Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) Taiwan

Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) Taiwan

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Today we have a long journey from Kaohsiung to Taipei, after an early breakfast, our journey started at 8.00 a.m. It will take about 3 to 4 hours to reach Sun Moon Lake. We stop over at Salico Foods, to do some shopping and famous for the Pineapple Tarts and all our friends and relatives bought quick a  lot as gifts for friends.

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Amazed to see  the company spend a lot of monies on the building, it is a castle with  chess board drawn on the floor, a princess beautiful carriage for visitors and a group of tribe band playing and singing on the stage.

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We went  for the cruise at Sun Moon Lake, enjoy it as there ain’t so many tourists in the same boat. Sun Moon Lake is the largest body of water in Taiwan as well as a tourist attraction. Situated in Yuchi Township, Nantou County, the area around the Sun Moon Lake is home to the Thao tribe, one of aboriginal tribe in Taiwan. Sun Moon Lake surrounds a tiny island called Lalu. The east side of the lake resembles a sun while the west side resembles a moon.

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The area surrounding the lake has many trails for hiking. The lake and it surrounding countryside have been designated one of thirteen national scenic areas in Taiwan. There are a few temples around and we follow the trail to Syuanguang Temple.  There is a long flight of steps to climb as this temple is on top of the mountain. There are lot of tourists around here,  we stop to do some prayer and our way back to the ferry and to visit the next designation.

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Nert to a organic farm, we take a train ride around the park surrounded by a beautiful lake. Stop at the main entrance, we saw a few monks  so our friends lead us to the top of the building, a big statue of Guang Yin standing facing the lake and mountains.A serene and peaceful place and we have so much fun and laughter at this place. I have no idea what is the name for this place but we been taken into a museum where a few staff explain the process of nature plants extract made into soap, foot powder, facial soap and etc. Fascinating and each of us bought some soaps and foot powder and some facial skin care made of organic plant extract.

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The last place we been is the manufacture of color papers, we reached here quite late and the staff waited for us, They explain the machinery us to make paper and some of the amazing items such as frame cartoon characters, lamps, hats and etc are make from colorful papers. it is a good experience to see some of the works and items for sale and we bought some of it to take home with us.

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We stay in Sun Moon Lake hotel, amazed with such a big room for family and with a balcony facing Sun Moon Lake. Our friend arrange for us to try the famous Taipei cuisines in one of the restaurant near the hotel.  Wow! the food are incredible and beautifully cook, yummy and delicious. We though this is a happy ending for the day, “oh, no” our friends went to get some cold chicken and peanuts  for our supper, so we can enjoy ourselves with wine, beers and chat through the night.

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Fo Guang Shan Monastery (佛光山)

Fo Guang Shan Monastery (佛光山)

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We arrived Fo Guang Shan Memorial Center, as I have been to this Memorial Center in 2014 and it is my Taiwan Blog. We have a walk in the Memorial Center and my sister queue for the monk’s blessing. Once we finish our prayers and offering of wax lotus flowers to Buddha and Goddess Guang Yin, we walk up to Fo Guan Shan Monastery.

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Once we at the bottom of hill, we queue for the temple’s buggy to go up hill to the temple. It will take about half an hour walk up to the temple. Fo Guang Shang is located in Ta Shu, Kaohsiung,  is the biggest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan and it literally means “Buddha’s Light Mountain”.

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Fo Guang Shan is founded in 1967 by Venerable Master in promoting Humanistic Buddhism, it covered more than 30 hectares comprising of university buildings, shrines and cemetery.

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In 1975 and 1981, a 36 meter tall Amitabha Buddha and the Great Hero Hall were built. During this period over 200 temples were built all over the world by the Order’s Mother Monastery.

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I didn’t manage to visit Fo Guang Shan last year due to they are closed to public but I managed to visit this grandeur temple this year.  Fo Guan Shan was closed to general public in 1997 to 2000 due to provide the monastic the cloistered atmosphere for their Buddhist practice.

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Fo Guang Shan Monastery covered by green forests and the monastery is set on the top of the mountain with great views overlooking the surroundings town. There are more than 100,000 statues around the monastery and it create a mystic and solemn atmosphere.

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The temple and surroundings are well maintain by the monks and nuns, this temple is not flock with tourists and the clean, fresh air from the forests and mountain are so refreshing and it is a great place for mediating and prayer. Fo Guang Shan Monastery also included a self contained museum with all  antique relics  and statues of God, Goddess and Buddha.

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An amazing temple and would recommend to all my friends, if you happen in Kaohsiung, and it is worth a visit to this gorgeous place.

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Extrapolation – mid-year 2016 exhibition

Extrapolation – mid-year 2016 exhibition

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Extrapolation is our  mid year 2016 exhibition will be held at The Work Gallery, B5 6 Birmingham, United Kingdom. The opening dates are 9th February to 11th February from 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. All my friends are welcome and invite to this event if you are in Birmingham, England, just drop in and have a sneak look at our exhibition.

Following on from our previous successful shows of ‘Omnifarious’ & ‘Interrobang’ BCU’s HND Fine are delighted to bring you Extrapolation. Featuring a variety of new exclusive artwork the show looks at taking the old to create something new. Join on Tuesday 9th Feburary for the private viewing with free wine and food.
 
Kaohsiung Pier 2 Art District (文化部-地方文化館)

Kaohsiung Pier 2 Art District (文化部-地方文化館)

 

We arrived  at the Kaohsiung  Pier  and  board a ship, within minute it take off. Surprised we have the ship to ourselves  there aren’t any tourists on board.

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We cruised around the sea port where the cargoes are loading to the vessels and ready to export out. Been told by our friend that this port is the 2nd major port in Taiwan.

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Along the piers, we saw a big Ocean restaurant been abandoned due to bad economic  in 2008.  At the moment, every year  there are about 5 millions tourists visit Kaohsiung and the local councils are  targeting for more tourists.

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The cruise is about 45 minutes and cruise around the scenic and coastal lines of Kaohsiung. A charming experience and would recommend to all my friends,  go for it  if you are in Kaohsiung.

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Alighted at Pier 2, and walking up the Pier  there are lot of sculptures around the pier. The Pier 2 Art Center in Kaohsiung is a hub of outdoor and indoor art warehouse and museums set around an old charming wharf. The wharf is now known as “Yencheng Passenger Wharf”

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The Pier 2 Warehouse was an abandoned warehouse and it used to store sugar but now it houses contemporary and modern art throughout the year. The surrounding grounds are full of modern and contemporary art sculptures, statues and beautiful decorated buildings.  There is a walking path and a cycle path through

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There are lot of tourists, locals and students around this place and it is the popular spot in Kaohsiung for modern and contemporary art fans.The place is bursting with young and old art lovers and tourists. A fabulous place and it would take half of the day to see all the art galleries and museums around here.

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It is a thumb up for me as I simply love it here, unfortunately we don’t have times  to see all the galleries as we are having a special local famous Taiwan cuisine at one of the restaurant in Tainan.

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The famous dishes are the chicken broth with herbs which  take about 12 hours to boil and the fresh crab with lot of eggs cook with glutinous rice. I like to thank  our Taiwan friends for arranging such a beautiful and gorgeous holiday with  local cuisine for our group.

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Lotus Lake 莲池潭 , Kaohsiung

Lotus Lake 莲池潭 , Kaohsiung

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Today we are going to Kaohsiung (高雄), to visit the famous scenic man-made Lotus Lake (莲池潭). It is famous for the lotus plants on the  lake, temples and pagodas at the lake.

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The Spring Autumn Pavilions (春秋阁) and the Dragon Tiger Pagodas (龙虎塔) are locate at the southwestern of the lake.

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We visit the Dragon Tiger Pagodas (龙虎塔) with nine curve Bridge (九曲桥) connected to the shore. The pagodas is seven floor high. There is Chinese saying – Nine Curve bridge with every sharp turning, it is to help cleanse the evil spirits away.

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We walk  into the Dragon Mouth through it’s throat and exit from the tiger’s mouth. It is symbolize good luck.  Up to the top of pagodas we can see the town of Kaohsiung.  Directly opposite the Dragon Tiger Pagodas is the Ciji Palace (慈济宫) and being told by our Taiwan friend, it worth a visit, but we didn’t as we are schedule for a cruise around the Tainan port.

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The Spring & Autumn Pavilion is about 2 minutes walk from the Dragon Tiger Pagodas. The octagonal Spring & Autumn Pavilion is dedicated to the God of War, Guan Gong (关公) and it is about 4 level high.

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In front of the pavilions is a statue Goddess of Mercy (观音) and an oriental gazebo is at the back of the pavilions. There are lot of wild life  in the lake. We spend about 2 to 3 hours and continue our journey to the Kaohsiung harbour.

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Salt Pan Eco Village & Beimen Crystacl Church (水晶教堂)

Salt Pan Eco Village & Beimen Crystacl Church (水晶教堂)

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After temple trip, our friend took us to Beimen District  (北門區) to visit the popular spot Crystal Church (水晶教堂). The church opened last year, a romantic place and atmosphere for couples to tie the knot and taking wedding photos.

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The church is near Beimen Visitor Center and the building’s surrounded with a theme park of love, with many exotic buildings and art structures.  We stop for 10 to 15 minutes to take some photos and proceed our way to the Salt Pan a special cultural legacy and ecosystem in Beimen.

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This eco village used to be a major salt making center. The offspring of salt, fields workers renovated the deserted salt fields and salt village facilities to establish it into a eco village.  The series of works are carefully planned, guided activities are available at the village allow visitors to harvest salt and understand how salt is made.Visitors are allow to try their hands at making salt shakers.

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The eco village also boasts a salt wharf, coral reef walls, a mangrove ecosystem and a library dedicated to the salt making industry. At the salt mountain we can feel the heat from the salt and sun, we felt thirst and our skin so dry, it seen the salt extract water from our bodies.

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Some fields with canvas covered over small hill of salt, it is to prevent the salt wash away by the rain. It is intrigue and fascinating trip for us to learn and see how the eco salt system work.

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Donglong Temple, Tainan

Donglong Temple, Tainan

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We reached Tainan on the late afternoon after we checked into our hotel, our Taiwan friends  took us to dinner at the local restaurant which is well known by the locals for the best local cuisines. The foods are beautiful cooked and so delicious, enjoyed the best pig’s legs cook in different ways and the utterly crisp Chinese salads that I have ever taste before.

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Early the next morning, our day started with a visit to Donglong Temple in Tainan.  the cultural gallery of Wangye is at the Donglong Temple and it contains Taiwan’s most complete collection of artifacts relating to Wangye worship, giving visitors a fine opportunity to learn more about the island’s religious faith.

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It contains finely wrought camphor-wood carvings of all the folk performances that are used to greet the Wangye in Taiwan today. With thousands of human figures that are extremely lifelike, each one having its own facial expression and posture.

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The representation of the rituals, inviting the gods, sacrificing to the gods, feasting with the gods and sending off the Wangye, as well as all the items that are place on Wangye boats.  The gallery gives us a comprehensive understanding of the content and importance of Wangye worship in Taiwan’s southwestern coastal areas.

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We are lucky to see  the fellow worships carrying the god chair with the god relic sitting on top of the chair, the men whose carrying  the chair go into a trance like state and will write down the information that the God want to give and to guide the follower.

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Kinda of interesting to learn and see different country cultures and beliefs. The workmanship and the gold  being use to do up the temple are amazing. A great experience and eye opening to enjoy the local culture of this village.

 

 

 

Sharp Island or Kiu Tsui Chau -橋咀洲

Sharp Island or Kiu Tsui Chau -橋咀洲

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We took a bus to Sai Kung District, surprised to the floating market at the pier or harbour of Sai Kung.  It is cheaper to see the volcanic rocks by ferry than follow the trips by Administration of Sai Kong District. By the ferry we pay $50HK Dollars.

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It is believed that 140 million years ago a volcano was located in Sai Kung. Sharp Island was on the margin of the caldera.  This is probably the reason for widely distributed different volcanic rocks from different geological periods around Sharp Island.

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Sharp Island or Kiu Tsui Chau –橋咀洲 is the largest island in the Kiu Tsui Country Park located at Port Shelter of Sai Kung. Local go there for BBQ, fishing, swimming and diving. Sharp Island is under the Sai King District.

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The sea currents near Sharp Island pushing sand and gravel near the shore. After several years they formed a tombolo, a natural bridge made of different sized rocks and sand connecting Sharp Island and Kiu Tau. At high tide the tombolo is submerged in water and can only be seen when the tied goes out.

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During our ferry ride the captain  give a brief description of the different rocks formations of this place. The rocks are amazing beautiful similar to some of the rocks formations and textures of the craters that I have seen in Iceland.

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The trip took about half an hour and we alighted at Sharp Island. There are several walking trails leading to the beach, tombolo unfortunately for us, it is high tide and it is submerged in the water, and also up the hills.  We enjoyed ourselves at the beach but it is too hot and humid, so we follow the trail up to the hills.

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It take about half an hour to reach the top of the hills and we can see the island with the light house and also the surrounding islands around the Sharp Island.

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The High island Geo Trail about 1 km long, is an easy level walk. The trail starts at the East Dam, and visitors can enjoy marvelous landforms along the trail, such as hexagonal rock columns, faults, distorted rock columns and an intrusive dyke. Unfortunately we were unable to covered all the sight-seeing of this island.

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We only managed to visit The Sharp Island Geo Trail about 500 m, along the trail we can see various igneous rocks such as volcanic breccla, rhyolite and quartz monzonite.

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I strongly recommend this Sharp Island to all my friends if you happen to be in Hong Kong, just make a day a this gorgeous place and there aren’t lot of tourists around this island. A fantastic place for trekking, sunbathing and diving.

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Cheung Chau, Hong Kong -長洲 – 2015

Cheung Chau, Hong Kong -長洲 – 2015

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My sisters and their friends arrived in Hong Kong on the 10/7/2015 and we planned for this trips to visit the islands in Hong Kong instead of shopping  and visit temples. We are going Cheung Chau,長洲. Cheng Chau is a small island 10 km Southwest Hong Kong Island. It is nicknamed the “Dumbbell Island” due to its shape.

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Famous for its annual explosion of Bun Festival fun. Cheung Chau’s temples, seafood restaurants near the pier, beaches and a pirate hideout. We take MTR to the Central Station and walk to the Ferry Pier No 5 and take a ferry to there.

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Once we reached the  Island we queue for the local famous big “Fish balls skewers” and it taste so beautiful and there is a long queue for it. There are maps all around the island and many walking trails and each trail takes about 1 to 2 hours.  We follow the trail to the Ma Cho Temple and on the way to there, my friend recommend another famous local dessert “Mango Moochi” which is a piece of mango wrapped with glutinous rice flour and it taste so yummy. We couldn’t resist it and have a second round of the dessert.

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After the visiting the temple, we follow the trail to the beach, as it is so humid and hot, we just look for a cafe and take a break with some cold drinks.  We didn’t manage to walk up hill to view the surrounding islands.  If possible, stay for the sunset as the view from the harbour or pier is so beautiful. We took the ferry back around 5.00 p.m. to have our dinner at MongKok.

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After dinner we went to do the last minutes shopping before returning to the hotel. On the way back to the hotel we encountered a group of demonstrators  fighting for freedom of democracy and speech, police patrols at the side of the demonstrators.

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A great ending for the day, everyone is happy and knackered and ready for  a early night.

 

 

GoodBye 2015

GoodBye 2015

I think I have done quite well for my 2015, completed my 1st year university and had 2 exhibitions shows held in Birmingham. Been to several countries and gone on holidays with my relatives and best friends.  We have so much fun, adventure, sadness, laughter and sharing heartfelt thoughts.

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My first time venture to Turkey and simply fall in love with this country. The heat of the sun is killing but the scenic view of the country had made a great impression in my memory. The friendly and kind  locals are so extraordinary amazing, I couldn’t wait to visit the country again so.

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My first trip to Taiwan with my friends is beautiful and gorgeous. The second trip with my family and friends are so wonderful and fabulous. My brother-in-law’s Taiwan friends show us a different side of Taiwan which we haven’t seen before. With friendliness  and warm welcome, they  recommend us to all the famous local cuisine and places we have never seen or been before. This is an eye-opening experience for  us and every day with a full belly of good foods.IMG_6488.1

Hong Kong is my husband’s home town and he has been away from the  country about 38 years. His parents  are immigrated to England for 45 odd years but went back to Hong Kong when they retired. We have been to Hong Kong several times to visit them and also sight-seeing this beautiful city. Most of the people think Hong Kong is great for shopping but it also great for sight-seeing. There are lot  of beautiful nature in Hong Kong. Especially the islands and is a great place for trekking up to the mountains/hills within easy reach by bus or tram.

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Singapore is my hometown but I have immigrated to England for 24 odd years. I have been back home a few times and there are some beautiful places in Singapore which tourists have not been venture to. One of my favorite place is Pasir Ris Park full of nature and wild life.

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Went to Penang – Malaysia is a neighbouring country to Singapore. Enjoy ourselves so much,  have a rowdy and mad holiday.

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My friends came to England to visit us, so we arranged a trip to England and Europe. First we visit Wales, Lake Districts and Scotland and drive to France, Belgium and Holland. We have a great and wonderful times touring round UK and Europe and here  to share some of the photos of these places.

Wales – The Bont

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Lakes District – Windermere

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Scotland -Edinburgh

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Scotland – Culross West – Scottish Highland

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France – Paris

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Belgium -Brussels

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Lastly Holland – Windmills Park

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I think I have pretty much reflecting 2015 with my photos as documentation of what I am doing and also keeping a record for my own keepsake. I had lost both my parents-in-law in 2015 and become a  first time grandmother, in total  it is quite a great achievement for me and my husband. Our emotions are like yo-yo up and down but in the end happiness overcome all the lost and sadness. Hope 2016 will bring Peace to Earth and wish all my friends A Happy 2016 with “Peace & Love”.

 

 

 

 

Typhoon Lianfa – Hong Kong

Typhoon Lianfa – Hong Kong

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We reached Hong Kong  Airport about 4.00 p.m. after collected our luggage. Received a phone message from our friend, E Chan that all transportation will be shut down soon as there is a Typhoon Lianfa -T8 storm signal. She advise us to take the tram MTR back home instead of buses as all buses stop services in most of the towns. Been told Typhoon Lianfa swirling around the coast of China and Japan with Hong Kong preparing to battan down for a strong winds and rain.

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We have some food in the airport and took the MTR tram and transfer to train to Tai Po Station. All the shops are closed and the MTR is just like a ghost town without any people. Quite scaring as never encounter a typhoon before, getting panicking just want to reach home, sweet home. It normally took an hour to reach Tai Po by bus, it took us about 2 hours to reach Tai Po. Unfortunately there are long queue for taxi and no buses at all. The locals are getting panicking and some of the taxi drivers aren’t taking any passengers due to insurance company do not cover  for any accident  happen during  this typhoon period.  It took us 5 hours to reach home after queue for 3 hours  for taxi to take us home.

We couldn’t feel any strong wind or gale, and it has been raining quite heavily  for a few hours while we are waiting for the taxi. Later been told the typhoon has slow down about 7.00 p.m. and it has passed by Hong Kong.

 

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

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Topkapi Palace is the residence of Ottoman Sultans exhibiting imperial treasury, sacred Islamic relics of Prophet Mohammed, kitchen, Chinese porcelain weapons, calligraphy.

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Topkapi Palace is massive and during Summer there are lot of tourists visiting this place. We only managed to see the rooms where the Sultans, harem and children resided. The architecture was beautiful and many of the rooms adorned with the same styles tiles.  The grandest rooms are the state room where the sultans entertain guests.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough times to view the other court yards as we were too knackered for more sight-seeing in the hot, humid midday.  We went to the town for our lunch and proceed to Grand Bazaar, as my son wanted to get some shirts and stuffs that he needed.

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The Blue Mosque is just next to the Topkapi Palace but we decided to give a miss as we have been to other mosques which are much quieter than the Blue Mosque.  For our last day at Istanbul, keen to take some photos of the daily life in the Istanbul. While my son is busy buying clothing and for me, busy clicking my camera away.
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We finished our shopping about 4.00 p.m. and back to the hotel to get our luggage, packed all our last minute purchase and ready to take a tram to the airport.
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We have seen a lot places in Turkey and it is easy to travel from one place to another without hire a car, as the local transport are so convenience  and not expensive. Hitchhiking in Turkey is easy and accessible after we had tried it. Turkey is a thumb up for us as we have so more fun, knowledge of history, dangerous experience of safari with thunderstorm and freaky lighting, hot air balloons and beauty of the nature.
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I have enjoy  and love  Turkey so much and hopefully  able to visit this amazing and gorgeous country again soon. Look out for my next post – visit Hong Kong.
Istanbul Archaeological Museums

Istanbul Archaeological Museums

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At the Topkapi Palace, we don’t have to queue for tickets as we hold the Museum Tickets. At the gate we need to queue for our bags to be scan by the machine and search by guards. Once through the gates we decided not to visit Topkapi Palace first due to lot of tourists headed there.

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We headed to the Instanbul Archaeological Museum. This superb museum showcase archaeological and artistic treasures from the Topkapi collections. Housed in 3 buildings, it exhibits include ancient artifacts, classical statures and exhibition of Istanbul’s history. The main museum which are three levels high and it is still under construction.

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The complex has three main parts the Archaeology Museum, The Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Tiled Pavilion. These museums house the palace collections formed during the late 19th century by museum director, artist and archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey.

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Museum of the Ancient Orient

This 1883 building has a collection of pre islamic collections from the Ottoman Empire. Series of large blue and yellow glazed brick panels once lined the processional street of Ishtar gate of ancient Babylon.

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Archaeology Museum

The neoclassical building housing extensive collection of classical statue and a sprawling exhibit documenting Istanbul history. The main draws are two dimly lit rooms contain the museum’s major treasures – sarcophagi from the Royal Necropolis of Sidon and surrounding area. the Alexander Sarcophagus and Mourning Women sarcophagus are truly  extraordinary work of arts.It also contain Lycian monuments and Anatolan architecture from antiquity.

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Tiled Pavilion

The last museum buildings is the beautiful pavilion, constructed in 1472 by Mehmet the Conqueror. The portico with its 14 marble columns, was constructed during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid (1774 -89).

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The display are Seljuk, Anatollan and Ottoman tiles and ceramics dating from the end of 12th century and beginning of 20th century. The collections includes Iznik tiles from mid 14th and 17th centuries when the city produced the finest colored tiles in the world.

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We spend about 3 hours at these museum as I am interested in the sculptures and there are English and Turkish notes on each piece or relic. Even with the ongoing construction works on the museums and was awe by the vast collections of historical collections stored in here.

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I will totally recommend this place is a must see if you happen to be at Topkapi Palace, if you do not posses the Museum Card the entrance fee is 12 Lira which is a good  value for money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bosphorus Cruise, Istanbul

Bosphorus Cruise, Istanbul

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Late in the afternoon, we were at Eminonu Harbour, the ticket for the Bosphorus Cruise is 12 Turkish Lira and it go through the waterway separating the two continents,. Europe and Asia with a possibility to take photography of marble palaces, ancient wooden villas of Ottoman architecture besides modern resdentias and luxurious apartments.

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Our tour is operate by TurYol, 90 minute cruise nonstop from Eminonu by the Galata Bridge, up the Bosphorous  to the Faith Bridge, then turn around and return to Eminonu.

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Our last night in Istanbul, we tried to enjoy every minute of it. Not really impress of this cruise as you can simply take a ferry or a boat from one town to another and it is cheaper than the cruise, the journey is about 25 m9nutes to 30 minutes.  From the domestic airport to Istanbul we took a ferry to the old city and the ferry has travel the similar route as Bosphorus Cruise.

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We took a tram back to the Sultanahmet to have our dinner at one of the Korean Restaurant. We went back to our hotel to have a early night.

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Grand Bazaar & Eminonu Yeni Camii New Mosque

Grand Bazaar & Eminonu Yeni Camii New Mosque

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It took us an hour to walk to the Grand Bazaar, as we asked the students who volunteer to help the tourists for directions and been told it is very near to Sultanahmet.  Along the way to Grand Bazaar there are lot of shops, restaurants and cafes for tourists  to shop till you drop.

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When we reached the Grand Bazaar, it just a wow factor for us. It’s the most attractive shopping center and the biggest “souk” in the world with nearly 4,000 shops selling antiques, jewellery, gold, carpets, leatherware and souvenir.

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We bought some shorts, trousers, t-shirts, a kitchen tap and  a hammock to hang in our garden.  We are so knackered, after walking for hours and decided to stop at the Eminonu Yeni Camii New Mosque.  There are lot of tourists sitting on the steps of the mosque.

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The New Queen Mother mosque also known as Yeni Valide Camii, also called the New Mosque. Yeni Cami dominates the ferry docks in Eminonu at the Southern end of Istanbul’s Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn.

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The mosque is viewed by architectural historians as a lesser of the great imperial mosques of the classical Ottoman architectural period, Yeni Cami is a beautiful building worthy of a visit, particularly it is uncrowded by tourists.Don’t visit at prayer times,  I really enjoy its peace, tranquility and splendid decorations of the domes.

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Yeni Cami was the center of a kulliye, or complex of other buildings, such as hospital, Turkish bath, library, astronomer’s office, and a Egyptian Spice Bazaar.The Spice Bazaar or known as Egyptian Bazaar – the mystical smells of different aromas of various spices. Shops selling fruits, vegetables, fish, flowers.

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In 2012 James Bond Movie – Skyfull was filmed partly in Istanbul, Turkey, principally around Eminonu and the Grand Bazaar.

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I didn’t took a lot of photos around this place due it is too hot and humid to do more than wanted to find a cool place to sit and chill off. Inside the mosque there are lot of local and some tourists sitting around the hall to chat and enjoying a rest from the heat of the day.

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Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

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Hagia Sophia in Greek in Sultanahmet, Istanbul is also known as The Church of the Divine Wisdom. This church is one of the most impressive and important buildings ever constructed.

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The wide flat dome was a engineering feat in the 6th century, and architects still marvel at the building’s innovations. It is called Ayasofya in Turkish and was built in 537AD on the site of Byzantium’s acropolis by Emperor Justinian.

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It has been converted into a mosque being the world’s most impressive building, Mehmet the Conqueror proclaimed it after his conquest of the city from the Byzantines in 1453.

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In 1935 it became Istanbul’s most revered mosque, till Ataturk proclaimed it as a museum.

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About 30 million gold tesserae -tiny mosaic tiles which cover the church’s interior especially the dome have been recently been restored to its brilliance. The interior is filled with scaffolding for 17 to 20 years now as work is been carried out to preserve the tiles and glory.

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The cost of entrance is 30 Tl, as we have the museum card so easier as we don’t have to queue for 2 times for admittance. They are closed on every Monday and some museum closed on every Tuesday so check the opening date as you don’t want to miss it.

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Fascinated by the dome as when the sunlight filter into the tiny windows it created a special lighting effect on the dim interior, it make me thinking of, some angels or  faeries standing on the top of the dome flying around the dome.

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There are lot of tourists or visitors at this museum, we didn’t managed to stay too long in here. Our next destination is the Topkapi Palace but they are closed  on Tuesday, we will visit it tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

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Having saying our goodbye to the proprietor and staff in the hotel where we are staying and they arrange for a car to pick us up to the airport for our flight to Istanbul.

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Booked our hotel at the old city in Istanbul, without knowing that we have to take a tram from the airport and take a boat cruise to the old city of Istanbul.

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Istanbul is a city in Turkey that straddles Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. The Old City reflects cultural influences of the many empires that once ruled here. In the Sultanahmet district, the open-air, Roman-era Hippodrome was for centuries the site of chariot races, and Egyptian obelisks remain. The iconic Byzantine Hagia Sophia features a soaring dome and Christian mosaics.

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Our hotel is about 2 km away from the city center,  after checking into our room, we take a break to chill out before venturing into the city for our dinner.

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Walking into the city in the late afternoon, all the tourists attractions were closed for the day. In the center of the Sultanahmet district, there are lot of locals taking up spaces on the tables and benches and some even spread mat on the grasses and waiting for the call from the Mosque  for their feasting time during sunset.

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The  30 days is Islamic holy month of Ramazan, called Ramadan in other countries, is a time of fasting, prayer and celebration.

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Ramazan is also a time of celebration, and after sunset the feasting begins with a ceremonial “break-fast” light meal call Iftar.

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It always includes freshly baked flat pide bread, and usually soup, pickled vegetables, olives and other easily prepare edibles. Elaborate dinners are held later in the evening.

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Strings of colored lights festoon trees and buildings, mosques are illuminated and crowded with worshipers. We kinda enjoying ourselves walking around the old city center and lot of shops and restaurants were busy with tourists enjoying their shopping and evening meals.

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Pamucak Beach, Selcuk

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We took a mini bus from Ephesus to Pamucak, it is 3 Lira per person and we had to wait for  20 to 30  minutes  for  a bus. Not all the bus follow the route passing near Pamucak, there is a bus guide for the minibus and he asked us to take a seat and called us once the bus arrive.

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The coastal road stretch from Selcuk and Ephesus to Kusadasi and it is a 5 minutes walk to the sea at Pamucak, so access is cheap, quick and convenient with local minibuses.

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The wide crescent of dark Meander River delta sand is 7 km west of Selcuk. There are big resort hotels on the southern reaches and most of the beach is public.  At the very southern end, the road begins to climb over the hills to Kusadasi, is the Aqua Fantasy water park.

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The soft sand is a bit squishy underfoot and the beach is open to the Aegean Sea, which constantly sends the waves onto it, churning the sand, clouding the water and make swimming experience a bit harder.

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There is cafes and some beach houses near the beach and we able to sit in the cafe and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with food, or suntanning outside the cafe on the beach. There is a police post but no lifeguards or life-saving equipment.  As the waves is strong and high, it is a good place for surfing.

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There are lot of locals out fishing with their families and bbq on the beach, enjoying a sunny day on the beach.  We were at the quiet spot of the beach  where there are not a lot of tourists.  The local are very friendly and enjoying photos being taken by tourist. We only stay around this place for about 2 hours and head back to Selcuk.

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An awesome place to be and would love to recommend to all my friends if you are in Ephesus, and made a stop at this gorgeous place.

 

 

 

 

 

Chain Bridge, Llangollen

Chain Bridge, Llangollen

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Chain bridge  at Llangollen is open now. The bridge has been dismantled and restored, re-establishing a link between Llangollen Canal and railway line which was closed 30 years ago.

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The bridge was supported from the river bed by six oak pillars. The bridge spans  the River Dee which itself runs parallel to the railway line on one side and Llangollen Canal on the other near its source, Horseshoe Falls.

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The 3 bridges spans together at the Chain Bridge Hotel and Restaurant. There is a cafe bar for customers to sit on the deck to enjoy the beauty of River Dee.

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About 1/2 mile away from the Chain bridge is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Canal, a world heritage Site. We can walk on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, there is a walking path and next to the walking path is the canal for the boats cruise along  River Dee. There is walking tracks for trekkers or walkers to walk around the Dee Valley.

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At the end of the road, one toward Pontcysyllte and another toward The Bont, I simply love The Bont, a private fishing lake with amazing beautiful sight. We normally climb over the locked gate to to enjoy the beautiful view of the lake, it is illegal but the thrill of seeing The Bont again worth all the risk.

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Ephesus, Turkey

Ephesus, Turkey

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It took us 1 hour walk from the city centre of Selcuk  to  Ephesus. Ephesus is an ancient city in Turkey’s Central Aegean region, near Selcuk. Its excavated remains reflect centuries of history, from classical Greece to the Roman Empire.  When it was the Mediterrancean’s main commercial center to the spread of Christianity.
This is a must see -the  type of place to visit.  The excavation is continuously happening  while visiting, we are able to see the archaeological digs occurring.  It is a massive site with incredible intact old remains of the ancient buildings and city.

 

We reached Ephesus in the late afternoon with hot  sunny weather. It is quite a long walk and lucky we are well prepared and bought some water bottles with us. The best time to visit this place is early in the morning  with less tourists and not as hot and humid as the afternoon.

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After spend 2 to 3 hours at Ephesus, we  took a bus to the seaside resort to escape the blistering  sun.  We didn’t want to visit the house where the Virgin Mary is believed to have lived in Southwest of Selcuk as it is too hot  for more sightseeing.

 

Side Pike, Langdale Pikes

Side Pike, Langdale Pikes

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Side Pike is one of the top 10 photography locations in the Lake District. We didn’t do it the proper way as all other trekkers do, by parking our car at the car park at the Old Dungeon Ghyll.

We drove all the way up hill to a private farmhouse and park our car at the side of the locked up barn, as we reckon our walk will take us about a hour or so. It is best to take some drinks and sandwich along for this trek.

Great Langdale is renowned for the majestic Langdale Pikes and every year there are about 1 million visitors visit this place. The views down the Langdale valley are stunning. A view of both valley and the famous Pikes are equally as stunning. Side Pike standing less than 400m and is not even high enough to be classed as a mountain, but it offering some great views. It is one of my favorite views in the Lake District.

Following the private farm house side gate leading to the valley, and follow the sign at the side stating National Trust Park, there is a footpath leading to the side Pike, or another way is to detour the river across the farmland up to the side Pike. The footpath will lead into a side track on the right going uphill, the grounds or the footpaths are uneven so be careful when walking up the hill.

The best views is head up to the top of the Side Pike, about 3/4 up to the summit, we can view the village of Langdale with Lakes, when reach to the top of the path turn left onto the knoll that overlooks the valley, the views from here are nearly as good. We walk up to the summit, and glad that we did it. The view on the top is amazing beautiful, we can see the mountains peaks stretching from one to another and another is side is the valley, it is a glorious sight to behold to. At the summit, prepare yourself for the strong wind, as we couldn’t stay here for too long due to the strong wind.

We return the same way as we walk up, as there is a different route to extend the walk to include Blea Tarn, but we didn’t go for it.

 

Glan Yr Afon Riverside Park, Llangollen

 

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Glan yr Afon Riverside Park, Llangollen, North Wales, the riverside park is just next to the Llangollen Station. Lot of tourists will visit this town, it is the center of the footpath for trekking the River Dee and hills surrounded this beautiful town.

 

 

The main attraction  is the Llangollen station,  to take a ride on  the steam train which follow the River Dee to the area of outstanding nature beauty. Across the beautiful bridge to see  the fast water running under the bridge. There is a company who organized  canoeing in the fast ripple water. There are boats rides which are haul by the horses in the tradition ways on the canal for tourists to enjoy the beautiful scenic view around the River Dee.

There is a footpath from the Riverside  Mill Pub and follow this footpath, it will take you to riverside park. We plan our this trip to riverside in Autumn , around end of October, when the trees foliages have turned and change to different shade of red and yellow.

Busy taking photos of this gorgeous colorful  foliage reflection on the water, and been told by a few locals, they had spotted a stork on the rocks, so we can take a photo of the rare visitor.

We took some photos of the riverside and decided to join the locals going down to the river which covered with  special black rocks jutting upward of the water. The public are allow to access to these rocks and water if they are not worry to get wet. We walk across the rocks to view the amazing beautiful scenic view reflected on  still water.

Once we are satisfy we have enough photos of this place, we take a break to have a cup of tea with scones at the Riverside Mill Pub. I have never venture into this pub before. It look quite posh with deck for the customers to sit out and enjoy the scenic views of the river.  The view from the deck are amazing and the price of tea and scones are same price as the shops in the town.  The ice cream which I have is gorgeous and beautiful.

There is a old working mill inside the pub and you can walk around the old historical building to enjoy a traditional working mill and pub food. We stay for an hour at here and Chain Bridge will be our next stop. Look for my next post for the Chain Bridge in North Wales.

 

 

 

 

 

Inverness, Scotland

Inverness, Scotland

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 The Lake Inverness is just 2 second away from our self catered apartment. Inverness is one of Scotland oldest city and sits in the south of the Highlands, on the banks of the River Ness.

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 A Pink crenelated castle lavishly decorated with flowers. Inverness is a thriving city with rich variety of places to visit and shopping to do in the city and around. The city has a number of historic buildings in the Old Town and it is easy to get around.IMG_9198.1
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Perched picturesquely above the river is the Inverness Castle, it looms above the Gothic Tiown House in the High Street. Below the castle, the Inverness Museum and Art Galeryon Castle Wynd. It gives a good overview of the development of the Highlands.
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The medieval Church Street is home to the town’s oldest surviving buildings. On the corner with Bridge is the Steeple, whose spire has be to be straightened after an earth tremor in
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We enjoyed our walk on the Historic trail around the River Ness, the dark clouded day changed into glorious blue sky with beautify sun. We walk for an hour and go into the town to look for a Chinese Restaurant for our dinner.

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This thriving city offers a rich variety of things to do and shopping, culture to eating and drinking. There are many lovely riverside restaurants and bustling pavement cafes  and a wide range of specialist retailers in the historic Old Town. IMG_9216.1

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We need a good night  rest so  can go for our early morning walk and shopping in the Old Town in the next morning.

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Isa Bey Mosque, Selcuk

Isa Bey Mosque, Selcuk

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Isa Bey Mosque is one of example of Seljukian architecture, situated below the Basilica of St John. The mosque was built by the Syrian architecture Ali son of Mushimish al- Damishki, between years 1374 and 1375.

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The mosque was styled asymmetrically unlike the traditional style. The location of the windows, doors and domes were not matched, purposely. In the entrance of the mosque, an inscription from the god decorates the doorway.

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The columns inside the house of prayer are from earlier ruins in Ephesus, making an interesting contrast to the mosque. The domes are ornamented by turquoise and ble faience, the characteristic of Ottoman style.

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Crown-like doors from Seljukian architectural style later combin with the specific decoration elements of architectural style. The mosque was repaired in 1935.

 

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The mystical atmosphere of Isa Bey Mosque is worth a visit if in Selcuk. We stop at the restaurant outside the mosque for our lunch.

 

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The Bont, North Wales

The Bont, North Wales

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Wish to do a project for my art project and my husband agreed to drive me to North Wales. We spent part of the day at the Llangollen Train Station and on our way back home. We visited the Chain Bridge Hotel, the Chain  Bridge is now open as it was closed for a period of time for repair work on the bridge. Since we were at the Chain Bridge, we decided to revisit the The Bont which is located under the towering Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

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There is 1 car track road leading to Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and at the end of the road, the left leading to The Bont and the right turn leading to Pontcysllte Aqueduct, a world Heritage Site in North Wales.  We followed the left turn leading to the The Bont, about 200 yards there is some farmhouses and we can park our car at the side of the road.

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The Bont is a private lake for private members of the fishing club. There are two paddock gates and we climbed over the gate to access to the lake. The public are not allow into this lake. This secret gem is a beautiful and stunning picturesque with Autumn falls.  There is a house sitting right at the edge of the lake and a commercial building next to it. The beautiful trees reflecting on the still water with the glorious sun shinning through the leaves.

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We only stay for half an hour at this lake due to  we reached here about 5.30 p.m. and running out of time to visit the Pontoysyllte Aqueduct. I will come back again, I have no idea why I love this place so much and keep going back again and again.  I have to share this gorgeous place to all my friend if you are in North Wales, make a visit to this gorgeous place in the lonely planet

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Basilica of St John, Selcuk

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The Basilica of St John is just a few minutes walk from the center of Selcuk.  The ruins of the Byzantine Church of St John mark the spot where St John the Evangelist was buried. The church is on the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill near the center of Selcuk, just below the fortress in a town next to Ephesus.

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It is believed St John have spent the last years of his life in Ephesus writing his version of the Gospel. Emperor Justinian from 527 – 565AD.  Believed hat a tomb dating from the 300s was John’s, so he built a great church above it in the 500s. Centuries later the ruin church was pillaged for building materials, but the restoration allow us to see the extent and to  its beauties.

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Preservation and works in progress are carry out  by the authority to the ruins.  Walking up hill to the castle,  it is  in full restoration of the previous glorious days beauty.  Unfortunately, we are not allow to go in to visit the castle as there are security guards guarding it. Opposite to the castle border, we can climb up to the ruin to view the city of Selcuk.  It took us 2 hours to view this ancient ruin and  we are going to visit Izmir Selcuk Isa Bey Mosque which about 1 mile from the the Basilica.

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Selcuk, Turkey

Selcuk, Turkey

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We reach the bus station of Selcuk,  asked one of the assistance for the mini bus for the way to our hotel.  Been told by the man there will be a car to pick us up to our hotel as he had contact the hotel for the pick up.

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Once we reached the hotel and check in,  been told that due to this hotel location is up the hill and they provide local pick up at certain time from their sister hotel in the town center.  Armed with the information we decide to venture into  the town and walk into the town.

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Once we reach the town, there is a local market and lot of shopping we can do, the jeans and T-shirts are of good quality and cheap. We couldn’t resist the sale and bought some.   Along the way to the center there a lot of restaurant and shops. Surprised to see plenty of storks nesting on top of the lamp post. It is a sight to behold to, to see rare wild life nesting around in town.

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After we have our dinner and doing some shopping  at the shops and one of the shop owner own a rare  swimming cat which one eye is green and the other is blue. He told us that he bought it from Van a beautiful city in the south of Turkey. That will be in my next bucket list to visit.

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Skogar, Iceland

Skogar, Iceland

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We reached the Skogar Guesthouse late in the night but the owners are very friendly and helpful. We told them we totally lost and had been driving around the coastal of Reykjavik a few times. They tell us that the Selfoss Waterfall just 5 minutes drive away from the guesthouse. Told us  the night sky was not clear so no aurora to be see and there is a key on the back door of the guest house if we want to try our luck.

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The guest house is at the foot of the mountains and nearby there is a church and a museum.  As I do not know Iceland language so I am not sure whether the name of the museum is Skogakaffi.  There are iron bridge and wooden bridge in front of the museum and lot of sculptures dotted around the fields.

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Walking around  this little town there are hotels . museum and houses dotted on this little town. Some of the barns and houses were build inside of a small cave.  It look so gorgeous and just like straw houses inside a big rocks. After enjoying my walk. I went back to the guest house for my breakfast. The owner charged us cheaper than I had been quoted online with the booking.com. The breakfast was simple consist of boiled eggs, hams, salad, cereal and toast.  It was value for money and totally recommend this guest house to anyone going  to visit Iceland.

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It is so rare to see such a huge vast of lands rolling into one another with multicolor of trees, plants and grasses especially at beginning of October and thinking it was Autumn Season, simply don’t know how to express myself just simply fell in love with this wildness.  Totally feel myself so small and lost  in this vast lands and the weather changing so fast that it can be misty and  sunshine in the next second.

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I can’t express myself well but hopefully my photographs will tell a story of its own of this amazing beautiful country.

Extrapolation – mid-year 2016 exhibition

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Extrapolation is our  mid year 2016 exhibition will be held at The Work Gallery, B5 6 Birmingham, United Kingdom. The opening dates are 9th February to 11th February from 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. All my friends are welcome and invite to this event if you are in Birmingham, England, just drop in and have a sneak look at our exhibition.

Following on from our previous successful shows of ‘Omnifarious’ & ‘Interrobang’ BCU’s HND Fine are delighted to bring you Extrapolation. Featuring a variety of new exclusive artwork the show looks at taking the old to create something new. Join on Tuesday 9th Feburary for the private viewing with free wine and food.
 

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