Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Europe trip part 2!! *pic heavy!*

Helloo!! I'm finally back from a month long holiday in Paris-Venice-Florence-Pisa-Rome-Barcelona-Madrid-Lisbon-Marrakech. Being back in the UK sucks a little bit cause its freezing cold already! I'm missing blue skies and the warmth from the sun... 

First stop... Paris! Paris is beautiful! Everything about it is classy, chic and so French!

In the department store, Galeries Lafayette

The queue to the Louvre in blistering heat is not funny...!

Managed to get a glimpse of the Mona Lisa

A day trip out to Chateau de Versailles is a must! The only downside is the crowd... we waited around nearly 2 hours just to get in but luckily the admission was free for EU students... hehe. Inside, it was hot and stuffy and it was nearly impossible to take good photos becuase of the amount of people in there and tour groups!

 The Chateau gardens were vast in size and very very beautiful. 

 Back to Paris for some more sightseeing...

Another site worthing visiting in Paris is Les Catacombes. Definately a different experience and very eerie and cold inside...

 Macaroons !

 Next stop... Venice.

I love how in Venice instead of roads, they have water and instead of cars they have boats. Pretty cool. 

You can take a boat out to the island of Burano where the houses are all different coloured. So pretty!!

 Next stop Florence. 

If you're ever in Florence, you have to see the David statue. It's amazing and the sheer size of it will take your breath away! 

A replica... you must see the real deal

Want !
We took a train to Pisa to check out the legendary Leaning Tower.

 Next... Rome! 
I studied Ancient Rome last semester so it was pretty interesting seeing what remains from the Ancient world. The Vatican was also a very interesting place to visit and learn about the religious roots of the city.

So many people at the Spanish Steps!

Trevi Fountain

Heart shaped pasta! So tempted to buy...

After a short flight we reached Barcelona! I looove the atmosphere in Spain and I love the paella, tapas and Sangria! 

A must-see is La Sagrada Familia a breath-taking church designed by Antoni Gaudi. You have not seen anything like this before! After visiting numerous traditional cathedrals during our Europe trip, La Sagrada Familia is very different.

The waterfront area in Barcelona is also very beautiful.

We then hopped on a short flight to Madrid, the capital of Spain.

Followed by Lisbon, Portugal.
When I read about all the pickpockets and gypsy gangs in Lisbon who target tourists, it made me quite scared and cautious! Luckily I didn't get robbed or attacked and Lisbon is a very beautiful city.  

When in Lisbon, take a tram out to Belem and try some famous Belem pastries which are delicious Portuguese tarts. 

An elevator!!
 After farewelling Europe, we arrvied in Marrakech.

Marrakech is a bustling city filled with culture. I've never been to a city like it before and it was an eye opening experience. When you first arrive it can be quite daunting trying to dodge the motorbikes and get away from the faux guides. The sales techniques can really be in your face, especially in the souks where nearly everything can be bought. Being an asian tourist in Marrakech can be a funny experience. The first few days I was extremely annoyed with all the salespeople in your face screaming "Japan! Konnichiwa! Arigato!" and when you shake your head, they yell "China! Korea! Vietnam! Malaysia! Singapore" until you have a response to any of the above countries. But nope, no one would ever guess Australia. -.-

We took a 3 day/2 night desert trip to get away from the busy city. Definately the best experience and worth every penny.  You get to see all the little villages outside the city and gain an insight into how Berber people live.

Natural refridgeration

One part of the trip was camel trekking in the Sahara desert and sleeping under the stars. 

We watched the sunset on our camels which was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Desert fashion
 The souks are a whole new shopping experience. You can't linger too long on something unless you are really committed to buy because salespeople can be very in-your-face and their actions can be borderline harassment, but I did find some nice shopkeepers. You can find almost everything in the souks! Lights, poufs, leathergoods, shoes, tea sets, spices, EVERYTHING. And theres one catch... there are no prices! You must haggle for everything!! It can be very exhausting because you tell them a price and they laugh and tell you a price and it just goes on forever! You don't even know if you are getting a bargain or being ripped off! They will take 50% off in the first 10 minutes! Crazy.. !During the first few days, my inexperienced bargaining skills meant that shopkeepers took advantage of me and I ended up paying quite a bit for my purchases. By the last day I had improved alot but was exhausted and sick of shopping in the souks! I bought so much stuff including a tea set, a silver pouf, lights, toy leather camels, Aladdin's lamp and Argan oil.

The food stalls..
 Seriously... travelling with just one backpack for a whole month is real hard... especially with all the awesome European shops and tempting souvenirs such as Venetian masks and Moroccan tea sets. In the end I just had to buy checked-in baggage from Ryanair because I went a little crazy with souvenir shopping!! 

But yay! I've travelled to every continent (except for Antarctica) before my 21st birthday! :)

That's all the travelling for now... I'm hoping to go to Turkey but university starts next week which is half scary and half exciting. I'm hoping this semester will be better than the last.

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