stories and photos of a simple Filipina who found her second home, Wolfenbüttel, DE

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Netherlands trip August 2006

Three years ago we made a trip to Holland or The Netherlands. My second trip outside Germany in Europe (first was in Luxembourg).

THE NETHERLANDS - the land of tulips,"pannenkoek" (pan cakes), milk, cheese, windmills, wooden shoes and porcellain, and a very long history, discoverers and traders which made the country rich. The land of famous artists like Van Gogh, Rembrandt and many more. Holland is also famous with "Grachten" ( canal and moving bridges).

DELFT - It was in August 2006, we are not so lucky with the weather that year. Holland is not so far from Wolfenbüttel, it was about 4 to 5 hours driving. We arrived in Delft in the afternoon, and we found a nice nature camping site ( 4 star camping site) and built our tent under an apple tree. We had a nice dinner in the camping's restaurant ( too tired to cook our food because we had been to other places in Germany before). At night, sometimes we woke up because apples are keep falling on our tent ;) and in the morning we woke up with the birds singing and by ducks' " quack! quack!", rabbits running around and goats eating the apples which fell down last night ;) real nature camping! ;)

Next day, after we had our breakfast we went to the city of Delft. Through the alleys and canals with bridges, and dark red brickstone houses we came to an old historical church from 1500's. It's called "Nieuve Kerk" or new church. Nearby we came to the big main square with the town hall on one side, the old church opposite and on the other sides beautiful merchants buildings from the 1500's now housing shops and restaurants.

MADURODAM IN DEN HAAG - a miniature of Holland, just a few kilometers away from Delft. It was raining that day when we arrived. So many tourists from all over the world and especially with children are there.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Italy trip May- June 2007

Two years ago we wanted to go to Italy. Michael was there before and i was wondering what is Italy? So, Michael said it's hard to say. He said Italy is everything you want and also not what you want. It's one of the most beautiful and interesting countries in Europe if not in the world. We only had two weeks and we really saw and experienced a lot.

So, still what to expect in Italy? It has culture in many ways, like excellent pizza and pasta, wine, then unique places like Venice, Napoli, Rome, Firenze, etc. and beautiful landscape like in Toscana or the lakes at the foot of the Alps and volcanoes too, history from three thousand years ago, and until today ( ancient ruins and Ferrari). Italy is also the home of famous genius artists and scientists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michaelangelo and many more.

Buongiorno! or Ciao!

Welcome to Lago di Garda!

After driving about one thousand kilometers from the North of Germany we arrived in Torri del Benaco, at the Lake Garda. We found a camping near the town, and after building our tent we look around this small historical town, with a castle, promenate on the lake, and nice old town and harbor.

In the evening we had a nice dinner in a restaurant on stilts in Lake Garda. I had fresh fish from the lake and Michael had his pizza a la Lago di Garda. And of course 1 liter of house wine ;) We slept in our small tent under the olive trees, with birds singing and because we are so tired, we said "Bouna Notte"! ;)

Next day, i woke up with the birds singing and in Michael's "Buongiorno Lovely!" and i said wow! we are really in Italy ;) We packed our stuff and (no breakfast, restaurants are still closed) drove along Lake Garda to Bardolino. It's not so far from Torri. There at the harbor a restaurant, they served us excellent Italian coffee and sandwhich for breakfast. We looked around the town with marble black and white pavements, and yachts in the harbor.

Next place and the last we visited in Lago di Garda is the town of Lazise. Of course it has a big castle, small harbor and old town everywhere you look it's really nice and romantic. Leaving the lake we drove all the way to Verona, about 100 kilometers away from Garda.

VERONA - the city of opera, of Romeo and Juliet. They say Shakespeares story the famous love story of Romeo and Juliet happened here (?) and the picture below they say is Juliet's balcony. If it's real or not nobody knows. A lot of tourists from all over the world are there, including some Flipinos. After visiting Juliet's balcony, we walked around the old town with small alleys, churches, historical houses also "Romeo's house", and came to the river Adige, this part of Verona is the home of rich people. On the other side, hills and villages are connected by ancient bridges.

We found a restaurant near the river Adige, with the best Lasagne we ate in Italy! mmm! Magnifico! ;) we walked back through the old town with nice alleys, some old churches to the big main square, where there is also the ancient Roman Amphitheater ( when we had been there it was under reconstructions). Where they make the world famous Opera Festival of Verona.

So, on the high way with a lot of traffic we came there in the middle of the harbor area, and we are lost! it took some time until we found a camping in this unique city.... Venezia. That was the very busy day, and we cooked our dinner that night and Michael got his wine.

Czech Republic March 2008

This entry is from my old blog also titled flip-flops and backpack in Friendster. All photos are taken by me and my husband Michael. Texts are all written by me.

We planned to go to Czech Republic around Easter, and we thought it's just beginning of Spring so we could go Camping. But just a day before we started, the Winter came with a lot of snow and temperature below zero. The whole season of winter was warm, so we had not been so lucky with the weather and so the whole trip become more expensive because we had to stay in Hotels. Anyway we enjoyed the whole trip, although it's not our "way of travelling" (staying in Pension Houses or Hotels) but we didn't have other choice because it's so cold

Up along river Elbe we drove direction to Czech Republic. But first we tried to see some landscape in Elbsandsteingebirge with a flat table mountains with spectacular views and rocks. But there was too much snow so small roads had been unpassable. Still nice for taking pictures. Crossing into the Czech Republic you hardly noticed because it's EU member now. Although they are EU member, they still don't have the Euro, so we change some euro into Kroner (Crowns). The river Elbe in German is called Labe in Czech, the spring is in this country. Through small towns villages, over hills our first place to stay and see was Kutna Hora.

Kutna Hora is situated above a deep river valley. We found near the main square a nice hotel named U Vlasskeho dvora. Like this hotel and others later we found out that staying in a hotel CZ is not so cheap anymore like it used to be. Still food is very good and inexpensive. In Kutna Hora, we walked around in the old town with historical houses and illuminated churches and palaces. There's a very original pub in town called Pivnice Dacicky, where they serve their homemade beer and typical CZ's food. In CZ they have the best beer in the world ( according to hubby ;). Not only Plzner and Budweiser are very good - also the locally brewed beers are even better. They don't have only good beer but also their famous homemade dumplings or Knödel. Mmmhh lecker! masarap! but you need a lot of sauce with it. Then with a full stomach we went back to our place and on our way there's strong snow storm

Next day we looked around the city again took pictures of St. Barbara Church it was built 1388-1565, almost 200 yrs. to finish this huge church, also the medieval fountains and buildings. Kutna Hora is a nice small town to visit. Hardly anybody goes there.

Next place we planned to visit on that day is Jihlava. We thought we can make it quickly because it was not so far away. We choose the high-way Praha-Brno. After only a few kilometers we got stucked in a traffic jam. That was not only a traffic jam as we found out, it was because of the worst accident that ever happened in CZ. We saw totally wrecked cars, buses and trucks being towed away by the rescue teams, ambulances and firebrigades came to help the victims. As we heared later fortunately nobody died. The whole day we spent on this high way and to get some food and drinks i had to walk in the middle of the high way in deep snow through the standing three lanes cars and trucks from all over Europe to a 2 km away rest area. Only late in the evening we arrived in Jihlava. We found this 4 star Grand Hotel in the center. And near by we ate in a very good CZ- restaurant another typical meal with Garlic Soup, Goulasch and Knödel and of course for Michael, local beer. Although we didn't do much on that day, we felt so kaputt so we sleep well in our "luxury hotel".

Next day we looked around in the center of Jihlava. The big main square with historical buildings is really nice. So is the cathedral and the only remaining city gate. It's ok to looked around there but on that main square there is this ugly building of a supermarket from socialist times and a bus station. So better we went over snowed- in small roads to the beautiful small town of TELC. From the parking to our left a lake with ducks, to our right an old castle with museum now we entered the town to a big medieval city gate.

a few meters we reached this great center square with all these beautiful historical pediment buildings of which each has a different shape of facade. Because of another snow storm we walked safely under the arcades to reach the fountain and cathedral. Telc is really worth to visit if somebody who will come to CZ. Because of bad weather we did'nt go to Brno, but on small streets then to KROMERIZ.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Denmark trip June, 2008

Note: this entry is lifted from my old blog in friendster also titled flip-flops and backpack.

13.06.2008 Yes! we are ready! for 10 days holidays in Denmark. First we went to Northern German State of Schleswig- Holstein to see the historical towns of Mölln, Ratzeburg and Lübeck. We spend one night in Grömitz at the Balticsea. Next morning we went to Puttgarden on the Island of Fehmarn to catch the Scandlines Ferry to Roedby in Denmark. We crossed some islands and bridges of the Danish islands to go to the island of Moen. In this island they have a spectacular limestone cliffs, about 100 m high, it was beautiful! Going up there through the natural forest was really wunderbar!

Then we went to Copenhagen the capital of Denmark, 1/3 of the population living there. We stayed on a nice camping with restaurants, hot shower, (with high-tech toilettes) and because Denmark is not cheap! we cooked our own food ( like we did many times after). Next day started with heavy rain and we took the railway to the center. The rest of the day was very cold and windy but sunny, even I got sunburnt!There's so much to see in Copenhagen. We just saw some high lights like, Town hall, historical fountain, churches, castles of the King and Queen Amalienborg. At the waterfront we saw the symbol of Copenhagen, the famous "Little Mermaid". Busloads of tourists from all over the world and us there. At the historical and old port of Nyhavn i eat my first Poelser, Lecker! typical Danish food. It's a hot- dog with different sauces, sweet pickles and crispy onions. Walking to the Royal gardens with a castle, we came back near the railway station. Of course we didn't forget to visit Tivoli, it was fun! with many rides and attractions, but we didn't see the illumination of Tivoli, because in summer it's always daylight there.

to be continued...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

One Sunday in Braunlage

Yesterday, we went to a nature park in Braunlage just an hour away from where we live,Wolfenbüttel. I had been asking hubby for a nice place to go where we can go mushrooms and butterfly hunting and of course to enjoy the nature itself. I am a nature lover and i thank God for these wonderful creatures that HE given us to enjoy and realize how beautiul life is with them. I hope you enjoy viewing the pics, there will be not much of words in this entry because i honestly don't know the names of these butterflies and mushrooms, except for the "Fingerhut" and ducks and gold fish in the park.

at the "Kurpark" gold fishes and ducks enjoying the good weather...

i chased this butterfly i didn't give up until i got it in my camera ;)

the park is surrounded with these beautiful flowers...

and more flowers....

and more flowers...

the first wild mushrooms we found...

this butterfly didn't give me ahard time, it stays there like it was sleeping ;)

the second wild mushrooms we found going back...

we call it here "Fingerhut" or in english Digitalis. All i know about this flower is it's beautiful and it's poisonous.

the last wild mushrooms we found and we don't know if it's eatable or not...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


This entry is from my old blog in friendster also name flip - flops and backpack. This is where our journey in Egypt begins, in Aswan.

Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian once noted: " Concerning Egypt, I will now speak at lenght, because nowhere are there so many marvelous things, nor in the world besides are there to be seen so many things of unspeakable greatness..." ( from the Lonely Planet )

Come with me and join us in our adventure in Egypt. Ride a camel with me, sail with us with the Felucca, visit and be captivated by four thousand year old monuments and we will show you the "secrets" of some ancient tomb , enjoy the beauty of the under water world by snorkelling in the red sea, make a real desert safari and see the life of about twenty five million people city of Cairo.

ASWAN - is Egypt's southernmost city, a gateway to Africa, Michael and me call it the Verona ( in Italy) of Egypt. The river Nile and the beautiful mountains and sand dunes makes it romantic and it was also considered the popular winter place. For the Egyptians it is warmer than in Cairo or Alexandria. Aswan is located on the East Bank of river Nile. The city is busy with big Bazar open day and night and also restaurants, markets while the other side is just desert with tombs and sand dunes and mountains. The best thing to do when you're in Aswan is to sail a Felucca and watch the sun set over the hills and islands in the river Nile. That's what we did ;)

By sailing a Felucca, you must really bargain hard with the owner or sailor, because when they know you are a tourist they really ripped you off with the price. Finally, we found a nice old Egyptian guy and we agreed with the price, 50 EP for two hours. We sailed around the islands and enjoyed the view of the city Aswan and wait for the sun to set but it's bit cloudly that day but still we enjoyed it ;) It was a wonderful experience sailing the Felucca which sails with the wind and the current of the river. That's how the ancient Egyptian did and also today. Next morning we woke up 3 o' clock in the morning and had breakfast in the hotel. Our mini van came after a few minutes and then off we go. In a convoy of buses we waited for almost an hour and finally, we go.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The White and Black Desert, Bahariyya Oasis, Egypt

( continuation from our trip in Giza Pyramids in Cairo )

Next morning still in Cairo, very early we took the taxi to the bus station, again no breakfast! But we got the front seats in the bus for about 9 hours of travelling to Bahariyya Oasis. We had booked already in our pension our trip to Bahariyya, that was quite wise, because in Bahariyya it costs more to see what we will see. All included in what we paid are, the camp (hotel) food, transport and the tour guide and the trip to the White and Black desert.

The ride on the public bus was quite boring. First through the suburbs of Cairo then hours and
hours through the flat and stony desert. In the afternoon we reached Bahariyya Oasis. But even this was interesting for me to see the beautiful landscape of desert and some desert plants on the way. In Bahariyya bus station, everything went fine, there our service is waiting for us. The owner of the resort or camp is so nice and friendly. After introducing ourselves he brought us to the camp, quite far from the "city". The camp is called, Sahara Camp. It was beautiful! i never seen oasis in my life, the location of the camp is half way on a hill over looking the palm trees of Bahariyya Oaisis.

A boy served us cold water and juice and a nice meal. it was about 4 o'clock already in the afternoon. In the garden the view of the oasis is breathtaking. They showed us our small and cute "nipa hut bungalow". After the good meal we walked through the desert up to the hill to see the sunset. It's worth waiting up in the hills for he sunset, because it was really wonderful. It's getting dark very quickly and in the evening they served us a delicious Bedouin meal in the garden of the camp and they even had beer for Michael, we paid extra of course and also my coke. That was just the beginning of exciting Bahariyya and around. And for us a normal travelling day

A little bit later when we got our strength back, we climbed up the hill behind our camp, to have an overlook view of the oasis. It was around 6 o'clock as the sun is about to set, it was wonderful to see how the color of the hills and the oasis change, it was breathtaking! of course we took picture of the sunset. Back in our camp, there waiting for us a romantic Bedouin dinner in the garden of the camp. It was quite cool that time because it's winter in Egypt and it's in the desert. Next day is the beginning of our desert safari to the Black and White Desert, and i mean real desert safari.

We had been ready with all our important stuff for our trip in the desert. Specially cameras and video cameras. Our group was composed with two Koreans, one Canadian, Michael and me the driver and the boy named Mustafa. Our Toyota 4x4 was loaded by them on the roof and inside with all the equipments, food and water for our overnight stay in the desert. Off we go on the good high way which connects the Oasises in Egypt. On the road again. In the middle of nowhere we stopped for lunch break where they served us a very nice traditional Bedouin meal.

Our first destination was the Crystal Mountain, part of White Desert National Park. Actually it's only a hill of natural crystals. The shiny crystals and the reddish, fine sand makes it an unusual sight. We left the highway and speeded through the desert until suddenly we came to a steep kind of small cliff and we stopped for the view of the hills and the barren flat desert below. After taking pictures, we went back to our Toyota and our driver drove down speeding through the sand. It was very steep and we are all got scared a bit, but it's part and also fun of the trip. ;)

After a few kilometers, suddenly the color and the landscape changed. No more red or brown stony desert it's all white and the first weird sculptures created by nature appeared in front of us and along the track. Now we really are in the White Desert. In several places we stopped and took photos of these amazing cream landscape. You can use your imagination and fantasy to create names for these bizarre shapes, like mushrooms, monkeys, turtles, chicken, muffins, camels and more. In Egypt you might expect more ancient culture but it also offers some unique natural sights. Later afternoon our driver found a place to built up our camp for the night. While he and the boy built our camp, we walked around in the desert to look further for more other rock formations. We remembered our camp was built near a rock looks like a turtle so we know our way back. ;) With the sun going down the colors of the rocks and the desert changed from white to pink and red... it was breathtaking! And after the sunset it becomes white again against the dark blue sky... we are speechless! or we can only say WOW! ;)

We came back to our camp which became really a nice camp which the Egyptian boy made with the wind- shade, made from colorful traditional Bedouin blankets. They put matrasses for the night and pillows for us. Our driver started and his boy to make fire for cooking our dinner, and also to keep us warm because after sunset in the desert it becomes really cold, the temperature is almost 0°C. They cooked "lecker" (delicious) Bedouin food with bbq chicken, vegetables with local herbs, rice. And for dessert we had fresh oranges from Bahariyya. Suddenly there's an animal coming from the desert: the desert fox looking for food. Because we are not the first ones who made camping there. Quite shy but not really " he " came near to us. Our driver said it's not dangerous and there also no snakes or scorpions around. ( really?) - we are lucky we didn't experience. The fox got his share.

After dinner our driver called his friends shouting from other camps nearby and they all came. A group of Egyptians and two Japanese girls and their guides came to join us at our camping fire. They bring their traditional drums and everybody was singing. They told us that it is a Bedouin's tradition to gather all people or tourists in one place. They play their drums and started singing their Bedouin songs. And then everybody, from all different countries contributed a song. When it's my turn, I sang a Filipino traditional song... believe it or not... I sang " Bahay- Kubo" ;), and accompanied with the drums from our Bedouin friends. Everybody loved it and I got a lot of applause. That night with the Bedouin and international campers in the middle of the Sahara Desert is an unforgettable experience. When the fire is almost finished, everybody went to sleep. We went to our sleeping place and we covered ourselves with those heavy, thick and warm blankets made from camel wool. We are lucky we had only half moon. So we can see the stars. It was wonderful! We slept so well in our " million star hotel" ;)

Next morning Michael is the first to wake and get up. Now comes the real human desert life experience... ( no pictures ) there's a rule that in the desert you have to protect the nature. We are also part of it and aware of it. So our "human manure" (waste ) and toilet paper should be burnt. We digged a hole in the desert and burnt all. That was our "other experience" in the desert that I will never forget in my life. So, off we go picture taking again, walking around the white desert far away from our camp. Meanwhile our driver and the boy prepared our breakfast. Our breakfast was Egyptian tea and traditional bread with fig jam and cheese and some oranges. After the boys packed everything and we went on the "road" again, actually a track in the desert until we reached the highway to Bahariyya. Going back there we stopped in the" Black Desert". We climbed a hill to have an overlook to mountains and dark terrane area. Still it was a good sight but not so spectacular like the White Desert. We had been speeding back then to Bahariyya Town bought some fruits before we came back to our camp in Sahara Camp. In the afternoon it was good to relax in the garden and drink beer for Michael, Coke for me. We are so tired from a long trip but so happy!

Next day, our last day in Bahariyya Oasis. We packed our things to go back to Cairo in the afternoon, and we got ready for our around Bahariyya trip after breakfast. Our driver took us first to Date Palm Plantations, and also to vegetables fields and all irrigated by natural spring from Bahariyya Oasis. We saw the normal simple farm life of the local people. We went to a big salt lake which is not so far from the Pyramid Mountain. From there, the Pyramid Mountain we can overlook almost the whole oasis. Speeding up and down the sanddunes we came to a Bedouin Village where they feed and raised oasis camel. And then we drove up to the desert plateau, up there the landscape is dark and it looks like on the moon. Then we went to a view point at the "English Man's House" at the edge of the cliff over looking the oasis. Going down the plateau was really an adventure to us, and we are thankful that we came back safely in our camp.

We loaded our backpacks in the car and say goodbye and thank you to the owner and the people of the camp, they had been really nice to us. They brought us in the bus station, and we wait until the bus goes. While waiting we bought some cookies, water, and fruits for our 350 kilometers bus ride back to Cairo.

Shukran Bahariyya! (shukran-thank you) for all the beautiful memories that we will never forget. That's our trip to Bahariyya Oasis, hope you enjoyed our journey in this unique part of Egypt.

The long bus ride was not so exciting, big part of it was getting stuck in traffic jams of Cairo, what a difference to the quiet desert life in Bahariyya coming back in this mega city. Back in Cairo again, it worked out with our reservations for our hotel room, and then we had a nice dinner at the Felfela restaurant.