The moment I cross the borders and I’m in Cambodia, I feel like home. There is something so special about the country that it’s so difficult to describe, but a lot of people know what I mean. It’s like if Cambodia puts spell on you and it’s impossible to get rid of it. You don’t want to get rid of it… I was lucky enough to make it to Phnom Penh last weekend – my friend Steffi who used to live there with me, but currently lives in Germany, came back for holidays and so I got on the bus and went to see her and my other friends still living there. It takes around 6 hours to get to Phnom Penh from Saigon with loads of factors influencing whether it’s 6 or 7.5 hours. The bus might be randomly stopping all around the way, picking people up, dropping them off… Imagine ride from Bratislava to Kosice with stops in every single town or village. Annoying. Or there might be too many buses at the borders at the same time. I know Cambodian-Vietnamese borders by heart, I think it’s the second most frequented border for me after Slovakia-Austria… Or you have to wait for a ferry to cross Mekong at Neak Leung. The ferry is buzzing with activity with people selling anything from green mangoes with salt and chili to corn or dried fish. On top of all this you need to count in bad roads and crazy traffic so typical for South-East Asia. And despite the buses are in general quite decent, with toilet, and providing water, snack and refreshing napkin for each passenger, recently I was a bit unlucky and managed to have cockroaches on the bus as well… No fun to be sitting for few hours on a seat like if it was a bomb to explode and focusing all your senses on whether there are no cockroaches coming out of your seat. Even less fun when it happens after you spend the night on the dance floor, didn’t sleep and went right on the bus… So be ready for surprises :)
Each ride to Phnom Penh is different, depending on in which season there is. I love rainy season for the amazing greens and red the rice fields and soil have then. The past weeks Cambodia has suffered from one of the worst floods in decades. There is a need for help since people lost their houses, crops… and mainly the poorest people were widely affected. Here are few pics I took from the bus that might give you an idea.
Every time I’m on my way to Phnom Penh I’m planning where I’ll be eating while there :) There are few places I never miss :) Here are few pics of various quality I took last weekend at my favourite places.
The Shop is a favourite of all expats in town. It’s a little cozy place where you can have amazing breakfast, light sandwiches or salad, refreshing juices as well as indulge in amazing tarts and chocolate mouse. When I lived in Phnom Penh, I got breakfast from there almost daily – apple carrot or beetroot juice with ginger were a must along with pain au chocolat. We stopped by with Steffi after a busy day and had some light lunch. I really loved the new glasses they have there and the glass showed off beautifully with lime junce in it. Lime juice is like water when you live here :) I had a yummy goat cheese and mushroom pate sandwich and apple-beetroot-ginger juice. I wish The Shop had franchises all over the world :))
Dinner was dedicated to my biggest love in Phnom Penh – Lebanese restaurant Le Cedre. I wrote about it in my hummus post and as you can see, I’m very loyal customer, paying a visit every time I make it to Phnom Penh. With had a Lebanese feast, the food there is just incredible! Hummus – both plain and with shawarma chicken, babaganoush, labneh with garlic, tabouleh… Everything was so yummy that despite a risk of looking like pregnant from overeating later on the dance floor, we ate it all! The pictures are of lower quality since taken in the evening, but our happy faces prove that our tummies were incredibly happy as well :)
Some more eating on that trip happened in Tamarind, restaurant with Mediterranean fare and great tapas and shawarmas, Metro, restaurant and bar where you have to have Black sesame tuna and Mango sling, K’nyay, vegetarian restaurant where we had amazing pumpkin and sweet potato curry and traditional Khmer amok and Java, where you can get great sandwiches, cookies and coffee. Overall, my trip to Phnom Penh was a treat for my soul and tummy :)