First solo travel in 2003

Almost 12 years ago, I traveled on my own for the first time to Australia. Back then, there weren’t smartphones, no googlemaps, or facebook and instagram, no tripadvisor. I had just finished college three years before, and had been working in our family-run business. For the trip, I bought a big blue backpack and since I hadn’t really learned the art of packing light, also took my mom’s blue-green trolley. Not exactly a backpacker, but not the sleek traveler either. I brought my Canon digital camera, a clunky looking gadget by today’s standards, and a little notebook.  Since blogging was limited to known writers and personalities at that time, my hastily written journal was my only outlet.

17 Sept 03
11:45 AM  onboard Sydney to Singapore flight

I just finished watching a movie–Goodbye Lenin–a Deutsch film by Wolfgang Becker with cast lead by Daniel Bruhl. It’s a very moving story set in East Germany in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell and capitalism took over socialist East Germany.  Continue reading

Street music, free concerts and festivals

There is something about street music that gets me excited. Maybe it’s the spontaneity of the artist and the spectators. The energy seems almost palpable when music is played and heard in open space.

Last month’s trip to Europe in the summer was filled with an eclectic mix of street performers, a park concert and my first international music festival! Here are some of those cool buskers, bands and performers!

cellist at rijks

I was lucky to walk by these guys right outside Rijksmuseum. I instantly drooled over the cellist when he played a very familiar classical song. Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1.

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My 20 Days of Summer in Europe

For the longest time, Europe had always been on my dream travel list, and this year, I finally made it happen! With a weekend backpack, and a 30L compact trolley, I set on a 3-week trip to five countries across Europe, hitting the Western, Central and Southern parts, right in the middle of summer. My friend Ann and I were traveling from the Philippines, and Cherry, another friend from the US joined us on the first week. We had booked our interregional flights and train tickets a few weeks ahead, and contacted our apartment hosts about two weeks before the trip. I picked most of the apartments, and my choices were based on budget, neighborhood, host’s profile and amenities, in that order. While I knew we wanted to be accessible to major attractions, I particularly wanted to be in a local neighborhood, not an excessively tourist area.

 Postcard-perfect Amsterdam canal bridgecopyFirst stop was Amsterdam, the capital city of Netherlands. An apartment in the Jordaan Quarter was going to be our home for the first 5 days of our trip.   Formerly a working class neighborhood, Jordaan is now home to young professionals and small businesses, with charming little shops, art galleries and brown cafes.  Continue reading