This is not your usual travel bucket list, where Mt. Everest, Aurora Borealis, and Oktoberfest are sure to be in the line-up. Most of these, in fact, can be made right in your hometown, or at least would simply ask for just a bit of gas money and, of course, one’s own resourcefulness.
You see, goal-setting for this year poses a bit of a challenge for me. As I have recently made the leap from being a corporate bee back to a penny-pinching student, I needed to be more creative this year with quenching my wanderlust, without draining my savings.
Word on the backpacker’s grapevine says that Batad is one of those rare glimpses of heaven on earth. A village that used to be a well-kept secret, Batad is neatly tucked away, almost in the shadow of Banaue, its more-familiar neighbor. A few souls have dared call it as the 8th Wonder of the World, but seriously, the title has been thrown around so often, that we can probably come up with a Top 7 ‘8th Wonders of the World’ list.
Shuffling from the romantic vibe of Scotland onto the hustle and bustle of London stressed me out at first. I wanted nothing more than to run back to Edinburgh’s inviting calm and tell them I was only kidding when I packed my bags to leave. But sigh, there was shopping to be done and tourist traps to be seen, so off I went! Continue reading “The Blitz aka The London Pass Challenge”→
Our guide told us that this chant was 99.9% effective — as long as we go all-out with the bellows and the dance steps required to convince Nessie to surface from Loch Ness. Well, our guide was a local after all, so we figured he was telling the truth. After taking a quick peek at the Urquhart Castle, we made our way down to the banks of the loch, where Kyle taught us the words and the steps. Believe me — we summoned everything bestial within us and poured out our hearts and souls into the chant — much to the delight of the other tour groups who were snapping away with their cams.
Picture a genteel castle, perched on a solitary island in the middle of Loch Duich. Picture the classic stone bridge leading to it, that has seen both gallant knights and violent warriors. Picture a small room with tiny windows, albeit with a breathtaking view of the loch. Ladies and gents, welcome to Eilean Donan castle.
Breaking out from the borders of England, I took an 8-hour journey by coach from Liverpool to Glasgow. Whenever I wasn’t nodding off to sleep, I got an eyeful of some stunning British countryside along the way.
I got off at Glasgow at 6 am. Now, if this was the Philippines, I would probably catch at least two grandpas sweeping the leaves in front of their homes at this hour, but the roads of Glasgow on the other hand pretty much still deserted. I got to stroll around for around an hour, snapping away pictures of what I imagine to be streets bustling with life, when it wasn’t the break of dawn. On a Sunday.
Two weeks have passed by in just a blink, and I’ve barely gotten to write about it. Although it doesn’t seem like it, I was sent to London to do some actual work, so most of those first 14 days were spent within the Canary Wharf office.
I heard that the Portobello Market at Notting Hill was a mecca for quirky shoppers, so I set off even if the clouds were taunting. Served me right — I got my first dose of the infamous London moody weather. Close friends will know that I’m averse to actually having to open an umbrella; I would rather grin and bear it. On that day, however, I was never so happy that I had an umbrella handy.
This was not the way I pictured my adventure would start.
Imagine me there, all smiles as I walked into the arrival hall of Heathrow Airport, armed with the most luggage I’ve ever had to carry in my entire 26 years — then I realize the hotel cab was nowhere to be found. No signboards with my name, not even a signboard of the hotel. Que horror.