Rothenburg ob der Tauber

27 July 2011

Youth Hostel
It was my second time visiting Rothenburg but this time on my birthday, with Family Heim.  It is a walled medieval old town, along the Romantic Road in Bavaria.  I remember that there was an Umzug the first time when I was there. People in medieval clothing were marching and performing. There was a great view out from the toilet window of the youth hostel, lush green, endless and romantic.

We had a cosy breakfast at home in Nürnberg.  Then we drove for an hour to start the lovely visit.  Sunshine blessed the day.  My birthday was filled with beautiful unspoiled medieval buildings, green surroundings, laughter and memory.

Many buildings have signs indicating the business that the shop is in.  Cute!  We passed through a gate, beautiful houses and then arrived at the Marktplatz where the Rathaus and major buildings are standing. 

To have a great panoramic view of the town, we ascended to the roof of the Rathaus.  It's a narrow rounded top allowing limited number of visitors.  Be sure to get there.  It's worth the efforts and money.

The town is old but it's also creative. A shop selling teddy bear shows bears as important musicians.  Great names of Beethoven, Bach, Schumann, etc. 

After lunch we walked to the surrounding of the old town, bathed in the greenery and under the sunshine.  Sights of isolated church, randomly scattered houses, nice private gardens, stone bridge.  All can be described as picturesque.

Slowly we walked back to the town via a gate.  Sorry, don't know the name.  There are many gates at different points of the wall.  Ascending from any point to look at the town and the surroundings.  Everywhere is shown with names of donators from all around the world.

One of the spots worths photography is Plonlein, that I learnt about it after the trip. Well, my photo is certainly not among the best, but an impression for a desire to visit next time you will be there.

St Jakobskirche (church) is a gigantic landmark of Rothenburg.  The Gothic church houses a famous masterpiece  by Würzburg sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider, the Holy Blood Altarpiece.  In the centre is the Last Supper carved in wood. The expressions of the figures are very real.  Superb technique!

Close to the end of the visit came we to the Burg Garten.  A man performed music with a special instrument, family and friends relaxed, tourists wandered around.  One can get fantastic views of the town and the surroundings. 

Time to go, goodbye charming and eternal Rothenburg.  This birthday is one of the happiest in the recent years.


Singapore Delicacies

I was lucky to sample a number of Singapore Delicacies during the recent business trip.   First to mention is the national dish - crab.  We went to a No Signboard Seafood that local families go.  Target: White Pepper Crab!

Let's start, hooray!  One Sri Lanka crab for two of us.  Spicy scallop, prawn roll and Samal Kangkong 馬來风光, morning glory fried with chilli paste.  The signature dish is White Pepper Crab.  It is cooked with spring onion and ginger, looks the way my mom cooks at home.  I like its sometimes dominant and sometimes subtle white pepper fragrance.  I could taste the natural sweetness of the crab.  Big piece of crab meat, double happiness.  Marvelous!

One can order scallops cooked in different ways.  We asked for XO sauce, turning out very spicy but pleasant.  Yum!  The prawn roll was relative so so standing next to the fantastic dishes. 

Two nights later, Jacky took us to a local but more touristic and pricey restaurant, Sin Hoi Sai at Tiong Bahru.  Prawn fried with oat is interesting and so as the coffee ribs.  But once the Black Pepper Crab was on show, they were compared down.  The crab was pungent, tasty and very nice.  But we were filled up with quick, with the other two dishes and drinks washing down the spiciness.

If you ask me which is more my favourite, I will say the white one as I could taste more the natural taste of the crab.  Certainly, I will eat them again in the future whenever I am in Singapore again.  But I will try local restaurants in public estate, if I can find one, more authentic and with more reasonable price.

Tauhu Telor
7 of us had lunch on the day I left Singapore.  The venue is Island Café at Tang's, a corner around my hotel.  The most impressive is Tauhu Telor deep fried tofu and eggs served with soy sauce, garlic and chilli.  It's simple, crispy and delicious.  The platter with satay and deep fried was good.  I tried a spring roll.  It's fabulous, from a person seldon eating deep fried food.  Imagine, how good it is.  Singaporean chefs do wonderful deep fried, not oily, crispy and not filling up easily.  Like!

A local salad with soy sauce dressing is also very welcome.  Different kinds of vege, slightly sweet dressing, fresh and mouth washing.

We also ordered Chicken rice, Lobster Laksa and Prawn Mee Soup.  Chicken is tender and juicy.  However, I preferred Hainan Chicken Rice, for its rice mingled with chicken fat.  Laksa and Prawn Mee Soup were intensive.  Sharing in group is not favourable as the noodle gets cold soon.  One does not have the enthusiasm of eating it when after the stage of piping hot has gone.  Too many choices on the table and everything is appealing.  When it's down to the signature noodle dishes, lobster is rough and noodle was no longer hot.  No desire to sip and eat the soup.  A pity but the whole meal was very enjoyable, together with 7 beauties.  Yeah!

There are many food courts and stalls around Singpapore.  You may spend a handful of money or very little to have good meal.  Good luck!  Stick to the locals to chase after good food!


Marina Bay Sands and Tourist Spots Nearby

It's another time this year visiting Singapore for work.  Last time we had a luxus dinner at Marina Bay Sands, having superb views of Singapore's skyline from all perspectives.  It's a pity that we could not admire the beautiful outlook of the modern architecture of the casino itself.  But this time, as I came the first night alone then joined by other colleagues, I had the freedom of having a closer look yet with some distance of the marvelous building group.  Ajadcent is the ArtScience Museum in the lotus flower look.  They complement each other, leaving audience an unforgettable impression of Singapore.

Anshu (ex-colleague) addressed my desires for the outlook of Marina Bay Sands and Singapore crab by bringing me to the Esplanade. It is a theatre built in the shape of durian and situated next to the Singapore River. It's 6 hectre large. The theatre can sit 2000 people. It stands proudly at the waterfront, competing attention with the nearby Marina Bay Sands. Outside is long corridor that people can stroll along and enjoy the open space and appreciate the glittering surroundings.

Strolling along the street leading closer to the Fullerton Hotel, the Merlion came into sight.  It is a mythical creature with the head of lion and the body of a fish.  The name combines mer, the sea, and lion.  The fish body symbolises the origin of Singapore as a fishing village.  The lion head reminds the original name of Singapore, lion city.

Around 9.30, a faint laser shined from the centre of the ArtScience Museum.  Then the top of the Sands building glittered with laser effect.  Green, white light shot from the top.  Music heard.  The laser show began. Without knowing before, we enjoyed the visual views with surprise and delight.



I heard about Lucca since quite a long time ago. It is said as one of the very beautiful towns in Tuscany. A picture of the oval-shape Piazza Anfiteatro drew my attention and cultivated a desire to visit.  It is a medieval town, the only one in Italy which is totally surrounded by a wall, since 16-century.  Ascending to the wall, stroll and enjoy a fantastic view of the town from all angles.

The town is dotted with numerous Romaneque churches, palaces and shops.  It was a rich merchant town but the pace nowadays is never quick, holiday....  We enjoyed the town by walking around it, passing through lanes with medieval houses, walking on the wall.....

Well, a few highlights..... Duomo di San Maritno, superb architecture signatured with white and green exquisite marble. One of the outstanding pieces of art is the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto (wife of the ruling Guinigi), elegant and peaceful. It was sculpted by Jacopo della Quercia.

Piazza Anfiteatro is a landmark of Lucca.  We had a glance in the evening.  It's a residence but the ground floor of all buildings is transformed to restaurants.  Guess all residents have late nights, at least in summer.  Nevertheless, the piazza is charming. 

Not to be missed are Chiesa san Frediano and Chiesa san Michele.  San Frediano has a beautiful Byzantine/medieval style golden mosaic facade. The highlight inside the church is a 12th century Romanesque baptismal font.  It is composed of a bowl, covered with a tempietto, resting on pillars, inside a circular basin.

San Michele is stunning and admirable for its mighty facade.  It occupies a central location, full of life.  Century old nearby houses are watching the church and people passing by or sipping a coffee in a cafe at the square.  Inside the church are a Madonna with child by Andrea della Robbia and a panel by Filippino Lippi portraying Four Saints.  Lucca is the home town of the famous composer Puccini.  But not much publicity except a statue nearby the church, a museum and concerts

Our last highlight is climbing the Guinigi Tower, part of a palace and the roof is filled with trees.  From there you can a panoramic view of Lucca.  Beautiful! 

Our farewell to Lucca! My friend felt very bad at the end, heavily sick and weak. Then there came the strike of Italian train. It stopped at nowhere. Fortunately, we were picked up by a friend from Milan, 160km away. A big thank-you!