Milanese Chic

The definition of being chic is to be stylish and elegant. Many a blogger out there have combined their travel stories with their OOTD. And nowhere have you gotta do this more in the city of Milan. Why?

Simply because it is a fashion capital that not only rivals its peers but also boasts of being a key sartorial hub.

Heheh… new word… Sartorial, NOT satirical. In case you are wondering about this new word yet again, it refers to the art of tailoring. Yeah we do research a little for our posts… For you see, fashion is not just on the drawing board (well computers these days), but also in the actual making of the outfit. While it may appear great on sketch, it might be less so in real life. So the tailor brings a sketch design to life, so to speak. No runway model will ever don a sketch…

Oh man that’s deep. What’s gotten into us recently?

Because we (ie Mel) came here on occasion for business when we lived in Holland, we had the good fortune to combine it with leisure. And it was definitely a city that Suan misses a lot, for she was truly at home in the boutiques that line the shopping streets of the city. Like they were everywhere in the city. It appeared like an infestation! Though Mel would not be too bothered to return since he had a bad experience. Wanna know what it was? Why not read all about that here?

Have you been to Milan? What did you like about the capital of fashion? Are you a fashionista?

Under the sunny Tuscan Sun

Heheh… inspiration for this title from somewhere… though we modified it a little. Like Xiaomi with the Mi-Pad… So you all know about Tuscany right? We assume that you know while Italy is said to be the country where the renaissance sprang forth, it was really in the city of Florence where the engines apparently were. Ok so debate with us about that…

For you see the Tuscan sun appeared to have set off a spark.

This spark ignited first a small fire. A fiery passion for learning and discovery. From which grew the vines of institutions, established by hot blooded patrons (read Medicis). It might be callous to say that it is obvious, but it should be. For this melange of talented & machiavellian individuals, powerful political patrons in a period of economic resurgence helped transform and propel medieval Europe out of her slumber towards the modern age. Of course a lot of money and power helped.

Waah. Chim siah = deep huh? Suppose we are in knee deep of ink water (墨水) today. For red dotters, don’t be ‘stunned like vegetable’ ok? Heheh…

This was the final leg of our round-the-boot tour of Italy from many a year back (here). And it was go…ood (try pulling and emphasizing this). For it had led us to the beautiful cities of Florence, Siena and Pisa. Yes we helped to hold up the leaning tower with our bare hands (and eye power), imagined riding the horses on the Palio and pretended to have made some sketches with Leonardo (not the turtle).

Did you not do any of that when you were there? In Tuscany we mean. What were you doing then?

P.S: Happy all fools day! Enjoy spoofing one another!

Warping through time in Italy

There are certainly many many corners of Italy that we’ve yet to touch. And we had hoped to cover as much ground as possible being part of a group tour that drove south towards Naples and eventually back up towards Venice.

This is a recount of one part of that journey. One that took us so tantalizingly close to the southern half of Italy that we’ve sworn since then to return. Only to have deferred it repeatedly because the siren call of so many other destinations put us into a trance of sort, preventing us from getting back to Italy. Well, maybe we did get back a few times… Anyway the point is; Italy is a land where one can truly “see” in time warp. Who knows what you might find there amidst the Roman era ruins. Perhaps erotic art? Does that prick you interest?

What do we mean?

Well you know that Rome was the seat of the mighty Roman civilization. Now that’s ancient. Would you also know that Italy was the home birthplace of the renaissance? Despite not being a unified country for almost 1385 years (if we use fall of Rome in 476AD as a start point), it produced some of the most acclaimed artists, scientists and humanists of Europe during that time.

Why not join us in this recount, as we share with you our journey from Rome to Naples (Napoli for Italianos) and its beautiful environs. One that will make you wish you could quit your job and become a traveler (wanna get certified?). Would you if you could?

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?

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?