Crudeness of Art

“Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”
– George Bernard Shaw

On close inspection undepicted in the pictures, passers-by have scribbled crass comments below the masterpieces. Which I could not understand. Which drove me senseless. An approval of ribaldry? Or a subversion of the fact ordinary humans cannot accept the salacious or risqué unless relegated to the artistic, stripped of life and existence. Is crudeness of reality really unbearable? Or have we been using art as a means of informally embracing the uncouth, while self-righteously, audaciously hating on all that is deemed offensive and lewd, just so we could appear respectable.

If art is where we truly become ourselves, then is it not reality?

So with all due respect to George Bernard Shaw, the crudeness of art makes the world bearable.

Frankfurt Art 1

Frankfurt Art 3

Frankfurt Art 2

As seen in a beautiful park in Frankfurt Germany. A lovely place, otherwise graffiti-ed to no end. But still lovely.

Viktoria Jean

The Love Lockdown

Eiserner Steg Frankfurt Love Bridge

Eiserner Steg Frankfurt

Eiserner Steg Frankfurt 2

Couples lock down their vows over the Eiserner Steg in Germany, which stands proud over River Main linking Frankfurt’s city centre to the district of Sachsenhausen. Another lover’s bridge marked with everlasting passion symbolized by the act of locking with a sense of resilient security and firm, unyielding permanence. The irony of these very metal locks surviving way past expiry of its owners’ heartfelt promises, we may never know.

Eiserner Steg 1

Once you look beyond the riveted steel truss, everything else can be forgotten. The scene of River Main from the centre of the bridge took my heart and mind away, just for a little while.

Eiserner Steg 2

Eiserner Steg Frankfurt 4

Eiserner Steg Frankfurt 5

Eiserner Steg
Mainkai, 60311 Frankfurt,

Viktoria Jean

Globalization is…

…having Hong Kong crispy duck for supper, grilled Frankfurters on a bun for lunch, and Thai rice noodles (phad si eiw) with Tom Yam-based steamboat and crispy chicken green curry for dinner. All these along the same stretch of restaurants in a town village of Germany! Not to mention having our fair share of the delicious local fare. The luxury of our blessed generation extends further than materialistic possessions – food is something we take even more for granted as we face daily choices our ancestors could never dream of making. I count my blessings as I enjoyed my meals in the company of amazing friends.

What are you having for dinner today? Bon appetit!

Thai Food 3 Frankfurt

Thai Food Frankfurt 2

Thai Food Frankfurt

Viktoria Jean

Micro-Chip, Macro Dreams


Could somebody invent a micro-chip for our brains, to programme us in such a way we can speak all the languages we will ever need? Frustrates me soooo so much that I can’t speak German, and I’m in Frankfurt where everybody rattles off in their native tongue and all I can mumble back are Guten Tag, Danke…Ciao.

Frankfurt is loooovely! And I’m here with very awesome people to hang out with. Am checking out places to go, things to do in future, yummies to eat and cathedrals to see…. Already hoping to come back in spring or summer. The next time I’m back I wish to speak a little German if I can!! (Yeah right I say that about every other language)

Till then 🙂

Viktoria Jean

Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg

Swans at Schloss Leopoldskron

A glimpse of the rococo villa from the bank across, while surrounded by a gorgeous bevy of swans. Contrary to popular belief, the Schloss Leopoldskron palace was never used as the Von Trapp villa in Robert Wise’s Sound of Music!

Schloss LeopoldskronN3392
Leopoldskron Palace is privately owned and not accessible to the general public, unless you’re a registered resident of the castle accommodations.

Schloss Leopoldskron River Palace
We were in Salzburg mid-September while temperature hasn’t descended to an insane low, though dark clouds and rain weren’t merciful enough to spare us.

Swans Schloss Leopoldskron
One of 3 scenes filmed here was of Julie Andrews and the children falling into the Leopoldskroner Weiher. I remember that so well now!

Schloss Leopoldskron

Sound of Music Tour
Our larger-than-life, don’t-seem-like-she’s-been-doing-this-everyday-for-twenty-years tour guide.

Swans at Schloss Leopoldskron

Schloss Leopoldskron Swans riverside

Schloss Leopoldskron Salzburg

Schloss Leopoldskron Salzburg
Friends who were excited at meeting swans who aren’t people-shy.

Schloss Leopoldskron
Leopoldskronstraße 56-58
5020 Salzburg

Viktoria Jean

Watching Snowflakes Fall

My friends amass all kinds of travel trinkets: keychains, fridge magnets, shot glasses, travel mugs, and even Starbucks tumblers with city names.

I’ve recently started collecting snow globes, after months of making sure I take a polaroid in every city I travel to, until my 5-year-old White Instax-Mini 25 took its last breath in Perth. (Rest in Peace my darling). Am currently using my Instax Piano-Black, but it isn’t the same. My first will always be my beloved baby.

Salzburg, Austria.
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Munich, Germany
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Milan, Italy
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Shaun-Paul got this for me, because I didn’t have time to browse the gift-shops for it when I was there.

There’s something addictiingly magical (if not clinically insane) about aimlessly watching snow flakes fall.

So, what do you collect?

Travel-diary: Salzach River, Salzburg Austria

Along Makartsteg, a bridge over the Salzach River:  photo DSCN3326.jpg
It is the ‘Pont Neuf’ of Salzburg’s city centre, where lovers lock down physical embodiments that signify the fidelity of their love.
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Makartsteg Bridge was named after the 19th century Historicist painter Hans Makart, born and raised in Salzburg, who became famous as a painter of the Viennese Historicism.

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Salzach River is 225 kilometres (140 mi) in length. Salzach, the name, is derived from the German word Salz, meaning “salt”. Until the 19th century, shipping of salt down Salzach was a crucial part of local economy.
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With Salzburg being a university town, the bridge was dominated by lots of students in the afternoon, chilling with their picnic lunches and beers. What a life! Makes me wanna go back to being an undergraduate all over again.

Travel-diary: Mirabellgarten of Salzburg, Austria

Gorgeous flowers in a heart of a beautiful city.
Couldn’t help falling in love with the immaculate garden, the Papagena fountain and greenhouse Orangerie  photo DSCN3291.jpg

The very garden where Sound of Music was filmed

Gates to the horticultural masterpiece
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Mirabell Palace, which houses the offices of Salzburg’s mayor and the municipal council
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The palace where flowers are so well-kept and completely photogenic
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The Grand Parterre is embraced by a marble railing decorated with vases by Fischer von Erlach.
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On the balustrades themselves you will see statues of Roman gods from 1689: Diana, Flora, Minerva, Ceres, Pomona. Venus, Vesta, Juno and Chronos, Bacchus, Jupiter, Mars, Hercules, Vulcan, Hermes and Apollo. These statues were made by B. van Opstal.
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With my awesome Salzburg companions: Grace and Samm!
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The Pegasus Fountain, a work by Kaspar Gras from Innsbruck, installed in 1913. The four groups of statues around the fountain were sculpted by Ottavio Mosto in 1690 and symbolize the 4 elements: fire, air, earth and water.
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Open year-round, the Mirabell Palace and Gardens are free to the public! A really short walk to the east from Salzach River and a great way to rest your feet, away from the hustle and bustle of town. Am so glad to have finally found my way here 🙂

Travel-diary: Biergarten Hofbrauhaus

Fun fact: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived around the block from the Hofbrauhaus in the late eighteenth century. Mozart revealed in a poem to have written the opera Idomeneo after several visits to the beer hall.  photo DSCN2877_zps8ccbc3e0.jpg

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The place for beer lovers
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For the love of meat
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And the famous German pork knuckles
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Digging in!
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Basically a pint of beer is all it takes to be friends at the Hofbrauhaus
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The live band that had us dancing with our beer mugs
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Travel-diary: Asians in Munich

Touched down on the third largest city in Germany, the host city of the 1972 Summer Olympics, with the cutest city motto: München mag dich, which literally means Munich loves you.

On the first day, we had lunch at Dachau Station, KZ-Gedenkstätte,
in which our Döner (kebab) came in colossal proportions!

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Our stop where we touched down at Dachau, Germany’s longest running Jewish concentration camp.  photo DSCN2622_zps29146051.jpg

Heading back into the town center of Marienplatz is easy when you’ve got a Captain who’s very familiar with the topography.

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This fountain reminds me too much of Singapore’s USS!
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Having my mandatory gelato…after a long walk at Dachau. An immensely refreshing treat for the summer. Am definitely coming back for my winter gelato brainfreeze.
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Have I ever mentioned that Nuts and Baileys is my new favourite gelato flavour?

Also bought myself fresh raspberries and strawberries for supper!
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As with all European cities, I find their architecture very fascinating.
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This is the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in the heart of Marienplatz.
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Every day without fail at 11 a.m. (12 p.m. and 5 p.m. in summer) it chimes and re-enacts stories from the 16th century to crowds of tourists and locals.
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Each story lasts 12-15 minutes, and at least 500 people were gathered in the square to watch the spectacle with us.
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Munichers are famous for PORK KNUCKLES and really, it’s truly a mouthwatering treat 🙂
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The more famous pork-knuckle makers in town
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Was accumulating photographs along the way, and I’m really surprised I managed to snap so many…
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Have no idea why the Caucasian men in this one became the main focus. Naughty camera.
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This pretty much sums up our afternoon, lazy walks in the Munich summer heat, mindlessly appreciating the amazing architecture in the city.

Travel-diary: Dachau Concentration Camp, Munich

Exceedingly bright and cloudless summer day spent at Dachau,
Germany’s longest running Jewish concentration camp
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Here we are at the gate, where 60,000 Jews entered but never left.
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(admittedly, we look a tad too happy for the solemnity, but it’s a tourist thing)

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To be honest it could be a lovely walk in the park if not for the bloody/bloodless (depending on how you look at it) massacre behind its historical existence.
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Learning about World War II and Nazi’s brutal killing of the Jews from history textbooks never actually hit home, until stepping personally into the place where actual events unfolded. Certain images on the info-boards were truly shocking.

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If you’d care to read it, I’ve taken down most of the facts and images.
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Dachau is HUGE, but for 64,000 prisoners? How could this be enough?
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We walked in a loop, first into the administrative buildings of the Nazis’, then the prisoner bunks and fields where they slogged and toiled their lives away, then to the furnace where they disappeared from this earth.

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Administrative windows where the prison guards looked upon their slaves
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Walls of the administrative buildings, now decorated with historical timelines
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Looking out through the same bars everyday
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Jewish Prisoners
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Heartbreaking things
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The actual uniforms
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A whole new level of spanking
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Nazi conquered…
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The death toll against the war progression
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The Layout of Dachau camp
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An erected memorial in commemoration of the suffering
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(again, the tourist pose is in no disrespect)

Back outdoors after the insightful indoors tour and a short clip of the horror involving bodies, a shocking documentary, footage of Hitler’s declarations, and more bodies in differing stages of death.

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Never again, but do people actually learn?
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Again, am amazed by the vast spaces.
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Interestingly, their bunk beds are amazingly clean. Perhaps these people never slept. Or they were sleeping wide awake.
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Spaces where more buildings used to be but were torn down to hide gruesome facts of the massacre photo DSCN2782_zpscd37b7bb.jpg
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Newly erected Church in the ’70s by the courtyard
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Quiet sanctuary to remember the dead
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We walked deeper into the camp site, and were met with the sign that said Crematorium
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Place where bodies were disposed of and incinerated by the thousands
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In this room, they were first isolated and kept, awaiting death by poison gases.
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The actual incineration of the dead
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Cold chamber where the un-incinerated bodies were piled up and kept
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Way out into the disinfection chambers
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There was another crematorium in the building right next to
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This one is extremely dusty. Some of the air you breathe in might even contain traces of the dead (okay I sound too creepy now)
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We then took the long arduous walk back from the crematorium to the open gates – a long long walk that made us lament how we felt almost like the prisoners themselves, except that they probably never made it home like we did.

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T’was a long post, and such was the long afternoon we spent learning about mistakes that should never be repeated.
Seriously, if only people would lose the idea that any group of people could ever dominate another – physically and/or ideologically.
I’m not displaying the class act of Miss Universes by wishing for world peace, but I do hope catastrophically stupid people could drop their psychotic ideologies and just let the rest of us live in peace.
Cliche as this sounds, the world would be a better place.