Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bergamo

We spent a day in the upper city of Bergamo, Italy awaiting for our return flights late in the evening. Although the original plan was to only visit Milan but decided to spend time here after a few recommendations.

Although the weather was against us, we still braved the slight showers by trying to spend time in places with shelter. Mostly being their free museums which was surprisingly open on a Sunday in this part of the world.

Well, Bergamo can be mainly separated to the upper city and the lower city. The upper city on a walled hill is where we strolled around on narrow cobble stone roads and is ideally small to reach all the main attractions.



The Gates To The Public Garden



Narrow Streets Of Citi Alta (Upper City)



Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

The Basilica is the towns grandest religious building in the city.



The Duomo

The cathedral is dedicated to St Alexander, the patron saint of Bergamo.



Walls Of The Upper City

The hilltop city is surrounded by the venetian walls as a form of defence although never used in battle.

As a summary, Bergamo is a must see and can be reached by train or a day coach trip from Milan.

Cheers

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Milan

Milan, a fashion capital, shopping haven and home of Prada. Well, here I am for a short weekend trip in lovely Italy. Here is a quick lazy post of pictures from Milan which I will do a write up shortly:



The Duomo



Sunday, April 19, 2009

Call Me Tail Sniffer

Here I am in abbensen, hannover a week after the easter hash . The event
was the first ever hamburg hash. We camped in the YMCA hostel/camp site and
shared a cabin with a few others.

YMCA
Yup, That Spells YMCA

As I have been hashing for a fairly short while, I was finally baptist and
given a hash name of tail sniffer. Yups, it is tradition and custom for
hashers to be given and only known by their hash names throughout each run.
A baptist typically involves being showered with flour and sprayed with
beer. The mixture can most certainly find its way to stay lumpy on your
hair. The tip to get rid of it as quickly was to wash it off with cold
water which obviously I did not as it was too cold in the evening. I ended
up with a night of sleeping with lumps of dried flour all over my body, I
still manage to was most of it with cold water the next morning.


In Front Of Our Cabin

The reason behind the name was because I was always trailing behind song
yia and she was wearing a top with a elaborated straps on the back that
once tied together looked like a tail danggling down.

The other attendees includes shitty tails, done on the run, cindy bear,
limbo lady, hippity hop, queen of shots and knickerless.


Posing During One Of Our Runs

The event throughout the week include a torchlight run through the forest
in the evening, a long run the day after and finally a hang over run on
sunday morning to end the weekend getaway.

We had a chance to have barbeque pork and sausages for one of the dinner
which was just simply amazing.

And as any hash events, the beer was just flowing throughout the weekend.

I enjoyed my time hashing here and am looking forward to the next one.

Cheers.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bremen

On the journey back to Hamburg from Osnabruck, we stopped by Bremen. Although it was public holiday, this place seems to be lively and very scenic.

If you are arriving by train, the tourist information center has loads to offer including a decent map and the short walk to the city center takes you through a few key sights.

Look at what I manage to get from my trigger happy moments.



Nope, we are not in the Netherlands. This scene welcomes you as we venture into the city.



This is probably the most famous bunch of residents in Bremen. A rooster on top of a cat followed by a dog, cat and a donkey on the bottom. It has become the symbol of Bremen and there is fairy tale that goes along it.



The statue of Roland.



Random Statue Of Pigs

In summary, this place is a must see and a great for a day trip.

P/S: Hamburgers have a saying whereby the best thing in Bremen is the road to Hamburg which I find very amusing. They have an on going rival although they are next to each other.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Fire

I was privilleged to be part of the Hamburg Hash Easter run.

We headed to part of the greater city for their annual Easter Hash which ends with a night around an Easter Fire. This is a very common practice here whereby families gather around their own personal fire or one can attend a public one.

The hash as usual started with a run from the train station whereby we ended in our final destination for food and the fire.

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Enjoying A Meal

As the day is much longer now, we had to wait until about 7 to start the fire. You will be surprised with the amount of firewood the host have prepared.

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Preparing The Bon Fire

As the night grew darker, the fire grew brighter. I left soon after but my guess is that the fire would have grew double in size.

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Burn Baby Burn!

It was a great first easter fire and it reminded me of my scouting days or more recently a camp fire I had in the UK.

Cheers,

Benny Ong

Friday, April 10, 2009

Osnabruck

As we have a spare day, I figured to make my stay in hamburg worthwhile by
taking a 3 hour train ride to Osnabruck.

As it was a holiday weekend, all shops remain close which can be dissapointing but allows one to enjoy the surroundings.

Here are some of the pictures I manage to harvest in Osnabruck:



This fountain have moveable figures which allows you to manipulate the positions of what I believe to be saints.


The castle Grounds

In summary, this place is a nice to see but not highly recommended if you have other places yet to cover. It however works out to be a good time killer for last minute tourist like myself.

I am off to Bremen next which I will share the post shortly.

Cheers.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Happy Easter Everyone!

Look what welcomed me into the office today? An easter bunny ahead of the long weekend celebration.


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One of the perks of working in this office is the thoughtful gifts over the year whenever there is a marketing campaign or just internal communications.


I am having a weekend trip tomorrow to Osnabruck and Bremen which I am looking forward to. Although many shops and places will be closed, I am looking forward to the sight seeing trip.


Well, have a happy and great Easter weekend and I will catch up with you on my next adventures.


Cheers.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Carlsberg Visitor Center

A Sunday in Copenhagen and with most shops shut, it couldn't have been a better choice to take a trip to the Carlsberg Visitor Center.

Unlike the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam and The Guiness Storehouse in Ireland, the Carlsberg visitor center is much more low profile. It has recently been renovated in 2005 and now it boasts an exhibition floor of over 10,000 square meters to the art of brewery and also its rich history.

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The Grand Elephants At The Gates Within The Carlsberg Brewery

If you take a walk from the train station, you might pass through the Elephant Gates with two grand elephants on each side. They have an uncanny resemblance to the entrance of the Berlin Zoo.

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The Portfolio Of Carlsberg Owned Brands

Carlsberg was founded by J.C. Jacobsen in 1847 and named it after his son Carl and the hill on which it was built. (Berg is hill in German). As you walk in the visitors center, one of the first displays is the largest collection (18,634!!!) of Beer bottles in the world which is endorsed by the Guiness Book Of Records since 1968. The rest of the tour is a self guided one with many interactive displays.

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Messing With A Display

The JC Jacobsen family have contributed many things to the city of Copenhagen which includes a gallery and many monuments. One of it has even become a symbol of the City, the Mermaid.

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Miniature Mermaid Statue Which Became A Copenhagen Symbol

The entry ticket also entitles you to two complimentary drinks at the bar. With so many to select from, you can kindly ask to try them first which I think the bar tender will be more than happy to allow if there is not a big crowd. I suggest you try the Jacobsen limited range which is not widely available as the rest.

carlsberg1

Enjoying Carlsberg In The Bar

I highly recommend anyone in Copenhagen to spend about 2-3 hours by dropping by here. It has a much intimate setting than the Guiness and Heineken brewery maybe because of its lack of popularity. Go to their official Visitors Center homepage at visitcarlsberg.dk for further information!

TIP: If you are coming from the city center, there is a direct bus which drops you off at the entrance instead of having to take a long walk from the station!

Watch out for my upcoming post of my other adventures!

Cheers,

Benny Ong

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Copenhagen Denmark

Finally, train tickets that I have booked months ago will be used. We set off early in the morning for a little over 6 hour journey to the capital of Denmark as part of my massive Europe voyage this year.


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The Mermaid


The first attraction that everyone visits is the Mermaid Statue along the river. Its status is the same like the Eiffel Tower is associated to Paris. I must say that it was a long but scenic walk from the city center.


copenhagen2


The second most visited location after Tivoli Gardens happen to be Christiania. I did not realized its existence until I picked up a brochure in the tourist office which mentioned it. I could not take much pictures within the main street as it is not allowed within the free town. Here is more explanation courtesy of Wikipedia:


"Christiania, also known as Freetown Christiania (Danish: Fristaden Christiania) is a partially self-governing neighbourhood of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares (85 acres) in the borough of Christianshavn in the Danish capital Copenhagen. Christiania has established semi-legal status as an independent community, but has been a source of controversy since its creation in a squatted military area in 1971. Its open cannabis trade was tolerated by authorities until 2004. Since then, measures for normalising the legal status of the community have led to conflicts, and negotiations are ongoing"


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The Opera House


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The Royal Guard


With lack of research, I was very lucky to stumbled upon the changing of guards which happens daily at 12 noon. The crowd was not as large as London's but it gives you intimacy.


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Gefion Sculpture


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The Round Tower


The round tower offers great view of the city and is one of the oldest observatory in the world.


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Stock Exchange


The roof of the stock exchange attracted me. It features three dragons with their tails swirl around each other to form a spiral. The three dragons represents Denmark, Sweden and Norway. All three scandinavia countries.


As a summary, I enjoy the city very much and would highly recommend it for a weekend getaway. Although it may not be a cheap destination to go, everything else makes up for it!



TIP: If you plan to visit the city, have a long weekend which end late Sunday or early Monday as most attractions are closed on Mondays. The national museums are free to enter and the following website offers a 3D map, skymap3d.com whereby physical prints of it can be obtained at major tourist attractions throughout the city.