Friday, 30 August 2013

Country within a country (Part 3): San Marino

I am quite surprised to find that there's another small small independent country within Italy. It's Republic of San Marino.

The car plate has it's flag on it! Cool..

Outside the historical center of San Marino, there's totally nothing going on. We thought that we've wasted our time to travel all the way here, but once we reached the historical center, it's totally a different feel! The historical center of San Marino is located on the top of a hill, it was cooling and the views were amazing.

Me happily taking panorama..

The walls..

Tower built on the cliff.. Beautiful..

We had our lunch at a restaurant with very very ordinary food. I can't even remember the name of the restaurant liao. All I remembered was the really sweet and tasty San Marino Moscato that we had. We can't find that moscato selling at any shops :'(

After lunch was some shopping around the area. Oh, shopping in San Marino was great because it's tax free! But there's no boutiques of the big brands here. Sob sob. There're shops which sell limited items of these big brands though. You can get quite a significant discount if you find a bag that you like in these shops. For example, I saw this Gucci bag in one of the shops in San Marino. It was selling at 1050 Euros in Italy Gucci boutiques, but the shop owner was able to sell it to me at 850 Euros.

Walking around the area, we came across some buildings and architecture, we just took pictures of them even though we were not sure what were those buildings.. Hahahaha..

San Marino guards..

Yep, that's about it for San Marino..

Country within a country (Part 2): Vatican City

Once we reached Vatican City, we were approached by several people who were selling tours of the Vatican museums, St Peter's Basilica and Sistine Chapel. They claimed that buying their tours enable us to skip the line, otherwise, we'll need to join the long queues. Anyway, we didn't buy from them as we didn't plan to go into the chapel and the museum at Vatican. Many people said that it's a must to visit the Vatican museum and the church if we're at Vatican but we're not museum people and we had seen too many churches in Europe so we decided to give that a miss.

Even though we didn't go into the museum and the church, being at St Peter's Square already awed us. It's really magnificent with the world's biggest catholic church sitting in front of it, and the architecture at the sides of the square stands numerous different angels at the top. We were told that everything built within the St Peter's Square were symmetrical and have some meaning behind it. I think you'll be able to understand more about the architecture if you've watched the movie or the read the book "Angels and Demon". We were also told that every Sunday during noon time, the square will be filled with Catholics and the Pope will speak.

St Peter's Square

This was seen on the floor around the obelisk. It accurately indicates the direction. There's one of such tile at each direction: west, north-west, north etc. Not sure what does the the man blowing wind means though but I think there's some meaning behind it.

The guards..

Top view of St Peter's Square and the road in front of it. Picture from wikipedia..

So we walked along the streets leading to Castel Sant'Angelo and the Angels Bridge. There're some shops and eateries along the streets, so the walk was not so boring.

Castel Sant'Angelo and Angels Bridge..

There's an entrance fee to the castle. I think it's 11 Euros if my memory didn't fail me. We thought it was expensive and gave that a miss..

Angels bridge.. Statues of different angels on it..

'Ponte' is 'bridge' in Italian.. 

Then after that, we're back in Rome. Check out my post on Rome!

Country within a country (Part 1): Monaco

We first went up to Monaco-ville, the old town of Monaco, and grab some food first.. Haha.. We were hungry.. We trusted Tripadvisor and seached for No.1 in Monaco Ville..

The price was a bit on the expensive end.. This was the lunch price, dinner's more expensive..

Hubby ordered the Branda Cujun De Stockfish A Ma Fason.. Dunno what that means, we only know the word 'fish'. We had expected it to be a fillet of grilled fish but it came in this form. The fish was mixed with mash potatoes.. It was just normal. Given the price we paid, we thought it was overpriced.

I ordered Coutre Filet De Boeuf "Black Angus" Rucola/Parmesan Again, I dunno what that means but it's black angus so I ordered. Hahaha.. And it was pretty good! The beef was tender and yummy, served with the salad and cheese, I felt not so sinful eating it.. Hahaha..

After having lunch, it's time to walk around Monaco-ville and we arrived at a place where we could enjoy the views of Monaco bay.

Palace of the prince of Monaco

Some church we saw on Monaco..

Musee Oceanographique.. It's listed as No.1 things to do in Monaco-ville on Tripadvisor and this was the long queue outside this attraction.. Seriously, this is the first time I saw such long queue for a museum or aquarium.. So we thought, it must be amazing!

Erm.. turned out there's nothing much inside. Showed some bones of oceanic animals.. Can't really remember what other things was exhibited as it was too crowded and we didn't enjoy ourselves there.

This was one of the more interesting facts I saw there. It showed how many people each type of animal/insect killed per year in the world. So it's telling us that sharks are the least harmful among these and I think the message that they wanna bring across is to stop killing/hunting sharks?

So many people in the aquarium.. Block our view..

Again.. so crowded..

We were quite bored there as it's no difference from any other aquariums we went before except for the exhibits of the bones of the ocean animals. But there's really good views from the Musee Oceanographic as it's built on the cliff of Monaco Bay.

Done with Monaco-ville and we proceed to Monte-Carlo, the Atas shopping area, casinos and a real exhibit of luxury cars.. I guess we're more interested in this than the Ocean museum..

No, we dunno that guy in the picture.. Just some random guy.. 抢镜头..

Cool number plate

This convertible Rolls Royce was openly showcased outside Hotel De Paris.. Okay.. "Shut up and take my money!" 

 Porsche side by side

Convertible Bentley

Mercedes Benz is small fry here..

We didn't go into the casinos because we were dressed quite 'lok kok' with slippers, shorts and top. Other than these luxury cars, we saw many rich people in Monte Carlo. I think they were rich people lah, because I saw them buy Chanel and Hermes bags without considering. They just grab and walk to the counter, machiam shopping at Pasar Malam. -.-

Okay, I totally get this..