Piazza della Repubblica and Outlet Shopping in Tuscany

Before heading out to Florence on Saturday, my Dad caught up with work emails while my Mum and I explored Piazza della Repubblica, where we found a church, Basilica of Santa Maria that Michaelangelo designed before he passed on at the age of 82. I just love how you can find gems like that all over Italy, maybe in a couple hundred years from now, people can say that about Singapore too πŸ™‚

basilica santa mariathe door

by the toiletfrom the back

After a quick lunch, we were on a train for Florence. It was a short hour and a half ride, which is enjoyable especially when you have a window.

And yes, outlet shopping pretty much sums up what we did in the Tuscan region. Only coz we didn’t check that museums were closed in Florence on Mondays, when we arrived on Saturday afternoon we relaxed around our hotel, soaked in the Tuscan air and rented a car for the drive to the shopping outlets on Sunday; thinking that we could check out the stuff within the city on Monday before getting on the night train to ZΓΌrich, Switzerland.

outlet shopping

On Sunday, with our trusty GPS in the car, we found ourselves at two outlet malls where my Mum decided that this was only the heats and paced herself for the finals in the US, where I think she’ll go truly shopping crazy with the other true shopper in the family, my sister πŸ™‚ The drive through Tuscany was really nice and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

driving in florence

We were going to squeeze the Prada factory outlet in as well but after The Mall, we were ready for dinner and headed back to Florence. The plan for Monday, was to check out the Statue of David early in the morning coz I heard the line up for it was usually crazy and head out to Prada after lunch but then I found out they were closed on Mondays 😦 So with a slight change in plans, we ended strolling around and stumbled on a church around the corner of the hotel. That’s what I really like about Italy, there’s something to see in just about everywhere πŸ™‚ I wasn’t planning on visiting a church so I wasn’t quite dressed for it but unlike the Vatican, which turns you away if you’re not dressed properly, this church provided you with a disposal cover up πŸ™‚


Not bad, huh? Like all the other churches in we saw in Rome, the architecture was similar and the art that filled it was just as amazing.

another basilica santa maria

Then it off for a quaint lunch on the way to the Prada Factory outlet, where prices were pretty good and a good deal could be found if you could find it in your size. Needless to say, everything I liked didn’t come in my size :p

prada\'s space

Then it was back to Florence, returned the car, our last dinner in Italy and off to the train station for ZΓΌrich, where the Swiss-German pronounces it as Choo-rik.

Last Day in Rome

Since we didn’t make it to the Sistine Chapel the day we visited the Vatican City, we made another trip down that way and checked out the Vatican Museum, which carries an amazing collection. My favourite was the Egyptian and Tapestry ones, the Raphael Rooms were pretty awe inspiring too. There was art even on the floor.

art on the floor

They make you walk through all the different museums before you get to the Sistine Chapel, which is really tiny compared to the St. Peter’s Basilica and the other rooms. Nonetheless, Michaelangelo’s paintings on the ceiling was still a sight to behold. Apparently, you aren’t suppose to take any pictures, no one said anything to me and the usual trigger happy me managed to get one picture before a tour guide told me I wasn’t suppose to take any :p

ceiling of the sistine chapel

After that it was dinner at the Piazza Navona, where my Dad got a caricature of himself done. The fountain I wanted to check out was being worked on so there was nothing to see there. All in all, it’s a nice place to hang out and hang out with buskers keeping everyone entertained.

piazza navona

With dinner out of the way, we had our last scoop of gelato in Rome and strolled to the Pantheon. Another ancient marvel with columns so huge, I just had to stand there and wonder what life must have been like as an ancient Roman.


So long Rome, we’re off to Florence tomorrow. My Mum can’t wait for the shopping in the factory outlets πŸ™‚ In a nutshell, I’d come back to Rome. It’s a lovely city with something to look at in every corner and of course, great food too πŸ™‚ I think the next time I come back, I’d even do the same sights again … that’s how much I’ve enjoyed it all.

Ancient Rome

I remember having this book about the ancient civilization when I was in primary school, it was fascinating about how people got together and organised themselves. Rome was one of the civilizations that has enthralled me since then so when I got off the metro and saw the Coliseum, it was a little more than just surreal.


My family isn’t the type to follow a tour guide around so we rented an audio guide, which worked really well and took our time to soak in the over 2000 years worth of history around us. There are quite a number of guides on the outside that try to tempt you with going with them by telling you that you can skip the long queues to get in but it really didn’t take that long. So don’t feel pressured to go with any of them, especially since they charge an average of about 25Euros per person (excluding the entrance fee of 11Euros). My parents and I wandered around the hallways, took our time and I could only imagined what these walls have seen in their lifetime. We stopped for lunch before going on to explore the Roman Forum.

museum on palatine hill

It was getting pretty hot so we stopped in to check out a museum on Palatine Hill. It was a simple collection of sculptures, which just blew my mind at how they could achieve such intricate details from so long ago. Then walking around the Roman Forum pretty much just silenced me, which is a pretty hard thing to do. One can’t help but be haunted with the history that just fills the place.

roman forum

Giorno Due = Day Two

I met the His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI today. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. I was in a crowd of about 100,000 and he was there too. Again the heat was a little hotter than what my Mum would like but being in St. Peter’s Square has an effect of distracting you from it.

st peter\'s basilica

What amazed me today was St. Peter’s Basilica. So if you come to Rome, dress appropriately and make sure you visit the Basilica, which was surprisingly cool inside despite the intense oven heat outdoors. The minute you step in, your breath is simply taken away.

on the inside

My favourite place was directly under the main dome (cupola). Think this is going to be on my desktop for a while.

from inside

If you ever find your way to the Vatican City, you have to go up the dome (cupola) of the basilica. The view is simply amazing, I thought the view from the the ground looking up was great and when you on the top of the dome looking out, it’s difficult not to stay quiet and just enjoy the beauty of Rome.

from the top

Ciao Everyone!!

It’s day one in Rome and for now, I can say it’s a pretty amazing city. I can’t believe that there are structures here that have been around for the last couple of thousand years. For a modern city though, it pretty much sucks, the roads are bad, the streets aren’t clean and no one seems to be very tourist friendly but I guess with structures like the Colosseum, you can slack off on the other things πŸ˜›

waiting for transfer

Our trip started with SQ366 straight to Rome, it was a lovely flight, watched Vantage Point and Horton Hears a Who!, slept for about 6hours and arrived in Rome at 7am. Waited for the transfer coz it was caught in traffic, the ride back into the city was just as bad. By the time we checked in, we were ready for breakfast again. After we settled in, my parents and I walked around, scouted the area and found the main Termini Station. It is hot in Rome during Summer, I like it though πŸ™‚

roma termini

I also like that unlike Singapore, Rome doesn’t have crazy cold airconditioning in the shops, so I don’t feel like I’m going in and out of extremities. After lunch, it was back to the hotel for a nap and then off to a walk to collect tickets to see the Pope tomorrow. We walked some more and came to the Trevi Fountain.

the fountain

It’s quite something, huh? The whole area had a cool serene feel about it. My parents and I hung out there for a bit before it was time for dinner.

Now I’m in bed all ready for Vatican city tomorrow. Till then, sweet dreams everyone πŸ™‚

Being sick

It’s been a very long long while since I’ve been sick, with the crazy last week, a slightly more psycho weather than usual, eating badly and extreme air conditioning at the conference, I found myself shivering in bed with a fever late Friday night/early Saturday morning. Thank goodness, I was at my parents who are back before starting their world trip and the best thing about being sick is having Mummy make you porridge πŸ™‚ Still it was sucky and made me realise more than anything that I really don’t like my body being weaker than my mind … hmmm … so I’m inspired to get healthier and try to make sure that this body stays as healthy as it can till the last day πŸ™‚

Meanwhile, needed to get some paper work done before my trip to Italy so as soon as I started feeling better, I’m up and was glad I did πŸ™‚ Here’s a video forwarded from Nis:-

She told a couple of us over dinner the other night and we couldn’t stop laughing … it is a good ad. Enjoy, while I go back to my paper work :p

Animation Boys

Where I work, we’re kinda split up by different categories like TV, Film, Games, Animation, Services, yadda yadda yadda. The Animation team has been boys since it started except for the Deputy Director we all report to and this week in the midst of the insanity at the Singapore Expo, another animation boy decides to pursue his own dreams.

cal, daph and me

So Calvin since today is your last day, here’s a simple wish that you’ll constantly be inspired and one day set up your own Possibility Space studio too πŸ˜‰ It has been fun having you in BD2 and yes, we’ll miss you especially the antics you’re so surprisingly capable of πŸ™‚

cal, dan and donfarah and shew hengdoreen and calthe girls

Last week, we took him to Secret Recipe in Plaza Sing for a farewell lunch … that’s probably the last time I’ll be there … because they don’t serve water (that and their veggie options were only okay) … I have issue with places that can’t serve tap water … one of my many peeves :p So Bakerzin is out for me too but it was a nice enough place to chat and get a little louder than usual.

bd and cd

One more week …

… and I’ll be in Italy πŸ™‚ I cannot wait. In the meantime, there’s Microsoft Developer Day, Broadcast Asia and CG Overdrive. It’s going to be a busy busy week so it’s a very good thing my MIL and SIL came last week. They’re on their way back to Canada and I think happy to get away from the humidity πŸ™‚ From Sentosa to Orchard Road to the Night Safari, they ate, saw and had fun. The verdict, yes, they do like Singapore to want to come back for another visit but errr … think the weather is just not attractive enough for them to want to live here :p So I reckon once we can climate control our little island, we’ll have everyone wanting to come live here. Till then I’m actually happy with the 4 over million people that I share my home with πŸ˜›

Happy Birthday Nis!!!

So in honour of Nis here’s an overdue post from a month ago, I had to puppysit for my sister again. She was in Bangkok AGAIN. Any more this year and the Thai government has to give her residency or make her the princess of shopping :p So there I was with Wags, her cute little vegan dog and a weekend to kill (my husband was/is still busy with 2 projects running at the same time). We decided that it’ll be a good day to seek Nis out and take her along for our day out.

nis and wags at the gardens

What do you do if you’re wearing the fur coat in the park? You cosy up to the one who brought a fan πŸ™‚ Isn’t it smart of Nis? The Botanic Gardens is truly one of my favourite places in Singapore. It’s a place where you can just relax and catch up with canine and human friends. It was a typical balmy tropical weather, not quite Californian weather, which would have made it perfect but still a good day to just catch up with what’s been going on in our lives. After that we headed for an early dinner at Pawtebello along Mohammed Sultan Road, a restaurant that’s not only puppy friendly but have actual food you can order for your dogs.

dogs everywherefancy lighting for a dog restaurantmaltese/shitzu mix

When we stepped in we were asked if we had reservations … I didn’t think I would need reservations. All I can say is that some dogs have it good in Singapore. The place had dogs running amok, which brings me to this, dogs are like little children, bad behaviour is not their fault but that of their parents’. The waitress who served us was visibly pissed with some humans who didn’t seem to realise that there were other people in the restaurant and just allowed their dogs to run amok everywhere. It was quite cute though πŸ™‚ to see all these dogs happily running around. Wags, on the other hand, figured she’s actually a human and shared my comfy armchair with me πŸ™‚ Yes, she wasn’t going to be running around with the plebeians πŸ™‚

wags haning outnis and wags at pawtebellonis looking radiant

So on behalf of Wags and me, thank you Nis for being such a beautiful friend.Β  May your day be filled with blessings like your friendship has been in mine πŸ™‚

#16 Trevor Linden

Off and on in the last few years, I heard about him. Recently though, he has been a hot topic of conversation for my husband and so now I have an ice hockey idol πŸ™‚ Yes, I do realise there’s no ice in Singapore and my knowledge of ice hockey is limited to the couple of episodes it was featured in Beverly Hills 90210 when Brandon tried to get his LA friends to play it. Trevor Linden‘s my idol though coz’ more than just an athlete, he’s a guy with a great big heart.

trevor linden

Everything I’ve read, talks about how he is so much more than just a great hockey player. Taking time to spend with children less fortunate than all of us, most of the time outside the spotlight and on his own time. Everyone only has inspirational things to say about him. Even people who played against him. In a game where a penchant for violence seems to be a prerequisite, Trevor Linden never let himself fly off the handle. And to all that he just says that he’s just been lucky to be given an opportunity to do what he does. Talk about trying to be the change in the world. So in my aspiration to do that, Trevor Linden is my new man πŸ™‚

Unfortunately for me, just when I start really learning about him, he goes and retire!! He just officially announced his retirement two days ago and that’s why his been a hot topic with my husband. Although, he never won the Stanley Cup (he came real close to it though in 1994), he had quite the send off during his last game.

Even all of the Vancouver Canucks’ bitter rivals, the Calgary Flames came up to him to say goodbye. A class act, one I’m wondering if us mere mortals can do too. My husband replies me, “Can!” in his having-been-here-for-6-years Singaporean accent too.