Europe 2016/17 Video

Hey everyone! Here’s a compilation of some footage I took on our trip 🙂 Sorry for the poor quality at times but I was recording without the intention of making a video in the end. I’m a terrible person with poor planning/organisational skills. But I wanted to put something together visually because we made such amazing memories on this adventure!

Mary xx

Europe 2016/17

Late last year, myself and my two girlfriends decided to take on an impromptu Europe trip, as you do. With just 2 months of planning we managed to get ourselves on a plane on the 27th of December 2016 and would not touch Aussie soil for the next 5 weeks. It was without a doubt one of the most crazy things I’ve ever endeavoured to do and the best times of my life. With an insane itinerary, stressful transport timetables and multiple check ins and check outs, we traversed 6 countries and 11 cities to explore the world and ultimately find ourselves (so cheesy but true- soz not soz) Here are some of the highlights…

Germany

I think one of the best things about going when we did was the fact that it was the winter holidays. It means everything was beautiful, lighted and decorated. Also we got to see this massive real Christmas tree in the middle of the Marienplatz in Munich….

Processed with MOLDIV

We were lucky enough to be able to visit the tallest snowy mountain in Germany, Zugspitze. Needless to say, we were not prepared for this winter wonderland and were on the brink of frostbite. However, the adrenalin filled bobsleds and a hearty German dinner afterwards sure did keep us warm!

We spent New Years in Berlin and it was a night I will never forget. The fireworks, the people, the friendship good times…..We were situated in the middle of a crossroads and so although we weren’t at the main fireworks display we didn’t care because there were literally fireworks going off all around us! (TBH not really safe practice.. umm quite dangerous actually..but good times nonetheless!)

We spent the next few days exploring the East Side Gallery and Checkpoint Charlie

Amsterdam

Amsterdam was without a doubt one of my favourite cities. So beautiful, so picturesque, like out of a children’s book 🙂

We rode along the canals at sunset…..

And visited ‘that famous sign’

Paris

Mmmmm Paris; cheese, wine and pastry…..

Oh and escargot. Yeah, I ate that and had no idea how to but was actually quite tasty!

IMG_1550

The view from Sacré-Cœur was so amazing that the photos didn’t do it justice so here’s a pic of me standing outside it…

IMG_3807

We also visited the Notre-Dame (and no we couldn’t find quasi-modo unfortunately)

Processed with MOLDIV

The day we visited the Eiffel Tower was actually a slow day (yay! no lines!)

We finished off our stay with a visit to the Arc de Triomph and a shopping day along the Champs-Élysées…

IMG_1577

Our last dinner in Paris was one of (if not the) best meals of my life EVER. NO JOKE. I CAN’T. EVEN. DEAL

It was ravioli with tomato and this creamy foam that just melted in your mouth…and paired with the perfect white wine

IMG_1631

Barcelona

Ok so bit of a deep and meaningful coming up (just FYI in case you want to opt out)

On the train trip to Barcelona my entire suitcase was stolen (sad times…. or was it?!?!….) Although it was a harsh lesson, it was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me on the trip. Looking back on it, there is something truly freeing about being little old me- literally just me- in the big world. At the end of the day, it’s just a whole lot of stuff. People, memories, experiences- these are the things which are irreplaceable and I wasn’t going to let a thief ruin my life journey. I mean, I was in freakin beautiful Barcelona gosh darn it!! My besties and I ate a lot of paella and sangria that night…

IMG_1645

Of course when you’re in Barcelona you HAVE to visit all of the beautiful Gaudi buildings 🙂

Sagrada Família

Casa Batlló

IMG_1677

And last but not least!

Park Güell

IMG_1796

Madrid

It’s always hard to follow Barcelona, but Madrid was still a lovely city.

We took a lazy stroll down Buen Retiro Park and ate more paella and sangria (duh)

IMG_5555

One night we watched a traditional flamenco performance with live musicians and got all dressed up fancy 🙂

London

We then flew across the water to London and after a treacherous train ride (like the human version of sardines), we arrived at our swanky apartment. The first night we had a chilled home cooked meal. Just look at who I got to eat with all the time! #babe

The next day we got all the sites ticked off our bucket list!

Of course we had to stop to make a few very important phone calls…

One of my fondest memories in London was being surprised by a bunch of very friendly squirrels. Some a bit too friendly as Lucy found out when one mistook her for a tree and decided to go for a run up her leg! haha They had a lot of swag…

We also got our nerd on at the Natural History Museum..

On one of the last days we had a very posh high tea (free flowing prosecco say what?!?)

IMG_2497

and then and there decided we HAD to go see a musical because why not. So we frantically booked Phantom of the Opera. And after a few cocktails at The Shard we left terrifyingly late to get to the theatre. But alas, we only missed the intro. Phantom of the Opera got us feeling all kinds of emotions!

Italy

Milan

Our first stop in Italy was Milan!

We stopped by the beautiful Milan Cathedral and gazed at all the super expensive fashions.

We spent a quiet afternoon walking around Leonardo’s Vineyard and learning all about the history of the house.

The inside of the house

Leonardo’s Vineyard 

Venice

One of (if not THE) best days of my life took place in Venice. Nothing in particular happened, it was simply a PERFECT day with my perfect date 🙂 (Lucy you know I love you girl!) From a romantic gondola ride

The best seafood (with the best view)

FullSizeRender (5)

And wondering around the canals to find hidden shops and cranky old dogs (Lucy learnt this lesson the hard way haha)

To finish off with a beautiful meal and numerous glasses of spritz

IMG_2827

One of the best things about Venice is you’re only one boat ride away from another island. Because of this we took a day trip to visit, Murano and Burano, islands known for amazing glass blowing. Needless to say we spent a lot of money here (no regrets- I mean look a them!)

FullSizeRender (3)

We also had the best most authentic pasta in this tiny restaurant. If there’s one thing you take away from reading this post it’s that ALWAYS go far away from the tourist spots and if it looks a little run down and unpopular, GO IN. That restaurant has probably been in the family for generations and they’ll feed you like family

Florence

I had been to Florence before and it was one of my favourite cities. The second time round; STILL ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVOURITE CITIES. 🙂

We were pleasantly surprised to find out that our air BnB had our very own private terrace which we made sure to make the most of. I mean just look at that view!

We visited my favourite building

IMG_2972

The Duomo

And also the wonderful Uffizi Gallery

And had the cheesiest gnocchi ever…

IMG_3096

Rome

Ahhhhh Rome   I mean our apartment was a 5 minute walk away from the Colosseum. I can’t really complain

FullSizeRender (10)

The Roman Forum

The Pantheon

Trevi Fountain

Spanish Steps

FullSizeRender (16)

The Vatican and Vatican Museums 

One of the highlights was getting to visit Pompeii for the second time and recreating this photo

Processed with MOLDIV

The Tiber River at night was also to die for….

FullSizeRender (11)

Coming home….

I was away 41 days and it’s fair to say that it was quite an adventure! From watching fireworks in Berlin on New Year’s Eve, seeing snow for the first time, bike riding in Amsterdam, gondola rides in Venice and visiting Pompeii for the second time as well as a few mishaps along the way; it was all a part of the tapestry of travel and life. All the while I had two of my best girlfriends by my side. Thank you Karla and Lucy for the DnMs, late night dinners, laughing till we couldn’t breathe and making the unbearable bearable. This trip has had many highs and lows and I couldn’t have done it without your friendship and humour (and photography skills) I love you ladies  My time in Europe was a roller coaster of emotions and I embraced it all in a way that brought out the best in me during the hardest times. I’ve seen sides of me and an inner strength that I didn’t know I had before. And for that I am truly grateful for the experience. But at the end of the day, I was so ready to come home to Sydney, Australia as Mary 2.0 

I jumped off a building….

That one time I decided to jump off a building…
Here’s the video of me doing the sky jump in Auckland. A few points of interest:
1. I was so in denial about what I was about to do so I asked the guy to fix my hair because when you’re 192m high, hair care is priority. 😛
2. I originally didn’t jump the first time he said to go cos I was too busy taking in the lovely view…jks I was really being a chicken…
3. As I was falling I totally forgot about the camera until about half way down cos I was too concerned with the fact that I was fricken free falling which is why you get awesome angles of the building and my double chin #yawelcome
Enjoy!!
ps. After I got over my anxiety, it was actually really fun!! Would do again. Actually may upgrade to a plane next time hehe

It’s More Fun in the Philippines…

From 2-10 July, 2016 I visited my country, the Philippines, for the first time ever and it was such an eye opener. Really being immersed in the culture and the way of life there, especially in the rural provinces, was something I’ll never forget.

We landed in Manila around 9pm to the hustle and bustle of the city. I was immediately taken aback by the roads and traffic and lack of rules! People on motor cycles, bicycles and in cars. It was definitely more of an adrenalin rush back to our hotel than I would have ever thought.

13692375_1163025290436634_1271018355_o
Overlooking Manila 

We caught a bus down to Baguio City where we met my Tita Leda and her family. My cousins, whom I hadn’t seen for almost 10 years, had grown up so much! We spent a few days in Baguio City where we visited the Philippine Military Academy, or PMA for short, and took a horseback ride in the park overlooking the city.

13720458_1163029737102856_2141905503_o

We then all drove down to Santa Lucia, my dads hometown, in the Illocos where has a beautiful house. We spent the rest of our trip exploring this area…

13728491_1163029603769536_998400903_o
Daddy’s house in Santa Lucia

From the rice fields of my Lolo….

13720410_1163029660436197_1511602777_o

The beautiful Santiago Cove…

The old town of Vigan…

 

Where we took a traditional kalesa ride…

13694157_1163029710436192_2002057148_o

And I made a pot

13706255_1163029600436203_105847583_n

And we visited Baluarte Zoo

13694116_1163029633769533_1263229748_o

13711472_1163029720436191_199473532_o
I was very scared lol #acting

I will never forget our dogs, Tiger and Edward…

13711544_1163029613769535_1202317504_o
Meet Edward ❤

Our beautiful housekeeper, Manang Vicky (she basically knew everything and was one of the kindest person I have ever met <3)

13728491_1163029593769537_2130931293_o

My family whom I hadn’t seen for almost ten years!

13734711_1163040113768485_1227533685_n
Daddy and I 
13717893_1163040117101818_1784512806_o
Everyone!!

I think that it is fitting then that the thing that I will remember most and take away from this trip is a greater appreciation of my home in Australia and the beauty of the Filipino country and culture as well as the colourful personalities of the Filipino people, my people.