The world capital of Champagne

I planned to go to Disneyland on my fourth day in Paris, but then I aborted the plan because Bandi’s high-school English teacher (now call Bandi her nephew) invited us to visit her at Reims, a small town located 150km outside Paris.

Took Thalys to Reims!

Took Thalys to Reims!

Oh how Universe really loves me! The disneyland plan was aborted for something fun, amazing and new for me!

First, experiencing the traditional French life.

Aunty Aini picked us up at the train station and when I met her I liked her at once. She was fun, talkative and laughed a lot. She seemed like really loving her life. She invited us to her house, and she said her parents in law was spending the night there so me and Bandi should follow French tradition to bring one bucket of flowers and one bottle of wine to the house we were visiting to. Bandi had already brought wine but we didn’t have time to buy the flowers from Paris.

So Aunty Aini brought us to her favorite florist and OH MY GOD, I almost fainted because of how beautiful all the flowers all!! It was just like in a French movie when the main character rode a bike and went to a florist. “AHHH!! I WANT TO LIVE HERE!” I screamed hundred times.

Photo 17-10-13 5 43 27 pm

I picked the flowers!

I picked the flowers!

After buying the flowers we went to her house and we must introduced ourselves in French, “Bonjour! Je m’appelle May. Enchanté!” and then I kissed them. The tradition is so lovely. :)

Aunty Aini’s parents in law has zero English so I had fun challenging myself talking to them, while Bandi was smiling as wide as he could. We also met the cutie Domino who liked to sit on my lap.

Here's Domino!

Here’s Domino!

We were served snacks such as pretzels, bread with foie gras and sausages. And it is said to be a tradition to open a bottle of champagne before meal in Reims. Haleluyah for whoever created that tradition!

Photo 18-10-13 1 11 50 am

Photo 18-10-13 1 13 28 am

So here’s the thing, I haven’t found my favorite alcohol. I mean, everyone has their own favorite alcohol and once they’ve found it, they would have their epiphany. (LOL I was kidding.) Anyway… I can’t drink wine because it tasted funny and I don’t like Beer because it is bitter. I can drink hard liquor like bourbon but I think it’s too strong. So far I only prefer cocktails like Cosmo or Cranberry Vodka, but still it is not that good.

Until I drink THE CHAMPAGNE!!!

Gosh, IT WAS SOOOO DELICIOUS!

Second, the champagne!

I was confused at first, how on earth I never tasted champagne before? (Later I found out that champagne is expensive and so far I only bought wine because they’re cheap)

Aunty Ainy told us that Reims is the capital of Champagne. I didn’t really understand what it meant until I fell deeper in love with champagne and intentionally read more about it.

The chatting compliments the home-cooked meal Aunty Aini has prepared for us!

French people always start the meal with soup!

French people always start the meal with soup!

Baked beans and ducks, is said as Reims specialty.

Baked beans and ducks, is said as Reims specialty.

And the European Salad... with no dressing. Noooo!! The best thing about salad is the creamy thousand island!

And the European Salad… with no dressing. Noooo!! The best thing about salad is the creamy thousand island!

A pie which fruit I can't remember. It was a new word for me and a fruit I've never tasted before. But I forget the name. Anyone knows what it is? It tasted a bit like "kurma"

A pie which fruit I can’t remember. It was a new word for me and a fruit I’ve never tasted before. But I forget the name. Anyone knows what it is? It tasted a bit like “kurma”

French grapes! Pinot Noir, CHardonnay and one more name I couldn't remember.

French grapes! Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and one more name I couldn’t remember. All I know is they make great wines. :p

Of course, it's espresso o'clock! (oh this is a joke I made during the trip because Europeans drink espresso like in ever hour. LOL

Of course, it’s espresso o’clock! (oh this is a joke I made during the trip because Europeans drink espresso like in ever hour. LOL

And the famous French cheeses!!!

And the famous French cheeses!!!

So, after five full course of French meal and two glasses of good champagne (BEST champagne in my life so far!), Aunty Aini brought Bandi and me to Martell cave to have a champagne tour (yaiy!). The guide showed us how to make champagne traditionally and in modern way. We were also brought to the champagne cave to see all the traditional tools of making champagne.

Took photos inside the cave but it was too dark and flash didn't work well.

Took photos inside the cave but it was too dark and flash didn’t work well.

Yum yum!

The left one was so sweet, middle one is brut, less sugar; the right one is rose champagne. All of them are yummy!

If you’re confused what’s the different between wine and champagne, don’t worry. I was confused too, until I drank them. :p

There are a difference between wine and sparkling wine. Beside the price of course (damn it!), the difference is the sparkle. I was explained by the guide about the fermentation and the sparkle but I was “under influence” so pardon me if I didn’t really get the chemical theory. If you really want to know, go google it.

But for me, the huge difference is this: wine tastes sour and bitter, while sparkling wine tastes sour and sweet and refreshing.

And what is champagne?

Champagne is sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region in France. Sparkling wine came from this region and they were called Champagne. Later on there are a lot of winery that produced champagne but then they couldn’t call the sparkling wine as champagne anymore because of the law created to protect “real champagne”.

You might find other sparking wine outside France that is called differently like cava (spain) or Sekt (German) but basically they are the same thing, only from different winery. I’ve tried sparkling wines from other region beside Champagne region and they all are delicious. It is just a habit for me to call them all champagne (which is wrong) because the first sparkling wine I tasted was champagne.

Bottom line is… I finally have found my kind of alcohol! Sparkling wine! Now I understand why Bandi could suddenly crave for beer and how he liked to drink beer after a tiring day at work. I never liked alcohol before.

Oh, thankfully I’ve found champagne!

So if you ever wanted to buy me alcohol, please do buy me sparkling wine! I will accept it with so much love.

My love to champagne also takes full responsibility for the great time I had with my two best buds in Bandung last weekend. It was always fun having late night chat, but it was more fun when I was “relaxed”. :)

Anyway… Reims was beautiful. I snapped some photos of the small town when Aunty Aini brought us around. =)

Notredame Cathedral of Reims. =)

Notredame Cathedral of Reims. =)

Even the pharmacy is so pretty!!!

Even the pharmacy is so pretty!!!

And third, a new dream to live in France.

I fell in love with Reims and seriously plan to stay there for two months to do illegal work and learn French language and of course to have the experience to be living in a small town in France. Why Reims? I mean, of all the small town, why Reims? Maybe because I have a relative there and it isn’t touristy and so peaceful. And of course because everyone speaks French and I would love to be fluent in French. Je veux parler Francaise. And of course the champagne *ahem*. Ohh J’aime France!

I hope someday I’m crazy enough to do that, ;)

Cheers,

May, loving France even more.

The moment I felt invincible

It was my first encounter with snow ever. EVER.

I’ve never liked cold weather. I was born as a sun catcher and a beach lover. I’ve never known how snow feels.

So when I first touched it…

Photo 21-10-13 9 59 44 pm

I LIKE IT!

Photo 21-10-13 10 05 51 pm

I didn’t know it was fun playing with snow when my bestfriend, the sun, was present. It was warm and cold at the same time. It was the good kind of paradox.

Photo 21-10-13 10 08 03 pm

I tried to lick the ice but my other bestfriend, Bandi told me not to. “You don’t want to have a stomach ache on a trip.” He got the point. So I licked him instead.

Photo 21-10-13 9 10 23 pm

It tastes sweet. :)

Of course, we didn’t stop the “selfie” there.

Photo 14-11-13 2 11 11 pm

And then I slept on the snow.

Photo 21-10-13 10 02 40 pm

And then I did some push up on it, you know… for the sake of being fit during the trip. LOL

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And then I slid on it.

Photo 21-10-13 10 47 31 pm

And when I got up, I couldn’t feel my buttock. I tapped on it and the snow fell down from inside of my skirt. LOL.

And then I climbed up to the cliff walk. And I saw this.

Photo 21-10-13 3 33 33 pm

Shot in HDR

And I thought…

Photo 21-10-13 3 37 50 pm 

I am invincible.

I had that moment. It was just about 5 seconds. I looked down and I closed my eyes because I was scared. I breathed the air in and then I opened my eyes and there it was…. The greatest view I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

And then I reminded myself, I should never worry about anything. ANYTHING. The universe is so great and the universe is invincible. The universe is always at my side… and I am invincible.

I should never be afraid as long as I do the right thing. I should always believe in the good memory, and hold on to it whenever I feel sad. Life is incredible. Earth is beautiful. There are still so many things I haven’t explore.

I looked to the left, looking for Bandi. He was standing quite far from me. He stood still too. I didn’t call him, I let him having his moment too.

Photo 21-10-13 9 35 34 pm

There were only the two of us on the cliff walk. I waited for him to turn his head to me. When he did, he came to me and I asked, “what did you do over there?”

He was speechless. He was titlis-struck too. :)

Photo 21-10-13 9 11 51 pm

Bandi, act-cool

Actually I ‘m preparing an ultimate post for this ultimate journey but it’s still half-written. This morning I woke up remembering Mt. Titlis and I just copied half of my camera’s memory card to the laptop so I felt like reminiscing this moment. =)

Bye for now Titlis!

Bye for now Titlis!

I’ll post more soon! Behooolllddd people!!!

Cheers,

May, whose buttock has melted.

The Ultimate Packing List

For all the travel bees, this is worth to read! =D

Along with promoting to travel as much as you want, I also want to promote to travel as light as you can.

The three words you always have to remember are:

Cheap | Light | Happy

The only thing that should not be cheap is your backpack, whatever inside it supposed to be cheap. Why? Because you probably will leave it somewhere or throw it away in order to keep being light. As long as it’s cheap and light, you will be happy.

As far as I remember, whenever Bandi and I went for traveling, we only bring one 45L Backpack and 15L Daypack. Only those two bags for the two of us. No matter how long we went, we always packed for 4 days. Every 4-5 days we would do laundry. (Last time in Phnom Penh, we paid US$2 for a maid in our guest house).

For the European adventure, I bought another 45L backpack and we eliminate the daypack, simply because we would enter so many museums and bringing daypack would cost too much trouble, so I would stick to one sling bag for each of us.

So, what are my packing list for 26 days in Europe?

Whether you're going for 3 days or 3 weeks or 3 months, pack the same thing.

Whether you’re going for 3 days or 3 weeks or 3 months, pack the same thing.

Each one person will be needing these for the outfits:

  • 1 winter jacket
  • 1 trench coat (me)
  • 2 sweaters/cardigans
  • 3 blouse (long sleeve preferred)
  • 2 dresses (me)
  • one long pants (jeans)
  • 2 leggings
  • 1 short pants
  • 3 socks
  • 6 panties
  • 2 bras
  • 1 shawl
  • 1 gloves
  • 2 hats (supposed to be 1 but I just love hats)
  • 1 set of long john
  • 1 set of pajamas
  • 1 comfy shoes
  • 1 boots

And now for the toiletries… I divide the toiletries to two waterproof pouches. One is for shower essential and one is for after-shower essential.

The shower Essentials:

  • facial foam
  • bath gel/soap
  • shampoo
  • conditioner
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • mouthwash
  • dental floss
  • razor
  • shaving foam (for Bandi)

The after shower Essentials:

  • Body lotion
  • face cream (day and night)
  • toner or thermal water (this is optional but I can’t leave without thermal water)
  • Some light make up; I bring eyebrow pencil, concealer, lipstick, pencil eyeliner.
  • perfume (I bring 3 sample bottles consist 1.2 ml each)
  • bobby pins and hair bands
  • feminine pads/tampons

For the medicine, it is really up to you what to pack because everyone has different needs for medical matter. For me, I must pack Mylanta for my gastric problem, my anti-allergic pills, anti-nausea pills (antimo), Tolak Angin (Indonesian must have this), vitamin C (60 pills), primrose oil capsule (50 caps) and some cold&flu pills.

The other important things not to be missed:

  • Maps. (hard copy or soft copy)
  • guidebooks
  • poncho / raincoat
  • umbrella
  • charger of every electronic things you pack with
  • camera + tripod
  • memory card
  • detergent
  • eyeglasses
  • empty water bottle

And don’t forget the most important things; your documents! All the documents must be copied to hard copy and soft copy. The soft copy needs to be stored on dropbox/icloud/etc and preferably shared with your closest friend.

The list of important documents:

  • passport
  • Identity Card (I bring my Singapore IC with me)
  • airline tickets
  • train tickets
  • museum passes/booking papers
  • hotel/hostel booking papers
  • insurance phone numbers –> write it on a piece of paper and put it on your phone

That’s pretty much everything. I wish I’m not that lazy to convert the list to pdf… but I am. Hahaha. So I think if you need the list you could just copy paste my list. =)

One more awesome tips for packing is… the air-proof plastic bags to pack your clothes!!!

I don’t know what is it called exactly because I bought those plastic is DAISO and all the things in Daiso were written in Japanese. But it’s like this:

suck up the air with vacuum .

Or some of the plastic could be used with only hand press.

I didn’t use vacuum at all actually. I just pressed it or sat on it and locked it up. You can buy it online I guess. Trust me, it saves more space!!! I think you can buy it on ebay too. See more infos here.

So, 36 hours prior to the departure time…

everything is packed and triple-checked. All I need to do is relax and stop worrying. =) Everything’s going to be fine.

However, I still have one problem left… I’m still considering whether I should or should not bring Brownie with me.

To bring or not to bring, that's the question.

To bring or not to bring, that’s the question.

I always mostly bring Brownie to travel. Not because I’m a freak kid who has to go with the stuffed animal wherever I go, okay? I bring Brownie because it has sentimental value for me. It’s a gift from my maid of honor and… I LOVE IT. I love taking photos with Brownie because the photos would be automatically cute. And I always thought Brownie is like Bandi. He is a calm, kind and patience boyfriend and he likes to drink beer. =D

Bottom line is, I like bringing Brownie, but it would cause me more trouble of course because it’s a long trip.

What do you guys think? Should I bring Brownie? PROS and CONS please…. =)

P.S. The giveaway is still open!!! details here!

Cheers,

May, stretching her back.

#BayEuropeAdventure Giveaway

Fed up with my Europe posts? Don’t! Because this one is good news for you! Especially those who loves postcards!

As I mentioned before, I would love to share this beautiful moments with everyone. I’ve been thinking so many ways how to do it. I wish Doraemon was real so I could borrow his magic flashlight and turned you all into tiny people then put you all in my backpack (in alphabetical order of course–OCD ahem OCD)  but unfortunately it wasn’t possible. Then I wish my wedding was held in Santorini so you all could be invited as guests and there was a good excuse to bring everyone to Santorini, but again, it costed a lot of money (DUH).

Sooo……. I got this idea.

Photo 8-10-13 8 57 15 am

I will stay in Riomaggiore, one of the five awesome villages called Cinque Terre (Please do google the images), for two days and what I will do is slacking around. I think I will have free time to browse for postcards, find a local post office and send them to you. I hope you never got postcards from Cinque Terre before so this is going to be very VERY cool! The postcards will be sent from Italy of course to make it even cooler!

What do you have to do to receive an authentic postcard from Cinque Terre?

You have to send me syomai when I’m in Italy.

Kidding!

All you have to do is:

  1. Follow my instagram @jaunemai
  2. Post a creative photo about my Europe Adventure at your instagram account, tag my instagram account and post hashtag #BayEuropeAdventure mentioning your advice/jokes/wishes/excitements, anything really for my Europe adventure. Don’t forget the hashtag and promote that Dreams do come true!

or… (if you don’t have instagram)

Send me syomai when I’m in Italy.

This time I’m serious. No, I’m joking again.

Create one lah! :p

Ok ok, if you don’t have instagram:

  • you can create a post about which city you are excited the most from my Europe adventure, or why are you so excited about the adventure. (I know I know it sounds really lame but you must at least fake excited lah…) please link it to my blog and mention to follow my instagram @jaunemai. (Now you get it I’m trying to promote my instagram, right? Xp)

(If you think it’s too lame/too difficult, then create an instagram account lah! LOL)

I don’t think I will have enough time to post anything on wordpress during my adventure, adding the fact that wordpress app for iPhone sucks big time, so I will be only online in instagram (which is linked to my twitter–but I guess nobody tweets anymore hiks) that’s why I use instagram as my primary platform for this big adventure.

What I’m about to say is…

I create this hashtag: #BayEuropeAdventure (yes you read it right, it’s Bay, not May) because I want to filter out my Europe adventure photos and memories of course. And also to remember that Dreams do come true.

I promise I will not only post photos, but also stories. Trust me it would be so real that you will feel like your soul is with me. =) I don’t really use soc-med during the trip so I will be only online at night before I sleep, so I promise I won’t spam your instagram/twitter timeline. :D

And please please don’t comment “jealous” or “envy” on my instagram, I might delete your comments. I don’t like envious people. :p Unless you’re doing it sarcastically then I’m on it. LOL

Additional Info

  1. There will be only 3 postcards sent from Riomaggiore. It’s freaking expensive :( unless the stamps could be cheaper. I hope I could send more but I can’t promise first ok?)
  2. If I couldn’t find any stamps or post offices in Riomaggiore, I will send postcards from Santorini. If I couldn’t find any post offices in Santorini then I will send from Athens airport. I will try my best ok?
  3. Giveaway open for EVERYONE, unless those who live in Europe. (I just feel it’s wise not to open for European residence.) Once you post photo/blog post/tweet or anything (seriously I’m open for anything! Creativity is limitless) just email your full name and address to this email: sanguinesjournal[at]yahoo[dot]com
  4. I will take photos of the postcard to tell who gets them later on!
  5. The giveaway is closed on Sunday, 27th October 2013

How do I decide who wins?

I will decide who wins by this category:

  1. The dreamy one: I will choose one with my heart. I know it sounds bias but I want to send the postcards to those who really are dreamy like me and have the same dream to conquer Europe. =)
  2. The creative one: I will choose one who post the most creative thing! I already told you that creativity has no limit. As long as it’s posted on social media that I can search for, then it’s valid. Be creative!
  3. The chosen one: I will ask Bandi to choose one of his favorite. And I will mention what is her reason later. So be cute! LOL

To end this post, I want to quote what Walt Disney once said,

If you can dream it, you can do it.

Never give up even though universe washed your passport and sent a hurricane to blow up your documents, they were just some pebbles on your long winding road to see the most beautiful sunset in your life. =)

Cheers,

May, preparing the journal.

Eight days to the big adventure!

The countdown is getting closer and I can’t believe it’s eight days to the D DAY!!! OH MY GOD!!!

As you guys now, I almost cancelled the trip because something bad happened last Sunday. I know I didn’t tell the detail of the story (I intended not to) but I can assure you nobody (friends and family) is hurt. I just lost some things… which can be paid by money. I must suck it up and move on.

I won’t let material things ruined my optimism for my Europe Trip! WOOHOO!

Let me update you everything. First of all, let’s talk about budget.

Total damage for the Pre-trip

Let me tell you the most important thing for planning Euro Trip: BUY MUSEUM TICKET ONLINE. Seriously, I’ve read it from any guidebooks and travel forums and everybody said the same thing. If you need to pay extra € for the booking fee, PAY IT! It’s worth saving you hours of queuing.

The pre trip budget is paid for:

  1. Air tickets
  2. Train reservation + Europass
  3. Lodging fee
  4. Any tour booking, theatre booking, excursion etc
  5. Visa (both UK and Schengen)
  6. Travel Insurance
  7. Museum passes, museum tickets. (Most of great museums in London are free! Horray!)

Here comes my final pre-trip budget. All in Singapore Dollars, however I put remarks for the things purchased in Euro or Poundsterling. The total budget is for one person.

Pre-trip Budget
Name Amount (SGD) Remarks
Air tickets (SIN-europe-SIN) $ 1,372.00
Fare London – Paris $ 85.00
Air tickets (Rome-Athens) $ 85.00 55 Euro
Air tickets (Santorini-Athens) $ 249.70 Return, 145.64 eur
Eurorail Pass 15 days $ 761.00 From raileurope.com.sg
Train Reservations $ 669.00 for reservation only
Hotels/Hostels $ 882.00 except Parma
Mt Titlis $ 185.00 Paid online (US$140)
UK Visa $ 159.00
Schengen Visa $ 98.00 60 Eur
Travel insurance $ 116.00 NTUC income 25-27 days
London’s Les Mis $ 49.00 29 Gbp
Rijksmuseum $ 25.00 15Eur
Van Gogh Museum $ 24.00 14Eur
Anne Frank Huis $ 16.00 9.5 Eur
Paris Pass Museum (2days) $ 65.00 39 Eur
Neuschwenstein castle $ 23.00 13.80 Eur
Academia Firenze $ 17.00 10.50 Eur
Uffizi Firenze $ 17.00 10.50 Eur
Villa Borghese $ 21.00 12.5 Eur
Vatican +Sistine Chapel $ 25.00 15Eur
TOTAL $ 4,943.70

Kindly take note that Paris Museum Pass and Neusch-something castle are not paid yet. They accept payment on the spot. We also can’t purchase the Juventus ticket before the trip starts because the ticket opens 10 days before the game. Bandi said that he will find internet connection and buy it once the ticket opens NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. LOL. We haven’t booked any hotel/bnb in Parma because there are none to be seen online! Hahaha. We will just try our luck going there and walk in to the Bed and Breakfast. If we can’t find any, we’ll just sleep at the station, LOL.

Bandi’s cost of course is cheaper than me because he refused to pay that much money to enter museum. He kept complaining “ohhh this one month will be the month when I visit the most museums in my life…” or “You will pay 10 Euro just to see David? That’s ridiculous! Can I wait outside?” and the blah and the blah. I was so fed up with his complains so I finally told him let’s just split up because I don’t want to hear his rants when I browse the museum.

I will post here my budget for lodging and I must say I’ve done a pretty good work because it’s surprisingly under-budget! You can see yourself which city is expensive and which is not.

No City Date in Date out Nights Price Total
1 London 12-Oct 14-Oct 2 $ 0.00 $ 0.00
2 Paris 14-Oct 18-Oct 4 $ 98.00 $ 391.00
3 Amsterdam 18-Oct 20-Oct 2 $ 104.50 $ 209.00
4 Lucern 21-Oct 22-Oct 1 $ 134.00 $ 134.00
5 Munchen 22-Oct 23-Oct 1 $ 87.00 $ 87.00
6 Venice 24-Oct 25-Oct 1 $ 86.00 $ 86.00
7 Firenze 25-Oct 26-Oct 1 $ 60.00 $ 60.00
8 Parma 26-Oct 27-Oct 1 $ 112.00
9 Turin 27-Oct 28-Oct 1 $ 67.00 $ 67.00
10 Cinque Terre 28-Oct 30-Oct 2 $ 115.00 $ 230.00
11 Rome 30-Oct 1-Nov 2 $ 57.00 $ 114.00
12 Athens 1-Nov 2-Nov 1 $ 96.71 $ 96.71
13 Oia 2-Nov 4-Nov 2 $ 144.70 $ 289.40
21 $ 1,764.11

*) I stay with a friend in London so I put zero and the $112 in Parma is just budgeted price.

The on-the-trip budget

We prepare for €40 (S$65) a day for food and total of €400 for transport such as tram/subway/metro/bike/gondola. We prepare 250GBP for London (3 days). If that’s not enough, there’s a mini magic called Credit Card. LOL

Enough with the crap, how much is the Total Budget?

The total Budget would be S$7,000 per person for 26 days in Europe. If you think that’s expensive, think again. That covers 16 cities, the chosen cities. I picked every city by heart. I know the history and I know why I go there. And that also covers all the museums I want to visit and the Les Mis show I badly want to watch.

If you want to cut the expenses, you could choose to travel by airplane. Budget airplane in Europe is now so various and cheap! I personally prefer to travel by train simply because it saves time and it brings me right to the city center. And don’t forget the feeling. The feeling like you’re in the Before Sunrise movie. (pardon my dramatic side)

If you plan to visit less cities, I think plane could cover most of the big cities. But cities like La Spezia (CInque Terre), Hohenschwangau (from Fussen), Parma and Lucern are better visited by train.

The Final Itinerary

This is the most complicated itinerary I’ve ever made in my entire life! I’ve spent one year of reading books, browsing forums and calculating the best and cheapest way possible, well I admit I got carried away reading European history :p. I think I’ve invested around 200 hours doing this itinerary. I’m very well-prepared about all the infos and Europe history. Well, it’s fun so I won’t complain. The least fun thing was probably counting the budget and actually paying it. LOL.

So here it comes…

Date Day City Vessel
11-Oct Fri Singapore Qatar
12-Oct Sat London
13-Oct Sun London
14-Oct Mon London Eurostar
Paris
15-Oct Tue Paris
16-Oct Wed Paris
17-Oct Thur Paris TGV
Reims
Paris
18-Oct Fri Paris Thalys
Brussels
Brussels No RV
Bruges
Brussels
Brussels Thalys
Amsterdam
19-Oct Sat Amsterdam
20-Oct Sun Amsterdam CNL
21-Oct Mon Basel
Lucerne Eurocites
22-Oct Tue Lucerne 2166, ICE 370, Eurocites 2261
Munich
23-Oct Wed Munich NO RV
Fussen
Munich
Munich CNL
24-Oct Thur Venice
25-Oct Fri Venice Frecciargento
Firenze
26-Oct Sat Firenze Frecciargento
Bologna
Bologna Frecciabianca
Parma
27-Oct Sun Parma Notte Italia
Turin
28-Oct Mon Turin Train 511
La Spezia
29-Oct Tue La Spezia
30-Oct Wed La Spezia Frecciabianca
Roma
31-Oct Thur Roma
1-Nov Fri Roma Easyjet
Athens
Athens
Santorini
2-Nov Sat Santorini
3-Nov Sun Santorini
4-Nov Mon Santorini
Athens
5-Nov Tue Singapore

*) No RV means No reservation so we can hop on to any train. But we probably will skip Bruges, because there will be not enough time. But let’s see later.

Actually my real Itinerary looks like this:

Yeah, I love planning. Judge me!

Yeah, I love planning. Judge me!

I even browse about the weather forecast, you know just to make sure if I should cover my backpack. I will put this itinerary on my phone but if you ask me, I must say I know it by heart, every single detail. LOL.

You can also see the tabs on my excel which breakdown every details of the budget, food choices and an itinerary template for visa application. Yes, I’m a crazy planner. If you would like to have this itinerary, just let me know I would be glad to send one for you. :)

For the food choices, it looks like this:

Break down for certain areas in every city

Break down for certain areas in every city

What can I say, I don’t want to ever waste one meal with the bad one. First, it would be wasted calories, second it would be wasted Euros! LOL. But seriously my boyfriend fiance is such an annoying food critic, his mood could change if he ate a bad food. The man can cook so I don’t blame him. Nah, just kidding, Bandi can eat anything, but we prefer to eat the good ones in Europe. Afterall not everyday you’re in Europe. :)

My mistake, your lesson

Here are the things that I’ve learned during the planning. I hope my mistakes could be your lesson.

  • Buying a Europass doesn’t mean you can use the pass to take any trains you want. You still have to pay reservation fee for the inter-country train and for inter-city train in Italy, France and Swiss. The reservation for overnight train cost around €100 and the reservation for intercity train cost €8 in Italy and €20 in France (TGV or high speed). If you want to take Thalys of course it costs more. What I did was… I counted both scenarios. With and without Europass. The prices between those two are actually about the same, but with Europass you get the first class, so I chose Europass.
  • Browsing every possible transportation in every city. Example: in Paris there are so many choices of Metro card and it’s quite confusing. There are Paris Visite card, carnet tickets and Navigo something… Paris also have so many metro lines which are divided into zones. Different price of the Metro card will cover different zones. What I did was… I READ A LOT. I listed out the places I will visit and find out what zone (most touristy places are covered in zone 1-3 while Versailles is on the zone 5) so I choose the carnet tickets which cover zone 1-3 and buy the individual Versailles ticket. If you’re confused, don’t be. Just read more. It’s good to know before you’re actually arrived. However I will double check by asking the metro guy again. Hahaha.
  • Sort out your museums! This is important! Except London, most of museums in Europe costs a lot of money. You could buy museum pass if you want to visit a lot of museums but if you only want to visit one or two per day, I advise you to buy individual ticket. The only city where I buy a museum pass is Paris, simply because I want to visit a lot of places! But I already sort out my priorities by highlighting the paintings’ location. So I won’t waste time wandering around in Lourve which can be explored the whole day and won’t even finished. It’s also best to browse the museum’s website to know more and to really think about if it’s worth your money. Make sure you know what do you want to see in each museum. And to save up some $$$ download the museum guide app on your smartphone (I did!) so you don’t need to pay extra €5 for the multimedia guide.

The airbnb experience

I booked all my lodging in airbnb, except hotels in Greece. I must tell you that airbnb has the best customer service ever! So here’s the case… 3 weeks before my departure date, my host in Amsterdam cancelled the reservation because he needs to be out of town. I have paid total of $147 for the reservation and thankfully it’s refundable. The problem was… it was so hard to find the cheap and available place so close to the departure, so I booked the more expensive place which costed me $209. Later on airbnb emailed me with an apology that my host cancelled the reservation. Actually it wasn’t even airbnb’s fault but I guess they’re feeling responsible. To compensate that, airbnb gave me $65 extra to cover the difference cost of my previous host and my current host. WOW! I didn’t see that coming! Isn’t it a very sweet gesture? So basically I didn’t pay anything else anymore.

I emailed back to airbnb and said that it’s the best customer service I’ve ever received and the fact that they wanted to go extra mile just to make sure everyone has a great travel experience. That’s very kind and sweet. I promised them to write something sweet on my blog so everyone will know that AIRBNB IS AWESOME!

KUDOS for Airbnb customer service team! =)

Shopping for Not-so-cold Wear

Not only I was good at cutting budget for the trip, I’m also good at saving as much money as I could for this trip. LOL, so shameless, but seriously, I know where to shop cheap and good in Singapore. That’s the other reason why you should bribe me Syomai the next time you come to Spore. LOL.

So here’s what I shopped for our trip:

All in 100 bucks!!! Woot!!!

All in 100 bucks!!! Woot!!!

Of course I bring another jacket and a shawl but actually I don’t bring so many clothes. How many I can bring with that backpack, huh? Darn it!

And for the fiance…

Not even 100 bucks!

Not even 100 bucks!

Bandi actually bought another pair of shoes which are hiking boots but I ddin’t put on the tab because it would ruin the cheap price I try to achieve. Haha :p

Where did I shop, you ask?

Well, if you want to shop cheap, go to EXPO on the weekend. But before you go, make sure you check their schedule of warehouse sale first. If there is “John Little” or “Robinson” on the schedule, then it’s a shopping paradise! All items could be discounted until 80%! Some FOX shirt/pants were $5 each!

Then for the cheap Crocs and Charles and Keith, you just cross over the road from EXPO to Changi City Point, a mall that has so many outlets inside. I can guarantee all the items are super cheap! Hahaha.

The everyone’s trip

This trip is my childhood dream which honestly still feels surreal right now. I remembered people kept saying I dreamed too much (because I grew up in a middle class family so traveling is not so common) but I kept saying that I believe in dreams. Dreams are what keeps us alive. People change, I change too, but the only thing that remains the same and forever is that… I ALWAYS TELL EVERYONE THAT DREAMS DO COME TRUE. Have faith because faith can move mountains.

And I feel so overwhelmed by all my friends’ sweet words about my European dreams. They are looking forward to this trip as much as I am. I know I won’t have any free time to play with my smartphone, I’m a socmed whore in my normal life but I usually ignore my phone when I travel, however I will try to spare half hour a day before I sleep to blog or post pictures/videos in instagram. I will bring everyone to my trip, with me, with my stories, with this “Dream Comes True Adventure” =)

If you follow my European journey on my instagram (@jaunemai please do follow!), please please don’t comment “Envy” or “jealous” because I don’t like that. My mission is to spread happiness and show everyone that dreams do come true. I don’t spread jealousy.

#bayeuropeadventure is on the making

#bayeuropeadventure is on the making

Come to Europe with me and my dreams! Hang tight and enjoy the ride!

Cheers,

May, packing her backpack.

P.S: Was thinking to make a giveaway, to send something from Europe. But let’s see how high the excitement for this post first, ok? =)

My blabbering in Septemberollercoaster

September is undoubtly my favorite month of the year. I didn’t have any particular reason but it just happened to be and every year I always get nice surprise from universe. I wonder what it would be this year. Thus I created the term Septemberollercoaster long time ago. If you happened to hear it from anyone but me, they copied from me! LOL

September is also Bandi’s birthday month. I always cook a special meal for him every year and this year I’ll cook his favorite seafood nasi goreng (as he requested). I bought a nice white wine on purpose from Changi last weekend because I planned to cook him poached salmon but then he specially requested for Seafood Nasi Goreng. I was shopping for extra squid to make his favorite side dish: Calamari! Well… I guess white wine goes well with squid and shrimp too. :p

However we’ll have the special meal on Bandi’s birthday’s eve because we will fly to Jakarta on his Birthday (this weekend) and he wanted to spend his last birthday partying with his buddies, which I told him also served as bachelor party (because twice in one year span is wasting money). He agreed on that and I told him I give him one night pass to do whatever he wants, unless one condition: one person must stays sober and drive them safely.

I, on the other hand, will fly to Jakarta to have my first bridesmaids meeting. So excited! Last weekend Bandi and I went to Bandung, to test food from 3 different venues. My stomach almost exploded because I ate 4 courses each venue! Thankfully we fell in love with one of them. It was like love at the first sight and Bandi fell deeper once he tasted the Fillet Mignon. Yum! It’s so good that one big fat word: VENUE from my wedding checklist is checked! (Oh yeah and that Bandung trip costed me 1.4 kgs weight gain, Super shit!)

I realized today that we’ve been engaged for 12 weeks and the wedding planning has been progressing smoothly. I’m so grateful that I have the awesomest support system I need. Bandi and my four bridesmaids. Everytime I felt down because of the things I wanted were too expensive, Bandi would always calm me down and helped me to find the cheaper alternative or to cut budget from other aspects. He loves to talk about our wedding too and sometimes he gave funny ideas (which obviously turned down instantly by me. LOLOL) But I know he loves planning this wedding with me. He admitted it that this is fun.

And now… updates about my Europe Trip! Everything is done! Every tickets, every bookings that we can do now are done. UK Visa is already attached nicely on our passport and we will apply for Schengen Visa a week after we comes back from Batam (a week after Jakarta trip). Yep, this month we do trip to Indonesia every weekend three times in a row. Didn’t really plan it, just sort of happened that way. We would go to Batam with group of friends, eating, spa-ing and singing karaoke til dawn. Indonesians who live in Singapore will know how much we love Batam for cheap saloon and spa! We won’t be able to have all the luxury in god-damn expensive Singapore!

Talking about expensive, SGD exchange rate to Rupiah has hit the highest. It’s 9,200 this morning and as much as I’m happy about it, I’m concerned too. You know, because mom has been yapping about all the unstable prices in Indo. (And that affects me A LOT) When I was in Bandung I bought a bottle of Nu Green Tea and I handed over Rp.5,000 note to the seller and he said, “It’s Rp.6,000” I was like, WTF?! Since when life in Indo became so god-damn expensive! Why is the price of everything has increased but not my salary?! Xp

Yeah I’ve been concerning about money more lately. Maybe because of the Euro Trip and Wedding would cost a lot. Hey, it doesn’t mean that before I never concerned about money because I was super rich, NO. You see, if you know me in real life, I have never been concerned about money, ever. I’m a happy-go-lucky girl with no future plan of anything. LOL (Please don’t think I’m proud of this) I’m just that kind of person who never gives a shit about money. I mean, yes I invest and I save some but not making it as a serious goal. Most of the things I enjoy doesn’t cost much $ and I don’t shop a lot. Back in my college time I could survive with Rp.50,000 for a week! I just eat indomie and hang out everyday with my friends. Ah… Good times.

Nowadays, my extra money is spent for mostly airplane tickets. And whenever pressure comes from my mom about money, universe just happened to give extra to me (seriously). If I happened to have money, I would give to her, if I didn’t have extra then I couldn’t give. That simple. The point is… I try my best in life that money doesn’t take so much place in my mind. But it’s been waking me up lately that I need to pay a lot of things and I started to worry. Damn it, HAVE I FINALLY TURNED INTO AN ADULT? Lol

But yeah, Europe Trip costs a lot, which I don’t complain because I have a special saving for this and this is my dream but then I didn’t think Bandi would propose to me that soon so now we’re also planning a wedding and of course it costs a lot of money too. It’s been ten months since I was in a real holiday trip but then I can’t complain because I know I’ve been saving money for the mega adventure. No pain no gain. :p

Well, I don’t know what to blabber anymore. Tonight I’m going to Marche to celebrate my roommate’s birthday and this whole week I couldn’t maintain my diet and been eating like crazy. My abs is no longer fabulous. Oh… it’s gone too soon… too fast. A moment of silence, everyone…

Guess this has bored you enough to curse on me? Please comment anything to make me feel that this post is not that boring. Anyhow, also wish me luck for my upcoming Jakarta trip because I will be spending two nights sleeping with my mom and I hope everything will be alright. =p

Cheers,

May, The happy-go-lucky Sanguine.

Here's a bonus photo of the best Ramen Soup I've ever eaten, you know just to make sure this post doesn't suck that much. :p

Here’s a bonus photo of the best Ramen Soup I’ve ever eaten, you know just to make sure this post doesn’t suck that much. :p

Two months to the dream comes true

I don’t know whether this post is useful for those who read it but I know it is for me as one of the journal entry for my European adventure diary. The progress for the preparation is about 85% now. UK Visa is applied and it’s still being processed. We still can’t apply for the Schengen visa because some train tickets haven’t been booked yet (because the reservation isn’t opened yet.)

So… This is the progress after 8 months of planning our Euro adventure:

  • Bandi is still finding way to  buy the Juventus tickets online even though it seems like almost impossible. I will be so happy if I could just visit Ennio Tardini, without watching Parma live, but Bandi said the point of this Europe trip is for him to watch Juventus playing live so I just agreed for that one.
  • I have highlighted all the Van Gogh’s paintings location in National Galery London, D’orsay Paris, and Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam so that I won’t waste too much time wandering around in the museum (because Bandi will be so bored.) I’m thinking to read more books about him and probably make a special post about “Chasing Van Gogh” once I return from the Europe trip.
  • To avoid argument and fight, Bandi and I decided to split up in Amsterdam (and some time in London). I want to go to both Rijskmuseum and Van Gogh Museum while Bandi would explore town with bicycles. We’re thinking to buy prepaid SIM card that can be used all over Europe to contact each other. If anyone has any idea about this, kindly tell me. I’m still gathering info about European SIM card. Will there be prepaid nano sim card being sold in small market? Where should I buy it and how much?
  • I was telling Bandi that I will watch Les Miserables in London and he is free to explore London by himself while I’m enjoying myself with Hugo’s masterpiece but surprisingly, he bought me not only one ticket, but two tickets. I already promised him that I will never drag him to go to any musical or play with me anymore but when he volunteered, it’s totally a different story. =)
  • We’re gonna skip Mykonos because the flight schedule from Athens to Santorini/Mykonos changed in November. Unfortunately my planned flight is on 1st November so in the end I have to stay one night in Athens and fly to Santorini the next morning. Maybe next time, Mykonos!
  • We’re gonna skip Bath because we want to spend more time in London. London sounds very VERY VERY cool.
  • Booked all the BnB’s, all the local flights and the inter-country night trains. Only left with booking the local trains and inter-country day trains.

It’s probably the updates so far. I must say this is not easy. During the whole planning, Bandi and I argued a lot and it took a lot of time and energy to gather so many information, combine two stubborn heads to make one final itinerary. We have encountered so many shits such as Santorini changed schedule, rejections from hosts, delaying the schengen visa because Italian embassy asked for the city-city train reservations, and other small sweats but of course everything taught us a lesson to be smarter traveler.

I will update more later and I’m thinking to create a daily instagram post during my trip but I’m still thinking about the theme whether it’s a one thing to be grateful of each day theme or city highlight theme or probably will count down to 100 other sides of Europe. Still trying to create something fun and people can look forward to. =)

Adios for now!

Cheers,

May, si kaki gatal.

Another checked check-list.

Five months to go!

So far everything is right on track, unless one thing… I’m still fat. Haha! I suppose to lose some weight for this trip (which I treat and plan as if it’s my wedding) but so far it’s only 1 kilo down on the scale.

I have finished my level 1 French course and I must say… I like the sound of me speaking French, feels like I’m hundred times sexier. Roarrr.

When I tried to build a sentence in French for the first time, guess what did I make?

Mon petit ami est beau. XD which literally means pacarku ganteng. What a waste of money going on a course, right? Kidding. I also learned a lot of things and it was so interesting. I must say, learning new language in this age is very hard. Guess my brain is not working as hard as ten years ago. French itself is a very complicated language, using female and male on words not only in nouns but also in adjectives!!! I don’t think anyone could have mastered French from only book and courses. They must live in France or use it on daily life. It’s almost impossible to remember every object or words whether it is female or male. Geez.

I’m enrolled for the level 2 anyway and sooo excited about it. I also have bought some French activity book and download some French activity apps on the phone.

Since I will stay for only three days in Paris, why bother to learn French? Well, it’s actually been my lifetime obsession to know how to speak French. =)

For my blogger friends who practically shouted at me “GO TO FIRENZE!!!” I took your advise. I will go to Firenze too and I drop Vienna for that.

Awww David, stop it you!

Awww David, stop it you!

Bandi and I have checked one more checklist, which is: Buy Rome-Athens ticket. And guess how much? Freaking 43 Euros only!!! Hail budget airlines!!!

Because I have bought the Athens ticket, I will positively spend 4 days in Greek Islands. It used to be only Santorini in our plan but now I begin to think I should add one more island. After hours and hours of browsing it all came down to either Ios or Mykonos. Ios will be the kind of island who parties non stop and happy all the time, just picture your most stunned friend when you were in college. Mykonos will be the kind of island who drinks coffee on the edge of a cliff, talking about books, just pictured your hipster uncle highly caffeinated.

Mykonos.

(I wanted to put picture of Ios too but when I googled, there were only thousand pictures of iphones. zzz) Yeah, yeah I know, not an excuse.

Anyway, after hours and hours of thinking… I think we will go to Mykonos. (Yeah yeah I’m already old.) The other reason of why I want to add one more island is merely because I want to take a ferry. As much as I don’t want Bandi to throw up again, I really want to go cruising through the Aegean Sea. Everyone on the internet said it’s the most scenic and beautiful ferry ride ever!! Waaaa!

Will really appreciated if anyone has insight about it. Is it too tight to spend one night at Mykonos and two night at Santorini?

Thank you in advance! =D

P.S Help me to plan the whole journey here. =)

Cheers,

May, pocketing David’s phone number.

About the ultimate European plan

Everytime I plan for a trip, I never tell anyone simply because I’m afraid of jinx. But this particular trip is an exception because I need inputs from people and the fact that this is a very long trip (even longer than our ultimate summer holiday on 2010).

This is my very first post about my European adventure plan and trust me, you will see many more of this coming. Hehe.

The background

I’m gonna travel around Europe for total 24 days (exclude flights from Singapore). –>Even I get goosebumps just for typing that!

Bandi and I have been talking about this since we first met, that he wanted to visit Turin and I wanted to visit Parma, merely because we’re big fan of the football clubs (Juventus and AC Parma). However we didn’t think that we’re gonna do it together, you know, traveling to Europe (or Italy for that matter) because who knew our relationship lasts this long.

We were just a college student, it was impossible for us to save money to Europe trip (this doesn’t count for Bandi’s free trip to Europe for 10 days with his mom with the exclusive travel agent. Haha. My boyfriend was a spoiled brat) and then we graduated and I had my first job with a very horrible pay which probably won’t get me to Europe even if I had been saving for 10 years. Bandi, on the other hand went to Texas to study and during his first summer break, he worked two part time jobs every single day. I asked him why did he do that, he said, “I’m gonna bring you to Paris, just like I promised.”

Two years later, he came to Singapore bringing the hard cash he saved from the times he cleaned tables and became drive thru operators. He put that money inside his drawer all along. I asked him to just convert them to Singapore dollars and bank them, but he refused. Two weeks ago, we used that cash to buy our Europe ticket. He did it. He kept his promise.

Now that the hard cash is only left about $500, we must save our ass off these 7 months to the D day we finally fly to our dream. We already set our monthly saving target and if everything worked well, we’re gonna have our dreams come true. We even have our “Europe Funds” bank account opened long time ago.

The preparation

At first, we thought we would only need 2 weeks for our Euro trip because we would need to ask permission from our offices for such long leave, and of course because Europe is expensive. We also only focused on Italy and would only go to Paris for France. And then we went to the library to do some research, borrow some European history to read and went to the book sale that got us 20 over lonely planet books for only $100!

Europe guide books

MPH Book SALE

Together with those books and the power of Eurorail website, we add more cities and more countries and suddenly it was 24 days. JENG JENG! Now there’s no way back.

The Dream Itinerary

I would love to hear advice and comments for my itinerary from fellow readers. But again, please remember that this itinerary had been discussed and changed hundred of times and that your comments might change my mind again and cause some trouble for Bandi. Hahaha. But hey, I would love this trip to be the best ever so I’ll do whatever it takes.

Homebased City Explore Sleep at Transport
Day 1 London London Friend’s Tube
Day 2 London Bath Friend’s Travel
Day 3 London London Eurostar Train
Paris Paris Rent Apt
Day 4 Paris Paris Rent Apt Metro
Day 5 Paris Versailles Rent Apt Metro
Day 6 Paris Paris Train
Amsterdam Amsterdam Host
Day 7 Amsterdam Amsterdam Host Bike
Day 8 Amsterdam Amsterdam Train
Brussels Brugges B&B
Day 9 Brussels Brussels
Luxembourg Luxembourg
Lucerne Lucerne B&B
Day 10 Lucerne Mt Titlis On train
Day 11 Vienna Vienna Host Tram
Day 12 Vienna Vienna Train
Munich Munich Host
Day 13 Munich Fussen On train
Day 14 Venice Venice B&B
Day 15 Venice Venice Vaporetto
Bologna Bologna Train
Parma Parma B&B
Day 16 Parma Parma Bike
Turin Turin B&B Train
Day 17 Turin Turin Train
Manarola Cinque Terre B&B
Day 18 Manarola Cinque Terre B&B Foot
Day 19 Manarola Cinque Terre Train
Pisa Pisa
Rome Rome Host
Day 20 Rome Rome Host Tram
Day 21 Rome Rome Plane
Athens (Transit)
Santorini Oia Hotel
Day 22 Santorini Oia Hotel
Day 23 Santorini Fira Hotel
Day 24 Santorini Oia
Athens (Transit) Then go home

The transport column with green color is covered by Eurorail pass. We put the most explored cities on the beginning and ending of the trip; which are London, Paris and Santorini, so that we can save up money by just buying the 15 days Eurorail pass and will start to use on Day 6 with train from Paris to Amsterdam and end it once we reach Rome. From Rome, we don’t need Eurorail pass anymore. The only train trip that we’re gonna buy separately is the one from London to Paris.

My blogger friends, both Colson and Candela, and my friend Angel recommended me to go to Prague. I really want to! Bandi was insisting like crazy to stop by Prague for one day, but then it’s almost impossible because:

  1. The only possible way to put Prague on our itinerary is between Vienna and Munich but it turns out that the fastest way to travel between Munich and Prague is 6 hours BY BUS. I hate bus trip.
  2. Despite the beautiful city and romantic walk, I don’t really have “thing” to see in Prague. I know I need to put the leisure city on my Europe trip beside the “hectic must see museums and places”-kind of city like Paris and Rome, and I already have Santorini and Cinque Terre for that.
  3. The only way to skip the Munich-Prague bus line is to change the route and eliminate Switzerland. =( I want to visit Switzerland so badly.
  4. Czech Rep has non-Euro currency. I know it’s not an excuse because UK and Swiss are also non-Euro, but this fact discourages me a little.

Guys, I really want to go to Prague, I really do. Do you have any idea how to do that with my already-busy itinerary? Comments and inputs are very welcomed.

 About the “Sleeping”

It’s very fortunate that Bandi and I met a fellow traveler in Hanoi who would like to host us in London. He’s a very nice guy and we can’t wait to meet him again! For other cities, I avoid hostels because not only it will be more expensive to pay for two persons, I also can’t stand snoring sound. For touristy cities like Amsterdam and Rome, we could find hosts from airbnb, this website is so great for travelers and would freshen up your eyes with pretty pictures. We also found our Paris apartment here. For less touristy places, we’ll try to find a cheap nice B&B through people’s recommendation from tripadvisor or lonely planet forum.

Why do we rent an apartment in Paris? Because the only way to experience life in Parisian way is to stay in the Parisian studio apartment! Yaiy!

Things I’m excited the most

  1. Ennio Tardini. It’s my childhood dream to finally step my foot on Ennio Tardini in Parma. It’s very personal and meaningful to make that dream comes true. =)
  2. Santorini. Visiting Greece is actually the blacksheep of the itinerary. If only I didn’t fall in love with Santorini, I would probably explore west Europe more. I was thinking to go to Barcelona and Provence (and of course Prague) if Greece wasn’t in my itinerary.

    Photo taken from google image

  3. Cinque Terre. Another place I fell in love with just by seeing the pictures.

    The photo is a property of http://images.nationalgeographic.com

  4. Watching Serie-A LIVE. I have never watched football game live before and this is so exciting! Once the 2013/2014 schedule out, we’re gonna buy the tickets online.
  5. Having an overnight train ride. This is weird but I’m really looking forward to this simply because I LOVE TRAINS! I have done an overnight train ride before from Bandung to Yogyakarta and it was awful! (Of course duh! Because I bought the cheapest ticket with no aircon and uncomfortable seat.) Even though it was awful, I still love it. The second overnight train was from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, and again it was awful because it was so damn freezing cold and I didn’t bring any jacket. So hopefully an overnight train in Europe is gonna be a blast!
  6. Paris. Ah, come on! Everyone knows I’m obsessed with Paris!Obsessed with Paris
  7. NeuschwansteinCastle. We didn’t know this awesome castle existed until Bandi saw it online and he said let’s go to this castle. We never pronounce it correctly even until now, so this is how we put it on our convo, “Eh, nanti dari Fussen ke Neusch-something itu naek apa ya?” or “Masuk ke Neusch-something bayar 12 Euro, masukin ke budget!” and so on. We just call it Neusch-something castle. I also never type it correctly unless I copy-paste it. We were about to just call the city where the castle is built, but the city is called Hohenschwangau, so we would also call it Hohen-something city. So yeah, we gave up with German names.

    Photo taken from google image

 The budget

I love planning to the details, so I count every single possible expense in my Europe Trip and it all comes to this:

Budget
Name Amount (SGD) Remarks
Air tickets (SIN-europe-SIN) $ 1,372.00  BOUGHT
Air tickets (Rome-Athens) $ 116.00  73Euro (if buy far ahead)
Air tickets (Santorini-Athens) $ 297.00  Return, 186Euro
Eurorail Pass 15 days $ 762.00  From raileurope.com.sg
Fare London – Brus $ 120.00  Book far before – best second class
Eat&Drinks $ 1,560.00  Calculated roughly S$65/day or 40EUR (TOTAL 24 days)
Hotels/Hostels $ 916.00  Calculated roughly from Sleeping Budget (PER PAX)
Hotel Tax and service $ 170.00  roughly
City Spending $ 1,247.12  Calculated from City Spending Budget
Visa $ 266.00  UK and Schengen (60Euros + 160sgd)
Travel insurance $ 130.00  NTUC income 25-27 days
Shop/Souvernir $ 200.00  NOT URGENT
MISC $ 300.00  JUST IN CASE budget
Total $ 7,456.12 Per person (Incld. Tix SIN-EUROPE)

This budget is quite high for a backpacking Europe Trip, especially I only stay in B&B and host’s house. That’s because I plan so much money for the city spending which is this:

City Things Price Remarks
London + Oyster Card £30.00
Tower of London £20.00 46 Pass / 56 pass+travel card
Westminster Abbey £16.00
Bath Tour £55.00
Treat £50.00
Brugg + Brux Boat Tour € 7.60
Trams € 4.50
Amsterdam Rijksmuseum € 14.00
Van Gogh Museum € 14.00 Bandi doesn’t need to come along lah
Anne Frank House € 9.50
Red District Tour € 12.50 Randy
Bike rent € 8.50 24hour
Damrak Sex Museum € 3.00
Luxembourg Bus/ Tram € 3.00 1.50/one way
Paris + Paris Museum Pass (2days) € 39.00
Metro € 15.20 A lot of options, please calculate
Paris – Versailles € 2.70 one way
Luzern + Lucerne Tour € 100.00 Mount titlis viator
Vienna Schoebrunn castle € 13.50 Grand Tour 40rooms/50mins
Transport 24 tickets € 6.70 24hour
Mozart Orchestra! € 39.00 Classical Concert
Munich + Bus ride and horse ride € 6.00
Neuschwenstein castle € 12.00
Venice Gondola € 50.00
Vaporetto pass € 16.00 12 hours
Murano +Burano admission € 10.00 not compulsory
Parma + Bike rent € 8.00
Turin + Juve tix € 100.00 If it’s not a big game
bus/subway € 6.00 one time ticket 4 ways
Cinque Terre Hiking Fee Free?
Bottle € 1.00
Rome Colosseum+Forum+Palatine Hill € 12.00 Combined tix valid for 2 days
Vatican + Sistine Chapel € 15.00
Train around city € 13.00 2 days
Train to ariport € 8.00 very far leee
Santorini Bus € 6.00 roughly
Taxi € 10.00

And the worst part is, the city spending budget might still expand! X( But again, if we couldn’t hit that budget, or we must spare the money for other things, we would just eliminate Mount Titlis, the gondola ride, mozart orchestra, Bandi’s skipping museums (because I won’t) and eat more in picnic way. But any way we’re gonna do on our European Journey will be the fun way, because it’s a dream come true.

So, that’s all about our European Adventure that’s gonna happen in about 7 more months. OH MY GOD IN SEVEN MONTHS I’LL BE IN FREAKING EUROPE. Ok, be cool May, be cool. It’s gonna be the longest and the cheapest 7 months in my life. Haha. Come to think of it, I’m planning this trip as if I plan my wedding, or maybe even more serious. Funny, huh?! Maybe it’s because when little girl imagining herself in a white dress, I was imagining myself carrying backpack riding a Vespa in Rome. =) I will plan to the details. This is gonna be awesome!!!

Anyway, advices for cheaper things are so welcomed!!!

Cheers, May above the clouds.

Excuses why I haven’t updated my Eloise

This is just gonna be a short and full of excuses post, to encounter my friends who are demanding-ly pushing me to continue Eloise, threatened to sue me if Ellie didn’t meet Ben on the next chapter or will unfollow my blog. Okay, I just made up the last one… and probably the one before that. Yeah, I’m dramatic. It’s not a secret.

Anyway, let me tell you why I haven’t had the time to update my Eloise novel.

1. Christmas’ Dinner and New Year’s party

Hosting party is not easy! Not easy to plan, decorate, making guest list, checking the RSVP and stuffs. Shopping for Christmas dinner, looking for decorations, thinking of small details (you know I have OCD). Then cooking on the D day, cleaning up and stuff.

Christmas Dinner Set

Christmas Dinner Set

New Year’s Party wasn’t that hard to prepare though. It was more fun with the games and drinking, it was just tiring to confirm the guests but however it was fun. Will do again next year!

NYE party

2. (again) tired of marathon

Is this excuse still excusable?

3. Planning my Europe Trip

This really drains most of my free time now. Reading Rick Steves’, planning the perfect route (which got me and Bandi fight hundreds of times for dropping whether Switzerland or Czech Republic). We also did research for every little details of budget because we’re that cheap. (Oh come on, I’ll travel Europe for one month, of course I have to be cheap in order to survive!)

And yeah I know it’s not necessary, but I took some time to decorate a wall on my room.

 

Bandi and May's Big Adventure - Wall of Dream

Bandi and May’s Big Adventure – Wall of Dream

IMG_3318

Parma and Turin Two cities of history.

4. This game

Dance_Central_3_cover (1)

Enough said, this game is addictive!!!! Wait wait wait, the best part is… It burns calories! One time, Bandi and I played for 2 hours and we didn’t even realize that! We stopped because our feet hurts. This game is a must try!

 

So, am I forgiven for being a spoiled lazy bum girl?

I guess not, huh? However I must motivate myself to write again because I’m a natural couch potato and I should thanked my annoying demanding friends, shouldn’t I?

Better get going to load my brain for Eloise’s next chapter! =)