I’ve received so many wonderful comments on Part 1 of my 2-Part Santorini post. Thank you for all the sweet words. If you loved the photos i posted of my daytime escapade in this beautiful place, you should see how Santorini comes to life at night. How the lights seem to form a romantic language all on their own, i will never ever get to figure out… The experience is all so magical. We start with the magnificent grecian sunset down to the spectacular display of lights all across Oia. Enjoy!
Gorgeous view, isn’t it? But wait till you see the crowd we battled just to get these photos! teehee Yep, the world’s most beautiful sunset sure does have her own set of admirers.. hundreds of us, all over the world.
Alright, enough shopping. We know what we’re really waiting to see… The gorgeous view! hehe
Sigh… ladies and gentlemen… This is Oia, Santorini underneath the majestic, starlit skies.
Here’s hoping this post helps you in your future travel to this little piece of heaven on earth. Truly, Santorini is a place like no other. I would have wanted to include photos of my trip down Amoudi Bay but i figured that will have to be in another separate post. I want this blog solely dedicated to the majestic beauty of Santorini at night. I can’t wait to visit it again someday.. That second time, with the love of my life holding my hand.
Oia, Santorini- Check! =)
Til the next tick off our bucket lists, darlings!!!
Of the deepest blue domes, white washed walls and chasing the world’s most beautiful sunset… =)
Hello everyone! I can’t really put into words how i felt the moment i step foot into a place i thought i’d only be able to see in books..I thought i could only see Santorini in my Pinterest board and read all about it in Google! hehe It was all so surreal. And to this day i can still feel the goosebumps just thinking about everything i saw. I still cannot believe it all—- seeing the iconic blue and white houses, eating the yummiest greek salads and melt-in-your-mouth greek lamb shanks, margaritas in the afternoon and the sweetest grapes i’ve ever tasted my whole life, seeing marriage proposals every minute and chasing the world’s most beautiful sunset….. It’s all so amazing, all so hard to sink in– but it happened.
Yet eager as i am to recount all the emotions that came with the experience, photographs will have to do when words fail me for now. I cannot think of any word, no matter how many wonderful adjectives there are in the English dictionary, to describe just how beautiful this place is. I do know however, that Santorini is like no other… and that visiting it at least once is an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.
And this is where our little daytime escapade concludes ladies. Keep posted for Part 2 of My Santorini Storybook coming soon! Hope you all enjoyed browsing through this post!
Keep dreaming, keep believing! The world is but a book and those who do not travel read only a page. Let’s pack our bags and discover the world…. one tick off our bucket lists at time, darlings!!! =)
Let’s talk about food today. Good food. Mouthwatering, can’t wait to get more kind of food.
Work has been quite a handful the past few weeks what with all the patients up for surgery everyday. And like most people, this busy private surgical nurse loves to unwind with a really good meal. I’ve found myself eating mostly fast-food lately due to time constraints. So when i finally got a few days off to unwind and recharge, i quickly set foot on a journey to find myself some good cooking! teehee
The hole in the wall food place i’ll be mentioning below is one of my favorites here in Cebu. I’ve shared some photos on Facebook and Instagram of the dishes they offer and a lot of friends have visited this place and have found it to be truly worth visiting again and again. Here’s hoping you’ll get to enjoy their food as much as i did. Enjoy!
* SWISS ITALIAN RESTAURANT*
I cannot begin to tell you how much i enjoyed course after course of absolutely delish and truly authentic Swiss Italian Cuisine here.
Alfredo Honnegger, the owner of this quaint, 5-table restaurant, is his own main man at the kitchen. He uses only the finest and freshest ingredients for his dishes– think Italian cheeses, freshly harvested vegetables, and age old wines i could barely pronounce! teehee
His tiramisu—-freshly made on the spot,mind you, is truly a must try! I have not tasted tiramisu as delicious as the one he has made. And i cannot wait to get myself some more when i return to his restaurant, that’s for sure.
One thing i truly love about the Swiss Italian restaurant is that, you are not only there for the food. You are there for the experience. Unlike most restos, Alfredo’s restaurant has an open kitchen. Anything you order is cooked, baked, prepared right in front of you. And as soon as all five tables have been served, Alfredo puts away his apron and visits each table, talks to the guests and familiarizes them with the dishes they have ordered. This, in itself, is such a wonderful experience for me.
Price wise, orders range from 390-600 + pesos. It does not belong to the cheapest of the cheap, but for the amazing quality of the food being served, the one of a kind experience and everything in between, this place definitely beats other restaurants of its kind found in Cebu City (prices in the city restos usually start at 600-1000+). And portions are huge! Each order can definitely be shared by two.
And when asked what the secret to his amazingly delicious food is, Alfredo is quick to reply: “Love and dedication. I cook with love and dedication.”
This wonderful , wonderful restaurant has been running for 2 years now and is located in Cordova, Cebu. I got there as a walk in guest but it is best to call them ahead. Contact details of the Swiss Italian Restaurant are provided below.
Here are a few photos of my memorable food experience at the Swiss Italian Restaurant.
The Swiss Italian Restaurant is located in Quezon National Highway, Gabi Cordova, Cebu just opposite Golden Meadow subdivision. They are open Mondays through Sundays. Judging on the posts, i assume Alfredo opens his restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner by appointment. For reservations, one may call (032) 496 7074, (032) 318 8979 or 09177778979.
This post is not sponsored and is intended solely for the purpose of sharing to everyone such a lovely hidden gem found in Cordova, Cebu that is worth visiting. After all, their food is made out of love. And when something is made out of love, you can never go wrong. Wink! =)
Till the next blog post, ladies! Catch you all Soon! =)
After one super long hiatus-count Christmas, New year, Valentine’s day plus hospital duty and business matters to attend to– little miss wanderlust is finally back! hehe
Hello everyone! I hope you’re all having a wonderful spring break/holy week breather. As for me, i decided to catch up on some blogging while spending the holy week weekend in the province with family. Nothing like fresh air and musical chirps to spike up a little writing inspiration or two. hehehe
We left off with that amazing trip to Tokyo months ago and i’ve got several back logs on Europe-Rome, Paris and Greece. So to start off, let’s talk about our little Roman adventure, shall we?
Our trip to Rome was cut short due to airline delays. This was one crucial trip since it was one of those very rare connecting flights from Paris to Greece. The plane, i think, was only set to fly twice a week and since we had a very tight schedule ahead of us, any major delay was a nightmare to our itinerary.
12 hours, a free hotel accommodation and transfer later, we were off to the airport for our flight to Rome the next morning. Since that delay cost us a paid hotel stay in Rome, we made sure we got necessary documents that would help make getting a refund easier. Important tip: Make sure you get a print out signed by the airline regarding the flight delay.
And so off we flew on our much awaited 2 hour journey from Paris to Rome.
After airport control and baggage clearance, we grabbed maps at the tourist information counter. And right after we received an email that our transfer was cancelled due to the delay, we were lucky enough to bump into KUYA PONG, a Filipino driver who frequents the airport in search of kababayans like us who needed a tour guide around the city. Such a breath of fresh air to find someone who spoke the same language as us in a city we’ve just set foot in. And he charges at a fraction of the price of those online day tour operators, too! Major score! Woohoo!
Now given only a limited time to visit Rome, Kuya Pong drove us to the most important spots on our list. And as he drove, he told us of stories about Rome’s history, how life has been for him after years of settling down there, where the yummiest pizza places were and where to find our much coveted rosary pasalubongs.
During our visit, most of Rome’s famous attractions were being renovated and these multimillion dollar renovations were said to be funded by top fashion names such as Fendi. Despite the constructions going on, the places we visited were as beautiful as we imagined them to be. It was like seeing a page from a history book come to life. Such a cliche statement, but so true.Though we weren’t able to make 3 wishes on the Fontana di Trevi as the water was being drained and the statues were being reconstructed, we were still happy to visit several other places on our list. The Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica being our topmost priority of course.
Here are a few photos i managed to take during that beautiful sunny day in Roma. Goditi la vista, darlings!
Rome surely wasn’t built in a day. There is just so much to see, so many food to taste and so many breathtaking views to take in. And though out trip was cut short because of instances beyond our control, that uber short day trip will always be etched in my heart. Nothing could ever compare to that amazing experience of visiting The Vatican for the first time, that unforgettable stroll around and inside the Colosseum, and finally being able to snag our fragrant red rosaries blessed by the Pope.
This short trip taught me how to be flexible when it comes to changes in schedule, how to be airport smart when dealing with delays, how to manage my time wisely and most importantly, how to take in every bucket list moment in less than 24 hours. I’d love to go back again one day.. maybe 3 to 4 days. This time to finally toss my 3 coins at the Fountain of Trevi, eat all the gelato i can by the Spanish Steps, and spend one whole day inside the Basilica.
You were indeed a joy to visit, Rome. I shall see you again soon… Someday.
As of this post, superwoman’s on her way home from a recent adventure in Tokyo, Japan. Along with two of my best girls, Michelle and Christine, i was pleasantly surprised at how amazing the country was. But more surprisingly, we were so happy to find out visiting the place wasn’t as expensive as people claim it to be. Read on for tips ahead! hehehe
Here we go:
After a 5 hour flight from Manila, we arrived late noon in Tokyo via Cebu Pacific Airlines. And yep, it was a score for bargain fare hunters like us as we managed to book it under the piso fare promo.
After going through immigration and baggage claim, here are the three important things we did at the airport:
After checking in at a cozy japanese apartment named Citadines in Shinjuku area, we grabbed a quick snooze to recharge. Note: I usually head out to explore the area as soon as i’m settled in but it was raining outside- remnants of the super typhoon Vongfong, so napping for extra energy was a go.
An hour and a half later, the rain stopped and we found ourselves on the streets all refreshed and ready to take on and breathe in the amazing culture that greeted us.
The streets were clean, lined with several greens and people were courteously quiet. You’d find men and women walking along the sidewalk silently. Cars politely waited for you to cross the street. Even on a green light, a driver smiled and signaled for us to cross as he patiently waited.
We scouted the streets near our apartment and soon engaged in our very first authentic japanese meal. We found this cozy restaurant along the Shinjuku Station exit with private mini bunks. How cute can dinner get? hehehe A call bell was available for us to press whenever we needed the waiter to take our orders. Never really got to know the name of the place as everything was written in Japanese. That got me all excited, actually. Can’t get any more authentic than that! hehehe
After several more hours of walking and sight seeing, we retired to another unnamed Japanese ramen house along Shinjuku-gyoen street. One would be greeted by a waiter upon entering and assisted into ordering a bowl of ramen via tadaaaah! A ramen vending machine. Cool beans!
We ordered the extra large bowl which fed 6 and split it amongst the 3 of us. It was so good- the broth was very tasty and beef and pork were happily dancing with the ramen noodles in our mouths for the past 1 hour or so that we were there. The bowl was so big that we weren’t able to finish it all. It was only then that we were told by a friend post instagram and fb photo post comment that in Japan, it is considered rude not to finish everything on your plate. Yikes. We then made sure to finish everything we ordered to the last rice grain/noodle in the days that followed.
An hour before midnight, we then headed back to our apartment and called it a night.
Day 2 was for two must-visits in Tokyo: Tsukiji Fish Market and Tokyo Disney Sea!!
The Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the most visited places in Tokyo. It is where one can find the freshest fishes for sushi. Think fatty tuna, salmon and uni! A tuna auction is usually held at dawn starting at 4 am, they say. The freshest catches of the day are then displayed for tourists and restaurant owners alike. The ones with the highest bid gets the best tuna parts. These parts are the ones found in hotels which would then cost an arm and a leg.
If you are up for some sushi but not into waking up at the crack of dawn, head over to the Tsukiji Market around 9 am where they start to open and serve fresh sushi to tourists. The most famous restaurant there is the Sushi dai. There’s no english name fronting the store but with one look, one would know when one has found it—— Sushi dai is never without a crazy long line. Some claim to wait for their turn to order for as long as 5 hours. Sushi there must really be good.
So off we went and luckily, the line wasn’t that long. We arrived minutes before 9am and got to sit down after 10 minutes of waiting.
Here are the yummy dishes that we ordered. Enough chitchat and let the yummy photos do the talking.
They say eating sushi is a rite of passage in Japan. I wouldn’t mind having the same meal over and over again for breakfast! Truly the best chirashi i’ve tasted in years!
Here are some of the things we found while walking around Tsukiji market:
With happy tummies, and after buying little knick knacks found in the market, we excitedly left for Tokyo Disney Sea!!!
It is said that this is the best Disney Resort by far, topping that of Paris, Hong Kong and the US.
True enough, we had the grandest time! Tokyo Disney Sea felt like a cross between Disneyland and Universal Studios. Fun rides, theatrical shoes and lots of Disney boutiques greeted us. Here are some snaps of our wonderful Tokyo Disney Sea experience:
Mermaid lagoon houses a wonderful set of rides mostly for the young ones including rotating cups, jumping jelly fish, among others. It also houses a really cute shop for infants and toddlers.
This attraction let’s you ride a yellow submarine complete with motion, sound and visual simulation to make it seem like you’re actually going 20,000 leagues below sea level.
This is a fast coaster best for the grown ups/teens. It involves making a 360 degree turn.
Tokyo Disney Sea was such a vast resort that we weren’t able to capture all the views with our cameras. We did manage to take photos of the major attractions like the ones posted above. Sometimes, when you’re having so much fun, you tend to forget clicking and just savor the moment as it happens. teehee
We stayed till night time to catch the amazing fireworks display and yes, amazing it truly was. We were blessed to witness the Annual Halloween Screams Show on the day of our visit.
We then headed home via Metro and called it a day, a happy and magical one.
This was one of the longest days we had but dubbed the most amazing one. We set out early on a 3 hour train ride to Ibaraki to see the famous Hitachi Seaside Park. And this is what we saw…..
Super amazing kochia bushes and cosmo flowers all around… was such a breathtaking view. Truly a must see when visiting Japan.
Our fourth day was jam-packed day of sight seeing and city hopping.
Our last day in Tokyo was spent on another kitkat shopping spree at the airport!! hehehe Truly can’t get enough of the amazing flavors all over the different areas of Japan. We managed to snag the matcha, uni matcha, sakura matcha, strawberry, strawberry cheesecake, blueberry cheesecake, chili powder, wasabi, rum and raisin, pumpkin and red bean flavors. There is a different story for every kitkat flavor in a city and the dessert bar is one big favorite among the Japanese. So having been able to grab the unique variety other than the usual green tea got us on a sugar high.
So that’s about it for Tokyo ladies. I hope you all enjoyed our little adventure together. It’s only been a few hours since i got home and i miss the place already. I hope to visit it again soon…. someday. And in the near future, when you do find the chance to visit it too, i hope this post helps you plan your day to day itinerary.. and i wish for nothing but the best of memories and the most magical of experiences for you and your travel buddies during that day.
Japan is a country of many splendored things. Here’s hoping it will inspire you to never stop believing in fairytales, to be one with nature, and to go out there and experience the unfamiliar.
Keep that fire of #wanderlust burning, my darlings!!
Last week, i started following this detox diet i came across in one of my surfs. The holiday buffets and never ending desserts last December made me feel quite heavy so i figured it was time for a reset.
First of all, let me start by saying, i don’t count calories. I enjoy eating good food especially when it’s paired with great company. I wasn’t looking for something to help me lose weight. Just a regimen that would help me jumpstart the year with healthier eating habits.
So here goes. I came across the General Motors (GM) diet and gave it a try. No starving allowed here. You’re supposed to eat a certain food group each day. And you can eat as much of it at any time of the day so you won’t feel hungry at all. Sounded pretty good to me so the 7 day program was a go.
Here’s a summary photo i found on Pinterest about the GM diet. Explanations and how i got around to following it day by day stated below.
DAY 1: ALL FRUIT DAY.
You can eat as much fruit as you like except BANANAS. Cantaloupes and Watermelons (water based fruit) work best for this day. Don’t forget to hydrate with 10 glasses of water.
How i did: I’ve always loved fruits so i thought the first day would be a cinch. For breakfast, i ate one whole cantaloupe. It got me through all morning at work. Then for lunch i had slices of ripe mango, red lady papaya and pomelo. By dinner, the cravings started to kick in. I had half a watermelon. Since i’ve been having nothing but fruit and water for the first day, my body started looking for something salty/sour. Thankfully i decided to stick to the plan.
DAY2: ALL VEGGIE DAY
You can eat as much vegetables as you want during the second day (refrain from having them with oil, though.) Breakfast during this day was such a treat as you are supposed to boil one big potato and have it with butter to start your morning (weeee!). Let’s not forget the 10 glasses of water to go with our greens.
How i did: I couldn’t wait for my breakfast. The boiled potato with butter was heavenly after eating nothing but fruits the day before.
For lunch, i got busy at work. I was planning for vegetable soup but i wasn’t able to go out due to so many things to attend to. So i ended up downing my snack box instead.
I got hungry by late afternoon so i decided to reward myself with a big bowl of vegetable soup (locally known as Otan with lots of malunggay, squash and okra) and some Chop Suey for dinner. By this time though, the minimal amount of oil used to sauté the chop suey tasted weird. Must have gotten used to no oil already. I’m skipping chop suey next time.
Day3: FRUIT AND VEGGIE DAY
You can eat as much fruits and vegetables as you want today except for bananas and potatoes. 10 glasses of water for hydration.
How i did: This would have to be the easiest day for me. Mixing both fruits and veggies was a breeze. I had mango slices for breakfast, vegetable soup for lunch and dinner and lots of pears in between for snacks.I also downed 1 whole coconut after dinner apart from the 10 glasses of water i was required to drink up. Super full.
DAY 4: BANANA AND MILK DAY
Today you are asked to eat 4-6 bananas with 750 ml of Skim milk and 10 glasses of water. The bananas and milk will replace the electrolytes you’ve lost from all the peeing. You are also encouraged to eat as much of the GM soup as possible especially when you start to feel hungry.
GM SOUP RECIPE:
(There are a lot of ingredients called for in this recipe with different variations. I just made do with what was readily available in the grocery store.)
1 can of french onion soup, low sodium if possible (i got mine from Rustan’s – thank you for finding me 2 cans, Weesa!!!)
half an onion, sliced
5 stalks of celery, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 head of cabbage, sliced
1 can mushrooms
3 pcs red bell pepper, minced
Directions: Saute onions, garlic and bell pepper in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add in the celery and mushrooms then the cabbage. Add the french onion soup to boil. Simmer and enjoy.
How i did: I loved the bananas and milk combination! For breakfast i had a banana milkshake, some banana slices for mid day snacks, Gm soup and more bananas for lunch and dinner. hehe I had lakatan and senyorita bananas for variety.
DAY 5: MEAT AND TOMATO DAY
You may eat 500 g of lean meat today with 6 large tomatoes. 10-12 glasses of water.
How i did: I couldn’t wait to eat meat during my 5th day. I planned on having steak for lunch as i read it was allowed. Surprisingly, i didn’t quite enjoy the steak as much as i wanted because of the oil. My body was already getting used to the no oil meals i’ve been having since day 1.
DAY6: MEAT AND VEGGIE DAY
You may have 500 g of lean meat and as much veggies (except potatoes) as you want today. 12 glasses of water.
How i did: I had vegetable soup, steamed broccoli and Dong Juan’s crispy tadyang and a little sisig during this day. The lesser the oil, the better.
DAY7: BROWN RICE AND VEGGIE DAY
You may have 1 cup of brown rice today paired with unlimited amounts of veggies, pure fruit juices and 12 glasses of water.
How i did: In lieu of brown rice, i had couscous with my vegetables. For breakfast, i had fresh cantaloupe juice. For lunch, banana heart “puso” salad and adobong kangkong. And for dinner, sautéed veggies.
So how did i do?
I was happy that i now got used to eating healthier choices instead of the oily, fatty, sweet and calorific food i’ve been filling my tummy with over the holidays. You see, I’m the type of person who won’t stop craving sweets once i start eating them. The reset was such a breather. And the bonus? I lost 5 pounds in 6 days! hihi How amazing is that?
I was 57.5 kg after the holidays. My ideal body weight in proportion to my height is 54 kg. Tadaaah! Target achieved on the 6th day.
I can’t wait to start eating healthy again. My GM diet ends today and i’m back to regular meal choices tomorrow. This 7 day plan is not meant to be done for more than 7 days. One may take a rest the following week and start all over again the week after.
To those of you who are planning to give the GM diet a try, here are a few tips and guidelines i’ve compiled to help make your reset easier:
You may have green tea but no coffee. i had to have a cup after eating oily meat.
Condiments are fine but go easy on the salt.
Hydrate as much as you can to flush out the bad stuff.
Do not cheat. Just don’t. Trust me, the results will be worth it.
Ladies, i noticed this reset is easier followed when you are on your period. The cravings won’t kick in that much.
Don’t expect too much. I started this plan with the aim of resetting my eating habits, nothing more. The weight loss was a bonus, not a goal.
Write down your meal plan for the whole week and post it somewhere you can easily see it. This will serve both as a reminder for you and a guide for the household not to tempt you with food you’re not allowed to eat. hehe This idea worked pretty well. My dad always read the guide i hung on the wall so he would know what food to bring home for dinner.
Weeeee! There you go darlings. I hope this blog on my recent GM diet experience helps you achieve the reset you need too. As for me, i couldn’t be any happier. I feel lighter and healthier. I’ve decided to stick to greens and fish for now. So happy the cravings for sweet and salty food and all things sinful have curbed.
By this time, superwoman has just arrived from a lovely trip to Rome and Greece (both will be tackled in two separate blogs soon.) After a 7 hour flight from Greece, we arrive late evening once again in magical Paris. Upon claiming our baggage, we head to the “sortie”, the french term for exit. hehe We made sure we knew a little about the city. So we did our research regarding transportation, transfers from airport to hotel, food, etc. Here are a few tips which may be of help to you just in case you’re planning a trip anytime soon:
1. When dealing with connecting flights, always make sure you take note of the baggage tags for baggage destination confirmation. Most flights carry your belongings to the last destination. Meanwhile others do not. And this may pose a problem especially when one is required to transfer one’s luggage to another carousel during a layover. Failure to do so may mean arriving at your destination with your stuff left at the previous layover. eeek
2. Upon successfully claiming your bags at the carousel, go to the nearest Tourist Info counter for free maps of the city, then head over to the baggage exit. Now’s the tricky part. Getting a taxi to your hotel. ALWAYS make sure you take the cabs from the official taxi stand at the airport.This helps ensure you are being charged fairly. Most of the time, tourists are being charged twice or even thrice the fare price if they just hail a cab elsewhere, that’s according to an article over the internet. In Orly Airport, the official taxi stand is located at Exit 8. The lady from the Tourist Info counter was kind enough to lead us the way. (NOTE: We would have taken a train had it not been for the late night arrival. We landed at 10PM Paris time. And we decided that taking a cab was the safest choice.)
3. If you are staying anywhere near Champs Elysees just like us, the taxi fare from Orly airport would be around 40 euros (2,284.83 php). It’s best to have a travel buddy as splitting fares proves quite helpful. Euros compared to pesos burns holes in the pocket in a matter of hours! hehe The trick is to stop converting. Live in the moment. You will only explore such a lovely city once, so make sure you blend in and act like a local. Heck, you’ll only be broke once. It might as well be in Paris. hehehe just kidding. Of course we didn’t always ride a taxi. The cheapest way to go is the metro. More of that later.
After a few minutes, we arrived safely at our hotel, checked ourselves in, unpacked our stuff, and did a little planning before we called it a night.
After several hours of tossing and turning in excitement mixed with tired feet and aching lower backs, hehe MORNING FINALLY CAME! The alarm went off and it was time to wake up, dress up and explore beautiful Paris! We might have woken up a tad bit too early though. hehe We decided to start early so that we will be able to make more out of our day only to find out it’s still dark out. That one hour delay allowed us to plan our day once more- maps, city tours, budgets and all.
Around 8am we went out and walked to the nearest Mcdonald’s. Champs Elysees has this very classy Mcdonald’s store just 3 minutes away from our hotel. Stephanie (my travel buddy) and i have this really weird goal of trying out every Mcdonald’s branch specific to a certain country. hehe And surprised we truly were. Where else can one find a tiled staircase and delectable french macarons in a fastfood chain? Them french people are really something else indeed.
After breakfast, we headed back to the hotel to grab our scarves as it started to get chilly out. Temperature in the mornings ranged from 14-17 degrees. Afternoons were usually warmer and more comfortable around 19-20 degrees. Summer was bidding the city goodbye and fall was just so eager to welcome us.
A Paris Pass truly helps first time visitors as it already covers a lot of areas: Free train usage covering zones 1-3. No need to fall in line for tickets for every train ride; Free 1 day hop on hop off bus tour all over the city (with a specific route); Free 1 hour cruise at the River Seine; Discounts at selected restos and cafes; and Free SKIP THE LINE passes to over 60 different attractions/museums all over Paris including the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Opera Garnier and Musee de ‘Orsay (excluding the Eiffel Tower). Now THIS was the one that sold me out. The Lourve had this suuuuuper long line even when you start off early. And most people wait for as long as 1-2 hours just to get in. But with the Paris Pass, we skipped the long cue and just walked past everyone in a separate pathway for all Paris Pass holders. Talk about saving time! Kudos to the one who invented this pass! hihihi For those who want to get their own passes, check out Viator.com. We purchased ours there.
I’ve always loved Big Bus Tours. They have these very systematic routes that take you to almost all the important and famous tourist attractions all over the city. All you have to do is map out every place you want to visit and get off the nearest bus stop. Another bus arrives every 30 minutes so the moment you’re done, you just hop on the next bus and continue on to your next itinerary. That easy! You can buy tickets separately at the Big Bus Tour website or you can purchase the Paris Pass at Viator.com and get 1 day free bus tour. To make things easier too, i researched and found out there’s a free app for the Big Bus Tours available at the apple store! I’ve been using this for several bus tours in Korea and Shanghai. Super helpful!
Now on to the fun part: PHOTOS OF OUR CITY TOUR!!! weeeeeee =)
I could feel my heart making tiny leaps for joy as our bus neared the famous Champ de Mars. And every time a part of the Eiffel Tower peaked from the tall architectural structures of the city, i secretly let out a dreamy sigh. Hmmmm.. she was a beauty to behold indeed. And all i could think of while staring at her was : “This can’t be happening. This is really it!!!”. That feeling of finally seeing a childhood dream come to life—- simply priceless and truly amazing beyond anything i had ever imagined. I couldn’t stop saying thank you to the Big Guy up there that day.
Since this was one of our most coveted spots for the entire trip, we decided to take our time and just enjoy the view around us. We whiled the hours away taking in everything before us— the iconic Eiffel Tower, the french speaking locals, the lovely view of the Champ de Mars garden, and of course, the yummy French street food.
After that oh so yummy picnic, we went back to the tower for more photos before we boarded the next bus.
And these were the amazing sights we saw:
There you go ladies. A few tidbits of our Big Bus City Tour around the City of Lights. I’ll be sharing more in depth photos of what’s inside what in the blogs that will follow. For our first day out on tour, we decided to listen to the audio guides provided by the bus and minimize going down so as to finish the entire tour with all the information we needed. Once we had taken one full course of the bus route, we already knew what important landmarks to look out for in every stop that we made. Apologies for some crooked photos though.. hehehe Most of them were taken atop the bus while it was moving. Quite a challenge but it was loads of fun playing tourist and all. hehehe.
As darkness befell us, (the sun usually sets at 7-8pm in Paris) our tummies let out a hungry groan. teehee And while we walked in search of something less French and more of something close to home, we found this Korean restaurant two blocks away from our hotel. (No name actually. It just said “Korean Restaurant”). Amazing. We never expected a Korean resto in Paris, but who’s complaining? It can only mean one thing…RICE!!! hihihi So enter we did and the kind owner was there to take our orders along with short chitchats on the side. While waiting for our order, her eyes lit up when she found out we were Filipinos. She went on to tell us that the cousin of the Philippine President and Kris Aquino always dined in her resto everytime the lady was in Paris. She spoke of many other things, most of which we could no longer remember as our focus was on the sumptuous plates of Bulgogi meat, kimchi, gyoza and rice that were being served on our table. That was one fantastic meal after one crazy busy day around the city if we do say so ourselves.
Seeing that our tummies were super full after our huge meal and that there was still time for a short walk along the lovely streets of Champs Elysees, we decided to walk our way again to the Arc de Triomphe to see how majestically it lights up at night- this time, up close. And yes, we stood in the middle of Parisian traffic to get that famous pose in front of the Arc. hehehe
Yep, our official first day out exploring the city was one for the books indeed. We saw so much sights we thought we’d only get to see in history books. That wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower over lunch was the highlight of our day. And while we couldn’t believe what had just happened that day, we knew we must retire to bed and get some rest for a new day awaited us tomorrow.
Much as i would love to tell more stories, i shall reserve them for the next blog ladies. teehee Day 3 will be all about the Louvre, Hanging our own locks at the Pont des Arts, Finding the Saint Chapelle and so much more. Thank you for dropping by and sharing this wonderful recollection of a magical dream brought to life with me everyone. Till the next blog post!!
Superwoman’s been on blogging hiatus for the past few days but now she’s back and boy, does she have a lot of wonderful things to share to all of you. hehe What a blessing it is to have my biggest dream destination as my first official travel post. PARIS!!! Yes ladies, my childhood dream has just come to life seven days ago.. and this is where our story begins.
Ask most of my closest amigas and they will be quick to show you the numerous photos of the Eiffel Tower on my bedroom wall and the countless “someday” hashtags on my instagram account every time that sense of insatiable wanderlust invades the deepest recesses of my being (oh that’s deep. hehe). I’ve fallen in love with Paris and all its wonders for as long as i could remember. And ever since i was in grade school when i first learned about the lovely place, my love for Audrey Hepburn, french macarons, La Maison Rose and the romantic River Seine never left but only grew deeper with time.
Enter July 2014, I came across this ad about a travel fair in Ayala Center Cebu. It was a 3-day travel expo said to be carrying the “best travel deals” of the year. Since I had just come back from a lovely trip to Shanghai and that sense of fernweh hasn’t left me yet, I decided to check the booths out on my lunch break. And truth be told, several good deals to Europe and the United States where selling like hotcakes that day. I happily searched and found great deals for Paris! No tours, just tickets. The usual 1,500-2,000 USD round trip tickets were now up for grabs at 500-800 USD less!! And just like that, i thought to myself how this could be THE year of all years.
But then again, i took a pause and realized i couldn’t book a ticket all alone. Most of my closest friends and travel buddies already have their calendars all mapped out for the year (’twas really on such short notice, i know. hehe). And just like that, my dreams of ever visiting the City of lights suddenly went on a downward spiral. Boo.
Hours later as if fate happily intervened, a good friend of mine, Stephanie happened to be looking at the same great deals and she too, was looking for someone to travel with. To make the long story short, two little girls immediately booked the tickets , excitedly and nervously applied for a Schengen Visa (we were only given less than 30 days before the trip) and on that fateful day of September 8, 2014 went on to fulfill the biggest SOMEDAY of their lives… a dream journey like no other— Paris.
(Note: The trip includes visits to 2 other countries, both of which will be tackled on in 2 other separate blogs for distinction. Getting there, what type of airline and my reviews about it will also be spoken of in another separate blog.)
PARIS DAY 1
Our first day in Paris was a 12 hour layover for another flight to Rome. We made the most out of it by exploring the airport we were assigned to. Paris has several airports. Two of which- Charles de Gaulle Airport for international long haul flights and Orly Airport for domestic flights are the most popular. The distance between both airports is roughly 42.3 kilometers. That’s around a 37-47 minute drive as per Mr. Jacob, the kind french/english speaking Iranian driver who safely drove us from CDG to Orly airport. Along the way, we asked him tips and must see sights and he was only happy to share. He spoke of how a cruise in the River Seine at night could be so magical, how tourists visit the Alma Bridge and remember Princess Diana, how the Eiffel Tower sparkled beautifully and how no matter where he is in the world, he will always find his way back to Paris. That short talk with Mr. Jacob only spurred my desire to explore and breathe in more of the city of my dreams. I could listen to his french accent forever. It was hard to believe but things were slowly starting to sink in—-WE HAVE ARRIVED IN PARIS!!
These are a couple of photos we took on our first day:
That’s about it for our first day ladies. By this time, things were still slowly starting to sink in… where we were, what we heard and what we were doing. We were breathing Parisian air, eating french croissants and awkwardly uttering our first “bonjour!!!” We have finally arrived in Paris!! And we couldn’t be more excited to start our lifelong dream itinerary.
Catch you all soon for a glimpse of the lovely Eiffel Tower, the breathtaking Champ de Mars, the jaw dropping Arc de Triomphe and the amazing Louvre Museum in the next blog post everyone! Thank you for dropping by and here’s hoping this simple recollection of our Parisian experience helps you plan your dream trip too. And yes, always remember: dreams truly do come true.
Before we delve into beautiful, beautiful places, first thing’s first. Let’s talk about packing. Living on a suitcase can be a horror for some, especially the packing/organizing part. You never know what important things you forgot to bring during a trip until you actually find yourself needing it right then and there. Hehehe Trust me, happens all the time.
Departure after departure, I’ve learned a lot of tips when it comes to baggage organization. Three words: MAKE A LIST. Simple as it may seem, throwing in a few essentials here and there isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. I’ve learned to always follow a check list when it comes to travel. Listing all the things you may need not only saves you time, it saves you money as well. (Yup, those little trips to the nearest 7 Eleven for toiletries you forgot may mean lesser moolah for admission fees and shopping.)
So here we go. I’d like to share my little list of packing musthaves and how to organize them. Finally, this list will be immortalized in this blog. Poor little thing, it’s been on my Iphone Notes for years now. hehehe Trip after trip, I’ve come to add a thing or two into it until it finally worked for me. I hope it does the same for you too.
SUPERWOMAN’S PACK LIST:
passport + visa (if required)
2 valid ID’s
flight itinerary print out
hotel voucher print out
money (in local currency or USD)
maps + travel journal+ ballpen
cellular phone + charger + earphones
camera + charger
extra memory card and battery pack
selfie pod (trust me, it’s super helpful especially in solo travels. hehe)
emergency meds (asthma meds for me)
clothes (pack an extra day in case of emergencies)
undies (always pack two extra pairs)
slippers (optional. but a must for long walks)
kikay kit (for girls hehe)
grooming kit (comb, shaver, tweezer, toothbrush)
an extra sling bag for tours (i chose one with anti-slash capabilities)
contact lens + solution (for legally blind people like me hehe)
eye glasses (a must for long haul flights. contacts just won’t do.)
swiss knife/swiss card
handy luggage scale (never go overboard on luggage ever again)
scarf/sarong (a versatile piece you should never leave home without)
socks (a must inflight for me)
band aids + safety pins (just the girl scout in me talking, hehe)
A sarong and a pair of socks are my top 2 carry on musts.
Tips and Tricks:
1.Apart from carrying a travel itinerary and hotel voucher print out in your hand bag, make sure you screenshot all the necessary details and save them into one album in your smart phone. I learned how convenient this can be especially now that airport/hotel personnel allow electronic copies of your documents. Saves you all those extra minutes of digging through your carry on.
2. Always carry a travel organizer to keep important flight documents organized and readily available especially inflight. I always find it such a chore to stand up and get my bag in the baggage cabin for a pen i keep forgetting. But with this little baby, filling out those departure/arrival cards halfway through the flight will be a cinch. Get yours here: https://www.facebook.com/zandra.estrellasalvador.
3. Always carry local currency and/or US dollars. US dollars are universally accepted in all money changers worldwide. I once carried Philippine peso only during a trip only to find out that that certain country doesn’t buy PhP. eek. hehehe Yup, it pays to be always ready and informed.
4. What goes with what:
This is how my typical bath pack looks like during a long haul flight. All liquids come in a maximum of 10 mL containers all zipped to spill-free perfection by a trusty ziplock. The pack includes: facial wash, toner, toothbrush and toothpaste (perfect for hostels/bed and breakfast accommodations that do not offer free toiletries), mouthwash (doubles as an antiseptic gargle especially for sudden sore throats during travel), shampoo, soap and feminine wash. You may add or subtract items on the list depending on your preference and country of destination. For example, if you are off to Bangkok, items there sell for the cheap especially on basic essentials like these. So you may opt to save space and buy items there. But if you’re going to visit some place that burns the pocket like say, Europe, hehe make sure all the things you need are packed and ready for use. Some countries can be very stressful to our wallets. hihi
Apart from the items above, I keep these items in another ziplock for emergencies: sunblock, make up remover, body lotion, and awesome freebie kits from a recent hotel accommodation in Shanghai : shaving kit, sewing kit, cotton tips and pads kit and sanitary bag. Woohoo! Who doesn’t love freebies? Super useful and convenient, yes they are.
Items above are securely packed with tape and double stored into a large ziplock container to avoid unfortunate spilling. They are then placed into a safety pocket together with all other items for check in.
Below is what i pack into my carry on apart from my travel organizer, gadgets + chargers, earphones, sarong and socks: tissue, contact lens + case + solution. Now here’s where all those sephora samples/hotel freebies truly come in handy. Nothing beats single use sachets you can easily dispose of after use. For long haul flights, make sure you have the following at hand: facial wash, dental kit, wet wipes and moisturizer sachets— great for freshening up during layovers. Don’t forget the night cream and eye cream samples for the 12-17 hour flight itself. Nothing beats waking up to well hydrated, well rested skin upon arrival.
5. Lastly, ROLL. Yep, we’ve heard it time and again. Always roll those clothes to ward off air and allow for more room in your check in baggage.
There you go ladies! Superwoman’s Pack list in a nutshell. Here’s hoping I get to save you a couple of minutes of packing time come your special travel day!
Superwoman has finally squeezed in some extra time to blog and found her way into wordpress! Welcome to my little nook of blab, however you may all want to call it. From late night musings to spur of the moment thoughts on anything and everything related to travel, make up and skincare and a little bit of the kitchen. Basically, this blog will be all about a little bit of everything all rolled into one. I’d like to think of it as somewhere i record my learning, my experiences, places I’ve been blessed enough to see and tips i would want to remember for the rest of my days. And somewhere along the way, If you chance upon this blog, I hope it helps you too- tips and tricks, secret places, food recommendations and all, coz really, life’s too short not to be enjoyed. Let’s all get on the happy bandwagon and share as much of that positivity and inspiration as we can. Cheers!!