Saturday, April 12, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - A UNESCO Heritage @ Würzburg Residenz

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Location: Würzburg, Germany

As I have come to learn in my visits, not all buildings in the UNESCO Heritage List are beautiful. They are there because of their value, not their appeal. Yet there are definitely some which are a sight to see, one which travellers would not miss for whatever reason. With Würzburg Residenz I have come to gain another insight in my travels - sometimes buildings appeal more inside than outside.

It is unfortunate that no photographs are allowed within the palace building, so I have to resort to words to describe the feelings of my visit, a task that is monumental given that the beauty I beheld was one where words failed me.

Würzburg Residenz, a UNESCO Heritage listed building, basking under the sun. On the outset, the palace of the Prince-Electors may be as impressive as those emerging from fairy tales, but its interior would charm even the most indifferent visitor.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - The confusion behind EU, Schengen and Euro

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Location: Germany

When I was researching for my Europe travel, I was confounded by the terms of European Union, Schengen areas and Eurozone. It has always been my thought that these are the same areas, whereas reading from the Internet, I realized how wrong I am. And I realize that most of Malaysians and Singaporeans, especially those who had never been to Europe, were as ignorant as I was.

Maybe it would be better to start by introducing Europe as a whole.

An image taken from Wikipedia with working links. Click on the countries to learn more through Wikipedia. This shows an outline of where conventional geopolitical European continent starts and ends. Blue states straddles the border between Asia and Europe, green states are not geographically within the European continent but closely associated with it.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Stift Haug @ Würzburg

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Location: Würzburg, Germany

This is not a church high on most list for a visit to Würzburg, yet it was the first I stumbled onto while on my way to Würzburg Residenz, and its beauty mesmerized me. From afar the dome top of the church was unmistakable, a remarkably beautiful Baroque structure standing tall amongst the modern dwellings and shop houses.

The dome of Stift Haug is inspired by another famous religious building, St Peter's Basilica.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Würzburg

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Location: Würzburg, Germany

With the train rushing east past fields and forests, with a glimpse of the Main river (that's the name of the river, not describing it as a 'main' river) to break the monotony, I tried to recall what scant knowledge I had on the city I was heading to.

Würzburg was chosen as my target mainly because of two reasons - cathedrals and a palace listed as UNESCO World Heritage. Coming on the list as bonuses were the old town itself and an ancient fortress perched atop of a hill overlooking the city, but I did not expect much despite browsing through photos shared by fellow travellers. Images can be deceiving. When I disembarked from the train and started walking around the old town, the scenery took my breath away. It was as the images suggested, and much more. Pictures could hardly provoke your senses as being there can.

One of the earliest sights in Würzburg would be the iconic dome of Stift Haug, one of the various beautiful churches across the city.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

When MH370 never turned up...

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There are more road fatalities than flight related deaths, yet when it hit the news, a world grieved with their family members. Maybe it was the fact that there is little we could do when a plane comes roaring down, even less so when nobody knows where it is. And with this knowledge of our helplessness, we questioned our faith in even the safest of all transportation mode, even more so at the company operating it.

It affected every one of us. Even reporters broke down. The social media was filled with retweets and reshares. We all had been following the news and discussing the possibilities. We grieve for MH370, for the family they left behind and for the destinies they never fulfilled. 

A dedication to a lost friend (image adapted from DailyMail).

Deep in our hearts we couldn't ignore the tiny voice asking, "Am I safe in the next flight?" "Will this be the last time I see that face?" Already creeping into some minds is the question over the safety of budget airlines mushrooming as budget travellers roamed the Earth unchecked. "How much cost have they cut to maintain that low airfare?"

Farewell, my friend. It has been an honour to make your acquaintance and sorry for not getting to know you better when circumstances allowed. May you find peace at wherever you are, and may this post serve as a dedication to your memory.


Announcements taken direct from MAS website dedicated to the MH370 incident.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Singapore Food Blog - Bangkok Jam @ Plaza Singapura

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Location: Dhoby Ghaut, Singapore

Note: This post is written base on the dining experience in Plaza Singapura branch. Experience may vary from that of other outlets.

I visited this establishment when the riots were in full swing in Bangkok. The flow of tourists who once flocked to the vibrant city slowed to a halt, countries advising their citizens against entering the city, or the nation even. Bloodied images of chaos painted a grim picture of the city, with most captions questioning the future of the nation in the coming months. And the name Bangkok Jam reminded me of all that even as I was seated in its compound.

A riot of color and organised chaos (if there is such a thing) greeted my senses at the entrance of this establishment. Lampposts and traffic lights stood randomly in the "compound", itself an interesting but effective utilization of space by situating itself next to a bank of elevators and in a spot where the geometry of the floor plan induce headaches with most interior designers. Seated within the restaurant was akin to street side dining without the noisy traffic and dusty environment such seating came with.

To my utmost surprise, the menu was presented like a newspaper, with the news content being the dishes and the hottest news being none other than the recommended dish. Such a concept was employed by Ambush, invoking memories of delicious European dishes as was shared in Singapore Food Blog - Ambush @ Jurong Point.

The menu was presented in a newspaper format, in a way reminding me of Ambush restaurant which uses a similar concept.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dinosaurs - Dawn to Extinction Exhibition @ ArtScience Museum - Part 2

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Location: Marina Bay, Singapore

Note: This is the second and last part of my experience in the Dinosaur exhibition. The previous part of the article can be read in Dinosaurs - Dawn to Extinction Exhibition Part 1.

The Dinosaurs exhibition had been fun so far, but I didn't feel impressed until my first encounter with a skeleton the size of a room. A large room in fact. Life was entering the late Triassic, and so had I. Welcome to the world where the dinosaurs started to win the competition for land and food.

Giant beings started roaming the Earth in the late Triassic era even though it wasn't their heyday yet. My first encounter with these looming giants was a battle scene re-enacted in a room, one between a towering Lessemsaurus and a carnivorous Fasolasuchus. The latter was smaller in size, but its barring teeth won in ferosity. To walk under the stretching tail of the Lessemsaurus sparked imagination of the roving giant stepping over you while battling its aggressor, and all would be awesome until you realized that you may not survive such a battle when it was stomping around.

To walk under and behind the Lessemsaurus granted me an unparalleled experience. It felt as if it just stepped over me to fight against its predator, until I realized that were that the reality, I most probably would not stand a chance of survival. 
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