Monday, September 7, 2015

{ The Column of Marcus Aurelius in Rome }

A quick post:
I have been trying to learn some basic Italian for these past few months.
Reason? well, I just thought I'd like to learn a new language. ^-^

I try watch the news and had a hard time listening to it.

I always saw this particular column at the background whenever the Prime Minister: Matteo Renzi and his alliesa are being interviewed.
I reviewed photos from my trip to Rome.
Initially, it got me confused with the Trajan's Column.

But apparently, it's not the same.

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This Doric column of Marcus Aurelius is actually inspired by the Trajan Column's itself.
The statuesque bronze of Saint Paul stands at the top of the column.
In 1589, Pope Sixtus the Fifth restored it and had these inscriptions below.
Notice the detailed works on the relief.

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You could find it right at the heart of Piazza Colonna, along Via del Corso,
where the Palazzo Chigi is located.

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Palazzo Chigi is the official residence of the current Prime Minister.
On the east side, is a shopping arcade called Galleria Alberto Sordi.
It has a distinct Art Nouveau style which unfortunately we weren't able to see it
as it was closed during the holidays. More info here

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

{ Street Artists in Florence : Clet and L'arte sa Nuotare }

I have come to appreciate street art when I first encountered them in
Back in 2011, I never knew a lot of them existed already, and while I read a few posted blogs.
It's always interesting to see them first hand and to actually look at "Art" in a different manner.

I have always liked the works of CLET .

This french artist and his quirky artworks makes street signs looked twice more interesting. ^-^

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His studio is located in Florence, a small side street in [ San Niccolo, Via dell'Olmo 8r] .
You can buy his works: stickers, labels, plates, postcards etc.
They're all very affordable, so don't reprint them at home. ^-^

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We bought a few stickers home, { if I can bring a large plate home I would } and it's been on my deco wall since. ^-^

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Or if you're in town and heading to Basilica di San Miniato al Monte,
I'm more than sure you'll pass by his shop, you couldn't miss it. ^-^


Another new artist we've come across is L'arte sa Nuotare literally
Art knows how to Swim.

These are works of
a Florentine street artist by the name of BLUB.

I love how everything is shaded in blue tone,
The artworks are always water inspired, they are submerged underwater with goggles and the pieces are just eye catching and very pop culture.

Obviously, you have to keep up the pace and follow his/her instagram : @lartesanuotore
The ones posted here were his/her earlier works and have since added more interesting pieces
like Mona Lisa, the kiss: "La Dolce Vita" movie, Amy Winehouse ++.

Again, if you're heading to San Miniato al Monte or to Clet's studio.
You'll see a few of them pasted in hatches or cable boxes? *not sure what's it called.*
Or sometimes, it's those unexpected places like the side streets or alleyways.

I just hope people would appreciate them more than just vandalizing them.

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Monday, August 31, 2015


Who would've thought there's a nice, authentic Greek restaurant right at the heart of Florence?

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Back in 2013, we were walking at the back streets of Florence, around the San Marco area.
and was actually looking for the main Piazza San Marco and the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata.
but we got out of the way into Via Cavour, a sort of off-beaten path for tourists
and was lucky to have stumbled into this Greek restaurant.


It is a family run business that had just recently opened. [that was back in 2013]
I could still smell hints of fresh paint on the walls.
The interior was inviting and comforting.
I love the subdued, pastel like decor and
was immediately attracted at the food display and the overall ambiance.

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I was hoping to have a slice of Pita for take-away and that's it.
A bad habit of "walking while eating", so I don't waste time. ^0^
But since only a few seats were occupied at that time, we ate there instead.

I'm no expert when it comes to Greek food and the local names are all alien to me. ^-^
But the nice lady was kind enough to explain the kind of cheese the Pita was wrapped in
and also the food and pastry trays that were displayed.

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I would love to eat more but we had a heavy breakfast that morning...


It was delectably fresh, warm and very light.
Not the kind of food that's too heavy on the stomach and had too much grease on it.

tyropita special pomodoro, feta cheese and peppe
[ special pomodoro, feta cheese and peppeoni ]

The service was excellent, definitely a service with a smile. ^0^
[You don't get much of that these days... ]
I can't remember how much the bill was,
but I can assure you that it was very affordable and not overpriced.

Just as we were about to leave, the nice lady served us complimentary sweet treats. ^-^


I would recommend this restaurant in a heartbeat and the place is worth a visit the next time you're in Florence.


Via Camillo Benso Cavour 32, Florence Italy
* Neighborhood around San Marco *

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Monday, August 3, 2015


Our stay in Prague was one of the most memorable to date.
We chose an accommodation that is location wise and near to every must-see sights that we needed to see.

Hotel Domus Balthasar is right at the heart of Charles Bridge *Karluv Most*.
Having been to this city almost a decade ago,
walking the bridge, overlooking the the Vltava River was riveting and something I'd never forget.
It's like the Pont des Arts of Paris.
Actually, the only good thing I remember about this city then.
So, choosing our stay wasn't as difficult as I wish it would be.
We booked our reservations, 2 months in advance.
Before the details though, Let me walk you through what happened the day we arrived in Prague.


That early morning from Nürnberg,
we took the IC shuttle Bus all the way to Prague's main railway station, called Hvlani Nadrazi.
The ticket costs 19 euros.
** If you booked earlier, you can get it cheaper. **


this is the { Bus Stop } Nürnberg train station, the assigned bus comes on time and is best if you arrive 30 minutes earlier.

We were concerned with our luggage and commuting the Metro was a bit of a hassle.
So we hired a local taxi service instead, * provided by the hotel * for a fee of 15 euros.
The driver was helpful and courteous, best of all, he did arrive on time.
He held out a card with our name on it, and i think it was quite obvious that it was us, as we were the only Asians on that bus. ^-^

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Here's our very helpful driver who lugged two of our heavy luggage all the way up to our room.

the cobbled street right outside the hotel

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The hotel is at the corner, the one with the Salmon-Peach trimmings, there's a money exchange station beside it and Antique souvenir store.

The main door has an automated key card but also comes with a set of keys, provided by the hotel.
The reception is not 24 hours, it is only until 12 midnight, but they leave you these emergency numbers just in case...

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We were greeted by a cheery and hospitable receptionist,
who instantly welcomed us with a smile and a chirpy, upbeat voice.
She gave us a handful of details * maps, restos nearby, holiday what nots* and a quick history of the building,
a tour of the place up to the attic room.

Prepare... to climb...
less than a hundred steps before you reach the top floor.



The stairs are clearly not for the faint-hearted , especially those suffering from vertigo.
But once we were inside the room, it was all worth it.

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The attic room was Immaculate.
In a word, it was just "picture-perfect."
We couldn't ask for anything more. ^-^

I love the attention to detail...
two mini chocos for us. ~how sweet! ~ ^0^

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There are *I think* 10 rooms for you to choose.
I initially wanted the mid-range room, large windows, bigger space and directly overlooking the Karluv Most *Charles Bridge* view.
But sister Pepperoni thought we should try the attic room instead, just for the fun of it.
I was adamant at first, but since the the price was less expensive compared to the other rooms, I caved in.

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It was actually quite spacious inside, we chose our side of niche and immediately fell on the bed. ^-^

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I like the handy A/C but I'm not a fan of heating ventilation.
Coming from a hot and humid country, I always felt suffocated when the heater is turned on.

While most of the hotels and B&B's don't offer air conditioning during winter, this one does and it was just what we need.


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Unfortunately, I couldn't say the same thing about the bathroom.
The photo speaks for itself.
For 4 days, we endured this bathroom fixture, It was badly placed.

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but with a nicely decorated tree, you forgot you had that bathtub dilemma.

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On Christmas eve, we received a pack of cookies with a matching note. It was such a nice gesture.

A few remarks -*

1 - The room has a good ambiance, but during summer, because of the heat and humidity,
I think it might be a bit claustrophobic, thankfully though, they have a portable air conditioning.

2- The height of the room might be a problem for some.
The bathroom where the bathtub is located was the most disappointing of all.
But one can't complain because this is an old house that has been recently refurbished for modern use.

3- The attic rooms are not for everyone, esp. when you're afraid of heights,
the flight of stairs are going to murder your otherwise tired feet from all the walking and sightseeing,
and the last thing you need to do is to climb a hundred to get into your room.

4- Prepare your things in order before you leave the room.

e.g I have a bad habit of not checking my things before I leave. *I know, I know* , I tend to be forgetful sometimes.
So, Just as we were about to leave the front door, I forgot to bring the camera with me, the next thing I know, it was the coat.
Yup, I climbed all the way back up, panting and regretting badly why I chose a room in the attic.



With a view overlooking the shingled roofs, the small domes and spires, the bridge and the tower.
It was beautiful and it's not an ordinary view I wake up to.

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me, peering through the window.

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somebody else's roof


partial view from the bathroom

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* FOOD *

Breakfast was included, so, every morning, we would go to the reception desk and gave us these laminated voucher cards.


The breakfast area is just next door to the Hotel called Bagels.

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Breakfast treats were abundant, Hot and Cold were available.
Aside from this, you have a daily choice between : Pancakes and Jam OR Eggs and Bacon.

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Of course, I chose the latter, I have a soft spot for Bacons. ^-^


Yes, a hearty meal goes a long way.

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And a cup of Cappuccino makes all the stress go away. ^-^



Overall, our 4 days-3 nights was a remarkable stay.
The service, safety, location and valur for money was great.
I would love to stay again in a heartbeat.



Mostecká 282/5, 118 00 Praha 1 -
Malá Strana, Czech Republic.

Car service: From Hvlani Nadrazi train station - To Hotel = 15 EUROS.
Car service: From Hotel- To the airport = 20 EUROS.


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