ChaMike's Second Honeymoon: Europe!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

#WalkwithChaMikeinEurope #HoneyMOONWALKwithChaMike.




My ultimate dream is to travel to Europe. Yes, it sounds too cliche but who doesn't share that same dream? Like most of the travel junkies, I suppose, traveling to Europe is a MUST, and I, being in love with beautiful, grandiose and historical places had been fantasizing it all my life. Luckily, I was able to tick that off on my list with the help and company of my life partner. It was a year ago when Mike surprised me in one of those travel expos where he paid for our round trip tickets as a honeymoon gift. Grabe! You can just imagine my reaction. Honeymoon in Europe?! What have I ever done to deserve this? Hallelujaaah! So yes after our wedding (Read: My Whimsical Travel Themed Wedding) and first honeymoon in Hong Kong (Read: First Honeymoon: Hong Kong with Family ) Mike and I together with good friends, April and Neal went on a three week honeymoon vacation to EUROPA!

Because it's a sale, we obviously didn't have the luxury to choose a specific point of entry and exit. Eva Air had a limited promo at that time. If I remember correctly, sale flights were only roundtrip tickets from Manila going to Paris, Vienna and Amsterdam so what we did was to buy tickets from Manila to Vienna then return from Paris going back to Manila. We decided to save the best for last thus we chose Paris as our last stop. If you're wondering, roundtrip airfare costed a whopping $650 each!


Waiting to board at NAIA Terminal 1
I will not discuss here our total expense as I will have a separate post for that (soon). However, I will run down here all the cities we went to for three weeks in chronological order. We visited a total of 13 cities/towns and 4 countries. These were Austria (Vienna), Italy (Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome and Vatican), Netherlands (Amsterdam, Lisse) and France (Nice, Cannes, Monaco, Grasse and Paris).

Day 0 | April 3
Manila, Philippines - Vienna Austria
We initially had no plans of going to Austria but because of the promo we figured we should  give it a try. Via Eva Air from Manila we traveled to Taipei for our first stopover then to Bangkok for our second stopover. From Bangkok, we went straight to Vienna.

Inside our very comfy Eva Air Economy seats
Airplane food is <3!
Singaporean film about a Filipina nanny was being shown here. Actress is none other than Ate Angeli Bayani :)
Enduring the 11 hour flight by looking through the window
And we are in Europe!
Read: Eva Air Flight from Manila to Europe to Manila - soon

Day 1 - 2 | April 4 - 5 
Vienna, Austria
Because Austria was not a priority country, we just spent 2 days in the city. We wanted to visit Salzburg where the famous musical Sound of Music was shot but figured to skip it since our three week schedule was already jam-packed (we vowed to visit it someday). We went to Schronbrunn Palace, Belvedere to see Gustav Klimt's The Kiss and Kunsthistorisches Museum. We even saw Prince Charles and Camilla while walking along Volksgarten! What were the odds?


Vienna Airport
The clean and very organized terminal
Visited the Schronbrunn Palace. It is a former Imperial summer residence of the royalties.
Albertina where the famous "Before Sunset" film was shot
Klimt Gustav's The Kiss at Belvedere
Grand entrance of Kunsthistoriches Museum
The many paintings of the museum
It's Camilla!
I will post a detailed list of the things that you can do in Vienna Austria for two days. Read: Things to do in Vienna Austria - soon

On the night of our second day we rode the OBB, a sleeper train going to Venice. Since the travel time from Vienna to Venice is around 8 hours we figured we'll take a sleeper train -this way we didn't need to book a hotel as spending overnight in the sleeper train can save money and more time rather than traveling during the day.

Inside our sleeper train going to Venice. How awkward is this pose?

We were not at all comfortable with the whole ride because it was too cramped, just imagine we shared a berth with four other people. But all was good, we came to Venice safe and on time. A review of our OBB sleeper train on a separate post. Read: OBB train from Austria - Venice - soon

Day 3 - 5 | April 6 - 8
Venice, Italy

Caio, Venice, you are beautiful! We spent 3 days here just wandering around. Can't imagine that a small city is filled with so many beautiful canals and magnificent structures. Of course we didn't pass the chance of riding a gondola. Eating gelato is a must in Italy so we had to try some!

One of the many majestic canals in Venice
The Rialto Bridge
Of course a #ChaMikiss at the bridge
St. Marks Square
Bird feeding can be really fun in this area
Riding the Gondola is a MUST!

Suso Gelato! Yuuuum!!!
A more detailed post of the things we did in Venice will be up soon. Read: Things to do in Venice

After Venice we then went to Florence via Trenitalia. It was a quick and smooth 2 hour ride going to Florence. More of Trenitalia review on a separate post. Read: Trenitalia around Italy - soon

Trenitalia from Venice to Florence

Day 5 - 7 | April 8 - 10
Florence, Italy

Another notable city in Italy is Florence where you'll see some of the world's top art galleries and famous landmarks. Some of the art galleries we visited are the Uffizi Museum to see The Birth of Venus and Accademia Museum where Michelangelo's David is located. We also climbed the Giotto's Tower for that panoramic view of the city and watched the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo. We also did a little leather shopping at San Lorenzo Market.


Duomo Square with EZIO from "Assassin's Creed"
Walked up the steps of the Giotto Tower to see this beauty!
The Birth of Venus at the Uffizi Museum
MichelAngelo's David at the Accademia Museum


Amorino Gelato is the BEST!

Leather shopping at the leather market

Sunset watching at Piazzale Michelangelo
More list of the things that you can do in Florence on a separate post. Read: Things to do in Florence - soon

From Florence, we rode the Trenitalia again to have a quick visit at Pisa before going to Rome. 

Off to our next destination- Pisa!

Day 7  | April 10
Pisa, Italy

When we arrived in Pisa, we left our luggage at their luggage counter at the terminal itself. Pisa is famous for the Leaning Tower so we just had a quick 4 hours around the area for a few snaps with it.

Trenitalia again from Florence to Pisa
Left our luggages at the luggage counter inside the terminal
The Leaning Tower
Yes, I joined the bandwagon and made so many trick shots
Another trick shot
Of course Mike should have too
Of course a #ChaMiKiss

After taking numerous shots with the Leaning Tower we went back to the train station to catch our train schedule going to Rome. I just have to warn you that upon going to the tower and back at the station we encountered pickpockets. It was our very first time to experience such but thankful nothing was stolen. So be very careful when riding a bus or any public transportation in Europe. Thank goodness we were just in Pisa for 4 hours.

Off to Rome via Trenitalia

Day 7 - 9 | April 10 - 12
Rome, Italy

After two hours via Trenitalia we were in Rome. It was one of my most anticipated cities during our travel as I've heard so many good things about this city. Not only is it the capital of Italy but it is also very famous for so many sites especially the Colosseo. Because Mike and I are big fans of the movie "Gladiator," we were both fascinated to actually see the Colosseo in person. Aside from that we went to the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon, plus we had an exhilarating adventure with a motorcycle!

Caio, Roma!
The very first place we visited when we arrived Rome
The next day we visited Trevi Fountain
Because of a guided tour at the Colosseo we were able to visit some areas not open to the public
Motorcycle ride ala Audrey Hepburn's and Gregory Peck's Roman Holiday
The very crowded Spanish Steps
The Pantheon where we also had our dinner 
We only had one full day in Rome because the next day was dedicated to visit the Vatican, so we had very limited time. Because of that we weren't able to go to some of the sites on our list thus Mike and I promised to visit Rome again someday. Read: Things to do in Rome Italy - soon

Day 9 | April 12
Vatican

A country inside the city of Rome. Vatican is a sacred place for Catholics and being a Christian myself I've been wanting to visit this place too. Seeing the pope is also a must when you visit the city and luckily we saw him up close. We were also blessed to visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. 

Up very early to visit the Vatican
It's the Pope! 
Going here is free but if you really want to see the Pope up close there are private tours you can avail and for sure you will be seated where the Pope will pass
Inside the Grand Vatican Museum
Every corner is picturesque
Took a few prohibited shots at the Sistine Chapel. Oh can't believe I saw this in actual!

Our trip to the Vatican was almost perfect but an incident made us (especially me) very disappointed as a tour guide ripped us off. Will post a detailed trip on the Vatican soon. Read: A day in Vatican City and How to see the Pope up close - soon

After our tiring Vatican tour it was time to say arrivederci, Italy and say bonjour, France! Because it was quite a travel we skipped the train and instead flew via EasyJet going to Southern France, French Riviera. 

It was a pleasant trip, Italia!
Read: Riding the EasyJet around Europe - soon

Day 9- 12 | April 12 -15
French Riviera (Nice, Monaco, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Grasse)

Finally, we were in France! Been wanting to visit the French Riviera for the longest time and it totally didn't disappoint. The weather was pleasant (not to cold and not too hot), the environment was so lovely, the beach was enticing and even their old market was LOOOVE! Went to four areas in the French Riviera, our hub was in Nice, went on a day tour in Monaco, Monte Carlo, Cannes and Grasse. 

Inside EasyJet

Nice
Promenade des Anglais
This blue nautical umbrellas are so NICE!
We Love Nice!
Nice is so Nice! The weather was pleasant that we can wear light clothes like this!
French Cafes are lovely! :)
Had fun walking along Cours Saleya and looking at the items for sale
Appreciating the beach on our last day in Nice
Monaco

Overlooking the Monaco coastline
Formula 1 track, Mike was very ecstatic to see this!
The Prince and his Castle
Formule 1 Store
Rode the Hop on Hop off Bus to roam around Monaco and Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo Casino
Cannes


And we are in Cannes!
Lovely restaurants along Cannes street
Went up to see the whole of Cannes
Palais des Festivals et des Congres, where they hold the annual Cannes Film Festival 
La Croisette
Grasse

A very quick tour at Grasse
Grasse is a place very popular for their perfumes so we bought a couple at the Fragonard Museum
These wisteria flowers make a perfect backdrop

Detailed agenda on our French Riviera trip on a separate post. Read: Things to do in Nice, Monte Carlo, Monaco and Grasse - soon

Our next destination was quite far. This was the farthest route we've ever traveled from this tour, it was a two hour flight from Nice to Amsterdam via EasyJet.

About to ride the EasyJet going to Amsterdam

Day 12 - 15 | April 15 - 18
Amsterdam & Lisse, Netherlands

I've been told to never skip Amsterdam so we didn't. Although our experience here was really exceptional we had a bit of a climate shock coming from the pleasant weather we experienced in Southern France. The weather here was so cold, too cold for my threshold. But Amsterdam was amazing, had a candlelit river cruise, visited Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House, immersed in the famous Red Light District, had a whimsical moment at Kuekenhof Tulip Festival in Lisse and of course tried biking around the city.


Candlelit River Cruise
Van Gogh Museum was one of my most favorite museums in the entire tour
Rijksmueum, the most important museum in Amsterdam, that we didn't visit
I Amsterdam flipped horizontally for that perfect sign shot
Anne Frank's House, the most heartbreaking museum I've ever visited!
Literally, the Red Light District
Keukenhof Tulip Festival in Lisse
One of the many beautiful shots with the tulips
ChaMike never skipped biking in Amsterdam
Complete list of the things to do in Amsterdam on a different post. Read: Things to do in Amsterdam - soon

Day 15- 20 | April 18 - 23
Paris, France

We definitely saved the best for last by ending the trip in Paris! Oh la la! But going here, we had the most dreadful experience. The bus driver from Amsterdam to Paris was so rude that he left 5 of his passengers in a gasoline stop after the 5-minute break he implemented (how can a group of passengers accomplish the 5 minute break if most of us need the toilet?!) good thing we weren't the ones who were left behind but I feel really bad for those passengers. (Read: Our Horrible Experience at IFlix Bus from Amsterdam to Paris- soon)


Iflix Bus going to Paris. The man in white at the back was the very rude driver
However, after that experience Paris was indeed lovely! It was everything I imagined it to be and even more. The people were all nice, the Eiffel Tower was magical, every corner of this city was just picture-worthy and the food, oh the food! This was the longest city we stayed in as we really wanted to make the most out of our Paris honeymoon. In the 5 full days that we stayed we visited of course the Trocadero, Louvre, Musee D'orsay, Luxembourg Palace, Palace of Versailles, Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, cruise along the Seine River and shopping at Galleries Lafayette.


Eiffel for you!
Arc de Triomphe
Hello Monalisa
Musee D'orsay is an art gallery of impressionist artworks
This Hugo-like shot at the Musee D'orsay
Eiffel Tower during day break at the Trocadero
Went to the actual restaurant where Amelie works!
Had our portraits drawn by a French artist at the Montmartre Art Street
Sacre Ceour Basilica
Walked up the Eiffel Tower
Here's a beautiful shot at the topmost floor of the tower
Luxembourg Palace is so grand
Traveled for 30 minutes to visit the Palace of Versailles
Versailles gardens are so enormous and gorgeous!
River Cruise along Seine
Eiffel Tower at night
Galleries Lafayette, even the shopping mall looks so posh!
On our last day we hired a Filipino photographer to take a post-nuptial pictorial of us at the Eiffel Tower. It was such a nice experience and would recommend to all honeymooners or any traveler who would want a romantic and personal souvenir from the most romantic city. Ted Lapid was excellent and quite affordable. Will write a separate post for that. Read: Post Nuptial Pictorial in Paris France





Another remarkable Paris experience was meeting a very nice Parisian. A friend of mine, Camille and her French husband gave us a GC to dine at a fait maison restaurant owned by their friend, Nico. He served us a very delicious French dinner at La Table de Genevieve plus we were also welcomed at his place for an overnight stay for free! 

Escargot is the BEST at Le Table de Genevieve
I will write a complete review of all the dishes we ate at the restaurant on a separate post. Read: Dinner at Le Table de Genevieve Paris France - soon

Nico not only opened his condo to us for an overnight stay but he also escorted us to the train station going to the airport terminal. Thumbs up to you!
Another surprise was riding a Hello Kitty Eve Air Plane on our way to Taipei! How cute!!!
Read: Eva Air Flight from Manila to Europe to Manila soon

It was three exhausting but wonderful weeks with the love of my life. I would want to go back to Europe if we have enough savings and time. But yes, I will definitely visit you again!

Check out more of my Europe post soon!



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2 comments

  1. I especially enjoyed this blog entry, thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading about the rest of your europe trip.

    Also, if it's not too much to ask, how much budget (estimate) should we prepare for the entire trip similar to yours?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello there!

      Will write down our complete expense in Europe for three weeks on a separate post soon! :)

      Delete

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