New Year in Vienna

We don’t normally spend new year’s eve in other places in the Philippines. Our elders used to say we’re supposed to be in our homes and should stay when the year changes. I actually don’t remember why hehe… But since we came here in Germany, out of the 5 yearends we had, we only stayed at home twice.  Seems it didn’t matter…

This holiday was planned since August. Hubby and I were thinking where to go during the holiday break just like what we had last year. So i decided to take this chance to visit a blogger-friend whom we were supposed to visit last summer. The original plan was to stay in Vienna for only four days so I got a hotel reservation. I mentioned this plan to Marie and she gladly suggested for us to stay with them for a night which became three. The original 4-day trip became one week!

It was a long drive for us since it’s been snowing in Germany and roads were a little slippery. The normal 6-hour travel time became an 8-hour drive (including breaks).  Anyways, a warm welcome greeted us as we found our home for the next 2 days. Marie, who I’ve met only for the second time but an online friend for 3 years, gave us the familiar Filipino hospitality which I am surely missing.

With blogger-friend, Marie, and what was left from the yummy dinner. 🙂

We arrived around 8pm of Dec 31 and was served with Filipino dishes plus spaghetti for the kids. Despite the long trip I was able to stay up late and we filled the hours with talks just like we normally do online while waiting for the clock to strike 12mn.

Marie suggested that if we want to watch the fireworks we can go to Schönbrunn Palace but we didn’t bother to go there anymore since we were already tired. We just settled watching them through their window (I can’t really miss fireworks especially on New Year’s Eve, I love fireworks!). After watching, we decided to hit the sack coz we knew we’ll be having a long day ahead of us.

Our Summer Destinations

Now the school’s over for the kids we wanted their summer vacation to be kind of special. We regretted that we didn’t get to let them enjoy much last year’s summer so we thought of giving them a treat this year.

As early as March I secretly booked our trip to Europa Park. This spectacular amusement park is one of the most popular and visited theme parks here in Germany. It is located in Rust which is a two-hour drive from our home. Although it is just a short trip we thought of staying there for a few days. We are also planning to make a short trip to Freiburg where the German Clock Museum is located. We know one day is not enough to explore the theme park so bought a 2-day ticket. Two-day tickets cost 77 Eur (approximately 104$) for adults and 67.50 Eur (91$) for kids ages 4-11. Hopefully the kids will enjoy this trip despite them still having fears of park rides. Besides, I’m confident that this theme park  caters to kids of all ages and there’ll be no reason for them not to have fun.

europa park, summer destinations germany, germany

europa park,
image credit: de.wikipedia.org

Honestly I’m also excited for this trip. Seeing the photos of the attractions especially the roller coasters makes me cringe but at the same time feel the eagerness to try them. I hope when I get there I still have that will. 😀

Next destination is the Tropical Islands in Berlin. We’ll drive there 2 weeks after our Europa Park trip.  Dubbed as Europe’s largest tropical holiday world, this place will let every guest experience the life in the tropics with perfect weather, white sandy beaches and all you could imagine in a tropical island.

tropical islands, tropical islands berlin, berlin
image credit: cwcity.de

This time the kids got really excited upon seeing the photos especially the waters. We’ll be staying for long there, 3 nights to be exact. The resort offers different kinds of accommodations. You can stay either inside or what they call the Dome or outside the resort. There are rooms, tents and lodges inside, and campsites, mobile homes and apartments outside the Dome. I’m particularly excited for the Spa Complex. Finally I can have that spa/massage I’ve been longing for.

After spending 3 nights in Tropical Islands, we’ll stay for 3 more days in the city center in Berlin. We thought maybe we could stay there a bit longer since Berlin is a 6-hr drive and we have to make the trip worth it. It will be also a perfect time to visit my other Filipina friend.

I’m hoping to have hassle-free trips and stress-free vacations this summer so we could all enjoy our family bonding.

My First Trip of 2014: Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

We’ve been used to making new year’s resolutions, I guess for some. I remember when I was still a kid we used to list down our new year’s resolutions as a seatwork in school but I don’t recall any which I have successfuly fulfilled.

This year I’m making one.. It’s not actually a resolution but a plan. Long before I have realized that I’m in a country which is home to fascinating, historical, magnificent and I don’t know what other else can describe the places here. And living here gave me easy access to other European countries which are as well gorgeous! So my plan is to go to as many places/countries as I want to, of course given the opportunity and money. Another one is buy a postcard from the place. (Because I don’t normally buy one and just take pictures.)

The postcards I got. 🙂

Thankfully we opened the new year with a trip. We drove to Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic. When the place was mentioned to us by our friend I really had no idea what to see there. I didn’t research or anything. I just looked for a place where we could stay. 😛

Cesky Krumlov is an almost 5-hour drive from our home. Cesky Krumlov is known for their state castle. It is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage and why shouldn’t, all its building development from the 14 to the 19th century is well-preserved in the original groundplan layout, material structure, interior installation and architectural detail.

We chose to book at Penzion Gardena. There are actually many hotels in Cesky Krumlov and strategically located in the town center. I was even a bit disappointed at first when we’re not able to book a hotel near the castle. But eventually we realized we made the right decision. Only few of the hotels in the center have their own parking spaces. Penzion Gardena has private parking which is monitored and locked so you’ll feel secured while you are out walking around the town. Besides our place was just less than 10 minutes walk to the  center.

We arrived at Penzion Gardena around 4:30 in the afternoon and first took some time to rest before eating dinner. We were really surprised with the place. We didn’t expect it to be that simple and elegant. It may be ordinary for some but it’s our first time to stay in such a place.

Penzion Gardena, Cesky Krumlov
Our room at Penzion Gardena

After settling and unpacking our things we already went out to meet my friend and her family for dinner. Cesky Krumlov at night is just amazing. The little town was well-lit up for the tourists to enjoy the view of the castle. We found a restaurant just as classic as the town itself. When we entered we were immediately awed by its decoration. We saw different stuff hanging on the ceiling which obviously date back to I don’t know when. 😛 They created that old atmosphere and gave the guests the feel of its rich history.

Cesky Krumlov

Like Germany, Czech Republic has also any breweries and of course, many beers. One of them is this. It has a sweet taste unlike the beer that I got used to drink. They say beers are supposed to be sweet to say it is “delicious”.

Kruzovice beer, czech republic beer
The food were served in big plates as usual so we ended the night with a stroll and enjoyed the sight of the lit-up castle.

Cesky Krumlov at night

Cesky Krumlov Castle

This was only the first day er… the first night of our trip and I would say coming here is worth the travel.

Our Short Stay in Belgium

One advantage of having a husband who does business travels as part of his work is to have a chance to tag along with him. Last Thursday morning, I suddenly received a call from him informing me that he has to drive to Belgium the afternoon of that same day. I asked if we could come since Friday will be the last day of the kids before they go for Christmas break. Soon I was packing clothes for our supposed to be an overnight stay.

The trip to Belgium was a bit tiring for me. We traveled for 5 and a half hours before we reached Leuven, where hubby chose to book a hotel. We passed through Netherlands which is just an hour or so away from Belgium. Funny, during this travel I thought of a very nice domain name for a travel blog. But upon checking in GoDaddy, it’s not available anymore. Anyway, back to our trip… I was just glad I get the chance again to cross another border. Really nice to have an opportunity to go to other countries just by car. No hassles in the imigration and everything. Unfortunately I didn’t get to have a photo of me standing beside the sign just like what I did when I crossed Austria. It was already late at night when we arrived in Leuven and the planned overnight stay became a two-nights as we decided to stay longer so we can still explore the place a little more.

belgium, leuvenIt seemed Friday is a market day for the city of Leuven. As I went out with the kids that morning while hubby was already in the office of their client, the streets were full of stalls selling almost all kinds of food, clothes, leather goods, home items, etc. I looked through some clothes and leather items but I found them expensive considering they were sold on the streets.

While strolling, a tall structure with a very unique architectural design caught my eyes. While taking picture of the top of it, a stranger talked to me and informed me that it is the Town Hall.

Leuven, Leuven Ton Hall

Leuven Town hall, Leuven Belgium
A closer look…

The Twon Hall is of late-Gothic style architcture. Looking at it closely, you will see around it statues of different people representing prominent scholar, artist or noble from the city’s rich history.

Opposite of the Town Hall is the St. Peter’s Church (Sint-Pieterskerk), which is the oldest Catholic Church in Leuven. When I first tried to enter I was wondering how could I open the door. I was surprised when it suddenly went ajar only to find out it has motion sensors. Hehe… A church door with motion sensors, so modern. 🙂 A big art work caught my eyes as I came in.

This puplit was made by Jacques Berger in 1742 for the Premonstratensian abbey in Ninove. It was bought by the board of St. Peter’s Church in 1807. Its front shows the fall of St. Norbert who founded the Premonstratensian order. The back originally represented St. Augustine but when the pulpit arrived, a cock and a key were added, thus converting the figure into St. Peter.

Since Leuven is the home of the oldest Catholic Univeristy in the world, most of its citizens are students. Main mode of transporation is bicycle and you will see most if not all the students use it to go to their classes.

You will find a parking lot for bicycles under the bus station and parking is for free.

Late in the afternoon, the kids opted to stay in the hotel so hubby and I took the chance to wander around the center to see the city at night.

Leuven City at night.The lights that surrounded the Town Hall made it more attractive and the giant christmas tree in front added beauty to the night.

We also went to the city’s Christmas night market and checked if we could buy some stuff. Sroes feautre some nice products but we find them expensive. Hehe…

I found these decors really cute. You can place candles inside for the ones on the right. Honestly, I can’t remember what they are made of. Some also represent actual buildings and houses there. 😛

Our night ended trying out what Belgium is famous for, the Belgian waffle. It was really good but my daughter, who loves waffles by the way, didn’t like it. I wonder why…

And of course, who would miss buying authentic Belgian chocolates when you’re in Belgium?

I would have wanted to go to other places the following day but we needed to go back since hubby must return the car the office rented for him by 3pm.

Getting Your Tickets in the Most Convenient Way Possible

It’s always fun to get to watch your favorite artists on their concert tours, to see the star athletes of your local football team, to experience theatrical performances, and to enjoy other attractions. What is inconvenient is waiting for tickets to be available, lining up for hours to get your tickets, finding out that you cannot get the seats that you want, and even finding out that prices have been jacked up. You don’t have to worry about any of these when you visit BigTicketShop. Now, you can get tickets to the latest concerts, sports events, theater performance, and festivals in the most convenient way possible.

creamfields, creamfield tickets, creamfileds UK

Waiting for Creamfield tickets and getting information about the festival events need not be tedious. You can simply do your search online and even subscribe to feeds on updates and ticket availability. The Creamfields Festival is one of the most popular events in the UK. You would most likely have a lot of competition when it comes to getting your tickets to see the various live acts throughout the festival. The 2014 festival is slated for August 22 (Friday). You want to plan your trip to this live dance music festival early. If you are from out of the country, you would also have to book your accommodations if you do not want to stay in the festival grounds for the duration of the event.

There are a lot of ticket sources online that all promise to give you the best deals possible. BigTicketShop scours these ticket sources for you so that you do not have to do the search yourself. You simply have to look through the list and pick the best deal for you. This means that you don’t have to spend hours and hours searching for tickets online or calling ticket outlets where you can buy your tickets not only for the Creamfields Festival but for other events and performances as well. It’s more convenient to have this website to do the searching for you. Now, all you have to do is to indulge in your excitement as you anticipate going to whatever event you desire with your tickets sourced from this website – the most difficult part you will have to deal with is having to deal with the sleepless nights of excited anticipation.

Image credit: harderbloggerfaster.com

The Best London Bed and Breakfast Hotels for Your Stay in the Big Smoke

bed and breakfast hotels london, bed and breakfast, bed and breakfast hotels

Exploring London is much more enjoyable when you have a wonderful room to come home to at the end of your tiring day in the city. Everyone knows that London is not an inexpensive city to be in. This is why it is so important for anyone who wishes to come for a visit to take the time to plan their stay. A great London bed and breakfast hotel can prove to be the most economical option. The lower prices do not mean that the quality of accommodations they provide are less than appealing. There are plenty of these bed and breakfasts that can make your stay in London as comfortable and pleasant as possible.

To make your search for the best bed and breakfast hotels less tedious, here’s a quick rundown of five of the places you should consider for the most affordable rates:

  • Queens Hotel London – Located in Crystal Palace, this bed and breakfast sits right in center of South London. It’s a great place to choose if you do not want to be in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s easy enough to get to London from this bed and breakfast through the Crystal Palace Train station.
  • Gatwick Belmont – If you are flying in through the Gatwick Airport, this is one of the most convenient bed and breakfast hotel for you. It has an airport shuttle service to pick you up from the airport so you do not have to worry about hailing a cab. This bed and breakfast offers a relaxed ambiance not only in your room but also in the rest of the hotel’s facilities. It even has gardens that can be enjoyed while lounging in the patios around the hotel.
  • Best Inn Hotel – A quiet and restful stay is what you can expect with this bed and breakfast in Ilford. Enjoy your stay in this three-star facility tucked away in a quiet side street North East of Central London. While this is so, you are not far from all the interesting places in the city as you can walk to the town centre to shop, dine, and party. This facility boasts of its newly renovated room that’s guaranteed to give you a relaxing time.
  • Holly House Hotel – You don’t have to spend much on transportation costs when you stay at this bed and breakfast. You can easily travel to the Buckingham Palace and all of London’s other popular tourist attractions. The Victoria Train, Tube, and Coach Station is also within walking distance from this hotel. With the delicious hearty breakfast offered at the hotel, you’ll have lots of energy to explore the city to your heart’s content.
  • Gatwick White House – Here’s another great bed and breakfast hotel near Gatwick Airport. This three-star hotel is a convenient base for your London trip you can conveniently get to Central London via the Horley Station to visit the city’s most famous landmarks. This is a family-run hotel that’s guaranteed to make you feel at home.

Rounding up the list to complete the Top 10 Bed and Breakfast Hotels in London with the Most Affordable Rates are: Bridge Park Hotel, Royal Guest House 2, Heathrow Lodge, Euro Lodge Clapham, and Heathrow House Bed and Breakfast London. While this list could change, there’s bound to be a bed and breakfast hotel in London to fit your budget and match your preferences. All you have to do is check online for the most affordable travel deals.

Image credit: bed-breakfast-world.com

How to Find Low Cost Hotels in London

low cost hotels in london, london, travel to london, london eye, west minster
London Eye and West Minster

Travelling can be really expensive if you do not know how to plan your travel budget carefully and look for deals that will make your stay budget-friendly. You can search for low cost hotels in London from the web if you plan to visit this great country and see for yourself what more they can offer in a limited budget.. What you need to learn is how to allocate your funds to the travel activities and amenities that you want to enjoy the most. Unless you have a bottomless travel budget, you want to prioritize specific travel expense items. If you plan on staying out most of the time, you would not have to spend on a luxurious hotel suite, would you?

Here are some tips to keep in mind to find hotels that help you stretch your travel budget:

1. Schedule your travel. You have to give yourself time to find the best deals possible. When you leave your hotel booking to the last minute, you won’t have any other choice but to take whatever is available. Try to find promotional offers several months to a couple of weeks before your travel. Spring and summer are the best time to visit London so take note of these.  There’s a slim chance of finding rock bottom hotel room rates during these peak seasons.

2. Look for group rates. Hotels normally offer discounted rates for families or groups of friends. Find London hotels that offer group packages as well as all inclusive packages that could save you some money in the long run. There are various amenities like shuttle services, group tours, and dining privileges that are often offered with group discounts. Don’t forget to do your own pencil-pushing. What might appear to be a good deal upfront might not necessarily be as good when you get down to the computations.

3. Subscribe to travel deals websites. Even if you are not planning to travel yet, it would be a good idea to sign up for travel deals subscriptions. There are websites that regularly feature discounts on London travel packages including hotel bookings, air fare, tours, and other special travel inclusions. You would be surprised to find how affordable travelling or going on a vacation could be with various travel and tour operators all too willing to offer the lowest prices. With all the attractive deals feature on these websites, you might just have that dream vacation earlier than you originally planned.

Image credit: Kaddy64/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Global Education: Exploring Other Cultures through School Travel

It’s a global village that we live in today where everyone is interconnected and are basically exposed to common information no matter where in the world we are. There still are, however, plenty of things a student can learn when he immerses himself in another culture through school travel.

school travel

School travels are more like extended field trips wherein groups of students go on educational tours together. Through these tours students are able to “experience” their lessons rather than just read about them from the pages of their textbooks. These tours can either be done in-country our out-of-the country. The more exciting tours, of course, are those that take students out of their home country to experience the rich cultures of other lands. They can perhaps have school tours, visit the beaches where the D Day happened, take a historic trip through Berlin’s World War II landmarks and concentration camps, or be awed with the architectural wonders of Rome’s Colosseum, Italy’s Sistine Chapel and Barcelona’s Prague. Whatever destination students and their teachers and parents choose, any student travel will surely be an enriching journey for all participants.

Here are some of the things that can be expected from student travels:

  • Site visits – these are what the travels are all about. It’s about seeing the sites up close. The sites to see differ from one place to another. They can be historic landmarks, museum, archaeological digs, tribal villages, restored structures, or bustling industrial centers. Some travel coordinators tailor-fit the site itineraries to the students’ curriculum so that they are in sync with the learning goals of the group.
  • Lectures – conventions where student groups come together to hear experts speak about their particular topics of interest may also be arranged. This complements the students’ discoveries and enhances their appreciation of what they have learned through their exploration of the places that they visit.
  • Interactions – during these travels students will get a chance to interact not only with student groups from other countries but with the locals as well. Things as common as shopping in the agoras and city markets can give them a better feel of the local culture. Foreign language students will also be able to practice actually conversing in the language they learned in their classrooms back home.

Image credit: blog.smithsonianstudenttravel.com

Two Places at One Time

Have you watched A Walk to Remember, the movie which starred Mandy Moore and Shane West? It was a story of a young teen who’s suffering from an illness. She got a list of what she still wants to do before she passes. One of her wishes was to be in two places in one time. Shane West granted this wish by bringing her to the border going to Virginia. I really thought it was a brilliant idea.

When we had our getaway last weekend I had no idea I that I could do the same thing. We were on the tail of our family friend’s car coz we had no idea where we were going. Suddenly my friend’s husband stopped and got out. The next thing I knew we were on the border of Germany and Austria. I really was so happy! I didn’t know Austria was just less than an hour away from where we went. We went out of the car and Micha (my friend’s husband) said, “picture-picture”. He really knows we would not miss that opportunity. 🙂

austria, austrian border, border

My shot may not be as romantic as in the movie and no white line like where Mandy crossed but still I crossed! 😛

Since the trip was not earlier planned, we didn’t do that much on the first day that we crossed. We actually just went to buy some groceries from a supermarket called Eurospar. It was a Saturday and we had to buy groceries good for two days. We actually laughed thinking we went to Austria just to go to a supermarket. See, there was really no plan of crossing the border.

I’ve always thought of travelling to other countries here in Europe but I never thought it would come this soon. I know it’s not the vacation I dreamed of but just the thought of crossing a border by car made me so thrilled.

Beautiful Places to Visit in the Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains is one of the most scenic destinations in New South Wales, if not all of Australia. The diversity and unique beauty is simply spectacular, and both locals and visitors alike fall in love with the incredible scenery and natural appeal of the area. If you’re planning a holiday, make sure you check out these beautiful places to visit in the Blue Mountains.

The Three Sisters

blue mountains,

Every year, millions of visitors come to witness the amazing sight that is the Three Sisters. It is one of the most iconic natural attractions in the state, and is located at Echo Point Katoomba. The unusual rock formation has been made even more popular thanks to the Aboriginal legend that surrounds the structure. It tells the story of three sisters who were turned to stone, and characterises the three distinct shapes in the rock. The appearance of the Three Sisters changes throughout the seasons and during different times in the day. Until 11pm each evening, floodlights illuminate this amazing structure, creating a truly dramatic and beautiful scene against the night sky.

Scenic World

blue mountains, scenic skyway, scenic world
Scenic Skyway

Scenic World certainly lives up to its name, providing visitors with some of the most exclusive views in the Blue Mountains. You can choose to stroll along the 2.4km Scenic Walkway, exploring the ancient rainforest and historic mining remains. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the tranquillity of the forest and stay active at the same time. After this, why not catch a ride on the Scenic Skyway. This unique experience will see you gliding over 270m above ancient ravines, looking down on the beauty of the forest through the electro glass at your feet. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience! A cable car is available for those who might be a little daunted by the prospect of the Skyway as an alternative means to take in the incredible views on offer.

Blackheath

blackheath, blue mountains
Autumn in Backheath

Blackheath is a picturesque town that is home to some of the most beautiful walks in the Blue Mountains. As the highest town above sea level in the mountains, you are guaranteed to experience views that will literally take your breath away. A favourite spot for the best in panoramic views is the spectacular lookout at Govett’s Leap. After a scenic walk, you will approach the high elevation viewing platform at the top and experience one of the best panoramas in the Blue Mountains.

While these are some of the top spots, wherever you go in the Blue Mountains is bound to be simply breathtaking. However to truly experience the best that this unique destination has to offer, consider booking one of the many Lost In Australia Blue Mountains tours on offer. Whether you want to hike, cycle or explore on horseback, there’s a tour to suit your interests and sense of adventure. Get the most out of your Blue Mountains experience by including these stunning scenic locations into your holiday itinerary.

Image credits:
traveltips.usatoday.com
scenicworld.com.au
weekendnotes.com