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Europe, Norway

Explore Norway: Places To Discover!

January 10, 2017

After a few hours from our trip in Iceland, we arrived at Norway. At the beginning of our Norway trip, I was neautral about it since all I know about Norway are the fjords. After exploring the 2 cities namely Oslo and Bergen in 5 days, I fell in love with Norway.  It was a tiring trip indeed but the experience was magical and worth it.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Norway is EXPENSIVE, just like Iceland. We arrived at Norway coming from Iceland via plane that is why we were able to save.
  • Norway is a walkable country. You don’t really need a tour guide to roam around. But if you are in a hurry just like us, then joining a tour is advisable.
  • In Oslo, we rented an AirBNB. For our Bergen trip, we stayed in a hotel.
  • Just like Iceland, salmon was my most favorite dish.
  • Norway is rich in history. So if you really want to learn more about Norway, I highly suggest going to their museums since they are detailed and entertaining.

The first city we roamed around at was in Oslo, Norway. On our first day, we were able to roam around the city in a nutshell by joining a bus tour.

1. Holmenkollen

It’s a large ski jumping hill where the Olympics for ski jump is usually held.

2. The Vigeland Park

It’s the world’s largest sculpture park created by a single artist named Gustav Vigeland. It is free entrance so you get to enjoy and observe the artworks done by Gustav.

3. Viking Ship Museum

This is where you can find the remains of Viking burial ships that are more than a 1000 yr old.

4. Fram Museum

This is where you will get to learn the explorers who were able to reach the North Pole.

After our short city tour, we were able to roam around some more.

5. Nobel Peace Center

6. Opera House

7. Norway in a Nutshell Tour

You will get to experience what Norway is all about. You will experience riding the train, a boat and a bus all in one day. Through the tour, you will get to experience the famous fjords and the gateway to Bergen, Norway.

Bergen, Norway

Bergen, Norway has its own charm. We didn’t bother getting a tour anymore because we wanted to explore what Bergen has to offer.

1. Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf

This is a part of the World Heritage Site. You will be able to see bright painted wooden buildings that have been existing for hundreds of years.

2. Fish Market

It is located somewhere near the Bryggen. You can look around and grab something to eat. It was mainly fish when we went here. I remember they told us the other type of market happens in another season, which we just missed.

3. Mount Floyen and The Funicular

This is a good spot if you want to view Bergen City. We went during the night time and it was a splendid view.

4. Art Museum

If you want to discover Norwegian’s artists, then head over to this museum. It’s actually near the Holberg Statue.

The Holberg Statue

With the pictures I shared, I hope I was able to bring you along throughout my Europe trip journey. I hope you get the chance to visit Europe and discover the places worthy to see and explore. Europe in general is expensive but with the proper research and information, I am totally sure you will be able to go to Europe on a budget.

Til my next Europe trip adventure!

Iceland

Explore Iceland: Places To Discover!

December 16, 2016

To be honest, I never saw myself visiting Iceland. I didn’t really know what to see and expect in this small place. Since my mom’s friend wanted to explore Iceland, then I decided why not give this place a try. We might never know, there might be great sights to explore.

Lo and behold, there sure were great attractions in Iceland.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Iceland is EXPENSIVE. If you want to travel to Iceland, I suggest you MUST come from another European country. During our trip, we went to Iceland coming from London via Icelandair.
  • If you are the type of person who would love to do Do-It-Yourself, then I suggest renting a car. It’s quite easy to explore Iceland. You need to make sure you have a map with you.
  • If you are quite hesitant to explore Iceland on your own, there are a lot of tour agencies being offered in Iceland. I recommend IceLine Travel. This tour agency is owned by Kristjan and Gugga. They are a lovely couple. If you do get the chance to get this travel agency, please do send my regards!
  • My family and I stayed at Icelandair Natura, under the Icelandair Management. If you have the budget to stay in this hotel, then this is a good recommendation. If you are on a tight budget, I recommend checking out Agoda or Airbnb.
  • Among all the food I have tried in Iceland, salmon is my most favorite dish. The way they prepare their salmon is fresh and you won’t have to worry about anything.
  • In general, it is safe in Iceland. You won’t see any army roaming around Iceland.
  • It is safe to drink water coming from the faucet. When you buy water, Icelandic people will ask you again if it’s okay for you to buy water since they will remind you that it is okay to drink water from the faucet.

PLACES TO SEE

  1. The Northern Lights 

The best time to see the Northern Lights is during latter October til February or March. The weather has to be very good – 0 degrees temp, around midnight and clear skies. If you really want to take good shots of the Northern Lights, I highly suggest you bring a tripod with you.

Test shot

2. Stekkjarkot

These are small cottages of fishermen and was occupied for 30 years. These cottages actually reminds me of the stone houses in Batanes.

3. Bru Milli Heimsalfa (Bridge Between Continents)

4. Hot Springs

*One of the beaches in Iceland as a stopover

5. Blue Lagoon

6. Reykjavik City

7. Hallgrimskirkja

8. Thingvellir National Park 

Tip: Game of Thrones was shot in this place

9. Geysir

10. Gulfoss

11. Godafoss

12. Golden Hour 

13. Seljalandfoss

15. Skogafoss

“There’s always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”

16. Black Beach

Tip: Game of Thrones was also shot in this exact location

17. Solheimajokull Glacier

 

Iceland in a nutshell is a great country to go to. You know you can feel safe and there are a lot of sightseeing places to go to. 5 days is not enough to roam around Iceland. We were not even able to go to their museums, which should be a priority since this is where we will know the history and culture of Iceland. There are other far away places in Iceland we can visit and explore. If given the chance to go back to Iceland, I will grab that opportunity and do everything Do-It-Yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

Europe, Travel, United Kingdom

A Day in Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour

December 12, 2016

Everyone knows I am a BIG HARRY POTTER fan. I made sure to read all the 7 books and watch the movies. I even told myself that I should visit Leavesden Studios since this is where they shoot the film. When we got the chance to go to London, finally my dreams came true!

How To Get There & General Information

The Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour (known as Leavesden Studios before) is located at Leavesden. There are many options to get to Leavesden. If you live in London, you can definitely bring your own car. If you are a tourist, one option is to take public transportation and a shuttle bus to the tour. If you want a fast journey to Leavesden, you can take an Uber.

When you book a ticket, you will pick a time slot that best suits you. You have to make sure not to be late for your tour. If you miss it, they will do their best to put you in the next slot available. This is a self-guided tour so you don’t have to rush yourself.

What To Expect

Here comes the fun part! I don’t want to spoil everything so I would rather you take a look at the pictures I took during the tour. Mind you, this is a post full of pictures. That is how much I enjoyed the tour. Enjoy!

harry-potter-1The famous cupboard under the stairs. This is the smallest set where they shot

harry-potter-4The entrance to the Great Hall. 

Get ready to enter the magical world of Harry Potter!

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harry-potter-2Dinner is served!

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harry-potter-10Professor McGonagall, Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape

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harry-potter-12The Yule Ball

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Gryffindor’s Mens Room. 

Did You Know: They used the same beds for all the of the movies. As the actors were growing up, they had to be in a fetus position in order to fit

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The Leaky Cauldron

Hagrid’s Home

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

The Weasley’s Abode

Professor Umbridge’s Office

The famous Flying Car

Fetus of Lord Voldemort

 

Til next time!

Europe, Scotland, United Kingdom

A Short Rabbie’s Tour

November 16, 2016

My parents and I wanted to explore Scotland with limited days remaining. We asked our AirBNB host if she could recommend any tours for us. There were 2 tour agencies she recommended – The Hairy Coo and Rabbie’s Tours. We pushed through with Rabbie’s Tours since they have a lot of positive reviews in TripAdvisor. We decided to join their Rosslyn Chapel & the Scottish Borders Short Tour.

To start the tour, the meeting place was in Rabbie’s Cafe, Waterloo Place. We had to be there before 9:30 am since they always leave on the dot. Fortunately, it took us a 10 minute walk to reach the place. Included in our tour were the transportation and the services of our guide. Lunch and entrance fees to some attractions are excluded.

The Journey with Rabbie’s Tour

Our first stop was by the Scott’s View. I could say that this is the most stunning view of the Borders. You are able to overlook the towns below, the Eildon Hills and the River Tweed. This spot’s known to be Sir Walter Scott’s favorite view. When he passed away, the horse pulling the hearse to take him to his interment stopped at this spot.  That was how they usually do it when Sir Walter Scott was still alive.

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The next stop we did was at the Original Sir William Wallace Monument. The movie, Braveheart, was dedicated to Sir William Wallace. This monument was built by David Stuart Erksine, the 11th Earl of Buchan. Before we reached the statue, it took us a few minutes walk. Good thing I was wearing comfortable rubber shoes that time.

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We then proceeded to Melrose to have our lunch. Along with this lunch break, you have the choice to visit Melrose Abbey. Melrose Abbey’s known as the final resting place of the heart of Robert the Bruce. My mom and I didn’t enter since there is an entrance fee. You are still able to appreciate the view of Melrose Abbey even though you are just outside. I was able to find a good place to capture the inside of Melrose Abbey.

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Our last stop was at the 15th century  Rosslyn Chapel. If you are a fan of Da Vinci Code, then this is a good opportunity for you to visit. This was where they shot the ending scene of the movie. While looking inside the chapel, you will be able to appreciate the detailed works done by the architects of this church. You are not allowed to take a picture once you are inside the chapel. Thus, the outside of the chapel was the only thing I was able to take a shot of.Please do take note that there is an entrance fee for this chapel. If you want to know what is inside the chapel, then you better visit the chapel.

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To have the short tour with Rabbie’s gave me the opportunity to know more about the history of Scotland. It was interesting to see the beautiful views and attractions that Scotland can offer. When you get the opportunity to go to Scotland, take a tour with Rabbie’s.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Adult Prices: £31.00 – £39.00
Concession Prices: £28.00 – £36.00
Departs: 09.30
Returns: 16.15 approx
Departing: Mon, Tues, Thur, Sat, Sun

CAMERA: FUJIFILM XA2

Europe, Scotland, United Kingdom

Explore Scotland: Places To Discover!

November 10, 2016

Last October 17, my parents and I had our first ever trip to Europe! To officially start our Europe trip, the first country we went to was in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Scotland’s located at the northern most country in the UK and Edinburgh is the capital city. Aside from Edinburgh, there are other cities namely Aberdeen, Dundee,Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling. Since we went to Edinburgh during autumn, expect the weather to be cold. Around this time, make sure to bring a thick jacket with you.

In Edinburgh, this is where you can find the Scottish Parliament and the seat of monarchy. The Old Town and New Town are considered to be a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s the famous Nessie, a unique culture when it comes to the arts and music, and great history that will show how brave and strong Scottish people are. English is the main language but when you get to go to the outskirts, you can hear Scots spoken too.

How to reach Edinburgh, Scotland:

  • plane
  • train
  • car

Attractions in Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is a famous icon in Scotland. It’s located at the Castle Rock. The castle’s known to house the Kings and Queens. Mary, Queen of Scots, gave birth to King James VI in the palace in 1566. Queen Margaret (now known as St. Margaret) passed away in this palace in 1093. The castle was also used as a military base with large garrison in the year 1600 onwards.

The castle houses the Great Hall, The Stone of Destiny, The Crown Jewels, St. Margaret’s Chapel, Mons Meg, Scottish National War Museum. 

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explore-scotland-12The Scottish War Memorial Museum 

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Information:

  • The castle opens 9:30am daily. Closing time varies. From April 1 til Sept. 30, the castle closes at 6pm. From October 1 – March 31, the castle closes at 5pm.
  • Adults: 16.50 pounds.
    Children: 9.90 pounds.
    Concession (60+ yrs and unemployed): 13.20 pounds.
    Children below 5 years old have free entry.

Scott Monument

The Scott Monument is the largest monument in the whole world. This monument is dedicated to Sir Walter Scott. There are 287 steps to reach the top of the monument.

Information:

  • April through September: Monday to Sunday 10am – 7pm
    October through March: Monday to Sunday 10am – 4pm; last admission 3.30pm.
  • Admission is 5 pounds, for both adults and children

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Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is located at the center of the city. This area runs through the Old Town, the Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The St. Giles Cathedral can also be seen within the area.

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St. Giles Cathedral

This is the Mother Church of Presbyterianism and has the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle. Entrance is free but you have the option to donate for the church.

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Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Camera Obscura is a museum where they explain the history of the museum and an amazing way to see the city. We were not supposed to go to this museum. We suddenly became interested when we were in the venue already. The illusions they showed were more than what I expected. This place should be in your to-do list when visiting Edinburgh.

camera obscuraThe famous vortex

(c) Camera Obscura

Other Attractions That We Were Not Able To Go To

The Edinburgh Dungeon

This attraction should be given a chance if you enjoy horror theme attractions. They get to show you the dark history of Edinburgh through theater actors, props and special effects in this walkthrough attraction.

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Scottish National Gallery

This is a good way to see modern and contemporary art if you enjoy viewing artworks. There are 2 buildings, Modern One and Modern Two.

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Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the British monarch. This serves as a residence of the King and Queen of Scots in the 16th century and serves as a setting for entertainment and occasions.

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Arthur Seat

This is the main peak of a group of mountains and is found at the center of the city of Edinburgh. It is free in order to reach the top of the mountain.

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