This travel blogger meme has been going on for some time and I’m finally getting my hands out on answering it. I’ve been tagged by brilliant travel bloggers – Jade & James of OurOyster.com and Tom of Waegook Tom.
Here goes my ABCs of Travel:
A: Age you went on your first international trip
My first international trip was to the US when I was 14. It was a 50-day trip jumping from San Francisco then to Houston. After, we headed to New York, Washington DC and Orlando in Florida. A whirlwind trip with the family but I got a good taste of what travel entails. I got to see snow for the first time (for a Filipino it was MUST) and also travel to ground zero a few months after the September 11 attacks.
B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where:
Oh man, HANDS DOWN – beers from Belgium! Travelling in Belgium won’t be complete without tasting their world-famous beers. I feel very lucky that I live here now. 😛
And as for beer types, definitely Houblon Chouffe, Delirium Tremens, Duvel and Triple Westmalle tops my list.
C: Cuisine (favorite):
Vietnamese cuisine. I spent most of my days in Ho Chi Minh enjoying Vietnamese street food. Who would have thought that you’ll find baguettes in Southeast Asia? They manage to achieve a fusion of Asian & Western delicacies. I will go back there simply for the food!
D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:
Favourite: Amsterdam. The city has a great vibe, interesting history and active nightlife. And of course, the canals and architecture are beautiful. I’ve been there five times and don’t mind coming back again!
Least Favourite: I have to say Paris. The city has interesting places and attractions but it’s too touristic and chaotic for me. And it’s also too expensive for my taste. The city never really captured me that some other were. L
E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:
Music festivals in Europe particularly my first one – Rock Werchter in 2009. I didn’t expect that I’ll get to see Coldplay, The Killers, Bloc Party and Jason Mraz in one night! In Asia, it’s rare for a foreign band to visit so seeing three of your favourite bands in one night was a shocker.
F: Favorite mode of transportation:
Trains – comfortable, cheap and convenient.
G: Greatest feeling while traveling:
The feeling that you are now on a place that before you only see on postcards, television or in movies. It’s the thought that you are really in this place always stands out.
H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to:
Morocco. It was the beginning of summer when I went there in 2009. I remember carrying a litre of water everytime we had to go out. And there are no beers around and that didn’t help out relieving our cool feeling. 😉 Good thing there were orange juices everywhere to keep us feeling sweet and hydrated.
I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:
From Happy Guest House in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The family managing the place was really friendly and takes care of their guests as if we are part of the family. The best bonus was we got to stay and got free airport pick-up, bicycle rentals, wifi, towels and bottled water – all for 3 USD a night!
J: Journey that took the longest:
Aside from 20 hours trans-continental flights, the longest and also the most painful journey I did was with a bus ride from Berlin to Brussels. It was supposed to be an 8-hour trip but turned into 23 hours because of the heavy snow! The bus ride was very uncomfortable – Toilets were clogged, chairs were small and the driver hardly stopped for toilet or eating breaks. Never going to do that again!
K: Keepsake from your travels:
I collect t-shirts from different countries particularly those with bizarre prints on it. One of my favourite shirt was the one I got in Prague saying “Czech me out!” – it’s a bit touristy, but I like it. 🙂
L: Let-down sight, why and where:
Atomium in Brussels, Belgium. We had to pay 13€ to go inside, but apart from cool escalators – it really has nothing to offer. The view from the top was quite disappointing.
M: Moment where you fell in love with travel:
When I first moved into Belgium, I fell in love with travelling and living abroad. I didn’t imagine that I’ll be able to make really good friends with people from almost all corners of the world. It made me proud of who I am and also made me realise that there’s a world out there waiting to be explored.
N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:
Marriott Hotel in Champs-Elysees in Paris. I didn’t pay for it, thank God, but the idea that we stayed right in the main street of Paris was pretty convenient and fancy.
O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:
Jumping photos – I have loads of photos everywhere. I can create a big folder from my travel photos with simply jumping photos.
P: Passport stamps, how many and from where?
I’m not counting but I know that I’m now almost halfway through my passport.
Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:
Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam. You get to be inducted to the Viet Kong idealogy, show you some deadly traps, drag you under the tunnels, hike through the jungle then finally give you an option to fire a rifle! It’s one of the most unique experiences I had on my travels.
R: Recommended sight, event or experience:
Angkor Wat. It’s hard to imagine that it was once a thriving civilisation – but it’s grandeur was simply breathtaking. It’s a nice reminder that you only live once and it’s up to yourself have to take the most out of it.
S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling:
Experiences , whether it’s shooting rifles, swimming with whale sharks, crossing ziplines etc – it’s those experiences that you’ll remember on your travels. So I don’t care if I had to eat street food all the time or fly low cost, as long as I know that in exchange I’ll get a rewarding experience, it’s fine!
T: Touristy thing you’ve done:
Climbing up the Eiffel Tower. We queued for 2 hours to start with, then queued some more to go up the tower peak. Ended up losing a day just on that. Hahahaha.
U: Unforgettable travel memory:
There are two:
First, when I went swimming with the whale sharks in Donsol, the Philippines. The opportunity to see wild life up close (and not just any wildlife but bus size fishes!) was both a memorable and humbling experience.
Second, was my trip to Morocco. We were on a cross-country trip from Marrakech to Tangier. It was only for a week but we got to see breathtaking sights like Dades Gorge, Sahara desert and the medinas of Marrakech and Fes. It was my first “backpacker” trip as well – complete with sleeping in airports, haggling for prices and being tricked into buying a damn carpet (my friend, not me)
V: Visas, how many and for where
I had three – US visa, UK visa and my current and very precious Schengen working visa. On the latter, it took me almost one and a half years to get! (no joke)
W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?
I’m not really a wine person so I can’t really name anything in particular. 😉
X: eXcellent view and from where?:
El Nido – the town is right smack in front of limestone cliffs. A world wonder no doubt.
Y: Years spent traveling?
I started living in Belgium when I was 21 – so I’d say three years. 🙂
Z: Zealous sports fans and where?
Not really a big sports person, but I’m a supporter of the Holland National Football team and also of tennis’ Novak Djokovic.
Tom from Active Backpacker
Neil from Backpacks and Bunkbeds
Cole & Adela from Around the World in Four Jandals
Roy from the Riding Dutchman
Euan and Rachel from Our Wee Trip