Saturday, May 31, 2014

Gent: Belgium's Best Kept Secret

Going to Gent was not in our itinerary. Well, I have never heard of the place before and having the chance to visit three incredible cities in Belgium, I was not that eager to push to make it happen though my brother-in-law told me that it's a beautiful city. On our last day, we made the effort to push for the visit and it was the greatest decision we made during the trip.

Gent is not only beautiful, it's a gem - a hidden one. When we visited the place, it felt like we were the only tourists there. Not because of the weird stares of people, but because we were the only ones with cameras and pointing it to their buildings. Well, we were probably the only tourists as most of the people we've crossed paths with were students. As I said on my first entry about Europe, it was in Gent that I was in awe for the first time.  Maybe because I wasn't expecting something great from this city and then it gave me a good dose of elegant and imposing architecture from way back medieval times. Imagine a beautiful city with less tourists; you can really take that leisure stroll and appreciate every moment of it. Maybe that's the main reason why Gent, amongst all the cities of Belgium I've visited, was the one that took my breath away (I still remember my request to my sister to stop for a while for me to savour the moment and the view). 
If it wasn't raining then, I would have stayed on the banks - sit and smile for longer time. 

Here are some of the photos of this magnificent gem. If you will visit Belgium, make sure to visit Gent (tagged as the new Bruges by lonelyplanet). For sure you will fall in love with the place. 

I saw a good place to sit and relax. And it's PINK!

The very view I was talking about. 

And after that moment in awe, of course, the mandatory shot with the view.

And one more. 

The Counts of Flanders’ quintessential 12th-century stone castle

 St Bavo's

St. Nicholas

And don't forget to try the Gent Nose treats! Only in Gent!

Gent, thank you for showing me how blessed I am to have the chance to appreciate you. You're freakin' awesome! Til the next time!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Brugge: Beauty is an Understatement

If there is a place I was looking forward to visiting in Belgium, it's definitely Brugge. Some of my friends who went there were amazed by this city. And so, curiosity got me into convincing my sister and brother-in-law to drive the highway from Brussels to Brugge (Bruges) to discover this interesting place. And I did not need to use a lot of my convincing powers as my brother-in-law had been there and was equally amazed by its beauty.

When we finally arrived, I was very eager to go out of B-Mo (the car) not because of the excitement of seeing the place, but because I was in dire need of a toilet. HAHAHA. Too much information, I know. But my need of finding a toilet did not stop me from stopping to admire the beauty of the city. With the first few things I saw with the reach of my sight, I was then in a hurry to finish my business in the toilet and finally enjoy the awesome Brugge.
It's a city of small alleys, cobblestone pavements, and canals. I may have described a beautiful location for a romantic movie. Well, it definitely is a picturesque setting but behold, if you ever plan to make use of its beauty, you better tell all the tourists to back away. This gem is no stranger to visitors and selfie-takers. We were a lot in there. With it's beauty, I can't deny the fact that everyone wants to be mesmerized by Brugge.
Here are some of the photos that we personally took of this beautiful city, a UNESCO Heritage site. Let me take you to a place where the word beauty is an understatement.

 Me and My Sis infront of the Stadhuis, a 1376 structure.

The Belfry (Belfort)
The most important of Bruge's towers. An almost leaning tower.

The Markt

Brugge, I will go back to you and take that leisure stroll to your bridges and alleys and be mesmerized again. 

But before I end this post, let me post a #selfie

Official Site:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My hots for Brussels

If I would describe the four cities of Belgium that I have visited, Brussels would be the notorious and the black sheep of them but equally beautiful. You know the feeling of being magnetized to bad boys? With the mystery and the charm behind their smile and look, ohhh, one would swoon. It happens rarely to me as I am more into clean guys, but once in a while, their charm affects me. Enough of talking about my preferences on guys, let’s go back to Brussels. So yeah, it’s the kind of city you would describe as rough but you would be shocked to see their Grote Markt – the beauty in the heart of the city. I can say that during my stay, Brussels didn't fail to show me its life. The city has an undeniable energy that would make you feel happy even by just strolling the streets.

This is the Mannekin Pis (It is a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin)

Or the best Belgian Waffle may have contributed to my feeling happy. You know, sugar rush? Oh! Did I ever tell you that Brussels has the best Belgian Waffle? Oh, yeah, I did. But it's worth repeating. Yup! We have stumbled on a street with a Leonidas' shop with a Waffle Store on the side. Sorry guys, I can't remember the street name though, there are a lot of Leonidas shops but not all  have a waffle store. But imagine the feeling of tasting melted Leonidas' chocolate on a waffle - it's worth the hunt for that street. Gosh! I am salivating now!! Best of all, it's only less than 2 Euros!!!   

The city is bustling with entertainment even in the middle of the night. A fun stroll is worth the taxi ride back to our pad.

Brussels, though you are rough, you are worth visiting. 'Til the next time we see each other again, sexy and hot mess!

Official Site:
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Monday, May 26, 2014

Antwerp: Best Gate to Belgium

The Belgium leg of my Eurotrip started with my first cross-country train ride from Den Haag to Antwerp, Belgium. It was a good one hour ride and I used that time to relax and sleep cause you know, jet lag kicked in. But it didn’t stop me from admiring Antwerp’s Central Station: the most beautiful train station I’ve ever been so far. Imagine going out of the train to see that very elegant centerpiece. I was really gawking and it amped my energy and my expectation of Belgium and of Europe in general.

Antwerpen, is the biggest port of Belgium where you'll see a street full of diamond dealers, a fortress in the river, and a city of medieval era. From the Neo-Gothic facade of it's Centraal station, a walk to the streets of this city is the perfect way to appreciate its life and what it can offer to first timers like me.

Here are some of the pictures I've taken of this medieval city.

The Cathedral

 The City Hall and the Statue of Brabo

Het Steen

And of course, in the first city I've visited, I've tried the Belgian Waffles too. One word to describe it: heerlijk (delicious, yummy, tasty!)  Oh well, there would be more of this. I was in freakin' Belgium - waffles and chocolates were a must. Calorie counting was long forgotten when the train crossed the Belgium border.

Official Website:
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Robin Ruth:Your Great City Souvenir

I do not really shop when I travel. Well, scratch that, I shop for others. I always think that I am blessed enough to be in a new place. As a way to share that moment, I bring back souvenirs and treats from the place for my close friends and relatives. Also, I take tons of pictures and post them on social media (please don't hate me with some selfies - it's mandatory). Most of the time, I just bring back a small souvenir for myself. Before, I used to collect Starbucks tumblers with the knowledge that all countries have this mermaid somewhere in their streets. But this collection stopped when I went to Phnom Penh, and found out that there was no Starbucks there. So I was back on getting small thingies such as keychains from the place. Until one time, sister came back from a business trip and gave me a Robin Ruth Neck Wallet (which can be used as a sling bag). I just love the color and the font. After the Rothenburg item, I told my sister to buy me more - being the baby sister has some perks (Thanks Ate!!).

Robin Ruth started in Amsterdam. A new twist of souvenir. It's something that you can only buy from the city. It's not like Hard Rock CafĂ© shirts, or your Starbucks Tumblers where you can buy other places/ cities in one place. Robin Ruth items of a city can be bought only in the city it advertises. So it's either you've been there or you know someone who went to the place. I have few items from sister and friends but I told myself that I would buy my Robin Ruth bags during my Eurotrip. Well, I bought quite a few but those were the only items I got for myself. I told you, I don't shop when I travel. I just sightsee, discover, and indulge.

So here are the items from my Europe Trip this year. Looks like I missed Antwerp and Dubai.

Barcelona - Roma - Amsterdam


Brussels - Brugge - Holland (Keukenhof)


Paris - Austria - Munchen

If you will travel to Europe and you see these Robin Ruth items, buy some for your self. They have bags, scarves, neck wallets, wallets, umbrella, pot holders, and keyrings. Most importantly, they are of good quality and very funky. But make sure you are getting Robin Ruth. You know, there are other brands of almost the same design. But being bias, I love the original.

Friends especially who are going to travel to the US, UK, and other places,  buy me some! Please! Pretty Please! Pretty Please Please! You will make me very happy, REALLY!

Official Website:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Journey: Europe 2014

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.” 

More than five thousand miles of travel, at least twelve hours of long haul flights, ten airplane rides, too many train, bus and tram rides, and hundreds of thousands of steps (and sometimes sprint) are what it took for me to discover a few cities of the beautiful Europa. So far, it's the best expedition (yet) of my life.
When I was a kid, I used to admire the beauty of the Eiffel Tower. I guess Hallmark have used the structure way too much on their cards which made me dream of seeing it one day. It became a goal of mine to go to Paris and see the very famous Eiffel Tower in person. I have always known that someday I would go visit and tick off an item on my life’s bucket list. It was a matter of when. This year, I got the courage I needed (well, you know, I need to gather that courage as I was not good at navigating. Don't tell me about google maps, cause we aren't friends), booked a ticket, went on a long holiday, used some of my hard earned savings, and used up all the adrenaline and energy to wander and experience a different world of the Continent Europe.

I still remember the first step I took outside of the Schipol Airport in Amsterdam; the first touch of the cool breeze on my skin was absolutely fantastic. Feeling the cool breeze thrilled me more than you could ever imagine.  I had my signature grin plastered on my face while savouring the cool weather cause at that moment, I already got the feeling that I would be wishing for the warmth sooner than I think which happened by the way. And the next steps I took were epic. My journey started with a celebration of King's Day (good timing isn't it?). My sister's family and I went to the fun-fare and celebrated the King's Day with the Dutch - it was definitely a FUN FARE with the cotton candies, pattats and the games. 

Then the next day we were off to discover Belgium and went to visit four cities.  Out of our visit in Belgium, Gent was where I was in awe for the first time. I wanted to stay there for a moment to enjoy the picturesque view and just savour the moment. It was there that I realized how lucky I am to have the opportunity to explore Europe. 

My expedition continued back to the Netherlands to see Keukenhof, a garden full of wonderful and of course, colourful tulips. I've never seen such a beautiful garden before. 

Then on my first weekend, we were off to tick the item on my life's bucket list. I was damn excited to see THE tower. 

That moment alone made me thank the Lord for having this opportunity.But I believe that I was thanking the Lord too many times during my trip. I was in Europe and grandiose churches, chapels and Basilicas were everywhere.  

The fun didn't stop in Paris. Munich, Barcelona and Rome did not disappoint me and even made me consume more calories than what I would have consumed in a month here in Singapore. But do I care, NAH! Screw the calories, I was there to enjoy authentic Sausages, Schweinshaxe, Tapas, Paellas, Pasta and Pizza. Oh well, let's not forget about the Waffles, the chocolates,Gelato, the churros, the Cava, the Sangria, the wines and the beers. I had a total foodgasm with all their food. Gastronomy at its finest. 

Then I ended my journey in Amsterdam where something illegal in most of the countries is legal here. 

I had so much fun, I learned a lot, I've eaten a lot, I gasped a lot, I smiled a lot. It was an experience worth repeating. This isn't everything I have to say about my journey. I would be sharing more about the places I have visited. So this blog site will have a few entries about my Euro Trip.