On the Road World Tour 2019 - Asia, Europe & Morocco

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Grandmaster G
Hae Jang Nim
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On the Road World Tour 2019 - Asia, Europe & Morocco

Postby Grandmaster G » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:41 pm

2019 ITS World Tour

“Time to rack up some Frequent Flyer Points”

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Official World Tour Logo

World Tours sneak around when you aren’t looking, well this one seemed to at least. The pre planning worked well and for once I actually had all the Black Belts for testing with me, this was a first. Add the Belts to the certificates, badges, Dan Bongs and Membership Passports to ensure my luggage was a hefty 46kg. Hopefully my status will allow me to get those through most of my flights whilst I drop of stuff at each stop a bit like a Hapkido Santa. Check in went smooth and I knew KSN Van was on the same flight, but catching up with him didn’t happen as he had some serious Duty-free shopping to do, at least I got a chance to say hi in the boarding queue.

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Flight #1 Sydney – Bangkok (Thai Airways Boeing 747-400)

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Testing out the new Samsonite luggage

I was again getting a chance to enjoy the Thai Airways 747 into Bangkok, as much as many grumble about these older planes, the Jumbo has been the most significant jet type in Airline history. No other plane has been as effective and is still in the air flying in for well over 40 years. I say enjoy the chance to fly one when you can those opportunities are quickly going away (Qantas will have retired all theirs by 2021). As always, the Thai inflight service was excellent, in my opinion the Asian airlines are the best for service. I was amazed at the very decent steak that was served during the lunch meal. So the ITS World Tour has begun and one of the major items requested for this trip was more food pics, so pull up a seat at the table to enjoy some culinary delights along the Road Warriors path.

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An upper deck shot from the 747, these chances are dwindling

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Steak on a plane, it tasted as good as it looked

Touchdown into my 2nd favourite city (After Sydney of course), Bangkok. I grabbed my booked transfer and headed into my hotel, surprisingly the trip went quickly which is unusual in a city so crowded (Bangkok has 8.3 million, almost double Sydney). After checking into my normal hotel (the one with the coffee club in the foyer), I headed out to drop off some items I was asked to bring, Chef Roland wanted some Vegemite and Eucalyptus Oil from Aus. In return he made sure I got an amazing steak, a 90-day dry aged Cape Grim T-Bone 460gr. If you ever visit Bangkok, I can recommend some amazing places to eat and Chef Bar is one of them.

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Chef Bar, what it lacks in size it makes up for in taste!

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T- Bone Heaven

Of course, as is normal when on the road, a far amount of time is spent in my hotel room on checking technique videos of those testing during the tour. Both for Black Belt levels and completing Instructor Qualifications. I did sneak out for my daily foot massage, have to look after the tools of the trade and to enjoy a great lunch at one of my favourite fine dining restaurants here, L’Atelier De Joel Robuchon.

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Even the restaurant fit out is amazing

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Oysters and more

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Bacon and Truffles make any salad good

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Squid pasta in a Lobster broth with Chorizo

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Desert was refreshing, Pineapple Mojito (no alcohol)

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Supercar parking? Bangkok is changing rapidly

A good couple of days in Bangkok, some fine meals and work done. The city is changing very quickly being more of a modern metropolis than more people think. Still with over 8 million people traffic is chaos, and pollution has become a problem, luckily the smog was gone while I was here. Onto my next flight and this time with German precision as I am flying Lufthansa into Frankfurt. I mentioned that the chances to fly the big twin engine aircraft was dwindling, and that is true. Even the new A380 will cease production in the next couple of years only after being around for just over 10 years. Some will be in flying for years to come, but that lifespan is a fraction of the Jumbo, so grab your chance to fly these big birds before you lose your chance.

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The transfer in Thailand, hmm no way to see the Speed now with the Phone there.

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Flight #2 Bangkok – Frankfurt (Lufthansa A380-800)

Boarding went smoothly, for a frequent flyer it is always a good feeling climbing the steps inside the aircraft for the upper deck. Lufthansa was as always very efficient; the flight was delayed due to the airspace over Kashmir being closed due to the conflict between Pakistan/India. So, we took a longer route over China and Russia. To give you an idea of how efficient Lufthansa is, they announced as we landed each passenger that was going to miss connections and they new flights that every single one of them had has a replacement, before we touchdown. I used the arrival lounge (another good Frequent Flyer perk) to grab a shower and some coffee before getting the shuttle to my hotel for the evening. Early check in was being denied even though I had e-mailed the hotel about it, until someone mentioned I could do it if I was a member of the Hotel Loyalty scheme, well apparently, I had joined over 10 years ago, so check in was granted.

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Hotel Room travel hacking

That gives you an idea of some of the ways I booked hotels, etc. Always leveraging Flyer Points, Hotel Points and in this case Expedia Points. I take a down day to catch up on some more signature videos, and get some sleep before the 7am flight the next day as I head to see our Spanish family. The alarm goes off way to early just after 4am and all my travel apps let me know that the first flight is delayed by at least an hour (that could have been an hour of sleep), anyway I am up, so off to the airport I go. Check in goes well, but with the delays it is fairly clear I will be pushed to get the connection in Madrid. The flight takes off and basically will arrive at the exact moment the other flight leaves, the attendant lets me know that arrangements have been made with ground staff to look after all those missing their connections. As soon as we deplane there is a representative with new boarding passes for al l the rebooked flights, now that is a good way to help with the issue. However, this is where it takes a turn, my midday flight is pushed back to almost 8pm which means I will miss the 4 seminars planned this evening. Time to go road warrior, after checking my options, I cancel the ongoing flight, arrange to get my bags back, grab an Uber to the Madrid Central rail station and book a train to Seville getting in just after 5pm which means after the 30 min drive, I am straight on the mats for the evening’s seminars.

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Flight #3 & Train #1 Frankfurt – Madrid - Seville (Iberia Airbus 319 & Renfe Rail)

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Set up on the train to get some work done.

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Enjoying the speed of the train

*Side Note* Flight Connections – You might see that at times I don’t take direct flights from one city to the next, this is due to a number of reasons. The main one is obviously that there might not be a direct light, but beyond that sometimes it is far cheaper to go via another city, and I also take into account whether the airlines are members of my frequent flyer alliance. That helps with both earning points, but also saving money through an extra luggage allowance, etc.

Tonight, I am on the mats for 4 seminars at KSN Eloy’s Dojang. The focus for the night is on Ground Defence and I run each of the groups through different levels of it, the kids also get a chance to do a little Poh Bak Sool (Belt Techniques). There is a good energy on the mats and the ITS buzz is already here and in full swing. I also take a couple of pictures to complete the first stop in the team challenges I have for this World Tour. Challenge #1 for Team CSD is to get a picture at each seminar location using an item from that location to produce a pain face. Challenge #2 for Team Spirit Test 2019 is to get a picture with the Dojang chief instructor at each location.

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Challenge #1 – Nunchaku locking with KSN Juan

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Challenge #2 – KSN Eloy - 100

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Seminar group – Junior Kids

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Seminar group – Senior Kids

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Seminar group – Falcons

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Seminar group – Adults

The next day was filled with ITS preparations, a visit to check out the training location, then onto a meeting with a local T-shirt producer, and for lunch we try out one of the possible menus for the ITS Celebration Dinner. In the evening there is a repeat of the schedule from last night with 4 seminars covering the junior ranked kids, more senior ones, Falcons (a little older) and Adults. I mix up the topics for the kids and for the adults’ work on Syllabus including instructor signatures for the local seniors. I also get to present 2 of the certificates from last years testing to CGN’s Paula and Juan.

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Challenge #1 – Stretching band lock with CGN Paula

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Challenge #2 – SBN Jose - 200

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Seminar group – Junior Kids

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Seminar group – Senior Kids

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Seminar group – Adults + Certificate Presentations

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ITS training venue - outside

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ITS training venue - inside

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A small strawberry snack

The next day starts with some Sun Bae training for the local seniors with a focus on more Instructing signatures, followed by another seminar for the adults. I break it into 2 sessions, the first on personal technical requirements and then back onto Ground defence with a step up from the basic techniques covered in the first session. After the seminar it was time to try out another Menu for the Celebration dinner, there were some good choices in both, so we decide to mix and match with a focus being on local dishes. To break up the day SBN Jose and the local seniors take me for a visit to the Italica, which are some local Roman ruins used as a back drop for a few scenes in Game of Thrones season 7. I imagine quite a few ITS participants will be enjoying a visit in September. That evening I have a meeting with the local ITS team to cover any outstanding items and make sure plans are well on the way for September.

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Seminar group – Adults

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Even the local Chemists have vending machines

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Some local flavours

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Look forward to enjoying this at the ITS dinner

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Italica #1

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Italica #2

The next morning SBN Jose has set up a different seminar with the focus on the local Parents, I start with a talk about my history and how it led into Hapkido and then how Kwan Nyom was born. That was followed by some basic techniques for the Parents so that they could see how easy and practical self defence could be. The parents had some good questions and the session was a good one. This is an idea that some other Dojangs might want to consider for future visits. After the seminar some downtime and time to enjoy a BBQ lunch with some of the seniors.

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Parents Info and Self Defence Seminar

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They are taking a proactive approach to the ITS

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The official ITS Hotel

Time to get back on the road, today flying to Amsterdam via Zurich, first up with an airline I haven’t been on before Edelweiss, which I find out is a subsidiary of Swiss Airlines which is actually part of the Lufthansa group. An interesting note, the pilot comes out and made his announcements before take-off from the actual cabin. On the way to the airport though we stop by the official ITS Hotel to check in on registrations and to make sure all is going well. Check in is smooth and so is the flight into Zurich, then its stop to take a break, weather apparently has caused my next flight to be delayed by an extra 3 hours, so at least it is time in the Swiss Lounge to get the travel report up to date.

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Edelweis Airlines

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Hi Captain

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Flights #4 & #5 Seville – Zurich - Amsterdam (Edelweiss Airbus 320 & Swiss Airbus 319)

I get into Amsterdam, check the Uber status and work out a taxi is cheaper/faster at this time of night. A quick ride into the city for my hotel over the next couple of nights. I always leave a couple of free nights in Amsterdam again for Video signatures, trip report if needed and to enjoy some excellent fine dining, in this occasion I will be visiting Vermeer (1* Michelin) and Ciel Blu (2* Michelin). The weather is cold, and raining so staying in works better, I do head out to grab a movie, and coffees but apart from that, video signatures are the order of the days. Dinners at both restaurants were excellent as normal, these 2 are my go to restaurants in Amsterdam amongst the many excellent ones.

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So many flavours on a plate

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Simply excellent

I did get a gift of the book written by the chefs at Ciel Blu, however it was a large format and very heavy so it stays with BSBN Henk until the ITS. No way I am lugging it around for almost 3 months. A side perk of dining alone, knowing the menu and food means it is not uncommon to be thought of as a reviewer so gifts, and visits to the kitchen happen quite frequently. After my 2 days of fine food, I grab the Dutch rail into Rotterdam and meet up with the team. After checking into the local hotel, we head out for a bite and then it is time for 3 of the local Provisionals to test for their Black Belts. I have been stepping up the testing here over the last couple of visits and this is not different, I am happening to say the 3 candidates are successful in earning their Kwan Nyom 1st Degree’s, welcome CGN’s Zhour, Earl and Kenny.

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Congratulations!

The next day includes some Sight Seeing as I get to visit the Euro Mast (a local tower). It has a good view over Rotterdam, it was an incredibly winding day so the tower swayed quite a bit and the viewing area was open so we got to enjoy being bounced around the level. We almost got BSBN Henk to open his long coat and turn him into a hang glider, maybe next time. After the view a snack at a local Icon the Hotel New York before heading back into the suburbs to meet more of the team. Dinner was at a local Steak place where we got a true meat eaters feast.

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Euro Mast View #1

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Euro Mast View #2

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Meat Feast – It was for sharing

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BSBN Henk goes full Caveman

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A local view of the Netherlands

That night we had Sun Bae training for the seniors with a focus on weaponry for the Black Belts, and weaponry defence for the coloured belts. I also spend some time with Master Henrie as he prepares for his 7th Degree testing at the ITS. The next day was seminar day #1 and we hit the mats in Hoogvliet for a range of topics, but as an overview I will call it a walk-through Kwan Nyom staring with circles into locks. After lunch I expanded the coverage and we worked on some old style kicking as well as Turbo Topics. There was also a chance to present 2 Black Belt certificates from last years testing and recognise KSN Andre as an IHA Senior Instructor. A good day on the mats in the Netherlands! Dinner was at an all you can eat Sushi restaurant where you got to order in rounds of 5 dishes at a time via a tablet.

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Seminar in Action

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More congratulations are in order

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The Saturday Seminar Group

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Challenge #1 – Self Defence from a chair with KSN Robert

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Challenge #2 – Master Henrie - 300

In the morning it was time to head south as we drove into Best for the Sunday seminar, this time at KJN Ron’s dojang. I started with some Wood Chopping techniques for the Kids and then moved onto advanced knife defence for the adults. It was another good day on the mats to wrap up my visit to the Netherlands, we are looking forward to having a good team join us at the ITS in September. After the seminar, dinner was at an all you can eat Tapas restaurant, interesting idea. Followed by a drive and drop off at a hotel near the Airport to be ready for the early morning flight out the next day.

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Sunday Seminar Group

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Flights #6 & #7 Amsterdam – Zurich – Budapest (Swiss Bombardier CS 300’s)

Check and flights went well, some slight delays but nothing missed or out of order. Both were with Swiss again but this time on the smaller Bombardier jets, it is funny how for a smaller jet the bathroom is actually about 30% larger than on the Airbus. I arrive into Budapest, Hungary (Country #57) and get my shuttle to the hotel which is located quite centrally. A quick check in, bag drop and I am out the door looking for dinner, some good choices in town, but Nobu was close so I enjoyed some Japanese Fusion as I knew I would be enjoying some excellent Hungarian over the next couple of days.

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Scallops Ceviche

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Japanese Wagyu

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Budapest @ Night

As I walked around on the first night, I got a feeling that Budapest was similar to Prague, with hints of Warsaw and Vienna. The next day I met up with my tour guide for a walking tour of the city and we put in some steps doing a combat sight seeing tour of each major site. It is a beautiful city with the Danube in the centre and the castle overlooking the city, very much again like Prague.

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Budapest #1

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Budapest #2

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Budapest #3

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Budapest #4

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Budapest #5 – Saint Istvan

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Budapest #6 – We have an eagle with arrow, theirs has a sword

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Budapest #7

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Budapest #8

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Budapest #9 – Local Meats

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Budapest #9 – Local Market

So, after 20,000 steps being a tourist, what do you do next? Find a laundromat to get your clothes clean from the travels, of course the 30+ min wash cycle and the fact the laundry was under a Thai Massage place, meant a 30 min foot massage was on the cars. They are one of those things I never do at home but on the road, ahh a wonderful respite from the mileage on the legs. Washing done, it was back to the Hotel for a brief break before dinner.

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An amazingly clean laundry

I was looking forward to dinner as I had booked Hungary’s only 2 Michelin starred restaurant. It was reasonably close in walking distance, around 15mins and the walk was nice if a little cool. The meal, the service and the ambiance were all excellent. The tasty mean I enjoyed was called “Within our Borders” and every ingredient and recipe was from Hungary. If you are ever in this part of the world put Onyx on your list of special occasions. The next day was free but reality kicked in with a wave of signature videos couple with getting this report up to date. So I enjoyed a leisurely morning, grabbed a hair cut and shave from a local barber (another thing I enjoy on the road) and got stuck into some work. Tomorrow I am back on the road, this time on a bus to Croatia.

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Tomato, Tarragon, Sesame Seeds

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Water Buffalo Tartare, Shallot, Mushroom

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Kelvin Zeini
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2019 - Asia, Europe & Morocco

Postby Kelvin Zeini » Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:41 am

Wow! The trip looking amazing already sir.

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Jehad Batta
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Location: Parramatta NSW Aus

Re: On the Road World Tour 2019 - Asia, Europe & Morocco

Postby Jehad Batta » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:25 pm

Thanks for the trip report thus far GM G. Im really impressed with the on flight food and the steak looks nothing like ive seen on a flight. Looking forward to the next leg, of the ITS world tour.

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Katherine Cai
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:47 pm

Re: On the Road World Tour 2019 - Asia, Europe & Morocco

Postby Katherine Cai » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:13 pm

Hi GMG,

Hapkido Santa never fails to make me chuckle. Red jacket any time soon, Sir?
Loving the food photos, makes me want to go out and experience the world more.

Safe travels!

Katherine

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Kelvin Zeini
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:39 pm

Re: On the Road World Tour 2019 - Asia, Europe & Morocco

Postby Kelvin Zeini » Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:51 pm

The L’Atelier De Joel Robuchon is quite impressive, the meals comes as a piece of art! very nice sir. I have to admit I never heard of Squid pasta in a Lobster broth with Chorizo, I would love to try this one day sir.
Thank you for the updates GM, the photos are as always amazing.

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Kelvin Zeini
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2019 - Asia, Europe & Morocco

Postby Kelvin Zeini » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:34 am

Great to hear the trip is going smoothly GM. Access to extra features at the Airport Lounge definitely will help a long flight ahead!
Looking forward to hearing about the next stop sir and about first Hapkido Seminar!
Safe travel sir!

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Kelvin Zeini
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2019 - Asia, Europe & Morocco

Postby Kelvin Zeini » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:34 am

The ITS Venue looks fabulous GM, is the whole floor covered with mats? That ancient Romans city will be awesome for some photos, I can't wait sir.
Looking forward to hear all about your next stop sir!

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2019 - Asia, Europe & Morocco

Postby Grandmaster G » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:54 pm

CGN Kelvin, we will be bringing in mats for a big chunk of the floor.

Regards

GM G

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Peko Pekovic
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Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:31 pm

Re: On the Road World Tour 2019 - Asia, Europe & Morocco

Postby Peko Pekovic » Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:22 pm

Great photos, Sir!

Some of those meals seem to include combination of food that I wouldn't think would work together, but they must do. And presentation is amazing.

I look forward to see more pain faces :D

Regards,

Peko

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Kelvin Zeini
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:39 pm

Re: On the Road World Tour 2019 - Asia, Europe & Morocco

Postby Kelvin Zeini » Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:00 am

Great updates GM, thank you.

I am glade I took GM's advice and tried those Fig Wraps at Black Rose that night sir, although I understand they are not even close to the quality of these plate you showed us sir, however I have a bit of understanding why it is such a joy to have a fine meal. These food photos are just amazing, the layout is a fine art.

I liked those scene photos, but I can see how the overcast affect phone cameras, here a good LSR lens can make a huge difference by capturing more depth and better colors. Saying that, I still believe GM's phone is taking an amazing shots way better than any iphone sir, specially those night shots, they were fantastic sir.

Great to hear about the Kwan Nyom Hapkido Spirit Tests and the seminars, I still get emotional every time I see new candidates achieved this amazing goal of earning an IHA Black Belt.

I wish GM even more great time and safe travel.

Thank you GM

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Chris Berrios
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2019 - Asia, Europe & Morocco

Postby Chris Berrios » Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:10 am

GMG,

Budapest looks fantastic, might have to add that to the bucket list. Note to self: Do not look at GMG's trip report when I am hungry! Thank you for the posts Sir, love the pain faces.

Thank you


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