UFO Bratislava – A Michelin Starred Lunch Experience

As my stay in Vienna came to a close, Bae and I decided to celebrate the end of the semester and our last day in Europe together in style. We had a casual lunch at the UFO Restaurant in Bratislava, Slovakia – a casual 1h €1 bus ride from Vienna.

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Located on top of the Most SNP bridge in the center of Bratislava and over the Danube river, we had a panoramic view of the whole city. It was beautiful, and made a wonderful view to have as we savoured our petite-portioned degustation menu.

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The restaurant interior was modern, yet not over the top.

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Wooden benches against the glass with books for when you want to linger a little longer after your meal.

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If you’re up for some adrenaline-pumping activity, you can walk around the restaurant on a ledge outside. We were pressed for time, so we had to give this a miss, but otherwise would’ve totally done it.

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We tried the 3-course lunch degustation which included the following:

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A degustation set of 3 meals is less than €70 – a real steal for something that comes out of a michelin-starred kitchen.

It was a pleasant once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience. However one that just proved a point – that I enjoy my hawker center Hainanese chicken rice and my Ameens butter chicken with naan a lot more than anything the most expensive European restaurant can whip up – anytime.

Singapore: Back to the Grind

It’s been 2 weeks since I’m back in Asia, 1 week since I’m back in Singapore and I’m not done recovering from exchange jetlag. Midday mimosa anyone?

I love these 2 I wish I see them a lot more than I get to right now but c’est la vie. Had a nice catch up and this one on the right is harder to capture than a pokemon (she’d kill me if she sees this)

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Afterwards I met Yasmine, my childhood friend whom I last met in primary school. It’s pretty funny because we’ve been following each other on social media for years now and despite not being in talking terms, we kinda know what’s going on in each others’ lives (LOL). And we discovered how much we have in common in terms of our life experiences and what we’re going through in this stage of our lives. Rekindling this old friendship made my heart so full :>

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life

it was the first day of lecture for eu2221 and i…cabbed to utown when my class was at arts 😭😭😭 cabbed to lt14 again (this reliance on cab shall stop next week after i get back into the uni kid rhythm i swear) and managed to get there in time before the lecture begins. i haven’t actually been allocated this module so technically i wasn’t supposed to be there – but the first lecture convinced me to take this seemingly interesting module. we’re covering the history of the british & the roman empire throughout the semester and i’m hoping to learn a new thing or two. the small class size is worrying tbh because i need to do well this sem to pull up my cap and i’m gonna compete with history major seniors so… #challengeaccepted

went to town after class with A. had four fingers for lunch and realized how much weight i’ve gained since the day i left vienna aka the day i last gymmed. i am that antithesis of the typical i-am-5kg-heavier-post-exchange kinda student. 

loving the off-shoulder trend a little too much and how every shop stocks a good range of them (irrelevant photo but i like this thing too)

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missing my bro so much everytime i see shiraz. we hanged out here a lot bc we liked us some good kebabs – but that’s changed alright – i’m allergic to kebab rn bc the amount of kebabs i had in europe is probably enough to last me a lifetime

it’s crazy how i’ve never actually looked up and noticed the skyline of orchard road – it’s pretty darn pretty

had a long overdue dinner and catch up sesh with oreo at ootoya (no prizes for guessing why we’re oreo) best boys acsi boys xx 

I definitely had a great time in WU and im sure you will too haha ok where do i begin. firstly since you just got your offer i suppose you’re going there in sem2 or the winter semester, so it’s gonna be cold. dont go overboard with the winterwear when packing – you only need 1/2 coats, a few sweaters and a few heattech inners. but dont worry bc you can buy pretty much everything you need in vienna – except for uniqlo stuff.

wu wien. pretty cool campus. the exchange committee will offer you the orientation programme (€250) and the intensive german course (€400). i joined both, only to meet people bc i havent heard much good things abt them haha but tbh it was a waste of time and money. you can skip them completely and you’ll still make friends eventually.

ebn. the erasmus buddy network, which is like the student council there offers you a buddy programme where you’re paired with a local. go for it! they’ll pick you up from the airport – which is a nice thing coming to a new city. they’ll also help you settle the red tape matters like registering yourself with the town council, getting the apartment key, buying the semester ticket etc. ebn also organizes events (parties, night sledding, wine tasting, dance classes etc) and trips (zell am see ski trip, amsterdam, budapest, krakow) – their trips will involve party ever night – plenty of opps to make friends and get drunk. also, alcohol here is dirt cheap so

food. food in vienna is unfortunately not great. you’ll learn how to cook and to transition into that phase, i’d suggest you bring plenty of prima taste noodles and premixes (laksa, chicken rice etc for when you miss sg food) there are asian markets wihich stocks indomie and all the general asian food things, dont worry.

transport. vienna’s public transport is amazing. there are fast trains, metro and trams (s-bahn, u-bahn and strassenbahn respectively) in vienna connecting just about every meter of the city. one u-bahn station to the next is barely a 1min ride, so chances are places are nearer than you think. you’ll get a semesterticket for €75 (after registering yourself with the city and make sure to put vienna as your main residence) which gives you unlimited rides for 5 months from feb-jun.

accommodation. i’m not sure what oead hostels WU reserved for you guys this semester, but for mine it was gasgasse, sechshauserstrasse, tigergasse and kandlgasse.

i stayed in gasgasse and it was awesome…for the first month. gasgasse is the party hostel. it’s the nearest to travelshack which is where all the exchange kids hangout and so they predrink in gasgasse. it’s fun when you’re new and trying to get to know everyone and go for all the parties but these angmohs are mad – trust me – they party everyday and wake up hungover, go for class and talk abt how wasted they got the prev day and the cycle repeats. gasgasse is almost always noisy but if you dont mind it then it’s cool. gasgasse flats usually have 3-4 rooms so you’re sharing the kitchen with 2-3 other people. it has a big common room with kitchen dining tables and sofas which you can rent for your gatherings. that aside, gasgasse is great bc it’s literally 1min away from the westbahnhof u-bahn (mrt) station (u4 and u6 line) and mariahilfestrasse which is like vienna’s orchard road with lots of shops, supermarkets, english cinema, gym etc.

kandlgasse is located 5mins away from burggasse u-bahn station (u6 line) cheaper, quieter than gasgasse. rooms arent as modern but more spacious and cosy. flats have 2 rooms so youre sharing your kitchen with just one other person. kandlgasse is near a big asian market and a popular club called chaya fuera. kandlgasse is also near mariahilferstrasse, and is a 10mins walk to gasgasse, 15 to travelshack.

tigergasse is pretty rundown. it’s located at rathaus (u2 line), wont really reccommend living here.

sechshauserstrasse is located 7mins from landstrasse u-bahn (u6 line). the building is new and is pretty nice. also near an asian market. not as great as gasgasse/kandlgasse imo.

linked living. located 2mins from Krieau u-bahn station (u2 line), this hostel is amazing! super modern with the best room design, better than gasgasse. they only offer studio so you have your personal kitchen and dont need to worry about sharing anything with anyone. it’s €590+/month, making it the most expensive option

wohngemeinschaft/WG. for if you want the real experience of staying with local students and improve your german. you have to find these wg through the various listings – mostly in german, and mostly want a minimum 6 months contract. wgs are usually cheaper than oead residences and dont charge exorbitant deposits

academic stuff. courses in vienna are easy, coming from nus we wont have trouble passing even when we cram the whole syllabus in a few hours the night before the exam. very few classes in the sem for the courses, especially when you take block courses where the mod only lasts a week. i took management accounting and 5 other finance courses.

travel. vienna makes for the best base for traveling. bus/train takes you to southern germany, switzerland and eastern europe. further cities are easily reachable from bratislava, the slovakian capital €1 bus ride away. ryanair.com will be your bestfriend.

people. the bulk of the exhange students in wu are americans (60%), europeans (20%), and the rest of the world. i cant talk much abt people bc it will vary with every batch. i made some local friends, russians, americans, dutch etc from the orientation programme and the ebn trip. but i ended up being closest to the asians bc i felt most comfortable with them. i traveled with them too and it was great fun.

lifestyle. i probably spent half the time traveling, the other half when i had classes and had to be in vienna i still had so much free time to wake up late, gym, cook, netflix and chill, dinner with friends, predrink and club – all in a day. somehow in vienna it always feels like i had so so much time in hand, which is a nice change from our hectic life in sg.

vienna is one of the best cities in europe to live in. it’s quite safe, people are ok, quaint cafes and pretty buildings everywhere. but like most european cities, nothing’s open on sunday. you can always go to bratislava where the mall stays open til 9 on sunday – but you’ll probably spend those sundays away traveling anyway.

i personally chose vienna bc i was studying german and wanted to learn it further there, which i did but not as much as i thought i would due to the extent of traveling that i did haha. you should pick up some german too, it helps but dont worry bc most austrians speak english well

ok wow i didnt realize ive written this much but here goes, hope it helps! if you have any question just let me know 😊

A Scenic Swiss Stopover: San Bernardino

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During my exchange semester in Europe, I had zero intention on visiting Switzerland. How “everything there is super expensive” simply deterred the budget barbie in me. Also, Switzerland lies in the border of Austria and Italy and probably share the same Alpine regions as the one I’ve seen in Innsbruck. And well, other than the Matterhorn or the toblerone mountain, and the Jungfraujoch “top of Europe” (both too expensive for me at the moment) I haven’t heard of how anything there being to-die-for or like a must-go.

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But here I was, freezing as I marvelled at the beauty of San Bernardino. I was halfway through my 10-hour journey from Nice to Munich with when my Blablacar driver suggested that we stop for lunch at this scenic spot. It was a 2-hour detour but who cares, I get to see a bit of Switzerland. Hell yeah!

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What a privilege, to be able to drive up the mountain with your plus one for a casual lunch of sandwich and sceneries. I see why many Europeans dream of retiring here – now I do too!

Daytrip from Nice to Monaco

Monaco to Nice is like Johor Bahru  from Singapore – very near, accessible by a 1.50eur bus, and things are (slightly) cheaper in Monaco thanks to it being a tax-free land.

But instead of cheap delicious food and hipster cafes, Monaco has high-rise buildings (basically HDBs), boats, F1 track and Monte Carlo.

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And these, my friends, are what’s there to see in Monaco.

Mykonos

It’s been barely 3 weeks since I came back from my holiday in Santorini when I fell SO hard in love with Greece that I decided to return there for a last trip with the bunch of girls. Here they are, the double-chromosomed members of the Asian gang in Vienna. We’d just reached Mykonos and were having waffles and pancakes for brunch at the port.

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Here’s a glimpse into the port where restaurants, cafes and bars are lined up against the sea. It was pretty refreshing to have an eclectic mix of everything in the city. Blue-domed churches, white building, windmills and oh, they have red-domed churches too here!

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On one of the days we were there, we popped over to Elias beach which was incredible. We hadn’t heard about it and took the next bus there (the other buses were coming in 20+ minutes), and it was the best decision ever! It was quite a private place with only one restaurant managed by the Elias resort guys. We had a seafood feast and it was amazing!

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We then headed straight to the beach and were very pleased that the sunbeds there are cleaner and prettier than the public ones scattered around Mykonos island. The beach was beautiful with crystal clear water, and we spent the whole afternoon just chilling by the beach. We dipped our toes in the sea, sunbathed, sipped some cocktails and listened to the music. It was the most relaxing afternoon we’ve had in a while, and made for a perfect farewell afternoon.

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Walking around the city was my favourite activity in Mykonos. The streets are really pretty with fuchsia flowers adorning the whitewashed walls of the buildings. They make you wanna stop every other meter for a photo – causing a human traffic jam. Yes, it’s a thing in the narrow streets of Mykonos.

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And this island has a collection of unique things selling all over the old town such as these:

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Now in Mykonos there are 2 tourist hotspots that are the “must-see” in Mykonos – firstly the Little Venice – which is a stretch of bars and restaurants whose building is white with colourful window panes, and secondly the Windmills – a row of 5 big ones, like many smaller ones found all over the city.

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Now in case you’re wondering just how crowded it is in Mykonos in the middle of June, here’s the walkway from Little Venice towards the Windmills

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