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Riding Gondola in Venice, or Making The Best of your Travel

Would you travel Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower? Would you go to San Francisco and not see the Golden Gate Bridge? Would you visit Italy and choose to eat at McDonald’s rather than dine at a pizzeria?

I’ve been blessed with my travel histories, I get that. I do, however, feel some regrets on the things I didn’t do or see more than I should have. For some instances, I would’ve pushed my friends into riding the ferry to see the grottoes in Capri. Truth to be told, I didn’t get to tour the very inside and the tower of Sistine Chapel in Rome. I didn’t get to see Cinque Terre neither. So many should-be’s that’s been poking me since.

I don’t mean to say gamble your money when you visit Las Vegas. I’m not saying go straight to Disneyland when you have the littlest time in California.Famous Landmarks shouldn’t always be your first or ultimate choice. Of course, it still depends on your personal preferences, time and allowance and whether opportunities stay wide open, only ajar or completely close. I’m just saying that when the chance is there for the glorious moment, be jugular, aim for neck and grab it. When you really want it, get rid of all your attachments and try to stop hesitating. Else it only turns into disappointment, a shadow that will always follow you.

I don’t mean to step on the toes of those who did go to Venice without riding a Gondola. Honestly, I can agree that in all actuality, there really isn’t much to it than sitting on a glamorized boat. Although, it is the experience that I’m talking about. When I rode it, one of my friends was voicing his excitement while I was in silence reeling things in. That sense of being there is enough for me to be so overwhelmed of what was happening. The first time I visited Venice, time was not on our side and that I couldn’t really express my admiration of it. I personally don’t think I would have exclaimed so much of Venice if I didn’t experience riding a Gondola the second time around.

I’m not saying that you should eat more than you can chew. I say when publications and reliable bloggers say that a certain place or an activity is a must, try taking the recommendation and aim for it. Plan accordingly, perhaps don’t just go until you’re fully prepared. Or if it only happens at the spur of the moment, I say why not make the most out of it. Let go your worries, shove your finger a little bit farther and you’ll be rewarded. * big grin*

The Grand Canal

We went to Venice during the Carnevale celebration. I do suggest going there during the event if you can. If not, Venice is a wonderful, magical city with so much history and plenty of things and destinations to explore. While in Venice, make the best out of your travel there by riding a Gondola.

Last Call…


Need more convincing? …


Here is Christine B. to tell you more of how much worth riding a Gondola is. She traveled the heck out of Europe that she and her husband decided to reside there. Part of my world is screaming with a whooping number of European destinations, Philippine vacation and Australian living. It’s another A-lister of the best travel blogs out there.


This post is part of my newly appointed Category and Menu, Flashback Friday.

Fair Oaks Pharmacy: Your First Stop to Route 66

A pharmacy? You might ask. Yep, this pharmacy situated so courtly with outside tables at the corner of Mission St. and Fair Oaks Ave. has adjoining vintage store and soda, ice cream and coffee bar counter. I don’t know where else I’ll be exploring the historic Route 66, but I’m telling you, my first stop is raising the bar high.

First of all, I got there as they were only opening so there wasn’t much people yet. I heard the place can get crowd-y, and rowdy, for its mighty goodness so make it your first stop. It’s a great place to start your journey to the Old Pasadena and the rests of Route 66.

I was greeted by Paul. He was so attentive to my curiosity of the place that he even abandoned his post and showed me the old pictures of the place in 1940’s. I wasn’t even going to try their soda fountain but Paul generously showed me how they make their own carbonated drinks, and then offered me what he prepared. Be sure to check it out if you do come here. They have a buffet of different flavors. I bought one of their Route 66 soda and took home the bottle. An immediate souvenir! With that friendly and attentive service, we talked over brownies and cappuccino, and before I know it, my schedules to see more of Pasadena were all pushed back. It’s okay, I traveled back in time in this cozy place.

Fair Oaks “Pharmacy” is also a sandbox for the sweet tooth. And it isn’t only because it’s a candy store, IT’s a vintage candy store! So, the trial and triumph exploration is limitless, and timeless.

Their variety of huge servings of ice cream is high-praisingly a word of mouth. I didn’t get to try it, but will make sure the next time. There’s definitely a next time… and more after that.

Wait, there’s more. Fair Oaks Pharmacy is also adjoined with a gift store. The whole place is decorated with paraphernalia and collector’s items of pop culture icons like Elvis, The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Alice and Wonderland, I Love Lucy, superheroes, etc.

This truly is a blast from the past. Technological kids of today will require a lot of effort to operate these old toys. I bought a wind-up train toy for a kid I was going to meet at the end of the that day. Today’s toys are just a push-button-and-go. Still nothing beats the hardship-before-reward quid-pro-quo for small kids. The 3-year old kid really enjoyed what I bought him.

Last Call … These robots are OH-SO COOL to look at!

You see it isn’t hard to love this place, an easy favorite amongst many. Neat and well-kept. Happy people enjoying their treats. Time-traveling is overflowing. Classic rock and roll tunes in the background.  Your order is guaranteed to be prepared well. Someone order malts and Paul prepared it for a good ten minutes. They also have an added Bath Accessories section. I don’t generally talk about business establishments but this one is so post-worthy not to mention. If you are planning to take the historic Route 66, Fair Oaks Pharmacy is NOT TO BE MISSED!



Check out Xandre Verkes’ post on Edmonton in Canada. Love the blog for its simplistic grandeur, an oxymoron I know. There are times that she’d blog a travel post with guaranteed good quick reads and enjoyable quirks. There are times that she’d post impressive images, mostly of serene-scene from all her travels. Accompany her “travel-withdrawal symptoms”  in UK, Canada, Paris, Austria, etc in Everything & Nothing. Life.


Future Posts: (I have so many promises.)
Old Pasedena

California, USA

Venice Beach - The skating area is like a free show.

I remember the first time I saw San Francisco. I think I left my heart there. I wasn’t even there for The Golden Gate Bridge. So it really wasn’t the place that I had good memory of it. It was the people in the street and their agendas. I see a line of tables of people playing chess on one scene. I see street dancers on the other corner. I remember a woman verbally attacking a man. Everyone has their own businesses, I guess. Those are very California-ish/esque/like. You go to Santa Monica and it’s not just the beach. As soon as I stepped on a sidewalk, I saw a meditator in the park with a stereo playing serene music. There are apocalyptic preachers, street performers like musicians and dancers, the homeless, people who are showing their talking parrots and jugglers. You go down the beach, and there is an acrobat and exercise area set up for fitness buffs. Beaches are the playing field for outdoor activities such as biking, walking the dog, jugging, skating and running. Of course, pleanty of water activities as well. Although, beaches in California have cold water. To say the least, people in California are attractions in itself. I’ve been in many places, but it wasn’t as various and diversified as you might find in California.

If you’re ever in Los Angeles, don’t exclude Venice Beach Broadwalk as your sidetrip.

Other Beaches and Waterfront: Malibu, Santa Catalina, Santa Monica, La Jolla and Pismo Beach

scenic Highway 33

California highways are also blessed with scenic views. Getting to your destination alone will have you rubbernecking out your window. Every pull over to one of the numerous vista points in Pacific Coast Highway is worth the stop. It’s no wonder why there are so many RV’s around. Many of you may have heard of the ever famous Historical Route 66. You might wanna readjust your roadtrip if you’re on the way of this route. Actually, the major downside of traveling in California are the traffic, the high cost of living and the soaring price of gas. I suggest you arrange your route preference into lesser use of freeways when driving during busy hours. Or, if you truly are a traveler, you’d know to either avoid the cluster by driving early or stay patient for the love of looking at the scenic views.

As a matter of fact, I sometimes get out without paying a dime for the places I go to (except for gas and parking of course). California is generous with open-to-public locations. Take note about the plenty of inviting hiking trails along the way of the beautiful California highways.

Recommended Natural California and Parks: Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Parks, Mount Shasta, Joshua Tree Park, Redwood and Channel Islands Island Tours.

By the way, seagulls, to me are very representative of California.

painters admiring nature are often found in various places

However, California offers many art exhibits and museums, theme parks, zoos and tours of historical sites, and plenty of wineries around Central and Southern coasts. There are so many arts and crafts in California. The Museum of Contemporary Arts is probably the most visited art museum in the state. Los Angeles alone offers a variety of amusement parks such as Universal Studios, Six Flags, Knotts Berry Farms and the ever-magical Disneyland. You can find Sea World in San Diego. There are just a ton of parks and family fun in California. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is highlighted in my bucketlist.

Recommended Family Fun: San Diego Zoos, Monterey and Disneyland Resort

Wineries: Santa Barbara, Napa Valley and Ojai

Californians boast about the weather. Having resided here for accumulated 2 years, I can attest that they do have a reason to praise. Exploring the places ain’t that bad at all. It just guarantees to satisfy whatever it is that you are aiming for. I suggest to make good use of Information Centers that often located right on the tourist spots and city centers. Bring quarters to pay for parking in case you get lucky to find a spot on the side of the road. Pack your lunch, or indulge in variety and multi-cultural choices of food California serves. Don’t miss out on vista points en route to your destinations. Avoid paying at the counter when going to museums and theme parks. It’s better to go online and check for discounts. Also, taking tours are recommended saving gas and the hassle of traffic esp. in San Francisco and Hollywood. Make good use of  the train. Two-way ticket costs less than $30 anywhere in California.

Recommended Landmarks: Golden Gate Bridge, Hearst Castle, Alcatraz, Disneyland and Hollywood Sign (Griffith Park offers a good picture-taking spot)

LA by night

Note: A lot of places mentioned are from research. All photos are mine.

Here are some more overview and previews of my California travels. Be sure to click on my California tag.

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Going to California, check out Compass Tales


The compass reached the summit of the Yosemite. An accomplishment I’m reaching for. The blog offers views and suggestions on many trails and other travel adventures to various locations in California and its neighboring states to include other close boundaries such as Mexico and Canada.

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