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…

Flashback Friday: Paris at Dusk

From my file pix: This shot was taken in 2009 from the viewing point between the bell towers of the church of Notre Dame in Paris. Am not sure if I’ll want to make that claustrophobic & physically challenging climb up the winding steps of the bell tower to the lookout point again. But to…

Acculturation: The Asian Mother Mary

The staple of every altar in the home of our Roman Catholic friends and family are Jesus, Mother Mary and St Joseph (if he was lucky to be a part of a Holy Family image or statue.  The poor man is often forgotten). The most common portrayal of Mother Mary is of course that of…

Eerie Ruins by the Sea: Al-Jumail

Qatar does not have much of a rich and spectacular history as it’s neighbours in the region. This county was once home to migratory Bedouin tribes, fishermen and pearl divers who built small settlements along its coastline – trading their finds with passing land and sea traders. Unlike the surrounding regions, this area does not…

Mythical Langkawi (via Ferry)

It’s been 15 years since we last visited Langkawi Island, the mythical island believed to have been cursed for seven generations by a young woman – Mahsuri – who was falsely accused of adultery. Locals believe the curse has been lifted as the island began to prosper over the last few decades after at least…

Frosty View: Transpolar Flight Scenes

As mentioned in an earlier post (Sunrise at 38,000 feet), I’m one of those passengers who is busy fiddling with the in-flight entertainment system during red-eye flights (I try to be really quiet – promise!). If I’m at the window seat, I’m often peeking out at the changing hues of the sky, or the cities…