All posts filed under: Europe

My Roman Holiday

The first time I have truly seen, and enjoyed seeing Rome was through the eyes of Audrey Hepburn in the aptly titled movie. So, forgive me for choosing to use the same overused and abused movie title for this blog entry. More often than not, pure sentiment and nostalgia transcend the will to strive for originality. Meanwhile, as seen through my eyes, in October of 2012, Rome was absolutely unforgettable. You find beauty in just about everywhere and anywhere you cast your eyes on. The usual touristy sites are well worth the visit but you will have to be patient. I remember walking a long way, and queuing all morning to get inside The Colosseum. But the grumpiness just evaporated upon entering the ancient structure, and was easily replaced by a feeling of awe and child-like wonder. In Rome, there are no dull corners. I fell in-love with the big, bold and beautiful baroque sculptures that litter the tiniest piazzas and unassuming corners. They all look like they’re going to come into life any moment. …

Salvador Dali’s Cadaqués and Figueres, Spain

Some of the very first places I’ve visited while I was living in France were Cadaqués and Figueres (Catalan word for “fig trees”). These places piqued my interest because of my fascination with Salvador Dali. In the beautiful Spanish region of Catalonia sits Salvador Dali’s home province of Girona where you will find these towns that have kept treasured memorabilia and masterpieces of the artist. Luckily, it was only three hours’ drive from Toulouse. Our first stop was Cadaqués. On the way there, we had to go around this hilly area covered with endless rows of olive tree plantations with the backdrop of the gorgeous Mediterranean sea. It was so beautiful! I had never seen anything quite like it. I have so much respect for olive trees, being difficult to cultivate and how they can withstand the test of time. It’s one of the many things in the Mediterannean countries that I love so much. Along the stretch of Cadaques‘ coast, you will find Salvador Dali‘s house at Portlligat, which has actually been turned into a museum. It looked very …

London, Bath, Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral

The London Experience was definitely a first of many firsts in my traveling history. Among these firsts was the first time ever for me to step in Europe. Everything around me was such a visual treat! That’s why I decided the best way for me to show you around London and a bit of its countryside is by way of my humble pictures. Scroll down for the London of Summer 2008… Some of the special things that I’ve enjoyed and might not have been so apparent in the pics: the friendly Filipino strangers at the airport, the very nice cabbie who didn’t take the fare because he took the wrong route on the way to the hotel, the people in the streets mistaking me for a teenager (I was 29 years old) but nobody bothered to ask for my ID in the pubs, how it was raining a little bit every day, the fresh flowers everywhere, the lovely parks, the museum with the Seurat painting, all the ten pubs that I’ve visited to make me appreciate …

Rocamadour, France

During the time I was living in France, I had some time to explore the interesting places around the region of the Pyrénées. This is the gorgeous ice-capped mountain range that I could see clearly during the autumn months from the lovely balcony of our apartment in Toulouse. It separates the south of France from the north-east of Spain, which is what is known as Catalunya. I was living with my husband and newborn daughter in the capital of the region of Midi-Pyrénées, which is the old city of Toulouse, also known as La ville rose. This appellation came from the rich red color of the bricks of most houses in this beautiful city, full of history and culture and great food, with very warm and friendly people. Recently, though, they are renaming and combining certain regions around the Pyrénées. These combined regions are now known as Occitanie. In this region, you will find Rocamadour, an ancient village nestled in a gorge above the Dordogne river, with houses precariously jutting right out of the rocks and cliffs. Pilgrims are quite numerous …

Iceland – the Land of Fire and Ice

To date, I would say that Iceland is the best place I have ever visited in all my traveling life. From that moment in the plane where we were greeted with the fiercest, most fiery sunset at midnight, I knew instantly that I would be treated to some of the most magnificent, out-of-this-world landscapes that I will ever see in my life. We went from Reykjavik to Jokulsarlon in the East to Borgarnes in the West to Akureyri in the North and then finally back to Reykjavik on self-drive (without GPS). I have to admit that all the places of interest are a little bit too far away from each other. But getting to your destinations is definitely not boring because of the variety of landscapes that Iceland has to offer. We saw countless waterfalls, drove by the coast, up and around hills, hiked on mini-craters on a huge lake, soaked in a hot spring and felt very welcomed by the friendly locals. On our last full day in Reykjavik, my Icelandic friend gave us …

Old Town and Around Praha

So many people have been telling me how beautiful Prague is, and how it is a must-visit place when you are in Europe. As for me, I have always been interested to visit the place because of its historical connection to Jose Rizal, my country’s beloved national hero. But of course, Praha has so much more to offer. True enough, it was really a fascinating place with interesting culture and history. But like most beautiful places, it was a bit too touristy. To go to Charles Bridge and have a nice picture without being stampeded on by the crowd, I had to wake up at 6AM. Good thing our hotel was conveniently a 5-minute walk from there. Prague is a city that is good for walking. I guess this is why they have a lot of interesting walking tours that you can avail of. We walked around the Prague Castle at sunset with a guy doing small group tours. They call themselves The Naked Tour Guide. It was interesting to know about the history of …

Jose Rizal Travels: Litoměřice

For those who do not know, Jose Rizal is one of the most important historical figures in the country where I was born (The Philippines). I have started to become a great fan of his life back in my university days when we had this subject, Rizal’s Life and Works. He led a very interesting and illustrious life during the latter part of the Spanish Occupation (1565 – 1898). He was a medical doctor, an artist (he made sculptures), a writer (his works ignited the revolution against Spain), spoke several languages (Filipino, Spanish, French, German, probably even Czech) and was an indefatigable traveller. When I was living in France back in 2011, I started a project and decided to visit all the places that Jose Rizal visited. I have been to Madrid, Paris and Biarritz. To continue this tradition this year, I decided to visit the small town of Litoměřice, an hours’ drive outside of Prague. This is where Jose Rizal lived in the 1880’s.   Litoměřice is a very small town. Most of the sites …