Europe

Tranquil and Indulgent in Florence, Italy

Tranquil and Indulgent in Florence, Italy

Why I went here? It is the birthplace of The Renaissance which makes it an obvious stop in any Italian tour, especially if coming from Rome. The two cities are a mere 90 minutes apart via rail. Beauty, art, and food were the main draws for coming here. Best time to visit? Spring for the wildflower blooms, the artichoke season, and nice weather. Summer is best, if you want to visit the countryside. The sunflowers are in bloom and the images of Tuscany we often see are taken during these periods. It can be very hot though. …

Surreal and Besieged in Rome, Italy

Surreal and Besieged in Rome, Italy

Why I went here? I have never been to Italy. It was the part of Europe that was due to be explored. Best time to visit? Spring or fall; summers are hot, jam packed, and just plain miserable. Best way to get there? Rome has two airports: Leonardo da Vinci, more commonly known as Fuimicino (FCO), and Ciampino (CIA). The former is the larger of the two and is often the port of entry for most American travelers. There are no direct flights from Dallas to Rome, however, there are several from major airports on the east coast (BOS, JFK, IAD). To get to Rome from Fuimicino, take a bus or an express shuttle to Termini station, followed by a metro connection if applicable, or a cab. Kiosks at the airport where you can buy the tickets of your choice are clearly marked and there is a cab station just outside of the main entrance to Termini. Ensure that the cab is one of the officially marked ones before getting in on them. The bus cost is 4 euros and the express shuttle is around 14 euros. A cab ride will cost you 40-50 euros from the airport to any part of Rome within the Aurelian walls. …

Confident and Elated in London, England

Confident and Elated in London, England

Why I went? I am a certified anglophile; naturally, I wanted to visit the capital of this once very mighty country. My fascination with England dates back to my childhood. My knowledge of English history was unrivaled, although years of neglect caused it to deviate. I love English football, the BBC,…

Artistic and Whimsical in Paris, France

Artistic and Whimsical in Paris, France

Why I went here? My first time to Paris was in 2009, when it was part of my “grand tour”. It was the second of the major European capitals I visited. I returned in 2011 to meet up with friends and to connect to a trip to Turkey. Paris is one of the cities I’ve read and studied a lot over the years. It was always something of a dream to visit here and practice what little French is left in my memory. …

Elegant and Awed in Madrid, Spain

Elegant and Awed in Madrid, Spain

Why I went here? To put it simply, I have never been and it is my goal to go to as many new places as possible. Madrid seemed like a suitable option. American Airlines flies directly to Madrid, Spanish cuisine suits my taste buds and the language isn’t that foreign to me (lots of Filipino words are Spanish). …

Spain Travels

Spain Travels

Where did I Go? Avila, Barcelona, Madrid, Segovia, and Montserrat, Spain When I Went:  May 19 to May 27, 2010 Was that the Best Time of Year to Go?  Yes.  Europe is best in spring and Spain is no exception. Why I Went There:  My ancestors are from Spain, therefore it…

Madrid, Day Two

Madrid, Day Two

My second day in Madrid was another beautiful one.  The weather was perfect and I had a full day of sightseeing on the agenda.  However, I had to take care of one tiny blunder—a hostel transfer.  Due to my unexpected earlier departure (the life of a non-rever), I had to…

Germany Travels

Germany Travels

Where I Go? Dachau, Frankfurt, Fussen, Heidelberg, Munich, Rhine River Valley and various small villages on the Romantic Road route including Wurzburg, Rothenburg do der Tauber, and Oberammergau When I Went: September 30 – October 10, 2011 Was That the Best Time of Year to Go?  Generally speaking, it wasn’t.…