Friday, December 19, 2014

Singapore Food Blog - Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King (豚骨王)

Location: Tanjong Pagar, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Those familiar with the Tanjong Pagar area may notice a long queue at a corner of Orchid Hotel just near the Tanjong Pagar MRT station. A closer look would reveal a wildly popular ramen restaurant called Ramen Keisuke, which had received rave reviews online. To differentiate this branch with the few others under the same owner, this was suffixed with 'Tonkotsu King'.

I was recommended to this ramen restaurant after our outing at Department of Caffeine, a session which lasted from mid afternoon to late evening. Since Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King was right near Tanjong Pagar MRT station and we were heading that way, we decided that we could try our luck getting fed here. Although it received a mixed review from my gang, I personally like the dish for its broth's superior taste.

The banner carrier

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Singapore Food Blog - Department of Caffeine

Location: Duxton Road, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Updated 1-Jan-2017: This outlet is permanently closed.


I have read enough of "Top 10 cafes to visit in Singapore" that has been shared in the internet and I saw that Department of Caffeine has been on most of those list. Most probably they all copied from the same source and duplicate it as their own list of top 10, but the name itself is quite catchy. You definitely will look for a "department" of caffeine when you are looking for a cuppa joe.

Caffe Mocha (SGD5.50) - thick, good mix of espresso and chocolate, and topped with a nice latte art. What more could you ask for? The cuppa joe would get more acidic at the bottom, most probably due to the choice of coffee bean and method of roasting, so be prepared for that.

Friday, December 12, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Medieval Crime Museum (Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum)

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


I have visited a number of museums in Germany, but none as bizarre as Kriminalmuseum. It wasn't difficult to know that this is a museum dedicated to medieval crimes and laws, even with limited grasp of German. I wondered briefly what such a museum could show me and whether there were opportunities for my camera. After a brief internal struggle, I decided to give it a try anyway.

I remembered that the museum was heralded as one of the main attractions of Rothenburg, on par with Plönlein, in most tourist guidebooks. From the outside, the architecture was not impressive in the slightest but what in front told a different story. A large cage with wheels dominated the space outside of the entrance, and it could be observed past the gate that there was another cage in midair, held on the end of a long boom.  As if those were not enough to induce fear, beyond the entrance stood the icon of the museum, a cabinet the height of an adult and an eerily emotionless face of a lady. This was the Iron Maiden, a medieval torture device used in most brochures of the museum. Expecting some seriously frightening experience, I paid an entrance fee of €5 and entered the museum tentatively.

Cage in the air

Only need a few circling vultures to complete the picture...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Transports @ Rothenburg

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


My Germany trip opened my eyes to just how different transportation could be. Bicycles came with carriage for the pedaling adult to pull kids along safely and under the shade. Tour vehicles were decked out to look like toy trucks with Christmas ornaments and presents. Some exuded antiquity to fit better to the atmosphere of a charming old town surviving the centuries. And surprisingly, horses were far common than I would expected, plodding along the cobbled streets

What I remembered the most was of course a stark red Ferrari F430 parked at a roadside, attracting attention of passing tourists. A sign on its windshield mentioned that it was for rental, and upon later online search, revealed this to be the asset of a business named European Sportscar Travel. The savvy business used it as a marketing tool to direct attention to the shop located at a corner of the town which saw lower foot traffic. Interestingly the rental included an instructor to go with, which of course was required as the high powered was not as easily controlled as a normal sedan.

Lady in red

This Ferrari was just parked on the roadside but there was a sign on it saying it was for rental. It attracted attentions of most tourists walking past. I later found online that this was in front of a shop specializing in renting out luxurious cars for traveling (check out European Sportscar Travel). Of course I wasn't the only photographer snapping off there.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Rothenburg ob der Tauber Part 2

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


The charm in Rothenburg undoubtedly help the Romantic Road which wind through it earn its name, but the town's pleasant atmosphere hid a tragic past. Followers of my last post would know that the reason of the preservation of medieval architectures was due to its population being decimated in the Thirty Years War and the subsequent Black Death, but its history did not end there.

With the town's well preserved state from the 17th century, it caught the attention of a rising Nazi regime and its infamous leader, Adolf Hitler. Its conservation was used as a cultural propaganda by the Nazis to promote an example of an ideal German family life, hailing them as the "most German of German towns". The town, not receiving any attention for the past few centuries, was eager to accept that distinction, so much so that they expelled their Jewish citizens to the approval of Nazi supporters across the nation.

Craftsmanship

Various stores selling crafted toys and handicrafts could be found in Rothenburg, especially the area around Marktplatz. Most of these stores claimed their merchandise to be wholly handmade in Germany, offering even to ship the larger items by air with an additional fee. The handiwork was magnificent and most of them, crafted from wood, showed a high attention to detail. Even if you are not interesting in buying, going in for a tour in each shop is highly recommended. You may even find something to keep as a legit souvenir from Germany.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Rothenburg ob der Tauber Part 1

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


Indecision plagued me when I was planning my trip to Rothenburg. From my accommodation location, it requires 3 transits and close to 3 hours to reach the German town, and it sounded rather inconvenient to travel to a location without any landmark. I tossed a coin in the air and it was only to help provide an excuse to a decision already made. The gamble paid off however, and I had no regrets for spending the time and effort to reach there. Pages of novel and a few beautiful vistas became my company on the journey, warding off boredom and anticipation. The last leg of the trip was particularly mesmerizing, so much so that I decided to dedicate a post to it (read more of the last leg here).

Street view

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To the interested parties, here is my 1 day itinerary in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Click into each link to visit the dedicated post to the place of interest.

Morning: 

Noon: 
  • head to Marktplatz and watch the clockwork figures above the clock which comes out every hour (<1 hour) 
  • climb the tower of Rathaus and take in the beautiful panorama (1 hour) 
  • take a selfie at the famous Plönlein (<0.5 hour) 
  • visit the Medieval Crime Museum to observe medieval law in action (1 – 2 hours) 
  • enjoy ice-cream at Mauro and Schneeballen, a famous Rothenburg food (1 hour) 
  • day ends and head back to my point of origin
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Saturday, December 6, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Road to Rothenburg

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


Sometimes it pays to take public transport rather than just zipping down the lane in the comfort of your own vehicle. I chose to sacrifice my time by taking more transits and time to reach in order to enjoy the scenery since I did not need to be behind the wheels. A fine weather would grant me a glimpse into the German countryside which seldom see any tourists.

Steinach station

There are more than 1 place with the name "Steinach" in Germany so this station has to differentiate itself from the others by adding "bei Rothenburg ob der Tauber".

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - German Turn and Tilt Window

Location: Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


I would have to say that my most surprising and eye-opening encounter during my German stay remained the way they could open their windows. The window has a handle, which is nothing out of ordinary, except that it can rotated into 3 different positions - downward, sideward and upward.

The window is in a locked position when it is pointing down, and rotating it to point to the side will enable the window to swing open. So far so good, nothing wrong. However rotating the handle to point up (when the window is closed), yielded no obvious effect except that the window remained locked. I thought to myself, it must have been designed to suit the preference of the user on whether he wanted the handle pointing up or down when locking it.

That would be until I tried pulling on the upward pointing handle, and the top of the window disengaged from the frame. I must have broken it somehow...

Looks like someone broke the window... or not... If the handle is rotated to point upward, the window could be open in a tilted position, allowing air circulation without letting in a strong draft.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Marienberg Fortress (Festung Marienberg)

Location: Würzburg, Germany

German: Festung is German for fortress

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


The last leg of my journey across Würzburg Altstadt (that's 'Old Town' in German) brought me to the Alte Mainbrücke and the spectacular sight of Marienberg Fortress perched on top of the hill. I had visited the UNESCO listed palace, Würzburg Residenz, a palace fit for a price, and it seemed to me to be inappropriate not to visit the real residence before the commissioning of the more artistic residence.

Although the honor of a UNESCO status was conferred on Würzburg Residenz, the real power emanated from Marienberg Fortress, which had housed price-bishops for close to 5 centuries. It was a fort since time immemorial, its life being a refuge castle when first settled in the Bronze Age. Its first transformation was in around 1200 when Bishop Konrad von Querfurt built the large castle. Subsequent renovations and additions turned the castle into a fortified Renaissance palace and finally a Baroque fortress. It currently houses the Prince's Building Museum and Main-Franconian Museum.

Hilltop fortress

This mesmerizing view is the iconic image that visitors will not miss when crossing Alte Mainbrücke; more about the bridge could be read in Würzburg's Old Main Bridge (Alte Mainbrücke).

Friday, November 28, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Eiscafé Mauro @ Rothenburg

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

German: Eis is German for ice-cream (yes, fooled you didn't it)
               Eiscafé is German for ice-cream parlor, a place which sells ice-cream (not really a café)

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


Have you ever considered eating ice-cream when the weather around you is lower than 10°C? I had. It was quite fun and contrary to my initial belief, it didn't make me colder. With the environment being so cold, consuming scoops of ice-cream had little effect on my body temperature.

Good weather for an ice-cream

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - DJH Jugendherberge (Youth Hostel) + Roßmühle

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

German: Jugendherberge is German for Youth Hostel
               Deutsches Jugendherbergswerk, or shortened as DJH, is German for German Youth Hostel 
                 Association
               Mühle is German for mill (as in the windmill)

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


This was another off the beaten path find, located in an area far from the more populous and tourist filled streets. A walk around the perimeter of the town and along the wall brought me to quieter patches of Rothenburg, including one where a peculiar building was located.

From the sign at the front, I learnt that this was a youth hostel with a simple abbreviation of DJH, simplifying a long German word into 3 letters. Its outlook though reminded me of stone cottages from childhood bedtime stories, in which resided wizards and witches. The building of moderate height (5 stories I guessed) had rounded slits of windows built upon an angular roof face, casting an eerie likeness of a multi-eyed behemoth.

Multi eyed monster

Monday, November 24, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Plönlein

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


I can find landmarks easily shot from various angles, but this is really the one spot where everyone takes the same shot, and with good reason. Visitors to Rothenburg, whether they come on purpose or are on their way blazing through the Romantic Route, would proudly tick their checklist of places to photograph in Germany with a selfie on this spot. This is Plönlein, and it is one of the most ubiquitous picture of the Romantic Route and one of the most shown image of Germany.

Plönlein, although translated as "little square" from German, actually derived its roots from the Latin word "planum" which holds the meaning of "flat square". I personally find the former to be more agreeable than the latter for there is nothing flat about the triangular plot of corner. The intersection is made famous because of the view it affords to anyone standing at the intersection will get an unobstructed view of two towers. 

Plönlein

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Singapore Food Blog - The Asian Kitchen's Lu Gang Xiao Zhen 鹿港小镇

Location: Bugis, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

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

The Asian Kitchen's name is rather peculiar as its name English and Mandarin name does not match each other. Its Mandarin name is 鹿港小镇 (Lu Gang Xiao Zhen), potentially named after a small township in Taiwan though the reason why is beyond my guess. Apart from a peculiar name, I do find its dishes memorable, worthy of a recommendation from me.

I usually patronize the branch in Bugis+, personally because the restaurant is located on the highest floor of the mall and has a high ceiling. Despite its relative lack of deco the high ceiling and ample distance between tables gave a spacious feel to the place.

Herbal Crispy Duck (药材烧鸭) (small - SGD12.70) is one of our favorite dish in The Asian Kitchen . Its crispy skin and succulent flesh soaked up the sauce it bathed in, bringing forth the flavor with every bite and chew.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Singapore Food Blog - Café Gavroche

Location: Tanjong Pagar, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

I have no knowledge of this cafe tucked in Tras Street if not for my friend's recommendation, who in turn heard of it from his friend. He did warn me that the food was exorbitant relative to its meal but patrons usually visited for its ambiance that was famed for trying to duplicate the Parisian atmosphere.

Cafe Gavroche was its name, but it wasn't easy for us to locate it in our fist visit. Instead of a large signage declaring its name to everyone, the cafe was satisfied with a small one that was easily missed. For those returning patrons however, its front would be hard to miss - potted plants flanked its entrance which could easily convinced that you were about to enter another world 14 hours away.

The sign of the cafe is not easily located, but once you recognized the front of the cafe with its potted plants then locating it along Tras Street would be a breeze. The bar is right across the street from this cafe and opens in the evening.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Singapore Food Blog - Bakerzin @ Orchard Paragon

Location: Orchard, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Updated 29-Nov-2015: This outlet in Orchard Paragon is permanently closed. Outlets of Bakerzin can still be located in other locations through here: outlet locations.

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


Every once in a while I would walk past a Bakerzin cafe, its colorful confectioneries attracting my interest now and then but rarely did I stop for a break there. That was until once when I spied this one in Orchard Paragon and thought that I could get a break there, what with the cafes overflowing nearly everywhere on a busy weekend packed full of shoppers.

My impression of Bakerzin as a confectionery store and coffee serving cafe was challenged when I flipped through their menu and saw that they offered several main dishes as well. They served drinks, both caffeine laced and caffeine free, delivering enough to suit diners with different taste.

Bakerzin's menu is like a recipe book. Each section of the menu start off with an introduction of some ingredient highlights , some of which pointed to their nutritious values in the dishes in subsequent pages.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

PAssionArts Festival 2014 Works Of Wonder (W.O.W.!)

Location: Orchard, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

I did not notice the length of time which has past since the last entry, and it seemed that I have a lot of entries to make up for. Although my backlog is long, off the top of my mind was one experience I had in Ngee Ann City not long ago.

Orchard Road may be famous for its glitzy rows of malls, beckoning and seducing with brands of all types. Locals who used to haunt the place would know of another side of the famed Singaporean row: the street performers and an occasional event set in the square in front of Ngee Ann City. The latter could be a celebration of something or promotions of certain products (sometimes it was neither). I usually just walk past them with barely a glance, preferring the air-conditioned indoors, but I was unusually attracted an event some time ago - the PAssionArts Festival 2014.

The reason behind my unusual fascination was the display of various artworks fabricated from unconventional materials. A wall of painted umbrellas and a dragon of CDs were two of the array of items which gathered the most followers but the rest of them were no least impressive by themselves. It was the PAssionArts Festival of 2014, and it was drawing the attention from all walks of life.

The Lady and the Horse

Monday, July 28, 2014

Singapore Food Blog - Chili's Grill and Bar @ Clarke Quay

Location: Clarke Quay, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

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


I had enjoyed my experience in Chili's in the few opportunities which arose. Their food is delicious and addictive, prodding me to revisit whenever possible. With my last visit to the branch in Clarke Quay, I decided that its food deserves to be immortalized in my blog with a post. I am not one for high decibel ambient but my wife and I both enjoyed its food so much so that we braved the noisy environment just to get to their dishes.

The restaurant chain originated from the US, its first operation occurred in 1975 in Texas, serving American food and Tex-Mex cuisine. Interestingly, certain food referred to as Mexican food in USA is, much to the chagrin of the originals, not Mexican, Rather this is a regional cuisine of the American Southwest, blending food products available in United States with the culinary creations influenced by Mexicans, originally invented by the Mexican-Americans who missed their food but could not get the ingredients in the States. The term Tex-Mex lent its name to such a blend, differentiating them from the originals. So bear in mind that despite being served Spanish named Fajitas, you are in fact dining American dishes, not Mexican.

Its name as 'Chili's' may not resonate with what we have in mind, with fire-invoking spicy chillies in the dishes. One of the iconic Tex-Mex cuisine is chili con carne, which is known usually just as 'chili', hence lending the restaurant its name. Too bad this is not served in the local branches of the same restaurant.

Chili's

Saturday, July 26, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Neumünster Church (Kolegiatstift Neumünster)

Location: Würzburg, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


I mistakenly thought that this was Würzburg Cathedral, and toured around with that in mind. It wasn't until I was back and checked the photos online that I realized my humbling error. Yet to me it wasn't surprising, even in hindsight, to have made such a mistake. Its façade looked authentically medieval compared to the recently renovated cathedral next door. Even more convincing was the trove of frescoes and artwork adorning the halls of the church, cementing my faith that I was in the cathedral when I was in reality standing within the halls of Neumünster Church.

Curvature

Wedged between two contrastingly unappealing buildings, the Baroque front of the church is much more recent, built in the 18th century, compared to the Romanesque cathedral which dated back to 11th century. Its ornate and curved façade is immediately recognizable.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2013 Hanoi Trip - Lý Thái Tổ Garden (Vườn hoa Lý Thái Tổ)

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

Full experience of my visit to Hanoi can be accessed through the list below:


More about Hanoi can be read through the list below:
Vietnamese Dong


It has been a hiatus from my last entry of our Hanoi trip, but I still vividly recall the little park lying off to a side in the vicinity of Hoan Kiem lake, the famous lake in Hanoi. We were visited by a heavy downpour on our first day of arrival, but fortune was on our side with the rain cut short to just an hour's drench.

Walking around the lake in the evening after the rain was refreshing despite the fact that exhausts spewing from all varieties of vehicles polluted the air as happened in any major cities. On our tour around the lake, we spotted this park tucked across the street facing the lake, a square with a majestic statue. Crossing the infamously unruly traffic of Vietnam, we reached Lý Thái Tổ garden, the focus of this entry.

Life after rain

Sunday, July 6, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Würzburg's Old Main Bridge (Alte Mainbrücke)

Location: Würzburg, Germany

German: Brücke is German for bridge; here Mainbrücke is so called because it is a bridge over River Main

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


It was noon when I arrived at the Old Bridge over Main River (Main is the name of the river, not an adjective), and I was ready to cross to the other part of Würzburg, its other half across the river. Upon leaving the cluster of buildings in the Old Quarters, I was dazzled by the sight which greeted me, a clear and unobstructed view across the river. It seemed that the sight of the bridge was just as mesmerizing as the various architectures across Würzburg.

Where ever I went in Germany, as long as there is a bridge and a place to hold a lock, I would find love locks.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Five words to describe Singapore

Location: Singapore

My wife and I were on the MRT, chatting away to kill time while the train transport us to our destination. I was looking for a way to describe Singapore, the island nation where I had spent the last two years toiling away.

And so she asked, "What are the five words you would use to describe Singapore?"

Challenge accepted.

Image taken from Straits Times.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2013 Kunshan Trip - Excursion to West Lake, Hangzhou (西湖游记) Final

Location: Hangzhou (杭州), Zhejiang Province (浙江省), China

Full experience of my visit to West Lake can be accessed through the list below.


Scattered around West Lake were scenery spots, some taking your breath away while others leaving you a feeling of 'meh'. Of course some of these required an entrance fee, but there were enough spots affording a breathless view of the lake that we wandered without entering any of these charged areas.

Flock of ships 船队

Monday, June 2, 2014

2013 Kunshan Trip - Excursion to West Lake, Hangzhou (西湖游记) Part 5

Location: Hangzhou (杭州), Zhejiang Province (浙江省), China

Full experience of my visit to West Lake can be accessed through the list below.


West Lake in itself was charming, but with only the verdant as its colour palette would have been too monochromatic. Fortunately spring brought with it other hues to the scene - pink, the colour of cherry blossom.

Celebrating spring 赏春

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2013 Kunshan Trip - Excursion to West Lake, Hangzhou (西湖游记) Part 4

Location: Hangzhou (杭州), Zhejiang Province (浙江省), China

Full experience of my visit to West Lake can be accessed through the list below.


Being a tourist spot most visited by locals and tourists alike, it wasn't easy to find a quiet spot in West Lake, but they do exist. There would be moments when a break appeared between the riot of crowds or a spot which was missed by the mass. It was at those times where I understood how this lake enthralled and inspired poets and artists of the past. The tranquillity was unmistakable.

Longing

I personally love this photo. I may not take the best of photos, but capturing the lady waiting for something while looking slightly forlorn across the lake was a powerful image.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

2013 Kunshan Trip - Excursion to West Lake, Hangzhou (西湖游记) Part 3

Location: Hangzhou (杭州), Zhejiang Province (浙江省), China

Full experience of my visit to West Lake can be accessed through the list below.


The lush green scenery was nothing compared to the view of the lake. We did not see the lake until we walked past an arch signifying one of the entrance, and since the body of water was hidden from view, the moment it appeared it packed a punch to the mind, overloading it with pleasant sensations.

Lines of boats awaiting customers. These vessels will take passengers out on a tour of the lake on water and at a faster speed than on foot. To me it was a killjoy if one could not enjoy the scene by wandering around, relying instead on the captain's choice of path. But then again, to each his own path.

Friday, May 16, 2014

2013 Kunshan Trip - Excursion to West Lake, Hangzhou (西湖游记) Part 2

Location: Hangzhou (杭州), Zhejiang Province (浙江省), China

Full experience of my visit to West Lake can be accessed through the list below.


West Lake of Hangzhou is, of course, known for the lakeside scenery. With most of China's famous scenic areas exacting an entry fee, be it a park or an old town, it was refreshing to know that no gates barred our entry to the lakeside. The whole area was a huge park, allowing anyone to enjoy the scenery while taking a stroll.

When I took a stroll around West Lake, I enjoyed not only the scenic lakeside but also mesmerizing Chinese architectures of the nearby buildings.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

2013 Kunshan Trip - Excursion to West Lake, Hangzhou (西湖游记) Part 1

Location: Hangzhou (杭州), Zhejiang Province (浙江省), China

Full experience of my visit to West Lake can be accessed through the list below.


I had been putting off from preparing a post on my trip to China in 2013's first quarter, but I couldn't get past myself for leaving such a nice experience from being shared, especially when the scene of Hangzhou's famous West Lake is still vividly imprinted in my mind.

It was a gruelling 2 hours plus drive from Kunshan to West Lake, passing various landscapes and countrysides of China, uneventful to its max. This in turn made the arrival much more exciting, both from the relief I felt from being able to stretch my legs and from the anticipation of visiting one of the most famous lake in China, one which inspired generations of poets and painters.

Lavender? Maybe not. But these purple flowers does make a nice scenery on the way to West lake.

Monday, May 5, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Würzburg Cathedral (Würzburger Dom)

Location: Würzburg, Germany

German: Dom is German for cathedral; a cathedral is a church which a Bishop chose as his seat of authority, otherwise it is no different from a church and is not reflected fully in its architecture

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


In hindsight I should have visited this cathedral, but at that moment the Neumünster Church was right next to it, and having confused which was which, I entered the church instead of the cathedral. As a consolation, I took some exterior shots of the Würzburg Cathedral even though its interior was a total miss.

The entrance of the Würzburg Cathedral. The famous façade of the cathedral misled me to the assumption that this was a modern church, leading to me missing it totally. If one were to stand at the Old Bridge of Würzburg, you could stare straight down the street with an unblocked view of this façade.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Marienkapelle and Falkenhaus @ Würzburg

Location: Würzburg, Germany
There is more than one reason why I loved Würzburg. There was the UNESCO Heritage listed Würzburg Residenz, and there was the magnificent view of Marienberg Fortress perched high atop the hills overlooking the town. Wandering around the old town is fun by itself, as I encountered various beautiful buildings, most of them churches that towered over the mortal man.

While strolling in the old town I came across Marktplatz, a square where two buildings with their eye-catching architecture bound not to be missed by tourists. The deep crimson of Marienkapelle's (St. Mary's Chapel) Gothic architecture stood in towering contrast to the three-storey tall lightly beige façade of Falkenhaus' (Falcon House) Baroque architecture, promising a photogenic opportunity against the clear blue skies.


The tall crimson Gothic architecture of Marienkapelle stood in stark contrast against the lower Falkenhaus with its lighter tone and Baroque architecture. The latter houses the city library as well as the Tourist Office. The three gabled Rococo façades with their beautiful curls are the reason why the Falkenhaus stole the attention of most passer-bys.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Würzburg Residenz's Court Garden

Location: Würzburg, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


My visit to Würzburg had been a few months back, and delay had led my writings from winter into spring. The scenery I saw online is far different from that which I captured, the now verdant garden was then just a drab scenery. Würzburg Residenz, the palace itself, only had its visiting hours began at 10 (it was February back then), so I began wandering around the gardens behind it. It was well worth a walk.

A reflection on Würzburg Residenz (notice the play of words...?).

Saturday, April 12, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - A UNESCO Heritage @ Würzburg Residenz

Location: Würzburg, Germany

German: Residenz is German for residence, which in this case is a palace as it is a residence for the royalty

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


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

Location: Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


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.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Stift Haug @ Würzburg

Location: Würzburg, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


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 - 1 Day Trip to Würzburg

Location: Würzburg, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


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...

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.

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