Europe 2014 Romantic Road, Germany 17122014 – 18122014

The next day we had one of the nicest breakfast for this trip, served by a really grumpy woman who was muttering in German throughout. Luckily for us, we did not understand a word!

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We left the B&B, driving for the next few hours to our next destination Fussen. Truthfully, the medieval old town was nice to visit, but it quite actually quite creepy. The overcast weather did not help.

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We headed for Neuschwanstein Castle, which is just a short distance from Fussen. This castle is world famous, and was the inspiration behind the Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. There is also another castle beside it, the Hohenschwangau Castle. That was the castle we went to first. After buying the tickets for the timing we chose, we took some photos at the base of the castles.

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We then climbed up the hill to visit the Hohenschwangau Castle.

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Unfortunately photography was not allowed inside the castle.

There are 3 ways to get up to Neuschwanstein Castle, by horse ride, by bus or walk. We decided to walk up. It was quite steep and tiring!

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The bridge over the canyon is call the Marie’s Bridge (Marienbrücke) where it provides a vintage point to view the castle. Unfortunately as it was getting to closing time, we decided to skip it.

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Again, photography was not allowed inside the castle until the end of the tour.

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We drove to Fussen to stay the night in City Apart Hotel Fuessen. As it was dark and raining heavily, we spent quite a lot of time driving in circles, trying to find a way to get to the hotel. In the end, we had to park 2 blocks away. After enquiring at the front desk, we found out the road in front of the hotel is closed to traffic after a certain timing. It was inconvenient to drag our luggage from the car to the hotel, and because the hotel has no lifts, we had to drag our luggage up a few floors to our room. However, our room was spacious and comfortable. After a quick wash up, we found a nice German restaurant nearby, Madame Plüsch, to have German food for dinner. The food was quite good!

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The next morning the rain had stopped, after a nice breakfast at the hotel, we decided to go to the Marie’s Bridge to view the castle instead of the planned drive to Munich. This is the advantage of having a free and easy holiday.

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This time we decided to take the bus up as the bus stopped very close to the bridge.

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After alighting from the bus, and walking a short distance, we finally reached the bridge. The view from the bridge justified our decision to drive to the castle again.

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After the bridge, visitors usually walk to the castle. But as we already did the castle, we decided to wait for the bus to take us down the hill.

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We then drove to Munich where we stayed for the next 2 nights.

Reflections 2014

Reflections for the year 2014 is very late, in fact, almost 1 1/2 months late. Spending New Year in Europe, followed by trying to adapt to a new job had me postponing this post till now.

The start of the 2014 had me making some mistakes in my job, which contributed to not getting the promotion. It was depressing actually, but I was glad I managed to put that behind me. The rest of the year career wise was pretty smooth sailing. In fact, I was doing a pretty good job managing the new projects that came my way subsequently, and managed to reduce the huge number of escalations previously from that account to zero. As mentioned in my reflections for 2013, I was always looking out for new opportunities, and this came sometime towards the last quarter of the year. It was to an environment that I had always wanted to work in, and with a nice increase in salary too. It is a big organisation, and with such size, it will definitely comes with its own set of challenges. I was sad to leave actually, especially since I had a good boss, and I was doing pretty well with the projects on hand, but there is no way I could reject the increase in salary. For 2015, I just want to perform well in my new job, considering the fact that it is a totally different ball game altogether, an environment that I was never in throughout my career.

On a personal note, I have continued with my exercise regime, and I really enjoyed it. The races that I ran in 2014 are the Sundown Marathon Half Marathon, which I will never do it again since I did not enjoy it at all, the SIA Charity Run 10k, which I enjoyed a lot and managed to get a PB for 10k, the SAFRA Half Marathon, which was not too bad, and the revenge run SCB Singapore Marathon 21k where I definitely performed than the disastrous one in 2013, but still not up to own expectations. I mentioned last year that I want to do a full marathon in 2015, and hopefully this is something that I can achieve. Also, I am seriously considering an overseas race. After that, perhaps it is time to move to triathlons.

I went on numerous work trips to Malaysia and Indonesia, even manage to go for a training trip to Melbourne. For personal trips, I manage to visit Bali where I witnessed one of the best sunset ever, Taipei where I eat, and eat, and eat some more, Germany where I drove a left hand drive van along the Autobahn at 180km/h and experienced many Christmas markets, Denmark where I spent the New Year and was amazed at how much the Danes love firework, and Sweden, catching 2 nights of Northern Lights in Kiruna, Northern Sweden, thrown off a dog sled three times, staying in the famous Ice Hotel, sharing a train cabin overnight with 4 other strangers while it cuts through a snow covered landscape, and discovering the delicious Senapssill or pickled herring. It was definitely a very fulfilling year when it comes to travelling. I hope to continue to do the same in 2015.

Financially, things improved in 2014, there was increase in liquidity, and only one case of investment losing money. I am treating this as a lesson learnt. I wanted to increase my savings by 25% in 2014, which was not achieved, though it was close. I will try to save even more for 2015, but with the expected increase in expenses due to the new car, this will be challenging. But I will try.

I have also started contributing back to the society in little small ways, and I want to continue this in 2015. I have almost stopped reading altogether in 2014, and this needs to be kick started again in 2015. As for the last resolution, I want to ‘de-clutter’, simplify, and learn to find happiness in the smallest of things.

2014 was not a bad year, one of the better year I had in recent memory. As I prepare to embark on another stage in my life in 2015, I shall learn to enjoy the little good things, forget about the unhappy and bad ones, and hope for an even better year.

We Never Appreciate Something Until It’s Gone

There is this saying that is often quoted about how we never appreciate anything until it is gone. I just realised how true this is.

My washing machine broke down recently.

I did not realise how much I have relied on my washing machine in my life. It had become so much part of my life that I have taken it for granted. After each run, just throw the sweaty running gear into the washing machine. Handles the washing of my clothes during the weekend. It was literally one of the tools that kept my house clean.

Now I have to handwash my clothes while waiting for the repairman to repair it. The last time I handwashed my clothes was, what, during my NS days. And repairmen do not work on weekends. Am I suppose to take a day’s leave just so I can get my washing machine repaired?

Now I hope my aircon do not break down next.

It Will Never Be Perfect

I was reading this book about running. I hardly have any time nowadays to read, so when I do get the time, I want to make sure it has something to do with what I am currently interested in.

The author mentioned that there will never be a perfect time to run. There will always be something that prevents from having a perfect run, be it the weather, a muscle ache etc, but what runners do is to just take everything in their stride, and run. It is this ‘can do’ approach to running which runners should also apply it to their life.

It’s true. After running for more than a year and half, there is always something that gets in the way of a perfect run. If it is not hot, then perhaps there is rain. If there is no rain, then perhaps I have not recover sufficiently from the run yesterday, or if I did, then perhaps the calf muscles are still aching. If I was to find an excuse not to run, I will have the whole book as thick as the dictionary to choose from.

It is the same with life. There will never be a good or perfect time to do anything. If I am forever waiting for the perfect moment to do something, I will most probably end up doing nothing. I will just have to know what is lacking, what is bad, find workarounds and just go ahead and do it.

Learning life lessons from running. Another benefits of running.