Italy

2 Days in Rome – Vatican

After Lisbon, we had two more days to travel around before my school started again. While we were planning the trip we’ve discussed many different cities to end our travels for the break, and we decided to go to Rome. I was asking around to people who’ve already been to Rome, to see if 2 days actually was enough to see everything and I heard mixed reviews but we decided to try!

Our original plan was to see Rome on our first day and Vatican on our second=last day, but as I was getting the tickets for Vatican museum on-line I found out that Vatican was going to be closed!! So we changed the plans last minute. Also, we were so glad that we got our tickets beforehand, as people lined up to get the tickets for Vatican was RIDICULOUS. So if you are planning a trip to Rome, I cannot emphasize enough on the importance of getting the tickets BEFOREHAND!!!!! To be frank, if we didn’t get the tickets and had to wait in the line, I’m 99% sure that both me and my boyfriend would’ve just left the scene because there is no way that we would wait in a lineup for 3~4 hours. So plan out your trip, and take advantage of the world of internet.

The thing with getting into Vatican, is that if you pre-purchased the ticket you enter through a special entrance. There are so many ‘helpers’ on the streets that will ask you if you have already purchased the ticket, and they’ll tell you where to go. However, I am incredibly cautious of people when I travel, so when people come up to me to ask me something, etc., I flat out ignore them in most cases. And I honestly couldn’t tell if these ‘helpers’ were legitimate or just some kind of a scam, but turned out that they were telling us the right direction. But as I tell everyone that asks me if I’m not scared to travel alone – Be cautious at all times.

When we entered through the ‘special gate’ for pre-purchase ticket holders, we were surprised to see another set of lineup for these pre-purchase tickets to be exchanged for ‘real’ tickets. There is no clear instructions on where to go exactly, so you kind of have to guess and wander around to see what other people are doing. This was a very inefficient system I have to say, and when there are so many people inside the building it just gets too overwhelming.

After you go through this chaos successfully, then you see these:

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Then at the end of the walk through Vatican museum and Sistine Chapel, you see the famous painting of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, but taking picture is prohibited in that room.

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It was a shame that we weren’t there when Pope Francis makes his weekly appearances, but maybe I’ll be back!

p.s.: Apparently this post was my 100th post on my blog!! Time to celebrate with some chocolate 🙂

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Austria

Vienna, I still adore you – Part 3

First post of 2015!

I apologize for not being so up-to-date with my posts. My boyfriend was here to visit me for Christmas and we were travelling for almost 3 weeks, and when we came back I got extremely sick I even had to skip a day of class. So now I have at least 3 other countries/cities that I need to post about! I guess this is why you shouldn’t procrastinate 😦 Anyways, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and happy new year!

Back to Vienna – On my last day in Vienna, I walked around the city again, and I made sure I stop by Hotel Sacher for a little Sacher torte before I left this beauty of a city.

I made sure that I was at Hotel Sacher during the slow time as line-ups can get long otherwise. I was also by myself so table for one during slow time was not too hard to find and I was led to my table almost immediately. The thing with Hotel Sacher though, is that if you coatcheck your coat they charge you a euro. If you want to save your euro and spend it on something more productive, you can just say no when they ask you if you want your coat checked and just hang it up on your chair.

Then I shopped around near Karlsplatz area, and headed home not too late since my flight next day was at 5am, and my brother was supposed to come back from his skip trip that night.

Whenever someone asks me about my favourite city in Europe, I say Vienna without a doubt. It’s a beautiful city with such history, great mix of art and music, and its desserts are the cherries on top. I recommend Vienna to everyone who’s looking for a romantic, artistic experience.

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Austria

Vienna, I still adore you – Part 1

As I’ve mentioned in my posts on Belgium trip, I was in Vienna for a weekend to visit my brother. He’s on exchange at Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien for this semester and seems to be enjoying it. But of course, little brothers will be little brothers – he found out after I booked my tickets that he’ll be going away on ski trip during that weekend, so I only go to see him on my last night for about 5 hours. Vienna is my absolute favourite city out of the whole entire Europe. Its culture, art, music, schnitzels, and desserts – how can one not love Vienna?

So Jenny came to see me in Vienna from Budapest and I talked to my Austrian friends in Vienna that I will be in town for the weekend before I left.

On first night, I met up with Jenny in Stephansplatz right after I landed and dropped my stuff off to go visit a few Christmas markets. First one was the one right across from Rathouse. It’s a winter wonderland-themed Christmas market with lots of lights.

Then walked around Stephansplatz again ❤

Since it was going to be our first and last night together, we had to have something Austrian for dinner – schnitzels of course! 

After Jenny left I was chilling in Vienna by myself for the rest of the trip. It was nice to have a break from all the school work and from my team members 😛 I was staying in Simmering metro station area so I had to take tram 71 or the metro every time I wanted to head to the city, but honestly I love the trams; especially when it merges to the ring.

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Belgium

Belgium – the land of chocolate, beer, and waffles IN BRUGES

From Brussels, we went on a little day trip to Bruges. By slower train it takes about an hour and a half, and with the fast train about an hour. It’s a little tiny town that makes you feel like you are in a fairy tale. It was quite interesting because swans seemed like the ‘thing’ of the town, it was so cute.

I mean, come on, these colourful buildings in the city centre would be the perfect setting for Pinocchio!

It was late November but they already had their Christmas market set up with an outdoor ice rink. Nonetheless people did complain about the condition of the ice and I could see that the ice was melting 😦

We stayed in Bruges for about 9 hours and that was more than enough time to see everything. They also had some sort of Lord of the rings-themed ice sculpture display right by the train station, but we didn’t really feel like paying almost 15 euros for them so we skipped that. I really love how in Europe it’s so easy to take these little trips-within-a-trip ❤

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Belgium

Belgium – the land of chocolate, beer, and waffles <3 Part 3

I am posting this post from Vienna, Austria. Seems like I leave Madrid every chance I get, but this is for another blogpost so let’s not go too much in detail 😉

The day before our last day, we went to Brugge for a little day trip (separate post later!) Last day in Brussels, we checked out from the hotel, left our luggages at the front desk and headed out to Atomium.

We didn’t bother to go in, but it sure was a big atom!

After atomium we divided up to enjoy the last few hours in Brussels in our own pace. So me and Tori walked down to City hall again to see the Christmas tree up and to do some last-minute chocolate shopping!

To be honest I rarely travel with a big group – in fact this was the first big group trip for me (Reunion in Milan was an exception, as everyone flew in from different cities and we were staying at three different hotels). I prefer to travel on my own or with a few closest friends, but it was an interesting experience to try traveling with a big group. The only thing was that I didn’t get to visit Magritte museum, but hopefully this will be a good excuse for me to visit the city again in the future.

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