One of the most iconic sights in Kuala Lumpur is the Petronas Twin Towers. The 88-story buildings are located right in the heart of the city. They were once the tallest in the world, but now only retain their title as the tallest twin towers. At night, the brightly illuminated skyscrapers stand out in the vast city like two beacons of light.
I felt like Alice in Wonderland, walking amongst the super trees in Singapore’s Garden by the Bay. The grove of 16 story-tall “trees” completely dwarf everything else around them. These man-made structures are built on reclaimed land as part of an efficient green space project. Each tree is surrounded by a steel skeleton that is used as the framework for planting various flowers, ferns and other vertical climbers. At the top are built in solar panels used as the main energy source to keep the structures lit at night. These trees are as fantastical as they are practical and they are an iconic part of the city.
Singapore is a beautiful sight at night when the buildings are all lit up, but the extra special time is right after sunset. Right before it gets dark, the sky turns a lovely shade of blue, a perfect backdrop for the glittering skyline. This picture was taken on the promenade from the Marina Bay Sands hotel overlooking the downtown area.
On our first day in Singapore, we ventured over to Little India to visit Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. It is one of the oldest Hindu temples in the city, built by the early Indian laborers and dedicated to Kali, the goddess and destroyer of all evil. On the outside is an explosion of colorful deities adorning the entrance tower.
We were fortunate to visit the temple during the daily puja (prayer) session lead by the priest. It started with a bathing ceremony and and ended with a sacred flame offering while rousing music is played. It was the first time I’ve every been inside a Hindu temple and witnessed a prayer session. Hopefully, I am blessed with a good rest of the trip.
Our Asia trip is finally underway, after much anticipation. First stop is a night in Tokyo. For some reason, we’ve only ever been to the land of the rising sun for a few days at a time. This probably needs to be rectified in the near future, but for now, we will make do with our short time in this lovely city. We decided to spend the morning strolling through the tranquil Japanese gardens in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park. There were not many people around, which made the experience even more peaceful. It was a relaxing morning until we had to make a mad dash back to the airport, but that’s another story for another time.
The picturesque town of Sintra, has long been a sanctuary for royalty and is known for their many fairy-tale castles and colorful palaces from the Romantic period. My favorite is Quinta da Regaleira, with its beautiful palace and extensive grounds filled with little pockets of gardens and secret tunnels. One of these tunnels lead to a tall spiraling well that was used for secretive initiation rites many years ago.
On the sixth day of our travel, we made it out to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Europe. The startling jagged cliffs dropped sharply down to the turbulent Atlantic ocean. The powerful bracing wind whipped across my face, mixing the briny ocean air with the sweet smelling grass. The setting sun covered by the thin layer of cloud and fog, cast a grey shadow over the rock face giving the place a wild rugged feel.
Lisbon with its many steep hills has lots of great look-out points. These miradouros are public plazas where visitors can rest their weary feet while admiring a magnificent view of the city. Miradouro de Santa Luzia is a terrace overlooking the Tagus river and the houses in the Alfama area. The long hanging vines and ceramic tiles not only provide some much welcome shade during a hot day, but also a romantic backdrop for many lovers.
Carmo Convent, located high on the hills of Lisbon was once the largest church in Lisbon. A devastating earthquake in 1755 destroyed most of the building, with the roof caving in on the congregation as they were attending mass. Today the ruin, with its skeletal remains, soaring arches, and roofless nave create a startling sight for visitors.
On our last day in Ngapali, we paid a visit to the nearby fishing village where the local fishermen were just coming home from a night out on the sea. The catch of the day was quickly brought up on shore. Here you can see fish laid out to dry under the hot Burmese sun. The market was just opening, and buzzing with people out to buy their food for the day. In these remote villages, it’s more common to buy fresh ingredients every day, instead of relying on the fridge.