Of sun,sea,sand and finding a hero.

Under the Tuscan Sun

Enjoy Tuscany with a glass of wine

Finding Felicity in El Nido

Pink painted skies in El Nido,Philippines

Quaint Girona

Off the beaten path in Girona

Good Morning,Vietnam

Cruise the emerald water of Hanoi

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Segovia: Half an Hour

In half an hour...
...you can burn 90 calories by walking
...Rachael Ray can make a meal
...the glass of water you drank is processed through the kidneys
...you can temporarily leave the bustle of Madrid and experience the old world charm of Segovia

In half an hour the high speed train can travel 58 miles from Madrid to reach the small town of Segovia. Leave behind the modernity of Madrid and experience a day getting lost in the maze of cobblestone streets in Segovia. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Vacation Guide: Madrid, Spain

Madrid may lack famous landmarks but it does make up with its richness in history, beautiful arts and delicious food.Surprisingly among the European capitals, a visit to this city is actually friendly on the pocket.

Plaza Mayor, Madrid

From the airport to the city centre

Cheapest way is to use the metro which is connected to the airport but this means that there is a high possibility of transferring lines and lugging your luggages up and down the stairs

Another option is the airport shuttle which can take you from the airport right into the doorstep of where you are staying in the city centre. The shuttle is usually shared with other passengers unless you opted for the private service. For more information: http://www.aerocity.com/en/

The most convenient but most expensive option will be to take a taxi. Make sure that you take the taxi from the taxi stand in the airport and the driver will be using the taxi meter.

My pick: The best option will be to take the airport shuttle, the quote we got is around 30 Euros for 4 pax but since we were not able to prebook the shuttle before we leave we don't have any option but to take the taxi. Since we are a group of 4 the taxi fare wasn't that bad at all because we paid a total of 44.50 Euros which will come out at 11+ Euros per person

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Madrid:Will the real Madrid please stand up

Madrid, the 'almost' forgotten Spanish capital when most people equate Spain with Barcelona. The capital with no claim to fame of a well known landmark that is why it is usually shoved down the list of places to visit. So why choose Madrid? basically because of this "plainess" where you don't have any well known monuments or landmarks to split your attention with the city. Know Madrid for who she is and not to tick off all those must see sights and take 101 customary poses with landmarks and monuments

Spending a few days in Madrid is short to really unmask this senorita but through this limited period you will already be treated to her different moods and faces.

Conquistador Madrid 

Inside the cheery the apartment in a residential neigborhood in Madrid, I attentively listen to a Madrilena on how we are supposed to operate the washing machine in our rental apartment. She was busy pressing, pulling and switching knobs on the rectangular contraption when a friend suddenly blurted out "Umm, where's the ironing board?".Well of course the most logical question right after someone taught you how you are supposed to run your laundry . The girl looked back puzzled and asked "What's that?".The horror that you will not be able to iron your clothes after the laundry prompted my friend to try another  way to explain by immitating a game of charades as she rolled her fist loosely and moved it back and forth in front of her but still to no avail.Then out of desperation she tried one more trick from her sleeve, she looked at the girl and said "Plancha?".Then suddenly the sky just parted and the little birds sang as the girl's face brightened and she replied "Ahh, plancha" and she pointed to a small closet.Then a slew of spanish-influence Tagalog words question and answer ensued..
"How about the spoon, what do you call it?" , "oohh, cuchara"
"What about the bed?", "It's the same, cama"
And so on and so forth that it almost resembled a new segment in Sesame street called "Guess the spanish word in the Filipino vocabulary"

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thoughts: Sche..what? a simple guide to applying for a Schengen Visa

It probably started with a dream of visiting medieval fortresses, admiring the grandeur of castles, looking at frescoes in old churches and walking on cobblestone streets. You act on the dream by saving up and cutting down on all those movie nightouts with friends and you tirelessly pored on guidebooks and online articles on what to see and do and must eats. Then you realized.....your passport is from a so-called "developing" country that requires a travel visa to most countries outside of the ASEAN region. You started to falter and the thought of taking Plan B which is to instead visit this up and coming South American country that famously gave birth to "Havaianas" crossed your mind but the charm and excitement of getting lost in the maze of cobblestone streets still holds your heart.

Any third world country citizen would have probably faced this dilemma before they embark on a European trip. Just the thought of filling up the forms, gathering all the documentations and going to the embassy is enough for someone to throw in the towel and gave up the dream of travelling the European continent. But they say that you cannot achieve the dream without taking the first step, if it is in your bucket list to visit the beautiful European countries - I challenge you to make the first step by applying for the travel visa. 

Most European countries are under the European union and the travel visa that you need to visit these countries is called a Schengen Visa (Note: Make sure to check if the countries you are visiting are under the Schengen agreement). If you are travelling to several countries, you will only apply for the Schengen Visa on the country where you will be staying the most number of days. In the case that you will be spending equal number of days in the different countries in your itinerary, you will have to apply in the country which is your point of entry. The Schengen visa will be valid for all countries in the European union, for example - you will be travelling to France and Italy and you will be staying 7 days in France and 3 days in Italy. You have to apply for a Schengen Visa in France embassy and this visa is already valid for your onwards travel to Italy. 
Source: http://www.1800flyeurope.com/go/visa-information/