Showing posts from June, 2013

Europe trip: Day 12 & 13 (Paris Day 11 + Venice Day 1)

Places visited (Day 12): Château de Vincennes, Gare de Lyon (via Vallorbe, Switzerland) Places visited (Day 13): Santa Lucia (Northern Venice) (Note: this was written on day 27) Day 12 The last day in Paris, and also where I would make my way to Venice. Because I was so cheap on expenses, the owner told me that I had to clean the room, or pay €20. Knowing how strong European European currency is, that is quite an amount in my home currency. So where do I go between check out and boarding the train? Well, there is this place I always walk past, but never went in, to a place called Château de Vincennes . (Pronounced as sha-tou-deh-varn-sen ) It's an old castle, but I didn't know the significance of it until I read that some well known authors were imprisoned there. Spent about 3 hours there. Where to next? Well, there is this big library near one of the station I went past days earlier (don't remember the name, but it interchanges with RER C and Métro lin

Europe trip: Day 10 (Paris Day 9)

Place visited: The Louve (again) (Note: this was written on day 24. Some details might have been forgotten.) Not being fully satisfied with the earlier visit (it was crowded), I decided to take another visit to the museum. This time, I had to pay the admission as it wasn't the first Sunday of the month. On top of that, I am not eligible for the student/youth discount, which is reserved for EU citizens. So, having there before, I kind of know where the other other entrance is, and what station to get off. The other entrance is not far from the subway station and then follow the underground shopping arcade that has an Apple store. There should be an inverted pyramid that lets light from outside in. (Guides and maps shows the entrance as the side of the nearby arch, visible from the glass pyramid main entrance, at ground level that goes below the ground.) It was hard to take a picture of the inverted pyramid without someone posing in front of it. Not much to

Europe trip: Day 9 (Paris Day 8)

Places visited: Musée d'Orsay (RER C, line 14) (Note: this was written on day 16, 17, and 19, so some details might have been forgotten until I get to download pictures I had taken that day. Images and additional text added on 21 July) So finally somewhere new: Musée d'Orsay. I knew where it's location was because I did walk along there in the middle of the night some nights earlier, which was this massive building that, up until around the 1980s, was a train station. Because of how late I went out, I went around to find a place to eat beforehand. It was this fast food place called Quick near the Pompidou place I went to days earlier. Where to next? It was either the Musée d'Orsay or visiting the Lourve again. I did not explore everything on the last time I was there. Where we went affects the route to take. Out of random, it was the first choice. Because I did saw an RER station right outside the station, and the station near where we were having both the

Europe trip: Day 8 (Paris Day 7)

Places visited: Eiffel tower (Note: This was written on day 12 to 14. Some details might be forgotten until I take a look at pictures I took that day.) I think I had gotten over my jet lag already: I'm waking up at the usual 9am without an alarm clock... Anyway, on this day, I went to the Eiffel Tower. Yes, that famous pointed thing that everyone associated Paris with. I had been to the Tokyo Tower and the Personas Twin Towers that had been based on this, but this is the real thing! It may not be the tallest structure now, or was designed to be temporary, but it was for many decades from the time it was built. So, which subway station is the best? It depends on what you want to see: the nearest station, [name 1, line1], might not be scenic at all. The other station on the same line, [name 2] does. In fact, it is there where all the scenic shots were taken from. Which one did I take? Well... Neither. It's [name3, line2] instead. There is some explanation behi

Europe trip: Day 7 (Paris Day 6)

Places visited: Notre damn Latin Quarter La Défence (Note: this was written on days 10 to 12, so some details could have been forgotten) I went to the Nora Damn (fix spelling later), which was located on the same island I was at days earlier, but at the south-eastern corner of it. I only went to the north-west, north, and south-west of the island that other day. To get there, take the train to Citié. There is only one entrance to the station, and it's quite easy to miss due to the construction around it and not being well signed. It's one of those that you would need to have arrived there by train to know where exactly. Citié station by itself looks like one big ventilation shaft with stairs around one end later. They look quite old, and a set of stairs that branches of it (identical to the stairs from platform and one that does lead to the exit) appeared blocked off. A look on the other side reveals that the (modern) ticket barrier is above it. The stairs is

Europe trip: Day 5 & 6 (Paris Day 4 & 5)

For these two days, I visited two different museums: the Lourve (glass pyramid) and the Pompidou (building with pipes on the outside). Day 5 was the first Sunday of the month, so admission was free that day. However, that also meant that there are large crowds there. So, I took a look at the area of the Lourve 2 days earlier where the queue was long. What caught me off guard? The queue that Sunday was 4-5 times longer!  It took about 2 hours to clear it. So what was inside there? A lot of ancient paintings and sculptures on display. It takes a whole day just covering one wing. You wouldn't believe how many people crowded around a particular painting armed with cameras. What is this painting in question? Mona Lisa. Yes, it's the real deal, though you would be disappointed about its small size. Actually, I visited to most of the other exhibits of that wing before heading there. I then got hungry. However, the prices at the cafes are crazy high. It was a tough

Europe trip: Day 3 & 4 (Paris Day 2 & 3)

Still recovering from the jet lag, I woke up early (5am) to explore the area and buy some toiletries that couldn't be brought though airport security. There was no 7-11 in sight, and stores did not open until 8am. A lot of walking was involved: more than 12 hours of walking though the streets, and ignoring most of the red pedestrian lights. (They appear annoyingly frequent, and there was no warning before the green man turned into red.) I went to the Louve to check out the place and did not go in (until day 5). I took pictures of the area and realized that there was a long queue (3 times longer in day 5) because of security checks and such. Following the wide open area from there seems to be a large park with many people, fountains,  and ducks. Following even further, we ended up at Chaps Elésee, and the triumph arch. Really. That was all not planned or expected. The Eiffel tower could be seen from the arch. So, what about food? Well, there was no convince store.

Europe trip: Day 1 & 2 (London Day 1 + Paris Day 1)

So the day has finally arrived! The plane departed the airport at the night of the 29th. To cut down the cost of the ticket, the flight had a stopover at Doha, Qatar. Quite a number of people don't seem to know where this is: it's in the Middle East. Surrounding countries include Saudi Arabia and Dubai (part of UAE). About 7 hours later, we arrived in Doha. What I was not expecting was that there were shuttle buses to the terminal instead of walking to it or having a bridge. The colour of the ticket holder and luggage tag I was given determines if I were to head to the arrival hall, transfer hall, the premium terminal, or the satellite wing. It took a while to step out of the plane as the shuttle bus could not accommodate every one. Really, why this, and why are they all at different areas? The terminal was crowded, and I could only find one toilet there that itself was full. When waiting, every seat was occupied. The sitting area after the collection of tickets to wai

An Unexpected Wish (Part 9)

As Nanami travelled along her way home, she was still mystified on how she found herself in the white void that also stopped  her time while she was there. It seemed like a long time while she was there, but only a second outside of it. Even more puzzling was how did she end up at Saeko Hisakawa's house, which was at a completely different prefecture and certainly never been to before, when Nanami was at her own home just before she was at the world of white void. A big mystery. The train she is in are mostly people older than her heading home. Despite the time and how close the last train would be, the train is not empty either. Her trip involved transfering to different lines. Nanami is greatful for the money that Saeko gave her as she would have otherwise been stuck as she does not have money on her. She uses coins as much as possible so that the coins don't weigh her down much. As she was traveling on the train that passes through crowded stretches, she noticed a ma