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. 😀 I’ve chosen 17 photos/highlights for each city that we visited. Why 17? Because 2017. 🙂
Let me warn you, this is a looooong post, 99% photos and 1% narrative. 😛 But don’t worry, I will share the highlights in 4 parts. 🙂
Florence, Italy: 22 May
(Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa): 23 May
Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy: 25 May
That’s it for today. More photos to follow in the coming days. 🙂
Yes, I’m still not over it, probably never will I… 🙂
I realized I have missed out blogging about a few more important bits which will be quite useful for me to remember for my future trips (take note, tripS 🙂) to South Korea, yes, not only to Busan, but to other parts of South Korea and probably to Japan.
I live in Manila, we don’t have spring, autumn and winter here. So if I would like to experience other seasons, the nearest that I can go to is South Korea and Japan. My first experience of spring is in Seoul in April 2011, while my first autumn experience was in Osaka & Kyoto in late November/early December of 2015. I am blessed to be able to go back to South Korea, to Busan just recently, but didn’t get to witness “autumn” colours as yet, but definitely felt the lovely autumn weather.
Spring, Seoul, 2011
Autumn, Osaka/Kyoto, 2015
It is likely that I will be going back to these countries because I love them so much for various reasons. I love the weather, the food (this alone is good enough reason for me to keep on going back), the beautiful sceneries, the courteous and disciplined people, the good quality of their products, and a whole lot more!
In every travel that we experience, we learn a thing or two, and we become a better traveler and a better person each time. The things that I learned in Europe are different from what I learned in South Korea. I have shared here some of the lessons learned during my first travel to Europe.
Today, I will be sharing some notes to self which I should remember by the time I’ll take that next trip to either Japan or South Korea.
Early November is a good time to go…
Some friends and even celebrities which I follow in Instagram went to Seoul this week and I actually wanted to go back on a whim! Their videos and photos are so beautiful, the food looks so yummy, I know they are, the weather is sooo cold, the colours are just so pretty and lovely… So I am praying and hoping to be able to go back to South Korea next year, most probably in early November, Godwillling. (The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. – Proverbs 16:9). 🙂
Bring a medium AND a small luggage
Well, I know I should always try to travel light but I’ll make an exception for these 2 countries because I honestly believe that’s it’s okay to hoard all the yummy food they have. 🙂 I wasn’t able to do this recently because I only brought my small luggage. The medium luggage will be for my grocery shopping, not for my OOTDs. My clothes and all other knickknacks should fit inside my small luggage.
When I told my friend Ina that I would be going to Busan, she requested me to buy this pack of honey butter almond, she said it’s yummy. So I bought a few packs for my family and for Ina. I didn’t try it while in Busan, had I known how good it is, I should have bought more and tried to squeeze some more inside my luggage… (I love nuts. Thank you Ina, it’s because of you that I discovered this 😍). There are other variants, which are equally yummy. I tried the mixed nuts, it’s so good too!
I love French Vanilla and Caramel Macchiato, so when I saw these in one of the convenience stores, I bought 1 box each, which has 8 packs inside. I should have bought more if I had more space. Now you know why it is important for me to bring a medium luggage, or maybe just 2 small luggages? Well, it depends on how long will the vacation be and how much will be my budget for food shopping. 😉 Let’s see…
Try new drinks, both hot and cold…
As I have noted in my previous post, when in Starbucks, I should not only check out the available cards but also try their new hot and cold drinks from Day 1 of the trip so I get to try all by the end of the trip. 🙂
Find time to check out quaint cafes (they have the cutest cafes!), other food stalls, and eat all the berries and other unfamiliar fruits as much as possible… 😉 I love berries and another thing I love about these countries is that they have the freshest fruits and veggies 🙂
Always thank and praise God, allow Him to surprise you 🙂
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you …” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I have probably said this before, but I’ll say it again, I thought 2017’s highlight would be my Europe trip, THE trip of the year, but God has His way of surprising and pampering His children in ways we couldn’t have imagined. I thank and praise God for our Busan trip as much as I praise and thank him for the Europe trip, they are both very special trips to me, cherished by my grateful, joyful heart. I give all thanks and glory to God for just blessing me with all good things. He knows I love to travel, and He delights in blessing me with wonderful experiences each time.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above… – James 1:17 ESV
Yes, a short vacation is always sweet when you are with your lovely family and/or friends. 🙂
It’s the first day of November (hello, beautiful November!) as of this writing, it’s a holiday so I had time to write and hopefully wrap up my posts about our Busan trip. 😉 Let me share with you a few more things which made this trip sweet’er’. 😉
On the first two days of our trip as well as the third and last day, I had the chance to go to Starbucks (SB) with my friends. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll remember that I shared in my post here that I collect SB cards, so it is a must that I visit SB whenever and wherever possible. Thanks to my supportive friends I get to do it with so much joy! 😀
During this trip, I was able to get 4 new SB cards from different SB branches around Busan and I super love them all, very pretty designs and very meaningful as well. 🙂
I also have a small collection of SB demitasses. So it was so tempting to buy this pretty set (photo below) but I restrained myself… Having set a working budget is really a good idea. It actually kept me from buying everything that I liked. Good job, Ryah! ;P
I not only tried new hot drinks but also excitedly tried some of these SB healthy drinks. I should have discovered this early on, I would likely try all variants, if I remember it right, there were almost 10 different variants. I bought these 3 on the 3rd day and had to drink within a couple of hours because I couldn’t hand-carry it and also didn’t risk checking them in. I tried the kale & apple drink first while at SB, while the last 2, I finished them just before I placed my hand-carry bag on the conveyor at the airport! hahaha They’re all so yummy! I should have hoarded!! Next time, I should remember to not only look for SB cards, but to try new drinks from Day 1 of the trip.
Remember the Swedish word and proverb I shared with you a couple of weeks back on this post?
Lagom which literally means not too little, not too much.
On day 1, I saw these products, it caught my attention because of the brand name (and the minimalist packaging, very true to its name)! 😉 And I just couldn’t resist, I had to purchase a small cleanser tube and small toner bottle so I could try them, I got some freebies too. 🙂
Gill’s fly out from Busan was earlier compared to my flight and Eia’s. So Gill left for the airport at around 12nn if I remembered it right. Eia and I had initially planned to watch one more movie in the afternoon of Day 3 but Eia had to work on some urgent matters, good thing we decided not to purchase another movie ticket the day we bought the first movie ticket. Eia and I went to Starbucks at around 1:30pm, it’s walking distance to the airport bus stop and also to Haeundae Beach. At 3pm, I left Eia alone at SB so she could focus on her work and I could explore the area a bit more. I really wanted to spend some time at the beach so I crossed and went to the beach area. Oh, how I love the beach, the cool breeze, the sound of the waves, I love everything about those little sweet moments to be one with nature. ♥♥♥
Photos with the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics’ mascot. 🙂
Victorious or not-so?
Remember the travel challenge I took upon myself for this trip? Well, the challenges are to stay within the budget (a total of Php30,000 or around USD580) and to travel light.
On the day of our return to Manila, I only had to use one additional foldable overnight bag, so in terms of travelling light – I am victorious, yey!!! 😀
For the other challenge, the target was to only spend a total of Php30,000. After doing my accounting, I spent a total of Php35,198.90. I exceeded Php5k plus, but Php5,483.25 was spent on pasalubong (small treats for family and friends). The excess was a sweet one because it’s for my loved ones. 😉 So I think, I am also victorious on this challenge, you agree, right? 😉
In this short trip, more sweet memories were created amongst the three of us. Gillian and Eia are my friends for more than a decade already, our friendship is becoming sweeter and sweeter as time goes by. I love these ladies so much, truly grateful for them. I hope and pray to create more happy memories with them, here and just anywhere around the globe. 🙂
As promised, I’m back to share more of our recent Busan adventures.
On our second day, 15 October, it was a Sunday, Eia proposed to go on a tour via hop on hop off. We boarded the bus at around 10:40am, we didn’t get off to most of the stops because it was raining, so we just enjoyed the view from the bus.
The bus had a 15-minute stop at the Fisheries Science Museum. We just stayed inside the bus and didn’t go inside the museum, but I got a bit bored after awhile so I stepped out a bit and took some photos and videos.
The first and only stop that we all decided to hop off was in front of an outlet mall. ;P
Since it was cold, I looked for something hot to drink, I loved the berry berry tea. I love everything with berries, oh, how I miss Europe, it’s the only place I was able to eat lots of berries because it was cheap!
Gill and Eia had some things to buy for their family/friends from some shops at the mall. Me, I bought some facial masks at the Lotte Supermarket, and some goodies too for family and friends. I bought a few packs of this Cafe Latte & Pepero Biscuit because I like anything that’s coffee-flavoured and the packaging is just too pretty!! I thought of giving them as Christmas gifts but I ended up giving them away as pasalubong. I left 1 box for me so I can try it, I loved it! I’ll hoard it next time. #notetoself ;P
I joined Gill while she was looking around. I went inside Coach with her, and I actually liked a wallet (forgot to take a photo), a pair of ballerines and sunglasses. Of course, I still found them pricey despite the big discount. ;P So as I advised in one of my posts, taking of a photo of it might do the trick, it did for me that time. 🙂 And I happily move away from them (as fast as I could). ;P
Gill and I met up with Eia in front of the mall after an hour and a half of malling. Our plan in the afternoon was to go to Nampo-dong, it’s a central commercial and shopping area, so more temptations to shop were waiting ahead of us! 🙂
The waiting was taking quite awhile, so I took it as an opportunity to photoshoot. 😉 Thanks to my lovelies who support me, as always. Hahaha
When we arrived at Nampo-dong, it was past lunchtime, so we looked for a place to eat, one of my agenda on this trip was to try jajangmyeon (noodles with black bean sauce), I always see it in Korean series so I got curious… Eia brought Gill and I to a resto where jajangmyeon is served. Well, it was okay, I liked it with the yellow radish, I actually liked the yellow radish so much, we ate a lot, unli-side dish. 🙂 Next year, Godwilling, eating jajangmyeon will still be a part of the agenda. 🙂 I want to try eating unli-fried chicken, too. 🙂
Another agenda is to buy sunscreen, serum, lipgloss and bb/cc cream at Skinfood, my favorite Korean skincare/makeup brand. Since I am working on a budget, the challenge was to stick to it. Before going on this trip, I made an inventory of what I have at home so I would not be easily tempted to buy things which I don’t need. I said on my previous post that “Inventory is the Key.” Well, I guess, aside from inventory, the most important factors, when you are trying to work on a budget because you want to save up and focus on the more important things, are discipline and self-control. These two go hand-in-hand and sometimes are being used interchangeably. Either way, we need both to be able to overcome temptations, including the urge to spend too much on stuff we don’t need.
Self-control – restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires
So I actually was able to buy what I intended to:
BUT I also bought a few more stuff…
The saleslady at Skinfood told me that a serum works best with these two products, Essence and Cream. I thought about it many times, but I finally gave in because of the discount when I buy the package and she promised me with lots of freebies. ;P I also bought a nail polish in my current fave color, an acetone and a pretty set of nailcare.
Here are some of the freebies I got from Skinfood which I kept for myself. The other freebies which are not in the photo, I will give them to my aunt in the province, she likes those small stuff.
After buying the Skinfood products, we went to a very lovely cafe. I didn’t buy anything there, I just wanted to rest while Eia and Gill were across the street, looking for sports shoes for their brothers.
After awhile, I followed them to the sports store, and these two beauties called me. 🙂 I am not the sporty type, I only buy rubber shoes for running/traveling, since my current Merrell rubber shoes, the one I’m wearing on the photo are still in good shape, I restrained myself from buying a new pair. 🙂
We had a long day at Nampo-dong, on our way to the train station, Gillian showed me this, so we had to stop and Eia took these photos… Haayyy.. Nice seeing you, Oppa! ♥
We wrapped up the day with a super yummy dinner at a nearby Korean resto, it was past midnight already, my meal was a steaming hot beef soup, it was so yummy, and equally enjoyed the yummy unli-side dishes and fish paste.
We enjoyed our last night together. So chilly and breezy, and so lovely as well. ♥♥♥ #gratefulbeyondwords
On my next post, I will share with you how I fared againts the Travel Challenge I imposed upon myself. So stay tuned! 😉
Back from a very special lovely quick getaway from my lovelies, Eia & Gill, for almost 2 weeks now, but still feeling so happy just thinking about it and browsing through the photos and videos. 😀
This trip is very special because it’s my first time to Busan as well as Gillian’s, while it’s Eia’s 99th time, just kidding! ;P This trip is one of those spur of the moments’ thing. I shared how it happened in my post here. It’s special because it’s the shortest out of the country I’ve experienced so far, we basically just wanted to experience the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), had hoped to see some of our actor-crushes, half-wishing Gong Yoo, So Ji Sub, So Joong Ki, amongst others, would pop before our expectant eyes & ♥♥♥. 🙂 We also just wanted to eat Korean food (street food included!), watch movies, relax by the beach, and shop, a little. 🙂
Before the trip, I thought of using this hashtag #TRIPnotTrainToBusan, but ended up using a more fitting one…
#kdRamaloveliesGoEstoBusan = R, G and E = our initials are capitalized ♥♥♥
We arrived in Busan late night of 13 October, on our way to our accommodation, we were already hungry and feeling cold, so eating some hot and spicy Korean street food was the best thing to do, we ate one of my faves, Tteokbokki (rice & fish cake). Because I’m too happy and hungry at the same time, I only took a video of us (via IG stories) eating while standing with our luggage, but failed to save it. 😦 So here’s a photo from google…
The next morning, Saturday, the first order of the day was to eat brekky at Bread & Cake. When I went inside the patisserie/boulangerie, it felt like I was back in Paris, lots of very pretty breads and pastries. I ordered a croissant, a cheesecake with fig on top, cappuccino, and took home some madeleines too. 🙂 All were very yummy!!! 😀 I loved the cool weather so much, the fresh air, and the experience of having coffee (and pastries) alfresco with my lovelies. ♥ #justpriceless #gratefulbeyondwords
After brekky, we went to buy our movie tickets to watch one of the BIFF entries. We’re lucky that there was no queue and one of the movies we hoped to watch entitled “Old Love” still had available tickets.
I had hoped to be able to watch atleast 2 or 3 movies but our limited time didn’t allow it. It’s okay, we’ll make up next year, Godwilling. 🙂 While we were waiting for the 2pm showing, we went malling and tried to look for some beauty products which our friends requested from us to buy.
After watching the movie, we headed to Haeundae Beach for a Meet & Greet session, there were many Meet & Greet sessions but we only decided to witness one given our limited time. We saw some actors upclose, but unfortunately, Gillian and I haven’t watched any of their movies or series, but it was still a unique & fun experience to actually go to the Beach where BIFF events are held each year. 🙂
We tried to have a decent group photo and requested a friendly looking lady to take our photos but an uninvited gentleman decided to join us. Oh well! 😀
Our trip wouldn’t be complete without the “Grilled Pork Belly BBQ (samgyeupsal) with lots of side dishes” experience. Korean food is sooooo yummy and comforting… haaaayyyy 🙂 I’m feeling hungry again. ;P
And these are some of the food that I’ve had during the trip and I’m actually missing them so badly… Pls take me back to Korea, now na! 🙂
Before I dream of these yummies, I better sleep now, I’ll share more of our Busan adventures tomorrow. 😉 Promise!
Goodnight, friends! Kamsahamnida (thank you) for reading my post. 🙂
PS. I hope I will be able to share some videos from our trip but my current subscription plan for this site won’t allow it. I’m still thinking if I should upgrade my plan… For now, let’s just enjoy the photos. 😉
Traveling usually gives a person the license to shop, it just happens that way. As a continuation to my previous post, I thought of doing a quick inventory of the things which I have right now, the things which I think I might get tempted to buy in Korea. I know I need to do this because I can easily get tempted to buy something I don’t need, just because (i) they are cheaper, (ii) they have the cutest packaging (!!) and (iii) Korea is known to produce great skincare products, just like Japan.
I went to Seoul once, so I know there are lots of good skincare products there, which at my age, I should be investing now. So I am resolved to only buy a serum, a sunblock, a lipgloss, and probably a BB/CC cream. For other makeup products, I think I have more than enough lipsticks/balms/tints, I have a powdered and a tinted blush on, I have a bronzer from Paris and another one (bare minerals) from Gillian, one of her pasalubong for me from her US trip last year. I’m actually not a make-up person so it takes a long time for me to finish a product. As for toiletries such as facial wash, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and scrub, body lotion, hand cream and sanitizer, I still have enough, including perfume. 😉 So I really don’t have much of an excuse to shop. 😛
In my recollection, Korea has all the cutest stuff (AS IN), which I went gaga over the last time I went there and I have to admit, I bought things which I didn’t need. But now, some 6 years later, I hope I am more disciplined and more of a saver than a spender. 🙂
Just for good ol’ memories’ sake, I’m sharing some photos from that trip and the things which were too tempting for me. 🙂
These two bags below, I really loved them, thank goodness, they’re too pricey, I couldn’t afford them, so I kept them in my memory through these photos!! 😛
Okay, bye for now, I will update you on my return. 🙂
Remember, inventory is the key. 🙂
And probably just taking photos of what you like will do the trick. 🙂
“Lagom” – very seldom, that I fell for a word, and this is one of the very rare occasions that I instantly got curious about a foreign word — it’s love at first encounter. 🙂
The Lexin Swedish-English dictionary defines lagom as “enough, sufficient, adequate, just right“. Lagom is also widely translated as “in moderation“, “in balance”, “perfect-simple”, and “suitable” (in matter of amounts). – Wiktionary
Lagom — the Swedish concept of not too much, not too little, just right — just the kind of lifestyle that I strive to practise day-in day-out in all aspects. I believe it’s one of the keys to enjoy a peaceful and balanced life, which we all need/want/dream of. When one learns how to be grateful for what is enough, let go of everything that’s too much and weighing us down, when the focus is enjoying what we have at the present, and making the most of what is working and serving its purpose at the moment, that’s truly liberating and vital to achieving one’s sense of joy and wellness.
With lagomärbäst in mind and as a practical application, I made a conscious effort to bring just the right amount of everything for my upcoming travel to Busan which is just 5 days away. I am actually SO excited about this trip, this is the shortest out of the country trip that I will get to experience so far, I even made a travel challenge for myself, so this Swedish concept is not only helping me succeed on the challenge but also gives me a better appreciation of the travel experience itself because my focus is on the new experiences that this new city will offer, the fun memories, lots of it, that I will once again share with my lovely friends, Eia and Gillian. 🙂 🙂
So here’s what I packed for next weekend’s trip:
On the day of the trip, I will pack my clothes, the planned OOTDs might change depending on the temperature. Don’t worry, I know already what to bring, whether the weather gets too cold or just cool enough, I just don’t want my clothes to crumple so I pack them on the day of travel. 😉
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, – Matthew 6:19