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about food cooked & tasted

Spring Hols 2017…

So it’s back to school for us this week, after 2 weeks of Spring holidays.

We didn’t do very much this holiday. Our big thing was building a garden seat out of 2 pallets which we saved off the sidewalk last year.

 

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Here’s a picture summary of the process: sawing, sanding, gluing, varnishing and assembly. It took us about 4 to 5 hours in total but we waited in between for better weather and for the glue and varnish to dry. Tobias’ friend came over to help us twice 🙂
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The finished product! And it cost about CHF45 for additional support planks, glue, varnish, hinges, and screws. We have 2 different heights for the back support so you can choose a more upright position or a more laidback one 😉

Then there was the Ferienpass (holiday programs from the parent association in our village) in the first week. Tobias visited a bus factory and made a model bus out of metal. He got to spray-paint it and it is a useful pencil-holder. There were other programs he was interested in but they were full. I helped out again at the playgroup Ferienpass program, where we made bunny bags and sang bunny songs (the theme was bunnies because of Easter).

 

During the second week, we went over to a friend’s and played games for an afternoon, which was great fun. On another day, Tobias went for a movie with his friend, by themselves. i dropped them off and picked them up. They loved it! We got in some squash practice. And of course, Tobias cooked 2 lovely dinners as he always does during holidays.

 

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He cooked his favourite sushi and spaghetti carbonara.

So although it has been a rather quiet-type holiday, compared to our usual, we enjoyed it. Now onto finishing the school year in style 😉

 

syc

2nd Week of Autumn Holidays…

So here’s the 2nd installment of our holiday adventures this Autumn. Read about the first week here.

Our little family trip to meet a couple of friends in Venice is the major highlight of that second week and that is what this whole post will be about cos there isn’t room for anything else 😉 AND… it will be in picture summary, otherwise i could go on and on and on and on…

Now sit tight and enjoy the whirlwind version of our first time in Venice:

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It was a very rainy 6-hour drive into Venice. The Italian expressways actually have minimum speed limits – you have to drive at a certain speed to drive in certain lanes. i thought it would be very unsafe but actually if everyone followed the rules, it seemed to work well and kept the traffic moving quite efficiently. Oh, and the tolls… wow! When you drive on Italian highways, be prepared to pay and it helps to have coins. And watch that you get into the right lane when passing through the toll gates – they have specific ones for those with passes and those without and those needing to pay cash.

We finally get there and park on the parking island – no cars allowed on the actual islands of Venice. You can find out more about getting to Venice here.

We catch the very little train (sort of like an LRT for my Singaporean readers and like a small tram for my Swiss readers) into the main bus station on Venice. Buses only go up to that point and then they turn around and go back to the mainland. So our first glimpse of Venice was of the industrial area.

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We found the “hotel” and discovered that it was not a “hotel” or even a bed and breakfast – it was a very enterprising Indian man (he is quite nice) renting out rooms in different apartments which he owned. The room was nice and big and comfortable so no complains there. i only wished the insides of the cupboards were a bit more dust free. We shared a toilet/shower which was clean and nice, and to my surprise we didn’t meet with much time conflict with regards to it’s usage with other renters.

The view from our small balcony was of the rooftops of Venice, which i found very interesting and i could imagine people of ages past running across them to get away from whatever or whoever they may have offended – oh, intrigue!

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We got settled and decided to wander the streets and find some dinner. Walking is the thing to do in Venice. The other option is the Vaporetto – water buses. Our advice is to wear good comfortable walking shoes and buy the Travel Cards so you can hop on and off these water buses anytime you want to.

Of course, we crossed many canals and bridges and i LOVED all the different types of bridges, wooden ones, bricks ones, ones with iron railings etc…

We settled for a family-run Trattoria, the grandmother did the cooking – it was simple fare but yummy! And didn’t break the bank.

i have read that eating out in Venice can be expensive and unsatisfying – we have found that while there are the expensive Ristorantes, there are also other options such as a simple Pizzeria or a small cafe which can serve decent food at a fairly reasonable rate. Oh, do note that in Italian there is such a thing as a cover charge and a service charge. Most places have one or the other, BUT some have both, which can make the final bill high.

See the above picture of the casino with it’s very own jetty – those are the places where people don’t even think about how much the bill would be… they arrive in Venice and get driven around in private boats! We saw a lot of Chinese tourists in private taxis.
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Here are the sights of the Grand Canal as we took the water bus to San Marco’s Square. i so enjoyed being on the sea again! It was interesting watching the Gondolas navigating around the faster boats and watching some Gondoliers in training.

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This is the very famous San Marco Square – there are loads of pigeons everywhere and even a geniue “bird-lady” – she reminds me of the one in Mary Poppins who sang the song “Feed the Birds”. It was also nice to sit at one of the cafes (yes it was a bit pricey) and enjoy the live music. We concluded that the different bands must coordinated with each other so they don’t play at the same time cos the music does carry across the square.

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We visited the Doge’s Palace and oh my, what opulence! There was an interesting clock in one of the rooms where a part of the adminstration met; the clock only have one hand. We couldn’t figure out how it works. The armory was also quite interesting.

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This is the view from the Bridge of Sighs – it was a prisoner’s last view of the outside world. The bottom picture (in the above collage) is taken from the outside, looking at the Bridge of Sighs.
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We walked through the prisons and noticed there were lots of different types of cells, some with wooden beds, some are small rooms and others are just huge empty rooms with nothing but rock walls and floor. The ticket into the Doge’s Palace also gives you entry into 3 other museums at the Square. But we didn’t do the rest cos there was a bomb scare that day and they closed those museums. i do believe our tickets were valid for another few months but i can’t confirm that.

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i thought the water-bus-stops are very interesting. And i’m constantly amazed at how the buildings are really built right up and into the water itself. The above are views of San Marco Square and the area around it from the water-bus.

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We visited Lido – the only island which has a beach – which i thought was strange for a group of islands. But we didn’t get to it cos it was a long walk from where the water-bus stops you and at the time we went, all the shops were closed. It seems that between 12noon and 3 or 4pm, the store-owners all decided to hit to beach – hehheee 😉 Anyhow, we abandoned the walk to the beach cos we really didn’t know how far away it was. i only found out that we actually made it halfway when we were on our way back.

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The other interesting thing to do in Venice is to wander through all the narrow alleyways and find little glimpses of everyday life. We wandered upon a Montessori pre-school one time. And another time, we saw a whole group of little children on their way to school – they gathered along a canal-way and seemed to waiting for what Tobias called their ‘School-boat’ to take them to school. See the left picture above, see the Hebrew words, that’s the start of the Jewish Quarter or better known as the Ghetto.

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i concluded that people come to Venice to see the charm of a city that is sinking and crumbling. Everywhere the walls are peeling and you can see water damage on doors and wooden beams holding buildings up. It must be difficult to keep up with repairs with the sea water eroding away everything and as you can imagine, fixing a floating city isn’t an easy task.

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We also visited another famous site – the Rio Alto Bridge. It is full of people trying to get the classic shot of Venice. The bridge also houses some interesting shops, all very touristy of cos. But quite interesting to browse through.

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One of the amazing things we found in our wanderings is in the above picture – see the camera and various tools – guess what they are made of… they are made of chocolate! And the shop smelled so amazingly delicious! i can still smell it… i don’t believe i could eat such beautiful creations.

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And speaking of creations, the lovely island of Murano houses all the glass-makers of Venice. And they make wonderful things. There is also a Glass Museum – unfortunately it was under renovation and most of it was closed when we were there.

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Tobias was so taken with their work, he stood and watched for a long time. He even bought a handmade glass unicorn with his pocket money. There is no need to pay to watch these men at work. You just need to walk the island and there will be a few open doors where you can just watch. Don’t follow anyone who says he will guide you to the best one. Those usually come with hard-sell sales pitches.

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We also visited Burano – this island is known for it’s lace work and its very colourful houses. Aren’t they pretty? Not a lace person myself, i didn’t really shop around.

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But we did find a tiny little shop where the owner is a glass-maker (certified Murano glass-maker) – he makes the cutest glass food and prettiest bracelets etc… Tobias spent so long watching him, he decided to have a photo taken with Tobias, who was, of cos, thrilled!

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Oh, last but not least, we had the most yummy Gelato ever! Our friend had found the recommendation off the web and we set off, wandering through the many narrow walkways and streets of Venice to find it. And it was well worth the long walk and the extra 0.50Euros! Here’s the address: Salizzada San Lio, Castello, 5727, Venezia, Italy – YUM!

2ndweekautumnhols20141026tNow i leave you with more classic shots of Venice! Ah… i miss those waterways already – we’ll be back Venice, we’ll be back 😉

syc

 

Singapore 2014 in Pictures…

So i have not been blogging for a whole month! What have i been up to? Well, it was the summer school holidays and as is our custom, we went to Singapore to visit family and friends and of course to pig out on all that delicious food – hmmm… yum!

Let me take you through our time there very very briefly in pictures…

We set off on a jet plane – SQ A380 – we managed to get seats on the upper deck this time! Lots better than lower deck for us because we could get a window seat with just an aisle seat next to it. Yep a 2-in-a-row 😉 Which meant we could be a bit freer with our use of space. Plus the seat we chose had extra side storage – score!

Happy to be flying...
Happy to be flying…

Of course the person who really scored was my dear husband, who got upgraded to business class because economy was so packed! They couldn’t upgrade the boy and i cos we don’t travel enough, even though there were seats in business. But it’s okay. We got to be on the same deck (our original seat allocations put us on 2 different decks).

We enjoyed looking at old places which have been refurbished and given new life.

Riding a rickshaw at The Clifford Pier, which was the jetty where most people landed coming into Singapore in the 50s and 60s...
Riding a rickshaw at The Clifford Pier, which was the jetty where most people landed coming into Singapore in the 50s and 60s… Now it’s a fancy hotel and restaurant.

Exploring a new neighbourhood became a must because my in-laws moved to a new, smaller flat. But it is in a more convenient location, nearer downtown and has fantastic food just across the street!

Night view from my in-laws' new place...
Night view from my in-laws’ new place…

And we painted the town red – see the boys in their matching outfits?

Showing their love for their fav football club...
Showing their love for their fav football club…

Another place we explored was Labrabor Nature Reserve – another place which has been given a new lease of life. It was nice to walk around the park and get an ocean-view as well.

It was a very nice walk, great place for joggers, children to play and pet owners to walk their dogs...
It makes for a lovely walk, great place for joggers, children to play and pet owners to walk their dogs…

No trip would be complete without our little sushi monster getting his fill of his favourite food – Sushi! Actually this time round we did end up at a place where he didn’t like the sushi. It wasn’t terrible, just very limited in choices and it didn’t seem too fresh. Of course the major minus was they didn’t serve his favourite maki pieces.

He absolutely loves his sushi!
He absolutely loves his sushi!

From eating to getting eaten – well, almost… hehhee 😉 We visited the Dinosaurs Exhibition, From Dawn to Extinction at the Art Science Museum. Very impressive and quite fun, especially if you download the app and play along.

i love this shot!
i love this shot!

Time with family was the important thing – Tobias got to play football with his cousins. They played a few games with the boys who were already there as well as another team of middle-aged guys who came later.

Our team of 4 boys and a man did quite well in those short matches ;)
Our team of 4 boys and a man did quite well in those short matches 😉

This trip we did not do much touristy stuff. We did go to the River Safari – again. This time because we had complimentary tickets and we wanted to try out the Amazon River Ride which was not opened last year. It was just okay – a little too fast to catch sight of all the animals. Also it rained and rained and we almost did not get to ride the boat.

Panda themed food at the River Safari...
Panda themed food at the River Safari

So we looked at fish. Then we went to feed the fish. We tried out a fish spa, where you go and let little cleaner fish feed on the dead skin on your feet. Apparently very good for skin and blood circulation. The guy at the second place (we bought a package of 6 visits) told us that they used to provide full body, not just feet. But due to space constrains and the lack of interest (and i’m sure the cost of keep much bigger tanks of fish), they now only offer feet services.

Providing fish with nutrients from our feet :P
Providing fish with nutrients from our feet 😛

The only other touristy thing we did was visit the Science Center. Some parts of it was interesting and other parts not so. Quite a number of exhibits didn’t work too well. We did do the Human Body Experience, where you enter the giant mouth as food and exit as poo. It was interesting but it smelled (because of the type of latex they used to build the exhibit).

Having fun with optical illusions and that giant mouth we went through...
Having fun with optical illusions and that giant mouth we went through…

Last but not least, allow me to introduce you to Tobias’ and his uncle’s shared pet fish – there are two but could only get a clear photo of one of them. They are dragon fish and there are also 2 cleaner fish which live with them.

i think this one is called Ruby...
i think this one is called Ruby…

Of course we met family and friends and had tons to eat in between doing all of the above 😀 We enjoyed ourselves – nuff said!

syc

PS: i was wrong about the name of the fish – that one pictured is called Albi.