Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Friendship, Good gifts, Gratitude, Travel, Travel Highlights

Europe trip highlights (Part 4)

Rome, Italy: 6-10 June

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I’ve found my first Europe travel buddy because of Colosseum. Why Colosseum? Caye’s main reason for wanting to go to Europe is because she dreams of seeing the Colosseum in its glorious glory. ๐Ÿ™‚ So when I first shared to her my dream trip, we’ve got an instant travel buddy in each other. ๐Ÿ™‚ We saved the best for last, we put Rome at the end of our trip. Kim also wanted to attend the Pope’s celebration of mass at the Vatican so we had to schedule our trip which would fall on a Wednesday, the day the Pope himself celebrates mass to the public.

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the humongous Vatican City

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In Rome, I have used the panoramic shot the most because everything is wide and humongous!! Just like the Vatican and the Trevi Fountain amongst others.

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the stunningly beautiful Trevi Fountain ๐Ÿ™‚

We ate lots of pasta, pizza and consumed so much coffee too, which we all enjoyed!

Coffee all day, everyday! ๐Ÿ™‚

On the last day, I needed to have gelato! I wasn’t able to eat gelato everyday because I’m too full from all the pasta, pizza and all the yummy meals we had, my tummy had no more space for dessert! ;P

This was us, in front of our AirBnB, on our last day. We loved our accommodation in Rome so much. It was big, clean and beautiful. The location was great too! ๐Ÿ™‚

Rome being the last leg of the trip, I thought, it was okay not to expect too much, anyway we already had the loveliest (more than) 2 weeks of travel, and I was kinda tired already that time, also trying to condition myself that I would leave my dream place in a few days… But lo and behold! God really spoils His children! Rome was sooo lovely!! Just like the rest of the places we’ve been to. I wanted to stay a bit longer, if only I could… It was easy to explore, and everything is sooo beautiful, I love it’s warm colours, it’s cool and sunny weather, the coffee, the gelato, everything… I will surely go back, someday, Godwilling. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t thank and praise God enough for blessing us with the most wonderful vacation in our beautiful dream place. HE is truly an awesome God and Father, always giving the best gifts to His children. ๐Ÿ˜€

Hope you enjoyed my photoblog! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Until my next adventure, more to come in 2018! ๐Ÿ™‚

Wishing you all the best of everything in the coming year! God’s best, always! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Family, Friendship, God's victory, Good gifts, Gratitude, Travel, Travel Highlights

Europe trip highlights (Part 3)

London, U.K.: 2-5 June

This part of our trip is all about meeting with family and friends. And that makes it so special and dear to my grateful โ™ฅ.ย ๐Ÿ™‚

My cousin, Jel, and her family lives in London, she’s been inviting me to visit them since 2008, so I am really grateful and happy to finally have the chance to visit them and spend some quality time with them. ๐Ÿ˜€ My aunt, Jel’s mom, was there at that time too, so it was a great time to be in London. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Aside from spending time with family and friends, I also had the opportunity to attend the EveryNation church service at Hammersmith. Thanks so much to my dear cousin, Jel, for accompanying me. It meant a lot to me to be able to spend time with the Lord amidst the hectic schedule while on vacation. I am very grateful that my cousin took me to Hammersmith and had a wonderful, comforting time at the church. That Sunday, 4 June, the church invited theย Award-winning author Dr. Frank Turek (I Donโ€™t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist,ย Stealing from God),ย to speak. We were so blessed to listen to his wonderful teaching about the truth of God’s existence amidst all the suffering in the world.

Because this is the London part of the trip, I made an exception on the number of photos to share. I hope you understand. ๐Ÿ˜€

Last part of the trip, Rome, will follow. It’s the last, but definitely, not the least. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Gratitude, Travel, Travel Highlights

Europe trip highlights (Part 2)

Here’s the 2nd part of my Europe trip photoblog. ๐Ÿ™‚

Milan, Italy: 26-27 May

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Our AirBnB in Milan ๐Ÿ™‚
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I really loved our accommodation in Milan, aside from being so chic, it was accessible to the convenience stores, to the stations, and there’s a nearby park, too. I was able to jog one Saturday morning around the beautiful green park. How I love the fresh air, the cool breeze and the lovely view around the park. ๐Ÿ™‚ I felt so blessed and grateful for that wonderful experience. ๐Ÿ™‚
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When in Italy, drinking coffee is a must, peroid. ๐Ÿ™‚

Paris, France: 28-29 May

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Selfies while on Seine River Cruise ๐Ÿ™‚

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Don’t worry I didn’t buy ;P

Brussels & Gent, Belgium: 31 May – 1 June

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More Belgian waffle for lunch ๐Ÿ™‚

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That’s all for Part 2, hope you enjoyed my photoblog.

Part 3, the last part, will be shared tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚

Good night, everyone! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Gratitude, Travel, Travel Highlights

Europe trip highlights (Part 1)

As we are about to say goodbye and thank you to 2017 in a few days, I would like wrap up my year by sharing some highlights from my Europe trip. I know this is rather so late, I got overwhelmed with lots of photos and stories to share back then, and then I got tied up with work and all the get-togethers. Now that I am officially on vacation, I wouldn’t want to miss the chance to post more about my dream trip. This year’s trip with Caye and Kim is one of the highlights of my best year so far, so it definitely deserves a space here on my personal site. ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve chosen 17 photos/highlights for each city that we visited. Why 17? Because 2017. ๐Ÿ™‚

Let me warn you, this is a looooong post, 99% photos and 1% narrative. ๐Ÿ˜› But don’t worry, I will share the highlights in 4 parts. ๐Ÿ™‚

Florence, Italy: 22 May

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Tuscany Tour

(Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa):ย 23 May

Lugano, Switzerland

and

Bellagio,ย Lake Como, Italy: 25 May

That’s it for today. More photos to follow in the coming days. ๐Ÿ™‚

Posted in Europe, Lessons Learned, Travel

Blooming – slowly but surely

IMG_8903It can’t be denied that travelling is one of the best sources of one’s learning and maturity. Whether you travel alone or with family/friends, you get to learn a thing or two about yourself, about others, about life in general. You just bloom and continue to blossom from the experience.

We have different reasons why we travel. After reading this post (from seed to flower) by Mari Jasmine, I too asked myself the reasons why I love to travel. The first reason that comes to mind is that I want to see and experience God’s wonderful creation, when we travel, you get to see that the world is so vast and so beautiful, you couldn’t grasp how great our Creator is. I love all things beautiful, I think everyone loves beauty, one of the best ways to experience beauty is to travel, I haven’t traveled much, but so far, every single city that I get to visit looks beautiful to me, each one is different but each one has its beauty to showcase and to put anyone in awe.

After I experienced spring in Seoul, South Korea for the first time, I dreamt of traveling to cold places, to experience spring and autumn in different continents, most especially, Europe. It’s generally warm (sometimes really hot in the Philippines) so when I travel, I hope to feel cool breeze, fresh air and lots of beauty around.

Aside from witnessing God’s wonderful creation and experiencing the cool weather, I also want to eat different food, and just savor the flavor which each distinct city offers. Everyone loves to eat, right, I am definitely not an exception. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Alright, I want to shop too, but I know it’s not too practical to buy a lot because there’s just so many more wonderful things than stuff/material things, so I try my best to limit my spending so that I can save up the money for another travel.

In my recent travel to Europe, I’ve learned a lot, for someone who is a self-confessed late-bloomer, I definitely have a lot more to learn!! Thank God for the opportunity to travel, I get to learn lessons which make me wiser, a little bit stronger and better as a person, and as a traveler.

  1. Travel light.

Duh, Ryah? When will you ever learn?

IMG_8845 (Edited)This trip is my 7th international travel, but it’s the farthest and the longest. All of my first 6 travels took only a week and only within Asia. This time, it’s in Europe, we traveled to 6 cities within 3 weeks. Next time, (i) I should start packing early, not on the day of the travel. (ii) I should plan my wardrobe ahead of time, (iii) mix and match, (iv) remember that I can wash my undies right after taking a bath, so don’t bring too much, and (v) I can also do the laundry too, laundry shops are available everywhere. If I didn’t bring enough clothes, (vi) I can shop for more clothes, right? Shopping is part of travelling. ๐Ÿ™‚ (vii) If I will be hopping from one city to another, bring medium luggage only. (viii) If I will stay in one or two cities only, I can bring the large luggage only if the vacation is two weeks or longer and I expect to do some shopping.

2. Stick to your budget.

I have budgeted Php2,000 per day for the trip. It should have been enough if only I used the daily budget to food and transportation only. The budget for shopping should be separate. For future travels, especially to Europe, I will budget Php3,000 per day for food and transportation, pls note that this is a pretty generous daily budget. The budget for shopping should be in a different wallet or pouch, never mix up the money for both allowances. Before the trip, the only must-buy in my mind is the leather bag in Florence, well I planned to buy a few more stuff like the Little Prince book and Jane Austen classics, I forgot to budget on the fridge magnets which are my mandatory souvenirs. If only I have more space in my luggage and if only it’s not too heavy, I wanted to buy the Starbucks demitasse in cities where it is available. Oh well! No regrets though…. sometimes I think, the “heavy luggage” situation happened because I am being spared from shopping too much, which is good. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_9965Are there things I regret not buying because of my fear of carrying an even heavier luggage? Yes, there are a few things – some hardbound books in Notting Hill Bookshop, the Starbucks demitasse in Paris, France, a few more Leonidas chocolate bars, some more Cath Kidston handcreams, and the Lovea shampoo & shower cream, this is a French brand of natural products which I bought in one of Milan shopping malls, had I known that I would love these products, I should have bought more travel size tubes, or 1 big bottle for each. Oh well, lesson learned!

3. Chill.

More often than not, we travel because we want to relax, we want to rest in a far place, somewhere far from work, or from anything that causes stress. We spent 3 to 4 days in each city that we visited, we stayed longest in UK, 5 days, because I requested for it, I wanted to see my family and a couple of friends. As you know from experience, 3 or even 4 days are not enough to explore a city, even the small one. Since this is our first time in Europe, we wanted to see most of the tourist spots, so we booked tours and hop-on-hop-off buses in Florence, Milan, Paris, London and Rome. In Brussels, we depended on Leah, since she lives there and we only had 2 full days in Brussels, on our 3rd day, we even managed to go to Gent, in Graslei Canal, before we moved to London.

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I will surely come back for you, Toscana…

In every place that we visited, I can say with all conviction that we didn’t have enough time to chill one day and then explore the next day. Well, this is perfectly understandable, next time, we know better. On my next trip to Europe, 4 cities will be maximum in 3 weeks or 1 month, and spend atleast 4 full days in each city. I personally wanted to explore more of Tuscany, more of Paris, but we just didn’t have enough time. I love San Gimignano that’s why I want to go back, as for Paris, we barely had time to go to other landmarks except for the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, I want to go back to see the Eiffel Tower at night, to see more of the Louvre Museum, check out more museums and gardens, chill more, drink coffee at pavement cafes, eat more macarons and other French pastries, and maybe, just maybe, finally buy my first ever LV or Chloรฉ bag. ๐Ÿ™‚

4. Avoid last minute shopping.

Since we didn’t have enough time to chill, explore and shop in each city, we always made the most of our remaining hours in the city to shop or buy souvenirs for family and friends. When we do this, there’s a chance that we miss our flight or train ride, which actually happened to us in Paris going to Brussels, and almost happened again in Brussels going to London. It’s expensive to book a new ticket on the day of travel, well, we’re grateful that there’s another schedule that afternoon from Paris to Brussels.

On our last day in London, I went out even though it was raining hard because I wanted to buy a big ย bottle ofย Pixi glow toner, which I thought might be cheaper since it is a UK brand. I was lucky enough to be able to buy it. After getting it, I went back to the hotel just in time for our check out, we went to the airport via Uber. At the airport, all liquids must be put inside a seal-able plastic bag. The ones which are 100ml or bigger should be checked in. I totally forgot about the toner that I bought, 250ml, which I put inside my bag after I purchased it in the morning. So naturally, I was not allowed to bring it with me, I had no choice but to leave it, and “throw away my ยฃ18!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Mailing it to my cousin’s home is more expensive than the item itself so I let it go and charged it to experience. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

5. Savor the food, the fruits, the flowers, as much as you can.

IMG_7626Back in Manila for 20 days, I must admit, setting aside the beauty and charm of Europe, including the cold weather of Brussels and London, what I miss the most are the fruits (cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries) which are soooo yummy, readily available in grocery stores and so cheap!! So while I was there, I ate as much as I can, but I still miss it, if only I can bring a lot back home. I miss the flowers too, they’re too lovely and visible just anywhere. Next time, I won’t hesitate to buy a bouquet and have a photo op with it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I miss the coffee, the chocolates, the macarons… Okay, I miss Europe, pls take me back! ;D

6. Take lots of photos.

IMG_7042Yes, I did take lots of photos but I think they’re not enough to make a good album, most of the photos were taken thru the IG stories which have low resolution. One lesson learned is to use either digicam or iPhone for high resolution so it’s ready for album or for printing. If you want to have your photo taken in a particular place, don’t hesitate to ask your travel buddies. I actually don’t have much photos because I was too shy to ask my travel buddies.. Next time, I won’t be shy anymore. ๐Ÿ˜‰

7. Save up for travel.

Don’t spend too much on stuff, so you can travel more often. My dream place is Europe, since it’s a big continent, with lots of beautiful cities to experience, I need to save up a lot so I can go back often and visit three to four cities at a time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Hope you’re able to learn something from this post and apply it on your future travels. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜˜

โ€œHe has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.โ€
โ€ญโ€ญEcclesiastesโ€ฌ โ€ญ3:11โ€ฌ โ€ญESVโ€ฌโ€ฌ

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Travel

77++

When I travel, I am happy with the reality that I am with family and/or friends, and we will share lots of wonderful memories together in a different place. That’s why I only have very few musts – must see, must eat, must buy – the rest of the trip, I happily go with the flow, go where my family or friends wish to go or what they wish to do.

For my recent trip to Europe, my dream destination, I’ve been listing my musts even before I bought the ticket for it, that’s why when it’s already actually happening, my list came in (so) handy. ๐Ÿ™‚

I posted this list in my previous post, I was able to do 12 out of 19. I am very happy because the 7 things which I wasn’t able to do were replaced by 77++ more beautiful experiences (trip to Bellagio, Lake Como / Lugano, Switzerland / Brussels & Gent in Belgium) which I wouldn’t trade for anything else. ๐Ÿ˜€

France

  • Eiffel Tower –ย โœ”
  • Eat macarons at Laduree Pierre Herme –ย โœ”
  • Coffee at pavement cafes (done in Italy) –ย โœ”
  • Buy Little Prince hardbound book –ย โœ”ย not in Paris, but in Notting Hill, London

Italy

  • Pasta, pizza & gelato! –ย โœ”โœ”โœ”
  • Leaning tower of Piza –ย โœ”โœ”โœ”ย Kim and I even climbed up the Pisa and we were stunned by the gorgeous view from the top!
  • Colosseum –ย โœ”โœ”ย We saw it both day time and night time, in both times, absolutely picturesque, right Caye? ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Buy leather bag in Florence San Gimignano –ย โœ”ย So happy to find a very lovely but not pricey brown leather bag

UK

  • Bond with Jel, Jelan & Mariel (and auntie too!)-ย โœ”โœ”โœ”ย I was happiest in London because I was able to spend time with them, so love them!!ย โ™ฅโ™ฅโ™ฅ
  • Visit Iris, Bong & Kids –ย โœ”โœ”โœ”ย Happy to catch up with Bong and Iris, such precious time to be with friends ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Watch a theater play โ€“ Miss Saigon – hopefully next time I’ll get to watch this
  • Eat at monocle cafeย – no more time, maybe next time
  • Go to UK landmarks, Notting Hill โ€“ โœ”โœ”ย Yes! We went to Notting Hill bookstore and the apartment where the character of Hugh Grant lives ๐Ÿ™‚ I loved the bookstore so much, if only I have the space on my luggage for those lovely hardbound books…
  • Buy twinning teas, โ€˜after 8โ€™ mint chocolate, Jane Austenโ€™s cloth-bound classic set – nope! hopefully next time!
  • Meet Peony Lim ๐Ÿ˜‰ย – she was in Miami when I was in London, not meant to be ;P
  • Photo op with real peonies – โœ”ย no photos with peonies but I got to see them in real life (I think in Milan and Rome) So beautiful!!!
  • Umbrella park at Bath – nope! next time ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Get Jane Austen pound coins as souvenir – not available, guess only few were released
  • National Gallery via Trafalgar Square- Van Goghโ€™s Sunflowers in Room – nope, next time, too!

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I thank and praise God for the 77++ unfathomable beauty that He showed us and made us experience in this trip. I trust He has much more wonderful things in-store for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Lessons Learned, Travel

A prayer is answered, a dream is fulfilled.

Image-1Back from my dream travel for almost a week, I wouldn’t want to miss this chance to glorify God for causing it to happen.

A prayer is answered, a dream is fulfilled. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™Œย My ๐Ÿ’– is full. ๐Ÿ˜Š
Europe is my dream destination. I had it in my heart in my late teens. Can’t remember how and why, I guess it’s one of those dreams that God has planted in my ๐Ÿ’–.
I’ve been open about it, family and friends know about this dream. I believe in the power of proclaiming your dreams, believing God to will it in His time and prepare for it as you wait for Him to make it happen.
Everything is kept in my ๐Ÿ’–, lessons learned included.๐Ÿ™‹ย The photos and my nonexistent photography skill couldn’t make justice as to how I beautifully see it, feel it, and reminisce of every single precious moment I experienced, every single person I spent time with and those who I briefly encountered all throughout the trip. I am grateful (beyond words)ย to GOD who give great gifts to His children (James 1:17). ๐Ÿ™ŒHe has blessed us, spoiled us, showed us marvelous, unfathomable beauty and kindness (yes, still exists) in the world (despite all the scary things happening around), and protected us.
I’m back to my normal life, but I am equally grateful and happy because this is where God wants me to be at this time. Bloom๐ŸŒป where you’re planted, right? ๐Ÿ˜
God knows I will always want to go back to Europe, He knows what’s in my ๐Ÿ’– but I trust His will & want His best for my life, far more than my version of what’s best for me. โ˜บ๏ธ
โ€œThe heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.โ€
โ€ญโ€ญProverbsโ€ฌ โ€ญ16:9โ€ฌ โ€ญESVโ€ฌโ€ฌ
#oldsoulยฎ
#GODspoils๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™Œ

#LivingTHEdream๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’–

#gratefulbeyondwords๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’–