Penumbra: Rashid Khalifa at Saatchi Gallery - PHOTO TOUR

Silhouette of a man cast on an art piece at Rashid Khalifa’s exhibition at Saatchi Gallery, London. / Photo: Eileen Hsieh

Contemporary artist Rashid Khalifa brings his vibrant, three-dimension installations to the British audience, staging his first solo exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery.

Spread out across two spaces on the second floor, the viewer will find a collection of colourful, strategically illuminated pieces. The artist — who has been painting for four decades and is a member of the Bahraini royal family, according to Wikipedia - hopes to bring to life the beauty of textured shadows and light cast through polychromatic metal structures.

Aluminium mesh wall works, steel grid mobiles, and a monumental maze form the basis of this immersive exhibition inspired by architectural grids and geometric lattices.

I had the chance to attend the private view, and here’s a photo tour of Mr. Khalifa’s debut exhibition. Enjoy!

Artist Rashid Khalifa posing with guests in front of his colourful maze. / Photo: Eileen Hsieh

View From The Top: A Visit To London's Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden is regularly listed as one of the most beautiful performance venues in the world. So I knew I'd have to act fast in order to secure tickets for its popular holiday show - The Nutcracker.

As it turned out, many people had the same idea but were much more organised than me. When I visited the booking page two months before Christmas, the only four seats in a row available were in the top tier amphitheatre gallery.

For £10 each, our tickets were a bargain. The seats were described as "Upper Slips, view obstructed by tier ledge, patrons in front may also obstruct view, padded bench with back." We didn't even have to stand!

We took several flights of stairs and escalators to reach our seats, which were padded benches on the highest possible landing in the building. A quick glance downward might leave you weak in the knees.

We didn't have a full view of the performance, but we did get an unrivalled, bird’s eye view of the orchestra and all four tiers of boxes and balconies. The auditorium could seat 2,256 people, so we spent the interval admiring both the ROH's architecture and guests. 🧐

We also had the best view of the auditorium’s ornate ceiling, which housed the spot lights and opened up during the show to illuminate the stage.

Warning: I would not recommend this section for people with an extreme fear of heights. You are after all within an arm’s reach to the roof, with the entire theatre below your feet. .

Other than that it’s a great way to check out the Grade I listed opera house and the wonderful royal ballet for the price of a take-away meal.

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Royal Opera House

Bow Street
Covent Garden
United Kingdom

Beautiful Destination: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London

There are a number of grand buildings dotted along the south side of Hyde Park, and this one - the Mandarin Oriental - along with the Natural History Museum, are what I find the most beautiful. 

Besides the stunning use of red brick on its facade, this place also holds an interesting history.

Take a moment to admire this picturesque setting at the hotel's loggia, then scroll down for eight facts about the hotel that you may find fascinating.

The park-facing loggia at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is the perfect location for special events. © Mandarin Oriental Hotels

The front facade of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, facing Knightsbridge. © EIleen Hsieh/Follow That Bug // Cover photo  © Mandarin Oriental Hotels

🍁 The original building was built in 1889 as an exclusive "gentleman's club", with the main entrance facing Hyde Park.

🍁 At the time it was also the tallest building in London at 100 feet high (about 9 story by today's standard).

🍁 The Franco-Flemish style architecture uses plenty of red brick and Portland stone and has loggias (exterior corridors) to provide lounging space that overlooks the park.

🍁 A fire struck the property in 1899, and in 1902 it reopened as "Hyde Park Hotel", the newest and the most luxurious hotel in London.

🍁 But the hotel opened with a new entrance facing Knightsbridge instead of Hyde Park -- due to royal request that the side facing the park would only be reserved for royal use or very special occasions.

🍁 The new main entrance of the building now faces Knighsbridge, opposite Harvey Nichols and a short walk from Harrods.

🍁 In 2000, the property reopened as "Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park" after extensive restoration.

🍁 In September 2016 it began another 18-month restoration to keep up its 5-star standard. The first phase on the front-facing rooms completed last month, and now the work has moved to the back of the building, which is expected to finish in Spring 2018.

Genteel England: Middlethorpe Hall & Spa in York | 溫雅英格蘭:約克的「米多托爾普」歷史酒店

For my very first visit to York, England, I was adamant to stay at a historic hotel to fully absorb the quaintness of this ancient city. I went through the National Trust property list and was immediately drawn to one place - Middlethorpe Hall & Spa, just outside the city center.

首次拜訪英格蘭的約克之前,我只有一個篤定的要求: 住的旅館必須要古色古香,而且最好是古蹟。英國保護名勝古蹟的國家信託提供了許多建議,其中一家最吸引著我,就是位於老城郊區的米多托爾普酒店

Middlethorpe Hall's magnificient back garden with the delightfully named "ha-ha". © EIleen Hsieh/Follow That Bug

Front facade of Middlethorpe Hall as seen from the street. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Can you ever go wrong with w National Trust property? © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Constructed in 1699, Middlethorpe Hall is a classic William and Mary country house built for a prosperous master cutler named Thomas Barlow, who bought the Middlethorpe estate as a bid to establish himself as a country gentleman.

The style of the building was indirectly influenced by Christopher Wren's Hampton Court Palace, as reflected in its pattern of red brick, white sash windows and stone corners. In the 1980s Middlethorpe Hall was restored to its former glory and reopened as a luxury hotel. Now it's under the protection of the National Trust.

Middlethorpe Hall建於1699年,屋主是位富有的刀匠,想藉由這棟威廉與瑪莉型式的豪宅來打入上流社會,晉身為鄉紳。

這棟鄉村豪宅的風格靈感來自漢普頓皇宮與名建築師溫恩,處處可見紅磚,白邊大窗戶和開闊的花園。Middlethorpe Hall 在1980年代轉型改成為豪華酒店,今日由國家信託管理。

The airy grand reception room with happy, yellow walls. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Pretty trimmings around the chandelier. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Plenty of Instagram-worthy features around the house, including this sweet kitty. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

The main house is decorated in the manner of the 18th century and furnished with antiques and fine paintings. It also features a grand staircase with intricate carvings. There are 10 bedrooms in the main house, including a royal suite. 


Royal bedroom Middlethorpe Hall Spa eileen hsieh followthatbug York England UK


Named after the stay of HRH Prince Andrew, this is Middlethorpe Hall's flagship suite.

Historically grand mansions across Britain would always have a room designated for potential visits from the royal family, befitted with the best of the best that the households could afford, even though most of them probably never got used for the intended purpose.

Another pretty bedroom in the main house, with an uninterrupted view of the back garden.  © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

One proud feature of Middlethorpe Hall is its 20 acres of gardens, and the park land that surrounds the house. 

We visited the property in the winter when the grounds were at their dullest, but we were impressed by the numerous quaint little gardens that produce vegetables, fruits as well as a variety of fragrant flowers.

We also saw a ha-ha for the very first time. It's literally just a ditch in the house's back garden, with benches facing out to the countryside for an uninterrupted view of the surrounding greenery. What a perfect setting for watching the sun rise and set!

Middlethorpe Hall特別驕傲的一點就是它佔地20英畝的花園與周邊綠地。我們拜訪的季節是冬天,所以花園的顏色黯淡,不過這裡有許多可愛的小花園,果園和菜園,種滿了蔬菜,水果以及各種芬芳的花朵,讓我們印象深刻。

我們也是第一次看到“哈哈”­。什麼東西有如此好玩的名稱呢? 其實它是指後花園的一個溝,防止農場動物誤入莊園,溝內還設有面向鄉村草原的長凳,是欣賞日出日落的最佳地點。

Garden Ha-ha Middlethorpe Hall Spa eileen hsieh followthatbug York England UK

What is a 


It's a ditch, in the garden.

The name reflects the reaction of unsuspecting visitors when they see the wide trench for the first time. (Haha!)

The ha-ha is designed to keep grazing animals out of the more formal parts of a garden, replacing the need for a fence. 

It also allows an unrestricted view from the house and the garden to the vast countryside beyond. 

A stroll around the back garden awarded us with this view. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

A walk through the kitchen garden. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Another view of the kitchen garden. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

A sunset view of the surrounding countryside from the back garden. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Morning mist Middlethorpe Hall Spa eileen hsieh followthatbug York England UK

The Cottage

Our home away from home.

Travelling as a party of three, the 2-bedroom cottage suite was the ideal choice. Just a short walk away from the main house, our apartment occupied the top floor of the cottage with a master bedroom, a single bedroom, and so much charm!

我們一行三人,爸媽與我,所以兩房的cottage suite是理想的選擇。小屋離主樓只有幾分鐘的步行路程,整個二樓都屬於我們的套房,有一間主臥室與一間單人房,寬敞又安靜。

Our little cottage just meters away from the main house. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

A sun-drenched, cozy living room. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Living room of our cottage. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Another view of the living room. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Beautiful gas fireplace, a much welcomed feature on cold winter nights. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

I loved our cottage suite. It was an easy climb up the stairs to the first floor (second floor for the rest of the world), and the interior is what I would call English-prettiness -- lots of floral patterns, antique furniture, sketches and paintings depicting bygone times, all in an inviting and comfortable manner. 

The weather was bitingly cold when we visited, and I spent a lot of time by the gas fireplace. Not only because it was cozy and beautiful, but that despite cranking the heat to the maximum, the cottage still felt a bit chilly and never warmed up like a modern-day flat. I guess that was part of the cottage-living experience. :) 



Main bedroom in the cottage. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Haven't seen this type of radio in a long time. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Beautiful colors in the main bedroom. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Single bedroom in the cottage. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Monogrammed towels, of course. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Another view of the single bedroom. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Kitchenette with a Nespresso machine. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

The cottage has a small, enclosed kitchenette where you'll find a tin of biscuits, English teas and Nespresso coffee. And if you reserve with the front desk the night before, in the morning the butler will bring you fresh coffee on a silver plate, at the break of dawn, so you can properly wake up before going to breakfast. 


Morning Coffee Middlethorpe Hall Spa Eileen Hsieh follow that bug York England UK

Morning Coffee/Tea

Delivered to your cottage at the break of dawn by the butler.

So in love with the green tiles in the bathroom. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Main House mist Middlethorpe Hall Spa eileen hsieh followthatbug York England UK

Country House Dining

From sunrise to sundown.

For me, the major incentive of getting up in the morning is food, and nothing beats a freshly cooked Yorkshire breakfast! 

Breakfast and dinner are served in the 2 AA Rosettes restaurant in the main house, with two dining rooms overlooking the serene back garden. The dishes are nice and comforting, and the wait staff delightful. The all look like they've just come out of hospitality school, very professional and eager to ensure that the guests are well-looked after. 


早晚餐是由主樓內的2 AA Rosettes級餐廳提供,菜餚美味,環境舒適,俯瞰著寧靜的後花園。這裡的服務生超級可愛,每個都像剛從餐飲學校剛畢業似的,每個動作都非常專業,認真的照顧客人。

Breakfast menu. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Freshly cooked breakfast with a view. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Beautiful hors d'oeuvre that came with our drinks. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That bug

Dinner is ready! © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

What better way to walk off the hearty meal than to trek down the country lanes or explore the famous York Racecourse, located just right across from Middlethorpe Hall. 

I'd also recommend the spa on site to anyone in need of relaxation. It's small and perfectly formed, with a swimming pool, whirlpool and really nice treatments.


需要放鬆的話,我推薦去一趟酒店小而美的水療中心,這兒有游泳池,whirlpool和很棒的spa treatments。

The street in front of Middlethorpe Hall, with far-reaching view of the racecourse and surrounded countryside. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That bug

York Racecourse

York Racecourse

York has a steep history in horse racing that can be traced back some 2,000 years to the Roman and Viking times. Today it's one of the most famous racecourses in Europe and the reigning "Northern Racecourse of the Year", attracting 360,000 visitors every year. 


York, England, U.K.

筱晴散文集:再訪華府 | Beautiful Destination: Revisiting Washington D.C.

Cherry Blossoms/Jefferson Memorial / Photo by Jake McGuire /

Mom has been toying with the idea of putting her prose online for a while now. Being the most diligent writer in our family, she's published numerous articles over the years about life as an expat and kept a private journal detailing the memorable moments in her life, which seem to occur every other day. 

I love reading mom's journals, especially the ones written when we're together. It's a luxury to relive our shared experience through her words for a motherly perspective and blatantly honest assessment. 

Therefore I think it's fitting to make room for mom's prose on Follow That Bug. Her unique yet familiar voice is welcomed here any time. 

Revisiting Washington D.C. - 再訪華府D.C.



Read More

Royal Gossip: The Albert Pub of Victoria

Standing proudly at the crossroads of London's past and present. © Eileen Hsieh /  @FollowThatBug

Standing proudly at the crossroads of London's past and present. © Eileen Hsieh / @FollowThatBug

If you've ever done the tourist trail of London's landmarks, you've probably seen this pretty Victorian pub somewhere along the way to Buckingham Palace, Big Ben or Victoria Station. 

The Albert is a Grade II listed pub built in 1862, and the only remaining building from the original phase of the development of Victoria Street. 

It survived the Blitz in World War Two, and still has many original features intact -- ornate ceilings, wrought iron balconies and hand-etched frosted glass windows, etc.

As London Victoria undergoes another phase of regeneration, with endless building work erecting shiny new offices, shops and residential flats on every corner, The Albert continues to coexistence happily with its younger neighbors. 

Including this brand new crossing that begins and ends at its doorstep. ✖️💜

*    *    *    *

Social media can be a very helpful source for curious information.

After I posted the above image, someone pointed out that the windows at The Albert were adorned with engravings allegedly depicting Prince Albert piercings. ("Somewhat X-rated" was the warning I was given.)

Being none the wiser, I threw the question to London Historians - a Twitter account that I follow for random knowledge about the city - already dismissing the claim as an urban legend.

Then came this photo -- "You decide," said the accompanying caption!

What's your first reaction? I can certainly see where the gossip stems from, but I shall pay the pub a visit for a closer examination! 😜

Window engravings at The Albert pub on Victoria Street. // Courtesy of London Historians

Window engravings at The Albert pub on Victoria Street. // Courtesy of London Historians

Art in Shopping Heaven: London's West End Galleries

"Monkey Queen"- Banksy. © Eileen Hsieh

London's West End is arguably the busiest area in the British capital. It's home to many theatres (Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera), famous tourist attractions (the British Museum, the National Gallery), retailers catering to all styles and budgets (Liberty, Marks & Spencer, Primark), and countless restaurants serving cuisines from all around the world (Chinatown is here too).

The east-west arterial road Oxford Street boasts more than 300 shops and claims to be the busiest shopping street in the whole of Europe. People may complain about the suffocating congestion in this part of town, but many still return regularly for the largest selection of anything you may possibly want or need - in shopping, entertainment, or gastronomy.

Art, however, is a much lesser known gem of the West End. For example on Bond Street, sandwiched between luxury retailers such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Tiffany, are a number of art galleries and auction houses with carefully curated exhibitions showcasing works by contemporary as well as traditional artists.

"Each In Their Own World"

- Lorenzo Quinn. © Eileen Hsieh


- Santiago Montoya. © Eileen Hsieh

"Garden of Earthly Delights" 

- Raqib Shaw. © Eileen Hsieh

Just like most museums in London, these galleries are free and open to the public -- the only difference is that if you happen to fall in love with anything you see, you have the option to take it home (and tighten your belt for a few weeks... or months...or years!)  

So, if you get tired of shopping in the West End or simply want to soak up some culture, why not pay a visit to some of the wonderful galleries listed below? In my experience they are almost never crowded (unless Banksy is the headliner), and I always discover amazing artists whose works are previous unknown to me. You can see some of my new favorites on my Instagram

The West End art gallery scene is really like a box of chocolate, you never know what you're gonna get. :)

Hause & Wirth Gallery © Eileen Hsieh

Opera Gallery © Eileen Hsieh

"Churchill" - Banksy. © Eileen Hsieh

Halcyon Gallery - 144-146 New Bond St, London W1S 1SN

Opera Gallery - 134 New Bond St, London W1S 2TF

Richard Green - 147 New Bond Street, London W1S 2TS

Hauser & Wirth Gallery - 23 Savile Row, London W1S 2ET

Annely Juda Fine Art - 23 Dering Street, London W1S 1AW

Beaux Arts - 48 Maddox Street, London W1S 1AY

Blain|Southern - 21 Dering Street, London W1S 1AL

The Fleming Collection - 13 Berkeley Street, London W1J 8DU

Sotheby's - 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA

Bonhams - 101 New Bond Street, London W1S 1SR


* Here's a useful interactive map of art gallery hotspots in London, courtesy of the Guardian. 

My First Impression: Mad, Magical, Marrakech | 我的第一印象:瘋狂,嫵媚的馬拉喀什

The heart of Marrakech's medina - Jemaa el Fna. 馬拉喀什老城的心臟 - Jemaa el Fna 大廣場。 © Eileen Hsieh

The heart of Marrakech's medina - Jemaa el Fna. 馬拉喀什老城的心臟 - Jemaa el Fna 大廣場。© Eileen Hsieh

To many who grow up in Taiwan, Morocco is synonymous with Arab culture. The tales that capture our imagination in the translated version of One Thousand and One Nights come alive in the streets of this enigmatic nation, where veiled women with mesmerizing dark eyes still dance with handsome turbaned men to the hypnotizing tune of snake charmers.

After years of longing, I have finally made it to the cultural capital of this North African nation. But with just six days to discover Marrakech's countless secrets, where do I even begin? 

To see, to smell, and to feel -- that's all I want from this first trip, and just to get lost in time. 

No amount of planning can help me navigate this city's medieval labyrinth, and no words from my pen can properly capture the aura, energy and essence of those I encounter. Maybe with pictures, I can at least present to you some pieces of the grand and intricate puzzle that is Marrakech. 

* Click on each photo will take you to my Marrakech gallery, where you'll find more images of this magical city. 


嚮往多年,我終於來到了這個北非國家的文化首都 -- 馬拉喀什。在短短的六天內,我只想感受她的色,香,味,還有迷失在她迷宮般的古城裡。


* 若想看更多照片,請點一下圖片就可連接到我的馬拉喀什相簿

Marrakech is often referred to as the "Rose City" or the "Red City" for its salmon pink buildings and the nearly thousand-year-old ramparts.  馬拉喀什老區處處可見鮭魚色的建築與  近千年歷史的  城牆,為它贏得了「玫瑰城」或是「紅城」的美名。

Marrakech is often referred to as the "Rose City" or the "Red City" for its salmon pink buildings and the nearly thousand-year-old ramparts. 馬拉喀什老區處處可見鮭魚色的建築與近千年歷史的城牆,為它贏得了「玫瑰城」或是「紅城」的美名。

Bicycles, mopeds and donkey carts are the most common forms of transportation in the narrow streets of Marrakech's medina. 機車,腳踏車與驢車是在馬拉喀什迷宮般的老城裡最常見的交通工具。

Bicycles, mopeds and donkey carts are the most common forms of transportation in the narrow streets of Marrakech's medina. 機車,腳踏車與驢車是在馬拉喀什迷宮般的老城裡最常見的交通工具。

Entrance of a traditional Moroccan hammam bath house, where you can get the most thorough body scrub and come out shiny and new. 摩洛哥 傳統 澡堂的入口,進去被刮掉一層皮後(其實是汙垢啦),保證出來全身亮晶晶。

Entrance of a traditional Moroccan hammam bath house, where you can get the most thorough body scrub and come out shiny and new. 摩洛哥傳統澡堂的入口,進去被刮掉一層皮後(其實是汙垢啦),保證出來全身亮晶晶。

Colorful display of dried plants outside an Herbalist in the souk (market), including these pretty cacti. 草藥店外擺置了許多色彩鮮艷的乾燥植物產品,包括染色過的乾燥仙人掌。

Colorful display of dried plants outside an Herbalist in the souk (market), including these pretty cacti. 草藥店外擺置了許多色彩鮮艷的乾燥植物產品,包括染色過的乾燥仙人掌。

Morocco's coveted argan oil is produced from the kernels of the argan tree. 摩洛哥有名的堅果油(又稱阿甘油)就是由這種堅果搾取而成的。

Morocco's coveted argan oil is produced from the kernels of the argan tree. 摩洛哥有名的堅果油(又稱阿甘油)就是由這種堅果搾取而成的。

Enter the Herbalist den where you'll find remedies for any ailment or enhancement.  草藥店裡賣有各式各樣的 產品, 治病養身防老回春,要什麼有什麼。

Enter the Herbalist den where you'll find remedies for any ailment or enhancement.


Getting lost in the medina leads me to this boutique beauty shop run by a woman, with products made for the modern woman. 迷失在老城裡,竟然撞見這個可愛的有機保養品店,老闆是女生,產品也全是為現代女性所製。

Getting lost in the medina leads me to this boutique beauty shop run by a woman, with products made for the modern woman. 迷失在老城裡,竟然撞見這個可愛的有機保養品店,老闆是女生,產品也全是為現代女性所製。

The boutique owner throws in a couple of these kohl eyeliners as gift, saying they can protect against eye ailments but should only be used on the lower waterline. 老闆娘給了兩隻炭眼線筆,說是可以保護眼睛,不過只能用在下眼線,因為上眼線不好畫。

The boutique owner throws in a couple of these kohl eyeliners as gift, saying they can protect against eye ailments but should only be used on the lower waterline. 老闆娘給了兩隻炭眼線筆,說是可以保護眼睛,不過只能用在下眼線,因為上眼線不好畫。

A variety of hand-made soaps and natural or infused argan oils can be found in the shop. 小店裡賣有 多種類的 手工肥皂與堅果油。

A variety of hand-made soaps and natural or infused argan oils can be found in the shop. 小店裡賣有多種類的手工肥皂與堅果油。

No haggling is allowed in this shop, and the price is still much better than what you'll find in the souk. 這個標榜不二價的小店,標價還是比傳統市場便宜多了。

No haggling is allowed in this shop, and the price is still much better than what you'll find in the souk. 這個標榜不二價的小店,標價還是比傳統市場便宜多了。

Snake charmers entertain onlookers in Jemaa el Fna every evening. Watch the video below to get a feel of the amazing atmosphere in the square. 每天傍晚都有弄蛇人在 Jemaa el Fna 賣藝。不怕蛇的讀者可以看以下的視頻,感受廣場熱鬧的氣氛。

Snake charmers entertain onlookers in Jemaa el Fna every evening. Watch the video below to get a feel of the amazing atmosphere in the square. 每天傍晚都有弄蛇人在 Jemaa el Fna 賣藝。不怕蛇的讀者可以看以下的視頻,感受廣場熱鬧的氣氛。

Dozens of juice stalls compete for business in Jemaa el Fna. The stalls are numbered for easy identification. Jemaa el Fna 大廣場上有十幾家現搾新鮮果汁的攤子,每家都有號碼標示,方便顧客再次光臨。

Dozens of juice stalls compete for business in Jemaa el Fna. The stalls are numbered for easy identification. Jemaa el Fna 大廣場上有十幾家現搾新鮮果汁的攤子,每家都有號碼標示,方便顧客再次光臨。

Tagine (or tajine) is a favorite dish in Morocco. Here's a beef tagine with prunes, walnuts, pine nuts, served alongside a bowl of couscous. 摩洛哥最有名的美食 -- 塔津蓋燉肉。圖是牛肉塔津加黑棗,核桃和松子,配上一碗 古斯米 。

Tagine (or tajine) is a favorite dish in Morocco. Here's a beef tagine with prunes, walnuts, pine nuts, served alongside a bowl of couscous. 摩洛哥最有名的美食 -- 塔津蓋燉肉。圖是牛肉塔津加黑棗,核桃和松子,配上一碗古斯米

Ornate pottery is sold everywhere in Marrakech and makes a popular and affordable souvenir, starting at just 10 dirham (about 1 euro) per piece. 馬拉喀什的市場裡到處可見這些漂亮花俏的盤碗,每樣只要10DH (約ㄧ歐元)起。

Ornate pottery is sold everywhere in Marrakech and makes a popular and affordable souvenir, starting at just 10 dirham (about 1 euro) per piece. 馬拉喀什的市場裡到處可見這些漂亮花俏的盤碗,每樣只要10DH (約ㄧ歐元)起。

Lamp, lamp and more lamp! Take these home and create your very own Arabian night. 家裡放幾隻漂亮的摩洛哥仿古燈,你也可以擁有夢幻的阿拉伯之夜。

Lamp, lamp and more lamp! Take these home and create your very own Arabian night. 家裡放幾隻漂亮的摩洛哥仿古燈,你也可以擁有夢幻的阿拉伯之夜。

Traditional Moroccan leather Babouche slippers come in an array of pretty colors and designs. 五彩繽紛的傳統摩洛哥皮革手工拖鞋。

Traditional Moroccan leather Babouche slippers come in an array of pretty colors and designs. 五彩繽紛的傳統摩洛哥皮革手工拖鞋。

Boutique shops, cafes and hotels line the wide boulevard in the new part of Marrakech.  馬拉喀什新區裡寬敞的大道旁有許多精品店,咖啡廳與酒店。

Boutique shops, cafes and hotels line the wide boulevard in the new part of Marrakech. 馬拉喀什新區裡寬敞的大道旁有許多精品店,咖啡廳與酒店。

The minaret of the 12th century Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in Marrakech. 源於十二世紀的庫圖比亞清真寺與尖塔,是 馬拉喀什最大的  清真寺。

The minaret of the 12th century Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in Marrakech. 源於十二世紀的庫圖比亞清真寺與尖塔,是馬拉喀什最大的清真寺。

Men sitting outside of Ben Youssef Madrasa (also spelled Médersa Ben-Youssef), once the largest Islamic college in North Africa.  坐在 Ben Youssef Madrasa 外小歇的居民,這兒曾是北非最大的 伊斯蘭神學院。

Men sitting outside of Ben Youssef Madrasa (also spelled Médersa Ben-Youssef), once the largest Islamic college in North Africa.  坐在 Ben Youssef Madrasa 外小歇的居民,這兒曾是北非最大的伊斯蘭神學院。

Founded in the 14th century, the Ben Youssef Madrasa in Marrakech had taught Islam to countless pupils until its closure in the 1960s. 於14世紀建立的 Ben Youssef Madrasa,一直是北非數一數二的伊斯蘭神學院,直到1960年代才停止教學。

The intricate mosaic wall in one corner of Ben Youssef Madrasa. Ben Youssef 神學院阿拉伯建築設計經典,處處都是令人嘆為觀止的拼磚和雕刻。

An oasis outside of the maddening medina, Jardin Majorelle is a top tourist attraction in Marrakech. Jardin Majorelle 馬若雷爾花園是城市裡的綠洲,也是旅客的最愛。

An oasis outside of the maddening medina, Jardin Majorelle is a top tourist attraction in Marrakech. Jardin Majorelle 馬若雷爾花園是城市裡的綠洲,也是旅客的最愛。

Entrance of the fabulous Berber Museum. 值得一看的「柏柏爾人博物館」的入口。

Entrance of the fabulous Berber Museum. 值得一看的「柏柏爾人博物館」的入口。

The world-renowned fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent at Jardin Majorelle. 名服裝設計師伊夫•聖洛朗 (YSL) 在 馬若雷  爾花園 的舊宅裡。

The world-renowned fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent at Jardin Majorelle. 名服裝設計師伊夫•聖洛朗 (YSL) 在馬若雷爾花園的舊宅裡。

Tropical colors are dominant in the beautiful Jardin Majorelle. 馬若雷爾花園裡處處都有熱帶的色彩。

Tropical colors are dominant in the beautiful Jardin Majorelle. 馬若雷爾花園裡處處都有熱帶的色彩。

Legacy of a Lonely Baron: Waddesdon Manor | 寂寞男爵的黃金屋:沃德斯敦莊園

Once upon a time, a wealthy and widowed Baron built himself a fairytale castle on a bare hill in rural England.

In it, he filled with the most precious things one could find under the sun: porcelain artefacts with intricate designs, paintings by
masters of the time, exotic birds and flowers from faraway land that people had only heard about but never dreamt of seeing with their own eyes.

He led a life full of opulence and abundance like Aladdin's cave, but no matter how much treasure he acquired, the hollowness he felt inside was never to go away.

This is the story of Ferdinand de Rothschild, and this is his castle. 





Waddesdon Manor was built in the style of Loire Valley chateaus, as designed by French architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur.  © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

When was the last time you found treasure in your own backyard? 

The moment I stepped onto the grounds of Waddesdon Manor, I knew I'd struck gold. 

Standing in front of this magnificent French Renaissance chateau, one can hardly believe that we are still in England. Buckinghamshire, to be exact, just one hour of train ride from London Marylebone station




The Parterre at Waddesdon Manor has 50,000 plants, and the bedding is usually changed twice a year, in spring and summer. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Waddesdon Manor was built in the late 19th century by Ferdinand de Rothschild - a member of the prominent banking dynasty - as a country house, a weekend playground to entertain friends and family who wanted to escape London during the summer months.

A passionate collector of arts and artefacts, Waddesdon Manor also served as the perfect backdrop to display his vast collection of treasures from around the world, from old master paintings, exquisite miniatures, to furniture, porcelain and tapestries from the French Court.

Rothschild only purchased the best of the best. In 1882 he famously spent £6,300 on a Riesener writing desk made for France's Marie Antoinette, which would be worth around £530,000 today. And this was certainly not his most expensive acquisition.





The dining room, with table laid as it would've been for a house party in the 1890s. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

The china service display includes pieces originally own by the French court. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Baron Rothschild had great love for portraits of beautiful women, as well as chandeliers. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

In addition to planting a grand chateau in the English countryside, the baron was also credited for creating the lush landscape surrounding Waddesdon Manor today.

The legend might have exaggerated when it boasted that Rothschild had planted one million trees on his estate of 2,700 acres, but the result of his vision is undeniably impressive. 



Sunset at Waddesdon Estate. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Mature trees are plenty on the estate. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Wildflowers on the meadow. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Today the Waddesdon Estate has expanded to 6,000 acres and offers some of the most stunning trails in all of England.

On my 5-mile walk from the village of Stone to Waddesdon Manor, my senses are mesmerized by a wave of pleasantry... giant trees soaring into the sky, fragrant meadows carpeted with wildflowers, and farm animals on the gentle hills exercising their limbs and enjoying their lunch.


從我住的小村莊 Stone,有一條5英里的步道直通到沃德斯敦莊園的入口。路程中偶爾會看到行車和出來遛狗的居民,但大部分時間都只有大自然陪伴著我。


A view of the rose garden. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

A very English rose, in red and white. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Running a manor of such a grand scale was never to be an easy or inexpensive task, so to keep the property from the possible fate of declining, the Rothschild family bequeathed Waddesdon Manor to the National Trust in 1957, along with some 160-acre of land surrounding it, to ensure proper care of the property for all to enjoy for generations to come.

Scroll down for access information and a photo tour of this wonderful time capsule. Enjoy!

Eileen x




Eileen x

Picture Gallery

Waddesdon Manor | 沃德斯敦莊園



Free for National Trust members

House & Grounds Access - £20 Adult / £10 Child / £45 Family 

Grounds Only - £10 adult / £5 Child / £25 Family 

House visits are by timed entry, including for National Trust members. Book House Tickets Here

If you’re travelling by train, you can download a 2for1 grounds admission voucher to use on arrival: 2for1 grounds admission voucher


Regular trains run from London Marylebone to Aylesbury and Aylesbury Vale Parkway.

There's one daily free shuttle bus service between Aylesbury Vale Parkway station and Waddesdon Manor. Click here for details.



Lambeth Palace Garden: The Archbishop's Backyard | 蘭柏宮花園:大主教的後院

Visitors soaking up the sunshine in the garden of Lambeth Palace. 訪客在蘭柏宮花園漫步,享受陽光的洗禮。© Eileen Hsieh

Many of London's most iconic views can be found along the south bank of the River Thames. Sandwiched between Tower Bridge and the Palace of Westminster is a narrow strip of riverside land dotted with museums, galleries, restaurants and seasonal events -- and let's not forget the London Eye -- to keep visitors and locals entertained throughout the year. However once the obligatory pictures with Big Ben are taken, most of us don't often venture westward past the Westminster Bridge, where lies the historic Lambeth Palace.

許多倫敦最具標誌性的景點都座落於泰晤士河的南岸。從倫敦塔橋威斯敏斯特宮之間的一段路上,有赫赫有名的博物館 (如泰特現代藝術館),畫廊,餐廳和季節性活動 -- 還有別忘了倫敦眼 -- 是遊客與居民最愛的休閒娛樂天堂之一。不過,大部分人走到大笨鐘,在威斯敏斯特橋附近自拍完後,並不會繼續往西走,而錯過了一個歷史悠久的好景點:蘭柏宮

A rotunda on the Mound, surrounded by narcissus in the springtime and a black walnut tree planted by Queen Mary in the 16th century. 涼亭坐落在種滿水仙花的小丘陵上,依偎着瑪麗皇后十六世紀種植的黑核桃樹 © Eileen Hsieh

Sitting opposite the House of Parliament next to a busy round-about, this Grade I listed building has been the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury for almost 800 years, and houses one of the oldest and largest cultivated gardens in the capital. 

The garden occupies over 10 of the 13 acres of the Palace ground. It's generally not open to the public except for pre-booked tours or special events, but at the request of the current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the Lambeth Palace Garden is opening its doors for all to visit from 12-3pm on the first Wednesday of the month between March to October. 



Morton's Tower gatehouse, the main entrance of Lambeth Palace. 蘭博工的正門,莫頓塔。© Eileen Hsieh

The main palace building and courtyard. 蘭柏宮的正殿與庭園。© Eileen Hsieh

The path to the garden is a stunning prelude to the beauty in store. Entering through the red brick Morton's Tower gatehouse, we stroll to the main courtyard where a famous fig tree stands -- planted in 1556 by the last Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Pole. (Then came Henry VIII and the reformation and separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church... etc.) 

Around the corner of the main palace building is where you'll find a small gate leading to the garden. 



The rose arbor on the terrace. 露台上的玫瑰架。© Eileen Hsieh

The "Girl and Swallows" statue surrounded by roses. 玫瑰園裡的「女孩與燕子」銅像。 © Eileen Hsieh

The palace garden is loosely divided into three sections: the terrace, the main lawn, and the orchard. Benches and roses line the terrace, allowing visitors to admire the honey-color stone building it's facing. The main lawn is a parkland style space filled with mature trees and colorful plants (including a black walnut planted by Queen Mary), with a solitary rotunda sitting on a mount covered in spring bulbs of narcissus.

The orchard contains apples, plum, cobnut and quince, and behind it is the plant nursery area and a greenhouse that supplies the vegetables consumed by palace staff. 

The entire area is maintained by three full-time gardeners along with part-time volunteers, using organic principles wherever possible. 





Lambeth Palace has a special place in United Kingdom's history, as it brings to life the relationship between Church and State in Britain. Its garden holds fascinating stories of its own, waiting for us to explore. 

*For more photos of the garden, please check out my Lambeth Palace Garden Gallery.


*想看更多 Lambeth Palace Garden的照片嗎?請前往我的 Lambeth Palace Garden 相簿


Lambeth Palace Rd, London SE1 7JU map



門票:£4.00 成人 / 小孩免費入場

Garden Opening Time: 12-3pm, first Friday of the month between March and October

Cost:£4.00 adult / children free 


Escape to the Emerald Isle: A Taste of Dublin | 拜訪翡翠島:小遊都柏林

A popular legend at the Trinity College goes like this: If you walk under the bell tower and the bell tolls while you're under it, you will fail your exams. You have been warned.

A happy place where it always rains - that's my impression of Dublin.

Covering approximately 45 square miles with merely 1.3 million inhabitants, Dublin feels more like a large town than the capital city of Ireland. It possesses an attractive combination of hospitality, steep history, and comparatively low costs of living. which gives the city an aura of comfort and joy.



"They say you never cross O'Connell Bridge without seeing a white horse." - The Dead.

Irish Gaelic and English are the two official languages of Ireland and can be found on most signs. 

Dublin is also just a short flight from the UK -- perfect for a quick getaway with my winter visitors: my dearest mom and dad. 

From London, there are frequent non-stop flights to Dublin via the national carriers Aer Lingus and British Airways, or discount airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet.

From Dublin airport, the city center is just a 25-minute taxi ride costing around €20. Taxis are plenty and reasonably priced here, and it's an excellent way to get local knowledge as most drivers will be more than happy to give you their own list of Dublin's hidden gems.


都柏林~倫敦只要一個多小時的機程,愛爾蘭航空英國航空,或廉價航空公司 Ryanair 和 EasyJet,都有頻繁的航班。

自都柏林機場到市中心最輕鬆的方法就是搭跳錶計程車。25分鐘的車程約 €20,價格合理,也是個吸取當地知識的好機會,因為司機們都非常健談,也都非常樂意為旅客提供他們個人心目中最棒的景點,餐廳與經驗。

The cast iron Ha'penny Bridge stretches elegantly over the River Liffey in Dublin. Built in 1816, this bridge is nicknamed after the halfpenny toll it once extracted from anyone crossing it.

Multinational flags dominate the facade of this traditional pub in Temple Bar. 

This being my parents' first trip to Ireland, sightseeing was certainly our top agenda. Mom wanted a selfie with the Oscar Wilde sculpture, dad wanted to pull his own pint at the Guinness Storehouse, and I wanted to check out the Long Room at Trinity College's Old Library.

Must-do list settled. Now, where do we want to stay?

這是爸媽第一次來到愛爾蘭,所以有名的景點必然是我們觀光行程的亮點。媽想與王爾德的雕塑自拍,爸要在健力士啤酒中心去學拉生啤酒,我則想去看看都柏林三一學院圖書館裡的「長閱讀室」(the Long Room)。


View of the stadium and canal from the Croke Park Hotel across the street.

The Croke Park Stadium is the home of popular Gaelic sports such as Gaelic football and hurling. (Image Source: Croke Park)

Over the years many of my family vacations have been spent abroad. We would reunite somewhere in the world and explore new sights and cultures together. Therefore I have a pretty good idea about what mom and dad desire from a hotel: 

(1)  Clean, comfortable and preferably spacious room with tea-making facilities and a large bath tub;

(2)  Hot breakfast with made-to-order options, and good coffee, especially latte;

(3)  Central, pedestrian-friendly location with easy access to public transport system;

and last but not least...

(4)  Friendly, unintrusive service and attentive staff.

With that in mind, we scrolled through tons of reviews and opted for the Croke Park Hotel, right across from the most famous stadium in Ireland that bears the same name.


(1)  乾淨,舒適,寬敞,備有沏茶設施和大浴缸的客房;

(2)  可以單點的熱早餐,還有好咖啡,尤其是拿鐵;

(3)  地點中心,適合步行,而且方便搭乘公共交通系統; 


(4)  友好,低調,周全的服務。

基於以上的考慮,我們讀了許多飯店介紹與網路評論,最後選擇的在愛爾蘭最有名的球場正對面的「克羅克公園酒店」(The Croke Park Hotel)。

Ranked #5 on TripAdvisor out of a total of 171 hotels in Dublin, the Croke Park Hotel is a modern, airy establishment in the more urban part of town north of the river, and a 15-minute stroll to the city's main artery - O'Connell Street. There's also a hop-on hop-off bus stop outside the hotel entrance. 

It may not have the period charm of old town Dublin, but it does offer in abundance the most friendly service, excellent Irish breakfast and opportunities for (sports) star-gazing.

** Read more about The Croke Park Hotel **

The Croke Park Hotel 是屬於 The Doyle Collection 旗下的現代精品酒店,在 TripAdvisor 上都柏林 171 家旅館中排名第五,旅客給予很好的評價。酒店位於河道以北,約 15 分鐘腳程可抵達市中心的 O'Connell 大街,酒店門外也有 hop-on hop-off 觀光公車車站。


** 克羅克公園酒店詳細介紹 **

One of the many statues on Dublin's main boulevard - O'Connell Street. 

The Spire of Dublin, also known as the Monument of Light.

The main entrance of Trinity College Dublin.

With wide boulevards and scenic river walks, the Irish capital is pedestrian friendly and a pleasure to explore on foot. As for attractions further afield, we just relied on taxis and the hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses, both of which offer amusing commentaries along the way.

During our four-day trip we visited a lot of sights and had some lovely meals. And here are my Top 5 Dublin Destinations that no tourist should miss!



1. For the Love of Books: The Long Room, Trinity College Old Library|書蟲的天堂:三一學院的長閱讀室

If you love the oldie worldie vibe of Cambridge and Oxford Universities in England, you'll definitely enjoy a visit to Trinity College Dublin.

Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity college - also known as the University of Dublin - is the oldest university in Ireland. The school sits in the centre of old town and while relatively bijou, it does have beautiful period buildings, pretty squares as well as an imposing 30-meter granite bell tower - the Campanile.

But no visit to the college would be complete without a walk through the Long Room within its Old Library.


成立於1592年的 Trinity college Dublin -- 又稱都柏林大學 (the University of Dublin) -- 是愛爾蘭最古老的大學。這個由伊麗莎白一世創辦的學校坐落在老城的中心,小巧精緻,校園裡有許多漂亮的古典建築,綠茵的草地以及一座30米高,氣勢宏偉的花崗岩鐘樓 -  the Campanile。


A painting of the Long Room chamber before the roof was raised in 1860. (Image: Wikipedia)

At nearly 65 meters in length, the 300-year-old chamber is a modern bookworm's dream. With dark wood paneling, high arches, marble busts of famous writers and philosophers and floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with 200,000 old tomes, it is a picture straight out of Harry Potter films.

To get to the Potteresque library you'll first have to pass through the Book of Kellis exhibition, where one of the most lavishly decorated ancient manuscripts of the holy Gospels from around the 8th century is on display. Don't miss the bookbinding instructional video that'll make anyone appreciate the craftsmanship and creativity of our ancestors. 

這間長近 65 米,有三百年歷史的閱讀室是每個書呆子的夢想。室內的裝潢使用許多黑木鑲板,加上挑高的圓拱型木頂天花板,很是氣派,好像是哈利·波特學校的樣板。書架上排滿了二十萬本珍貴著作,地上則擺了兩列著名作家和哲學家的大理石半身像。

想要參觀 the Long Room,你首先必須經過「凱爾經」展覽。這本源於八世紀的聖福音是世上最古老也是最堂皇的手稿之一,做工精美,用色鮮艷,真讓人佩服前人的手藝。

2. All About "The Black Stuff": Guinness Storehouse  |為黑啤酒瘋狂:健力士啤酒中心

We all know that the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is a must-visit for beer lovers, but did you know that it is actually the most popular tourist attraction in all of Europe? 

In a worldwide public vote last year, Guinness Storehouse beat out famous landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, the Colosseum and the Eiffel Tower to clinch the top title.

Most of the 1.3 million people who go through its doors each year -- that's one in every three tourists -- will probably agree that it's a well-deserved accolade, because there really is something for everyone, even those who have no affinity for "the black stuff".

It's hard to mistake the Guinness Storehouse for anything other than the home of Guinness - it is housed in a seven-story building shaped like a pint glass! 

The self-guided tour at St. James's Gate Brewery (est. 1759) starts from the ground level, and as you climb up, you're invited to learn about the beer-making process, the company's heritage, and how to pull a pint of Guinness with perfect, thick, creamy 'head' -- that's what they call the layer of foam on top of the beer -- and you'll get a certificate to show for this newly acquired talent.


健力士啤酒中心在去年的全球公眾投票中捧得桂冠,擊敗了許多耳熟能詳的著名地標,如倫敦白金漢宮羅馬競技場和巴黎艾菲爾鐵塔等等。但是來過的人大概都會同意,這是一個當之無愧的榮譽,因為不管你喝不喝啤酒, Guinness Storehouse 都是個很有趣的地方。也難怪每年都有 130 萬人前來朝聖,這可是都柏林遊客人數的三分之一喔。

世界上大概沒有比健力士啤酒中心更有「酒味」的博物館,因為它的基地就是一棟七層樓高,形如品脫玻璃杯 (pint glass) 的建築!

參觀者自聖詹姆斯門釀酒廠的最底層開始自助導覽,一路來認識著啤酒製作過程,健力士的成長歷史,如何倒杯帶有濃稠白沫,漂亮完美的Guinness 啤酒,成功者還會得到一張證書,證明你有當健力士酒保的天賦。

Fresh-tasting Guinness is not the only thing the Gravity Bar is famous for. (Image: Conde Nast Traveler)

The end of the tour takes you to the highest part of the building - the Gravity Bar - where you can enjoy a complimentary pint of Guinness while taking in the spectacular 360° views across Dublin's skyline. 

We came by the hop-on hop-off bus but missed the return journey, as the last bus left the Storehouse at around 5.30pm. There are always taxis waiting outside so there's no risk of getting stranded, but it's something to keep in mind when planning your visit.

參觀的最後一站就是位於建築最高點的 Gravity 酒吧,360 度的落地窗把都柏林的全景呈現地一清二楚,是享受 Guinness 啤酒的最佳地點。 

參觀完畢才發現我們誤了回程的 hop-on hop-off 觀光公車,原來健力士啤酒中心的最後一班車約下午5:30就離開了。還好計程車很多,所以不怕被滯留在城市郊外。下次要記得就是了。


Guinness Storehouse

St James's Gate, Dublin 8, Ireland MAP

Admission: €20 adult  

Buy online and get 10% off 

3. Best Chicken Wings EVER: Elephant & Castle in Temple Bar |世上無敵的炸雞翅:大象城堡餐廳(坦普爾酒吧區)

Don't go home without trying Elephant & Castle's spicy chicken wings. They are famous the world over.

What kind of person would come to Dublin for American-style chicken wings? The answer: anyone who's ever had chicken wings at the Elephant & Castle in Temple Bar.

We learned about this gem of a restaurant from a tourist office employee. Having moved from Argentina not long ago herself, she was eager to share her knowledge of the local food scenes. and this place was her number one recommendation for comfort food.

Stretched along the south bank of the Liffey, Temple Bar is a short stroll from Trinity College and has been Dublin's cultural hub for centuries. and home to artists and musicians for centuries. Today, with its cobblestone streets, beautiful baroque-fronted houses and a cute weekend farmers' market, the area still retains a relaxed, bohemian aura. 

The nightlife, however, is what makes Temple Bar famous the world over. Pub crawl tours are popular all year round, but the ultimate event is definitely in March when tens of thousands of revellers kitted out in green take over the streets of Dublin to celebrate St Patrick's Day, with seemingly endless music, booze and laughters. 


這家餐廳其實是一位旅遊局小姐介紹的,我們想吃正統的愛爾蘭餐,來自阿根廷的她便很熱心的分享了一堆當地美食知識。Temple Bar 區裡的 Elephant & Castle 就是她的頭號建議。


但是 Temple Bar 名揚海外的主要原因是它精采的夜生活。無數酒吧林立於大街小巷,很多還有自家私釀的啤酒,加上每晚四處都有音樂表演,難怪慕名前來 pub crawl 的人潮不斷。每年三月的聖帕特里克節(St Patrick's Day)則是大肆慶祝的正當理由,處處可見穿綠衣,喝得醉醺醺的狂歡者,隨著音樂在路上翩翩起舞。

If you only take one photo of Temple Bar, The Temple Bar is the shot you need.

Beautiful artisan cheeses and local produce are sold every Saturday at the Temple Bar Food Market.

There's plenty of booze and laughters at Elephant & Castle too, but only for those with patience or the mind to plan ahead. It's normal to wait for over an hour for a table any time of the day, so walk-in is not recommended if you're tight on time. But the wait is certainly worthwhile.

When we finally got our table after a 90-minute wait, we were starving and ready to eat anything on the simple menu. However a scan around the restaurant revealed that every table had a basket of chicken wings, and it wasn't even complimentary. Our waiter explained that spicy chicken wings were the restaurant's most popular dish, so we ordered it just to experience the hype. 

We were amused by the nutritionally imbalanced meal (chicken & fries) that all the college students next to us ordered. But after just one bite of these crunchy, perfectly fried, tender wings, we also wished we had ordered more of them and less of everything else -- these were seriously the best chicken wings outside of the U.S.A.! 

In fact, they also have a sister restaurant in New York City at 68 Greenwich Avenue. One for the list!

位於坦普爾酒吧區中心,大象城堡餐廳提供多樣美酒,美食,難怪每位顧客都眉開眼笑。 也可能是因為這家餐廳成天座無虛席,他們很開心辛苦等待一兩個鐘頭後終於等到位子了。


隔壁的八個大學生,每人都只點一籃雞翅加一份薯條,我們剛開始還笑他們吃的營養不均衡。萬萬沒想到自己嘗了一口炸得恰到好處,香酥不油膩的雞翅後,我們也後悔沒有多叫一籃。說實話其他菜也都很美味,而且份量挺大的,只不過這裡的 spicy chicken wings 可是我在美國境外所吃過最棒的雞翅!

其實,他們在紐約市也開了家姐妹店(68 Greenwich Avenue),住在紐約的朋友們真的是太幸福了!

Elephant & Castle

18-19 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland MAP

4. The Fight for Independence: Kilmainham Gaol|為獨立而戰:凱勒梅堡監獄

Ireland is such a prominent name in the European history and popular culture that sometimes it's easy to forget that the Irish Republic had only gained independence less than 100 years ago after centuries of English occupation. 

As Ireland prepares to commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising - one of the most significant uprisings to end British rule ever to take place - we were briefed by our taxi driver on the significance of this event on our way to the hotel. To better understand the political struggles of the Irish people, he told us, we must pay a visit to a prison called Kilmainham Gaol on the outskirts of Dublin.

Kilmainham Gaol is one of the largest unoccupied jails in Europe. Between 1796 and 1924 when it was in operation, it gain fame as the place that held some of the most famous political and military leaders in Ireland including the leaders of the the 1916 Rising.


1916 年的復活節起義是愛爾蘭抵抗英國統治最重要起義之一,現在全國上下都在準備慶祝 Easter Rising 一百週年,計程車司機也建議我們保握機會好好了解愛爾蘭人為獨立所做的奮鬥。



Now a government-run museum, no punitive activities take place behind the gaol's thick stone walls, and the only reminders of the bygone prison life come via a 60-minute guided tour that takes visitors through the prison cells, execution field and an on-site chapel. There's also an exhibition that tracks the history of the gaol and serves as a memorial for those who fought for Ireland's independence.

You won't leave this place feeling happy or relaxed, but you will take home a slightly deeper understanding and appreciation for Ireland, its people and the Irish mentality.

If you're planning a visit to Kilmaninham Gaol, to be sure to visit it early in the day as the hourly tours are small and fill up very quickly. Both red and green hop-on hop-off buses have a stop outside the prison.




Kilmainham Gaol

Inchicore Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, Ireland MAP

Admission €4 adult / Buy Tickets on location

5. Dublin's Favorite Son: Oscar Wilde | 都柏林最愛的文豪:王爾德

No Irish celebrity, past or present, deserves a playful memorial more than the 19th century writer Oscar Wilde. Born in 1854, the author, playwright and poet was most famous for his satirical comedies with a dark undertone, as well as his infamous imprisonment for homosexuality.

The statue Dublin has erected for this colorful character indeed reflects the man's flamboyant personality. Lounging leisurely atop a rock in Merrion Square overlooking the house he was born in, the stone sculpture of a 40-year-old Oscar Wilde appears surprisingly realistic.

Far from being handsome, Oscar Wilde was considered a dandy by his contemporaries. His formfitting outfit - a jacket in polished color stones with long, skinny trousers - exudes sartorial elegance. The leather-like loafers on his feet are adorned with intricate shoelaces. And that two-sided expression on his face, which may appear as a cynical smirk at the first glance, is actually meant to depict both joy and sadness.



石雕的王爾德一身帥氣打扮 -- 彩色的夾克,窄管西裝褲,腳底則是帶鞋帶的皮鞋 -- 散發著優雅的氣質。他悠然的躺在大岩石上,俯瞰他的老家,臉上掛著看似玩世不恭的微笑,其實是有雙面的表情,代表著喜悅和悲傷。

Across from Wilde is a small sculpture of a naked pregnant woman with misery in her eyes - this is his English wife Constance, and the mother of his two children.

Not long after the birth of their second child, Wilde was tried and convicted of "gross indecency" for his relationship with a young lord. He died in 1900, impoverished and in exile, at the age of 46.

Exquisite, mesmerising and memorable - Oscar Wilde's sculpture reflects the charisma of this beloved literary giant and captures the romantic legacy of his work. It is truly a piece of art and well worth a visit. 


王爾德的彩色石雕是一份精緻,迷人,令人難忘的藝術品, 貼切地形容王爾德的浪漫,與他作品的魅力。值得一遊。

Oscar Wilde Memorial Sculpture

Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland MAP

Admission: Free

Adopting Britain: 70 Years of Migration | 接受不列顛:移民記事七十年

Tell Us Your Story -- A wall covered with tales of migration at the Adopting Britain exhibition. 「接受不列顛」展覽的牆上掛滿了參觀者留下的移民故事。© Eileen Hsieh 2015

It’s hard to imagine London as a place without diversity. The rainbow shades of skin color, the melodic sounds of foreign languages, the abundance of cuisines and cultures from all corners of the world,... these are all components that make up this city’s DNA and help establish it as -- on the surface at least -- one of the most tolerant and vibrant metropolises we know today. 

However, diversity in Britain is a relatively modern concept which did not take root until after the Second World War. Those born and raised in London before the 80s will paint a very different picture of the capital from their childhood and share stories about their first encounters with a non-English person or culture. 

Thanks to immigration, the fabric of Britain has undergone a drastic transformation over the last 70 years. Now, an exhibition at the Southbank Centre is laying out the stories of those who migrated to this country and their roles in making Britain "great". 

很難想像倫敦若沒有多元文化,會是個怎樣的城市?許多我們所認知的倫敦素質: 由深到淺的膚色,悅耳的各國語言,與來自世界各個角落的美食和文化, 都是這個城市基因的一部分,也是促使它成為世界上最寬容和充滿活力的大都市之一的原動力。



Tell Us Your Story -- Where do you come from? 與我們分享你的故事 -- 你從哪裡來?© Eileen Hsieh 2015

Adopting Britain: 70 Years of Migration is an interactive exhibition about immigration that interrogates seven decades of British history, focusing on society, culture and politics.  To better grasp the changing landscape of Britain and how it became the nation it is today, we first need to understand the timing and motivations behind each stage of migration. 


The many faces of modern Britain. 現代英國人多元化的面孔。© Eileen Hsieh 2015

1946 - 1948

At the end of WWII there were labour shortages across Britain and work shortages in Europe, so the British government started to look for immigrants to fill the void.

The first groups to be allowed to settle in the UK were the Europeans, mainly from Poland, Ukraine and Italy. A large number of Indians also came to the UK after India gained independence in 1947, but there were still not enough labourers to meet the need. So the government turned to the residents of the West Indies partly due to their colonial links and contribution to the the British Empire during the war years.

In the summer of 1948, when a ship full of Caribbean men docked in London, Britain officially entered a new era of mass immigration and started venturing on the path towards multiculturalism. 

1946 - 1948年




Some words favored by the British media when discussing the issues of migration and immigration. 英國媒體探討移民問題時最喜愛的用詞常常與「水」有關(如洪水,潮流,波浪等)。 © Eileen Hsieh 2015

In 1945, Britain’s non-white residents numbered in the low thousands. By 1970 they numbered approximately 1.4 million - a third of these children born in the United Kingdom.
— 英國廣播公司

<<  Some words favored by the British media when discussing the issues of migration and immigration. 

<<  英國媒體探討移民問題時最喜愛的用詞常常與「水」有關(如洪水,潮流,波浪等)。

When moving to a different country, what would you take, or what did you bring? © Eileen Hsieh 2015

Which five items do you need to live in Britain? © Eileen Hsieh 2015


In the days of the British Empire, people from the Indian subcontinent were encouraged to settle in the then-colonized Uganda and work for the Imperial service or in the financial or sartorial sector. Many became high earners in the country and called it home even after Uganda gained independence from Britain in 1962.

However, the prosperity of the Indians became a source of resentment in Uganda, and in 1972 dictator Idi Amin expelled 80,000 African Asians from the country, giving them just 90 days to make the move.

As many Ugandan Indians were British passport holders, thousands fled to Britain for a fresh start, making it the most significant immigration event of the decade.





Indian migrants working in a factory in Britain. 在英國工廠工作的印度移民。© Eileen Hsieh 2015

Things that migrants brought to Britain to remind them of home. 移民從家鄉帶來英國的文化藝品。 © Eileen Hsieh 2015

Wedding pictures of immigrants in Britain. 英國移民多彩多姿的結婚照。© Eileen Hsieh 2015


After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the eventual demise of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, a new wave of migration began. Originating from Europe, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Africa, seekers of political asylum as well as a better life started to arrive in western Europe, many of whom landed in Britain. 



Loneliness is a sentiment shared by many new migrants. 「孤單」許多移民的必經之路。© Eileen Hsieh 2015

2004 - NOW

The most recent mass migration into the UK kicked off when the European Union expanded in 2004, and Britain opened its border and began to accept immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe. 

The census chart below highlights the consistent increase in the number of foreign-born residents in England and Wales since 1951, reflecting the continuous growth of immigrant population in the UK.

2004年 - 現在



                                             Non-UK Born Census Populations 1951-2011. (Source: Office for National Statistics)

"So my mind can go away from a dream, I just think of a black board with nothing on it." © Eileen Hsieh 2015

While most of us appreciate Britain's diversity, a multicultural society is not without its problems. However subtle, many immigrants still face everyday racism and employment discrimination.

During the eurozone financial crisis, migrants from new European Union member nations became the scapegoat for unemployment among Britons. Now with crises unfolding in the Middle East and Islamophobia on the rise in the West, even the second or third generation immigrants can still fall prey to such prejudice. 

Such is the premise Adopting Britain:70 Years of Migration is trying to explore: the ways in which people of all ethnicities and backgrounds are stitched into the fabric of Britain, as seen through the eyes of migrants who've made this country home.




A Grand Stay: Al Palazzo del Marchese di Camugliano in Florence|短暫沈醉在佛羅倫斯的貴族歷史裡

Al Palazzo del Marchese di Camugliano is not a typical hotel or bed and breakfast. It is a historic, magnificent and comfortable "palace", literally, in the center of Florence, capital of Tuscany.

This town mansion house is owned by Italy's Marquis Lorenzo Niccolini di Camugliano of the prominent Niccolini family, who has numerous properties in the region including villas in the lush Tuscan countryside as well as another Florence residence with direct view of Italy's "birthplace of the Renaissance" - the Duomo.

位於托斯卡納首都佛羅倫斯的市中心,Al Palazzo del Marchese di Camugliano 不是典型的旅館,也不算是民宿,是個有著長久歷史,低調舒適的貴族居所。

這棟透天豪宅的主人是來自義大利著名 尼可里尼家庭 的 Lorenzo Niccolini di Camugliano 侯爵,富裕的他在佛羅倫薩大教堂對面還有一棟房子,現在也改為了五星級精品酒店,讓來自世界各地的旅客能有機會回到過去,體驗貴族般的精緻生活。

Set in a 16th-century building just minutes from the Arno river, the Palazzo has 10 rooms and suites, all sympathetically furnished in Italian Renaissance style. Every room is spacious and unique, with original frescoes, four-poster bed and large marble bathroom. The guests also have access to complimentary wireless internet and a minibar stocked with water, soft drinks and a few bottles of local beer.

In the morning a freshly prepared breakfast is served either in the beautiful inner courtyard, where guests can enjoy tea in the afternoon as well as apertif in the evening. 

Al Palazzo 是座16世紀獨立門戶的建築,離阿諾河只有幾分鐘的路程。別墅裡有10間寬敞的客房,每間都有四柱床,大理石浴室,而牆上的裝飾是源於文藝復興時期的精美壁畫,翻修後以原貌重現。



The Palazzo is conveniently located near many touristy destinations, including the Duomo, the medieval bridge Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery, and the Accademia Gallery where you'll find the original David by Michelangelo.

It's also a short walk from countless restaurants and gelaterie. For delicious Florentine steaks and Tuscan cuisine, L'Osteria di Giovanni down the road is sure to please.

After extensive experiments we can also recommend the following places for heavenly gelato: the trendy Amalo and the beloved, family-run Vestri Cioccolateria (both on the same square near the Basilica di Santa Croce), and the friendly Eataly gourmet market just a 2-minute walk from the Duomo (their latte flavor is out of this world!) 

許多旅遊觀光景點,包括聖母百花大教堂,中世紀老橋烏菲茲美術館,和Accademia 美術館 (米開朗基羅的大衛像所在地)等等,離酒店都只有10-20分鐘的腳程而已。

來到佛羅倫斯勢必要品嚐托斯卡尼赫赫有名的碳烤丁骨牛排 (Florentine steak)。Al Palazzo 大門兩百公尺外,便是深受當地居民喜愛的 L'Osteria di Giovann 傳統托斯卡尼餐廳,夜夜滿座,所以建議先請酒店幫忙訂位,以免失望。

當然也不可錯過口味眾多,口感細膩的義式冰淇淋 gelato. 我們嘗試了很多家,覺得最值得推薦的就是位於聖十字聖殿附近同ㄧ個廣場上的 Amalo 與 Vestri Cioccolateria,前者摩登,後者則是常登上旅遊雜誌的老店,各有特色。另外大教堂旁的 Eataly 意大利美食超市內設的冰淇淋專櫃也很棒,尤其是它的鮮奶霜淇淋,好香好濃,回味無窮。

For one of the most spectacular views of Florence, make your way south of the river to the hilltop Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte, one of the finest Romanesque structures and the most beautiful churches in all of Italy.

After feasting your eyes and tiring your legs, you can retire to the Palazzo and learn more about this great city, as the house has its very own historical archive covering the history of Florence and Granducato through the origin of the Niccolini family and their estate in Camugliano.


Al Palazzo 其實也是個值得歷史迷參觀的小景點,居所內展出許多尼可里尼家庭的歷史檔案,有興趣的人可以經由這個貴族家庭一代代的成就來研究,來了解佛羅倫斯百年來轉變的過程。


Al Palazzo del Marchese di Camugliano

Hotel | B&B | Residence

Via del Moro, 15, 50123 Firenze, Italy

探訪比利時 (三) : 布魯日 Bruges

A romantic view of Bruges from the riverbank. © Eileen Hsieh

文:筱晴 | 圖:Eileen Hsieh



大約西元九世紀時,法蘭德斯遭受維京人的襲擊,統治者法蘭德斯伯爵加強布魯日要塞的建設,布魯日才又恢復與英國及斯堪地納維亞的貿易。 首次刻有布魯日 (Bryggia) 之名的貨幣在此時出現,這名稱可能源自於挪威的城市布呂根 (Bryggen)。

One of Bruges serene backstreets. © Eileen Hsieh


布魯日在1128年得到設立城市的許可狀,也建了新的城牆和運河。 12世紀,在法蘭德斯伯爵們的保護下,羊毛紡織業和布料貿易在此快速安全的為布魯日累積財富。 13世紀初,布魯日已成為法蘭德斯布料市場的重要城市之一。 城裡的企業家們甚至向外經濟殖民了英格蘭和蘇格蘭的羊毛生產區域。

1277年,從熱納亞來的第一艘商船駛進布魯日,自此布魯日成為連接地中海與北海貿易的第一個商業殖民地。 這個發展不單引進東方的香料貿易,也促進商務和財政技術的發展,並快速地為布魯日銀行業帶來大量資本。 1309年證券交易所開張,在十四世紀時成為低地國家最先進的金融市場。

Bruges' famous lace adorns this canal-side building. © Eileen Hsieh

沒落時代 (16-19世紀)

1384年,來自勃艮第菲利普二世成為法蘭德斯伯爵,他在布魯塞爾。 里耳以及布魯日設立了宮殿,引進全歐洲的藝術家及銀行家。 布魯日的布料貿易的重要性逐漸喪失,轉變為銀行業,奢侈品交易,以及文化中心。

大約在1500年開始,那條曾為布魯日帶來繁榮的Zwin海道淤積了,低地經濟龍頭的地位就被安特衛普 (Antwerp) 取代。 布魯日漸漸貧困,並從歐洲舞台上淡出。


浴火重生的火鳥 (19世紀後)

沈寂了三四百年的布魯日,在19世紀下半葉,富有的英法觀光客,被布魯日豐富的文化藝術所吸引,紛紛來此旅遊,成為世界的觀光勝地。 兩次世界大戰的戰火並未波及布魯日,它仍保有完整的中古世紀建築。

在政府及居民的努力下,布魯日古城於2000年被聯合國教科文組織登錄為世界遺產,從此觀光事業蓬勃發展,每年吸引數百萬人到此一遊,布魯日古城終於恢復昔日的榮光。 2002年還曾膺選為歐洲文化之都的頭銜。

The Belfry overlooking Bruges' main square. © Eileen Hsieh

A water fountain for the horses. © Eileen Hsieh

A typical brick house in Bruges. © Eileen Hsieh

沈寂的布魯日 (Bruges-la-Morte) : 睡美人古城

從首都布魯塞爾搭乘火車到布魯日約一個鐘頭。走進布魯日古城,石板鋪成的道路,馬車達達,不停穿梭在大街小巷; 運河縱橫交錯,貫穿全鎮,形成一道彎曲美麗的風景線; 原汁原味的古建築就呈現在眼前,古意盎然,幽雅寧靜,仿佛身在中古世紀。

布魯日位於沿海造地與內陸沙地的交界處,海拔很低,只高出海平面7.5公尺,運河發達,因此有北方威尼斯之稱。 雖然它與威尼斯條件相似,但給人的感覺卻是截然不同。 前者寧靜安詳,後者則熱情奔放,可說是各有風情,不能相提並論。

A beautiful cobblestone street traces along the canal in Bruges. © Eileen Hsieh



Bruges' Town Hall on The Burg. © Eileen Hsieh

ㄧ. 城堡廣場 (The Burg)

Town Hall in 1837位於古城中心,建於西元889-965年,是布魯日最古老的核心之一。 千年以來,城堡廣場一直被視為宗教與市政當局聯合的象徵。 周圍都是一些歷史建築,包括市政廳,聖血聖殿等。

市政廳 (Stadhuis van Brugge),始建於1376年,完成於1421年,是低地國家最古老的市政廳之一。 晚期哥德式風格,雕刻精美,尖塔纖細,反映出十四世紀布魯日經濟繁榮的黃金時代。

聖血聖殿 (Basilica of the Holy Blood),是羅馬天主教的宗座聖殿,建於12世紀,由上下兩座小堂組成,因收藏有基督聖血遺物而名之。


Colorful buildings on Bruges' main square. © Eileen Hsieh

二. 市集廣場 (The Market)

以大會堂,鐘樓居多,象徵城市自治。 周圍聚集着一家家的餐廳都是十三世紀的歷史建築,荷蘭風格的山形牆面,屋頂,用紅磚一階階的往上砌,構成一幅美麗的圖案。 據說以前市中心大多為富貴人家居住,勞動者則聚集在外圍。

鐘樓 (Belfry) 是一座高達83公尺的中世紀高塔,1240年出現在市集廣場,見證當時紡織業的重要地位。 後來毀於火災,重建之後又遭雷擊,三次耗損,三次重建,它仍屹立于原址,觀看古城的興衰起伏。


The Church of Our Lady and its spiral. © Eileen Hsieh

三. 聖母大教堂 (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk)

尖塔高122公尺,是全歐最高的鐘樓。 它最負盛名的珍藏品是保存著金羊毛騎士團1468年的完整徽章系列,以及米開朗基羅創作的「聖母瑪麗亞與聖嬰」的雕像。


四. 葡萄園皇家貝居安會院 (Beguinage Ten Wijngaerde)

這座修道院建於13世紀,中庭環繞著茂密樹林,四周用高牆與運河與外界隔絕。 中古世紀因戰爭奪走許多男人的生命,許多寡婦及老處女不想孤獨生活,就聚集在一起,組成貝居安會院,尋求侍奉上帝,又不離群索居的團體生活,互相幫助,自給自足。 自1927年起由本篤會使用,目前已失去當初的功能。

1998年這座修道院與其他12個的Flemish beguinages同時被列入UNESCO世界文化遺產,這也是布魯日唯一一座現存的貝居安會院。

寫一段插曲,我們在傍晚時分進入修道院,被寧靜安詳的環境所吸引,秋日柔軟的陽光與庭院林木的光影,令人流連駐足。 整個修道院沒有一絲人為聲響,連走步都輕悄悄的,我們拍下一張又一張的照片,不知不覺夜幕低垂,想出去時,卻發現大門鎖了,敲鐘按鈴沒人應答。 我們等了又等,看看是否有修女出來巡視,結果枯等半個鐘頭,杳無聲息,只有風吹樹林的颯颯聲。 這時可是心急如焚,怕要在此露宿。 再次跑到前門按鈴,終於有人開門,總算逃出了世外桃源,由此也可見貝居安會院猶如銅牆鐵壁般的堅固與安全。 

Tranquility outside the Beguinage Ten Wijngaerde. © Eileen Hsieh

The Beguinage Ten Wijngaerde is quite a world of its own. © Eileen Hsieh

Minnewater is the perfect backdrop for a romantic stroll. © Eileen Hsieh

五. 愛之湖 (Minnewater)

愛之湖不是個天然湖泊,位於布魯日中心南部, 可能是13世紀築堰形成的湖泊。

愛之湖流傳著一個浪漫傳說,在羅馬人開始征服高盧人的時期,有位老水手和女兒明娜相依為命,住在這被森林和沼澤包圍的村落。 父親知道自己的壽命不長,想替女兒物色合適的夫婿,但明娜隱瞞父親,與鄰近部落的戰士司特隆伯格相愛。

當羅馬人入侵時,司特隆伯格在取得明娜愛的承諾後加入戰爭。 父親逼她嫁給他人,明娜被迫逃進森林,再也沒有回來。 戰爭結束後司特隆伯格安全歸來,得知愛人失蹤,便開始艱難地搜尋,最後找到藏在河岸的她。 精力耗盡的明娜,就死在愛人懷裡。

司特隆伯格傷心欲絕,就築起水壩,在乾涸的河床中間挖開墓穴,埋葬明娜,然後放水淹沒。 他在河岸放了一塊大石頭紀念明娜,後來此處建起了一座塔。


A restaurant-gallery that sells © Eileen Hsieh

水的故鄉 - 運河風情無限

布魯日的美,除了歷史文化,建築藝術外,運河的似水柔情不可或缺。 橄欖綠的河流,靜靜的穿過中古世紀的建築,靜謐安詳,如夢似幻。 我只有一個想法,能否讓時光停格在千百年前,讓我體驗中古世紀的風情。

運河流經的地方無一處不美,不管是鬧區或窄巷,轉個彎又是一道風景。 也不管是晴雨或冬夏,各有其不可言喻的風姿。 難怪朋友中有人邂逅於此,愛情萌芽,終至結為連理,度蜜月在布魯日,結婚紀念日也在此慶祝,來了無數次仍不厭倦。 可想而知,布魯日是一生必訪的勝地之一,不來很可能會遺憾終身呢!

A delightful candy store overlooking the canal. © Eileen Hsieh

Some of the best views of Bruges is from the river. © Eileen Hsieh

This is arguably the cutest chocolate shop in town. © Eileen Hsieh


探訪比利時 (二) : 安特衛普 Antwerp

Antwerp Central Station is considered one of the most beautiful train stations in the world. © Eileen Hsieh

文:筱晴 | 圖:Eileen Hsieh


安特衛普是比利時的第二大城, 也是最重要的商業中心, 港口城市, 和法蘭德斯地區的首府, 離布魯塞爾只有半小時車程. 它同時是世界鑽石工業的重鎮, 歐洲的第三大港.

看到上面洋洋灑灑的資料介紹, 以為它是個現代摩登城市. 沒想到一進火車站, 就帶來陣陣驚艷, 哇!這哪像火車站, 建築比皇宮還氣派還美麗. 

Sumptuous decor inside Antwerp Central Station. © Eileen Hsieh

中央車站 Central Station

安特衛普的中央車站有「鐵路大教堂」之美名. 曾被美國周刊評定為世界上第四漂亮的車站. 四層開放式月台屋頂, 拱頂長185公尺, 高44公尺, 用鋼鐵及玻璃高高架起, 讓車站空間開闊明亮.

這座華麗的新古典式風格的車站, 是布魯日名建築師路易斯 (Louis Delacenserie) 的傑作, 花了七年時間 (1898-1905) 完成, 大廳的穹頂高聳, 仰之彌高. 用不同顏色的大理石建造樓梯, 石柱, 牆壁塗以金箔, 精緻的雕刻, 富麗的裝飾, 彷彿帶人回到昔日的美好時代. 中央車站成為當地人的驕傲, 也是鐵道迷朝聖的殿堂. 

魯本斯之家 Rubens House. © Eileen Hsieh

魯本斯之家 Rubens House

魯本斯 (Peter Paul Rubens) 生於德國錫根, 父親原是安特衛普的新教律師, 為了逃避宗教迫害而逃到德國. 父親去世後, 他跟隨母親回到故鄉安特衛普居住. 少年時期他曾在伯爵夫人家做伺童, 有機會接受正統貴族教育, 精通多種語言. 後經母親安排從師幾位畫家, 又前往意大利繼續學畫, 畫風受到米開朗基羅, 提香, 卡拉瓦喬的影響.

他從意大利回到家鄉安特衛普已頗有名氣, 被布魯塞爾聘為宮廷畫家. 他為安特衛普主教座堂所畫的祭壇畫作 “ 上十字架 ” 與 “ 下十字架 ”, 確立他成為比利時最傑出宗教畫家的地位.

由於他的作品氣勢磅礡, 色彩豐富且充滿動感, 歐洲許多皇室貴族慕名求畫, 訂單應接不暇, 就創建一間私人畫室, 請了許多頗有才能的畫家當助手, 他的作品極多, 散佈在歐美大小博物館內. 他的助手如安東尼. 范. 戴克 (Anthony van Dyck), 雅各. 約爾丹斯 (Jaob Jordaens) 等, 日後也成為著名的畫家.

魯本斯不單是個畫家, 還是個外交家, 曾受西班牙王室的委託, 出訪歐洲各國進行外交工作, 其中最著名的成就是, 為西班牙和英國締結友好關係. 被英王查理一世封爵, 並替倫敦白廳繪製ㄧ幅 「祝福和平」的天頂畫. 顯然他本人也很喜歡外交工作, 他說, 「繪畫是我的職業, 當大使則是我的愛好」.

魯本斯之家位於巷弄之間, 是幢文藝復興及巴洛克混合風格的豪宅 . 這是他的住家也是畫室, 他和家人在此度過 25年的歲月. 大宅經後代子孫變賣, 輾轉換了無數主人, 最後幾成廢墟, 直到市政府買下, 根據17 世紀留下的版畫重建, 才又恢復昔日氣派.

我們尋去時已打烊, 只好在門口瞻仰徘徊, 拍幾張照片, 以示到此一遊.  

The grandeur of the restored Stadfeestzaal is a reminder of Antwerp's past glory and wealth. © Eileen Hsieh


安特衛普是比利時最重要的經濟文化中心, 它是世界鑽石工業的三大中心之一, 從1990年代起, 比利時皇家藝術學院的學生六君子 (The Antwerp Six) 的時尚設計, 逐漸在服裝界展露頭角, 所以安特衛普如今也成了世界公認的流行設計重鎮.

吃過午飯, 我們慢慢往市區走去, 街道兩旁的建築很美, 櫥窗佈置也很吸引人, 有一棟 Stadfeestzaal Shopping Mall 極盡華麗之能事, 赭紅的大理石樓梯, 扶手是純白大理石, 豪氣逼人. 圓形天頂金漆圖案, 有皇宮輝煌的氣勢, 較之巴黎老佛爺, 倫敦哈洛德百貨的氣派毫不遜色. 

我們就這樣迷失在一家又一家的精品店裡, 等大包小包出來時, 天色已黑, 安特衛普其他的歷史古蹟博物館都關門了, 錯失知性之旅, 我直呼可惜. 琳說沒關係, 比利時那麼近, 下回再專程來, 把安特衛普的大小景點看透透.  

聖母大教堂 (Cathedral of Our Lady), 建於14 世紀, 1518年才完成, 有許多魯本斯著名的宗教畫. 童書「龍龍與忠狗」的故事背景就發生在此, 龍龍盼能看一眼大師魯本斯的 「聖母升天」圖, 最後雖然得償宿願, 卻與忠狗永遠安息在廣場.  

市政廳也是一個大景點, 1564年啓用,  這座文藝復興時期興建的哥德式建築, 雕樓畫棟, 美侖美奐,可以看出當時政府的富裕. 

還有一個世上最古老之一的動物園, 就在中央車站附近, 建於1843年, 是六千隻動物的家. 

Grote Markt (market square) in Antwerp. (Photo: Maros M r a z / Wikipedia) 

探訪比利時 (ㄧ) : 布魯塞爾 Brussels

Splendid architecture in Brussels Upper Town. © Eileen Hsieh

Botanical Garden of Brussels. © Eileen Hsieh

文:筱晴 / 圖:Eileen Hsieh


曾經聽人說去比利時很無聊,沒啥看頭。也曾看過有人寫著, 「去布魯塞爾一天就夠了」, 因此對這次四天三夜的比利時之行,不敢抱太大的期望。


它雖是撮爾小國,但工商業極為發達,是個富裕的國家,許多國際組織的總部 (如歐盟, 北約組織等) 就設在首都布魯塞爾

我們搭乘歐洲之星,從倫敦的St. Pancras 國際車站到布魯塞爾,只需兩個鐘頭,沿途風光無限好,英國境內丘陵起伏,牛羊悠閒的在蒼翠草原上吃草。過了二十幾分鐘的海底隧道,就到達法國境內的鄉村。



The Grand Place - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. © Eileen Hsieh

首都的心臟 -- 大廣場 (Grand Place)

放下行李,開始我們的尋寶之旅,走五分鐘路程就到了布魯塞爾素負盛名的UNESCO世界遺產 - 大廣場。這是老城的中心廣場,面積不大,建於十二世紀,四周被中世紀的華麗建築所包圍。1695年,法王路易十四派兵炮轟布魯塞爾,隨之而來的火災,讓著名的大廣場夷為平地。現在所見的建築都是在十八世紀初所重建的,每幢房子都有其獨一無二的特色,精美雕刻,鍍金門面,在在顯示出它的富麗堂皇。其中的市政廳塔樓,高約96公尺,是首都的地標,走到哪兒都看得到它的尖塔。


Overlooking Brussels' Lower Town. © Eileen Hsieh

Tintin - the most famous comic character in town. © Eileen Hsieh






對比利時的手工蕾絲,我一直很有興趣,想買一些回去裝飾。花樣越細膩繁複的價錢越貴,我看到有標價四千歐元的桌巾,貴得令人咋舌,不過終究受不了誘惑,還是帶回一條花樣平實的小桌巾。鑽石也是這裡的名產,品質高鑲工好,純粹 window shopping 就好。

Mouthwatering toppings on Belgium's national treasure - waffles. © Eileen Hsieh



Brussels' most famous little man. © Eileen Hsieh






The Royal Palace of Brussels. © Eileen Hsieh

布魯塞爾皇宮 (Palais Royal de Bruxelles) 與歐洲聯盟總部 (European Union)


皇宮位於上城 (Upper Town),要爬一小段坡路,沿途可以看到充滿荷蘭式的建築,古老教堂,以及幾何排列的花園。走到頂上,視野遼闊,可以俯瞰下城 (Lower Town) 全景。



Cinquantenaire Arch. © Eileen Hsieh