Thursday, September 03, 2009

Above: Sculptures, Westminster Abbey

It felt like a priveledge touring a place where legends like Newton, Plato, Jane Austen, Shakespear, past kings and queens were buried. Our guide looked like Ewan Mcgregor from 'Angels and Demons', he had a set of knowledgeable piercing blue eyes, wore an ancient robe and introduced us to ancient history and customs in hush tones. According to our guide, approximately 3000 famous people and royalties were buried in the vaults underneath the Abbey.

xiao ying @ 5:56 PM.


I’m grateful that I’m giving myself this opportunity to be truly solitary and explore this beautiful romantic city on my own. I’m also grateful that from now on I get to sleep whenever I want, wake up whenever I want and go wherever I wish. Mona Lisa’s smiling at me, time to shower and go out to explore this beautiful city by night, and fulfill my Eiffel Tower dream.

Paris is magnificent at night. We watched the sky change color as the Eiffel tower slowly glowed brighter like a glittering jewel in the night sky. I took this photos whilst eating French crepes with my 2 newly acquainted Korean friends listening to ‘I’m yours’ on my ipod. I could not believe my eyes when a shooting star moved across the sky.

Of course I made a wish.

xiao ying @ 3:33 PM.


The bus stopped outside a Parisian terminal at the crack of dawn. Through my groggy state of little sleep from the bumpy overnight ride from Amsterdam, I managed to drag my luggage out. I could barely see out of my extremely dry contact lenses, and I remember a stranger asking me in indecipherable French, then shrugging to walk off. Disorientated and badly in need of sleep, I vaguely remembered the exit ‘sortie’ sign, and headed out into the freezing cold. Lamps glowed in the foggy morning, the street was quickly deserted, and I had no clue where I was. Out of sheer luck, a bus labeled ‘Le Louvre’ stopped nearby, and I quickly hopped on. After asking 4 different café owners, I finally found my hostel. Their 2:30pm check in policy meant that I had to curl up on the narrow couch in the luggage storage compartment, exhausted, I slept.
So began my solo adventure in Paris. The 5 days I spent was probably the best time I had in Europe. When you have nobody else to rely on, you have no choice but to be independent and look after yourself. It was a time for solo reflection and doing things entirely on my own terms; I left Paris feeling stronger with more clarity.

xiao ying @ 3:29 PM.


Arriving at London in the early morning mist boarding the 6am train, I could easily picture myself back home in Melbourne, the view outside, the grey sky, the people were all surprisingly familiar.

As I explored further in the ensuing days, I would describe London as Melbourne on steroids. It's a magnified version, grander, busier, older, dirtier and crammed with too many tourists on their summer vacations speaking their indecipherable European tongues. As my first ever introduction to Europe, the architecture, culture, history and sculptures took my breath away. Landmarks such as the Westminster Abbey made me marvel at the ingenuity and beauty that mankind is able to create. It was all the more jaw dropping, imagining the momentous difficulty faced in ancient times to build such magnificent, large scale projects, some of which took centuries to complete.

xiao ying @ 3:26 PM.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

xiao ying @ 12:18 AM.