Travel Quotes

Travel Makes One Modest

By on December 24, 2018

Gustave Flaubert once said, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” Those words aren’t hard to understand. Modesty, itself, means being unassuming. It means accepting your limitations, being unpretentious, and humbly acknowledging the limit of your abilities.

Why does modesty relate to travel?

Think about it. When you travel, you become exposed to different cultures and literally see just how vast the world is. If you simply confine yourself to the four corners of your home, you close your mind off to the idea, albeit unconsciously, of just how big the world is out there. However, once you step out of your home and travel around the world, you acknowledge that there is, after all, a bigger world beyond what you’re accustomed to.

Continue Reading

Travel Quotes

The World is a Book, Let’s Read

By on November 22, 2018

(^Venice: Libreria Acqua Alta)

There’s a popular quote that goes, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Those words couldn’t be any truer especially for people who love to travel. Travelling exposes you to so many wonderful things about the place we call home – earth. Even not-so-wonderful experiences during trips can be considered lessons learned along the way.

Learning Outside Books

Indeed, just as the books we read open our eyes to new things learned and add to an ever-expanding knowledge repository, travelling expands the box you’ve built around yourself. It can change your views of the world, the people in it, and life in general. On the contrary, if you’re afraid to step out of your comfort zone and travel, it’s as if you’re stuck on the cover page of a book. Like being satisfied to just look at the pretty picture in front of you and not bothering to read the content.

Continue Reading

Accommodations | Vacation Home

A Vacation Home Is the Smart Momma’s Choice

By on October 10, 2018

With children spending most of their waking hours in school, there’s not enough opportunity for a family to bond and have fun. The only time they get to enjoy each other’s company is when the kids are home for their summer vacation. This is one reason why many families really plan well and hard to mark a few weeks (even months) off on their calendars. They reserve these dates for a grand family vacation.

Long work hours, homework, and various activities usually prevent a family from enjoying fun activities, or even dinner, together. That’s why it’s very important for a family to schedule a vacation. That’s the only time they can spend uninterrupted time together. The vacation could be for three days or three weeks; the length of time doesn’t really matter. What matters is that they were able to spend quality time together.

Continue Reading

Cruises

Five North American River Cruises You Need to Try

By on August 15, 2018

Cruising is a choice of vacation that many people opt to, while some people are wary of. It can seem daunting if one thinks of being out in the ocean for days at a time; even if the ports of call are enticing. One solution for people who do not like the idea of having their vacation out in the vast ocean on a cruise liner is to take a smaller river cruise instead. This could be the perfect cruise trip for the family, sightseeing along some of the most famous waterways in North America. Try one of these five North American River Cruises.

Continue Reading

North Carolina

Guide to Camping in the Great Smoky Mountains

By on June 22, 2018

Guest post by: Joy Blanca

It doesn’t matter whether you are a luxury camper or you like to rough it; there is no disputing that camping is great fun. The fact that it brings you closer to nature and can make you feel like part of your surroundings is simply a bonus!

Of course, you need to decide what kind of camper you are before you can head into the Smoky Mountains. It is also important to consider who you are camping with. Families will particularly enjoy the Maggie Valley attractions which border these mountains.

Continue Reading

New Zealand

The Many Things to Love in New Zealand

By on March 6, 2018

Located in the southern hemisphere and arguably one of the most beautiful countries in the world, New Zealand is a mecca for travellers who want to experience life pretty much on the edge. It’s where nature and modern life exists pretty much in uniform, and where today meets tomorrow.

New Zealand has one of the most biodiverse range of flora and fauna in the world, largely because it was isolated (in a good way) for much of its existence, even from nearby Australia. As such, a lot of the plants and animals in New Zealand are found nowhere else in the world. An example of this is the Kiwi, the national animal of New Zealand. Almost every sporting team, and even people from the islands, are named after this unique flightless bird.

Continue Reading

Budapest | Hungary

Unexpectedly Beautiful Budapest

By on July 27, 2014

Unexpectedly clean, picturesque and familiar…these are my first impressions of Budapest. The clean streets are so very much like Vienna – only wider, the shopping streets like Paris – only cleaner but, it is unique in its own in terms of charm. Walking around, we felt safe. There weren’t as much tourists in some areas so you won’t see a lot in the photos I’m sharing today. ^_^

Continue Reading

Italy | Venice

Colorful Venice for the Shopper in You

By on June 30, 2014

 

Venice’s blue skies, vibrant wall paints and unique mode of transport (or lack of) are undoubtedly things one would find charming in the city of Bridges. The list of what you can do in Venice seems endless so let me skip that and focus on the one thing we all love to do; shopping, for no doubt  it is the best therapy (along with travel, imho). And, for centuries a center of trade, it still holds such fame among consumers.

Venice is a major fashion and shopping centre in all of Italia…not as prominent as Milan but certainly recognizable that Louis Vuitton and Ermenegildo Zegna and a number more fashion boutiques operate their flagship stores there. Head to Frezzeria, a collection of streets to the west of Piazza San Marco for your high-end loots. And like all of Italy, imitation leather bags could be found profoundly on the streets. It is a common scene for the Carabinieri to take to custody those who sell fakes and those who buy from these sellers. Here are some of what to buy in Venice.

Continue Reading

Austria | Salzburg

Salzburg Revisited: Mirabell Gardens

By on May 28, 2013
Wisteria
Wisteria by the entrance and sidewalk

Salzburg Revisited: Mirabell Gardens in this post. Last summer’s visit at the magical Mirabell Gardens was a rather sweet but short affair. There were still so many things we could have seen but wasn’t able to because of time constraints. So for this trip, I saw to it that we could go around a bit more, and we did. It was a lovely time too as the wisteria at the garden was truly at its most beautiful!

It’s a magical garden, one would definitely say. Not to mention, the Sound of Music  being filmed here added to the charm that has made it popular through the years, making it also a part of the Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg UNESCO World Heritage Site.. Just like last year, the sun was giving, weather is alright! But unlike last year, we were able to go around and at the back of the palace. There was the famous steps where the family Von Trapp lead by Maria (Julie Andrews) sang Do Re Mi and there’s also the Pegasus statue which can be seen as part of that same song routine.

Continue Reading

Austria | Salzburg

Salzburg Revisited: Hellbrunn Palace/Museum

By on May 26, 2013

Charming, that’s how I’d define the Hellbrunn tour. The Wasserspiele stint was a really fun experience and I thought that it’s just all. So we went out into the back garden of the palace (Ziergarten) after the games. What I didn’t expect would be seeing two opposite scenery perfectly complementing each other. It’s like looking to your left and all you see is spring, there would be the blue skies and cotton candy clouds, lush greenery and perfectly placed flowers in different colors.  It’s like looking to your right and summer is saying hello, almost like inviting you to jump into the pond – that after the long and bitter winter we’ve gone through.

IMG_2926b
spell summer!

It’s unfortunate that we were’nt able to explore what’s behind those trimmed bushes. I saw what seemed to be a tower peeking out of the greens (below photo, right). If I’m not mistaken, it would be the Monatsschlössl – translates to Month Palace – a Folklore Museum holding Salzburg’s folk culture and other traditional mementos of the city. It was named so as legend says it was made within a month’s time.

There were 2 unicorn sculptures at the garden said to have been erected in 1700. They still stand there today, along with 2 obelisks, proud and mighty by a path that leads back to the villa.

unicorn and museum
Unicorn on the left of the small path and the Monatsschlössl peeking out

villa
facade

Looking at the facade, who would think this villa is 400-years-old? Built between 1613-1619 under the rule of Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg  near Morzg, south of Salzburg. Hellbrunn means clear spring (hell = clear/light, Brunnen = fountain, well), thus the palace was named after the clear body of water at the palace grounds.

The rectangular court still holds festivities seasonally with the adjacent building now serving either as a chapel and the other,  restaurant. A double-sided staircase welcomes visitors to the mansion’s entry hall. Below this staircase is a grotto designed by Italian architect Santino Solari, the same architect who designed the interior dome of the Salzburg Cathedral.

museum
side and entrance to the museum

 

IMG_2995b
asymmetrical windows

To date, the three-storey mansion houses a museum, with the furniture, paintings and other things as old as antiquity preserved and displayed for those curious as how life might have been back then. But, the mansion is actually a day residence so there were no bedrooms whatsoever. The Archbishop and his contemporaries mostly held parties and games and would go back to Salzburg in the evening, thus, the lack of sleeping quarters.

painting and heater
happy kid with his audio guide device, stove or heater maybe

Left, you can see how this little companion of ours (my son) was so behaved at listening to the audio guide device, intently so and keenly looked at the paintings with much interest. (Must take after me – I once dreamt of becoming a curator too ^_^). Right, I’m not so sure now if it’s a stove or heater, its intricate design so impressive, made me forget (lol).

As with other palaces in Vienna, the interior has been well kept as the valuable it holds. Most outstanding would be the Festsaal or ballroom/party hall. It is painted on the walls (presumably by Arsenio Mascagni, an Italian painter)  with fully rich allegorical representations  extending to a vaulted ceiling.

ballroom, old castle
reminds me of the Louvre

While touring around, I can’t help but look out the windows. Out of curiosity perhaps, I clearly saw how the mansion was strategically placed within a spacious ornamental garden and a landscape with a magnificent view. Below, you can see the courtyard, called Ehrenhof or court of honor, with a pavilion stretching out as far as the eye can see down to a lush green and up the mountains.

IMG_2967b
paintings and furniture
insidelookingout
inside looking out (going for a stained glass photo effect hihi)

Continue Reading

Austria | Salzburg

Salzburg Revisited, Watergames at the Hellbrunn Palace

By on May 22, 2013

Salzburg; being the 4th largest city in Austria, it is quite impossible to see the grandeur of this alpine urban in seven hours. But, that’s what we did last summer, got mere seven hours of walking and gawking at the scenery, taking in what our eyes and memory could in a short span of time. It was still enjoyable although everyone were silently screaming “more”!

So when one of my lovely neighbors asked if I would like to join a party of travellers who will visit Salzburg, I didn’t hesitate. It’s also a good thing considering that a visiting friend who is always on the go would be able to tour with us, it’s like hitting two birds with one stone.

cloudy
Facade

Arriving at 10:30, we (about 50 people, 3 kids included) made our way through the grounds of the Baroque Villa, Hellbrunn Palace. We toured around the famous Wasserspiele (water games, Jeux d’Eau, giochi d’acqua) installations established by Bishop Markus Sittikus, nephew of then prince-archbishop of Salzburg Wolf Dietrich. Sittikus is also described as a man full of humor, thus, the villa has been installed with lots of geometrically designed ponds, fountains (seen and trick ones), figures made mobile by water and a lot of hidden needles spewing water when they please. The grounds are full of grottos, statues of Neptune, the Roman god of freshwater and the sea along with his minions. – Rightfully so as the park/villa never seem to get dry.

Upon entry, sturgeon, trout and other kinds of fish welcome visitors in a clear pool streaming down to a theatrum. Visitors are invited to seat by it, which is a wall structure decorated with pebble mosaics with a statue of Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory at the center. Technically, it’s called Steintheater (Stone theater), it is the oldest open-air theater or stage in Europe.

theatrum
a closer look at the theatrum

Our very welcoming tour guide explained a bit about the water installations, citing that during its heydays, there were a lot of drunken bouts and festivities in the palace that the visitors need to cool down. They are brought to a stone table surrounded by stone chairs. Our guide dared us to sit down for a demonstration (sorry no photos for this as I’m not sure if participants are willing to have their photos published outside of…facebook! ^_^).

In a matter of minutes, volunteers were wet and screaming – sprayed upon by hidden water needles.

hellbrunn villa fountain
Without and with water sprays
greens
flowing

The tour took less than an hour and some of us were wet to our toes – trying hard to stay away from the tricks the guide would pull out from his sleeves. The mini-figures depicting medieval belief and lifestyle are curious pieces.

Suffice to say, the watergames at Hellbrunn Palace were educational as well as fun. Rarely would you get out dry, and it could mean either you didn’t play well or you were wearing a raincoat!

*Special thanks to the Barangay Center who made this trip possible.

neptune
Neptune and stalactites in an inner chamber
spray
Floating crown and sprays 🙂
IMG_2930b
A family by the pond at the garden

Continue Reading