Vatican City And I Am Here On Valentine´s Day

Despite being so busy with study but never forget to spend some time for searching place for traveling during some day-off on the yearly schedule. Searching nice place which has special occasion/festival then to visit there, it is kind of good decision for voyage to learn more about their culture. I visit Vatican City in Rome of Italy to get blessing from god and to see what it looks like on Valentine´s Day. Turn back to know the brief history of that day, during Roman emperor, king Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers. Soldier name Valentine continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies but was eventually apprehended by the Romans and put to death. Another legend has it that Valentine; imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed “from your valentine.” To be honor for him, people started to celebrate as Valentine´s Day on February 14th to show their love.

Let takes a look for what I see at Vatican City,



Vatican Obelisk

In the center of the Saint Peter´s Square, I see a 41-meter-tall and weighting 326 tones of Egyptian obelisk, brought to Rome in 38 AD. How could they take this so heavy obelisk to Rome and to stand it on the ground during that period of time? It is the only ancient Egyptian obelisk in Rome to have remained standing since Roman times.


Refurbishment building

As this place for tourists so they are sure that the tourist does not want to see the refurbishment or any dust from the building during they walk around. They have a creative idea to hide and solve it. They print out the picture as the new building after refurbishment.


Tourists in queue waiting to visit Vatican Museum

It is not different from top attractive tourism museums in Paris, there are crowd of people in long queue and you have to wait under hot sun between 1:30 to 2 hours before you can enter the Vatican museum. There is another way to enter there; it calls fastpass ticket but you have to pay more than normal price (50€ and normal price is only 16€).



Group of Japanese and Korean Students on the left side at Saint Peter Square

There are many others Asian tourists over there from us to other. I want to talk about is I see two group of undergraduate students from Japan and Korean. I think it is one of really great method that the developed country from Asian and Europe they do exchange and take time to learn from each other. Especially in Italy where some great people born and did great works over there such as Michelangalo, Bernini, Leonardo Da Vinci and Galileo Galilei.


Swiss Guard at entrance of Basilica

Near the entrance of the Basilica, I encounter some of the handsome Swiss Guards with their traditional uniform. To know more we must go back to the period of the renaissance and discover the motives that in 1506 caused pope Julius II to invite Helvetian soldiers to join the small Vatican army, they have been the guards of the Vatican and the pope in particular. All entrants to the army must be Swiss, Catholic and they must take the oath of loyalty to the pope.



A Flag along main street

Here is a flag I see. It is not flag represent neither Vatican City nor flag of Italy. Is it flag of a country? Is this small country need or be allowed to host embassy? I am not sure about it.


Super Car on the street

Playboy dares to show their super-car along the main street of Vatican City. I have seen the same at some place around La Tour Eiffel and Champse-Elysée in Paris and near the beach at Barcelona where it is possible to take you around if they are interesting in you (maybe only for hot/sexy girl :=D).

It is not like in other country such as small country and far away like Cambodia seems influence too much on this culture. Vatican City is like normal day, I think they share their love each other every day, not only one day on Valentine´s Day. Last year, at place where I stayed at Guimaraes in Portugal, I went to my to my university, It is like normal day nobody celebrate it. I went also to a high school and around the city centre, there were only few couple did it with bought flower for each other.

God Bless Me, My Family and My Friends,


Wonderful performance of Cambodia Royal Ballet arrives Porto, Portugal

Getting information from Radio France International (RFI) that Cambodia´s Royal Ballet will come to perform in Europe within three countries which are in France (Paris), in Portugal (Porto and Lisbon) and in Italy (Venice). Together with Cambodian, Portuguese, German and Slovak friends are eager to watch and we buy tickets for this wonderful performance in Casa Da Musica in Porto, Portugal. The show, featuring 23 dancers and ten musicians from three form of Cambodian classical dance: the classical royal ballet, the male mask dance and the big shadow puppets; combines elements of the Ream Ker (the Cambodian Ramayana) with Sbek Thom (traditional Khmer shadow theater which declared to be the UNESCO intangible cultural world heritage property in 2005). More than a thousand of hall capacity seats are fully booked.


Audiences in the hall before Cambodia Royal Ballet starts perform/casa da musica/porto/portugal

At 9pm the performance starts and the audiences are quiet and put their attention on the classical dancing style movement of actors, beautiful customs, music and song (sing by Ek Sidé). Flourishing the actors’ hands like fans, the dancers of the Cambodia Royal Ballet create a measured world of complete etiquette. Everything is recollected in tranquility. Even a battle is depicted with patterned composure. Yet stasis seldom occurs; some flow of movement is almost always in evidence. The planting of the heel or the ball of a bare foot; the flexing of a foot raised behind; these are all sensuous ingredients of the style. The dancers, though barefoot, wear golden attire: armlets, bracelets and anklets. Women wear calf-length pleated skirts; dancers representing demons, giants and monkeys wear masks. Some of my friends say they love the customs and they really want to wear it and they would be look like angels or princess. The music is mostly based in the sweetly percussive tintinnabulations of the gamelan, though it’s often accompanied by either a sralai, a woodwind instrument that’s oboe like in sound, or vocal chanting.

The performance took part of Cambodian Ramayana story (Ream Ker Khmer) which I have learned as part of literature subject in high school. It starts from […] a giant Asorak Ravanak ordered Marichak to arrest Seda that he transformed himself as a beautiful golden deer to attract Seda to secure Seda from Langka […] (read the whole story of Khmer Ramayana: Khmer Ramayana is among the cultural stories that most popular to be sculptured, carved, or depicted on the cultural sites of Cambodia since ancient time. We might found it the whole story of Ramayana on the compound wall of Silver Pagoda and on the ceiling of the throne hall at Royal Palace in Phnom Penh and on the art gallery of Angkor Wat temple in thousand years ago.

The show performed around one hour and I saw audients almost put the feeling watching and listen music and after the show finished they stood up and applaud around 5 minutes with smiling. The world tour of Cambodia Royal Ballet team led by prince Sisowath Tesso bring big success and the world will know more about Cambodia culture.

The Missing Picture by Rithy PANH nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film in Oscar Award – Hopefully it will win.

Eighteen days before the Oscar Award will be announce on 2nd March 2014. The Missing Picture, a film was from Cambodia by Rithy PANH, was nominated as one of among five for final lists of Academic Award as “the best foreign language film”.

I think it is incredible and remarkable film and it is really suitable to win the prize, hopefully. I have watched a lot of movies that filmmaker put actors/actresses to the movies to make action for what they want. However, this documentary film “the missing picture” is exceptional; Rithy PANH used sculpture of clays and paint it to make as actors/actresses and fix in a place. Then, he does movement of camera around the statues and I can see all those statues seem have movements and show likely actors do it. It is really useful. For example, when you read books about the history of some places or you know information in there then you go there then you can imagine what real things happening in the history of that place…[to be continued]


Some scene in the missing picture by rithy panh

Real Madrid CF always gives hope to their fans and keeps it´s most valuable football club in the world – renovation plan of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to complete in 2017

For people who are fans about football, CR7 and/or Real Madrid CF Team just go there. Get out from Santiago Bernabeu metro station; at the left side of my hand I saw one of the big stadium. OMG! this is home of Real Madrid CF, a place where my dream come true! I took a look, went around, took a tour inside and of course watched a football match. It was remarkable stadium with four floors to watch the football match and so many trophies inside surround a lot of space around stadium. I can say it is one of the best stadiums due to capacities, esthetic and function. Time of match is on, I wanted to say the first time that I saw the crowd of thousands football fans come to cheer and how the Madridista passionate about football and how they´re cheer. The feeling was really touched to me.

Last week, they announced to renovate the stadium by Real Madrid CF president Firentino Perez who states, “We want it to be the best stadium in the world with the most possible comfort, an icon at the vanguard of modern architecture – the best stadium in a special setting, unique and spectacular”. The stadium renovation is inspired by Rome´s coliseum that architect called it intelligent skin of the roof. Design and construct by collaborate between two companies GMP architekten, Germany and Catalan company L35 Ribas. In 6 minutes 3D video view on official club website of plan show that it will keep Santiago Bernabeu stadium to be one the best in the future when it completes in 2017. I am pretty sure it will win some prizes of architecture on RIBA, the world best architecture or Architizer, etc. The cost estimate is 400 millions euro.

It is huge budget, isn´t it? Where this money comes from? It reminded me how business like football that mostly it´s depending on sponsors make money. It is must from advertisements: a place and spectacular match competition that can reach millions people watch it. When I visited London, I saw at underground way and Picadilly Circus Square there were some many advertisements but its were really organised. I thought what the smart governors they did to made money! As well as the companies do the same way of benefit because there are so many people catch public transports every day and pass through importance square; it is on of the best way to reach their costumers. I have watched on TED talk presentation by Seth Godin “how to get your ideas to spread”. He describe people like ignorant and they do not like very good, very good is boring, etc. Hence, the video animation of advertisement will reach of people at remarkable place like Real Madrid CF stadium. As believe for companies: Microsoft, Coca-Cola and other companies have announces for financial aid to renovate the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.



Best Architecture of the year in 14 categories within 4 building from Portugal

Start from my classmates and my teammates who do the same projects and have background from architects; they are very creative with new ideas to make great building for the projects. Walk through university last year and this year as well; architecture students seem so active and hard working on doing sketch and wonderful maquettes. They are fruition for their careers after their graduation to build numerous esthetic and sustainable buildings across Portugal and abroad as you can see they win the prizes.  Especially, Two remarkable Portuguese architects Alvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto de Moura have won Pritzker prize (Nobel prize of architect) in 1992 and 2011.

Among 3500 building projects featured nomination to win 14 prizes within 14 categories, 4 buildings from Portugal, design by Portuguese architects and Portuguese engineers, win as best architecture of the year. The 4 buildings are: Three Cusps Chalet (Best refurbishment), Tree Snake House (Best hospitality architecture), Alcácer do Sal Residences (Best healthcare architecture), Braamcamp Freire Secondary School (Best educational architecture). Below, it is some descriptions of the building.

  • Best refurbishment: Three Cusps Chalet/Architect: Tiago do Vale Arquitectos/Constructor: Constantino & Costa/Location: Sé, Braga, Portugal.

Locating close to Jadim de Santa Barbara and Braga´s cathedral, this is a particularly sunny building with two fronts, one facing the street at West and another one, facing a delightful, qualified block interior plaza at East, enjoying natural light all day long.

“At it most basic, our option was to reclaim the original intent and conditions of the building but with the (fundamental) subtlety of providing an added something beyond a blind restoration. Something that could return the building to a function, to a use (whereby people could inhabit it and live a life of genuine quality), to present day, to the street, to the city, and with enough flexibility to keep it going for an extra 120 years. This is a delicate matter, though, as function, use, people, streets, cities are all things that relentlessly, unforgivingly, keep changing the way they relate with their built surroundings.” Tiago do Vale

  • Best hospitality architecture: Tree Snake House/Architect: Luis Rebeto de Andrade and Tiago Rebeto de Andrade/Constructor: Modular System/Location: Pedras Salgadas Park, Bornes de Aguiar, Portugal.

From architects Luis and Tiago, the project came the challenge of creating an object that could recreate the fantasy of the tree houses. Sustainability and ecology have always been one of the major concerns during the development of the project. The consistency and rationale for the intervention were attained by the layers and reinforced insulation, heating systems, water reuse, water solar panels, the low consumption lighting system using LED technology as well as the option of keeping the soil without any impermeable system, among other solutions.

  • Best healthcare architecture: Alcácer do Sal Residences/Architect: Aires Mateus/Constructor: Ramos Catarino/Location: Alcácer do sal, Portugal.

Architect Aires Mateus described the building like this. It is a project, somewhere in between a hotel and a hospital that seeks to comprehend and reinterpret the combination social/private, answering to the needs of a social life, and at the same time of solitude. Independents unities aggregate into a unique body, whose design is expressive and clear. The reduction mobility of those who will live in the building suggests that any displacement should be an emotive and variable experience. The distance between the independent units is measured and drawn to turn the idea of path into life, and its time into form.

  • Best educational architecture: Braamcamp Freire Secondary School/Architect: CVDB Arquitectos/Design Team: Cristina Verissimo et al./Location: Pontinho, Lisbon, Portugal.

The school is structured around a central open space, a “learning square” that expands the “learning street” as an outside social central space of the school. The square’s relationship with the playground areas provides a strong relationship with the existing natural landscape and topography. The Square is open as an amphitheater connecting it to the playgrounds in the northern part of the school grounds. This amphitheater is below the new classrooms building supported by a series of punctured concrete walls allowing students either to walk through them or to use them as places to sit, talking and playing. Moreover, the facades of the school are essentially constituted in exposed in situ concrete and prefabricated concrete elements, to minimize maintenance costs. The concrete panels were carefully designed to respond adequately to each façade’s solar orientation. Beside, in the interior spaces, adequate resistant materials were chosen for an intensive use and very low maintenance costs. The multipurpose hall has timber studs and acoustic panels. The circulation spaces walls are mainly done with concrete acoustic blocks. The social spaces present themselves as niches in bright colors.


Four buildings win best architecture of the year from Portugal

Head To Porto For The Festa de São João, one of the Europe´s liveliest street festivals

Catch local train from Guimaraes to Porto; one hour later the train arrive São Bento train station.

Metro rides on the bridge; people walk through pedestrian and capture beautiful photos around.

Site along Douro river at Gaia; look at extraordinarily dense amalgam of tiered houses clinging to the Douro valley, the scenery is even more impressive when virtually every household is draped with bunting.

At the evening with beautiful sunset; before it disappears, it shines and I can see beautiful townscapes around when the light reflect from the building, bridge and water.

Take a Superbock beer with fast food and have fun and nice conversation with some close friends who share same interesting; some others take trip on cruise along river and have party there.

At the evening progress, there remains a mix people of all ages, from elderly couples to young children; walk across Ponte-Luis –I and both side of the river on lively street.

Take a plastic hummer and do soft hit to people around to their head or shoulder to give them lucky; most people stop and smile when they know you want to hit them and you should do the same action.

Music is on everywhere from traditional Fado music in early evening to pop and rock until late night; you can enjoy and dance for free with two concert.

Midnight sees the inevitable climax of firework and illuminations begin to rumble through the nigh sky above the gloving neon of the port wine lodges on the opposite size of Douro.


View Ponte Luis I Bridge


View Amalgam of Tiered Houses Clinging to the Douro Valley


Music is on at the night


Sunset View Along Douro River

Wonderful City! Take Me To London!


Tower Bridge and Thames River/London/UK

By beautiful city! By being a football fan! By saw a wonderful dazzling firework New Year Eve celebrating in London last year! By read the famous quote of British writer Samuel Johnson “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford”.  Take me to London!

Architecture and Modern Building: From London Bridge to Tower Bridge; from The Shard to 30 St Mary Axe. By walking around in the evening around 5 pm to 7 pm and the sun is already disappear but this vivid city always shine by the light; around this place most building is cover by glass and active at night where you can see it because there are light all most every floor of the building. Along side the river Thames and another part is in Westminster where is old style of architecture such as Big Ben (the house of UK parliament) and another church similar to Nortre-Dame in Paris.


View Dazzling Firework London Eye

Firework: One of the unforgettable and exciting new year with one of the most dazzling fireworks displays on London Eye among of around 250.000 other people with happy people, dance and sing, very nice music that you want to hear. Note that: You have to go there at least before 10 pm I think because the place around will be closed if there reach peak of people.

Londoners are happier:

Budget:  Of course everything there is expensive but I just want tell about the exchange rate between euro and pound. Do not exchange money in airport. The exchange rate between euro and pound: if you want to get in pound (1£ = 1,38€) and by contrast if you want to get in euro (1£ = 1,08€). It means if you have 100€ then you will get 100x(1-0,06)/1.38 = 68,11£ (it include 6% for tax) and if you want to exchange 68,11£ to euro you will get 68,11x(1-0.06)x1,08 = 69,14€. Hence, in 100€ that you have exchanged to pound and if you want the money in euros back in next minute, you will get only 69€. You lost 31% of your money !! So, it is better you exchange somewhere else or use credit card to pay something.

 Public transport: There are various bus connections like easy-bus, national-express (low fare comparing to train or other transportation), etc between airport and the city such as Baker Street, Victoria and Westminster but some of them do not operate during public holiday like Christmas and New Year Eve. So it´s better you should have to book its. Don´t worry if you are late or your flight delay in some minute which you can use the same ticket (without extra cost) to catch the next one. However, it is possible to be late. During my trip there was late for 12 minutes but fortunately it reached airport on time. Despite of some cities where the securities and polices are looking for punishing to people who not bought the ticket for the public transport, in London is free for all bus and all metro doors are open for all from 11:45 pm to 4:30 am. The polices and securities are well organize for helping all visitors to avoid dense, stuck and find the way to anywhere. Of course, at then end you have to say thank you to them to keep us safe and Happy New Year.

Weekend and Sunny day at central of Portugal, Coimbra

By searching in official tourism of Portugal via: and weather is just so nice with sunny day for the weekend, I visit central of Portugal, Coimbra. By catching the train from Guimaraes around 2 hours take me to reach Coimbra-B and an extra riding 5 minutes to city center ( Coimbra-A train station).

The first place to explore is Old Cathedral which is one of the oldest Portugal cathedral from “Reconquista” period (the period the Christian Iberian kingdoms opposed and conquered the Muslim kingdoms from early 8th century to 15th century. The birth place of Portugal is in Guimaraes and they started to expend their land to the south by first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques and took Coimbra as capital city) and some other similar cathedrals in the north such as Porto, Braga, Viana do Castelo have been extensively remodeled later.  By continue to walk up to the top of the hill as other tourists want to see is University of Coimbra. It is one of oldest university in the world and it was added to UNESCO world heritage in 2013 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Another part of the hill is Jardim Bontânico which is a part of biology laboratory of universidade do Coimbra. It is place with various plants include tropical plants, alpine plants and other exotic plants. It´s make us feel fresh a lot beside ton of working and to stay away from crowd of the city to like the nature.


Universide do Coimbra – Coimbra – Portugal


a view a long side the Mondego river – Coimbra – Portugal


Praça do comercio – baixa do coimbra – portugal

universidade_coimbra_0.81529500 1303928252

a view to the top of the hill of universidade do coimbra – coimbra – portugal

2011 Pritzker Prize Winner, Eduardo Souto de Moura and His Remarkable works

   Eduardo Souto de Moura is a fame Portuguese architect who has designed numerous residences, schools, shopping centers, subway stations and art galleries across Europe countries including Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Eduardo won Pritzker Prize in 2011 which was honored by Unites Stated president Barack Obama and first lady Michael Obama in Washington D.C. He was born in Porto and studied architecture at the school of fine art of the university of Porto and started his early career with another well-known Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza (Alvaro won Pritzker Prize in 1992). What is Pritzker Prize? Pritzker Prize or name as Nobel Prize of architecture is award annually to honor a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.

   I have opportunity to see some his works in Portugal such as football stadium in Braga, Pavilion in Viana do Castelo and Paula Rego Museum in Lisbon. One of the most famous of his work was Estadio Municipal de Braga which is the football stadium in Braga located to the top of the mountain. The stadium shows it beautiful aesthetic and landscape surrounding. In term of reducing cost and waste, they used eco-efficiency material construction by blasting the granite from the site and crushed to make concrete for the stadium instead of took it from anywhere else and the visitors who could not afford for the ticket also can watch the football match from another site of the mountain.


During my visit and watch football match in UEFA Champion League Manchester United vs Braga/Estádio Municipal de Braga/Braga/Portugal


Casa das Historias Paula Rego/Lisbon/Portugal


Pavilhão/Viana de Castelo/Portugal

Paella Recipes In My Own Way

After I have visited  Spain for  two times and tasted some Spanish food, especially, Paella the most common food of Spain.  I feel I like Paella and I want eat it again then I start to learn how to cook it.
–       Chicken, cut to small pieces
–       shrimp, take out the shell but do not through shell away
–       eggs, boil five eggs
–       white rice
–       oil
–       onion, sliced
–       garlic, finely chopped
–       lemon
–       frozen peas
–       bell pepper, chopped
How to do it:
–       heat the oil in fry pan then put the shrimp shell until it turn to red then put the water until it boils; then decant the water.
* note: remember to keep the water that we will use it for cooking rice.
–       heat the oil in in another fry pan, then soften the onion for 5 minutes without browning then put the chicken then stir it for 3 minutes then put bell pepper and stir another 2 minutes (put ingredient like knorr, sugar and salt as you want).  
–       Put the white rice (300g), frozen peas and shrimp to the pan then put the water then cover by caps. Wait until the rice is cooked.
*note: the most importance thing is to make sure the rice is cooked as you want in this style.
Finally, you will get delicious Paella like this, enjoy it ^__^

Explore EU to Inspect Some Great Work of Well-known Civil Engineer GUSTAVE EIFFEL, #Post2

Eiffel or La Tour Eiffel, I have heard this name when I have studied French language and have joined competition about Francophonie at ITC. Then I searched it on Wikipedia, “La Tour Eiffel” is an iconic of Paris city and Eiffel was the name of famous civil engineering of France, Gustave Eiffel. Therefore, I searched his biography; his great work was not only La Tour Eiffel but there were more construction (especially on steel construction) around Europe and the world as well notable Ponte Luis I (Porto/Portugal), The Statue of Liberty (New York/USA), Renovation of Atocha Railway Station (Madrid/Spain), Cathedral de San Pedro (Peru), Eiffel Bridge (Viana do Castelo/Portugal), etc.

I have visited some of his work in Portugal, France and Spain. Let go to see all these steel constructions !!

La Tour Eiffel, Paris, France

It constructed in steel as an alphabet “A”, it becomes an iconic monument in Paris. The tower is the most visited paid monument in the world. There are 4 columns where you can go up by walk up in staircase or take elevation with difference price to the first floor and/or top of the tower. But believe me !! it is not good idea to go up by walk up with 337 steps to the first floor and add more 340 steps to second floor, save your energy to other place!! But you can walk down it is ok. When I took elevator from the top to first floor and I walked around, I saw in a painter and they write to encourage tourist to walk “Have you ever walked to…” (I will show it). At that time I decide to walk down through staircase and I met with two ground of people who walked up with tired and sweat in their face “ we shouldn´t do that, because of you,…). By viewing from top of La Tour Eiffel then you will see awesome Paris city landscape and other tourism attractive such as North-Dame church, crystal of Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, Sacré Coeur, La Deffend, La Sein River and other panorama architectural buildings.


La Tour Eiffel/Paris/France


Ponte Luis I, Porto, Portugal

It was built across Douro River in Porto with a total length 385 meters without column; it held the record for the longest steel arch in the world in that time. It is the 2nd longest river in Portugal after Tagus River. It divide to part to visit is upper level and lower level. It will give you amazing sight when you take photograph this bridge at early morning and sunset.


Ponte Luis I/Porto/Portugal

Atocha Railway Station, Madrid, Spain

The original Atocha Railway Station building was mostly destroyed by fire in 1890. Then in 1892 the renovation restarted in 1892 with Spanish architect Alberto de Palacio Elissagne corporate with French civil engineer Gustave Eiffel.

After visited “Retiro Park”, we have to find way to Atocha Railway Station for our next destination. We had a city map but we did not know the direction (north, south, east, west!?), an idea was come by using compass on phone mix with the map we had. Finally, we arrived there, I think it is different from other station because there are shopping mall with additional nightclub and various coffee shop. Go through the old building and with one of the busiest train station, you will feel relax, fresh, reducing tired when you see a beautiful tropical garden inside the building with not in tropical countries, it is like bring you to tropical countries with various trees and many turtles in the water.


Atocha Railway Statio/Madrid/Spain

Eiffel Bridge, Viana do Castelo, Portugal

It locations in the northern of Portugal that you can go there by train where connection between Porto and Vigo. I have visited Viana do Castelo on weekend. By start from Guimaraes and there isn´t directly train between this two cities, I have to got up very early morning to catch train from Guimaraes to another train station name “Trofa” to wait train from Porto. It is another bridge which construction by Gustave Eiffel across the “Lima River” with 563 meters. It divides in two roads that above for car and below for train. It also mixes some cable.


Eiffel Bridge/Viana do Castelo/Portugal

Look forward to see you soon again Madrid.

Hala Madrid !!

Some Great Work of Well-known Civil Engineer GUSTAVE EIFFEL in Europe, #Post1

Who is he? 

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel born in 1832, Dijon, France. Eiffel went on to attend the Collège Sainte-Barbe in Paris, in order to prepare for the difficult entrance exams to enter the École Polytechnique, but his tutor decided that his performance was not good enough, and instead he qualified for entry to the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures in Paris. During his second year he chose to specialize in chemistry. This was the year that Paris hosted the first World’s Fair, and Eiffel was bought a season ticket by his mother.

After several years in the South West, where he created the Bordeaux railway bridge, he set up on his own in 1864 as an entrepreneur specialized in metallic frameworks. Advocating the use of a new material called iron for its resistance. Elasticity and lightness, as well as its easy storage and assembly, Gustave Eiffel constructed hundreds of metallic structures around Europe, including Budapest station (1876), the Porto viaduct over the Douro (1878), the Garabit viaduct in Cantal (1885), the dome of Nice observatory (1886), Madrid Atocha Train Station and finally of course the Eiffel Tower, created for the 1889 Universal Exposition.

After being involved in the lock designs in the Panama Canal scandal (1892), Eiffel abandoned construction and dedicated the rest of his life to scientific experiments, in this way finding a use for the Tower: the study of aerodynamics, a meteorological station, and above all as a giant radio antenna – the first to broadcast on French soil in 1921 – which ensured the continued existence of the Eiffel Tower.

During my visit in Europe I had opportunity to inspect several his achievement works notable Ponte Luis I (Portugal), La Tour Eiffel (France), The Eiffel brigde (Portugal) and Madrid Atocha railway train station (Spain).

Ponte Luis I, Porto, Portugal

Oporto’s iconic bridge opened in 1886, when it held the record for the longest steel arch in the world in that time. Today the metro crosses the upper level, while the lower level is used by cars and pedestrians to cross the river between the center of Oporto and the spectacular city views and port wine warehouses of the municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia.


Ponte Luis I/Porto/Portugal

The Eiffel Bridge, Vianna do Castelo, Portugal

It was inaugurated in 1878, in the time of the iron architecture. Design by the famous engineer Gustave Eiffel, the metallic bridge over the “Rio Lima” (Lima river) allowed the railway traffic and cars. Contrary to Ponte Luis I in Porto, which allows the metro ride on top and car in lower level, this bridge has train in lower level and cars on top.  Of course, the load of train is heavier than any car. With 563 meters long and 6 meter large, 2.000.000 kilos of iron had been required for the construction of the platforms that lay in 9 granites squared stone pillars, whose substructures reach the 22 meters.


Eiffel Bridge/Viana do Castelo/Portugal

Atocha Railway Station, Madrid, Spain 

Atocha railway station, the first and the biggest train station in Madrid, was inaugurated in 1851. It is the main railway station for commuter trains for the city. It is also the local point for intercity trains from all over Spain, as well as the country’s main station for the high-speed AVE trains. Renfe, the Spanish national railway company, run the AVE trains.

The original Atocha train station building was mostly destroyed by fire in the early 1890s. Alberto de Palacio Elissagne was the architect responsible for the old building’s new design, which incorporated a style that was predominantly of wrought iron. Gustave Eiffel, better known for the tower bearing his name in Paris, also collaborated on the project.

The renewed old building was re-opened for service in 1892. It was in constant use for exactly 100 years when in 1992 it effectively became a shopping mall with the addition of a nightclub and various cafés. Some 4.000 square meters of the center of the old building also houses a beautiful tropical garden which have varies tropical trees and many turtles.


Atocha Train Station/Madrid/Spain

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

The tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world. It received its 270 millionth visitors since constructed by famous engineer Gustave Eiffel since 1889 with high 324 meters.  Climb up the top of La Tour Eiffel then you will see awesome Paris city landscape and other tourism attractive such as North-Dame church, crystal of Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, Sacré Coeur, La Deffend, La Sein River and other panorama architectural buildings.

Construction: The work began January 1887 and to end 26 months and 5 days later. All elements were prepared in Eiffels factory in Levallois-Perret, on the outskirts of Paris. Its were specifically designed and calculated, traced out to an accuracy of a tenth of a millimeters and then put together to form new pieces, each measuring around 5 meters. All the metallic pieces on the tower were fixed by rivet; this was a well-known technique at the time of construction period on 19th century.  The tower´s construction in a few figures: 18.038 metal parts; 5.300 workshop drawings; 50 engineers and draftsmen (in that time we did have BIM technology, that they need a lot engineers to do its); 150 workers employed at Levalois-Perret factory; between 150 and 300 workers on the construction site; 25.000.000 rivets; 7.300 tones of iron; 60 tones of paint.


La Tour Eiffel/Paris/France

Outside Europe, there are many other his achievement works around the world in USA, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Philippines, Vietnam, Angola, etc. such as The Statue of Liberty (USA), Cathedral of San Pedro de Tacna (Peru), La Paz Bus Station (Bolivia), etc.

Four Seasons In Guimaraes

The time flied so fast, I feel I just came here recently but it has already been one year.

Portugal is like other western European countries divided to four seasons which are Autumn (September to November), Winter (December to February), Spring (March to May) and Summer (June to August). It is one of the warmest countries in Europe where you can see sunshine day more than 300 days a year. Guimaraes is a city located at the northern of Portugal. It is defined as a Mediterranean climate which is Csb (dry-summer subtropical climates classification “b” according to the Koppen Geiger Climate Classification). Guimarães is located in a valley and surrounded by hills and because there is some distance to the sea, the winter is normally cold and rainy and the summer is hot and lightly humid. The average annual temperature is 14 °C.


The leaves on tree turn to yellow, red or brown then fall completely, leaving all trees bare and parks or tree-line road are filled with dead leaves. Days become noticeably shorter, cooler and the first frosts appear. It is time to wear warmer clothes and turn on heater.


Castelo de Guimarães


View behind UMinho


The leave tree fall down all trees bare. It seems like we saw death trees. Temperatures drop with frost common at night. January and February are typically the coldest months which temperature is around 3-4oC and someday it is 0oC at night. There was not a snowfall for many years; the last snow was in 2009.  Despite other countries in Europe have snowfall, Guimaraes has much rains both in daytime and nighttime. An umbrella or raincoat is useful whenever you go outside during this season.


View apart from Uminho


The weather warms up little by little but rain is often. Days start to become longer. Leaves start growing on trees, radically changing the bleak winter landscape into cheerful green scenery. Bushes and shrubs blossom in yellow and pink colors. Flowers are becoming more common on balconies, in gardens and parks. The sun rises early around 8am and sets around 8pm.


Oliveira Plaza


Castelo de Guimarães


Everything is green and full of flower. Days are warm and sometimes hot (it reaches peak to 35oC for few days at the end of July this year with low humidity only for around 40%). Daylight is long around 12 – 15 hours with early sun rises and sun sets around 9:30pm.


Churches and Garden Guimaraes

Look forward to see and stay here for another year !

Welcome to Magic Kingdom where you dream come true, Disneyland Paris

“To all who come to this happy place and enter to the studio of dreams, welcome.” Michael D. Eisner, former CEO of the Walt Disney Company. He added the story that once upon a time, a master storyteller, Walt Disney, inspired by Europe’s best loved tales, used his own special gifts to share them with the world. He envisioned a Magic Kingdom where these stories would come to life, and called it Disneyland. Now his dream returns to the land that inspired it. Euro Disneyland (later change name to Disneyland Paris) is dedicated to the young and the young at heart, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration for the entire world.

More than 20 millions tourists each year visit Paris. Where is the most tourist attractive place? Maybe you think Louvre Museum or Eiffel Tower is the most tourism spot in Paris. But it is not; it is a suburb place of Paris region located 32 km from the center of Paris. It received 15 millions visited in 2010. You can go there by take RER A4 to final stop station name Marne-la-Vallee Chessy in 5th zone of Paris city.


Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty´s Castle)

Disneyland Paris was not in my trip plan, I thought it was nothing interesting, it´s just a place for kids to see cartoons such as Mickey Mouse and some ride for kids and ticket price is also expensive. It was inspired to visit by my friends from another city Lyon of France, Virak and Bunthan who came to visit Paris too. Virak who has experience to visit there for many times told us about this fantastic place to see, play and have fun. Thank so much for guide around. After I visited there; what I thought was total wrong; I would regret if I didn´t go there. It is rank 2nd attractive place during my trip to Paris city after the top of La Tour Eiffel.

Hey, let discover Disneyland Paris with me.


Main Street USA

I had only one day to visit and we were willing to play a lot of things so we decided to visit a park, Disneyland Park. As we have a perfect guide, Virak, so we were sure to do not miss any attractive spot. Disneyland Park divides to five parts: Main street USA, Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland, Discoveryland. I would like to take some notes of attractive points of decoration, ride, parade, and firework.


Enter the main gate with the crowd of people walked through one road call Main Street USA to the icon castle of Disneyland Paris was Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty´s Castle). Children were excited by welcome from people who wear costume as Mickey Mouse, Duck tales, and some kids wear costume as queen. Alongside the road, there were souvenir shops, restaurant, coffee and ice-cream shop which decorated by mix from French style, which put bold color (red, blue and green) to gable façade where I saw it all most coffee shop and restaurants in Paris, and other style by using brick as outside rather than plastering and painting.


Disneyland Park


Most attractive spots were the rides where we felt like we are in studio or inside movie of Walt Disney Pictures. Beginning by go to Frontierland where we wanted to ride runaway train. What we saw it was as other tourism attractive places in Paris like Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Versailles Palace and Norte Dame that we had to wait in long queue until we could enter each place. It took approximately 45min; 30min on barricade depending on tourists. They were very good at mathematic on statistics because they can put right time for waiting. Lucky, we traveled with Virak who has been there so we could found better way. What was it? It was fast-pass ticket where we picked it at machine in front of the place. It showed us we could enter in next 40min in fast way on fast-pass tickets so we continued to Adventureland. There was another roller coaster so we took it. It was so excited because it was my first time. Took a seat with very safe belt, the train start in slow speed but in next 1 minute it went faster and faster and it went in direction it liked it was going to hit something and went upside down, raised your hand up and shout. Around 5 minutes it finished so we continued to another adventure was Pirates of the Caribbean. Have you ever watched this one of the most grow film series? It did not like to watch in cinema nor as an actor or an actress. It was like we were inside the movie/studio to take the series of secret caverns of pirate life. There were sound gun, their fight scene, etc. Then, we turned back to Frontierland; we went to ride runaway train by fast-pass entrance. It was more excited than first one: longer and faster. After a very happy time, it was time to have lunch. Then we took a small cruise to go around Frontierland, went to Ghost House, catch the tour train around Disneyland Park, had a snake in Videopolis with some shows, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, and took a Star Tour and Space Mountain (travel to the moon). I do not describe all these things; you must go yourself to make the experience of magical and enjoyable.


Space Mountain: Mission 2 (Travel to the Moon)

Parade and Firework

After playing a lot of thing, it was time for us to relax by found a good place to stop and watch fabulous parades along the road with music, floats and choreography. It was people wearing costume as cartoons like among of famous animation films of the Walt Disney Pictures notable such as Toy Story, Cars, Day and Night (from Pixar animation studios), Cinderella, Tangled, etc. At 11 pm, there was a show of wonderful fireworks and the slide shoot on the castle to tell some scenes of Walt Disney Films.


Parade Scene (Toy Story)


Firework and Show (The Castle)

First Few Days – Journey of a Thousand Kilometers

The exact date of departure was confirmed by coordinator and flight agency; packing luggage prepared. Of course, some parties with family and close friends never miss. Thank you to them for gathering and accompany me at airport on my departure day. It was a very good moment in life. A man who never took a flight and it was time for a longest flight between Phnom Penh – Bangkok – London – Lisbon – Porto, some worry happened inside my mind but I always said to myself: it is fine, it gonna be OK.

First, check-in in Phnom Penh international airport, problem happened when my electronic flight tickets showed I have to transit in London. Staff at agency desk said you needed to apply UK visa to enter there, then they discussed, they tried to look at books to check article. Then I said in confidence I have already checked UK allowed to transit but no longer than 24 hours, I am sure I can transit there safety. Finally, they accepted me. But they gave me only one boarding pass because there aren´t British Airways agency in Cambodia. Approximately 1 hour, I reached Sovannaphumi Airport, I have to be fast to find British Airways agency to get boarding pass to know Terminal and Gate. Lucky me, in queue for waiting in front of British Airway I met a generous Asian guy, Vong and I looked at his boarding pass he also went to Lisbon and the same direction as mind, he had experience to travel around the world include USA and EU. It was like all my worry during flight were solved, from that time I just a follower, nothing to worry just followed him. Took an economic class on plane for a very long distance between Sovannaphumi Airport to Heathrow Airport and fortunately it wasn´t full seats where I could lying or slept by handrail of other few seats next to me. “Next 20 minutes the plane will land on London” informed from plane agency. Then I woke up and looked out throw window. It was awesome to see London from above of city landscape in the early morning. I have only one and haft hour to transit in airport then I had catch another flight of TAP Portugal from London to Lisbon. What was a surprise thing, spending around 4 hours in Lisbon Portela Airport but I didn´t understand a word people talked even I know English and French. What language they used? Finally, I reached final stop for flight in Porto safe and sound.


View from Plane Window above Cloud

My arrival was welcome by Cambodian and Burmese friends, Longdy, Kimoan, and Than. They took me to their place by metro. After put my stuff, we went to supper market and we passed the Estádio do Dragão (Dragon stadium) of FC Porto. It was very big stadium I have ever seen with all seated capacity of around 50000 and nice architecture style (by Manuel Salgado). We walked around, took some photos and continued to market.


Estádio do Dragão

The next day, they guided me around in city center of Porto before I went to Guimaraes. They suggested me where I wanted to go. My answer must be at Ponte Luis I, which constructed by famous French engineer Gustave Eiffel, that bridge is my goal to visit. Took metro line to S.Bento, then we came out, then walked to find it, ahaa, we lost the direction, talked and long walked but not reached that place,, they always said they were sure about it. We have to asked local guy, we went to wrong direction in 180 degree. We walked back and reached the bridge, it was an admirable of his achievement, structure and architectural style and to get benefits both transportation and tourism.


Alongside Douro River and Ponte Luis I

After travel around Porto city nearly a day, it was time to go Guimaraes in the evening. One-way ticket was bought and times to say goodbye my friends a moment. Sit in a comfortable train between Porto – Guimaraes, haft way of journey there was a security walked to check the ticket, he walked to me, I gave him the ticket. After validate on his small machine, he looked at me in strong focus and say something in Portuguese, which I do not understand, and he could not speak English. I was shock because I have already bough a ticket, what was the problem, I though !! Then another guy came to help me and talked, the problem I did not validate my ticket before I entered the train. The security allowed me. In the stop point at Guimaraes Train Station, I took my luggage and went out of station; a guy came to me and asked “could I help you, where you wanna go?”. It was surprise to me because I think I was a stranger and I started to feel better to stay in two year in Guimaraes. I showed him the address of university campus, it was far from train station so he showed me where to catch a taxi and talked to taxi driver where I would go. Finally, I arrived university campus.


S.Bento Train Station

Another day, I went to university to deal something such as registration as a student, create a bank account, do NIF, apply for residence card, accommodation, etc. I met with coordinator who I contacted her with e-mail since long time, Carina. She asked me about my flight, campus, feeling about this city, food where to eat, the city center where I can go to buy stuff, a list of option of accommodations which I could choose, etc and helped me to solve all these problems. She is a very kind and helpful person. It was vocation time so there was a volunteer guy, João who helped and accompanied me to found apartment, met with owner, went to NIF office to do NIF number. He like football so much, so we had good time to talk about this sport. Everything was solved in good way. At the end they said word I would like to heard from Portuguese friends: coordinator, classmates, colleagues, footballer friends is “If you need something help, do not hesitate to ask me”.

To study a broad alone, I am lucky to meet all these guys.

Amsterdam, #Post1

I have a day to explore this city so I choose only to walk around places nearby Amsterdam Central Train Station. Walking out from train station, I see a very living city: people movement, beautiful building, canal, boat, many people ride bicycle, etc.


Amsterdam is best known for its luxurious canal houses and charming gabled facades. The merchant-based oligarchy of Dutch, French and Portuguese that ruled the trading city of Amsterdam built canal houses and mansions in the most prestigious locations. Yes, it is true; their building styles are awesome from house styles (gable, color, shape) alongside canals to building such as ING house (by Meyer and Van Schooten), NEMO (science and technology museum – by Renzo Piano), ARCAM (center of architecture – by B.V. Zuuk), EYE (Dutch International Film Institute – by Delugan Meissl), Amsterdam Cetraal Station (by Pierre Cuypers and Dolf Van Gendt).


Typical House Style in Amsterdam


One of the most prominent features is the Canal district, shape as concentric haft circles of canals. There are thousand bridges and also some lift bridges, which paint to typical for the country, are its traditional white drawbridges. We can call it like Venice of the north. Alongside the canal, it is a beautiful place to overlook the river and take in some traditional Dutch architecture of their houses, apartments, and many tourists who rent boat to ride a long canal.


Tourist Boat along Canal


It seems like unbelievable when you see so many people ride their bicycles as their journeys in this city. There are many types of bicycles from city bikes, road bike and even cargo bike which people can take their children, put their stuffs, etc. Of course, riding a bicycle is not as easy as motorbike or car, you have to use energy, effect to the sun, especially when you have some stuffs and ride with your children. As showing in tourism maps there are 70% of all journey in Amsterdam made by bike.

I had a good time to meet with a nice Dutch girl, Sofie, while I was walking pass a bridge nearby NEMO. A moment I have asked her, why one of high earn people in this city like to ride bicycle? And also you?. At first she started to answer as other people know to have good health, to have good environment. You know, in 70s decade, there were many traffic accidents which kill huge of people and many children, oil crisis. So, people do strike to find better way. By then Dutch government invested in improving for cycling infrastructure to their urban planning. They built vast network of cycle paths as you can see. “ When I was child my mother always took me somewhere by bike, so it seem early adopter to me”, she added. She was smile and said “ hey, Lee, we are not cyclists, we are just Dutch”. (….)


Typical Bike in Amsterdam

(To be continued…)


In Which Style Should We Build?

Patrik Schumacher, London 2015

 The term ‘style’ derives from the Latin word ‘stilus’ originally denoting the stylus used for writing on wax tablets. The concept upon which our contemporary notion still builds appeared first in ancient Greek and Roman writings on rhetoric. In the general sense the term is employed now, style seems to be an inevitable feature of all regular human artefacts. The term is used in architecture, design and in all the different arts: visual arts, music and literature. The term can be applied with different degrees or levels of aggregation: we might talk about the individual style of an individual architect, about national/regional styles, or finally about epochal styles. An epochal style is the dominant style of a particular civilization within a particular historical era. It is primarily in this last sense that the theory of architectural autopoiesis uses the…

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Porto. Café Majestic.

Majestic Cafeteria in Porto Portugal where J.K Rowling wrote Harry Potter.

Big Cities. Bright Lights.

Majestic Cafe Porto

Cafe Majestic Oporto

Porto is home to many places that can be considered the most beautiful of their kind: the train station Sao Bento, the bookshop Lello & Irmao, the bridge Ponte Luis I and last but not least: Cafe Majestic.

The café opened in 1921 under the name “Elite” on Portos shopping street Rua de Santa Caterina. After a renovation in 1992 the cafè and its rich art nouveau decoration are as beautiful as they used to be almost 100 years ago.

Cafe Majestic Portugal

“The Majestic Café is a wonderful place, where muses, thinkers and artists can get together to live the best moments life has to offer: simply sharing communication through words and gestures, glances smiles and even a few tears sometimes.”

Gloria Montenegro (President of the Paris Academy of Coffeeology)

Porto Cafe

more information:


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Guimarães, The Cradle City of Portugal

Reblog: “Guimarães, The Cradle City of Portugal” by La Señorita Vero

La Señorita Vero

Portugal was born here

Portugal is a country that  is often overlooked by travelers to Western Europe. Those who do make the journey usually only go to the capital, Lisbon, and completely skip over the North. However, with its beautiful landscapes, castles, well-preserved historical sites, and delicious culinary traditions, it is a region that should not be missed! One of the top cities to visit in Northern Portugal is Guimarães, the city where Portuguese culture was born. 

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First Verdict for Top Khmer Rouge Leaders Handed Down at the ECCC

Reblog: “First Verdict for Top Khmer Rouge Leaders Handed Down at the ECCC” by The Sithi Blog

The Sithi Blog

This morning, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) – better known at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – handed down its first verdict in Case 002, against two of the most senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge: Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan. Both were convicted of crimes against humanity – including murder, political persecution and other inhumane acts – undertaken as part of a joint criminal enterprise (JCE) and sentenced to life in prison.

The guilty verdict is a welcome step forward in achieving justice for the victims and survivors of the Khmer Rouge. But with the first verdict against senior leaders* coming down over 35 years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime, there are concerns that justice will mean too little at this point in time, especially as many of the Khmer Rouge’s survivors have passed away in the meantime.

These concerns are compounded…

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The Enigmatic Faces of Bayon

Reblog: “THE ENIGMATIC FACES OF BAYON” by What an Amazing World!

What an Amazing World!

Two of More Than 200 Gigantic Faces of Bayon

Angkor Wat served as the capital of the Khmer empire until mid-12th century, when the death of King Suryavarman led to the invasion of the Chams (present-day Vietnam) to the Khmer capital. However, a few years later, a Khmer prince successfully defeated the Chams and forced them away from Khmer’s land. The victorious prince then became King Jayavarman VII, who was arguably the greatest king of the Khmer empire.

Following his success, he instructed the construction of a new capital (known as Angkor Thom) which is not far from Angkor Wat. At the center of the new capital, a new temple was erected. The temple is unlike other Angkorian temples because it has more than 200 gigantic faces adorning its spires and walls. No one knows for sure whose face that is. However, some scholars believe that it resembles the face…

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Travel like a local in BCN

Travel like local in Barcelona by Chez Lorraine

Chez Lorraine

During a week holiday in Barcelona last July we rented an apartment in El Clot quarter. El Clot is a part of Sant Martí district. It is only 15 minutes stroll to Gaudí’s La Sagrada Família and 5 minutes to Hospital de la Santa Creu i San Pau.

This quarter was once called El Clot de Miel means The Honey Hole in Catalan language. The neighbourhood was established in the Medieval Age by the name Clotum Melis (Latin). At that time the quarter was rural with many honeymakers and farmers lived there. Hence the name.

During the Industrial Revolution textile industry rised in El Clot. Nowadays inhabitants of this quarter is a mix of working lower and middle class both Barcelona born Catalans and immigrants from Spanish speaking countries.

Travel like a local
My family and I love Barcelona so much. Actually we spent our holiday here last year

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