Porto/Braga Trip – Part 6 (Save The Best For Last)

Most people tend to save the best for last and I am no exception. When I was a kid, I loved to save the food I liked the most for last and thus the taste of it could linger in my mouth. Now I love applying the same theory on traveling so that the unforgettable memories of it would keep me very content.

Livraria Lello (Lello Bookstore) is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal and consistently being considered as one of the top 10 bookstores in the world. Rumor has it that the bookstore was part of an important inspiration for  JK Rowling to write Harry Potter’s library scene in Hogwarts as she enjoyed having coffee at the cafe of the bookstore during the time she lived in Porto back in 1990s.

Its fascinating story already aroused my interest in visiting the bookstore, but what made me decide to go there desperately was actually its intricate interior design.

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Honestly, I was extremely nervous on the day I visited the bookstore. That nervousness was almost no different from the butterflies I get when I have a crush on someone (please don’t ask me when was the last time I had a crush on someone) 😛

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The cramping sensation from my nervousness went away immediately once their staff opened the bookstore. When the crowd was fighting for a good spot to take pictures, this astonishing masterpiece made me hold my breath in awe. I had a hard time to understand how time travel actually happened. I lived in a modern world just 5 minutes ago, but almost everything had changed into Neo-Gothic style after I stepped into the bookstore. All I saw was a world of old glamour infused with romantic vibes.

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Before I was deeply hypnotized by the facade, there was an aura from above caught my attention. It led me to the second floor where I saw a stained-glass skylight. Although the facade captured most of the attention from visitors, the stained-glass skylight was as attractive as the facade in my eyes. It directed natural light to the bookstore created a great contrast to the wooden decorations. Such an impression sank deep in my heart before I left the bookstore.

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Being able to tick Livraria Lello off my bucket list uplifted my mood for the rest of the day and got me ready for Braga.

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It only took me an hour to go from Porto to Braga. The minute I arrived here, I already started loving this city. Watching the sky changed from a lighter sky blue to a darker sky blue presented itself as a natural art gallery was enjoyable. Soaked in its rich cultural atmosphere and imagined that I was lucky enough bumped into a storyteller to tell me historical stories of Braga – from the time when it was once a significant metropolis of the Roman Empire to present.

Simply walking around already took me more than 2 hours, I almost forgot the ultimate reason why I had to go to Braga was to visit Bom Jesus do Monte – a Portuguese sanctuary.

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Standing at the entrance of the sanctuary, I already felt its special vibes.

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When I took my time to appreciate the surroundings, I found a miniature chapel placed at each corner of the stairway that led me to the major site of the sanctuary. I originally planned to go all the way up to the main site, but the chapel and the luscious green trees altogether created one of the most beautiful fairy tale scenes stopped me from doing so.  Instead of stopping and staring at the scene, I closed my eyes and let it rejuvenate me with the tranquility here.

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When the Baroque staircases placed in a zigzag form stood in front of me, it was the moment of truth. I finally came to know what its hype was all about. Camera could never do its justice for how magnificent it looked. Words could never describe the feelings I had when I first saw it.

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Enjoying a breathtaking view at the stairway left me speechless. I felt like I was on top of the world with the sun as my companion. ❤ What else could I ask for? 😀

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Before Saying Goodbye

Honestly, a dozen cats are more than enough for my family but our kitty family just happens to keep growing. I guess they just enjoy having their lovey-dovey time a lot. We now have more cats than we expected. We reach a point where we can’t take care of them all, so we have to give some of our kittens to our friends. A cat lover like me obviously is not willing to do so but we have no option. The only thing I can do is to take some pictures of them to keep these memories alive.

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This little kitten rested gently in my hands made me feel like a mom for the first time. I started imagining how to raise her as a good kid and what to put on her to make her the prettiest. The time I had with her was magical and I would love to spend some more time bonding with her if I could. However, what I did already aroused Silly B’s jealousy.

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She stared at me as if I just murdered her whole family. I knew she didn’t mean it. All she wanted was to capture my attention and be my model. She stood patiently without blinking her eyes to ensure all pictures I took were perfect. I must say she was one of the best cat models I’ve ever seen. The patience she had amazed me. I somehow thought she looked like a cardboard kitten without blinking her eyes in this photo lol 😀

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Suddenly, Mi Mi came near me and started crying. I thought she wasn’t feeling well at first, but then I realized that she just wanted me to play with her. Gosh! How could I not to…? (her teary and innocent eyes urged me to play with her wholeheartedly)

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Look! I was corrected about what she wanted. Her tears evaporated the moment I played with her. Was it trick or something? Well, I really didn’t care as she was too cute to resist.

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After running here and there, she felt extremely exhausted.  Then she demanded a relaxing massage from me. I thought I was the only Queen at home. Now I know I’m such a loser next to her lol 😛 😀

More Than Just My Birthday

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I know very well not everyone take his or her birthday seriously, but I’m quite the opposite. Birthday has always been a big thing to me. It is not only my birthday, but also a day to appreciate my parents bringing me to this beautiful world. Obviously, it is not the only day I appreciate it but it just has a special meaning.

I celebrate my birthday each year as usual, but somehow I just wanted to make it extra special last year and thus I decided blogging. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I got to know all of you my amazing friends who give me love and support through ups and downs of my life. Taking your time to read, comment, like, and even send me personal emails. I know it can be very time-consuming, but none of you never stopped doing so because of that. Your support has been my greatest motivation to keep doing what I am doing. This has been an amazing journey for me. It allows me to connect with you through art, photography, and stories. Most importantly, it allows me to stay true to who I am.

Although it is my birthday today, it is no longer my birthday. I would like to make it our birthday as to thank each of you (my fellow bloggers and Instagram friends) for all your love and support.

Let’s get the birthday celebration started!!! 😉 Shall we?

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My mum started celebrating my birthday by giving me “red eggs” and red pockets for a few years already. It is a very traditional way to celebrate birthday in Chinese culture. She usually places it in front of my room door so that I can feel the joy of it early in the morning. As we are celebrating our birthday together, please come and take a bite. Don’t forget to take your red pockets! 😉

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The best part of the traditional birthday celebration this year is the birthday note my mum left me. “Wish you (piggy younger sister) a happy birthday and a good health!”, written by piggy mama. I always call my mum piggy mama, but never thought she would take it seriously. How cute she is!!! 🙂

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Well, it’s my birthday so how can I not to treat myself with a nice birthday gift especially when I haven’t created any digital art pieces for a long time?!?!?

I would like to stick to the birthday theme “red” and thus the art piece I created was mainly covered with a red color. Also, the color of red often symbolizes luck and joy in our culture. I think it’s perfect to wish myself/you a wonderful year with good luck and joy. What makes even more special was the original photo itself. It was taken during my Porto trip, which I see it as a trip of “dream comes true”. Using this particular photo as a base for creating this digital art is to advocate the positive thoughts of “dreams can always come true”.  With me looking up to intensify the meaning behind the art – hope is always around.  All these positive meanings were well blended in this art will sure make this year filled with dreams, hope and happiness.

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Apart from birthday gift and celebration, I think it would be awesome to show you how I looked like as a baby. I don’t mind to share it, but please make a promise to me not to laugh at how chubby I was. 😀 I always ask my mum what she had when she was having me in her belly to make me this chubby. I looked more like a ball than a baby seriously lol. 😛

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I was not only  a chubby ball, but also  a happy baby. I kept eating, laughing and sleeping most of the time.

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I told you that birthday is a big thing to me (to my family and relatives also). Look how excited we were when blowing out all the candles before sharing the birthday cake!

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From left to right – my elder brother, elder cousin brother, younger cousin brother, me

Not only did we like to celebrate birthday together, but we also liked going to the park together. Let me tell you a secret (shh…please don’t tell anyone). I saw my younger cousin brother as my future husband while he saw me as his future wife at that time.  Obviously, the dream has remained as a dream. He is already happily married.

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Wish us a wonderful birthday! 🙂 🙂 🙂

*Sorry for not making this post as cohesive as I can, but I was way too happy and I had no idea what I was doing lol! But well, one thing for sure I would like to give you a big thumb up for being my amazing friends!!! ❤

Porto Trip – Part 4 (A Tribute To My Beloved Grandparents)

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The moment I saw this elderly couple at the winery, I couldn’t help it but to think of my grandparents. They always wanted travel together, but they never had a chance to do so. My grandfather spent more than half of his life on earning money to raise his family. By the time he earned enough to retire, his health started to deteriorate unable to travel. I know I can’t turn back the hands of time and make him alive to travel with grandma, but I would like to dedicate this post to them.

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They could hardly sleep last night as they were too excited to visit winery. By the time they arrived the winery, they acted as if it was their first school trip. Their vast curiosity encouraged them to keep looking around and touching whatever it was around them.

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Their inner active child had never stopped until it was the time for wine tasting. They sat patiently and waited to be served with the wine. Both of them coincidentally took a small sniff of the wine and swirled it before tasting.  When each sip of the wine slowly evaporated in their mouth, they started remembering the first wine they had together at their wedding.

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All good memories kept flashing in their head. Then, he looked at the window when hugging her from behind.  ‘Remember what I promised you when little princess was born?’, he asked. She looked down and nodded with a smile on her face.

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I was surprised to find out the promise he made was to have a boat trip with us. What made me even more surprised was he already started channeling my travel desire on the day I was born. The mesmerizing picture of peaceful Douro River, colorful Porto boats and magnificent Dom Luís I Bridge altogether was the main reason why I wanted to travel to Porto 2 years ago.

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They asked me to sit in between them and held my hands tightly when enjoying an amazing view of Douro River. I almost felt bad to be in this position until I saw how satisfied they were. I guess it just reminded them of the wonderful time they had when I was very little. Although they seemed to be living in their good old memories, they never forgot to teach me a life lesson as usual. “Never be afraid of all the challenging bridges you may face in your life because they will always teach you something valuable”, they pointed at the bridges we saw during our trip and said.

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As I saw how much they enjoyed teaching me a life lesson, I somehow felt like teaching them how to say “hi” in English. They were shy to say it at first, but eventually took the courage to say it aloud to the travelers on another boat “hhh…Hi”.  However, our trip was about to end. They both obviously seemed a bit upset about it, so I offered them a cable car ride to cheer them up.

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Luckily, they accepted my offer with full of excitement. He gently held our hands when we first entered the cable car. He even asked grandma to lean on his chest if she ever felt scared of the ride. I knew she wasn’t scared at all, but she still pretended to be just to make him feel good.

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I thought it would be awesome to capture the moment when she leaned on his chest, but they stopped me doing it immediately. They took a picture of me instead. It was sweet to see him using his left hand to hold half of my camera while she used her right hand to hold the other half of it. “It feels good to see you’re all grown up now”, they looked at me with tears in their eyes and said. What they said completely melted my heart and made me promise to myself to be the best granddaughter as I could be.

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I never made empty promises and therefore I took them to Miradouro da Serra do Pilar to make them even happier after the cable car ride. It was a place where they could enjoy a panoramic view of Porto. They were speechless to see how breathtaking it looked and asked me to pinch their face to ensure what they saw was real. I knew It was the time for them to spend some quality time with each other.

I sat aside soaking up the sun to be grateful for having them as my grandparents. All they did for me was more than just memories. I believe it will make me a better person.

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Time flies when you’re having fun. I couldn’t believe the sun started to set. All boats decided to rest after working hard for a whole day. Threads of yellow and orange lights in the sky slowly prepared us for a romantic night. Clouds kept rolling in to cover Porto with darkness gradually.

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When the city was covered by a complete darkness, city lights glistened as twinkling stars in the sky.  It became much more romantic than usual to allure them coming closer to the river. He wrapped her in his arms as a gentle breeze brushed up their face. ‘You will always be the woman of my life’, he looked at her with sparks in his eyes and said.  She couldn’t react, but to be deeply intoxicated by his love.

 

When Spring Brings In Good Old Memories

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I always thought what I love the most about Spring was only when the plants went luscious green and the flowers started blooming. It is a scene I always fancy since it gives me rejuvenating feelings which I feel like everything has begun to reborn. I still have the same feelings about it. However, my thoughts about Spring has changed slightly when I walked pass Clausena Lansium tree my grandfather planted unintentionally long back. He threw a seed of Clausena Lansium in our backyard after having the fruits of Clausena Lansium more than twenty years ago and it somehow grew into a big Clausena Lansium tree. Unfortunately, he can’t be here to see this tree is still going strong even after so many years. However, I’m glad that my grandfather left this precious gift to my grandmother who can still feel his presence and spirits through this luscious tree. I know it means more than just a gift. In fact, it is what feeds her soul. It seriously means a lot to her. I truly hope the tree keeps growing healthily! Also, I would like to thank the sun and the bees for taking extra care of this precious tree apart from the massive amount of care she has been putting into! ❤ Moreover, I would like to thank Spring for bringing me good old memories which made it extra special! 😉