Dreamy Firenze

They say once you travel, the voyage never ends, and Italy will be a dream that will keep on returning for the rest of my life. 

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The Ponte Santa Trìnita is a Renaissance bridge in Florence, Italy, spanning the Arno. The oldest elliptic arch bridge in the world, characterised by three flattened ellipses.

Firenze, where poems where made in streets

stories are born, people are loved

Is all beauty and enchantment 

Cathedral, tower and palace, piazza and streets

the river glowing in fearsome like a silver cord

the city coloured in mild violet

like diluted wine 

surreal and beguiling all at once

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The Ponte Vecchio is a medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the glowing Arno River.

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The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence. It overlooks the Piazza della Signoria with its copy of Michelangelo’s David statue as well as the gallery of statues in the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi.

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Pedestrian achways in Florence

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the cousins on a whirlwind trip #TheTravellerAndTheWanderer

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looking through the “rounded window” of The Ponte Vecchio

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The polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (in the middle), with the clock tower (on the right) and the Baptistery a.k.a. Gates of Paradise (on the left).

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The immense dome and medieval façade of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

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The Baptistery a.k.a. Gates of Paradise

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“I will never, ever regret the things I’ve done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.”-Me Before You

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xoxo

TheWanderer

August 2016

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Rome with me

Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning.

– Giotto Di Bondone

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It felt like I can die quite happy after seeing something of that place which I have read or heard so much of (an expression, not a wish, so I may be clear).

During the “express” 8 day mediterranean tour, it was only in Rome that the group stayed on the same hotel for two nights. Not that it was enough, but a day would have gotten us basically nowhere. 

Stately and impressive, it is full of history, churches, cultures and architecture. A great city representing conquest, frozen in time. So much will stir your mind rediscovering places where world life-changing events and political conspiracy transpired. 

Only in Rome thus being a crumbling ruin and millenia-old, is also being breathtaking (“only” until I saw Greece, but that is another story shhhh)

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The colosseum is one massive structure that standing next to its imposing presence makes one feel like a tiny blob in this world. 

So wonderful, proving that something with an awful (bloody) past can still be beautiful. 

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Fontana de Trevi. The oldest water source in Rome is now more famously known for coin throwing. With the coin on your right hand thrown over the left shoulder, legend claims throwing 3 coins will grant you; coming back to Rome; ensure new romance; and ensure marriage (hmmm it has been a little over a year since…). 

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Fountain of the four Rivers in the middle of Piazza Navona. Waters from this fountain comes from 4 continents — the Nile (Africa), Danube (Europe), Ganges (Asia), and Rio de la Plata (America). 

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The Roman Pantheon

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Romeing the center of the city surrounding Capitoline Hill

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Blessed to have visited the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican is a city within the city of Rome.  

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I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble

– Augustus

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xoxo

TheWanderer

August 2016

(Venezia) half fairytale~half tourist trap

Within this labyrinth of narrow bridges, cramped courtyards, twisting canals and shuttered squares, is a living, breathing city, ideal for a short break.

It was too short in my case, nevertheless a wonderful dreamy experience. It was middle of summer hence too many tourist flocking the city making taking a decent photo almost impossible.

As soon as we docked I found it hard to tame my wanderlust. It was like being thrown in disneyland and told to sit in a chair all day. Although it was impossible to see Venice in a day as it is built on more than 100 islands, I explored as much as I could and where my feet could not go, my eyes strolled through. There were no cars or roadways, just canals and boats.

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You can briefly tame lust, but you can never satisfy one person’s need to wander.

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xoxo

TheWanderer

August 2016

i Louvre thee Paris

“Paris was a universe whole and entire unto herself, hollowed and fashioned by history; so she seemed in this age of Napoleon III with her towering buildings, her massive cathedrals, her grand boulevards and ancient winding medieval streets–as vast and indestructible as nature itself.”

– Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire

I fell in love no doubt and started picturing myself living a Parisian life.  Walking the cobblestone streets with my fur-baby. Passing by those creamy century old buildings with swoon-worthy balconies. Morning coffee in al-fresco cafes, with those mouthwatering pastries.

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One of the deals I found online is a 2 hours ride tour within the streets of Paris in this 2 horsepower car… and to our delight the french driver was also a guide and oh boy he was hilarious too.

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“Paris is a museum displaying exactly itself.” – Jeffrey Eugenides

The Lourve Museum is like a city on its own. It’s massive and has over 380,000 art collection although apparently only 8% is on display. I’ve read that it will take you at least 48 hours if you view each piece available to the public for 2 mins. Well, we could only allot 2 hours, so we soaked in as much as we could. Impossible to be honest, as everywhere you look, including the floor and ceilings are all feast for the eyes!

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This is me promising to come back to spend a day or two inside Louvre alone.

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xoxo

TheWanderer

August 2016

 

whirlwind paris

“The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay,

I heard the laughter of her heart in every street café.” 

-Oscar Hammerstein II

A perfect timing. That was what happened a year ago. I was bitten by the travel bug and has been restlessly wanting to go somewhere. One night I stumbled upon a cheap plane fare to Paris and an unbelievably cheap 8 days Mediterranean tour package from Paris-Switzerland-Italy-Paris. Was working freelance which meant I own my work sched. I let myself sleep the night through but as soon as I woke up I started booking and organising hotel accomodations and tour packages. Two weeks after that my cousin (who also has an itchy feet 😄) and I was off to an adventure.

We basically had only 2 days in Paris so I opted for a hotel only a few walk away from Eiffel Tower. Paid extra for an early check in and late check out — a tip, when you have a tight schedule and a long haul flight, it is luxury being able to shower and power-nap upon arrival from and before heading to the airport. Another tip, buy skip-the-line vouchers for Louvre Museum, Seine River Cruise and the Eiffel Tower. They are worth every penny when you are press for time, plus having a local tour guide is an experience itself.

First itinerary was to get a bird’s-eye view of Paris, and what better way to do that than through a 300 m wrought iron lattice tower.

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it was like seeing a long time crush for the first time

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having brunch while waiting for our Eiffel Tower tour to start

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Then off we went for a cruise along the 777 kilometer-long Seine River…. but only a part of it of course.

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On our last night in Paris…. although tired from hopping on and off a bus from one city to another, I couldn’t just sleep without seeing the tower glitter in glory…. and I was not disappointed ❤️

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xoxo

TheWanderer

August 2016

 

let’s make life simple

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There were wave after wave of sadness. Circumstances may not have been my own but caught the best of my state of vulnerability. Death seemed to have lurked around my network and took prey on a friend, friends’ parents, friends’ relatives, friends’ unborn children. These, teamed with my forever-homesickness and piling frustrations from work that brought me in the brink of losing my passion, found me in an emotion where life seemed incomprehensible. I wallowed in sadness. My tears too shallow that even rock song lyrics will  make me weep. I was walking onto a ledge called giving up.

But even then i knew sadness is ok. My heart needed to break open from time to time so that life can seep in. It allowed me to take a back seat and appreciate what is in front of me. What i have. Who i have. Where i am. Who i am.

I remembered life was meant to be simple. We are born. We live. We lived (and hopefully leave a good mark).

I began to hear the sounds the world makes again, the breaking waves, the whipping wind, falling rain and chirping birds. A moment as simple as walking along the beach basking under the sun with my four-legged baby became a bliss. I am back to consciously making it a point to spend time with people that makes my heart sing, and made distance never a hurdle with everyone only a video call away. Taking one day at a time to appreciate, to give gratitude, to smile and simply breathe.

Allowing life happen for me, not to me.

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Wanderlusting the year that was…

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April in Fiji. It was supposed to be a birthday getaway with my bestfriend whom I have not seen since she moved to the land down under 3 years ago.  Sadly she was not able to make it, though I happily ended up travelling with another girl friend. We stayed on Nandi’s famous “party island” Beachcomber, it was only a small island, and when I say small I meant you only need an hour (or less) to go around by foot. It was during the weekday, so “party” meant mostly having loud dance music and open bar from 7am to 4am. The food was mostly what the previous guest were complaining about when I was reading the reviews, but since Fijian cooking is not too far from Filipino cuisine, we had no qualms and in fact, we enjoyed the fresh catch fish however it was cooked. So what did I do while I had no access to internet? (yes, there was no 3G coverage) Sleeping. Swimming. Basking under the sun.  Snorkelling in the deep, my first time, brought out the sissy in me but I enjoyed the thrill that I had to do it twice. And body massage, my forever to-do-list when on a holiday.

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September in Goldcoast, Australia. My second visit. My first travel with group of friends.  First off I must say we scored a really really cheap deal for this, say only about 275 nzd each person for a 5 nights stay in Sea World Resorts which also included our free unlimited entry to the theme parks: Sea World, Movie World, and Wet n’ Wild…super not bad at all. What does a group of friends do while in a theme park capital? Rides… slides… screams… the adrenaline rush. By far my scariest experience was dropping from a 90 feet slide that kick off from a transparent trap door where the floor disappear and releases you after a loud count of 3-2-1 and then all you could remember was the feeling of being flushed away into oblivion… only last bout 6-7 seconds though, yeah that fast =)

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November in Auckland City, New Zealand.  I’ve been to this place many times, but this trip was for The Mrs. Carter Show. Do I need to elaborate why this cut the wanderlusting post? This is my “biggest” concert experience to date. Beyonce was, what can I say? Total performer? She is indeed Queen B! It was surreal watching her live and yet still look and moves like I was watching her in the screen. The ticket cost more than my accommodation in Sea World Resorts, but it was all worth it!

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with my cuzie and nephews… see that fence in the sea? that’s the shark free zone

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Same month in Melbourne, Australia. Well actually I only touchdown in Melbourne but was in Geelong most of the 2 days stay. It was really not a leisure trip, for it was for a workshop my work sent me to though I got to visit and meet relatives whom I barely remember since I was not even on my teens last time I saw them. Did get to explore a little but unfortunately, the horrible blogger-slash-photographer-wannabe I am, I was not able to take much photo. The highlight of this trip? I got to stay in a Sheraton hotel in front of the beach and it was paid for! Glancing on water was all I did though, as apart from I barely had the energy hence the lack of photos, the shark sign board warning was enough to put me off, though they do have a designated fenced area where people get to swim worry free of shark. Yet for somehow who grew up watching JAWS, imagine my horror.

my sanity

my sanity

in cebu city, phillipines

in cebu city, phillipines

6 weeks in the Philippines over the holiday season. My long overdue home coming. It was crazy of me trying to pull off traveling back from Melbourne to New Zealand then 6 hours after I had to fly to Sydney then Manila, needless to say I was knackered. Lucky I was not travelling alone as I was barely awake while in transit. Home. Nothing beats being with family especially over Christmas. I went out and met friends though there were still a whole lot I was not able to meet. Food feast in traditional style (google lechon among others), in fact I gained 4 kilos in 6 weeks! My realization though is that the more I stay back home the more I love New Zealand. Not to sound ingrata but I guess I am now so used to the laid back lifestyle in Wellington and the courteous people. But hey it is always good to get a good dose of chaos once in a while, besides being with family renews my sanity big time.