Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

After a long hiatus

Monday, March 29th, 2010

I havnt been updating for quite some time…

I dont know why… but it seems like i have nothing to write.. or nothing to report….

i think this has something to do with FB… as i am almost constant on it… and somehow, updating blog just doesnt seem appealing…

but nevertheless…. i felt like i am a little slow nowadays..
i dont know why… this is my first time feeling so since i moved here….

i talked lesser, i interact lesser, i think lesser, i do lesser

my brain is kind of shutting down… this is a bad sign…
or is it a good sign?

old age? loneliness? relaxed state of mind? lost of direction? lack of interaction? i dont know….

one thing for sure…
i have lots of trips to be made in April….
all personal and non for work… 😀

Winter

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Have you seen a snow globe before? The one decorative sphere when you shake it physically, the “snow” particles floats around the water-filled sphere…

Now, i had a feeling that i am living in a snow globe…

nooo…not that i feel dizzy or what, is just that it is winter now in switzerland… and for the past few days, it has been snowing now and then and at times the whole day.

Sitting inside the office… or my apartment, looking out from the huge gigantic windows, the snows were falling… flying around and then it stopped without any notice. After a while, or a few hours, then it started to snow again.

It is as if someone shake the snow globe, put it down, and watch the snow flakes flying around… and when all flakes settled, then pick up the snow globe and shake it again.

I know this sounds stupid… and childish…
but for someone like me who grew up near the Equator,
snow has always been magical 😀

snow covered cars, snow covered road, snow covered roofs, snow covered trees…. these are all just too beautiful

What seems like a normal street, a normal tree, a normal garden, a normal city, they were all transformed into something magical in just a matter of few hours.

Here i shared with you some of the shots i made….

Pilatus

Pilatus


Luzern

Luzern

Swan

Swan

Autumn, Herbst

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

It is very beautiful…
It is autumn now, my very first autumn in life…
I like the multi-hued hills, parks, and streets…
I like the morning mist and even the dreadful fog…
I like the smells of roasted chestnuts…
I like the fallen leaves on the sidewalk…
I like the crushing sound of the leaves when i walked on them…
I like the cool weather….
I like the million francs view on a clear day…
the view of the crystal clear lake, bordered by low colourful hills, with the majestic Alps at the background, in every direction…
I like the cool weather…
I like the fact that city is now decorated or in progress of transferring into a magical winter wonderland…
I like the fact that i am going for long holiday soon…
but I also HATE that my camera died…
I hate that it chose to die now….
I hate that i have nothing to capture those items i mentioned…
I hate the fact that there will be no autumn, until next year…

London

Monday, October 12th, 2009

It was my dream since i knew about England, that i wanted to visit London, at least once in my life.

All my friends know how much i wanted to visit London….

Well, i had my chance and luck that i managed to make a short trip across the channel to London from Switzerland… with a friend of mine with easyjet.

First impression of London : messy, crowded (from my first experience on the Tube)

Subsequent impression of London : beautiful, gigantic, messy, lively, mix ‘n match

Final impression of London : i will be back 😀

Having the small-town syndrome and the fact that i have been living in a village for sometime, London seems to be enormous and not to mention messy as well.

The Underground Tube system is very convenience, and with only 7pound, you will be able to get a day ticket for zone 1 and 2, which is more than enough if you have only a few days in London and have no plan to go out of the city.

London could be expensive, or so i heard, read and understand. In terms of accomodation, perhaps i would say they are really expensive! I booked myself a bed in a 2-star hotel… which i surveyed day and night with the help of Google Streetview. The hotel is located in an eccentric neighbourhood of backpackers, fast food outlets, tonnes of souvenir shops, pubs, and various ethnic restaurant. The hotel itself is located on a wide leafy boulevard with rows of beautiful, magnificent, and unmistakeably very british Georgian houses.

But the room itself leaves much to be desired. The room is in the basement next to the kitchen, enough said!

Nevertheless, luckily most sights and landmarks in London are free. The grand Westminster, the unique Tower Bridge, the majestic Buckhingham Palace, the weird Tate Modern, the awesome British Museum, the popular Trafalgar Square, the glamour Leicester Square, the expensive Harrods, the green Hyde Park, the colourful Piccadilly Circus, the gorgeous St Paul’s Cathedral, the noisy Chinatown, i am out of vocabularies and well… i am sure you get what i meant.




So basically, you dont need to spend much to experience the sight.

I had my first nasi lemak after more than 7 months in an authentic Malaysian Restaurant near the National Art Gallery… i gulp it down with a glass or original teh tarik… NICE…. and no… dont ask me the price please.

I also had my first wanton noodles for lunch, and roast duck, kangkung, real tofu, pork for dinner on one of the day.
hehehehe… is more like a trip to indulge in asian food… ya..sounds funny…

I had also the chance to meet a few of my friends, primary school friend, secondary school friend, and also another friend of mine…we went to the same tuition. It was lots of fun, to meet again after so long…

So from London, of course i had my first supposedly original Fish ‘n Chips. Those meals weren’t really expensive…. or at least so i thought.

Shopping in London itself, is worth a whole new post…
but anyway, to sums it up, i bought a crumpler camera bag, one bottle of DKNY perfume, 2 Puma shirts(£11), 1 Everlast shirt(£6), 2 Londonsdale(£16), 3 Hard Rock Cafe London t-shirts and i help my friend to buy an Anya Hindmarch tote bag.

Well…. conclusion, i enjoyed the trip, i enjoyed the company of my friend…. i love the new experiences….
and i am glad… i had one of my dream fulfilled…

though…. one of a dream of mine shattered this week… 🙁

First contact to French : part 2

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Montreux, a town by Lake Geneva on the french speaking region of Switzerland.

From my base in Gruyere Region, we did a day trip to Montreux… a city famed for its Jazz festival, and also its castle, Chilon Castle.

Driving from Gruyere Region to Montreux was a pleasant one. We passed by the pre-alps, with lovely mountains, and villages, before descending on the other side approaching Lake Geneva (Lac Leman in French).

Montreux, a city which smells like money. Everything looks expensive and luxury, and have the feel of it.

This was the city where Freddie Mercury once lived,

It was a lovely day trip, and i do really enjoy it.

The view on Lake Geneva was good, the fact that everyone speak french, makes it sounds sexy??

The beautiful old town perched high up on a hill, the lively waterfront, the beautiful people, the city layout, makes this city interesting…..

Is definitely worth a visit, to get a bit of french taste while you are in Switzerland…..

Here…. a toast… of Montreux wine to Montreux, with the background of Lake Geneva

part 1

First contact to french.. almost

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Switzerland, the country itself is full of surprises and very diversed.

Northern, eastern and central part of the country is often considered the German-speaking region (which border Germany and Austria), southern part ofthe country speaks Italian (which border Italy) ,western part of the country which bordered France…. speaks French, and last but not least part of the south east speaks Romansh…..

This make Switzerland to have 4 national languages and the BEST thing is that most common people from one region do not understand people from the others. People in French speaking region tend to be more focused to France, while their Italian speaking counterparts lean more towards Milan than say, Zurich. Called someone from Ticino (italian speaking region) Italians, and you risked offending them. People often wonder what keeps the diversed, cultural different Swiss, a Swiss. Perhaps Bolehland officer can use the tax payers’ money to come here for a study trip… and then see how things work.

Nevertheless, i had my opportunity to wander off to the French-speaking region of Switzerland. I went to the region of La Gruyere, a region popular for its medieval towns, castles, awesome swiss countryside, mountains, cheeses, chocolates, markets and what not

My journey start from Bern ( i took a train from Zurich to Bern ), we rented a car from Mobility and we drove our way down….. as per map above we drove on the highway, passing by Lac de la Gruyere, and we exited at Bulle.

From here onwards, the roads are winding, small, passing by gorgeous bridges, impressive gorges, valleys so beautiful that are dotted with towns, castles, churches, and towering mountains. For our first night, we stayed at this frenchly named place, Chatel-sur-Montsalvens, a B&B with a view to die for. This B&B is somewhere before the town of Charmey.

At first we were worried that the place is so out-of-town…in the middle of nowhere, but when we were there, we found that actually everything is very nearby…despite the distances shown on map…. en route to our B&B, we passed by the town of Broc, located near to Bulle. Broc is a chocolate town, and i think the town itself exist because of chocolate and i believed everyone work in the chocolate factory. The factory building itself occupied more than half of the town centre…….. Cailler is the name of the chocolate brand.

The owner of Cailler INVENTED the milk chocolate, and the rest as we know is history. Each and everyone of us has him to thank for, or to hate for, depends on your selfcontrol and discipline.

We did a virtual tour of the factory, that is by visiting the exhibition sections of the factory which opened to public for FREE. There we see on TV how chocolates are made, the machines, the ingredients, the old design, the history, the packaging and etc. Well, if you feel boring, you could always proceed directly to the free testing area.

Here, stripped, uncovered, and spread in front of you, are all different type chocolates available under the brand Cailler. You for sure are more than welcome to try 1, or 2, or 3, or 4…. or all. If i remember correctly, i see no sign or warning or cctv… hehehehe… Well, one thing for sure, i skipped lunch after visiting the factory.

Part 2, to be continued.

Basel

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Basel, a city popular for the very delicious Basel Leckerli….
Or was it popular with its pharmaceutical companies?
Wait, could it be the fact that it is the only “SeaPort” for Switzerland and the rest of Central Europe?
Or perhaps Basel’s unique location at the Tri-country meeting points, Switzerland’s very own Golden Triangle?
But some do says, it is widely known for its museums and cultural activity, otherwise the canton wouldnt dare to called itself, Basel, Culture Unlimited.

One thing for sure, i do find its flag very interesting.

I was in Basel on last weekend, to recharge my cultural and my artistic cells, that never seems to be present. There is currently on-going exhibition of Vincent van Gogh in Basel Kunstmuseum, touted to be the biggest art exhibition in Europe in 2009… and thus i convinced myself to be there, to experience, to indulge, to learn and to understand more about arts. It was my virgin (first) art exhibition and i enjoyed it. Overall, i must say that it is not only merely an exhibition, but also kind of like a biography of van Gogh. So if you plan to visit, i would suggest you not to go now, but later…. as this exhibition will be on till September. The reasons is that it is very very very very crowded and u dont really get a quiet moment to appreciate and to absorb it all…..

There are numerous worthy place, a must for every tourist to visit while in Basel.
The one couldnt be missed and shouldnt, would be the Basel Town Hall. The building is coated with striking red paint and decorated with frescoes, flags, gold gilded spires and statues. The inner court yard of the town hall does ooze a certain romantic old charm. It is located right at the Marktplatz, where there is a fresh produce market every morning except for Sundays. The town hall has been in its present location since 14th century, although the building itself has gone through several renovations and add-ons throught the time.

The imposing Basel Cathedral right by the River Rhine should not be missed as well. Though the cathedral is visible from the old town, one needs to explore a bit to find the way to the cathedral itself. It is perched slightly elevated on Muensterberg (loosely translated as Cathedral hill) overlooking the Rhine. The cathedral itself is an architectural marvel, and you could climb up to the very very top of the spire… with a fees of course. Nothing is free in Switzerland.

From the very top of the cathedral, you have a nice 360 degree, view of Basel and the River Rhine.

There is also another church, the Elizabeth Church, a more gothic style, i think and not less amazing comparing to the Basel Cathedral.

The Tinguely fountain is a must. No.. it is not another boring european style fountains. This fountain is aliveeeee!!!!! Tinguely Fountain is designed by Jean Tinguely, and it is now a symbol of the city of Basel. This is a metamechanics fountain which moves….. or ppl call it kinetic arts

Despite being the smallest canton in switzerland, basel is full of life. A short walk around the town , i realized that Basel is sort of more lively, more busy, more people and more energy than Zurich…

i love this orchestra by the riverwalk…

and i love them too….

Journey to the Top Of Europe

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Last weekend there was this Good Friday and Easter holiday here in Switzerland, and i had arranged earlier with my ex-schoolmate to meet up in Switzerland. He came all the way from London, and we went for a 4 days 3 nighst trip around central Switzerland.

We start our journey from Baar, then to Lucerne, next to Interlaken, and finally from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch, the highest peak in Europe.

From Lucerne to Interlaken, we took the Golden Pass Line, which cut through villages, hills,mountains, lakes and towns. The journey itself took about 2hours…. but trust me… you wont feel like it as there were tonnes of beautiful sceneries that simply take your breath away. The journey took us from Luzern to Hergiswil, Alpnach Dorf, Sarnen, Giswil, Kaisersthul Ow, Lungern, Brunig-Hasliberg, Meiringen, Brienz, and the Interlaken Ost. I particularly love the area around Brienz. It is just simpley refreshing, relaxing and beautiful.

Golden Pass Line


Interlaken is a very old and popular resort town for Switzerland….tourist make Interlaken their base for
further excursions around the region…. Interlaken really survived off the tourism industry….. and i must says… for some moment, i felt that i m in MALAYSIA!!! there are indians everywhere…. there are chinese looking tourist…. which are actually from china, HK, Korea, Japan and other East Asian countries….. but the buildings, the cleanliness, the beauty of it is not doubt… very Swiss.

Interlaken
We stayed at one of the many available backpacker hostels in Interlaken. The price is good…only RM200 for 2 nights… room is ok, except that it is a little noisy as there is a pub at the lobby… But one thing for sure that really sux was the toilet/bathroom….the bathroom seriously need to be enhanced…. visually… it wasnt really dirty.. is just really unpleasant looking tht you wont want to do any business there except for a quick bath or pee…

From Interlaken, you will then need to take the Jungfraubahnen, train to reach the very top of europe, or so they called it….. the journey itself tool about another 2 hours, with stops in car-less ski town like Wengen, Lauterbrunen, Kleine Schidegg….i particularly like Kleine Schidegg a lot… the view was magnificent, lovely ski resort, snow covered land as far as your eye can see….

From Kleine Schidegg, you take a connecting train which then will take you through the belly of Jungfrau…. The end station itself is in the belly of the mountain…and the whole complex… complete with observation deck, several restaurants, souvenir shop, post office, ice palace, some walking path etc. Overall, i will call it an engineering marvel!!!

Kleine Schidegg Train Station




That day when we were up the Jungfrau (means virgin/young lady), the weather was very hostile.. with -8 celcius degree…and wind as fast as 65kph…. everything was white… blur and you can see nothing at all..except snows..but it was cool…just to be there and feel the force of mother nature!!

This is a trip then you dont do often… simply because it is far, and expensive… overall i think you will at least need RM1200 just for the train tickets from Luzern. But then again, ppl say in summer or hot month, the view is spectacular up in Jungfrau, well… i will let u know again, if i am ever up the Jungfrau again…

Overall, i would say that it is a great trip… not because of the end destination (Jungfrau was extremely windy and cold and you cant see anything), but it was because of the journey… the awesome sceneries and a long-time no see good travelling companion makes this trip worth while!!

Schwyz

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Schwyz, a basically unknown place to people outside swiss….
A capital city for the canton of the same name, Canton Schwyz, in the central of Switzerland.

Canton Schwyz is one of the 3 original cantons that made up the Confederation of Switzerland.
As i try my very best to make Saturdays my traveling days, i decided to take a day trip to Schwyz…. on last Saturday. Train from Zug, takes only about 30 minutes to reach the “main station” of Schwyz. The trip there, the scenery is amazing… the train wind along the shore of Lake Zug, with these beautiful views… passing by quaint villages, mountains, hills, fields…….

Though for most of the cities in Switzerland, the train will bring you directly to the city centre, in Schwyz, this is not the case. Once arriving in Schwyz, one has to take a bus to Schwyz Post, which is the “city centre” or village center, call it as u like. There are lots of buses that goes to Schwyz Post, and the destinations are normally displayed on the bus. Else, just ask around. IT costs 3chf for a day card.

In Schwyz Post, you will then notice that it is indeed a very small city.. with only a handful of buildings… i felt kind of like Cameron Highlands, in Malaysia. This town is surrounded by mountains and hills… and it looks very natural, very relaxing, very quiet.


There are a few main sights not to be missed, like the gigantic Kollegiumskirche Schwyz, a church i think too big for this tiny city.


Then there is also “the oldest wood building” in Switzerland, as per claimed by the signboard

and also the centrally located St Martin’s church, at the main square…..


and then there is this townhouse…. fully covered by frescoes….

and thats about it… hehehehe… i said so..it is a city tht looks more like a village!


dont u think so?? noticed the snow-capped mountain… partially covered by clouds/mist??

Well there is also a musuem, which suppose to detailed the formation of the Switzerland… and has some national treasures… but i am just not really a museum guy…

So off i went… to a HUGE shopping centre… by swiss standard…

You could choose to walk or take a bus… but walking down hill from Schwyz Post to the MythenCenterstrasse is quite relaxing… and is not really too far… 10-15 minutes, i supposed.

See tht little chapel….?? what a scenery…

Mythencentre has 2 floors, and about 50 shops! awesome… look… they even have H&M, i guessed it means that it is happening! hehehehhehe

Opposite this giant shopping centre….pun intended… you will then see another giant grey building.

With a very very very very distinctive sign… a sign which means Switzerland, and Switzerland kind of centre around it… May i introduce to you (drum rollllll) the VICTORINOX factory. From this factory, swiss army knives are designed, produced and shipped to every corner of the world!

Isnt it amazing? For such a tiny little city-village, you will never expect that it is the birth place for the ever popular swiss army knife! It is such a contrast between the tiny and rural feel of the city, and the amazingly huge “industry” it has within its border.

The other amazing trip would be from here, take a train/bus to Brunnen, and they said they Brunnen is very beautiful and it is situated by the edge of Lake Luzern. From Brunnen, you can then take a cruise to Luzern City… with beautiful dramatic sceneries.. i will try to make the trip..

oh…and next week is easter…and i have 4 days off…including Sat and Sun… i will be going to the Top of Europe!! stay tuned

2nd weekend

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

time flies… and now here i am… my 2nd weekends here in Baar, Zug

i used to love fridays when i was in Malaysia and wished everyday is a Friday, and now…. i dont want it to be here so soon… because to me, now… weekends is difficult. I do not know what is there to do on Saturdays, and on Sundays.

Up till now, i try to make Saturdays my travel day…. where i will be going out the whole day… to somewhere…to some city… anywhere …just try not to be at home. And then try to make my Sundays, a stay home day… where i supposed to sleep as long as i like, and then to cook a decent lunch, do some laundry, jogging in the evening and stuffs like that… so far so good.

I was in Zug last week, and yesterday i went to Zurich. Zurich, the little big city, or so i read from some brochures. Upon reaching Zurich Main station, i was stunned, or shocked for a moment, looking at all the crowds before me. Then i realized, shit, i have been too long in Baar, that i hv not seen crowds for some weeks… and i felt a little uneasy with the crowds…. but thank god that was only for a moment… before i gather up myself and brave into the thick crowds.
hauptbahnhof
Zurich Main Train Station

The city centre…. at both sides the of Limmat, and the lake shore… is small enough to cover in a day, but interesting enough to discover, lanes by lanes, alleys by alleys. I “covered” Zurich during my last trip in 2008… so nothing much new this time, except that i went up a little viewing plaza which is the Main Building of the University of Zurich, from here, you can get a birds eye view of the city…. nice…
University of Zurich

The main building of the university

The public plaza

The city of Zurich and the famous churches

To reach the university, you could choose to walk…. or to take a furnicular train, known here as the polybahn.

Then after finish taking in the sights of the city above, you could very well walk your way down to the Niederdorfstrasse, the old town of Zurich. Is just a 10 minutes walk or less… these days, walking all over the place hasnt been a problem for me. I skipped the old town this round as i did it in my last trip… so instead i went to the legendary, world famous Zurich Bahnhofstrasse. Never heard of it? Dont ask me why, me too… i heard about Oxford St in London, 5th avenue in New York, Champ Elysées in Paris, Pitt St Mall in Sydney, MyeongDong in Seoul, but never Zurich Bahnhofstrasse before i was here.


jelmoli

Jelmoli, Zurich’s oldest Department Store

More evidences that Spring is here


UBS

The three of the most famous institutions in Zurich, the blue-and-white tram, UBS HQ

and sprungli chocolatier

i went shopping for a perfume… 212men by Caroline Herrera, and i bought myself 14 pairs of socks… i know..is crazy, but then this is also becasue of the fact that i am allow to do laundry officially only about once in 10 days…. and the other thing that i really regret not bringing more is UNDERWEAR.

We have those 5 in a box or something like tht in malaysia…. cheap and in nice rainbow colours… here… they dont come in box of 5, they come 1 in a packet… in white mostly and it cost about RM54 for one… damn

Anyone volunteer to send me some?