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Postcards: Sunsets in Oia (GR)

Santorini is one of the most beautiful islands that I’ve been. After wistfully going through photo albums of several friends who visited this very Cyclades island last year, I decided to push it up high on my priority list as well as into my 101 goals list, which is met by F’s approval. It is a very popular holiday destination, and there are good reasons for it – picturesque villages, friendly locals, ease of communications, delicious food (and wine), fascinating (geological) history, sunny weather, intense sunset – take your pick.

The village of Oia (pronounced “ee-yah”, not “oy-yah”; also written as Ia) is the one spot everyone seem to converge come every evening. There are other view points on the island for beautiful sunset, but between various recommendations (and a good dose of clever tourism marketing I guess), Oia becomes *the* prime sunset-watching spot. We tried to photograph the sunset – something not particularly easy as we attempted to master our new camera – from various points of Oia and not just where everyone goes. It does get uncomfortably crowded with everyone clamouring for the perfect view of the sunset!

Sunset in Oia

Sunset in Oia

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Postcards: Amiens Cathedral (FR)

The largest cathedral in France (you could put two Notre Dame de Paris in it!) also possesses the tallest nave for a complete cathedral in the country. It stood proud before me on a glorious Wednesday morning when I was in Amiens and yet I was at lost on photographing it with Frédéric’s few-days-old camera. The small manual that I’ve grabbed on my way out of our apartment sat in my bag; I didn’t have the time to consult it page by page, nor the patience to. I would just have to make do somehow.

Amiens Cathedral is a Gothic cathedral which construction began in the 1220 under the instruction of Bishop Evrard de Fouilly, while three architects – Robert de Luzarches, Thomas de Cormont, and Renaud de Cormont – oversaw the works. These men are commemorated through an octogonal plate embedded within the floor of the cathedral, enclosed within a labyrinth. Standing at 112.7m in height, its nave stretched an impressive 42.3m, giving it the real meaning (esp back in the 13th century) of reaching for God and the heaven. With multicoloured stained glass and imposing sculptures that recount religious stories to the populace, the cathedral in its entirety was deemed worthy to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

(Hover over photos as usual for captions)

Amiens Cathedral

Amiens Cathedral

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Daytrip from Paris: Monet’s Giverny

It shouldn’t be any surprise that the main road of the village of Giverny is named after its most famous (former) resident, the Impressionist painter Claude Monet. Afterall, without his fame, it is unlikely that thousands of visitors would flock daily between April and October to the village. He lived here for over 40 years, drawing inspiration from the kaleidoscopic garden just outside his house and the adjacent water lily pond/garden.



The star attractions of the village are undoubtedly Monet’s House and Gardens, and the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny. Apart from these, the Ancien Hôtel Baudy and the Église Sainte-Radegonde de Giverny are getting considerable attention as well from the visitors, particularly the latter, for the burial site of Monet and his family can be found in the grounds of the church.

In addition, the tourism board has done an excellent job in setting out a trail of cultural walking tour of the Giverny Village. Along this route of approximately 4km (give or take an hour walk), 20 points of interest are identified with information panel planted in front of them. We did try to complete the trail but was unable to do so, as the path parallel to the Aqueduc des Moines had been closed off, most likely for safety reason given the high water level of River Seine in recent months.

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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.

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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?

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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.


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.

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