Sunday, March 29, 2009

Back to Malaysia (10 Oct 2008)

The last of my travel blog to Europe. I book the Thai airways for my Europe trip as it was the cheapest I could find. Malaysian Airlines was about RM1500 more. So my flight was at 8.30pm from London Heathrow and than reach Suvarnabhumi airport at around 2.30pm and then a long walk to the transit area which is in another wing to KL at 3.20pm. Finally reach KL at around 6.00pm local time. Shop for a bottle of duty free liquor and ended up buying Barcardi Lemon which is still sitting around in the house. Nobody likes it, including me.
And also a pack of Dior miniature perfume which is only available at the airport duty free shop. There are actually 5 bottles and I have given away 2 bottles.

Manchester, UK (09 Oct - 10 Oct 2008)

Immediately we reach the hotel, we ask how to go to the city centre. Well, the main aim was to go shopping at Primark and also for lunch. Clothes at Primark is really, really cheap. I bought a nice hoody for my daughter for only 1pds. And for 10pds, I got her a long sweater. I could not buy much things, as our luggage is already full and the next day, I have to travelled by myself down to London and from there to Heathrow.

Piccadilly park with Primark at the background

Back to Belgium (05 Oct - 9 Oct 2008)

Book the Euroline bus to Belgium. Have to take a bus to the Euroline bus station at Gallieni which just a 5 mins bus ride from where we are staying. The trip from Gallieni to Belgium took about 4 hours. We have to return to Belgium as most of my daughter's things are still in my sister-in-law house. When we reach Belgium, she was kind enough to come pick us up at the station and told us why we stopped there which is a red light area. We stayed there for 4 days unti the 9th of October. This time we went shopping in Belgium. We also find that clothes are cheap here, i.e. if you know where to go. Well, I can't remember where she took us because most of the name are in French. I bought a nice sweater for only 5 euro for my daughter who is studying in Australia. And some baby clothes for another sister-in-law in Malaysia who just delivered a baby boy before I went to Europe. We left on the 9th October morning by Flybe airline to Manchester. It's about 2 hours flight from Paris to Manchester. We have problem with the Immigration.....thinking that we need visa to go to UK, even after we told them we are commonwealth citizens and allow to go to UK for 6 months without visa, but they still have to check, so in the end, we were allowed go in last. The plane was a small one, which is a 24 seater plane. Of course, its the cheap airline, like Air Asia, so no food serve unless you pay for it. Since UK did not have daylight saving, we reach quite early meaning in UK, like a two hours is just one hour behind. Took a black cab to our travel lodge hotel which cost us 20pds. We could have save the 20pds if the hotel told us that they provide free scheduled transport from the airport to the hotel and vice-versa.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Paris (01 Oct - 05 Oct 2008)

Day 4 (4th Oct)
Outside Notre Dame
The giant chandelier inside

When we came out of the church, we saw so many sparrows perch on top of the shrubs.

After that we took the train to the flea market. Unfortunately we forgot to take any pictures there. I bought a handbag for 15 euro and the scarfs which was quite cheap. There were streets upon streets of vendors.

Paris (01 Oct - 05 Oct 2008)

Day 3 (3rd Oct 2008)
This is the final day we have the car with us. And since Peugeot do not open on weekends we have to return the car today, i.e. on Friday. Left early morning to Courbevoie to return the car and from there took the train to Versailles. We were lucky that we met someone who is so kind as to take us to the train station and onto the platform to go to Versailles and in actual fact he is going the opposite way.

Train station near Courbevoie and around here are full of modern buildings
Versailles on the outside

The garden - Too big to explore and moreover after more than a month of walking, both of us have problem walking too long
Famous Hall of Mirrors

Friday, March 27, 2009

Paris (01 Oct - 05 Oct)

Day 2
From Eiffel Tower we get the bird eye view of Paris. Since our next stop was the Lourve, we search to see where is it and is it possible to walk there. After counting the number of bridges on the river Seine, we feel that we should be able to. The moment we get down from the Eiffel Tower, the sky turns so dark and both of us did not bring any umbrella. Fortunately along the walkway, there were full of chestnut trees which is blessing as it shade us from the rain and then turn in a hail and then finally drizzling.
Bird Eye view of Paris from Eiffel Tower

Walkway along River Seine to the Lourve

Alexandra bridge which is along the way
Finally at the Lourve and the sun is out again.
It such a huge museum. So we have to plan where to go as we only got 3 hours before the museum close for the day. So, the first stop is definitely the Denon wing to see the painting of Mona Lisa. Then walk along the way and admire the other paintings before reaching the Sully wing to see the sculpture of Venus de Milo. By the time we reach Sully wing, its almost closing time, so we rush through the others and have to forgo some places. Well, I guess to really admire all of the items, one have to be there for the whole day or maybe 2 days or more.

Paris (01 Oct - 05 Oct)

Day 1 and 2 in Paris
Left Nice around 8.00am on October 1st. After contemplating whether to stop in Avignon for a night or not, we decided to drive straight to Paris which is around 1000km away as there are so many places that we want to visit in Paris. We arrived at around 6.00pm and the toll came to about 70 euro. Checked into our hotel which is slightly out of Paris and decided to walk to Carrefour which is just 5 mins away for dinner. The next morning, and the first thing we want to do was to get to the top of Eiffel Tower and most importantly to beat the queue. Unfortunately, we lost the way and instead end up in Champs Elysees and from there we could see Eiffel Tower and after taking some photos, decided to walk towards it.

Champs Elysees Paris Jam

Eiffel Tower

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nice (29 Sep - 30 Sep 2008)

The next day we left for Nice, France and check into Villa Saint Exupery which is a hostel and stayed there for 2 days. On the day of arrival we went to the Fruit and Flower market, but its already close and so we walked down to the sea-side. It is not a sandy beach but full of black pebbles. I chose a nice big pebble and took home for sovenir.

The following day, we took the bus to Eze Village and then to Monaco. Eze village is a 12th Century Medieval village and its perch on a hill overlooking the sea. Climbing up the village, there are lots of narrow cobbled path that leads to different part of the village. Some of houses there are converted to souvenirs shops. In front of the church is a little square shaded by olive trees and sitting on one of the benches you can see the panaromic view over the valley and into the village.
After a short tour around Eze village, we catch the next bus to Monte-Carlo. We reach Monaco just in time to see the changing of the guards and there was really a big crowd. The funny thing is, immediately after the event, everyone sort of disperse so fast and the place look empty instantly. After taking a few snaps shot, we walked to the Oceanographic Museum and took the 30 mins tours by a "train-like" bus for 7 euro each round Monaco and also around the F1 race track or shall I call race road . After the tour, we walked along the route and visit the Japanese garden and then along the port with all the yatch at the dock and then to the Monte-arlo casino.
How artistic is the phone booth?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pisa (28 Sep - 29 Sep 2008)

This camp is the best of the three we stayed. It has a small kitchen on the front porch and a table and chairs. There is also a small fridge inside.
Left Rome around 8.00am for Pisa. We have been travelling from Calais to Rome by avoiding toll roads with no problem. In the beginning we were using non toll road and again it bring us up mountainous small roads. At the end we decided to use the toll road and find that in Italy toll road are quite cheap and there are toll booths where you can pay cash and the route was also scenic and of course, much easier to drive. So we arrive Pisa, quite early before dark and manage to go to the Leaning tower of Pisa which is just about 10 mins from where we are staying. And again we stayed with Magic Europe camping that is Camping Torre Pendente and again got 10% discount. I regretted not buying any leather handbags from here. Its really cheap.

Vatican City (26 Sep 2008)

In Rome, across the Tiber River is the Vatican City. It is the smallest country in the world with a population of 900. When we arrive at St Peter's square, the queue was so long to go into the Vatican city, so we decided just to watch from the outside. I hope to be able to go back to Rome next time and really go visit the Vatican city, but unfortunately I did not throw a coin over my shoulder into the Trevi fountain.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rome (25 Sep - 28 Sep 2008)

Left Venice on the 25 morning and arrive in Camping Tiber late afternoon. As we stayed with Camping Fusina in Venice, we were offered 20% discount on subsequent Camping grounds with their sister's camp. The camp has a schedule bas to the nearest train station which cost only 1 euro to go into Rome. So the next morning we took the first bus to the station and then to Rome. We went for the hop on and hop off tour bus which is very reasonable because it last for 2 days. So we decided to go one round on the bus before hoping off to our which ever destination we like. So after that, our first stop was the colosseum which is an amphitheater and was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. It stays partially ruined due to damage caused by earthquakes and stone-robbers. It is one of Rome's most popular tourist attraction and still has close connections with the Roman Catholic Church, as each Good Friday the Pope leads a torchlit procession to the amphitheatre.

Trevi Fountain is the most famous and also the most beautiful fountain in all of Rome. This impressive monument dominates the small Trevi square located in the Quirinale district. Legend has it if you throw a coin over your shoulder with your back to the fountain into the water you will return to Rome.

Go to Tiberina Island, i.e. a very small island in the middle of the Tiber River, cross it to the other side and on your right you will find the food here are quite reasonable. We ordered large piece of pizza for 4 euro and a 3 course meal for only 10 euro.