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In Rota

I remember it. The first time when I sat foot in European land, I remember it so well. It wasn’t in Rome, Paris, Dublin, Barcelona or any place grand.

It was in Rota. Still, I was overwhelmingly elated. How could I not be? Given it my first time, and that it pretty much has everything atypical to European territories. In my childlike mind- I was skipping, when I walked through those narrow alleys. I was gazing at castles, when I was seeing well-designed neighborhood houses. I ate like a king, when I chowed down a plate of paella and guzzled a glass of sangria. I explored it as if it’s the greatest place in the world, when I went to the beach, parks and the streets of decorative city lamps, statues in round-abouts,  the cobblestone roads, the balconies and the windows, the small businesses,  the cleanliness and overall richness posing in simplistic shape and form.

As I write this, I remember my experiences like it was only yesterday. I remember witnessing their catholic practices during the Holy Week the first week I got there all the way to watching a bullfight just days before I left Rota. There’s a military base there and that Americans are not so hard to find. I mean, incident with them and the locals are unavoidable. They’re always hanging out in bars. I remember my glorious drinking days. I remember the night when my friends and I slept outside, by the dock, waiting for the next morning’s ferry. I also, in turn, remember my equally golden lax days there. I remember riding the ferry with the morning sun glaring at the water. I remember witnessing Flamenco dance during the fair. I remember running 3 miles on a sandy nude beach. I remember the smudge looks and friendly smiles of the locals. I remember the first time I sipped on one of those small coffee cups.

Of all my travel destinations, it remains to be the most relaxed place I’ve been to. There’s nothing over-the-top about Rota but I remember so much about it. It’s actually those little things that are precious memories to me. It was Rota, Spain that first introduced me to European culture, I remember it very well.

This is part of Flash Friday.

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FEATURED BLOG

Victor has traveled all over Europe. He’s “well-fitted” for the kind of adventurous travels he embarks. Whilst most of his destinations are mainly European such as Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, etc, the other countries across oceans are not to be missed. His most recent itinerary is Cambodia. My favorite, To Visit Arizona for Miracle – The Wave at Coyote Buttes. Be prepared as he shows “sizable” impressive images in Victor Travel Blog.

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Last Call…

Near and Far: Europe and California

VENICE – Tops: California, Bottoms: Italy

I badly wish to go back to Europe. But I can’t complain as much. Not only that I’ve been very blessed to have gone there, the place I’m currently in ain’t too shabby for my travel fix. Plus, it really isn’t hard to cross-culture here in California.

Villas – Design of Getty Villa {Bottom) is inspired by The Villa of Papyri in Herculaneum (Top).

I really enjoyed the neat idea I came up with when I Merge: Herculanem and Getty Villa. And so, I tweak it a bit for my entry of Near and Far. The images in this post are places in California where you can imagine or reminisce different locations in Europe. Not what the challenge is looking for, but I’ve been known as a notorious  WPC rule-breaker.

Spanish Footsteps – Top Right: Rodeo Drive, California, Top Left and Bottom: Rome, Italy. Related post: Journey

I like to know. Anything around your area, or places you’ve been to, that resembles, comparable to, or is based from another location or site from a different country?

Alcazar Garden – Left: Sevilla, Spain, Right: Balboa Park

The next one is with the help of sister, Analyn. She’s quite a globetrotter as well.

Danish – Tops: Solvang, Bottom: Copenhagen, Denmark (picture courtesy of my sister)

This post is part of Flashback Friday. *sticks tongue out*

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FEATURED BLOG

Here is Loni. Check out her Yosemite posts. Check out her Venice post. Check out her Mud Run post. Check out the one where she got on TV. Check out her Anniversary post and the different places her and her husband have gone to. Check out her Academy post. Check out food, places of mainly California, and her wide-eye impressive photographs. My favorite however is  her 100th post where she showed her “Loni Exhibit”, These are some of my favorite things. Go ahead and Check out how Loni Found Herself.

Weekly Photo Challenges: Close Friends

Long overdue entry to two Weekly Photo Challenges. I love the challenge because it urges bloggers to show photos of themselves to their entries. So I just collected all my tagged Facebook group pictures…

Ramstein Germany – We had an itsy bitsy fun sliding down slight slopes of snow.

Naples, Italy – One of us was retiring but he didn’t get a proper farewell dinner from his company. And so we gave him one. We even gave him a plague with collage pictures of his stay in Italy. I think it’s much much better to have it with friends than co-workers.

Venice, Italy - The perfect time to go to Venice is during the Carnivale celebration. To ride a gondola is a MUST for every visitors. You might as well take advantage of it when you are just visiting it.

Amsterdam – Bikes are not the only hype in Amsterdam, baby strollers of visitors as well. *grin*

St. Francis Basilica in Asissi – Traveling with big group can still make small trips memorable.

Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy -After Venice, we headed to Maranello for some Ferrrari zeal and adrenaline rush.

This is coming back from our trip to Idelweiss in Germany. (A separate trip from Ramsteinn)

White Elephant at a Christmas Party.

Last Calls…

Rota, Spain – I was chugging a Jungle Juice. *grin*

Italy – My 2010 birthday.

Cheers to a happy life with family, friends and love ones!

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Traveling? Meeting and making friends?

FEATURED BLOG

Brazil, South Africa, Asia, Europe, England, Japan, Mozambique, Bolivia, Rwanda, and a whole lot more. 3rdCultureChildren is not just a travel blog, it is full of heart, generosity, and kindness. My favorite is this unnoticed post with highly impressive travel images and heartwarming messages, “The World We Live In” has called: places we’ve discovered… Enjoy the sights, follow their experiences and meet their acquaintances.

My Amazing Race

As a way to revisit my blog before I hit my 100th post on my next post, I’m traveling back in time and places … The Amazing Race style.

Is everybody ready? Alright, let’s get this race started. The world is waiting for you. On my mark, travel safe, Go!

Paris:  Lost in Paris [From the Category Cloud: Rest of Europe]

  • Season 1: Leg 2 Roadblock
  • Season 1: Leg 2 Pitstop (Arch de Tromphe)
  • Season 1: Leg 3 Place du Chatelet
  • Season 4: Leg 4

Italy: [Category Cloud: Italy]

  • Rome - Season 1: Leg 6 Roadblock, Fast Forward (Colloseo)
  • Venice – Season 4: Leg 2 Fast Forward (Rialto Bridge) w/ Venetian Masks Task
  • Rome – Season 9: Leg 6 (Spanish Footsteps and Trevi Fountain)
  • Florence – Season 12: Leg 8 (Florence)

California: Hsi Lai Temple [Tag: California]

Santa Monica Pier

  • Season 4: Leg 1
  • Santa Monica Pier – Season 5: Leg 1 Starting Point
  •  Hsi Lai Temple – Season 19: Leg 1  Starting Point
  • San Francisco – Season 16: Finish Line

Florida: The kid in the picture has grown as seen on my Weekly Photo Challenge: Simple

  • Season 3: Leg 1 Starting Point
  • Season 11: Leg 1 Starting Point

Germany: Neuschwanstein Castle [Category Cloud: Rest of Europe]

Garmisch

 

  • Munich – Season 3: Leg 7 Fast Forward
  • Neuschwainstein Castle: Season 3: Leg 7 Pit Stop
  • Munich – Season 9: Leg 3 Pit Stop
  • Garmisch – Season 20: Leg 5 

Amsterdam: Amsterdam [Category: Rest of Europe]

  • Season 4: Leg 5
  • Season 12: Leg 12 w/ Additional Task of Riding a Cargo Bike

Philippines: [Category: Philippines]

  • Season 5: Leg 12 w/ Task of Decorating a Jeepney

Spain: [Category: Spain]

  • Andalusia – Season 3: Leg 10

Brussels: Pralines, Frites and Escargot [Category: Food]

  • Season 19: Leg 10 w/ Task on Belgian Waffles

Prague: It’s a bird, it’s a plane … it’s, it’s … it’s Prague Orloj? [Category: Humor]

  • Season 15: Leg 11

Not all are listed per country or destinations. The lists with seasons and legs are in conjunctions with exactly where I had been. For example, TAR had been to Germany 7 times with 5 Pit Stops. I listed 3 Seasons with 2 Pit Stops. Also, I’ve been to other places as well such as Japan, Singapore, Las Vegas, Mississippi, Switzerland, Kuwait, New Orleans and Austria. Future posts noted and seen here are Gondola in Venice, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Santa Monica Pier, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

My golly wow. It took me a long time to complete this post. Browsing through my blog, archiving my pictures, linking my posts and wikipedia-ing all the seasons of the Amazing Race. Again! Great ideas are always are just hard to execute. What an amazing race posting this, and an amazing journey I’d been in.

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Traveling?  

FEATURED BLOG – Temporarily Lost

I wish I could be in this guy’s luggage every time he visits one country to another. See the world, follow Andrew Ameit’s footsteps and read on his experience, lessons and tips. Come along with him to Africa, Europe and Asia, to where he is currently enjoying his stay.

This is my favorite post of his.

Ramstein, Idelweiss & Munich

Dialed down to creative dryness, pushing to squeeze in a blog entry and just plain slack-ness, I’ll just upload pictures, have a Kit-kat and viola! I shared.

“A picture can paint a thousand words.” Sure, sure. But when it comes to this featured blog, it needn’t be. A single beautifully captured picture combined with few but chock full of words will do just fine. For my next …

Featured Blog

Googsy’s Photography is full of surprises. Visit its homepage and you’ll be welcomed with glimpses of images that are not easy to turn away from.  Once you do get magnetized by the prodding and inviting pictures, it opens a back-door interpretation from what you see on the front. The words overflows with dazzling volume that will have you amazed, impressed, intrigued and at times, entertained, at least I do.

Take a look  and open the surprises, and see what you might get.

For my own blog entry, here is Germany …

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Germany, or Roads to Destination

Absolutely! Driving to the destination is part of traveling. It’s the adults version of a kid looking out the window. Well, it’s not as convenient with the engine revving, finding a comfortable seating position and the high tendency of dozing off but it’s the point your mind wander most while anticipating the trip.

Pacific Gulf Coast, Baguio, the winter in Florence, I may not find our Germany destinations not the pie in the sky but I think Germany gets my vote for the best outside-the-window travel views.

I love the seeing their houses too. Somehow, the houses have qualities that are rather distinctively German than as European in general.

Like once said, traveling isn’t just the tourist spot in itself but also the journey. Listening to music as the car drives, pulling over the rest stops, rubbernecking the attractive sceneries and all the fine things in the path that leads to the destination. To me, traveling in group makes the long drive enduring.  Spotting scenes can turn into conversations. Eating is more fun with company (especially packing our own rice and meal, picnicking in parking areas). And, listening to tunes can turn into sing-alongs.

Bon Voyage. Have a fun trip!

Question: What, in your experience, do you think has the best road views?

Expect my post of the destination, Germany, in the near future.

Lost in Paris

Traveling in large group has its ups and downs. There has to be a lateral decision on where to go and what to do. You got to be mindful of the whereabouts of others. Accountability is a must. You have to wait and be waited. One person goes to the store, then everyone has to go as well or wait outside. You can wander around, but never lose distacet. It’s hard to ask when you want to break off from the group. We do get separated into smaller groups every time. Even then, it’s hard to accommodate or please every one.

I’m not an ideal companion for traveling. I’m always stopping. I get behind everybody. It eats me inside whenever I assigned to push strollers of the kids. (Ooops, don’t tell their parents. I’m always glad to help.) I get lost. And I don’t always come back at designated time of return. I once did it in Amsterdam. I shamefully came back alone while everyone was waiting impatiently for me. They were speculating it’s because of the Red Light District. Well, I have no amnesty to reveal. I swear I really got lost from wandering around. That’s the same response I gave when I pulled into question and got a fair warning not to get lost again.

Unfortunately, scatterbrain as I am, I did got lost, once again, in Paris.

I blame Paris. It is so awesome to be there. Even just the idea of being there, I can just breathe in and sigh to the thought of being to one of the most famous city in the world. I could go on and on but it’d be just beating like a hammer. Paris is Paris. You know what to expect.

Lots of places to see, I felt like I don’t want to miss a single path. Out of the 7 countries we visited in 9 days, Paris is the one we chose to stay for 2 days. It’s so easy to get lost in Paris for its beauty. It is also hard to get back. Wha-wha-what happened wa-was… We mind the parking time expiration. I thought I had a little bit more time so I skedaddled taking left turn from the rest of the group and continued my gander. Next time I know, the buildings look the same. The street names are confusing. I was using the Arc de Triomphe but it was still misleading me to wrong directions. And, forgetful than I am, I couldn’t really remember the look of the street to where we parked from the first place. The long distance call got through, I got contacted and was told to meet where everyone was. What happened after the reunion is the mumbling version of what you just read. 

The next morning, I had a leash on and my hands were tied.

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I did remember when a group of us singles cut loose of the group and went to a sit down restaurant. We get to just relish the moment, indulge in French cooking and to simply relax and enjoy. That pause was quite unforgettable.

Amidst of this all, I heartily treasure every person of the large group I attached myself with when I was Europe. They’ve always been there for me. They can always go pass my screw up’s.

I’m not just trying to sound nice. I put aside the disadvantages of traveling with large group. I truly believe the pro’s outweigh the con’s. You have other people to experience things with. You get to enjoy the location, even when it’s not the most favorable. You get to find something to get a kick at. And, you instantly have someone to take a picture of you, and you have others to take pictures with.

Kaleidoscope World

QUICKLY PRESS PLAY THEN LOOK AT THE PICS.

 

YOU CAN STOP, REW or FF THE SLIDESHOW. 

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YOU CAN REFRESH IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE.

 

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Geez! Great ideas are just hard to execute. I took time creating this darn thing. :D Hopefully, it’s worth it.

Pralines, Frites and Escargot

To be honest, what really reminds me of Brussels is … hold the phone, my belly just growls … We barely spent a day in Brussels, Belgium. So don’t fully mark my words. There wasn’t enough time for us to really reel all of its glory.  Brussels to me is a bit odd. You expect, it’s there and you see it, its elegance like all the other European tourist spots we went to. But quite frankly, it felt ordinary. I was admiring its majesty at one point. Then when I look some other way, it feels like that scenery, those designs could be in some other places. I guess you really have to be there for more than just a day to really appreciate it. The fact that we only stayed at one general area, I can not draw any conclusions of Brussels. What really spoiled our sightseeing was …

OH MY GOD, I FORGOT TO UN-HOLD THE PHONE! I’m very sorry readers I acted like a service line. I really apologize. I’m a forgetful person, and I’m just craving for something. Now where was I? Okay, Okay. To be honest, what really reminds me of Brussels, Belgium and what stole the thunder of our sight-seeing  of the place was taste-tasting food….actually more like treats.

I mean, the clearing after you come out of the parking lot is like a table buffet of tempting stalls full of inviting treats. There was no way but  to jump on it immediately. Except that most of us had to use the restroom after a long drive so we did had to curb our enthusiasms. Brussels is the paradise of chocolate. Point Blank. In the short amount of time we were there, chocolate is the only way I can sugarcoat my trip to Brussels. You can’t get away from it. As if you’re violating their law if you didn’t took a bit of a piece of chocolate. I bet you. Paris Hilton has been here and had to run on the treadmill after leaving.  There was no escaping chocolates when you’re in Belgium.You have no other choice but to dip in, especially when it’s covering the waffles…

By the way, Belgian’s word for chocolate is pralines. Frites for fries. Waffles is waffles. Escargot even better. Brussels escargots are not really special everywhere else, but it was the experience I enjoyed. That’s why it was my favorite. And guess what? If we all bought those escargot and it tasted awful, I wouldn’t even had mentioned. And I did mentioned it….

Hmmmm … Hmmmm  : )~

I know tourists who have gone further than just the Grand Place have more to say about Belgium. But seriously, Brussels is filled of shops with themes and displays of the liquid-excreting angel-looking boy. I’m talking about, of course, the ubiquitous Manneken Pis. 

Oh look! I got done with this entry and the M&M’s melted in my hands not in my mouth.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane … it’s, it’s … it’s Prague Orloj?

So what exactly everyone here is looking up for?

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It’s not just the Prague Castle, which is the largest castle in the world according to Guiness Book of Records.

Not only the Monument of Jan Hus, who resembles Jesus according to wikipedia. It’s right smack in the middle of Old Town Square but not quite THE center of attraction that everyone might get their neck stiff.

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Neither are the market items, souveniers and displays…

 Nor the street musician sitting in front of Hard Rock Cafe with two softdrink bottles on his side.

No, no, not the food. People just wait in line for that. People gather around the many interesting and inviting food choices in Prague. But the Old Town City Hall gets densely crowded by the hour for more than Trdelnik, sausages or any other beer delicacies. 

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They are taking pictures and all eyes staring at …

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(drum rolls please)

ME.

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Cutting through the chase, it’s Prague Orloj or Prague Astronomical Clock.

Don’t ask me what the big fuzz was all about, I didn’t get tangled with the rest in the haystack of curious bystanders. All I know is that, like any other fancy clocks, something or some things move at every hour. Let’s turn to my friend wikipedia for information once again…

The four figures flanking the clock are set in motion at the hour, these represent four things that were despised at the time of the clock’s making. From left to right in the photographs, the first is Vanity, represented by a figure admiring himself in a mirror. Next, a stereotypical Jew holding a bag of gold represents greed or usury. Across the clock stands Death, a skeleton that strikes the time upon the hour. Finally, the Turk tells pleasure and entertainment.

There is also a presentation of statues of the Apostles at the doorways above the clock, with all twelve presented every hour.

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Well if you ask me, I think I should get more onlookers than that clock. Okay okay, I stay humble. I think it’s the street musician that should get all the attentions not just in Prague, but in the world.

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