My Time Capsule: January 2017


Poland: Malbork Castle The Biggest Castle In The World

Malbork, October 2016

what's behind the bush?

Once upon a time, in a far far land...
There was a princess who's adventurous and loved exploring new places. One fine afternoon, after days spent on the back of her beautiful white horse named Luna; they were lost in the midst of the dense forest. Suddenly she heard the sound of flowing water so she  hop off Luna's back and walked gently through the woods. She parted some branches to find out what behind the bush. Her eyes then widened in awe when she saw a humongous red brick castle standing tall and proud across the river.

"Excuse me, miss!" She heard a baritone voice echoed in her ears.

She turned around in slow motion. Her long wavy red hair swaying gracefully in the air. A smile lit up her face. She was so sure that she was about to meet her prince charming. There was a tall guy with dark brown hair standing only a few steps away. She fixed her gaze on his piercing blue eyes then move down to a badge on his clothes.

SECURITY GUARD. It's written on it.

"Miss, the entrance gate is on that side." He looked at her suspiciously. As if she was going to jump into the river or something.

Poof! and so there gone my fairy tale love story I created in my wild imagination. What's left only an awkward situation between me and the security guard. I muffled "Kbye" and walked away from my prince charming the security guard. Luna disappeared, replaced by my chauffeur and a white Mercedes Sprinter mini coach in the parking lot. My heart sank that I was brought back into reality abruptly. But I was comforted by the thought of I was about to explore the largest castle in the world...

crossing the bridge to Malbork Castle

Malbork Castle

Malbork Castle is one of many castles built in northern Poland by the Teutonic Knights, a German Roman Catholics religious order of crusaders, in a form of an Ordensburg fortress. It was built from red bricks on the southeastern bank of river Nogat and was named as Marienburg (Mary's Castle) after the Virgin Mary who was the patron saint of the Order. The castle was expanded several time to house the growing number of Knights, around 3000 of them. It was then declared as the largest fortified Gothic building in Europe on a 21 hectare site also the largest castle in the world, measured by land area.

Gothic details on the castle exterior

8 meters tall figure of Malbork Madonna

the main gate

the Middle Castle

Malbork was constructed in phases from the beginning of the 70s of the 13th century, thus throughout centuries this castle has been a witness to many events. From the residence of Polish Kings, a barrack for the Prussian army to a pilgrimage for the Hitler Youth and  League of German girls. Subjected to intensive development in the 14th century, it has received the trisection defensive form with a visibly separated High Castle (home to the monastery), the Middle Castle (home to the Palace of the Grand Master) and the Outer Castle (a widely spread economical and supporting facilities).

painted wall

I love the hallway! 

the court yard

the Blessed Virgin Mary Church

original 13th century wall and the broken statues 

Sadly during the World War II in 1945, more than half the castle was destroyed in particular the church and chapel. The castle experienced changes throughout the passage of years. It has been constantly reconstructed and completed in April 2016, just 6 month before my visit. The sacral objects upon the High Castle were restored into their initial magnificent form along with the reconstruction of the sculpture of the Madonna with a Child, which was returned into its initial position upon the Eastern closure of the church.

Walking inside the church and upon seeing the broken statues, I got a shiver down my spine. I've always love love love old buildings but somehow I'm sensitive about the energy in old places. It's hard to explain but sometimes all of the sudden I'd feel sad when visiting historical site. Perhaps because a place absorbs the memories that were in them? Or perhaps it's just me PMS-ing or feeling hungry....I really don't know. Have you ever felt that way though?

a pretty stained glass

the Middle Castle

In 1997 the Malbork Castle was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. The Malbork Castle Museum posses 23 collections from the scope of art, artistic craft, architecture and history at its disposal. Currently the museum is the house for 40 thousand valuable items and displays one of Europe's largest collection of medieval architectural elements.

lunch at Piwniczka restaurant

selfie with the cutest shopkeeper at the souvenir shop

Besides visiting the castle, I also had lunch at Piwniczka restaurant inside the castle complex. While there's not much to say about the food, it was still an interesting experience enjoying food at a medieval dining room with brick walls, stained glass windows, beer barrels, fire place and all.

I regretted that I didn't check the castle opening hours during winter which is shorter than in summer. I only managed to explore some parts of the huge castle. I could actually spend the whole day here because there's so much to see. Well, then it's not a good bye, Malbork Castle. I will definitely visit you again, hopefully in the near future.

Malbork Castle
Malbork Castle Museum opening hours:

Winter Season (1 October - 14 April)  10.00 am - 3.00 pm
Summer Season (15 April - 30 September)  9.00 am - 7.00 pm
* On Mondays and holidays only some areas, sections and interiors of the castle area available.


2016 In A Nutshell

Happy New Year 2017!!!

Time does fly in a blink of an eye, don't you think? It feels like just yesterday I was writing the entry 2015 In A Nutshell and now I'm doing another recap for the year of 2016. Phew! It's no surprise that one day I wake up as a 100 years old granny who walks slowly dragging her suitcase to board a plane for another adventure. LOL! Okay, that would be too much to imagine :p

2016 is definitely a better year as my phobias started to fade away. I also learnt to love and to appreciate my body more. I'm getting good in ignoring other people's nonsense about what is the perfect body image. I started to believe that I don't need to be as skinny as a stick to be beautiful. Though as an extreme introvert, it does take lots of effort to brave myself to come out from my comfy cocoon and to meet new people. A bit awkward in the beginning but I know I'll be just fine.

January - Bali

Jatiluwih rice terrace
Dad missed his hometown and all those sinfully delicious Balinese food. So we did the road trip from Malang to Bali just how we used to do when I was little. Though I lived in Bali for almost 10 years before, I'm ashamed to admit that I've never been to Jatiluwih rice terrace. So glad I finally did! Yep, I tend to be lazy to explore the city I lived in because I always think, "Oh well, it's not far from home. I'll visit it next time." Have you ever had the same thought?

February - Bali

maid of honor on duty
Flied again to Bali to be the maid of honor on my best friend's wedding. Me and Luzi has been besties since kindergarten and we grew up together sharing our ups and downs. I guess not everyone is lucky to have a best friend for more than 30 years, right? I can't express how happy I am to see her walk down the aisle with the love of her life. I got too emotional and was too busy shedding my tears that I forgot to take her hand bouquet before the vow, lol! Sorry, Luz :p

March - Semarang, Magelang, Yogyakarta

nasi ayam Bu Pini in Semarang

sunrise at Borobudur temple, Magelang

pre-wedding photo shoot at Taman Sari, Yogyakarta
Joined a 3 days food tour around Semarang with my sister. Then we decide to extend our trip to nearby city like Magelang to experience sunrise at Borobudur temple and also spent some days in Yogyakarta for further culinary adventure. And since my sister has never had a train ride in Indonesia, we chose a slower journey back to Malang by train.

May - Singapore, Hong Kong

I kissed a stingray. Marine Life Park Sentosa

Nan Lian Garden, Kowloon

BBQ galore!
It's time of the year again for my parent's annual health check up in Singapore. I caught the worst stomach infection so I couldn't really do anything in Singapore but managed to visit the Marine Life Park Sentosa on the last day. Flied to Hong Kong for a week because I have had some dreams about my second hometown's comfort food, almost every night in my sleep. Yeah, I am that shallow. I would travel all the way to some destinations just because I crave thelocal food :p

July - Makassar, Lombok, Banyuwangi, Bandung

sunset in Losari beach, Makassar

Sade traditional weaving village in Lombok

the Blue Fire in mount Ijen, Banyuwangi

my #TripOfWonders family at Kawah Putih, Bandung
Invited to join the #TripofWonders #WonderfulIndonesia trip by the Tourism Ministry of Indonesia with a group of social media influencers from Malaysia, Singapore, Philippine, Thailand and Brunei Darussalam. In a span of 11 days, we travel in a busy schedule through Jakarta, Makassar, Lombok, Banyuwangi and Bandung. Nevertheless it was super fun trip with 30 new awesome friends. I'm so grateful for the opportunity because finally I could catch a glimpse of the Blue Fire in mount Ijen and also visiting Makassar for the first time and the famous Losari beach.

August - Semarang, Magelang, Yogyakarta

Kenzo, my guardian angel

Blenduk church, Semarang

Umbul Sidomukti, Semarang

Borobudur Temple, Magelang

I was in my lowest point in the year because I lost Kenzo, one of my furry friends who I had the strongest connection with. I raised and took care of Kenzo since he was born thus he had been attached to me since puppy. He was very loyal to me and would followed me everywhere I go, including to the loo. Every night when I sleep, he would sleep under my bed and woke me up with his cheery face every morning. He lost his battle to some mysterious illness which lead to hypothermia. His sudden death shook my life. I was so devastated that I lost my guardian angel at a very young age. I was so depressed that I refused to do anything for weeks. I just wanted to curl in my bed and crying days and nights. So grateful to have you all as my friend who sent me some comforting words through my social media account. I really can't thank you enough.

I tried to pull myself together and organised a 'fix the broken heart' trip with my family who were also as sad as I was. I chose the road trip route Malang-Semarang-Magelang-Yogyakarta-Malang simply because I really enjoyed my previous journey.

September- Welcoming baby Zorro

Meet Zorro, my new adopted puppy.
I was actually not sure if I was ready for a new family member. Losing Kenzo definitely left a deep wound in my heart and still hurts so much. But this little fella needs a new loving home, so we took him in. Welcome to the Leksonos! 

October - Singapore, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania & Poland

make friend with a friendly seagull in Taallinn

Riga, Latvia

Trakai island castle, Lithuania

the Old Town of Krakow at night

I decided to have an early birthday trip in October though my birthday was still a month away. It was another 'last minute holiday' and I had only less than a month to organise everything. We were lucky to be able to apply the schengen visa through VIP service. It was granted within 5 days only. Otherwise we would missed our flight and ruined the whole itinerary, lol. My main reason of this journey was to visit the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania. Some places about which I had zero expectations and ended up loving were the Balkan countries. Each of them has its own charm and beauty that I left home with a heavy heart :'(

So that's basically the highlights of my 2016. It was also my second year spending my Christmas holiday at home. I kinda love it now spending some quality time with family, friends and my dogs instead of travelling abroad.

Farewell 2016, you made me cry and you made me laugh. It's time to move forward but I'll remember you. Aaaand hellow hellow 2017! Let's be friend & let's rock and roll together! Cheers to the new awesome year. May everyday of the new year glow with good cheer and happiness for you. xoxo


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