About Me

My photo
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I am married to my loving husband for more than 38 years now. I am a mother to 3 beautiful children, until 11 years ago when I lost my youngest son. Since then my life is forever altered but yet unbroken....

My Travel Journal

"There isn't much I haven't shared with you along the road and through it all there'd always be tomorrow's episode" - Elton John

I started traveling around the world since early 80s when I had the opportunity to combine business trips with vacations. Then later when my rezeki is in abundance, there were numerous other trips along the way for vacations, most of the time with hubby and the kids when the timing is right. I have also started to compile the journal and photo-pages covering almost more than 25 years of world wide travel. Some destinations I visited just once, others many times. Many of those places are the obvious famous places people would like to visit but some, the casual traveler doesn't even think to try. I have placed links to my travel at the side bar of my personal page, My Life Reflections, and will be updating them from time to time.

My wish is to continue my travel and complete circumnavigate the globe, insyaAllah…

Friday, 22 June 2001

Zurich, Switzerland 2001 - The Little Big City...

"The days you are most uncomfortable are the days you learn the most about yourself..." - Mary L Bean

Zurich, Switzerland
(21 - 23 June 2001)

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, with a population of some 364,500 in the city proper and close to 1 million in the agglomeration area. Zurich is on Lake Zurich, where the lake meets the Limmat River, in the north of Switzerland.

As Zurich is the central node of the Swiss-wide train network and also runs the biggest and busiest international airport of the country, it generally is the first place for tourists to go to. Because of the city's close distance to tourist resorts in the Swiss Alps and its mountainous scenery, it often gets referred to as the "portal to the alps".

Zurich has long been known for being clean and efficient. Due to this, it has been continuously ranked as the city with the highest living standard world-wide for many years. However, it is only for the last ten years has it truly become a fascinating and worthwhile travel destination. This is mostly thanks to the liberalization of the cultural, party and gastronomy sectors. An increasingly cosmopolitan population has helped, as well, though Geneva remains Switzerland's most culturally heterogeneous city.

The Zurich dialect of German (which sounds very different from standard German) is the city's main spoken language, a relatively peculiar type of Swiss German, but speakers of this dialect invariably also understand and speak standard German. Many people will understand English, French, or Italian as well.

Monday, 18 June 2001

Barcelona, Spain 2001 - The City of Gaudi...

"Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday..."

Barcelona, Spain
(17 - 20 June 2001)

In 2001, I went to Spain twice. Early of the year we had a long holiday venturing Spain and Portugal with the three children. Later of the year, I followed hubby for a short business trip. On the way back, we stopped over in Zurich.
Barcelona is Spain's second largest city and the capital of Catalonia, one of the 17 regions that form Spain. The city has a wealth of unique historic architecture and has emerged as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Barcelona is an unforgettable city of art, culture and beauty. Gaudi's works, museums, concerts and FC Barcelona’s football team homeland. If you walk along the Ramblas, you will enjoy street musicians, living statues, hustlers and just plain loonies.
You can choose to hop onto the Tramvia Blau for a tram trip up to the top of Tibidabo and take in the magnificent sights of the city below you. Shopping can be done along the Passeig de Gracia, at the most well known boutiques in Barcelona. Later, you can a sunset drink at a chiringuito bar on the Barceloneta beach, then after dark, join the locals for pub crawling at the Barri Gotic for a huge selection of tapas bars and cafés.
La Rambla. The most famous boulevard in Barcelona stretches from the harbor to La Placa Catalunya running through the Ciutat Vella like a spine. Come here to see the street performers jump out at unsuspecting tourists, enjoy the flower and pet stalls, or just sit back and watch all of Barcelona walk by. During the day, La Rambla is packed with tourists, at night, the locals come out as well.
Bull-fighting – We had the opportunity to watch bull-fight show, basically a dance with death - one wrong move and the Matador could become the victim instead of the bull. It is the Matador's job to make this dance dramatic and enjoyable for the audience.'

Sunday, 7 January 2001

London, England 2001 - The smokey City...

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love..." - Rumi

(On a hop-on Hop-off bus)

From Madrid we transited Heathrow and with the kids took the train to London town and get a tour of London at night.

(Baker Street station)

Picture taken in the sub-way while waiting for the train to take us back to Heathrow Airport.

(Sara, Iwan and Ja - feeling cool)

We were too late for Madam Tussod's tour but still had time to take pictures around the area...

(Airport duty-free shops)

Last minute shopping at the airport before we boarded the plane back to Malaysia...

Friday, 5 January 2001

Cabo da Roca, Portugal 2001 - The Westernmost point of Europe...

"The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles..."
(The Atlantic Ocean in the background)
Cabo da Roca (Cape Roca) is a cape which forms the westernmost point of both mainland Europe and mainland Portugal. The cape is in the Portuguese municipality of Sintra, west of Lisbon district, and also forms the westernmost extent of the Serra de Sintra 40 kilometres west of the city of Lisbon. The cliff rises out of the Atlantic Ocean to approximately 140 metres above sea level.
(The lighthouse at the cape)
(The westernmost point of Europe)
Cabo da Roca was known to the Romans as Promontorium Magnum and during the Age of Sail as the Rock of Lisbon. A 16th century Portuguese poet described Cabo da Roca as the place "where the land ends and the sea begins”.
The cape's lighthouse and a tourist shop sit on top of the cliff. Construction of the lighthouse was completed in 1772, and the structure rises 144 meters in height above the cape. The cape is a popular tourist attraction, and the site features a monument with a crucifix bearing an inscription in Portuguese…
(Cool windy day at the cape)
(The strong waves among the rocks)

Lisbon, Portugal 2001 - Portugal's capital city...

"Surround yourself with those who see greatness in you, even when you don't see it in yourself..."
(Monument to the Discoveries)
Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal. Lisbon was under Roman rule from 205 BC, when it was already a 1000 year old town. Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, it was captured by Moors in the 8th century. In 1147, the Crusaders reconquered the city for the Christians and since then it has been a major political, economic and cultural center of Portugal.
(By the Tagus River)
Unlike most capital cities, Lisbon's status as the capital of Portugal has never been granted or confirmed officially – by statute or in written form. Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the Constitution of Portugal.
(The Belem Tower)
The capital of Portugal sits at the point where the River Tagus feeds into the Atlantic, just about as far west as you can go without getting your feet wet. Being built on seven hills, it has plenty of vantage points from which to contemplate the distant horizons that called the Portuguese explorers in the country’s golden age during the 16th century, when it was the hub of commerce with the far east and gold poured into Lisbon’s coffers from the new west.
(A family photo at Belem Tower)
Spread across steep hillsides that overlook the Rio Tejo, Lisbon offers all the delights you’d expect of Portugal’s star attraction, yet with half the fuss of other European capitals. Gothic cathedrals, majestic monasteries and quaint museums are all part of the colourful cityscape, but the real delights of discovery lie in wandering the narrow lanes of Lisbon’s lovely backstreets...
(Exploring Lisbon)

Fatima, Portugal 2001 - The Lady of the Rossary...

'"In the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take..."
(A visit to a winery)

Fatima is a city in Portugal famous for the religious visions that took place there in 1917. The town is located in the municipality of Ourém, in the Centro Region and sub region of Medio Tejo.
(A very wet day at the Basilica)
Fátima's claim to fame is the shrine called the Basilica, built to commemorate the events of 1917 when three peasant children claimed to have seen the "Virgin of the Rosary", The Lady of Fátima. When the children asked for her name, she said "I am The Lady of The Rosary". The children experienced the purported Marian apparitions in a pasture called the Cova da Iria.

Coimbra, Portugal 2001 - The Oldest University in Europe...

"Many of life's failure are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up..." - Thomas Edison
(A visit to the oldest University)
The historic city of Coimbra is located in central Portugal, 195 km north of Lisbon. It is set by the Mondego River, about 40 km east of Figueira da Foz, a neighbour coastal city with several beaches, summer and seaport facilities on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Just outside the municipality, there are also several picturesque mountain towns, spa towns and villages.
(Heavy rain at the University)
It served as the country's capital during the First Dynasty (12th Century) and remains home to the University of Coimbra, the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world and one of the oldest in Europe.

Wednesday, 3 January 2001

Salamanca, Spain 2001 - A European Cultural Capital...

"The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes..." - Benjamin Disraeli
(A rest on a bench at Plaza Mayor)

Home to 180,000 inhabitants, this culturally rich city that is located in the mid west of Spain (Castilla y Leon region). Within a central location, you can discover many of Salamanca's cultural and historical sites, from Plaza Mayor, the 16th century Convento de San Esteban, the Renaissance palace Palacio Anaya, Casa de las Conchas, Iglesia de la Purisima church and the Renaissance court, Monasterio de los Irlandeses.
(A walking tour in Salamanca)
Salamanca has been declared the 'City of Mankind's Heritage' by UNESCO and named the 'European Cultural Capital'. In this city, Castilian Spanish (pure Spanish) is widely spoken, and over 30 percent of its population are Spanish students, making it an ideal location for studying Spanish.
(UNESCO Heritage Site)
This 'university town' has the oldest university in Spain and one of the oldest universities in the world. Immerse in Salamanca's Spanish culture, literature and history within the surroundings of cathedrals, plazas, convents, palaces, and churches.

Seville, Spain 2001 - The Legendary Don Juan...

"By becoming the answer to someone's prayer, we often find the answer to our own..."
(Plaza de Espana)

Seville certainly is one of the most beloved places by visitors to Spain. Although today Moorish influence is architectonically most evident - Andalusia was occupied by Moors for about 800 years - it has been a cultural center long before. The fertility of this land and its favorised climate with mild winters and about 3000 hours of sun per year. Later came Romans, like almost to any place in Europe, and two of their emperors, Trajan and Hadrian, in fact were born here.
(Iwan at the Plaza de Espana)

Also later on Seville was the home of famous and infamous figures of history, the legendary "Don Juan" started from here to conquer the hearts of women across all Europe, while Columbus started from a port close to Seville to discover a new world.
' '
(Parque de Maria Luisa)

'When you visit this city, you are in the very heart of Andalusian culture, the center of bullfighting and Flamenco music. Take yourself time and take life easy, as Andalusians use to do, and interrupt sightseeing from time to time to have a few tapas, those typical small spanish dishes, and a cup of coffee in one of the probably thousands of bars in this city.

(Strolling along the quaint cobblestone lanes) 

'Seville is a city where one feels at ease anyway, just being there or having a stroll through it's tipical districts, frequently with narrow streets, like Santa Cruz, Triana or the Alameda de Hércules district.The streets, the air and the people give a sense of joy, passion and life, due to the fact that there is people out on the street at almost any time, thanks to the many hours of sun.

(Ready to board the ferry for the River Cruise)

Tuesday, 2 January 2001

Granada, Spain 2001 - The Moorish jewel...

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you..." - Maya Angelou

Granada is one of the pearls of Spain, most visited by tourists from all the world. The long-time capital of Moorish Andalusia has to offer the most important reminds of this epoch in Spanish history, with the world-famous "Alhambra" at the top of the list.

(The Quranic verses on the wall)

Walk through beautiful gardens, charming narrow streets filled with flowers, sit down in one of those typical taverns, and breath the centuries of history around you anywhere. There are gypsies singing "Flamenco", and don't miss to visit their famous "Cuevas" - caves - in the mountain of the monastery of Sacromonte where some of them really live still nowadays making magnificent artisany. Granada's popular festivals, based as well on Moorish as Christian tradition, are most attractive.omage to Toledo's Damascene swords and knives, colorful pottery, and almond-paste marzipan.
(Islamic historical legacy)

The city is located at the foot of the "Sierre Nevada", Spain's highest mountain-massif with great possibilities for winter-sports. The highest peak, "Mulhacén" arrives to 3478 meters. On the other hand it is not far from the Mediterranean sea, so Granada is a great place to visit in any season.
(Sara, Iwan and Ja in the Al-Hambra, Granada)

The Alhambra is not only the most important, but also the best conserved Arabian palace of its epoch. The name Alhambra means "the red one" and refers to the color of the mountain on which it is built. There are two entrance doors, in the north the Puerta de las Armas and in the south the Puerta de la Justicia.
(Al-Hambra beautiful gardens)

Toledo, Spain 2001 - A small fortificated town...

"The strongest people are not hose who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about..."

(Sara, Iwan and Ja in Toledo)

Toledo is one of the most important centers of european medieval history. The fortification has always been an important parameter in its history, still evident to today's tourist for the monumental walls around, and the "Swords of Toledo" gave to its steel-production world-wide fame. It was capital of Spain from the Gothic epoch until 1560, fact that explains its really impressive medieval architecture. Walking through its streets one feels like having stepped back into the Middle-Ages, but in the best sense of it, and perhaps you will search your pockets for a few gold-ducats to buy some of Toledo's fine artisan or just to enjoy of its highly recommendable cuisine.

(The fortified City)

The Alcazar: A fortification has been on this site since Romen times. In 1936 Franco's forces took refuge here and the Alcazar was almost completely destroyed. A museum today, it is a good place to start your visit to Toledo.

(Enough of souvenir shopping)

Modern-day Toledo may be marred by swarms of tourists and caravans of kitsch, but it remains a treasure trove of Spanish culture. The city's numerous churches, synagogues, and mosques share twisting alleyways, emblematic of a time when Spain's three religions coexisted peacefully. Visitors pay monetary Granada is one of the pearls of Spain, most visited by tourists from all the world. The long-time capital of Moorish Andalusia has to offer the most important reminds of this epoch in Spanish history, with the world-famous "Alhambra" at the top of the list.

(Ja and a falling tree)

Monday, 1 January 2001

Madrid, Spain 2001 - A city of diversity and contrast...

"The greatest act of faith some days is to simply get up and face another day..."

Spain & Portugal
(29 December 2000 - 5 January 2001)

We were supposed to have a family holiday in Disneyland but some how it was changed to Spain and Portugal instead because of some clashes in dates...

(A shopping spree)

Madrid, with a population of just under three million, is Europe’s fourth largest city – after London, Paris and Milan – and its highest capital, at 650m above sea level. The repression and torpor of the Franco era (1939–75) are now all but forgotten by Madrileños who, perhaps more than any other Spaniards, are determined to live life to the fullest. The craving for conspicuous enjoyment, not to mention the 2800 hours of annual sunshine, turn the streets into bustling centres of public display.

(Sara, iwan and Ja having a good time)

Madrid’s infectious and colourful fiestas punctuate the year, with each district trying to outdo the other in its celebrations. The highlights include Feast of the Three Kings, Carnival, the religious processions of Holy Week, the San Isidro festival in May, the beginning of the bullfighting season and New Year’s Eve, when the Puerta del Sol becomes the focal point during several hours of uninhibited partying. Visitors should also look out for the major cultural festivals, notably the Veranos de la Villa in summer and the autumn Festival de Otoño, embracing film, dance, theatre and music of every description. Although Madrid’s climate is more extreme than other Spanish locations, the warm dry summers and cool winters still allow for many alfresco activities.

(Chilly weather in the evening)

Madrid becomes capital only in the second half of the 16th century, but it oozes a vitality and character that rarely fails to move. In no other European capital will you find the city centre so thronged so late into the night, as though some unwritten law forbade sleeping before dawn.Madrid has always been a city of immigrants and transients, and the result is an unusually open and accessible city. Ambitious programs to modernise the city are afoot, but the gatos (locals) of Madrid can rest assured that their town remains as refreshingly unlike Paris, London or Rome as ever. 

(A cool winter night)