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|
Join me in my adventures!
|Montmarte District. When in Paris, do as the Parisians :)|