Shades of Syria in Victoria

I bought my first Syrian carpet in 2001, while on assignment in Aleppo. The burst of colourful textiles caught my eye as I was wandering around the rustic and historic neighbourhood of Al-Jdeida. Each carpet features different designs and colours which I was told represents the regions it is produced in. The ones in Damascus…

Andorra La Where?

Andorra La Vella? Andorra? Sounds familiar but where is it? That was the question we got from most people when we told them of our visit to our three night stop at this tiny nation of just over 78,000 people in the Pyrenees mountains. Andorra was off our radar.  Like most people I had heard…

What’s Cookin’ @ Cook’s Cottage

The Cook family cottage, family home of renown English explorer and navigator Captain James Cook who discovered Australia during his expedition through the Pacific in the late 1700s, now stands in the grounds of the Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne Australia. No, the Cook family never moved to Australia. This cottage was originally located in Great…

Centuries Old Stopover

Apartmentos Abat Marcet (Cel.les Abat Marcet) has been housing pilgrims visiting Montserrat for centuries. It was refurbished in the 1960s and named Apartmentos Abat Marcet after the Abbot of Montserrat – Abbot Marcet (1912-1946). It is a simply furnished apartment with a kitchenette (including a fridge, stove, microwave and cutlery), bath and toilet, hall cum…

Evening Walk: Blackburn VIC

Blackburn is a quaint neighbourhoods about 20kms outside Melbourne. I believe it is a place that city folk seek solace away from the bustling capital of the state of Victoria. It was a pleasant walk through the quaint neighbourhood along and around Bindi Street where our family spent the recent holidays in a rented home….

Black Madonna of Catalonia

The Black Madonna of Montserrat (La Moreneta in Catalan which means the little dark skinned one) is the patron saint of Catalonia together with St Jordi (St George). The dark features of this statue currently at the Montserrat Basilica is courtesy of the pigment from wood it is carved out of – believed to have…

To A Pleasant 2019!🥂

I blinked and 2018 passed by me! Terence and I traveled to a total of six countries last year – starting with Qatar, followed by Hong Kong, Cambodia, Spain, Andorra and we ended the year in Melbourne, Australia – none of these were planned as of Jan 1, 2018. In between, we juggled work, major…

Merry Christmas 🎄

Wishing my friends, visitors and your loved ones a blessed Christmas! Love the simplicity of this ‘blow up’ nativity scene in front of St Luke the Evangelist church in Blackburn, a quaint and quiet suburb outside Melbourne, where I attended Christmas Eve mass with Terence and our extended family.

Meet ‘Tio’ the Pooping Log

‘Tio’ the Christmas log is a traditional feature in Catalan homes during Christmas. It is supposed to be fed and kept warm by kids in the home, after which the log will be hit with sticks till it ‘caga’ or poops out presents for the children. This was just some of the traditional Andorran festive…

Bon Nadal Andorra La Vella

Folks in the highest capital city in Europe Andorra La Vella (3,356ft) gear up for the Christmas market at Placa del Poble in the historic quarter of the city this weekend. The Christmas season festivities will start this weekend all over this small country (just over 450sq km) in the Pyrenees mountains – with a…

Sunrise from Montserrat (Video)

Good morning Montserrat! Who would have though a random purchase of Dan Brown’s ‘Origin’ by the other half would lead to a memorable stay at the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey in Catalonia, Spain? The view of a beautiful sunrise on a crisp morning over the Llobregat Valley is a great start to the day…

Traditional Tiffin Take-Away

I spotted these beautiful tiffin carriers that used to be a common sight in most Malaysian kitchens at one time. Unlike the stainless-steel Indian tiffin carriers, the Malaysian version is usually in plain pastel colours or adorned with beautiful motifs – usually flowers. I’m not entirely sure, but I think these originate from the kitchens…