Archive for April, 2012

Practical Tips for Paris

I found the people in Paris to be kind and helpful. Though when I got back to London and told friends about my positive experience, some replied back to me, “Are you sure you went to France?!” lol Maybe it helps to look friendly and to actually make an effort to say some words in French eventhough you’re no good at it. I know I’m terrible T_T Locals still appreciated it!

Champs-Elysses Boulevard

For starters, a few French words:

Bonjour= good day
Bon soir= good afternoon/evening
Bonne nuit= good night
Au revoir = good bye
Merci= thanks
Oui = yes
Non = no
Sortie = exit (the most common sign you’ll see)
Poulet=chicken
Jambon=ham (gotta have something food related! :D)

Playing with Le Tour Eiffel ;)

The cheapest key chains, 3pieces for 1euro, can be bought from the guys selling them at the metro station when you get off at ‘Tour Eiffel.’

For a taste of good French food! :D

=)

A nice place to dine at is Bergamote. I told a friend I wanted to eat good French food within a reasonable budget so he searched for one and came up with this. It’s off the main road and the place is packed during meal times. A meal (starter+main OR main+dessert) costs around 15euros. The first time I dined there, I ordered some chicken and it was soooo good! The second time, I ordered beef. I guess for a change, mine was medium rare. When it came back to me, it was cooked on the outside but raw on the inside (as I should have expected) but I found out then that I’m really not a fan of raw foods! lol So we asked them if it’s possible to recook it (well done this time around) to which they agreed. hehe Whew!

When at St. Michel, try not to eat at the ‘main street’ where there are rows upon rows of Greek food/ cafes/ etc. according to friends, food there sucks. Disclaimer: I was just repeating what I was told by several French friends! haha

10 days passed by with me not eating any rice, amazing! I was munching on these French breads! :D

For bread (croissants, pan au chocolat, eclairs etc) buy in a boulangerie (bakery) coz that’s what they’re best at, delicious and cheap! Buy cheese in a fromagerie and meat in a boucherie.

With my Paris travel buddy, Kris :)

For travels within the city, it’s mostly done either by taking the bus or the train.  It’s cheaper to buy the 10ticket pass than to get an all day pass nor when buying them one at a time. 1train tix=1.7 euro; 10tix=12+ish. Unfortunately, they don’t have a pamphlet of their train system but signs abound so just check every now and then. Also, there is a downloadable mobile app of the map but I found that I could only use it if I have wifi/3G which wasn’t often as data roaming is expensive for me. :(

Probably what I wasn’t expecting was that since in London, it’s normal to let passengers out of the train before going inside, I found it disappointing that you’re on way out and people would push you back in in their hurry to get in. -_- Also, some trains won’t automatically open their doors. There is a knob there that you have to push upward so that the doors would open up.

Inside the Louvre one busy, sunny morning :)

Entrance to Musee de Louvre is free every first Sunday of the month! Same goes for the Palace of Versailles (November-March)! Entrance to its garden is always free though opening hours may vary according to the season. :)

Have fun!!!!

Related posts:

DIY: Schengen Visa Application

Getting around in Europe
Paris Must See(s)
Inside: Louvre Museum
Le French Riviera

Getting around in Europe :)

I know I wanna travel all over Europe but I was clueless as to how to go about booking my trips. I’ve asked friends, read websites and based from my experience, it’s quite easy. As easy as booking crazy cheap fares within the Philippines! :D

Travelling within the UK:

There are various modes of transportation within the country. You can either travel by plane, bus or coach which is almost the same, I can’t differentiate one from the other -_-; or train. Buses are the cheapest mode of transportation but it’s where you’ll spend the most hours on the road. Trains are way more convenient but pricier. Planes on the other hand are affordable but the airport/s are outside of London.

Megabus is a popular choice for bus travel because they’re very cheap! And with cheap, something like £1 to go to Oxford or £8 to go to Paris! Because it’s very affordable, many tend to choose this one. I would have to say that their buses aren’t the most comfy but at least you saved some money. National Express coaches on the other hand are almost double the price of Megabus (their one-way trip for Amsterdam can cost £20) but definitely a more comfortable choice. The seats can be reclined unlike the former and you can charge your gadgets which is a big plus for people with an iPhone whose battery life totally sucks! haha :) But I recently took a National Express coach to go to Cambridge and I didn’t find any plug for chargers. Maybe they only them have on selected buses?

I am yet to travel by train within UK. Though options include National Rail, Virgin, Southwest, East Midlands and The Train Line amongst others.

Traveling within Europe:

Visiting other European countries is easy as well once you have the appropriate papers (ie. Schengen visa).  You can do it by bus, train, plane, ferry, your own car, even hitch hike if you want to. I’ve had guests who got to London via hitchhiking.

Aboard the Eurostar enroute to Paris! :D

For my first Eurotrip, I went to Paris via Eurostar. I got it for£84 return trip which according to people I know here is very cheap. I checked the prices there and it’s normally around £100+ so I guess it’s better to book in advance and it also help to travel on weekdays rather than weekends, way cheaper fares! There are several train lines to choose from when you are crossing borders within mainland Europe: TGV, Thalys; and much more if you’re traveling within a European country (ie. Italy’s Tren Italia).

Note: If traveling within mainland Europe, it’s perfectly alright to get to your train at least 10minutes before it departs because they would only check your ticket. But please arrive earlier if you’re traveling between UK and  any other European country. They have border control. I totally forgot this and got to the train station at almost the time of departure that’s why I had to miss my train back to London! T_T Disaster was avoided when they allowed me to board the next train at no extra charge. hehehe (And there I was hoping that I could stay longer in Paris! Oh well! lol)

In Brussel’s Central Station :)

Flying is cheap IF you’re going with low cost carries such as Easy Jet and Ryan Air. A one way ticket between Venice and London cost me £30. There are cheaper flights to other countries. Just be patient in looking for those cheap fares and besides, they always have promos. ;) But just with what I’ve said from the start of this post, these airlines tend to operate in airports outside of London so you have to take into consideration that you’ll travel another hour to get to them (Luton, Gatwick or Stansted) and that you’ll need to buy a bus or train ticket to get there.

On the other hand, if you really wanna travel cheap, go to mainland Europe by bus. I paid £10 (one way) for a Megabus ticket between London and Amsterdam. It entails having to sit for 10hours straight though but I guess it won’t be so bad since I’ll be with other couchsurfers! Eurolines also have cheap fares. ;)

There! Hope that helps you out in deciding on how to travel within this part of the world! ;)

Bon voyage!

ps: If you’ll notice, I’ve already bought many tickets to many countries here. Old habits die hard I guess. hehe

Related posts:

DIY: Schengen Visa Application

Practical tips for Paris
Paris Must See(s)
Inside: Louvre Museum
Le French Riviera

Koninginnedag in Amsterdam

Londres! Londra! London!

Bella Italia!
Rome, the Eternal City!
Rome: Must See(s)
Amalfi Coast
Inside: Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square

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