Around this time of the year, many of us are looking forward to the year ahead, thinking of the resolutions we'll make or wondering how we can make the next year our best year yet. While I'm all for preping for the future (so long as it doesn't steal too much from the present), i do think it's worthwhile to stop and think about all of the things that have happened this year, to reflect on all you've accomplished over the past twelve months and give yourself a bit of a pat on the back for making it through this year. While i don't often advise looking backward (it really gets in the way of staying present), i've found it really helpful to remind myself of all the wonderful things that happened over the past year. Not only does it bring a smile to my face and remind me to be thankful for all i've been through, but it also gets me excited for the year ahead. If all of this happened in 2013, what could happen in 2014? On 1st January 2013, i would never have imagined this year would turn out the way it did. It's pretty amazing how much can change in just 12 little months, isn't it?
Well, i have probably travelled too much this year. Travel is part of my life and perhaps essential to my outlook. I am Singaporean and live here, but i think we gain perspective from being both inside and out, from seeing our society in the context of Asia and the wider world. This perception in life somewhere always reminds me of last year's high points and to inspire myself to dream big in the year ahead.
凡有因必有果, 有付出必有回报, 这是我深信不疑的. 然太在意回报, 有了功利心, 创作就没有单纯的生命与灵气了. 回顾 2013 年, 若问我真正学会了什么, 我想就是这看似简单的道理吧？
St. Barbara's Church of Kutna Hora At Captivating Prague In Czech Republic 捷克布拉格古美浪漫之旅 (捷克中波西米亚地区最著名的教堂之一, 库塔荷拉世界文化建筑瑰宝 ~ 圣巴巴拉教堂)
Kutna Hora is a lovely day trip from Prague. If you have seen my blog post on the Bone Church in Kutna Hora, you may be intrigued enough to see it for yourself. However, even if you think the Bone Church isn’t “your cup of tea”, you should still go see Kutna Hora in Czech Republic. The historical town center and St. Barbara’s Church are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. St. Barbara’s Church has had a lengthy and rich history in Czech Republic. The Gothic St. Barbara’s Church boasts fascinating double-arched flying buttresses on its exterior. St. Barbara’s Church is majestic and powerful. Which i guess are what architects of cathedrals go for – awe-inspiring architecture which inspires an awe of god. Or not. The flying buttresses on the cathedral are some of my favorite that i have ever seen. Inside, medieval frescoes plus Baroque and Neo-Gothic artworks astound. It is by far the most spectacular monument in Kutna Hora and ranks among the most stunning Gothic cathedrals in Central Europe.
当我在捷克参观完人骨教堂后, 就接着前往捷克库娜荷拉 (Kutna Hora) 另一座拥有捷克最美丽哥德式建築之称的圣芭芭拉教堂 (St. Barbara's Church). 圣巴巴拉教堂是捷克共和国中波西米亚城市库特纳霍拉的一座教堂, 中欧地区的一座著名哥特式教堂, 被列为世界文化遗产. 其外观非常迷人. 由于库特纳霍的财富完全依赖于银矿, 而圣巴巴拉是矿工的主保圣人, 因此称这座教堂为圣巴巴拉教堂.
捷克库娜荷拉 (Kutna Hora) 小镇, 一直希望能赶上布拉格, 值得一提的是, 圣巴巴拉教堂的设计和建築师与布拉格市的圣维塔大教堂 (St. Vitus's Cathedral) 都起用同一位建築大师. 圣芭芭拉教堂的建筑是哥特式晚期的代表作之一. 捷克是世界遗产的一座宝库, 全国有 12 处世界遗产. 库特纳霍拉 Kutna Hora 就是其中一处. 库特纳霍拉在捷克可以算是一座城市, 按照习惯, 还是称它为一座有特色的小镇.
如同捷克城市中的一颗耀眼明珠, 白银之城 - 库特纳霍拉城兴建于捷克王国最繁盛的时期. 在这座城里, 来自不同历史时期的房屋构成了多样的建筑风格, 并且有着相当悠远的葡萄酒酿造历史. 库特纳霍拉最兴旺发达时期是公元 14-15 世纪. 因为这里有丰富的银矿, 采出的白银可以铸成银币. 在那个时代, 库特纳霍拉是欧洲最富有的城市之一. 因为富有, 也因为要表现自己的强大, 城市的统治者开始建造一座宏伟的教堂, 圣芭芭拉教堂. 因而这座教堂和库特纳霍拉的历史城区, 圣巴巴拉教堂一起在 1995 年被联合国列为世界文化遗产.
This past week has been a flurry of Christmas activity. My hope is that we each take time to remember some of the simple things of Christmas past and experience the greatest glow of happiness the season has to offer.
I can’t believe how close Christmas is! It’s the last minute frenzy in those precious few days leading up to Christmas. The big day draws frightening close and, remaining true to form, i have an astounding number of gifts bought and wrapped this year. Sometimes it’s all in the presentation. And these presents will surely delight any recipient.
After the presents have been opened, the carols have been sung and the festivities of Christmas day are over, most of us tuck our Christmas spirit - you know, that cheerful, nice-to-everyone-cause-it's-Christmas vibe….away until next year. After all, we've been jubilant and jolly (or at least a little bit nicer) for close to a month now and keeping up that upbeat, Christmas attitude can be hard work. But, the more i think about it, the more i realize how much better things might be if we all kept that Christmas time cheer with us all the time.
I love Gingerbread. So, when i saw a Gingerbread Museum located near the famous historic Prague Castle, immediately threw me into a nostalgic taste memory experience. Gingerbread Museum in Prague is actually a museum by name only. It neither run any researches or studies nor collect exhibits nor show any exhibitions on the gingerbread or its history. It offers you an enjoyable time while making or shopping for your gingerbread. Gingerbread gift shop offers a variety of gingerbread and a cafe where you can enjoy refreshments and gingerbread sweets prepared according to many different recipes (you can eat and get a recipe for your favourite snack!). The Gingerbread bakery interiors filled with the aromas of ginger, cardamom and other spices see visitors sift flour, pound spices, knead the dough and eventually eat the baked gingerbread or take it with them as a keepsake. Gingerbread cookies that are perfect for decorating as gingerbread men, gingerbread houses, or just making the Christmas season more merry and bright.
坐落于布拉格世纪古城堡的姜饼制作博物馆是一家非常有趣味儿的点心博物馆, 它是现今欧洲仍然制作着 16 世纪点心的地方之一, 是欧洲类型的博物馆. 在姜饼小屋里, 就像一个真正的姜饼制成的童话屋, 可以看到美味姜饼的传统制作工艺. 姜饼是布拉格还有很多欧洲国家喜欢食用的一道小点心. 在以前的时期, 欧洲总是在圣诞节的时候品尝这样的姜饼, 姜饼就是一道很酥软可口的小点心.
布拉格姜饼博物馆位于一栋历史建筑, 参观者不仅可以看到如何制作托伦名产巧克力姜饼, 而且还可以参与整个制作过程. 在这凝聚托伦历史的古建筑物内, 弥漫着生姜, 豆蔻和其他调味品香气, 在面点师傅的指导下, 游客们筛选面粉, 研磨根茎, 用模具定型点心, 直到最后入烤箱烤制, 游客可现场品尝新出炉的姜饼或带走留作纪念. 姜饼博物馆的独特性, 传统性和互动性使得很多来此的游客们都跃跃欲试, 在娱乐的同时也品尝到了美食, 真是一举两得！
岁月更迭, 每年将近圣诞季, 城市到处都飘满姜饼诱人香气. 不同于大型商场里的疯狂血拼景象, 温馨的圣诞集市总是能给前来采购的人们带来异样的惊喜. 一个个精巧的圣诞姜饼, 啜一杯热红酒, 顺便淘一些有趣的圣诞礼物, 谁说圣诞采购不应如此悠然? 现在让我们哼起欢乐的 Jingle Bell 一起探访布拉格姜饼制作博物馆吧!
The Bone Church (a.k.a Sedlec Ossuary), Kutna Hora At Captivating Prague In Czech Republic 捷克布拉格古美浪漫之旅 (小镇库特拉霍拉闻名全球的人骨教堂)
Back in October, while flipping through a brochure for places outside Prague, I came upon a listing for the UNESCO Heritage Site, Kutna Hora. Kutna Hora is a one hour drive from Prague. Reading on further i came to this: “You also will visit one of the most interesting burial grounds in the world - the Sedlec Ossuary.” Officially called the Sedlec Ossuary, it is often just referred to as “the bone church” and contains over 40,000 bones arranged to decorate this Roman Catholic church. It doesn’t seem quite right does it? A place of worship and religion, packed full with remains of the deceased. It seems slightly ironic in fact. The “Bone Church” or “Church of Bones” is remarkable and incredibly strange, all at the same time. In this small chapel there are no colourful ceiling frescos, wooden pews, or stained glass windows. The interior of the chapel is artistically decorated with human bones over 40,000 of them.
What can be a more sobering reminder of the fragility of human life and its impermanence than an ossuary? A church made up of human bones? I was just on the outskirts of that beautiful, mournful, Czech capital Prague and have goose bumps on my arms as I contemplate life and its meaning. The Ossuary (Kostnice in Czech) is located about an hour outside of Prague in a traditional, dated and somewhat eerie feeing town named Kutna Hora. Surrounded by miles of picturesque rural Czech countryside, the town is small and secluded. Kutna Hora, an ancient mining town in this part of eastern Europe, has its share of castles and chapels.
捷克 - 优美, 苍老, 深邃, 宁静, 魔幻, 这个中欧小国有着太多的惊喜. 这当中每一个都是你前往捷克的理由, 然而捷克的魅力又绝不仅限于此, 只有你真正踏上这片土地, 才能感受它的神奇. 向来喜好寻幽探奇的我等, 岂可轻易错过.
捷克布拉格旁的小镇库特拉霍拉 Kutna Hora, 因为人骨教堂而世界闻名. 像它的名字一样, 这座教堂曾为中世纪流行一时的黑死病人的埋骨之地, 后来这些遗骨被用来装饰教堂, 据说一共用去4万多具遗骨. 教堂装饰充满了冰冷的华丽感. Kutna Hora 在很久之前甚至是捷克很重要的城市, 原因是这里附近的山丘曾经发现了银矿, 使得国王时期的钱币铸造厂都在这里, 后来坐吃山空, 但银矿渐渐挖掘殆尽之后, 加上邻近的布拉格慢慢兴起, 这个城市的美丽就逐渐为人所遗忘. 不过, 这个城市仍成为现在捷克旅遊的热门景点, 原因是在 Kutna Hora 的市郊区有一座人骨教堂. 前几年水患的时候似乎曾传出坏消息, 加上人骨教堂里头的人骨装饰部分有崩坏的现象, 而且似乎无法修复, 因此到底还能撑多久也都还是未知数.
Birds of prey, falcons, hunting dogs and hunting types are a taste of the true old country life of days gone by. There is a falconry near Prague Castle with captive birds of prey on display near the Castle entrance. There were various hawks, owls and falcons spread out on the lawn. Falconry is the ancient art of hunting with the help of birds of prey. See for yourself what it is like when this noble creature perches on your hand and how complicated it is to establish communication with it. You will have many such opportunities on your travels through the Prague Castle. You will enjoy a unique and rare opportunity to photograph some of eastern Europe’s most charismatic birds of prey perched in flight. Using professional falconers and trained birds, you will have the chance to photograph species such as golden eagle, sea eagle, peregrine falcon, tawny owl and eagle owl.
The history of falconry in the Czech lands dates back hundreds of years. Although its importance has often declined and then increased again, its spirit and romance have been preserved to this day. Often you will see demonstrations of falconry in the courtyards of Prague castles and chateaux. In the courtyards of one of these historical treasures, you can witness the special bond between these majestic birds and their owners. You will thus gain a fascinating insight into the struggle between falcon and prey in the captivating surroundings of one of the Czech Republic’s regal residences.
树林里有不少被人欣赏的鸟类, 如唱歌的画眉, 学舌的鹦鹉, 报喜不报忧的喜鹊. 但猫头鹰却是令人讨厌的, 它长著一张奇特古怪的脸, 经常在黑暗中发出 “不祥之兆” 的叫声, 惊扰了在歌舞升平之中沈醉的人们. 然而, 在亚洲被视为 “恶鸟” 的猫头鹰, 却受到古希腊人的崇拜, 被认为是 “智慧的象征”. 西方鸟类学家曾做过统计, 一只猫头鹰一个夏天可捕一千只左右的老鼠, 替人类保护了大量粮食. 在发现这一点之后, 猫头鹰成了受法律保护的野生动物.
In Prague, i stumbled into St Havel’s Market on my way to visiting the famous Old Town Square. It is a very touristy place, but luckily not too crowded. Havel’s Market is the only permanent market in Prague that opens daily – from morning at seven to at least six-thirty in the evening. There are roughly twenty to thirty street stalls, surrounded by small boutiques selling paintings, souvenirs and watches. The market goods ranged from touristy products like postcards and collector pins to licorice, vegetables, flowers, wristbands, candleholders and dolls and even random stuff like the erotic dice. As I walked along at the St Havel’s market, my mind was filled with lists and categories. I was on a mission, a mission for the perfect souvenirs. I had been given a wonderful opportunity to experience Prague and all its beauty, the least i can do is try to bring some home.
我喜欢逛市场, 不管到哪个国家, 逛逛当地的市场是我最喜欢做的事情之一, 总是可以从市场中找到便宜又好的东西. 此外, 从一个市场当中也可以了解当地人的生活, 来到布拉格千万不要错过哈维尔市集, 如果你要买纪念品, 它会是你最佳的选择. 隐身在充满中古世纪风情旧城区的露天小市集, 不必精美店面装饰设计, 也自然散发出一种古雅情趣.
旅行多年, 已经分不清哪里是日子哪里是度假, 有人说我是把生活过在了路上, 的确有道理. 每到一个旅行目的地, 除了看那些著名景点, 人文景观, 就是像当地人一样深入到生活的最基本层面, 逛街, 还有, 就是走进当地的菜市场, 自由市场买东西, 而不仅仅是逛大商场. 好奇的感觉让我轻松融进当地人的生活轨道, 而挑选蔬菜 (有的地方, 买回去亲自做饭), 水果, 一根葱, 一个瓜地和当地人谈论价格, 成了十分有趣的事, 这也让我了解了一个国家, 一个地方的经济发展和民风.