[ROME] INNER TRIMMINGS OF THE VATICAN CITY

Be amazed at what human beings have achieved. Some dedicate their lives to creating art – intricate gold and bronze details adorn every inch of the ceiling at the St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. How did they get there, you ask. How did the people of the past achieve incredible feats like these. Patience, loads and loads of personal devotion to their craft. In short, people lived and breathed their art.

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[ROME] THE VATICAN CITY

We arrived, early summer morning, at the smallest internationally recognised independent state in the world! Dan Brown aficionados would undoubtedly link Vatican City to Angels and Demons, in which our all-time favourite Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon fights to stop the Illuminati from destroying Vatican City with the newly discovered antimatter. I loved every sequel, but Angels and Demons is by far my favourite Langdon novel. I was extremely psyched about seeing the Vatican with my own eyes!

The exterior was breathtaking – the pristine white columns, striking obelisk, and hordes of tourists snapping photos at every single picture-worthy monument. Summer is the best time for touring Rome. Sharing some of them lovely shots I took outside of the Basilica. Enjoy!

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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

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Finally I have a picture at one of Australia’s most iconic 20th Century architectural masterpieces. A creative brainchild of architect Jørn Utzon, Sydney Opera House was built by detailed study of its topography and relationship to the harbour plus surrounding land marks. Construction of this grand soaring white roof sails along with its massive red granite platform took 16 years and $AUD 102,000,000. On 20 October 1973, it was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II.

How very humbling, this grand piece of art.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Bennelong Point,
Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
+61 2 9250 7111

London Lovin’: Vintage Shopfronts

Shops like these you’ll never find them in Asia. Especially where I come from, space is so constrained that anything below 3-floors will be extinct in the next 5 years or so. Baffled by re-modelling works of architecture in the European cities where its aesthetic appeal lies in its vintage houses! Swarovski is sandwiched between a neo-classical shophouse and a modern, ever so significantly highlighting its contrast.
London Swarovski

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These Victorian shopfronts in West End seem to live and breathe with age-old wisdom. Walking along the streets of London, I come alive with the promise of lessons in the cultural vibrance of the British!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

London Lovin’: Old Bailey

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Chanced upon the Central Criminal Court, commonly known as Old Bailey, in West End London. In the book A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, it is the courthouse where Charles Darnay is put on trial for treason. In the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Joshamee Gibbs is tried in the Old Bailey where Jack Sparrow disguises himself as Justice Smith!

Old Bailey
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London Lovin’: City Grandeur

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Overeager to see everything on my first trip to London, I took to exploring West End on foot. My fingers were working the shutter overtime, attempting to capture everything. Which I soon realised was impossible!

Damn, the rush to see it all wasn’t worth it.

Why click fast and leave for another touristy scene, only to ogle at photographs in the privacy of hotel rooms? So I let the images roll around in my head a bit before snapping.

For the life of me I cannot name all the buildings and streets, but certainly I can tell you how I felt at the moment, soaking in the grandeur of the grand London city.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

London Lovin’: Oxford Circus

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Stepping out from London Underground is like entering a different realm, and it did feel that way to me, exiting Oxford Circus Station. Topshop, Selfridges, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, HMV, Debenhams have their flagship stores on this street.

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Each year, Oxford Street is decorated with festive lights. Each Christmas, a celebrity turns on the lights in late-November and these remain lit until the twelfth night (Emma Watson did 2004, and last year it was Robbie Williams).

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This year, Jessie J flipped the switch, with James Arthur and Conor Maynard! Inspired by falling snowflakes (well it did feel all White Christmassy without the snow!), the lights feature three quarters of a million LED bulbs. That’s beautiful, but insane!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Travel-diary: the Beauty of Christchurch

Or rather, the beauty of Peppers Clearwater.
Wouldn’t mind waking up to lakes and greens everyday!
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Facts: The February 2011 Christchurch earthquake of magnitude 6.3 killed 185 people. 4,423 earthquakes were recorded in the Canterbury region above a magnitude 3.0, from 4 September 2010 to 3 September 2012.

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Nevertheless, the city still retains such scenic beauty! Some economists estimated that it will take the New Zealand economy 50 to 100 years to completely recover…

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The villa we were staying in: right by the lake.
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Definitely adding sky-diving and bungee-jumping to my wishlist for the next trip!

“There is nowhere else in the world where, within two hours of an international airport, you can ski at a world-class alpine resort, play golf, bungy jump, raft, mountain bike, hot-air balloon, wind surf, whale watch and visit internationally-acclaimed wineries and gardens.”

Photo-diary: Rangitoto and Volcanoes

Fedora’s friend Ridge drove us up the coast at Mission Bay – Patteson Avenue
which overlooked the active volcano on Rangitoto Island
They say, you only live once
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What with volcanic hazards and possible reawakening of volcanic activity, this place is entirely too beautiful.
Then again, beautiful things are dangerous.
The Auckland volcanic field is fuelled entirely by basaltic magma, and is likely to erupt again within the next “hundreds to thousands of years”.
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It is expected that these volcanoes won’t erupt anytime soon. But then again there’s the volcanic ash from Mount Taranaki/Egmont, Taupo, Okataina, Tongariro and Mayor Island.
Soooo beautiful, right?
20131004-201716.jpgA heaping mound of Thai Food to warm up our frozen bodies…it was so cold by the seaside!!!20131004-201731.jpg Conclusion: most of us tropical climate creatures are just not made for winter.