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Travel

Part 5 of 5: The Isle of Man Manx Museum (Vikings & Dragons Apparently Did Exist)

Read part 1 HERE (intro to Isle of Man, where I stayed), part 2 HERE (Snaefell, Laxey Wheel, The Sound, Point of Ayre), part 3 HERE (Castle Rushen, Peel Castle, Old Grammer School) & part 4 HERE (Bradda Glen, Cregneash village & ancient churches).

I took these images with an iPhone 6.

Just like how my brother always has a “McDonald’s” wedged in his travel itinerary to mc-conquer the spectrum of patty flavours and combos across the world (well, you can tell a lot about a nation through their taste in Macs), mine could possibly be “The Museum/Heritage anything”.

My brother, who had visited Isle of Man before me, had perfectly described it as “a place where if you visit the museum they don’t just show you the history in pictures and paper but actually friggin have the place that still stands today and you can touch it.”

The Isle of Man Manx Museum is where you’ll hear of King Olaf and Sigurd the dragon slayer like you stepped inside a Game of Thrones museum…except that it supposedly depicts real life.

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kyoto, japan
Personal, Stories, Travel

A Stranger’s Kindness…When I Lost My Phone in Kyoto

Few weeks ago, I landed in Osaka airport and hopped on a train bound for Kyoto before transiting to Karasuma Oike station.

Along the way, we bought some bento sets at the nearby convenience store before checking into our practical Airbnb apartment.

While we were ready to pacify our post-jetlag hunger, I decided to document our first meal in Kyoto with my beloved iPhone (Lesson 1: It’s Actually Good To Take Photos Despite Disapproving Boyfriends). To my horror, I realized I had failed technology…for once. My phone was lost in transit when it fell out of my bag I had placed on top of my luggage while rolling through the terrain.

Me being me, I embraced the “die lah” with full acceptance of my unfortunate fate (of losing my phone for the first time, on the first day in a foreign land) like a wave of zen flowing through my veins. Well, at least I did not curve into a fetus position and cry my #firstworldproblems away.

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Travel

Part 4 of 5: Travelogue in Isle of Man (Bradda Glen, Cregneash, Ancient Churches)

Read part 1 HERE (intro to Isle of Man, where I stayed), part 2 HERE (Snaefell, Laxey Wheel, The Sound, Point of Ayre), part 3 HERE (Castle Rushen, Peel Castle, Old Grammer School) & part 5 HERE (Manx museum).

I took these images using a Sony A5000 & iPhone 6.

BRADDA GLEN

Perched in the middle of the open sea was the tranquil coastal site Bradda Glen, where we climbed the winding path with our pet retriever to Milner’s tower, built in 1871 in memory of William Milner, a local philanthropist. In the summer, basking sharks would take refuge in these Manx waters to possibly mate and feed on planktons. We found the hike particularly pleasant with some vantage points and benches that elevate “pinicking” to a whole new level. Everything is nice when it’s 17 degrees for a Singaporean.

After a good hike, the peak rewarded us with a panoramic view of Port Erin and the Calf of Man. I had never felt wind so strong that every step literally felt like an astronaut’s step for mankind, as it could throw you off balance and humpty-dumpty you down…into a sea of sharks. But don’t worry, unlike their carnivorous brethren, basking sharks are harmless to humans.

Enjoy the pictures. My eardrums were hurt from the wind for them!

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Travel

Part 3 of 5: Travelogue in Isle of Man (Castle Rushen, Peel Castle, Old Grammar School)

Read part 1 HERE (intro to Isle of Man, where I stayed), part 2 HERE (Snaefell, Laxey Wheel, The Sound, Point of Ayre), part 4 HERE (Bradda Glen, Cregneash village & ancient churches) & part 5 HERE (Manx museum).

I took these images using a Sony A5000 & iPhone 6.

PEEL CASTLE

We were extremely lucky to visit Peel Castle with clear skies right before its usual gloomy overcast brewed above the fortified stone walls – because trust me, you do not want to be stranded in a deserted medieval castle known for witchcraft and a phantom black hound…while needing to pee.

Peel Castle was constructed by the 11th century Viking King of Mann, Magnus Olaffson, with the moniker of Magnus Barefoot/Barelegs. He was King of Norway from 1093-1103 but left his mark on Celtic countries of Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Wales.

I mean… of course right? One does not simply be named LORD MAGNUS *inserts trumpet sound* without historical  battlement. Especially when he was the only son of King Olaf Kyrre, steeled to conquer the Irish sea and couldn’t let it go (you know, Olaf? Frozen? Haha lame).

This is just the beginning, scroll down to see images of Castle Rushen’s actual prison cells and “hangman belt” in the old days…

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Travel

Part 2 of 5: Travelogue in Isle of Man (Snaefell, Laxey Wheel, The Sound, Point of Ayre)

Read part 1 HERE (intro to Isle of Man, where I stayed), part 3 HERE (Castle Rushen, Peel Castle, Old Grammer School), part 4 HERE (Bradda Glen, Cregneash village & ancient churches) & part 5 HERE (Manx museum).

 I took these images using a Sony A5000 & iPhone 6.

SNAEFELL MOUNTAIN

We hopped on the Snaefell Mountain Railway from Laxey town, which climbed 2036 feet above sea level to the summit of IOM.

Snaefell, which means ‘Snow Mountain’ in Norse/Viking terms, is the only place where you can squint at all the kingdoms on a clear day, which includes England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

This old Victorian enterprise that stretches 5 miles has been running since 1895 and is the only electric mountain railway in the British Isles.

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The backyard
Travel

Part 1 of 5: Travelogue in Isle of Man

Read part 1 HERE (intro to Isle of Man, where I stayed), part 2 HERE (Snaefell, Laxey Wheel, The Sound, Point of Ayre), part 3 HERE (Castle Rushen, Peel Castle, Old Grammer School), part 4 HERE(Bradda Glen, Cregneash village & ancient churches) & part 5 HERE (Manx museum).

Few months ago, I flew 20+ hours from Singapore -> Doha -> Manchester -> before finally hopping aboard FlyBe, a domestic propeller plane, en route to Isle of Man (IOM); a self-governing crown dependency in the middle of the Irish Sea, inhabited since before 6500 BC.

I wanted to capsulate my entire experience in one post but while filtering through hundreds of images at 3am from eerie medieval castles (bad decisions at night as usual) to mountains, I decided to split up my posts to give justice to this ethereal Tolkien-like land.

This post will cover the little bits: intro to IOM, aunt’s home in Ramsey town, random snapshots etc. 

Though seemingly innocuous, this ancient island is steeped with myths of malevolent spirits, faeries, hounds and…vampires. To a point where their typical souvenir shop don’t just sell knick knacks and pamphlets with 70% ads, but REAL books about “mysterious deaths in IOM”. They have a FAIRY BRIDGE too, where you have to greet hello whenever you pass.

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Japan, Travel

Inside Abashiri Prison: Housing Japan’s Dangerous Criminals Since 1890s

Up the winding roads of Hokkaido to the northernmost tip of Japan, I spent a day in Abashiri that was tucked in the eastern part of Okhotsk Subprefecture. The Sea of Okhotsk divides Japan from Russia.

During my stay, I wandered into one of Japan’s earliest maximum security prisons that has incarcerated Japan’s dangerous criminals since the Meiji era. Built in the 1890s, 1200 prisoners across Japan were sent here to build the roads today that were meant to be a military path to counter Russia.

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Japan, Travel

Ishiya Chocolate Factory, Sapporo Japan

If there’s one thing better than the crunch of butter cookies, then it has to be visiting a factory where all the magic’s baked.

I finally location tagged-off Hokkaido during my last Japan trip and the iconic Ishiya factory was a mandatory pitstop to unveil Sapporo’s chocolatey pride; Shiroi Koibito (白い恋人) cookies, the flagship product of Ishiya company.

No, there were no oompa loompas sadly, but there was a little bit of magic behind this mandatory souvenir gift one would (still) gladly receive from 80% of friends who visit Japan.

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France, Travel

France 2014: My Sister’s Big Fat Wedding

Last August, I flew 10,781km from Singapore to the Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris.

It’s been practically half a year since my virgin trip to Europe, and each memory still itches like a scab. I miss it terribly.

It wasn’t just a holiday to France – my sister got married there, I stayed with my brother-in-law’s family and I finally stepped foot on a place I’ve always wanted to visit.

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Travel, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, August 2014

I had to head down to Ho Chi Minh city (HCMC) initially for work as we (Les Amis Group) recently opened 2 new outlets – Sorae and San Fu Lou, middle-upper tier Japanese and Cantonese restaurant concepts respectively.

However, the openings were postponed to a week later so it became an 80% leisure 20% business trip.

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