The Grand Itinerary, Summer 07, #5

My life is back to normal. Now I’m sitting alone in my room, listening to unfamiliar songs, working on my computer, trying to recall and note wonderful memories. But one thing that is different from everyday is I have a memory when my sisters were here; when they played with me; when we cooked and ate together; when we traveled in Stockholm together; when we laughed together; when we made a call to our parents together.
After a long journey in 4 countries, one thing is bright in my memory is a picture of the trip with my lovely sisters and my sister’s boyfriend. It’s been a wonderful trip and good combination of the companions. This trip didn’t enrich with information of places we went to but enrich with beautiful memories of places filled with pictures of someone I love and someone who loves me. And that was better than a trip I imagined of.
Day 1, 11 July 2007, one night alone in Paris
I arrived before the others and stayed in Clichy, in outer Ile de France. I killed the time at the hostel, surveyed around the hostel, acquired tourist information, enjoyed the twilight view of the Eiffel Tower from the room’s window then went to bed.
Day 2, 12 July 2007, the meeting
I headed to CDG to meet the others. It was one of the most joyful moments in the trip when we met each other for the first time after almost a year. We surprised each other with changes of our looks. In fact, they were more surprised than I was. I gained some weight and my sisters changed their glasses’ styles. Pear had very long hair. Peach had her hair cut and strengthen. They came with many new clothes. They enjoyed shopping activity which I couldn’t do much here. It took us some time to find the last fellow flying from Boston. After we got together, I tired an SLR camera from my boyfriend. Destinations of today were Palais Opera, Hotel Invalides, Tour Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe, and Champs Elysees. Later a lot of pictures were deleted since it was the day I practiced my photography with SLR and with a new camera model. After we left Paris I knew that the others felt very tired in Paris because of tight schedules, many places to visit, high temperature, and small amount of water that we drank during the day.
Day 3, 13 July 2007, still in Paris
An experience of high temperature in Europe started from today. And, it was too bright to take good photos esp those having people as objects. We started the morning with going to Sacre Coeur, Versailles, Notre Dame + Tower, and ended with Louvre Museum. We tried to have dinner in a French restaurant, after checking prices and menus in different restaurants, we ended at the restaurant where I ate at last time. We had decided what we would order, then we went into the restaurant and chose to sit next to the front mirror, after a while there was someone talking to us that the kitchen was closed. -_-! ตูพยายามคิดเมนูอยู่ตั้งนาน Finally, sandwiches and strawberry tart were our dinner.
Day 4, 14 July 2007, Marathon
Since we’re quite slow for the first two days, so we agreed to visit and see and leave to finish places as many as we could. Today we bought daily ticket for zone 1, we couldn’t just travel by foot anymore. We started at Montmartre, Pont Neuf, Concigerie, St. Chapelle, Ile de St. Louis (for tasty ice-cream), Palais Royal, Concorde, Promenade, Museum d’Orsay, La Defense. Today we’re back to the hostel a little bit early to take a rest and after a while we might go out to see Paris’s night scenes. We left the hostel for Tour Eiffel but things were heppening in subway stations were very strange, everyone hurried to catch up the train, when we were at the station that we should have got off, the train didn’t stop and just passed that station. So we decided to return it might be the last train. On the way back, we realized that the metro was almost closed. Some exits were already closed. If we missed that train, it would have been another experience in Europe without mass transportation service for me. The first time when I was in Valencia. If you don’t think about spending more money on taxi then nothing to be worried, otherwise it’s another story.
Day 5, 15 July 2007, French Riviera: Nice
First thing that’s clear in my memory is it was very hot here. It had strong sunlight in Nice. We had to walk in the sun from Nice Gare to our hostel. And each had about 10kg on his/her back except Meaw who had over 20kg. But, when we saw our room, the feeling of being tired and hot was wiped away. It’s an only place in the trip that we have a private washroom. The place was new and clean. Colors were bright and contrast like we normally see from buildings in Nice. There was nothing much to see in Nice, just lingered on the beach, enjoyed the sunset, strolled in the city. It’s time to relax after hard trip in Paris. And, we took a lot of nice, romantic, creative, and funny photos. On the trip, you need to stay outside as long as you can to take photos in different time. Here we cooked dinner. A discovered menu of carrot salad was yummy and juicy.
Day 6, 16 July 2007, French Riviera: Cannes
Going to Cannes by bus is the most economic way, only 1.3 euro per trip per person. It’s not a time for the movie festival so it’s quiet and not so many things to see. We just walked on several shopping streets. We were there for 2-3 hours then back to Nice. It’s still hot and the sun was too bright to have good photos. Now I drew a picture of myself in Rome with very hot temperature, that’d be a torture of myself. So, I prayed it’d rain in Rome the day before we arrived.
Day 7, 17 July 2007, French Riviera: Monaco, Monte Carlo
Also, going to Monaco from Nice by bus is the most economic way, same price as traveling to Cannes from Nice. Too bad that there was no luggage service in Monaco. There was a big sign at a tourist info center inside the train station NO LUGGUGE SERVICE (in an entire city). I guessed a lot of travellers ask them and had to be disappointed. I didn’t prepare much info for Monaco, so we passed the station that we should have got off the bus. So we had to pay 2.6 euro in total to travel from Nice to Monaco -__-! กรรมเวร Peach was a person who made a plan for Monaco. Since we didn’t have a place to leave our luggage we had to go out in two each time. Pear and I went out first, it seemed we traveled without knowing directions. After visiting the casino in Monte Carlo, we walked, walked and walked and be back to the starting point accidentally and found that we could walk to the casino from that bus station. My brain stopped function many hours ago because of hot temperature (the easiest way to excuse for failure with a map). I couldn’t take photos in this climate. I didn’t want to travel. So, we didn’t used up our timeslot, we returned to the train station and let Peach and Meaw go outside. When they were back, we followed their routes. Tonight we took a night train from Monte Carlo to Rome, it was a wonderful journey. The room was great, safe, and clean, compare with rooms in 2nd class. Everybody concluded that we prefered to pay more and stayed here. But the tickets were so pricey, we could stay in a 5 star hotel with this price. But this was not the most expensive journey in the trip. The most expensive one was TGV’s tickets from Paris to Nice. And the train didn’t run that fast.
Day 8-9, 18-19 July 2007, Rome and the theft
Finally, we arrived in the city that have bad reputation of pickpocket, and most of the victims are Asian travelers. It’s quite hot here. The sun could burn your skin. I was burned since the first day, nothing could help except staying in the room, going out nowhere. My excitement about the city disappeared, I couldn’t create any good angle in my pictures. Too hot, too bright, to do anything. But Pear loved Rome, she loves fountains which could be found over the city. We had to thanks to very modern irrigation in Rome since the ancient time. After the trip she has a collection of her and the fountains. Rome could have been much more beautiful and full of details to collect if we were there in June or some other times of the year. Now I know how it looks like when they say typical Mediteranean climate. I thought I would be very lucky If I saw a cloud in Rome’s sky. Museums are not popolar visiting places in this trip. Most of the time we canceled a museum visiting program and ended up in one fine restaurant. If you’ve been in Rome before, you might know that museum fees in Rome are quite expensive compare to thoses in Paris. So, it turned out that we had big budget for food after all. We tried a mixed steak set in Rome (I know this should be ordered in the US, since we’re almost vegetarians by then) We ordered medium, but when it was served, we agreeded that the chef took the meat out of the fridge, suddenly put it on the plate. It’s so bloody. You could almost smell the blood. Many sightseeing places in Rome were under renovation like Spanga Scala and the building behind a monument of Victor Emmanuel. I believed we visiting most of places we need to see when in Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Piazza del Campidoglio, Pantheon (wanna see Gold Saints here), Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Spagna (disappointed, there was a huge sign of renovation vandalizing the scene), The Vatican City, Castel Sant’Angelo. Thanks to Frodo guidebook, we had tasted the most delicious gelato of Rome. it’s really worth for money.
Everything comes to an end; there is no exception for this trip. It started on July 11 and ended completely today after my sisters walked through the security check at Arlanda airport. An end could be a beginning of another thing. We’re waiting to see each other again and start a new trip. The second day in Rome, we had to change the plan, go out in the morning, take a break in the afternoon, out again in late afternoon. Tooooo hot. But because of the change, I had many of nice pics. Paintings sold on the side of the streets in Rome were very nice but difficult to carry all the way back here. So I had to forget about it.
Day 10, 20 July 2007, Most down in the trip
To me, Florence was the less memorable city in this trip. I’m sure it has values just this time I didn’t reach it. I gave up with the temperature once we got off the train. I was counting down for the day we arrived in Luzern. Nothing much to do in Florence. We had one day so the best we could do was to finish the city but in this condition, I couldn’t, I didn’t want to. I could do anything after sun set. But Peach said we should go back to the camp before sunset because there was no electricity at the camp. We didn’t really follow the plan of Florence city sightseeing. I just wanted to walked to any places that I could see a shade on the way. When we arrived in Duomo, the biggest church in Florence. I wanted to sit here forever, at least until the last light of the day. Duomo was magnificent and the most catching eyesight in this city. I saw a faking David next to the White Giant, what’s wrong with people in this country loving to see naked male. I saw another David on the way back to the camp. We met a father at the Santa Maria church. He was so kind, and tried to invited us to come back to the church the next day. There was music performance. It must have been an important day in the city. Another unfortunate story in Florence was when we took a bus back to the camp, the bus couldn’t stop at the camp, they closed the street since there was a concert on the hill where the camp located. We had to got off and walked for 1-2 km. approx. Not too bad, we could enjoy beautiful scenery along the way, now it was not too hot.
Day 11-12, 21-22 July 2007, A city of canals
Venice painted me a picture of Bangkok in big floods in 2526 (Buddhist Era). That’s the first thing popped up into my head while I tried to think about the city in a different way. The second thing was its temperature when we arrived. We accidentally dropped into a room showing artwork from Thailand (it’s part of art exhibition called Venice Biennale.) A man in that room told us the temperature was upto 40c (actually, it’s 35-36c plus humidity in the air) That’s quite hot. I only needed to walk in a shade. Unexpectedly, we did big shopping in Venice. We bought Venice carnival masks, products from Murano glass as souvenirs. And our father had a classic model of Bialetti coffee maker, originally made in Italy. We had to carry it to all the countries we’d been on the trip before hand to him surprisingly. He always asked for it all our ways. And we just told him we’d keep looking for it. There are many shops sell Murano glass products esp around Realto bridge which is 50% cheaper than ones I bought from a shop. I convinced myself the one I bought was better quality (it really is.) Trains in Italy didn’t give much pleasure as we expected. Anyway, we needed to travel overnight to cross to Luzern. The last train in Italy to Chiasso was the worst one. Not differnt from 3rd class train in Thailand (this is only my imaginary thought, I don’t really know how it looks like, just we can compare whatever the worst with it.) The train had not many passengers. The model was old. It gave a feeling of unsafe being on the train. Luckily, nothing bad happened that night. We arrived safely in Chiasso. We walked into the station, the first feeling was so good. You could feel living in two differnt worlds just transfering from Italy to Switzerland. We found a place in the station which was quite convenient to wait for the next train which would be coming in next 4 hours.
Day 13-14, 23-24 July 2007, They said it’s worth for money & shopping
Trips in Switzerland were operated by my sister, Peach. In fact half of the trips were organized by her. Once we arrived she collected info from a tourist info center inside Luzern train station. And, we’re still lucky. A person told us that we should went to Pilatus today because tomorrow it’s cloudy and showering. Tourist info in Luzern was very rich, useful and officers were helpful. Then, we’re in a rush hour again. It’s not easy to find Hi youth hostel, and there were no people in the street at that time. Luckily enough, there’s a lady spoke from the upper floor of a house, told us a direction. But we lost again, then we met a sportman who was joggin in the morning. Without both of them, I bet we couldn’t found the place. And the map didn’t help much (in the evening, we met two ladies having the same problem.) We adjusted our plan a little bit, we sent to the Lake and the mountain that day. It was a very fantastic experience, the best one in the trip. Luzern is the most beautiful city in the trip. It the trip that we’er most close to nature. Half plan on water surface, another half plan on the mountain, that’s perfect. After going down from Pilatus, someone noticed a silver, winding way aside the mountain. That’s one of the most awesome activities of the day. We played "toboggan sledge". The route is 1.3 km long. You slide down the mountain’s side. This is a must-do activity if you go to Pilatus. It’s great. On the first day when we walked past shops in the city, they’re very tempting us. We needed to buy everything. The the second day, it’s a city visit including big shopping. We use Swiss Franc not Euro, so we could start a new budget. On the second day, I thought we spent over budget in shopping. We saved some money from the trip because most of fees covered in Swiss pass, and spent them in presents. Now I understand why everyone talks about Switzerland. It’s a true natural wonder city.
Day 15-16, 25-26 July 2007, Ship, train, lake, mountain, snow
We’re leaving Luzern for Interlaken. All the way inside Switzerland was so beautiful. The plan today was to travel on the lake, Brienze. We’re on a ship to Brienze and changed to a bus to Balenberg. It’s like an open museum, Skassen, in Stockholm. But I think Balenberg is bigger and in better condition and maintenance. In Balenberg, we felt the heat from the sun again. We backed to the city in the evening. The city is very quiet. If you like adventure activities like skydiving, paragliding, hiking, rafting, canyoning. Interlaken is a perfect destination for you. And don’t think to go shopping for souvenirs here. There’s nothing much to see, price could be a little bit higher than that in Luzern. We found one lovely chocolate shop but it’s quite pricey. The second day, we woke up early, moved our bags to a luggage room, we’re departing to France tonight. The plan today was to overcome the top of Europe, Jungfrauoch. And my sisters were going to experience snow today. I believed they’re excited about that. On the way up, there were few connections we needed to change the train, on the last connection train, three of us didn’t have seats, so they gave each of us a coupon for complimentary drink. That’s later very useful when we’re back from cold weather outside. My sisters practiced their first ski lesson on the top of Europe, that’s cool. As usual, my job was to take good photos. Peach had few good photos when she’s skiing, unfortunately, Pear had less. Three of us (me, Peach and Pear) experience a condition with low oxygen in high latitude. And that made them stop playing ski and went inside and had hot Asian noodle. And it’s the most expensive noodle in our lives. 300 baht per cup. Goshhh.
I believed this was a last place in my trip. But for others, it still continued in Stockholm.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: