Yelly Writes

Notre Dame, la plus proche de mon coeur!

“I wanted to see you again, touch you, know who you were, see if I would find you identical with the ideal image of you which had remained with me and perhaps shatter my dream with the aid of reality.-Claude Frollo ” ― Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

When I visited Paris, I said to myself the next time I went, I would buy myself a ticket to go around Notre Dame, to walk through its aisles, to gaze up at the beautiful rose windows, to crane my neck and stare at the beautiful flying buttresses that have held my imagination ever since I learned about them during a Humanities class in high school, to climb as high was what was permitted to gaze at Paris from its heights. The last time, I stared at Notre Dame from a seat in the square just in front of the cathedral and I imagined how much I would enjoy myself during the next trip with quite possibly a day adoring the beautiful Lady of Paris.

I can’t be sure I can do that now. Because the beloved cathedral that has stood the test of 850 years and has watched Paris evolved is burning. My heart breaks as I watch the breaking news on telly. The beautiful spire that has towered over the roofs and the nave collapsed as the world watched. I’ve read from reports that the gargoyles were seen tumbling down from their lofty posts.

I’m going to stop watching the news now. I don’t think I can bear hearing about the flying buttresses collapsing. I know that Paris can rebuild, as it often has, because it survives and it evolves. But even if they rebuild The Lady, it will never be the same again.

I’m going to try (very hard) to remember Paris and Notre Dame the way I saw Notre Dame last. Beautifully incandescent in the unexpected Parisian sunshine and blue skies 💔

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Yelly Writes

Colchester charm

I used to work in Colchester and I do love the little town.  I think it was when I started working in Chelmsford that Alan and I stopped going to Colchester often enough for it to stop feeling familiar.  I don’t know why, really.  It’s got great shops, both independent and popular chains, really good, small independent restaurants (there’s a Caribbean restaurant that does an absolutely divine goat curry that you can get with peas and rice!  They even have an all-you-can-eat buffet for £8 on Saturdays; drinks are separate of course.  Look for the S&S Restaurant on St. John’s Street) and restaurant names, with more to come as Colchester High Street seems to be making quite the revival (with a Bill’s already established, a Byron’s coming soon and Wagamama opening in the near future as well).  Apart from that, it’s got history in shedloads as it’s got a gorgeous 11th century Norman keep, ruins of an Augustinian priory, and the remains of a Roman chariot race track!

Colchester was known as Camulodunum and was mentioned by Pliny the Elder who died in 79AD (and by this virtue it is called the oldest recorded town in Britain).  It was the Roman capital of Britain (yes, before London!) but was attacked and destroyed by Boadicea’s (Boudica) rebellion.  It was soon after the destruction of Colchester that London became Rome’s provincial capital.  Colchester held such a romantic link to the Romans that some historians postulated that it might have been a possible site for the Arthurian city of Camelot.

What I love about Colchester is the history that is all around the town, quite literally.  The town is still surrounded by Roman walls that were built after the rebellion led by Boadicea.  The Romans wanted to fortify the town and fortify it they certainly did.  Parts of the 3,000 yard-long walls still stand.  One of the biggest and oldest parts is the Balkerne Gate that stands right next to where the Mercury Theatre is.  The history geek in me was excited to find that you could actually touch the Balkerne Gate.  There were no protective walls around it.  It was literally history you could touch!

Colchester is a mixture of old and new but still has that lovely small town feel that makes you smile.  It still has lovely old houses nestled in between relatively new Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian houses.  During a trip to Colchester to see what Invasion Colchester was all about last Saturday, Alan and I stopped off at North Bridge in Middleborough in Colchester to photograph this small, charming collection of Medieval houses that were sitting along the River Colne.  I’ve seen photographs of it and it has always been biscuit-tin pretty.  These lovely pink houses did not disappoint and I got my Instagram-worthy shot (pity about the shadowban, or I’d post it on IG really…maybe I will (if) when the ban gets lifted!).  Even the River Colne cooperated and made like it was glass.  Pity there was so much coverage on the river or else you’d see perfect reflections of the lovely cottages with their exposed timber frames.

With the fastest train journey from London being an hour and 2 minutes, if you love history, Colchester might just be the place to come and visit.

 

Yelly Writes

Waiting…

Terminal 3 NAIAI got to the airport REALLY early I got put on the earlier flight (I ordered an UberX cab for 4AM because I had to be at the airport at 8AM for my 11AM flight.  But there was no traffic!).  I got a chance to use the relatively new Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.  I didn’t get much of a look when I arrived because my main goal was to get through immigration and customs really quickly so that I could get home and see my family.  My brother and I spent about 4 hours being stuck in Manila  traffic so the rushing through was time well rushed!  They told me that traffic was bad but I didn’t really think it was THAT bad.  I’ve been away from Manila too long.  I’ve lost the ability to plan journeys and understand Manila traffic and predict travel times!

Terminal 3 has been reported repeatedly as over budget, over priced and not worth the pesos that were spent on it.  I’ve been looking forward to seeing it and I must admit, it left me a bit underwhelmed.  It needs a bit more zhuzhing.  The terminal was mostly dark and I constantly wanted to ask people to switch the lights on (I didn’t, of course).  For an international/interisland airport it looks just a tiny bit tatty (super shiny floors and wide-screen Samsung tellies notwithstanding).  I shouldn’t really complain because at least it’s being used and Terminal 3 is a lot less shabbier than Terminal 1.   My favourite terminal though is the Centennial Terminal or Terminal 2.  It was the terminal we were in when we flew out of when we flew to Edinburgh in 2007.

I do love the windows though…I just really wished they switched on more lights…and probably courted more food places so that there would be more choice of food places to get food from before the flight.

Yelly Writes

Leaving…on a jet plane…

In a few hours I will be traveling to the airport to get on a plane to get back to the life I have in a country 6,754 miles away. While my visit was (too) short, it was (very) sweet. I got a chance to see my family, celebrate my father’s 80th birthday with him, laugh and bond with my brother and sister and hug my mum loads. I went to church and saw my church family and met the new additions to our growing spiritual family. I managed to see the dentist, stuff my face silly with food that might not be, for all intents and purposes, exactly ideal for a diabetic, experience Philippine traffic in all its stand still glory, learned to use Uber and Grab, melt in temperatures that I would usually consider a heatwave, see my hair snap into weird unruly waves, and marvel at how much the Philippines has changed (how we are considered a third world country with all these vehicles on the road and all these malls and condominium developments, I will never know).

I will be going back to colder weather and it is with a heavy heart that I leave my loved ones yet again (kung pwede lang magkasya kayong lahat sa maleta ko!). But my heart is full and my spirit is recharged. It’s trips like these that make me realise how much I have in my life and how blessed I have that the people in my life are in my life. For that I will always be thankful to God. I have new memories to tide me over until the next trip.

I’ll see you all again soon!

Yelly Snaps

Pretty Harwich Town

I am guilty of complaining about the little seaside town that I live in.  I find myself complaining about how quiet it is, how dead it can be during the weekend and how annoying the dog owners are.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love dogs and think they make the most amazing pets BUT there seem to be a lot of irresponsible dog owners.  If you intend to walk your dog and you allow your dog to relieve themselves, PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG!  Right.  That’s me off my soapbox.  This is, after all, a post about the unappreciated good things about Harwich, Essex, England.

2012-06-04 17.00.39Harwich is at the very northern end of the Mayflower Line.  It boasts a lot of historical snippets dating back to Roman Times.  There are a lot of notable names connected to Harwich: Captain Christopher Jones, the captain of the Mayflower, lives in Harwich; Samuel Pepys, the famous English diarist, was a member of Parliament for Harwich, Captain Charles Fryatt, who is a First World War lived and was buried in Harwich; and my personal fun fact favourite, apparently, Clive Owen lives near Harwich (haha!).

Captain Christopher Jones' houseThere are a suprising number of little historical corners in Harwich: Captain Christopher Jones’s house (apart from being captain of the Mayflower, he was a quarter owner of the Mayflower as well); several notable lighthouses dating back to the early 1800s, as Harwich was a notable port and it was where the Royal Navy Dockyard was established; the Harwich Redoubt Fort, which was a circular stronghold built to defend England against the Napoleonic invasion; it also has the old Electric Palace, one of England’s oldest purpose-built cinemas still surviving and functional.

Redoubt FortI’ve always loved my little seaside town, my home away from home.  I like to say it’s where I properly grew up, because I learned to live and depend on myself and not my parents.  I love the little interesting nooks and crannies of this little town and it breaks my heart that some of the people who live here don’t seem to care enough about their town to keep it pretty and clean.  We all have to have pride of place, to be proud of our quaint little town because it is significant and important historically.

Harwich sunsets

Yelly Writes

Tick tock says my body clock!

My body clock is so screwed up at the moment.  It’s after 10PM and I am now wide awake.  About 2 hours ago, I was as groggy as can be.  It doesn’t help that I’ve just come back from New York (yes, I may have mentioned it in a previous post!).  What I found completely strange was while I was in New York, my body clock was still on UK time.  So I thought when I came back from the trip I’d be okay.

I didn’t factor in the fact that I could have post-travel illness.  I normally don’t get really sick after a trip, just really tired.  But this trip was different.  I came back with a sore throat with a slight tickle that made me cough and a fever with a slightly runny nose.  It’s gone down hill since Wednesday.  I am keeping myself up with all the coughing and have found myself drifting off to proper sleep at 4 or 5AM!  It doesn’t help that tomorrow is a work day and I’ve got to go in and catch up on a week and a half’s worth of work!

Where is that lottery win when you need it eh?

I loved New York.  I just wanted more time to reacquaint myself with the city.  I didn’t do a properly touristy visit when I was last in New York.  We went to a few choice places (I was with my parents and my baby sister) but didn’t really experience New York as such.  Not properly.

This trip was different.  I managed to see, maybe, 400% more than when I had when I was with my family.  I even managed to start understanding the Metro subway system, which, I think, in itself, was a major achievement!

Wollman Rink, Central Park

It was a good time because I was ticking off places that I’ve seen in New York movies.

Tomorrow, I’m going to get an antitussive so that I can stop coughing and get something to soothe my sore throat.  I’m going to go take a hot, steamy shower in the hopes that it will help my congestion.  One thing that the trip did highlight was the familiarity of the US pharmacies to what I grew up with in Manila.  I miss the familiar brands and the familiar generic medicine names.  When I’m less groggy, less coughy and generally feeling better, I’ll write about the food and my New York highlights!

Watch this space!

Yelly Writes

Sick bay after New York bay

Soooooo…I went to New York.  I spent 5 days in the city that never sleeps and got home on Wednesday.

I am however, coughing up a storm and have a terrible cold.

I will eventually find the strength to write about New York.  5 days isn’t enough.  Figuring out the subway system is a whole day activity!  I haven’t ticked off the movie and TV locations that I wanted to visit.  I did love my 5 days in the Big Apple though.  There was so much to see and not enough time to see all of it!

I’m going back though.  I just need to save money so that I can stay longer!

I’ve got a few photos to share so watch this space!

Central Park