A Travellerspoint blog

Chocolate and Classical Music- A Match Made in Heaven

rain 8 °C

This entry today takes us to the fairy tale city of Bruges. It is where you can see multiple streets of cobblestones and have to frequently step aside to allow horse-carts carrying tourists speed past you. To get there, I can recommend two options. One is to take the train from Brussels Midi and you will arrive in Bruges in about 75 minutes. The other option is to rent a car and drive north. Belgium is a relatively small country but with lots of hidden small town gems. Brussels can be a horrible city to drive in but once you are out of the city, things becomes much much better and you can take the scenic route all the way to Bruges.

Wandering into Bruges is like taking a step back in time, the buildings dates back to the medieval era. The movie "In Bruges" with Colin Farrell has awesome shots of this city and definitely do more justice to the amateurish pictures that I take. Here's a picture of an incoming horse cart.
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Walking on road side with the horses rushes past you can be an interesting experience. Just be wary of the occasional water puddle splashing when it is raining.

Horse cart on standby
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As far as I remember, I have always love chocolates. Perhaps I have grown with a sweet tooth and because of this, Belgium chocolate has a unique attraction for me. Bruges has a good chocolate museum which has been on my travel list for a while. It is not so much about showcasing the historical artifacts of chocolate making equipment, but rather a story telling approach was given in this museum. Since I am visiting, I gladly took the chance to have a look around before doing my chocolate shopping in various shops of the area. This is the entrance of the museum.
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The school children seems to be sharing my excitement to explore the museum.
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You will get a free chocolate bar upon entry and you will begin touring by going floor by floor until you reaches the top. In this journey, you will learn about the history of cocoa, where do they come from, their botanical information, how did this seemingly insignificant "bean" ascended and be embraced by the European elite society and then the evolution into the chocolates that we all are so fond of today. You will also see both the ancient and modern tools in the art of chocolate making. For the record, dark chocolate is the best for your health. If you are lucky, you will also be able to observe a live demonstration on how chocolate is made (and get more free samples, yay)

Another joy in my life is music, Bruges houses one of my favorite music shop in the world- Rombaux
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This shop is more like a music temple and is almost a century old. Like the rest of Bruges, going into this shop is a step back in time. The interior decor from 1920s is kept intact and just like how old bookstores have an appealing fragrance to them, this place has it as well. You will see shelves and shelves of both obscure and modern musical material, promoting jazz, classical musical music and other contemporary works. If you are a collector, chances are you will find some obscure LPs and scores as well. It is definitely amazing to see how Rombaux has managed to survive after different revolution in the music industry, from gramophone recordings, to LPs, 8 tracks, cassettes, CDs, mini disk until today's digital downloads and music streaming. I guess that's because deep down we still yearn for physical tangible things, and I think because of this niche, they are still going to survive in the future.

Of course, I couldn't resist the urge to get some stuff
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I will end this entry with a picture of an ancient pharmacy, date unknown. till next time dear readers.
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Posted by canglingy 03:45 Archived in Belgium Tagged museum music travelling Comments (0)

Discovering a bakery gem in the alleys of The Hague

sunny -2 °C

I was trying to navigate the little alleys of The Hague, going without a map while trying to get an overall feel for the city, it is a little challenging for the uninitiated as buildings and residential areas seems to look similar at first glance.
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After blindly wandering around, I was greeted by a pleasant smell of bread. Without consulting the "must-eat" list like a savvy traveler would do, I answer the call of my hungry stomach and decided to go in the bakery. (Turns out t'bakkertje is the oldest bakery in The Hague with a good reputation. I got lucky and enjoyed the bread so much that I went back there every single day when I am able. This is now one of my favorite places to get bread in the world.
The delivery bicycle outside gives a nostalgic feeling of yesteryear and it caught my attention upon looking at it.
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Here's the frontal picture of the store.
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Ask the staff to recommend Dutch bread if you are feeling adventurous, they also have a confectionery section if you are up for something sweet. The general taste of the offerings will also take you down a trip on memory lane.

I enjoyed my walk around the Hague, it is a lovely city with slower pace compared to other major metropolis in Europe. People are more laidback and joyful. Look, even the dog is having a good time just relaxing.
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My next series of entries will be focusing on several cities in Europe, I might be covering The Hague more extensively as well. Until next time

Posted by canglingy 22:20 Archived in Netherlands Tagged travelling Comments (0)

Tips of Borneo and the Islands Beyond

overcast 27 °C

I was doing vector research in Northern Borneo and managed to take time out to explore the tips of Borneo and some of the islands near the border of Philippines. The beaches were not frequented by visitors and it was an experience of solitude in the midst of natural beauty.
This is a picture taken right at the tip where the South China sea and the Sulu Sea meet each other.
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It was a treacherous area in the older days when a lot ship sunk in the vicinity of the tip.
The road leading up to the vantage point and then a monument of the location detailing the brief history of the land.
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Found some lovely secluded spots after driving around in the area.
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I enjoyed the solitude, sea winds and nice beaches allows me to just pause for a while and enjoy the natural scenery.

There are also a couple of islands when you venture out of the tip with fishing boats or ferries, some of them are infested with salt water crocodiles and some are pirates bases so they are not really safe for a foreigner yet. It has taken a long time but the Malaysian government appears to be incapable of resolving the issue which was a pity since the corals and the islands surrounding them are so beautiful.
The meals on these restaurants on the sea were very cheap since the area is completely undeveloped and fishermen made up most of the demography in this region. Here's a picture of the restaurant.
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I had a peek at the local fishing villages and generally just walk around and talk with the locals.
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They have very good salted seafood too.
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This is simple bliss and relaxation at its very best, lying on a hammock looking out at the sea while feeling nice sea breeze.
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A great contrast with the modern city life where almost everyone is a slave to money and we toil every single day, I wonder whether a day will come when we can lay down our burdens and just be at peace.

Since this area is really undeveloped, I managed to see for myself a retro petrol station (I do not really how does a petrol station looks like in earlier days though, ha ha) The mechanism is interesting albeit dangerous.
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Some fishing boats and harbor in the picture below. Btw, one can persuade a local to take them to Philippines territory which only a mere 20 minutes away by boat. The weeks at the tip were quiet and peaceful and sometimes one can feel as if time stand still in this undeveloped region.
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Posted by canglingy 06:14 Archived in Malaysia Tagged landscapes beaches boats travelling Comments (0)

One Card To Rule Them All ;)

Museums and Castles Visiting Spree

rain 21 °C

Armed with my Salzburg Card, I decided to take advantage of the free admissions so I went on a museum castle visiting spree.
Before that, short time of prayer to start the day.
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I will always be amazed when I step into these ancient house of God.
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The Salzburg Museum was worth a visit, the journey was pretty amazing. Ran around the town for castle tours, catacombs, cemeteries. It was rainy and breezy the entire day so I haven't been exactly dry the entire day.
I didn't manage to visit all the museums because I did not wish to just rush through everything. For instance, I miss out on the arts museum but in the end I am contented because I sorta prioritized.
Some snapshots of the towns. Photography prohibited in some areas of the museum.
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An entire gallery dedicated to Christ
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The cemetery and catacombs were beautiful.
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Some funky stuff
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Went to Hellbrunn in the evening because I wanted to visit to supposedly famous trick fountains. It was fun and well worth it. I got soaked when the park guide promised an experience of a lifetime :) and the place of full of water booby traps.
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Mechanisms that runs entirely on water
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Pictures around Hellbrunn
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Wandered far away from the normal path until I saw a sign that says ,"Danger, do not wander further, danger to life." And oh well, seeing that, I backed off.
Had a lovely quiet evening, read a book and slept very well

Posted by canglingy 00:42 Archived in Austria Tagged churches castles parks museum Comments (0)

Salzburg, Mozart's Birthplace

Castles and dinner concert

all seasons in one day 14 °C

I reasoned to myself I should not miss Salzburg, so instead of going forward to Budapest, I backtracked to Salzburg.
Spent the final morning with my lovely friend in Vienna. Ah, goodbyes was always hard since it might be years before we meet again. I hopped on a train at noon to get to Salzburg.
When I get there, because of my laziness to ask around and my confidence in my half baked German, I bought the wrong public transport ticket from the machine, got the right one after laughing at my own stupidity.
Then I got lost trying to find my hotel. The directions included on the website sucked and I was walking in the opposite direction. Moreover, the people here don't really speak English and they keep reverting back to German. It was the same with my hotel's receptionist, her limited vocabulary gave her a hard time directing me to the right location. Anyway, after tiring myself out. I found the hotel. Before coming here, I was forced to booked a more expensive hotel because all the others weren't available. However, the room was really great and I know I will have best sleep in this trip tonight.
Did my laundry and wandered off into the town.

The main town of Salzburg is quite small in comparison to Vienna and is easily covered on foot. There's a big river that splits the town.
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This town is supposed to be an architectural gem so I guess I will find out more of it tomorrow.
Here's the 900 years old castle (I think it's almost 1000 years old though, I forgot)
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Some Mozart wannabe, haha
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Now that going green
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Some hints of the architectural beauty
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I got myself a ticket for a Mozart dinner concert, since I am in his town, so might as well eh :) The four course dinner was up at the castle and it was great stuff. The dessert was "musical" too. I felt slightly out of place by dining alone here.
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You get a good panoramic view of Salzburg from the castle
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Some shots around the castle
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The funicular I took
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And they have to beg us to keep their toilet clean, haha
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The concert was great showcasing some Mozart's finest work. I got a pleasant surprise when I got moved to the first row. Apparently they thought that that seat would be better for me, thanks guys.
You even get some instruments like this.
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And of course the singing
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When you look out the window, you will see night beautifully fall in Salzburg
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I was freezing after the concert when I walked on the castle ground. It was warm in the afternoon and the wind is tremendously chilly at night. I was only in a t-shirt while the rest are in coats and jackets. Should have check the weather before leaving next time. I rushed back to the comfort of my room really fast and had my rest.

Posted by canglingy 03:25 Archived in Austria Tagged buildings trains castles music performing_arts Comments (0)

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