barcelona: where everything is sunny and bright

oh i love barcelona! the place is sooo beautiful and full of life. it would leave a certain effect on you, like, everything in life is easy and you actually need not to make plans. spontaneity at its best! where to go, where to eat, where to shop! so, so, so convenient. no rush. no time outs. you just simply live life. and no, i am super not exaggerating. the moment we landed, i immediately got impressed. who wouldnt? their airport is one of the best i have been to and you would instantly feel at home. for me kasi that is very important. knowing you feel safe lalo na you are in another country.

la rambla

right after settling to the hotel, we went out agad to explore the place. grabe, yung atmosphere parang may fiesta or something. we watched and listened to the music played by the street musicians. they really played good music and everyday different eh. like, spanish style then you will also chance upon those guys with didgeridoos and african drums. so fun to see the constant diversity and they were so good ha.

street musicians


the next day, we had our full day city tour. ang ganda and ang happy ng place! there were lots of things to see and of course, trivias about them. super enjoy visiting each place. ganda ng background plus the locals were hospitable. the whole time nga, i was thiking, well, siguro the reason why super at home kami kasi may spanish influence tayo diba so somehow we feel connected, like we belong so easy for us to blend.

sagrada famila

park güell

barcelona cathedral ceiling

along plaza catalunya

my darling daughter

in front of the  montjuic  castle

nomnom bread and pastries

the linos at barcelona, spain, october 2012

free time was spent shopping mostly for souvenirs and some clothes. cheaper sya eh compared here in stockholm. i say, much much cheaper ha. also, i love that everywhere you go, theres a restaurant, coffee shop, or bar for you to try. you wouldnt feel like, ah you cant eat there kasi it is too posh for you, baka expensive or something, no eh. you wouldnt feel that way.

barcelona really for me is a city that speaks about living simply and enjoying life to the fullest. no pretentions, no illusion of grandeur, no over the top expectations. we realllly had a grand time and we cant wait to go back.

laters! xx

day trip to brussels

on our third day in paris, we decided to have a day trip at brussels. we then boarded thalys train and left paris nord at around nine in the morning and arrived at brussels midi station an hour and a half later.

brussels is  the capital and largest city in belgium. it is also the capital of the 27 nation european union. french is the most widely spoken language alongside with dutch and german. the place is divided into two areas;  the newer upper town and the lower town which is known to be the historic medieval core of the city

great view of the upper and lower town of  the city of brussels, belgium

we met up with our private tour guide, michael eyns at the station. i saw his profile at tripadvisor. medyo pricey yung rate but again, we have a toddler with us and yun yung major consideration ko. comfort and safety and out of all the private tour guides that i found in google for this trip, i decided to get michael  given all the good reviews and medyo magaan yung loob ko talaga. later on, my gut feel proved me right because his wife happened to be a kababayan. that i didnt know ha, that day na lang, when he asked us if from where kami, he blurted na lang that he is married to a filipina. awww. small, small world.

belgium royal palace

the city hall

some historic old own building near the city hall

across the town hall

busy area leading to various restos

the thing that i noticed, andaming structures na at first akala mo church. even their city hall you would think na church sya the first time. michael mentioned that compared before, less and less people are attending the mass na. in fact, the whole of belgium, most of the churches, closed na. some even used it for business, like, they converted it into a hotel. some talagang, tourist attraction na lang. ang sad no? i mean, nasasayangan ako kasi ang gaganda nung church eh.

saint michel and gudula cathedral  

beautiful ceiling detail inside

nice no?

we toured around the whole city for four hours and it was nice naman. na wish ko tuloy na sana in our country, kasi diba, manila yung first stop talaga so sana aside from intramuros, we were able to restore pa sana some old structures from before. kasi sila, even those super old buildings na, the officials  had an agreement with tenants and owners to keep the facades of the buildings.  kahit super modern inside.

of course, belgium is known for super strong beers so michael took the husband to this place. at first i thought it was a secret place cos we had to pass by a really small eskinita. but apparently, the place itself, popular pala sya not just with tourists but with the locals. the place had this creepy feel at first kasi madilim with all the hanging stuff, pero it wasn't that bad naman. 

hubby tasting kwak beer

with michael eyns, our private tour guide

inside the pub

this is what am talkin about... few minutes later, is jampacked! teehee.

while waiting for daddy to finish his kwaaak

side kwento. the stroller that we used that day was actually provided by michael. i  asked him the night before if he could arrange for us to rent one kasi nga we left the stroller in stockholm. since we still had one more day left in  paris, i asked him if he could sell it to me na lang. he called his wife and her wife just gave it to us. yay! 

anyways, here are some more of the photos we had during the trip.


the flag is up which means the king is not around

tposing with he city mayor statue with his dog

at the galleria

lovely flowers at the town hall area

while looking for a place to eat

the linos at brussels, beliguim, october 2012

laters! xx

hotel review: hotel du cadran paris

hotel du cadran is one of the hotels located at champ de mars. location-wise, nice sya talaga. near the eiffel tower and there are lots of restaurants around. medyo pricey but i guess, hotel rates within paris, medyo mahal talaga. to think na hindi naman sya 5-star hotel, boutique hotel type lang.

side view of the hotel

sophie with what she calls her yo-yo signature pose haha

the reviews online are good plus medyo partial ako with nice hotels lalo na kasama namin si sophie. as much as possible, kahit pa sabihin that we would sleep lang naman there since we'd be out  most of the time, ayoko pa din mag settle with so-so hotel. ohmen. kaartehan plus kapraningan. you name it!

the hotel is nice naman. staff are friendly and accommodating. not so strict with check-in time lalo na if available na yung room, they would let you check in naman kahit 3pm pa talaga yung allowed time. you will not be asked to pay right away or  give them a deposit.

the reception

the lobby

they also have a coffeeshop where you could find some yummmy-looking macarons and chocolates. may free taste eh, not big on macarons, really, pero they tasted good naman, in fairness.

the chocolate bar 

at the cafe area

yummy macarons

the only thing that i didn't like, and talagang nakakainis was the elevator. suppeeeer slow. i kid you not! one time, when i had to go down, we were at the 5th floor kasi and i wanted to have sophie's feeding bottles washed, eh i didnt bring the dish washing paste with me, i waited super for the elevator pero ang tagal talaga so i took the stairs! grabe pagbaba ko, approaching 5th floor pa lang si elevator. hello?

also, i think common na sa mga hotels in paris yung small space talaga ng mga rooms even the restroom, isahan lang unless the other one would stay in the tub, haha. pero okay naman kasi super clean, modern and it didnt have the old kulob smell which is one of my pet peeves. tehee.

comfffy bed, tiny room hehe

the hallway

oh i love the breakfast area! with the food naman, well,  the usual. bread, butter, jam, hard boiled egg, corn flakes, cheese, ham, nuttela and some various spreads. drinks naman, they have coffee, different juices, milk, water, chocolate drink. no fruits, though. aliw kasi they were not strict naman on takeouts. i made some sandwiches for baon in case magutom kami during the tour haha. yuhmeh! they didn't mind naman.

what to eaaaat? no rice? longganisa? tocino? lol.

the breakfast area

all in all, it was a good stay. the location did it for us so okay na sya talaga. price naman, well we had to pay 280eur per night for a superior room, good for 2 pax with breakfast. sabi nga ni sophie, ouchieee! ohwell. haha.

verdict:  4 stars out of 5


paris: bright lights, big city

hey,hey! oh can i just say how happy i am to be given a chance to experience this whole europe adventure with my family? i am just super duper grateful. hay, before i get emotional pa, here goes my kwento.

our first stop was paris. we spent a good 4 days there. it was reaaaaly fun! of course given na yung medyo magastos talaga. as in pricey lahat. from coke to hotel rates. naman! my sis said, hello you are in europe, what do you expect? oo nga naman. lalo na we stayed at champ de mars area, super near the eiffel tower. as in dalawang tumbling lang, nandun ka na. hehe. i will make a separate post about the hotel where we stayed ha? para di lang magulo. nakakahiya naman, baka ma lost kayo dahil napaka unorganized na ng kwento ko.

with sophie in front of hotel de cadran

anyways, paris really is a beautiful place. yung feeling, iba eh. may certain high sya. imagine, from the plane pa lang, the moment we landed, everybody was cheering, some even clapped their hands with joy. nakakahawa. i swear naki-clap din kami, haha. and lahat yun ha, feeling ko, tourists just like us. good vibes agad.

the eiffel tower

giant wind mill

view from the seine river

paris side walk

sacré-cœur basilica in montmartre

gare saint lazare

at champs elysees

the eiffel tower at night

we availed of the full day tour because ayoko ma-hassle walking around with a toddler in tow. mahirap. so i wanted everything pre-arranged na. it was quite expensive but syempre for you to enjoy, you need to be comfy and you know, not to be stressed out thinking about logistics like, where to go and how to get there. and i think i made the best decision kasi if i didn't do that, i don't think we would be able to see and do as much as we did.

seeing paris the first time, enjoying the sights with family, learning its history is truly a blessing. i wouldn't have it any other way.  the trip really made me appreciate what i have now and how blessed i am considering what i have been through.

all smiles at the eiffel tower

daddy with soph

my greatest joy

mother's love

the linos at  paris, france, october  2012

i always thought of paris as a city filled with history and rich in culture. the very reason why it is considered as one of the most visited cities in the world. so the expectation talaga, sobra. of course, you are spending - okay, "investing" a lot of money on the trip so whatever expectations you have, parang in a way you try to make the most out of everything. it's not as if we could just go there any time we want. so the experience itself, i guess, enough na to say that it was worth every cent we spent. and the fact that i have my family with me, nothing can beat that.

laters! xx
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