Is Venice most serene?

Do you know what a Thalassocracy is?

To save you the trouble of Googling it, let us tell you. It essentially means a seaborne or maritime “country”. One whose realm is primarily consisting of dominance of the seas. Now given that the sea is the dominion, how could Venice be most serene?

The sea can be tempestuous, for she can turn at will against anyone who dares to ride the waves. Not quite Poseidon or his son Percy Jackson (heheh all made up recently). Though it gives a sense of what the Venetians were up against in order to hold their dominion together. For being the most serene republic actually meant sovereign independence.

You must remember that in those days, nobility held sway. To remain aloof from subservience to the the nobility held territories, republics such as Venice had to maintain sufficient power to stay ‘serene’, ie not being harrassed or accosted to become part of a noble dominion. How they did that and became an empire on their own is an intriguing story in itself. But today we are not delving into history.

Instead we want to share with you our take on Venice and the beautiful lagoon that is the city (here). For her highways are not roads but lanes of water. And her foundations most vulnerable these days. She is so visited that she is sinking, some say drowning. Not from the waters (yet) but from the feet of many a visitor.

Have you been to Venice? Would you not like it to be preserved? How?

Roaming in Rome

You know it ain’t just spoken Chinese that have words pronouced sounding similar. We are sure as children you would have recited sang nursery rhymes. Yeah that’s the word. Rhyming and not similar. Because between the two words roam and Rome, any sentence would convey so stark meanings.

Anyway. Enough of semantics and lexicon.

Today we want to invite you to join our reminisce of the days we spent in Rome. Ah yes, the eternal city as some would call it. You might have already read about our small countries’ series – Vatican city is in there you know (here).

Coming close to the end of our 5th decade on this planet, it has been often remarked to us by our friends and family that we don’t look our age. Ok more specifically Suan does not look her age. Perhaps it was the lack of stress. But we have a theory. And it had something to do with the journey we took to Rome all these years ago.

You see, it has something to do with water. Sprouting out from somewhere to be precise. People have long yearned for fountains of youth for as far back as history will tell. Does it really exist? If so, how does it work? Can you collect some of the water and store it? Does it work with just one sip or is there a specific dosage required for its effect to manifest itself? (oops occupation hazard…).

Keen to find out? Why not look out for it in this essay? So begins our Italian reminisces… What was most memorable for you about Rome?

Land of the prophets – Part II

A few days ago (a week actually), we shared with you the start of our journey. Now, it’s time to continue on with the next segment. Because there are so many places we touched and so many photos, we have no choice. Sharing the entire journey in one page would not give it sufficient justice.

To be honest even this is not half of our own travelogue. However on the web it will be challenging to put in too much content. Audiences these days might not have the attention span we’d hope for. Besides, it was our journey and naturally we’d feel special about it. Perhaps for the reader it will feel different.

In any case, you might want to know that this segment Part II of our journey share how we crossed over to Israel from Jordan. It was not an easy crossing, which took hours. But eventually we made it through! A lot of things are misunderstood by folks from outside the region, and we cannot profess to correct them. Rather, one should have an open mind and make this journey to see it for yourself.

We enjoyed the week thoroughly, from tracing the trail of the prophets to floating on the dead sea (it was cold!). It was a fulfilling journey completing one more bucket list item. Now we can retire from traveling. LOL. Nah. You serious?  Heheh… ok no more talking to ourselves. Click in the link above and tell give us your comments!

Have you been to Israel?

Land of the prophets – Part I

You know this was an epic journey. One that for us took a few years to finally make it. Yes!! We have finally placed our handprints on Jordan and Israel. Being able check off the bucket list item was one of our dreams come through.

Million dollar step 6
Finally captured this vision ourselves!

The journey itself cannot be said to be tough, since we were protected, escorted, chaperoned and guided throughout the entire two weeks. All because we stick out like a sore thumb as Asians touring the middle east.

As you might know we started with Jordan. And in this post, we will share with you the link to part I of our captured itinerary. You know all about anticipation. Before you go and actually see a place for yourself, you have all sorts of images in your head and feelings about the place you are about to touch.

Sometimes, these feelings and images may have an anti-climatic effect when you finally get there. But not this one. For indeed Petra is as spectacular as they say, and as wondrous as it looks on IG. It was so awesome that we can only encourage you to make the same journey as we did and touch it for yourselves.

It was not a marathon, but we were determined to make the most of the time we had at the site that we almost clocked the distance. Ok. Half of it. The point being; how often is one going to be back in this wonderful location in the middle of a largely parched land? You know as we do.

Have you been to Petra? Don’t you think it is an incredible piece of heritage and history that should be protected?

A tale of zwei schlossen

Some people write about two cities. We write about two castles.

For one of the privileges of living in Europe is the proximity one is to such numerous fortifications, some of which can just be around the corner from where one lives. Ok. So we exaggerate about these sights being “op de hoek” as the Dutch say.

Today we want to compare two sites.

Of the many that we’ve visited in Germany, we were not more struck by the contrast then these two. Both started out as fortifications, and served those purposes well. But one came to glamour while the other languished. What could have been the deciding factor that led to such different outcomes? Read all about the comparison here.

Which castle would you prefer?

Did you read the story? If you did, we hope you’d be inspired to be the castle that you wish to be, whatever the circumstances. Sometimes life does not deal the best set of cards to one. It’s how you play your hand over a period of time that ultimately determines if you can form a royal flush. But don’t be flushed just because you did not have a full house. Because having it straight is wonderful too as is having three of a kind. Of course if nothing else then two pairs could be consolation.

We could not even form two pairs when we first started.

Do you enjoy castle ‘collecting’? We do, and surely made the most of the opportunities afforded to us when we lived in Holland. And with that we conclude our series on Germany. Now we’d move over to Italy next, but as you know we’ve just come back two months ago from the land of the prophets. Time to share the journalogs next.

Look out for them soon!

The Schwarzwald

Not quite the Cotwolds but sounding a little similar, this refers to a forest. Where? Why in the southwestern corner of Germany! Today we are reminiscing our road trip to this verdant part of the country. One which we had sped all the way from Amsterdam in order to make the most time out of.

Black forest.

They have a cake named after it. But was it really black? Or perhaps a dark shade of green? Walking or hiking in the woods seem to be a very popular pastime for quite many German people. And here folks from around the world that share the same will find paradise. But it did not mean that for us non hiking folks there would be nothing to see and do.

For one thing, booking a stay in the forested mountains with its crisp cool and clean air was not only refreshing for the body, but also for the mind. Besides, some places offer you the chance to unwind and disconnect from the virtual world if only for a few days. Away from the humdrum of a busy city life, one can truly contemplate its true meaning. ommm… heheh.

For yourself that is, for to each their own. No two persons would be exactly the same no?

Yes it was a philosopical trip as much as it was a touristic journey. We went cuckoo for a few days. Wanna know why? Why not read about it here? Do you enjoy walking in the forests?