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Around Europe through Jumping Photos

August 4, 2011
Stonehenge Jump

 

For most of  my travels in Europe, I’ve tried to do a bit of a novelty (well, it was sort of a novelty then) by doing jump shot photos. We had loads of fun doing it and often people would stare at us and laugh at our every attempt. It takes a lot of jumps to take a good one, often times it will take several shots before you get a shot where everyone is off the ground.  It’s somewhat of a science with a camera that I’m proud I had mastered. Even my mom has been proud of my jumping shots, telling her friends that I started the jumping photo craze.

I’ve taken jump shots from 13 out of 14 countries I got to see in Europe. I’ve only missed taking one when I was in Slovakia because I lost my camera the day before I went there.

I’ve taken jumping photos seriously that I’ve even won Don’t Ever Look Back’s jumping photo contest.

Here’s a good round-up of some of the photos I’ve amassed during my travels.

 

Brussels, Belgium - Jumping shot

Brussels, Belgium: Took me and my friend Rasha more than 40 photos to take a perfect jump shot while on a visit at the Atomium in Brussels.

Paris, France - Jumping Shot

Paris, France: Wow, this was one of my big dreams! To jump next to Eiffel Tower – definitely one of my most iconic and my personal favourite.

Amsterdam, Netherlands - Jumping Shot

Amsterdam, the Netherlands; In front of the Iamsterdam sign – this photo won me that jumping photo contest. 🙂

Koln, Germany - Jumping Shot

Köln, Germany:We tried doing a Bruce Lee kung fu shot in front of the famous Köln cathedral, it wasn’t the best one though.

Prague, Czech Republic - Jumping shot

Prague, Czech Republic: We were a big group when we went there for New Year’s Eve back in 2008. And doing a jump shot with a huge group of people is an ordeal. We tried several times across different places to get a good one, and we got stuck on getting the good shot at our hostel the day we were leaving the city.

Vienna, Austria - Jumping Shot

Vienna, Austria: In front of Schonbrunn Castle, Vienna. I heard this place is beautiful during summer, but we went there in February so it wasn’t that good.
Madrid, Spain - Jumping shot

Madrid, Spain: While waiting for the bullfight to start, I decided to do some crazy leaps with my friend’s scarf as bullfighter flag – good thing it wasn’t red.
Stonehenge, UK - Jumping shot

Stonehenge, United Kingdom: Despite the crowds, we manage to steal a few jump shots in front of Stonehenge.

Luxembourg Jumping Shot

Luxembourg, Luxembourg: By this time, we were so used to taking these photos that we were taking some organised jump shot to kick in some novelty. Here we are at a park in Luxembourg city.

Krakow, Poland - Jumping shot

Krakow, Poland: This was taken at the square in Krakow, Poland – one of my favourite places in Europe.

Rome, Italy - Jumping shot

Rome, Italy: I had some of hostel mates take this photo, it’s not one of my best, but a jumping shot to say the least.

Vatican City - Jumping shot

Vatican City, Vatican: Hope the Pope wasn’t looking at me when I was jumping up and down St. Paul’s Cathedral just to get this photo up
Budapest, Hungary - jumping shot
Budapest, Hungary: This one is taken at Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest, Hungary.

 

What crazy photos have you taken on your trips? Have you taken some great jump shots? share the links below!

Travel Blog

My 10 Favourite Places in Brussels, Belgium

July 11, 2011
Brussels - Grand Place

Brussels, much like the country where it sits in, can be small enough that you can cover many places in a single day.  It’s often overlooked as merely a crossroad for travelling between Amsterdam,London and Paris, but stay longer in Brussels and you”ll be in for a treat.

I was lucky to have lived here for two years – and with possibility of coming back for an extended stay soon. I must say that Brussels has a special place to me. 🙂

Here are my favourite places in the city:

Grand Place - Brussels

Grand Place

This Brussels attraction is a tourist hotspot and was voted as the most beautiful town square in Europe. Grand Place’s (or Groot Market’s) preserved Medieval architecture easily transports you to Brussels’ small town beginnings. Stand in the middle of the square and rotate 360 degrees to view the old guildhalls, the breadhouse and the towering Brussels City Hall. Try asking  locals to tell you the conversations of the statues on top of the Grand Place buildings and you’ll be in for a funny treat.

The restaurants in the square are pricier than the usual but if you don’t mind spending 1-2€ extra for a drink, sit and order a glass of biere blanche while you people-watch. Though, I best enjoy it by relaxing and sitting in the middle of the square with a supermarket- bought red wine (quality is still very good) and a platter of cheese.

Grand Place is also the city’s most happening place with the Brussels flower carpet  happening every other year in August and the Brussels Jazz Marathon every May.  But do visit in winter during  Plaisirs d’Hiver as the city hall becomes the façade of a stunning music and light show.

Gare Centrale - Brussels

Gare Centrale

I have a love-hate relationship with Gare Centrale. I hate it because it often stinks of garbage but love it because it serves as the gateway to everything in Belgium. With three hours or less of travel time from Brussels to anywhere in Belgium, get a Go Pass (10 train rides for 50€ for under 26/ 74€ for those over 26) for an easy daytrip to various Belgian towns.

Don’t just leave Brussels yet. Wander around the Gare Centrale and catch the street musicians along the main hall for cheap musical treat. And if you are not into classical music, the Brussels from Lady Gaga to the Beach Boys, which is quite relaxing especially after a long day at work.

Parc Cinquantenaire - Brussels

Parc du Cinquantenaire

On my first day in Brussels, my host took me for a five minute walk to this park and I was amazed that I live so close. And since then, Parc du Cinquantenaire, with its triumphal arch and stunning arcade, became part of my Brussels daily life. This is where I walk on my way to work in the morning, jog in the afternoon and go to read a book or chill-out with my friends on weekends.

Place Poalert - Brussels

Place Poelaert

Brussels doesn’t have a great cityline, however it is a treat to see the city’s Medieval and modern rooftops from Place Poalaert. Try spotting Brussels city hall or Brussels’ own Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. And if you have perfect 20/20 vision, let’s see if you can spot the Atomium.

In summer, it transforms as one of the locations for Apero Urbains, but don’t get too drunk as the Brussels’ Palais de Justice is just on your right (though, I wouldn’t count on getting imprisoned as it has been in “restoration” for a long time now).

Centro Cabraliego de Bruselas - Brussels

Centro Cabraliego de Bruselas

Just a few metres away from Place Poelaert, Centro Cabraliego de Bruselas, a Spanish tapas place, is a testament to how Brussels is a melting pot of cultures. Here, I can order a Belgian beer and Spanish tapas to a French-speaking bartender and listen to a Scottish guy with bagpipes. And I come with my American, English, French and Taiwanese friends to make our own mini United Nations.  But in spite of our different nationalities, we all agree that with its one-euro beers and cheap tapas, this place is worth a weekly visit.

Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels
(Photo from natsu)

Brussels’ Musical Instruments Museum

Upon entering the Musical Instruments Museum, they’ll give you a wireless headphone and pamphlet. Many people, including me, did ask: “What am I going to do with this?” From the headphones come the instruction: “go next to a displayed instrument, and the instrument tune will play automatically”.

The interactivity of Brussels’ MIM is entertaining and helped me appreciate the hundreds of musical instruments on show.

A friends” tip actually was to start the tour in the morning and finish the day with a drink from the atelier on top of the museum enjoying a stunning view of Brussels rooftops.

Maison Antoine
(Photo from magnusfranklin)

Friterie Chez Antoine

One lesson I learned from two years living in Brussels  is to never call fries “French”. This classic favourite didn’t originate from France but from Belgium.  Belgians love their frites and the best place to enjoy it is in Friterie Chez Antoine.

There are other places to get fries in Brussels, but this local place comes on top of my list. You may wait in line for 10 minutes before you get to order but the queues are there for a reason.

Once you ordered, your fries will come in a cornet and sauce. TIP: Go beyond the usual catsup or mayonnaise and order it with sauce andalouse or the spicy delights – sauce brasil and samurai.

Delirium taps
(Photo from Travlr)

Delirium

In one of Brussels’ small alleys, you can find Delirium.  Delirium holds the world-record for having the most number of beers served from a single establishment.  Ask for “Une bière s’il vous plait” and they’ll give you a two-inch thick beer menu.  Browse the pages to see its 2000 beer selection and take your pick from coconut flavoured beers to Homer Simpson’s favourite beer – Duff. If you’re still clueless,  ask the bartender  for their advice and you won’t be disappointed.

Le Corbeau - Brussels

Le Corbeau

By midnight, this small bar turns into a local club where the furniture becomes the dance floor.

Stand on one of the tables and chairs and dance until the morning. This place also offers international and French dance mix rarely found in other clubs in Brussels.  Specifically watch out when they play a dance mix of Louise Attaque – J”t”emmène au vent as everyone just goes crazy.

This is a place where local and young expats party on weekends  so better come before midnight and  reserve your dancefloor  table.

spare-ribs à volonté

Amadeo Restaurant and Rue Saint-Catherine

Spot the cow while walking along Rue Saint-Catherine and you’ll enter this quirky restaurant – Amadeo. The interior looks like a library and an American western saloon combined. Get rough and tough (and try to come with an empty stomach) to take full advantage of their affordable eat-all-you-can spare ribs.  Truly, the meat-lover in me wasn’t disappointed in Brussels.

After your first rib rack, raise your hand to receive your next one. Though don’t fill yourself with ribs, as the delicious baked potato and its unique sauce should also be sampled and enjoyed.

Try to beat my record of eating seven racks of ribs. Let me know once you get to do it!

Not much into meat? Sample Rue Saint-Catherine’s other restaurants. My advice: head on to Hong Kong delight for its delicious roasted duck, steamed vegetables and its huge dimsum selection.

Have you been to Brussels? What are your favourite places?

Travel Blog

Photo Essay: El Nido, Philippines

July 5, 2011
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

I can”t get enough of El Nido and it is my favourite place in the Philippines so far. Our trip was almost six months ago, but I still have fond memories of this town. Here are some of our best photos from the trip.

Way to El Nido

Despite the long six-hour van ride to El Nido from Puerto Princesa, capital of Palawan – the journey is worth it due to the lush rice fields that dominate the view.

view from afar of El Nido

The town of El Nido seen from the view point, a few kilometres from the town proper.

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

This is the view in front of our room in El Nido – this limestone cliff dominates the view of Bacuit bay.

Balut at El Nido

Enjoying balut (fertilised duck egg) for a late-night snack.

http://www.phpaide.com/?langue=fr Palawan, Philippines by JMParrone, on Flickr” href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmparrone/5901078377/”>El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Boatman in one of the islands in Bacuit Bay

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Docking in one of the islands for lunch

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Turquoise waters – we even saw a turtle

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Huge limestone cliff directly in front of us

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Final island – Seven Commandos beach

Sunset at El Nido

Sunset at El Nido

Dogs at a beach in El Nido

It”s not only us who are enjoying the beach

Road to El Nido

This is us actually on our way back from El Nido, our van broke down thrice and got stuck on the dirt road for a couple of hours

 

Do you have photos from El Nido, Palawan? Feel free to send them to us so we can post them here!

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