All posts tagged: ancientarchitecture

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. …

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 …

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 …

Pays Basque, France

I am currently in Europe right now for our family’s annual three-week summer holiday. On our first week here in France, we visited the Basque Region on the French side — St. Jean de Luz and Biarritz for some good promenade by the sea, food and shopping. It was a perfect sunny, beachy weather. It was my second time in St. Jean de Luz. The first time I was here was during my first trip to France in 2010. I was having one of my tantrums the first time I visited this place. All I remember was having a terrible paella and forgetting to take pictures. Fortunately, our second visit was the complete opposite. We even had a chance to dine at a one-Michelin starred restaurant called, Kaiku. It was a very good meal and a very pleasant experience dining in this restaurant. And also very reasonably priced for the quality. I  most especially loved the paella-inspired main dish. After lunching and doing some shopping in St. Jean de Luz, we decided to visit Biarritz. …

The Great Wall at Jinshaling

The Great Wall of China had always been in my list of must-visit places. I can still vividly recall the first time I read about it in our high school text book. I was in complete awe reading about its history, how it was built spanning dynasties and centuries. When the opportunity to visit Beijing came along, the first thing I did was research on which part of the Great Wall is the least crowded of all. I quickly discovered this tour called China Highlights, which organizes a small group of 5 people for a three-hour trek along the wall. Although they advertise this on their web site as a trek from Simatai to Jinshaling, we actually trekked from Jinshaling to Shalingkou instead. But it was still a great walk. Jinshaling, is actually located in the town of Chengde, which is a couple of hours’ bus ride from Beijing. I chose this portion of the wall not only because it is a lot less crowded but also because these portions are authentic and unrestored, unlike the ones …

A Taste of Tuscany, Part 3: San Gimignano and Siena

One of the things that I totally fell in-love with in Tuscany are the gigantic sunflowers along the road. From Lucca to San Gimignano, hubby and I decided to take the more scenic road, suggested by the Lolo owner of the hotel in Lucca. And indeed, we passed by a lot of sunflower fields. We couldn’t help but stop by one of them and take some pictures. San Gimignano is a fortified city at the top of a hill. From down below, it looked so quiet and peaceful and desolate. But upon climbing the hill and getting past the walls, I was surprised to find that it was quite touristy. It was a bit of a steep climb, though. But the view from below is very picturesque. We had to stop several times on the way, to take some pictures of the surrounding hills. From outside the wall, you wouldn’t have guessed that it would be a bustling city, filled with tourists inside. In fact, there were plenty of shops selling wine, olive oil, crockery, cheese and …