traveller

Before Summer Begins

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As an habitual way to turn the page of the season winter is the spring, when spring comes it means nature will be no more in mode hibernation, nature will be more colorful, trees will be filled with leaves, grasses resembles like a beautiful shining green carpet, and flowers are commencing their petals to flourish, bees will be more occupied to fulfill their works, and above all Spring in europe means Tulips will be one of the biggest clan of flowers that will be lively and attractive to watch out.

After a long trip from Philippines the next plan is to visit one of the most biggest flower gardens of the world, it is located in the city of Lisse just right next to Amsterdam on its southwest part in Netherlands. The journey began with early in the morning like 6:00 am already in the road, a road trip from brussels to Holland that will take for about more than 2 hours depending of the traffic flow, unfortunately for us passing through frontier between Belgium and Netherlands is the busiest.

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The ride took us 3 hours to get to the destined place, it was already passed 9:00 am when we arrived, before entering the main road I’ve noticed the large farm of tulips around however the flowers were already ripped off since it was almost the end of the tulips season.

 

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Entering the garden was majestic, blooming flowers was waiting to welcome us the colors of each and every variety of tulips are amazing there were violet, blue, red, yellow, orange, white, pink it was like a real rainbow shattered in the garden. Not just tulips but also daffodils and hyacinths.

There weren’t a lot of people at that time, I had such an incredible time to savour the immense city of tulips and just relax take some photos from here to there.

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The park covers an area of 32 hectares equivalent to 79 acres, accordingly it has approximately 7 million flower bulbs planted yearly which means this place is enormously brimmed with blossoms surrounding.

Keukenhof actually means “kitchen garden” has more or less 100 royal suppliers, this are exhibitors who supply the best of the best range of flowers and arrange them accordingly through out the exposition.

On the map you will see some guide the area, places where you can visit publicly, some with shops, souvenirs etc. at first you have Wilhelmina which indicated a shop image and restaurant and also public toilets, next is Beatrix for Orchid Show then Irene a plain shop, Willem-Alexander with flower shows, Oranje Nassau with flower shows, flower mosaic and walk of fame, the Mill, and lastly Main Entrance and Flower Bulb Shop.

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It has several types of gardens too it features the english landscape garden which has winding paths and see-through alignment, the historical garden which has many old types of bulb, nature garden which consist of water garden and shrubs and japanese country garden a non-traditional garden.

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As we passed by from one garden to another I’ve noticed a lot of types of colourful displays, uniques statues, paintings, arts and special art designs that are very attractive on eyes.

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Aside from this unique displays of course the most much visited area of the park is the famous Mill, there were already many people at the vicinity, families, children, couples, doing some picnic, it was the highlight of the site, along side is the souvenir shop filled with special items for visitors.

There is also a kiosk for the Wispher Boat tour it was 7 euros per person for a tour in the tulip farm, but unluckily since we visited a little late in the month the farmers already cut off the tulips for their the next cycle of bulbs to be created.

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After visiting the Mill on the other corner, there’s a small building with a collection of different kinds of orchids exhibition, wide range of rare colorful orchids decorated and designed by specialists they usually call it the orchid show which is stated in the map, there were also some mannequins wearing special clothes with orchid design on it, it was very interesting to see cause it’s not typical nowadays.

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After the visit in the Orchid Show next was to eat lunch in Wilhelmina near the big fountain, but before getting there we get to go up close in the lake and did the march with the circle spot like wood floating. there were people crossing the lake at the moment it was kinda difficult for two or even three persons in one circle, you really need to be careful not to fall on the lake if that I’ll be a bad day for you.

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After lunch the visit wasn’t over yet, continuing our track next on the line is Juliana/Tulpomania wherein this place offers exhibition of tulpomania and bulb information which means it’s all about the “bulb” for those who doesn’t know this is  a rounded underground storage organ, consisting of a short stem surrounded by fleshy scale leaves or leaf bases in short this is the kind of seed but for tulips it’s called a bulb.

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The biggest of all the exhibition building is the Willem-Alexander it has the largest exposition with an area filled with flowers arts, designs, landscape, shops, ideas for interior design with plants and even techniques and ways to make plants look more attractive and prettier and a lot more.

The best thing that I’ve found here is that handicap persons are very welcome and they can access almost every where in the park except on those circle spot floating in the lake of course.

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A few walks later I saw a small house with some rabbit like form statues all over the place, I wonder what was it at first I thought it was like a souvenir shop for tulips but in the end when I went there it was a petit Miffy Village.

Miffy is originally told by Dick Bruna to his son for bedtime stories as white bunny, who scampered around the garden of their holiday home, later on he sketched and make it a little girl bunny in dress and so Miffy was born.

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Miffy is very popular for children all over the world, its creator featured her in more than 30 books, she is known as “nijntje” in Netherlands from the dutch word “konijntje”, meaning “little bunny” and in French she is known as “le petit lapin” .

Moving on, I wanna show you my favorite part of this tour normally there’s two of them first is the different types of water fountain that I saw around the gardens, I intentionally took pictures of them cause for me I find them beautiful, who knows one day I’m gonna build a water fountain in my house.

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The second is my personal collection of beautiful photos of tulips that I have collected, hopefully it will please you also.

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Over all Keukenhof is a very accessible park to all, for all ages and specially for handicapped persons they even have wheelchairs free of charge and electric wheelchairs with 10 euros charge available in the park, however with a 20 euros for security deposit.

Free Wi-fi, Lockers , Lost and found service, and even your dog can enter in the park except in restaurants and pavilions.

Opening hours is from 8:00 am – 7:30 pm

Admission fees :

  • adults – € 16
  • children (aged 0 to 3) – free
  • children (aged 4 to 11) – € 8
  • combi-ticket (entrance + travel from Amsterdam) – € 29

How to go to Keukenhof ? via public transport use 9292.nl find the shortest and the fastest way to get to Keukenhof by public transport. Note that during Keukenhof opening season there are special direct buses going to Keukenhof from airport Schiphol (№858), Leiden (№854) and Haarlem (№850).

Going there by car? Keukenhof is located between Amsterdam and Leiden. To plan your route use Keukenhof’s address in your navigation: Stationsweg 166A, Lisse. It will take you approx. 40 minutes (sometimes more depending on the traffic) to drive from Amsterdam to Keukenhof. You can park your car near the park for € 6.

For more informations go to the official website keukenhof.nl

 

Score : 8.9/10

Almost everything was perfect but due to the traffic of the road deviation in the Keukenhof Area, and plus the inutility of the Whisper Boat without the tulips farm this is my score.

 

 

 

 

Un Jour in Megara, Corinth, and Argolis

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Have you ever heard of this ancient greek historical places, if you’re a fan of Greek Mythology or Greek history you might already have read about them, It all started with a curiosity at the beginning at it turns out to be more and more intense of the stories or myth behind this mysterious country Greece.

Have you ever questioned yourself between reality and the myth about the Goddess, Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Athena, Hector, Paris, Adonis, Apollo and many other known names, even if we go into details about the past and history of Greece some of this names will come out, how come people from the ancient period mentioned the goddesses and drag it til the future, what is really the connection between this two different worlds? did Zeus really existed? did Athena herself was the Queen of the City of Athens? what if Gods really existed? what if  there are still some demigods out there trying to survive themselves in this fierce world.

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Well all I can say is lets keep it as a mystery, every world has a secret, let it be, leave it like that. who knows one day someone out there will unleash the truth behind every enigma in this world.

A week in Athens wasn’t really enough to tour all the corners of it, all the beautiful sceneries, the people, the culture, its treasures, its ruins,  its history, It was pretty tough to have a short time in this beautiful city. it has been decided that the last day would be visiting the so-called Peloponnese part of western Greece, getting almost in Sparta there were incredible, stunning, and wonderful temple/ruins to be discovered.

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Sunny morning we’re heading to west Attica direction, we happen to take the non toll roads, where you need to take the short and normal roads of the village and after we had a quick stop in Megara, It was a fine view of Megara Gulf, the ocean was blue the other islands was clearer as I can imagine. Since I’m a fan of greek mythology I know who is Megara but for the real city that’s existing I havent heard anything special in this city a part from its outstanding picturesque seaside, the Saint Constantine and Helen church, the rest is yet to research.

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During our quick stop at Megara, I have at least took some magnificent photos of the Megara Gulf and its surroundings. On the left side as you can see its the trail way and from far island view are Islands of Makronosis, Revithousa, and Salamina.

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Near Ancient Corinth there is a bridge connecting Corinth to Athens,  there were superb photos that I found online and I really wanna see it with my own eyes, unfortunately we passed on the other side of the bridge which I haven’t had a good angle in the car to take a picture. it was desperate sadness not to have even one picture of it.

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Meanwhile we continued our adventure, taking up the toll-free roads to Corinth City, we actually got confuse because the city Corinth and there’s also Ancient Corinth, instead we went to Corinth arriving at the place it was kinda bizarre cause the place is pretty modernize, a lot of cars, building were like same in Athens.

I recheck the address on the GPS and it was actually the right one, but Ancient was added on so as we tried with Ancient Corinth and there I found the real address was pretty far from where we are, it’s actually 20 minutes drive more to the Temple of Apollo.

At last after more or less an hour and half of searching this place finally we have found it, it’s normally an hour drive from Athens but since we had some circumstances causing to be more delayed than expected.

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In this site can be found not just only the Temple of Apollo but as well as the remains/ruins of the Corinth itself, the beauty of this ancient city hasnt faded even once, even to its archeological parameters it has quite dramatic, according to Greeks Temple of Apollo is one of the best examples of Doric Building in the greek world.

Getting to the inside was interesting, it was a big space in the midst of nowhere, only houses and normal buildings around. As we landed in the area, paid 6 euros for entrance fee and get to discover the museum and its collection from the Ancient City located where you are.

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A great way to start the day it was already pas 11:00 am and now here we are roaming, searching, discover this antic site part of the Ancient city, the view of this temple is splendid I could say that it has the perfect 7 columns left standing after all this decades. I could imagine and feel the houses built before, the roads, the people, if I close my eyes I feel like I’m in the middle of the film from Hercules or Odyssey.

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Going to the inside of the Museum, it was filled with different collections of remains from the city, vases, coins, toys, plates, sculptures, mosaic floors, parts of statues and figurines, buttons, and a lot more. As they’ve said romans were very keen of water, fountains and running water are their favourites, that’s perhaps the answer why researcher have digged out from their excavations more of vases, pots, and other things that mostly related to water.

Corinth was one of the famous city for its pottery, that explains why I saw a lot of pottery collection from different stages and designs.

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Corinthian Order is one of the three classical orders of Greek and Roman architecture, the others are Doric Order and Ionic Order, Corinthian was one of the most difficult of the three showing how luxurious lifestyle and the wealth of the city.

Adoring this remains might be the easiest work to do but making them will take maybe a century to attain its perfection.

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Meanwhile on the farther northern part of the site was a total beauty with its pure and solitude ambiance features of remains, since Corinth was once considered as the “city of luxury” because of its wealth, its pretty obvious as you can see the richness of the architectural foundation.

It makes me wonder how have they actually build the temples at the first place, then how did they come up with this structural ideas for their houses, roads, ports, and others. It’s largely impressive.

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The monolithic rock hilltop that you actually see as the background of the temple is called Acrocorinth means “upper Corinth” it is the acropolis of the Ancient Corinth. it is one of the most popular site of the city since it has been the most impressive Acropolis/high city of mainland Greece but unfortunately for me being my first time travelling without a lot of information from the western part of Greece I havent had the time to research and I slipped this information, even after the visit we went to a restaurant nearby ordered some greek dishes and ask for some other sites that we might visit and the man said “you must visit Mycenae”

though the visit has taken more or less an hour plus lunch, it was practically 2:00 pm when we decided to go with no hesitations, we rather directly drive out and hence our next destination is Mycenae it is.

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Continuing our toll-free road at the time being, enormous mountains were in front of us, its symmetrical angles are surely charming, the curves, lines, and its forms were almost identical. lucky to have this view for another 45 minutes drive going to our next stop I’m sufficiently prepared for this next adventure.

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Finally arrived at this place, roads were not that difficult to follow although it was calm not a lot of vehicles around mostly I can see was tour buses and motorcycles from locals. the ruins and museums are located on the top of the hill as expected I can sense a wonderful story to be discovered here, I’m very excited.

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Mycenae is an archeological site consist of the classical temple and ruins, the grave circle A, citadel of Mycenae, and museum its located near Mikines in Greece. The lion’s gate will be the first thing you will see upon entering the main entrance of the bronze age citadel of Mycenae.

The entrance fee is 6 euros person access of Mycenae and Treasury of Atreus,  but if you’re a student is free or being in a group it’ll be more cheaper.

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As you go to the right side after the entrance you’ll find this noticeable circle form of ruins, it is called the Grave Circle A, a royal cemetery situated to the south of lion’s gate.

After climbing up you’ll see a beautiful panorama of the whole place with the view of the whole citadel, the mountains surrounding it and the ruins above all.

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I have read the citadel facts about its time-consuming construction process, I can’t believe that the Minimum stone required: 145,215 Cu.M or 14,420 average stones (10 tons) that will actually take 2.125 days to move a 1 block of stone, imagine how long will it take to build a citadel like this. It’s really amazing how ancient people live their lives like this.

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Walking around the area til its exit gate was exhausting, the place is very interesting, if you’re a fan of new discoveries, reading while walking, this one is perfect for you. Of course reading all the details of every single piece of stone that you may see is really annoying but once you followed the story you’ll become part of it and you’ll surely never stop reading until you’ll be totally satisfied.

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As we go on, we bump into a cave like passage where you can go down using the stairs, at first it looks creepy but once you got in you’ll different it was like being with the Mycenean people working and doing their job. I light up my phone lamp and go one until the dead-end well not really its just that it’s stated “no enter” so I guess that’s means you cannot go on anymore.

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After nearly finishing the tour of the citadel, the tomb of Lion Tholos was on the way, it’s mostly known as “Beehive Tomb” its a kind of burial structure having a false dome that resembles a beehive.

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The last highlight is the Museum, personally its more like normal for me, since I got to visit tons of Museums everywhere but I guess the Museum of Mycenae is special for its very calm and details, its more of a place where you can relax while walking around reading some information about Greece’s history.

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But lastly there’s one more archeological site that we must visit, its situated not to far from Mycenae its 5 mins drive it’s called the Tomb of Agamemnon hearing this name reminds of the “Helen of Troy” movie does it reminds you too? If yes you know what I mean but for the sake of those who doesn’t have any idea from the movie Agamemnon is the king of Mycenae or Argos the brother of Menelaus the king of Mycenaean Sparta the husband of Helen of Troy.

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It’s also a Beehive/tholos tomb, one of the largest actually located on the Panagitsa Hill of Mycenae its known for its lintel stone above the doorway which weights 120 tons that makes an extreme dimension of the door makes it the largest of the world and its monumental shape and grandeur it is one of the most impressive monuments.

According to some information that I’ve found, Agamemnon doesn’t have anything to do about this tomb, it was the german archeologist Heinrich Schliemann who named this place and thus the name was use ever since.

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To end the day a sweet sunset view was the last perfect piece to make it indescribable, for me this one is one of the special tour that I’ve done, I call it a Lazy Traveller’s Way of discovering other places. I’m not a professional traveller nor a professional Nomad I am simply a human who wants to enjoy my designated limited vacations and making the best out of it.

For those who want to discover other place near Athens it’ll be magnificent. just don’t forget your suitable shoes for walking and wear comfortable clothes, especially light ones cause its very hot in terms of weather issues. If you’re travelling via car better pack up your own food and drinks It’ll be cheaper or even via bus bring a backpack with your food and drink on.

To summarize all of my experiences from Athens to Argolis it was 100 percent fantastic, though there were maybe more places we could have visited if I managed to plan it before it started but no regrets at all. the food, the places, the people, it was all worth it.I totally recommend you to spend a week or more and delve into the inner history of Greece.

Score : 8.8/10

 

 

 

 

 

Nothern, Southern and Suburbs

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Imagine your life living somewhere in the hinterland of your country, far from the civilization, modernization, far from rowdy and blusterous sound of vehicles in the morning. Envision yourself wandering in the your backyard with a scenic view of mountains, humming sounds of birds dominates, the evenly whisper of the wind that you can vividly hear, bountiful sources in the vicinity. That would be really fantastic meanwhile suburban areas are in the middle of that quite ambitious scenery, it might be well most likely as in big cities where people became more and busier with technologies.

A part from framing myself into this deep imagination, I wanted to show you the other parts of Greece especially those who aren’t too far from Athens, a peck of taste from other cities nearby who gradually captivated my eyes for its stunning, and outstanding history.

Straight towards the northern suburb of Athens is Parnitha or Parnithos, this Art Gallery Exposition caught my attention, its repleted by famous greek paintings, culture, and other stuffs.

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In respect to the artist who created this precious outcome, I won’t show specific photos, and videos from it, due to some unwanted intentions of other people to copy or imitate those images I won’t reveal them.

It’s a 30 – 35 minutes drive from Athens, getting to the right address what our first trouble, we first arrive at a residence place filled with houses. it was the GPS fault or rather the one who type the address.

A quick visit in the neighborhood, then a lunch in a sushi bar after the rain after we ran off to another destination which is Marathon or Marathonas. On our way, I have a bit of this stargazing outlook on the road, It’s full of mountains, cliffs, trees, beautiful nature, lakes, and isolated houses.

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Lake Marathon is a water supply formed from the Marathon Dam, the Dam has a maximum height of 54 m and a maximum width of 28 m at the base and 4.5m at the crest. It is location at the juntion of Charadros and Varnavas known as the primary source of water to Athens since a long time ago.

Arriving at this place wasn’t to hard, just a bit rain on the way but after seeing this wonderful art Its makes you feel like being in the clouds.

There’s actually a restaurant found at the end of this bridge, it’s called Fragma and it has also parking space for vehicles, and you can eat or drink at the same time savour the panorama view of the Lake Marathon.

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Reaching Marathon’s town in some minutes, rain fall comes crashing again it was really a bad timing. result was we end up having coffee late in the afternoon in a small café unfortunately I havent took many photos from there.

After barging in the town, its time to see how the east coast looks like. I was quite unsure, if it’ll look good as I have imagined, since it was raining all day It might turn into catastrophic situation. hoping for a good condition sea level we directly drive into this place nearby.

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It turned out to be a quiet beach not even one tourist in the site, perhaps due to the bad weather and high tide-water, It was a prominent place, nice view, very calm and pleasant. I would stay here for with a book in my hand sitting just in front of this stunning ocean.

Going to Marathon from Athens will take you around 50 minutes plus going to the seaside that’s about 5-10 minutes drive only, after this short pause with the ocean its time to go to the next destination.

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Another 40 minutes drive from Marathon to Rafina it was almost 6:00 pm when we got there, the place is almost dark without the sun anymore but still I manage to take some photos around.

Rafina is a port town located in the east coast of Attica Greece it’s the second after Piraeus, not too far from the northern airport (Eleftherios Venizelos Airport) the destinations for the ferries at this port are within Evvia and the northern part of the Cyclades  which  are Andros, Tinos and Mykonos.

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Getting to Rafina, via Regional Bus the bus fee is 3 euros only, it will take 1 hour and 30 minutes from Pedion to Areos. via Taxi will cost you 30 euros, and will take 1 hour more or less depending on the traffic and same with car it will more or less be the same as taxi.

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Showing you our route map for that day, going out from Athens to Parnitha then from there to Marathon and after to Rafina and finally heading back to the hotel in Athens. We went out from Athens around 11:30 am and came back at night 7:30 pm.

It wasn’t really a planned tour for that day, as for me I really like to discover around by my means not of going through reservation for tours or others, Car is the best option if you want to be free from thinking about all those bus schedules and other public transportations.

Additional information, going to northern part of Attiki is easier with car cause you don’t need to pay for toll fees, you have the option on your GPS to avoid toll fees but of course you should compare the time that it will take, luckily the difference wasn’t that much so it was better with car. Gasoline price are pretty much lesser than the other european cities plus the distance is not that very far is won’t cost you a lot.

On the next day we’re going to some of the southern part of Attiki, next will be the most famous site, it’s the Sounion town.

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Getting to Cape Sounion will actually take 1 hour and 15 minutes via car depending on the road traffic, it it’s widely famous for its ruins of the Ancient Greek Temple of Poseidon as we all know Poseidon is the God of the sea according to classical mythology.

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The Aegean Sea as you can see here in the picture, was named after the king of Athens Aegeus, he actually killed himself off the cliff when discovering that his son Theseus was didn’t survive on the mission to stay the Minotaur at Crete. Myth says that Athenians were forced offer every year seven men and seven women to offer to the king of Minos Crete, placed those people in the so-called labyrinth and be eaten by the Minotaur.

The son of the king of Athens volunteered to be one of those men, and made a promise to his dad to slay the Minotaur, which he actually did but too late when his father died having thought of him didn’t survive at Crete.

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As what we hear from its history, mariners actually made a place where to sacrifice animals or gifts to the Goddess, (Poseidon) as he is the second to Zeus in hierarchy, he was feared by many of the mariners for he can make storms at the sea that can result to shipwrecks or drownings. As a result the temple of Poseidon was built. The name of an Englishman poet is often mention in this site, his deeply engraved name “Byron” in the ruins makes him one of the famous poet in the history of Greece.

When we finally arrive at the site, I thought of getting to the temple but I don’t know what came into my mind I wanted to explore more the outside part of the place, I roam around taking some pictures until it was almost sunset and guess what I could say I have the most beautiful photos that I ever had in my life.

The ruins of the temple is situated at the peak of the cliff and its has the perfect angle and perfect scenery.

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After some great shots of the temple, I decided to take some pictures of the Aegean sea and its perimeter, the sky was as its finest form, the terrific color of the ocean hooked my eyes, then suddenly there was a ferry passing by but it was very far for me to get a good picture of it.

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Out of nowhere some I bump into some birds or I might say quails around, gathering up like having a family conference. At first I thought of just leaving them alone but at the end I end up chasing them like a soldier photographer, watching my steps til I get a little closer and took some photos of them, up close they are so much adorable, I was very pleased to have a photos of this rare moment with them.

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Sunion is actually one of the most expensive areas in Greece, nowadays there are a lot of massive houses, condos, villas constructed in the area.

The temple is open from April through October, 8:30 am – 8 pm Admission fee is  8 euros reduced 4 euros. there are a lot of package deal tour that you can avail to go to Sunion or even the Temple of Poseidon, around 30 euros and above including free snacks, wi-fi, and tour in the town of Sunion.

for more infos you can always visit http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/3/eh351.jsp?obj_id=2390

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Heading back to Athens after the visit was kinda sad, I have to leave that wonderful place, but on the other hand I had an outstanding experience with the most splendid sunset I’ve ever had in Greece.

We didn’t finish that day that way, we had an over stop in the road to see one of the most talked in the internet, a site where a lot of tourists come to relax and enjoy the beauty of this rare and unique lake near Athens.

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I accidentally discovered this place from instagram, when I saw people talking about this natural thermal spring that can be found near Athens. from then on im hunting to be able to reach this spot.

Lake Vouliagmeni has a labyrinthine cave located at the edge of lake near the rocks starts an underwater labyrinth cave which can be explored 3.123 meters of lengths, researchers have discovered a huge stalagmite in that area. The lake is included in Greece’s national NATURA 2000 network and as a Site of Outstanding Natural Beauty by the Ministry of Culture.

The lake is located across the street of the Vouliagmeni beach, you can reach here via Athens Bus or KTEL Bus that uses coastal road to Sounion, you can also take Metro if you prefer, take the metro line to Ellinikon and take the Saronida Express 122. if you wish to know more infos about the services and what the Vouliagmeni Lake offers visit their official website here;  http://www.limnivouliagmenis.gr

Other sites that you must definitely take a look are Ancient Rhamnous near Marathon, the town of Skala Oropou, Mount Parnitha, Perama, Pireaus, Santa Panteleimon, and many more.

Watch out for my next article, I’ll be featuring Ancient Corinth’s “Temple of Apollo”

 

 

 

Fascinating Athens and its environs

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Athens as we all know is the capital and the largest city in Greece, it has been a city for 3,500 years but its greatest glory was during the classical period of ancient Greece from now has several building and artifacts that still standing. Metropolitan population reached 3.7 million inhabitants.

The name of Athens was from its patron goddess Athena (goddess of wisdom, craft and war), according to etiological myth its name was acquired from winning the legendary contest between Athena and Poseidon requested to be patrons of the city and dedicate their names to it, she won by creating an Olive tree which Athenians accepted and named their city to her.

Athens had passed from Roman to Byzantine when the empire was split, later it was part of the Ottoman Empire however did not became of the independent Greece until 1832, 2 years after it became Greece capital and after 62 years it hosted the very first modern Olympics.

It remains a metropolis which is the center of businesses and a major world tourist attractions.

There are some places that I have visited in Athens, for a week spending in this enraptured city I have learnt a lot of things culturally, and more over people in this city are much more friendlier as I’ve heard from people’s opinion before getting here. Let me guide and show you these delightful experience of mine, considering that I didn’t visit every corner of Athens but anyways these places are 100 percent worth it to spend your time.

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known as Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus, is a former colossal at the center of Greek capital, dedicated to the olympian Zeus.

Built over several centuries and completed by a roman emperor, its unique columns and layout made it to be one of the largest built in ancient history.

General Entrance: 2 euros,  Hours of Operation:
Winter: 08:30 – 15:00
Summer: Daily: 08:00 – 19:30

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Commonly known as Hadrian’s Gate, it has been said that the gate is built to celebrate the adventus or arrival of the Roman Emperor Hadrian it resemble a bit with the Roman triumphal arch.

To arrive in the location of this Arch all you have to do is to walk until the end of the Temple Olympian Zeus and you will reach this place, it’s actually in the side of the road on open public so no more entrance free to pay.

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Means “beautiful marble” a multi purpose stadium in Athens, listed as one of the main attractions of the city, to enter here is not free at all but not too expensive either you must make a reservation or buy ticket on the place. its 3 euros or 1,50 euros reduced, Open daily from 08:00-19:00 during March to October and 08:00-17:00 for November to February.

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It’s a 15.5 hectares enormous Garden located at the back of the Parliament, the park was used to be garden of the royal palace, eventually the garden was open to public for free admission.

Inside this place you will see some remaining ancient ruins, amazing landscapes, plants, trees, and flowers.

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Is found in the National Garden, the heart of Athens City, The Zappeion is currently being used as a Conference and Exhibition Center.

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The Acropolis Museum was built to conserve and display all the artifacts, and rocks parts found in the surroundings of the treasured area of Acropolis which are essential to the Athenian’s history.

General admission fee is 5 euros, Free entry: 6 March (In Memory of Melina Mercouri), 25 March, 18 May (International Museum Day), 28 October.

Summer season opening hours may vary from 8:am to 4, 8, or 10:00 pm or winter season from 9:00am to 5, 8, or 10:00 pm depending on what day you will visit.

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I have already discussed this site in my previous article you can continue reading here : Acropolis which consists of Parthenon, Theatre of Dionysos, Theatre of Herodes Atticus, Temple of Athena Nike, Erechtheion, Old Temple of Athena, Statue of Athena Promachos, Propylaea, Eleusinion, Sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia or Brauroneion, Altar of Athena, Sanctuary of Pandion and many more.

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Is located in the northern part before the entrance of Acropolis, from the inside you’ll see some ancient columns, Tower of the Winds, Gate of Athena Archegetis, East Propylon, Fethiye Mosque, Agoranomion, Vespasianae.

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The word itself literally means rock” people say the name of comes from Ares or Erinyes, however later Romans referred it as “Mars Hill” from Mars from the Roman God of War.

The rock is situated at the northwest of Acropolis, you can actually see the rock from the Temple of Athena Nike as you’ve at the last photo of mine.

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Known as Lycabettos, Lykabettos or Lykavittos the hill is one of the famous tourist spots of Athens, it’s a Cretaceous limestone hill with 300 meters high. 

There are two peaks the first is still accessible via cars or other vehicles but the highest peak is accessible only by walking its passage. from the top you’ll see a 360 panorama view of the city.

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Is located inside the Agora of Athens, the building is made of Pentelic marble and limestone. The stoa is identified as a gift to the Athenians for the education that Attalos received. The Museum of Ancient Agora is found inside Stoa it consists various types of collected items from ancient period.

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or known as Hephaisteion “Hephesteum” referred to its  Ancient Greek name and earlier it’s called as Theseion  “Theseum”. located at the northwest side of the Agora of Athens on top of the Agoraios Kolonos hill.

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The Ancient Agora of Classical Athens an example of Greek Agora, it a huge location where various types of temple and ancient buildings like Peristyle Court, Mint, Enneakrounos, South Stoa I, and South Stoa II, Aiakeion, Strategeion, Agoraios Kolonos, Tholos, Agora stone, Monument of the Eponymous Heroes, Metroon (Old Bouleuterion), New Bouleuterion, Temple of Hephaestus (Hephaestion), Temple of Apollo Patroos, Stoa of Zeus, Altar of the Twelve Gods, Stoa Basileios (Royal stoa), Temple of Aphrodite Urania, Stoa of Hermes, and Stoa Poikile.

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In addition to this there are more places that you must visit, places where to eat and drink, and especially to shop for souvernirs. like a flea Market Monastiraki, going there was easy from the last located which is Agora of Athens but unfortunately it began raining and I had to keep my camera to avoid raindrops.

I suggest if you would visit all this places you can reserve a package ticket or reserve online, the thing is Museums and Monuments site admission fee are very cheap 2-6 euros only. but its more interesting if you’ll buy a ticket for all of this visits it will cost you only 12 euros and try to look the schedules in advances, especially days of free admissions. except of those places that doesnt require entrance fee.

From the Airport to the city center it will take 30-40 minutes you can take by:

Metro line 3 The trip from or to the Airport to Syntagma station to Athens Center important tip is that you must not forget to validate your ticket rules are very strict and officers do often check around.

via Suburban Railway (Proastiakos) take Athens Central Railway Station (Larissis Station) and Acharnai Railway Center.

via 24 hours Express Bus which routes are directly to Athens center and Piraeus you can take port X93 to Kifissos Coach Station, X95 to Syntagma Square (subway Lines 2 and 3), X96 to Piraeus (subway Line 1) and X97 to Dafni metro station (subway Line 2) for €6 (€2.50 under 18 or over 65) or

by Taxi located at Exit 3 of Arrivals Level with a fix rate of €35 from 5:00 a.m. to midnight, and €50 from midnight to 5:00 a.m.

A private airport transfer can be also booked in advance or last but not the least rent a car i’ll be more convinient for you if you’re travelling with family.

for more infos visit http://www.visitgreece.gr

 

 

 

Delve into Greek’s Acropolis

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The ancient fortress situated on the hilltop of Athens, it represents the political and cultural achievement of Greece in the mid-5th century BC. “Acropolis” from the greek 2 greek words “ἄκρον” means highest point, “πόλις” means city.
It consist three contrasting temples and a monumental gateway, Parthenon, Propylaia, Erechtheion and Temple of Athena Nike, the Theatre of Dionysos on the south slope was developed after and next Theatre of Herodes Atticus was added.

As we all know Acropolis is one of the famous places in Athens, it has been very popular in city sightseeing and all travel guide books has this site as recommended on their list, since this is my first ever exploration in this wonderful citadel I must say It was a bit exhausting after a long ramble until the hilltop.

It was noon after a walk in the city we have decided to visit this well-known unique masterpiece of Athens, but before that we have first entered in the Temple of Olympian Zeus and paid 10 euros for entrance which includes entrance free for Acropolis and its museum.

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Once passed the first entrance, the first site that you’ll see is the remains of the Theatre of Dionysos, located in the southern cliff face of the Acropolis, is the birthplace of Greek tragedy. according to its history Greeks had performed here as always for their City Dionysia festival, it is also the first theatre built of stone.

While having a short time scrutinizing the area I had to take some photos of the nicest mountain views that I’ve seen so far, considering that Acropolis is found in Athens well it’s a city and normally in a city you don’t usually see mountains all over. It was a rare moment to mesmerize.

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Roving around the site was almost impossible the passage to attain the semi summit of Arcropolis which is remains of Theatre Herodes Atticus or mostly known for Odeon of Horodes Atticus. like Theatre of Dionysos it’s also made up of stone not just utilize for music concerts rather mainly in Athenian Festivals and orchestra plays in ancient period.

With its detailed façade and structure of the theatre it also is very impressive when it comes to visitors accommodation up to 5,000 capacity.

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The sacred bastion built in the southeast edge part and the entrance of Acropolis the temple of Athena Nike. considering its name derive from the goddess Athena Nike Athenians in the past strongly believe and worship her to win the war against Spartans and eventually led the people to name this temple and as Athena Nike (Nike which means “victory”)

In later years people turned it into a church and later as munitions store, after many years past it was demolished. however Greeks restored it and began its restoration until present times.

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The view of the southern part of the city is not just typical it is very remarkable imagining people live just in the corner with a nice view of Acropolis.

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The Parthenon is  one of the finest monument in Acropolis, the most important surviving building in Classical Greece, considered as the zenith of the Doric Order, this temple is built as a dedication to their city’s patron Athena Parthenos.

The surroundings was quite noisy since there were some construction on going but despite of that Parthenon is an enormous temple its history and significance to Athenians is really imposing.

As you go on around you’ll see the big poster guide of the location, written the story of the buildings that you’ll see plus the area that you’re allowed to enter or not. there were officers around to check if every rule is being followed, and to remind you that no touching and sitting allowed on those precious remains.

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The elegant building located at the northern part of the sacred rock of Acropolis, the temple was made of Pentelic marble, in its history the eastern part of the building was dedicated to Athena Polias while the western served the cult of Poseidon-Erechtheus according to the myth it’s where Athena’s sacred snaked lived and traces from the dispute against Athena and Poseidon for the possession of the city.

The tour was not yet done after that I had to take some pictures around the vicinity and explore some edgy places to get a full benefit of this extraordinary place repleted by history.

We had to take a break and drink some water that we packed and back on the track again for the tour of the rest of the area.

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Soaring the hill was pretty fun, you need to walk a lot at the same time profit the scenic side of the city and its environs. Of course you must be ready and well equipped before to visit the Acropolis, make sure you have your pair of sport shoes cause you’ll gonna climb for long minutes and bring water or food with you.

On the top there is a free potable tap water, you can bring an empty bottle to refill it there it’s totally free. Toilets are available also and free of charge. It is strictly no eating, drinking, touching, nor sitting on the selected sites, since there will be some employees around that surveys the area.

I would love to suggest you this place, you wont spend your entire day here, plan it better in the morning and have a lunch in the nearest corner or even plan an exclusive tour for your partner or family it’ll be great to have a private tour guide only for you.

For interested future visitors here are the informations:

  • Tickets: full price 20 euros/person , reduced 10 euros/person
  • Telephone no. +30 21 0321 0219 or +30 21 0321 4172
  • Open:
    • April-Oct; 8am-8pm daily
    • Nov-March; 8:30am-3pm daily
  • Closed:
    • 1st January, 25th March
    • Easter Sunday, 1st May
    • 25th and 26th December
  • Free Admission:
    • Sundays of Nov-March
  • Transport
    • (M)Acropoli or Bus 120, X80

or visit http://odysseus.culture.gr for more infos.

 

 

Surviving 22 hours and 10 minutes travel time

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20170428_165726The second time flying with Emirates, since I took a flight ticket for back and from France to Philippines I made it sure to get only one company airlines to avoid further problems with baggage and other stuffs.

For the record it’s the second longest of all the travel escapades that I’ve done so far, the last one was 2014 a flight from Paris to Manila and then Manila to Cebu then finally Cebu to Zamboanga however this time the travel begins from Cebu City to Clark then Clark to Dubai then Dubai to Paris. At noon time I checked out from the hotel with a friend and drop her off to another hotel that she must check in for that day and after I’ve got to go straight to the Cebu’s Airport for my flight which is scheduled at 5:20 pm scheduled to arrive at 1:10 am in the morning at Dubai then DXB 4:10 am to CDG 9:30 am this will be a long haul flight.

Arriving as early as possible at the Airport is my goal it doesn’t really matter how much time I still need to wait for the counter to be open for check in the most essential for me that moment is to arrive at the airport at any cost considering t the weight of the road traffic condition  in the city we never know what might happen that day.

As expected when I arrived the Emirates counter wasn’t open to serve yet I had to wait 30 minutes until they started to open for check in luggage, It was my turn to endorsed by luggage at the counter kinda bit worried cause it weighted 29 kgs when I took the flight from Zamboanga and that day I did some shopping around, crossing my fingers that It might not go over than 30 kgs I was totally sudden when it indicates 30.1 kg a huge success.

I didn’t have any problems after that except with the travel tax of 1,620 pesos that I thought I should pay but after the officer gave me a certificate of exemption so it was a great relief, carrying less than 5,000 pesos before leaving the country might let you feel uneasy wondering if its enough for all the fees that you might encounter to pay. for more information about fees at the airport visit http://tieza.gov.ph/travel-tax/

Proceeding to another counter for terminal fee I paid 750 pesos, applicable only for international flights except if you are travelling from Manila and Boracay Caticlan terminal fee is included in your flight ticket.

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Finally after passing through security control and immigration I can breathe normally, strolling in some duty-free shops around I notice something strange prices were really unbelievable, for a 3 packs of Jules Destrooper biscuits it cost 42 dollars already a huge difference of price compare to Europe’s normal price, well of course these products are imported so they cost more. I wasn’t enormously attracted by perfumes or creams I went to the supermarkets directly gazing the chocolates and pastries display.

Feeling hungry that very moment its time for a little break and relax mode with this Ginger Calmansi Juice from Tubo (sugar cane) kiosk, the lady who served my drink is very kind and very helpful considering that It my first time to get this kind of mix ginger and calamasi she assured me that it’s really good and a bit spicy and indeed it was delicious.

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The most annoying and challenging moment has arrive the moment where you seat and suppose to be relaxed and just think nothing at all only to be attentive on announcement regarding with your flight, it’s the waiting mode.

It’s funny to think that there were 2 ladies foreigners beside me talking about some hilarious topic in french with their accent from Quebec I didn’t control my self but to laugh with them ignoring the fact that I did understood what they were saying I just look them back and smiled pretending to browse my phone.

Embarking on the plane I was lucky to be one of the first batch to enter, I got to arrange my small carry on baggage on the designated compartment and I have all the places for me just waiting for the rest of the passenger to board in.

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My favourite part of the trip has begun, actually the most difficult choice of all is to choose what movie to watch but then I contain myself and rather check some good country music from Rascal Flatts until we arrived at Clark Airport.

Other passengers started to disembark and the rest who are going to Dubai are still on the plane, the purpose of this stop is normally to fetch up some passengers from Clark who are going to Dubai as well.

While waiting for the rest of the passengers to come aboard I notice this wonderful image at the ceiling of the plane it was clear like the real sky at night filled with twinkling stars and took some photos.

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When the plane took off I immediately started my movie marathon to start with its one of those anime films that I really wanted to watch over and over again “Children who chase lost voices from deep below” from year 2011 by Makoto Shinkai one of my favorite anime directors.

Later at night dinner is serve with beef and rice plus beef salad, red wine, bread, desert, cheese, biscuits and water typical meal.

Few hours had passed and we are now landed at Dubai Airport almost 2:00 am, unfortunately due to the transfer via bus from the landing area to the airport took us 45 minutes, an enormous lost of time, a supposed to be 3 hours of waiting time evaporated like water at 3:15 am exactly I arrived at the assigned gate after non stop of walking and waited 10 minutes to pass through control (passport and visa)

Finally embarking the plane for the second time after all the stress and lack of sleep I finally get to be relaxed, next thing I know I woke up for snack I actually slept when the plane haven’t take off yet. The ride from the bus at Dubai gave me an extreme headache luckily after a short sleep I recovered and felt normal again.

Feeling hungry, tuna bread, apple juice and tea were served for a snack, it was not that heavy not that light but enough for my petit appetite, an hour later they serve us breakfast. I chose cheese omelet with croquettes and veggies, croissant and fruit salad are included, orange juice is the best option to start a day plus water and a cup of tea to finish the meal afterwards I did some stretching, I stood up and stretch my legs, arms, hips, head and feet ignoring other passengers perspective.

Charging my phone at the same time starting to watch a movie, its 3 Idiots an Indian film that I chose to be entertained, the two other passengers beside me are very kind I think I’m really lucky cause they didn’t annoy me that much, maybe once or twice just to go for toilet and that’s it.

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As the film ends my flight has ended also, the time to disembark and prepare for another ride for home. At last I survived this trip alive and kicking. “Welcome Back to Europe” murmuring myself.

My Personal Tips to Survive a Long Flight :

  • Deviate your mind – this comply you to be occupied intellectually since the flight will be boring for some long hours try to make yourself on work like playing games, watching movies, listening to music, reading magazines or book, coloring books, writing.
  • Bring your sleeping gears – one way to be able to sleep comfortably is to feel at ease like at home so bring your stuffs with you earplugs, eye mask, neck pillow, compression socks. 15-19 hours of flight is really long so you must oblige yourself to have your important sleeping gears next with you.
  • Stretch and Walk around – Others might find this bizarre but professionals do give this tip, it helps your blood to regularly circulate and to keep your body energize and avoid blood clots.
  • Eat and hydrate –  regular water intake will keep your skin normal and muscles not becoming stiff and cramping. Eating the meal before landing is very important cause it will help your body adjust to the new time zone.
  • Drink Tea – I have personally read this from Reader’s Digest that tea can help your body relax, your stomach in great condition, and to be energize.
  • Have a conversation – will allow you to get to know with your co-passengers and be somewhat occupied through making some conversation with them, try to be friendly and kind though it’s not a must but it could help you getting away from boresome
  • Sleep –  will help you feel at peace and meditate and on the other hand its a time killer plus it can cure jet lags from your previous flight.

 

There you have it my tips for those who need to endure long haul flights, this may help you in your future voyages.

I hope you enjoy the article and join me in my other adventures in the future, if you wish to book an international flight Emirates is one of those airlines that I can recommend visit their site for promotions and sale https://www.emirates.com

 

 

15 hours and 40 minutes flight

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To start of my journey I have to go first to Paris CDG from Brussels, my flight is normally at 3:55 pm to 12:20 am of the next day, I woke up really early just to be able to be at the airport in advance as much as possible.

The time of check in for luggage is 11:30 am in the morning and I was there already since pass 10:00 am, at the time of checking in at the counter the officer was really serious but not too serious I can even say that she’s kinda look mad (well Europeans mostly are) no smile, face was like steady business like conversation, however with my experience dealing with European people for a long time its make me feel like normal, but at least the lady did say “Bonjour” and  “s’il vous plaît” which means “Good morning” or “Hello” and “please” in English.

As for all of the travelers their first uncertainty is the weight of their baggage, lucky that I didn’t have one I was pretty relax and at ease. After the check in next is the immigration control to pass through and in regards for me it was good nothing special in terms of questions or anything that the officer asked, I went to the security control and after headed to the Duty Free Shops where I see some great difference between prices from Brussels even though products were supposedly without taxes it was really high as I expected, well we’re in Paris so it’s really expected.

Waiting at the lobby of the designated boarding gate, it was announced that our flight will be delayed for 20 minutes from then on I felt more uneasy cause I still have connecting flight to take and originally I have 2 hours only to take my next flight but now only 1 hour and 40 minutes.

After 20 minutes of delay we boarded in and I searched for my assigned seat, my seat is really close to the entrance only in 4th row and surprisingly I was situated just beside the small compartment/room for the head of the cabin crew, it’s located below the stairs going to up to the 1st class area.

A light disappointment awaits me, my destined luggage compartment was already taken there were no space for my hand carry luggage anymore. I approach one of the stewardess around and she voluntarily help me without hesitation, I was happy to know that these flight attendants are kind, approachable and most of all very helpful.

The moment when the plane took off I prepared the television screen in front and open my headset, started to scroll the magazine of Emirates with their featured advance and well updated available list of current movies, music, and games, there are a lot of things to keep yourself busy while on-board instead of waiting for the 6hours plus flight.

At the meantime one of the stewardess came and prepared to serve us some drinks, the head of the stewards group announce that they have different nationalities of cabin crews which is more or less 15 various languages that they can speak, more of the cabin crew speaks french since we departed from there and the rest that I’ve heard spoke in English, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and a lot more.

A lot of beverages to choose from my other two seat mates on board is a couple from Australia, the woman ordered a Jim Bean while the guy took a Beer as for me just a simple white wine, they served us a pack of biscuit and that’s all for that moment, later on after about half an hour the diner is about to be served.

The meal wasn’t bad it was served with a salad, cheeses, a dessert, butter, water, and the meal itself. I got to choose between curry chicken or beef and definitely I chose chicken with rice and some veggies.

After the dinner I continued to watch another movie “Death Note” released on 2006 and after a while we’re finally going to land to Dubai airport, I disembark the plane took the way to my connecting flight, the plane landed around 12:30 am with a delayed time of 30 minutes.

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Arriving at Dubai  Airport, the place was real enormous, the aisle going to the shops are the field with different people from around the world, first step for me is to recheck my boarding gate and since I got some spare time I walked around and looked for some souvenirs and stuffs, I saw a lot of great shops one of it is the jewelry shop field with various kinds of quantity of gold carats I also saw many Filipino people who are working at the shops there were a lot of them and It really made me happy cause at least I’m not alone. At the beginning I wanted to buy a cup of coffee to keep me awake from the entire next flight but later let myself search for the way to the A gates which is located actually seem far as I thought.

On my way to gate A 18 it took me more than half an hour to get there, first I took a lift to go underground  from where I was then took a sort of tram (subway train) to another part of the area then another lift to go up then walk for 5 minutes to find my gate, and finally I arrived at the gate it wasnt open yet so I waited on the waiting area sitting, and after 30 minutes I passed through the gate and the officer told me that it wasnt there for boarding area actually the real gate is located downstairs.

So I walked again took the escalator to go down and another one and then finally I found the real embarking area. I thought It was already the place where our plane will be, after all taking lifts and escalators suddenly they let us take another bus and brought us to the plane for about another 20 minutes.

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The moment I’m on board I directly found my designated seat and installed my things in the compartment apparently I was the first one who arrived on the seat so I was patiently waiting the rest of the two passengers who will be sitting next to me. I thought I will be alone in this 3 chaired seats but as I expected the other two came at the last-minute, we comfortably chat a little bit and mind our own seats after. Instead of watching films this time I wanted to take a good rest before arriving at Cebu cause I’m pretty sure I will have a very busy day with my family so I open the music player and started to choose my favourite songs Taylor Swift’s and Ed Sheeran’s a whole playlist only from this two artist.

I slept for hours with the music on til the time I woke up for breakfast, the cabin crews are about to distribute the food and It was quite disappointing cause they only gave a sandwich (french style) with ham and cheese and water and coffee or tea, and after eating I slept again.

I woke up  for the second time and tried to watch a movie but I thought its better to rest for the whole period of the trip and lunch is served as usual the airplane foods again, the menu was chicken curry with potatoes or fried noodles with shrimps I have chosen the noodles but the problem was the side dishes where a little bit weird they gave us desert, bread, butter, cheese, water and salad (cold noodles salad with veggies) which I didn’t know that salad will be noodles as well so it was odd.

Anyways moving on I ate all my fried noodles and the rest I wasn’t interested at all I just asked for an orange juice, drank my water and I continued to listen my songs to be on the good mood again.

After hours of sleeping without noticing the time we’re almost landing and the cabin crew ask us to get ready and put our seatbelts on few minutes after we finally arrived at Mactan Cebu International Airport.20170413_155334disembarking the plane the temperature was a bit hotter than I’ve imagine, it was 34 to 35 degrees far away from what I have experience daily in Brussels, walking in the aisle going to the immigration I can truly breathe the Filipino’s air that I have been missing for a long time.

My feeling was divided kinda nervous, tired, sleepy, happy, excited at the same time after more than 3 years of waiting I got to see my homeland again and be in the arms of my beloved family.

I’ve officially welcomed myself saying “Welcome to my home The Philippines”

Verdict : 7/10