Friday, September 30, 2011

My First Euro Trip - September 2011

Day -1: first day in London.
Oh my goodness. Thought my sickness was ok but I got fever. Like I never got for thr past 10 yrs and once I got it past year then I start getting it over and over again. You know what 99.8 on my thermo. Good that I didn't die and didn't feel too bad neither. Originally woke up at 4 am and stayed awake till 8. Thought abt if I couldn't fall asleep in the next hr then I will start going to oxford. Thank God I could actually sleep and all the way till noon. Not bad. An idea came in my mind that I have to go to London since I have no time for oxford. So head out energetically. Free bus to tube station. 8 pounds for the whole day. Not bad huh. Poor that they dun accept visa. Probably need to get master capital one. Anyway, arrive safely in tower of London. Need to transfer at one pt and someone kind enough to ask me out of the tube. Tower of London got cool history but the place itself isn't all too impressive. Anyway, fall into the trap of buying a book of 4 pounds. Like sth I will not do. Anyway, found the first starbucks and bought the unnecessary card. Stupid me I have already got one. Wasted. So next time traveling around the world. In addition to the credit card and passport. Starbuck card is the next thing to bring. But can't get a hold of Jayne. Expecting a great dinner but didn't come. Next stop was British museum. Closed. No disappointment. Stayed in sb for fererer djokovic score. No ans from Jayne. Keep going. Thought abt going to Victoria but not enough time so went to Westminster. London eye and big Ben was impressive the first sight. Since it was 7 8 already still didn't get any reply from Jayne. So just went to yo sushi. The food in London wasn't too bad for it's price. It's not like unaffordable. Anyway 9 pound for fried rice sashimi and salmon out in roll. Happy enough. Running late thought abt twice should go to Buckingham pl thought abt no one there so I wanna save my life and just passed that. So I went to Piccadilly circus I guess it is like time sq in ny according to the postcard. Then I walk to Leicester station where I will pass china town. Not too bad. Limited amt of time but still able to chk London briefly. Except Buckingham pl...
On my way back 926 c you in oxford

Day 0: London to Frankfurt. Meet the parents.
Didn't sleep the whole night due to whole night tennis. Still got the energy to walk from the hotel to the airport in fast pace. Then chk in waiting for turban ladies. The mesali yogurt and tried to sleep while waiting. Failed so did some shopping and bought the fat x clothes. Rest on the flight and a lil worried abt the 911 stuff. Lady sat beside me was v. Nice and offer me how to take the transportation since her husband lived here before. But was cautious because I dun like being approached. Any way. Bought 3.9 euro ticket to Frankfurt terminal. When walking to the hotel feel like dying because didn't sleep the whole night. 4 mins walk turn to 15 mins walk and rest in the middle. Then saw dad waiting outside the hotel and he's so nice to carry the baggage upstairs. No way a 4 star hotel. Dripping tab, uncloseable door. Very small place. Guess it's because in the center. Then slept and went to a very tasty chi restaurant. Lady there can't stop talking and we had a very spicy salty fish chopped chicken pot. Never heard this is a spicy dish. Anyway. The price was ok and we left fulfillingly.

Day 1: Germany to Czech:
mum afraid goeugo is fake. But we saw someone waiting outside the terminal so mum was relieved. Thought there shouldn't be anyone in the coach but it's not the case. Heading to cz and 
The green pasture looks like the one in the dream. First afternoon in Czech wasn't all too impressive. Lunch at the fastfood place pasta and katzu
Dinner at ghetto Chinese place. Chow mein shared by the whole family. Night at cz park inn

Waiting at the train station, worrying

First meal in the tour

so-called National Museum
Prague (Praha) Old Town Square

Day 2: whole morning in Czech castle.
The castle was ok at the beginning. Then the view of the whole Prague was fantastic. After that walking downstairs for the crepes. Then walk thr the 600 yrs old town. Very impressive. Then the romantic bridge. Then the rip off lunch pl with 110 cz water and 80 cz soda water. Almost got ripped by the 150 cz but me as an metrologist found the guy is cheating so just paid with credit card. Then unidentified Jews town and parents got lost and I went to mc Donald for my abdominal pain. Waited 15 mins for parents to take taxi to arrive. Heading to Slovakia
Overlook from Prague Castle

Slovakia is just like the US with Excalibur castle. Very drowsy each time arriving in the hotel but still woke up with determination for dinner. Nice view at the hotel with castle on the mtn. Then the restaurant streets were just outside at the hotel. Chose jp restaurant. Very affordable. Sashimi at 9.8 and remen at 5.6. Thank God for the day
Night at Slovakia: first night slept through. Saw the castle on the mountain in the dream

Day 3: Slovakia to Budapest
Boat tour. Pretty long and comfortable. Nice view. Then go to fisherman fortress. Pretty exterior church. Low end interior. Ripped 4 euro for inner church. Slow lunch service. Ok sandwich orange juice and bafu.
Panorama view. Very pretty. Every country got it's pretty stuff. Very lovely.
City walk in Budapest. Bought a cup and bought Chinese togo.
Collapsed in the hotel. 2 hrs later, nice and reasonable salmon dinner.
Night: expo hotel

Day 4: Budapest to Vienna
Decent breakfast in Budapest. Heading to Vienna. Don't know why they travel on day time rather than night time. Got all the pics backlighted. Arrived at industrial like Vienna. The palace called Schönbrunn. The exterior is pretty low end and unimpressive. Then paid 10.50 to go in to chk the rooms. The rooms are like Macau venetian and the gd thing abt it is they have the self help audio tour. After that, we went to the restaurant place for lunch. 10 bucks each and I ordered what I wanted the pasta, dad got the sausage and mum got the calzone/pizza like stuff. I added 5,40 cone dessert. Doesn't taste that good but it got a good look. Had it in my camera. Then went to chk the garden out. The garden was quite impressive. If I tour myself. I will definitely went all the way up. Too bad I was running out of time so didn't have the time to go up. Then followed the guide for 1 hr city walk. Mum paid 8 bucks for the restroom coz she went to the national museum. Unlucky her. They were by themselves and I followed the tour. We went to chk out couple places. All the places look the same so didn't take too many pics. But just asked the tour abt the history of princess sisi. Thought abt borrowing the movie abt sisi but guess I won't do that when I return to the states. I guess she didn't like the king too much but the king should like her. Anyway, Went back to the bus and the busy street, chk the church out so called 3rd highest gothic church. But it's not so big and every church look the same so I guess I am not paying anything for the church again anymore. The whole st is full of am brand. Forever 21 and h&m Benetton. Then rush for dinner as we were running out of time. Anyway... The jp restaurant is quite expensive. Finally set my mind right on the true price of euro. Been treating euro the same as usd. Now know it is almost 1.4 times of the usd. So be clear mind!
Night arrive at countryside motel. Brought me the feeling of where I stayed in the us. The motel was pretty haunting. So didn't dare to go out for the internet. Slept all the way through except brushing teeth. 
Night at Vienna. Pls chk fb to where I stayed
Day 4 was pretty long coz the memory was still fresh now is day 5

Day 5: Vienna to Salzburg
Pretty impressed with the whole tour. Even didn't have too much expectation but they did bring us to cool places. Now heading to Salzburg where the sound of music was shot and it brought me to the memory that the sound of music was actually the cartoon I liked. Can I still find the cartoon with 7 kids? If so, it worths a rewatch. Btw, this place is just like biu ling yin. Very scenic. 
Salzburg: enjoyed a casual lunch and walked around the street and visited Mozart home. The garden is pretty too.
Night at Innsbruck, dinner at Thai place. Gold house nothing special. Went back to the hotel.
China like hotel.

Day 6: Innsbruck to Switzerland.
Travel the whole day to mt titlis. Almost the same as sulphur mt in Banff. The houses are not impressive as mentioned by friends around. The litston house is old and ghetto too. Nth special. Then we went to Luzern. Btw the unforgettable one is 11.9 McDonald meal. Just order 1 wrap 1 hamburger. 2 cheeseburger. 1 chicken wing. 1 6.9 wrap. On the mt didn't eat ice-cream due to 4.7 Swiss fr. Then going to Luzern. Can't find Chinese restaurant. Ended up in McDonald again with 3 6.9 wrap. Changed car and head back to tunnel hotel. Unpleasant experience. No light on the floor. Crazy and restroom and bathroom on the floor. Why?

Day 7: heading to notorious Italy. Just passed the border
Just visited Verona and Milano earlier. The church really lives up to expectation. Very grand. And again the interior is not impressive. Unfortunately I miss the Emanuel stuff coz didn't hear the guide clearly. Lots of ppl don't like the new guide. To me it's just the same. Then had the Chinese lunch with rotten tofu. Now feeling abdominal pain probably due to the tofu. Then bought the magnet souvenir. Didn't buy any in switz due to the cost. In italian is much more affordable. Today also verified the water in Swiss is not 5 but 1 sth what a rip off in Luzern. Went to Verona afterward. Old city abt Romeo and Juliet. Liked the city but not planning to live there. Didn't do much there already spent 1.5 hrs and meet again at 630. Time flies for some reason. Now heading to famous venetian. Just heard a good news that the guide isn't going to be with us anymore. A girl from somewhere is taking over us. Good news? Bad news? No one knows.
Btw start missing home already. Thinking abt if I am accomplishing sth thr attending this tour or am I really taking a vacation. So what's next? Dinner outside the hotel and Ross Royce boat tour tmr. Not eating the squid meal. What are we going to have?

Day 8: venezia, to roma
Lido pier to san mark island. Remember the kwan jing bo. Then restaurant 1:10 at kwan jing bo. Then to venezia plaza. Wait in line - repentance st mark place. Glass show 10 minutes. Walk 4 bridges back to kwan jing bo. 4 hrs to our hotel. Dinner at freeway. Dinner again in a decent hotel pasta fish cream caramel and red wine only 19. Nice hotel. Happy with the stay. On: no internet. Venice: impressive place ripped 10/4 magnet. Outside 10/7. Lunch at 19 3 course place. Left the place at 1:10. No gondola. Saved 25. No regret in the end. Bad weather in the morning. Nice weather during afternoon. So nice pics. long long ride to roma. Exhausted

Day 9: morning roma and Vatican
What an honor to go to Vatican biggest church in the world. Doesn't look big. Not like horribly big scale. Very detailed oriented. First impression was ok then get more and more impressed as I stay longer in the place. No time for long dreamed Sistine chapel. Next time? I doubt. If I go to Europe again I will probably choose Annecy mt blanc Matterhorn eiger crotia. Ppl starts saying Yugoslavia is good. Need to research to verify. Hm... Then 45 minutes eat + pics in saying wish fountain. Crazy tour guide. His dish should come out last so we will have more time. So crowded but again like Venice. The real one is still better than Vegas. What's next? Passed by Venice plaza, too much for more picture. Then? Coliseum. Parents uninterested to go in. But for me, place famous like that I have to leave my footprint there. So I even spent 5.5 extra for shorter line and audio guide. Couldn't go up. Finally found out not becoz I didn't find the way but it's because there is a special way to go there. Didn't go anywhere else due to time constraint. Guess didn't miss anything since I visited the most famous out of the most famous already. Just dunno why the cage is underground, is it becoz the surface is collapsed? Back to Florence afterward. Weird route. Talked with the tall tall driver and watched the God-given firework. Happy with the night due to the chat with the polish driver. Good night sleep thank God
Dinner: 2 steaks and ravioli. Good? See how much we have left

Day 10: Firenze and Pisa
Overlook of Firenze crazy tour guide just gave us 15 minutes. Just enough time for the panorama shot. And glad to buy 2 cloth 5 bucks for 2. Found myself bought too much souvenir. but glad to discover the nice bridge reflection view before I left. Then hurried to Santa Cruz church then 3rd biggest church in the world. Crazy tour guide gave is 10 minutes for the church including the 5 mins walk back to meeting point. 3 minutes to go to restroom so in the end 2 minutes to take the pic. Only take the corner becoz I am afraid of missing. Crazy. Ppl are unhappy as well as me coz the tour guide has no mercy at all. At all! Longed for the Santa Cruz church only to know that I have already passed by earlier. Passed by where mike Angelo lived took wrong bldg, delete the pics when found out. Human is so realistic. Only take pic when it has historical value, regardless of how the bldg looks like. A little regret on not buying the 5 bucks painting on the street. Asked for 20 earlier somewhere else. What a robber when say: is it too expensive? He knows. Bought 5 mini calendar for 5 bucks. Feeling of Florence? Really dunno, what a rush and almost can't feel the city. Wish to stay in the panorama place longer.
2 hours to Pisa, 30 minutes for toilet and sightseeing. Dun feel as ridiculous as before. Look more tilt than expected. Nice pics due to the weather and clean white exterior. Thank God. Tour guide commented doesn't matter whether you see it or not. If so then we don't have to go travel then there is no need for tour guide. Heartless guide. Also cheated by his lunch trick. No place open before noon. So we should go for group lunch. When I was there, nth was closed before noon. What a jxxk. Anyway, night at Savona, nice view to this place as lots of houses on the mt on the right and limitless sea on the left. Should Google if that is an alp range. Pissed mum off at night. Hope she will be alright and need to mind my words next time. Great dinner just outside the hotel called pesto basil sauce. If I am passionate enough I shall try to cook one. Only if I am passionate. Mum reluctant to eat probably mad/disappointed with me. Sorry, didn't mean it. Hope God will heal her. Tmr: southern France-the most expected place in the whole trip.
Again, no internet in the hotel. That's why I finished these 2 days blog. Fantastic
Ppl keep guessing I am still in school. Amazing. Does traveling make me turn back time?
Thinking abt all these. Parents are so nice to me. Me Never carried 2 baggage’s. Last to wake up. Laziest in the world. Clothes washed by dad. Battery
charged by mum. Even dad doesn't like traveling at all still doesn't complaint. Mum didn't whine I didn't take care of her. So thank you and sorry. Hope God and they will forgive me...

Day 11: southern France - Monaco, Nice, Cannes
Being the most expected places of the trip. The place deviated from what I expected. Instead of the pretty little streets, what I saw was the pretty blue sea. Regrettably the tour guide gave us 15 minutes in the Monaco place and 15 mins in the Monte carols hotel, while in a perfume factory in eze, we were asked to stay for 1 hr. Omgdness. First lesson of the tour, we skipped everything. Leather, watch. Then head to nice. My dream was to have authentic French cuisine there. Then picked one with eng menu. Food was ok but could order less. Salmon as the appetizer, white fish as the course. Portetelle as the desert. Ran to the seaside for the pic of blue sea. Can't believe had time for the lv purse. Unbelievable. 435 12 % tax return. Compare to 680 in the us. 555 vs. 680+tax 184 diff. Hopefully tax can be returned in the airport. Then to Cannes. The exhibition pl was rather small. Then to Avignon. Stayed in Cavaillon dinner at the hotel 11 euro omelets. Mercure hotel

Day 12: to Paris-chance to do city walk? Bet on the hotel ppl rather than tg
Wow, finishing the longest journey of the trip. Framprome tartlette on the stop. Then pasta and cream caramel on the freeway. Now traffic in Paris. Chance to go to Paris
ReCap: yea!!! Rush dinner in district 13. Siu lung bao and chicken teriyaki. Sneak out to Paris. Metro quite old. Thank God for the safe trip. Tour Eiffel is quite gorgeous. But Paris itself is quite worn out. Metro doesn't stop at every station. Interesting. 
In mercure again. Very tiny room

Day 13: Rhims and Luxemburg
Nth special. Lunch at a place called Tokyo restaurant. First roll of the trip chow mein and yakitori. Dinner at pizza hut. Best spaghetti of pizza hut. Wandered in lux and rhims relax day

Day 14: back to Frankfurt - expected myself to be very boring by then
Morning at kwan shui marc home then the 2000 yrs old black door. Then went to duck e g g kwok. Lunch at delicious Thai place. Then boat tour. Houses in Germany is prettiest. Fell into deep sleep. Then forced to wake up drowsily for a cool overlook of an unknown place. Then now in the bus. Seems to have couple attractions at Frankfurt. Sound cool.
Oh no way. The tg dropped us off before the attractions. But thx God that we found the roman sq and the shopping street

Day 15: fly back to London, hopefully oxford, probably not London
Decided not going to oxford because too tired of the architecture in Europe. Very scary trip. Prolly stop one station earlier. Then cross 3 roads and turn left on an entrance facing alley rather than big street. Only to be told I went to a wrong hotel. Dxxx. Good deal is never really good deal. Almost succumb to 10 pounds taxi to the hotel. But then think 120 bucks just go to a hotel nearby. Not worth it. Then picked the bus. Walked another block almost dying. No clue to where 222 is. Gas station guy told the dir. Thank God bus came right away and has change and I had 5 pounds. Passed ghetto places not a right idea to go out at night if there is no transportation. Chked in. Thank God there is direct hoppa bus back to lhr. So safe trip is possible. Met 2 kind ppl letting me to text and call Jayne. Even in the end it didn't go through. Started my tough journey. Beginning from 20 mins wait for hoppa bus. And the bus just stopped at nearly every hotel that turned a 10 mins trip to 35 mins. Hoped Jayne will recv the msg. A person willing to lend me a phone w no charge. How could that be. Never heard anything like that. Brief chat will the gentleman. Finally arrived at terminal 1. Not short walk to underground at 5. Arrived Victoria at 6. Went out of station raining heavily looking for starbucks. Stepped on 2 shui tum wetted my pants badly =:::(. What a rough day. Finally got sb and has internet. Emailed Jayne wait wait wait. She actually got back to my email. How amazing it is. After couple msg going back and forth she finally got my location and we actually met up. What a day!!! We passed by Buckingham palace. Quite grand. Then she brought me to a fine dining restaurant. I wore capris and flip flop can't believe they actually allowed me to go in. Naked pics on the wall and dark corridor. First course for infamous duck liver. Just threw up mins ago at the hotel. Then baked fish pie. Tasted pretty good like clam chowder. Then last is cream brulee. Still confused with what I ate earlier cream caramel. Finally a real dinner deal in Europe - an authentic European dish with no regret. Jayne treated me the dinner. When do I find chance to treat her back? At her wedding? When she came to the states? We will see
Cap from early morning. Chop and no chop. In the custom or out the custom. Finally the guy just chop when I just wanted to ask a qus. Grace from God? Still hasn't verified if mum got her money back. Anyway, very funny morning. Dad cried again when I left, same scene as we depart from NY last year. Made me cry too. Sad. When will be the time for me to go back to Hong Kong. Yea. Should start praying about that. If God allows, what can't happen. 
Ok long long day tmr coz I get extra 8 hrs. 10+2+3. May God help me to go thr the day and not get sicker due to the rain

Day 16: fly back to the states
the sleep was not bad. Not a thr sleep because I have every single light on. But good enough. Ok woke up at 5 washed hair went 20 mins earlier downstairs got the hoppa bus. This time is better not circling around the whole city before reaching the airport. Arrived at the airport 3 hrs earlier. Got asked 10+ questions before check in. Some mishap during check in but got through smoothly. :) God's work? Then wandered in the terminal. It was pretty good. The shopping place is so big I almost shop the whole time. Went to have 5 pound sushi, then bought some souvenirs, biotherm sunblock, another magnet. Pretty much it. So thirsty that got a latte. Same price as what I got in Victoria station last night. Unbelievable. Now waiting at the gate. Delayed badly. Pray that I will board the SFO flight smoothly
From lhr to Dallas, delayed 1 hr. Fell asleep in the flight for an hr and when I woke up the flight is still on the gnd. Slept, watched Hanna-dun un the movie, slept, watched kung fu panda, the only interesting part was how the panda found his identity. Slept watched someone borrowed. Not bad. Then picked midnight in Paris reminiscing the movie I have watched. Seems watch quite a number of movies in this trip. Like meet the fockers, perfume, Sherlock Holmes, classic roman holiday and the sound of music, rush hour n times. Messed up my phone screen protector. 
Flying the sfo. Very cold, can't sleep. 3 hrs and 7 mins flight less than 2 hrs to go. Should have kept the white sweater. Go through the custom comparatively smoothly except the officer saying next time remember to give the 797 along with the visa otherwise officer seeing visa expiring. Anyway, got online in dfw, can't read Chinese. Wilson helped. very big airport, the sky train feels like a roller coaster. Took a video. Also chk FFI email. Good new, order went up by 10%. Delay my time of getting laid off if this will happen. Btw, the previous flight I flew was the pilot last flight. Very touching moment when he said his farewell speech. Fire truck didn't come but admired his work ethics 33 yrs working and say aa has the best pilot. Think so? Probably coz their landing is smoother than the other. Very sleepy.