Ciao Roma! Part 1

So after The Netherlands, we went to Rome, Italy. We took a train back to Schiphol Airport and waited for our flight to Rome which was at 8.40pm. We used EasyJet. After waiting, we found out that our flight was delayed an hour (it takes about 2 hours+ to arrive at Fiumicino Airport, Rome). It was a little daunting (and cold!!) cause our flight was never on the display screen after stating that it was delayed. 

After waiting for what seemed like ages, we decided to walk to the gates to see if they were going to display where we needed to board. There were no displays but after asking a Dutch couple, we found out they were on the same flight as we were. So that was sorted. The flight was smooth and we arrived around midnight in Rome. 

Riccardo, our Airbnb host was gracious enough to pick us up from the airport. Upon arrival, we saw the airport was rather smoky and it took about 15min for my friend to locate her baggage and then we met Riccardo. As we were exiting, an alarm sounded, but everyone (not that many people at the airport at midnight) seemed nonchalant about it. We got out and it was very smoky. My friend thought it  was haze! (where I come from, we get bombarded with annual haze due to forest fires from our neighbouring country). hehe on the way to our place to stay, we spotted a fire engine. I suppose there was some sort of fire. 

Greeted by yummy treats upon arrival
Riccardo lives with him mum and grandma (who is over 100 years old!) whom is fondly called "Nonna". His mum and grandma speaks near to none of English, but their genuine hospitality and love is shown. They are wonderful hosts. We tried the mozzarella of a real buffalina which was really delicious. 

His mum also prepare breakfast for us (which was not part of the deal at all). I was really grateful and impressed by their hospitality. She even gave us a snack for the day! We had a long day ahead - Riccardo was going to show us around Rome in a day (as we only had 2 days there) and he was going to leave to London the following day. 

We took the tram to "Ancient Rome" and we started our walk. 

First we passed the "Largo di Torre Argentina" - where the remains of Pompey's theater are. It was also a cat sanctuary (but we were not allowed to feed the cats) - the strays there are so beautiful! Apparently due to health reasons they were going to cease the cat sanctuary (but it's still in operation). 

Temple B, dedicated to Fortuna Huiusce Diei
Next we found ourselves at  Piazza Navona. This was the first time I saw an "obelisk" in real life; I only read about them in Dan Brown's books ;) it was breathtaking. There were 3 fountains in this Piazza. However, it was teeming with tourists and people selling selfie sticks (yes, the horror!). I did not take many photos and the ones I took, now I realise are really bad angles! We were walking to the Pantheon, so I took what I could.

Piazza Navona

Fontona del Moro

The 4 winds fountain by Bernini below the obelisk
Fountain of Neptune by Porta

Then we walked on and reached the "Fontana del Pantheon" (Pantheon Fountain) and the Pantheon

Fontana del Pantheon at Piazza della Rotonda
The Pantheon in Rome was built during the reign of Augustus. Pantheon literally means "every god" in Greek. 

The Dome in the Pantheon

 According to Wiki, the Dome is still the the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. Super cool! It is now used as a church dedicated to St.Mary and the Martyrs. The painter Raphael is also buried there. 

The Trevi Fountain was under restoration when we visited it! It was such a shame, but I can only imagine how beautiful it would be in its full glory. The fountain is at the junction of three roads (tre vie).

 The Spanish steps was quite a surprise to me, I did not expect to see so many tourists there. Also, the fountain by Bernini was very beautiful. The water was cooling and fresh - so nice for the hot weather

Fontana della Barcaccia ("Fountain of the ugly Boat") by Pietro Bernini (father of Gian Bernini) at Piazza di Spagna

Too many people!! 
Panoramic View from the top

 There are just too many places so I'll split the posts on Rome. Till the next post :)


Keukenhof Garden

If you are ever in The Netherlands during Spring, you HAVE to visit the Keukenhof Garden. It's a massive tulip garden that will blow your socks off. It was soooo gorgeous. It is only open for a limited time (Spring). That's when the tulips bloom!

Weather can be unpredictable. It rained twice during our 4-hr visit there. 

Keukenhof is situated in Lisse, which is about 40min drive from Amsterdam. We stayed in Leiden the night before, so it was a shorter bus ride there. You are able to purchase the tickets online, and it comes with a  return bus trip (ours stopped at Leiden Centraal Station). They have luggage lockers which are cheaper than Amsterdam (understandable due to the lower usage of the station I suppose). The garden ticket + bus tickets were about EU24 in total. The buses that go to Keukenhof are easily identifiable by their obvious tulips murals on the body of the buses. 

Enjoy the pics!


Amsterdam 050515

After years of talking about going to Europe for a holiday, I finally did! I'll try to post as many info as I can :)

Our first destination was the beautiful Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

5th May - we arrived at Amsterdam Airport Schipol. It is also where the train station is. Bought a ticket to Amsterdam Centraal. They have really good public transportation and wifi. They have wifi on the train and also tells you the train stops till your destination. I loved it! What we did was store our main luggage at the lockers at Amsterdam Centraal (there are 2 sizes - large and small) - we stuffed both our bags in the small one for a lower price (sorry I can't recall, could be EU7 for 24hrs). 

The gorgeous tulips and the symbolic I amsterdam signage at the Airport
From there, if you need help, ask the policemen/women or the tourist information counter outside the station. The others will NOT assist you. I was taken aback, they basically say "they don't know" or "I just take care of the lockers". I guess they get asked too often! 

We wanted to get to the Van Gogh museum, but didn't know how to get there. So we asked the Tourist information and she said to take either Tram 2 or Tram 5. We took tram 5. We were advised in advance to purchase the tickets online as the line can get VERY long - it proved to be true! The lines stretched very long, even the online tickets line were long, but thankfully it moved pretty fast. You are able to store your luggage, backpack and coats in their storage area for free. No photos are allowed in the museum. His works are just exquisite. I was in awe most of the time! His famed Starry Starry Night is NOT kept here :( how unfortunate. His Sunflower was though. His lesser known works were just so beautiful. It was worth going! The ticket is priced at EU17. You can buy it at the website (click here). You can choose what time you would like to visit, and they give you a grace period of half hour to arrive (thankfully we had that, cause we were running late!) We spent about an hour there and when we were in there, it rained!

A talented genius
See the line behind us? That's the Van Gogh line!
Once we came out, it started to get pretty windy and cold. We had a quick lunch of hotdog and stroopwafel (SERIOUSLY YUMMY). Then walked about till we reached Anne Frank's house.

The Rijksmuseum, and another I amsterdam

Beautiful canals all over the city
Anne Frank's House
Her house is small, but the feeling you get when you visit is indescribable. I read her diary when I was 13yrs old in school, and re-read the extended version when I was older. This too, require online ticketing purchase! The lines stretches over several streets. You need to purchase it online at least a month before your trip as they get snapped up pretty quickly! Click here for the online tickets' site. It was hard to imagine that 2 families stayed in the attic for about 2yrs until they were discovered during Hitler's reign. I learnt that the names she used for the other family in the diary were false, to protect their identities and till now they do not know who revealed to the Nazis about their hiding. Anne actually re-wrote her diary to incorporate special dates and war decisions after finding out on the radio that they were looking to publish first hand accounts of the war once it was all over. Her original diary was written in a book, a gift from her father. Later on once the book was filled, she continued writing them in loose paper. It was very surreal to see her handwriting and her book! She died in the camp due to (what they assumed) was typhoid. They were already ill before this due to scabies and what not. They did not mention how or what caused her death in the museum, but I read about it online. She is a true inspiration of grit and courage. For someone who was so young and to go through all that she did, we are truly blessed to have read about her experience first hand. War is never the answer!!

After leaving Anne's house (oh it rained super heavily while we were inside!), It was TREMENDOUSLY windy and cold outside! I wore a light jacket, which proved of no use. The winds were so strong that you had to stop and wait for it to subside. It almost blew me away several times!! Just checked the temperature and it was a low of  8-11 deg C! something someone from the equatorial weather is not used to! I almost died :p 

These buildings were sort of opposite Anne's house. Can anyone tell me what they are called?
Well I had one request from my cousin when I was in Amsterdam - to find the bench from the movie The Fault in Our Stars (a replacement bench). I managed to obtain the address online, Leidsegracht 2, Canal District Amsterdam, 1016 CK Netherlands. So where I come from, the house number is written at the beginning, before the street address. In my brain I assumed that Leidsegracht has a second lane, hence it being called Leidsegracht 2! Walked all over in the cold to search for it. In the end a kind lady walking her dog showed us where it was. We were close! hehe 

Ta-dah! Tonnes of quotes graffiti on the bench
After that I went to buy an extra sweater cause I just couldn't possibly walk. Hema is a good place to shop as the give bargains and the food is also affordable. They offer breakfast set of croissant, coffee and juice for EU1 or something of that sort. 

Walking around Amsterdam
May 5th is a celebration for the Dutch as it signified the end of World War 2. They were preparing for the celebration at night. However, we had to return to the train station to get a train to Leiden. 
Consolation was, I watched it on telly upon arriving at Leiden! :) Too tired, just went to bed right-away after that.
View from the train Amsterdam-Leiden
Rows of tulips!
 We stayed in Leiden as it was nearer to Lisse, where the Keukenhof Gardens were. That's where the TULIPS AREEEE!! Will post them up when I can. :)

Beautiful Leiden


The Script - No Sound Without Silence Tour Live In Malaysia 19th April 2015

The Script had their first Malaysian concert in April! :) I was fortunate enough to attend it.

I have always enjoyed listening to them since their "Man Who Can't Be Moved" days, and I'm so happy to see them doing well and getting the credits that has been long overdue. 

We bought the sitting ticket (learned my lesson after the OneRepublic one!). There was a venue change (originally was in Putra Indoor stadium, like the Adam Lambert one!) and I was a little nervous that it was going a fair bit of distance from the stage (like the Linkin Park one!), but we had a pretty good view :)

Pic taken from the Script's Twitter account. I added the yellow circle to show where we sat!
 What's cool about them is that they are very interactive with the crowd and their gratitude is very genuine. You really do feel the love! The entrance was the bomb! They walked through the crowds to the stage singing Paint the Town Green. Mark and Danny sometimes will run down the stage and go to the side to play for the fans at the back. Thank you for remembering us!!! It is much appreciated. At one point Danny used the GoProCam and sang in between the seated crowd and the mosh pit..and sang while walking through the crowd. Glen did an awesome job drumming. You may be hiding behind the drum set, but we see you! :)

Their performances included songs from their latest album, No Sound Without Silence, and played a few favourites from their previous 3 albums. It was really entertaining. I was REALLY looking forward to the song Flares, but it was not in the song list :( (Next time, ok?). American singer Colton Avery opened for them. He did a really good job!

They closed the concert with Hall of Fame - very apt and a great song to close with. Too bad there were no encores :( Hey, with 2 solid hours, I shouldn't be complaining!)

Never have I seen such a genuinely appreciative band live. The Script, you have really impressed me. Any other band coming for a concert here has a tough act to follow and big, big shoes to fill. Thank you for your music.

What's more fantastic and confirm that they are really an awesome band, they decided to stream their Croke Park (Dublin) concert LIVE worldwide!! It really brought back a lot of good memories, and the best part: we got front view seats! :D Since I knew when the intermission was, I could go for a loo break too. haha It was aired at 4am in Malaysia (their 9pm in Dublin). It was worth waking up. It was really fun, but I had to watch it with earphones and silently mouthing the lyrics as my sister was asleep :) I was of course, joined by my concert buddy, Ms.Jackie who also attended the KL concert with me. IT WAS SO FUN!!!!!! This time we could actually take pics hahahaha
Excited and nervous, I downloaded the app Livestream just in case the website messed up. Fortunately the website streamed it superbly well. So I shut the other one :D

Official Website: The Script


Reflections of 2014

Happy 2015! 

Here's a post of what has happened in 2014. It's been bittersweet, challenging, surprising and exciting all rolled into one. All I know is that I have to remember that something wonderful is always about to happen. (Sure beats being sad/negative about things!)

Went to Sibu, Sarawak with my dear maripasu to attend a friend's wedding.
Ferry on the Rajang River - the longest river in Sarawak
Went hiking :)
I need to do this more often!!
 Attended: 2 weddings

The time I hit the 3 series, and received a surprise bouquet from a dear one all the way from Spain! :) So much love all around <3 span="">

 Attended: 1 wedding

March: Went to Cambodia for a wedding :)
Attended: 2 weddings
 Tecoma Trees were in full bloom :)

Cut my hair for Locks of Love 

Met a friend from Language Exchange. A gift from Toledo :D
Attended: 3 weddings!

Got committed:

Attended: 1 wedding (I think!)

Addy came to visit!
Finally met the yummiest Tom Yam in Penang :)

Attended: 2 weddings

Stunning Full Moon :)

Cafe hunting in Penang :)


Did the ALS ice bucket challenge
Bobo says hi :)

Attended 1 wedding

Where we got stuck in the jam for 3hrs+ cause of a super heavy downpour and it flooded!

Bought my ukulele :)

Sis' birthday, and tried the yummy food at El Faro and an exquisite Cempedak Cheesecake at Mood Cow

Beautiful sunsets and moon nights

Meet up with friends

Went for a play at the Penang Performing Arts Centre - very entertaining!  

 Finally got the hang of playing carrom (I think so!)

Attended: 2 weddings

Read a bunch of books:

Total wedding count for 2014: 14!! (I may have missed a few more!)