Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Old Town and Around Prague

Up on escapadecapades, my visit to the beautiful city of Praha and some hotel, bars and restaurants review:

The old city bathed in golden early morning light

Thanks for dropping by and have a lovely weekend! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Jose Rizal Travels: Litomerice

Up on escapecapades.com: A trip to the cozy little town of Litomerice, a few kilometers off Prague, one of the places in Europe where Jose Rizal lived. This is also where he met his life-long friend, Ferdinand Blumentritt. Click on the link for the full story.


View of the town square from the Tourist Information Center's viewing tower

 Enjoy the time travel, and thanks for stopping by! :)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A la ferme

One of the highlights of our first week in France was at a farm called Ducazaux. It was a good place for our daughter to see some farm animals, walk in their mini-forest trails where you can see some fox holes and birds nests. They also have some play areas and a small café and souvenir shop.

The entrance to the farm

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

St. Jean de Luz and Biarritz, France

Up on escapecapades.com: this year's visit to the Pays Basque in France ...


with an added review on a Michelin starred restaurant.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday Mood: The Sunny Sunflowers

We chanced upon some sunflowers growing in the wild on the road side. My mother-in-law made a bouquet with a bunch of other wild flowers. It's so pretty.

We have just arrived in France this weekend. On the road from Toulouse to my in-laws' place, we were greeted by the smiliest, sunniest blooms of rows and never-ending rows of sunflowers. Scroll down for your viewing pleasure...


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Driving Around Iceland, Part 5: Reykjavik to Jokulsarlón

(please refrain from using my photos without permission)

As I have mentioned in my first three posts, I am writing about my trip to Iceland in reverse chronological order. And so in this last part of my series of blogs about Iceland, I shall be talking about the first part of the trip.

We were actually coming from Toulouse on the way to Iceland. And from Toulouse, we had to change planes in Amsterdam. We took Iceland Air from there. The flight was quite nice. We had some free snacks on board and there was an entertainment console on each seat, but you'd have to buy the ear phones, which I found weird.



Some slow shutter, moody shot of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lake, taken with an ND filter
We arrived around midnight and so were greeted by the midnight sunset above the Icelandic skies a few minutes before touchdown to Keflavik Airport. Everything was bathed in blood-red outside. It was otherworldly. I’ve never really seen the sunset from the plane before, much less, a midnight one! It was splendid... like a portent of things to come.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Driving Around Iceland, Part 4: Akureyri and the North

(please refrain from using my pictures without permission)

continuing from my last installment, we were in Borgarnes (the west). from there, we headed up North towards Akureyri, which was about four and half hours' drive. as usual, we drove along the coastal areas. the paths were long and winding. the clouds hovering low over the cliffs, still. there were times when the roads were really zigzagging and steep. it would get all foggy and cold one moment, and then all sunny and clear and warmer the next.

the small city of Akureyri in the North -- apparently, the second biggest in Iceland, next to Reykjavik

Friday, September 11, 2015

Driving Around Iceland, Part 3: Borgarnes and a Bit of the West

(please refrain from using my photos without permission)

First of all, I would like to say that I fell in-love with our hotel in Borgarnes called, Ensku husín. The name of the hotel translates to "English House". Just look at how charming it is from inside and out:


This is the view from the restaurant

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Driving Around Iceland, Part 2: A Day in Reykjavik

(please do not use my photos without permission)

I’m actually starting this series of blogs in reverse chronological order because I want to save the best for last.

Our last day in Iceland was spent walking around Reykjavik (the capital city) with my Icelandic friend giving us a free tour and bringing us to a very nice and famous restaurant. It's a welcome respite to just take a relaxing walk around the city on our last day of touring around Iceland as we had been driving all over the country for the past days, all the while hurrying to see places few and far between.


First on our list was Hallgrimskirkja.  Like most Icelandic words, the pronunciation is entirely different from how it is spelled. I didn't understand which place my friend was referring to at first when she mentioned it, until she explained how certain letter combinations are pronounced a certain way, totally unlike the spelling.

Those linear columns are reminiscent of the spectacular basalt rock formations at the Reynisfjara (more about this later on)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Driving Around Iceland, Part 1: Teaser Post

To the uninitiated, Iceland frightfully sounds a lot like some piece of land filled with a lot of ice. Well, it's not true at all. There are actually more ice in Greenland (its neighbor country, a bit higher in latitude) than in Iceland. Although, it is true that I specifically went there to see the ice, I went during the summer so I only had the chance to see them on mountaintops and cliffs, and melting on glacial lagoons, thankfully. Yes, glacial lagoon, you read that right! More about that later! :)

I shall be posting about the Ice in Iceland lastly in this series of posts because it is the part of my trip that is the most amazing of all. And I really like saving the best for last. For now, I just want to present the itinerary of our crazy driving trip back and forth Reykjavik (the capital city) -- going down South towards the Southeast (Jokulsarlon) and back again towards the West (Borgarnes) and then the North (Akureyri) and finally back again in Reykjavik. I have to admit, we didn't plan this trip well enough. We did not do a lot of research and just followed the suggested itinerary of our Travel Agency blindly.

You can see our crazy itinerary on the left side, and our driving path in blue on the map. We have actually spent almost 18 hours on the road, according to Google maps. It didn't feel like that at all because we had plenty of stopovers at gorgeous sights along the way! :)

But it was not such a bad trip at all. Contrarily, I would say it was my best trip of all, to date. Iceland is just Amazing with a capital A. It has landscapes that boggle the mind and make you feel like you are in another planet. I mentioned this to my Icelandic friend, whom I visited while I was there, and she said in fact that the landscapes are more amazing in the highlands. Regretfully, we only visited the coastal areas, which have paved roads. We didn't get a proper vehicle for rough roads and the highlands, unfortunately. She said the landscapes there are quite like the ones on the moon that there are actually astronauts training up there to get a feel of what it would be like on the moon. Is that Amazing or not?!

So I leave you hanging for the meantime, awaiting my series of posts featuring one of the most magical sights you will ever see in this world... Ciao for now! :)



Sunday, December 14, 2014

La Ferme aux Grives

December for me is all about reminiscing about the best experiences of the year that is almost about to come to an end. and so this December, i'm starting a blogpost about the best experiences i've had this year. and what better way to begin this than by talking about food.

the best restaurant experience i had was of course back in France during our family visit in the summer. my in-laws took us to this nice restaurant called La Ferme aux Grives in a small ville called Eugenie-les-Bains, in the South of France, not far from where my in-laws live.

the restaurant was set in the middle of a lovely garden, at the edge of a huge farm, and is owned by a two-Michelin starred chef, Michel Guerard.


the ancient stone house that makes up the restaurant of La Ferme Aux Grives


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Saint Vincent de Paul

one of the fondest memories of my university life was taking the mass every Sunday at Saint Vincent de Paul's chapel.

i was already not a religious person at the time, but i have always enjoyed good singing. the SVP chapel had a really good choir. and i really liked Saint Vincent de Paul's birthday because it means school holiday. :)

last time i was in France, i took the chance to finally visit his ville-natale.

A small church at the center o the small ville

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Best of Tuscany Part 4: Chianti, Arezzo and Cortona

From Siena, we spent almost two hours driving through the scenic SR222 route. it's basically a road that traverses the whole of Chianti from Siena to Firenze. If you look it up on Google, or click the link I have here, you will see that it is quite famous for the scenery.

Driving along the famous SR222 -- the scenic route that cuts across the Chianti Region between Siena and Firenze

From Chianti, we actually headed back to Siena for one last night. And the next day, we drove to Cortona. one of the best parts of our Tuscan trip was staying at this lovely hotel in Cortona called Relais Borgo San Pietro.


A beautiful place to have an apéro -- my favorite prosecco and hubby's Spritz

We also took an afternoon to visited Arezzo because i've always wanted to visit this chapel which is the setting for the movie, The English Patient. remember that romantic scene with Juliette Binoche? i was quite surprised to find the Basilica di San Francesco quite small. It was charming, nevertheless.

The last part of my Tuscany Trip takes us to The Chianti RegionArezzo and Cortona. These posts can now be found by clicking on the links that take you to my travel site, escapecapades.com.



Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Best of Tuscany Part 3: San Giminiano and Siena

Of all the places I've visited in TuscanySiena is my favorite. There is just no boring corner in Siena. Everything around is a feast to the eyes. It's probably why it is the site of some famous movies, including James Bond, Quantum of Solace's horse race scene. It definitely is one of the loveliest places on earth. Read the full Siena and San Giminagno experience on escapecapades.com

The pines, the vines and the olives... I really am in Tuscany!

I wouldn't mind visiting Siena again. :)


Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Best of Tuscany Part 2: Pisa and Lucca

From Firenze, we headed off to Pisa, to of course, see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Since everybody's been telling us that there's not much to see and do there except see the tower, we decided to spent half the day there and then head off to Lucca. Read the full story on escapecapades.com

The very famous leaning tower

Ciao!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Best of Tuscany Part I: Florence

The first stop of our Dream Tuscan Road trip was, of course, Florence. Read all about it on escapecapades.com.

View from the tower of Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

I really love Italy for the food, the sights and the beautiful weather... and also I like how people call me Signorina (Miss)... it makes me feel so young and pretty. :)


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tuscany Road Trip

You might think that I have already abandoned this blog since I haven't been updating for the longest time ever. The truth is June and July have just been very busy for me -- entertaining visitors, planning our three-week European holiday, and arranging things for my return to work after a three-year sabbatical!

But I won't be overwhelming you with too much information on this blog entry. For now I just want to write about my recent trip to Tuscany, one of the best regions of Italy.

Le road trip de rêve -- we followed the advice of our Lonely Planet guidebook, except we've replaced Volterra with Arezzo and Cortona
We have planned on going for a road trip all over Tuscany. our trip consisted of eight days and eight nights coming from Bordeaux, France to Florence to Pisa to Lucca to San Giminiano to Siena and Chianti Arezzo to Cortona and finally back to Florence again.

it was quite a tiring trip but definitely worth it! the place is as magical as how you imagine it and a lot lot better than pictures!

i have seen places that were the setting of some of my well-loved movies: The English Patient and La Vita e Bella, to name a few. you would think that visiting a single place in Tuscany would be sufficient because if you've seen one, you've seen them all... NOT true at all. each time we progress to the next destination in our trip, we get completely awed by how beautifully different one place is compared to the last one we've visited.

right now, i am still a bit jet-lagged to post pictures and provide more details of the trips. more next time! ciao! :)


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Jose Rizal in Madrid

Please do not use my photos without permission (even the watermarked ones). If you wish to avail of my non-watermarked images, you may contact me for a copy. See my Contact page for details.

As promised, I went to visit the historical places in Madrid that has to do with Jose Rizal. Before going there, I have printed this useful file that you can get from the web site of the Philippine Embassy in Madrid.

I tried to contact the historian Jaime Marco, the author of this document to know more about it. He was quite friendly and willing to meet and tour me around. Unfortunately, he's only available during the weekend, and my trip schedule fell on weekdays.

I was able to see most of the places in the list in such a short time because they were mostly located close to each other.

It's nice to have a Metro Station in Madrid named after the Philippines
First off, I went to Avenida de las Islas de Filipinas to see Jose Rizal's statue. This statue is just like the one that we have in Luneta (Rizal Park) in the Philippines, only smaller.

This metro station is found right at the beginning of the Avenida de las Islas de Filipinas

It is quietly located outside the city center, far away from the tourist sites. You will find it just at the beginning of the Avenida de Filipinas, about 500 meters away. Jose Rizal's Monument is right at the corner of Calle Santander.

The exact replica of the monument found in Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines, only smaller

Seeing it made me feel as if I was back at Luneta Park again. It is the exact copy, except that this replica is a bit smaller and there were no guards on either side of the statue. On one side of the monument, you will find his famous poem, Mi Ultimo Adios (Last Farewell) in the original Spanish version and the Filipino translation on the other side.






I was blessed with a really warm sunny weather in Madrid.

Passersby were staring at me while I took lots of pictures of the monument from every angle :D

From Avenida de las Islas de Filipinas, I took the Metro towards Sol station. I had to make two transfers, I think. Exiting the Sol Metro Station brings you to Puerta del Sol. From there, you walk towards Calle San Jeronimo, and there you will find the streets that lead to Jose Rizal's old apartment, and the places that he used to frequent with Juan Luna and all his other friends.

Hotel Ingles at C/ Echegaray


Walking the streets of Calle Echegaray leads to Hotel Ingles, where the Filipino community in Madrid celebrated their most important events, according to the Philippine Embassy's document.


Viva Madrid bar and restaurant, frequented by Rizal back in the day

I was hesitating to go inside Viva Madrid. there didn't seem to be a lot of people as it is still early evening, and it was a weekday. This area is lined with a lot of nice restaurants and bars actually. It's not so far away from where I was staying.

It looks really nice and cozy inside

I went farther down towards Calle del Prado to see Ateneo de Madrid, where Rizal studied English.


Ateneo de Madrid

Still farther down towards Calle Atocha, I went to see where used to be the publication office of La Solidaridad, the first ever Filipino newspaper.

C/ Atocha 43, used to be the La Solidaridad publication office

I found out that it is now a tapas bar undergoing reconstruction inside. Not a very pretty site, but I was still so much in awe and felt really privileged to have seen and visited the place.

Not a very pretty sight nowadays

It felt so surreal to me, walking around the areas in Madrid where Rizal had walked a century before. it made me feel like I was transported back in time. It was more than marvelous.

Have a marvelous weekend, marvelous people! :)



Monday, February 25, 2013

Jose Rizal in Paris

Please do not use my photos without permission (even the watermarked ones). If you wish to avail of my non-watermarked images, you may contact me for a copy. See my Contact page for details.

Following this blog post, I have made a promise to retrace Jose Rizal's footsteps here in France. And just last week, I have had the most delightful occasion to visit Paris with my husband. Luckily enough, the apartment of our friend, who accommodated us was just a few blocks away from Jose Rizal's traces.

For those who are not familiar with Jose Rizal, he is a Philippine National Hero. He was a great influence in the history of Philippine Independence from 333 years of Spanish rule. I am not quite sure what a National Hero (as proclaimed by the Americans during their occupation of the Philippines) really means, but I mostly like him because he is quite an intriguing and fascinating person.

Jose Rizal was a doctor, a writer, an artist, and above all, for me, an indefatigable traveler. During his time, which was in the late 19th century, he traveled to Europe for his medical studies. He was particulary in Paris for a few months from 1885-86 for his apprenticeship in opthalmology under Louis de Weckert, and then again later on, to witness the World Exposition of 1889. It was during this year that the Eiffel Tower was completed. What a wonderful and romantic time to live in.

image source: wikipedia

Anyway, back to the present... on our way to our friend's apartment in the 10th arrondissement, we passed by Place Jose Rizal in the 9th arrondissement. I was quite disappointed to find that it was just a small island in the middle of the street with a couple of seats in it. But I was quite happy to be there and take pictures.


A small island in the middle of the road, announcing itself as "Place Jose Rizal"

We also visited the Hotel de Paris where Jose Rizal stayed while he was in Paris. This was just a few meters'  walk from Place Jose Rizal.

The small entrance door to the Hotel de Paris

this is right on the entrance of Hotel de Paris, it says "Jose Rizal, Philippine national hero, writer, doctor, stayed here in 1883"
 I was expecting to see Jose Rizal's bust inside the hotel, as I have read about its existence somewhere on the internet. But I didn't see any. And when we inquired about it at the hotel's reception, the receptionist did not know anything about it. He was kind enough, though, to give us their phone number to call later, or to come back to make inquiries with his boss who will be arriving at the hotel in the evening. Unfortunately, we were pressed for time, and we didn't bother calling and/or coming back. I was happy enough to be there and take some pictures just the same.

Jose Rizal (in-between two guys), fencing with Juan Luna (left) at the Luna residence in Paris; image taken from pinayonthemove.com

My husband was telling me about how the area was not the nicest area in Paris. I told him that even then, during Rizal's time, this area was where all the students and struggling artists lived. At least according to what I have read on some web sites.

Wandering around in the non-touristic areas, it is quite interesting to note how one small street can look ghetto-ish, and then at the next turn, you find yourself staring at beautiful apartments in a seemingly posh environment. But I can only wonder how it was during the time of Jose Rizal.