Did You Know?

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Annecy is one of the most beautiful, romantic places on earth, may be even more stunning than the majestic French Alps that surround it. Just 22 miles from Geneva in the Upper Savoy region of eastern France, Annecy is divided by small canals and streams running from the brilliant blue Lac Annecy. Highlights include the popular terraces that line the canals, giving it a Venice-like feel, as well as the famous Palais de l’Isle, a picturesque 12th century castle built right in the middle of one of the canals.

And all this time I thought Paris was the most romantic place on earth! I definitely have this enchanting place on my places I need to visit!

Quote of the Day

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”

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(This picture was taken at Claude Monet’s house in Giverny, France. We were some of the first visitors there very early in the morning so we had the garden all to ourselves for a little while! It was mesmerizing).

Destination Of The Week: Colmar, France

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Described as “one of the most attractive towns in Alsace,” Colmar is situated in east-central France, in a border region that was once disputed between France and Germany. It serves as something of a gateway for those seeking to travel overland from France to the Rhine Valley. Colmar is 273 miles from Paris and 73 miles from Strasbourg, France. Colmar’s main draw is its well-preserved and colorful old town. This district is a good reminder of Colmar’s place in a border region, as its half-timbered architecture is noticeably more German than French. Two highlights of a walking tour of the old part of Colmar are the Maison des Tetes (“House of Heads”), so-named because it is decorated with faces; the ancient wooden Pfister House; and the pink St. Martin Church. The Unterlinden Museum is home to a fine collection of old armor, furniture and other items, but its main point of interest is the Isenheim Altarpiece, with its striking paintings of scenes such as the Crucifixion and the temptation of St. Antony. According to Fodor’s, the low rainfall and distinct seasons of Alsace make pretty much anytime a good time to go to Colmar. The city enjoys a snowy, Christmas-postcard atmosphere in winter and golden colors in autumn. The summers are warm and mild, and in spring the vineyards of the surrounding countryside come alive with grape blossoms.

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Best Places to See Holiday Lights

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Vienna, Austria: Advent brings out Vienna’s romantic side: Garlands of bulbs glisten over thoroughfares and shops are decorated with pine branches and silk ribbons (November 26-December 31). Giant chandeliers lead to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and daily Advent concerts take place at Schönbrunn Palace.

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Winter Morning, Yosemite National Park: All that is required to surprise and delight is to go out early on a winter morning in Yosemite and keep your eyes open wide.

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Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen: The Japanese Pagoda, a popular restaurant on Tivoli Lake, is among the  many structures dressed up with holiday lights at Denmark’s 1843  amusement park and  “pleasure garden,” the dreamy vision of a Tiffany design director. In  addition to touring the Asian area, located near the concert hall,  visitors can zoom through the sparkling skies on the 1914 roller  coaster, and warm up with glogg (mulled wine) and apple dumplings. November 11-December 30.

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Hallstatt, Austria: When the dark falls and tourists rest, the town of Hallstatt comes back to peacefulness. As fog winds around the spire of the famous Parish Church, and the blue tint of the rainy night is decorated by warm light, the town really looks like a fairyland.

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Gothenburg, Sweden: The aroma of toasted almonds and glogg heralds the arrival of Saint Lucia to this charming river town illuminated all season long. Five million lights glitter on the buildings and on the 700 Christmas trees at Liseberg Amusement Park’s Christmas Market (Scandinavia’s largest, open November 18).

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Kobe, Japan: Following the Kobe earthquake of 1995, Italy loaned thousands of hand-painted bulbs to be built into intricate luminarie light-strung, Gothic-style structures. The tradition continues: Four million revelers celebrate Japan’s enduring resilience near Higashi-Yuenchi Park. December 1-12.

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Brussels, Belgium: During Plaisirs d’Hiver, dramatically lit buildings and music lift spirits in the historic Grand Place. At the Christmas market, 240 chalets serve Belgian waffles and conical cuberdon candies. November 25-January 11

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Hong Kong, China: It’s an over-the-top Christmas in Hong Kong, where lights twinkle along Main Street in Disneyland, the city’s malls try to outdo each other in awesomeness (Roppongi Hills Galleria created a ground-level Milky Way galaxy of lights one year), and the downtown skyline dances with colorful lights and music. The city center, crowned by a giant Swarovski crystal tree,  and Victoria Harbour is fantastically illuminated. Stick around for Chinese New Year festivities for more fireworks and action. November 25–January 1.

London and Cambridge Adventures

As I get ready to watch the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, I started going through my pictures of my last visit to London 🙂

This is the Hotel we stayed at! It was a perfect location because we were only two blocks from Trafalgar Square. I also want to add that their morning breakfast was delicious!! I woke up excited every day because I knew I was going to have their breakfast 🙂 Once you head out, if you kept walking strait you reach Buckingham Palace! You could even see the Palace from a distance.

My friends made me the tour leader because I was more familiar with the city. I told my friends that walking in London is always fun because you enjoy the scenery and don’t even realize you are walking long distances. You see all these cute little shops and walk in and end up staying for a while. All the small coffee shops and bakeries are just so tempting 🙂

Here is the address: 372 Strand, London WC2R 0JJ, United Kingdom

I highly recommend this Hotel! It has great service, a great location, and amazing food!  Here is their website: Strand Hotel

 

After an hour and a half of walking, we arrived to St. James Park! This park is right next to Buckigham Palace. A smaller version of Central Park 🙂

Walking to Buckingham Palace. If you get the chance, I suggest you should take the tour inside the Palace! You get to see so many royal rooms, halls, the ballroom, the queen’s dresses, and the throne room! You also get to see the stables and Queen Elizabeth’s carriage. You also get to see the carriage that took Princess Diana to St. Paul’s Cathedra for her wedding 🙂

We got so happy because the sun started to come out! London looks really beautiful with the sun 🙂 Most of the times that I have gone, it was cloudy. This was one of the first times that I saw the sun.

What is London without trying their famous Fish and Chips! They have them all over the city so you can’t miss them.

And off we went to visit Cambridge University!

We went on a boat ride to have a tour of the University! It was such a relaxing ride 🙂 we had a tour guide who was telling us all about the school.

After a couple of hours of explporing this enchanting place, it was time for some lunch! We had lunch at this restaurant called La Raza. It was authentic Spanish..in England! If you ever visit Cambridge, I highly recommend this place. The table is set for big groups so you can all be sharing and having a great time. Their Spanish bread was absolutely delicious! You will leave wanting more!! Here is their website in case you want to read more about it: http://www.laraza.co.uk/

After a fun filled day at Cambride, it was time to head back home. We didn’t want to leave. I wish I could of gone to this University. Well then again, it’s never to late to go back for my Masters 😉 hmm..

Rome and Florence

I am currently working on a scrapbook of all of my trips I’ve made to Europe and I am really enjoying looking through all of my pictures again. I can’t wait to go back to Italy again someday! It was by far one of my favorite countries that I have traveled to. Here are some of my favorite shots that I took of Rome, Vatican City, and Florence. I’ll post up more pictures of Verona, Venice, and Pisa later on 🙂

Our cute tour guide 🙂

Versailles & French Crepes Under The Eiffel Tower

Palace of Versailles has some of the most elegant rooms I have ever seen! Every time I visit the Palace, it seems like it gets bigger!

After our morning tour of the Palace, we head back to get some lunch, what to eat in Paris 😉 CREPES! One of my treasured memories that I have of Paris is eating their delicious Crepes! Every time I go to Paris, I always have one or two, or four 😉 Crepes during my trip. Out of all the times I have been to Europe, I have been to Paris the most. Most of the tours that I take have a stop in Paris so I am getting pretty familiar with the city I know where to go now.

A trip to Paris is not complete without climbing the Eiffel Tower! I will never forget that day, it was a nice day in March, and my friends and I thought it would be nice to see Paris during sunset! The view was incredible we could see our hotel from up there 😉 Just as we went back down it started so sparkle 🙂

As we walked back to our hotel after a long day, we got a glimpse of the beautiful tower one last time 🙂

Oxford Street and Topshop

In the heart of central London’s busiest shopping district lies Oxford Street. It is Europe’s busiest shopping street and has approximately 300 shops. Running from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court road, it’s one and a half miles of retail heaven with every major store. Add into the mix a number of London bars and restaurants and you’ll see why Oxford Street is said to be the busiest shopping street in Europe. The street’s present name comes from the Earl of Oxford who, in the 18th century, bought up much of the surrounding land in order to develop it. This development continued until the early 20th century and resulted in the thriving shopping area we see now.

One of my favorite stores on Oxford Street that I absolutely love visiting is Topshop! My friend took me here two years ago and from the moment I walked in, I did not want to leave. It has four levels of clothes for any type of fashion style that you can imagine. They have shoe section, jewelery section, and so much more things to see and try on. I always make sure that I make stop by this store when I am in London 🙂 it’s definitely worth checking out!

Destination of the Week: The Atomium

One place that I highly recommend everyone must visit one day is The Atomium in Brussels. I have been here three and to me it gets taller and taller 😉 I studied atoms in chemistry class and to see a huge replica of one that you can actually go inside is pretty awesome!  

The Atomium is a monument in Brussels built in 1958 Brussels and designed by Andre Waterkeyn. It stands 335 ft tall. It has nine steel spheres connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Tubes connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the center. They enclose escalators connect the spheres containing exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere provides a panoramic view of Brussels. Each sphere is 18 meters in diameter. Escalators connect the spheres, most of which contain science exhibits. An elevator leads to an observation gallery and restaurant in the topmost atom. The Atomium is on the Boulevard du Centenaire in Heysel, on the northwestern edge of Brussels. The easiest way to reach it is by Metro, the Heysel (Heizel) station is on line 1A. And after visiting the Atomium, why not stop by for some Belgium waffles? They have them all over the city 🙂