Monday, June 30, 2008

September 12 2007 - Venice (II)

A trip to Venice will never be complete without taking a ride on these,

Gondola!

After all, Venice is surrounded by canals, so the best way to experience the city is of course by these boats..

This is the gondola stop

The gondola is small, so there's a limit of maximum 5 person on 1 gondola..

Jason, me, Brain, Denil, our gondolianer @ oarsman at the back

Handsome Bing again

Tour mates on another gondola

Tour mates again

40 0f us on 8 gondolas going in 1 line is pretty grand,

Angmoh tourists all watching curiously

Photo taken by our gondolianer

This is taken at the Canal Grande @ Grand Canal, which is like, the main canal of Venice.. if comparing to roads, it is like the main road. The bridge at the back is the Ponte di Rialto @ Rialto Bridge. It's the oldest and most famous bridge in Venice..

Let's show u something that reminds me of The Italian Job again..

If u watched the movie, remember the boat chase scene during the initial heist?

They used boats like these

And the Polizia @ police boats...

Does this look similar?

Anyway, here's another photo of the Grand Canal

Federal Highway Venice canal traffic jam

Since Venice is a tourist haven, gondola jams like these are common.. however, during the boat chase in The Italian Job, the gondolas miraculously are almost non existent..

Pink crocodile

Not sure if this crocodile is an attraction or not, but since it's unique...

Besides the gondolas and canals, Venice is famous for another thing,

Murano glass

Murano glass generally refers to glass products made by craftsmen from Murano, a smaller island very close to Venice island. They have a showroom on the main island anyway..

And the art of Murano glass blowing is highly confidential, no cameras allowed throughout the glass blowing demo, and they have people keeping a close watch at all of us, all the while, so unlike Amsterdam's Red Light District, we really can't curi snap some photos in here..

After the glass blowing demo, we were given some time to wander around ourselves..

Venice alley can be very narrow

Open air restaurants and cafes

In my previous post, I mentioned that Venice is the same 365 days a year, so there's really no point trying to plan for a date with least tourists around. I'm going to reinforce my claim with more photos..

See?

See??

See???

Well, u can say that I'm over-exaggerating, since the photos were taken on the same day, on holiday season.. if that's what u think, I'll gladly challenge u to prove me wrong XD

1 last photo before we make our way back to the boat leaving Venice

On the boat already, with our McD lunch

I realized I haven't really featured our tour guide Paul before...

This is Paul 哥 (Paul Gor)

Leaving Venice, heading to Rome.. it was a very very very long journey, 6 hours plus on the road, so there's no Chinese dinner tonight, only a quick dinner in 1 of the service area..

Here

Actually, we will only be heading into Rome tomorrow morning. Today we will just be going to our hotel and check in..

Grand Hotel Primus

If u try to find Grand Hotel Primus thru google, you'll end up with a hotel in Slovenia. It's actually Grand Primus Hotel, not sure why they wanna put their name like this at the entrance..

We will be spending 2 nights in the same hotel for the 1st time, finally we can do some DIY laundry in the hotel room :)

Next up will be tour of Rome...

September 12 2007 - Venice (I)

Yay! Today we will be going to Venice @ Venezia..

Venice is famous for the 2003 movie The Italian Job Marco Polo.. it is actually an island, not on mainland Italy.. to get there, we need to take a ferry to go over..

All geared up inside the ferry

We have an extra tour guide for Venice, because Paul is not so familiar with Venice..

This is our extra tour guide for Venice

Poor thing, I don't think any of us listen to his explanations throughout the trip..

And this is the ferry driver =)

Let's give u some photos of the buildings Peggy/How Chen and Bing took with their cameras throughout the ferry ride to Venice island.. there's too many buildings, so I'm not going to google for each of their names..


Erm, the last picture is not a Venetian fixture, just to show u that there are large passenger ships that docks at Venice island..

Once we reached the island, we were greeted by this statue,

Equestrian Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni

Bartolomeo Colleoni was a Venetian general during the medieval ages Europe..

Souvenir stalls selling Venetian masks

Venetian masks are very important in Venetian tradition, and they are worn during the Carnevale @ Carnival of Venice..

If u wanna come to Venice, there is no point to plan a date to avoid the crowds because, 365 days a year,

Venice looks like this!

Now, let's show u some scenes from The Italian Job..

#Scene 1 - Stella: "Does it have a receipt?"; John (father): "I'm sending it to you from the store."

This is where to store is located

#Scene 2 - John: "See those columns behind u? That's where they used to string up thieves who felt fine."

The 2 poles, that's the columns

Btw, if u haven't already know, fine stands for Freaked-out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional :D

Ok, now let's show u a few of Venice's attractions for ladies..


Nice? Now a few of Venice attractions for the general public..

Ponte dei Sospiri @ Bridge of Sighs

Basilica di San Marco a Venezia @ St Mark's Basilica of Venice

This is the most famous cathedral in Venice. And this ultra famous Basilica di San Marco is located just beside the equally famous Piazza San Marco @ St Mark's Square..

Not sure who St Mark is, too lazy to find out about him..

In the piazza, u can find something else that is substantially more in numbers than tourists..

Pigeons!

When there's pigeons, there's always grains vendors hanging around nearby trying to sell u grains, for u to feed the pigeons..

When I said feed the pigeons, I don't mean sprinkling the grains to the floor and have the pigeons flock over the food..

I mean feeding like this

And like this

Ei? Never seen this girl featured in my blog before.. this girl is.. Suet Juen.. don't know I spelt her name correctly or not.. anyway, she is our tour mate, on the same coach as us :)

Feeding the pigeons while taking photos is actually quite easy, but if can be a daunting task if u are faint hearted..

See this picture?

Taking this picture for the 2 of them took us like.. 10 minutes... the reason? Just watch the video..



The longer u struggle @ the more pigeons u have on your hands,

The more likely this will happen!

Vicious pigeons, they will stop at nothing for food..

Anyway, this is the 1st half of Venice. Don't worry, I haven't show u the most important thing to do in Venice, will do it in my next post...

流浪@Nuffnang's Happy-O-Meter

Was checking my stats on Nuffnang just now, and I noticed a new feature in my options..

Happy-O-Meter?

Seems like it's a new feature again... not sure what it does, so I checked out the descriptions here..

But I still don't quite get what they do.. is this just a widget to display your happiness? Or is it another type of ad unit?

Anyway, since it's new, I'll just give it a try...


Easy to configure actually, no need for fancy tutorials lah..

Let's just wait and see what happens.. kinda excited... hehehe :D

Sunday, June 29, 2008

September 11 2007 - Innsbruck

Leaving Germany, we head to Austria!

Well, to be specific, it's Innsbruck, Austria. And this is the only place we will be visiting in Austria, no Vienna no Salzburg, just Innsbruck *piff*

But anyway, let's not complain and get on with it..

Innsbruck is the capital of the Tyrol state of Austria..


Innsbruck view from the highway

Innsbruck information board and map

Just like Heidelberg, I have no idea what is there to see in Innsbruck. According to Paul, there's 3 fehmes attractions in Innsbruck..

Attraction 1: Goldenes Dachl @ Golden Roof

Attraction 2: Church Clock Tower

Central Europe is well known for Gasthof @ Gasthaus depending on which country u are in.. A gasthof is actually a guesthouse, usually family owned, a combination of inn and tavern.. In a way, it's similar to the 客栈 (hak zhan) in ancient China..

A typical Austrian gasthof in Innsbruck

If I was backpacking, I would've been staying in a place like this for a day or 2.. but since I wasn't, so I have nothing to describe about what it would be like to stay in such a place..

And, no, a gasthof is not an attraction according to Paul..

Attraction 3: Swarovski Museum & Gallery!

Swarovski is not pronounced as swa-rov-ski, it's pronounced as swa-hof-ski..

So.. does this Swarovski sounds familiar to u? I'm sure u have seen of them when u go shopping in Isetan or Parkson.. Swarovski is a luxury brand of crystals producer!

Swarovski has it's birthplace in a place near Innsbruck, called Wattens, and the Swarovski Museum here in Innsbruck can be considered to house the most extensive collections of Swarovski works and products..

Inside the museum

Nice crystal works

They have this nice luxury chair made of wool..

That u can sit or sleep on

Hoi! Why only the girls get to sleep on it and take solo photos??

Let's show u somemore nice crystal works..


Of course, with every museum/gallery, there will definitely be a souvenir shop.. but.. Swarovski's souvenir shop is not some place that a poor chap like me can afford to hang around in for very long :D

Austrian trams

We made our way to the shopping street, not for shopping, but to look for something to eat.. ended up in this burger/sandwich shop

Yummy food and yummy waitress :D

Their counter is inside a shop, but their eating area is out in the open

Another photo on Innsbruck street

Innsbruck is a city inside a valley that's surrounded by mountains, icy mountains..

But it wasn't that cold in the city itself

Everyone wants to pretend to be feel hot and take photos like me, as a result,

They throw all their jackets and bags at me

Leaving Innsbruck, we continue or tour.. entering Italy...

Tonight we will be spending our night at Treviso, not because there's some nice attractions in here, but because this town is near to Venice..

Dinner at.. Ristorante Cinese @ Restaurant Chinese

Family photo before food

Seriously, the food is getting lousier day by day...

After dinner, head straight to our hotel of the night,

Hotel Carletto

This hotel is kinda... old, medieval, and spooky... I took some photos with my handphone back then, but did not backup when my laptop go bust, so I can't show u the pics.. can just use words to describe..

When I said medieval, I'm not exaggerating.. their floors are made of wood, the bathrooms has cracked mirrors, and they have those unique human portraits hanging in front of the bed.. imagine waking up in the middle of the night facing human portraits that doesn't look exactly human, if u get what i mean..

Even their cupboards make those creaky sounds.. I was trying to help Peggy open the cupboard in her room (because she was afraid that something might jump out if she open herself), and then decided to play a prank on her by pretending to be surprised after opening the door,

And this was how she looked like XD

Tomorrow will be Venice...