Must See Travel Movies

I am currently on a travel hiatus. The last trip I’ve been to was almost *gasp* 2 months ago! Don’t get me wrong. I know that it wasn’t that far ago but for someone who’s as passionate and as crazy about travels as I am, I hope you’ll understand what it feels like to be on the road almost every other weekend and then to find yourself at home on consecutive weeks…  hehe (enough ranting!) It is a self-imposed hiatus though as I am saving up for my first trip back home (Manila, here I come!) after almost a year and a half of living on the (almost on the) other side of the world – London! It would be a 5 week holiday in Asia and I’ll be visiting 4 countries at that – I can’t wait!

To proactively make this self-imposed hiatus more bearable for me, I just busy myself with planning for my upcoming trips and if there’s actually an urge to go someplace – as friends keep posting status updates of where they’ve just been or because of friends uploading pictures of their recent trips overseas, then I go online to watch movies that’d make me feel like I’m actually out there: English language movies set in various locations around the world or foreign language films with English subtitles which is weird in a sense as I do this to satiate my wanderlust but then the movies that I have on my list might make you want to go out there and see those places yourselves!

Here are some of my favourites and hope you enjoy watching them too – please, please leave suggestions at the end of this post! I’d appreciate them a lot! Plus I’m running out of “travel movies” to watch! haha

Amelie

Amelie

This is one of my cousin’s favourite film. I’m happy that I’ve seen it only AFTER I have been to France. At least I didn’t go around the city going, this place was shot in the movie etc etc. Instead, while watching the movie, I found myself happily excited to see the places that I’ve seen and been to included in the movie and I got to say – I’ve been there! haha

PS  I Love You

PS I Love You

It had been quite a while but I do remember crying my eyes out while watching this flick while at the same time wanting to book myself a plane ticket to Ireland. Holly, deeply inlove and married found her self widowed after her husband died of a brain tumour. Devastated, she travelled to Ireland. The weird thing about it though is that she kept getting letters from her deceased husband. AT least, it’s helping her move on. :)

Eat, Pray, Love

Eat Pray Love

Italy. India. Indonesia. Midlife crisis indeed, after getting a divorce and you just feel so empty, what do you do then? Go and find pleasure in Rome. Then head to India to reconnect with your spirit. And afterwards, fly to Bali to regain your balance. Unfortunately, not everyone can do that come to think of it, everything is possible if you really want to make things happen.

The Bucket List

The Bucket List

We all have a bucket list, what’s yours? Now then, imagine yourself having enough money that doing them isn’t a question of possibility anymore. That’d be amazing, right? Only catch is that you might not have enough time as is the case for the lead characters in this movie.

The Holiday

The Holiday

It kinda reminded me of Couchsurfing only in this movie, you don’t host or stay with a total stranger… instead, you exchange houses -one is living in LA while the other is in England.

Under The Tuscan Sun

Under the Tuscan SunIt seems like some people only hit the road after something tragic happens to them then it’s like they’re catapulted into the world of the unknown and since there’s nothing more to risk, they then decide to take the plunge and travel! Anyways, this movie follows Frances, a divorcee, who while on a gay tour of Italy bought a rundown villa on impulse! It was amazing to see her travel all the way down to Positano which in my opinion is one of Italy’s most beautiful places!

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

I’ve only been to China once but it;’s such a huge and beautiful country that there are countless more places there that I want to go to! This action movie was set in the late 1700s and aside from the amazing martial arts and very good story, it also shows the beauty of this country.

Mamma Mia

Mamma Mia

Greece and ABBA. For me, a very good combination! :D  Based on the West End musical of the same title, the movie  is about Donna’s daughter, Sophie, who is about to get married but wants a father to give her away. The thing is, there are 3 possible dads and her mom’s not so sure who her father really is! hehe

Outsourced

Outsourced

I haven’t been to India. Some travellers like to say that there’s India and then there’s the rest of the world. It’s a HUGE country – a subcontinent at that – with tons of people with a long history and very lively culture. It can get pretty overwhelming which is what happened to the lead in this movie. His entire department is outsourced to India as it’s cheaper to do business from there and he’s sent there to train the guy taking over from him. Alone in a place halfway around the world, he fumbled his way around until he learned to accept and embrace the culture he’s in.

The Way

The Way

I saw a friend change his facebook status to something like this: I want to go to Spain after seeing the movie The Way. So curious me Googled what the movie was all about and watched it that same night! Yes, it made me want to go to Spain too to do a pilgrimage at the Camino de Santiago! The Way is about the story of a father who flew to Spain to collect the body of his son who died during a storm while walking the pilgrim route in Galicia, Spain.

The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Greece. America. Mexico…The travelling pants indeed made some serious travelling that summer as it was sent by four friends to one another so that they’ll stay connected. :)

The Beach

The Beach

Probably the quintessential travel movie that makes people want to go out there! A young Western guy heads off to backpack in Thailand. The allure of finding a small piece of paradise in this world that you can have all to yourself, who wouldn’t want that? But then it goes to show that nothing in this world is really perfect, even in a beach paradise. Leonardo di Caprio. Pristine beaches. Warm weather. Palm trees. *sigh* :)

Into The Wild

Into-the-wild
Is a movie based on the real life story of Christopher McCandless. After graduating from university, he decided to cut ties with society and to just be out there – his ultimate goal of the “Great Alaskan Dream” and to rough it out “into the wild.” He even changed his name to Alexander Supertramp, a fitting one I must say to a journey he decided to embark on. It was pretty extreme for me but it came recommended by most of the guys that I’ve asked about which movies made them want to go out there. :)

Benvenuti Al Sud

Benvenuti Al Sud
In the movie, a postal manager from the north – of Italy – was punished for faking his application for a better office by sending him down south instead. The movie showed how those from the north – stylish, cultured people – were stereotyping people from the south and why that shouldn’t be the case. I was travelling in Napoli with a Polish friend and we were being hosted by a Greek guy along with another American when we watched this movie upon our host’s suggestion on our first night there. He thought it’s a good introductory movie since we were in the south. Sitting around a personal computer with bowls of popcorn on our laps, we couldn’t stop laughing and I couldn’t help but be amazed at the beauty of the places featured and I was just happy to be in the area! Unfortunately, Castellabate, the place where the movie was shot was out of our way. Would definitely want to come back and see it next time!

3 Idiots

Three idiotsI have a friend who is crazy about movies (Hi Micher!!!). I asked him one day what he’d recommend for me, 3 Idiots was in his top 3 choices. It’s a Bollywood movie so do expect them to break out into a song and dance number every now and then but despite that hehehe I ended up really liking it! The movie centers around 3 guys with different backgrounds as they pursue an engineering degree. It gives an insight as to how the people in India are very competitive and how important education is for them. The movie brought tears to my eyes – but then I cry easily, okay, enough with the excuses – but the scenery here is just amazingly beautiful! India is definitely in my list of places to visit!

A Map For Saturday

A Map for Saturday

When I was still in Manila, my travel blogger friends were raving about this movie! I don’t know why I didn’t just watched it online but was instead waiting for one of them to give me a copy. D’oh! That is the only reason I could give as to how I only got to watch it this week. I know that this is a list of movies but I guess this one still counts as it’s about being out on the road. An American TV producer quit his job to backpack around the world for a year. And while he’s at it, made a video to document his trip and this was what he came up with. I have to say I do agree to many of his sentiments especially when he said that it’s not about the place anymore but the people you met along the way that makes it memorable – or something to that effect. Probably not relevant but I got to say  that I haven’t really stayed in a hostel before -I have tried, but I had my own room so it kinda doesn’t count- it was the locals (and yes, other travellers too) that I’ve met which made places come alive for me!

Related Posts:
Where Have You Been in 2013?
Travel Wish List for 2013
2012: Exploring Europe
Songs and Travels. My Travel Playlist!

Inside: Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square

This week, a pontiff -the head of the Catholic Church- retired from his post. A first in more than 600 years! The Holy Father is currently in the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. He bid the faithfuls goodbye last February 28, 2013. It is said that it could be his last public appearance and would then lead a life of study and prayers in seclusion.

This blog post I guess is in response to such a historical event. I’m fortunate enough to have seen Pope Benedict XVI when he celebrated the canonization mass of 7 blessed person, one of which is a Filipino – Pedro Calungsod – last October 21, 2012. I flew to Rome from London just for that celebration along with thousands of Filipinos.

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The sun hasn’t even risen yet and the place is already teeming with people eager to attend the canonization mass!

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As was pointed out to me by locals in the area, the Pontiff is now awake! hehe The room with the lights on is (was) his room.

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Filipinos from all over the world came for such a joyous occasion! Some of whom we’ve talked to were living in Rome, some flew from Canada, many from the rest of Europe and of course, the Philippines!

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The cardinals

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As much as we wanted to cheer for our fellow Filipino, it was requested that everyone observe the sanctity of the celebration. Cheers were allowed after the mass.

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The square was packed! We were informed that we’d be needing a ticket to secure our seats. Oh no! I didn’t knew that! But everyone was just so kind -we were offered tickets for free, flags to wave etc!

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Pope Benedict XVI up close! :D

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It was my fourth visit to the eternal city of Roma. On my first visit, I tried to see as much of the Vatican as I could. To visit St. Peter’s Basilica is free. One only has to be mindful of one’s clothing, no bare shoulder and no shorts/ skirts above the knee. There is a (seriously) long queue for security purposes but the line is quick! Entrance to the Basilica is free.

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THE queue.

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St. Peter

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Taking pictures is allowed as well. It’s just with the clothing that they are very particular about.

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The tomb of the late Pontiff, John Paul II

People I’ve met kept recommending that I go up the cupola as one can see the whole of the Vatican from there. Do take note that once you’ve decided to go up, there literally is no turning back as the passage goes one way and many people are heading up. The view from above is really nice though!

rome

Reminders!

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Looking down the Basilica from high up!

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Time to head up the cupola :D

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It was a bit of a squeeze.

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St. Peter’s Square as seen from the top of the Basilica

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Related Posts:
DIY: Schengen Visa Application
Getting Around in Europe
Bella Italia
Rome, the Eternal City!
Rome: Must See(s)
Amalfi Coast

Morocco in Pictures

For my first travel for the year 2013, I was able to visit my 3rd continent, AFRICA! Woohoo!

And to where did I go? Morocco!

I booked a flight here thinking that I’ll be needing a quick escape from London’s winter and because I’d love to eat more Moroccan dishes! hehehe I was able to buy a discount voucher online that allowed me to scoop up bargain steals for accommodations there. So I invited (girl) friends to tag along with me. It was a trip that was full of laughter, endless stories, yummy foods and memorable time! :D

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The seven of us playing with our shadows! :D

Marrakech International Airport

Day 1. I love this intricate architecture of Marrakech-Menara Airport. It’s so beautiful!

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Day 1. Things we needed for this travel: Money. Smartphones. Travel guide – although Morocco is part of Africa, it’s also included in LP’s Europe on a shoestring guide. Shades. And ah.. uhm.. cigarettes for others -_-

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Day 1. A local hauling woods onto the back of his cart

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Day 1. First meal in Marrakech: tagines – a method of cooking dishes in a clay pot – and pizzas!

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Day 1. Walking around sunny Morocco is such a refreshing change coming from snowy UK!

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Day 1. One of the many alleys inside the medina (old city). This one in particular reminds me of the “Where The Hell Is Matt?” video!

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Day 2. One of our must do here was to ride a camel. My companions were scared to ride the camels. It was too funny we even took a video of them! Another must do is to visit the Sahara but that would require an overnight stay in the desert which would have been perfect were it not for the lack of time. *sigh*

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Day 2. They started enjoying our ride once we got going. :)

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Day 2. Lambs sent out to graze by their shepherds.

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Day 2. Enroute to Ourika Valley, I would just be mesmerized by the view in front of us that I repeatedly asked our driver to pull over so I could take pictures such as this!

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Day 2. Moroccan ladies making argan oil the traditional way.

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Day 2. Again, we had to stop because it’s just too beautiful not to admire! haha

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Day 2. JUMP!!! -thanks for the picture Anne!

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Day 2. An elderly lady leading her lambs up into the mountains

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Day 2. I was disappointed when I saw the small waterfall pictured in the background coz I know that our destination is the waterfalls and this one is too small. Turns out, we were just halfway there! Whew!

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Day 2. Distracted with the unfamiliar terrain and busy making sure I don’t fall on our way up, I didn’t notice that we were really high up in the mountains already! I loved it!

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Day 2. Our guide asked me whether I wanted to take the same route back or whether we’d be willing to climb more but the first part would be a “bit more difficult” but easy thereafter -our guide’s words, not mine. Of course I chose the latter as it pleases me to keep trying new things. I was happy with my choice because despite the fact that it wasn’t really easier, the view more than made up for it!

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Day 3. Back on the road again! This time, we’re headed west to visit Essaouira, the coast!

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Day 3. I was informed that this is a forest. And I thought to myself, if this is a forest, what would they say to our forest back in the Philippines? hehehe

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Day 3. Essaouira is also known for their craftwork. I bought a beautiful box that they call “magic box” since one can’t open it unless shown how to. :D

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Day 3. It’s pretty cool how we were up in the mountains the day before and by the beach the next! Lots of kids were practicing football when we got there. :)

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Day 3. Would have wanted to swim but forgot my swimwear -and I’m guessing the water would be quite cold seeing as it’s winter time. hehe

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Day 3. Having a relaxing day for a change.

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Day 3. Our friend, Ava, had her birthday that day and the thoughtful people in our accommodation, Riad Zayane Atlas, made note of it when they served us delicious dinner that night!

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Day 4. Time for some pampering. We booked ourselves some traditional Moroccan scrub – hammam, and the others went on to have massage. I’ll definitely have another hammam if given the chance!

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Day 4. Checking out Moroccan goods and souvenirs.

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Day 4. The Djemaa El-Fna at dusk is starting to come alive!

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Day 4. Everywhere in the medina is full of hustle and bustle. It’s so alive! I love it! Just remember to be careful of pickpockets and some would try to make you pay for huge amount. Enjoy yourself but always be vigilant.

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Day 4. Marrakech’s medina

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Day 4. Savouring my last afternoon in sunny Morocco!

Africa is beautiful in its own rugged way. Anyone up for cheap Egypt holidays? :D

Related Posts:
Travel Wish List for 2013!

Not Your Typical Romantic City: London!

When people think of romantic European cities, those in countries such as France and Italy immediately jump to mind! Even Belgium’s Brugge and Czech Republic’s Prague are popular choices too. I’ll have to say that London is IT for me! For real! :D

St. James Park

St. James Park

Being in a city as vibrant as London, you’re never at a loss for choices. From a chill date to one that would have you going from one end of the city to the other to having a romantic, activity-filled or a geeky date, I say, London can cater to it all! You just have to know what you want. :)

A wonderful day would include some of these:

Colourful Notting Hill

Colourful Notting Hill

Going to one of the city’s numerous markets, one of which is in Notting Hill’s Portobello Road. The colourful houses make for such a nice backdrop to an area teeming with stalls that sell everything from cheeses to olives to pheasants and freshly baked breads; to antiquities and oddities and clothes and loads more! I love food and starting the day with a happy tummy goes a long way to buoying up my mood. ;)

Seeing the panoramic view of London from Greenwich Observatory either at daytime or night time. They both have their own charm!

London skyline by day

London skyline by day

London skyline as seen from Greenwich

London skyline by night

Music could help set up a romantic atmosphere. Whether be it watching a musical – Mamma Mia and Wicked (The Phantom of the Opera as well as Les Mis are both amazing but not exactly the mood we’re going for after all!)- or by listening to one of the many street performers play instruments and/or sing.

Watching Mamma Mia

Watching Mamma Mia

Somehow, one thing that I truly enjoy doing in this city is walking along the River Thames at night. I’d suggest starting from St. Katherine’s docks (Tower Bridge Station) where you could have dinner with your special someone while enjoying the view of  the many  varied yachts parked there. No rush, there’s no need to hurry. When you’re ready… head towards the riverside, walk by the Tower Bridge then cross over to the South Bank of the river from here. There would be a pedestrian lane that you could follow once there plus it’s more picturesque. The walk would take you past Shakespeare’s Globe and the Tate Modern Museum which is just near it. From Tate, I would suggest to cross the Millennium Bridge back to the other side of the river, well, you do have the option to continue walking along the South Bank. I say that the view of St. Paul’s Cathedral from the end of this bridge is just amazing and at night, the fact that there are hardly any tourist so you basically have the place for yourselves make it special.

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The pedestrian only Millennium Bridge by day

Millennium Bridge at night

Millennium Bridge at night

Most European cities are built around a river. It’s where life revolved around on. That’s why you’d see the most historical buildings and district along the riverbanks. One nice way of appreciating the city is to go on a river cruise. Having a romantic dinner while aboard one of those cruising boats sounds very inviting, isn’t it? :)

Beautiful Parliament Building and Big Ben

Beautiful Parliament Building and Big Ben

If you’re with somebody special, I don’t think what you two are doing nor where you both are would be such a big deal since being in each other’s company is all there is to it to be happy and content. Then again, exploring new places, trying out new things, and having memorable experiences together would make it all the more worth it romantic. :)

This is my entry to the February 2013 Carnival of Europe hosted by Aleah Taboclaon of Solitary Wanderer with the theme “Most Romantic Places in Europe.”

Travel Wish List for 2013!

I’m bitten by the travel bug again! I feel so restless, there’s this need to wander!  To sort of placate myself, I’m writing a list of places I want to go to for this year. If you’d like to join me in any of the trip listed below, just send me a message or leave a comment. I’d welcome the company! :D

Morocco Marrakech

Medina alleyway. Photo by Sarah Reid

Medina alleyway. Photo by Sarah Reid

Flying here tomorrow! Woot! Booked a short trip here last year just to escape even for a few days London’s winter. And amazingly, it snowed the day before our flight! Looking forward to eating Moroccan foods, riding a camel and visiting the Sahara desert amongst others.  :D

PHILIPPINES Manila, Cavite, Boracay, Cebu, Bohol and Palawan

El Nido's lovely islands

El Nido’s lovely islands

After more than a year, I’m coming back home for a vacation and I’m soooo excited about it that I think I’ll be able to keep myself travel free until after this trip. I am saving money for this one! haha

Hong Kong & Macau

HK's skyline early in the morning

HK’s skyline early in the morning

Sunny Macau!

Sunny Macau!

I’d like to take the whole family for a trip out of the country. My dad and brother haven’t been out of the country before. So does that mean I got my wanderlust from my mom? hahaha She’d totally deny it!

Singapore

A must when in Singapore: eat out with friends!!!

A must when in Singapore: eat out with friends!!!

Enroute back to London, why not drop by this small but cool city and meet up with the many friends I have from the Philippines now living here and get together again with the locals I met here on my first solo trip out of the country! The fact that they have an amazing food culture is a plus too! :)

Malaysia

Petronas from Google

KL’s Petronas Tower

I am yet to visit this neighbouring country of Singapore so I’d like to see the Petronas towers and  visit the UNESCO Heritage Site town that is Malacca and do other sidetrips as well. :)

Germany Berlin and Munich

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

I’ve been to so many European countries last year and yet, I haven’t been here. Hmm… Maybe because I was too often in Italy? hehe From partying to trying out ice skating to visiting their Christmas markets and seeing.. ah.. uhmm.. Disney’s castle! lol Well, they say that’s the castle that Walt Disney got the inspiration from! ;)

Greece  Athens and Santorini

Santorini's white washed villas. Photo by Mr. R. Decena

Santorini’s white washed villas. Photo by Mr. R. Decena

I love history. Ergo, Athens. Do I need to give a reason as to why I even want to go to Santorini??? ;)

Slovakia Bratislava

Bratislava at night

Bratislava at night

Just because I wanna go somewhere new! I’ll know more about the place as days pass by.

Hungary Budapest

Chain Bridge

Chain Bridge

They say it’s one of, if not THE nicest city in Eastern Europe.

Poland Krakow

Krakow

Krakow

To visit my friend Ania! Woot! And it’s cooler here than Warsaw as I was told. *cough* haha

Iceland

To see an aurora borealis would be a dream come true!♥

To see an aurora borealis would be a dream come true!♥

Aurora borealis!!!!♥♥♥

The list is very much open to suggestions and can be subject to change! :D

blogcarnival

This is my entry to Pinoy Travel Blogger’s Blog Carnival for  January 2013  hosted by Roj Braga of The Adventures of AdventuRoj! with the theme “New Beginnings.”

Related Posts:
Where Have You Been in 2013?
2012: Exploring Europe
Must See Travel Movies
Songs and Travels. My Travel Playlist!
Morocco in Pictures
DIY: Schengen Visa Application
Getting around in Europe

Songs and Travels. My Travel Playlist!

Every now and then, some friends would be asking what kind of music I listen to when I’m on the road. I love almost all kind of music but mostly…

I love songs that just plain exude positive vibes
Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield is a definite favourite of mine!
or those that could wake you up when you’re feeling sleepy,
Jay Sean’s 2012 is sure to get me up and about!
or calm you down when you’re anxious.
The beach comes to mind whenever I hear All Saint’s Pure Shores

Songs sang in a different language especially if it’s the place I plan to go to
Garry Schyman’s Praan

or songs that remind me of places I’ve been to
Paris comes to mind whenever I hear La Vie En Rose by Louis Armstrong!
plus songs that reminds me of home! Manila! *sigh*
Manila by Amber

I also always listen to songs that somehow makes me feel part of a bigger world. ;)
U2’s Beautiful Day

And I enjoy watching videos that makes me want to go out there and experience what this world has to offer!

Happy new year and more travels everyone!!!♥

Related Posts:
Must See Travel Movies
Where Have You Been in 2013?
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2012: Exploring Europe

2012: Exploring Europe

2012 is coming to an end. Many were even saying that the world is literally going to end but December 21 had gone and passed us by with the world still intact *whew* and here’s another end-of-the-year post to celebrate the year that was!

November 2011. The most amazing gift that I’ve received was the fact that I was finally able to relocate to UK, the country where I wanted to go to since I was a little girl. And live in London at that! 3months after, I got my Schengen visa which made visiting European countries not just a dream but a reality for me! :D

Here are the list of places that I’ve been to in this small but delightful and utterly charming continent ;)

1. France
Paris, Nice and Cannes
March, November

First stop is our neighboring country, France. Everyone encouraged me to apply for a Schengen here. According to friends they are most likely to give you a multiple entry for several months. Well, I was given a 3months multiple entry for my first application and a one year multiple entry for my second! :D

I totally enjoyed it here. I got to see famous sights like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral just to name a few. I made lots of new friends! I was hosted by a CSer that I met back home. He was plain great! He hosted me for 8 days, you see. ;) I like French foods and they know how to have fun. Would love to go back again and again here!

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With Paris’ iconic Eiffel Tower :D

Versailles' vast garden!

Versailles’ vast garden!

2. Belgium
Namur, Brussels and Antwerp
March

Whilst in France, I was invited by my friend to visit him and his wife in Belgium. I accepted his invitation coz it’s always nice to meet/ catch up with friends! It was nonstop waffles, chocolates and beer (well, not much beers for me hehe). Mmm! It was interesting how the southern part speaks just French and that the more north we go, they speak more Dutch (and thankfully, English too).

Belgian beers. ;)

Belgian beers. ;)

3. Netherlands
Amsterdam
April

Browsing around the CS London thread, somebody mentioned that Megabus has a £1 one-way offer to Amsterdam and that it was going to be their Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag) weekend. I was kinda in a party mood then and I thought it’d be great to go to Amsterdam so even though I knew no one there, I booked the tickets and had a wonderful time with other travellers! I never really liked the colour orange but seeing the whole city awashed in it was pretty cool!

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The city of Amsterdam bathed in orange! :D

The city of Amsterdam bathed in orange! :D

4. Sweden
Gavle and Stockholm
June

Scandinavian countries aren’t high on the list of my places to go to for two reasons the cold climate and the high expenses. But for a friend, maybe I’ll give it a try. Well, she did say she’ll host and take care of me there. No complaints on that one! ;) haha I went there during their midsummer festival. The fact that it was around 21 hours of daytime was a nice experience.

Setting up the maypole flag for the midsummer celebration!

Setting up the maypole flag for the midsummer celebration!

Traditional Swedish foods :)

Traditional Swedish foods :)

5. Spain
Madrid, Salamanca, Montserrat and Barcelona
July, November

The first time I went to Spain was to join a travel buddy of mine in touring Madrid and to be hosted by him in Salamanca where he was studying Spanish. It was crazy the day I got to Madrid. Some austerity measures had just been passed into law. On my way back to the hostel in the middle of the city, was a riot in protest of the austerity package. I almost got caught in the middle where it not for the kind waiter who pulled me inside their restaurant before barring their doors. Salamanca on the other hand is a big party place. It has many Spanish schools and people from all over go there to study the language. Clubs everywhere, they do not ask for IDs, no entrance fees and shots cost a euro! That’s the reason why the Spanish phrase I was thought there was “estoy borracho.” lol

Second time was for my birthday celebration. To sum up how varied my interests could be: on the morning of my special day, we went up to the mountains of Montserrat to visit a monastery and a sacred site then an aquarium early in the evening and partied after dinner! :D

Panoramic view of Montserrat

Panoramic view of Montserrat

Madrid's Palacio de Cristal

Madrid’s Palacio de Cristal

Happy 27th from Barcelona! :D

Happy 27th from Barcelona! :D

6. Austria
Vienna
September

Mozart. Classical music. Schnitzel. Sachertorte. Some of my favourite things in this charming city! It’s true that I didn’t expect much but I was very happy to be proven otherwise. I had such a wonderful time in Vienna with my good friend and host, Diana, that I would come back for sure! :D

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Schönbrunn Palace

Must do: attend a concert!

Must do: attend a concert!

7. Czech Republic
Prague
September

A question that  was a bit confusing for our host in Prague is when he’d ask me and my friend where we’re from and how we met, why we’re travelling together. Our answer?
My friend: I’m from Romania but I’m Austrian. I live in Vienna.
Me: I live in London but I’m originally form Manila, Philippines.
Us: We met in Bangkok. When Cat was still living in the Philippines. She visited me in Vienna from London. Then I joined her on this trip to Prague.
Everyone I know had been telling me that Prague is their absolute favourite European city so that kinda built up the expectation that unfortunately wasn’t met. I can’t say if it was because of the rainy weather. I was cold because I was (more) prepared for a warm climate since I was headed straight to sunny Italy. Oh well. I’ll give it another chance for sure! :)

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8. Monaco
Monte Carlo
October

A quick sidetrip to Monaco was in order when a friend and I went to Nice. The one place that we went to here is the casino since I was too sick to actually explore around. This place is a billionaire’s playground. You’ll see it in the expensive cars being driven as well as the high end stores everywhere!

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9. Italy
Rome, Florence, Venice, Sardinia, Naples, Procida Island, Pompeii, and Amalfi Coast
June, August, September, October

Italy is my definite favourite country that I’ve been to here in Europe and the one that I kept going back to and would definitely visit again! I’ve dreamt of going there since I was young. I love pizzas and pastas, renaissance, architecture and history and they have it all and much more in overflowing abundance! The first time I was there, I did the typical route of Rome-Florence-Venice, I didn’t make it to Milan coz I had no time.
The second was when I went to the island of Sardinia. It was a week’s worth of beach hopping! The water was amazing but I’d have to say that it doesn’t come close to the beaches that we have in the Philippines and this is me trying to be objective. ;)
The third time around, I headed south. Rome-Naples-Amalfi Coast was the route that made me fall in love with this country more! Pizza in Napoli is just mmmmm! When I got back to Rome, the pizza there that I liked a lot before became just alright for me. haha And Amalfi Coast? It is truly deserving of its UNESCO world heritage site title, I would have to say that it’s the most beautiful place I’ve been to so far in this continent!♥
My last trip was a quick one to Rome. I went to attend the canonization of the Philippines’ second saint, Pedro Calungsod and heard the mass that was presided over by Pope Benedict XVI. :)

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Breath taking view of Positano ♥

Breath taking view of Positano ♥

San Pedro Calungsod's canonization at the Vatican

San Pedro Calungsod’s canonization at the Vatican

It was a pretty busy year full of wonderful sights and amazing experiences. I’ve been to 9 countries and even returned to some of them several times! I’m definitely lucky! I was corrected by a friend once and was told that… we’re not lucky, we’re blessed. I couldn’t agree more!

Happy travels everyone!!!

Happy travels everyone!!!

Cheers 2012! You’ve been way awesome and nice to me. Looking forward to 2013! :D

blogcarnival

This is my entry for Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for the month of December with the theme ‘2012: This Year in Travel’ hosted by Gay Mitra-Emami of Pinay Travel Junkie and Regine Camille Garcia of Between Coordinates.
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