europe · travel

Finding the Sun in Florence

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I pray that you never will have to, but there might be times in your journey that you would have to set out in the lowest of spirits. As for me, I wandered into Florence with nothing less but a shattered heart. Plans fell through, promises were abandoned, and what I thought would be the most memorable part of my trip found me in my most bitter state. The little dark cloud that was hovering over me seemed to inspire the rain clouds forming high above, dousing Florence in a gloomy drizzle.
Continue reading “Finding the Sun in Florence”

europe · travel

When the Detours Make the Difference

“We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” – John Steinbeck

Bird's eye view of the town of Ulm

Based on a pact (read: mutual blackmail), I find myself hopping on a train to Munich, barely 30 minutes from when I touched down in Zurich from Singapore. I could tell that the teller went to pains to explain extra slowly the many train changes that I was to take, and for that I was grateful. Yet, during the change at the Schaffhausen station, I still managed to stand in the wrong sector of the platform, and thus missed my ride. Only an hour in, and there’s my first big backpacking boo-boo. Folks, it’s a new record! Continue reading “When the Detours Make the Difference”

europe · travel · video

Our Big Fat Greek Getaway: The Vid

I still can’t get over how crystal-clear the Aegean waters are. Or how the cliffs look snow-capped from the white Cycladic houses dotting its sides. Or how Greek tomatoes are simply food for the gods.

This is for Sheng and Mara, two lovely lasses who embraced the eat-book-pray-love way of life with me! A shout-out to Rebecca and Sana as well, our new friends who made our trip to Greece all the more awesome. Til our next adventure!

Song: Island in the Sun by Weezer

europe · travel

I Dream of Santorini

Pretty cliff-side houses in Oia

Santorini is much like the pretty gal that every other girl would love to hate. You know, the one who gets out of bed looking every inch exquisite, the one who exudes charm without even trying, the type who you would compliment all day and would just shrug it all off, as if gorgeousness was something you got for free with your kiddie snack.

I still get over how the steep cliffs look snow-capped from the whitewashed houses.
Snow? Nuh-uh. Whitewashed houses blanket the peaks of the Caldera’s steep cliffs.

Yes, it seems this island is blessed — with its amazing vantage points overlooking the sea, its picturesque artisan town of Oia, a muti-faceted terrain which allows one to comb through vineyards at one hour, climb a volcano the next, all before having a pick of whether to lounge the day away at a black, red or white beach. Continue reading “I Dream of Santorini”

europe · travel

Catching Our Breath at Paros

Even party girls need some chill-time. After busy, lively Mykonos, the almost sleepy-town of Paroikia in Paros was a welcome breather.

We were booked to stay for two nights at Jimmy’s Hostel, and who else would be the first person at the pier who would greet us? No less but Jimmy himself! Quite a character with his booming voice and ubiquitous grin, he helped us load our bags onto to his van and whisked us off to the apartments, which was only a few blocks away from the pier.¬† Continue reading “Catching Our Breath at Paros”

europe · travel

Mykonos: Blue and White and Everything Nice

Finally meeting up with familiar faces after weeks of solo travel is nothing less than awesome. Sheng and I should know — when we had our rendezvous at the Athens airport, we surely must have annoyed the hell out of everyone else. Here we were, two chatty lasses, who swapped stories NON-STOP on the hour-long airport shuttle to our digs at the city center. Later on, we would meet up with Mara, another friend of mine who I haven’t seen since she moved to Abu Dhabi.

After a fun hostel overnighter fueled by pub-karaoke and local beer, we dragged ourselves out of bed and set off for Port Piraeus in the early morn. We were to jumpstart our island-hopping adventure with Mykonos as our first stop, and I could hardly keep myself from being giddy. As a child, I always thought that the Greek Isles were only something I’d lay eyes upon while watching snotty tanned lovey-dovey couples on The Lives of the Rich and Famous. Now, not only was I being whisked off via ferry to the Cyclades, but on a rare treat, I was sharing the rush of experiencing something new with two very good friends! Continue reading “Mykonos: Blue and White and Everything Nice”

europe · travel · video

Swiss Dreams: The Vid

Switzerland was the dreamland that I didn’t expect to wander into. With stunning mountains and breathtaking vistas at your disposal, I reckon it must be pretty good to call Switzerland home. Sometimes, fate always knows best. I’m grateful that it led me to shuffle my plans to include a peek of Zurich and the Alps.

Song: Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis

europe · travel

Venice and the Art of Getting Lost

Things to do when in Venice:
Eat a lot of gelato.
Get a map and plot out all sights you want to see in this labyrinth.
Bring the map and get lost anyway.
Eat more gelato and everything will be okay.

As I got off the platform in Venezia Santa Lucia, I had to struggle to keep from jumping up and down as I got an eyeful of Venice. Busy waterway streets, gondoliers bedecked in stripes and straw hats — it was unreal, a whimsical pace of life defying the logical world as I knew it. It was perfect. Continue reading “Venice and the Art of Getting Lost”

europe · travel

Seventh Heaven at the Jungfraujoch

The trip up Europe’s highest railway wasn’t originally in the itinerary, but I took the very pleasant weather as a push from fate. Launching myself into a fury, I cancelled and made last-minute bookings left and right. It almost looked like it wasn’t happening, but then at last, the day trip to Jungfraujoch was a go, and the sights were worth every bit of the trouble.

Continue reading “Seventh Heaven at the Jungfraujoch”

europe · travel

Happy Knabenschiessen!

When I was first told I was to report to the Zurich office, I was expecting it to be more formal than what I’m used to, since this was our home base after all. Maybe austere, even.

When I got off the bus stop at Uetlihof, there was a carnival outside my office. I kid you not. Food stalls lined the sidewalk, peddling every kind of cuisine your tummy can demand of you — Swiss, German, Chinese, Greek, Brazilian. From my desk window, I could see a giant ferris wheel. Talk about rolling out the red carpet.

Continue reading “Happy Knabenschiessen!”