Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

It's been a while since i updated the blog! Sorry if you've been waiting for the Germany posts. If you've missed the first one, here's our 10-day self-drive itinerary from Frankfurt to Munich. Now here's going a little more in depth on the highlights of the Black Forest.

The Black Forest region covers a number of cities and we stopped by a few of these cities when we drove through the Black Forest High Road (Schwarzwaldhochstrasse). This is a scenic route which runs from Baden-Baden to Freudenstadt through some gorgeous ridges and valleys, climbing through Bühlerhöhe, to finally arrive at the Hornisgrinde summit. There at its base, you could also visit the glacier lake Mummelsee. On a good day, i would think that the pedal boat would be fun for an all around view of the lake. This was closed when we visited because the lake was semi-frozen. 

Here are some of the cities we visited and reviews of them.
Baden-Baden is a high-end German spa town, with some casinos on site. We were looking forward to the Thermal Spa, which we thought would be kind of like the onsen towns of Japan (we couldn't be more wrong). We headed to the well-reviewed Caracalla Thermal Spa but it turned out to be more of a giant indoor public swimming pool with slightly heated water (boy was it cold). No pics here because we had to keep our stuff in the locker. Also, remember to bring your towels. There's another thermal bath- the Friedrichsbad, that was not open when we visited so you could check that out if you wish. As it was the off-peak season and we were kinda late for dinner, we just settled for some beer garden food at Löwenbräu
We didn't do much in Baden-Baden except to stroll along Lichtentaler Allee. Definitely have a giant slice of Blackforest cake (how could you not)! I highly recommend chilling in the pretty salon of Café König. The Germans are super generous with their slice and we love how light the layers of sponge and spiked cream were! I was never a fan of Blackforest cake because the SG ones are so dense but this is on a diff level. 

IF you have more time, take a short "hike" up to Hohenbaden Castle for a sweeping view of Baden -Baden. 
Mummelsee Lake
The Mummelsee is the largest of the several Karst lakes (formed by the collapse of underground caves) in the Black Forest region and was formed in the Ice Age. Surrounding the lake are tall forests and there's a trail that you can take around and up. For serious hikers, there are other trails leading up to the other peaks in the area. Also fun story, according to a legend, the Mummelsee inhabited by a Nix and the underwater king of the Mummelsee (who would kidnap women to his underwater kingdom). For us, this was just a stop because we wanted to experience the scenic drive through the Black Forest. 
Almost forgot to update my review of the Singapore Airlines B777-300ER Business Class ride from Singapore to Frankfurt when we went on our Germany trip (check out our 10 day Germany itinerary here)! Now that we're working on our relocation, i thought it was opportune to share the updated SQ Business Class review. 
Our trip started with a visit to the temporary SilverKris Lounge, which is the current KrisFlyer Gold Lounge. We didn't have much time to spare actually so i'm gonna do the lounge justice and refer you to Mainly Miles review of the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge here! One thing that i appreciated was the online ordering system which ensures that your food is fresh and "clean". 
Onto the already not so new Business Class seats on SQ. The seats are handcrafted from Scottish leather and diamond-stitched. 

The seats have new seating positions- the Lazy Z, a cradling position; and Sundeck, a lounging position that extends the base and foot of your seat so you fully stretch out. The seat back and leg rests could be adjusted independently, and you could adjust it to your preference. I actually fell asleep in the Lazy Z position while watching my pre-dinner movie. 
Of course, my favorite feature is that the seat transforms into a fully flat bed with a cushioned headboard so i could easily just prop myself up to watch a movie comfortably. I also caught some beauty sleep on the bed complete with linen, duvet and pillows. This is a must on any long haul flight! The 18 inch LCD TV could also be tilted downwards for viewing pleasure while you're lying down. 
I also appreciated the side console, which allows for easy stowage of small items and even a laptop. Since it sits above the armrest, i could easily grab my toiletries pouch, hand sanitizer etc. while seated or lying down. Ports (eXport, HDMI and USB) are also readily available for easy charging of electronic devices. 
A highlight on SQ is the 'Book the Cook' dining selection and i make it a point to try something different each time. Currently SIA is featuring a series of popular local dishes from renowned hawkers to celebrate the addition of Singapore’s hawker culture to UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This includes Bismillah Biryani Restaurant Chicken Dum Biryani, a Michelin Bib Gourmand Award Winner from 2016 to 2019, and also Boon Tong Kee Chicken Rice and Qiu Lian Ban Mian! And hello SQ satay how much i've missed you!
Given a choice, i'll always choose to travel rather than go on a staycation. When travelling, the highlight is your new surroundings and novel experiences. On staycations in Singapore, the highlight is mainly just your room (provided you find a nice place). Exhibitions, plays, food, malls and shopping could be done on a regular basis and there's no need to spend the extra buck doing that from a hotel room. Well unless there's something special experience provided at your place of accommodation. 
This is exactly what Studio M has in mind to keep guests entertained. They have collaborated with Chef Janice Wong to present staycationers with a sensory experience where you will make your own chocolate bar and enjoy the fine chocolates made from Thai cocoa beans.
During my Chocolate Temptation Staycation, i was guided through the process of making chocolate from bean to bar in one of the decorated loft in the hotel. While I wasn't able to go through the entire process of chocolate making in 1 hour, it was sufficient to keep me occupied for a bit. For your customized bar of chocolate, you could choose from milk or dark chocolate and also tweak the sweetness to your liking. 
The focus of the process was conching, where the cocoa nibs, cocoa butter, sugar and milk powder (if making milk chocolate) are ground into a smooth paste. Expect some arm work to ensure that the conching is done smoothly at the start but once the paste is less clumpy, it could be left to the machine to do its job for the next 24-48 hours. The cream mixture would then be sent to Janice Wong's chocolate store for tempering and made into a chocolate block, which would be delivered to you after your stay. 
We didn't think we were going to travel in 2021 earlier this year due to work restrictions and so we decided to give the cruise-to-nowhere a try again given our desperation for a break. Since it's our first proper break in a while, we decided to just go with the Palace Suite on Genting World Dream, which is an all-inclusive and exclusive suite experience. 
The price tag for a 3D2N cruise was about $700 for us. This was for a booking in July but we postponed it to October at no further charge (our original cruise was cancelled due to a COVID case). While it may seemed pretty pricey for a short cruise, it's like going to a fancy resort with a huge suite, meals entitlements at all the specialty restaurants, special activities at no costs, free Wi-Fi, plus a 24-hour butler concierge service to assist with all your restaurant reservations, show bookings, and any other requests you may have. 

One thing that wasn't conveyed to us is that there's priority check-in and embarkation. If you're a Palace guest do take note of that so that you could skip the queue. I would suggest checking in earlier if possible to enjoy all the facilities and to get your hands on those popular restaurant bookings. 
Stepping into our Palace Suite cabin, we were surprised by the size of it. The average suite size is over 42sqm and there's plenty of room to fit a king size bed with fine Italian linens, a sitting area, dresser, work counter, wardrobe,  a huge balcony with expansive views of the ocean, and a bathtub and shower. This time i made sure i was fully prepared with my bubble bath!
 
Bath amenities from Etro™which are decent enough, though i did bring my own shampoo still. 
Coffee and mini bar are all complimentary with our room. Apart from beers, there are also these cute single serve bottles of Prosecco. Make sure you finish everything before you leave, if not you would have to go through the hassle of paying for taxes should you decide to bring them home. 
Another perk that we enjoyed as Palace Suite guests are the dedicated facilities. Check out the dedicated pool and lounge area for the Palace guests. You could also choose to enjoy Happy Hour at the pool area as well, just that it's a bit more troublesome getting your drinks. Note that you'd need to make a booking for the pool or jacuzzi due to COVID social distancing measures. 
  
The dedicated facilities like the gym and all-day-dining Palace restaurant could be easily accessed by the dedicated lift, which connects your cabin level to them! It is entirely possible to spend all your time within the Palace facilities only. 
 
We also signed up for a pilates class at the dedicated gym. The class size was really small to start with (it was limited to 4-6 pax) so we almost didn't think we could squeeze in but it became a private session because only 2 of us showed up! Absolutely lovely experience with a view too. We also booked ourselves a steam and sauna session. Just look at that soothing ocean!
If you were to venture out of the confines of the Palace, some fun activities include the Waterslide Park with five slides. There's also a ropes course and zipline, a rock climbing wall, mini golf, pool, and VR games arcade. 
Unfortunately, the weather wasn't that great when we wanted to check out these activities, so we chose to go into our private hot tub and enjoy a wine instead. 
We also caught one of the shows, which is Vision by Vincent Vignaud. I was really amazed at the illusions because they were quite impossible? There's another show called Faith which is a mix of ballet, acrobatics, and comedy but our schedule was too packed and we couldn't fit that in?? Honestly 3D2N was too short a break and i would recommend a longer cruise to check out all the restaurants and activities. 
Now the food. We only ate at the specialty restaurants during this trip. Our previous experience with Royal Caribbean was that the general dining and buffet selections were very underwhelming. Silk Road Chinese restaurant served pretty decent Chinese food and we were surprised at how empty the restaurant was. We enjoyed the dishes but the portion were really small. I guess better since we could check out the supper offerings at the Palace Restaurant.
The food wasn't super wow for supper but at least you get fresh veggies and fruits too. The curry, dimsum, and congee are among the better tasting items we had but yes you can have char kway teow too. The Palace Restaurant also serves afternoon tea, which was again quite basic but well it's just something to pass your time.  
 
We also enjoyed our experience at the Seafood Grill and Prime Steakhouse by Mark Best, which was our favorite restaurant on board. The quality was great and so was the ambience and service. You could enjoy both the seafood menu as well as the grill menu at the same place. Umi Uma is another hot spot for dining but honestly if you don't manage to get the Teppanyaki tables, you may wish to skip their Korean BBQ or bento services. I may just have gone for the alfresco Hot Pot restaurant instead if i knew how meh the Korean BBQ was. 
I'm not gonna delve too much into the COVID measures on board but we felt quite safe with the reduced capacity, contact tracing measures and sanitation, except that there could be better enforcing of group dining (guests were speaking across tables). There are still queues for the main cruise activities but the crowd was orderly. The Antigen Rapid Test at Marina Bay Cruise Centre pre-boarding was a breeze as well. 

So yes, the short and sweet review of the Palace Suite on Dream Cruise. I've definitely changed my mind on cruise holidays after this experience. Would you give it a try? 



If you're following me on IG (@msskinnyfat), you'd know that Jr and I recently travelled to Germany on the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) on a whim. Before i get down to sharing more details of our trip and the highlights, here's a quick overview of our self-drive trip. This plan was put together and finalized in -drumrolls- 3 nights. We wavered between taking the train and driving and thus our itinerary actually changed 3 times. Anyhow, we eventually decided on driving, which gave us more flexibility in terms of our schedule and Autumn is a good time to enjoy the great German autobahns and scenery. 
Day 1
Flight to Frankfurt, Germany
Stay- Niu Charly near the Frankfurt Main train station (the breakfast spread was surprisingly good)
Day 2
Pick up car
Heidelberg
Baden Baden
Stay- Holiday Inn Express Baden Baden
Day 3
Baden Baden
Drive through Schwarzwaldhochstrasse Motorway for the Black Forest experience
Mummelsee Lake
Strasbourg, France
Freiburg
Stay- Freiburg, Busses Guesthouse
Day 4
Freiburg
Triberg Waterfalls (Go to the waterfalls only if you have time for a 1 hour hike if not it's a waste of time). 
Füssen
Stay- Hotel Sonne Füssen (highly recommended!) 
Day 5
Füssen- Hohenschwangau Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle (this will practically take the whole day). 
Oberammergau- We wanted to do the Alpine Coaster but we missed the season by 1 day. This is not available during winter. Ettal Abbey for their liquor distillery (we skipped this as we were tired from the day of touring the castles).
Stay- Quartier, GaPa
Day 6
GaPa- Partnachklamm hike (failed because it's closed for works). We did half a loop from the top of Eckbauer and almost killed ourselves on the steep icy paths. It would be best to ski down if there were snow. This took us about 1.5h. 
Mittenwald (can skip)
Stay- Quartier, GaPa
Day 7
Lake Eibsee- this is a 2h walk around and fyi there is no food around. You could take the cable car up to Zugspitz (Germany highest peak) but it's probably not worth it. We would if we were skiing.
Munich
Stay- Schwan Locke, Theresienwiese
Day 8
Took a BMW M2 and drove out of Munich for the day.
Ingolstadt Village- outlet shopping and Laduree
Nuremberg- Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds
Stay- Schwan Locke, Theresienwiese
Day 9
Took pre-departure ART test. 21dx.de near the Residence has short queues and was very fast.
Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site (English tours are at 11am and 1pm and is at least 2.5h. It was really cold when we went and it would be colder in winter. 
Stay- Schwan Locke, Theresienwiese
Day 10
Explore Munich
Flight to SG

More details on recommendations in a fuller post hopefully soon but this should give you an idea on the key stops if you were to drive from Frankfurt to Munich!

XOXO,
Travelerintransit

























It feels so good to be able to travel again during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite all the changing border and testing requirements. I feel it especially since i helped to launch some of the Vaccinated Travel Lanes and then i benefited from it during my recent trip to Germany (more of that soon). The Singapore-Republic of Korea (ROK) VTL is probably the most exciting travel arrangements for Singaporeans since it's probably the most exciting Asian destination (was glad that my team pulled it off). While i'm not in a hurry to fly to ROK now given that the demand is really high, here's sharing what we did when we travelled before all COVID hell broke loose.
On my first trip to ROK, i did a lot of the cultural stuff like visit palaces and museums. I even did a walking tour of Changdeokgung before and this is not something you'd wanna endure in winter or summer for that matter. 
You could easily do the Gyeongbokgung + Changdeokgung+ Bukchon Hanok Village together. The Seoul Tower could be skipped imo. The best part of this area to me was the Tosokchon Samgyetang. Seriously please make a stop here for my sake. Best Samgyetang of my life. I ate some famous but lousy one on my first trip and it ruined the dish for me. My life was forever changed at Tosokchon. You could also give palace cuisine a try at Korea House, though i wasn't very impressed with the food when i tried it years back.
Another thing i loved doing was strolling along the Cheongyecheon. You could easily have food delivered to where you are for a picnic.  
Insadong-gil is a nice area to visit, for tea houses and art, and more food!). I tried a Hotteok for the first time in my life and woah this is sooooo gooood. Just look for the longest queue. You will only regret not buying more. For more sweets, head to one of to O'sulloc tea cafes. Their matcha drinks and desserts were still as good as i remembered. P.s. order the tiramisu.
Visited the Common Ground because #pretentioushipsters but really there's nothing much to do here. 
 
Instead, head to to Yeonnam area, which is a slightly more sophisticated Hongdae with cafes and boutique stores. Great coffee at Coffee Libre, and San Francisco bagels at SF Bagels! Also you can get really good breakfast rosti and pancakes at Cafe Travel Maker nearby!
Other non-eating activities include VR games which were all the rage then. The trend hasn't really caught on in SG yet. Here's one of me in a snowball fight.
We also visited the Noryangjin Seafood Market for fresh seafood and live octopus. Pick your seafood first and then have it cooked at one of the numerous restaurants! We went a little overboard. :) I didn't dare to try the live octopus in Hokkaido before but Jr convinced me to try it this time round. If you're squirmy, dip the tentacles into the sesame oil-salt dip and wait it out. It's really fresh!
       
Get your shopping fix at Dongdaemun, Myeongdong, Gangnam or Hongdae, depending on what kind of shopper you are. For me, i went crazy over the Tom's Farm nuts. 
Also my Dongdaemun experience this time round was searching for Sunji Haejunguk, an oxtail hangover soup with cow blood and Napa cabbage. The place i went to was 진짜해장국 Jinjja Haejang Guk Daehwajeong (Main Branch). I read about this in an article and it's a hole in the wall visited by locals. 
Ok who am i kidding, this is a food post disguising as a travel post LOL. Obviously the main itinerary is eating. Like A LOT. Koreans have this amazing stomach capacity. Have you seen their Mukbangs? I don't even know how! Here are the other eats that we enjoyed!
 
Michelin Bib Gourmand Myeongdong Kyoja. They are known for their cut noodles and dumplings and we enjoyed the thin skins and plump filling. The handmade kalguksu was simple but comforting and we also had the cold bibim chewy noodles. Delicious and super fast service.
We also went to Michelin 2 star Mingles, also #10 on the Asia's 50 Best. Their lunches are super decently priced!
My biggest regret was not having Jokbal (pig trotters) at the Jangchung-dong Jokbal Alley is one of the many must-visit alleyways in Seoul. Instead we had Chimaek (several times). There are plenty of brands to choose from and i can't decide what's my favorite. This was at 678 Chicken CDO and i enjoyed the crunchy spiced cheese flavor.
Do not miss the street food. I tried my first egg bread in Hongdae and to this day i'm still craving for it. Also grilled skewers are always a good idea, especially when it's cold, along with tteokboki and fishcake.
Honestly prior to this trip, i wasn't a fan of ROK and their food. But with all the K-dramas, i think our tummies have been conditioned to enjoy Korean food more these days. If you're not convinced, please go watch Let's Eat and i guarantee you'll start craving for Korean food. 

Ok since this is a pretend travel post, here are some links to refer to for your SIN-ROK VTL travel. 

Requirements for entry into ROK and requirements for entry into Singapore via the VTL. Hopefully in the near future, these testing requirements would all be scrapped and life can return to normal. Till then.

XOXO
Travelerintransit