Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year 2015! Goodbye 2014!

I am not going to recap what I have done for the year anymore, unlike the years before ever since I started blogging 9 years ago. This is just a summary in a short paragraph.

Before the year finally come to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy New Year ahead.

It was definitely a very difficult year for Malaysians with 3 planes ended in tragedy. But, let's keep all our prayers and faith. Let's put all those behind us, not literally, but as a matter of fact, to move on.

On a personal level, it was a great year. Looking forward to even a better year ahead. With all the ups and downs, let us all gather to say adios to 2014 and say welcome to 2015.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Europe: Switzerland Day 2 Part 1

This is the day. We are all going to Jungfraujoch. If you have not been to this place, you should go. As what the name had suggested, it's the German part of the country. Jungfrau in German means young lady and joch means pass. It's like one is caught between 2 mountains, and you just pass through the valley there.

Good to go!

You have to go through many changes of trains, depending which way you wanna use. There are options available. So, we started off from our place, it's called Wilderswil. You will need to take the train to Lauterbrunnen or to Grindelwald (depending on one's choice). The station is called Zweilütschinen as you need to read the signs or listen to the instruction. Let's just say we use the Lauterbrunnen way, then followed by Wengen.

After Wengen, we need to change again to Kleine Sheidegg. I know kleine means small. Change again and that will lead up to Jungfraujoch. Please do not be mistaken, this is not the highest mountain in Europe. It's just the highest railway station in Europe elevating at 3,454 metres.

There are a few stops for Sphinx Observatories. If it gets too cold, then you can't see anything there as it's all foggy. Otherwise, there will be additional sights.

Woohoo~ In fact, with the amount you are paying, you can get better mountains in Switzerland. I am not sure if I am willing to pay that much to go up again. Probably not. It could be pretty amazing for first timers, especially for those who had not seen much mountains in their lives, like me. haha. It's already too commercialized. I rather use that to go elsewhere. Twice is enough. I must say though that the train experience is really indeed an experience.

This is the place, up up up finally. The entrance. Here I am. hehe. It's a long journey, 2.5 hours.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Europe: Switzerland Day 1 Part 1

We are now going to Switzerland! By far, it's still the most beautiful country I have ever seen and been in my life. Switzerland is divided into a few parts. Different countries call it different terms. Some call it districts, provinces, and here, you call it cantons. They speak different languages depending on where you are. Switzerland is surrounded by Germany, France and Italy as well as Romania. A big portion of it is at the German part. They understand and learn High German in school but in everyday conversation, they actually use slangs, which they call it as Swiss German. It's only the Swiss Germans understand it. Even the Germans have a hard time understanding it at times. Again, a Luzern and a Basel Swiss German may differ too. Therefore, the Swiss language does not really exist. E.g. Merci means thank you in standard french. But, they use it in the German parts too. Vielmal is standard German means a lot. So merci vielmal makes sense for them. Just maybe not for the French and Germans.

We did a pit stop for a toilet break. Yes, to use the toilet, it's 1 CHF. It's a machine whereby you need to put 1 CHF and you are given this ticket/voucher. With this voucher, it's like cash in a form of a voucher. Buy anything there and just give this voucher to them, and 1 CHF will be deducted from the amount. There's no maximum amount of vouchers.

This is a typical Swiss style, a market place. Look at the food, the pastries, everything looked so good! It tasted even better!

The country is very peaceful, very clean with fresh air, and also organized. You have to see the cleanliness there, it's insanely amazing. They have the autobahn there too. It means drive without limits. It runs from Basel, northwestern to Chiasso in the southern side.

It's dinner time, prepared by the owner of the hotel. It reminds me of the life in IMI. Haha.

They are still using the old school key. It's when you appreciate the manual key, not the high tech key card. How often can you find these kind of keys these days. I know Europe still have it. Just awesome. The bad part is that, if you lose it, goodbye.

Right in front of the hotel. It's Hotel Schoenbuhl. Shoen means beautiful in German :D

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Europe: Paris Day 2 Part 2

After Arc de Triomphe, it was already late afternoon.  We headed to our last stop - our lady of Paris or Notre Dame de Paris.
With the look of it, you can tell that this is a Cathedral and to be precise, it's a Catholic one. The architecture is so fine. There's an organ and 10 bells in this cathedral. In 2013, someone shot himself there. During the night, it's really amazing. If anyone has the chance, please do that when the lights are up. 

This is the picture we see so often, when Jesus Christ was crucified. It's the most cruel way of execution in the ancient days.

Candles. Prayers. Make a wish, pray. I think you have to donate 0.50 EUR? Not exactly sure, but yes, for the usage of the cathedral.

Be quiet. Stay silent.

The service they were having. I was there on Christmas 2004. Omg, the amount of people there was incredible. I really like going there. I don't know why. I really really like this place.

It's time for dinner. We headed to the opposite side, Rue Lagrange, to hunt for dinner. It's a really nice place, streets of restaurants, brasseries, souvenir shops and etc. In Paris, if you sit inside a restaurant/cafe, the charges are cheaper compared to when you sit outside facing the road/street. People there love to do what I have always been doing, people-watching. Oh this is so me. haha.

Date: May 15th
Place: Notre Dame, Rue Lagrange

Monday, December 8, 2014

Europe: Paris Day 2 Part 1

The second day was a free day. We can do anything we want that day. Therefore, we need a map to get around the city. Very straight forward Metro to get by with.

Needless to say, the signature of Paris. Eiffel Tower. It used to be one of the 7 wonders of the world. I don't think it's in the list anymore. When I was there the 1st and 2nd time, it was still in the list. What an achievement. Haha!

We walked nearer. There was someone from the tour group who went up. I wouldn't queue for 4 hours to go up. o.O I think it receives one of the highest paid visiting site.

River cruise!

For some reason, I really like how the buildings are built in that way just at the river side. Most importantly, there's no smell. It doesn't stink at all. I get disgusted with smell really easily.

Then, we headed to this place, Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile and it's one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It's located at the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle which is at the western end of Champs-Élysées. This honors to those who had fought and died during the French Revolutionary and the Napoleon wars. Oh each of their names are inscribed at the inner and outer surfaces. Also, on the walls. It's pretty amazing, how many people had sacrificed their lives for the wars. I remembered in 2006, there was a really cool B-boy breakdancing opposite this monument. Omg, that was incredible!

Date: 15th May
Sites: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Europe: Paris Day 1 Part 1

There are a few ways to come to Paris from London. Since that this is an Euro tour, we got around by coach. I was here twice before this, 2005 and 2006.

We arrived to the "City of Love" or some call it the "City of Lights" through the English Channel after a few hours drive away. Though this is France, and contrary to comments and feedbacks by numerous people who had traveled here, I have never really had any issue with the language for all 3 times. Nobody had said they don't speak English here. Maybe, I was just lucky and fortunate. Or maybe, it's just rumors. haha. With the super limited French ability, it's equivalent to zero. I can say please, thank you, you're welcome, greetings, room, breakfast and all those super basic stuff only. That isn't speaking or understanding at all.

After checking into the hotel, we headed out for a bus tour before dinner. These are the list of interesting sights.

Who don't know this? It's Musée du Louvre. Here, they receive millions of tourists every year. What's in there? It's a museum. It's not that people become all artistic or all of them are any art lovers. But, the fact that the famous Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa is displayed here. People visit the museum mostly for that. Of course, there are other interesting paintings and sculptures too. There are so many influences here, the French, Nazi's, Napoleons and etc. If you come in the night, it's even nicer as they the lights will be lit up.

This is called Luxor Obelisk or Cleopatra Needle standing at 23m high is located at the center of Place de la Concorde. FYI, the Parisian or rather the French, pronounce Place like the sound "plus" in English. This is a gift to France by Egypt during those times. After the bloodshed and the war during the French Revolution, as a symbol of peace. The former statue was where guillotine took place.

This is the roundabout at Arc de Triomphe. As the traffic at this particular area is extremely crazy and chaotic, and the accidents rate is SO high, there's even no insurance coverage in the event accidents occur here. This isn't like other roundabouts, it's the olden days. Once you enter here, insurance coverage is voided. Accidents happen here like once every 11 minutes. That's pretty damn high!

This is Palais Bourbon. This is a Roman Catholic Church, designed as a form of glory by the Napoleons. Masses and other religious activities are being held here.

Place du Tertre. This is where many artistic stuff was here. Even Picasso was living there before!

Then, we had our first meal. I didn't quite enjoy it, but yeah it's fine.

After dinner, there was a tour to the Metro subway. David showed us how to use it. It'd actually pretty straight forward. It just requires a lot of walking. Yeah the famous Moulin Rouge!! Weeeeeee~