A Travellerspoint blog

France, Europe

Paris

The flight from Italy to France, Paris was only CAD$59 with Transavia airlines. It was a 1hr 30min nonstop ride and by far the best deal I've had on this trip. The hotel I stayed at was called La Maison Favart which was CAD$286 per night which totaled up to CAD$943.53 for my 3-night stay. It featured free WiFi, a gym, an indoor pool and a bar/lounge.
On the first day I took a 12min cab straight to Champs Elysees after my breakfast at the hotel. Along the way, I saw everything from fancy branded stores, cafes and cinemas. This is unarguably one of the famous streets in the world and after visiting it, I can see it is for good reason. I then took another 7min cab to Arc de Triomphe, the biggest and tallest triumphal arch in the world. It stands at about 49 meters (161 ft.) high and 44 meters (144 ft.) wide. It was commissioned by Napoléon in 1806, but it was finished in 1836, 20 years after his death. Again, another wonderful piece of architectural beauty and historical significance. Next, I drove another 12min to the Eiffel Tower, built by the French engineer Gustave Eiffel. I took the elevator straight to the top at 1,050 ft (320 meters) above ground. I ate dinner there before finally, ending the day by taking a 20min cab to the Pompidou Center. This museum of modern art hosts about six million visitors every year strolling through hundreds of art works created in the last 100 years with paintings of Matisse, Picasso and more.
Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe


On the second day I started off by taking a 20min cab to the Pantheon after breakfast. It was a wonderful example of 18th-century’s neoclassicism architecture, its beauty emanating from the skillful wall paintings of St. Geneviève's life. I then walked 10min to the Notre Dame which is not only a Gothic architecture masterpiece but a site which was also the focus of Catholic Paris for 700 years. I took a free 90 minutes guided tour of the cathedral in English which was very nsightful. Next, I took a 8min cab to the Louvre Museum, the largest art museum in the world and the home of one of the finest art collections anywhere to be seen. I was excited to see the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo and the other 30,000 exhibits displayed. Finally, I ended the day by walking 15min to the beautiful Tuileries Gardens, which was known to be painted by many famous impressionist artists.
Notre Dame

Notre Dame


On the last day, I started off by driving 20min to Luxembourg Gardens; a flower heaven with tall green grass and statues spread all over its 23-hectares land. I was able to see the Saint Sulpices church of God with mural paintings by the French painter Eugene Delacroix, as well as beautiful stained-glass windows and sculptures. I then caught another 10min cab to Pont Neuf Bridge, with its sparkling-white stone. It is known as Paris's oldest standing bridge, built in 1578. Next, I walked 10min to the Royal Palace which was built by Cardinal Richelieu who handed it over to Louis XIII's. I walked through the Jardin du Palais Royale, a 21-hectare park with fashion shops, restaurants, art galleries and jewelers. Finally, I ended the day by walking 13min to the Grevin Wax Museum. The museum itself holds more than 400 famous was figures from history and was a wonderful experience.
Pont Neuf Bridge

Pont Neuf Bridge

Posted by TravelBuddy2016 01:57 Archived in France Comments (0)

Italy, Europe

Verona, Padua and Venice.

overcast 8 °C

The flight from New Delhi to Bologna, Italy cost CAD$1, 781 for a 10hr and 50min flight with 1 stop at Frankfurt on Air Lufthansa. The drive from the airport to the hotel in Verona was 1hr 40min. I stayed at the Hotel Scalzi which cost CAD$181 per night or CAD$560 for a 3-night stay.
I started off the first day by having a quick breakfast and walking 12min to the massive Roman Arena. It stands out in the lively square and is still remarkably well preserved and a sight to see. I then walked 8min to the Via Capello, what is known to be the balcony of Juliet. You will also find a statue of Juliet near what is a wonderful example of Gothic architecture. It was a tourist packed area with people writing on the walls, the tiles, and on the padlocks expressing their love. Next, I walked 3min to the Piazza delle Erbe. This area is home to a lively market where I purchased many souvenirs and rested at a nearby cafe before journeying onward. I then walked 1 min to Torre dei Lamberti: a 84m medieval bell tower just off Piazza delle Erbe. Then I walked another minute to Piazza dei Signori, a small square surrounded by monumental buildings. In the center is a statue of Dante, and there are many more in the vicinity. I then ended the day by taking a 19min cab to Porta Borsari, an ancient Roman gate, which once marked the southern entrance into Verona.
Juliet Statue

Juliet Statue


On the second day I spent my time exploring the landmarks of Padua. I started off by taking a 1hr 11min cab to Palazzo Bò. This is near the University of Padua, and therefore it is packed full of stores, markets, and a lot of students. The university gave out free tours to people on the different departments, which was really interesting as I was able to notice similarities and differences between the education systems in countries. I then walked 8min to Capella degli Scrovegni which is a chapel that is famous for its fresco cycle by Giotto in 1305. It issurrounded by a Roman amphiteater which was part of the tour for all the visitors. Highlights were watching a short video before moving into the chapel where you were told interesting information on the history of the building. Next, I walked another minute to Palazzo Zuckerman, a museum full of art and artifacts from everyday life spanning several centuries. I then walked 6min to Caffé Pedrocchi to enjoy a wonderful Italian meal. Finally, I ended the day by walking 10min to the Botanical Gardens which was a calming way to end off the day.
Capella degli Scrovegni

Capella degli Scrovegni


On the last day I roamed the streets and waterways of the quaint and serene town of Venice. I started off by taking a 1hr 17min cab to my first destination of Campanile di San Marco. I took the elevator up and enjoyed the wonderful panaromic views of the city from above. I then walked 1 min to St. Mark's Basilica in order to witness its treasures and glittering mosaics lining the walls and crawling up the celiings for wonderful photos. Next, I walked another 2min to Doge's Palace. Here I went on a 90min tour which gave an glimpse into the hidden offices, courtrooms, archives, and prisons from which the true Venetian Republic ruled for over 900 years. After walking 7min to Osteria La Campana, I had a wonderful meal at this delightful restaurant with amazing service and food. I then walked 12min to the renowned Accademia Gallerie to view hundreds of beautiful paintings from around the world. I then travelled on foot for another 20min to the main waterway in order to finally experience a Venetian gondola ride. Finally, I ended the day by taking a 7min cab for dinner at Ristorante Bistrot de Venise for my last meal in Italy.
Gondola ride

Gondola ride

Posted by TravelBuddy2016 01:01 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

India, Asia

New Delhi

The flight from Japan to New Delhi with China Eastern was CAD$752 for a 12hour 10min ride with 1 stop for 2hours at Pudong Intl. The hotel I stayed at was the Taj Palace Hotel for a total of CAD$470 at CAD$156 per night. It included a coffee maker, mini bar, electronic safe, free WiFi and a free breakfast.
After breakfast I rented a 3-full day taxi for 2500rp so that I didn't have to constantly worry about transportation. I started off at Qutub Minar, which features some of the most sophisticated architectural masterpieces and historic structures in India. It is situated in a magnificent sandstone and marble mausoleum and is a wonderful tourist location. Next, I rode 22min to Humayun's Tomb which is the final resting place of the great Mughal Emperor, Humayun. It captures the essence of both Persian and Mughal architecture in a brilliant red sandstone structure. I then travelled 21min to the Select Citywalk which is a chic shopping center with plenty of restaurants and entertainment areas. After eating some lunch I rode 15min to the Bahai Lotus Temple, a symbol common to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam carefully constructed from white marble. Finally, I rode 21min to the Hauz Khas Village which contains ancient ruins, a water tank, an Islamic seminary, a mosque, a tomb, and pavilions. It is also surrounded by one of the most famous marketplaces and restaurants in the city.
Qutub-Minar

Qutub-Minar


The next day I started off at Connaught Palace, which is a white-columned circular market. On the interior it is lined with numerous retail showrooms, small eateries and multiplexes. It is also a decent shopping spot for souvenirs to take back home. Next I took a 8min ride to India Gate, which was built in memory of the 90,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives during World War I. It is a beautiful combination of architecture and history and is therefore a must-see on my list. Next I rode 3min to Andhra Pradesh Bhavan Canteen for lunch before riding 7min to Lodi Gardens. It is a 90-acre garden in Lutyens' Delhi which contains monuments such as Mohammed Shah's Tomb, Sikander Lodi's Tomb, Sheesh Gumbad, and Bara Gumbad. Finally, I rode 9min to the last stop at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the president of India, which was yet another beautiful building.
Lodi Gardens

Lodi Gardens


On the last day, after breakfast I travelled to Khan Market, a popular shopping street in central New Delhi. I traveled through a wide variety of shops, from book stores and art galleries to cafes, sportswear and pet shops. I then rode 17min to Red Fort, an architectural feat from the Mughal era. I visited at dusk, when they started to illuminate the fortress with special light effects and music, making for a sight to remember. I then made my way to Raj Ghat, which was only a 3min taxi-ride away. It is a black marble memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, situated in the place where he was cremated after his assassination in 1948. It provided historic insight and was a very special thing to be able to visit. Next, I drove 24min to Chandni Chowk which was built in the 17th century by Emperor Shah Jehan but is now known as the largest wholesale market in India. It was packed with tourists and locals, filled with vendors selling Indian food, clothing, spices and jewelry. Finally, I ended the day driving 28min to Swaminarayan Akshardham; a temple complex known as one of the most peaceful and beautiful man-made structures the city has to offer.
red fort

red fort

Posted by TravelBuddy2016 18:17 Archived in India Comments (0)

Japan, Asia

Culture Shock

sunny 19 °C

The flight from Thailand to Japan was CAD$602 for a 16hr 5min nonstop ride to the city of Tokyo. The hotel I stayed at was the Edo Sakura, a 3-star place in the Tokyo Prefecture for CAD$189 per night. This totaled to around $567 for my 3-night stay.
I got up early on the first day to take on the renowned city. I started off by taking a 14min or 7.7km cab to have breakfast at Sushi Dai. I then took another 51min or 34.8km ride to the Ghibli Museum. The ticket at the door was CAD$11.96 and was worth the visit. I then met up at Akihabra for my scheduled 3.5hr tour I booked online for CAD$129. On the tour I first ordered a complimentary drink and sang popular tunes in a private karaoke booth with the other tour members. We then dressed up as our favorite comic book characters and posed in a purikura for personalized digital photos. Next, we all ordered tea or coffee and were welcomed 'home' at a maid cafe and visited Don Quijote to search the vast complex for our own personal treasures. After the tour I took a 21min or 8.5km cab to Kihachi food for dinner. After a traditional Japanese cuisine I ended the day by taking a 12min or 3.2km cab to Tokyo tower to see it light up in the night.
Ghibli Museum

Ghibli Museum


The next day I traveled to Yokohama to visit a more traditional side of Japan. After eating breakfast at the hotel, I took a 50min or 42.2km ride to my first stop: Sankeien Garden. It was opened to the public in 1906, and the natural beauty and terrain of the Honmoku coast are preserved in the expansive grounds, and buildings of historical import. I then took a 10min bus ride and a 15min train ride, finally getting of at Minatomirai Station. I walked on foot for about 8min to reach the Cupnoodles Museum. It is a hands-on museum where visitors can enjoy exhibits and workshops featuring instant noodles. One workshop allows participants to select their own ingredients to create their own ramen. Next, I walked 15mins to the Sea Bus (Seabass) station for a 350 yen boat tour that connects the east exit of Yokohama Station, Minato Mirai (Pukari-sanbashi), the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse and Yamashita Park. I then walked 20mins to the Yokohama Marine Tower which was built to commemorate the Port of Yokohama's centennial anniversary. It has a two-story observation platform with panoramic views of Yamashita Park and Minato Mirai, with a cafe, restaurant and bar 100ft above ground. I finally ended my day by walking 5min to Yokohama Chinatown for a dinner at Chungking Szechwan Chinese Restaurant.
cupnoodles museum

cupnoodles museum


On the final day I spent a day at Omiya, starting off at Musashi Ichi-no-miya Hikawa Shrine which was a 52min and 32.8km ride from the hotel. It has a special stature and 2,000 year old history. The temple approach is about two kilometers long, and the Ni-no-torii gate is the largest wooden torii in the Kanto region. The vermilion-painted sacred bridge and tower gate are beautiful, along with the grounds that are filled with tourists and locals all year round. I then took a 15min cab to Shindoyamaya for a lunch at a traditional ryokan (inn). I dined in a room built in the sukiya-zukuri architectural style, for a delicious meal incorporating lots of seasonal ingredients. A few minutes away was the Omiya Bonsai Village, where I drank the renowned soft drink of Boncider for 200yen. Finally, I took a 15min shuttle to the Railway Museum which was filled with exhibits such as a steam locomotive, a train conductor simulator and a miniature train. I also stopped at the bento shop at the musuem before heading home.
Musashi Ichi-no-miya Hikawa Shrine

Musashi Ichi-no-miya Hikawa Shrine

Posted by TravelBuddy2016 17:39 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Thailand, Asia

the city of Bangkok

sunny 23 °C

The flight from Casablanca to Bangkok was CAD$734 for a non-stop 1-way flight. It was a 16hr flight with United Emirates. The Hotel I stayed at was U Tiny Boutique Home. It was CAD$131 for a 3 night stay ($59 per night) and was an overall enjoyable experience. It had free WiFi, an outdoor pool and free breakfast as well.
On the first day I went to Old City and the Floating Market. The ride to Wat Pho (Old city) from the hotel was 1hr 7min which totaled to 28.5km. It was a beautiful Buddha temple with an array of Murals, inscriptions and sculptures that delve into various subjects. There were wonderful landscaped gardens with stone sculptures and a small souvenir shop. From there I went to the Thip Samai Pad Thai restaurant in Old City. The ride was 10min or 2.8km away from Wat Pho. This is known by the locals to be the best pad thai in Bangkok and it cooks on charcoal at high heat and therefore not oily. The cost per bowl is around 60-200 baht and they also serve 100% fresh orange juice fresh from countryside everyday. Next, I went to the Floating Market in Damnoen Saduak which was 1hr 8min and 77.3km away.. This gave an authentic Thai experience with dozens of wooden row boats filled with fruits, vegetables & flowers. The vendors whip up traditional food very quickly which helped with the amount of tourists found there.
wat pho

wat pho


The next day I traveled to Wat Arun and the Weekend Market. The ride to Wat Arun, or The Temple of Dawn by the Riverside was 1hr 20min or 39.3km. These pillars were constructed in ancient Khmer style and are towering spires of floral patterns in glazed porcelain. They symbolized the birth of the Rattanakosin Period and founding of new capital after Ayutthaya fell. Next, I went to the Chatuchak Weekend Market which was 33min or 13km away. It is a must-visit place for tourists because of its large size and diverse merchandise. It contained more than 8,000 market stalls and more than 200,000 visitors arrive every week. Finally I went to eat a dinner of Boat Noodles at Victory Monument which was 16min or 6.5km away. It was Just 10 baht for any choice of noodles. There are also frequent competitions there which made the owners start a promotion that gives a free big bottle of pepsi for every 10 bowls ordered. It is found along small alley along canal and is very well known as well.
Wat Arun

Wat Arun


On the last day I went to The Grand Palace and the Riverside. The ride to the Grand Palace & Wat Prakeaw was 1hr 14min and 28.1km away in Old City. It was a beautiful architectural feat with its intricate details that enshrine the emerald Buddha which was meticulously carved from a single block of emerald in 1782. From there I took the 20min or 4.7km ride to Chao Pharaya River & Waterways by the Riverside. It consisted of a water taxi service along the scenic riverside laced with glittering temples & luxury hotels. Finally, I ate dinner at Jae Fai Restaurant in Old City, which was a 15min or 3.7km ride. It featured genuine local Thai food such as rolled crab omelet & crispy noodle seafood rad na. It is a bit expensive (400baht for 30baht crab plate) but worth it. I finally went home to pack my bags and get ready for my flight that evening to Japan.
Chao Pharaya & Waterways

Chao Pharaya & Waterways

Posted by TravelBuddy2016 17:37 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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