Italy

2 Days in Rome – Rome, Italy

Our second (and the last) day in rome, was all devoted to the city itself. Our first stop was Trevi fountain, but when we got there this was all we could see…

trevi rome

and this was our disappointed faces when we saw it

But oh well, you gotta do what you gotta do, and in Rome you do what Romans do! So we continued to Colosseum 😛

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Here, I also had pre-purchased tickets and we didn’t have to wait in line at all. A bit of pre-work gets you far in Rome, apparently!

rome colosseumcolosseum italy romerome italyrome italyrome italyThen there was the infamous Spanish steps

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and the closed doors of Pantheon… 😦rome italy

We spent very little time in Rome – less than 48 – and a few of the tourist spots were closed, but we enjoyed our time and it was time for us to come back to Madrid. But I must’ve been super exhausted from all these trips, because as soon as we got back to Madrid I got extremely sick and my boyfriend had to take care of me for the rest of his time in Madrid.

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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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Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal


Since we stayed in Belem for the entire week, it was a little commute to get to the city although we didn’t mind too much. There are a couple of buses and trams that travels between Lisbon city centre and Belem.

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This park was extremely long and hill-y, we were already tired after walking up half way. But the view from the top was great and to watch the sunset from the top was worth it.

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Then there is the famous Bairro Alto – It felt like a Europen version of San Francisco..

bairro alto lisbon portugal

Trams are one of the most famous attractions in Lisbon. We took one of these little wooden trams on our way back to Belem one night, and it quite literally was the ‘roughest ride’ ever!!! Our butts hurt even after when we got home from all the bumpy road, and hold on tight while you are on it because it’ll be bumpy and it’s known as one of the hot spots for pickpocketing.

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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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