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 :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Still In Barcelona, Spain

Continuation ( Euro Trip : Barcelona, Spain)

The next day was, we were bound for Pyrenees - mountainous and a bit rugged with all the beautiful formation bordering France from Spain.

We needed to wake up early and be at the post office for our rendezvous. There we met Brian an American guy who's been living in Barcelona for less than 10 years - typical American, chatty and warm.

The travel was more than an hour or two from Cataluña post office or was it Correos Barcelona, ahh nevermind. It was interesting because Brian was on for a real deal - simply say hello to some Catalan history was what he did. We haven't had our breakfast so when we arrived at the starting point of our "mountain trek", we parked at this cafe. They served some really tasty breads and the coffee was good. Since it borders France, they say merci for their thank you :)

The trek started with some history about the houses which dates 1400 during the medieval times. The place was totally quaint. The cobble stones and the house in bricks but not the usual red bricks, instead, those that are just stacked stones perfectly stacked like some jigsaw. I can compare them actually to the stacked stones in my grand mother's farm in Cebu as her farm is on top of a plateau so they have this mini terraces. But in the Pyrenees, they were made for their house. As we continued our excursion on foot, we were greeted with a lot of houses where you would know who owned them because they have labels on their front door (I'm not sure if they do have back doors). And the dates as to when their houses were build were also on display. The way they displayed those markers were engraved. Then, we passed by a church so I had my simple prayers then we continued on until we reached the back side was it? Sort of a road to the other side of the mountain that is. It was beginning to be a real trek. I was not complaining, in fact, I loved it! The mountain air is so fresh and since it was a bit cool, the sun did not really pricked my skin. I am not sure as to how my mates felt but for me it was getting to fun.... We trek to the hillside descending and at the bottom of the hill we began to climb up. Lots of trees or should I say we were entering a forest but the village was still visible. The place was so calm and I guess we were the only ones making the noise. We knew that it was a trek so we were aware of what to expect. In fact, when I was still in Singapore, I trained myself to always walk from the office going to Buona Vista mrt station (imagine two train stops from my office). We continued to walk and when we reached the top, we arrived at this chapel - frail looking chapel but still a chapel from the outside. It was not advisable to get it as there might be falling debris. The view beyond the hill was fantastic and on the other side, you can see the village. It felt so great being on top. We did not stop there, as we were still starting our journey :) There were another mile of walk going to next mountain. It was another combo of some descends and ascends. Then we arrived at a roadside and Brian asked us if we wanted to follow on the road or go to a challenging trek, translated to mountain climb minus the gears. I said I was game for the challenge and my right hand shoot into the air :) Then everyone followed suit. Hehehehehe ;) And Brian was not joking as the trek proved really challenging. I went to Europe for a mountain trek which was funny because, Cebu is mountainous too and I have never tried to do some mountaineering, ironic! Well, well, well, we reached the top and the view was amazing. It was well worth it! Cam whoring was the labor of the day! It is actually a bit dangerous because we were a few meters from the mountain's edge so one false move and you'll be meeting St. Peter. After the trek, we started to descend and mind you it was challenging as there were dried leaves all over the place and that it proved slippery, so we had to be very careful. After that grueling descend, we were taking a flatter track going to another mountain edge. Along the way, people were just laughing boisterously and sometimes we would be singing :) Typical Filipino or should I say Cebuano! After another say 30 minutes of walking, we reached the mountain edge where there's a falls. Really nice and the place it breathtaking though the place is a bit hot already as it was around 11AM. We rested at the edge. We talked, laughed and sing some children's rhymes which was a bit silly. After that nice rest, we continued our journey and this time we were heading back to the village. Halfway to the village, we drank at this cold mountain spring which was really refreshing :) It was another 30 minutes of hike before we reached the village.

We had our lunch at the village. To feel and experience the Catalan culture, we tried deep fried rabbit matched with red wine and drank the wine the Catalan way. I honestly did not like the rabbit meat because of the strong smell but nevertheless I was full =)) Should I say I was a bit tipsy too :P

All for the good Barcelona trekking at the Pyrenees plus the breakfast and luch, billed each of us around 50 euros. And we gave Brian a tip of 30 euros.

After the trek, we asked Brian where to see some nice shops and so we alighted at the post office and head to the Las Ramblas. And there the shops were like mushrooms and all over the corners and there was a huge crowd. There was no recession or some sort of financial turmoil in that area. Everyone was like busy shopping :) As for me, I bought a pair of H&M high cut shoes. Some of my friends also shopped and bought personal stuffs. It was a long walk and I was still full from the lunch I had and I really did not feel hungry :) We continued roaming the shopping district of Barcelona until night time. We were walking and walking until the girls decided to go to the mall to buy some night snacks and breakfast. As I have mentioned, I was really full and so I did not buy food or anything. Peter actually went ahead after shopping so while the girls were buying at the grocery, I was busy doing my thing at the loo and then checked some stuff at the personal care section. After the girls paid their purchases, we decided to call it a night and so went back to our hostel.

And Oh, the place we went to was called Rupit ;)

To be continued ....