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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

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring Cebu City

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I have often stayed in this city every time I’m in vacation, it’s a big known place following the footstep of Metro Manila popular for its Sinulog Festival largest festival in the Philippines. It is the place where Ferdinand Magellan arrived, explored, discovered, and established the spanish colonization in the country, known for its beautiful islands and tourists spots, The Queen City of the South, Cebu City Philippines.

The first tour that I have done with my family here in Cebu was to visit a lot of tourists spots like Basilica of Sto. Niño, Taoist Temple, Magellan’s Cross, Lapu-Lapu Shrine, Fort San Pedro and Simala Shrine.

For the second time its with my family again, first thing to do after my flight is to eat like a monster in a restaurant called “Hukad” it’s a Cebuano word means “to serve food” popularly use by Visayan people in breakfast, lunch or dinner or anytime when they eat.

It was Holy thursday and mostly all of the restaurants and malls were closed so we ask the taxi driver to drop us to the nearest place where we can eat diner and fortunately Park Mall is open, we ordered some traditional Filipino food that I’ve been longing for like pork sisig, sizzling bangus, bulalo, monggo soup, atsara, pinakbet, and of course garlic rice.

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On the next day we went for a walk going to the Basilica of Sto. Niño located at the city town, according to the history the holy child (Sto. Niño) statue was given to the wife of Raja of Cebu by the Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan upon the royal couple’s christening, On the left picture is the Pilgrim Center where devotees come to hear mass in Basilica, it is built for the purpose of accommodating the increasing population of devotees who come to visit the place.

The last time that we have visited this place I vividly remembered that the walls and the upper part of the Basilica was destroyed caused by the earthquake, I felt happy to see that it’s now repaired as good as new.

As expected a lot of people come here to attend the mass and visit Sto. Niño’s statue, but this time most of them light candles solemnly and pray.

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After a short in this holy place next to go is to fill my stomach with my favorite fast food “Jollibee” we ordered some spaghetti, fries (not french fries), and burger patties with mushrooms and rice.

Jollibee is not just an ordinary fast-food chain it has rice based meals which is suited for Asians especially Filipinos who eat rice 3-4 times a day, it serves also burgers, side orders and desserts like other fast-foods but this one is the leading company in Philippines and all people from young to old knows Jollibee. Prices are very affordable with your 2 euros you can have a meal, its basically known to all Filipinos wherever you go just try to ask if they know Jollibee and the answer will be “Yes” for sure.

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Magellan’s Cross located just right next to the Basilica of Sto. Niño a house that symbolizes the Christianity that Ferdinand Magellan once ordered to his people to construct this chapel with a cross on it.

This place is one of the famous spots in Cebu which people from different countries come here to take some pictures of this historical chapel, as Magellan is considered as the person who discovered Philippines he also name it after the king of Spain on that time who is King Philip “las islas Felipinas” the islands belonging to Philip and the spreading of Christianity in the country as well as the spanish colonization for more than 300 years.

It’s a happy feeling for me to be able to take a good picture with the Magellan’s Cross and its features, as for my last visit as I have said after the horrible earthquake occurred in Bohol and Cebu this chapel was also affected and by that time I visited here it was completely in the process of reconstructing the area.

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On the next day we decided to go for a long trip, to start with the Whale Shark watching in Tan-awan Oslob, it has started to be very famous in Cebu highlighting the whale sharks who come daily to be feed by the local fishermen under the supervision of foreign and national environmentalists and scientists.

To visit this place you really need to wake up early for the travel that may occur it’s about 4 hours from the city center unless you are already located at the nearest resort in Tan-awan, or else if you’re located in Cebu City you need either to take a bus or to get a package tour deal from your hotel. Fortunately with my family we have found a local taxi driver who helped us to easily get in and have some connections to make it faster access like VIP’s.

tariffs of the whale shark watching may differ if you’re going to swim with them or not, but before everything else after the registration at the resort, you will undergo a short briefing about precautions, do’s and dont’s during your swimming with whale sharks, do not worry whale sharks “butanding” are very friendly but you must follow the guides and rules given by the facilitator.

Opening hours is from 6:00am to 12:00pm only, so you must be very early to avail a slot. 500 pesos fee per person and if you want you can rent a go pro camera with unlimited pictures and videos underwater with free CD and pay a service charge to the resort.

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Kawasan Falls was our next destination after Oslob, it’s about an hour drive located at Badian, after arriving at the entrance vehicles are not permitted to continue the road so people are obliged to walk for around 1,5 km from then on you will see this fantastic cascade.

The place was filled with locals as well as foreigners, as we arrived in the area our guide reserved us a raft for a “pool tour” closer look of the waterfalls and a shower massage under the falling water. Cottages are rentable from 500 pesos to 2,500 pesos depending on location plus raft rent of 300 pesos You can also avail some tour packages which includes canyoneering and cliff jumping adventure.

Unfortunately even if we wanted to stay more we have to budget our time, after the tour in the raft and the shower massage we directly went down and head on our next trip to Simala shrine which will take us another hours of drive.

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The miraculous shrine in Sibonga known for its collection of various types of Mama Mary’s statues from all over the world, its winding staircase, its unique structure and faceted layout, arched balconies, jagged terraces and the castle life façade which will make you amaze.

Considered as a holy place for christians, as you visit inside countless letters from devotees will welcome you, from the photos of miraculous Virgin Mary, the thanks giving letter from all who have their wishes and prayers came true and the gifts and offerings of the people expressing their gratitude.

Second time to visit here and each time is another treasure of experience that I will keep in my heart.

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Also known as  The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Angels and of St. Vitales is a typical colonial spanish church which is decorated with carved reliefs of floral motifs, Cebu was established as a diocese and elevated as metropolitan archdiocese and an application is still pending at the Vatican for its elevation into a minor basilica.

To start our last day before going home the sky is heavy and it seems ready for a rainfall,  we have attend a mass in the Cathedral the place was full that time and nowhere else to sit so we only pulled out some random stools in the corner so we can make ourselves install and focus on the mass.

To end our vacation days in Cebu it’s always a must to enjoy the precious Filipino foods in the Philippines, dining in Kuya J’s house with some home cook foods like pork kawali, grilled bangus, bulalo, adobong kangkong, palabok and the garlic and plain rice platter of course and lastly the special desert halo-halo.

In the next morning “direction Aéroport” destination Airport for our trip going home to Zamboanga City.

Overall it was a great and fun experience, all I can advise to those who want to do a tour in Cebu City, make sure that you’ll make a list of your iterinary first then compare prices from the different tours and travels agencies especially when you are travelling with your family its kinda less expenssive with packages, unless you’re travelling with a partner or alone much better if you’ll commute cause it will be more cheaper, don’t forget to contact a local friend or try to ask more about how you can reach your desired destination at the hotel receptionist or inquire at the official websites to be sure.

For foreigners, Cebu City is an ideal city for you to visit its a safe place but always be careful as bad people are everywhere.

My last advise to all travelers, do not trust easily to strangers, and refrain from sharing your personal lives, be more vigilant and cautious.

If you want to know about detailed information on how to plan and go this tourists spots don’t hesitate to ask me or send a message. It’ll be my pleasure to help you.

Chronicle Lover? Berlin Awaits You Part2

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Most Berliners believe that this is the most beautiful place in Germany and indeed in all countries in europe, its best known for the architectural trio which are the German (Deutscher Dom) and French Cathedral (Franzosischer Dom) and Concert Hall (Schinkel’s KonzertHaus) made this square the most magnificient and outstanding image that differs from all other places.

IMG_4396The French Cathedral (Franzosischer Dom) is built by a Frenchman and intended it to be a church for french protestants who had fled in Berlin way back 17th Century on the other hand the Concert Hall was built as a theater to replace that National Theatre of Berlin.

Gendarmenmarkt as french origin “Gens d’arms” which was a Prussian regiment consisting of Hugeunots Soldiers which literally the name of the square was derived from. It is now used for Berlins Christmas Market every year and season festivals.

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Concert Hall (Schinkel’s KonzertHaus)

Check Point Charlie

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Its name after the famous crossing point on Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin, it became the symbol of Cold War, Soviet and Americans tanks briefly facing each other on this spot during the year of crisis.

Its located at the junction of Friedrichstrasse and Mauerstrasse, the name Charlie came from NATO phonetic alphabet, the other check points were called Alpha, Bravo, Wannsee, and from the Soviet part they called it simply Friedrichstrasse, and East Germans name it Charlie.

To enter the museum its gonna be 14,50 euros per person, open from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm however to take a picture with this american soldier is 2 euros.

Great tips for those who want to walk less or getting the subway less for visiting tourist attractions. You can get a Berlin Pass for 1 day depending of what kind of access you would like, for example the Berlin Bus Tour for 1 whole day it cost 19 euros/person and you can hop in and off within the day for 19 different locations. Another great deal is the 3 days Berlin pass which cost 119 euros/person and you’ll have access to over 60 tours and museums including entrances fees of course.

Berlin Wall

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Before the day ended I have gathered sufficient photos of this famous Wall that is found often in the middle of the city. In 1961 the Communist Government of the East Germany build a barbed wire and concrete “antifascist bulwark”. The official purpose of the Berlin wall is to prevent Western fascists (the Soviet Union part) from entering the East Berlin and undermining the socialist state but it mainly serves as the objective of stemming mass defection from East to West.

Until November 9, 1989 the proclamation of East Government that people can cross the border freely the berlin wall was destroyed little by little by the people themselves, some of its ruins are still standing on the streets even to this year, the most memorable and enduring symbol of Cold War.

Panoramapunkt

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On the next day, the weather was pretty well the sun is up and the sky is clear, its the best time to see the panorama view of the City, among all of the choices I’m actually torn between the two that I’ve initially chosen either the Fernsehturm or Panoramapunkt. But I’ve remember that one friend of mine have posted some pics in Facebook recently with the panorama view from the Television Tower and honestly speaking I was a little disappointed cause it wasnt that good as I’ve expected. So I have chosen the Panoramapunkt 360 degrees panorama view to see what it can offer.

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At that day we walked 10-15 minutes from the hotel to Potsdamer Platz to look for the location of Panoramapunkt at the Kollhoff Tower, we entered the building and I thought it was a hotel it was very elegant and it looks cozy after went to the tour office to pay our entrance fee 7,50 euros/person, the opening and closing hours are seasonal when it is summer it’s 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and winter 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

The moment we entered on the lift  its says level 0 – 24th floor a 90 meter distance, the rapidity of the elevator was so incredible it took us less than 25 seconds, 20 seconds to be exact that was really quick like riding a roller coaster except that your head isn’t moving. its holding the title of the fastest elevator in Europe. On the top you will see a marvellous view of the City, a great experience that you wont regret.

This is a café/restaurant found on the top, you can relax and drink or eat while being mesmerised by the magnificent view of Berlin. Getting to Kollhoff Tower?  If your hotel is far from the area you can eventually take bus or metro it’s situated just meters away from Potsdamer Platz.

Sony Center

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After spending time meters above the city its time to stretch and walk a bit, while I was taking some pictures from the Panoramapunkt I’ve notice this thing a huge tent like that caught my eye it was actually the famous Sony Center, which is famous of its cinemas, IMAX theater and Legoland Discovery Center, the place is also filled with restaurants and shops.

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I took a picture around the vicinity, it was huge and a lot of people. I caught this fountain flow in the middle of the area it was great to see how this center has been welcoming people around the world and even hollywood stars.

After resting a little we directly get ourselves back to the track where in we need to go to Reichstag Dome, when arriving at the place a lot of surprises came to us to get an access to the Dome you actually need to present yourself at the counter area for inspection and presentation of you passport or ID, the entrance is free but you need to fill on the queue to get a scheduled visit or you can also visit their site to fill up the necessary information that you must give about yourself.

After waiting til our turn for about half an hour under the sun, finally we got our turn to be at the counter and got the scheduled visit in the afternoon and decided to continue to visit the rest of the tourists spots in Berlin.

Spree

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Spree is a 400 kilometers river that flows through the Saxony, Brandenburg, and Berlin States of Germany. the river is few walks away from the Cathedral and you can also take the 1 hour boat tour for 14,50 euros/person as for me I chose not to do it for this time maybe in my next visit.

Currywurst

20160529_133052As we all now Berlin is not just full of wonderful places to visit but also delicious comfort foods to savour, one of this is the Currywurst, I should not miss this one.

Germany is largely known for its sausages, currywurst is sliced sausages deep in tomato sauce with sprinkled curry powder it’s actually the most loved street food in Berlin. After a frustrated event from the Dome I got to forget it with this super mouth-watering street food semi spicy sausages, plus its super cheap you don’t need to go to some chic restaurant to spend 50 euros for a meal.

St. Mary’s Church

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For all the travels that I’ve done I never missed to visit a church or cathedral, this one is really special since it’s the oldest church in Berlin that is made of granite and bricks that’s why when you take a look of the color of this church it’s very bright red color. Situated right after the tram passage and next to the square of Fernsehturm TV Tower.

Unfortunately this area is also under construction and the access to the outside part of the Church is impossible, so I decided to get a look inside the church. Strangely I stumbled into this human like statues covered with ripped clothes, I felt scared and sad when I read the description saying that this is represents the jewish people victims from the war.

Red Town Hall (Rotes Rathaus)

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Is also one of the landmarks of Berlin located at the Mitte district near Alexander Platz where the Mayor and the Senate of Berlin seated. getting out from the church an enormous Red/Orange color building can be found. Its open on Mondays – Fridays 9:00 – 6:00 pm.

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The fourth tallest freestanding structure in Europe next to Moscow, Kiev, and Riga’s tower is Berlin TV Tower, the tallest building in Germany with a 368 meters tall, 203 meters above the ground, the only TV Tower existing in Europe.

It has attracted huge number of tourists through the years with a record of 1 million visitors per year this Tower is a steel sphere form that has a restaurant installed on its 207th meters above the ground and a platform panorama view on 203 m.

Located near Alexander Platz you can easily access here via bus, train, or tram. there are different kinds of tariffs for to visit here, normally is from 15,50 up to 17,50 euros depending if you’ll choose to visit early in the morning or at night, and if you wish to eat at the sphere restaurant on the top it’ll be 23,50 euros/person with a guarantee of a window table or 17,50 depending on the availabilities of the tables.

At the moment where I was in entrance building of this Tower, I really wanted to go up and see the restaurants view I was more curious of how will it be at 207 meters away from the ground but rather due to limited time that day I contained myself and save it for my next visit.

Alexander Platz

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One of the top visited places in Berlin is the Germany’s largest urban square where you can find many sights and attractions in the city including the TV Tower, “Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft” (Fountain of Friendship amongst People) and the landmark World Time Clock.

It was named after the Russian Emperor who visited on 18th century Alexander I and became a traffic hub when a train station was built at that period and currently transformed into a modernized junction of transits and shopping area.

After visiting this place I was totally exhausted after walking since morning until afternoon, for about 10 kilometers of my stomach was complaining and luckily KFC is not that far from the place, we took a break and get some energy and started to walk again until Reichstag Dome for our scheduled tour.

Reichstag Dome

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Is a famous glass dome that symbolizes the reunification of Germany, it is located at the top of Reichstag Building where german parliament is seated, the main highlights of this place are its 360 degrees view of the cityscape and Tiergarden, and the dome and the mirror cylinder at the center. The glass dome reminds of the Flower Dome in Singapore which has the same form of jackfruit.

After a tiring day of walking it was almost 6:00 pm that we arrived at the expected place where the tour will formally start, the entrance to the building is pretty cool it was actually closed with a transparent door then automatically opened and we pass through and took an elevator to get to the top.

Right on the entrance hall of the topmost part of the building which is the terrace, there you can find an office where in they’ll give you and audio device as a vocal guide information of the places that you will see during every step that you’ll take until arriving at the top part of the dome furthermore you can choose whenever you want to start your tour, you’re the absolute master this tour, you can walk all over the place get to the open terrace part, take some pictures around and when you feel that you’re ready just go inside the dome and click the start button and follow the instructions.

Its super easy, step by step listening to the voice guide thoroughly you will learn more and more about the history of the city and at the same time you will see the beauty of the city from above, this is really a must spot to visit.

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After this great tour this time to pack the things and go home but before that I wanna say 4 days and 3 nights are not enough to totally visit every single corner of this City, I would love to go back and continue discover some hidden treasures that it hides.

 

Conclusions/Suggestions/Opinions

All I could say that this one is a mix emotion sentiments that I have felt from this experience, a twist of sadness and happiness about the story of the people’s struggles, their survival, and the unity of its country.

In regards with the City’s touristic spots to explore, there would be more than 60 sites to see it always depends on your preference, your willingness and surely your patience.

In terms of tour prices it’s true that you must pay every time you enter a site or museums except of those places that I’ve been where I haven’t paid anything. It is more likely better than Barcelona, cause there almost every corner to visit are with entrance fees on the other hand Berlin is innovated, I salute the German Government for keeping their facilities available to those sites that are free entry its rare to find this kind of service.

If you looking to be thrifty while in this city bringing your own food will be perfect, however if you want to taste some of the food speciality you can definitely do that also with street foods and desserts will be considerably enough to fill your curiosity.

Parking in this City is expensive so if you’re travelling with car better get a hotel parking reservation to make sure not to pay excessively. To keep from buying tickets of bus and train or metro you can always walk the distances, one or two stops are not that far from each other, in that way you can save and as well enjoy the weather and the surroundings.

Driving on the road to Berlin is a hard thing, you must be very wise in terms of the time cause from 7 am to 8 am the highways are filled with cars. About the hotel I would say everything was flawless except of two things first is the problem of different schedules of their buffet breakfast in weekends and weekdays because of this I lost my breakfast opportunity and second is the poor wi-fi connection, it was a complete deception no connection at all, and when I ask the receptionist what can they do with this situation the person didn’t know what to say I’ll give a 3/5 for the Hotel.

Verdict : 8/10

 

 

 

Unforgettable week in Portugal Part3

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Belem Tower, LisbonIMG_3603

known to be the civil parish of the municipality of Lisbon City which is located at the  mouth of the Tagus River this was our first stop for Day 4 in Portugal, so the plan is to visit:Belem Tower in Lisbon first, next to Casa do Castelo in Obidos, next in line will be then beach side of Nazare, then then Alcobaca City and lastly I wanna visit the most popular The Santuary of Our Lady of Fatima where I’ve heard a lot of Filipinos who are living there and also the famous apparition of Our Lady of Fatima which has a millions of devotees who come to visit her from all over the world, she is known to heal and make your prayers come true.

Our list was really full we went out from the hotel around 10:00 am after our massive buffet breakfast then packed up all the things needed then get the car for the longest ride of the day.

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At the arrival in Belem Tower we had the car park not too far from it, only 10-15 meters away but it was cozy causes to pay 2 euros for just a quick parking, evidently we were a little bit of shocked since Lisbon is really a cheap city with 5-7 euros you can have a full meal but well considering the place to park not to far from the river and Belem is not bad at all, If ever you will come here with your car it’s either you’ll get the parking space the same as us or you can also try to park somewhere else far a bit but you might walk more so depending really on your preference or you can also take the subway much easier for those who doesn’t travel with car.

The view of the Tagus River garnering the title of the longest river of the Iberian Peninsula was fantastic with the 25 de Abril Bridge this two made a splendid combination. Belem Tower is open from 10h-18h with an entrance fee of 6 euros per person but in my case I haven’t had the time to visit it with the long list I got, I desperately need to manage my time for the rest of the day however for you out there this place is a must to visit put it on your list, don’t finish your vacation in Lisbon without visiting this one and if you have time try to have a look of the inside of Belem Tower so this is how it look it the outside part just a wonderful view.

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Featured as one of the most visited place in Europe is Casa do Castelo situated in Obidos a more or less an hour drive from Lisbon, The Castle itself is still intact it is sorrounded by the village is amazing will see that the houses are all around with it and it has actually a hotel and restaurants inside and you can also climb up on the wall, it’s about 30-40 minutes of walk through it from the beginning till the end  There’s no entrance fee all you need to do is come here and bring your sneakers and climb up the wall, I promise this is the most adventurous tour I have ever had.

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The Disneyland of surfers I must say a dreamland for all surfers, the city of waves Nazare located at West part of Portugal. After the long walk at the wall of the castle we drove to this seaside part of Nazare which is really known for this gigantic waves, the first I did was run to the ocean and look for the big waves but unfortunately it wasnt the season yet so I have to be contented of the its extraordinary view of rocks formations and the blue ocean.

Looking at the sea there were surfers practicing on smaller waves I must say they’re were pretty cool to look at, I was trying to film them and take pictures of them, with their surfboard floating and trying to catch up some medium waves, watching them meters away makes me feel a little child who wants to try surfing and playing with waves.

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The view is extraordinary refreshing, from the breeze of the air, the ray of the sun a total package that you can rarely find. After a short walk we decided to eat ice cream while watching around the area, there’s a cable car on the right side of the mountain where you can ride on it to go to the upper side of Nazare. I absolutely recommend you this place you can spend a whole vacation here if you love surfing, waves, the beach, mountains, good food a perfect location. How to get to Nazare ? it’s either you go by car 1 hour and 30 drive or you can also go by train called Rede-Expressos that will cost you  cheaper or tour buses.

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Alcobaça Monastery, PortugalIMG_3782

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Minutes drive away from the City of Nazare is Alcobaça City mainly featuring the long and sombre façade Monastery of 18th-century it has several different images from other normal Monastery that I have been to, this one specifically has its own form of cone like shape on its wall as well as the outside part it reminds me of the temples that I’ve seen in Asia like in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Thailand.

IMG_3781IMG_3772The interior part was pretty silent and calm there were palm leaves on the side part since its already the Holy Week portuguese people are also very religious, there were as well some various types of statues which represents Saints and Angels, unfortunately the museum inside is already close since we arrived somewhat late in the afternoon in the city so we walk around a little bit and decided to drive to Fatima.

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Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, PortugalIMG_3792

It is believed to be a sacred place in Portugal, It is said the Virgin Mary has made an apparition to the three children near fatima and  which led the people to build a shrine and conserve this place for her where devotees and believers come to pray and show their love and devotion.

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Upon arriving we its was already around 19h and the sky is literally dark, the weather has completely change it was more colder than we expected around, I felt differently it was like a wind embraces my body and made me feel really good, we bought some candles and prayed, seeing this people praying some are crying asking for help with their personal problems.

I must say Mama Mary does help everyone and I believe about her apparition as well the messages that she gave to those three children,and  that she does miracle for the helpless ones.

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Unforgettable week in Portugal Part 2

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The Famous Hell’s Mouth, CascaisIMG_3385

Who would not fall in love with this fantastic cliff scenery also known as Boca Do Inferno. Day 3 in Portugal we drove to Cascais City for about less than an hour only to see this marvelous creation of nature,It’s actually not to far from the city it is found nearby seaside area just 5 minutes drive and you can even park your car on the opposite side of the road the place has a restaurant where you can eat and relax and have a nice view at the same time so you can really stay there if you wanted some more time to enjoy more of this incredible seaside view.

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They have said that this Mouth form of rocks is the result of erosion of weak parts of rocks mostly in the middle area, but for me this is just another Gods wonderful creation.  I didn’t do anything once we arrived at the place I was overwhelmed and just non stop taking photos all over.

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Our next stop was supposed to be The Castle of the Moors and Pena National Palace but unfortunately it turned out to be a big dilemma to us causing to postponed the tour and just go eat lunch instead. The road going to those two most popular tourist spots are really complicated, it has spiral roads from the start to the end I was in trouble cause I have this problem with my head aching because of the spiral roads.

IMG_3434IMG_3432IMG_3437When we where on the top suddenly it became foggy all of a sudden and started raining hard a never-ending rain, we waited for almost 20 minutes but the weather didn’t change so it was the time to change plans, my stomach was calling and searching for food so we went to this restaurant near the Palace of Sintra, even after lunch the weather wasnt favorable.

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A 20 minutes drive away from Sintra is the west coast of Portugal where you can see eventually the wildest waves on earth it’s known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe and there the famous Cabo da Roca or Cape Roca specifically situated in Cascais-Sintra Natural Park, surprisingly it was all of a sudden sunny like summer, the weather was completely different from the other side, here as you can see in the photo the big difference from the foggy one of Sintra, arriving at this place is like heaven I was imagining I get to see the western coast and huge turn of the table cause it was really breathtaking place.

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Tips while travelling by car:

  • Bring water with you and food like Fruits, Crackers or Biscuits
  • Bring your phone charger or camera’s charger in case you forget to charge it at the hotel.
  • Bringing umbrella is a must
  • Always bring extra cash or credit cards for the Toll fee (you never know) and of course
  • Bring a map of the city where you going, its important to have a soft or hard copy
  • Having your GPS or smart phone with GPS application it’s really important the detection of Gas Station must be on so anytime you might be almost out of gas you can directly check your GPS.

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Last stop is another seaside features that is popular as Cape of Coal, I personally recommend this one this is really a must to visit you will regret it, a little far from the last place it took us an hour to drive till here nevertheless all our efforts have been paid cause this place is heaven, it was a great timing with the sun setting down for couples it will surely be special I’m sure your girlfriend or wife will be amazed or this might be the perfect location to propose a marriage I’m sure the girl will say a big YES. So guys this is really recommended for you.

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Unforgettable week in Portugal

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Lisbon, Portugal IMG_3213

Also know as Lisboa for Portuguese people, this city is very rich it filled with wonderful places and beautiful kind people, very friendly and helpful.Lisbon is one of the Cities in Portugal tha attracted me most, with its Language Portuguese that has a similarity with spanish which I’m culturally influenced.

To start of my adventure in this incredible Country, I’ll tell you first what did I’ve planned for this trip. A hotel from IHG in the city center not so far from a subway station, we rented a car from Six so we can do a little tour to other cities proximity from the area, from the City Center itself you can see this city is really vibrant, colorful, and very welcoming, I also brought this little book for travel guide called Cartoville Lisbon (french version) but as for me I do like to follow this booklet just for city map reason not to be lost in worse case scenario.

There were a lot of featured places to go in this Cartoville however personally I don’t follow all this guide cause sometimes I prefer to explore more on my own and if ever I’ll feel lost I can certainly look back on the booklet, I didn’t buy any prepaid ticket for visiting museums or tours or other stuffs online for this vacation.

For the first day, We ask a full City Map from the reception at the hotel and inquire some details about the place, like where to eat, best and cheap restaurant around, interesting places to visit in near areas if its walking distance or not, don’t forget to ask for the weather for the week so you can at least bring umbrella with you, nearest supermarket, easiest ways to get to the subway stations, this is a must to do before leaving the hotel for a tour, however compare to other after arranging personal stuff at my room I wont go out for a tour directly instead

I normally go out for a shopping, No. just kidding it’s actually groceries the most important part of my voyage, If you want to save while travelling this is the best solution but you can always go to eat outside if you like everybody has their own choice.

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On that first day after buying groceries and everything that we need to the rest of the days we went out for a short walk it was 16h00 and still the sun is shining so it was a perfect timing for a walk, we went to the famous Park/Garden it’s called Botanic Garden which has a Historical museum inside not to far from the vicinity only 15 minutes walk.

IMG_31271Inside the garden there were lakes and big  bamboos, butterflies and animals around and even a cascade like figures as seen here in my lovely photos, a walk which took us more or less an hour and that’s it for our first day.

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IMG_3152.JPGSecond day was more things to do, hotel has breakfast included so we ate as much as we can and our route is to go to the city center visit some popular places around and eat some Lisbon’s speciality and of course walk a lot. taking up subway until the famous place where the tram 28  passes nearby Baixa but from that time tram didn’t pass yet so we decided to walk around and went to this famous Elevador De Santa Justa or also known as Santa Justa Lift open from 7h-21h45

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To visit the lift you must pay 5 euros but since we bought our Subway ticket for that day no need to pay for the lift cause lift fee is also included on your ticket (note: you can buy subway ticket for 1 day or 2 days or more) apparently from the photo that you’re seeing here the lift is under construction for that time but I’m sure it’s already done by the end of 2017.

Taking the lift was not too scary it has a large space for even 15 – 20 persons inside, arriving on the top the scenery was really amazing there’s a terrace where you can see the whole city view of Lisbon, its perfect view of the castle, the bridge, the houses, the well known tagus river and ocean are very exceptional.

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IMG_3217IMG_3218After this magnificent view the next destination is  Castelo De Sao Jorge or Sao Jorge Castle but before arriving there we need to walk for about 2-3 kilometers from Santa Justa Lift and passing by the center and make a little tour around and something attracted my eyes this are the “tuc tuc” or tricycle like motorcycle with three wheels which is very famous in Lisbon its like a means of transportation some for locals but mostly for tourist, this serves for transporting tourist to make some tour in the city, you can rent them for hours or even a whole day.

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IMG_3274IMG_3277Finally after almost half an hour of walking we have arrive in this hilltop with this no. 1 tourist spot in this city Sao Jorge Castle which is open from 9h-18h and 7 euros entrance fee per person, It’s quite a big area inside including a Museum, the Castle, and some ruins, there’s a place where to eat, and vendors around with their paintings and souvenirs.We didnt stop but just walking around and taking pictures, we even climb up on the walls of the castle which I have witness a formidable view from the top, I’m gonna show you some of my photos that I really treasure a lot.

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The day didn’t end there we decided to look for some souvenirs in the shops outside the castle and ended buying some souvenir stuffs, after next stop is Praca do Comercio or Commerce Square which is located near Tagus River even it’s almost 18h00 the sky is still clear so here we go another walk for 15 minutes til we arrived at this wonderful wall with a giant clock on it, there were more people than expected and plus the tram passing by i had a chance to take some pictures of it, and the day ended that’s all for the second in Lisbon destination hotel cause my feet are exhausted from walking more or less 9 kilometers on that day.

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