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California, Travel, United States, Yosemite

Yosemite Part 1

2016/02/05

Yosemite, California © Sylvie Li 2015

Yosemite is probably one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever visited (along with Zhangjiajie, Huashan, The Great Wall of China and hum, Big Sur?). I’m a sucker for landscape photography and amazing scenery, and Yosemite left no room for disappointment.  My highlights were probably Tuolumne Meadows (much less crowded than Yosemite Valley) and the view from Olmsted Point. The wild life is so beautiful and I fell more in love with nature. While hiking, we saw a deer running two meters from us –  he was in a hurry – and we even spotted a bear. Of course, everyone stopped by to take some pictures! I was so stoked about the beautiful, warm light we had while exploring the park and the jaw-dropping views. I miss the warmth of the sun on my skin and I wish I could go back just to get a bit of that California heath…

I’m a bit at a loss for words so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

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California, San Francisco, Travel, United States

San Francisco Photo Diary 4-5

2015/12/21

San Francisco © Sylvie Li 2015

I can’t believe this has taken me almost four months to get through my photos of San Francisco. This is the final post of our adventures in this wonderful city. We went back to the Ferry Building Marketplace to eat at The Slanted Door, which serves delicious Vietnamese food. Prices are fair and we loved the broccolis and Vietnamese crêpe, as well as the salad with cantaloupe. So many flavours happening at once! We walked in the charming neighbourhood of Pacific Heights (hello all of the pretty houses) and stopped along the way to eat at b. patisserie and do some shopping at March, and insanely beautiful store providing items for the kitchen, pantry and table. Of course, we couldn’t leave San Francisco without enjoying a view of the city, so we walked up to Pioneer Park and ended the day strolling in Russian Hills.
San Francisco, you have been so good to us. We’ll be back! x

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California, San Francisco, Travel, United States

San Francisco Photo Diary 3

2015/12/18

San Francisco 2015 © Sylvie Li

Still onto San Francisco… (second to last post!). We were lucky to have an amazing weather (read: sunny) for our third day. In the morning, we went to the Ferry Building Marketplace, which is an amazing outdoor and indoor food market. We snacked on fresh and organic fruits (plumcots, apricots, etc.), fresh bread, earl grey ice cream and yummy tacos from Tacolicious. The fruits and veggies are so good looking, I wish I could live there all year long just to eat them! My sister forced me to visit the Fisherman’s Wharf (please get me out of that place -_-), but fortunately we didn’t stay super long and moved on to visit the Palace of Fine Arts, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and Sutro Baths.

One of this trip’s highlights is, without a doubt, our dinner at Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’ restaurant in Berkeley. For those who don’t know, she’s the pioneer of the cooking based on fresh, local and organic produce. Needless to say that we were all thrilled, and what a feast! The lettuce comes to the table still crunchy, as if it was picked from the garden a few seconds ago. I am at a loss for words to describe our experience, which I count in my top 3 restaurants. It’s so worth it and I’m happy I could finally tick this place off of my to go list.

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California, San Francisco, Travel, United States

San Francisco Photo Diary 2

2015/11/20

San Francisco © Sylvie Li 2015

Hello world! Here’s my second photo diary of San Francisco (sorry for being late on all those travel posts, ugh). Summer is very chilly in SF and as much as I enjoyed my stay over there, trying to overcome the cold is difficult if you don’t dress accordingly. We strolled on the streets of several neighbourhoods: Hayes Valley, Noe Valley, The Castro, Haight-Ashbury… All such lovely areas with beautifully coloured houses and steep streets. I’m wondering how they can bike in this city…?

We started off the day with a light yet lovely breakfast at 20th Century Cafe and as we walked, we stumbled across a beautiful pop-up shop mixing both flower and clothing designs. We ended up having lunch in a delicious café and I’m still dreaming about their amazing farro and baby kale salad… (insert crying emoji). But the best part was, without a doubt, the Golden Gate Park. It is so huge and beautiful, with lots of walking paths, a greenhouse, amazing wildlife and giant trees. Unfortunately, the de Young Museum was closed, but it’s an architectural gem (especially for someone like me who’s obsessed with lines) and I wish we had more time to sneak in the California Academy of Sciences.

On another note, I came across a funny article in the Huffington Post titled « The Differences between living in New York and San Francisco ». Can’t decide which city I love the most!

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California, San Francisco, Travel, United States

San Francisco Photo Diary 1

2015/09/18

© Sylvie Li 2015

It was love at first sight between me and San Francisco, but oh don’t get me started with the tricky weather. I was wearing a dress on my first day, because I was telling myself: « It’s gonna get warmer. We’re California after all. » So. Damn. Wrong. It is surprisingly cold during summer, so as everyone would tell you, wear layers.

We spent the first day exploring The Mission District, which has strong Hispanic influences. There were so many grocery stores on the streets and we couldn’t stop ourselves from buying organic and locally grown fruits (apricots, plums, strawberries, name it!). They taste so damn good compared to the ones we find in Montreal! I was amazed, seriously nothing beats seasonal produce. As we walked in the area, we stopped on our way to admire beautiful street art on Balmy Street and grab a cup of coffee at Philz Coffee. San Francisco is so charming and lovely. I fell in love with its steep hills, the colourful houses, the succulents found on the streets, the people and the abundance of bougainvilleas. On Valencia Street, we visited many cute cafés, restaurants and design shops (so basically we ate, sipped warm drinks and lingered in the boutiques the whooole day). It was really inspiring to discover the local spots and I wrote down a few favourites (well those that I could remember :/).

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California, San Francisco, Travel, United States

Sutro Baths & Lands End

2015/08/26

Sutro Baths © Sylvie Li 2015

Where should I begin? I think I left part of my heart in Sutro Baths and I couldn’t wait to share this gorgeous place. Sutro Baths was a large public swimming pool built by Adolph Sutro, a former mayor of San Francisco. Financially unprofitable at that time, it’s mostly all in ruins now, but what makes it unique is its location: it’s right by the sea at the north end of Ocean Beach. It’s a bit remote from the city itself and fortunately, few people/tourists know about it (many thanks to K for the rec!). Nearby Sutro Baths is Lands End, another stunning park where one can enjoy breathtaking views, admire the wildflowers and walk on the trails. Our visit was planned ahead because I wanted to get the best light of the day, hence we waited until 6pm to get there. It was worth it! I feel like I sound like a broken record, but there’s really something magical about the light on the west coast that I cannot put my finger on. I felt so blessed to be able to experience this moment: the view, the chilly wind, the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks, the golden hour… I’ll never forget it.

I took countless photos, so sorry for the overload. They don’t do justice to the beauty of Sutro Baths and Lands End, which is hands down one of my highlights in San Francisco. It gave me a little peek of what was waiting for us on the Pacific Coast Highway and I was thrilled.

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China, Shanghai, Travel

Shanghai Photo Diary II

2015/08/04

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I’m so late behind. These images are the second part of my adventures in Shanghai, back in 2013. Sometimes I do miss the dynamism of this city, I would want to go back in my old neighbourhood and eat cheap street food on the go!

On another note, California was amazing. There’s nothing I didn’t like of my trip, except LA maybe but more on that later. I’m in an editing process (took over 2 000 photos, oops) and hopefully I’ll soon publish postcards of SF. Today I’m catching up with paperwork, accounting and other boring stuff after two whirlwind weeks of pure bliss, so that will do for now.

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China, Shanghai, Travel

Shanghai Photo Diary I

2015/03/19

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 Sorry for the radio silence! I lack inspiration these days and have been really busy with work. Having the same routine over and over again since January is daunting, although I’m really enjoying what I’m doing. I’d like to escape from this dreary month of March and travel anywhere else. But going through my photos of Shanghai feels like I’m still over there.

I lived in one of the most populous cities in the world for six months, and it was pure bliss. I felt so small, yet incredibly drawn by the energy of this city. Among my favourite things to do were my afternoon strolls in the secret garden hidden in the backyard of the hospital where I lived closed by. The lake, the trees and its peacefulness kept me away from the noisy streets and the people shouting non stop. During my spare time, I enjoyed going on my own in the French Concession, an upper area where many foreigners live in. Beautiful design and clothing boutiques, huge lanes surrounded by giant trees and the mix of old and new architecture make it my favourite neighbourhood.

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Halong Bay, Hanoi, Travel, Vietnam

Hanoi & Halong Bay

2015/01/08

Hanoi-01

I hope everybody had a great holiday. As for me, I finally moved in my new apartment. My double room is so big I need to think of how to fill the empty space! I love my desk view facing the quiet street while working and sipping a cup of tea. I couldn’t ask for a better place and roommates. It’s a great way to start 2015. Continue Reading…

Hoi An, Travel, Vietnam

Colours of Hoi An

2014/12/05

Vietnam-06

We took the road for twenty hours from Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An on a bus (I spare you the details) with a pit stop at Đà Nẵng. The scenery to Đà Nẵng was surreal, back then I wish I’d taken some pictures to show you how breathtaking the view was. We arrived in Hoi An in the early morning, crashed in our hostel as soon as possible to take a shower before exploring around. The streets were still empty and we couldn’t hear no one while wandering. It was so peaceful and different from the bustling HCMC.

I absolutely loved Hoi An: the little streets, the cute bridge, the tailors’ shops, the people, the calmness and vibrant colourful houses. All in all, it’s a charming little city. Sadly, most of the attractions were closed due to Chinese New Year, but I do remember that time we rode on a bike to the beach and stopped on our way to visit beautiful temples. Pretty fun ride. Hoi An was the perfect two-day getaway before pursuing our road trip to Hanoi. Continue Reading…