Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Taste of Europe ..... Teaser.

Oh Europe, I think I've been dreaming of you for a lifetime!

It's in every wish, each time a birthday candle is blown.  It's in every Wednesday Novena prayer petition.  It's in the diaries, journals, dreams boards and every Bucket List, long before  the movie of the same phrase was coined.


Who wouldn't dream of going to Europe?  It's a throwback in time, overwhelmingly grandiose, culturally enriching, magnificent structures and oh yes, the romance and thrill it invokes.   On a more practical note, it's horrendously expensive and getting a Schengen Visa is like searching for the Holy Grail.   

St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, Italy

When my husband broached the idea of vacationing somewhere this year, I dropped the hint of visiting his childhood friend in Milan, Italy.  Kristina, has always maintained an open invitation to visit them. (Savings, honey. she can take care of our accommodation) and somewhere along the discussions, I inserted a reasonable 5-day Paris leg.  (Poor Ted, probably didn't know what hit him!)

Souvenir Shops along Champs-Elyssees, Paris

If you are like me, who dreamt of a European Trip since high school,  you must have browsed through and bravely inquired from agencies about many tour packages available.  Libreng Mangarap! 12days, 14 days European Dreams, Treasures of Europe etc.  etc.  What convenience! 5 countries in 11days!!

Regional Train from Charles de Gaulle Airport to the city

But when you talk to your friends who's been there and done that,  they always say, Oh, Just go on your own!  Europe is navigable.  You will save more!  Group tours are more costly and you don't really feel the real pulse of the country.  You are harassed going from one landmark to the next!  Best advise is from my friend Mitch.  Each country is meant to be savored.  We have a lifetime ahead of us, don't rush!  Enjoy!

Neptune Pool, Versailles Gardens

So, there I was ~  surfing, reading and researching for my ultimate dream escapade.... Paris and Italy.  Most helpful resources are Rick Steves Guidebooks, DK Eyewitness Travel Top 10 Paris, TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet.  Needless to say, practical no-nonsense tips from friends are invaluable (Thanks to Mitch, Sam and Rhea). 


But no amount of intensive preparation on itinerary and budgeting has prepared us for the grandeur, the excitement, the thrill and the EXPENSE (!!!) wandering on these beautiful parts of the world!  We ooohhhed! ahhhed! hmmm... hay... grrr... wow...  and woohoo-ed every moment of our experience.


Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
It was a grand two-weeks adventure.  And now, after all the touristy souvenirs are unpacked and we are settled at home again with the kids.  Hub is back to the daily grind (nervously awaiting the arrival of credit card bills :)  I'm left aglow with experience and itching to put them into prose so I have something to remember in the years to come.

Join me in my adventures!

Montmarte District.  When in Paris, do as the Parisians :)

xoxo,
ripemango









1 comment:

butterfly said...

Aaaah! Europe! When i was a kid, all i ever heard is the United States of America: the wonderland. Europe for me seems to be another world then. I'm just like a kid wondering over the grandiose churches, buildings and sculptures on the pages of encyclopedia. Learning how Rome became the ancient seat of civilization through world history is satisfying enough. Fortunately, my feet lead me to Italy. Dreams can come true!

A lot of friends always say, "uy buti ka pa, nasa Europe. ang gaganda ng countries and places out there." And i knew they're right. I haven't been to the other parts of Europe, but Italy itself is a beautiful country. I won't get enough of it. Not all people has this chance to visit Italy or France, or other european countries. At least some of you bucket lists were fulfilled. thanks also for being here, we enjoyed a lot of your company. sabi nga ni hub, "i thought Dew is so sosyal...cowboy din pala, kumakain ng balut and all, tsaka di maarte." and i agreed indeed. we may not be childhood friends like me and your hub, pero sabi ko nga "swak pala tayo for real." i will miss our parlor blues and rampa attires. nice to learn things from you. so see you again here in the future. let's conquer Netherlands, Belgium and Austria. naku, ipon-ipon..madugo! =)