Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bonjour Paris !!!

For the next day, we were planning to go to Versailles and yes the ride was long and we got lost on our way but not to worry or anything because we were safe and sound :D

The train ride took us a good hour or more and the place was chilling. We stopped at a local starbucks and some of my friends were buying stuff. I did not have anything because I am not into coffees not unless necessary :)

Going to the palace of Versailles itself was not that great because it was cold, and you had to walk in cobblestones. For you to survive, you need to have a good pair of shoes and good layer of clothing if you still want to look fashionable but not bulky.

Anyway, the entrance is beautiful so it paid for that unfortunate long walk and suddenly it rained. I thought it was going to ruin everything and just hoped that castle's inner beauty will be more than that of it's entrance.

There were lot's of tourist from all over the globe and I think tourism is giving life to France.

Anyway, cam whoring is a must inside the castle of Versailles as the paintings the old clocks, chandeliers, beds, tables and chairs and whole lot of century old furnishing are a delight :D

After we toured the insides of the castle, we went outside and checkout the palace garden :D

It was a great day touring Versailles and we were so hungry after that and we had to find a place to eat. It was another long walk and we found McDonalds :) We ate a lot of real French fries :))

Kay, and some of the mates were planning to go to Monet's place but then it was drizzling a bit and so they decided to go with us going back to central Paris. The immediate plan was to actually go to the Eiffel tower.

We reached the station nearest to the Eiffel and it was another long walk - good thing not in cobblestones. Cobblestones are a good sight, so don't get me wrong but they can be painful on your feet if you are not used to it.

Eiffel tower is a man-made marvel I should say.

We decided to buy the tickets and off we went to the highest observation deck in Paris. The queue going to the tower was long but the sight once you are on top is magnificent. That moment on, I was thinking of going back to Paris in the near future ;)

After the Eiffel tower, we decided to go on a river cruise at Siene. We were waiting for Karen so we decided to stroll a bit and took some pictures again and again :D

We bought the tickets for the river cruise but before that, we went to the souvenir shops and I bought a cap which says Paris for my dad. He loves caps so I bought two for him already. I also have a nice notebook for my brother.

Going back, we were queuing at the river cruise terminal. Since the folks were waiting for Karen, some of us had to go in first and reserve some seats and the other waited for Karen. Before the cruise started, Karen and the rest came and the cruise began.

Everything in Paris has a lot of stories to tell. Great men and women in the olden times who contributed to France's rich history. It was interesting to listen to some histories which honestly I forgot but then the sight was beautiful and that river cruise is a must for any traveler in Paris. The cruise took us around 45 minutes and it was great. When we went back to where we started with the cruise, the Eiffel tower was in gold lights flickering and dancing like a star in the night. Karen told us that it's scheduled every hour starting 7PM until 9PM if I am not mistaken.

We were hungry, and the stall selling some sandwich was quite expensive. I did not buy or anything. Our next stop was to go to the Arc de Triomphe. We arrived there and took some pictures then off we went to their shopping districts. Some of my friends wanted to checkout the Luis Vuitton store but unfortunately it was close.

We just decided to buy some snacks at the mall and called it a night after that.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Here We Come Paris !

From Munich, David, Mai and Glenn went with us going to the train station bound for Paris. It is my very first time to ride a sleeper train or for better term, couchette. We just had our dinner at the station eating Burger King meals :D Mai and Glenn has something to do the next day so they bade their good byes or, we bade our good-byes :) David was still there with us sharing some 30 good minutes of his time. When it was time for boarding, he accompanied us to our caboose - we got the class B I think and in one room there were 6 of us. Anyway, it was time to say our good byes and we were thankful for David for all the nice tour. Good luck to his Masters in Munich Technical University.

It was time for boarding for real and so we had to look for our rooms inside the train and our luggage were heavy. I mean I already have 20 kilos I think. I had to have a hand carry. Inside our train room we met Sophie. She is German and she's going to Paris for her studies. She was a good company and in fact really friendly.

It was getting late and so we decided to call it a night. I was not used to sleeping a train so it was not the best sleep I had. I am not sure if it was the same for the rest of the folks.

We arrived early in Paris and the station looked really old and lots of graffiti on their walls, much the same as Barcelona. It was not that bad actually because inside the station it was more peaceful. The first thing we did was to get our tickets for the train rides we will be taking around the city.

Our hotel was a bit far from central Paris but the city's train system is fine so it was pretty much easy to locate. We were staying at hotel Coypel - small 2 star hotel but really clean. Our plan for the day was to just tour Paris by train and on foot. Honestly I was still sleepy but we were there for only three days and I don't want to just sleep :) Since we did not have our breakfast yet, we decided to checkout the restaurant beside the hotel. It was a bit challenging because their menu was in French and the staff was refusing in speaking English to us. But we we've been warned actually about this so we knew what we were getting at. Elaine studied some French at Alliance de Cebu so it was a help on deciding what to eat. It was an interesting meal actually just right for the day. After the meal we had to prepare for our Paris excursion....

After taking a quick bath and all, we had to meet at the mini lobby of the hotel and off we went to our excursion.

A highlight for the evening was we watched a show at the Moulin Rouge with Karen - she's a Cebuana colleague in Gemalto, Singapore whose now based in Paris :)

To be continued ....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Euro tour - Munich

The next day was spent visiting another castle. It was a two hour ride by train and 30 minutes ride by ferry. Herrenchiemsee palace is beautiful and it's interesting because King Ludwig II had it to be a replica of some sort of France's Versailles. It was said he admired the King of France and so he decided to immortalize it building his castle with French taste.

Here are the photos of our tour at Herrenchiemsee, but no photo's taken from inside the castle because it's simply not allowed.

After touring the castle, we had our really late lunch. Their serving was huge for us so it was satisfying even if it was really late.

The castle trip took us a whole day.

The next day, our itinerary was to tour the Munich central - MarienPlatz but before that, we checkout some noteworthy structures just around Munich. We also passed by the German playground for their very famous Octo-beer-feast.

At MarienPlatz, ee checked some shops and watched some street performers. Then we watched the show at the Sankt Peter. It's was a great church bell show which was not to be missed :)

After the show we looked for some place to eat and there was this one mall we went into and there's a good food court. We ordered a lot :) German food is a bit sour which was not so strange actually and the sausages and hams were really good.

After lunch, we decided to go to the English garden or the Englischer Garten. There was not that many things to do except that the place was famous for nude people sun bathing. It was actually summer in Munich even though it was sometimes rainy and cold. We were a bit tired of all the walking so we decided to just sit down by the lake and watched people. Too bad there were no nude scenes =))

Anyway, we needed to still prepare our stuff because we will be leaving Munich that night. Our next stop was Paris and of course with love.

To be continued....

Friday, November 25, 2011

Next Stop, Munich Germany !

Gutten Tag !

Well, we left Barcelona and dropped by at Mallorca airport then went to Munich still via Air Berlin. The flight was a bit bumpy (and I hate turbulence which sends my stomach to a roller coaster) and so everyone was scared - not to death though. I believe we were praying then ....

We reached Munich late in the evening and we were meeting David at the airport. After we got our things, we went out of the arrival area and saw David...

We got out tickets and proceeded to a friend's house - actually Peter's friend. Mai was the one playing host to us. She's actually Filipino - German. Her mom is a Cebuano and when she finished her university in Cebu, I think she flew to Germany to stay and work. She's fluent in German but as what I have known, she's still more Filipino and she's proud of it :D She is with her hubby in their apartment and yeah we were the couch surfers ;)

We reached the station which was near Mai's place and the weather was a bit cold. They waited for us and it was so kind of them. David actually went with us as well and left after we safely arrived at that station (I forgot the name of that station). Anyway, it was late so when we arrived at Mai's and Glenn's place, we just had to sleep.

The next day arrived and our itinerary would be to go to castles in Bavaria :) We had our mini breakfast with all the yummy sausages and a cup of coffee just to have a good kick in the morn.
It was more than two hours of ride and people were actually sleeping in the train and since I had coffee, I was just enjoying the scenery. Their houses were totally different from what we have in my place (Cebu) and they were uniquely Bavarian.

We alighted from the train and we took a bus going to Schloss Neuschwanstein. A castle of Konig Ludwig II. An impressive castle I must say where Disneyland castles got their inspiration from. We actually had to options when we reached the entrance, either we take the chariot which we call in Cebu as tartanilla or we go there by bus - most of us wanted to take the bus but we did not fail to take some photos with the parked horse carriage. The castle is atop of the mountain sitting gloriously and so it added more chill. We had to wear scarves and our jackets :) We reached the foot of the mountain and we had to trek to reach the castle. It was a fun trek obviously and everyone was cam whoring. The castle was huge but they said it was not finished. Anyhow, we decided to get in and took that very long queue. There were lots of tourists and the good thing was we came earlier. After some minutes of waiting, it was our turn for the castle tour. Unfortunately, no picture taking was allowed. Sigh.... I just had to feast with thine eyes :D The view from atop was amazing when one is looking from beyond and the back drop was gorgeous with the hilly country side, farm villages and lakes and on the other side there was this water falls. That was the most beautiful castle tour I had in Germany! The tour lasted for around 45 minutes, more or less and since it was lunch time, we decided to eat at the castles resto. It was simple yet chic place to have lunch :) The sausage again danced on our plates then to our bellies and the cakes, not to forget were really heavenly. I love their food - very fattening ! =)) After the castle tour we trek and went to this nearby bridge where there's also a great view of the whole milieau. On the bridge you can write some dedication of some sort and I wrote my name, my address, and cebu !!! And just for fun, I wrote some of the names of my office mates and friends :)

We decided to go back to our pit stop :) To go downhill we need to take the bus and it was a quick ride. We decided to buy some souvenirs for friends and family and just agreed on a meeting place. I think we lost Bud and Elaine and so Kay and I were checking back our tracks while the other waited to the bus stop. Alas we found them in our second round of searching. It's actually difficult if you're a bit lost because the signs were in Deutsche or German you can't expect the country folks to actually converse with you in English (but not quite sure about this so don't take me seriously). We took the bus then the two hour ride train going back to Munchen proper. Kay had to meet some Cebuano friends who were vacationing as well in Germany so David, Elaine and I decided to tag along. They're a Cebuano couple who were living in Vancouver, Canada. I forgot their names (waaaahh need to ask Kay on this). Kay met her in Tokyo where she was studying her Masters while Kay was working as a software engineer. Anyhow, we were a bit lost as to where is the BrauHaus (beer house). After some minutes of walking we found the place. I think there was a miscommunication of the landmarks :) We settled and ordered food for dinner and of course the very famous beer in a huge mug. Trust me, they have the best beer in the world !!! :) It was so much fun talking to the guys and since David is Indonesian, we had to converse in English :) Though sometimes we do speak Cebuano. The place was actually very noisy but the atmosphere is just so inviting and really happy with all the banging of the beer glass plus this folk band tuning the entire building into their nice songs even though I didn't understand what they were singing :) One of the best beer session I had with friends :D After we finished, we went to the souvenir shop and I bought a cap for my dad and a pen for my brother :) Then we took some pictures, went out, saw HardRock cafe Munchen so we decided to run across as it was raining and checked out some stuff. I am not really a fan of the cafe or any of its souvenir stuff so I did not care to buy anything but instead, I busied myself taking some pictures from my iphone - imagine Sting's guitar on display and some artists :) The rain was still pouring hard, and the clock was ticking late, and yeah we waited a bit for the rain to subside or maybe stop. It did not come to a stop but the raindrops were a bit manageable already so we decided to go back to our temporary niche. David was so kind, in fact he went with us to the train station. We were sleepy but we need to be very careful simply because their station is a bit complicated like in a single platform, many trains will pass, just like bus stops where you have buses going to different routes. I know Kay was good in directions and so we were in safe hands :) We got to the apartment quite tipsy and sleepy.

To be continued....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Third day in Barcelona {Espanya}

Continuation : Still In Barcelona Spain

The third day was our last day in Barcelona. Our schedule allowed us to go only to Montjuic. We woke a bit relaxed but was surprised that at 8AM the district was still asleep. The restos were closed and it was hard to look for a decent breakfast. So, we ate bread with some spread and a glass of juice.

Out stop was Montjuic and we had to take the train. The train system is not that complicated but you have to be aware of the pickpockets as there are so many of them especially in trains. We reached there too early so we have to wait for the cable car operation to open so we spent a good 30 minutes at this park full of flower. We just took some photos....

We took a single route going to the fort while Peter and our Japanese friend had the round trip. We wanted to actually do the hiking....

Reaching the castle took us around 10 minutes and the ride was so interesting. You get to see the city on your left and on your right and beyond is the Barcelona harbor. As usual when we reached the top, it was all cam whoring :D

There was no guide and all that and we did not take any information map. There was a lot of Catalan history already care of Brian so we just wanted to explore and check for nice views :D After touring the huge fortress and having that 360 degree view of Barcelona, we decided to go back to the plaza and have lunch and get ready to our next destination :)

We had our lunch at this cozy resto serving local stuff. All of us had the Paella ala Catalan! The serving is actually huge and we were surprised cos we thought it's good for one person but nope it's for two for regular Asians. Anyway, we ate everything - remember we did not have a good breakfast :D

After our sumptuous lunch, we headed back to our hostel to prepare for our next stop.

We were riding a bus going to the airport and we were on time which was just perfect. We were taking Air Berlin going to Munich Germany. But, we had to stop at Mallorca Spain and took another plane of same liner going to Munich.

I actually fell in love with Barcelona because of it's history, their arts and culture. Oh Gaudi! He is all over the place - in a great way :) The warm greetings we had when we met folks in Rupit. And I love their Summer !!! Definitely a must to go back and experience Spain once again .... Viva Espanya ;)

To be continued :)