My Roman Holiday II

On our second day in Roma, we went to the Colosseum and to the Roman Forum. These sites are two that you should never miss when you visit the Eternal City. It’s a packaged tour so you get to see both places when you purchase a ticket.

There’s so much history there and it’s an architectural marvel as well. It is a wonder what the human mind can do, even in the Ancient times. The Colosseum is an oval amphitheater where all those gladiator battles were held as well as many other public spectacles of the age. The Roman Forum is a place filled with the ruins of Ancient Roman structures. As it was the center of day to day life in Rome then, it is where the government buildings and markets were located.

Later that day, we also went to the Fontana di Trevi where, as they say, if you throw a coin in over your shoulder, you will return to Rome one day. The fountain itself is very beautiful with the crystal water from the aqueducts that flow through the city. Although it’s hard to get a decent picture with all the tourists around, it is definitely worth a visit. Why not throw in a Euro? It couldn’t hurt.

The next day, our third day, it was a very chill day as it was our last full day in Rome. We visited the Pantheon. It’s a former Roman temple but nowadays it is used as a church. On the day we went,  before all the tourists were allowed in, there was a mass. Tombs of notable people are housed there, too like that of the artist, Raphael.  In the middle of the Pantheon is the Oculus in the concert dome that is the ceiling.  Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. It’s basically a big circular whole in the roof but it keeps the structure standing. It’s amazing how innovative those Ancient Romans were. How did they come up with these things? The rest of the day was filled with shopping and cups of espresso.

Here are some of the snap for those days. (All pictures are SOOC.) It doesn’t do the place justice at all. It’s one of the places you have to go to – truly one for the bucket list. You have to experience that magic of the Eternal City, even once. I even want to go back someday soon.




ciao Italia – one short day in Firenze

After exploring Bologna and Venice, we hopped on a train from Bologna to Firenze.

Florence is a very rich city in Italy, in both art and history. There are numerous museums in Florence that are home to many masterpieces. Although we did not venture into any of the said museums (long lines!), the architecture in the city itself was wonderful to behold.

We had a day to just walk about the streets of Florence. We saw the iconic Duomo, Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiorewhich surprisingly had green and pink hued walls. We wandered the streets and observed the yellow painted buildings. We stopped by a cute little retaurant that was next to a bell tower that chimed the hour to have pizza and pasta for lunch. We ate our gelato and sipped on melted granitas as we explored the city. We looked on at the statues that lined the piazzas. We shopped for some Italian leather goods, which Florence is known for. We went inside a scoula that taught people how to create the said leather goods. And we also said “hi!” to a replica of Pinocchio, a puppet who wanted to be a real boy, whose story originated in this Tuscan city.

ciao, Italia – Day 2 in Bologna

It only goes to show that not everything will go as planned when one travels. Always, always be prepared for whatever happens. Sticking to the planned out itinerary is good but what if something comes up? Like, let’s say, the Gelato Museum you planned on visiting that day just closed for the season. Yeah, do some thorough research but also be flexible and roll with the punches.

After our jam-packed and super warm day in Venice, we decided to have a chill day back in Bologna, so, we decided to just go to the city center and see what it had to offer… our stomachs! Because that plan to visit the Gelato Museum didn’t push through, we went where we could and stuffed our faces. Fun times! Pasta, granita and, yes, gelato!


cześć, Wrocław!

After the Paris leg of our trip, we headed to Wrocław, Poland. My older sister went to Poland for work a few months back and we decided to stop by her new home, explore, check out some spots and most importantly, rest up. That time in Paris was a bit fast paced, so we took out time to relax in Wrocław. Here are some of the snaps I took while we explored the especially pretty town. Pardon the haphazard post processing of picture, I edited all these on my mobile.

so many old time-y structures, such pretty colors!

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there were churches at every corner

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pierogi – Eastern European dumplings!

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the oldest beer house
performance art! looks like a weeping angel (from Doctor Who), doesn’t he?
Rynek – Market Square
yes, we had burgers! in Poland!
a girl has got to eat!
yes, we had some Japanese food, too!

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the cutest toilet signs i’ve ever seen!
pierogi again, this time, steamed!
we should always try the local traditional food, yes?

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Costa Coffee!


there were so many adorable statues of dwarves! each one had it’s significance and meaning.
more dwarves!
The Anonymous Pedestrians – a memorial to the introduction of martial law and the people who disappeared (“went underground”) in the middle of the night.


Growing up with Disney and the Princesses, I’ve always wanted to see palaces and have been curious on how it would have been like to live in one. Being a reader, I gravitate to fantastical or historical stories involving mighty cruel villains, charming yet mysterious princes, strong and beautiful heroines set in magical lands – all wrapped up in the typical happy ending. (“Far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise!” – Belle, from Beauty and the Beast) Being a bit of a romantic, I guess, I kind of wanted to be in a fairy tale.

I’ve always wanted to see Paris – the romanticized City of Light, and Versailles, with the Chateau and the Gardens where French royalty once presided. Doesn’t hurt that it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site. So, it was no surprise that my historically curious romantic self was quite giddy on this day. I tried to reign the excitement a bit, but I couldn’t help but be in awe of what I saw.

As it is a very touristy place, it was expected to be super crowded and it was. The line just to the entrance was a mile long so we did a skip-the-line tour that lets you skip the line (duh). The tour package also had audio guides for which narrated bits of information in each room we went to inside the palace. It was all very interesting – to see the walls, the paintings, the furniture, the history! It was magnificent and opulent and a bit overwhelming. It was just too much of everything that I couldn’t comprehend how such things came to be hundreds of years ago because of man ( and man’s desires).

The tickets we booked also included access to the gardens, which we went to first. On a side note, it would be amazing to have photo shoots there! Even just in the gardens! I don’t think it’s allowed though. Speaking of photos, here are some that I took on our day trip to Versailles. Please note the captions. 🙂

This was outside the train station. Most buildings looked like this – like there was a theme!
Cobble stones – I learned are pretty for pictures, bad for walking on.


When in France, have crepes for lunch – Le Carré aux Crêpes!
They had set meals – with cider!
The set meal includes a choice of savory crepe, “savoury galettes”.


The set meal had a choice of dessert, too. This one was for my niece’s kid’s meal.
Of course, creme brulee!
Chateau de Versailles
Jardin de Versailles
Hello, fellow tourists! Let’s explore the gardens! These gardens were huge! We were given a map and we didn’t get to go to all parts.


It was raining that day. Thanks to the handy umbrellas from our Airbnb hosts! 🙂
had a bit of fun chanelling Mary Poppins with the umbrella

waiting for our tour of the Palace
Looks rich, non?


mirror selfie in the Hall of Mirrors
Gold, gold, gold.


Lots of gold trimming

Totally unexpected! Laduree by the gift shops! Ahh!


Nothing like macarons to end the tour! See my extra happy face.


Our day didn’t end there. Here’s a peak on where we went to next! Any guesses? It’s quite obvious.

bonjour, Paris!

After hours and hours of being in transit, we finally arrived in Paris, France.  It’s still kinda surreal that I get to say (type) that.

Paris is one of the places that I get to check off my bucket list. I can’t thank the powers that be enough for this opportunity. I can’t help but be grateful of every blessing that has been given to me, this trip was one of those wonderful blessings.

In Paris, the family and I stayed in this cozy Airbnb in the 19th arrondissement. A bit far from the center but it was within our budget. When we arrived, we took the chance to explore the vicinity and have lunch at a nearby cafe.


Liberte. Egalite. Fraternite.


We ate at Le Pavillon des Merveilles – an Alice in Wonderland themed cafe. It was decked out in huuuge cards and had other cute decors all around the place. The food was very good too, especially the dessert! I remember we had these chocolate cookies – yum!

Bienvenue! Welcome!
Alice in Wonderland themed.
These cards were huge – human size!
Croque Monsieur, Gazpacho,  and a veggie lasagna? I forget. Super yum though!

After lunch, we decided to take the train to the center of the city and explore some of the must see touristy things. What better way to see everything than by walking? So, we got our phones out, opened Google Maps and went exploring. Here are some of the places we saw on our walk – Notre Dame, Pont Neuf, and The Louvre Museum.

Their public toilets, high-tech!


pretty buildings…


Notre Dame de Paris


that iconic glass pyramid – you know you’re at The Louvre
somebody’s happy


The Seine with the top of the Eiffel Tower peeping out – magical!


And this was only day 1 in Paris!


Disneyland Paris Feels

So, something amazing happened. I went to Europe! For three weeks! With the family! It was amazing… but more on that later.

What kind of Disney kid would I be if i pass up the chance to go to Disneyland Paris? I mean, aside from the part that my sisters’ main purpose of stopping by Paris was just that.

Here I am, sharing my excitement… and slight disappointment from my day at Disneyland Paris. Excitement because, hey! It’s Disneyland! In Paris! but disappointment because, that was it? Disneyland? In Paris?

It may be my fault that I got disappointed. I got my hopes up, expectations were high. Even after reading and researching about the park, even after finding out that it wasn’t the best of all the parks, I still expected so much. Oh, well, it was still quite an experience, though, no doubt about that. That is one more park to check off the list!

There are so many unique things to the park like Sleeping Beauty’s castle with that super cool dragon inside; some things common to some other parks but a new experience for me – like the Pirates of the Carribean ride and Peter Pan’s flight (which was super fun!). It was still very memorable and amazing. I would not take it back. I would probably not make a point to visit it but if by some miracle, I may find myself in Paris once again, I’ll be sure to go.

i DisneyBounded as Snow White. can you see it?

posing with statues is fun. funny the one that posed before me was a little kid. LOL
which way to go?
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle – so pretty.

so, is this Maleficent? or not?
sound advice

Serendipity – Sarah J. Maas Book Signing in KL

Have you ever experienced things that were a happy coincidence? Serendipity?

First, let me elaborate. Being an avid reader living in the Philippines, it’s very fortunate that local bookstores have been organizing book signing events featured authors that I’ve read. I’ve been to one before. The latest one featured Sarah J. Maas, author of the bestsellers – the Throne of Glass series and the Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy. Both series are still on going and I am eagerly waiting for the next books to come out.

The Throne of Glass Series is a six book series (with 4 books out and the next one coming in September 2016) about Celaena Sordothien, an 18 year old imprisoned assassin who was offered freedom by the Crown Prince on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find the new royal assassin. It’s a retelling of Cinderella with a bit of a Hunger Games vibe.

A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy is a book series centered around Feyre, a 19 year old huntress who kills a wolf in the wilderness to feed her family. Then, a beast-like creature arrives and demands retribution for the wolf. Feyre is taken away into a magical land and discovers that the beast that took her was no ordinary beast but of the beautiful immortal fairies who used to rule their world. Sound familiar? It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast with some fairy magic. The second book was recently released and I’m obsessed! Waiting for a year for the next book is torture!

But this isn’t what this blog post is about. Well, it is, sort of.

So, serendipity. Ms. Maas’ Philippines leg of her Asian tour only covered Manila and I am all the way down here in Cebu City. Personally, having never been to Manila, I was not interested in going. Because I love love love the book series, I considered having my sister go in my stead since she was working and living in Manila. As is the PH wasn’t the only stop in Maas’ tour, she was slated to visit Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia next, and lo and behold, we were going to be at KL at the same time time. See, serendipity? Aren’t I lucky?

As our KL itinerary was not so packed, we went to her book signing event at the Borders Bookstore in The Curve mall which was a 30 minute drive from our hotel.

We went to the bookstore a few hours early to browse the shelves upon shelves of books. Seriously, why can’t the bookstores in Cebu be as big and well stocked? I was having serious bookstore envy, if that’s even possible. LOL Also, they had a Starbucks in the bookstore! We don’t have that here! Well, we had a Bo’s Coffee Shop in a bookstore once, but that cafe closed. Hurr. Books and coffee – two of my favorite things ever!

Anyway, here are pictures of our day spent in that heavenly bookstore. No photos of the said shelves, I was too distracted by the actual books to take any. Oh, well.



Hopefully, more authors will come ’round to our part of the world.

KL Adventures through Instagram

On March 2016, I spent a few days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My sister had business there and I decided to tag along. I’ve never been to Malaysia, so it was great having to explore somewhere new. But since the pictures I took during the trip are still in the camera’s memory cards, I’ve decided to share some of the images I posted on my Instagram account, @xyrielle. When the pictures will be transferred, I’ll definitely post those here. In the meantime, here are my Instagram posts during the trip.

Malaysian skies…
Airport pic!
Oodles of noodles at Secret Recipe
Meet and greet with one of my fave authors, Sarah J. Maas
and I had my books signed!
Their McDonald’s has Pie ala mode
Starbucks Coffee!
Climbed those stairs at the Batu Caves
said “hello” to the resident monkeys at the Batu Caves
Pigeons! Rats of the sky.
Tried their KFC, too. They have Zinger.. and surprisingly, not as spicy the the PH’s.
Dinner at IKEA!
and again at Secret Recipe.
Lunch at Miss Kwan’s at Suria KLCC
The iconic Petronas Twin Towers – a must in KL!


Hong Kong 2015

After months and months and months of these pictures in storage, they are now sorted and ready for posting! Yey!

At the end of 2015, the family decided to have a different kind of Disney experience. This Hong Kong trip was, more or less, about that – Christmas at Disneyland. The theme park changes their decor to reflect the season. We have experienced Easter at Tokyo Disney and now, Christmas at Hong Kong Disneyland. Apart from a fun day at the happiest place on earth, we also explored the bustling city. We had to go to the typical tourist attractions as it was the first time for the parents to set foot in Asia’s World City.

For me, Hong Kong is one of those places I won’t get tired of going. Even though this was the second time I went, I won’t hesitate to go back, given the chance. It’s both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. I would be totally comfortable around the city but still be in awe of the new things I get to discover.

Here are the pictures I took, although atypical, I thinks it’s the memories and the experience that matter most, as a traveler. These pictures are reminders of the times spent on a new yet familiar place. I’ve also included some of the photos I posted on Instagram. 🙂

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Octopus Card for easy commute



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Mak’s Noodles @ The Peak Galleria
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Camera’s at the ready!
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Hello again, Disneyland!

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Oh, Christmas Tree!


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Buns, buns, buns.

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Festival of the Lion King – a must see at Hong Kong Disney!

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Happy 10 year anniversary to Hong Kong Disneyland!


Paint the Night Parade


King Triton!

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Starbucks red cups!
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Out and about at night.

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Victoria Harbor, an HK must!