wanderwoman

WanderLost in Grecian Atlantis

Some journeys can only be travelled alone.

– Ken Poirot

The last but not the least blogpost for the year and safe to say my 2017 favourite. Not only because I got to visit one of the country at the topmost of my eternally-long-travel-wish-list but also because I finally ticked off solo traveling.

This trip did not only pushed me out of my comfort zone but also pushed me out of the zone of other’s expectations. Although I have been always someone who can be out and about alone, solo traveling was an uncharted territory. Solo travelling made me reflect more and got me (re)acquainted with myself. You see when I am with someone or with my dog, chances are my attention is with my companion. Being on my own and on a foreign land forced me to look beyond what’s right in front of me, tried new things, and looked at people discovering strangers to be incredibly interesting.

It takes a lifetime for someone to discover GREECE, but it only takes an instant to fall in love with her – Henry Miller

ATHENS

Athens, the eye of Greece. Visiting the world famous Parthenon in the Acropolis is a must, and I highly recommend getting lost exploring the Plaka. It was my first joining a food tour and it was fun discovering the city including places and food I would have not dared delve into on my own.

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It’s easy to understand why Zeus and his fellow Gods choose this part of the world as their base. As they sit on their throne above Mt. Olympus they can look down at the dazzlingly blue Aegean Sea sparkling with the myriad jewels we call islands, scattered as far as the horizon, it is a view fit for Gods.- unknown

SANTORINI

What else is there for a wanderer to say about Santorini. Words nor any photo will ever describe this picturesque island. The cliffs, the blue sea, the sunset and whitewashed houses, are not entirely unique to this island, but somehow a totally different experience. Dazzling and romantic all in one. Simply blissful. I was lucky to have joined a tour group headed by an archaeology major. From how the island shed its original and official name Thira to its now famous name, to the guided visit to the excavation site stirring one’s curiosity. It was amazing how this island’s claim as the lost Atlantis really do sound convincing.

Fira – the capital of the Island

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Bell tower of Virgin Mary Church in the village of Megalochori. The oldest village if I remember the guide well enough.

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Dining and swimming in the Black Beachimg_2662

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This is how the grapes are planted in the island, it thrives through the volcanic soil. How does grapes (tomatoes and capers) survive and taste good in spite of the scarcity of water and harsh weather? “the island is simply blessed by the gods” is all our tour guide could say.

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A visit to the ancient Akrotiri displaying a Minoan city destroyed by the volcanic eruption of 1613 BC.

Who is not familiar of the blue dome Santorini post cards? they are from the village of Oia, where sun-worshippers gather to watch the sunset.

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MYKONOS

If Santorini is the super model island of Greece, Mykonos is the great glamour island that happily flaunts its stylish nightlife. Although I can attest, partying basically starts as soon as you wake up especially in the south beaches. Nope, I was not one of the insatiable revellers. I went all nana and read two books during my stay where some pages of which I spent in the  middle of hardcore-beach-bum-party-youngsters (and youngish alike), on a bean bag under a beach umbrella with a cocktail or two facing the water under the turquoise skies.

When you decide to have a break from beach partying or bumming (like in my case!), head to west side of the island, the tiny capital Hora (a.k.a. Mykonos Town).  Lose yourself for hours in the enchanting labyrinth of narrow pedestrian streets bedecked with bougainvillea and lined with picture-perfect, tiny churches, restaurants and boutiques.

Do not miss the dining experience in Little Venice with the traditional windmills in view.

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DELPHI and METEORA

A quick stop in Delphi archeological site and marvelled at amazing cliff-top monasteries in Meteora. 

You know you’re in Greece when you feel a unique, indescribable, out of this world euphoria being there and a deep sadness when you’re leaving. – unknown


xoxo

TheWanderer

28 August – 8 September, 2017

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wanderwoman

Pisa don’t lean on me

There’s nothing much to say… it’s a bell tower… basically an architectural project gone terribly wrong. Beautiful and a disaster still threatening to happen.

 

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the peeking tower of Pisa =)

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the experimental pose….the reality of tourist mayhem =)

 

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xoxo

TheWanderer

August 2016

 

wanderwoman

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

wanderwoman

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

wanderwoman

(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

wanderwoman

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

 

wanderwoman

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