Well, back from a hefty 9 days of holiday...First 4 in Paree, next in Yong Loi Ee's place in London, and the last 4 in Uncle Hee Liong's in Bedford.
First off, a round of thank yous:
To - Kenny, Aiky, Sheng Yeeng, Esther and Angeline...for being great to travel around with and bug and just laugh about things, even when it's cold, or after being mugged. And especially to Aiky, for being a great travel guide.
Paris was great fun, and very scenic...Plus we left enough to warrant a return trip! It was actually colder than England...and the French; it was the first time I'd felt foreign since coming out of cosy Malaysia. Aiky did a really good blog about Paris, which you can read here.
The churches were magnificent, their ceilings stretched high above our heads, our voices changing to whispers as we walked in. Stained glass windows would abound in every church, unspoiled by vandalism and seemingly untouched by time. The clincher for me was attending Mass in the Basilica Sacre Coeur; though naturally impaired due to the obvious language barrier, the chorus by the nuns was beautifully sung. And at St Severin, another church, when the organ played out of nowhere, it was the icing on the cake. I'd imagined how the sound would come out, ever since I'd read a description of a full cathedral organ being played, and it did not disappoint. The bass swelled out massively, while the high pitch rolled around smoothly yet coquettishly above the din. Though the organist didn't play my fav: Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring, it was still a great experience.
The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre were all that they promised to be. We actually rushed quite a bit, till we got to the paintings. Not being much of an artist, I held back for a bit. But soon we realised, despite our lack of technicality, how much we appreciated the use of colour and tones. The silk in one painting looked as though we could feel it's lightness, while the king's furs in another drawing looked heavy. The Mona Lisa for me, was a bit of an overstatement however. Possibly this may have been because I didn't take too much time with it, owing to the crowds of people jostling around it, or that the paintings before were just as, or even more eye-catching. We got to meet up Lena, Chiaming and family after that, which was good.
Food wise, I can't really say that I had a lot of French cuisine, save the excellent baguette, which we had for bfast every morning. It was a treat to come down to the cosy communal kitchen where backpackers of all races would congregate to receive their rations consisting of a baguette roll, butter, jam and juice. Cornflakes and coffee would follow - a true breakfast for ppl on the go! On the last night, however, we dined at a restaurant famed for their seafood. Certainly the salmon was good...tasty with every bite. And Kenny got the waiter to say "Bon Appetit!" before we ate!
To Ee and Uncle Hee Liong, Ben, Aunt Penny and Uncle Chuong - thanks for the extra kg that I put on, and the movies, and the books, and understanding how late I'd sleep in!
It was a real treat coming back from Paris to a home base with home cooked food and beds. After seeing off the Dundonians and Angeline off the next day, it was great to prop up both feet and relax. And when I met Uncle HeeLiong at the station the next day, and drove through a park to his house, I began to feel the best part of my holiday was not over yet.
Christmas at Bedford was great. From meeting Ben and Elisabeth whom I haven't seen for ages, to having Christmas lunch with the family with all the traditions like pulling the crackers with people next to you, carving the joint, waiting for Christmas pudding to the ceremonial opening of presents under the tree. It was all good fun, despite the cats that they owned, which to be fair, were really well behaved:-) The rest of the time was spent reading, either in bed or out of it, and watching tv(Spirited Away rocks!, and saw Dr. Who for the first time..) And waking up one morning, drawing the curtains of my room(which i had to myself) and seeing this:
Uncle Choung and I went mad with our cameras that morning. In fact, I've no idea how to link stuff up to my blog, and worked out the Multiply link fairly recently. May yet be changing it in the near future. Most of my recent photos are there, so there'll be less on my blog(only the ones that mean something, anyway). Btw, Aiky, if you're reading this, hope you don't mind me linking up my blog to yours..
Plus received photos of YokeLi/Ah Liang's wedding today, which were great!
I'm still trying to work out how to lose the extra weight:-)