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…

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I LIKE IT!

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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.

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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.

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It tastes sweet. :)

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

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And then I slept on the snow.

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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.

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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.

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Shot in HDR

And I thought…

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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.

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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. :)

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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.

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.