Sunday, December 20, 2015

Day 6 - Paris trip (Le Tour Eiffel & Montmarte)

Paris is truly a beautiful city – full with passion, arts, architecture, culture and romanticism. It was sad to learn about the Paris massacre attack and initially, I planned to blog about my trip (last month) but thought it would be more appropriate to postpone at a later stage. At this point of time (While I’m still writing on this blog), I felt sorry for the victims of the terrorist attack. May the departed souls rest in peace.

On our Day-1 in the City of Lights, the first thing we do is check-in our Air BnB. As we booked rather last minute, we were lucky enough to find a guesthouse which can fit us and for an affordable Eur134/night. In Paris, you would need to walk up using the stairs (No elevators available) with your heavy luggage. Ohwell, walking up to a Paris apartment (With spiral-like design stairs) can be a beautiful experience. At least, it’s a warm-up exercise to taking 600+ stairs to top of Eiffel (If you are planning to do so) ;)

Upon reaching to our modest set-up room, we truly live like a Parisian (with a fat cat as companion). We sort of get different kinda vibe as a change from our London hotel experience and given the quite-affordable-lodging, we have no complaints but to adapt to our new living culture. We stayed at the area where the metro station is just a hop and skip away and is approx. 10 -15 min by foot.

We were elated to start our Paris journey by visiting the iconic, Eiffel tower. We bought a Metro pass which costs Euro14/pax and took the old Metro trains. One thing about the old Paris Metro subway trains is that it’s still blessed with preservation - feels like taking a time capsule machine. Just a note : Beware of the old Metro trains as you need to open the door yourself by twisting the knob. Otherwise, you’ll need to take the next stop once you’ve missed it !~

Nearing to the landmark, we stopped by for an overpriced cup of coffee while enjoying people-watching and the scenic view. It’s a lovely thing to relax and enjoy the view while salivating on some French delights - Patisseries, croissant, quiche, baguettes… The escargot are worth every calories!*^^*

Upon reaching Le Tour Eiffel, we were elated to see the breathtakingly magnificent statute tower comes alive. Naturally, we took Mandatory Eiffel Tower picture- from different angles. Things to do around Eiffel Tower:- You can climb to first floor to enjoy lunch@the sky, second floor (704 steps) for a panoramic view of the City of Light or climb up to 1,700 steps (Third floor) to enjoy the panoramic views of the City of Light. Or simply come prepared with a beach mat and enjoy picnicking@Eiffel. For a romantic nightout, wine-and-dine at the top floor right up until 11 at night and admire Paris by night! Well, as for us, we took infinite pictures with the iron lady of France __y

Acting like local - sitting on the grass near the Eiffel tower and reading a book #^_^# We strolled around the area in the afternoon, gazing from far at the famous landmark. Too bad, we did not wait till night to watch the sunset view or night view of the sparkling tower. As we were all prepped up for the Moulin Rouge musical (´`)*

After a heartening dinner, we moved forward to Montmarte (Not-so-safe) to catch the much-anticipated show and wonderful view of French capital, of course. There was a lot of quaint shops along the way and you could easily soak up in the old school literacy culture or simply sit there and listen to buskers play music. After all, it was a place filled with old artists : painters, writers, musicians etc. A reminiscent of “Midnight in Paris.” #^_^# Imagine Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald from The Great Gatsby, Hemingway and other renowned artists lurking around the corner #justsaying

We were waiting in a long queue to the infamous Moulin Rouge show. For ladies – it is wise to wear a comfortable pair of heels. It is a requirement that you look presentable when attending the Moulin Rouge show: shorts, slippers, flipflop, sportswear and sports shoes were not allowed. Ohwell, we are talking about an internationally-acclaimed musical show with ticket that costs a whopping Eur114/pax O.o

The Moulin Rouge lies so close to a hill and the famous windwill which associated with it. The city’s red light district comes to live when the gorgeous dancers with their flamboyant costumes perform at their best. The Moulin Rouge proves to be an instant hit with the magical can-can dancing, dramatic and jaws-dropping performances. Best ever musical show I’ve watched!   

Points to note: For ladies when looking for a cab to return to the hotel at night, be warned that there’s no queue system for the taxis. I almost had a feisty fight with the passengers whom cut queue and shocked the rest with swift act of opening the cab’s door. It is advisable to get in the official taxi queue (If any). And most importantly, do not accept rides from anyone asking you if you need a taxi. Have a fun and safe trip! That’s all for a tiring Day-1 in Paris.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Day 4 & 5 - London trip (Buckingham Palace, Westminster Cathedral, Big Ben, Greenwich & British museum)

On the next day, we travelled by tube to catch up the Changing of Guards ceremony. On our way, I can’t resist to snap with the illustrated wall with mini tales at the underground station.

We were enthralled to watch the Changing of Guards ceremony at Buckingham Palace. It’s worth the wait despite just afew glances from far (Due to our lateness!) and limited view. You will need to be at Buckingham Palace at least an hour before the ceremony starts (Starts approximately 11am), as Changing the Guard, does attract a large numbers of visitors, if you want to grab one of the best spots namely next to railings, stairs at Victoria monuments and the road opposite the palace.

The beauty of the ceremony is to showcase the old guards handover to the new guards and the process of old and new guards ‘present arms’ (A symbolic gesture that that transfer the responsibility for the Palace’s security from the Old to New Guard) and handover the palace keys. Really salute the guards who can’t eat, stand easy or sit during their tour of duty.

Well, it’s another group posey photo again! #^_^# 

One of the most vivid images of our London trip is none other than the iconic - Big Ben. Despite the gloomy weather, we were elated upon reaching the famous London landmark. It’s a lovely thing to see how people going about their daily routines here while enjoying the view of landmark which is rich heritage. Big Ben is indeed a legend in its own time. ∩__∩y

Don’t be deceived by the four clock faces of Big Ben as there are actually 5 bells in the clock. Every hour the hammer will strike the time on. Say if it’s five o’clock, the hammer strikes it five times. As for the other 4 bells, they will chime every fifteen minutes. Citizens going about their business like it’s no big deal that they live among such historical beauty. O.o

Pretty awesome view.

Transforming aesthetic into something #realcool (2nd pic is the elaborate carved church frontage of Westminster Cathedral). 

During our fifth day in London, we went to visit Greenwich – one of my favourite touristy destination. Located in the South-East of London (Not too far from central London), this lovely place is rich with history and combined with modern attractions - translating the heritage and craftmanship into a modern language. The town gave us a sense of close community with rich naval history! 

We went inside Old Royal Naval College and were mind-boggling with Renaissance arts and its intricacy.

It was absolutely stunning – all four of us just stood in awe…
Reignite that feeling for the luxury nobility experienced in years past.

The Neo-Gothic element.

We passed by the National Maritime Museum for another nice photo! ;)

Not-to-be-missed the Royal Museum Greenwich with the striking Nelson's Ship in a Bottle. Amazed by the designer’s laborious effort into crafting this complex replica O.o

We had our leisurely stroll on our way to Greenwich Royal Observatory Deck.


We climbed up the hill from the museum to have our first view of Prime Meridian captured here ∩__∩y

If you’re wondering why it is my favourite place of all in London, it’s because I’m intrigued with astrology’s history which can only be found in London’s only planetarium (Just saying!). Plus, Greenwich is home to the Prime Meridian of the world, at 0° Longitude, meaning the rest of the world is measured here or so to speak. Well, at least we tried to stand astride, with one foot in each hemisphere : northern and southern hemisphere.

With our £9.50 ticket, we explored several galleries full of telescopes, clocks, and historical gadgets designed to measure longitude at sea. We ended our Greenwich trip with a panoramic scene of the beautiful park and museums.


After studying the origin of time and literally star-gazing, we continued our journey with British museum.  There were so many museums here in UK and we were overwhelmed with the choices for which type of museums to go to as each offered different interest altogether. We finally decided to go for British museum as it is highly recommended due to its top collections, award-winning architecture, amazing arts and artifacts to marvel as well as great restaurants in the museum (Yes, we were hungry!).

Having a penchant for antiques and interest in Egypt (Since we will not have a chance to go there…), we were awestruck with the Rosetta stone (An ancient stone which is the key to deciphering hieroglyphs on the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs). The ironic thing is it is housed at British museum instead of Egypt) (-.-III Well, on a side note, perhaps it had made easier for tourists to travel to London compared to travelling to Egypt for a look. 

This one looked particularly awesome so I snapped it!

After a heartening meal, we moved back to the city for shopping. I was drooling over the hippy items and quirky souveniers. I was thrilled to discover a handmade soaps shop which offers variety of different soaps ranging from fruity flavours to sweet ones (Mind you, the soaps are not edible!) (*^@^*) And I can’t resist but to buy them as souveniers! That’s all for a tiring but informative yet fun Day 4 & 5 (´`)**


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Day 3 - London trip (Stonehenge, Roman Bath & Covenant Street)

Checklist for our first 2 days London visit: 1) Rivers – check. 2) Bridges – check. 3) Cathederal – check. Next to check is the mystical stone monument Stonehenge. It was a road trip today! We hopped on a bus to take us from London to Stonehenge which took us about 2 hours. 

We were all excited to get to see the iconic monument and were thrilled when we caught our first glimpse from the road, which is located just off the main road.

After a quick stop at the Visitors Centre to purchase our tickets and taking our brekkie, we hopped on the shuttle which took us 10 minutes ride to the monument. We were mesmerised to see as the bus moved closer to the pile of stones which came from up close. It was incredible to see the 5,000 years of history right in front of us and we were in awe to imagine the history behind the mysterious stones. 

Up close to one of the seven wonders marvel!

We even had a mini-debate on the mystery surrounding Stonehenge as to where the giant stones came from. How they got to the side? What was the purpose they were used for? There were resources saying that it was a burial ground, a solar calendar, an ancient healing site or closest theory that we had is that it was created by alien as a spacecraft landing pads. Oh well, no one knows for sure where the giant stones came from, meantime, we were snapping away with photographs (From every possible angle) which gives them a certain mysterious allure.

The monument was protected by a roped off path and we were required to follow a circular path and the bus only allowed us an hour to marvel on one of the seven wonders. We were given an audio guide for the duration of the visit and mind you, it’s not my vintage walkie-talkie or handphone. A user-friendly audio-visual guide that allows us to learn more on the history of Stonehenge.

As our full day package costs around Eur150 per pax including trip to Roman bath and the ticket prices to Stonehenge were relatively expensive as it involves bus ride, touring around the stones which last for an hour. Overall, we had fun posing at the fringes of the stones.

Happy Stonehenge poses!

Next up is the historical Roman bath – re-ignite that feeling of Roman beauty and the god-and-goddess alike experienced back in centuries. After the 5,000 year old of historical monument stroll, we continued to explore the 2,000 year old Roman’s wonder waters which is a unique experience and memorable visit to Bath.

Atop the grand cathedral I had my first view of captured here.

The elaborate carvings blew us away with its intricacy and elegance although it may appear abstract but the artist that created these artefacts was amazing.

Mind-boggling sculptures and ceramics.

There were wet and dry steam rooms and hot baths, sauna and swimming pool, tepidarium; and audio guide to aid our adventure.

We took a break and set up a garden party with a delicious spread for lunch and settled for London favourite food (Pizzaaaa!) 

Some nice photos to wrap up the day! #^_^#