Category Archives: In Hindsight

My 2016 Travel Highlights

Until today, I was not planning on a 2016 highlights article. But as I was thawing the frozen chunks of meat I plan to cook for Media Noche, a couple of thoughts sprang on me. Sure, this year may not be the best year of my life, but the relationships I have formed and the friends I gained were undeniably treasured. Above all, I’ve gathered enough of myself this year to finally push through launching my blog (hooray!), something I have been procrastinating about for the past years.

Most bloggers I know have already published an annual review and indeed a yearly look back is a beautiful reminder of how the past 365 days have been. All those happy memories, great time spent with the people you love; maybe you broke your heart or you spent a quarter of last year fighting your way out of struggles. All these conjure to this very moment, and most importantly how we are left wiser and stronger by everything life had to offer.

At a glance, my past year was not bad at all, however, it was just lackluster in comparison to the year beforehand. In so many ways, 2015 is still the best year of my life because it allowed me to save up and travel more, achieve professional advancements and on top of that I was reunited with my partner who I am proud to say, has also become a nurse here in the UK. And yet, even with that said, I realized that the friends I found and the travel experiences I went through this year were just as meaningful. And with my blog finally rolled out into reality, how can I not love 2016? I’ve picked out the top moments of my travels this year and I hope they make you smile as much as it warmed my heart reminiscing all the good times I was so blessed to have.

[  5  ]  Foodtripping in Cardiff

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We went for a city break  to Cardiff last March and were pleasantly surprised by its thriving food scene! It was exciting to try all the local flavors and not to mention the desserts that were prepared extraordinarily. Foodtripping in the capital city of Wales made it on my top 5 because aside from all the delicious food everywhere, I realized that a great way to know a place is through one’s taste buds. My personal favorite is a cheese shop called Madame Fromage which serves this addicting Dragon Rarebit – a savory twist to Cardiff’s infamous local dish. Equally impressive and edging on the magical was Science Cream where your sweet cravings are created right before your eyes through the use of liquid nitrogen. Yeah, you read that right.

Also read: EXPOSING CARDIFF’S WELL KEPT SECRET, A FOODIE PARADISE IN THE MAKING

[  4  ] Witnessing the Iconic Tour Eiffel

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I am going to be honest here, I am not very fond of Paris. For something so well-talked about, the city was well below my expectations. Rock bottom low. The only upside was when I got to gawk at the Eiffel Tower in real life – it really is bigger than it looks in pictures by the way. This tower is an icon of the world, and I am simply glad to see what they hype is all about (not very much honestly). On a completely different note, it is also in Paris where I had another travel mishap that taught me a lesson the hard way. My entire bag got swindled away from me on our first day, together with all its contents: flat keys, Pandora bracelet, money and bank cards. I replaced all the lost items sure, but I was traveling that time on an expired travel insurance policy so I could not even make a claim for my loss. Lesson learned: update your travel insurance and make sure you are protected when traveling. And beware of thieves when in Paris.

[  3  ] Ultimate Thermal Bath Experience in Budapest

 

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I welcomed 2016 with a travel escapade which led me to the unforgettable city of Budapest in Hungary. I was captivated by a lot of things in Hungary (Palinka!) but the Szechenyi Thermal Bath reigns closest to my heart. It was a social experience I will never forget and it widened my perspective immensely while enjoying the entire time. I never knew that I had it in me to wear a proper swimsuit at freezing point weather and jump to a hot, steaming pool. Irreplaceable time of my life.

Also read: TOP TEN MOMENTS A TRAVELER MUST HAVE IN BUDAPEST

[  2  ] Brunch while overlooking the beautiful city of Prague

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Sightseeing in Prague during Autumn was great but for some reason, this particular travel  story of mine was made special by the small, random moments we spent in the city. Of course, we saw all the major tourist attractions but what made my heart swell with joy was the tiny moments of peace and admiration that sporadically graced our trip. Here, I was able to indulge in imbibing the city atmosphere as much as I want to because of how relaxed our itinerary turned out. I can vividly remember this warm autumn day like it was yesterday, where we chanced upon this restaurant that overlooked Prague like no other. I happily chomped on my Beef Goulash and proceeded with dessert coffee, breathing in the view like my life depended on it.

Also read: TOP 5 PRAGUE EATS

[  1  ] Cavorting in Sanremo

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My top travel highlight for 2016? It can only be my Sanremo adventure! Last August, I decided to go back to the French Riviera (it has become an annual thing) and catch up with a good friend. The Riviera did not disappoint as usual, but when we crossed over to Italy to visit Sanremo – I was blown away! I live for days under the sun, sprawling beside the beach and a for such great views. This place was like an answered prayer to my life. Absolutely stunning views, the sun blaring on our sticky skins and all cocktails somehow taste better when drank by the beach. Catching up with my friend Ricky was a bonus and although he had finished his Masters with flying colors (as expected) and is now back in the Philippines, we still keep in touch. Because real friendship defy distances as vast as the oceans.

Also read: WHY SANREMO SHOULD BE YOUR NEXT ITALIAN DESTINATION

Maybe 2016 was more of a working year for me – at least that is how it felt. But I cannot deny that there were blessings that came along with it and at the end of the day, it made me a better person. I wish anyone reading this a prosperous 2017. And as for me, I am looking forward to next year with a smile – and maybe a new passport holder and a shiny luggage bag. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Copenhagen In Retrospect: First Impressions and Overview of the World’s Happiest City

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My first moment in Copenhagen was met by the utter lack of chaos in Kobenhavn Airport. Everything was operating smoothly in an environment I could only describe as lustrous. I left this country without seeing dust and I had dinner at an underground restaurant at some point. Imagine that. Maybe this was how the rest of the world could look if only people respected personal space on a regular basis and did not impose their lives on other people as much. In Copenhagen there is always ample space to live in – even in trains and escalators I had an arm’s length of distance from everything. Meanwhile in London I don’t even dare walk slower than the human behind me in fear of losing my right to exist in that living space. So far, so good.

The Danish are reserved people but very approachable and especially helpful to us when our map reading skills were failing. Their emphasis on simplicity was something I always felt and it truly is inspirational to an extent. If I had to guess, expectations of public decorum (most definitely) included not being too loud. In fact, I witnessed no boisterous laughter in public at all and it is still a wonder to me how I couldn’t overhear ANY conversation – not even from those talking from a mere foot away.

The general atmosphere was pleasant and navigation was easy with the straightforward public transport. It is a small, walking city that we were able to see most of within our first day. I highly recommend exploring by foot if you have a great appreciation for architecture and beautiful narrow streets. As one of Europe’s oldest cities, this Danish capital is home to intricate buildings from the 17th century and an amusement park dating back to 1843. To me, this is simply remarkable.

Things to see

1.City Hall2016-24-11-11-42-00

Standing centrally in Copenhagen is its City Hall which was constructed in the late 1800s. It is open to the public but it is just as a memorable when viewed from the City Hall Square.2016-24-11-11-39-55

2.Nyhavn
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The colorful facade of houses in Nyhavn

Another must see is Nyhavn, a 17th century canal and entertainment district well known for good food and music alongside that laidback atmosphere. Fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen lived in this area particularly in numbers 18, 20 and 67.

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3.Rundetaar
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City overview

If you are looking for a good viewing point of the city then enter the Round Tower otherwise known as Rundetaar. Its shape make it almost impossible to miss and expect to be rewarded with brilliant panoramic views of upon reaching the top.

4.Little Mermaid
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Little Mermaid Statue

The Little Mermaid Statue is a symbol for this city and is unsurprisingly one of most visited attractions. Fans of the Disney animated film Little Mermaid should definitely put this in their itinerary. Yet even as one of Europe’s prominent landmarks, it is relatively unremarkable from the outside and smaller than one would expect. However, this original statue has stood the test of time and celebrated its 100 years last 2013 after being restored many times due to acts of vandalism and mutilation. It has been put back together time and time again to return to Langelinie Harbour, where she seems to continue longing for to be part of another world. This context alone makes it worth seeing in person because this Danish landmark is definitely a survivor.

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Langelinie
5.Freetown Christiana
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Simple rules of Christiana

Feeling adventurous or ready for something out of the ordinary? Then strut over to Freetown Christiana. It’s a neighborhood in Copenhagen that will leave you feeling like you have gone to a completely different dimension. Before entering, we were met by an arch welcoming everyone into this controversial chunk of Copenhagen. But let’s just say that you do not need signs to know you’ve crossed over somewhere different – oh trust me you will JUST KNOW. Aside from the independent shops and stalls and quite radical taste for art, Christiana is a hot topic due to the trade of things that may or may not be illegal. Inside, there are very specific rules we all had to abide by for everyone’s safety (mostly ours). The place had a certain feel of danger to it but simply follow the laws of Christiana and you’ll make it out alive. Wink wink.

6.Tivoli Gardens
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Magical Tivoli Gardens!

There is only one answer to the question what is the best thing to see in Copenhagen. It’s Tivoli Gardens! What makes it one of a kind is not the fact that it’s the world’s second oldest amusement park, but because Walt Disney and Hans Christian Andersen actually spent time here. The place is not just dreamy, it’s where makers of fairy tales as we know it went for fun. Now if that is not amazing then I don’t know what is.2016-24-11-14-09-42

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The Garden’s magic continues at night
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White Christmas

Christmas in Tivoli is unmissable and it was indeed one of my main reasons for flying to Denmark. My friends and I wanted to imbibe on a yuletide vibe that can be quite elusive in London despite the grand display of lights along Regent Street. The Garden was themed with Christmas in every corner and the experience was truly unforgettable. To top this all off, we found Father Christmas! And he took a picture with us to remember this by.

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Merriest Christmas!

Copenhagen is a destination better explored when a traveler has a deep sense of context about the capital. This city is remarkable in itself but even more so because of the talent that nested and thrived within its humble walls. It’s where people who created magic sought inspiration and ideas and where testaments from centuries ago managed to defy time.

It is a place I see myself coming back to, even if I have to do it alone. There is no special reason underneath, it’s just a place I feel comfortable in with its sophisticated airport and hushed citizens. There was a certain level of ease brought about by the unpolluted air and general mood of the locals. I guess they did not dub this place Happiest City on Earth for nothing. Theirs was a different kind of happy because if you ask me… Copenhagen was full of peace and quiet. It is quite hard to imagine Hans Christian Andersen’s talents flourishing anywhere else.

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Until we return, Copenhagen!
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