Normal Life As We Know It

Hello guys. It's been a week since I came back and I have been living the same (depressing) routine that I have. I have been asked, "How's your trip?" and such. Somehow I found the question to be quite stressful to answer. I normally answered with, well I did get lonely, the loneliness kills but the trip was okay and I'm quite amazed that I did it. It's been a meaningful trip seriously. There were feelings that I had when I was there and there are feelings that I have now. Oshie was right (I knew he would be right) when he told me when I was making my decision that, wouldn't you feel proud when you look back and see that you've done it? It is really so. Right now, the word that I can use to explain the experience is just INCREDIBLE. INCREDIBILE!!! It's freaking incredible and awesome. I've been trying to remember what it was like there. The sky in Firenze, the running around Italy, the figuring out my ways, how I felt, what I saw. Other than trying to figure out direction, my other challenging decision over there was deciding what flavor of gelato to try and I do seriously recommend any of you who are going to Italy to have gelato every day :P

I have to say though that memories are fading. Things went in a blur because I did so much and I tried to see as much as I can that many details are lost *sigh* It's a good thing I have pictures and amazingly, when I looked at the pictures I didn't even realize that I saw such things but it's so cool to know that I was there. I was talking to Casryn today, saying that the bad thing about taking many pictures (I took more than 2700) is that I saw things more through the lens rather than actually enjoying the view with my own eyes. I guess that's the reason why, I felt such relief when I entered places that do not allow me to bring my bag, like the Uffizi and Basilica San Marco. I think I enjoyed the Uffizi a lot because I didn't have a heavy bag on my shoulders and I didn't feel obligated to take pictures. Anyway, the pictures are up (I actually paid Flickr for more space!) and you can see them here. However since I have so many pictures, let me also post them here :P These are not in the Flickr collection. I am reliving the experience peeps, so bear with me.

Let's start with Rome where I landed. It's perhaps as busy as any other city. The traffic is pretty chaotic. It reminds me of Jakarta. I've seen motorcyclists did some maneuvering, which is perhaps common in Jakarta but I know people like la Gioia will find it too crazy. However I found actually the drivers there are very nice. People are always crossing the streets anyway they like and the drivers will actually stop when they see people are going to cross. Even though it always happened, I still got nervous and couldn't help muttering "please don't kill me!". It's just they don't seem like they're slowing down but they really do, they really do! So you just gotta walk. See I guess Singapore has made me mentally soft that I lack the wit to do this because I am sure any Jakartans will see no big deal about crossing a busy street :P Oh the metro in Rome freaked me out because the stations look so dark and for me it's scary. However I met some New Yorkers who thought the metro system is actually very sophisticated in Rome simply because they tell you in how many minutes the trains are coming. They say in New York, it is scarier because there are "funky" people in the train itself while in Rome, everything is so decent. I told them I'm spoilt here in Singapore. Seriously, if they see the MRT here perhaps they will think it's so out of this world :P I feel I didn't explore Rome much. When I saw the pictures from Palatine Hill, I do see that they are quite boring but I like the time that I spent there. So relaxing. It was a nice walk and the weather was really cool. If you ask me if I was scared, how can you be when you were really at peace and felt joy and amazement inside your heart. That was really what I felt when I explored Palatine Hill. Okay pictures from Rome can be viewed here. Meanwhile, this is one of the many obelisks you can find in Rome. It actually was viewed as a symbol of paganism when Christianity was on the rise, so at that time to save it from being destroyed, people put a cross or the saints or angels on top of it. Hence you can see that the things on top have different colours or more obviously of different materials than the obelisk.

Next is the Vatican. I really like the Vatican! I don't really know why. I love St. Peter's Square and St Peter's Basilica. The Vatican museum is amazing. Many of the pictures there didn't turn out well because I couldn't use flash but then when I saw picture like this one, I just got amazed again. Don't you feel that the angel's wings are so 3 dimensional? And it's a painting on the wall peeps! Seriously people those days are so awesome.

With all the churches and buildings I saw, the ceilings, the walls, the sculptures, the paintings, I just feel rather sad that people these days don't do buildings like this anymore. I think the Gate of Paradise in the Florence Baptistry took 27 years to be made. A door!!! These days, especially in Singapore, you can see a whole building being erected in 1 year. Sigh. I kinda hope people will make more meaningful buildings, with details in everything. Sigh.

Moving on, it's Firenze / Florence. I didn't put the picture of Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in the Flickr set. So here it is. It took me 3 guides (Sandra, Laura, and Alessandro) but I remember this information really well. The churches in Firenze and nearby area are mostly built with marbles because they are close to areas that produce the marbles. There are 3 colours of marbles chosen, the white ones were from Carrara, the green marbles were from Prato, and the rose / pink marbles were from area near Siena. Laura was the guide which brought me and the New Yorkers mentioned above to Cinque Terre and as we drove, we could see the mountains in Carrara where the marbles came from. They were white on top. If you don't know about it, you would think that it's snow. So the white marbles are very good and if I am not mistaken that's also what Michelangelo used to make David (who by the way I think is really hot).

Next is Siena. This is Fonte Gaia at Piazza del Campo. I took a day tour to explore Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa, and the Tuscany area. Met 2 nice Taiwanese girls, Shirley and River, who kindly kinda adopted me to hang with them. River climbed up the tower Torre del Mangia with me. She's a lot more fit than me. I was kinda nice not to do the climbing alone :P

After Siena, we had lunch in a farm in Tuscany. I have pictures of cows and such, but I guess this is a more typical Tuscany view. By the way, the cows in the farm that I visited were reared purposely for their meat and not for milk. It was an organic farm. They make olive oils, chianti, and vernaccia, and some other things. You kinda can't help feeling that you could actually feel contented to live your life working in a farm such as that with amazing view and fresh air to greet you every day.

Then San Gimignano which I will never forget for the best gelato in my life! They had these very little cute promotion boards in Italian which have very romantic tag lines that I just fell in love with. I used one of them as my facebook profile picture currently :P

Last stop of the Tuscany day tour was Pisa. The leaning tower was smaller than I expected :P Anyway, this is from the inside of the Duomo / Cathedral.

As mentioned, I went to Cinque Terre as well. Not really a good trip with unforeseen traffic condition but did meet some very nice people. There were 2 couples from New York. They were related, a brother and sister. One of them has been married for at least 35 years. The husbands were funny and the wives were nice. I only remember the names of the wives though :( Judy and Anita. They were really nice. Then there were also a middle age couple from Canada. Then another wife whose husband was giving a lecture in Florence and so she took this trip alone. The ladies kinda thought I was very brave to be doing this Italian trip alone, but you see with people as nice as them that I got to meet, all are good! God takes care of you by giving people who will look out for you.

Last city that I visited was Venezia / Venice. I have to say that Venice is very very photogenic. When I saw the pictures, I have to say that it really looks good. Somehow when you had walked a lot, climbed and crossed many bridges, you kinda like it a bit less :P With all the nice view, can you believe it that this is my favourite picture of Venice? I didn't include it in the Flickr collection though.


Somehow this green window made me gasped. To think that I almost didn't take a picture of it! I actually walked some steps away before realizing that I should take a picture of it. Somehow I've only seen the window 1 time. I never passed it again. I don't know why. Maybe I did and the window was open and the view was different and I didn't realize it's the same place. Either way, somehow I just love this picture a lot!!!

I am so directionally challenged that even though there are many signs in Venice, I could still get lost as mentioned in the previous post. Some of the signs were official but some were like graffiti on the walls or perhaps on the street floor itself or A4 print out pasted on the wall that only if you were close enough, you can read it! So finding some of these "unofficial" signs made me feel like I was in a treasure hunt or something. To illustrate my point, here is an unofficial graffiti sign on a wall. Mind you, this picture is big but the actual sign is not that big.

Ferrovia means the train station by the way. Now after following that sign, I came across this official sign.

I wonder if the people living nearby got tired of being asked for direction that they put all the unofficial signs around :P

Well, that's pretty much it peeps. Oh yeah, something just suddenly came. The electricity plug in Italy is the same one as in Indonesia. Sigh. I was in doubt in finding a plug converter and yet it wasn't necessary at all! Yeah I know, funny things do jump in my brain :P Anyways, there are other pictures, like from Murano, Torcello, and Burano the islands near Venice. Murano is famous for it's glass craft. Torcello only has 21 people living there but they have 2 restaurants! Burano is famous for the lace craft and the place is so colourful! If you want to see me being a bit sneaky, you can see this :P

I transited in Amsterdam and it kinda made me wanna visit it someday. The entry wasn't all that pleasant but the exit was kinda nice ;) Anyways, these are 2 pictures I took from inside the plane which brought me from Venice to Amsterdam. In this one you can see windmills.

This one, well I just like it :P I have to say graphics softwares are so awesome. Fireworks did a good job in "helping" these pictures. I used fireworks because my vaio is too tired for photoshop :(

Long entry peeps? Carl said I would be a different person when I come back. I wonder if I am gonna change. I am still doing my depressing routine :( However, I have to say it's like there's a fire inside of me. I went to Italy alone!!! I did it and I actually can do this kinda thing! The "knowing" that you are capable of doing such thing is really liberating, really!!! Maybe the fire is small but I believe it's not gonna die. I had people telling me that they admire me for doing this. It's kinda weird because I thought what I was doing was normal and kinda long overdue, maybe because I know and heard of people doing this so I didn't really see it as anything big. It was big for me but I thought it wasn't really something big for like other people? Stella (my ex roommate) wrote that she saluted me for doing this. She said that if I really want something, I really do chase it. But that's the thing peeps, I haven't been chasing anything all this time. After I graduated from NUS, it's like I didn't really live and it's been a long LONG time to be just passing time. It's almost 6 years and I didn't fight. I didn't fight for what I want and this trip was me fighting and it was mentally hard but seriously when I was in Changi Airport, it's like fear started to dissolve because you knew that from that point on you couldn't have fear anymore, that you just have to experience this dream of yours. I have crossed the number 1 thing on my life list. I guess it's time to move things around and set new dreams to accomplish. I may not be a VP of a company before I turn 35 but I know what excite me and I have to pursue those things instead of doing what people think I should be better off using my time and life with.

On a more local news since I came back, I watched Monster VS Alien in 3D mode with Vivy. It was my first time watching a normal movie in 3D and I was actually quite in awe. It seems gone are the days when you choose a digital version of the movie over the normal one, it's the 3D version now. However, I wasn't really pleased because things do get darker because of the glasses shade but still I thought it was a cool experience.

I have also had dinner with NanSee and Starfish yesterday. Had some talk about stuffs. I was told and reminded quite repeatedly not to bother people about something if they are not bothered about it :P Okaaay! Anyway, same old life routine kinda involves people telling me their life "situation" currently. On some, I do welcome and hear them and give them my opinion but on others I just feel why is it always about you! How about me? Darn it! As such I promise myself that I will have a good relaxing time with myself this weekend, just myself!

I had a little talk with my brother this afternoon. We rarely talk to each other. I get an update of his life today. He's making decision about his life. One may argue it's that immature 20-year old something decision but one that I'm kinda jealous of because I am way too controlled to be doing similar thing. I have to learn the art of walking away *sigh* Seemed like I still have things to say, but it's already too long. So buonanotte my dears.

:) eKa @ 10:32:00 PM •

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