• Florence, As We Love It

    Florence, according to Italian, is a small city.   A cab driver told us, like 2km radius.  So one could from one point to the other. We did not walk that much, mainly due to the rain.  But we did walk from the train station to the main attraction.  We reached Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in like 20 minutes of walking.  There is not much of a problem to walk in Florence in February, as it was still sort of like winter. After the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore visit, which took about 3-4 hours, we decided to walk about in the area.  Two nice things to do…

  • Basilica, after watching Angels and Demons

    I have watched the Angels and Demons, a movie adaptation by Dan Brown, whom our family, majority not a fan.  We read because it is entertaining, but I must say Mr. Brown is very creative and imaginative.  You can not be a writer who makes money without having both. So when we arrived at the Basilica, the feeling is so great that I could see the place, like D-place, which I have only thought of seeing it from websites and pictures.  It is amazing.  We are here. The St Peter Square is seriously huge, to cater for the crowd gathering. Where as the Basilica, just like everywhere else in Vatican,…

  • Castel Sant’Angelo, Now a Museum

    Taken from Castel Sant’Angelo’s official website:- Built around 123 AD as a tomb for Emperor Hadrian and his family, Castel Sant’Angelo has an unusual destiny in the historical and artistic capital of the scene. While all the other Roman monuments are overwhelmed, reduced to ruins or quarries to be recycled into new materials counting, modern buildings, the Castle – through an unbroken series of developments and transformations that seem to slip into each other seamlessly continuity – accompanies for almost two thousand years the fate and history of Rome. From funerary monument to a fortified outpost, from dark and terrible prison in splendid Renaissance residence which sees active among its…

  • The Pope Blessing on Vatican City

    Sunday in Rome, the best place to be, other than on bed, is the St Peter’s Square of which at 12noon, Pope Francis will bless the crowd. You need to understand Italian and Latin to enjoy the full blessing.  Or, turn on the Google Translate with the voice recording to the effect. Just like the Roman Catholic services I have attended, it is very structure, nothing to be filled with the spirit.  So, the time is also structured in the way which one knows when to end. Pope Francis brought 2 young students with him to read out the blessings. There is really no ideal or better spot at the…

  • Vatican City, An Overview

    According to Vatican City official website, Vatican City State was founded following the signing of the Lateran Pacts between the Holy See and Italy on February 11th 1929. These were ratified on June 7th 1929. Its nature as a sovereign State distinct from the Holy See is universally recognized under international law. In this tiny and world’s smallest state, it has 800 citizens, with 450 of them are the Vatican citizen, the rest are allowed to reside there. Vatican also has its own coin and stamps, but when we were there, the souvenir shops inside Vatican City accept only Euro. I am not too sure how to take a public transport to Vatican City, but…

  • High Speed Train in Rome, To Many Places, Including Outside of Italy.

    We made arrangement to attend the Pope Audience on Wednesday, so we decided to leave Rome on Tuesday to head out to Florence, or famously known as Fiorenze in Italian. The ride was 80 Euro per pax for return ticket.  We did not plan to stay in Florence, so we went on a day trip, which according to many Romans, more than enough.  We only have 2km of radius to cover.  They were right actually. Florence is small. But I want to talk about the high speed train ride. Retna and I went on bullet train ride when we were in Japan, and then again when I was in Nagoya,…

  • Driving in Rome, Graduated If You Still Alive.

    The Rome trip has been fruitful and great. The Tan-Vijayans really enjoyed themselves, so do we, Retna and I. We took a flight from KLIA, and then transited in Dubai, before reaching Rome, or the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport.  The whole journey – about 14 hours of flight time.  We were lucky to have a short transit in Dubai.  So less waiting. Arrived in Rome at about 6:25pm, and the hotel transfer came to pick us up at the same time.  We reached the hotel in less than 20mins, mainly the driver drove really fast. It is like, one just want to drive fast for the sake of driving fast.…