Of history books, postcards and fashion magazines

So, it’s back to sunny Singapore, back to reality and back to work on Monday.

Photos are up on facebook!
It’s the first time I’m being so efficient! We took over 900 pictures in all, and those on FB are the specially selected highlights. :)

Italy is like a series of history books, from Rome, Assisi, Pissa, Florence, Venice to Milan.
Probably the most tiring leg of the trip, having to move from city to city on a day to day basis.

Seeing one church after another. It is almost like a competition, the biggest, the oldest, the widest, the longest, the tallest, the most magnificent. Perhaps it really IS a competition.
Is faith measured by the extent of the worship, and is the extent of the worship measured by the sheer size of the church?
I know not.

My favorite place in Italy is actually this relatively unknown town called Assisi where the St. Claire’s church is.
It is interesting to learn how when one building collapses, people would re-build another on that same spot.
We saw a church built in the 18th century where there is another church built in the 15th century a storey below it.. and some two storeys below, there is a home of a rich Roman family built in the 13th century.
(Disclaimer: All the numbers might be a wrong recall, but you get the idea.)

Switzerland makes me feel like I am inside a series of postcards.
The snow, the alps, the swiss cottages.. I can’t help but say WOW to everything I see.

We went up to two-thirds of Jangfrau – it was snowing quite heavily while we did snow fights, went on the snow sledge, had hot chocolate when we were done with the cold outside, tried the hot wine at the bar set up in the middle of nowhere.. It was good fun.

We also went up to the top of Mount Titlis – it wasn’t snowing but the view was just oh-so clear. Had a nagging headache though – not sure if it was due to the lack of sleep or the pressure up in the mountains.

Lucerne was nice too – totally relaxing just sitting by the lake and watching the ducks and swans.

Paris is like a giant fashion magazine – lots of brands, cluttered, over-crowded, but still interesting and nice enough to flip through.

Save for Effiel Tower, the boat tour on the 2nd evening and the shopping, I can’t say I remember much of it. We were not helped by the easter holidays – long queues into the museums and churches, overcrowded at the shopping streets.

Nonetheless I am happy with my purchases over there. Haha.

All in all it has been a great trip. I’ve great company, and it is just so good to be away from Singapore, away from work, away from the in-laws. I am so glad I did not bring my notebook along, so glad that I did not really miss the Internet (or the online shopping).

We made friends with some guys and girls from our tour group too. 35 of us in all, mostly couples save for a group of 6 taitais, a mother-daughter group and a mother traveling alone – the nine of them probably the biggest spenders in our group.

We met a couple who wore the same wedding bands we have! Which is really amazing because we didn’t choose the bands from the same set, and yet we managed to get the same bands. We became buddies for the rest of the trip. Haha.

One of the 6 taitais probably bought all the bags in the Prada outlet store (I didn’t even buy anything from there, boohoo) and started bringing a different Prada bag each day in Italy, and then various LV bags when we were in Paris. She has been nicknamed Pink Panther by yours truly because she has appeared twice in all-pink outfit – pink top, pink pants, pink blush, pink lipstick all in different shades of pink.
Dirt rich but no class (yes, not even low class). Shouts at sales assistants at branded shops, screams at waitresses when they accidentally drop things, has no regard for timings or other people in the tour group.
We all had fun imitating and laughing at her.

The mother and daughter are filthy rich as well. In Switzerland, the mother flashed a Rolex watch with diamonds all around and told us “Oh this costs $12,000 Singapore dollars” in a tone that sounded like it only costs $12. The daughter reminded the mother not to show off, but told us matter-of-factly, “If I know we are going to get this, I would have brought cash here in advance”. The same girl was also overheard saying to her mother, “Don’t buy Tag Heuer, it’s a cheap brand.”
We all tried to act like it is only $12 but in our hearts we were all thinking, “Gosh, that’s XX months’ pay!” or “Gosh, that’s a COE!” or “Gosh, did she use just one credit card to pay? I think I need 4 cards!”.

Where do people get all these money from?

I need to start saving for our next trip to other parts of Europe!

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