through the marathon at the 24-25k point. It really was a beautiful day for spectating, but like Paris, a little too warm for the race. But she did great and was happy to see us. Unfortunately, the only flight back to Lux was early afternoon so we didn’t get to see her finish but I’m happy to report that she did complete it! Before we left I had one of the best pizzas I can honestly say I’ve had since being in Europe, and maybe in my life (except for Chicago deep dish) at Fresco Vento. If you go, get the Borino.


I hope to make it back again. It’s a gorgeous city. And next time we will hit up the beer spa. My bad for finding out too late. Word of advice, book in advance. Now it’s back to Metz and back to work and back to working out and getting rid of my weekend beer belly. Cheers!