Other Grandeur Travelers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lake Como's La Dolce Vita

October, 2011. The dilemma in deciding where the next destination will be is a critical point for any traveler. Each destination essentially sets the mood and pace for the succeeding trips. Places have their pros and cons but more often than not, it all boils down to a) Time and b) Money. In  our case, the former was considerably pressing.

It was a toss-up between Venice and Lake Como. I had been to Venice once but I wanted to take my  dear sister there to give her a taste of the real Venetian experience. The Venetian hotels in Macau, Las Vegas, and Mckinley most certainly don't count.

Coming from Milan, however, Venice did not present itself as a practical choice. I was hankering for a new place to visit in Italy that did not require too much travel time. The allure of visiting a new place  had a heavier weight. Having one day to spare for this trip, Lake Como's 

(Originally, the plan was to visit Venice after Paris but we got a bad case of poisoning in the City of Love. It was not the most pleasant thing in the world to experience. Venice was immediately out of the question. We found ourselves in Switzerland after that. Full Story Later).

I was pleased that our eco-friendly hotel, Starhotels ECHO, was right across from Stazione Centrale.  Our hotel's location made it convenient for us to book our train tickets from Milan to Como S.G. I've made a mental note since then that accommodations should always be near the bus or train station whenever I travel.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There's Something About Bath

Like an elusive dream, I have been frantically chasing the sun throughout our trip in the United Kingdom. It has the effortless power to ease my occasional melancholic mood. One fine day, we planned a trip to Bath in Somerset and the sun paid us a surprise visit. It turned out to be glorious. 
The one-hour train ride from Cardiff, Wales to Bath made this trip comfortable for all of us. Bath seemed ideal since its size was not daunting for any traveler. (My advice for any day trip: If there are at least three of you traveling on a train, you can go directly to the train station to get the group ticket. You'll save some quid if you do that)

The first thing I noticed as soon as we got out of the train station was Bath's well preserved 18th century architecture. The white to cream colored limestones were immaculate. Expect anything the Romans built to be impressive and ambitious. 
The color of the limestones illuminates the city. Bath's stunning Georgian Architecture is feminine and even romantic. There's a hint of Parisian flair to it (Or maybe that's just me). Back in 1987, Bath was declared as a UNESCO Heritage Site.
It won't be difficult to navigate this small city because there are dozens of signs pointing you to the main attractions. If you get lost, that old means you REALLY have a bad sense of direction! 
During ancient times, Bath's name was Aquae Sulis (waters of Sulis). The bath complex was founded as early as 75 AD by the Romans. This would be England's only naturally occurring hot spring that was enjoyed mostly by the upper class during the old days. You can't leave Bath withoutt seeing this structure.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Discovering Cambridge's Charms and Secrets by Punting

Before coming to the United Kingdom, I threw all my expectations and plans up in the air. If there was one thing I was certain about, it was the predictably unpredictable British weather. Its daftness has the power to make me unusually lazy. Photography can also be a bit of a challenge.

For those of you who don't know, I've been going around UK for almost 2 weeks now (More than a month in Schengen states though). It's not exactly the cheapest place for a vacation for any Filipino but that's the price you pay for experiencing life in UK. Paying in pounds can be a pain. So far, I've seen most of London and Cardiff but Ill be writing about them separately. Bath was also a lovely place to visit. This post, however, will solely be about Cambridge, a famous university town in United Kingdom. Im fairly sure most of you have heard about the prestigious University of Cambridge. If not, OUR question for you would naturally be: Where have you been hiding all this time?

I figured Cambridge might be an interesting place to blog about. Aside from the University of Cambridge, you ask: What else is there in Cambridge? When we went there, we found out that the best way to see and learn about Cambridge's history is by leisurely punting along the river Cam. Yes, punting. This town has a unique waterscape that can be best enjoyed riding Cambridge's most famous form of transportation.

A punt is basically Cambridge's own version of a gondola.  It is a flat bottomed wooden boat with no keel and it is propelled by the chauffeur by means of a long pole. During the Edwardian times, these punts served as pleasure crafts.