Potsdam, Germany

July 4, 2015

I didn't take a lot of photographs when I was here. After spending a week in London, followed by an 8 hours midnight coach to Edinburgh before we immediately started our 3-day Scottish highland trip on the road, waking up early, with the last morning rushing from Edinburgh to Glasgow airport carrying my heavy backpack and luggage alone, and then having my flight delayed by 3 hours... I told Alessandro all I wanted was to rest a little when I came to Germany. It was absolutely lovely, he cooked, we had some wine, and we went out for walks around Potsdam where there was barely anyone - which was quite a luxury for me especially after staying at places like Singapore & London; my days in Germany, there's no waking up early, we took the days slow... it was perfect. 
Photos underneath were all taken at The Sanssouci Palace & New Palace in Potsdam (They are next to each other). It wasn't at its best, the plants were still growing, the flowers hadn't bloomed, the fountain in front of the palace wasn't even working... but the sun was at its best, it was glorious, which was enough to keep me happy (of course, great company too).
What I always miss from Europe - the light, oh the light.  

I took many photographs on my iphone when I just wanted to grab a few shots quickly, but they turned out to be the most personal photographs among all -

1. Sunrise from the first morning in Germany, shot from the room we stayed in.
2. Quick breakfast made by Ale - salmon & melted cheese with buns, done in 5 minutes but it tasted SO good...
3. Trying to make banana pancakes... we failed, but ate them anyway.
4. Dinner preparation. Just some German sausages.
5. Walks at New Garden, Potsdam in coincidental red and white.
6. Gorgeous sunlight at the New Palace
7. Blooming roses, aren't they beautiful?
8. The kind of books a physicist gives you as a gift...
9. A night with pizza, cheese, wine and movie! :)
Couldn't ask for better days. But I will go back to Germany one day to do some proper tourist visiting some time in the future for sure!

Venice, Italy

July 1, 2015

30th June, today marks 2 full months since the day I came back from Europe - Venice to be exact. Work has been taking up most of my weekends the past 2 months, few weeks ago I had some really bad time dealing with everything, but I am glad it is now over and thankful for the ones who accompanied me through the days. 
Many people asked me what's my favourite destination from my Europe trip (among London, Scotland, Germany and Venice), while every place is very different from each other, for some reason, Italy always has its way to my heart. A month before my trip, I booked my flight ticket to London and back from Venice without prior plan on where I should go between London and Venice, nor who I'd be going with to Venice. Traveling alone doesn't sound bad at all, even in a country with a language that I can barely understand. But life is sweet and likes to throw us surprises at the most unexpected places and time, I ended up coming here with someone... quite special, and we loved every bit of Venice despite the gloomy weather :) 
We stayed in a lovely place (found on Airbnb) outside of Venice, called Mogliano, which takes about 20 minutes of train ride into Venice itself. The host made us simple breakfast every morning, offered us some white wine at night, lent us a few books and maps of Venice and told us what we needed to know about the public transportation. She was sweet and lovely.

I always think Italy isn't exactly like how most people here think it is like. Italy, especially Milan is known as the fashion capital, and having all the Italian restaurants here, Italy has been glamorised a lot. It is in fact, not glamorous or perfect at all, which makes me love it even more. The cracked walls, the wild plants that grow in between the bricks, the worn off paints... Ultimately, all these little imperfections make Italy... Italy. The long history, rich culture, the way Italians speak... they're irreplaceable. 
I remember the first time I saw Pantheon in Rome, it was so surreal I just couldn't believe I was right there, in front of this building that has come such a long way in human history. I imagined all the different generations and evolutions of human it has witnessed and all the changes there must have been around the building, since it was built till today - how it is now surrounded by restaurants and gelato shops and tourists from all over the world. It felt like the building doesn't fit into everything that's surrounding it today, or conversely I felt like I was suddenly transported back to the olden time. At that moment, I was staring not at the building, but at the thousands years of history behind it. It was amazing.
And Venice, oh Venice, imagine a city without any car. A place that's made up from a group of more than 100 small islands, connected by its 400+ bridges. You either walk or ride a boat, through the hundreds of Venetian canals. When the weather cleared up for a short while, we took the chance and got on a gondola. It was charming, with the boatman started singing as we admired the beauty of Venice... 

Piazza San Marco

April, 2015

After staying in Italy for a month last year, this time that I was back, it felt familiar and comfortable, and I know immediately - I'll come back to you again someday, Italy. Ciao for now!


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