All posts filed under: Europe

#CUrope Chronicles: Ellipses, not endings

Wherein I finally accept reality and start writing about the dream come true that was my Europe backpacking trip.

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Weihnachtsmarkt Rathausmarkt, Hamburg

Can you believe that it’s Christmastime once again? We don’t get snow on our side of the globe, but the weather’s notably cooler, especially at night, and the streets twinkle with beautiful fairy lights. Throw in some holiday tunes and a delicious cup of coffee, and it’s the perfect time for reminiscing. Four years ago, after my colleague Sheila and I had our training in the little town of Löhne, Germany, we made our way to the not-so-little city of Hamburg to experience ourselves some European Christmas spirit. Of course, our first stop had to be their Rathaus—German for city hall.   As we walked up the steps of the subway, our heads were drawn up to the impressive sandstone walls housing the seat of Hamburg’s government. To give you an idea of just how grand this neo-Renaissance building is, its number of rooms tops that of London’s Buckingham Palace. Awesome, right? We would’ve wanted to join one of the guided tours to its public areas, but since we had a free city tour to catch, we decided to simple explore the sights …

Chateau de Versailles, France

Back in college, we had this class on the History of Art and Architecture. One of the stories that particularly interested me was of France’s Louis XIV, who hailed himself as “Le Roi Soleil” (The Sun King) and brought France into an international seat of power. Louis XIV was known to be a huge patron of the arts, and perhaps one of his greatest legacies is the Chateau de Versailles. What used to be the hunting lodge of his predecessor, Louis XIII, was transformed into a splendidly massive palace that would be the center of France’s monarchy for more than a hundred years. So when our tour brought us to Paris, I knew that we could not miss a visit to Versailles. We were the only ones in our group to venture out of the main city, but our tour guide was nice enough to give us directions on how to go Versailles. The bus dropped us off at Musee d’Orsay, where we caught the RER C train to Versailles Rive de Gauche. The ride took …

The Berlin Wall, Germany

So this is where I feature photos of a specific place, event or experience that I find truly memorable. In keeping with my previous post wherein Berlin was mentioned, I’d like to start off this series with my visit to the Berlin Wall — particularly, the Berliner Mauer East Side Gallery. Throughout our short stay in Amsterdam, Berlin and Hamburg, Sheila and I adhered to several suggestions of our wise and most knowledgeable travel companion: Rick Steves. It was he who led us to Muhlenstrasse, home to a 1.3 km stretch of the historic Berlin Wall. Though there are several other remaining portions of the wall found throughout the city, we decided to make it a point to visit the East Side Gallery due to the main thing that sets it apart. While the other remnants of the Wall were left in their original condition, this particular length was transformed into a huge open air gallery commemorating the trials and triumphs that took place there. Back in 1990, artists from all over the world came …

My 5 Most EPIC Journeys Up (So Far…)

If you’ve read my posts on my Seoul trip, you’re probably familiar with my love/hate relationships with stairs. Now, I’ll have to clarify that and extend it to encompass anything going uphill, be it steps, slopes or…whatever. You get the picture. I’ve never been a gym rat and, up until a few months ago, never maintained a regular exercise schedule. That changed because, aside from the health factor, I’ve realized just how beneficial physical strength and endurance is to traveling. If you get down to the basic nitty-gritty of it, traveling involves a hell of a lot of walking, especially if you really want to explore as much as you can. And more often than not, there’s bound to be that tower, hill or bridge you have to climb to enjoy the view at the top. Trust me when I say that THAT view and that experience will make the round trip more than worthwhile. Here are five of my most epic journeys up (so far), in chronological order. *     *     …