Sunday Special – Blue Mosque, Istanbul


Istanbul is an amazing city in my opinion. In fact, only Paris surpasses it as my favourite. I spent a mere four days there in 2015 however it has imprinted upon me a lasting impression of beauty and history.  Although there are numerous mosques in this city of nearly 15 million the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, or the “Blue Mosque” as it is commonly referred to by tourists, is the most well-known and recognized. Taking eight years to build (1609 – 1616 C.E.) by order of Sultan Ahmed I, it has five large domes and six minarets along with several smaller domes. Within its walls are thousands upon thousands of blue Iznik tiles which why it is referred to as ‘The Blue Mosque’. To this day it continues to serve as a mosque, allowing Muslims to come to prayer five times per day. At these times the mosque is closed to tourists and non-Muslims.  As this is a popular attraction do expect queues during visiting times. I recall long lines yet they moved quickly.  I was glad to know that I could take non-flash photos in this stunning example of Ottoman architecture. It really was fascinating to see. I look forward to when I return to the Blue Mosque and Istanbul with my sister at some point in the future.

All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

Istanbul’s Blue Mosque

Within the mosque’s courtyard

The beautiful interior

Sunday Special – Florence, Italy


Florence, a city full of architecture, art, history, and culture. This capital city of the Tuscany region saw the dawn of the Renaissance period. It grew on the backdrop of trade, wealth, religion and the power of the Medici family. Today it is a tourist mecca and rightly so as many consider it one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. My first and only visit (to date) was a number of years ago. I recall the the incredible Duomo with its famous red dome, taking in the Ponte Vecchio, seeing stunning works of art at the Uffizi Gallery, and finally seeing Michaelangelo’s David at The Academia (arguably the world’s most stunning statue). Along with these world-renown sites Florence provides much more. Food, coffee, shops, street art, and gardens to picnic in are only a few things to take in. As I think about it, aside from the David I don’t think I appreciated what Florence had to offer as I was fairly young then. I think a do-over is on the horizon. 

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Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (a.k.a. Il Duomo), Florence – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – taken and owned by Warburg 

By Warburg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Ponte Vecchio, Florence – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – taken and owned by Rolf Sussbrich 

By Rolf Süssbrich (Self-photographed) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

My Time in Kuala Lumpur


Hello! I am currently waiting for my flight to Kuching, Borneo which is part of Malaysia. I will be meeting up with my friend S and we will travel together for the remainder of Malaysia. 
My time in Kuala Lumpur was good yet I did struggle with jet lag. As it stands I am still waking up at odd times of the night. Despite that and the very humid climate I crammed in a fair bit in my full 2 days. My photos from Petaling St I haven’t uploaded yet but will add soon. Take a look:

All photos taken and owned by Wanders The World / Eeva Valiharju

My plane getting ready to take me away

Chinese New Year decorations

Using the trains to get around (& taxis)

Nasi Goreng & chicken. Yum!

Fish at the KL Butterfly Park

KL Butterfly Park

KL Butterfly Park

The birds just hanging out & walking about at KL Bird Park

Colourful parrots at the KL Bird Park

Hand-carved on Borneo, sold at Central Market

Dessert being prepped at Central Market

Wares for sale at the Central Maket

The Petronas Twin Towers

View of KL from the viewing level of the Twin Towers, taken at dusk

Colourful dancing fountains outside Syria KL Mall

The Petronas Twin Towers sparkling against the night sky

The incredibly beautiful Hindu statue at the foot of the Batu Caves

Monkey hanging out at Batu Caves

Old mixed with new

Chicken satay with peanut sauce for lunch. Yum!

Skybar with the Petronas Towers in the background

Oops – this goes at the top but I can’t seem to move it – Ms Brown and I are ready to go (sadly I forgot Ms Brown on the plane and she’s gone)

Sunday Special – Malaysia


If you haven’t figured out already, the weeks prior to a big trip are rather hectic for me. I work more (since I’m self-employed and don’t get vacation pay I make it up beforehand), do all the errands and basically stress out while being extremely excited. I leave for Malaysia very soon so I decided today’s post would be about why I chose this country as a destination.

First and foremost has to be that I want to see the Petronas Twin Towers. I have always thought they look amazing and want to see them up close and personal. Seeing them from the ground as well as the view from above is a draw for me. In fact, I have already booked my viewing from the Skybridge and observation deck for sunset on my second day in Kuala Lumpur. I’m stoked. The other reason to see Malaysia is because of the four letter “F” word. Yeah, that’s right – its about the FOOD! Of the Malaysian food I have tried here in Canada I can honestly say it is one of my favourites. I am hoping to try a vast number of different dishes so I can sample all the various influences and flavours. Those are the main factors that lead me to chose Malaysia as my next destination. While doing research to see what other things this Asian country has to offer I learned of history (Malaca), beach islands (Tioman, Langkawi), beautiful landscapes (Cameron Highlands, Borneo) and a variety of street art (Malaca, Penang). These are just a few of the things to choose from. I certainly am excited!!! Soon I will be posting my own photos for you to see!

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Petronas Twin Towers at night in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – taken & owned by Shiva Kumal Khanal

By Shiva Kumar Khanal (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Food in Georgetown, Penang – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – photo taken and owned by yeowatzup

By yeowatzup from Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany (Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Food vendor in Georgetown, Penang – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – photo taken and owned by yeowatzup

By yeowatzup from Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany (Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons