WATCH: #TrendingWithKelly in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur will always have a special place in my heart. This was the first destination that our show, Trending Now explored and I remember being all kinds of nervous because it was my first time to host a lifestyle/travel show. It all seems like eons ago now, especially since the show has become my very own show (hence the new title: #TrendingWithKelly). I am happy to explore KL once again, this time with a new amazing team. Watch and leave a comment below. ❤

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Travel Diary: 12 hours in Madrid

What do you do when you only have 12 hours in Madrid? You eat, of course!

But before we get to that, let me explain why we only had less than 24 hours in Madrid. This is so embarrassing, but well, I might as well admit it: I made the worst mistake and counted the dates wrong! So when counting the number of days per country, I didn’t include our travel time. I seriously thought we had about three days in Madrid. And when I found out about the mistake it was too late–I had already booked all our tickets and Airbnb apartments. Oh well. Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson right? And maybe not plan the entire trip myself. Anyway, we had fun and enjoyed Madrid more since we had very limited time to explore it.

So, okay, before we went off to explore the city, let me share that because of this mistake of mine, we decided to book an Airbnb flat near the airport (since our flight was early in the morning). The airport was about 40 minutes away from the city centre so we really had to make the most of this city tour. The good thing about this Airbnb was our hosts were the nicest people, and were so helpful as to where to go and what to do with our short time in Madrid. Oh, and we arrived in Madrid at 4pm, so we had to hurry!

We took an Uber to Plaza Mayor, and walked all around the city. Of course, another genius move was that I forgot to charge our camera. So I only had my iPhone to take photos with, and I couldn’t really take so many photos and videos because I had to conserve our battery to be able to get an Uber back to our Airbnb flat. These were our only photos in Madrid haha, but it was such a memorable trip because we were in a mad rush to see as many places as we could and eat as many amazing dishes as possible.

First stop: Puerta del Sol, which is one of the best known and busiest places in the city. When we went though, there wasn’t so many people. Love the gorgeous architecture.

At the public square where there was an equine statue of King Carlos III.

Pretty flowers everywhere.

These buildings are just stunning. I couldn’t help but imagine what its like to live in one of these buildings.

A few minutes walk was the Cathedral de la Almudena, which my mom wanted to see. It was well-past its closing time when we went so we didn’t see how it looked inside.

Beautiful cathedral.

That sunset was just amazing. The colors were so vibrant that day.

We were craving for CHURROS (how can we not have it while in Madrid), so we walked to find Chocolateria San Gines, which was on my Google Maps. We didn’t find it, but we found Mercado de San Miguel, which was even better!

If you want variety, and if you want to eat well, YOU HAVE TO GO HERE! Mercado de San Miguel is a covered market that was originally built in 1916. It is a gourmet tapas market, with over 30 different vendors selling a wide variety of freshly prepared tapas, hams, olives, baked goods and other amazing food. Oh, and you can totally have your beer/wine/champagne fix here!

When it Madrid. We had to have paella.

         

I am saddened by how little photos I have of this day, because we had a feast! Oh well, come to think of it we might have enjoyed more because I wasn’t so engrossed with photographing everything. But hey, we had churros! We shared eight orders between four people!!! ❤ Hope to be back soon, Madrid!

Travel Diary: Sintra

I have to say, this gorgeous Portuguese town took me completely by surprise. I saw photos prior to booking the trip, but seeing it all up close was just spectacular. The town is known for its Romanticism style of architecture, and you can see this in the ancient castles, palaces and all around town. We couldn’t help but take plenty of photos as every corner is just picture-perfect.

We spent one day exploring Sintra, but I feel like it wasn’t enough time as there really is so much to see. I checked Airbnb that day and found plenty of beautiful places you can stay for the weekend. I feel like 2-3 days is enough time to really enjoy Sintra, so you can really take in all the beauty and visit all the attractions.

One place you shouldn’t miss is the Pena Palace (Palacio da Pena). It is just exquisite, and is regarded as one of the finest tourist attractions in Portugal. A little history lesson here: the brightly colored palace was commissioned in 1842 by King Ferdinand II who was very much into the arts, literature and music. The king wanted the palace to reflect that of a scent from an opera, which is why the Pena Palace looks so regal and extravagant.

So I looked it up and found out that the Pena Palace is a combination of different styles and influences, ranging from North African to medieval gothic. The interior has been restored to how it would have looked back in 1910 when Queen Amelia spent her last night in Portugal before fleeing to Brazil because of the revolution.

No doubt, the Pena Palace is a popular tourist attraction, which means it can get very crowded (especially during the summer). We went in May, and it was quite full. It is best to book early, and try to get tickets online to be sure you can enter. We went through Lisbon Pickup Transfer (http://www.lisbonpickuptransfer.com), which was super easy and efficient. We had a service pick us up at our flat in Alfama, Lisbon and bring us to Sintra. It was about an hour’s drive away, and oh, in case you didn’t know Sintra is high up so it can get cold. Bring a jacket and scarf, especially if you’re planning to stay until the late afternoon or early evening. You will likely spend about 3 hours in the palace, so free your day for this. And the adult ticket is 14 euros.

There are so many more places to see though, so make time for Sintra if you want to explore all of it. We just allotted one day, which only allowed us enough time to see the Pena Palace and walk around to explore the little shops and restaurants in town.

A list of places I am planning to see when I go back are: the Quinta Regaleira (for its beautiful gardens), the Convento dos Capuchos (a Franciscan monastery that blends with an ancient forest), the National Palace or Palacio Nacional de Sintra (a gothic styled structure which served as the royal residence until 1910), the Moorish Castle or Castelo dos Mouros (a restored 9th century fortified observatory originally constructed by the Moors–it provides a spectacular panoramic view over Sintra), the Monserrate Palace or Palacio de Monserrate (a 19th century mansion that contains the finest example of Islamic inspired architecture in Sintra), the Santuario da Peninha (offers a stunning view of the entire Sintra coastline), Pena Park or Parque Nacional da Pena (a maze of forested paths with Romanticism-inspired features) and the Cabo da Roca (a headland of massive cliffs and powerful seas).

Scroll down to see photos of the Pena Palace. It is just stunning.