Travel ~ 36. Romantic Romania.

When two of your best friends are from Romania, it’s obligatory to visit the country. This summer, it happened. It was my first time in the southeastern sovereign state of Europe. The Carpathian mountains surrounded us on our road trip to the third most populous city, Timișoara.

Driving by petrol stations, there were also manufacturing, technology and transport factories which showed that the country’s commerce and economy are doing well. From that, many more tourists will visit. Cruising in the countryside, the views were spectacular with lots of flowers and fields of grass to entertain the eye. I began to fall in love.

Arriving at my friend’s house, I received a warm welcome from an adorable dog. The photo below was taken right before he ran over and began to lick my feet. I think that was meant to be his way of saying hello. Either way, it was super ticklish. I started to laugh.

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Continuing our adventure, we headed to Timișoara’s city centre. First stop, Memorialul Revolutiei. It was a museum dedicated to the Revolution in 1989. I learned a lot about how the city was established and why things operate the way they do there from a 30 minute film.

 

Next, my friends and I drove to the central area and began to walk around Piața Unirii. Eventually, we found a spot to to have lunch. There were great drinks, salads and burgers at M Bistro. Nearby, we visited the Timișoara Art Museum. No photos were allowed but I enjoyed the baroque, classical and contemporary works of art.

 

Soon enough it was time to explore more. Wandering along the main street, we ended up passing through multiple squares where we saw the Timișoara City Hall, the beautiful and old Opera House, a majestic Metropolitan Cathedral and the check out Timișoara city sign.

 

Then that evening, there was a cultural event happening in the Roses Park. Strolling by the river, I saw cool graffiti. When we got to the park, we watched dancers from Romania, Serbia and Portugal perform in their traditional attire.

 

After that, it was time to drink and dine Romanian style. The best place to end the night was at Pensiunea Annette with good food and friends in Covaci, Timișoara. I would recommend to visit this resort.

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All photos taken by Niya Sinckler.

 

Travel ~ 35. Hungry for History in Hungary.

Since I was little girl, I have loved history. Learning about the Austro-Hungarian empire at school, I was inspired to visit Hungary one day. This summer, I managed to fulfill that dream and explore a new area of the world. For a long time, I admired the photographer, Brassaï who embraced European culture and captured the beauty of city streets.  These days, I am doing the same. Enjoy below my shots of beautiful Budapest!

 

Travel ~ 34. Lovely in Lisbon.

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A place for the perfect postcard pictures. In this cool coastal city called Lisbon, it doesn’t matter where you’re standing as there is always something lovely to look at. Starting in the Praça do Comércio, there are loads of restaurants in Baixa. Eventually, one can find a spot to have a SuperBock. Then through the Arco da Rua Augusta, many small shops appear and street performers amuse. Next, the Elevador da Santa Justa takes you all the way up to be on top of the world.

After taking it all in, it’s best to visit take a break in this hot and humid weather. Drinking a Ginjinha, a Portuguese infused ginja berry liqueur is the best way to go. The shop is small and inviting. Just what you need for a refreshment. Of course, this leads to dessert. It’s a must to try pastel de nata, a small staple food from Belém. My best friend, James clearly enjoyed the sweet egg custard tart. 

I can still remember his expression as we left the pastry shop. Strolling along Avenida da Liberdade, the amount of nature that encompasses the city is amazing. Soon, Parque Eduardo VII is right there. Take a walk in the park to end the day.

All photos taken by Niya Sinckler and James Andrews.

 

Travel ~ Represent Cuba!

Since diplomatic relations relaxed between the U.S. and Cuba, leisure and business travelers (remember the Rihanna cover story in Vanity Fair) have been traveling to the Caribbean.

Known for white sandy beaches, cohibas and rum, Cuba has a variety of historical culture to offer surrounding the beautifully preserved Spanish colonial architecture.

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Crocodile shaped since Christopher Columbus landed in 1942, this warm and welcoming country has changed over time. From Fulgencio Batista‘s dictatorship to Marxist revolutionary, Che Guevara overthrowing the government, fearless Fidel Castro led the nation to a prominent place. Now President, Raúl Castro is maintaining the Communist rule of the sovereign state with style. Hopefully, the country will keep its creative charm while the infrastructure is transitioning its marketplace from foreign investment interests. You notice the little things here.

Leaving Jose Martí International Airport, where will you stay? Well “hello Havana” or should we say, “Hola”. For accommodation, Hotel Florida is a cosy colonial casa featuring a cute courtyard with authentic Cuban cuisine in Old Havana. Hotel Saratoga which I know from my first visit is a great location for exploring on foot and by eye at their rooftop bar that has numerous cocktails and excellent service.

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El Malecon. My favourite memory of Cuba. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

Then Hotel Nacional de Cuba, where I previously stayed on my second visit is a lovely luxury gem over 90 years old in the middle of Vedado. Amazing art deco, beautiful blue skies, exclusive eats, seaside views, a gorgeous garden, a cool cabaret room and celebrities strutting through the lobby are what got me. This is the place to be! Taking a walk along the magical Malecón, you’ll find the Museo de la Revolución, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana and Museo Nacional de Historia de Cuba where one can learn about the art, culture and history of Cuba.

When looking for a casual lunch, support the locals by going to a paladar (family-run restaurant). La Galería (moderate) has amazing fresh fish or Atelier (splurge) offers Cuban continental cuisine, both in Vedado. For the art lovers, you will admire every inch of this island. From the classic vintage cars to locals painting portraits on the cobblestone streets, there is something for everyone. Business is also flourishing more now and I’m rooting for Cuban entrepreneurs. Fashionistas are even in town for Chanel‘s Cruise 2017 collection runway. Follow on Instagram for updates. Who knows you may even brush shoulders with the master of fashion, Karl Lagerfeld or Brasilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen, rumoured to be walking the show by the Paseo del Prado promenade claims Harper’s Bazaar.

Two blocks away, El Capitolio designed by Eugenio Rayneri Piedra stands grandiose with neoclassical architecture. Often a friendly guy, Miguel is hanging out on the steps who will take your photo with an old fashioned camera which I loved since photography is one of my passions. Say queso and smile as you’re taken back to the 1950s. Local music can be found in numerous neighbourhoods. Soon enough, the Latina in you will come out as you hear different beats and sounds around the city. Prepare your Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC, local currency) for drinks at El Floridita to delve into the era of Ernest Hemingway and sip the best daiquiri in the world.

Dinner at the popular eatery, El Aljibe is the best. It’s the pollo (chicken)! Also the open concept and again this is a family run restaurant. I love it. And of course, you get a special treat at the end of your meal. Can you say Cuba Libre y cigarro? I think yes! Dance the night away at Café Cantante Mi Habana with a range of artists representing real rumba, heavy hip-hop, rock and sassy salsa in a mixed crowd of locals and tourists aged early 20s to late 40s. For that midnight bite, stop by Cafe de los Artistas. Lastly, I would be recommend venturing to Varadero in the northeast Matanzas Province, Trinidad in the midwest Sancti Spíritus Province and the second largest city in the southeast, Santiago de Cuba to enjoy the ocean coastline.

Today marked an emotional moment as well. According to Reuters, it was the first time in decades that a U.S. cruise ship entered the Havana Bay area. Get ready to travel. Check flights and peruse hotels. Dare to discover colourful Cuba.

 

 

Fashion ~ Spring #OOTD

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My outfit of the day was styled for the unpredictable New York weather. Today, it was overcast with a slight chill. I enjoy going for afternoon walks to people watch in my neighborhood. However, I’m one of those people who doesn’t really feel the cold as long as you’re in the sun. Dressing from the shoes and up, I chose my favourite rag and bone black leather Newbury boots, light Cos tights, J.Crew‘s green chino shorts, classic white rag and bone tank and a black cardigan by The Kooples in case it became a bit nippy. Sometimes it’s nice to keep things simple with a pop of colour. Observing pedestrians and consumers in Turtle Bay is quite entertaining while rocking Ray-Bans. Stay tuned for upcoming street photography.

Photography ~ London Lifestyle

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Moment of solitude, Saatchi Gallery in London.
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Double deckers and black taxis on the go in Piccadilly Circus. Photo: Niya Sinckler.
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Heading to Somerset House. Voyeurism with my lovely photographer in crime, James Andrews.
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Calm before the storm, rush hour about unleash at London Victoria tube station. Photo: Niya Sinckler.