UK series: Scotland pitstop at Melrose

(September 27, 2015)

After a few nights in Lakes District, it was time to say goodbye (wahhh!!) and head to our next destination.

As we drove towards Edinburgh, we found this charming town called Melrose to stay for the night.. IMG_3708.jpg

I love the peace and quiet atmosphere of this town.. Because it’s not a popular tourist place, and not easily accessible by public transportation.. it’s not crowded and we could just leisurely stroll around the town.
The most well known attraction here is the ruins of Melrose Abbey.  Here’s some pictures of the abbey and the unique sculptures found here…
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UK series: University town of Oxford

(September 24, 2015)

After London, we rented a car and started our UK roadtrip with a day exploring the university town of Oxford.

We only had a day here so we joined a walking tour to get the most out of our time here.  The tour was informative and gave us a glimpse into both the history of the universities and the life and traditions of living and studying here.

The whole place just inspires learning and education! IMG_3112.jpg

showing one of the traditions here in Oxford of tapping the book on the student's head

showing one of the traditions here in Oxford of tapping the book on the student’s head

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UK series: London in 2 days

(Sept 22-23, 2015)

Generally I’m not a fan of big cities.. For me city buildings lack character and all look the same with their glass walls, dull grey colors, and boxy shapes.  I want places where I can explore and see colors, patterns and different architectural styles.. Something that tells me I’m in a new place outside my home.

And although London is known as a busy, commercial city.. It still keeps it’s charm by preserving landmarks and buildings that show you of a past era..

In just 2 days, here are some of the sights we covered!

Leadenhall market – this wasn’t along the way of our planned walking route… But I saw it mentioned that it was used to represent Diagon Alley and Leaky Cauldron from Harry Potter so of course the fangirl in me pushed for a quick stopover here

After this we headed off to see the sights around the Southwark district..

Views of the Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast and Thames RiverIMG_2715.jpg
Butler’s Wharf..

Walking along Tower Bridge
To get to the Tower of London – must do to see the Crown jewelsA free guided tour by a “Beef Eater” – the guards for the Tower of London

I don’t know what direction we started walking, but we ended up in the Waterloo district where we saw the London Eye

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Taiwan in 4 days: Longshan temple

Similar to a lot of Asian countries, Buddhism is a major religion in Taiwan.  As such there is a lot of temples scattered all over the city.

Since both me and my cousin have seen a lot of temples already from other countries, we didn’t really have seeing temples in our must do list.

But since this is one of the main touristy things to do while here in Taiwan, I picked one temple to go to for our itinerary… Longshan temple..

Honestly, if you have seen temples before, this won’t be very much different.. But if you haven’t travelled much around Asia before, the color and architecture of Buddhist temples is a worthwhile sight to see..IMG_2664.jpg IMG_2678.jpg

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Japan fangirl travel: Tokyo station

(Nov 30, 2014)

IMG_1577-2.jpg Although not a tourist spot, I found Tokyo Station another nice spot to go to for pictures.  The interior design and architecture of the building was so different from the other train stations in Japan.

After some research, found out that this red brick building dates back to the Meiji period, surviving from the time when the station opened in 1914.
IMG_1561-2.jpgAnd the interior was beautiful from the floor, the roof and the walls!IMG_1566-2.jpgIMG_1568-2.jpg

Spain Travel: Must see of Granada

(Oct 6-8, 2014)

From Barcelona we took the overnight train for an 11 hr train ride to Granada, the next stop in our trip.

Granada is a small city located in the Andalusia region, in the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  I didn’t really know anything about Granada beforehand, (whenever I think of Spain it’s always just Madrid and Barcelona).. but Granada became one of my favorite cities in Spain because of the UNESCO heritage site Alhambra.
IMG_9953.jpgAlhambra is it’s own mini city with a palace, courtyard and garden built during the time when Muslims occupied Granada. IMG_0133.jpg
IMG_0262.jpgThe Muslim influence is evident in the Islamic architecture seen inside. Here’s some of the pics of my favorite features as we went inside Nasrid Palace. IMG_0181.jpg
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Spain travel: Architecture in Barcelona

(Oct 4, 2014)

My next big trip was back in October when I went on a 2.5 week vacation to Spain & Morocco.

Our first stop in Spain is Barcelona.. not knowing much about Spain, my travel here only covered the typical tourist spots recommended in guidebooks.

In my travels my goal is always to find something unique to this place that I haven’t seen in other countries or cities.  Now if you’ve been to other European countries, you will find that a lot of the areas and buildings in Barcelona are pretty much the same in other places in Europe..

Barcelona Cathedral – Gothic style similar to Notre Dame in Paris

inside Barcelona Cathedral

Plaza Real – Italy has a lot of Plazas like this as well

So personally the characteristic that makes Barcelona unique to other places s that it’s the home of the creations of architect Antoni Gaudi.  In my trip here, there were three of Gaudi’s work that I enjoyed seeing..

First is the most popular creation of his, the unfinished Catholic church Sagrada Familia.
IMG_9751.jpgThe interior is not like any other church I’ve seen!  Just imagine this church was started in the 1800-1900, more than a century ago, but until now the design still has a modern feel to it.. There is really no other church or building that looks like this! IMG_9721.jpg To best appreciate this place, rent an audioguide here as it provides you a better insight behind the inspiration to the design of this building… One of the things I noticed here was the use of natural light.. both the ceiling and the walls allow natural light to stream in, so if possible do visit when the sun is shining to better appreciate the effect inside the church. The columns for example were designed to mirror trees and branches soaring towards the ceiling and makes use of different geometric shapes. IMG_9723.jpg   The color of the stain glass windows show even further the influence of nature and religion in his design as there is a meaning to the colors used. IMG_9703.jpg The exterior is filled with various scenes depicting the life of Jesus from birth to resurrection.  For those that read the Bible, you will probably be able to identify what these scenes are, and for those that haven’t it’s a good way to learn about the story of Jesus. Continue reading

Italy series: Art & Architecture in Florence

by ozchinita
(Sept 14, 2013)

Florence is a city famous for its architectural and artistic heritage.  So our 2nd day in Florence was all about exploring the places showcasing the culture of this city.

First up, visiting the Uffizzi Gallery and Accademia museums.  The Uffizzi is one of the oldest and most famous art museums in Europe.  While Accademia houses various sculptures, the most popular one being Michelangelo’s David.

If like me you don’t care much for art, just skip the Uffizzi gallery and go straight to Accademia to see the David statue.  Although you have probably seen heaps of images of this sculpture, it cannot compare to seeing the real thing.  What amazed me with this is the actual scale of the sculpture.. It was HUGE!! And to think this was made by hand.. amazing!

No picture taking allowed inside, but a lot of the sculptures here have smaller scale replicas which you can find in Piazza Signoria.(I wonder.. is there a specific reason why a lot of the sculptures they did before was all nudes?)
IMG_4565.jpgWhat I soon discover in my trip around Italy, all cities have their own famous piazzas. IMG_4586.jpgIMG_4580.jpgIMG_4552.jpgIn Florence the well known ones is Piazza Signoria (shown above) and Piazza Duomo which is where the Gothic church Santa Maria del Fiori is. Continue reading

Paris last day: Sacre Coeur

by oz chinita
(Sept 4, 2013)

We’ve been to a few churches here in Paris already.. But still I found Sacre Ceour worth going to because of how different the architecture of this church is.

It actually reminds me of a Muslim mosque rather than a Catholic church with it’s white exterior and oval shaped roof.

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