Milan Antique Market - Naviglio Grande

Limoges tea cup
I don't know when I started to like antique.  But it only limits to affordable ones.  Perhaps, it is because my friend studied Germanistik (German literature) and he loves to visit churches for the architecture, sculptures, paintings, etc.  They are all historical, exist for several centuries.

I visit Milan from time to time.  If it is the last Sunday of the month I will go to Naviglio Grande for the once a month antique market (except August and December). There are about 300 to 400 stalls selling different stuff.  My favourable categories are tea or expresso cup and accessories. Apart from these two, you will often see tableware, off season fashion (even fur), handbag, furniture, lamp, chandelier, etc. There are still other antique markets. Click here to see the full list.  If you are not into antique, the canal still should be one of your sightseeing points. It is lively with many shops, small eateries and restaurants.

My tea / expresso cup collection includes: a Limoges porcelain tea cup from the 40s (as I was told), orange and white shell expresso cup (€8), blue & gold expresso cup (€8) and one set of four white with gold strip expresso cups (€5).

For accessories, I've a red stone ring, some brooches, a pair of enamel earrings from the UK, a pendant and a necklace.  My favourite is the ring.

Wanna have a look of the stalls there?  Here are some.  It is a fantastic experience to look around. If I have a big house, I may buy some furniture, lamps and tableware from there.  Ha, a dream! Sometimes, you can really get big bargains. Last winter I paid €45 for two cashmere pullover from a side street there (no antique but new from factory). 




24 April 2015

My stay in Germany this time was often with so so weather. Perhaps, we only had 3 days with sunshine during the 9-day stay.  Amberg is one of the day trip destinations.  It is seldom heard beyond Germany. But it had bright history as a prosper town.  The city centre is small, clean, organised and rich.  Wifi is provided free once you are near the Marktplatz (main square).  Buildings have been renovated.  Only the Cathedral tower and one more place were under restoration.

The city centre is very easy to reach from the railway station.  Just walk across once you have been out of the station.  There was a bronze spherical structure at the entrance of the city.  It is beautifully crafted, with many different patterns and themes.  I saw many hands interacting inside the sphere.  It denotes friendship. Amberg welcomes us.  Oh, this is my interpretation.  I did not read anything about the art piece.

Soon after entering the city the first sight visiting point we saw is Church of S. Martin. From outside it does not look spectacular but the altar, lots of paintings and stained glass windows inside should not be missed.  S. Martin is known as a 'Hall Church' and is the largest in northern Bavaria.  
Statues on the wall of Amberg S. Martin Church

Next to the S. Martin Church is the main square (Marktplatz).  There stands the Gothic style townhall (Rathaus) and colourful buildings. It's busy.  Residents and tourists were sitting under the sun to enjoy the fine day.


Around the town centre are many nice spots and a leisure stroll is a pleasure.  River Vil's cuts through the city centre. Walking there, though just a few blocks behind the centre, is tranquil and peaceful.  


Amberg has one of the best preserved city walls in Germany. The old town is nicknamed as 'egg' as the walls surrounding are in an egg shape.

At a corner of the city wall is the Nabburger Tor (Gate), the biggest gate among the four entering Amberg.

Another famous spot is the Stadtbrille (Town Spectacles). It is a gateway built in 1534 to connect both sides of the river.  Two of the semi-circular arches cast reflections on the river to form an illusion of a pair of spectacles.

Hotel Eh'häusl in Amberg is the world's smallest hotel, only 8.2 feet. It was built in 1728. Couples spending their wedding night in it will live happily ever and never divorce. The bronze door and the intertwined rings of the street number are good compliments.

Amberg was the host of the German Garden Show (Bundesgartenschau) in 1996. The city was refreshed with gardens, plants and flowers. After the end of the show, a sculpture path (Amberger Skulpturenweg) was borne. Modern additions are inserted from time to time.  What a pleasure of walking in green and with art!


We have seen many nice spots.  I can't write everything in details.  A glimpse of another two churches: S. George and Paulanerkirche.  They are immaculate and elegant.


We saved one of the highlights at the end of the visit. Walfahrskirche Maria Hilf is located on a hill opposite to Amberg city centre.  It can be seen from every corner of the city. This splendid view triggers a wish to visit, to climb the height to reach it.  It is my friends' wish to revisit the church after more than two decades.

The Walfahrskirche is a pilgrim church established after the subsidence of a severe plague in 1634.  To date, on July 2 every year, pilgrims come from all over the Upper Palatinate and Upper Franconia to participate in the pilgrimage. Adjacent to the church is a Franciscan monastery.


A bonus is the great panoramic view over Amberg.  The slightly harsh climb is worthwhile for the beautiful church and panoramic view.  The descend is relatively easy and quick.


Today is the nth anniversary with my German friend.  So, this post of a German city is a present to celebrate it. Thank you!



I am not often in Milan but if I visit the city I always want to pay a visit to Shockolat.  It sells all sorts of chocolate ice cream, any fruity and nutty ice cream that complements chocolate, and chocolate pastries.

For me, Shockolat is the best chocolate ice cream shop in Milan. Its chocolate ice cream is very very delicious, creamy and the taste remains at the palate for a long while.  Indulgent! Decadent!  It is validated by a guest's expression.  He enjoyed it so much!

Shockolat is a tiny shop located at Via Giovanni Boccaccio, near the Cadorna Railway Station and it is within walking distance from the Castello Sforzesco.  Drop by if you are near or pay a visit there intentionally.  You will not be disappointed.  We were lucky to get a table both times.  But there can be a queue.  Wish you luck!

I can barely remember that other two ice cream shops that appealed to me.  One is located at Corso Como.  Its chocolate was intensive and good but choices of chocolate flavour were limited to 2, may be dark and normal chocolate.  Another one was near a museum or a restaurant with a part of name as Opera.  Its chocolate and raspberry ice cream was likely heavenly couple.  But Shockolat remains my favourite, the crave and wish.


Amah Rock 望夫石

As I was a child, I could have a view of the Amah Rock (the stone gazing out for her husband) from the classroom window. There is a story behind this rock, like a woman carrying her child on her back on the top of a hill.  She was waiting, hoping to see her husband returning home.  The legend says a girl lost her parents.  Her neighbour adopted her.  She grew up with the neighbour boy and became his wife.  The couple had two sons.  There was a drought.  The husband had to go overseas to earn money.  His wife took her children to the top of the hill to wait for her husband.  Day after day, year over year, there was no news from the husband.  Once when they were atop the hill, a thunderstorm transformed them to this piece of rock.  What a forlorn story!

Now I have grown up and the school has moved to a new position, I finally had a chance to hike up to see the rock. It is about 15 metre high and located within the Lion Rock country park, near the tunnel of the same name.  One can hike starting from Wong Tai Sin or Shatin.  We took the latter route today.  Starting from Tai Wai station we walked along Hung Mui Kuk Road to arrive at the entrance.

We were welcome by a big monkey.  It ran from the higher part, suddenly grasped a bread roll from a team member and enjoyed its triumph proudly in the human crowd.  It had many fellows but they stayed around and on the branches of the big trees. If you will visit, please ensure you don't eat anything.
The path is straight forward, always up, about 250 meters.  Walking up is mainly in the shadow.  It's hot but was bearable in early June.  You will pass a wide horizontal street.  Moving up a bit, there were two paths.  We took the left one as it is less steep.

You will see the rock from far and can try to zoom it. When you are getting close it looks like just a rock, not resembling a mother carrying her child anymore.

Once you have reached the rock, you can have a fantastic view over Shatin.   One way will take about 30-40 minutes. Not difficult.