All posts tagged: Europe

Córdoba, Spain: The Land of Flowers and Friends

I bought two tickets for a single bus ride out of Seville. It wasn’t because I had picked up a surprise companion – much to my disappointment. Rather, I’d booked a seat online to avoid being bumped off my preferred travel time, only to be told at the station that they couldn’t find my reservation on their system. The credit card charge had gone through, the actual ticket hadn’t. Since the attendants couldn’t understand much English and my knowledge of Spanish was limited to baño, gracias, and some random words I’d picked up from Duolingo, I bit the bullet and coughed up another 14 euros – this time in cash. For the budget-conscious traveler that I am, that sucked. But as they say, charge it to experience. Let go and move on. And I did – on to the flowery city of Córdoba. I’ll let you in on a secret. Whenever I travel alone, I’m torn between hoping I end up without a seatmate (that’s the introvert in me talking) and hoping I have an attractive one (I know, …

Seville, Spain: The Golden Capital of Andalusia

I left Madrid for Seville in the final minutes of dawn, chasing the golden sunrise. Aboard a barely occupied Renfe train, I gazed out the window, spellbound by the landscape rolling, changing, coming to life before my eyes. It was early enough in my trip that I’d still been able to capture that experience in my journal. Looking back at it now, I’d say that was the exact moment I fell in love with Spain and its cities – each, I’d come to know, with its own distinct personality. Seville was one of those places I’d discovered while plotting my itinerary – a stop to bring me one step closer to Barcelona. My friends who’d been there told me it was so nice. Beautiful. Lovely. It didn’t take me long to add my own adjectives to the list. Vibrant. Enchanting. Golden. From its bright, cloudless skies to its colorful, intricately detailed architecture to the tinto de verano that burst with flavor on my tongue, Seville was golden. I rented a room in an Airbnb in Seville’s Triana …

Madrid, Spain: My Gateway to Europe

Madrid was never really on my list. It was a point of entry and exit. A doorway. An introduction to the story, where you meet the main character, establish interest, and gear up for things to happen. In many ways, it was all that – but it was more than that, too. I arrived in Madrid fresh from 30 hours of travel between four airports across roughly 14,000 kilometers. In my new pleather jacket, with backpack and shoulder bag in tow, I journeyed from airport to metro station to metro station to hostel, and quickly learned four things that would guide me through the rest of my travels: Be ready for all kinds of weather. Just because it was cold when you first stepped out on the street doesn’t mean it’ll still be so an hour later. And vice versa. No matter how light your backpack weighs on that scale, it’ll soon weigh double – or triple – as much on your shoulders. Never mind how heavy your bag is. You always have space for …

Four years, four days, four weeks

A friend of mine loves airports. He loves watching people come and go, waiting and meeting in those wide, brightly lit halls. He loves speculating about them—who they are, where they’re going, why they’re leaving. What their stories are. I’d say airports are among his muses. He’s so fascinated with them that he’s written a series featuring his friends and how they would be at an airport. I’ve read two of those shorts. Sadly, I’m not in any of them. No worries, though. Because in four—count ’em, four—days, I’ll be that person in the airport. Another face in the crowd of people waiting to take off. Another story waiting to unfold and be told. With this story being four years in the making, it ought to be a good one. From dreaming to doing It still hasn’t completely sunk in that I’m finally going on my Eurotrip. It isn’t the exact same trip I’d dreamt of back in 2012. I’m not going to Russia, since that received a firm no from my parents. And I’m a …

BREAKING NEWS

Before I continue with my Siem Reap tales, I have to let out a huge cyber whoop of excitement. I just found out that Cebu Pacific, one of the Philippines’ leading budget airlines, is planning to open flight routes to Melbourne, Australia and Moscow, Russia in 2014. Yes, you read it right–RUSSIA!!! The number one country on my 2015 Eastern Europe trip. It’s a sign: all roads do lead to Russia. For me, at least. Now, all I need to work on is my funds. No matter how cheap the airfare might be, the actual travel cost is bound to be rather hefty, especially considering that Moscow’s not exactly known as a cheap place to visit. A lot of people have asked me why I’m so keen on going there. It’s simple, really. First, there’s the St. Basil’s Cathedral (need I add more?). And there’s the fact that East Europe’s so different from what I’ve seen in the West. Not that I’ve already exhausted all the places I want to see in Western Europe. But before …