Euro Trip - Log #5

Destination 5: Antwerp/ Antwerpen / Anvers

Next on our list was Antwerp, Belgium’s City of Diamonds!!! We started the day with some uncombed hair and eye-bags!!

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Shah & Azri just outside Zura’s apartment.

Zura’s boss from her Malaysia office, En. Bakar & his wife Cik Su joined us to visit this city of diamonds, located at the north of Belgium. 

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Roughly 1.5 hours trip on train, we reached Middenstatie, the Antwerp Central Station and were greeted with some magnificent architectures..

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This particular sight left me speechless in amaze. The colour combinations are so alien to me, that it reminds me of some architectures from the Final Fantasy franchise. It also provides me with abundance of patterns and textures to feast my eyes with, thanks to the 12pm sunlight being diffused by the transparent roof. and look at those reflections too!!! Owh I surely can talk about this photo for hours!!! Totally in love~

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Well, Zura wasted no time for a pose.

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So do En. Bakar & Cik Su~

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Simply stunning!

Then we started our Antwerp tour with a visit to, urm, a restaurant for some good wholesome meal. With full tummy checked, we continue our walk around the town.

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Gothic-influenced exterior of St. James Church.

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Baroque-influenced exterior of Our Lady Cathedral.

Later the day became gloomy and soon, the rain falls. We spent our time drinking hot chocolate in a nearby cafe before heading to the Diamond Museum as the last checkpoint. Sadly, we reached there only 30 minutes before the museum closes its doors to visitors. Hence, we spent another 5-10 minutes around the museum lobby just enough to allow us say,WEVE BEEN TO THE ANTWERP DIAMOND MUSEUM (just that they did not let us buy the entrance tickets) :)

I concluded this journey with these gadget couple.

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En. Bakar with his beloved Canon G11.

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and Cik Su facebooking on her Blackberry.

Drop me some comments ya?

Whee~!!

Wedding : Ayu & Aqel

I guess this is a good time to have a break from my Euro Trip entries (yeah, I still have lots to share on that!) and take this opportunity to congratulate Ayu & Aqel on their wedding held last Saturday in Dungun, Terengganu (East Coast Malaysia). Fida (my partner~) and Ayu have been good friends for years. She also happened to be Ayu’s make-up artist that day. We went to Ayu’s house to do her first make-up session, for the solemnization ceremony that morning and later drive her to the mosque where the ceremony took place.

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and off she go! (with her make-up artist as a driver and another 3 souls lingering at the backseats) 

One unique thing about this particular wedding was, Fida and I were only involved in the make-up sessions for Ayu. Hence,we did not attend and witness the actual solemnization ceremony. 2 hours later, we were back at Ayu’s place to prepare her for the wedding reception.

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Fida fixing the veil while being assisted by her sister, Yati.

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Once she is all ready, we took excused ourselves to attend another 2 weddings held nearby before joining Ayu for her outdoor portraiture session.

At around half past 6, we drove to a nearby beach to join Ayu & Aqel.

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Yati The Sidekick and Fida The Make-up Artist

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And finally, the lovely King & Queen of the day, Ayu & Aqel. 

Lastly, allow me to share the most lovely ring shot I have ever done to date. 

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I got to thank Aqel and Ayu for giving us the chance to part of the wedding ceremony. Hope you two love these photos..

Cheers…

Euro Trip - Log #4

Destination 3: Ghent/ Gent/ Gand

On Christmas Day, we decided to pay Ghent a visit. It is one of those medieval towns you can find in Belgium.

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Zura (my sis) managed to convince us in heading there, after letting us read this book, “The Rough Guide to Brussels, Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp” that she got as a gift from a friend (was it from Amoi or someone?)

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By now, you must have realized that we have been travelling by train since our journey to Liege. I guess it is just more affordable that way, than any mode of transport here. And I assure you that you’ll see more of our trips involving trains.. ahahahahaha!

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Zura & Shah checking the accuracy of the Ghent Map in the guide book, in front of Sint-Pieters Railway Station. The truth is, the railway station was NOT EVEN IN THE MAP! We had to walk a bit further to refer to the official map of Ghent situated about 300 meters from the station. Since we were on cost-saving mode, we decided to move around the town by foot instead of tram, which allowed us to stop for a while and enjoy the environment (well actually, we tortured our feet so much that we need to stop and rest)

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These tree branches are an instant favorite!

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Can you tell how many patterns in this photo?

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Group photo is a must. A quick recap from the left: Zura, Me, Shah & Azri . Wanna have a peek on Behind-The-Scene?

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Photo from Zura’s Lomo LC-A camera. Yeah, she was holding that camera in the group photo.. :)

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totally HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE!!!!!!!

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After a long walk, we finally reach our main checkpoint, The Ghent Courthouse (Koophandelsplein). I’m just amazed with the lines and signs in this particular one.

Walking a couple of minutes after leads us to the heart of the town.

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Something about this window that I find amusing..

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The famous Saint Nicholas’ Church of Ghent. It is one of the oldest churches in the city. It looks kinda eerie due to its gothic design. 

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However, most parts of the church have been turned into museum where people can actually read and relive their history. It even has a basement full of tombs. And no, I don’t fancy taking pictures of somebody’s tomb. If you happen to be here next time, don’t forget to get down the basement aite?

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We concluded our visit with a photo of us three. Special thanks to Azri for this photo.

As usual, we enjoy paying the town of Brussels a visit before heading home. And that evening, we were feast with this spectacular lights painted over Hotel De Ville.

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You may enjoy the non-stitched version on the slideshow below.

Looking forward to your views and thoughts.

Cheers~ 

Euro Trip - Log #3

Destination 2: Amsterdam

It was December 23rd, 2009 and we went to Brussel Centraal again to check on the train schedule to Amsterdam. Did I mention before that the Departure Board in the station has nothing written in English? We were like playing guessing game over the board. Nevertheless, we finally manage to secure some tickets to Amsterdam that day.

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The trip was like 2.5 hours and it was our first long trip by train. Lucky we have things to eat/ drink/ play and feast our eyes with.

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As soon as we reached Amsterdam Centraal Railway Station, the 1st thing we did is to secure a room for a night stay. From a hostel to another hostel, we managed to secure one just nearby the railway station. It’s true that there are tonnes of hostels for backpackers, but you really gotta know why some hostels are more expensive than the other. We learnt the hard way though. Tips! the nearer the hostels are to the Red Light District, the more expensive they will be. We never knew that until we figured out the border of Red Light District. LOL

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Shah doing what he does best, making people confuse. AHAHAHAHA! We did some sight-seeing later, and went to find the Hard Rock Cafe for some shopping (yes, suddenly Shah and Azri were into Hard Rock merchandise). Next after Hard Rocking, time for some educational night trip. Azri was successfully exposed to the RED LIGHT, in a Kebab stall.. 

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Too much knowledge that night, so we called it a day.

Day two, pretty much about covering some parts of the town that we have not done the day before.

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To conclude our trip, we embark on a canal cruise for a nice fresh view of the town. Owh, initially this wasn’t in our agenda until we got two free tickets from a couple who changed their mind once they bought them. As for the 3rd ticket, well, we bought it ourselves, of course~.

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My favourite photo of the day: A goose getting all too comfortable with my camera, with reflection of Amsterdam Centraal in the background.

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Secured some profile shot before boarding the train back to Brussels. Whee~!!

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That summarizes the fun we had back in Amsterdam. Reached Brussels in the evening. As it was Christmas Eve, and we thought of paying the town a visit. Sadly, we didn’t get to enjoy a white Christmas Eve celebration. Instead, it was a freaking WET Christmas Eve!!!.

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Drop me some comments aite? Would love to read your views and responses.

note: In Malaysia, people shop like mad during Christmas Eve. The total opposite in Brussels, where the town was pretty much dead. I bet most of them are enjoying their meal with the family, similar to us the night before our festivals and celebrations. 

Euro Trip - Log #2

Destination 1: Liege/ Liège/ Luik

The next day we left home around 1pm to start our le tour de belgique

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We originally plan to get the train tickets to Amsterdam, but decided to make a journey to Liege, after trips to Amsterdam were cancelled due to heavy snow. A quick look at the Departure Board in Brussel Centraal and we decided to go to Liege, which is the third most populated town in Belgium.

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So, how do we actually choose to visit this town then? Well honestly, because Shah thinks that it would be a cool place as he knows the town has a football club, Standard Liege. Lame excuse? EXACTLY! But we went on with his idea nevertheless. Plus Azri had no objections too.

I remember my sis mentioning that the ticketing counters in Brussel Centraal are one of those who speaks well in English. So we gave it a try, buying our own tickets to Liege. I swear that we pronounce Liege as accurate as possible, yet the ticket teller gave us tickets to Lier. Being tourists who do not speaks neither Flemish nor French, we really thought Lier is the other name for Liege (as all the towns in Belgium has two names, for Flemish and French speaking people).

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So we board the train, fully convinced that we will reach Liege as planned.

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After an hour or so in the train, a ticket master showed up and ask for our tickets. Looking at our tickets, he then mentioned that we boarded a wrong train. After we provided him with such a long explanation, he printed us with new pairs of tickets to Liege. *phew*

One thing that we instantly realized after getting off the train is the futuristic-looking Liège-Guillemins railway station.

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Apparently, the apple candies look more intriguing than the railway station for these two. I think the only time I see such candy was back when we were kids, watching Mary Poppins (if i’m not mistaken).  

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This station really has that “HEY! LOOK AT ME!!” persona from anywhere in town. Very easy to spot such architecture in this medieval town.

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 A mix of old and new architectures. Nicely done~

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After couple of hours walking around the town, we headed back to Brussels just on time for dinner.

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Azri taking a nap while some local ski-campers playing cards.

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Last shot of the day, Patria Statue located in the middle of Place des Martyrs, Brussels. A statue honoring those who gave their life for Belgium’s independence back in 1830.

That’s all folks.

whee~!!