orvieto and venice

By , June 22, 2008 1:07 pm

orvieto is a quaint little town in italy and sits on a flat summit of volcanic tuff (type of rock made up of volcanic ash). i love the little winding cobbled streets and little restaurants cos they make for pretty pictures. right smack in the middle of their town square sits a Huge gothic cathedral which is absolutely grand and seemingly out of place which makes it even more jaw dropping.

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venice is listed under ‘must go again sometime in my life’. i’ve written about it here and here’s the picture follow up :

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more paris, and the french riviera

By , June 21, 2008 1:03 am

i decided to include the eiffel tower because i love these shots 🙂
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now about the french riviera : “it’s one of the most famous resort areas in the world, extending along the mediterranean sea west from menton near the italian border, including the cities and towns of monaco, nice, antibes and cannes.” that was lifted from wikipedia. you can read more here. on the topic of lifting, i also ‘borrowed’ this map from there :

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ok and i also vandalised it a little….

what i found interesting about nice (other than its beautiful old town), was the pebbled beaches. you heard right. pebbled. you know, little stones. i’m not doubting your ability to understand simple words but i’d find it hard to imagine people lying on tiny stones. anyway nobody was complaining. they were enjoying the sun too much after the cold of winter 🙂

i think i mentioned monaco already in a previous post – land of F1, casinos, luxury yachts and fast cars. every citizen here is at the very least a millionaire and we heard they’re very selective cos the ultra rich riff raffs do get rejected. they cited donald trump and cher haha

and cannes of film festival fame was crawling with too many tourists. we decided to not contribute to the traffic and left after short 2 hours :p oh their beaches had proper sand and topless sunbathers (proof was in a tour mate’s camera). i dont have anything so juicy so i’m afraid you’ll have to make do with these 🙂

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paris and florence

By , June 19, 2008 4:03 am

i was picking out pictures and trying to include every important architecture that was representative of the place in a montage. after putting them this way and that for ages, the final product resulted in something really messy. maybe the complication arose when i couldn’t decide after picking out the pictures, if i should size them in order of importance or relevance. 

anyway, i decided to start from scratch and just put up my favourite pictures. we can always google professional pictures of monumental buildings if that was the objective, right? so here goes – my favourite pictures and things i thought interesting 🙂 the short intro bit is for those who might want to google what’s of interest there.

Paris : some say it’s the fashion capital of the world but all say it’s the capital of France. most known for the eiffel tower, the mona lisa in louvre museum(of da vinci code fame most recently), the Arc de triomphe(the squarish structure at the end of the right hand street) and the notre dame cathedral amongst others. oh and there are many non snobbish and friendly french people 🙂

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Florence : the capital city of the Tuscan region of Italy(Italy has 20 regions) and the birthplace of Renaissance where famous artists michaelangelo and leonardo da vinci lived, and also where scientist galileo galilei (pls feel free to yodel to this jingle of a name and laugh cos i did and i don’t want to be the only one) invented the telescope there too.

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europe finito!

By , June 19, 2008 12:13 am

i’m home! for a coupla days before heading off to a beautiful resort on the boracay islands in philippines 🙂 i could say it’s to unwind after our hectic european tour, but i’d stab me if i was a stranger reading this so officially, it’s because we’d like a relaxing finale to our honeymoon. what better way than to spend it by warm blue waters and talcum white beaches, right? 🙂

in summary, we spent 7 days in canada and 21 days in europe where we covered 10 countries (england, france, switzerland, italy, austria, czech republic, germany, netherlands, monaco and the vatican city). it would’ve been a huge deterrent if we have had to plan for everything from start to finish so we didn’t. instead, we booked a land tour that began and ended in london. a land tour that got us to our various destinations and mostly left us ample time (and info) to roam around on our own.

we discovered contiki holidays(for people aged 18-35) and figured that’s just what we needed cos we didn’t need to plan anything except for being in london on the date our european vista tour starts. i’d say the most important thing to bring to such a holiday, is an open mind and a good attitude – needed in abundance when the unexpected happens, like a coach malfunction(only once, but otherwise we wouldn’t have seen the suburbs of czech republic) or a weather malfunction.

sulking when rains welcome you to a new country would hardly enhance your trip but being prepared for it helps. even at the risk of looking unglam, in my sister’s words. on a side note, i remember hesitating when i wanted to ask dan if he brought an umbrella cos that’s so aunty! but i went ahead after weighing that against being sick from the potential rain 😛

oh and what also swayed our decision, was the practical fact that it probably is the most cost effective way to have a sampler of europe in such a short time. 

it was a bonus for us that our tour manager was a walking encyclopedia and could rattle off histories of the places we visited off the top of her head (her longest spiel was on the history of france – 1.5hrs) . i’ve never been one to find history interesting and this trip certainly sparked my interest. another bonus was the good mix in age of the people on our tour. mostly americans and australians and there were other couples too (a relief cos i read online that contiki has a reputation for singles going for a wild time which also was true for some :P)

two important life lessons i learnt this trip :

1. managing expectations help poor situations.

2. you cannot please everybody.

about no.1 : the tour manager told us why we weren’t located in city centers other than the obvious that it’s more expensive to be there(the coach usually can’t stop in front to offload the 50 luggages quickly and going around the block a few times to do that seriously slows everybody down PLUS groups easily get rowdy attracting complaints), why we have to be on time (cos the coach WILL leave if you aren’t there). y’know, things like that. oh and the good attitude and keeping an open mind covers everything else. bound to be a fun trip with these things 🙂

about no.2 : there were many examples of that which is too lengthy to go into, but a simple one would be breakfast. some people would rave about the soft bread and others would be dissing the mushy bread. things like that.

ok i do realise most are more interested in pictures than words, so i’ll now go make that montage and have some up in my next post 😀

from amsterdam with love…

By , June 14, 2008 7:13 pm

holland and france played last night and it was a whooping 4-1 at full time. imagine the revelry in amsterdam. 4 men got stark naked and jumped into the canal (we suspect it’s a forfeit over soccer) and then got arrested afterwards. the crowds were cheering them and jeering the police for putting to a stop, the ‘outside show’ (we were told it was more fun than the inside live sex shows).

it’s hard to not get caught up with the euro2008 championships when fan zones are set up in so many of the cities we’re in, and when so many people dress up for their countries during the games. the atmosphere is totally different and it’s an interesting bonus to our european tour – even to non soccer fan me.

internet time’s ticking and i’ll go enjoy holland’s windmills, tulips, cheeses and red light district 🙂

from munich with love…

By , June 9, 2008 3:06 am

austria (hopfgarden to be exact) made me wanna run up its mountains singing but of course i didnt and instead rode up it on a mountain bike. in the rain no less. very good exercise, splendid view, delicious spring water and a super sore butt the day after. of course i think it’s worth it 🙂 the terms i used to read that described forests with words like ethereal, heavenly, unearthly, and even vaporous looking suddenly made sense when i opened the windows to the forest beside where we stayed. it is that ethereal/heavenly/unearthly and even vaporous looking. really beautiful.

we also went trout fishing although it was more like a trout meal. 5secs (no exaggeration) on throwing the line out, the trouts bit. we were only allowed to catch 1 fish a line cos they cleaned and cooked the trout immediately and both trouts were good sized ones! we couldnt have eaten more than 1 each… felt bad about having to (watch the keeper) knock the living daylights out of the fish. i guess putting them out of their misery quickly would be preferable to them suffering out of water… apparently i didnt feel bad for too long cos the trouts were dee lee shers :p

travelled to munich today and made a stop at Dachau where the first concentration camp built by the germans was located. had a condensed version of hitler’s life, his reign and the events that happened during WW2. it’s funny how much more interested one is in history when you’re walking through the grounds where the actual events took place. it was unpleasant but i thought it very necessary. reading the well documented details of the war, POWs, of the medical experiments performed on them gave us a sick feeling at the pit of our stomachs. that’s not even meant as a figure of speech. i mean literally. i left Dachau feeling very blessed to be born in times of peace, and in singapore where there arent natural calamities.

80% of shops in the city of munich is closed on sundays cos German law prohibits the vast majority of businesses from trading on a Sunday). it’s quite convenient that german is playing poland right now (euro championships) as i type and i suppose they might’ve been more than happy to declare this particular sunday a holiday anyway. so that leaves me at the internet cafe. at 1euro an hour, it’s ALOT cheaper than my last entry – 1euro for 10mins.

1 euro = 2.21SGD.

even so, i do think i should go out and get some pretzels, sausages, pork knuckles and perhaps some apple strudel too.

yes, that sounds really good 🙂

from austria with love….

By , June 6, 2008 9:52 pm

i have just gotten into austria and haven’t explored anything here yet. but what i see of the natural beauty here(birthplace of the “sound of music”) looks like huge potential 🙂

absolutely loved venice. the fact that there’s no traffic in there other than the human sort means that we had a romantic time on the gondola and basically weaving through the numerous bridges and tiny alleys that held surprises at every turn. they sell a huge variety of pretty knick knacks and are known for their glass, lace, and intricately made masks… got a picture of one of the towers and it looked like it cud give the leaning tower of pisa a run for its money cos venice is slowly but surely sinking…. thank goodness the people have gondolas but not so sure how the buildings are gonna survive….

the gelati was fabulous and we had it 3 times in a day. (my fav is the caffe=coffee, nocciola=hazelnut, and menta=mint chocolate)! also on my list of favourites in italy is the flavourful pastas, lasagnas and cheeses. not the place to be at if you’re on a diet. thank goodness i’m on vacation and can do whatever i want hehe

time ticking. 3mins before the internet shuts down. til next post !! 

from rome with love!

By , June 3, 2008 11:04 pm

good news first – i didnt lose my ipod!! it was at the bottom of my luggage and i had assumed it lost when i didnt see it in my haversack. it does seem cause for celebration cos i had been lamenting the loss of both my ipod AND my waistline. now there’s only the latter to complain about so yay!

the most well known sight we last covered must be the leaning tower of pisa and you all know how that looks like. but what you might not know, is the hordes of tourists who does things like these on the grounds (us included hehe) :

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travelling truly is educational – i used to think it was something people said to justify a vacation. for eg in florence, we were looking at the town hall with polite smiles until the guide told us this was the building where the telescope and flying machine was invented, the workplace of leonardo da vinci and michaelangelo. that sorta lit the bulbs in our heads and we looked at the building with new respect.

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please appreciate this picture cos i took 20mins to find it – that shuld give you a rough gauge the number of pictures trigger happy me has taken.

i’m not quite sure why i cant upload pics onto this site, but i’m sure montages will be more interesting to look at… it has been a rainy day and we pretty much did in rome what the romans did – we roamed. thru the coliseum, the vatican city(the smallest independent country in the world. imagine! an entire city within a city and it only measures 0.44sqkm. maybe just bigger than ngee ann city? see what i mean by educational?), and the sistine chapel in the vatican musuem was absolutely amazing, as in the st peters basilica and all the other names that were only names to me when i read the da vinci code.

next stop is venice and then austria – looking forward to more fun!

ps: pasta in italy is divine. not gonna find my waist in a hurry for sure in this town.

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