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…

Sunday, 26 September 2004

Dubai, UAE 2004 - The City of Gold...



"Not all those who wander are lost..." - J R R Tolkien

September 26, 2004
City of Gold

(Burj Al Arab)

Dubai is a city of contrast, where the old and new, traditional and modern blend to produce a fascinating and exciting place. A colorful mixture of people and cultures bring to the city a unique combination of influences. Last night we had a good rest. This morning, with the help of the concierge we went to Meena Bazaar at Bur Dubai for a shopping spree. This area is noted as Dubai’s bargain area. The streets are lined with stores selling textile. Bought quite a variety of materials for everyone that we could think of. Even had some sent to the tailor to be collected before we go back to KL. Went to the nearby Al-Fahidi Fort, which houses the Dubai Museum. The museum displays colorful and evocative diodramas, complete with life-size figure, sound and light effects. Quite impressive. I had my hand henna-painted there.

In the evening we joined the City tour. The route took us through the fascinating city where modern buildings tower over historical monuments and traditional dwellings. Stopped at the Gold Souk and bought two gold bracelets and a diamond ring. It was sunset when we reached the sandy beach of Jumeriah, and Jumeriah Mosque is beautiful by day and by night. Stopped for photo shots of Burj Al-Arab, the award-winning hotel that combines contemporary architecture with rich culture of the Middle East.The tour took 4 hours to complete and by the time we reached our apartment we were famished. Had briani dinner at Ghurair City Mall.

Shopper’s Paradise
'
(The National Museum)

This morning we promised to meet my nephew Nor Azhar at Deira City Center at 10.30 a.m. He would be flying back to KL tomorrow evening. This would be his last flight with MAS. Effective October he will be joining the Etihad Airways, the new National Airline for UAE. Most probably Niza and their kids will be joining him in Abu Dhabi once he has settled accommodation and education arrangements.Nor brought us to Naif district where we met up with a few MAS crew members at one of their favorite restaurants. Together we went to Phulwani Textile shop and had a good bargain. The prices were reasonably cheap and the cloth materials ranged from cool printed cottons to exotic brocades. Fortunately shops closed at 12.30 noon and to open again at 4.00 p.m. If not, would need to buy extra bags for the excess baggage.

September 27, 2004
The Arabian adventures


(Riding the camel in the desert)


Pick-up time for the Desert Safari was around 4.30 p.m. The vehicles used for the desert tour were Land Cruisers and driven by well-experienced drivers. Could feel the rush of adrenalin as our safari drivers took us on an hour-long ride amidst ever-shifting sand dunes. Compared to the desert in Mekkah and Madinah, desert in Dubai was more captivating and breathtaking.The ride ended atop the highest sand mountain where we had a wonderful view of the desert sun slowly sinking into the horizon. One could marvel eternally at the magnificent sunset. We continued our journey to the Bedouin campsite where we got a chance to ride the camel. Enjoyed a cup of hot tea as we waited for a sumptuous Arabian barbecue. Later, I tried another round of henna painting around the wrist, and he got himself tattooed too. While lounging on Persian rugs and cushions, we were entertained by a belly dancer moving to the rhythm of Arabic folk music.That night the moon was full. In the middle of the desert, one could feel moments of magic, an experience that would live forever in my memory.

September 28, 2004
End of Emirates Holidays


(Taking a stroll around town)

Waited for the tailor to deliver my Punjabi suits and his pants to the apartment. While waiting, had breakfast at Kudu restaurant at Ghurair City Mall. We checked out at 1 p.m. Took a cab to the airport, where we claimed a one-day refund from the travel agent and stored our baggage. From the airport took a cab to Meena Bazaar to collect another 2 tailored blouses from the textile shop. Later, at the Deira City Centre we bought another bag and while away our time window shopping.At the airport, bought us Armani perfume at a discount. Met some Malaysian transiting from Rabat. Our flight to KL was at 2.15 a.m.

September 29, 2004
Togetherness is Happiness


(Dubai International Airport)

The flight landed at KLIA around 4 p.m. Bought some chocolates for the kids. Passed by the customs easily with a wave. Told them that we just came back from Umrah, to justify the so many bags. Solat first before we took the ERL. Sara and Saufi were already waiting for us at KL Sentral. We were glad to be home. Glad that the 3 ikan kaloi were still alive and active. Glad that my Spectra and his Honda Shadow could start on a single attempt. We treated ourselves to a special dinner at Sri Thai. The tomyam and ikan siakap masak tiga rasa were so very delicious.

We were tired but happy. And left the unpacking till tomorrow.
'

Monday, 20 September 2004

Makkah, Saudi Arabia 2004 - Our 6th Umrah and Ziarah trip...

"It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters, in the end..." - Ernest Hemingway

Makkah al-Mukarramah)
(19 25 September 2004)

Sunday, September 19, 2004
The state of ihram
'
By 2.30 p.m. everyone was ready in their ihram to start the journey to Mekkah. Miqat at Bir Ali. Performed the solat sunat ihram and niat for the umrah. Ustaz lead the group to recite the talbiyah together.

Here I am at your service,
Oh Lord, here I am - here I am. 
No partner do you have. 
Here I am.
Truly, the praise and the favor are yours,
And the dominion. 
No partner do you have.

It was quite a long journey. Need to stop for prayers and dinner along the way. Reached Hotel Farah, Mekkah around 9.30 p.m. After settling the rooms and baggage, went to Mesjid-el-Harram through Babul-Salam with the niat for ittikaf while constantly reciting the talbiyah. Performed the tawaf around the Kaabah and the sa’ee between Safa and Marwah. Completed our first umrah with the tahlul.

Alhamdulillah…

Monday, September 20, 2004
Tannaim - Wholeness with God

(Masjidil Haram Makkah)

While the rest of the group wanted to rest today, we took a van and paid 5 Rial each to go to Tannaim. Completed our umrah around 10 a.m.

Every time we completed the tawaf, we solat in front of the Multazam and recited our doa together. We prayed that Allah would grant us goodness in this world, and goodness in the hereafter and save us from the punishment of the fire. We asked Allah, for beneficial knowledge and abundance in provision, and cure from every ailment.

And in front of the Ka’abah we promised that we would love and care for each other forever. And we believed that this would be a place and time when our prayers would be heard and accepted.

True love is a sacred flame
That burns eternally,
And none can dim its special glow
Or change its destiny.
'

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Search of solitude

By 6.30 a.m. everyone was ready to go for ziarah to the religious and historic sites around Mekkah. And at the end of the ziarah we would be going to Ja’ranah for Miqat for those who want to perform the umrah. I was quite surprised and disappointed to see that none in our group want to perform the umrah today. Not even the Ustaz. They had actually rested whole day yesterday!We stopped at the foot of Jabal Thor and Mount Hira, which is sometimes called Jabal Nur. Mount Hira contained a cave that Prophet Muhammad would go to in search of solitude.

Visited padang Arafah and Jabal Rahmah. Some of the ladies got a chance to ride the camel and had some photo shots. We passed Mudzalifah and did not stop at the three Jamraat at Mina as they were under construction. We solat sunat ihram and niat for our Umrah at Ja’ranah mosque. Completed our Umrah near noon. Tonight we slept quite late. Earlier I was feeling very very sad…

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Tannaim - Listen to my prayer

(Masjid Aisyah Tannaim)

We went to Tannaim for our 4th umrah. Today, in front of the ka’abah I was feeling very lonely and sad...

Thursday, September 23, 2004
Sumptuous massage

In the morning, we followed Ustaz and the rest of the group to Tannaim. Completed our 5th Umrah. After Asar, we were supposed to go to Hudaibiah but because of a miscommunication between Ustaz and the driver, the plan was cancelled. As we were already in ihram, we took another van to Tannaim. The rest took this opportunity to go shopping. Completed our 6th Umrah after isya’. Later, a session of soothing deep tissue massage helped relaxed our tired muscles. Tonight, though dead tired, we slept quite late feeling unperturbed and happy.

Friday, September 24, 2004
Hudaibiah - The peace treaty

(Masjid Hudaibiah with the Imam)

Rested well in the morning. Went to the mosque early. Lately, the air-conditioned area has been our favorite spot. At least we could sit and recite the Quran together without being disturbed by the Mosque’s officials. When it was near noon, the Mosque was packed with jemaah who came from all over Mekkah to perform the solat Jumaat.After Asar every body gathered at the lobby. The journey to Hudaibiah was quite interesting. The driver stopped at a few historical places and narrated the history, in Arabic. We learned about the Treaty of Hudaibiah, between Muslims and the enemies. We understood the jeez of the story. Would not be surpised if some facts were lost during the impromptu translation.

(The Camel Farm Hudaibiah)

Visited one of the camel farms. Some have the opportunity to drink fresh camel’s milk. We bought a bottle to taste later. Along the way, stopped at the Muzium but it was closed because of Friday. Visited the place where they made the tapestry for the kiswah for kaabah. Miqat at Hudaibiah Mosque, solat sunat ihram and niat. Completed our 7th umrah after Isya’.Thronged along with the crowd at the souk with nothing special in mind to buy. Need to start packing our things tonight.

Saturday, September 25, 2004
Goodbye, we'll be back

(After zohor prayer and tawaf wida')

After breakfast, went to Tannaim to miqat for our last umrah for the season. Went for last minute shopping after completed our 8th Umrah. After zohor performed the tawaf wida to say goodbye. In front of the Kaabah we solat and doa together and Insya-Allah we will come back to this holy land again in two years time. And again in front of the Kaabah we exchanged our vows, we promised to each other that our love would remain true forever…

(The floating mosque by the Red Sea)

Because of some technical reasons, we started to Jeddah quite late. Almost lost our passports this time. Had time to stop for a short while at the Floating Mosque at the Red Sea for solat and some photos. The flight to Dubai was at 8.45 p.m. Reached Dubai around 1 a.m. The rest of the group took the next flight to KL. For the next three days we are going to explore Dubai, one of the world’s most exotic destination.

Friday, 17 September 2004

Madinah, Saudi Arabia 2004 - Our 6th Umrah and Ziarah Trip...

"Travel brings power and love back into your life..." - Rumi

Madinah al-Munawarah
(16 - 19 September 2004)

'THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2004
KL - Dubai

We went to KL Sentral by cab and later took the ERL. Met Senator Ubai and her delegation. They were going to Turkey on an early morning flight. Promised to contact each other after our trips. We would be away for nearly 2 weeks. To the three kids, we sms before boarding. None were able to come. Sara was sitting for her exam today. Iwan, just came back to KL last week and Ja was in Kuantan. There were 12 in our group led by Haji Husni. He was with TH Travels before. Had dealt with him several times for our previous Umrah packages.

Reached Dubai International Airport around 1 a.m. The airport was still very busy. It took a while to clear the Immigration and baggage. We were transported to Millennium Hotel for one night transit.

We had enough time to rest. Our onward flight to Jeddah would be at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2004
On a sacred path

(Masjid Nabawi Madinah)

We had heavy breakfast at the Hotel restaurant. A few of them chartered a taxi for a private tour around Dubai. Today being a Friday, all shops were practically closed. We decided to stay in the hotel and collected some brochures from the travel agent. Will have ample time to go round and shop during our stopover after the Umrah trip later.

Our flight from Dubai to Jeddah was at 5 p.m. Had to wait a while at Jeddah International Airport until Ustaz sorted out the transport for us. From Jeddah, we traveled by van to Madinah. We were lucky to travel at night. The weather outside was quite unbearable.

Reached Andalus Plaza Hotel around 2 a.m. Managed to get a few hours of sleep before the call of the first azan for subuh prayer could be heard from Masjid Nabawi.
'
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2004
Gardens of Jannah


(The courtyard of Masjid Nabawi)

Had breakfast right after subuh prayer. The van was already waiting for us for the ziarah. We visited Jabal Uhud and Maqam Saidina Hamzah. Recited doa for the shuhada’. Did solat sunat at Mesjid-el-Quba’, the first mosque of the muslim and at Mesjid-el-Qiblatain, the mosque where the qiblat was changed from Baitul-Muqaddis to Kaabah. At the end of the ziarah stopped at ladang kurma and the tamar souk for a little shopping spree.

After the zuhur prayer promised the ladies to bring them to Maqam Rasulullah and the Raudhah. We were lucky as the crowd was less compared to in the morning. The ziarah to the sacred court of Rasulullah was indeed among the greatest blessings and fortunes for all Muslims. After doa at the Maqam, I took the opportunity to recite the salam from family and friends.

May Allah fill our hearts with the true love of Rasulullah, a love which will manifest itself in our practical life in the assertion and dominance of the Sunnah. Amin…

Rasulullah said, “Between my home and my Mimbar is a garden of the Gardens of Jannah."

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2004
The state of ihram

(Masjid Bir Ali for miqat)

The group gathered in the morning to ziarah the Kubur Baqi’. The fenced-up area was the most sanctified graveyard of Madinah, where friends of Rasulullah and Ahlul Bayt were buried. Inside Baqi’, women's graves were marked by two headstones and men's by one stone. After the visit went to perform the ziarah wida’ to say goodbye to Rasulullah and solat sunat at the Raudhah.

By 2.30 p.m. everyone was ready in their ihram to start the journey to Mekkah. Miqat at Bir Ali. Performed the solat sunat ihram and niat for the umrah. Ustaz lead the group to recite the talbiyah together.
'
Here I am at your service,
Oh Lord, here I am - here I am.
No partner do you have. Here I am.
Truly, the praise and the favor are yours,
And the dominion. No partner do you have.

Saturday, 31 July 2004

Singapore 2004 - Lion City secret rendezvous...

"We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls..." - Anais Nin


Singapore 
(31 July - 2 August 2004)
Date: 31 July 2014
A weekend brief holiday


(A poster on the wall)

Drove to KLIA instead of taking the ERL from the Central. It will cost us less to park the car at the airport. The whole of next week I won't be seeing him. He will be away in Singapore, attending a course and some sort of certification. We planned to spend the weekend there together. Our flight was postponed to 4.55 p.m. While waiting, he managed to nap a while. He looked tired.We stayed in Rendezvous Hotel in Bras Basah. Quite a nice cozy hotel and a walking distance to the mosque and Shopping Malls. At night, walked along Orchard Road and had nasi briani and Mee goreng at the Mamak Restaurant. Although we were tired, we slept very late, talking while holding each other close, making full use of the little time he have together...

(A hop-on hop-off tour bus)

Date: 01 August 2004
Fireworks @ the Esplanade
'
(Directions on the side walk)
'
It was noon when we hauled ourselves out of bed. We had a good sleep last night. Had lunch at a nearby Mamak stall and alighted the hop-on bus to Suntex City. Bought us tickets for the Wacky Duck Tour. Later, walked to the Esplanade to watch the fireworks. Although it was only for a few minutes, the fireworks show was beutiful. Should have brought the camera but, we managed to snap some pictures with the phone. They are having fireworks again next week and the week after. Singapore is celebrating its 39th years of independence. Happy Birthday Singapore!
'
(Beautiful fireworks in the sky)
'
Date: 02 August 2004
Fire drills and goodbyes
'
(The Koi Garden)
'
The commotion outside the hotel room woke us up very early in the morning. There was a fire drill in the hotel this morning. The corridor was crowded with firemen with smoke masks and water hoses. Hotel staff running here and there and everywhere. We saw the red civil defense trucks and vans blocking the hotel entrance and exits. They were quite serious with the drill. Had a quick breakfast. The cab came at 8.00 a.m. and we kissed goodbye. Will be seeing him on Monday next week. The flight back was on schedule. Feeling sad and lonely…

Monday, 10 May 2004

Florence, Italy 2004 - Cradle of the Renaissance...

"In books I have travelled, not only to other worlds, but into my own..." - Anna Quindlen

(The Statue of David by Michelangelo)

A visit to Florence or Firenze is a must for any art lover. UNESCO estimates that 60% of the world’s most important artworks are in Italy, with over half of them located in Florence. Situated in the northwest of Italy, surrounded by the wine-growing hills of Chianti, the city attracts rapture and frustration in equal proportions. Few can dismiss the image of Brunelleschi’s cathedral dome bursting through the morning mist – a terracotta balloon hovering above the medieval rooftops.

(A day trip to Florence)
(A view of the city)
(The panoramic viewpoint)
(Terracotta-tiled Dome Cathedral)

Often called the cradle of the Renaissance, Florence owes much of her wealth to the Middle Ages. Banking became big business on the back of the city’s profitable wool trade and, in 1235, Florence minted the florin, the first gold coin to become standard currency across Europe. In their turn, these bankers commissioned some of the finest art and architecture in the city. The names Strozzi, Rucellai and Pitti can be found all over Florence but it was the Medici family – who led the city for over 300 years, off and on – that nurtured the greatest flowering of Renaissance art.

(Florence Cathedral)
(Masterpiece of the Renaissance)
(Intricate architeture)
(Many tourists visiting the cathedral)
(Santa Croce of Florence)

Then, as now, most of the action in Florence took place between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Signoria, the city’s civic heart. Here, in the historic centre, Dante – forefather of the Italian language – first glimpsed his muse, Beatrice. Here, the Florentine Republic rose and fell. And here, Savonarola’s Bonfire of the Vanities blazed. Florence, for all her timeless charm, is no stranger to destruction. In 1944, all her bridges, save the Ponte Vecchio, were bombed by the Nazis, in an attempt to stall the advance of the allies. In 1966, the banks of the River Arno burst, flooding the city with her muddied waters and devastating homes and artwork.

(Lunch at a local restaurant)
(One of the many historical statues)
(Early morning rain in Florence)
(Opportunity for shopping)
(An apron for souvenir)

Saturday, 8 May 2004

Isle of Capri, Italy 2004 - Spirit of a sweet life...

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not..." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Boarding a ferry to the Isle of Capri)

A day tour around the isle of Capri, Campania, Italy. Home of the famous Blue Grotto and Mount Solaro. Visit many museums and archaeological sites on this beautiful island.Only 5 Km of sea separate the Capri Island from the Punta Campanella on the tip of Sorrento Peninsula.

(The island viewed from the ferry)

The simple road network runs along the main axis between Capri and Anacapri with few side roads and can only be traveled by local residents; the island has just been declared a pedestrian zone, especially as a means of protecting the countryside. On the other hand, the narrow streets that thread their way through the island's towns are hardly suitable for traffic. The automobiles of non-residents are only allowed on the island off-season.

(Cable car ride on the island)

Charming local towns, extraordinary hospitality as well as excellent, well laid-out tourist facilities open the islands beautiful to its many visitors from all over the world. Capri's popularity with international tourist is due in good part to its rediscovery by some of the world's most famous writers.

(Waiting for the transport at the hotel lobby)

In addiction to its historic, literary and scenic wonders, Capri can be boast of excellent beaches, making it one of the world's leading swimming and climatic resorts.Getting around in this very beautiful island is mainly done on bike of walking, which in the end it works out cheaper on transport.

(The boats in the Marina)

Song of the Sea

Timeless sea breezes,
sea-wind of the night:
you come for no one;
if someone should wake,
he must be prepared
how to survive you.

Timeless sea breezes,
that for aeons have
blown ancient rocks,
you are purest space
coming from afar...

Oh, how a fruit-bearing
fig tree feels your coming
high up in the moonlight.

Thursday, 6 May 2004

Pompeii, Italy 2004 - A forgotten city...

"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world..." - Gustave Flaubert

(An archaeological finding)

A city slipped through time due to the violence of Mount Vesuvius smothering the buildings and its people in molten lava. A visit both amazing and disturbing in equal measure.In AD79, Vesuvius erupted and covered Pompeii with volcanic ash to a depth of about 10 m. Just when it looked as though things couldn't get any worse, Vesuvius exploded and sent a 100 mph avalanche of rock and hot gases hurtling towards Pompeii and other nearby towns. All those who had remained in Pompeii died. The event was recorded by Pliny the Younger, who saw the avalanche from his ship in the Bay of Naples.

(Temple of Apollo)
(Ancient Roman Temple)

Until Mount St. Helens erupted in 1981, everyone thought Pliny's account was fanciful, but his description of a black cloud hurtling towards Pompeii is now regarded as the first attempt to describe pyroclastic flow conditions. Most of Pompeii still remains hidden beneath the now farmed volcanic ash but those parts which have been excavated have revealed important information about Roman road building.

(A bronze statue in Pompeii)


Pompeii.
0 sad Pompeii!
0 dead Pompeii!
Silent are thy streets;
Heavy is thy winding sheet of ashes.
In the old time the sky was blue above thee.

Tuesday, 4 May 2004

Naples, Italy 2004 - Neapolitan way of life ...

"To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice..." - Elizabeth Gilbert

(The majestic Mount Vesuvius)

From the Neapolis founded by Greek settlers in 470 B.C. to the city of today, Naples has retained the imprint of the successive cultures that emerged in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. This makes it a unique site, with a wealth of outstanding monuments such as the Church of Santa Chiara and the Castel Nuovo.

(Naples with Mt Vesuvius in the background)

As one of Europe’s most densely populated areas, Naples is a real working city, with the sight of ramshackle pastel houses with washing strung over the narrow roads more common than impressive palaces or monuments. However, Naples and its surrounding areas offer some amazing highlights for visitors. Pompeii or Herculaneum, former Roman resorts buried by Vesuvius in 79AD offer a unique insight into Roman life. Plus Naples is also the starting point for one of the most amazing coast lines in Europe. The journey South to Amalfi, along hair-pin bend twisting roads offers beautiful, if not hair-raising views, with imperial mountains dominated by Mount Vesuvius leading down to cliff side villages perilously perching over an azure sea dotted with brightly coloured pleasure boats and fishing vessels.

(Twisting hair-pin roads serving the city)

Naples may not have the wealth and splendour of more Northern cities, but its people make up for it with a wealth of high spirits, and the streets are always filled with their passionate voices - until the silent hours between midday and 2 pm when the whole town seems to take a much needed 40 winks out of the sunshine. Naples is the home of wafer thin pizzas with the classic Neapolitan topping of locally produced mozzarella, tomatoes, anchovies, garlic and basil. Southern Italians have one of the world’s most healthy diets, with locally harvested seafood, olive oil, wine and fresh green vegetables on every menu.

(A city tour hop-on hop-off bus)

Dejection near Naples
'
The sun is warm, the sky is clear,
The waves are dancing fast and bright,
Blue isles and snowy mountains wear
The purple noon's transparent might,
The breath of the moist air is light,
Around its unexpanded buds;
Like many a voice of one delight,
The winds', the birds', the ocean floods',
The City's voice itself, is soft like Solitude's.


(P B Shelley)

Saturday, 1 May 2004

Rome, Italy 2004 - Tales of Romulus and Ramus...

"The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts..."

(Romulus and Ramus)

Situated on the River Tiber, between the Apennine Mountains and the Tyrrhenian Sea, the ‘Eternal City’ of Rome (Roma) was once the administrative centre of the mighty Roman Empire, governing a vast region that stretched from Britain to Mesopotamia. Today, it remains the seat of the Italian government and home to numerous ministerial offices but is superseded by Milan, in the industrial north, for business and finance.

(One of the Ancient Wonders of the world)
(UNESCO World Heritage Sites)

Ruins dating from Rome’s glory days lie within an area known as Roma Antica (Ancient Rome) and include the monumental Colosseum and the Foro Romano (Roman Forum) – a crumbling legacy of pagan temples, broken marble and triumphal arches. Buildings from the Renaissance period are concentrated within the centro storico (historic centre), situated between Via del Corso and the Tevere (River Tiber). Here, a labyrinth of narrow, winding, cobbled side streets opens out onto magnificent piazzas presided over by Baroque churches, regal palaces and exquisite fountains.

(At the Colosseum)
(A street entertainer)

The romantic Piazza Navona with Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, Piazza di Spagna and the sweeping Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain immortalised by Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1959), all lie within walking distance of each other. Modern life continues amid this theatre of breathtaking monuments, as thousands of years of history are animated by more recent innovations – sophisticated boutiques, rowdy pizzerias and a merry-go-round of cars, buses and mopeds. Across the river, to the west, lies the Vatican State – home to the Pope and spiritual centre of the Roman Catholic Church. South of the Vatican, one finds the bohemian quarter of Trastevere, packed with trattorie and small wine bars. Further south still is the Testaccio district, renowned for nightclubs and live music.

(A poster at the Museum)
(A painting at the Museum)

I was in Rome in January 2003 and visited Venice, too...