Category Archives:Travel

London in Spring: A Photo Diary

We spent the early days of spring in England, and our first stop in that trip was of course London (because we landed in Heathrow). We weren’t actually sure if going to England in spring was a good decision because we didn’t know if the weather was still too cold at that time. But since we didn’t want to go in the summer either when it’s already extremely hot (at least that’s what we thought), we decided to be there in spring instead. Because “better hot than cold” is always our motto. Anyway England’s weather is known to get unpredictable, so it could really blow either way, and I guess we just had to contend with that.

So we found ourselves in London in early April. The weather was cold, yes, but it was the tolerable kind and there were even sunny days during our week-long stay there (one Sunday was a good kind of hot, in fact). The best part, though, about going in spring are the flowers. Although it wasn’t at the height of their blooms yet, plenty were already in full swing, and they were captivating!

Here are some images of London in the spring. Oh how I’d love to see these sights in actual again!

This was in Notting Hill on a perfectly sunny day. The cherry blossoms were such a sight to behold!

Notting Hill, London, England Springtime

This one is on a street near the British Museum after we visited the place.

So are these. We were trying to find a bookshop in the same area as where the museum is located and we passed these while doing so.

London, England Springtime

London, England Springtime

London, England Springtime

This one was outside the Palace of Westminster. This was really a glorious day. There were lots of people having a picnic in the area.

House of Parliament, London, England

This one is on the grounds of St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was lunch time and a lot of people (mostly, office workers, I assume) were taking their lunches on the benches or sitting on the lawn. We followed suit, haha.

St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England

There you go: London in the springtime! I hope you enjoyed catching a glimpse of these photos.

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London, England Springtime

 

Exploring Edam in the Netherlands

I was doing some housekeeping on my laptop a few days back, you know, arranging files, deleting a few, and those other things I needed to have done many months ago but have just been putting off because really, who likes to do computer housekeeping when you’ve got other more enjoyable things to do, right? Anyway, because just like anything else, there’s actually a statute of limitations on putting things off, I finally had to roll up my sleeves and get the job done. So while I was on it, I chanced upon these photos we had from our Edam, Netherlands trip and I was like “Oh, this was a nice memory and why hadn’t I blogged this and what a shame that is.”

Edam, Netherlands

So here I am, recounting our Edam trip and feeling good in the process because beautiful moments in beautiful places like these really evoke a happy feeling.

Edam is a remarkable little town on the outskirts of Amsterdam, around 30 minutes by bus. It’s known for its famous namesake cheese, the Edam cheese, that yellow, ball-shaped goodness that’s coated with a paraffin wax when sold.

Edam Netherlands

We visited Edam on a rather glorious day in Autumn, a little cold but the sun was out, so really just perfect! Since Edam is part of the Waterland Area (a term that refers to the traditional fishing villages of North Holland), we took one of the red buses that ply the Waterland route at Amsterdam Centraal. We bought the €10 ticket that took us not only to Edam, but also to the other fishing villages (Volendam, Marken, etc.) in the area. That was a good deal since you can just hop on and off the bus whenever and whatever village you want to, practically all day.

Edam is really just small. You can see everything in about a couple of hours tops, except of course if you linger at some of the cheese shops that offer cheese tastings or at the museum or at the Great Church. Going around on foot is the way to go.

This is the spot where the bus dropped us off.

Edam, Netherlands

Just like Amsterdam and the rest of Holland, snaking canals that add charm to the scene intersperse the landscape.

On the way to town, we passed through narrow stone streets with cute little brick houses on both sides, some sporting terra cotta roofs. Charming!

Everything was quiet, with nary a soul in sight. Probably because we were there on a weekday so people were most likely at work.

Save for this tour group we chanced upon along the way. The guide was recounting some interesting historical data, by the way, which I cannot now recall. Not that we actively listened, of course; just couldn’t help overhearing them, haha.

Edam, Netherlands

Alas, we arrived at what could only have been their main street, with quaint little shops lining the streets, selling their cheeses and other wares. We dropped by a few of them and had a grand time doing the cheese tasting rounds.

We passed by the city hall, where we witnessed an ongoing wedding, which was a good experience. We saw a couple of hotels and a number of restaurants too, some with outdoor tables that were perfect for people-watching. We skipped that part, the people watching, that is, or the eating part, for that matter, because we still had a number of villages to cover for the day.

After around two hours, we were on our way to Marken, another fishing town in the area.

So that’s Edam. Small yet charming; a nice little town that you shouldn’t miss when in Amsterdam or in Holland or in the Netherlands. We immensely enjoyed the short time we were there.

How to Apply for Schengen Visa and Get Approved!

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

For our Europe trip last October to November 2014, we applied for our Schengen visa at the German Embassy in Manila. Our much awaited and anticipated Europe trip lasted for 30 days and as we planned to spend the most number of nights in Germany, it stood to reason that we lodged our Schengen visa application at the German Embassy. Below is a detailed account of the preparation and the application of the Schengen visa that we did as well as some important notes on what a Schengen visa is. I hope these will help and guide you in your own Schengen visa application.

What is a Schengen Visa?

If you want to visit any of these countries, you need a Schengen visa in order to do so: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithunia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Well, except of course if you’re a citizen of a country where citizens are exempted from securing a Schengen visa, that is. But as for me and my family, we had to because we are citizens of the Philippines.