Tuesday, 29 December 2009

A 2009 Winter Trip to Italy

In 2002, i was in Germany-Mannheim for half a year on my Polytechnic Oversea Attachment project. It was an extremely good experience and opportunity for me to learn about their culture, their language as well as the nice scenary around Europe. All i can say, i enjoyed a lot during my stay in Germany with my friends but just that my wife, who is my girlfriend at that time, was not able to join me due to her new job.

In November 2009, my wife's company sent her to Italy for nearly 2.5 months of training whereby my wife really wanted me to join her while she is there. Fortunately, i'm able to get my precious 3 weeks Annual leave from my company and on the 16th Dec 09, i took a night flight from Singapore to meet her in Italy Milan.

Arrival at Milan Malpensa Airport at 6am in the morning

Loading my baggage into my wife's Toyota iQ

Early morning in Italy town

Snowy street near the apartment

As it is Winter season, it is a must to bring along the thick winter clothings, winter cap, winter gloves and scarves to keep me warm and therefore, most of the compartment in my luggage is occupied by the winter clothings. When i touch down to Italy, the temperature is around 1 degree celsius which is totally different experience from what i had during my stay in Germany which is Summer season where most of the places is full of greenary.

On my 4th day in Italy, Milan had a heavy snowing weather whereby the TV reports that snow storms had swept across Europe. There are road accident everywhere on the street and many car are being covered with thick snow. Luckily, i spent my day hibernating myself doing some soul-searching and admiring the snowy scenary. As for my wife, her car nearly skidded while she returning back home just before the heavy storm. Luckily, she was able to controlled it and came back home safely.

Thick snow covering the walkway

Children will love the snow

Slow moving traffic and its really slippery

Drive slowly to prevent accident

Snowy view outside my balcony

On the 19th December 09, we went to Rome from Milan by night train. It took us nearly 7 hours to reach our destination, Rome TiburtinaF.S at the right timing we had expected. We took a Metro to Termini to have our Macdonald breakfast at before we started to roam around ROME.

Started to snow at Milan Train Station

5am in the morning at Tiburtina Metro Station

Time for breakfast at Rome

Last minute planning for our ROME itinerary using iPhone

The famous Colosseo

Shierly and the Colosseo

National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II

The leftover Rome building structure

The remain of the Rome History

The Pantheon

Throwing a coin into the fountain for wish come true

Shierly also make a wish as well

The Piazza Navona (City Square)

Shierly posting with the Carousal

Selling delicious Chestnut at the street

Weekend market for Christmas stuff at Rome City Square

Seriously, after spending my 2 days in ROME, i concluded that most of the places of interest in ROME is very accessible by Metro. You can just buy the one day ticket which cost $4 Euro from the ticket machine which give you unlimited Bus and Metro ride for 24 hours rather than buying a per trip ticket that cost you $1 Euro which lasted for only 75 minutes. Obtained a map from your hotel or Information Kiosk and wandering around the places of interest will be pretty effortlessly.

Shopping street at Via del Corso

Busy shopping street

A Ferrari boutique with a F1 in ROME

Shierly posing with a Ferrari Christmas Bear

The Well-known horse for F1 race

The Castel Sant'Angelo

Ponte Sant' Angelo

St Peter at the background

At the St' Peter Square

Delicious Pizza for lunch at Fountain Trevi

Dear, 2 Pizza is too little for me

I'm hunger for more Pizza...Yummy!!!

Anyone want Coca-Cola for Souvenirs?

Italiano Breakfast with a cup of Espresso

Our clean and cosy Hotel La Maison De Famille

Rome is really a good and beautiful place to visit especially for couples and it is really worth to spend a few days here by visiting the Colosseo, Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi), Vatican Museum (Musei Vaticani) and St Peter's Square (Basilica S.Pietro). The time i spend with my wife in ROME is really fantastic and it will be a places we will revisit again.

A useful ROME map

To be continued.......

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

My Japan Tokyo trip on March 2009

Date: 26th March 09 to 2nd April 09 (7 days)

Location: Japan-Tokyo

Japan has been a place which i frequently visit ever since i join my Japanese Company as a Semicon Service engineer going for machine training. Before planning for this "7 days" tour, i have already visited Japan more than 3 times in my 3 years of service. My wife, Shierly who have not been to Japan before, will definitely be delighted to visit this lovely place which i really enjoyed.

Recently, NWA had a promotion on their air-ticket to Japan at a very attractive price and since its so affordable, our trip to japan had 2 more company which is my mother-in-law and my wife's sister, Karen. On this trip, i'm the main in-charge in planning the Itinerary and Shierly will be fully in-charge of the planning of the Hostel and the booking of train and bus ticket. The planning was the most difficult and challenging task to be accomplished and it takes almost 1-2 weeks for me to really sorted it out after checking with my Japanese friend, Megumi-san who is living in Yokohama.

As this is a free and easy Back-packing tour, everything will be on budget and obviously a tiring trip whereby one will need to walk all day besides taking the train which is pretty accessible in Japan. With all the lodging and Air-ticket included, it comes out that per person need to pay only SGD$1K excluding the shopping expenses of course.

1st Day: Singapore to Narita Airport

My mother-in-law and Karen

Hoping for a successful trip in Japan

At the Narita Airport

Got to make sure we're on the right train

Khaosan Hostel at Asakusabashi

Check in to the 4 bedded room

After checking in to our Private 4 bedded room at Khaosan Ninja, we proceed to Asakusa to collect our Nikko pass at the Tobu station. Booking of the Nikko pass is done through internet and subjected to availability.

Asakusa Tobu Station

The "All Nikko pass" for tourist

Shierly figuring out how to use the ticket machine

The 3 of them discussing what to eat for dinner

The ticket for your food from ticket vending machine

Its a cold and windy night at Asakusa street

So many tibits to choose from this shop

The living hall next to the kitchen at Hostel

All the cooking stuff from the occupants

Wow...so many things in the fridge

Do take note to write your name on your things

2nd Day: Asakusa -Nikko

The Japanese bullet train

On the train to Nikko

Arrived at destination, Nikko

Outside the station is snowing and its really cold

The Nikko station view

Snow along the road

Bus fare guide on the TV screen

Its about 10 degree celsius at the bus station

A indoor heater to warm you up

Mother and daughter bear in Nikko..hahahaa!

Wow...white snow on the floor

Luckily she wore the winter jacket

So tired after a long walk

A Kannon temple at Nikko

Only found in the Japan shrine

Have a sip of icy cold water

Too cold to take a boat out at Lake Chuzenji

Famous Shinkyo bridge over the Daiya River

A popular fried red bean snack at the station

Many people queuing for the snack

Which one is more cute?

Staying one night at Nikko Park Lodge

3rd Day: Asakusa -Shinjuku

Too early to see cherry blossom at Sumida park

Shierly buying Tako-yaki snack

Ingredient for making Tako-yaki

A common scene at Asakusa Temple

Fresh Big and juicy apple at the Supermart

Rickshaw available for tourist

Cool building structure at Asakusa

Another Khaosan Hostel near to Asakusa

Many oranges and other fresh fruits for sale

Sweet and juicy strawberry anyone?

Can't get to eat this type of strawberry in Singapore

It's a really good beer......"Santory the Premium"

I miss my Forester in Singapore

Its lunch time on our Bento

Megumi-san brought us to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office

Nice building lighted up at night at Shinjuku

Its dinner time at a Shinjuku restaurant

What a big red crab!

4th Day: Mount Fuji

Expert in buying train ticket

My Favorite Automotive brand :P

A Toyota Crown Police car

Keio Bus to Mount Fuji

View of the Mount Fuji from the bus

A recommended place for a night stay

Wow...too bad i didn't bring my fishing gears

Take a Gondola to have a bird's eye view on Mt fuji

A good view at Lake Kawaguchiko

So lovely isn't it?

Clear view of Mt Fuji

A group of really cool bikers at Kawaguchiko

A popular Supermarket at Kawaguchiko

The Hall area in K's house

A big and nice Kitchen

Our room for the night

Leave a wishng note before i left K's house

The Kawaguchiko station

Keio bus ticket

My favorite instant cup noodle by nissin

Back to Shinjuku

Evening crowd at Shinjuku

5th Day: Tsukiji and Ueno

Visiting Tsukiji Fish market is highly recommended as tourist can really get to see and feel the operation of the busy fish market early in the morning. To be exact, most of the Tokyo's restaurant come here to purchase their fish. One can even get to taste the freshest Sashimi in Tsukiji at the nearby Sashimi restaurant.

Read the instruction before sleeping at Khaosan Original

Its 6am in the morning

Preparing breakfast in the small kitchen

Preparing the frozen tuna at Tsukiji Market

A big fat Yellow Fin tuna

Live Aero squid

Live cuttlefish

Fresh Sashimi anyone?

Luckily for us, we are able to get a good view of the full cherry blossom in Ueno and it was extremely beautiful. The flowers had indeed occupied most of our Camera Memory space and it was never enough for the photo-taking. The Japanese spend their whole morning till afternoon chatting with friends and having picnic with friends and family members under the Sakura trees. They really know how to enjoy themselves.

Cherry blossom at Ueno Park

Nice sakura scenary for photo-taking

Picnic area at Ueno Park

Shierly with Doraemon

100Yen burger at McDonald

A Shopping street at Ueno

Fresh fruits for sale

Really cheap Genuine sport accessories on sale

Shierly enjoying the Takoyaki

Does it look yummy?

6th Day: Shibuya and Harajuku

There are many branded Clothing shops in Shibuya and its a nice place for ladies to do shopping. Daiso, another shop that i highly recommended where one can find many cheap and useful stuff to purchase. For last minutes gift preparation, Daiso is a shop not to be missed.

Japanese fermented soy beans (Nattō)

Shibuya Bus interchange

My favorite Tackle shop at Shibuya

Happy shopping moment for me

At Harajuku Station

The crowded shopping street at Harajuku street

U can buy lots of cheap stuff at Daiso

Our dinner which cost less than 400yen

Shierly is tired and hungry after all the shopping

Last night in Japan, preparing our luggage

7th Day: Shibuya and back to Singapore Changi Airport

As Shierly and Karen has some clothing to buy at the Shibuya fashion outlet store, we decided to spend the remaining hours to return back to Shibuya for some last minute shopping. With this chance, i'm able to have more time shopping for my own stuff as well in Shibuya.

My breakfast on the last day in Japan

Delicious Nattō anyone like to try it?

Very useful Railway map

Enjoying our breakfast

Most of the Hostel provide free Internet access

Our 4 bedded room at Khaosan Original Hostel

Last day shopping at Asakusa

After Asakusa, we went to Shibuya for last minute shopping

Delicious puff that you must really try

Taking train back to Narita Airport

Overall, We have a very fruitful trip with lots of beautiful scenary and good Japanese food. Especially for the ladies, they have lots of time to visit many cosmetics shops that sells really cheap Japanese branded cosmetics stuff. As for me, i have ample of time to spend on visiting my favorite Fishing tackle shop. during the last 2 days of the trip. Will be looking forward to visit Japan soon.