The KGB Hotel of Tallinn, Estonia

11 04 2017

It is quite unbelievable that Estonia and other Baltic states were all under Soviet rule until the early ’90s.  I cannot imagine the fear people lived under and the limited freedom they were allowed.

In the only hotel in Tallinn, Estonia where foreigners were allowed to stay during the Soviet regime, is the “KGB Museum“.  On the 23rd floor of the still working hotel were the secret KGB offices used to spy on guests.  Filled with memorabilia including one room where everything is left as the KGB left it, rooms have been turned into a museum.

Near the ticket booth of the museum, you find cynical and irritated Snicker bars which we thought was hilarious.

View from the 22nd floor balcony

The door to the stairs leading up to the secret 23rd floor. The museum sign reads “entrance” at the top but the bottom part in Estonian and Russian apparently says “Do not enter” as it said when the top floor was occupied by the KGB.

Old floor guide

Selfie point

Direct to Moscow line

Our funny and excellent guide

What the KGB left in chaos.

The hotel in its present day at night





Glögg to Go

3 04 2017

Under the beautiful but bitterly cold sky of Tallinn, Estonia, “glögg to go” seemed like the perfect idea.

In a coffee cup with a straw. Brilliant.





A Walk in the Charming Old Town of Tallinn, Estonia

2 04 2017

I have been spending time in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, for the last three days attending a convention.  The first day when we had free time during the day was most lovely weatherwise though very chilly.  My friend and I enjoyed a walk in the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Old Town of Tallinn.

In the morning. It was only going to go up to 2C during the day.

And the following morning, it snowed.

 

 





Walking in Guangzhou, Part 2, the Shamian Island

27 03 2017

More from walking in the city of Guangzhou, China and this from the “Shamian Island” where my hotel was situated.  Due to what the island served as (as indicated in the previous link), the overall architecture is very grand and colonial though now mostly decorated with Chinese signs for hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, and sometimes government offices.

My hotel.





The Sacred Heart Cathedral of Guangzhou

17 03 2017

I am not a Catholic nor practice any religion for that matter but when it comes to “Sacred Heart“, I am rather partial because of my education in a Sacred Heart school.

Visited the peaceful (if a little crowded) Sacred Heart Cathedral in Guangzhou upon my visit to the city at the end of January.





Signs of the Chinese New Year

7 02 2017

Mostly somewhat lavish decorations but happy all around.  All except the last two are from Guangzhou, China.

My hotel with the new year lanterns

My hotel with the new year lanterns

Outside the hotel. The favorite fruit of the new year.

Outside the hotel. The favorite fruit of the new year.

Special new year food I presume just like we have in Japan

Special new year food I presume just like we have in Japan

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Even at a Catholic church

Even at a Catholic church

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Below are from villages near Kaiping.

Remains of fire crackers

Remains of fire crackers

Very similar to what we would do in Japan to put on your door (or entrance to the house) or come to think of it it's similar to a Christmas wreath.

Similar in style (but not appearance or what is used) to what we would do in Japan to put on your door (or entrance to the house) or come to think of it it’s kind of similar to a Christmas wreath.

And we do have a new year decoration that’s mochi (rice cake) + orange which I never thought had anything similar to Chinese new year decorations but that’s just ignorant me.





Packed-with-Tourists Busy Guangzhou, China, Chinese New Year Holidays

3 02 2017

My joy for empty and quiet Guangzhou, China was somewhat shattered when I tried to visit temples and other touristic locations in the city during my recent stay there during the Chinese New Year season.  Well, obviously and who am I to complain when I was a tourist myself.  They were all almost exclusively Chinese though on this occasion.

All lined up neatly and obediently…

And I thought it was going to be empty at this temple but then saw the line…

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The line for getting food! - something similar to an obento box.

The line for getting food – something similar to an obento box.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral

At the main bus terminal

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On the lovely Shamian Island where I was staying.








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