Niagara Falls

Are you planning a romantic getaway, looking for a cool solo travel destination or a family holiday? Niagara Falls is the perfect answer. As you’re about to discover, there’s a reason why it’s on so many people’s bucket lists. It is truly a phenomenal location, difficult to compare with anywhere else in the world. I’m good at procrastinating – it only took me 3 years to finally blog about it after we came back from our trip to Niagara Falls. But never procrastinate going for your trip! Here are my thoughts on why you should be booking your trip here sooner rather than later.

An Incredible Sight

niagara falls

Photos: Candidtown Photography


Credit Picture

Niagara is an incredible sight day and night. It’s a stunning scene that simply can’t be captured in images or video. You may think that it looks spectacular in the pictures I’ve chosen. But it’s nothing compared to being up close to the real thing. Don’t forget that you can get a guided boat tour until you’re almost directly under the walls. It’s an experience that’ll take your breath away, and you don’t want to miss out. J and I booked our seats on the famous Maid of the Mist in Fall 2013. And I still have the raincoat from that trip. Trust me, you’ll need it:). You can board from either the American or Canadian side but the falls are much bigger and definitely more spectacular from the Canadian site. 

niagara falls

So not glamorous, so worth it.

Maid of the Mist - Niagara Falls

Maid of the Mist – packed with people

Soaking wet, J managed to take some amazing photos using his raincoat to protect the camera. I, on the other hand, only managed not to fall out of the boat by hold the railings dead tight during the turbulent time.

niagara falls

Photo taken on the boat: CandidTown Photography

A Hotel View

If you are heading to the falls, you should definitely consider staying at the Sheraton Hotel. If you’re lucky and you book early enough you’ll get a hotel room with a view of the falls below. You can gaze down at it from the balcony of your bedroom. It’s what makes this one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world. But it’s not the only thing that makes accommodation at the falls spectacular. The hotel also includes a spa so you can wine, dine and relax with breathtaking scenery below.

niagara falls

Photo taken on the boat: CandidTown Photography

Fun Place To Be

Niagara falls is a fun travel destination.  If you are traveling with children, there’s an indoor water park nearby that’s bound to keep them entertained for hours. So while you’re enjoying your spa treatment your children they’ll be frolicking in an artificial ocean. It’s not the only activity for children in the area. There are plenty of places for fun filled family entertainment that you can research and buy tickets for online before you travel.

niagara falls

Photo taken on the boat: CandidTown Photography

For couples and single travellers, if you have more than a couple of days to stay, pay a visit to those beautiful and serene vineyards within the area. You’ll be able to buy some of the finest wines in the country, taste them and see how they’re made. Niagara vineyards are world famous so you’ll definitely be in for a treat. With so many choices available, surely you can pick up a bottle or two to take home with you.

The night life in Niagara Falls is amazing – night clubs, bars, restaurants, neons lights are everywhere. Even the falls will light up for you at night.

An Unforgettable Flight

Finally, you can finish off your getaway with an unforgettable, breathtaking flight over the falls. Gaze down in wonder at the crashing waters below as you soar closer than anyone else. It’s a scary flight in places but well worth it if you have the courage to face your fear. Be sure to snap at least one photo  to remember a dream on your bucket list fulfilled.

niagara falls

Photo: CandidTown Photography



Eco-friendly travel

How often do you (would you like to) travel? Ever fancied Eco-friendly trip? It’s easier said than done isn’t it… But out of curiosity, I did some research to see what are the options available for Eco-friendly travel in modern days. As California is an American state that prides itself on its green credentials, I thought it’s good start to take a closer look around there. In this guide, we’re going to explore the ways of how to get there, where to stay, and what to see and do while you’re there. All in the greenest way possible, of course. Let’s get started with your travel basics.

Eco-friendly travel


It’s one thing to want to be more Eco-friendly, but it would be really hard to put that into  action when you are traveling. There is, of course, no such thing as a green way to fly – yet. But, some airlines are definitely trying harder on Eco-friendly front. So if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, there are ways around it. A good place to start is Seat Guru’s guide to green aircraft and airlines.


California has a plethora of forward-thinking hotels, for all different budgets. We’ve had a look at some of the options and have decided to plump for the Super 8 Hotel in Ukiah. They are hot on energy efficiency, waste disposal and water saving. Plus, you get an organic breakfast with biodegradable cutlery, bowls, and plates. To top it off, the entire building has been built to sustainable standards, and they have a saltwater pool. Truth to be told. It’s hard to find anything greener that isn’t a tent. But if you have some great ideas,  let me know!


Californian food is that perfect mix of American classics and Mexican spice. But, head out to the coast and it’s amazing for seafood, too. We like the look of the Cafe Fina seafood restaurant in Monterey. Stunning views, plenty of outside seating and locally-sourced fish to flex its green muscles. If you’re going to spend your carbon footprint traveling, we think it’s best to have everything on tap once you get there. The fewer miles your food travels, the better you’ll feel about the miles you have clocked up.


There is plenty to do in California, but if you are looking for green options, then we have a couple of choices for you. First of all, check out Natural Habitat Adventures. They run a good range of green adventure holidays around the world, including trips to the ace Yellowstone National Park.  You can also investigate what’s on offer at the Nature Conservancy. There is an enormous range of things to see and do on their website, so head over and keep up with the latest news.

These are just a few ways of getting to see California, green-style. There are plenty more options out there if you look hard enough, so it is possible to help the environment when you travel. Have you ever tried Eco-friendly travel? Let me know if you have had any eco-friendly adventures in California or the States – I’d love to hear from you!

“Do we have to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge?” J is a not a big fan of walking.
“Yes.” I replied with great enthusiasm, “It would be fun. Everyone said we must do the Brooklyn Bridge walk at least once. And the view would be amazing. We can take some nice close up photos of those cables.”

I heard about the history of Brooklyn Bridge many times. It is legendary:
The bridge’s construction took 14 years, involved 600 workers and cost $15 million (more than $320 million in today’s dollars). At least two dozen people died in the process, including its original designer whose son took over the leadership of the bridge construction. The son later suffered from caisson-disease as a result of the works on the pillars of the bridge and it was the son’s wife who eventually supervised the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge until its completion.
More than 125 years after its completion, the Brooklyn Bridge is still the world’s largest suspension bridge and one of the most famous icons of New York.

This photo was taken on a glorious, sunny day. The bridge looks majestic over the east river except for the huge pieces of white cloth hanging close to its tower.

The Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan

the brooklyn bridge over east river

The plan was to walk over the bridge one day and take some nice sunset photos. There was only one slight problem: the sun didn’t show up on the day we took the Brooklyn Bridge walk.

Never mind that. We could just enjoy an easy stroll and the view. Right? There were dedicated pedestrian walkways on the bridge so it was safe to walk too. Vendors were selling stuff and brave tourists were taking photos with a huge snake around their necks.

The Brooklyn Bridge

The view? Hmmm… I’ve seen better. Sorry New Yorkers. There were plastic bags and other rubbish tied on the rusted metal wires. Obviously some people felt free to write all over the poor old bridge too.

The Brooklyn Bridge

Another small section of the bridge was used to put love locks and stickers.

The Brooklyn Bridge

Views to the harbor were blocked due to construction and parts of the bridge were scaffold-ed. I started to feel for the Brooklyn Bridge. Repairs seemed to be long overdue.

blocked view

scaffolding The Brooklyn Bridge

It was like walking across a tunnel

Can you feel my excitement of finally walking out of the tunnel?

open sectionIt was a cloudy Saturday afternoon. I took a photo of J taking photos on the Brooklyn Bridge and looked around.

taking photos

Right there, I saw the beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge again. Though not exactly as what I have imagined up close, the Brooklyn Bridge is just like the New York City. Grand, alluring and forever under construction.


We didn’t get to walk inside Lincoln Memorial Washington DC. 1st October 2013 was the first day we started touring around Washington DC. It was also the first day United States federal government entered a shut down.

Fences were placed in front of World War II memorial. A sign ” because of the Federal Government SHUTDOWN, All National Parks Are Closed. ” stopped everyone right there. The SHUTDOWN in capital looks somewhat angry.

ww2 memorial shut downThough feeling strange, I wasn’t angry. World War II memorial is an open place so I could still possibly have a look at it without actually going in. But there were bus loads of angry people. 3 buses of WWII veterans were not impressed of being denied access to the memorial build in their honor. World War II memorial is normally just an open space without doors and fences. But because of the government shutdown (due to short of funds), extra fences were added around it to make it closed. We’ve never seen so many wheelchairs in one place and I started to feel for those veterans.

An angry tour guide was trying to call someone to rectify this situation. Many tourists from other States of America booked and paid their tours way in advance. They WANTED to walk inside WWII memorial and Lincoln Memorial Washington DC.

We kept walking around National Mall. It was hot and sunny day. Ducks were having a pleasant time relaxing around the Reflecting Pool. Lincoln Memorial on the other side of Reflecting Pool looked like a Greek Temple. Empty inside.

Lincoln Memorial Washington DC

Otherwise open to public 24 hours,  Lincoln Memorial Washington DC was closed by fences and a sign. People gathered outside the fences. Some looked confused. Some were trying to catch a glimpse of Lincoln Statue sitting in the dark inside the temple. Beyond the fences, the Lincoln Memorial looked deserted. Journalists were interviewing visitors outside the fences. I tried to have a “been here” photo taken.

lincoln memorial

Obviously it’s an awkward picture. I wasn’t quite settled in front of the fence and you can see the same SHUTDOWN sign on the side. It was an awkward situation.

So no, we didn’t  inside Lincoln Memorial Washington DC. Not that I’m complaining. I could still find out more details from Google after all.

It just felt strange.

central park new york city

Two sisters were robbed at gunpoint in Central Park New York last Sunday around 9.45 pm. The two sisters were tourists visiting New York city from California. What a disaster, to be held at gunpoint when all they expected was to enjoy the peacefulness and beauty of the park.

What a shame, Central Park New York has so much nicer things to offer.

We liked Central Park New York very much, of course we’ve never been there at night. It’s a luxury to have such a massive, open, green space on populated Manhattan island. Center Park provided us a good place to recharge and escape the shadows of skyscrapers in Downtown and Midtown Manhattan. We took our time walking around the park, people watching and taking random shots (with a camera).

The biggest bubbles

How wrong I was, to think that blowing bubbles is only a kid’s game. There are lots of adults blowing bubbles in the park. So watch out, there are the biggest bubbles to be found.

central park new york city the biggest bubble

The best paying job, arguably

rickshaw and horse carriage

Rickshaws in Central park charge from UD$ 3 – 4.95  a minute. That US$ 180 – 300 per hour. The only skill required for this job is to know how to ride a bicycle. Not bad hey, considering the high jobless rate in America. The horse carriages are charging not any less but these people have to buy horses and maintain them.

Not so pretty fences

There are some rather primitive black plastic fences around the grass in central park here and there. Pictured below is one of the more presentable ones, which at first I thought was a distraction of the nature beauty of the park. However I realize now that maybe it’s necessary after learning about the crime rate of the park after 9pm.

fence Central Park New York

The most portable massage

It looked like some sort of ancient punishment from a distance. But wait, these people might have been actually enjoying themselves. Have a sore neck from walking around? Take a seat.


Most expensive apartment living & New York City Homeless Advocate

Apartments along 5th Avenue overlooking Central Park are the homes of rich and famous. People regularly point it out to us: That’s the apartment Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis used to live; see that one? That’s Tom Hank’s New York apartment. These hot properties are rarely available for sale. If they do, there’s hardly anything can be snatched up for less than a cool US$ 20 Million.

Right in front of these expensive apartments and Central park stood a man collecting donations for New York City Homeless Advocate. But why? It doesn’t make sense. Why choose New York city to be homeless in. So many other places in American are actually affordable and nice too. People consistently complain how expensive it is to rent a tiny, closet sized apartment in New York city. I reckon a lot people in this world would be homeless if they insist to live in New York City instead.


It reads on the blue collection box: NEW YORK CITY Homeless advocate

Pretty as a picture

Central Park is picturesque and enjoyable. You have to see it yourself to appreciate it more.



A map of Central Park New York


On the way out of Central Park, a couple dressed nicely in suits approached us and asked if we could take a picture of them together. J happily took a few photos of them with the lake in the background. “We got married just now!” The woman couldn’t contain her happiness. Oh wow. We congratulated them in equal excitement and left the park, smiling.

Here’s to happy ending – enjoy the randomness of Central Park New York:).

In case you think I’m in the New York City Greenwich Village right now, I’m not. Though I wouldn’t mind that.

We reserved a whole day to do nothing else but wandering around Greenwich Village area during our New York trip. The goal of the day was to soak up in the Sun and experience the local way of living (i.e. getting there by Subway).

If you are not in a hurry while visiting New York city, spend some quality time in Greenwich Village.

Go Wander, you’ll love it.

Walking into a movie scene accidentally

Greenwich Village is unpretentiously cool. It is a relaxed neighborhood that happens to be the setting of many movies and TV shows. Friends is set in the Village. In Sex And The City, Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment building is also in the Village, even though her address is given as on the Upper East Side. It wasn’t my intention at all to search for those places in the movie scenes in Greenwich Village but you really don’t need to look out for them . They jump at you.

As I was walking along the tree lined streets aimlessly, a familiar garden setting appeared right in front of me. Wait a minute, isn’t it the place where Miranda and Steve got married in Sex And The City? Indeed it is, the Jefferson Market garden where the movie scene was set.

New York City Greenwich Village Jefferson Market garden

Setting for Sex and The City where Miranda and Steve’s wedding took place

The red building at the back is an old courthouse, now known as Jefferson Market Library.

NYC Greenwich Village old court house


No skyscrapers

New York has plenty of skyscrapers in every shape and size. When you want to escape from the huge shadows of these tall buildings cast and urgently need to feel the sun shinning on your skin, come to Greenwich Village.  It is a world away from Time Square and other busy parts of Manhattan. The village landscape is thoroughly enjoyable and I’m never sick of looking at the exterior fire escape on an old building facade. There are cafes, bars and bakeries on every street corner in Greenwich Village. Quaint little shops are everywhere too.

greenwich village building shop


Washington Square Park

Greenwich Village is the arty, bohemian part of New York City. If you are tired of sightseeing, shopping, watching shows, visiting museums… Come to chill out in Washington Square Park. Located at the heart of Green Which Village, Washington Square pare is dominated by the 1892 Washington  Arch and central fountain which draws crowds of students, tourist, locals and artists year -round.

NYC Greenwich Village arch in washington square parkplay in washinton square park

You might even bump into the future Bob Dylan. Actually, you don’t need to meet anybody, just come and sit. And watch the world go by.NYC Greenwich Village washington square park

Joe’s Pizza

Do you want to try some classic New York fast food? Have a huge slice of pizza or two at Joe’s Pizza. It’s a buzz and bustle tiny place with pizzas flying out of the oven literally every  minute. I’m not huge fan of pizza but I loved it so much and went for seconds. Pizzas in New York is different from those in Italy. They are huge with very little toppings. I still wonder how could a plain looking pizza be this tasty. Photos of celebrities eating at Joe’s pizza occupied a wall inside. Everybody wants a slice of Joe’s Pizza, evidently.

joes pizza

joes pizza greenwich

So there you have it, snippets of Greenwich Village. When you go wander, don’t worry about getting lost. Because there’s no other neighborhood more enjoyable to get lost in that Village.

It’s hard to miss Rockefeller Centre visiting New York City. Known as city in the city, Rockefeller Centre looks like a civic planning master piece in NYC, eager to be shown off.  And it does get the attention it deserves,  a lot of it. There’s plenty to see at Rockefeller Centre but the following is the most eye catching for me.

Top 4 Attractions of Rockfeller Center New York City

  • International Fags

I was first drawn to Rockefeller Center by the colorful international flags around its lower plaza. Have you noticed there are gigantic American flags flying almost everywhere in the US? Displaying an array of multinational flags certainly makes the whole building group stand out in a crowd.

rockefeller center nyc


rockefeller center flags

  • GE Building At Rockefeller Center

One of the top skyscrapers in the New York City, GE building is the tallest among the Rockefeller Center group of buildings. Does this picture make you feel dizzy? I felt dizzy taking this picture. Top of Rock, the observation deck is on the top of Rockefeller center’s GE building.

front of ge building

Does this picture make you feel dizzy? I felt dizzy taking this picture.

This is the front entrance of GE Building:

front entrance of GE building

Inside the GE building is grand. I guess you can tell from the look of the lobby:



  • Lower Plaza

Located in the center of the buildings, Lower Plaza of Rockefeller Center is full of life. The weather was still warm while we were there so it wasn’t converted into an outdoor ice skating rink yet. See the most famous artwork at Rockefeller Center in this picture? It is the gilded bronze sculpture hovering over a fountain – the Prometheus sculpture. It depicts Prometheus who returns the stolen fire to mankind.

lower plazaHere’s Prometheus sculpture with GM building at the background.

sculpture and ge building

  • Top of the Rock

You need to follow the signs inside the building to find your way to Top Of The Rock. The line to buy a ticket on the spot is very, very long. If you have a voucher to Top of the Rock, you need to join the other queue, which is significantly shorter, to redeem your voucher for a ticket. After you get a ticket, chances of going to the top immediately is slim. Most likely, you will be assigned with a specific time slot to go up by the lift. In our case, we were told to come back in an hour and half.

What the hell is this? You might ask. This is a picture taken inside the lift to Top Of The Rock. The lift has transparent top so that passengers can see the whole journey from bottom to top. It was late by the time it was our turn to go up.  Inside the lift, it is pitch black. The traveling speed of the lift is extremely fast. Again,  I felt dizzy looking up  on the way up. See what I mean? That’s what tall buildings do to you.

inside lift

A trip from top to the bottom inside the lift is a total new experience. Looking up all the time on the way down is not recommended as  you do feel the power of gravity and the sense of free falling is not that pleasant:).

They say the view of New York City on top of the Empire State Building is magnificent but the the view on Top Of The Rock is even better. Because you can see the Empire State Building on Top Of The Rock. So here it is, the amazing view on top of the Rock.

View from top of the rock rockefeller center

NYC – the city never sleeps

Can you spot the Empire State Building?


We nearly scrapped Ottawa off our travel list due to tight schedule in Canada. Glad we didn’t.

Ottawa was our next stop after Toronto. Toronto is modern, friendly, clean and pleasantly boring to me. Sorry to use the word boring, but after visiting Toronto twice, I just didn’t find the city exciting.

Tired and worried that Ottawa is going to disappoint us, we weren’t sure if we wanted to drive up there. But Ottawa is the capital city of Canada that we’ve never been. After flying all the way from Australia to America, not to check it out sounded a little  silly.

“Let’s go”. I finally made up my mind.

And yes. Ottawa is fantastic. Grand old looking buildings, fabulous museums, magical autumn colors and fascinating Rideau Canal over Ottawa river.  Canada’s Capital is blessed with historical highlights and the region’s natural beauty.

Ottawa view from bell tower

View from Ottawa Parliament House Bell Tower

Visiting Ottawa, nobody can miss the centerpiece of Ottawa’s downtown landscape, Parliament Hill. There were so many visitors from all over the world on the day we were there. Chinese visitors topped the list. They were getting their pictures taken, one by one in front of the Parliament building, each stood tall and straight with hands firmly placed downwards alongside their bodies. I’m too familiar with this pose (I’m a Chinese immigrant living in Australia). When people are not comfortable in front of the camera, they appear to be stiff and extremely awkward. My mum is an expert on this pose. Every time I’m trying to take a photo of her, she strikes out the standing still, serious looking pose automatically. J named it the “Chinese Soldier Pose”.

It was late in the afternoon, we marched towards the parliament house in a hurry. Luckily, we made it to the last group to the Bell Tower of Parliament building that day. The best view of Ottawa has to be on top. We went up  to the Bell tower with another group of tourists.

Ottawa parliament house bell tower

View from Ottawa Parliament House Bell Tower

Ottawa is a French speaking city so everyone – from the security guard to the tour guide in the parliament house speaks French. But you’ll soon find out everyone speaks perfect English too. So don’t get frustrated if you don’t understand a word of French.

The Gothic architecture inside Parliament building is equality impressive.

inside ottawa parliament house

Snapped on the stairs inside Ottawa Parliament House

When we walked out of  its door, Parliament house still stood tall and stately. Gone were the busy large groups of tourists. Parliament Hill went all quiet and peaceful.

Just like that, J passed me the camera and I heard a rare request of him: “take of picture of me.”

ottawa chinese soldier

J – The Chinese Solider Pose