A Secret Garden in Milan – 10 Corso Como

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After a long day walk in Milan, endless shopping and sight seeing, you would really want to find a place where you could relax and rest your feet. There are many lovely cafes and restaurants in Milan, but nothing beats the 10 Corso Como.

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10 Corso Como is an iconic location for local Milanese situated in the fashionable walking street Corso Como . It is a combination of arts, fashion, music, design, dinning and culture all in one place. It started off as an art gallery and book store in 1990, other spaces soon followed – design and fashion store in 1991, the cafe in 1998, a boutique hotel with only 3 rooms in 2003, and a roof garden in 2009. In year 2002, the brand partnered with the Japanese fashion icon Comme des Garcons and opened their first overseas store in Tokyo, and became a great success. Other International stores followed in Seoul, Shanghai and Beijing in 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively.

I really like the design and layout of the complex. On the exterior of the building, there are wall climbing woody plants with light bulbs on the walls, which make the whole building stands out a lot. From the outside, it is very difficult to tell how amazing the inside looks like. The entrance to the complex is not very wide, but leads you right into the open garden, which makes it feel like a walk into a secret garden.

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The Cafe and Restaurant

This is absolutely my favourite part of the whole complex. Whether it’s for an aperitivo with your girls,  or a romantic dinner with your partner, this place will not disappoint you! (Note: Aperitivo =  Italian happy hour)

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The Gallery and Gallery Shop

There are different exhibition on at different time. The time I was there was a display of photographs by the famous photographer and contemporary artist Nobuyoshi Araki. This exhibition will be up until the 12th Feb 2017, check on the 10 Corso Como website for upcoming events and exhibition.

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The Book Store

It’s like a mini library with art and design related books. If you are a lover of art, you could easily spent hours here.

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If you are in Milan, I would highly recommend you to visit this place, even if you are not a fan of design or into art. The design of this place will simply amaze you.

Useful Information

10 Corso Como Official Website

10 Corso Como Facebook


It’s about a 3 minutes walk from Garibaldi Fs Metro Station

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Stay in Milan with Style on a Budget

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What quality(s) do you look for when you are searching for a hotel for your leisure trip? Is it the comfort level? The size of the room? The facilities? The cost/value? Or maybe the location? I believe that different people will have different priorities while looking for a place to stay during their travel. My top 3 priorities would be safety, location, and value.

During my Milan trip, I’ve stayed in two different places. One is a hotel, while the other one is a service apartment. While the hotel was much cheaper, I find that the apartment was of a much better value.

“Residenza Delle Citta” is the name of the service apartment, and it’s run by the Planetaria Hotel Chain, which is an Italian local brand since the mid 1990’s, and now has 9 different hotels/residences thru out Italy at the moment. The group is well known for restoring their establishments with great attention to identity and specific architectural features of the property, so that each has a different atmosphere that is representative of the urban context in it is located.

This residence really surprised me, in many ways! Let’s talk about them one by one:

Location:

The residence is only one stop away from Milan Centrale station – this is the major station for all the trains from the different city of Italy, and is also where the Airport Coaches will terminate. From Milan Centrale station, you can either take one stop on the green subway line 2 and gets off at Caizzo station, and from Caizzo station, it will take you about 8 minutes by walk; or you can walk directly from Centrale station, will will take you approximately 15 minutes.

Bus and tram stands are just around the corner from the apartment, which makes it very easy for you to navigate around Milan. There are also supermarket and local restaurants within the block.

Checking In:

The reception of the apartment is not open 24 hours, so it could make checking in and out a bit difficult. However, before your stay, the manager will send you an e-mail to confirm your time of arrival to ensure a smooth check in. Be sure to let them know your approximate time of arrival, as arrivals outside their opening hours that have not been notified at the time of booking will incur a supplement cost, which I’m sure you wouldn’t want.

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Reception Area, very cosy

Our check in was smooth, my friend and I arrived the apartment around 8pm, and were warmly greeted by the manager on duty. He was very friendly, and explained to us about the facilities of the place and asked if we had any questions. His English level was very good, which made communication very easy.

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Festive Special – Igloos by the Thames River by Coppa Club

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Have you ever imagined how dinning in an Igloo would feel like? You can now try out this special experience at Coppa Club in London.

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You can see The Shard from here as well!

The Coppa Club has installed eight igloo-style PVC party-domes along the Thames, with the stunning view over the Thames, with the Tower Bridge as your background. Each dome is fully heated, and is equipped with sheep skin blankets to enrich that festive cosy feeling. Three of the igloos will have large circular tables which can seat groups of up to eight, while the other igloos are kitted out as cosy riverside lounges.

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Tower Bridge View as the Background

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View of Basilica di San Pietro from Another Angle Over a Glass of Wine

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For those who have been to the Vatican City, you would know that this place is usually crowded the whole year round… To take a good picture, you usually have to wait and wait and wait, or keep changing angles to find a less crowded spot, or, just be be super lucky…

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This is the “less” crowded season already…

But, if you a person like me who doesn’t really like to fight the crowd, then this place I’m going to tell you about may just be the perfect spot for you!

Before I talk about this place, I just want to show you a few snap shot at Piazza di San Pietro (St. Peter’s Square!)

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Ok, now, this place I want to tell you about is a best kept secret, and not many people know about it, so I would highly recommend you to go before this place is flooded by people. This roof top bar is hidden in a small hotel called the “Residenza Paola VI”, and it is basically right next to the Piazza. It overlooks the St. Peter’s Church in Vatican city, and is the perfect place for you to visit after a long day of sight seeing in the Vatican. The bar is furnished in classic old Italian style, and the staffs there are very nice and helpful, which makes this bar a very cozy place.

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A Home Away from Home in Rome

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A home away from home… this is how I felt when I check into this cute little space while I was at Rome.

As this was my first time to Rome, so while I was searching for a place for my friends and I to stay, my top priorities were safety and convenience. I looked at all possible accommodations, from hotels to hostels to Airbnb etc, and when I stumbled across the listing about this place on Airbnb, my eyes stopped and immediately fell in love with the decorations. After doing some research on the locations and several messages with the host, I knew that this would be the perfect stay for my trip to Rome!

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We arrived Rome Termini station from Milan around mid day, and it only took us around 20 minutes to get to the place. Instructions on how to get to the place were very clear, so it made the journey there very easy. We were warmly greeted by the host who was waiting for us in the house, and she has already prepared all the maps and suggestions of the local area for us.

This lovely decorated house is located approximately 10 minutes walk from The Colosseum, a 5 minutes walk to the closest metro station (Manzoni), and it’s only 2 metro stops away from the Rome Termini station, also, there’s a bus and tram stand right in front of the house, which makes it a great location while travel around in Rome. Not to mention that there are lots of local restaurants around the area, and 2 of the biggest cathedrals around.

The interior of the house is very unique, using a lot of vintage and decorative elements, is fully equipped with all the amenities you will need. The best part of the house was the little outdoor garden of the house, very nicely furnished with chairs and table, made it a great place to dine. We stayed here during winter, which could be a bit cold, but could not resist to dine here.

Entrance:

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Around the world in a day!? POSSIBLE!!

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Imaging you can see and taste the world in a day… or even in just a matter of a few hours!

The title of this blog sounds a bit cheesy right? Well, I gotta admit it was exaggerated a bit to grab your attention, but it’s not a false statement, you could really see and taste the world within just a few hours here in Milan!

Towards the end of each year, there is an International art and food fair that is held in Milan – the “L’Artigiano in Fiera”. It is a world trade fair with artisans products and food from all around the world. Italy, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Iran, Turkey, USA, Australia, China, Africa …. just to name a few!

The fair is held at the exhibition center at Fieramilano Rho-Pero, just a 30 minutes metro ride from Milan city center, and it runs from 3rd to 11th December this year. Opening time is from 10:00am to 10:30pm daily during the period, and it is free to enter. The fair is spread into 9 different exhibition halls, with over 3000 artisan companies from over 100 countries participating.

Overall Atmosphere:

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The crowd in the morning

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Fancy Festive Afternoon Tea in The Lanesborough London

A cup of tea is an excuse to share great thoughts with great minds!

Whether it’s for a special celebration, or just a treat after all your shopping, or you just simply want to indulge in the English ritual, an afternoon tea is an activity not to be missed in London.

During my winter trip to London last year, our company offered us a lovely afternoon treat at the famous Ritz Hotel. This year, to bring in the festiveness, they have organized a special Festive Afternoon Tea session at The Lanesborough London! Not only do you get the traditional tea and scones, you also get to enjoy the super delicious sweets and pastries that looks like art pieces! Let’s not forget to mention, The Landsborough London’s afternoon tea has won multiple awards from UK Tea Council’s Award of Excellence.

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The Lanesborough London
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Exterior of the Hotel

As our booking were a group booking, instead of dinning in the majestic, naturally-lit surroundings of Céleste or the elegantly refined Withdrawing Room, we had our own function room, which is still very nicely decorated.

There are 3 types of Afternoon Tea Sets offered here, the Traditional Afternoon Tea, the Prestige Afternoon Tea, and The Festive Afternoon Tea which runs from the 25th November till the 1st January. During the months of November and December, the hotel is decorated with lovely Christmas decorations, which blends in very well with the design of the hotel. What’s better than festive food paired with festive vibes right?

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Top 5 Recommended Places to Visit near Mount Fuji

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Continuing on from my last post about WHERE to STAY with the stunning Mount Fuji view, now I want to share with you my TOP 5 RECOMMENDED PLACES to visit near the Fuji 5 Lakes area.

Maple Leaves Tunnel (紅葉トンネル/もみじ回廊)

The Maple Leaves Tunnel is located near Lake Kawaguchi of Yamanashi Prefecture. Each year from late October until mid November, there will be a Maple Leave festival that’s held here, with many food stalls, and other small counters that sell local produce and hand made artifacts. One of the main attraction for this place is the Maple Leaves Tunnel – a long corridor filled with maple trees, with a small creek that runs in the middle.

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Hotel with Mount Fuji View for Under USD$100/person including MEALS!

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Just imagine yourself sitting in an open air hot bathtub, having a glass of hot sake, and right in front of your eyes is the Mount Fuji sunset view surrounded by maple leaves?

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It’s the maple leaves season in Japan again, and one of the best place to see the leaves is at the Fuji Five Lake, which is about 2 hours drive from Tokyo. The five lakes are Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakaka, Shojiko, and Motosuko. It is one of the best places to view Mount Fuji from a close distance, and a great base for climbing the mountains.

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Map of the Fuji Five Lakes area

There are many hotels around the areas of the Fuji Five Lakes, especially near Kawaguchiko, which is the biggest and the most touristic one. However, if you prefer something quieter, this hotel I’m going to talk about may just be the one for you!

This hotel is right in-front of Shojiko, which is the smallest lake out of the five. Comfortable rooms with Japanese traditional bedding, view of Mount Fuji in your room, private open air hot spring, and amazingly delicious meals all in one place. Better yet, you can get all these for under USD$100/persons! This is one you sure can’t miss.

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Annual Tulip Festival near Melbourne – a field of vibrant colours

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This is not the Netherlands, this is Australia!

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Each year during the months of September/October, there are two big tulip festivals. One is in the Wynyard Tulip festival in Tasmania, and the other one is the Tesselaar Tulip Festival in Victoria. The later is only 40km East of Melbourne, which makes it easily accessible by car. Don’t worry, if you don’t want to drive, you could also get there easily by a train which departs from Melbourne, then board a shuttle/bus to get you to your destination.

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This year, the Tesselaar Tulip Festival was from the 8th September till the 4th October. I arrived Melbourne on the 3rd afternoon, which means the only day I could go was on their last day. During the 4 weeks of the festival, they have different events on every weekend. I would highly recommend you to check out their schedule before your visit.

According to Google Map, the journey shall only take approximately 45 minutes. Since it’s not a long ride, I have decided to have lunch at Melbourne first before we head over to the festival.

Well, a 45 minutes journey ended up being a 2 hours ride! Instead of using my Google map on the phone, I was using a GPS which I borrowed when I rented my car. For some strange reason, this GPS keeps directing me to roads that either did not exist, or was too narrow for my 4WD to get thru… Ok, it may also have to do with my bad sense of directions, and lack of skills in driving too. BUT, thanks to the GPS, we went on a route thru the Dandenong Ranges National Park, which was an extremely bumpy, yet fun ride – I encountered a wild deer in the middle of nowhere!! I have no idea where it came from, but it was there, starring at us. So sometimes, a little detour on a journey aren’t so bad at all.

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Oh my deer!!

Finally, I arrived the Tesselaar Tulip Festival at around 3:30pm. The weather was super nice when we got there.

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The entrance tickets are very cute, unfortunately you don’t get to keep them as they collect them at the gate 😦

About 10 minutes after entering the festival, it started pouring, and it was so windy and cold and wet, all I could do (and most of the others as well) was to hide in the shelter to wait for the rain to past by. The weather was not very nice that day, it keeps raining, then sunshine, then raining, then sunshine… but it made the flowers look very pretty, with the rain dew drops on the flowers.

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This is one of my favourite out of all the pictures, just love the dew drops on the flowers, looking so fresh and pretty

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