I'm now back from my (almost 3-week) Europe trip. I still have travel hangovers and I think it will be long before I could truly get over my trip (if I could). Europe is freaking beautiful! Even the smaller, lesser known towns are so breath taking. There are lots of places to see, and for me, each place I went to has its own charm. There were friends who asked me which one was my favorite, but honestly, I couldn't choose! I love them all and I wouldn't mind visiting each again.
Anywayz...my trip started when, out of boredom, I started to checked Singapore Airline (SQ) flights to Europe. I was amazed by the cheap fares we got for our Australia trip via booking multi-city so, I decided to check if multi-city booking will also be cheap in Europe (without intending to book it). I wasn't really planning a Euro trip but I was surprised when I saw that the flights were cheaper than I expected. It was still a bit high for my standards but it's Europe! I think it's already a bargain. I got excited and asked my friends who are based in UK and Germany if its possible to spend maybe just 2k Euros for a Europe trip. They said it certainly is possible with careful planning. I contemplated for a while and I eventually decided to "Fudge it,Carpe Diem! time for YOLO-ing!" :D
So last Feb 02, 2015, with eyes closed (kidding), I booked a multi-city trip from SG - London and Rome-SG for March 1-20, 2016 dates. I just kept telling myself that my trip will be more than a year away so I have plenty of time to save up and plan for it.
Fast forward to the planning stage, I really would like to thank my friend Dimsk who sorted out my head-spinning itinerary. I want to see everything in that 20 days so it was really hard which places to prioritize or remove. He also sorted out the route of my trip. He is based in Germany and a very expert traveller at that, so I gave full trust to him. He was the one who really inspired me to travel and influenced me to be "gala" or a wanderer (wanderingdarkelf lol). I was also so happy when he decided to postpone his London vacation last year so that it will coincide with my trip this year. Plus, he decided to travel with me for 12 days from London to Salzburg! **happy dance**.
One thing I would suggest when planning a long Euro-trip, is to check the map which countries or cities are closer to each other and pattern your route from there. Another option is to list all the landmarks you want to see and check the proximity of each cities and plan from there. I admit my itinerary was a bit hectic but it worked for me. I know there are some people who prefer to stay in one place for longer time, so better consider the travel experience you prefer as well. If you are concerned with the budget, it is best to research hotels and transportation months ahead of the trip. Booking in advance, especially for transportation, is way cheaper. I was able to book inter-city trains in Italy for 9 Euros each. For accommodations, we stayed in hostels and hotels. So far, hostels in Europe are excellent! They are very clean and comfortable, even those dorm types. We used booking.com and hostelworld since they don't require you to pay the full amount upon booking. I spent more than 2k Euros but overall, my total expenses is just more or less 3.3k Euros. I know its way bigger than my initial budget but with number of cities I was able to get to, I think this is already a bit cheap. I didn't starve myself and I even think I kinda splurged a bit with this amount.
I will be blogging about my Euro trip in separate posts. I may also blog on how we planned it and how we budgeted the trip. For now, here are some of the places I went to. :)
I had a blast in London especially since I get to be with my 2 best bestfriends! Me and Dimsk met up with Lil Po, her hubby Bryan and my very cuteeeeee goddaughter baby Maeve! It's the first time we 3 are complete after we graduated from Highschool, so the meet up was very epic and long overdue for us. Nothing changed, we are still silly and goofy like our hs selves. :))
We took Easyjet from London Heathrow to Paris CDG. I say this was a big mistake as we rushed going to the airport and I had to pay extra checkin baggage since the we later discovered that the extra 20kg checkin we bought is only good for one bag (whether you consume 20kg or not). This is the policy of Easyjet, so if you have like 2 checkin baggages, you need to pay 2 extra checkin fees. I think this is a rip-off. Anywayz, it was lesson learned for us and this was the only time we got so stressed and haggard during the trip. Train travel is the best IMO!
Inferno by Dan Brown is one of the books I have read so I was looking forward to see the Duomo and some places in the book.
I am very saddened with what happened to Brussels. The place is so beautiful and the people are friendly and nice. I know some only visit Brussels for day trips or transit to other European places, but this place has a special place in my heart. I really do hope world violence will end. We have a very beautiful world and it's a shame that it us who are destroying it for nonsense reasons.
Kinderdijk Windmills in Rotterdam
I love this place! Dimsk brought me here and I was in awe the whole time!
One of our favorities cities! We had fun getting lost in the narrow streets, bridges in Amsterdam.
This is where Dimsk's is currently staying and his town is lovely! It's very quaint and the houses are pretty!
St. Goar, Germany
Some of our route was planned by Dimsk so some days I don't know where we're going. I have no idea about this place until Dimsk brought me here. I am not very emotional but seeing the view of St. Goarhausen made me teary-eyed. I think it finally sank in to me that I am really in Europe. St. Goar and St. Goarhausen are beautiful! I was just so thankful that I was given a chance to see and experience all these. Never in my wildest dream have I thought I could come and tour Europe. It was surreal!
I had the most unforgettable time here. Aside from enjoying the quaint lovely city of Lucerne, I also had my first paragliding experience! It was an exhilirating & awesome experience! As I posted on FB, it was the best 15 mins of my life! I was planning to do it in Mt. Pilatus or Mount Emmetten but they were closed due to winter, so I did it in Mount Engelbert instead. The view was still amazing! I paid 204 CHF including the vids and photos.
Windsor Castle, England
It was surreal stepping foot inside a real castle. My mind is wandering back to medieval times.
Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England
Me and my Dad loved watching mystery documentaries. We often watched about the mysteries surrounding Stonehenge so I was wishing my Dad was also with me on this trip.
One of the places I wished I could have stayed longer. I love getting lost in Venice!
Cinque Terre, Italy
I love, love, love this place! A day trip was not enough! I would gladly spend 3-5 days here. I vowed to come back and stay longer in Cinque Terre.
It's a fun day in Versailles as I get to visit my dear friend, Chelly. The highlight of my visit was meeting her adorable daughter Marjorie! She's uber cute!
I was looking forward to visiting Salzburg as one of my fave films, Sound of Music, was filmed here.
Another #atearfell moment for me. The place is so scenic and just breathtaking! It's lovelier than the pics and postcards I saw, IMO. If given a chance, I want to retire to this place. :)
Roman Bath in City of Bath, England
There is so much more to this city beyond the Roman Baths. We were surprised how lovely and ancient this city is. I wish to go back here and stay for few more days.
Neuschwanstein Castle in Hohenschwangau, Germany
It was a very fun and fulfilling trip for me. I know I mentioned before that I so wanted to do backpacking travel and this is the closest I could get to it. I only brought a 45L Deuter backpack and one small trolley backpack. Dimsk was still complaining I bought a lot of clothes and stuff..and I agree with him lol. There were I think a couple of clothes and shawls I wasn't able to wear. It was my first time to backpack and I think I'll be improving the next time. I wish I will have a chance to visit Europe again. It is money well-spent and worth of the "ubos kabuhayan showcase" spending...just kidding! What I mean is, if you have extra money for a Europe travel and is thinking about it, GO FOR IT! :)
I am a Filipina, formerly based in Singapore and is now living permanently in Melbourne. Yet, I am really a global citizen at heart. :)