[europe grad trip] Munich & day trips

Suddenly having motivation to complete my grad trip posts because I’m starting to plan for my next trips this year heheh. So from Prague, we took a 5h morning bus to Munich, which was the longest city we stayed at (4 nights). But we rented a car and went for a couple of day/half-day trips!

Bad photo but really nice place! We stayed at Wombats City Hostel in a 6-person room, it was very spacious and had good kitchen facilities/shared areas too.

We spent the first afternoon in town, exploring Munich Residenz and Marienplatz. Residenz is an old palace, now turned into a museum, and it’s hugeee. I think we went because it was on a “top things to see in Munich” list but honestly it’s so big and grand that after walking through the first few huge halls and super-grandiosely-decorated rooms, everything looked the same to me. But it was a cool tour of how royal people live, although I can’t imagine having to walk through so many corridors just to get to dinner or to get out of the house.

The glockenspiel at Marienplatz! We paid to go up the tower for a bit, which was nice for escaping the crowd.

Of course, we had to experience a German beer house. The Hofbräuhaus sells beer in 1 litre mugs!!! Nick took on the challenge and finished a whole mug by himself, the rest of us shared hahaha. The atmosphere was cool, with everyone enjoying themselves drinking beer and women in traditional costumes going around selling pretzels and a live band too. It may be touristy but still a great experience!

Picked up our cars the next morning and started on our journey to the real life place that inspired Disneyland’s sleeping beauty castle: Neuschwanstein castle! It’s so popular that when we reached at 2pm, the earliest tickets we could get for the castle tour was like 5+pm :x but all was good cos we took the time in between to have lunch and chill by the lake…

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thoughts on 2018

2018 has been an exciting year with many firsts for me. First trips to US and Europe, working on cool stuff plus learning about entrepreneurship through my capstone project, and of course graduating and working and earning my own money!

Uni now feels so long ago hahaha and it feels strange being the first to graduate among my non-SUTD friends. I kind of miss uni life where company is just a “dinner tonight?” message away rather than having to plan and coordinate in advance like now. On hindsight I think I made the right choice in going to SUTD because I learnt a lot from all the projects I’ve done. Was helping Benji with his resume for applying for internships and I was pretty shocked when he said he didn’t have any projects from any mods to include, after 3 semesters doing computing.

Adulting has been interesting LOL there’s so much personal finance stuff to know that nobody really teaches you. Like the 1039842 different credit cards and savings accounts and types of insurance you should have. And how to invest your money. The whole concept of credit cards is quite weird to me… people who really need credit cards to pay for things they don’t have cash for shouldn’t be using them because the interest rate is 25% per month which is crazy high. And so people who are able to pay their bills on time and get cashback/miles seem to be benefitting at the expense of those people? Cos the banks can’t earn money from giving everyone 5% cashback when their transaction fee is only 2% right o__o Anyway I’ve done the research and DBS multiplier account is the simplest and best for fresh grads so just get that hahaha. And I’m still mostly using my DBS Visa debit card though I have the Live Fresh credit card too.

Umm what else. Work has been good, I don’t know how I was so lucky to get a job that pretty much ticks all of my ‘ideal job’ checklist that I came up with when I was researching jobs to apply for:

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[europe grad trip] Copenhagen & Prague

Soo it’s been a while since I graduated, but I’ve been wanting to blog a bit about my grad trip and share some photos.

We wanted to go around different countries but only had 2 weeks (+ Joe and I added on a few days since we didn’t have to start work yet), so after much discussion we decided on this itinerary: 2 days in Copenhagen -> 3 days in Prague -> 3 days in Munich -> day trip to Hallstatt -> 1 day in Bern -> 2 days in Interlaken -> 1 day in Lucerne -> 3 days in Paris. I think we initially had this romantic idea of taking trains around, but we soon realized that it was not that cheap :( In the end we flew from Copenhagen to Prague, took bus (much cheaper and similar timing) from Prague to Munich and Munich to Bern, and train within Switzerland and to Paris!

Copenhagen, Denmark

We wanted to see the Scandinavian lifestyle and experience the cycling culture that Copenhagen is famous for. Well, there really were bike lanes everywhere and a lot of people cycling around – I think it helps that the city is super flat and the weather is cool!

I loved the colourful buildings at Nyhavn:

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[cali 2018] part 3: san francisco & the bay

Finally on to the last part of our trip! We spent one night in San Francisco, then 3 nights at Mountain View for Google I/O. One day was just enough to cover the main tourist attractions – Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge, plus we dropped by the first Swensen’s store which had really good icecream!! We decided to skip Alcatraz island because we weren’t very interested in seeing a prison haha.

We reached SF around 5+pm and immediately drove to our hostel (Green Tortoise, was great and would recommend), checked in and dumped our luggage, and then rushed to do our module bidding which was at 6pm 😂😂 After that we headed to Fisherman’s Wharf to return the car and met some of our friends for dinner! Had yummy fish and chips at some restaurant overlooking Alcatraz island.

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The next day we started off with a walk to Coit Tower.

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I was amazed by how the roads are in a perfect grid! And some of them are so steep that the pedestrian walkway at the side is a looong flight of stairs.

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This is Coit tower! The windows at the top are the lookout level.

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[cali 2018] part 2: winding roads and giant trees

Oops, finishing up my trip posts has been on my to-do list for some time but the last few weeks have been busyyyy. But it’s recess week now and I’m super free so gonna write about the next part of our trip before I forget! We decided to go to Sequoia National Park over the more famous Yosemite mainly because Yosemite was a few hours further away, and from looking at the photos Joe and I concluded that Sequoia = giant trees while Yosemite = giant rocks. And we were more interested to see the trees so yup.

So we set off in the late morning from FJ’s place and drove northwards. Most of the way was on highways that seemed to go on forever, like gmaps would literally say “continue straight for 100km”. The journey was supposed to be a 3.5h drive I think but we ended up taking around 5h including lunch, toilet and petrol stops :/

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Once we entered the park from the Ash Mountain entrance it became windy mountain roads~

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There was some event celebrating native American culture which we didn’t have time to go see, but because of that the park’s entrance fees were waived that day! We didn’t even know there were entrance fees LOL but yay for free entry :D

Anyway, the park is named for its Sequoias which are the giant redwood trees. And they’re seriously hugeeee.

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[cali 2018] part 1: city of angels

I just spent my 2 week term break in California with Joe! For some reason (probably cheaper airfare) we only flew off on Wed morning, and had to come back for start of school so we actually only had 9 full days there. And we packed a lot into those 9 days – visited Los Angeles, Sequoia national park, San Francisco, and Mountain View for Google I/O – so it was a really fun, but tiring trip.

Day 1: Universal Studios Hollywood

Our flight left Singapore at 2am on 2nd May, but because of the 15h time difference, after an insanely long flight, we landed at LA at 6am on the same day. Luckily we were staying with FJ so she picked us up from the airport! We crashed at her apartment for an hour before taking an Uber to Universal.

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The first thing we did was the studio tour! Since unlike USS, USH is actually located at a real movie studio site, so the studio tour is a tram that goes around the sound stages and filming sites.

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An outdoor city scene:

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There was some cool jaws and king kong “4D” experiences too!

After the studio tour, we went to Harry Potter World aka the part I was looking forward to most!!

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It’s Hogsmeade!!

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so close yet so far

Haven’t posted in months lol. But I think I’ve been posting at least once every term and this term is ending soon so gotta keep up the streak xD

2 more weeks to term break!!

This term started out well (taking computer vision, graphics and visualisation, making maps, and capstone), with finally more interesting content. But omg I’m v sian now because each mod has a project and with each project comes a report + presentation in addition to developing the actual product. And all of the presentations are next week but our actual work isn’t even completed yet… so not looking forward to chionging everything next week :'( but I can’t wait for it to be over ahaha

In better news, I’m going to California during the 2 week break!! Super excited cos I’ve never travelled so far before, and it’s with joe and we’re going for google i/o (google’ s developer conference at their office in SF)! It honestly feels quite random- this trip is only happening because I took part in a Google codejam for women (an online programming competition) for fun, and turns out I scored in the top 150 so I won a free ticket to Google i/o plus 500usd travel reimbursement. And it was just nice during my holiday, so why not right? And joe managed to get a student ticket to the conference too! We’re going LA and SF mainly, and sequoia national park which has humongous trees that look really cool. Anyone got any tips/recommendations for things to do around there pls tell me :D