Header Image


Navigation images

Postcards: The Sunny Southeast (IE)

Despite the nickname, Wexford was not particularly sunny when we visited recently. Like most part of Europe, it seemed to be mired in the unescapable winter chill, accompanied by frequent showers. The transition between sunny and rainy happened often and rapidly, making it singularly difficult to predict if we could go for a walk yet not be roasting under our winter coats and/or be drenched without a brolly.

Nonetheless, maybe I present, by photos, the County of Wexford that we saw, however briefly it may have been.

Hook Head

Hook Head

Continue reading »

Weekender: How do you pronounce Metz?

I called it “mets”, with an emphasis on the T, but Frédéric duly corrected me – it’s “mess”. Whaaaaat? But why?

*Gallic shrug*

“That’s just how it is.”

River Moselle

Stained-glass windows

So I did a little digging. The name had its (Celtic) origin in Mediomatrici, which was then shortened into Mettis, before finally settled on Metz. The T was certainly part of the pronounciation in the past. This changed during the period of German occupation of Metz between 1871 and 1918. Annexed to the German Empire, the occupiers’ guttural speech seemed to make the T more pronounced than ever. The unhappy people rebelled in their own little way by dropping the sound of the T and voilà – you’ve got “mess”! Obviously, the pronounciation persists to this day.

Continue reading »

Project 365 – Week 21

A whirlwind week away can only be matched to a whirlwind week at home, right? Well, it may not look it but it certainly felt like it. As I set my to-do list for the next few days, and reviewed my calendar for the coming weeks, I realised things are liable to be crazier than ever. On the plus side, I manage to sneak in some reading time, which makes me pretty content at the same time.

* * *

Fruit juices

20 May: I know, a photo taken at Marks & Spencer is hardly exciting but have a read at the labels of these bottles. Juices with red pepper or asparagus in them? We tested out the one with asparagus in it and it actually was quite nice. Granted, there wasn’t too much asparagus in it to start with, but enough to give a hint of the taste. Honestly though, I miss the food hall of M&S. There are a couple of them in Paris; the food section in the branch on Champs-Élysées is very limited and the other branch is a bit far in Levallois-Perret (actually outside of Paris), thus why I’ve not yet been there, but it does boast a much bigger food hall so maybe I should at least check it out once!

Continue reading »

Postcards: The Saar (FR/DE)

River Saar flows from Mont Donon to Trier, its length splits to sit nearly half-half between France and Germany. In the region of Saarland, Saarbrücken is at about the half-way point of the river. A little further south, it even acts as the natural border for the two countries, where the towns of Grosbliederstroff and Kleinblittersdorf are linked by a short bridge.

Our third train since leaving Nancy in the morning took us to Saarbrücken, followed by a tram ride to Kleinblittersdorf to check-in to our hotel, before crossing the bridge to Grosbliederstroff to attend C&V’s wedding. Since we don’t have time to explore any of these towns, the best I could do is to share the few photos that I took while we were there.

Grosbliederstroff

Grosbliederstroff

Grosbliederstroff

Continue reading »

Weekender: Gilded city of Nancy

When an opportunity presented itself for travel, I’m hardly one to refuse the chance to do so. I guess some of my go-go-go-travel attitude must have rubbed off Frédéric as he ambitiously planned for our trip to his cousin’s wedding to be flanked with day-trips to Nancy and Metz. I have friends who agreed that both cities are small enough to be visited as day-trips, and after visiting them, I am more of the opinion that they make good spots for weekend trips.

Place Stanislas

Arc Héré

A TGV ride between Paris and Nancy takes approximately 1.5 hours and our early start means we arrived in Nancy just shy of 10am, affording us a day of exploration given we were also staying overnight in the city before heading off to Grosbliederstroff the next morning. We were lucky to have arrived on a sunny morning for what was to be a forecasted-to-be-cloudy-and-wet weekend. The day did progressively get glummier, but not before we saw the splendour of Place Stanislas in the full sunshine.

I am no historian so I won’t go into the birth and the development of the city, even if we did see the free exhibition of La Ville Révélée at the Palais du Gouvernement (daily except Monday, until 31 August) which looks at these aspects in details. The exhibition is part of the programme of Renaissance Nancy 2013, which has an interesting agenda that makes me want to stay longer so I can check them out.

Continue reading »

Project 365 – Week 20

This week’s photos come to you from Ireland, where we are on holiday for just over a week. Visiting family and seeing friends aside, we’ve also gone on an impromptu – and looong (as in the distance) – roadtrip as well as stretching our legs for a few hours via walking excursions. All in all, it has been a great week and even the weather has been pretty kind to us. Couldn’t ask for more!

* * *

Turning Point sculpture

13 May: Our flight was delayed so we arrived in Dublin about an hour later than expected. At Terminal 2 (we flew with Aer Lingus), a familiar sight which greeted us was the sculpture of Turning Point by Isabel Nolan. A yellow, abstract-y object, I used to think this was a representation of some sort of an atom, with the charges flying around the core, you know. Anyway, it felt good to be back to familiar territory, even if the immigration officer only gave me a visa valid exactly till the day of my scheduled return to Paris. (Why so strict? If I had wanted to overstay, I would have never left in the first place!)

Continue reading »

Musing: when love and culture collide

Last weekend’s wedding in Lorraine (the region in France with 3 international borders!) kickstarted what I have dubbed the summer of wedding attendances. With six invitations – two coming from a same couple but for celebrations in different countries – under our belt, of which two had to be declined due to timing issues, we have effectively three more to go, unless there are more invitations due to arrive that we are not aware of…

Heart

A little something I’ve noticed – none of our friends and family are organising monoculture weddings. Each and every single one of these weddings involve the coordination of customs and celebrations of two different cultures; Indian-Irish, French-Dutch, French-Lebanese, French-American, and Malaysian-Chinese. Now, how’s that for diversity?

Continue reading »

Project 365 – Week 19

There’s a change in the pace of my personal life this week, and instead of slowing it down a notch to catch a breather, it got cranked up to include reasonable amount of travelling for a couple of weeks. We just came back from the region of Lorraine where we attended a wedding over the long weekend, just to unpack and repack today for a week in Ireland. All these travelling is going to test my resolution when it comes to this blog’s schedule – I have opted not to travel with a laptop and I’m not normally someone who plans post(s) in advance either. Guess I will have to learn the how-to now, stat!

* * *

Parisian terrace

6 May: It is May but the sunshine pretty much comes and goes, its level measurable by the amount of people sitting at the cafe terraces for a drink or two. On a good day, it could be a real challenge scoring a table from an already tightly packed terrace, never mind the best effort afterwards not to wince when presented with the bill that appears to have packed in also a cost for the beaming sunlight onto your table. Often (just often, not all the time), it’s worth it though.

Continue reading »

101 Goals: UNESCO World Heritage Sites

I thought I’d start easy on my 101 goals challenge – item number 75. I’m not doing it for the purpose of being able to boast how many of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites I’ve visited, but rather, I’m curious at which I have visited. Truth be told, as I don’t search for sites under this listing to visit in the first place, I have not even realise some of them are on it, until now! (The photo below is the only one I can find among thousands of my photos that marks the recognition of such site.)

UNESCO's recognition of Þingvellir

As of today, there are 962 sites listed altogether, and my travels have brought me to 35 of them. Some of them have just been visited recently, i.e. during my blogging lifetime, and therefore have been written up (when I wasn’t being lazy about it), others were visited when I was (much) younger that I really had to think hard if I’ve been there or if I confused it with something else, e.g. I visited a palace in Vienna but was it on-the-list Schönbrunn or off-the-list Hofburg?

Continue reading »

101 goals in 1001 days

Today marks another milestone in my life. The next steps are up to me to make them work, and a friend sagely advised that I should have some sort of anchor that I can focus on during this period of time. She is not wrong. It could be easy for me to drift if I don’t have goals to aim for, discipline to keep.

Clocks

This is where Day Zero Project comes in. I can’t remember how I came across this a while ago (maybe after I drew up my previous list of 50 goals in 5 years?), and it has always been at the back of my mind to revisit the idea. I finally did, and this new list of medium-term goals was born. I will not be tracking them on DZP website though; just here, on this website itself.

Continue reading »

Project 365 – Week 18

What a day today has been. The emotional rollercoaster evoked by the general election in Malaysia, which undermined the true spirit of fair and clean election, was followed by the disenchantment that the popular vote didn’t translate into electoral win (because, you know, when the margin is small and one does 5 recounts to include “forgotten” ballot papers, one suddenly wins and that’s the end of recount!). Malaysians deserve more than polarising rhetorics from the ruling party, race-based politics, vigilantism against phantom voters, and bald faced lies propagated through the government-controlled media… :(

On the positive side, voters are more aware of their rights and more politically involved than ever – in the past, many didn’t even care because they felt change was a hopeless quest. They know better now. Their voices will be heard louder in the coming years. For now, time to look onward and upward.

* * *

Column sculpture

29 Apr: There are many sculptures tucked within the Jardin des Tuileries and it seems I’m still discovering new ones each time I popped over for a stroll. Today’s find is one simply entitled Column, by Antony Cragg. Tucked just behind the Jeu de Paume, had I not been at the WHSmith to look for books and then decided to take a small walk, I may still not be aware of its existence!

Continue reading »

Les flâneuses of the Left Bank

Edna and I met up on Thursday for a Vietnamese lunch not too far away from Nation. As the sky cleared up for the afternoon while we searched for something sweet – we ended up in Grom for some gelati – an afternoon flânerie was definitely in order.

We explored parts of the 5th and 6th arrondissements, the two neighbourhoods often featured in this blog. Afterall, these are my regular stomping grounds, where I work and live. I am always excited to show them off to everyone and here I am, showing them off to you too! ;)

(Note: the first three photos were taken in Nation, and the rest in the 5th and 6th arrondissements; hover over images for captions)

Flowers

Le Triomphe de la République

Continue reading »


Notify me!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.