Page 8 of halefg Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Austria August 4th 2003

Although Zurich was a good start to assimilate our Italian customary into German, entering Germany via Austria is a different story. Flash back at the statas a couple month prior our European trip, we purchased our six-day Eurorail tickets that only allow us to visit five countries: Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the Benelux (Belgium/the Netherlands/Luxembourg), and France. The most direct route from Zürich to München is passing around a lake which borders Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, thus we need to enter Austria, one of the countries NOT listed on our tickets. We don't have any other alternatives but purchasing an additional ticket for our ten-minute ride passing Austria. The good thing about rerouting via Austria is that we are entering back EU from Switzerland via Austria; and this cheery plump Austrian immigration officer stamped our passports with ... read more

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Munich August 3rd 2003

Sunday, August 3, 2003 - Munich, Germany Crossing many European countries for the past couple months, I came into a conclusion that German is one of the hardest languages to speak and to hear, let alone to learn. A couple years ago in high school, I was interested in learning the language, but unfortunately it didn’t take more than one semester before I had it enough. Trying not to act as a rude tourist, I usually approach locals with a polite ‘Sprechen Sie englisch?’, or ‘Do you speak English’ question, hoping to hear a ‘Ja’ then proceeding into an English conversation to ask a question. In some occasions, they would look at me in a puzzled look, and say more like, ‘Kein Deutch?’, which a good indication for me to just smile and nod, while stepping ... read more
Dachau roll call

Europe » Switzerland August 2nd 2003

Thursday, July 31, 2003 - Interlaken, Switzerland Switzerland is a beautiful place. Everybody knows that, but seeing it first hand is a completely different experience. We started our Switzerland adventure in Interlaken, which suggested by its name, is located in the Alps region between two lakes. Arriving in Interlaken Ost station from Milano Centrale, Italy, we experienced a shocking atmosphere change from chaotic streets of Rome to calming Interlaken, with serene lakes of the Alps as a background. We had to reset our mindset from a go-go-go-I’m-so-behind into the oh-I-am-so-enjoying-life attitude. Tonight is chilly, according to our standard, which is micro-defined after living in hot and humid Roman summer for the past three months. The distance view of the snow-capped tallest peak in the continental Europe of Jungfraujoch, blended nicely with the lak... read more
Ding! Dong!
Swiss Chalet by the Alps

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pisa July 31st 2003

As there are beginnings, there are endings for everything; Alpha and Omega. Our time in Italy is ticking away; and the next thing we knew, we had get off our couch and gathered our belongings for the last time from our apartment, a place we called home for the last three months. We drank our last water from a cold Roman fountain, we saw San Pietro for the last time from a distance, and we walked along the Roman black cobble street stones, headed out to the Metro Ottaviano/San Pietro Metro station that would bring us to Termini station to continue on with our lives. Sad was not a good adjective to describe our feeling, but I couldn’t help it by feeling so miserable. At the same time, anxious started to fill me in as we ... read more
Pisa streetscape
Piazza dei Miracoli

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome July 30th 2003

A photo essay on night time in Rome. A city of eternity, but unfortunately, we need to move on with our lives, as we are heading out of Italy tomorrow, and be back at the States in two weeks. Walking around the city for the last time, each of us saying our last word of goodbye to beautiful and intimate places we've experienced for the last three months.... read more
Foro Romano
Luce blu a Foro Romano

Europe » Vatican City July 29th 2003

Vatican might be the smallest sovereign country in the world. Although we live in Prati neighborhood located next to the City, and our apartment is within two minutes walking from San Pietro, we haven't stepped a foot inside the Vatican City prior today. Walking along via della Consolazione to our studio, we always wonder how it feels like to visit the Vatican as a normal tourist. As a "resident of Rome", I am obligated to visit the Holy Site, and I am glad that finally we had the opportunity to examine the city more throughly. Tourists are always crowding around the main entrance to the Vatican, which happens to be the very entrance of St. Peter's Basilica. This is our main excuse of not going; as everybody's list in Rome is to visit Vatican, thus long ... read more
Swiss Guards
San Pietro
Gallery of Statues

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome July 27th 2003

Beware, Rome is not a safe place for a non-observant person. Pickpocketers are smart, but one always has to outsmart them by paying attention all around him all the time, and HIDE YOUR WALLET somewhere other than a normal place that unregistered people couldn't reach for it! Today was a nice Sunday, and I decided to check out the famous Roman Flea Market suggested by my Italian book, at the Porta Portese. This flea market is the biggest in Rome, and only happening every Sundays. Porta Portese is located across the Tiber from via Marmorata in Testaccio. I was such in a good mood, hoping to find some goodies at the market. As a pack rat that wouldn't pass an opportunity to check out neat stuff (especially in Rome! Who knows what would you get?), I ... read more
Porta Portese
The flea market

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome July 25th 2003

Rome is a good place to learn about history of Christianity, and catacombs are an important part of the learning experience. Unfortunately, there are only few people would consider the opportunity to check out catacombs when visiting Rome, and as our time in Rome is running short, I decided to visit a catacomb. Catacomb is always an intriguing place for me, especially with my goal of becoming a better Christian. Many early Christians lived in catacombs as places for sanctuary from Roman prosecution, where they died, buried, and hoped to resurrect with Christ at the end. Other than fulfilling my goal, Roman experience is not complete without visiting a catacomb; besides, who doesn’t want to experience a real eerie place, dark and mysterious, except the fact that I don’t think any of these souls would haunt ... read more
Entrance to the catacomb complex
Entrance to the underground catacomb

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Milan July 12th 2003

Leaving Rome Having several hours to spend before the departure time at 1:20 am, I was in no hurry to reach Tiburtina station back in Rome. I love night train, as I could sleep anywhere, maybe this is the reason why the Hardy boys decided not to join me for Milan trip. After Edinburgh and Venice, they said they have had enough with anything night transporter. So, with a set of tickets €29.37 for Roma-Milano and €27.37 for Milano-Roma, I am ready to embrace my new adventure in Milan. I tried to walk as slow as possible to the designated train platform, since I knew that I had more than two hours to spend waiting for the train to depart. Spent couple of hours sketching the FS train locomotive, before hearing the Binario changing for Milano ... read more
Duomo spires
Massive columns
Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle II dome

Europe » Italy » Campania » Naples July 6th 2003

Naples is not that impressive, at least from our first glance perspective. As soon as we landed on the marina from Capri ferry ride, we had to walk across a city to our designated hostel, including through one of those LONG tunnels that were loud, smell and not pedestrian friendly. Walking by several pictures of people with flowers around them, all of the sudden it occurred to me; I do not want to have my picture added to the pile, so we better paid more attention to these crazy Italian drivers who were zooming by within only inches from us. Reaching the Bay of Naples area by dusk, we still need to walk for at least another two miles to get into a secluded area where the HI-Hostel International Naples is located. We would use our ... read more
Remains of Pompeii residents
Galleria Umberto I
Bay of Naples

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