Europe 2015 – Singapore

by Diane on 01/09/2015

In August Kai’s parents celebrated their golden wedding anniversary – they have been married FOR 50 YEARS! Wowsers!

When we first started talking about this event with Kai’s mum, it didn’t take us long to make the decision to celebrate this milestone with them. Luckily they weren’t keen on throwing a big party, but were looking into going away for a little vacation instead. We had a quick look at a map of Europe, compared options with our travel bucket list, and decided to meet them in Vienna. And since it doesn’t make any sense to just go to Europe for Vienna only, we made this our main holiday for this year and managed to see a lot of awesome places and a lot of awesome people.

Here’s where we went:

It was a pretty awesome trip, so I’ll share some of our experiences and photos with you over the next few days.

Let’s start with Singapore.

If you don’t want to do the long journey from New Zealand to Europe in one go, Singapore is a great option to take a little break. We’ve been there quite a few times, and like always we managed to see some of our favourite places, as well as exploring new things. We usually treat it as the real beginning of the holiday.

Marché

One of our must-dos in Singapore is visiting the Marché Mövenpick restaurant. It’s based at the 313 Somerset shopping complex and at first sight it doesn’t look very special. It’s a self-service restaurant – set up like a market place – where you walk around, pick your food, swipe a card you received at the entrance, eat, and pay at the check-out when you’re done. Its design is Swiss kitsch, with animated plush sheep and Saint Bernards – true alpine pasture style.

The reason I love it so much is not only the food (very good, very European, very appropriate for the beginning of a journey to Europe), it’s because we also had one in Essen – waaaaay back when I went to school. It was the meeting place for teenagers who skipped school on the day. Even if you couldn’t convince any of your friends to miss at least first period, it was guaranteed that someone else you knew would be sitting at Marché. Not that I skipped school very often, but to me Marché still has this aura of forbidden pleasure around it. It’s a tradition for us to eat there while in Singapore.

Botanic Gardens

It was super hot when we visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens, luckily we went there first thing in the morning. That gave us enough time to enjoy the park, flowers and animals before we had to get back into an air-conditioned building.

Pretty orchid.

The Botanic Gardens are a World Heritage Site and are definitely worth a visit. For some reason we had never been there; we only became aware of them when I saw someone posting about it on Facebook. So take this as my recommendation to you: next time you’re in Singapore, visit the Botanic Gardens!

Selfie in front of a waterfall.

My favourite gardens were the Fragrant Garden (everything smells soooo good) and the Healing Garden (I learned quite a few things about using herbs for medical purposes). I’m still shaking my head about the Ginger Garden. Wild ginger is a pest in New Zealand, and I’m fighting a big fight against it in my own garden. I can’t comprehend why anyone would ever want to grow it on purpose!

Botanic Gardens lake

ArtScience Museum

To escape the heat we spent some time indoors in the afternoon.

Dreamworks exhibition at the ArtScience museum.

The ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands is pretty cool. We visited a Dreamworks exhibition (coming to Te Papa in December) and an exhibition on Singaporean life which celebrates 50 years of independence – super interesting!

Selfie on a bridge.

Around all of this we did some shopping too – overall we had a really fun day in Singapore. A great start to a great holiday.

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