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has travelled all around 5 continents, sumtimes can be shopaholic, loud, fashionista, detailed person, thinker, artistic, dare to dream, love challenges, confident.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

From Rome with Love....

Hi folks...i'll continue my journey to Rome. From Tuscany we drove down to Rome and one thing i want to tell you that if you can, try not to drive inside Rome city. The traffic is horrible..unless you are indonesian and u are trained how to drive like one, then you can go for it hahaha....everyone doesn't want to give way and doesn't really give a damn to the traffic signs. It's so infuriating that tourists are not allowed to access some of the road. Even the GPS had made mistake, it couldn't differentiate between the Zona limited traffic area (prohibited for tourists) and the public area. So, we needed to be extra careful so we wouldn't drive into the wrong zone. Anyway we did go into Zona limited traffic a couple of times without realizing it at first, and we had to turn back and get out from there ASAP or else we gonna be in big trouble!

We arrived at Rome at night and we continued our journey the next morning. We went to Sperlonga beach, a beautiful beach at southern Rome. We drove for 1.5h and it was a relaxing day for both of us. Sperlonga is a well developed beach, this was where the Roman higher officer, even the Emperor used to have villas of their own and this is where they had their holiday spent. We spent almost the whole day there ....just enjoying the sun, the sand and the water. We had our fabulous lunch besides the sea and the calamari was so yummy :)

The next thing that almost got us into trouble was our broken GPS. When we wanted to drive back to Rome, suddenly we lost our GPS signal. Fortunately, Rome is a big big city and there are sign everywhere to lead us to go back to Rome. The headache started when we arrived at the city itself, we were only guided by our pathetic map and it was so confusing!! We were lost for almost 3h only to find our way to the hotel. Crap!! We kept stopping and asking ppl how to find our way.... hahaha...but anyway it was so adventurous and it was once in a lifetime experience :) After what we've been through...just an advice for those who are travelling...make sure to have ur phone back up with GPS software...just in case if the other dies off.....u still have a spare. We were so thankful to God...coz at least we lost our signal in a big city...not in Tuscany. I couldn't imagine, if we lost it in the middle of Tuscany where you couldn't find any road signs or people to ask around....wow nightmares! :P

After that horrible night, we went to Vatican city the next day. Okay....seriously after i went to Vatican city....i went back and watched "Angel and Demons" movie again...and it gave me different perspective of Vatican city. Dan Brown is a great novelist and through this movie, it strengthen my faith that God is a real God. No matter how great danger His church in, He is never late to come to the rescue and in this movie He sent Prof Langdon, the unbeliever to save His great church hehehe....great movie, great plot with great movie setting :) Anyway back to Vatican city, we went to Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum. Rome is a great city with a great historical value, Almost every building in Rome has it's own history. Vatican city is one of the greatest national treasures for the world and for Catholic especially. There are thousands of sculptures and paintings in Vatican Museum, most of the art pieces were brought in by the Popes of different generations. The collections are extremely many from all around the world. We rented the audio guide but it's impossible to listen to all of the description of each art pieces. Many of the priceless art pieces came from Michaelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, etc.

The outer court of the museum mostly held Pagan sculptures and paintings, but when we went deep inside....it led us into christianity. There were so many great and beautiful paintings above the ceilings and the walls. Each painting has its own story and different rooms with different paintings tell different stories. Mostly the stories are about the lives of the Saints and Jesus Christ. After the museum, we went to Sistine Chapel. We were not allowed to take pic inside, but we managed to take a few hehehe.... Sistine Chapel is best known being the location of Papal Conclaves (a meeting to elect a Bishop of Rome who becomes the Pope). Sistine Chapel itself is a great masterpiece of Michaelangelo. We seated inside for almost half an hour just to admire the paintings he made on the wall and on the ceiling. Under Pope Julius II, Michaelangelo painted 12,000 square feet of the chapel ceiling for 4 years (1508-1512). The painting tells about the the beginning of the creation, how God created man and they fall into sin. In the center of the ceiling, there is a famous view of the hand of God reaching out to give life to Adam and the whole stories concluded when Jesus came and saved man from their sin.

Another breathtaking view is the "Last Judgement" painting on the wall of Sistine Chapel. This was painted by Michaelangelo during his old age. It was from 1537-1541....He spent 4 years just for this painting!!! The last Judgement is a depiction of the second coming of Jesus Christ and the apocalypse. The souls of humans rise and descend to their fates, as judges by Christ surrounded by His Saint. It was so amazing and worth to be admired.

Next...we went to St Petersburg Basilica, it is the largest interior church in the whole world and can easily hold 60,000 ppl inside. This is where they buried St Peter...the 1st Pope and the leader of the church. He was buried directly below the altar of the basilica. It is believed that St Peter execution were held near an ancient Egyptian obelisk in the Circus of Nero. The obelisk now stands in St Peter's square witnessed the execution of St Peter. He was crucified up side down, died as a martyr, and buried just outside the circus. As Jesus said to Peter, " on this rock i will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevailed"...thousands year later, it really came to pass, on Peter's tomb, a great church has been built and it's called Vatican city...what a WORD!! :) He is really a great God :)

We went inside the church and it was really a HUGE and the interior is so detailed and amazing! We went up to the dome....500++ steps and it was worth it :) Great church with great view from the top...what could u asked for?? haha...i think every christian has to come here at least once to see the how God works wonder through His ppl.

Okay....now it's time to enjoy the pics.....next stop it will be the Colloseum....to be continued :)

@ Sperlonga Beach

@ Sistine Chapel

The "Last Judgement" by Michaelangelo

The ceiling of Sistine Chapel by Michaelangelo

St Petersburg Basilica

Interior of St Petersburg

The ceiling was crafted with the word of God, "On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevailed."

below is St Peter's tomb

This is the where they crucified St Peter

Vatican city view from the top

another amazing view of Vatican city

Monday, July 26, 2010

Amazing Tuscany Part 3 :)

Wow....these months i've been so busy and i've abandoned my blog huhu...i better finish off my italy trip on this journal...coz after that i flew to London and Beijing and there are more stories to come....my blog can't catch up with my tavelling speed, so i've gotta catch up and there is another Milan flight coming soon on this 30th july...wohooooo....so i'm going back to Italy again Mamma Mia!!! :D

anyway last time we stopped at Chianti...after that the next day we travelled to Southern Tuscany. The journey started from Castello di Grotti to Montepulciano. Montepulciano is another region in Tuscany which is a famous producer of wine. Montepulciano is the place where they shot the "New Moon", one of the installment of "Twilight Saga". We took pictures of Communale palace...this is where Volteri Vampire lives according "Twilight Saga" haha....but when we went inside it is actually a government office. Anyway it isn't a very big castle, hollywood special effect made it looks big :)

After walking around the town, we went for lunch at Caffe Poliziano. We had a vampire set lunch and it was fabulous :) Caffe Poliziano was one of the most memorable place that we've been. We were seated at the terrace facing a marvelous Tuscany. The view while we're enjoying our lunch was superb!! The food, the wine and the atmosphere was amazing. It was a heaven on earth lunching experiences i can say. After spending the whole afternoon....we continued our journey to Rome :) I will continue on the next blog about Rome...there are tons of information to be shared in Rome....it's really an amazing city :)

This is where the shot "New Moon Twilight Saga"

Montepulciano from above :)

Lunch with a view.

@ Caffe Poliziano

A glass of Chianto Classico

Montepulciano is famous for its Skin made products

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Amazing Tuscany part 2 :)

Dear my friends, i'm back...do u guyz miss me?? haha....anyway i'm going to continue my story...today has been a fruitful journey..i had a fellowship with my dearest sister and i'm so happy coz finally she got her PR :D and i'm so happy for her :) Okay where did i stop last time? Last time we continued our journey to San Gimignano. This medieval city is so precious that UNESCO has declared it a "World Heritage Site". It is famous for its towers and strolling along the small road in San Gimignano brought me back to the medieval time! The walls have been built during 13th century and are accessed by two main streets that intersect to create two wonderful Piazzas. We were again not allowed to drive inside the town, so we parked our car outside and walked around the town. In San Gimignano we found the world champion's Gelato..."Pluripremiata Gelateria". It has been Gelato's world champion for 4 years consecutively and it's located at Piazza della Cisterna. I'm so blessed that i could try the best gelato in the world and it was really good! We had our gelato, sat down and relaxed around the Piazza. It was a priceless feeling in the whole world :) Along the road, we saw lots of cute cafes and small wine shops. San Gimignano is a quieter town comparing to Siena and you could just relax, enjoy the atmosphere and seeing the world goes by....

After spending the whole afternoon in San Gimignano, we drove to Chianti. Well there were three municipalities in Chianti; Gaiole, Radda and Castellina. We went to Radda and Castellina in Chianti. Chianti is believed to be one of the most beautiful landscape in Tuscany. Chianti is the place where the Italians produce their best wine. Driving around Chianti was difficult, but it was the most pleasant and enjoyable experiences we had :) Everywhere was beautiful hills of vineyards and olive groves. We stopped at Castelina. We did wine tasting in one of the wine shop and Chianti Classico tasted beautifully. Well, i don't think everyone will appreciate Chianti Classico coz it is dry wine with a strong and bold flavor. We bought a bottle and I think Chianti is the best place to hunt for good wine coz Chianti wine is an amazing wine with very delicate aroma and flavor, another thing that most of the wine shop allow us to taste the wine before purchasing it. After Chianti, we continued our journey to Radda in Chianti. It was only half an hour drive and Radda is another small village of Chianti producing wine. Personally it was an amazing journey in Tuscany and the next day we continued our journey to the South.

Here are some pics of San Gimignano and Chianti....Enjoy :)

San Gimignano

The view of San Gimignano

The best Gelato in the world!

Vineyard @ Chianti

Wine tasting before purchasing :)

How the traditional Chianti wine packaging looks like.

Chianti Classico

To be continued......

Friday, July 2, 2010

What a dream comes true, Tuscany!

Hi folks...finally i'm back!! Netherlands' fans is extremely happy tonite coz they won over Brazil haha...anyway back to my blog and i can finally sit down and continue my story. Well, after i came back from Italy...i was working straight away and this whole week has been busy coz i have a very tight schedule. Tomorrow is my off day so i'm able to relax and breathe a little bit :)

From Florence, we continued our journey to Tuscany. It has been my dream to travel around Tuscany. This magical beautiful landscape is really a gift from God to all of us. Tuscany or Toscano is well known for its beauty, culture, italian cuisine and gourmet wine. Tuscany consists of extraordinary countrysides where the walkers enjoy strolling around the mountain paths, the cyclists enjoy the rolling hills and the summer vacationers enjoy the sea coast and islands. Well for me...i love to visit and relax in small villages in Tuscany, blend in with the locals, have a road trip (by car) around Tuscany and hunt for delicious delicacy, home-made olive oil and good wine. I was quite blown away by the scenic road that we took around Tuscany....I admitted that going from places to places in Tuscany was not as easy as I tot. The road is so small and it's required a high skilled driver to drive around. Even though we had GPS, we still lost couple of times and we had to detour or made couple of U turns. But again...it's all worth it :) the scenery that we enjoyed was really out of this world! 25% of the region is covered by mountains, where you can see endless hills, vineyard and olive plantation. Some of the locals own their own olive garden or vineyard and subsequently produce their own extra virgin olive oil and wine.

We stayed in "Castello di Grotti", one of the farmhouses in Tuscany. The owner has their own olive oil plantation and we bought some extra virgin oil from them. Castello di Grotti is around 20 mins drive to Siena (one of the biggest town in Tuscany). The farmhouse we stayed was so amazing. It is high up on the hill where u can see Tuscany landscape from above. From here you can smell the scent of olive oil everywhere (coz it's surrounded by mostly olive garden!). The farmhouse is fabulous! It has kitchen, private bathroom, fireplace in the bedroom and private garden outside! Well talking about living like the Italians, we stayed there for 2 nights and it was so enjoyable :)

There are lots of places to go in Toscana, but we decided to divide it into 2 parts. The 1st day we travelled to the North, starting from Siena. Siena is the one of the biggest town in Tuscany and it's probably the loveliest medieval city ever. It was the place where they shot "Quantum de Solace" James Bond's movie. The central of Siena is known as Piazza Il Campo. I really love the atmosphere. In Il Campo, all the people will just sit down and relax outside Torre Del Mangia (the highest tower in Siena). We were not allowed to drive inside most of the town in Tuscany....so we parked our car outside the city and walked around from places to places. Besides that we visited Duomo of Siena, the Cathedral of St Maria Assunta. Inside, the spectacular floor made in hard stone mosaics depicting 56 different scenes deserves to be admired. Of cuz there are still many places that we visited in Siena but those are two highlighted ones. We had our dinner at "Trattoria La Torre" in Siena. It is a small restaurant and when we went in , we saw fresh hand-made pasta was displayed on the table. We asked the chef for the recommendation and he cooked for us ravioli and spaghetti. It was so delicious and made us order some more main-courses. We had tiramisu as our desserts and mamma mia!!! It's tasted so good :) After Siena, we went for San Gimignano, one of the oldest medieval town in Tuscany. Well...i'm going to stop here and save it for my next blog :)

stay tune and will be continued....:)

Garden outside "Castello Di Grotti"

The view from the top of "Castello di Grotti"

Amazing view along the road

Duomo of Siena

Siena in the evening