Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jason Mraz: 3 Things

Let's take a break with all the Euro City blog entries that I have been posting for the past weeks and enjoy a new set of songs of the ever talented Jason Mraz. I have been a huge fan of this guy since the release of his song Remedy last 2002. This coming July, he will be releasing his new album entitled YES! with a collaboration with a band named Raining Jane ( I gotta say, these ladies rock!!) Anyway, I am going to share one particular song that I have been listening for days now since its release. This song is very appropriate with this feeling that I am feeling right now. And this reminds me of what I need to do, his three things are my three things now. Gotta do them to let the chapter end. This is one good song - well, Jason Mraz is always an artist who produces good music and not just a singer who sells pop and catchy songs. 

Here is 3 Things by Jason Mraz. Enjoy!

3 Things

There are three things I do when my life falls apart
Number one, I cry my eyes out and dry up my heart
Not until I do this will my new life start
So that’s the first thing that I do when my life falls apart

The second thing I do is I close both of my eyes
And say my thank yous to each and every moment of my life
I go where I know the love is and let it fill me up inside
Gathering new strength from sorrow
I’m glad to be alive

And things are looking up
I know above the clouds the sun is shining
Things are looking up
Love is still the answer I’m relying on

Three little things
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Things are looking up
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

The third thing that I do, now, when my world caves in
Is I pause, I take a breath and bow and I let the chapter end
I design my future bright, not by where my life has been

And I try, try, try, try, try again
Yes, I try, try, try, try, try again

Things are looking up
I know beyond the dark the sun is rising
Things are looking up
I know above the clouds the sun is shining
Things are looking up
Love is still the answer I’m relying on
Three little things

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Three little things
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Just a few days and YES! will be available. I am excited to spend one day to hear the whole album and spend the days after appreciating the songs. It's gonna be the playlist of the month, that's for sure. Better gear up my ipod classic for that. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Salzburg: Do-Re-Mi

Do, a deer, a female deer
Re, a drop of golden sun
Mi, a name, i call myself
Fa, a long long way to run
So, a needle pulling thread
La, a note to follow So
Ti, a drink with jam and bread
and that brings us back to Do-oh-oh-oh

Doing this entry made me sing a song we are all familiar with, the Do-Re-Mi from the Sound of Music. I am guessing that you sang the lyrics above. Who wouldn't, right?

Anyway, one rainy day of visiting the Old town of Salzburg was not enough to appreciate the art surrounding its walls. Lucky us, it was drizzling because if not, I wouldn't have the chance to stroll freely on the streets where Maria hopped with glee.

Remember when Maria taught the Do-Re-Mi song to the Trapp children? Well, I had the chance to stroll the Mirabell Garden where the scene was taken. I also knew from our dearest tour guide that the garden was a dedication of a priest to his  mistress (there are really good facts when joining a tour- historic places are not visited to be seen, but to be appreciated thru learning their stories)

And do you remember the wedding? Ohh, the processional song by the nuns! It was playing on my head when we reached the Cathedral. All in all, it was like reliving the musical again.

But visiting this place was not only to see the location of the musical. It was also good to see the birthplace of the ever gifted Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, or simply Mozart. I'd say that his symphonies especially the 40 & 41 are gems of Classical Music. Most of us wouldn't know that it was Mozart, but try checking out his symphonies and you'd be shocked to recognize the music cause it had been the background music of gazillion movies. Yeah, that's Mozart. 

Also, in this place I have discovered a marzipan covered with dark chocolate (over and over again). That was one little piece of heaven, the Mozart Ball. I thought the tour guide was just advertising (exaggeratedly)  when he said that you can't get enough of the goodies, but when I tried it, woah, I was not yet out of the store and I was already buying some more pieces. It was that good. 

Anyway, here are some of the pictures of the place. Unfortunately, my selfie rod was once again in Den Haag during the trip. 

Salzburg, your small alleys, your fortress, and your musical history are worth the travel alone on a rainy day cause you are that good that even the rain couldn't make you less beautiful. I'd be back for more but make sure you still have the Mozart Balls. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Munich: The Posh City

My trip to Munich began with a two-hour flight from Amsterdam with the view of the magnificent Alps (don't ask me for a pic, my phone's and camera's zoom could not identify the difference between the snow-tipped mountains and the clouds). But it was beautiful - a good different window pane view.

Anyway, thank God for the free wifi at the airport because my sister and I were not on the same flight and we needed to see each other else, I'd be doomed. I was a bit nervous because I would be travelling and exploring this city alone. Sister had to work so if I would like to go explore, I need to use my minimal, almost, untrustworthy navigational skills, my undeniable charm (*cough*) and of course my hope that good Samaritans would be everywhere. However, to my utter surprise, Munich's safe and very easy to navigate.
With the very extensive and well-laid out Bahn (train) system, bus, tram rides, one would never get lost in this posh city. You just wouldn't. 

The first place I have visited was their Haupbahnhof (Central Train Station). If I didn't get lost navigating the whole city, I got lost navigating this train station. It was just huge but then again, it was part of the fun. Plus, I got to familiarize what part of the station has Wi-Fi connection - being there everyday. It was always the first point of my travel within the city. Also, in hbf, I was having the best breakfast ever during my whole stay in Europe, the Bratwurst. HAHAHA! My German friend laughed at me when I told her that fact. Because, basically (by German standards), Bratwurst could be eaten any time of the day but never for breakfast. I didn't know about that but even if I knew beforehand, I would still have it for breakfast. I gotta eat all the Bratwurst I could consume during the trip. Imagine that footlong sausage with mustard - woah, that's what we call big breakfast. YUM!! I'm hungry now!

Enough of the Bratwurst, let's go and let me tell you about the Munich experience without the selfie rod. Yeahp! A very unfortunate mistake from my end. I accidentally forgot my selfie rod along with my moisturizer. Two essential things for travelling (alone and in Europe), forgotten in Den Haag. The moisturizer was okay, I could get it anywhere, but the selfie rod, well, NOT. Which meant that I have only a few pictures with the view/the structure. But it was still ok because there were good samaritans around and even volunteered to take my picture with the view. One more thing that needed to be highlighted would be the having a warm weather and I brought long sleeves and tights with me. HAHAHA, I almost bought new set of summer clothes because people were staring at my funky leggings and/or my tights. But, good thing I didn't and just spent it eating good stuffs - schnitzel for lunch and Schweinshaxe for dinner. Oh yeah!

Their Marienplatz (market place), one of the places I have visited the most in Munich. I was literally there everyday to just stroll, sit and relax and shop.  Day and Night, I was there solo, or with my sister, enjoying the life of this place. 

Apart from the beauty of their architecture and the best Baroque structures I've seen during my three-week Euro trip, Munich's BMW Welt and Museum was one of the highlights of this city. I have seen a lot of structures and paintings, it was the perfect time to see a different kind of museum. It was a huge museum of cars and I gotta say, the competition made it to the point to leave a mark in me - it was freakin' awesome. Motorbikes, vintage cars, race cars, new designs - everything that made BMW, the BMW was there inside the museum. Next time, I promise. I would go visit Stuttgart for our museum. 

And last but not the least, the one thing that every visitor of this city would do and experience: drinking beer in their beergardens. Haha, if eating ice cream in a cold weather felt weird the first time, imagine how weird it was to drink 1 litre of beer at 2PM for the asian girl me. But I gotta do what the locals do, have beer whenever you can. Cheers!

Knowing that Munich would be the next home-base, I'm sure that I wouldn't have any problems at all. Great food, safe city, all-smiles people around - it would be awesome to go back to this city every freaking chance I would have. Until we meet again Bratwurst and Currywurst.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Paris: Reaching the Dream

Dreams do come true if you make them your goal.

I have been thinking about what would be the introduction for my entry on Paris and I would always come back to the fact that this is exactly the reason why I would love to visit Europe - to visit this city. If you had the chance to read my first entry about my recently concluded Europe trip, you would exactly know why I would love to visit the place - to see the very famous tower, the Eiffel. Being an Asian, it is a must to see that tower, though a lot of beautiful and spectacular monuments are everywhere.

How can I summarize my Parisian experience? Well, let's start  with the unexpected wind. When I did my research, the temperature was about 22 degrees - so I packed my dresses and tights as I told myself, I could take a few layers off since the temperature was bearable. But to my surprise - it felt like it dropped 8 degrees low due to the wind. Lesson Learnt: Check the wind. 

Good thing I had my red trench coat with me. Let me tell you something about that red trench coat. When I went to Hongkong last January 2011, I bought it for the Macau-leg of the trip. You know, being in a European inspired city, you need to be in a European outfit as well. Back then, I told myself that I would be wearing it in Paris. Good thing I lost my singapore-gained weight and the trench coat still fitted my body. So in some way, thanks to the strong wind because it forced me to wear the trench coat to enjoy the beautiful city without freezing to death. 

Our three days in Paris began in the search for the red city-tour bus and we chose the Notre Dame to be the first location. Well, from our pad, Chatelet Train Station (where Notre Dame is a short distance away) was the closest. I gotta say, it was a good decision to take that tour bus as it would take you to all the tourist spots and you could hop on / hop off any time plus you get to know the history behind the places. I never knew that Gustave Eiffel designed the interior structural elements of the Statue of Liberty in New York. So our journey began, and my eyes were busy admiring the tourist area of Paris. Then the bus took the route towards the Eiffel tower. I was becoming more giddy when we were approaching it. I didn't know that my chinky eyes could become bigger and bigger every time we got nearer the tower the first time. I was in awe again and was excited to tick off that item in my bucket list. It was a great feeling to finally reach for that dream, literally - Awesomeness! 

Especially at night. If Paris would be defined in a moment, it would be defined by the sparkling Eiffel Tower that would render you silent for a long time to admire it. Any camera of great calibre could not capture the beauty of it when you experience seeing it with your both eyes. It just won't be captured thru lenses. 

And the rest of our time there was dedicated to see the whole of Paris. In all honesty, outside the tourist area, Paris is much more like Brussels when it comes to normality - cleanliness, noise and street art (aka Vandalisms). Though a lot of us think that Paris is perfect, thanks to all the romantic movies and series shot here, it isn't that perfect - especially going outside of the attraction. However, the beauty of the attractions, especially the Eiffel outweighed all the unpleasant things we have personally experienced during our stay. Talk about the notorious pick pocketers, the gypsies who would like you to sign some papers and force you pay something; and first hand experience of the true nature of Parisians. When I recall my experiences, I choose not to relive these instances because Paris is still a spectacular place to visit for dreamers like me. 

It may take a while to explore this city again as I come to realize that I have never seen and experienced what Europe can offer, but when the time comes to visit Paris again, I would definitely spend a day or two visiting the museums and admire the beauty of art. I just hope that it's not that crowded as when we visited it. But then again, you barely see Parisians in Paris. You would see more of tourists. 

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Keukenhof: Tulip Paradise

Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.
~John Ruskin

The best thing about visiting the Netherlands during Spring is having the chance to visit Keukenhof, also hailed as the Garden of Europe. If it’s not that beautiful, Singapore would not waste the effort in making a Mini Keukenhof here for their residents. It’s THAT beautiful. I have never seen such a beauty and more peaceful place in my life before. Truly,  flowers can give you the feeling of solace and giving you the chance to appreciate the beauty of nature, its simplicity and purity. Come On!  You do not need an effort to make a flower beautiful; they are made to be breathtaking. How much more if it’s a HUGE space with lots of them? Over 7 million flower bulbs were planted in the 32 hectare of garden land  and with them in full bloom, different colors, and arrangements. Wah! Walking along the streets of the garden made me feel like I was in a dream, only I was awake. 

Keukenhof, you made me experience how it feels like to be in a paradise - a very beautiful and fragrant paradise.