Nearly seven (7) years ago, a scholarship from the Netherlands Fellowship Program paved the way for me to travel to Netherlands (a.k.a. Holland) for free (see travel for “free” article for more details)!:D It never occurred to me that I will be able to follow my father’s footsteps because he also went to Netherlands through scholarship when I was a baby. Is it fate? Hmmm…
I must admit, it’s one of the defining moments of my life. Meeting and gaining friends from all over the world helped me see and understand things in a broader perspective. 🙂
See below for more unforgettable and silly moments :
I can’t wait to visit Netherlands again (this time, I vow to visit one of the “coffee” shops!) and other Euro Countries in the near future.
Alright… I confess… I have this thing for towers and other skyscrapers (in which I still prefer to call as tower… :p). Being drawn to towers is one way (I think) of conquering my fear of heights. Is it psychological?
Towers do make me feel tall (since I’m extremely petite :p ) and powerful! From the top of the sky high tower, I feel like I’m the Queen of the world looking down at the “microscopic” objects and “tiny” creatures called human beings. :p Well, climbing a tower is more attainable than aspiring to fly. Ha!
Looking back, below are the towers I’ve visited and climbed so far:
Menara Kuala Lumpur (considered to be the 7th tallest tower in the world)
Located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Visiting this tower is very interesting because you can also have the option to ride a horse (not inside the tower! ), stopover at the animal “kingdom”, watch cultural shows, and become an “F1 driver”. 😉 Since I’ve been there thrice, I practically did most of the activities except riding a horse :p
CN Tower (the 3rd tallest tower in the world)
Located in Toronto, Canada
I particularly love the “transparent floor”. It scared the hell out of me. (see related article -> Toronto)
Eiffel Tower (dubbed as the 30th tallest tower in the world)
Located in Paris, France
I personally consider this as the most magical tower in the universe! Call me hopeless romantic, but I had goosebumps while watching the sunset from the topmost part of the tower. It’s the most magical feeling I’ve ever felt! And I want to be there again in this lifetime. (see related article -> Eiffel Tower)
Petronas Twin Towers (Menara Berkembar Petronas in Malay)
remain as the tallest twin buildings in the world ever built (according to Wikipedia)
Located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
There’s no entrance fee but you need to queue at day break to be included in the lucky 100. If my memory serves me right, they only allow 100 visitors per day. One thing that I find interesting about Petronas Twin Towers is the connecting bridge. It’s like the hands of the two towers are “intertwined” tightly with a promise not to ever let go. 😀 (see Kuala Lumpur related article -> lost momentus)
I’m looking forward to checking more towers and buildings …and I surely have a long way to go. Ha! Check out my “wish” list in my next post. 😉
I’m a true blooded Filipino who was born and raised in the Philippines. I stayed momentarily in Europe and Singapore then eventually migrated somewhere in North America. Moreover, I’ve never been to Korea… and nobody paid me to write this. :p However, if Koreans would like to treat me with an all expense paid trip to Korea… that would be awesome! If given the chance, I want to see the Jeju Island, Seoul and the Namsan Tower.
I can’t really understand why am I so hooked with Korean TV Series.. maybe because it’s an excellent stress reliever? Koreans make simple stories into a great feel good and charming series. I’ve finished watching five (5) series plus one (1) in progress. Every episode lasts for an hour and the usual series have 17 to 25 episodes.
Only Hearts of 19 has 160+ episodes. I’m now in the 95th episode but currently I stopped watching so that I can focus in writing entries for my blog site and at the same time, live my life like normal human being should do. :p
From Netherlands (Maastricht), we travelled to Germany (forgot which city) via train. From Germany, we boarded the train going to Luxembourg. The travel time was not as long as the Paris trip.
In a couple of hours, we reached Luxembourg. Luxembourg reminds me of Baguio City (a.k.a. Summer Capital of the Philippines). Flowers were everywhere and there’s also a distinct pine tree scent. The scenery radiates a serene and peaceful feeling. It’s the perfect place to rejuvenate after too much stress from the instant (click here to read the blog entry, “instant”) world. I wonder how Luxembourg maintains its natural ambiance…
After a lengthy walk and sightseeing, we stopped near the bridge to take a breather and enjoy the view. The calming effect was really fantastic! To save money, we brought our lunch and had a feast near the church under the tree. It’s like having a picnic in Burnham Park in Baguio City, Philippines.
It was a such short trip but the most relaxing one. I hope I can go there again someday (even better if I will be with someone special) but for a longer period so that I can explore the country more.
We had 3 days and 2 nights to explore Paris, the most romantic city in the world. Eiffel tower was on the top of our list to visit and it’s our first destination when we got there (click here to read the Eiffel tower article).
Aside from visiting the Eiffel tower, our first day in Paris was not that eventful because we were also occupied in looking for our hotel and gauging the cheapest and fastest way in completing our itinerary. In short, we just had the general feel and smell of the Paris ambience as a starter.
Our schedule was fully packed during the second day. First on the list was Museo De Louvre. I felt like I was in the movie, “The Vinci Code” while walking inside the museum scrutinizing one painting to the other (see Museo De Louvre article).
We also got to see the Notre Dame de Paris.
Next stop was the flea market. As expected, we had a hard time finding our way so we resorted to entering a shop, bought some stuff and asked for direction. One minor problem was, they can’t speak English well so we showed our map and explain in broken (known as “barok” in Filipino) English.
Thanks to the helpful Parisians, we eventually found the flea market. We shopped for souvenir items and gamely exchanged jokes with the vendors. To save money, we opted for the fries and beef (fondly called Shawarma in the Philippines) for lunch. It’s funny because I haven’t tried eating Shawarma in the Philippines but I was able to taste it in Paris.
Off we go to Disneyland, our next destination. It was very tempting to do the rides but we need to catch the last train back to our hotel. Hence, we hammed up for the camera, enjoyed shows, checked out the shops and then, non-stop walking and sightseeing.
A dinner at an Indian restaurant culminated our second day in Paris.
We were all dead beat when we reached Hotel Eden. We packed our things, rested our tired muscles then woke up early again to roam around Paris for few more hours before catching our coach back to Netherlands.
The 3-day trip to Paris was definitely a once in a lifetime experience! It’s worth every little penny we spent and for all the ordeals that we have faced. Out of sheer exhaustion, with a smile on our lips, we all slept all throughout the journey back to Netherlands.
The next day after the Eiffel tower (see Eiffel tower article) visit, we headed to Museo De Louvre. The transparent “pyramid” infrastructure made Museo De Louvre mystical and interesting. When I was at the escalator near the entrance, I felt like I was going in a time space capsule.
I eagerly took photos from almost every corner as I walk around. The statues and numerous paintings were strategically located which made it feel like they will come to life by a single touch. Kinda freaky and fascinating at the same time.
What caught my attention the most was the real Monalisa painting. I was surprised because I never imagined that it would be that small. It’s just like a normal wedding portrait. Nevertheless, it may be small but it’s the most popular among all the paintings. The crowd gathered near the Monalisa painting area is enormous.
In order to get to the front, I mustered the courage to squeezed myself in. The crowd were dominated by towering Caucasians. I was a bit amused because whenever I mutter “excuse me”, they looked down at me and let me pass. I must have looked like a kid lost in the middle of nowhere looking for her “grown up” companions. I did manage to reach the area nearest to the painting.
While taking photos, I kinda wondered what made Monalisa so special to draw such a huge crowd. Was it due to the movie, “The Vinci Code” or was it because of her mysterious smile? Hmmm…
From Netherlands we travelled for five (5) hours via coach to Paris. We all wanted to experience taking the subway and “getting lost” so we just opted to book for the coach and the hotel. No tourist guide! 🙂
As soon as we reached Paris at around 2p.m., we bought a 3-day train ticket and travelled for half an hour via subway from the drop off point to Hotel Eden (nice name huh? 😉 ). The place was very cozy and not that expensive. The bathroom came as a surprise because it was so tiny! Good thing, I’m petite.
We rested for 15 minutes, freshen up and then with the map on hand, we went straight to the ever famous Eiffel Tower! Although we did not book for a guided tour, we were able to find the Eiffel Tower. While walking towards the Eiffel Tower, we were totally mesmerized with its magnificent beauty from afar.
We took photos, bought souvenirs and then we immediately fell in line to go to the top. The queue was very long and we were all starving and exhausted. Also, we were a bit apprehensive because we might not be able to get to the top of the tower in time to see the sunset. The sunset was at 10p.m..
Our hardships paid off because we were able to make it. Whew! Watching the sunset from the top of the Eiffel tower was absolutely magical and breathtaking! I had an unexplainable goose bumps just by looking at the scenery and the whole view of Paris.
While pinching myself to check if I was dreaming, at the back of my mind, I was making a solemn promise to return to the same spot together with my future husband (I wonder who will he be and when will it be… hmmm). :p
After we have satisfied our Eiffel tower “craving”, one of our friends (Sonam) suggested that we go down using the stairs from the third level (topmost). It should be fine if it’s like the stairs in a building wherein you cannot see how far you are from the ground. I vehemently objected because I have a height phobia. I was scared to death! I convinced my other friends to take the lift. Thank goodness, the one who suggested was outvoted. :p
We walked around the area of Eiffel tower for a moment and then agreed to eat in an Asian restaurant before calling it a night.
It’s the day of our Paris trip and we need to leave the hotel at 4a.m. in order to be at the pick up point on time. Boy, waking up at 3 a.m. and taking off at 4 a.m. during Spring is really tough (I wonder how it feels during the winter? brrrr!).
When we reached the train station, we had a problem getting the ticket from the ticketing machine. The machine requires card or coins and we only have paper bills. We cannot get it from the ticketing office either because it’s still closed.
We asked a Dutch couple (DC) if they have coins to change our paper bill and unfortunately, they don’t have. The DC were terribly concern but they were in a hurry because the wife, who happens to be a flight attendant, needs to catch her flight.
While the DC were waiting for the train, the husband, who is a lawyer, saw the train ticket inspector and discuss our plight with him. He explained that we cannot buy the tickets from the machine and we need to catch our trip to Paris.
Good thing the inspector understood our situation and allowed us to board the train without tickets. He said we’ll get the tickets in our destination. Normally, if you get caught without a ticket you will be fined or even worst, you will be put into jail. I guess, the inspector is a bit lenient to us because we were foreigners as well as students in Maastricht School of Management (MSM).
Bedankt (thanks) to our Dutch angels (DC and the inspector), we were able to reach the pick up point earlier than we have expected. It gave us time to take photos and grab a bite.:)